Chapter 345: Hatred in her Heart, Resolution in her Eyes

Demoness's Art of Vengeance

Jun Xiaomo’s heart immediately swelled with a deep sense of unease when she noticed the concerted sullenness in her martial brothers’ responses.

“Martial Brother Ye, where’s Brother Rong?! Where’s Martial Brother Zhou?!” Jun Xiaomo grabbed Ye Xiuwen’s clothes and tugged ferociously as she looked at him nervously.

Ye Xiuwen’s voice trembled slightly. They had battled throughout the entire night, so his eyes were completely bloodshot at this point. He had so much to tell Jun Xiaomo, but he simply couldn’t bring himself to do so right now.

Even though they had successfully escaped the valley of death, none of them could bring themselves to celebrate their victory. Everyone felt as though a massive rock were weighing heavily on their hearts, tightening and tensing their spirits to the limit.

All of the disciples couldn’t help but reveal an expression of grief and sorrow on their faces.

“They…have they been killed?” Jun Xiaomo was on the verge of tears. Her voice trembled as she asked the single, most dreadful question weighing on her heart.

Ye Xiuwen pulled Jun Xiaomo into an embrace and buried her in his warm bosom. Then, with a hoarse voice, he confirmed her worst fears, “Martial Brother Zhou has indeed perished. Brother Rong sacrificed himself to push me into the Teleportation Scroll right at the last minute. He’s now trapped and bound within a spirit tool back at the valley.”

Tears began to flow uncontrollably from Jun Xiaomo’s eyes like waters bursting out of a dam, soaking Ye Xiuwen’s clothes.

Ye Xiuwen had already known that this was going to happen. Sharing the same measure of commiseration, he patted and stroked Jun Xiaomo’s back ceaselessly, doing all he could to comfort her and share her pain.

“Truth be told, Martial Brother Zhou has been very kind to me…” Jun Xiaomo whimpered, “When I was young, he would always stand up for me when I was isolated and bullied by the kids from the other Peaks. At that time, he would always wrack his brains to come up with jokes to humor me and lift my spirits.”

“There was even once when I was punished by Father for my misbehavior and told to kneel for an entire night in the Penitence Hall. At that time, that silly Martial Brother Zhou even saved some of his dinner so that he could share it with me secretly. He didn’t have to do that at all. The punishment had always been to kneel in the Penitence Hall, but Father never said that I couldn’t be given food to begin with. He’s such a fool to think that I’d not eaten dinner yet…”

The more Jun Xiaomo reminisced about the times she shared with Martial Brother Zhou, the more her tears flowed uncontrollably.

“Martial Brother Zhou has always been a fool like that. Whenever someone treats him nicely, he would go out of his way to repay that person tenfold the kindness he had received. If only he wasn’t so foolish. Otherwise, how could he have fallen into Zhang Shuyue’s trap?”

“Even though I’m mad at him for speaking up for Zhang Shuyue time and again, I’d never thought that he would perish as a result of his foolishness…why…why was our final exchange of words over such a heated argument? And it was even an argument over that slut Zhang Shuyue…”

Jun Xiaomo considered all of her martial brothers from the Heavenly Peak a part of her extended family. They might have differing points of view; they might argue at times; and they might even get angry at each other. Yet, these were all but temporal matters. At the end of the day, were there truly any grudges worth bearing overnight?

Jun Xiaomo had been incredibly confident in leaving the valley safely earlier tonight. Thus, how could she possibly accept the fact that she had lost one of her extended family members just like that?!

“Martial Sister Xiaomo, it’s not your fault. If not for you, we’d all have fallen prey to Zhang Shuyue’s vicious ploys.” One of the other Heavenly Peak disciples added with some measure of righteous indignation.

“Zhang Shuyue?” Jun Xiaomo looked up from Ye Xiuwen’s bosom and turned around to face the disciple as she asked with a cold, soulless gaze, “What does our escape have to do with Zhang Shuyue?”

“She’d spiked the food we’d eaten with powdered Spirit Devouring Grass, causing us to be unable to operate our spiritual energy. If not for the fact that Martial Sister Xiaomo had given us a bunch of talismans to use beforehand, we might not have been able to hold out against the relentless onslaught from the assailants until you managed to break the master formation array.” Another disciple sighed ruefully.

“Truth be told, we’ve been far too careless. Had we believed Martial Sister Xiaomo and treated Zhang Shuyue with more vigilance to begin with, our losses this time would have been far lower.” The disciple who spoke up first lowered his head. His heart was filled with guilt and remorse right now.

The other Heavenly Peak disciples heard his comments as well, and their hearts were also plagued by the same kind of bitter astringency. If only they had just believed Martial Sister Xiaomo and refused to consume the food prepared by Zhang Shuyue.

Unfortunately, they had thought better of their own judgment and shrugged off Jun Xiaomo’s words of caution, thinking that they were words borne out of mere jealousy. This mistake had nearly cost all of them their lives.

Jun Xiaomo was at a complete loss as to how she should react. It would be a lie if she said that she didn’t mind it one bit. After all, she had always considered her martial brothers a part of her extended family, yet they had consciously chosen to believe the words of a woman that they had known for no more than a few days over her own words. They had even dismissed her behaviour as one borne out of petty jealousy! However, when she saw how the martial brothers were awash with weariness and covered with a multitude of injuries, she couldn’t bring herself to lash out at them.

Truth be told, she knew that she might well have been fooled had she been in her martial brothers’ shoes as well. If not for the fact that she had the benefit of an additional lifetime of experience, she would never have been able to look beyond Zhang Shuyue’s immaculate pretenses and uncover her true colours.

“How did Martial Brother Zhou perish?” Jun Xiaomo clenched her fists tightly as she asked.

“It’s Zhang Shuyue. She pretended to be captured so that Martial Brother Zhou would return to rescue her. In the end, it was all a trap. Not only did Zhang Shuyue deceive Martial Brother Zhou, she even personally…killed him.” Chen Feiyu choked up as he drew close to the end, and he only barely managed to utter his final few words.

“Zhang. Shu. Yue! It’s her again?!” Jun Xiaomo gnashed her teeth in fury, fighting hard to repress the violent vortex of hatred in her heart.

Zhang Shuyue had done the exact same thing to Ye Xiuwen in her previous life, lulling Ye Xiuwen into a false sense of security before taking his life by plunging a sword straight through his heart. In this life, she had done all she could to prevent Ye Xiuwen from falling into the same trap, only to discover that Zhou Zilong had met with the exact same fate.

Jun Xiaomo resolved in her heart that she would do all she could to make Zhang Shuyue pay for these two lifetimes’ worth of blood debt!

Ye Xiuwen covered Jun Xiaomo’s eyes with his hands once more. He couldn’t stand seeing such a frenetic, crazed look in the depths of Jun Xiaomo’s eyes.

Jun Xiaomo’s heart trembled slightly as her vision was obscured by a warm, soothing palm, and the mounting hatred in her heart began to gradually subside once more.

Moments later, Jun Xiaomo lifted her hands and peeled away Ye Xiuwen’s hands slowly. Her eyes were no longer filled with the earlier crazed desire for vengeance.

There was still an immense amount of hatred festering in her heart, but she would no longer lose all sense of rationality to the primal sense of hatred.

“Martial Brother Ye, you mentioned earlier that Brother Rong has also been captured, didn’t you?” Jun Xiaomo looked straight into Ye Xiuwen’s eyes as she queried.

“That’s right.” Ye Xiuwen came clean with his response, “He saved me in the very last moment. Otherwise, both of us would have been trapped within the spirit tool.”

Ye Xiuwen’s heart would be overwhelmed with a multitude of complex emotions whenever he thought about Rong Ruihan’s parting words – “take care of Jun Xiaomo for me”.

Truth be told, at the very core of it all, his relationship with Rong Ruihan was no more than that of rivals in love.

He knew full well that Rong Ruihan was fond of Jun Xiaomo. That said, he had always been of the view that Rong Ruihan could snag himself any girl he wanted, given his status and appearances. Furthermore, he sincerely believed that Rong Ruihan’s love for Jun Xiaomo was hardly anywhere close to his.

Thus, he had never expected Rong Ruihan to do so much for Jun Xiaomo.

Ye Xiuwen knew that Rong Ruihan must have tossed him into the Teleportation Scroll earlier because Rong Ruihan was concerned that nobody else could properly look after Jun Xiaomo. The extent of his love and affection for Jun Xiaomo were well evident from his parting words.

Right now, Ye Xiuwen could tell that Rong Ruihan’s love for Jun Xiaomo might not necessarily have been any less than his.

I even owe him a debt of gratitude right now. Ye Xiuwen thought to himself with some measure of exasperation.

For some strange reason, Ye Xiuwen couldn’t shake off the feeling that Rong Ruihan’s actions were somewhat intentional as well.

After all, Rong Ruihan’s sacrificial actions were certain to leave an indelible mark in Jun Xiaomo’s heart, and it was going to be increasingly more difficult for Jun Xiaomo to deny his advances in future.

At the same time, tears began to flow from Jun Xiaomo’s eyes as soon as she learnt that Rong Ruihan was trapped within the domain of the spirit tool.

She recalled what Rong Ruihan had told her when they were first reunited with each other – he had come from afar just to ensure that she was fine.

Jun Xiaomo was not daft. She could tell full well the kind of feelings Rong Ruihan had for her. However, she sincerely felt that she was unable to reciprocate his feelings fairly. Thus, she had time and time again acted as though she were oblivious and slow to catch on, hoping that he would give up on his advances and that they would be able to preserve their friendship.

She had done the same in this instance of reunion as well. Rong Ruihan had repeatedly pressed the issue, asking, “Does my life mean anything to you?” At that instant, Jun Xiaomo’s heart was unmistakably flustered.

Back then, the only thing weighing on Jun Xiaomo’s heart was the notion that she could not allow Rong Ruihan to die like that. She could not bring herself to stand idly by, watching Rong Ruihan tread the long, lonesome road back to the valley, into the arms of danger. That said, she was unable to tell Rong Ruihan just how important his life was to her.

In fact, rather than to say that she was unable to do so, it was far more accurate to say that this was something she was not prepared to explore yet, and it was thus a question that she didn’t have the answer to.

But now that Rong Ruihan had been captured by the enemy, Jun Xiaomo finally knew just how much the prospects of losing Rong Ruihan pained her heart.

She curled up into a ball and buried her head into her knees, as though immersing herself into the mires of despondence.

A trace of heartache flickered across Ye Xiuwen’s eyes. He owed Rong Ruihan a great debt of gratitude now; and Jun Xiaomo’s expressions right now also spoke volumes about the importance of Rong Ruihan’s existence to her.

The other Heavenly Peak disciples failed to notice the undercurrents hidden beneath the sullen atmosphere between Ye Xiuwen and Jun Xiaomo right now. They merely thought that Jun Xiaomo was grieving at the fact that Rong Ruihan had been captured and Zhou Zilong had been killed.

“Little Martial Sister, don’t be too upset. Brother Rong has only been captured, but this doesn’t mean that he has perished. We can take this time to regroup, strategize and come up with a plan to rescue him again.”

“That’s right, that’s right. As long as Brother Rong holds some form of value as a hostage, I don’t think that they would murder Brother Rong just yet. This means that we’ll still have an opportunity to rescue Brother Rong.”

One by one, the Heavenly Peak disciples consoled Jun Xiaomo.

After crying for a little while longer, Jun Xiaomo managed to pull herself together.

She looked up once more with her red, puffy eyes. However, a trace of unwavering determination could be seen undergirding her gaze now, “Martial brothers, all of you are right. As long as there’s even a single strand of hope left, we’ll never give up on Brother Rong. We can’t let Brother Rong perish to those scumbags!”

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