Chapter 15: A Non-Negotiable Slap to the Face (2)

The final part of Jun Xiaomo’s arguments could be said to have completely exonerated Jun Xiaomo from any further suspicions that she had consumed cultivation suppressing medicine. However, she had not explained how her cultivation had fallen back to the first level of Qi Mastery. After the Second Elder pondered about this for a bit, he raised his eyebrow and queried, “When did your cultivation level begin to fall?”

“Response to Second Elder – disciple is not certain of that.” Jun Xiaomo slightly bowed as she replied courteously.

“Not certain?” The Second Elder knit his brows.

“Yes, disciple is not certain of that. After disciple received the punishment for entering the Sect’s forbidden grounds, Sect Leader had once examined the conditions of disciple’s meridians and Dantian. Back then, Sect Leader only mentioned that the meridians were damaged, but the damage was not irreversible. However, in the last few days, the loss of spiritual energy from disciple’s Dantian and meridians continued to grow worse and worse. When disciple finally discovered weakness in her limbs and the loss of almost all the spiritual energy in disciple’s body, it was already too late – disciple’s cultivation had already fallen to the first level of Qi Mastery.”

There was some truth in what Jun Xiaomo had said, and at the same time also some lies. Jun Xiaomo knew that half-truths were the hardest to detect.

She was not afraid even if someone attempted to verify her account with He Zhang. After all, she had indeed consumed all of the medicinal pills given by He Zhang. How would anyone be able to explain how her condition had “worsened” when all she was doing was focusing on her recovery? Perhaps even He Zhang might not be willing to divulge exactly what medicinal pill he had given to Jun Xiaomo.

Ah, the medicine to forcibly transform her spiritual body into a demonic body…did He Zhang think he could fool everyone?

Of course, as Jun Xiaomo finished speaking, everyone in the Penal Hall was silent again.

Everyone knew how seriously Jun Xiaomo was punished for entering the Sect’s forbidden grounds. It would not be considered too far-fetched if her cultivation levels were affected as a result of the heavy-handed punishment from then.

“Why didn’t you report this to the Sect?” The Third Elder asked.

“Disciple deserved the punishment for entering the Sect’s forbidden ground in the first place. If this caused disciple’s cultivation levels to fall, then disciple deserves it as well. Therefore, disciple did not consider such a trifling matter of enough importance to disturb the cultivation of these respectable Sect Elders.”

Jun Xiaomo explained conscientiously, presenting herself as a noble and considerate disciple.

Act? She also knew how to act. However, her acting was not the pitiful type. Jun Xiaomo glanced at the lady who was seated at the side with her head hung low. There was no way she could tell what Yu Wanrou was thinking of right now.

As Jun Xiaomo finished speaking, the Third Elder and the Fifth Elder nodded with some praise in their eyes. It was clear that the manner in which she had just presented herself left a very good impression on these two Sect Elders. However, the Second Elder was an exception. He continued to look over at Jun Xiaomo with a complicated look in his eyes.

Jun Xiaomo’s heart sank a little, and she felt that the Second Elder’s attitude towards her was a little bit fishy.

After all, she had never offended the respectable Second Elder. If that was the case, then perhaps the Second Elder must have some other reasons for making things difficult for her.

What reason is it? Is it because he just doesn’t find me pleasing to his eye, or is it…

As she dwelt on this matter, another person interjected, breaking her train of thought – 

“If I may…Sister Xiaomo, if your cultivation had fallen to the first level of Qi Mastery, how come you don’t appear to be in any form of discomfort?” A male disciple seated not far away hesitantly asked.

And not to mention you were even so overbearing and quick-witted earlier! The male disciple silently added in his heart.

Jun Xiaomo looked at him, and then indifferently swept her gaze around the hall again. Again, several disciples in attendance revealed a puzzled and unconvinced look on their faces.

Jun Xiaomo squinted her eyes, suddenly lifting her chin and hooking her lips, she proudly glowered at the male disciple, saying, “Must I show it on my face if my body is in discomfort? What’s the point of revealing it on my face? So that you can pity or sympathize with me? Pity; sympathy; mercy – I, Jun Xiaomo, don’t need any of these things, because I am the daughter of Jun Linxuan. I have my pride. That’s all. You decide for yourselves.” With that, she turned her head and looked away from all the disciples in attendance as though she were sulking.

Didn’t people say I was arrogant and obstinate, headstrong and unruly? Then I’ll put on a show of my pride for all to see!

Yes, the Jun Xiaomo now looked very prideful indeed. However, this prideful side of hers was not one that was contemptible or repulsive at all. If one said that Yu Wanrou’s propensity to break out in tears attracted sympathy, then the fortitude that the injured Jun Xiaomo displayed by resiliently riding out the pain caused people to feel even sorrier for her, and perhaps also find her…somewhat cute?

In fact, there’s a type of animal called a civet [1] which behaves exactly like this. Even when it is injured, it would still calmly brandish its claws, displaying its ferocity and unyielding spirit. Many of the disciples witnessing this scene unwittingly thought of this, including both Qin Lingyu and Ye Xiuwen. However, none of them revealed these thoughts on their faces.

Several of the male disciples were moved by Jun Xiaomo. These male disciples could not help but comment in their hearts – she truly deserves to be called the daughter of Jun Linxuan with her strong temperament! 

At this instant, an alarm blared in Yu Wanrou’s heart! She could not help but look at Qin Lingyu and discovered that his eyes were trained onto Jun Xiaomo, even subconsciously revealing a complicated look on his face. Her heart wrenched momentarily, while she cried out silently – No! Qin Lingyu is mine! Jun Xiaomo cannot snatch him from me!

As though it were echoing the pain Yu Wanrou felt in her heart, the injuries on her chest suddenly tensed up in acute pain, causing her to cough relentlessly, as though she were about to cough up her heart!

Jun Xiaomo followed the sound of the coughing and shifted her eyes to Yu Wanrou, coldly remarking, “What’s the matter, Sister Wanrou? Do you have anything to add? Or…do you still think that this person at the first level of Qi Mastery could hurt you who are at the fifth level of Qi Mastery, hmm?”

“I’m not…cough cough cough…” Yu Wanrou had wanted to say that she was not trying to express anything with her cough. Yet Jun Xiaomo wouldn’t let her have any opportunity to explain herself.

“What was that? You’re not falsely accusing me anymore?” Jun Xiaomo’s lips curled into a mocking smile, intentionally misinterpreting what Yu Wanrou was trying to say. “Then why not you explain – how did I unreasonably bully you, the pitiful maiden, and how did I threaten you to keep quiet in an unruly manner? Do explain it carefully. Don’t miss out anything.”

Yu Wanrou viciously bit down on her lower lips; and her eyes welled up with tears again like a bursting dam. 

But this time, her tears were authentic. She was extremely sullen. She couldn’t understand why every time she tried to recall the details of how exactly Jun Xiaomo had injured her, her memory would draw a blank.

It was as though her memory had been altered or tampered with!

Jun Xiaomo squinted her eyes. From Yu Wanrou’s expressions, she had discovered something.

Yu Wanrou seems to have forgotten that moment where she had almost demonized! This was a good thing for her. It would be truly problematic if Yu Wanrou could remember that detail. 

Having concluded as such, she decided to shelve these thoughts for the moment.

Jun Xiaomo slowly strolled towards Yu Wanrou, bending over her head to take a closer look at Yu Wanrou’s tear-strewn face.

“Tsk tsk, it seems that I’m truly “unruly and headstrong” eh? See, I’ve unwittingly even caused you to tear up! Although…I wonder where my reputation of being “unruly and headstrong” had come from, hmm?”

Jun Xiaomo carefully paced out and articulated her words. Even though she spoke softly, yet every word spoken by Jun Xiaomo was completely audible across the Penal Hall because of the surrounding silence.

Within moments, almost half of the disciples in attendance widened their eyes in realization – that’s right, weren’t their impressions of Jun Xiaomo being unruly and headstrong all based on hearsay and rumours? Many people had said that Jun Xiaomo had taken advantage of her privileged background to bully fellow disciples like Yu Wanrou who were not as privileged. 

Of course, if this entire incident were considered one of these instances of “bullying”…then rumours truly could not be trusted!

As she felt more and more sharp, scrutinizing gazes fall upon her, Yu Wanrou really couldn’t help but feel an immense hatred swell up within her, fueling her desire to tear Jun Xiaomo’s smiling face to pieces!

On this day, their roles had finally reversed – the hunter had truly become the hunted! There were numerous occasions in the past where Yu Wanrou had acted as the weaker party and made things difficult for Jun Xiaomo. Yet today, she finally had a taste of her own medicine – it was as though the vile, bitter pill Jun Xiaomo had served on Yu Wanrou were now lodged in her throat, choking her.

Yu Wanrou bit down on her lower lips again, resolutely deciding to throw caution to the wind. Having come so far, she could not back down now, otherwise she would forever be known as the slandering disciple!

Within the Sect, slandering fellow disciples is also considered a very serious offence. Yu Wanrou could not be unafraid of its consequences.

Having decided as such, Yu Wanrou once again burst out into tears. Choking with emotion, she muttered, “Sister Xiaomo, it’s not that I intentionally maligned you, but the fact was that the person I saw then was really you. What could I do? Actually, I never wanted to pursue this matter, but I did not want our misunderstanding to continue unmitigated…cough cough cough…we…can we not just bury this hatchet? I don’t need to know exactly who it was who injured me…”

Jun Xiaomo straightened herself. After solemnly staring at Yu Wanrou for quite some time, she finally revealed a smile on her face.

Yu Wanrou’s eyes flickered with delight, expecting Jun Xiaomo to extricate herself from the situation and quit while she was ahead. Little did she expect…

“No way.” Jun Xiaomo spoke from her moral high ground, emphatically enunciating each and every word she said, “We can never bury the hatchet because you are a hypocrite.”

Yu Wanrou almost choked at Jun Xiaomo’s unexpected response. She stared at Jun Xiaomo in a daze, momentarily neglecting to shed her tears.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civet 

Previous Chapter Next Chapter