Chapter 113: The Unexpected Kiss

In that moment when the second prince activated the demon summoning array, practically everyone – even those locked in combat – paused in their tracks and began to look around at their surroundings tensely. They tightened their grasp around their weapons nervously. Everyone could sense the arrival of a foreboding presence.

This unanimous sense of danger arose from the most primal part of their senses. The fear of what was soon to come sent shivers down their back. Their limbs grew stiff, and their breathing grew shallow and cold.

In the next moment, a hair-raising shriek broke up the tense atmosphere in the air. This shriek was so shrill that it threatened to burst their eardrums, and everyone reflexively turned to where it came from, only to be greeted by a dreadful, blood-curdling sight –

A two-storey high monster towered over them, brandishing its thin, sharp claws that were dripping with fresh blood as it swished its spiked tail about threateningly. Then, it gnarled viciously at the guards and swiftly lurched towards them.

What…what in the world is this?!

Their pupils shrank in fear and their eyes slackened in despair. The last thing some of the less fortunate guards saw was their own headless bodies fall onto the ground, before everything faded away.

The guards no longer thought about standing their grounds to resist this monster. Earlier, these guards had sized up the first prince’s abilities, and they thought that it might be possible to defeat him if they were to wear him down. However, when faced with this monster that seemed to possess traits and abilities completely outside any of their imagination, all thoughts of resistance immediately went up in smokes, and the only alarm blaring in their mind was that of escape.

Immediately, the guards began to scatter in all directions. The ones who reacted quicker than others managed to escape the clutches of this monster, while the others ended up as fodder.

In contrast with these guards who turned tail to run, the first prince who equally possessed bloodshot eyes like this monster had a completely different reaction.

His eyes quivered, not with fear or dread, but with excitement, mania, and a strong intent to battle!

If the second prince had noticed the first prince’s reaction right now, perhaps he might no longer be as confident in the monster that he had summoned. However, the second prince stood quite some distance away, and he could only see that the monster had arrived before the first prince, but not the expressions of manic delight on the first prince’s face.

The second prince’s lips curled up wickedly, and a murderous intent flickered across his eyes.

Once this night was over, the man named Rong Ruihan would be nothing more than a historical figure, and his ascension to the throne would be secure.

The second prince could already smell his victory.

The few guards who managed to escape from the monster thought the same thing as well – Rong Ruihan was soon going to be history. It was only after they had escaped the circle of combat that they noticed that the monster did not pursue after them. Instead, it had turned its attention to the first prince who had held his ground.

“What in the world is that thing?!” One of the guards exclaimed with lingering fear and trepidation in his heart. He had barely avoided a deadly swipe from that monster earlier.

“I don’t know. I’ve never seen something so nefarious and ghoulish!”

…These guards were now standing a safe distance away from the monster’s location. As they were catching their breaths, they began to observe the monster and speculate where it might have come from.

“I…I’ve heard of these things before. I think it might be an Abomination.” Yet another guard stammered in shock as he chimed in.

An Abomination?! The other guards immediately revealed expressions of shock, disgust, fear, and other similar expressions.

It was akin to the contemptuous and rancorous expressions that demonic cultivators drew from cultivators in those self-proclaimed righteous and upstanding sects. As long as an existence had anything remotely to do with demonic energy, it would incite derision from most people’s hearts.

Yet among all these things, the Abomination was still one of the vilest creatures whose existence was viewed with far more disdain and contempt than any other demonic cultivator or demonic beast. After all, demonic cultivators and demonic beasts only cultivated using demonic energy. On the other hand, Abominations were creatures that were formed by congealing demonic energy using fresh blood and souls as catalyst.

Abominations do not possess cognitive functions nor any preferences. They live for one purpose and one purpose only – to kill.

As an Abomination killed, it would consume the blood and souls of those who had perished in order to continually grow and strengthen its own abilities. Once it has consumed sufficient blood and souls, it would then wrestle control and break away from its summoner to become its own independent being. At that time, it would become a thing of nightmares, razing towns and even cities to the ground and leaving only a path of destruction in its wake.

It was precisely this reason that the Grand Vizier, despite his immense abilities, had warned the second prince time and again to be extremely cautious and circumspect about when he used the demon summoning array. Unless it was absolutely necessary, he should be wise never to activate this formation array at all.

However, the second prince did not possess such a good understanding of the Abomination that he had just summoned. The second prince had always been obstinate and self-centered. Furthermore, he had always wanted to dispose of the first prince that was the thorn in his side. Under the tense circumstances earlier and given the prospects of finally disposing of the first prince, the second prince made the rash decision of summoning the Abomination.

In fact, the second prince didn’t even consider the risks involved in summoning the Abomination.

The second prince eagerly anticipated the moment that the first prince would be torn to shreds by the Abomination. However, in the very next moment, that expression of macabre satisfaction was completely frozen on his face –

The first prince suddenly made his move. Within moments, the first prince ripped apart the two-storey, towering Abomination, and tore it completely to shreds!

It was also at this moment that the second prince finally managed to catch a glimpse of the first prince’s present appearances. The first prince had curled his fingers and held out his hands like they were claws in an aggressive beast-like stance; his nails were long and sharp; and his eyes were filled with primal bloodlust. His entire body was covered in blood from the massacre of the second prince’s guards. The first prince’s current appearances looked even more horrific and nightmarish than the Abomination that the second prince had summoned.

In fact, the first prince almost looked like a demon that had just crawled up from the depths of hell!

However, the Abomination that had earlier been ripped apart did not die so easily. Pieces of its body slowly came together as its body reformed within moments. Then, it launched another attack at the first prince.

Despite that, the first prince continued to face it without fear. In fact, the first prince thoroughly indulged himself in this battle. Time and again, he would rip apart the Abomination to shreds and absorb some of the Abomination’s demonic energy, while the Abomination would persistently reform its body and duked it out with the first prince.

Demonic energy was a scarce resource in the cultivation world. As a result of this, several demonic cultivators would choose to devour or absorb the cultivation, demonic core, or the like from demonic beasts or other demonic cultivators, just so that they could raise their own abilities further.

Rong Ruihan had lost all measure of rationality by now, and he acted purely based on his primal instincts. However, his instincts didn’t consider the Abomination an opponent to contend with. Rather, it viewed the Abomination as nothing more than a large demonic pill for his own nourishment!

Furthermore, his instincts told him that if he managed to fully absorb the demonic energy from this Abomination, he would experience another breakthrough in his cultivation!

On the other hand, the second prince didn’t appreciate the magnitude of the gift he had just bestowed upon the first prince. The only realized the futility of his efforts as he saw the Abomination’s body gradually fading away as the hatred in his heart burgeoned once again.

The second prince possessed many means for escape within his Interspatial Ring, including Teleportation Scrolls or Escape Scrolls. As long as he opened up these scrolls and activated the formation array, he would be able to leave this place safely.

Even though this would make him feel even more defeated than he already did, it was nevertheless far better than being murdered by the first prince.

Besides, the remaining guards within his residence could easily be disposed of and silenced under the charge of failing to protect him. This way, he could close off all the loose ends and no longer be worried that tongues would wag and rumours would spread regarding his lamentable escape from this place.

Having thought about these things, the second prince finally made his resolve. But, the second prince had miscalculated the time taken for the first prince to dispose of the Abomination. Just as he was about to retrieve an Escape Scroll from his Interspatial Ring, the first prince sent a deadly attack flying over towards the second prince.

This attack was so quick that the second prince couldn’t even respond to it. Within the blink of an eye, the first prince’s attack punctured a huge hole through the second prince’s chest.

“Cough…cough…” The second prince collapsed to the ground, and blood gurgled and spattered from his mouth. His eyes stared hazily into the dark night sky as his pupils began to dilate…

The first prince flicked the blood off his hands, and he swept his bloodshot eyes towards the other guards standing a distance away.

In the distance, the frightened guards continued to stare vacantly at the horrific development of the situation, yet no one took a single step towards the first prince.

Unconcerned about the other guards, the first prince shifted his gaze away, allowing the guards to heave a heavy sigh of relief. Yet when these guards turned their attention towards the second prince’s condition, their hearts immediately constricted with anxiety once again –

The second prince isn’t dead, is he?! We…we’re finished…

The Grand Vizier isn’t going to let us off…

However, the first prince couldn’t care less about the despair in the eyes of these guards. He looked around and sniffed about at his surroundings, as though he was looking for something.

This series of actions were exactly akin to that of a beast. However, the guards who watched on found themselves unable to laugh at the situation. Their dread and despondence were so great that it simply overwhelmed and suppressed any other emotion within them right now.

Suddenly, the first prince looked like he caught a whiff of something. He immediately leapt over to a pool of blood on the floor and sniffed about the circumference of it. If one looked closely, it would be apparent that the first prince’s bloodshot eyes were rippling gently with emotions right now.

The first prince threw his head into the air and howled loudly. Then, he got down on all fours, and sprinted out of the second prince’s residence.

The others could only watch on blankly as the first prince departed the residence. When the first prince’s figure had thoroughly disappeared from their vision, they began to hastily make their way towards the second prince with fear lingering in their hearts.

Their only hope right now was that the second prince was not dead. That was the only way they could possibly escape from the calamity that was to come.

However, when they saw that gaping hole in the second prince’s chest, their hearts sank to the ground.

“Hurry…hurry! Quickly send a message to report this to the Grand Vizier.” One of the guards exclaimed.

Another guard responded immediately and retrieved a Transmittance Talisman, recorded his message and then burnt up the talisman. Once the Transmittance Talisman has been burnt up, the Grand Vizier’s residence would receive this message in no time.

This was all they could do for now. After this, they could only keep their fingers crossed and hope that the present incident would not implicate the lives of their own family members.

---------------------------------------------------

On the other side, Ye Xiuwen carried the semi-conscious Jun Xiaomo as he knocked on the doors of every apothecary around. However, every single apothecary that they called upon had turned them away, saying that the Soul Acuity Grass had been sold out to the second prince’s residence.

Ye Xiuwen hugged Jun Xiaomo dearly, and his eyes began to grow bloodshot.

“Ye…Brother Ye…” Jun Xiaomo called out weakly to Ye Xiuwen. With incredible willpower, she managed to stifle and prevent herself from involuntarily letting out a moan.

Jun Xiaomo refused to reveal to her martial brother the vulgar expressions shown by a female beast during mating season. She knew that doing that would only jeopardize the good relationship that they had forged thus far.

Ye Xiuwen responded softly, and he perked up his ears as he listened attentively to Jun Xiaomo’s words.

“Brother Ye, I know what the Soul Acuity Grass looks like. The…woods outside…outside the county has some…bring me there…”

Jun Xiaomo struggled hard before she managed to eke out these few words. She was already on the verge of losing all rationality.

She felt as though she were walking along a precipice adjoining a bottomless abyss right now. One misstep would cause her to fall into the depths and shatter all her bones.

Ye Xiuwen patted her back gently. Then, he mustered his spiritual energy and sprinted towards the woods outside the county.

A few incenses of time later, a man with deeply bloodshot eyes appeared on the very location that Ye Xiuwen and Jun Xiaomo was just moments ago. The first prince sniffed about at his surroundings again. Once he ascertained the direction that Ye Xiuwen and Jun Xiaomo had departed towards, he got down on all fours once again and sprinted in that direction.

Just as Ye Xiuwen stepped into the woods outside the county, he immediately discovered Yao Mo’s peculiar behaviour as he began to stir in Ye Xiuwen’s bosom.

Yao Mo must have succumbed to the Euphoria-Stimulating Incense and lost all rationality! Yao Mo hugged Ye Xiuwen’s body extremely tightly as he involuntarily let out tantalizing, moaning sounds.

“Mar-…martial brother…” Jun Xiaomo called out softly as she caressed Ye Xiuwen’s neck before motioning to bury her burning face in it.

This young man’s usually clear, crisp voice was suddenly imbued with an alluring charm, while his beautifully large, watery pupils seemed to possess the ability to draw a person’s soul into a deep, dark abyss through its gaze.

Ye Xiuwen immediately shut his eyes and turned his attention elsewhere as he attempted to avoid Jun Xiaomo’s gaze.

However, the person in his arms had already lost all rationality, and he couldn’t appreciate Ye Xiuwen’s “efforts” at all. Jun Xiaomo was now glued onto Ye Xiuwen’s body like a koala hugged its Eucalyptus tree. To Jun Xiaomo, Ye Xiuwen’s soothing aura seemed to alleviate the burning sensation on her body.

Ye Xiuwen remained motionless. He closed his eyes and struggled to bind up his thoughts.

“Martial brother…”

Jun Xiaomo was clearly dissatisfied with Ye Xiuwen’s passive response. She instinctively stretched out both hands and with one swift motion, she removed the veiled conical hat on Ye Xiuwen’s head. Ye Xiuwen’s ink-black hair immediately came free and dangled loosely by Ye Xiuwen’s shoulders. Some of his hair even fell towards Jun Xiaomo’s hair and interlaced her hair as well.

Just like that, Jun Xiaomo continued to call out for her “martial brother” as she grabbed onto Ye Xiuwen’s face and struggled to draw closer to it.

At this moment, Ye Xiuwen finally opened his eyes. He lowered his head and gazed directly into Yao Mo’s eyes. In Yao Mo’s clear and reflective eyes, the only thing he saw was his own disfigured face – a terrifying scar caused by the incursion and corrosion of demonic energy was splayed diagonally across his face, ruining his originally sharp and suave features.

“Just who is this martial brother of yours that you’ve been calling?” Ye Xiuwen knocked the back of Jun Xiaomo’s head as he softly asked.

Jun Xiaomo had completely lost all rationality by now, and she was naturally unable to respond to Ye Xiuwen’s question. Therefore, she ignored the question and continued to mince her way closer to Ye Xiuwen’s face.

An intense struggle surfaced in Ye Xiuwen’s eyes right now. He acknowledged that he has some feelings for Yao Mo. These feelings had admittedly initially developed because of Yao Mo’s likeness to Jun Xiaomo. However, having had experienced so many things together, his feelings for Yao Mo had become purer, and purer.

By now, Yao Mo had already established a place of his own in Ye Xiuwen’s heart.

Yet, having a “place in his heart” was still rather vague. It could be kinship; it could be friendship; and it could also be…love.

Ye Xiuwen was not a daft person. He had already discovered that his attachment towards Yao Mo had long surpassed the realms of pure friendship. Yet even then, he had simply been too reticent to examine the extent of his feelings towards Yao Mo.

This was because he couldn’t be certain what exactly his feelings for Yao Mo entailed. He wasn’t sure how much of his attachment towards Yao Mo had been a result of his little martial sister’s image in Yao Mo.

Put differently, Ye Xiuwen had never been confident of his own feelings because of his dark past – whether it be in Jun Xiaomo’s previous life, or at present.

“Martial brother…” Jun Xiaomo called out softly once again. Her hazy eyes were even filled with an aggrieved look as a result of the discomfort in her body.

Ye Xiuwen’s heart felt a pang of pain. Even though it wasn’t obvious, its effects lingered on persistently.

“I’m not your martial brother, Little Mo. Wake up.” Ye Xiuwen patted Jun Xiaomo’s cheeks as he responded again. His tone was now filled with stoicism.

One of the effects of the Euphoria-Stimulating Incense is to cause the person under its effects to think that he or she was currently interacting with the person he or she was most fond of. Therefore, Ye Xiuwen was certain that Yao Mo was now viewing him in the image of that “martial brother” of his.

“You’re clearly my martial brother…” Jun Xiaomo repeated again with slight exasperation. Then, just as Ye Xiuwen was distracted, Jun Xiaomo jerked her body, pulled Ye Xiuwen’s head towards hers and locked lips with him.

Ye Xiuwen’s rationality was immediately expelled from his mind. Echoes reverberated as his mind drew a complete blank.

It was as though all his thoughts had been replaced by one thing – that is, the pair of soft, luscious lips belonging to the person in his embrace right now.

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