The dungeon was dark and damp, sequestered by countless restrictive barriers and spell arrays. Even the key to the gate of the dungeon was protected by a three-layered spell array set up by cultivators of the Dharmic Enlightenment level. This level of security was so high that even a fly with spiritual awareness would not be able to leave the dungeon.
The icy floor of the dungeon was strewn with serpentine streaks of dried blood. The scene was completely stifling and blood-curdling.
A ragged, thin figure was curled up in the corner of the dungeon – her disheveled hair obscuring her face. Her arms wrapped around her legs, and her head was buried in her knees. Day after day, she maintained this posture, completely motionless. It was almost as though she were dead.
The lock opened. The dark and isolated dungeon received its first visitor in over three hundred days. This visitor had pleasant looks, a graceful figure, pristine jade-like hands, and was dressed in fine, refreshing clothing. It was a look which was completely incompatible with the state of the dungeon.
Glancing at the ragged figure, the visitor’s eyes revealed a glimmer of both elation and derision. She promptly walked over to the other side of the dungeon. With a condescending and malicious smile plastered on her face, the visitor lifted the chin of the ragged lady with the tip of her shoe.
As the captive woman’s disheveled hair parted involuntarily, one could see that her face was completely covered in horrific scars. Worse, there were two deep, dark holes where one’s eyes would normally be.
The person on the floor was a blind woman. She had been horrifically disfigured, and her cultivation had been completely crippled.
“Chichichi-- you’re so pitiful…so pitiful. The dreadful and formidable Lady Demoness actually finds herself in such a pitiable predicament,” the visitor remarked. Not only did the tone of her voice carry no trace of pity, she obviously took pleasure in the scene before her.
Hearing the voice of the visitor, the lady on the ground finally moved. Her cracked lips quivered, asking, “Qin Shanshan, how’s your brother?”
Perhaps it was because she hadn’t spoken for such a long time, but her voice sounded extremely hoarse, like the grinding of gravel on the floor.
Qin Shanshan frowned, with ever-growing abhorrence in her eyes. “Haaa--? My brother?” She hooked her lips into a smile full of ridicule and derision, “Jun Xiaomo, are you still expecting my brother to come and save you? Do you know what day it is today? Today is the day that he marries my new sister-in-law! He is in love – do you really expect that you, a murderous demoness, would even cross his mind?!”
Jun Xiaomo’s heart felt as though it had been stabbed by a needle – and it wasn’t an acute, unbearable type of pain, but the type of pain that reverberates and lingers, even eking out traces of blood ever so slowly.
She should have known. After all, that person had not come to save her after such a long time…
Jun Xiaomo unconsciously held her abdomen. She once carried a child belonging to her and that man…
Jun Xiaomo’s silence caused Qin Shanshan to feel bored. After all, since they were both young, Jun Xiaomo had always been better than her – birthright, looks, talent, and even cultivation! Qin Shanshan couldn’t accept it. However, under her brother Qin Lingyu’s orders, Qin Shanshan had no choice but to remain cordial and feign civility with Jun Xiaomo.
It was so stifling and humiliating!
Luckily, Jun Xiaomo had stumbled – and had even stumbled at her brother’s hands.
“Who is she…?” Jun Xiaomo hoarsely uttered. “She”, in this case, naturally referred to who the bride was – Qin Shanshan’s new sister-in-law.
Qin Shanshan took pleasure in the fact that Jun Xiaomo would ask this of her own volition. “She…Actually you know who she is. You must not have forgotten who "Yu Wanrou" is, have you?” Qin Shanshan asked with a relaxed disposition. However, when she mentioned Yu Wanrou, her eyes flashed with a trace of intolerance and bitter resentment.
Yu Wanrou had not only enticed her brother away, she had even snatched away the man that she loved! Not to mention, Yu Wanrou already had so many suitors to begin with! Truth be told, compared with Jun Xiaomo, Qin Shanshan hated Yu Wanrou even more. However, because Yu Wanrou had surrounded herself with many formidable suitors, Qin Shanshan was unable to exact any form of revenge against her.
She therefore chose to vent all her frustrations and grievances on Jun Xiaomo.
Jun Xiaomo smiled to herself in a self-deprecating manner. She should have known better – who could resist the charms of Yu Wanrou?
Within the last century, there were two well-known female practitioners in the cultivation world. One was notorious for “evil”, while the other was well-reputed for “good”.
The words “Jun Xiaomo” were synonymous with “terrifying”, “bloodthirsty” and “Lady Demoness”, causing people to instinctually retreat in fear, while “Yu Wanrou” would be the exact converse. Almost all the male cultivators were willing to throw themselves at Yu Wanrou with the hope of becoming her partner.
In reality, numerous male cultivators had in fact thrown themselves at Yu Wanrou. Many of these were even formidable and powerful people with cultivation levels that were out of this world. Yet even so, they were hell-bent on fawning over Yu Wanrou and earning her favour.
It was not a well-known fact that Jun Xiaomo and Yu Wanrou had come from the same sect. It was an even less known fact that Jun Xiaomo’s current predicament was caused by Yu Wanrou and her lackeys. Or perhaps, even if people knew, they might simply respond with a “well done”.
After all, this was a person widely persecuted as a Lady Demoness; while the other was a beautiful damsel in distress. Over time, people’s hearts have become completely biased and partial, and they continue to be convinced by their perception of the “facts” presented to them.
But if one peeled off the cover of that pristine image, how rotten must that core be?
Jun Xiaomo clutched tightly at her abdomen, subconsciously revisiting that fateful day when the poison ebbed away at her child’s life force bit by bit, until he was nothing more than a pool of blood and water filled with pain, despair and hatred.
Her child! She had already been pregnant for six months. Why did Yu Wanrou have to implicate the child in her plans? Even if people might say that a Lady Demoness’s child would be a vile spawn, why couldn’t they see for a fact that Jun Xiaomo would not have become a demonic cultivator had it not been for the schemes of others?!
“Why! Why her!” Jun Xiaomo lamented. She would not mind if anybody else had married Qin Lingyu; it just cannot be Yu Wanrou! “She killed our child!” Jun Xiaomo bemoaned, clenching her fists so hard that her bony fingers left deep depressions in her palm.
“Haa-? ‘Our’ child? Who do you mean? You and my brother? You better not implicate my brother with that vile spawn of yours.” Qin Shanshan smugly looked at Jun Xiaomo’s despondence, remarking with extraordinarily vicious words.
“What do you mean?” Jun Xiaomo lifted her head. Even though Jun Xiaomo was left with empty eye sockets, Qin Shanshan could nevertheless see the shocked expression on her face. Jun Xiaomo looked completely stunned.
“It is as I had mentioned.” Qin Shanshan calmly explained the cruel truth of the matter, “My brother had long since been involved with Yu Wanrou. However, Yu Wanrou is a very selfish person – even though she is herself promiscuous, she expects her partners to all be completely loyal to her. So, for Yu Wanrou’s sake, do you think my brother would even touch you?”
“Then whose child is it?”
“Who knows? The Euphoria-Stimulating Incense that night wasn’t too bad was it? I initially intended for you to be involved with my brother so that that detestable Yu Wanrou would finally be off his back. Little did I expect you to be so useless. Not only did you end up frolicking with a stranger, you even got pregnant with a stranger’s child!”
“Qin Lingyu never told me that the child was not his.”
“Of course not! Why would he tell you this and strain your relationship before he could extract every last bit of value from you?”
Jun Xiaomo coughed a few times, and a few streaks of blood seeped out of the corners of her mouth. She collected herself, and with a hoarse voice, slowly uttered, “Heavens search my soul. I may have wronged the heavens, wronged my parents, wronged my sect brothers and sect sisters. However, I have never wronged Qin Lingyu. Even if I lose control of my body to the devil, I wouldn’t bear to hurt even a single hair on Qin Lingyu’s head. Yet, after all is said and done, what have I got at the end…”
A trace of complexity shone in Qin Shanshan’s eyes. Indeed, compared to Yu Wanrou, Jun Xiaomo was a hundred, no, a thousand or even ten thousand times better.
Only, what was the use of this? The person that her brother loved was Yu Wanrou, so no matter how much Jun Xiaomo did, her brother would not appreciate any of it.
“Every man for himself, and the Devil takes the hindmost.” Qin Shanshan finally said.
Hearing this, Jun Xiaomo laughed. It started with a small, low chuckle, and it grew bigger, and louder, and bigger, and louder. Finally, Jun Xiaomo roared enormously with laughter – a laughter filled with absolute despair; a laughter that penetrated the marrows. What a statement – ‘Every man for himself, and the Devil takes the hindmost’.
At this moment, Jun Xiaomo felt as though her mind were awash with a renewed sense of clarity. As the scenes of her life replayed in her mind, she connected the dots on the little details which she had initially ignored to finally reveal a different narrative of her life. Her emotions ignited with unprecedented hatred.
This level of hatred was even higher than the hatred she had when her child was murdered!
“Was Qin Lingyu marrying me for the dowry he received?”
“My parents’ death also reeked of Qin Lingyu’s schemes, does it not? He’s a loyal dog of the Sect Leader!”
“That one fateful night when my father’s Peak was completely annihilated was also part of Qin Lingyu and the Sect Leader’s plans, was it not? The Sect Leader lusted after my mother, while Qin Lingyu coveted my father’s spirit treasures!”
“And this degenerate demon within me…was this really an accident, or was this all part of a carefully thought out plan? If I did not emanate demonic energy, how could Yu Wanrou use the pretext of the righteous duties of an upstanding sect to persecute me?"
In the face of Jun Xiaomo’s rhetoric, Qin Shanshan did not deny anything. Her silence signified a tacit approval of Jun Xiaomo’s analysis of the situation. But, apart from a tacit approval, she did not for a moment think that her brother had done anything wrong. After all, people are all selfish, right? No one asked Jun Xiaomo to be good to her brother anyway. If anything, it was Jun Xiaomo who had made a mistake.
If Jun Xiaomo had eyes right now, the tears which she had accumulated her whole life would flow out like waters from a broken dam.
She hated! She hated all of Qin Lingyu’s actions. But above all, she hated herself for not being discerning enough of the true nature of people and letting a wolf in sheep’s clothing gain a foothold in her household, resulting in the complete annihilation of her family and the entire Peak!
At this moment, blood dripped from Jun Xiaomo’s fingertips onto the floor, melding directly into the copious amounts of already dried blood on the floor.
Qin Shanshan shuddered, unconsciously taking a few steps back. The present aura around Jun Xiaomo made her seem very dangerous.
Despite knowing for certain that Jun Xiaomo’s spiritual root had been crippled and her nascent soul had been crushed, something about Jun Xiaomo still made Qin Shanshan’s hair stand on end.
Run! RUN! Qin Shanshan’s mind blared with warning signs of danger. But before she could take any action, she realized it was all too late.
“You…What are you doing?!” Qin Shanshan’s legs looked as though they were frozen solid, immovable and devoid of any feeling and senses.
She panicked and was gripped by a sense of abject fear. She did not want to die!
“Hehe…what are you trying to do?” Jun Xiaomo invoked the residual spiritual energy within her body, firmly pressing her blood-stained palm to the floor.
With Qin Shanshan at the centre, the ground glowed with a red light, revealing a complicated pattern on the floor.
Jun Xiaomo had actually used her own blood to draw up a formation array! Qin Shanshan finally realized why this dungeon was full of bloodstains.
“Don’t…don’t act rashly!” Qin Shanshan panicked. “Let me go, and I’ll urge my brother to save you, ok?”
“It’s too late.” Jun Xiaomo lowered her head and said. Did Qin Shanshan think that she would be able to let everything go so easily now that she knows the whole truth?
If she still had her eyes, bystanders would be able to see that her eyes were burning with intense hatred and manic rage.
This formation array was initially prepared to deal with Yu Wanrou and her lackeys. Now, it seems that it would suffice to deal with Qin Lingyu alone. Qin Shanshan was a bonus.
“This…what formation array is this? No, your spiritual root has clearly already been crippled. How can you even activate the formation array?”
Qin Shanshan had a trace of hope in her heart. She hoped that Jun Xiaomo would not be able to fully activate and power this formation array.
“Do you really think that formation arrays must be powered by spiritual energy?” Jun Xiaomo curled her lips, evoking a strange smile. With a determined look on her face, she slowly stated, “Have you ever heard of a formation array powered by a person’s life force, with the sole intent of exacting revenge on a person’s nemesis and his relatives?”
“You…you demon! A demon who does not even spare her own life! Let me go. Hurry and let me go! Brother! Come save me, brother!” Qin Shanshan struggled to get out, but it was all in vain.
She regretted it all. She truly regretted it all. She should never have and stolen her brother’s jade token to enter the dungeon to bluster in front of Jun Xiaomo.
With absolute focus, Jun Xiaomo completely tuned out the screams of Qin Shanshan and began reciting a string of mnemonics. These mnemonics seemed to carry an ancient, mysterious power with it, causing the red glow of the formation array to intensify.
Jun Xiaomo could feel her own spirit slowly being torn from her body, and her consciousness was also fading. This type of feeling was extremely painful and unbearable. However, her heart had long been hardened. She was willing to do anything as long as she could drag her nemesis to hell together with her.
Qin Lingyu, I bet you never would have imagined that I would use such a method to finally bring mutual destruction to both of us.
Jun Xiaomo felt herself growing weaker and weaker.
My child, mother is finally able to see you soon…Jun Xiaomo held her abdomen and collapsed on the floor. Finally, her lips curled to reveal a desolate yet serene smile.
A red light shot up to the sky. The dungeon that held the Lady Demoness Jun Xiaomo for hundreds of days on end finally collapsed with a loud tremor.
Hundreds of miles away, a dignified male cultivator clad in a groom’s attire suddenly collapsed to the floor, yielding up his life.
This marks the end of a story. Yet, another story is just beginning.
 A Sect has numerous Peaks, and Jun Xiaomo’s father was a PeakmasterNext Chapter