Chapter 287: He Zhang and Qin Lingyu’s Grasp on the “Truth”

Demoness's Art of Vengeance

“Enough! Brother, you’ve never been able to show any evidence that brother Jun is a bad guy! How can you simply base everything off your own intuition and determine that he possesses ulterior motives?!”

Turning his attention back to his incensed “sister”, Qin Lingyu grew even more exasperated as he coldly rebuked her, “Well done, Qin Shanshan. Your feathers aren’t even fully grown and mature, and yet you’re already sticking out your head for outsiders. Why can’t you use your useless brain for once and think for yourself – can there really be anything as coincidental as this?! Within a few days of meeting him, you’d found yourselves trapped within the peculiar part of the wilderness, only to be saved by this man. And now, after arriving at the Dawn Sect’s grounds, and before we’d even stepped through the Dawn Sect’s gates, he’s put on such a good show to make you fall head-over-heels in love with him. How can incidents like a prince charming rescuing a damsel-in-distress happen time and again like that? Besides, do you think that the Dawn Sect’s protective formation array is something that’s just for show?!”

“When all is said and done, everything that you’ve just said is nothing more than your own conjectures!” Jun Xiaomo retorted without yielding any ground.

“Conjectures?! Hah, Qin Shanshan, let me tell you something – I’d only been able to enter this place with the assistance of my master and the other Sect Elders. In fact, even after they had all worked together to create a safe passage for me, I still fell prey to the Sect’s protective formation array. If this man here doesn’t possess any hidden and concealed abilities, how could he possibly remain unscathed? How do you think he had located you in such a short time and kept you completely safe?!” The more Qin Lingyu said, the more he was convinced he was right, and the more his suspicions towards Jun Ziwen burgeoned.

Jun Xiaomo had the urge to roll her eyes right now – It’s only because you’re too weak! That’s how you ended up being toyed by me without even realizing it!

However, Jun Xiaomo knew that she had to keep these things to herself. As “Qin Shanshan”, she knew that she could not afford to make any expression that was uncharacteristic to her present identity.

Looking straight at the infuriated Qin Lingyu, Jun Xiaomo was content with simply rubbing more salt into his wounds.

“Brother, you can’t be so unreasonable! Your own inability had caused you to fall prey to the formation array, but that doesn’t mean that others would possess such inabilities as well. In fact, I was that close to being swallowed alive by a spirit snake earlier. If not for the fact that brother Jun arrived just in the nick of time to rescue me, you wouldn’t even be seeing me right now! And look at how you’ve repaid his gesture of goodwill? Quite apart from failing to show brother Jun some appreciation for saving my life, you’d even slandered him with these baseless accusations. Brother, you’re being extremely hateful and obnoxious here!”

Jun Xiaomo had said all of these things to make a pointed attack at Qin Lingyu’s ego. With his level of ego, how could he accept the fact that he could not measure up to a mere outsider, even if this were the indubitable truth?

He glared furiously back at Jun Xiaomo with eyes that were completely bloodshot. It was almost as though he were prepared to pounce at Jun Xiaomo in the next moment and snap her neck in half.

On the other hand, Jun Xiaomo continued to stare back at Qin Lingyu in an unyielding fashion. On the surface, she presented herself with a stubborn frustration at Qin Lingyu’s behaviour; yet deep within her heart, she was wagging her little tail in delight at how Qin Lingyu was reacting to her provocations.

At the same time, it was Ye Xiuwen who realized that there was no meaning in letting the present argument go on. Thus, moments later, he stepped between the impasse and interjected, “Alright, Miss Qin, your brother is just being concerned for you. There’s no need to pursue the matter either. As for your brother’s allegations, time will naturally reveal the veracity of my character.”

Jun Xiaomo shook his arm and looked at him with slightly pouted lips as she objected, “Brother Jun, we’ve already done the deed between married couples…how can you still be addressing me as Miss Qin…”

Jun Xiaomo’s soft and husky voice caused goosebumps to creep all over her body – My word! I’d gone slightly overboard with that. It’s far too soppy and disgusting!

Ye Xiuwen’s lips twitched at almost the same time. In that single instant, Ye Xiuwen almost failed to maintain his usual cool and composed image.

If “Qin Shanshan” hadn’t reminded him, Ye Xiuwen would already have forgotten this excuse that they had used earlier.

Thus, patting “Qin Shanshan’s” head, Ye Xiuwen forcibly eked out a more endearing manner of addressing her, “Shanshan…”

On the other hand, Qin Lingyu watched coldly as this sight unfolded. In his eyes, it was clear that Ye Xiuwen had only done the deed in the heat of the moment, yet he possessed no intention whatsoever for any protracted relationships. Qin Lingyu sincerely believed that Qin Shanshan was merely blinded by her infatuation right now – Can’t she see for herself that this man has no lingering feelings towards her?

If not for the fact that Qin Shanshan’s death right now would foil his grand plans, Qin Lingyu would never have bothered or concerned himself with his idiotic sister’s life. He would rather let her die on her own than allow her to become a deadweight, weighing him down and smearing his reputation within the Sect.

Jun Xiaomo noticed Ye Xiuwen’s stiff expression, and her heart blossomed in ever-growing delight.

Alright, forgive her for her propensity to pull prank on others. After all, she had been far too bored and stifled after having been locked within the Proving Grounds for over three-hundred years – she did not have a single person to even talk to during that entire period of time. Now that she had come out alive and kicking, she was raring to reward and indulge herself with some delightful human interactions, which naturally included things such as teasing and pulling pranks on others.

After discreetly calculating the amount of time that they had been trapped within the Sect’s protective formation array, Jun Xiaomo decided that it was about time that they left and headed back to the Sect. Just then, Qin Lingyu had finally managed to clamber to his feet, somewhat revitalized after having consumed some recovery pills. Jun Xiaomo chuckled coldly in her heart – Do you think you’re off the hook now? Just wait till I’ve rescued my martial brothers from the Heavenly Peak. I’ll return both you and your master everything I owe you at that time, replete with interest! None of you are going to get away from me!

As she thought about these things, Jun Xiaomo waved her hand, and a talisman appeared between her fingers. Then, with a simple flick of her wrist, a beam of light shot straight into Qin Lingyu’s body.

Qin Lingyu was completely oblivious to Jun Xiaomo’s actions at this moment. On the other hand, Ye Xiuwen saw it, and he raised his eyebrows curiously at Jun Xiaomo.

Jun Xiaomo discreetly batted her eyelids back at Ye Xiuwen.

Seeing how the two had begun to exchange meaningful glances once again, Qin Lingyu’s infuriation burgeoned.

Forget it. Out of sight, out of mind. Once we’re outside, master and the Sect Elders will naturally have their ways to deal with this man of unknown origins.

As he thought about these things, Qin Lingyu barked in a low voice, “Let’s go. If we still remain in here, the passage opened by master is going to shut on us.”

After saying his piece, Qin Lingyu turned around and walked ahead.

Having noticed how Qin Lingyu was no longer butting heads with her, Jun Xiaomo grabbed hold of Ye Xiuwen’s arm and dragged him along as they followed behind Qin Lingyu with a steady gait.

[Why did you make me sound so mysterious and skillful earlier? Wouldn’t Qin Lingyu be even more wary of me this way?]

Since they could not afford to let Qin Lingyu overhear the contents of their conversation, Ye Xiuwen had directly conveyed his message to Jun Xiaomo through a thread of his own spiritual energy.

[Even if I didn’t say that, he would still be wary and suspicious of you. Conversely, now that I put it this way, they might even hesitate to act against you for fear that they don’t know the extents of your abilities. On the other hand, I’m in a slightly more precarious position. As soon as they discover that I’m the cause for all these things, my cover would be blown. At that time, the jig would be up for both of us.]

Jun Xiaomo had responded through a thread of her own spiritual energy as well. At the same time, she turned her head around and looked at Ye Xiuwen as she blinked meaningfully.

[What you’ve said does make some sense. That’s right, what did you send into Qin Lingyu’s body earlier?]

[About that…] Jun Xiaomo’s lips curled into a smile as she raised an eyebrow, [it’s a secret!]

Ye Xiuwen looked as though he was about to ask something more when Jun Xiaomo suddenly placed her fair finger on her lips, “Shh…you’ll know next time.”

Seeing “Qin Shanshan’s” enigmatic expression, Ye Xiuwen smiled faintly and shook his head helplessly.

Ye Xiuwen discovered that the number of times he had plastered an exasperated smile on his face had increased ever since he had encountered “Qin Shanshan”.

He Zhang and the others were waiting outside impatiently. They had thought that all was lost – Qin Lingyu and his sister were both trapped within the Sect’s protective formation array, and they would never be able to leave. Then, just as they were about to cease the flow of their spiritual energy into the formation diagram and close the safe passage that they had opened for Qin Lingyu, they saw three figures appear in the distance in within the rift.

Three figures? He Zhang and the other Sect Elders furrowed their brows, wondering where the third person had come from.

Then, as soon as the person drew closer, He Zhang and the other Sect Elders discovered that the third person was none other than the man called Jun Ziwen, whom they unanimously thought had already slipped into the deepest parts of the Dawn Sect!

“Little fellow cultivator, what are you doing in there? Weren’t you spared from the Sect’s protective formation array earlier?” The Fifth Elder was frank and candid, and he asked whatever was on his mind. Thus, before Ye Xiuwen had even managed to steady his feet after leaving the formation array, the Fifth Elder had already asked what was on everyone else’s minds.

Ye Xiuwen calmly glanced back at the Fifth Elder as he responded, “I was worried for Shanshan’s safety, so I had tossed away my identity token and entered the Sect’s protective formation array to look for her.”

There were a few other Dawn Sect disciples who were around as well. When they heard Ye Xiuwen’s response to the Fifth Elder’s query, they instantly revealed a look of realization on their faces. At the same time, they couldn’t help but find themselves deeply moved by the extent of his love and passion.

After all, this man before their very eyes had been willing to throw himself in harm’s way for the person he loved – what else could this be if not true love?

I’d still been thinking that Jun Ziwen was a person with ulterior motives. In the end, he’s just an idiot who’s deeply in love. I really wasn’t able to tell this much at the start.

The disciples’ masters noticed the expressions on his disciples’ faces, and the veins on their foreheads began to bulge and throb as well.

Their masters were all crafty old foxes that had seen their days. Such allegations of “true love” might be able to dupe the naïve and innocent disciples of theirs, but it was going to take much more if Ye Xiuwen was going to fool them.

Most importantly, Jun Ziwen’s aura and disposition made him an exact doppelganger of Ye Xiuwen, and they couldn’t help but reflexively put up their guards around him.

Then, recalling the peculiarities with the Sect’s protective formation array, the Grand Elder asked Qin Lingyu, “Lingyu, did you encounter anything special after entering the formation array?”

As he looked at stern and somber expression plastered all over the Grand Elder’s face, it took Qin Lingyu only a brief moment to guess roughly what had happened.

Something must have gone wrong with the formation diagram or the formation array…

Qin Lingyu deliberated for a moment, before glancing at Ye Xiuwen as he responded, “There was indeed a peculiar incident that I’d like to talk about. Logically speaking, since master had opened a safe passage for me, I shouldn’t have been targeted by the Sect’s protective formation array. However, I was attacked by a spirit beast within the protective formation array, and I’d even sustained injuries. When Shanshan found me later on, I was in an unconscious state, while Shanshan and Brother Jun were completely unharmed.”

“Attacked by a spirit beast? That’s not possible…” The Grand Elder analyzed the situation, “There are previous incidents of Dawn Sect disciples getting trapped within the Sect’s protective formation arrays. Generally speaking, in order to prevent injuring our own disciples, the formation array would never attack anybody within the first three days of trapping them. Thus, when we located those disciples in the past, the worst state that we had ever found them in was a state of unconsciousness. We had never found them with injuries before.”

“In other words, this incident is rather suspicious, and somebody must have had a hand in it, am I not right?” Qin Lingyu smirked coldly at Ye Xiuwen as he chimed in.

Jun Xiaomo immediately stood in front of Ye Xiuwen and glared straight back at Qin Lingyu, “You’re not allowed to suspect brother Jun!”

“Shanshan, enough! Don’t you think you’ve caused us enough trouble yet?!” The Grand Elder lambasted “Qin Shanshan”. As the urge to refute the Grand Elder suddenly arose within her, Jun Xiaomo instantly glared back at the Grand Elder.

However, she managed to consciously repress the reflexive urge to butt heads with the Grand Elder.

After all, with Qin Shanshan’s personality and character, she could not possibly possess the guts to contend with the Grand Elder’s words.

Thus, she pouted her lips, lowered her head and discreetly made a face back at the Grand Elder.

As a result, everyone simply witnessed how “Qin Shanshan” was so afraid of the Grand Elder’s excoriation that she was now completely dispirited and silent.

Ye Xiuwen looked with bemusement at the top of “Qin Shanshan’s” head. He could somewhat imagine how she was discreetly rolling her eyes or sticking out her tongue at the Grand Elder in the dark right now.

In the spur of the moment, Ye Xiuwen subconsciously patted Jun Xiaomo’s head. Jun Xiaomo was momentarily taken aback by Ye Xiuwen’s actions. That said, the simple gesture had helped dissipate a fair amount of indignation bottled up in her heart.

He Zhang squinted his eyes as he continued closely observe Jun Ziwen’s behaviour. At this point in time, he was still unable to determine whether this man had ulterior motives for drawing close to the Dawn Sect disciples.

That said, he knew for a fact that the Sect’s protective formation array had earlier displayed an anomalous reaction, and Jun Ziwen was the only outsider present.

Thus, rather than finding an excuse to stave off Jun Ziwen and keep him out of the Sect, He Zhang decided that he would allow Jun Ziwen to enter the Dawn Sect so that he could keep him under closer observation. After all, as the saying goes, keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer. Even if this man possessed ulterior motives, did the entire Dawn Sect really have anything to fear of what one man could achieve?

The Nascent Soul stage of cultivation couldn’t be considered low by any means. That said, there were several stages of cultivation that were well above the Nascent Soul stage of cultivation as well. In fact, if one looked solely among the members of the Dawn Sect, there were already at least ten members of the Dawn Sect who possessed cultivation levels that were well in excess of the Nascent Soul stage of cultivation.

Having thought things through, He Zhang turned to address Ye Xiuwen, “Dear fellow cultivator, since you’ve got such affinity with the Dawn Sect’s disciples, we would sincerely like to invite you to stay with us as our guest. This would be the little brat’s dream come true as well. Us old fellas shouldn’t be interfering with you love birds here.”

Ye Xiuwen bowed graciously as he responded with a stoic expression on his face, “Thank you, Sect Leader He for approving of us.”

At this instant, Qin Lingyu’s face darkened as he began to clench his fists tightly – Why would master allow this man to enter the Dawn Sect?!

However, He Zhang simply patted Qin Lingyu’s shoulder, assuring him and tacitly telling him not to be impatient.

On the other hand, Jun Xiaomo immediately exclaimed, “Oh yeah!” Then, she minced her way to Ye Xiuwen’s side and clung onto his arms once more as she addressed He Zhang and the rest, “Then I want brother Jun to stay over at my place. After all, we’ve already done the deed between a married couple.”

“Qin Shanshan, have you no shame at all?!” It suddenly dawned on Qin Lingyu that this little sister of his was getting increasingly out of hand.

“What’s there to be ashamed of? Aren’t you and sister Wanrou the same, having tussled together in bed just like us?!” Not to be outdone, Jun Xiaomo refuted as she puffed up her cheeks.

At the same time, Ye Xiuwen raised his eyebrow quizzically – “Qin Shanshan” also knows about the things between Qin Lingyu and Yu Wanrou?

In a fit of anger, Qin Lingyu couldn’t find any words to bite back at “Qin Shanshan”. After all, with her brother displaying such an “exemplary” behaviour, “Qin Shanshan’s” suggestion for cohabitation seemed to completely pale in comparison.

From how things were developing, it seems that “Qin Shanshan” is playing straight into Jun Ziwen’s hands. If anything happens in the near future, things are most certainly going to get messy. 

He Zhang thought that his disciple was simply concerned about his sister’s emotional well-being, and he patted Qin Lingyu’s shoulder as he assured him, “Alright, Lingyu, Shanshan’s a grown up now. As an older brother, you’ve got to let go at some point in time. Let’s do it this way – since our disciple Qin Shanshan and brother Jun have an affinity for one another, then there’s no harm in staying together. If need be, we can even help to select an auspicious date and time for the two of you to get married. What do you think?”

Ye Xiuwen’s lips began to twitch slightly. Things were developing much more quickly than he could ever have expected.

Slightly exasperated, he swept a glance at Jun Xiaomo, only to receive a tacit response in the form of a few meaningful blinks from her. Thus, playing along and feeding the lie, Ye Xiuwen calmly responded to He Zhang, “That would be great. Thanks, Sect Leader He for your approval.”

He Zhang began to laugh heartily, “Seems like there’s going to be a lively celebration in our Sect soon!”

As he finished speaking, he clapped his hands and rounded everything up, “Alright, alright. If there’s nothing more to attend to, let’s call it a day.”

Thus, everyone began to make their way back to the Dawn Sect, leaving He Zhang and Qin Lingyu behind.

“Master, why did you agree to Shanshan’s willful request? Disciple doesn’t understand.” Qin Lingyu furrowed his brows as he asked He Zhang directly.

“If Jun Ziwen truly has ulterior motives, what do you think his goal is?”

“This…disciple is unsure of that. I can’t tell for now.”

“The only thing of interest within the Sect right now is the matter pertaining to the Heavenly Peak. If he truly has ulterior motives, it’s hard to say whether he’s working with others.”

“By ‘others’, does master mean…the people from the Heavenly Peak who had managed to escape?”

“Not just them. The most important thing is that Jun Ziwen’s aura is far too similar to Ye Xiuwen’s aura. None of us are expecting Ye Xiuwen’s return, and it would be imprudent if we remained just as unguarded against him as before. That said, I sincerely believe that if Jun Ziwen’s appearance has to do with the Heavenly Peak, he cannot possibly be working alone and courting death like that – there must be others who are behind him right now.”

“Disciple understands. In other words, by keeping him around under observation, master is thinking to determine whether there’s anyone else supporting him in the dark?”

“Haha, you’d finally seen the light. It’s good that you have. Remember, don’t be too fixated on a single issue that you neglect the big picture.” He Zhang left Qin Lingyu with some words of wisdom as he patted Qin Lingyu’s shoulder.

He Zhang’s words had completely dispelled the earlier anxiety and frustration weighing on Qin Lingyu’s heart. At this moment, he felt thoroughly assured knowing that He Zhang was not letting Jun Ziwen off scot-free.

Just like that, He Zhang and Qin Lingyu both firmly believed that they already had a firm grasp on the truth. Yet the irony of it all was that they were getting only further and further away from the truth. In particular, none of them harboured any suspicions that Qin Shanshan was a complete imposter at this moment!

At almost the same time, Ye Xiuwen began to communicate with Jun Xiaomo through a thread of spiritual energy.

[Miss Tong, why did you make the earlier request to stay together?] Ye Xiuwen glanced at Jun Xiaomo with some measure of exasperation as he clarified.

[Don’t you think that this would make for far easier communication between us two? We’re partners after all. This would allow us to look out for one another as well.Jun Xiaomo smiled radiantly at Ye Xiuwen as she responded. Ye Xiuwen choked slightly at the response and paused in his steps –

[Just like that?]

[Of course it’s just like that! What did you expect? Are you letting your thoughts run wild now?] Jun Xiaomo batted her eyelids at Ye Xiuwen mischievously.

Ye Xiuwen: ……

Alright. How could possibly he refute such reasoning?

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