Jun Linxuan would never believe that Ye Xiuwen would be in cahoots with a demonic cultivator. He had seen Ye Xiuwen grow up since young and he knew this disciple inside out. Even if they could prove without a doubt that Ye Xiuwen had indeed been implicated with a demonic cultivator, Jun Linxuan had absolute faith that Ye Xiuwen must have his own reasons for doing so.
It had to be said that Jun Linxuan and Liu Qingmei were extremely doting parents. Despite the fact that Jun Linxuan held high expectations for his disciple and daughter, he would never hesitate to shelter them under his wings whenever others harboured any thoughts of bullying or oppressing his children.
Given Jun Linxuan’s obsession over his own cultivation, there was not a single person within the Sect whose cultivation speed could even come close to matching his. At this moment, the only two who could possibly subdue Jun Linxuan and keep him in check were the Grand Elder and the Second Elder. Even the Sect Leader He Zhang did not possess a cultivation level that could match Jun Linxuan’s. Therefore, when Jun Linxuan expressed his intention to protect his disciple to the very end, the other Peakmasters and Sect Elders could only look listlessly at each other with hesitation in their eyes.
A sect’s overall strength was directly related to the existence of experts within their numbers. The Dawn Sect was presently ranked second among all of the mid-tier sects, and this was largely attributable to Jun Linxuan and his efforts. Not only did Jun Linxuan possess immense abilities, the disciples of Heavenly Peak who were under Jun Linxuan’s charge could hardly be considered weak as well. Therefore, it was an indisputable fact that the existence of Heavenly Peak had increased the overall strength of Dawn Sect.
Now that Jun Linxuan had broken through to the secondary-tier Immortal Ascension stage of cultivation, Dawn Sect was certainly poised to vie for the position of the top spot among all mid-tier sects. Despite the difference of only one position in the rankings, the difference in benefits to the Sect were incredible – the mere difference in their access to resources and connections already justified the effort vying for the top spot.
Furthermore, it was only when a sect took the top spot among all mid-tier sects did it possess the qualifications to transcend the chasm and become an upper-tier sect. Otherwise, Dawn Sect would forever be stuck in the rut among the mid-tier sects.
Some of the other Peakmasters and Sect Elders behaved in an even more peculiar manner. On the one hand, they feared the consequences of Jun Linxuan’s surge in cultivation level. Yet on the other hand, they were already planning how they were going to “borrow” Jun Linxuan’s abilities to achieve their own goals.
After weighing the costs and benefits, the Grand Elder and the Second Elder finally made their decision –
“Since Linxuan thinks that the evidence is insufficient for the purposes of convicting Ye Xiuwen on the charge of being implicated with a demonic cultivator, then let’s recall him from his travels to address the charge.”
Jun Linxuan knitted his eyebrows, “My disciple is present midway through his travels. How can you just recall him like that?”
“How else should we resolve this matter unless we recall him? If we find out that it’s all a misunderstanding, then we’ll let him continue with his travels from where he left off by allowing him to use several Teleportation Scrolls to reach the Mystic Woods.” The Second Elder answered with some displeasure in his voice.
“Ah, if this is all a misunderstanding, then that means the other disciples would’ve been slandering him. Slanderers ought to be punished by the Sect as well, right?” Liu Qingmei mocked, “Since you intend to recall Little Wen from his travels, then wouldn’t it be fair to recall all the other disciples as well? This way, they can confront and address each other fairly on the allegations!”
He Zhang’s heart thumped vigorously. He never would have expected Liu Qingmei to make such an overbearing request.
However, this was not completely unexpected either. After all, his martial sister had always possessed a sharp and incisive disposition. It was only after she had a child that she tapered off and grew warmer and more considerate.
He Zhang did not want his disciple Qin Lingyu to return midway through his travels either. After all, a proper inquest was an extremely long and arduous process. Furthermore, if the evidence were found to be lacking, then matters could be dragged on for an even longer period of time.
The Second Elder had made such a suggestion earlier in order to disadvantage Ye Xiuwen and cause him to miss the travels this year and potentially even receive the Sect’s punishment. However, the moment he realized that Liu Qingmei was going to implicate the other disciples as well, he knew that his earlier train of thought had met with a dead end.
Recalling all of the disciples was an extremely unwise thing to do. After all, the Mid-Tier Inter-Sect Competition was about to take place very soon. Ye Xiuwen, Qin Lingyu and Ke Xinwen were all disciples with the potential to breakthrough to the Foundation Establishment stage of cultivation. If these three disciples missed out on this year’s travels and failed to breakthrough to the Foundation Establishment stage of cultivation, then Dawn Sect was almost certainly going to become the laughingstock among all the mid-tier sects at the Mid-Tier Inter-Sect Competition.
As he thought about these matters, the Second Elder knew that he had no choice but to forcibly suppress the scheming intent in his heart.
He Zhang had always been excellent at putting on pretenses and reacting to difficult situations. Therefore, in that very moment when he knew that things were not going to end up going his way, he immediately changed his tact and acted as the mediator instead.
“Martial sister Qingmei makes sense. However, the travels are an integral part to their cultivational development, and it wouldn’t be good if they missed out on this opportunity. Let’s do it this way instead. We’ll send a message to them, telling them to finish their task and breakthrough to the Foundation Establishment stage as soon as possible. Then, we’ll shelve the matter for now and re-open it for investigation once all of them are back. I wonder what the other Peakmasters and Sect Elders think of this suggestion?”
The Grand Elder deliberated for a moment, before nodding his head as he responded, “That seems to be the only way out.”
Given that the Sect Leader and the Grand Elder have both concurred in the best way moving forward, the other attendees at the meeting no longer had much of a choice as they hastily nodded in agreement.
Jun Linxuan snorted indignantly, before flicking his sleeves and leaving without another word. Liu Qingmei followed closely by his side.
He Zhang thought for a moment, before hurriedly following after them. Then, with a tone filled with remorse, he apologized, “I’m so sorry, martial brother Jun. I’d never thought things would come to a head like this. I was only trying to do my duties as a Sect Leader earlier, so I hope you can be understanding and not take it to heart.”
Jun Linxuan glared back at him with frigid eyes, but he remained taciturn.
Unconcerned, He Zhang smiled courteously as he added, “I still haven’t congratulated martial brother Jun for breaking through to the secondary-tier Immortal Ascension stage of cultivation! How about this – come over to my place tonight. I’ll open a few bottles of spirit wine to celebrate with martial brother Jun. We won’t retire until we’re drunk. What do you say?”
“Spare the thought.” Jun Linxuan was a frank and candid man who could hardly care less about tactful responses, “Until my First-Seat Disciple’s matter is thoroughly resolved, I’ve got no mood to indulge in wine and banal chatter with you.”
As he finished speaking, Jun Linxuan immediately turned to leave with Liu Qingmei by his side. They walked past He Zhang and disappeared from sight as they turned the corner at the end of a small street.
He Zhang stared at their backs as they took their leave, and a cold, vicious intent began to congeal in the depths of his eyes.
Once they returned to their abode, Liu Qingmei could no longer maintain the imposing air that she had put on earlier any longer. The rims of her eyes reddened, and tears began to well up and roll out of her eyes in glistening globules.
As soon as Jun Linxuan noticed that his wife was crying, he grew anxious and flustered. The disposition accompanying a Peakmaster immediately waned and weakened, and he was awash with a sense of helplessness.
“Don’t cry, don’t cry…” After so many years, Jun Linxuan still had not learnt how to properly console a person. He simply hugged Liu Qingmei around the shoulders as he repeatedly told her not to cry.
However, it was precisely the daftness and simplicity in which Jun Linxuan dealt with Liu Qingmei’s tumultuous emotions that somehow managed to appease her.
Under Jun Linxuan’s stiff consolation, the tears in Liu Qingmei’s eyes gradually began to dwindle and subside. Then, she bit down on her lips as she said, “That bunch of old fogeys in the Dawn Sect are really out to bully those from the Heavenly Peak. First, our daughter, and then now our disciple.”
“Daughter?! What happened to Xiaomo?!” Jun Linxuan furrowed his brows together.
“Shortly after you entered your closed-door cultivation, that clumsy girl Xiaomo – for some reason, she trespassed the Sect’s forbidden grounds and got caught by those old fogeys. In the end, she received the Sect’s punishment even before her injuries from trespassing the Sect’s forbidden grounds had healed. As a result, her cultivation…her cultivation fell to the first level of Qi Mastery again…wu-wu-wuuu….”
Every time she thought about this matter, Liu Qingmei’s heart would always be filled with a wrenching pain and immense remorse. She had never displayed her emotions before Jun Xiaomo because she did not want her daughter to worry about her. But now that her husband was back beside her, she could no longer suppress the flow of tears that had been dammed up over the last few months.
“Trespassing the forbidden grounds? This girl…how can this girl be so impudent!” Jun Linxuan fury once again hit his limits as he stormed towards his daughter’s room, intending to give her a piece of his mind.
“Jun Linxuan, come back right now!” Liu Qingmei yelled at Jun Linxuan and stopped him in his tracks. Her face was strewn with tear-stains, but she glared at Jun Linxuan as she added, “Our daughter has already been reduced to such a sorry state. Aren’t you just going to make things worse for her if you still give her a piece of your mind right now?!”
“But…” Jun Linxuan hesitated, before finally relenting and exclaiming with a sigh, “All of this has only happened because we’ve spoilt her too much!”
Liu Qingmei used her scarf to wipe her tears as she remarked, “But things might not be as simple as they seem. I hadn’t thought much about it previously. Back then, I had only thought that our daughter had trespassed the Sect’s forbidden grounds because she was too mischievous. However, I began to find something amiss after this incident with Little Wen as well. Mo-Mo isn’t a girl who doesn’t appreciate the severity of certain actions. Despite her mischievous nature, she’s never done anything to worry us in this regard before. Therefore, why would she go running off into the Sect’s forbidden grounds for no reason?”
“Then, Qingmei, have you asked her about these things?”
“Sigh, I haven’t asked her. It’s all my fault for focusing too much on the consequences of her action that I’d failed to ask about why she did so in the first place. It’s too late for everything now.” As she explained, tears began rolling down her eyes again.
“Alright, it’s all in the past now.” Jun Linxuan hugged his wife again and patted her back, “Even if her cultivation has fallen, she can always get it back. Who cares if she can’t qualify for the upper-tier sects as a result of this? My daughter would never allow herself to be tripped up so easily by such a small stumbling stone.”
Liu Qingmei nodded her head, and the discomfort in her heart dissipated substantially.
“Oh yes, where’s Mo-Mo?” It just occurred to Jun Linxuan that he hadn’t seen his daughter anywhere ever since he had returned to their abode.
In the past, his daughter would always come flitting to him as soon as she learnt that her dad had exited his closed-door cultivation.
After Jun Linxuan pointed out this abnormality, Liu Qingmei also realized that something seemed to be amiss.
“When I returned to the Sect a few days ago, I noticed that Mo-Mo had placed a Seclusion Array at her door to indicate that she was focusing on breaking through a bottleneck. However, does she really need such a long time to break through to the second level of Qi Mastery?”
In fact, there was hardly even a need to be in a closed-door environment for the purposes of breaking through the first level of Qi Mastery to the second level of Qi Mastery. It was only because Liu Qingmei had momentarily forgotten that her daughter’s cultivation level had fallen that she had failed to notice something amiss at that time.
“Let me take a look.” As Jun Linxuan spoke, he strode towards the courtyard that his daughter’s room was located at.
As he stepped into her courtyard, Jun Linxuan immediately sensed the energies flowing from the formation array set up by Jun Xiaomo. However, a Seclusion Array’s main purpose was to indicate to any visitors that one was presently focusing on a breakthrough so that the visitors could refrain from causing any unnecessary disturbance. A Seclusion Array did not possess any offensive abilities to begin with. Therefore, Jun Linxuan ignored the effects of the Seclusion Array, strode right up to Jun Xiaomo’s room door and knocked a few times.
Yet, nobody answered. She was either truly in a state of deep meditation, or she was not there at all.
Jun Linxuan thought for a moment, before he expanded his divine sense and sent it probing about her room. In the end…
Her room is empty!!!
Thud! A deafening sound rang out from Jun Xiaomo’s courtyard. Liu Qingmei ran over towards the courtyard worriedly, before she discovered an infuriated Jun Linxuan standing at the door to their daughter’s room. The chair, table and wooden door of Jun Xiaomo’s room had been completely destroyed and turned to sawdust.
“Linxuan, what happened?!” Liu Qingmei ran over quickly, and her heart felt the onset of a bad premonition.
As expected, Jun Linxuan held out a sheet of paper with a message on it while he yelled out in rage, “This troublemaking child of ours has gone out looking for Ye Xiuwen!”
“Wha--…what?!” Liu Qingmei paused mid-step, frozen in shock. She had thought of a few possibilities on the way here, but this was completely outside of her expectations.Previous Chapter Next Chapter