Jun Xiaomo clutched anxiously at her clothes where she had originally tied the bag containing her little packrat. To her dismay, the bag was no longer there.
Jun Xiaomo kept on walking as she glanced around at her surroundings, hoping to catch a glimpse of the companions that she had lost sight of.
Yet despite that, her surroundings continued to be filled with a roiling, white fog. The fog was now so thick that she could hardly see beyond a radius of one meter – much less the silhouettes of her companions.
Jun Xiaomo’s heart began to palpitate. She stopped in her tracks and clutched at her chest, trying hard to regulate her emotions and calm herself down.
Her years of experience on the run had taught her that anxiety and being flustered would only serve to aggravate the situation. It was only when she had calmed down and regained her clarity of mind that she would be able to better assess the situation and think of the appropriate measures.
Then, just as Jun Xiaomo finally managed to recompose herself and adjust her thoughts, a silhouette of a person appeared in the distance.
She took a few steps closer to that silhouette. However, Jun Xiaomo discovered that the figure seemed to remain equidistance from her. Details such as the figure’s height, appearances or clothing continued to elude her. In fact, she could hardly even tell whether the figure was facing her or facing away from her.
Jun Xiaomo furrowed her brows and picked up her pace. Even then, that figure seemed to maintain that equidistance away from her. It was as though that figure had similarly picked up his pace as well.
Then, a thought crossed Jun Xiaomo’s mind – What if the figure is trying to lure me to a specific location?
The fog in this part of Mystic Woods was truly too thick. Jun Xiaomo were absolutely certain that even if she were to run around recklessly, it was going to take a lot more to escape from the fog’s domain.
Therefore, after some thought, Jun Xiaomo decided that she would follow the beckoning of that figure in the fog.
She retrieved a talisman from her Interspatial Ring and held it tightly in her hand as she vigilantly followed the lead of that figure in the fog, all the while maintaining a safe and comfortable pace.
Jun Xiaomo knew that the figure in the fog was going to “wait” for her regardless of how quickly she moved.
Then after some time, the fog gradually thinned out, and Jun Xiaomo’s surroundings became clearer and clearer. Yet what continued to mystify Jun Xiaomo was how she still could not make out the details of that figure in the fog.
It was as though that figure was no more than an illusion – as the fog thinned out, that figure also seemed to fade away at the same time.
Jun Xiaomo’s heart shuddered. She picked up her pace yet again, and the surrounding fog grew even thinner.
Then, as she made her way forward, that figure completely vanished into thin air. At the same time, a dazzling beam of light suddenly appeared and shone directly at Jun Xiaomo.
This beam of light cut straight through the white fog, as though it had creating a path just wide enough to guide Jun Xiaomo out of the fog.
Jun Xiaomo hesitated for a moment. But in the end, she made her resolve and strode straight into the light.
The beam of light intensified, and Jun Xiaomo squinted her eyes reflexively.
A few moments later, when her eyes had finally adjusted to her the dazzling brightness of the light, she slowly opened her eyes once again.
To her surprise, her surroundings had completely changed. Jun Xiaomo was presently standing in a place that seemed rather familiar to her.
“This is…” Jun Xiaomo’s eyes narrowed as she took in her surroundings, trying to recall where she had witnessed this scene before.
Jun Xiaomo stood on a lush and verdant field, and there was even a winding path running through these fields that ran into the horizon.
Wasn’t she in the Mystic Woods? Why would an endless verdant field appear out of nowhere?
Jun Xiaomo turned back to look at the Mystic Woods where she had come from. To her surprise, the thick, roiling fog had completely disappeared together with the rest of the woods, and the lush, verdant field that she was standing on extended into the horizon behind her as well!
Her heart shuddered, and she grew even more vigilant of her surroundings. She immediately retrieved more talismans from her Interspatial Ring and held them in her hands as she braced herself for what was to come.
Just then, Jun Xiaomo’s ears picked up the soft chattering of some people some distance away. She perked up her senses as her eyes darted about her surroundings. But it was grass everywhere – there was nowhere she could hide herself!
There was no choice – she could only retrieve an Invisibility Talisman and slap it on herself.
To Jun Xiaomo’s surprise, this Invisibility Talisman seemed to be ineffective! She remained standing where she was, and as far as she could tell, her arms and feet were still visible to the naked eye.
The voices were quickly approaching her, and there was nowhere to hide. Therefore, Jun Xiaomo adopted a defensive stance as she anticipated the arrival of these approaching voices.
In the next moment, two people appeared in the horizon. The first person was donned in pure-white garments and carried himself with a cool, dignified disposition; while the other person was dressed in a pretty pink and possessed beautifully sharp features. At this moment, the latter was laughing radiantly as she chattered on, while the other person nodded his head from time to time.
“Brother Ye?!” Despite their distance, Jun Xiaomo could immediately recognize that one of these two people was none other than Ye Xiuwen.
Jun Xiaomo immediately sprinted over to Ye Xiuwen. By the time she got to where Ye Xiuwen was, she was slightly breathless.
“Bro-…brother Ye, where have you gone? I couldn’t locate you earlier.” Jun Xiaomo extended her hand, intending to grab hold of Ye Xiuwen’s arm. Unexpectedly, Ye Xiuwen dexterously evaded Jun Xiaomo’s grasp.
“Bro-…brother Ye?” Jun Xiaomo was stunned at his reaction.
“Is this Xiuwen’s martial sister? You’re truly quite the adorable chick. But why is it that you keep calling Xiuwen ‘brother Ye’, hmm?” A lady’s voice rang out beside where Ye Xiuwen was. Her tone was soft and charming, and it was the kind of voice that would immediately give others a good impression of her.
It was only at this moment that Jun Xiaomo turned her attention to the female cultivator standing beside Ye Xiuwen.
“Zhang Shuyue?!” Jun Xiaomo’s eyes immediately surged with immense hatred, “What are you doing standing beside my martial brother?”
“Eh? Does this little martial sister know my name as well? Xiuwen and I had serendipitously made acquaintances with each other at the inn. After crossing paths a few times and getting to know each other better, we discovered that we seemed to have an affinity for each other. Therefore, I suggested coming here to meet you. After all, you’re considered one of Xiuwen’s only remaining kin.”
Zhang Shuyue’s voice was just as soft and warm as ever, but that trace of provocation in her tone of voice was unmistakable.
She had intentionally emphasized the word “kin” in order to seal Jun Xiaomo’s position in Ye Xiuwen’s heart to nothing more than “kin”.
“Who’s your little martial sister!” Jun Xiaomo barked, “Zhang Shuyue, don’t you dare go about unctuously drawing close to me. You can hide your ulterior motives with martial brother, but you can never deceive me. If you don’t wish to die by my hands today, then get out of my sight right now!”
Zhang Shuyue lowered her eyes, pretending to be disappointed as she turned back to Ye Xiuwen dejectedly, “Xiuwen, it seems that your martial sister really doesn’t like me. I don’t want to make things difficult for you. I think I should take my leave first.”
As she finished speaking, Zhang Shuyue turned and motioned to leave.
“Shuyue, hang on.” Ye Xiuwen calmly responded, before turning to Jun Xiaomo with some measure of indignation in his voice, “Martial sister, Shuyue is my friend. I know you don’t like me, so I don’t expect you to like her either. But I do hope that you will accord her the due respect that she deserves.”
It must be said that Ye Xiuwen rarely spoke to Jun Xiaomo in such a harsh manner. Therefore, as soon as Ye Xiuwen’s words left his mouth, Jun Xiaomo immediately grew anxious, and the rims of her eyes immediately reddened. In her distress, she tried to explain herself, “It’s not that! Martial brother, I…”
Hang on a minute. Hate martial brother? Why would martial brother say that I hated him?
Furthermore, my Alteration Talisman hasn’t lost its effects yet. How does martial brother know that I’m Jun Xiaomo?
A series of questions immediately began to pop into her mind. Then, the floodgates of her memories burst open, and it finally dawned on her where she had seen this scene before –
It was no wonder that she found this scene to be particularly familiar! In her previous life, she and Ye Xiuwen had once made their way to the top of a mountain and hid there from their persecutors for some time. It was also during this period of time that Ye Xiuwen had serendipitously encountered and got to know Zhang Shuyue, who later proved to be the fatal pitfall in his life.
The little wooden hut where they had lodged at was surrounded by a large patch of grass, and this was precisely where she was located right now.
Could she have crossed over back into her previous life again? Had she crossed back to that time when they first encountered Zhang Shuyue?!
Yet despite the innumerable questions that were surfacing in her mind, Jun Xiaomo made her resolve – regardless of whether she had crossed over or otherwise, she was going to stop Ye Xiuwen and Zhang Shuyue from getting together.
“Martial brother, I beg you to listen to me this time. Zhang Shuyue isn’t a good person. She’s going to cost you your life!” Jun Xiaomo could not think of a good way to convince Ye Xiuwen about Zhang Shuyue’s character, so she resorted to the most straightforward, simpleminded way that she could think of – speaking her mind.
However, the Ye Xiuwen at this point in her life had not opened his heart to Jun Xiaomo. In fact, it could even be said that he treated Jun Xiaomo as nothing more than a duty and responsibility of his. Therefore, no matter what Jun Xiaomo said, Ye Xiuwen was always going to take her words with a pinch of salt – her words would never reach Ye Xiuwen’s heart.
As expected, Ye Xiuwen looked at Jun Xiaomo with disbelief, before he shrugged her off indifferently, “Martial sister, I can’t just judge Shuyue’s character based on that sweeping statement. Furthermore, if you don’t have any proof, then what you’re doing is no better than irresponsible, baseless slander. I hope I never hear such words from you again.”
“Slander?! Are you saying that I’m slandering her?!” Jun Xiaomo’s heart began to strain with pangs of pain and sourness. And this was not merely caused by the fact that Ye Xiuwen disbelieved her words – there were other reasons that Jun Xiaomo was currently still unaware about.
Jun Xiaomo clutched at her chest as she attempted to collect herself and suppress her roiling emotions.
She lowered her head and calmed herself down. Then, as she slowly lifted her head again, she made an unbelievable suggestion to Ye Xiuwen, “Martial brother, let’s do it this way then. I challenge Zhang Shuyue to a duel. If I win, then Zhang Shuyue shall disappear from our sight, and she’s henceforth no longer allowed to interfere with our lives. On the other hand, if she wins, then I won’t come between the two of you anymore. What do you think?”
Jun Xiaomo was unable to tell Ye Xiuwen’s expressions right now because of the veiled conical hat on his head. Therefore, she simply turned to look at Zhang Shuyue – as expected, Zhang Shuyue’s eyes were filled with a mocking, contemptuous gaze.
It wasn’t hard to understand why Zhang Shuyue found Jun Xiaomo’s suggestion extremely laughable. If Jun Xiaomo had indeed crossed over to this point in her previous life, then her cultivation was at best only at the eighth level of Qi Mastery. She was nothing compared with Zhang Shuyue, who had by then already broken through to the Foundation Establishment stage of cultivation.
However, Jun Xiaomo maintained a cool-headed, steadfast expression on her face. It was a far cry from her expressions just moments ago. It was almost as though they were two different persons right now!
Zhang Shuyue chuckled lightly as she lightheartedly accepted the challenge, “Alright, then! I accept the challenge.”
Jun Xiaomo retrieved a sword from her Interspatial Ring. This sword was something that Ye Xiuwen gave to her on the seventh day that she began to learn sword arts from Ye Xiuwen. Even though it was a plain, simple sword that was not imbued with any special abilities, Jun Xiaomo was nevertheless extremely fond of it.
Previously, she had not pulled out this sword because she was worried that Ye Xiuwen might discover her true identity. However, she intentionally retrieved this sword to test some theories this time…
“Come.” Jun Xiaomo stated calmly. The earlier roiling emotions in the depths of her eyes were gone, and there was only placid serenity in its place.Previous Chapter Next Chapter