Chapter 87: Who’s Got a Thicker Skin?

Demoness's Art of Vengeance

Despite the potentially calamitous breakthrough, Jun Xiaomo’s spirits recovered very quickly once she successfully broke through to the second level of Qi Mastery. In fact, her vitality and spiritedness had even improved by leaps and bounds.

But this was understandable as well. After all, the Qi Mastery stage of cultivation was when cultivators strengthened and refined their meridians and Dantian. Every time they broke through to the next level of Qi Mastery, their meridians and Dantian would experience tremendous, qualitative changes, and their capacity to hold and store spiritual energy or demonic energy would increase by several folds as well. During this process of qualitative changes, the cultivator’s flesh and bones would also similarly be refined and remolded, strengthening and augmenting them.

Therefore, the muscular aches, weariness and weaknesses in Jun Xiaomo’s body before she broke through the bottleneck all vanished once Jun Xiaomo successfully broke through to the second level of Qi Mastery. Instead, Jun Xiaomo was now revitalized and imbued with a new source of strength that surged through every fiber of her being.

Jun Xiaomo stood up and jumped on the spot. Immediately, she could feel the difference in her body. Her legs were filled with a renewed strength, and there was no longer any trace of soreness or weakness emanating from her legs. This caused Jun Xiaomo to grin widely in delight.

Then, it suddenly occurred to Jun Xiaomo what she had been doing just before she had fainted – she had been using her formation array to deal with the Demonvine, and her spiritual energy had become substantially depleted before she could accomplish what she wanted to achieve. Therefore, she was uncertain about whether she had managed to take down the Demonvine or not.

Jun Xiaomo immediately ran over to where the main vine of the Demonvine was originally located and saw that the entire vine had been reduced to nothing more than ashes. The Demonvine had been completely obliterated.

“Brother Ye, we did it!” Jun Xiaomo exclaimed in a crisp, clear voice as she spun around, skipped over to Ye Xiuwen side joyfully and clung onto his arm, waving it about in delight. The tail end of her exclamation lilted up slightly, and she even raised her eyebrows as Ye Xiuwen, as though she were inviting him to praise her.

Truth be told, she had thought that they would no longer be able to defeat the Demonvine in that moment when she discovered that her spiritual energy had been substantially depleted. To her dismay, she even suddenly experienced an unexpected breakthrough at that critical juncture. As a result of that, not only did she risk a potential failure in her breakthrough, she even risked losing her life to that Demonvine in front of her.

Fortunately, Ye Xiuwen managed to arrive in time and lend her a helping hand with the Demonvine, allowing her to narrowly avert the disaster before her and successfully breakthrough to the second level of Qi Mastery.

Ye Xiuwen curled his lips, but his facial expressions did not seem to reveal a commensurate level of elation.

He recalled to mind the earlier scene – if he had not managed to arrive back on time earlier, he might well be saying his final goodbyes to this young man here before leaving this place with a lifetime of regrets ahead.

Apart from his master, his master’s wife and his little martial sister, he had now elevated this young man before him to that place of importance in his heart.

Ye Xiuwen wanted to harshly reprimand this naïve and brash young man before him so that he would no longer force the issue and place himself in harm’s way in future. However, as he locked eyes with that bright, pleading gaze from Yao Mo, Ye Xiuwen just couldn’t bring himself to berate him.

Besides, Ye Xiuwen rarely ever reprimanded people. Most times, he only had to speak sternly with a slight trace of indignation in his voice, and the band of disciples from Heavenly Peak would obsequiously listen to him and take his cautionary words to heart. After all, when this martial brother of theirs grew angry, that threatening and fearsome aura of his was daunting enough to stifle any thoughts of objecting.

Ye Xiuwen sighed helplessly, before patting Yao Mo’s head as he calmly chided, “Don’t force the issue next time. Your safety is of utmost importance, understand? Brother Ye here would be extremely pleased if you can do this for him – perhaps even moved. But the last thing brother Ye wants is to see you get hurt, alright?”

Jun Xiaomo noticed the traces of displeasure in Ye Xiuwen’s voice, and the excitement in her heart also dwindled slightly.

Logically speaking, Ye Xiuwen’s displeasure was not something unforeseeable at all. If it had been the other way around, and Jun Xiaomo had seen Ye Xiuwen throw himself in harm’s way for her, she would similarly have been displeased, even if they managed to come out victorious and unscathed in the end.

Therefore, Jun Xiaomo obsequiously responded, “Mm.” Then, she lowered her head, tacitly acknowledging that she had been at fault.

Seeing this, Ye Xiuwen lightly patted her head, signifying his appreciation for her response.

Then, Jun Xiaomo murmured as she discreetly qualified her acknowledgment of fault, “But I didn’t expect to breakthrough so suddenly either. It wasn’t much of a dangerous situation to begin with.”

Ye Xiuwen didn’t know whether to laugh or grow mad at her when he heard her discreet qualification. Therefore, he hooked his lips into a wry smile as he lightly rapped Jun Xiaomo on the head.

“Ouch!” Jun Xiaomo pouted, and she reflexively rubbed her forehead as she cast Ye Xiuwen an aggrieved gaze.

“Even if Little Mo did not coincidently encounter a breakthrough, it would still have been difficult for you to maintain the formation array, wouldn’t it? When I returned to this place, your spiritual energy had already been substantially depleted. Do you know what the outcome would be if this formation array suddenly lost its effect? So how can you say that it’s all due to your breaking through in the middle of the fight? Even if you didn’t breakthrough and managed to eke out a victory against the Demonvine, you might have ended up overdrawing your spiritual energy, and this could be equally dangerous to you. Little Mo, do you understand what I’m saying?” Ye Xiuwen broke down the situation with some measure of exasperation. Yet, under the baptism of Jun Xiaomo’s aggrieved gaze, he couldn’t help but gently tousle her hair as he chided her.

Seeing that her martial brother was not truly mad at her, Jun Xiaomo immediately perked up once more. She immediately grabbed onto Ye Xiuwen’s palm and held it with both her hands as she nodded sincerely, “I know, I know. I guarantee that I won’t do this again next time! Spare me this time, brother Ye…”

Ye Xiuwen was completely helpless against the impish attitude of this young man before him, and he could only stretch out his lanky arms and pinch Yao Mo’s cheeks to dispel the rest of his frustration against him.

Then, Jun Xiaomo rubbed her face gently – her cheeks felt a little bit warm where they had been pinched.

Alright…apart from tousling my hair or patting my head, martial brother seems to have expanded his arsenal of the things he likes to do to me, huh…pinching my cheeks…

“Cough cough…” One of the disciples from Dawn Sect coughed dryly, as he found the interactions between Yao Mo and his martial brother Ye increasingly awkward for them as onlookers – they were even getting slightly embarrassed by the scene playing out in front of them right now.

Is this Yao Mo person really a male cultivator? Why is it that his actions seem so effeminate at times? It’s as though he was a female wearing the skin of a man.

What this male disciple did not know was that he had inadvertently grasped the roughshod truth of the matter.

As she heard the dry coughs from the disciple, Jun Xiaomo shot a fierce glare at that male disciple. Jun Xiaomo was extremely displeased that her interactions with her martial brother was about to be interrupted by these busybodies around her.

Even so, that male disciple was not the only one unable to read the situation. Qin Lingyu took a few steps forward, before giving Jun Xiaomo a palm and fist salute as he respectfully said, “We’re grateful to brother Yao for saving our lives. I imagine brother Yao was the one who had burnt this Demonvine to ashes?”

Qin Lingyu’s deductions were simple and straightforward. There were traces of formation arrays on all four sides of the Demonvine’s main vine, and the Demonvine had been completely burnt to a crisp. This was naturally not something that Ye Xiuwen who possessed a wind-based spiritual root would be able to accomplish.

The other reason why Qin Lingyu humbled himself and donned this pretentious attitude was precisely because he had to maintain his appearance as the First-Seat Disciple of the Sect Leader. Since Yao Mo had saved them, it was necessary to thank him appropriately on all their behalf.

Jun Xiaomo raised her eyebrows mischievously. She knew the thoughts running through Qin Lingyu’s mind right now, and she was not going to let things go his way so easily!

Doesn’t Qin Lingyu want to express the dignity of a First-Seat Disciple of the Sect Leader? Then I must take the opportunity to trip him up!

Jun Xiaomo folded her arms and wore a lackadaisical attitude as she commented, “Whoa. You actually know how to express gratitude. That’s not bad, not bad…then dare I ask brother Qin, what do you intend to thank me with?”

Qin Lingyu: ……

This was the first time he had encountered someone who had asked for “gratitude” with an outstretched arm! Just how thick was Yao Mo’s skin?!

If Jun Xiaomo could hear Qin Lingyu’s thought, she would definitely have quipped in response – It naturally takes a thick-skinned person to deal with a thick-skinned person like you!

That’s right. In Jun Xiaomo’s eyes, Qin Lingyu and his sister were two people who were extremely thick-skinned. They had always come calling on her for their needs and wants, demanding spiritual equipment, spiritual herbs and spiritual medicine of all sorts. Despite having received years’ worth of gifts, the brother-sister duo didn’t once express any form of gratitude to Jun Xiaomo at all. Not only that, they even treated all of this as a given, as though Jun Xiaomo owed it to them.

Therefore, when it came to comparing the thickness of their skins, was Jun Xiaomo’s skin truly thicker than that Qin brother-sister duo? Right now, Jun Xiaomo was only taking a leaf out of their books and repaying an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

Seeing that Qin Lingyu had not responded after some time, Jun Xiaomo hooked her lips into a wry smile as she added, “What’s the matter? Can it be that brother Qin thinks that mere lip service counts as “gratitude”? Don’t you think you should express your gratitude with something more, hmm?”

As Jun Xiaomo finished speaking, she stretched out her hand and rubbed her thumb and her index fingers together in front of Qin Lingyu’s face.

Jun Xiaomo had evidently picked up all the bad habits from her previous life’s experience, including the gruff behaviour of debt collectors. However, Yao Mo’s present actions were a complete mismatch with his suave and charming looks with young and innocent features. Therefore, it was hardly aggravating when she acted the way she did – in fact, it was even rather adorable and cute.

Of course, this was only the case in the eyes of some people. As for Qin Lingyu whom she was “collecting debts” from, that wry smile on Jun Xiaomo’s face irked him to no end.

Qin Lingyu furrowed his brows tightly as he strongly resisted the urge to seal up Jun Xiaomo’s lips at this instant. Then, he finally managed to eke out a response in a stiff and icy manner, “I wonder what kind of gift of gratitude brother Yao is looking for?”

“As for this…it depends on what brother Qin is able to fork out as an expression of gratitude to me.” Jun Xiaomo rubbed her chin as she responded thoughtfully.

The vein on Qin Lingyu’s forehead bulged and throbbed in his fury, as he continued to stifle his rage, “How about this – in my capacity as the First-Seat Disciple of Dawn Sect’s Sect Leader, I shall agree to one condition that is set by brother Yao. Furthermore, as long as brother Yao is in any form of difficulty in future, I will not hesitate to render any form of help if it’s within my capacity to do so.”

“Tsk, tsk, who knows what lies ahead of us in future?” Jun Xiaomo snickered as she cast a derisive look at Qin Lingyu. Then, lifting her chin slightly, she suggested, “Let’s do it this way. Why not you just give me a few medical pills?”

Qin Lingyu’s eyes immediately grew frigid as a bad premonition swelled up within his heart.

Yet under everyone’s watchful eyes, there was no way he could outrightly reject Yao Mo’s request. After all, it was a fact that Yao Mo had killed the Demonvine and saved everyone present. Furthermore, all he was asking for right now was only a few medicinal pills. This was not unreasonable no matter how one looked at it.

“Speak. As long as I’m able to get these medicinal pills you want, I, Qin Lingyu, will offer them up gladly to you.” Qin Lingyu gnashed his teeth as he managed to respond, albeit rather unwillingly.

Even then, Qin Lingyu had already made up his mind that he was going to deny possessing any of the medicinal pills which Yao Mo was going to ask for. After all, how would Yao Mo be able to peer into his Interspatial Ring and know its contents?

Since that was the case, he could simply make up some excuse to placate Yao Mo, such as by telling Yao Mo that he would do his best to locate these pills and gift them to Yao Mo when he found them. And as to matters of the future, it was just as Yao Mo said – who knows what lay ahead of them in future?

Whether Yao Mo can live to tell the tale is still something to be determined! A vicious thought flashed across Qin Lingyu’s mind as he chuckled wickedly in his heart.

But Jun Xiaomo truly lived up to her name as Qin Lingyu’s wife for decades in her previous life. She was able to tell what exactly Qin Lingyu was contemplating at this moment with one glance at the minutest and subtlest expressions that leaked out onto Qin Lingyu’s face.

Ahah! Qin Lingyu must be thinking that I’ll be helpless against him as long as he refuses to hand over the medicinal pills, huh. Jun Xiaomo chuckled coldly to herself, as a mischievous gleam flashed across her eyes.

“Actually, the medicinal pills that I’m asking for aren’t too difficult to find, and these pills can be obtained with some time and money.” Jun Xiaomo nodded her head slightly as she added, “I believe that with brother Qin’s capabilities, obtaining these pills won’t be an issue at all. Therefore, with everyone here as witnesses, I hope that brother Qin will keep his end of the deal.”

Qin Lingyu put on a magnanimous and generous pretense, courteously spreading his palms wide open in an inviting fashion as he prompted, “Please go on, brother Yao.”

“Let me think…hmm…one fifth-grade Revitalization Pill, one third-grade Qi Nourishing Pill, one fourth-grade Fire Decoction Pill, one sixth-grade Energy Convergence Pill, and one third-grade Soul Rarefication Pill. How about that? They’re not too difficult to obtain, are they?” Jun Xiaomo laughed heartily, yet her laughter somehow seemed to carry a trace of depravity. “I did save your lives after all. One pill in exchange for two to three person’s lives, and I won’t ever mention any gift of gratitude anymore. So, how about it? Do we have a deal?”

Qin Lingyu’s face turned paler and paler with each medicinal pill which Jun Xiaomo named. As Jun Xiaomo finished naming the fifth pill that she was asking for, Qin Lingyu simply stood there aghast – his face complete devoid of colour.

The reason was that these five pills were all something within Qin Lingyu’s possession at this moment –

The Revitalization Pill and the Qi Nourishing Pill were pills that he had publicly received from the Grand Elder as a reward for completing a task assigned to him by the Sect Elders;

The Fire Decoction Pill was something that He Zhang bestowed upon him when he received his appointment as He Zhang’s First-Seat Disciple. This appointment ceremony was also witnessed by several members of the Sect;

And the Soul Rarefication Pill was something that Jun Xiaomo had given to Qin Lingyu as a birthday gift. Coincidentally, this was a gift that Jun Xiaomo had given to Qin Lingyu in public so that she could display to the world their affection for each other at that time. Therefore, several members of the Sect also witnessed this gifting as well…

In other words, it was public knowledge that Qin Lingyu had within his possession the five pills named by Jun Xiaomo, and there was no way that Qin Lingyu could possibly deny his possession of these pills!

Conversely, if he hardened his heart and lied about the existence of these pills in his possession right now, then would that not be tantamount to ripping off and trampling on the foundation of pretense that his hard-earned reputation had been built on over the last twenty years!

Where the hell did this Yao Mo come from?! How could he know all these things?! Is this merely a coincidence?

Qin Lingyu looked over at Jun Xiaomo with profound astonishment, yet all he received in return was a wry smile from Jun Xiaomo, as though she were saying – How about it? Be good and obediently fork out those precious and valuable medicinal pills right now!

Qin Lingyu was so incensed that a lump swelled up in his throat.

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