On the other side, Situ Cang’s lackeys were closely in pursuit of Jun Xiaomo and the rest. Several people even chased after them so eagerly that they too dove headlong into the Mystic Woods’s Mistlands.
“Come back. There’s no need to follow them in there.” Situ Cang’s calm voice rang out behind them. The rest of his subordinates who had not entered the Mistlands paused in their steps, glanced at each other with slight relief, before returning to Situ Cang. They bowed courteously to Situ Cang as they reported back to him.
“Master.” They called out in unison.
Then, Situ Cang nonchalantly explained, “These Mistlands within the Mystic Woods are also known as the ‘Soulless Lands’. The fog is created by the congealed fragrances emitted by patches of little red flowers. But don’t underestimate this fog. This fog possesses the power to draw out and amplify the worst fears in a person’s heart. It would even greatly magnify the pains and fears in a person’s heart. Those who fall prey to the fog’s illusions would forever be trapped within an endless cycle of their worst fears and nightmares, until their souls and fleshly bodies have finally been devoured and absorbed by these little red flowers.”
Situ Cang’s explanation of the dangers of these Mistlands sent a chill down the spines of the Dawn Sect disciples.
To be trapped in an endless cycle of their worst fears and nightmares until they slowly perish?! The disciples shuddered at the horrific thought of such a prospect.
Fortunate…Fortunately, we didn’t dive straight into the Mistlands earlier. Several disciples thought at the same time.
However, Qin Lingyu’s contemplations were deeper than that of the other disciples, “Senior Situ, are there ways of escaping the illusions of these Mistlands?”
“There is one way. If a person can recognize and possess the conviction that the nightmares and illusions aren’t real, then one would be able to break out of the endless cycle of nightmares. However…”
Situ Cang’s words caused everyone to heave a sigh of relief, diminishing their earlier horrific assessment of the Mistlands. However, Situ Cang’s qualifier made their hair stand on ends again.
Situ Cang’s grimaced as he continued, “From what I know, the odds of breaking out of the endless cycle of nightmares are not more than one in ten thousand. That is to say, among ten thousand people, only one would possess the ability and conviction to declare that the nightmares and illusions aren’t real. Furthermore, among those who manage to escape from these Mistlands alive, there are some who remain tormented by the lingering effects of these nightmares for the rest of their lives. These survivors continue to conflate and confuse their dreams and reality, and they become unable to live properly in the present.”
Soulless Lands – the name says it all. Those who were unable to break out of the endless cycle of tormenting nightmares would invariably find their souls consumed by these benign-looking little red flowers.
The Dawn Sect disciples’ fear of the Soulless Lands reached new heights after hearing Situ Cang’s explanation of its dangers. Naturally, the exceptions to this were Ke Xinwen and Qin Lingyu. To them, the dreadfulness of the Soulless Lands was a good thing. After all, it was ideal if Ye Xiuwen and Yao Mo could be trapped by the Mistlands’ illusions forever and perish within the Mistlands.
Therefore, Qin Lingyu and Ke Xinwen’s eyes only shone brighter in delight after Situ Cang’s explanations.
“Ah, that’s right. This Sovereign’s subordinates have intercepted a Messenger Paper Crane. Would you like to guess the nature of its contents?” Situ Cang suddenly broached a fresh topic at hand and alleviated the heavy atmosphere in the air. Several disciples turned their heads to look at Qin Lingyu, evidently with their interests piqued.
Qin Lingyu possessed a sharp and keen mind. Within moments, his mind contemplated hundreds and thousands of possibilities. Then, when he finally ascertained that he had done nothing to enrage Situ Cang, he stabilized the emotions in his heart and made a fist and palm salute to Qin Lingyu as he politely responded, “I am unaware. Would senior Situ care to enlighten this ignorant one?”
“Haha, take a look for yourself.” As Situ Cang responded, he handed the Messenger Paper Crane over to Qin Lingyu who received it eagerly.
Qin Lingyu opened the paper crane and skimmed through its contents.
The paper crane only contained a few lines of words on it, so it did not take Qin Lingyu long to read its contents.
Qin Lingyu had not expected too much when he had first opened up this paper crane to read its contents. Yet a few sentences later, his eyes widened in shock, and his heart began to roil with intense emotions.
Situ Cang chuckled cryptically before he slowly uttered, “When I first received this paper crane, I had asked my subordinates to check on the background of this ‘Jun Xiaomo’ referred to in this paper crane. Guess what this Sovereign found?”
Qin Lingyu remained taciturn, but his face had already turned a sickly green and pale white by now.
“It turns out that Jun Xiaomo is the daughter of Dawn Sect, Heavenly Peak’s Peakmaster. Furthermore…she is also brother Qin’s fiancée. How about that? Your fiancée had travelled thousands of miles – not to look for you – but someone else altogether. How are you feeling right now?”
Situ Cang eagerly anticipated Qin Lingyu’s reaction. After having expending so much time and effort to capture the Rong Ruihan trio but to no avail, his patience had long worn thin. Now that he was presented with an opportunity to watch an exciting drama unravel before his very eyes, how could he not delight and indulge himself in that?
Qin Lingyu’s face had turned ashen by now. He could hardly control the rage welling up within his chest!
He had always thought highly of himself. Even though Jun Xiaomo and Ye Xiuwen seemed to have grown closer before they had departed from the Sect on their travels, he had never thought much of it. At the very least, he had never thought that Jun Xiaomo would have had a change of affection then. Quite apart from the repulsiveness of hideous looking scar on Ye Xiuwen’s face, Qin Lingyu did not believe that Jun Xiaomo’s past five or six years of infatuation with him could possibly change overnight just like that.
But if Jun Xiaomo had not had a change of affection, then why was there a need for her to come travelling thousands of miles just to look for Ye Xiuwen?!
Qin Lingyu felt as though this realization was an intense slap to his face. His dignity was in tatters!
Yet the irony of all this was that it had completely slipped Qin Lingyu’s mind that he had already been passionately involved with Yu Wanrou. In his own eyes, it was perfectly understandable if he were unfaithful and tangled with other women. This was because he did not think that Jun Xiaomo deserved his love; and he had never reciprocated Jun Xiaomo’s affection for him either. On the other hand, it was completely unacceptable and unforgivable if Jun Xiaomo were unfaithful to him. After all, Qin Lingyu did not believe that he was inferior to Ye Xiuwen in any respect.
Furthermore, it was an incredibly shameful matter if a man’s fiancée is found to have an affair with someone else. It was as though his pride and dignity had been stripped off his face and trampled on the ground.
This was the logic of Qin Lingyu’s twisted double standards.
Then, Qin Lingyu slowly crushed the paper crane as he struggled to respond in a calm and composed voice, “Perhaps this news is false. Jun Xiaomo’s cultivation level is only at the first level of Qi Mastery. If she travels out of the Sect, there is no doubt that she would not be able to survive long enough to meet with Ye Xiuwen.”
Despite saying that, Qin Lingyu had a niggling premonition in his heart – a hunch – that this entire matter was true. However, this was not something he was going to express to others. He could only continually deny the existence of this matter in a bid to salvage some of his pride and dignity.
Situ Cang was rather displeased with Qin Lingyu’s calm and composed response. He despised the fact that Qin Lingyu could confine that raging inferno burning within his chest. Therefore, he continued to rub salt in his wounds.
“Do you still remember that there is the young man who travelled alongside Ye Xiuwen and Rong Ruihan? Yao Mo…Jun Xiaomo… Both names contain the word “Mo”. Do you think this is just a coincidence?”
“It’s just a coincidence!” Qin Lingyu lost his temper and denied flatly, “How would Jun Xiaomo know so much about formation arrays, then?!”
“Oh? It seems that brother Qin is just unwilling to accept the truth, huh? Then this Sovereign shall bestow you with yet another telltale sign. Yao Mo is presently only at the second level of Qi Mastery. I imagine that when you first encountered him, he was only at the bottleneck of the first level of Qi Mastery and about to break through to the second level of Qi Mastery, right? His cultivation level and Jun Xiaomo’s cultivation level at that time seems to match perfectly. Brother Qin, don’t you think that this is simply too coincidental?”
As Situ Cang ended his spiel, he looked up and glanced at Qin Lingyu expectantly.
He saw that the veins on Qin Lingyu’s head was bulging and throbbing uncontrollably right now. A smile crept up Situ Cang’s lips as he slowly walked away.
As expected, this drama is going to be pretty exciting. I can’t wait for the second act.
Just as Situ Cang had expected, the trio consisting of Jun Xiaomo, Ye Xiuwen and Rong Ruihan, had all fallen prey to the Soulless Land’s illusions. At it were right now, the Mistlands had trapped each of them in their worst fears and nightmares, magnifying the heartache and despondence that they each experienced.
Just like Jun Xiaomo, Ye Xiuwen had very quickly also discovered that he had lost sight of Yao Mo and Rong Ruihan after entering the Mistlands. He looked about his surroundings for them for a few moments. Then, when he ascertained that Yao Mo and Rong Ruihan were no longer nearby, he paused to collect his thoughts and contemplate his next move.
He had noticed that there was something fishy about the fog when they had first entered the Mistlands. But instead of panicking and losing his mind, he knew that it would be far better to still his mind and observe his surroundings.
At that moment, Ye Xiuwen noticed that a person’s silhouette had slowly appeared in the distance. But he did not follow that figure like Jun Xiaomo did. Instead, he called out to it.
But the figure ignored him.
Having received no response, Ye Xiuwen stopped calling out at the figure as well. He stared vigilantly at the silhouette in case it was to make any form of attack against him.
Yet after a few moments, the silhouette remained motionless where it was.
Then, the fog gradually began to disperse. It was as though the fog knew that this silhouette would not be able to entice Ye Xiuwen to follow it. Thus, the silhouette also gradually dissipated with the fog as it grew more and more illusory.
Once the fog had completely dissipated, Ye Xiuwen found himself standing at the pathway leading to Jun Xiaomo’s courtyard. Even though Ye Xiuwen had not visited Jun Xiaomo too frequently, he was nevertheless familiar with these surroundings – the flowers, the grass and the trees were all located in the same places.
His heart thumped expectantly. Ye Xiuwen slowly trotted along the path as he entered Jun Xiaomo’s courtyard.
As he neared the courtyard, he could hear the sound of joyous chatter emanating from within the courtyard. He immediately knew that the owner of this voice was his little martial sister.
His heart began to beat faster and faster. His heart longed to see his little martial sister again, and this yearning had festered in his heart for far too long.
Even though his thoughts were still a mess, his body nevertheless began to move by itself. He increased his stride and picked up the frequency of his steps. Then, he finally stepped through the gate into Jun Xiaomo’s little courtyard.
At that moment, the tinkling of Jun Xiaomo’s voice immediately stopped.
There were two people in the courtyard right now, one of whom was Jun Xiaomo. She had practically noticed Ye Xiuwen at the moment that Ye Xiuwen first stepped into her courtyard.
However, there was no trace of excitement or eagerness for reunion in her eyes. Instead, there was only shock…and fear!
Ye Xiuwen could read her mind through her expressions right now – Jun Xiaomo was terrified of that menacing scar that was splayed across Ye Xiuwen’s face!
“Ahh--!” Jun Xiaomo shrieked as she reflexively grabbed onto the arm of the man beside her, exclaiming with a tremor in her voice, “He…who’s he? Martial brother Qin, who’s he?!”
That’s right. The person standing beside Qin Lingyu right now was the one whom she had always been fond of – Qin Lingyu.
Ye Xiuwen stood there motionless with an enigmatic expression on his face. Yet this expression of his, coupled with that menacing scar on his face, only seemed to terrify and distress Jun Xiaomo even more.
Only Ye Xiuwen’s tightly clenched and slightly quivering fists revealed the true conditions of his heart –
Anguish. Abject disappointment.Previous Chapter Next Chapter