Chapter 14: A Non-Negotiable Slap on the Face (1)

Jun Xiaomo’s cultivation level fell to the first level?! How can it be?! This was the immediate reaction of all who had heard the shocking news.

Who was Jun Xiaomo? She was the daughter of the Peakmaster of Heavenly Peak! Everyone knew that since young, the Peakmaster of the Heavenly Peak and his wife had always watched over their precious daughter closely, sheltering and protecting her from all harm. Even the fellow disciples within Heavenly Peak treated her as a precious little sister of theirs, always watching out for her. Therefore, how was it possible that somebody could have crippled her cultivation arts?

If the audience were in disbelief, then Yu Wanrou found Jun Xiaomo’s claims to be absolutely incredible. Even though she was astonished when she first heard the news, yet when she raised her head and caught sight of that smirk on Jun Xiaomo’s face, her emotions quickly settled down and she managed to compose herself.

Ah, Jun Xiaomo’s cultivation level fell to the first level of Qi Mastery? Absurd! She gave me a vicious palm strike just a few hours ago! How could someone at the first level of Qi Mastery have such strength?!

Yu Wanrou could still feel waves of throbbing pain emanating from her chest where Jun Xiaomo had struck her. Even though she had taken recovery pills, these had yet to take effect, and she still bore the pain of her injuries.

In any event, it was practically impossible to fabricate a story about the cause of Yu Wanrou’s injuries. Since that was the case, what was there to fear about these little twists thrown around by Jun Xiaomo? Having thought about the matter more thoroughly, Yu Wanrou managed to calm down.

In Yu Wanrou’s eyes, Jun Xiaomo was just an immature, headstrong lady, just like her stepsister from her previous life, completely incapable of matching up in terms of her own craftiness and schemes. Therefore, Yu Wanrou refused to believe that Jun Xiaomo could think of any remotely believable excuse to exonerate herself. 

Perhaps she had used some medicinal pills to artificially suppress her true cultivation level? Yu Wanrou sneered in her heart. Cultivation suppressing medicines are effective only for a period of time. Once this period of effectiveness is over, then Jun Xiaomo’s lies would naturally unfurl and fall apart.

After Yu Wanrou carefully considered again all the possible explanations, she bit the bullet and decided to drive home the point that Jun Xiaomo had hurt her. She could never take this humiliation caused by Jun Xiaomo lying down! 

Of course, Yu Wanrou would not forcibly interrogate Jun Xiaomo. Her forte lay with acting pitiful and winning the sympathy of others. Therefore, she adjusted her temperament and emotions, and then looked at Jun Xiaomo with reddened, watery eyes, as though filled with humiliation and unresolved grievances.

“Sister Xiaomo, I know that we’ve had some misunderstanding with each other, and I’m not too hopeful that you would be willing to hear my explanation, but I sincerely hope that this misunderstanding wouldn’t strain our relationship with each other. How about let’s just forget about this incident and move on? If it mollifies you, we’ll just take it that I carelessly injured myself this time.”

Jun Xiaomo coolly took in every word of Yu Wanrou’s “heartfelt” speech. She couldn’t help but secretly applaud Yu Wanrou for that highly convincing and compelling performance. With not more than a few sentences, she subliminally convinced everyone of the notion that “my injuries had all been caused by you, but I forgive you”. Replete with that pitiable expression of hers, this act of hers not only convinced many that Jun Xiaomo was the willful perpetrator in this incident, it even served to paint herself in a better light!

Jun Xiaomo examined the expression of those seated in the audience. As expected, more and more were being swayed by the pretense of this “pitiable” Yu Wanrou!

She coldly chuckled to herself, turned around and respectfully bowed to the presiding Sect Elders, saying, “Respectable Sect Elders, disciple’s cultivation level has truly fallen to the first level. Please feel free to examine for yourselves.”

Jun Xiaomo could tell that Yu Wanrou’s entire pretense was premised on her certainty that Jun Xiaomo’s cultivation levels could never have been crippled. Yu Wanrou is going to be sorely disappointed this time. Jun Xiaomo thought with a crafty gleam in her eyes.

“Come over here.” The Second Elder wave his hands, summoning Jun Xiaomo before him. Jun Xiaomo calmly obliged, walked over and stretched out her hand before the Second Elder.

The Second Elder placed his fingers on Jun Xiaomo’s wrist and sent a thread of spiritual energy through Jun Xiaomo’s meridians.

Compared with his examination of Yu Wanrou, the Second Elder spent a much longer time examining Jun Xiaomo’s body.

Three incense sticks’ worth of time passed. The Second Elder opened his eyes, placed his hands down, and looked at Jun Xiaomo with a profound gaze, as though he were experiencing a mix of curiosity and disbelief. 

Jun Xiaomo gently closed her eyes, pretending not to notice the complexity in the Second Elder’s eyes.

“So, how’s her condition?” The Third Elder had a more volatile temperament. Seeing that the Second Elder took so long, his patience had long worn thin.

Truth be told, he did not wish for Jun Xiaomo’s cultivation to fall back to the first level of Qi Mastery. After all, Jun Xiaomo considered one of the more talented disciples of Dawn Sect. If Jun Xiaomo’s cultivation had indeed been crippled, then Dawn Sect would effectively have lost one of its talents!

This line of thought left the Third Elder rather anxious. The Second Elder deliberated for a moment, before addressing the Penal Hall, “Disciple Jun Xiaomo’s cultivation has indeed fallen to the first level.”

Immediately, the originally somber ambience of the Penal Hall exploded with chatter. The gaze of numerous disciples fell on Jun Xiaomo, some in shock, some with looks of pity and sympathy, while others coldly chuckled, taking joy in her misfortune.

Yet, Jun Xiaomo seemed to be completely oblivious to their stares, only calmly inquiring, “Does this mean that the present matter has been decided?” As she said this, she looked directly at Yu Wanrou. Yu Wanrou bit down on her lips, desperately contemplating whether to press on with her present accusations. Jun Xiaomo’s stare made her feel even more unsettled at this moment.

But before Yu Wanrou made her decision, another person interjected, moving things along – 

“How do we know you haven’t taken cultivation suppressing medicines?” When Qin Shanshan saw that things did not develop as she had hoped for, she burst out with exasperation.

Jun Xiaomo raised her eyebrows, shifting her focus to Qin Shanshan, saying, “Oh? Are you saying that my current condition is caused by cultivation suppressing medicines? That’s fine, let’s return in a few days, and see if my cultivation level has recovered or not. Did you forget that cultivation suppressing medicines have a limited period of effectiveness?”

“You…you could always take cultivation suppressing medicine just before the Sect Elders check on you. That does not prove anything!” Qin Shanshan retorted angrily, refusing to let go of the issue.

“Ah, a continuous pretense by taking cultivation suppressing medicine? Qin Shanshan, have you taken all of your Medicinal Knowledge and fed them to flies?” Jun Xiaomo bluntly mocked, “Don’t you know that cultivation suppressing medicine can only be taken consecutively three times before one’s cultivation will actually fall? How much of an idiot must I be to resort to such measures?”

“Pfft….” A male disciple couldn’t control his laughter – fed flies with her Medicinal Knowledge? How did Jun Xiaomo even come up with that… 

He wasn’t the only one in the audience who found it funny. The lips of numerous other disciples twitched uncontrollably as they tried to suppress their laughter.

At this moment, Qin Shanshan’s face was flushed red with embarrassment, her chest undulated with increasing amplitude as her breathing intensified. Despite pointing at Jun Xiaomo and stuttering through a few “you’s”, she could not find any other words to refute what Jun Xiaomo had just said.

Since when did her tongue become so sharp?! Qin Shanshan found that the present Jun Xiaomo was truly hateful. Twice! Within one day! Jun Xiaomo had twice embarrassed me in public. And this time not only is it before my fellow disciples, it is before my brother as well! Ugh!

Qin Shanshan stared at Jun Xiaomo with such fiery intensity that her eyes may well have been on fire. Yet, Jun Xiaomo merely smiled daintily back at her, as though she were completely unfazed and unaffected by Qin Shanshan’s hatred.

“Oh, Qin Shanshan, there’s one more thing that I would like to remind you about. With the cultivation levels of these respectable Sect Elders, I’m pretty sure they would know if I had indeed consumed cultivation suppressing medicine. So, when you asserted that I had taken these cultivation suppressing medicine despite what the Second Elder had said, were you being over-confident in the quality of my cultivation suppressing medicine, or were you just doubting the Second Elder’s cultivation level and abilities?”

Jun Xiaomo maintained a simple smile on her face as she delivered her final blow to Qin Shanshan, driving the final nail into her coffin. Not only had Qin Shanshan been absolutely humiliated in public, she was even slapped with a charge of “disrespecting her elders”! Qin Shanshan's anger momentarily reached a breaking point, her eyes flipped up, and she instantly fainted. Fortunately, Qin Lingyu managed to support her before she fell onto the ground.

As things were right now, it was quite unlikely that Qin Shanshan would even think of leaving her home within the next few days. She had always been a person who viewed the idea of “face” or her reputation as something of utmost importance to her. And this time, Jun Xiaomo had thoroughly trampled on that in public.

Holding onto his younger sister, Qin Lingyu pondered over all these – he felt that something about Jun Xiaomo was truly strange. Yet, he could not place a finger on what had catalyzed such a change in her.

Master He Zhang, let’s just hope that Jun Xiaomo’s change will not unduly affect our plans. Qin Lingyu thought silently to himself, yet his heart nevertheless felt unsettled.

No matter. The plan we have is perfect! As Qin Lingyu consolidated his thoughts, his heart grew with hardened determination.

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