Chapter 68: Accepting Puppetry

Demoness's Art of Vengeance

To be used by Qin Lingyu?! What kind of a sick joke is this?!

Even though Qin Lingyu was the First Seat Disciple of Dawn Sect’s Sect Leader, He Zhang, Ke Xinwen had been a Sect disciple for a longer time. Ke Xinwen’s cultivation level was no less than Qin Lingyu’s either. Ke Xinwen had never thought of Qin Lingyu as someone superior to him. At the very least, Ke Xinwen felt that he was no worse than Qin Lingyu within the Sect. Therefore, when Qin Lingyu suggested for Ke Xinwen to pledge his loyalty to Qin Lingyu, Ke Xinwen’s first reaction was to reject it completely!

If he agreed to be controlled by Qin Lingyu, then how would he be able to hold his head high and face his other martial brothers in future?

Qin Lingyu glanced back at the martial brothers and sisters following behind them, before slowly breaking down the situation to Ke Xinwen, “Martial brother Ke, you’ve got to think carefully about this. You’re well aware of the consequences if I recount what exactly transpired today to the Sect Leader, right?”

This immediately sent shivers down Ke Xinwen’s back – of course he knew the consequences of that! If he were lucky, he would get away with merely being excommunicated from the Sect; but if not, his punishment could well be a crippling of his cultivation so that he would become no more than a mere mortal, and once again be subject to the vicissitudes of life.

Murdering a fellow disciple was a heinous crime anywhere, regardless of one’s background.

“I…I did not kill him intentionally…I only lost control momentarily…” Ke Xinwen attempted to justify his actions before Qin Lingyu.

“What you tell me right now doesn’t really matter. The most important thing is that too many people have learnt of this matter today. If you wish to cover up this matter, you will naturally have to pay a commensurate price for your freedom. Do you think I’m just offering you a free lunch right now?” Qin Lingyu said to Ke Xinwen coldly and indifferently, and his eyes gleamed with an immutable decisiveness and no signs of hesitation at all.

“I’ll…I’ll think about it.” Ke Xinwen’s heart was conflicted right now.

Qin Lingyu was not concerned that Ke Xinwen would reject him in the end. After all, he had something huge to blackmail Ke Xinwen with, so he was certain that Ke Xinwen would have no choice but to pledge his loyalty to Qin Lingyu. But at the same time, Qin Lingyu did not wish to give Ke Xinwen much time to decide, because he knew that given the luxury of time, Ke Xinwen might come up with a way to deal with the matter on his own.

“You’d best not take too long. There are several eyes staring at your back right now. If you wish to cover up this matter, you’ll still have to find a good excuse, or you’ll just have to bear the weight of your crimes under our Sect’s regulations.”

Hearing this, Ke Xinwen’s back immediately felt numb, as though the whole world were scrutinizing him right this moment.

But he could only blame himself for being careless. If not for the fact that he had wanted to deal with that damned array master at the first level of Qi Mastery, how would he have landed himself in such a predicament?

A million regrets could not even begin to describe Ke Xinwen’s emotions right now.

His eyes were momentarily filled with an internal struggle between reluctance and regret, before he sighed in resignation and said to Qin Lingyu, “Alright, I’ve got no other choice, have I?”

Qin Lingyu immediately retrieved a small jade bottle from his Interspatial Ring and poured out a pill, saying, “Since you’ve already made up your mind, then swallow this pill.”

“Wha--…What?! You still need me to consume a pill? What pill is this?!” Ke Xinwen looked with hesitance at the fiery red pill in Qin Lingyu’s palm right now as sweat permeated his entire back.

“This pill won’t do anything to you as long as you don’t harbour any traitorous intent towards me. How about it? Are you willing to take this pill?”

“And…and if I betray you? What will happen to me?” Ke Xinwen probed further.

Qin Lingyu revealed a cruel smile as he slowly articulated each word, “You don’t want to know.”

Suddenly, Ke Xinwen felt as though he were being gazed upon by a vicious, poisonous snake. It just dawned on him that this First-Seat Disciple of the Sect Leader was much more fearsome than he had thought. In fact, seeing how Qin Lingyu had perfectly forced every single one of Ke Xinwen’s moves with just his words made Ke Xinwen realize that he was absolutely not a match for Qin Lingyu.

Ke Xinwen pursed his lips for a moment, before he finally said, “Fine. I agree.”

After all, he was caught between a rock and a hard place right now, and this compromise would allow him a brief moment of respite. Who know, he might be able to find a trace of hope in future.

Then, Ke Xinwen received the pill from Qin Lingyu with trembling hands, placed the pill in his mouth as he shut his eyes, and swallowed.

The pill was not only cool to the touch; Ke Xinwen could also feel a cold sensation travel down his throat and straight into his stomach as he swallowed the pill. Then, that cold sensation immediately dispersed throughout his four limbs and caused them to be frozen stiff for a second.

How much did Ke Xinwen want to spit out this pill right this moment! However, he could only fantasize about this right now – this was certainly not something that he dared to do under Qin Lingyu’s watchful eyes.

“Very good.” Qin Lingyu nodded his head in approval, yet his eyes were filled with a cold, deadly gaze. He patted Ke Xinwen’s shoulder and said, “Follow me. We’ll have to find you a way out of your current predicament.”

Ke Xinwen followed closely behind Qin Lingyu, and his whole being was now completely listless. It was a complete change from the bright exuberance that he was so well known for.

Qin Lingyu brought Ke Xinwen over to the group of martial brothers and sisters following him, and he said to them all, “I’ve just spoken with martial brother Ke. I find this matter a little odd, and we might have to report this to the Sect Leader and Sect Elders and let them make a decision on this after their investigations.”

“Odd? What’s so odd about what brother Ke had said? Unless you’re saying that someone had forced him to say stuff like ‘I’ve killed you once, and I can kill you again’? But wouldn’t that be too incredible?” One of the more straight-talking disciples around immediately spoke his mind. He had a pretty good relationship with Ke Xinwen in the past. But witnessing this new side of Ke Xinwen he had never seen before had truly shocked him to the core. Right now, he would get chills down his spine every single time he thought of how his “buddy” martial brother Ke was in fact a murderer who killed a fellow martial brother.

The other disciples also looked on Ke Xinwen with suspicion, wondering what he had told Qin Lingyu for him to adjudge the matter as “rather odd”.

Just this moment, Jun Xiaomo, Ye Xiuwen and Fan Hai also arrived and joined the group. They had earlier been delayed by the group of onlookers in the inn, and they only finally managed to catch up with the rest.

Once she heard Qin Lingyu mention that things were “rather odd”, Jun Xiaomo immediately furrowed her brows, flicked open her fan and listened on intently at what story Qin Lingyu was going to construct in order to help Ke Xinwen out of his present predicament.

As expected, Qin Lingyu truly lived up to his name as He Zhang’s disciple – he could shoot lies straight off the hips without even batting an eyelid. He calmly said, “I’ve just asked martial brother Ke about the matter. He said that from his memory, he had indeed murdered Lu Rong.”

Ke Xinwen’s heart immediately sank as he looked up at Qin Lingyu with quivering eyes.

How could Qin Lingyu betray me right after I swallowed the pill?!

But Qin Lingyu ignored Ke Xinwen’s furious gaze as he continued, “But martial brother Ke’s memory is at times hazy, and at times clear. Particularly, he draws a blank whenever I ask him how exactly he had killed Lu Rong. Therefore, I suspect that martial brother Ke’s memory might have been modified by someone.” As Qin Lingyu finished speaking, his gaze directly landed on Jun Xiaomo’s body.

In other words, he was implying that Yao Mo might well have been the culprit who had modified Ke Xinwen’s memory.

Jun Xiaomo smile immediately grew frigid as she locked eyes with Qin Lingyu.

Ah, not bad. Not bad at all. He actually found such a good excuse to use! Memory modification – how creative does this guy have to be to even think of such a thing!

“If brother Ke’s memory was really modified, then can brother Qin explain how come he was so anxious to kill that illusion Lu Rong, to the point of even saying things like ‘I’ve killed you once, and I can kill you again’? Normally speaking, shouldn’t a person be filled with so much remorse that he would instead be begging on the ground for forgiveness?” Jun Xiaomo raised her eyebrows as she refuted Qin Lingyu’s explanations.

“Martial brother Ke mentioned that his mind immediately became hazy and fuzzy once he was caught in that formation array, and whatever his heart thought of doing, the exact opposite would happen. I’ve heard of a formation array called Bewilderment Array – I think with brother Yao’s mastery and knowledge of formation arrays, you would be aware of such a formation array as well, right?”

The other disciples from Dawn Sect were all no better than infants when it came to matters pertaining to formation arrays. Even though they saw the complex formation diagram on the floor of the room, they were unable to identify the exact formation array used.

If they knew more about formation arrays, they would be able to tell that the formation diagram was clearly for a Nightmare Array, and not the Bewilderment Array. But it was precisely because they were unable to identify this that Qin Lingyu’s words right now sounded extremely convincing to them.

With this seemingly plausible explanation for Ke Xinwen’s actions, their gazes of suspicion immediately swung back from Ke Xinwen’s body to Jun Xiaomo.

Jun Xiaomo secretly cursed in her heart – A bunch of imbeciles!

But she had no way of proving that the formation diagram she had drawn was indeed a Nightmare Array. Even if she drew out the formation diagram right now, Qin Lingyu would simply accuse her of drawing a different formation array as the one used in the inn, and no one would be able to verify this. After all, everyone’s attention had been trained on Ke Xinwen’s madman-like actions back then, and no one bothered to examine the formation diagram on the floor.

Furthermore, a formation diagram would lose its luster and fade away once the formation array had lost its effects. Therefore, faced with Qin Lingyu’s alternative explanation of the facts right now, Jun Xiaomo naturally had no way to prove that her earlier formation array was indeed a Nightmare Array and not a Bewilderment Array.

At this moment, Jun Xiaomo’s heart swelled with a sense of indignation. She laughed sardonically as she said, “So is brother Qin insisting that I’m slandering you Dawn Sect disciples by using a Bewilderment Array on Ke Xinwen, making him say that he had killed a fellow disciple and even say things like “I’ve killed you once, and I can kill you again”? Is this how you people at Dawn Sect conduct their investigations? By ignoring hard evidence and relying on a person’s baseless words?”

“Of course, I won’t dare to draw any conclusions on the veracity of the matter right now. That was why I suggested for the Sect Elders to conduct a thorough investigation, and I was hoping for brother Yao to assist in these investigations as well. I hope you can understand.” Qin Lingyu’s calm and cool response further added to his persuasiveness, “Besides, I’m sure everyone at Dawn Sect knows martial brother Ke’s personality. Truth be told, it’s hard to imagine that he would kill a fellow disciple.”

Once Qin Lingyu tied everything back to Ke Xinwen’s personality, all the other disciples standing around were completely convinced that this was the only proper explanation for the earlier incident. After all, Ke Xinwen was usually magnanimous and big-hearted, and he did not seem anything like the kind of people who would pick a fight with others in the Sect, much less kill a fellow disciple!

Qin Lingyu’s words were extremely moving. Coupled by the fact that Yao Mo was merely an outsider, everyone was clearly biased towards Ke Xinwen and favoured Qin Lingyu’s explanation of the matter. At this point in time, some of the disciples around even threw nasty and disgusted looks at Jun Xiaomo.

On the other hand, as he stood behind Qin Lingyu, Ke Xinwen was beaming from ear to ear right now – he had not swallowed that pill for nothing. His stifled heart felt a substantially more appeased when he saw how Yao Mo was unable to refute Qin Lingyu’s explanation of the matter.

At this moment, Jun Xiaomo realized that Dawn Sect was a place where two kinds of people existed – schemers and idiots. She did not know whether Qin Lingyu was too crafty to worm Ke Xinwen out of his earlier predicament, or whether the other disciples were simply too daft to have believed him so easily.

Of course, she had once been one of these idiots who had been completely fooled by Qin Lingyu.

Jun Xiaomo fanned herself as she looked coldly at Qin Lingyu and said, “Then brother Qin, tell me, how should I cooperate with your Sect Elders for their investigation?”

“I think we will have to discuss this further once we return to the Sect. However, we’re currently only leaving the Sect for our missions, and it’s not convenient for us to return to the Sect right now. I wonder if brother Yao is willing to travel with us, and follow us back only when we’re done with the Sect’s missions?”

Travel together?! It would have been fine if any other disciple present had said these words. But hearing it from Qin Lingyu’s mouth was absolutely strange, and even somewhat suspicious. Jun Xiaomo squinted at Qin Lingyu as she attempted to pry deeper on what exactly he planned to do.

However, her original intention had been to follow her martial brother in their travels in any event, so this was in line with her objectives. The only niggling feeling she had right now was what exactly Qin Lingyu was planning to do during these travels.

“Fine.” Jun Xiaomo nodded her head without much hesitation as she agreed to Qin Lingyu’s suggestions.

“That’s good then. I’ll have to thank brother Yao for your cooperation.” Qin Lingyu remained as composed as every before, albeit with a slight trace of politeness.

Jun Xiaomo carefully sized up Qin Lingyu once more, but she was still completely clueless as to what ulterior motives he might have. Therefore, she decided to shelf her thoughts for the moment.

“You’re welcome.” Jun Xiaomo curtly responded before turning to leave. Ye Xiuwen also followed closely beside her.

On the other side, Ke Xinwen was also confused about what Qin Lingyu was hoping to achieve by having Yao Mo travel with them. But he had already taken Qin Lingyu’s pill, and he did not dare to question Qin Lingyu’s arrangements.

Whatever the case was, Qin Lingyu had managed to worm him out of his predicament and turn suspicion back into brotherhood. He had never thought that this matter could be resolved as easily as that.

“That…that, thanks martial brother.” Ke Xinwen stammered as he thanked Qin Lingyu with a complicated feeling in his heart.

“No need to thank me. I want you to carefully observe that Yao Mo, and if there’s anything special or unique about him, let me know immediately.” Qin Lingyu looked meaningfully at Jun Xiaomo’s back as he ordered Ke Xinwen.

“Alright.” Ke Xinwen had no confidence in dealing with Yao Mo right now, but he had no choice but to comply, given that Qin Lingyu had ordered him to do so.

His life was now in Qin Lingyu’s grasp after all.

Qin Lingyu nodded his head and followed along with the rest – they had dallied for too long today, and they needed to be on their way as soon as possible.

As for Yao Mo…

Qin Lingyu’s eyes flashed with a covetous gleam as he once again thought of the Mirror of a Thousand Reflections in Yao Mo’s Interspatial Ring.


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