Chapter 321: Zhou Zilong Is Moved, Jun Xiaomo’s Agony

Demoness's Art of Vengeance

The group of assailants that had ambushed the Heavenly Peak disciples had been hired by Zhang Shuyue through Xiang Guqing’s contacts.

Zhang Shuyue’s intention had always been to first ambush Zhou Zilong and the other Heavenly Peak disciples in order to lure out Ye Xiuwen, and then she would coordinate with the assailants so that she could play the part of a hero rescuing a “damsel in distress”. Given Ye Xiuwen’s righteous and kind personality, there was no doubt that he would want to return the favour. In turn, he would likely remain within the valley and even personally look after Zhang Shuyue until she recovered.

At that time, even if Jun Xiaomo wanted to object to such an arrangement, Ye Xiuwen might not stand on her side anymore. A victorious sensation washed through Zhang Shuyue’s heart whenever she contemplated the prospects of snatching Ye Xiuwen out from under Jun Xiaomo’s nose that way.

Besides, if she ended up rescuing Ye Xiuwen’s life, wouldn’t he be touched and moved by her sacrifice as well? Right now, all she was lacking was the perfect opportunity to leave an impression in Ye Xiuwen’s heart so that she could gain a foothold and foster a deeper relationship with him.

Therefore, this ambush should have presented an ideal opportunity for everything she had contemplated and planned. Unfortunately, her plans were thrown into complete chaos when Zhou Zilong rushed into the fray at the very last moment.

In the end, she failed to “rescue” Ye Xiuwen. To make matters worse, she instinctively paused in her steps when Zhou Zilong came charging straight into the fray clumsily, causing what would originally have been a minor cut on her body to become a grievous wound caused by a spirit sword plunging straight through her chest. In that very moment, she even heard death knocking on the door to her heart.

If not for the fact that she had consumed several high-grade recovery pills in the nick of time, she would most certainly have perished there and then. It was a double whammy; a complete disaster.

Then, when Zhou Zilong carried Zhang Shuyue back to the valley, she lay there in Zhou Zilong’s bosom with her eyes half-opened, staring longingly at Ye Xiuwen’s figure that was just a short distance away. Her heart was filled with unwillingness.

It shouldn’t have been this way. Why is Ye Xiuwen still being so cold to me? It was evident that I’d rushed in to save him, wasn’t it?

Even though the person she inadvertently saved was Zhou Zilong, and not Ye Xiuwen, she couldn’t understand how Ye Xiuwen was oblivious to the fact that her early cry of warning was directed at him.

At that time, Zhou Zilong had noticed that the person in his bosom appeared to be rather sullen, and he couldn’t help but lift her slightly and ask softly, “Miss Zhang, are you in pain? Am I hurting you by the way I’m carrying you?”

Zhang Shuyue had half the mind to ignore Zhou Zilong. However, Zhou Zilong was still a disciple of the Heavenly Peak and Ye Xiuwen his martial brother when all was said and done, and she knew that she still had to feign some measure of civility here and there.

Thus, swallowing the burgeoning frustrations in her heart, she grimaced at Zhou Zilong and spoke with a softened tone of voice, “Don’t worry. I’m much better after taking those recovery pills.”

When Zhou Zilong saw how Zhang Shuyue fought against the pain and muttered that she was alright despite her incredibly pale face, his heart melted.

In that moment, Zhou Zilong resolved in his heart that he was going to remain at the valley and look after Zhang Shuyue until she had fully recovered.

Jun Xiaomo noticed it as soon as Ye Xiuwen and the others appeared on the path leading up to the main courtyard in the valley, and she immediately ran forward to receive them.

“Martial Brother Ye! Are all of you alright? Did anybody get hurt?” Jun Xiaomo asked anxiously as she gasped for breath from running over to them.

Ye Xiuwen furrowed his brows as he gripped Jun Xiaomo by the shoulders and chided, “Why are you already up and running about? You’re not fully recovered yet!”

Jun Xiaomo replied plaintively, “It’s because you guys didn’t allow me to tag along earlier! You don’t know how anxious I was earlier when I saw how dark the sky was, yet nobody had returned. If not for the fact that Martial Brother Ye had earlier mentioned that the battle had already ended, I would’ve gone out looking for you already!”

Ye Xiuwen sighed as he patted Jun Xiaomo’s head, “Let’s talk when we’re back.”

It was only at this moment that Jun Xiaomo noticed the blood stains on Zhou Zilong’s body.

“Martial Brother Zhou, what happened to you?” As Jun Xiaomo hurried over to his side, she finally noticed that Zhou Zilong was also carrying someone in his bosom.

“Zhang Shuyue?” Jun Xiaomo furrowed her brows. As soon as she noticed Zhang Shuyue’s present, weak and pale appearances, a bad premonition immediately surfaced on her heart.

Zhou Zilong explained of his own volition, “Earlier, there was an assailant that suddenly launched an attack towards Martial Brother Ye and I during the ambush. Fortunately, Miss Zhang jumped in front of me and took the blow. Otherwise, I might have perished there and then. It’s just a pity that Miss Zhang suffered grievous injuries as a result of that. I feel horrible for putting her through this.” Zhou Zilong’s voice was filled with remorse and guilt.

Jun Xiaomo grimaced. Given what she understood of Zhang Shuyue’s character, she knew that it was nigh an impossibility to expect her to sacrifice herself for others. Rather than to say that she had rescued martial brothers Zhou and Ye, it might be far more plausible to posit that the ambush and her injuries were merely part of the grand plans she had hatched.

Zhang Shuyue coughed twice dryly. Replete with her weak expressions plastered on a face that was drained of the colour of blood, she presented herself completely pitiful and heartbreaking. She looked up at Zhou Zilong weakly as she interjected, “Brother Zhou, don’t say that. I’m just glad that I was able to rescue you and brother Ye. It’s good as long as the two of you are fine.”

As Zhang Shuyue finished speaking, she looked at Ye Xiuwen with such a soft, dear gaze that only a fool would be unable to understand her feelings towards him.

Seems like Miss Zhang’s still thinking about Martial Brother Ye at this moment of crisis, huh… The Heavenly Peak disciples who noticed this sight couldn’t help but exchange glances sheepishly.

Zhou Zilong had also noticed this, and his hands stiffened up slightly as a swathe of bitter astringency washed through his heart.

Truth be told, his heart had already been touched and moved when Zhang Shuyue jumped in front of him and took the potentially fatal blow on his behalf. Later, when she fought through the pain and insisted that she was fine, her kindheartedness tugged powerfully at his heartstrings, leaving an indelible mark etched in the center of his heart.

However, it was evident that Zhang Shuyue was still fond of Martial Brother Ye, and he knew that there was hardly any hope of him earning the affection of Zhang Shuyue’s heart. After all, he could hardly hold a candle to Martial Brother Ye in any respects, whether disposition, aura or cultivation prowess.

That said, the thick-headed Zhou Zilong hardly felt jealous or envious of Ye Xiuwen at all. He simply swallowed the bitter pill and shrugged off these hopeless thoughts of his.

On the other hand, Ye Xiuwen’s gaze remained placid and cool all this while, and nobody could see the thoughts in his mind right now.

The developments between him and Jun Xiaomo were only known to the Heavenly Peak disciples who had been around earlier during lunch time. In other words, Zhou Zilong and the other martial brothers who had gone out to procure herbs and tonics for Jun Xiaomo had been completely kept in the dark as to these fresh developments. Thus, Zhou Zilong was still under the mistaken impression that Zhang Shuyue and Ye Xiuwen were already an item.

If only Zhou Zilong would turn his mind to consider why Ye Xiuwen had allowed him to carry Zhang Shuyue back to the valley! After all, which man would allow another man to carry the person he loved in his bosom?

It could only be said that most disciples from the Heavenly Peak had much to learn about the things of the heart.

“Zilong, you’d best take Miss Zhang back to her room and give her some more recovery pills to boost her rate of recovery. I’ll bring the rest of the disciples back to the main hall to treat their wounds and rest there.” Ye Xiuwen instructed Zhou Zilong.

“Mm, alright.” Zhou Zilong responded obsequiously, completely overlooking the fact that Ye Xiuwen seemed to be treating his “benefactor” Zhang Shuyue far too dispassionately.

As Zhou Zilong left with Zhang Shuyue, she cast a parting glance back at Ye Xiuwen with some grief and reluctance in her eyes. Yet, in the end, all she saw was that Ye Xiuwen’s attention was on all of his other martial brothers from the Heavenly Peak – there was not a single trace of care and concern for her in his eyes.

None of the Heavenly Peak disciples sustained any serious injuries apart from the martial brothers who had initially been ambushed. After all, with Ye Xiuwen, a Nascent Soul stage cultivator, as the bulwark of their reinforcements, how could the assailants at the Golden Core stage of cultivation do a thing against the Heavenly Peak disciples? Ye Xiuwen’s arduous years within the Death’s Gorge had not been for naught.

With that, the Heavenly Peak disciples began to support one another and make their way towards the main hall in the valley. On the other hand, Ye Xiuwen and Jun Xiaomo intentionally slowed their pace and fell behind the rest of the pack.

Jun Xiaomo kept her head low as though she were low in spirits. At the same time, it looked as though she were deep in thought.

“What are you thinking about?” Ye Xiuwen patted her head as he broke the silence.

Once everyone had walked ahead of them, Ye Xiuwen’s originally stern and somber gaze softened substantially, and his eyes were once again filled with warmth and coolness.

“Martial Brother, did Zhang Shuyue really rescue the both of you?” Jun Xiaomo lifted her head and asked, as though agonizing over this issue.

“I could you could say she did.” Ye Xiuwen responded somewhat enigmatically.

“I can say she did?” Jun Xiaomo pouted her lips with displeasure, “If she saved you, she saved you; and if she didn’t, she didn’t. Why is the answer so complicated?”

Ye Xiuwen deliberated for a moment before responding once more, “The truth of the matter is that if she hadn’t rushed over, I wouldn’t have faced any life-threatening situation either. I’d already discovered the existence of the assailant laying in wait to make his move. I was just pretending to be ignorant to lure him into a trap. Unfortunately, I didn’t expect Zhang Shuyue to dive in just as he made his move, indirectly thwarting my plans to dispose of that assailant.”

“Pfft…” Jun Xiaomo was initially rather displeased by the prospects of Zhang Shuyue rescuing Martial Brothers Ye and Zhou, because this would mean that they would owe her a favour in turn. Most importantly, Martial Brother Ye might begin to feel remorseful and guilty about Zhang Shuyue getting injured on his behalf.

But as it turns out, Martial Brother Ye had never needed Zhang Shuyue to make a move in the first place. In other words, her efforts had all been for nothing.

Ye Xiuwen stared with some measure of exasperation at how Jun Xiaomo appeared to be stifling a laugh, and he rapped her lightly on the head as he continued, “Even though I didn’t need her to rescue me, the fact remains that she did take a blow for Zilong and I. On account of this alone, we can’t just leave her behind and not see her through her injuries.”

Now that Ye Xiuwen had reminded her, Jun Xiaomo also turned her attention to the main issue at hand, and her smiled faded away, only to be replaced by furrowed brows.

“Does this mean that our initial plans to leave the valley today would have to be pushed back?” Jun Xiaomo asked in frustration.

She knew the characters and personalities of her Heavenly Peak martial brothers full well – none of them would be willing to abandon their benefactors. Unless she could prove with hard evidence that Zhang Shuyue possessed ulterior motives, they would never put up their guard around Zhang Shuyue even if she were to attempt to persuade them with an unending soliloquy of logic and reasoning. In fact, she might even end up being labelled as an ingrate by her martial brothers at that time.

“This is agonizing!” Jun Xiaomo bit down on her lower lips and gnashed her teeth as she murmured, “Why do I get the feeling that Zhang Shuyue just doesn’t have good intentions? I’m starting to believe that she might even have something to do with this ambush to begin with. This way, we won’t be able to leave the valley until she recovers. After all, given Martial Brother Zhou’s character, he would never abandon Zhang Shuyue. In turn, we can’t just leave Martial Brother Zhou here and leave on our own.”

Ye Xiuwen tousled Jun Xiaomo’s hair as he broke her begrudging spiel, “Don’t think about it so much just yet. If you’re ill at ease around Zhang Shuyue, we could always unilaterally take up precautions on our part.”

Jun Xiaomo immediately lifted her head and looked at Ye Xiuwen with gleaming bright eyes, “Martial Brother believes me?”

She had been worried that once Ye Xiuwen owes a debt of gratitude towards Zhang Shuyue, things would return to how they were in her previous life, and he would begin to slip away and distance himself from Jun Xiaomo once more.

Ye Xiuwen’s smiled helplessly as some measure of exasperation flickered across the depths of his eyes, “What makes you think that your martial brother wouldn’t believe in you? Do you think that your Martial Brother would set aside our relationship that was built on a foundation of decades for a person that your Martial Brother had just met for a few days?”

In other words, he would believe anything that Jun Xiaomo said.

“Martial Brother is the best!” Jun Xiaomo smiled radiantly as she leapt towards Ye Xiuwen and embraced him around the waist.

Ye Xiuwen received Jun Xiaomo with open arms and patted her on the back as well.

“What are you doing?!” Just then, a low voice bellowed some distance away. Jun Xiaomo turned around in shock, only to see Zhou Zilong staring back at them with eyes filled with disbelief.

After Zhou Zilong sent Zhang Shuyue back, he had noticed that Zhang Shuyue appeared to be somewhat downcast, and he knew that it might have had something to do with Martial Brother Ye’s earlier cold and distant attitude towards her. Thus, he had thought to look for Martial Brother Ye and see if he was willing to call upon Miss Zhang to cheer her up.

Yet as soon as he turned the corner, he witnessed Ye Xiuwen and Jun Xiaomo locked in a sweet embrace.

Aren’t Martial Brother Ye and Miss Zhang an item?! What’s going on here?!

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