Chapter 51: Cooperation

Demoness's Art of Vengeance

The reason why Jun Xiaomo was so confident in her own abilities was because she had experience dealing with these swarms of Vampire Demonrats. When she was escaping from her persecutors in her past life, she had on several occasions encountered these Vampire Demonrats. At the start, she did not expect these seemingly harmless rats to be so vicious once they locked with their target in combat. Their strength was in their numbers, and the swarms in which they appeared in was so mind-numbing and bone-chilling that cultivators would often feel their legs weaken before they even engaged in combat with these creatures.

In order to save her skin, Jun Xiaomo had time and again used Escape Scrolls to evade these swarms in the past. But at the same time, Escape Scrolls were limited in number, and they were especially important to Jun Xiaomo who had then been escaping from her persecutors. This was particularly so when she was persecuted by a number of well-known sects, and she could not brazenly walk into marketplaces in cities to replenish her stock of scrolls and talismans.

On one such encounter with a swarm of Vampire Demonrats, Jun Xiaomo searched through her Interspatial Ring and she found only three Escape Scrolls. If she continued to deplete her Escape Scrolls like that, she would soon have none left to use, and the next time she encountered a truly strong opponent would spell certain death for her.

Forget it. Let’s try to fight it out. Only when I absolutely can’t keep it up will I think about escaping. Jun Xiaomo gritted her teeth as she whipped out her Frozenflame Ribbon…

Back then, Jun Xiaomo had already attained the Golden Core stage of cultivation. Yet even so, she had only barely managed to come out on top of that battle after a grueling fight. In fact, she had practically expended all of her demonic energy doing so. At the same time, it was because of this one victory that Jun Xiaomo stopped escaping from these Vampire Demonrats and adopted a “fight-before-flight” mentality.

Some time down the road, as Jun Xiaomo gained more experience through her fights with these Vampire Demonrats, Jun Xiaomo also learnt some tricks that helped her to deal with these Vampire Demonrats more effectively. When the stars were aligned in her favour, she could even annihilate an entire swarm of Vampire Demonrats in no more than ten moves.

Today, even though Jun Xiaomo’s cultivation level was still extremely low, she had the aid of a partner at the twelfth level of Qi Mastery. From her experience, their teamwork would be more than sufficient to fend off this swarm of Vampire Demonrats.

“Ma--…My friend, I’ll be placing a defensive talisman on you in a moment’s time. I’ll need you to protect me and ensure that no Vampire Demonrats can come within a one-arm radius around me. I will be making some preparations in the meantime. Can you do that?”

Ye Xiuwen nodded his head as he temporarily agreed to let this young man take charge. Besides, this young man was willing to give his defensive talisman to Ye Xiuwen himself and entrust his life to Ye Xiuwen’s hands. Ye Xiuwen did not know what made this young man trust him so much, but since he was willing to trust in Ye Xiuwen’s abilities, Ye Xiuwen would not let him down either.

Jun Xiaomo swiftly retrieved and slapped on Ye Xiuwen’s back a third-grade defensive talisman in a proficient manner. A blue light shone, and the defensive talisman vanished, but Ye Xiuwen felt that he had been imbued with a defensive barrier and he would be immune to attacks for approximately one incense stick’s worth of time.

At this moment, the Vampire Demonrat that had initially encountered Jun Xiaomo and Ye Xiuwen suddenly shrieked. Its shriek was so shrill and deafening that it started to hurt Jun Xiaomo and Ye Xiuwen’s ears. But this was the least of their concern right now, because the entire swarm of Vampire Demonrats had begun to shift and surge towards them.

Ye Xiuwen immediately reacted and swung the sword in his arm, launching a series of strikes around so swiftly that an invisible sword barrier seemed to form in a one-arm radius around them. Ye Xiuwen erupted with immense speed, and amidst the flurry of sword strikes, the Vampire Demonrats surging towards them began to be cleaved in half, one by one.

This burst of speed was not something that could be maintained for long periods of time because it expended a lot of spiritual energy. Once Ye Xiuwen had depleted his spiritual energy, then both he and Jun Xiaomo would find themselves in an extremely dangerous predicament.

Jun Xiaomo did not speak. She fully entrusted her back to Ye Xiuwen as she wholeheartedly focused on her own things – one could only see her walk in a circle, sometimes walking in a zigzagged manner within the circle, while at other times walking out of the circle as she muttered something under her breath…

Ye Xiuwen even noticed that as this young man walked about, he scattered some things on the ground, and from time to time he would throw some low-grade spirit stone into the circle.

At this moment, Ye Xiuwen glanced over at this young man with complexity in his eyes. He had vaguely guessed what Jun Xiaomo was doing at this moment – she was setting up a formation array.

Indeed, just as Jun Xiaomo completed her preparations, she directed Ye Xiuwen to dash into the center of the formation array. As they ran, she instructed Ye Xiuwen as he followed closely behind her, “Once we are in the center of the array, disperse your sword barrier protecting me. The moment these Vampire Demonrats surge towards me, bring us out of the heart of the formation array.”

Jun Xiaomo intended to use herself as a bait to lure these Vampire Demonrats into the formation array and deal with them all at once!

Ye Xiuwen was immediately stunned by this young man’s bravery. In all honesty, if the person he had met were not Ye Xiuwen, but a scheming cultivator, then this method of dealing with things was tantamount to courting his own doom – it was highly likely that in that moment when the Vampire Demonrats surged towards that young man, that scheming cultivator would abandon the young man and retreat on his own.

However, Ye Xiuwen was evidently not someone who would abandon his brother in war. He was moved by the trust this young man had placed in him, and he decided in his heart that he would do all that he could to bring him away from the Vampire Demonrats in one piece.

Being swarmed by countless Vampire Demonrats was nothing to laugh about. Jun Xiaomo could attest to that fact. It was a torment on all fronts – sight, smell and even in one’s heart. Vampire Demonrats had a coat of fur as black as charcoal, and the movement of a swarm seemed as though all light was being obscured by a cloud of darkness. On top of that, their bodies were covered by a pungent and nauseating scent of blood which assaulted one’s olfactory senses.

This very day, Ye Xiuwen had also experienced the torment on all three fronts of sight, smell and in his heart as well. Ye Xiuwen was generally very particular about cleanliness. If not for the fact that they had a plan to destroy all the Vampire Demonrats, he might well have reflexively swatted the Vampire Demonrats away as they surged towards them.

Ye Xiuwen relied on the effectiveness of his defensive talisman and tightly embraced Jun Xiaomo so that the Vampire Demonrats that pounced onto them could not harm a single hair on Jun Xiaomo’s body.

Even though Jun Xiaomo wore a different appearance right now, her martial brother’s all-out protection was still sufficient to warm her heart, just like a person drinking a hot cup of tea during winter.

Jun Xiaomo estimated the number of Vampire Demonrats surging towards them. After a few breaths of a time –

“It’s almost time! Scatter!” Just as Jun Xiaomo’s voice sounded out, Ye Xiuwen immediately shot up towards the sky. At this moment, the Vampire Demonrats were so stunned that they squeaked incessantly as they attempted to chase after their prey, only to find out that they had all been trapped within the heart of the formation array.

What Jun Xiaomo had just activated was a Constriction Array. Not a single Vampire Demonrat was able to escape the active zone of this formation array, and they could only haphazardly scuttle about within the formation array. At this very moment, the entrapped and panicking Vampire Demonrats looked almost like an undulating black mound.

Ye Xiuwen’s activation of his Windwalk ability was not able to send them too far away, and therefore they landed just a few meters away from the heart of the Constriction Array. There were a few Vampire Demonrats that had not been caught out by the Constriction Array, and Ye Xiuwen swiftly lunged at these stragglers, killing all of them without a hitch.

“How about it? This method isn’t too shabby, is it?” Jun Xiaomo patted her hands rather pridefully as boasted to Ye Xiuwen with a lifted chin.

Ye Xiuwen found that this young man had a rather similar personality to his little martial sister. His little martial sister was the same – whenever she encountered something that she was proud of, she would pridefully raise her chin and appeal to Ye Xiuwen for affirmation and praise.

Therefore, Ye Xiuwen subconsciously reacted, patting the young man’s head, saying, “Mm, that’s right. You’re pretty good.”

This was something that Ye Xiuwen would often respond with in his interactions with Jun Xiaomo. When Ye Xiuwen subconsciously patted the young man’s head, both of them were momentarily stunned.

Ye Xiuwen was stunned because he had caught himself thinking of his little martial sister; while Jun Xiaomo was stunned because this action was extremely familiar to her.

“Cough…” Jun Xiaomo coughed dryly as she reminded, “The Vampire Demonrats have already been trapped in place. This Constriction Array is the most basic one, and it can’t last for a very long time. Let’s make use of this opportunity to completely destroy this swarm of black looking pests.”

Ye Xiuwen nodded his head as he collected his thoughts and surging emotions. Then, he and Jun Xiaomo worked together to dispose of the entrapped swarm of Vampire Demonrats.

After killing all the Vampire Demonrats, Ye Xiuwen looked at the young man, querying, “You must be an array master, aren’t you?” 

Few people would be able to set up a formation array so quickly apart from array masters who specialized in formation arrays. Besides, this young man looked to be at least fifteen or sixteen years old, yet he was only at the first level of Qi Mastery. Therefore, he could very well have focused his attention on other matters rather than mere meditation and cultivation.

Because of their focus on different disciplines, array masters and talisman masters would invariably find their cultivation levels increasing much more slowly than most others. It would naturally explain this young man’s low cultivation level.

Jun Xiaomo quickly contemplated this reasoning, and she thought – It might not be a bad thing to let martial brother think that I’m an array master. This way, there would be an even lower chance of revealing my true identity. The most important point was that Jun Xiaomo was indeed rather adept at her mastery of formation arrays and talismans due to her past life’s experience. Even though she could not truly hold a candle to the top array masters or talisman masters in the present world, it was still not an overstatement to call her an expert in these fields.

Therefore, Jun Xiaomo could “admit” that she was an array master without being too afraid that others would mock her inabilities.

“That’s right. I guess you must have realized that I’m an array master.” Jun Xiaomo pretended to be slightly embarrassed as she chuckled awkwardly. Then, she opened her eyes widely as she minced her way over the Ye Xiuwen’s side, pleading, “Then does this mean that brother would be willing to let me join you on your travels? See, my formation arrays are so powerful – having me around is like having an added layer of protection!”

Array masters are a form of specialization that tended to play more of a supporting role in the cultivation world. Therefore, few people would consciously choose to become array masters because one could be murdered very quickly and easily if he did not surround himself with a strong group of trusted brothers and sisters.

At the same time, no one dared to look down on array masters. Having a single skilled array master in a team would mean that many tasks could be performed much more easily. For example, large sects like the Dawn Sect, the Frozen Sword Sect or the Limitless Sect, would invariably have one to two array master Sect Elders to ensure the overall safety of their sects.

It was precisely also because of this importance of array masters that Jun Xiaomo decided that being known as an array master would increase her chances of being able to travel with Ye Xiuwen.

As expected, after Ye Xiuwen thought for a long time, he finally nodded in agreement, “Then alright. Let’s find a place to tidy up before we head back.”

Ye Xiuwen felt that there was something about this young man that he could not put a finger to. But instead of rebuffing this young man, why not let this young man follow him so that he could keep and eye on this young man and see what his true intentions were.

And besides, Ye Xiuwen trusted his own eyes. Even though this young man was clearly hiding something from him, Ye Xiuwen knew that this young man nevertheless bore no malicious thoughts. That pair of eyes was exactly the same as someone he knew…

Just as Ye Xiuwen and Jun Xiaomo had destroyed the Blackwind Sabretooth Tiger and the swarm of Vampire Demonrats, Qin Lingyu and the others had also slowly left their rooms and trickled into the main hall of their inn, where they ordered their food and ate heartily.

Of course, only the disciples were lively among themselves; while Qin Lingyu silently ate his breakfast on the side.

“Ai—I find that martial brother Ye is too much. He doesn’t even eat breakfast with us. His solitary personality is way too arrogant.” One of the disciples commented as he stuffed his face with food.

“Isn’t that right? Truth be told, I feel that out of all the martial brothers and sisters within the entire Sect, Ye Xiuwen is the least approachable person. What gives him the right to be so arrogant and aloof? Even though he’s the First-Seat Disciple of the Heavenly Peak, martial brother Qin who is the First-Seat Disciple of the Sect Leader is still eating with us.” Another disciple chimed in as he took the opportunity to curry favour with Qin Lingyu.

Qin Lingyu was He Zhang’s First-Seat Disciple, and he was even a Chosen Disciples of the Limitless Sect. His stature alone was sufficient for other disciples to want to curry favour with him.

And while Qin Lingyu loved to be praised and reveled in this type of popularity, he rarely showed this in his expressions.

“Alright, alright. Ye Xiuwen’s abilities in the Sect are among one of the best. Being slightly arrogant about that is quite understandable. Let’s cut down a little on the gossip and focus more on your own cultivation, alright?” Qin Lingyu interjected indifferently. On the surface, he was chiding these martial brothers and sisters to focus on their own cultivation and to cut down on their gossip; but in actual fact he was taking a jibe at Ye Xiuwen for being arrogant and aloof.

As expected, even though the other disciples ceased to talk about Ye Xiuwen, the smirks on these faces revealed that they understood the implicit meaning behind Qin Lingyu’s words.

Qin Lingyu and Yu Wanrou were truly a match made in heaven. Even the way they spoke about people behind their backs were highly skilled and effective.

On the other side, the usually chatty and lively Ke Xinwen was unusually quiet. He silently took in all the other disciples’ comments about Ye Xiuwen as a mocking gaze flashed across his eyes –

Arrogant and aloof? I’m afraid that after this morning, whether or not Ye Xiuwen can even return safely would be a mystery to all of us.

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