Chapter 17: Ye Xiuwen’s Past

“Brother Ye…” Jun Xiaomo murmured repeatedly. At this moment, her eyes gradually welled up with tears. 

In the three hundred over days and nights she was held captive in the dark dungeon, she had on countless occasions recalled that moment when Ye Xiuwen had died. Ye Xiuwen loved wearing white. Yet from that gaping hole in the middle of his chest poured copious amounts of blood, dyeing his entire outfit a blood-curdling crimson red. 

Jun Xiaomo had often wondered how would Ye Xiuwen be like if he did not have to bear the burden of looking after her? How would his life have been?

With Ye Xiuwen’s abilities and talents, he would surely have become a formidable cultivator, and perhaps even found his own sect!

In the end, because of Jun Xiaomo’s idiocy and recklessness, Ye Xiuwen perished even before he reached the Nascent Soul stage of cultivation. This became one of Jun Xiaomo’s greatest regrets in life.

Jun Xiaomo’s embrace grew tighter and tighter. If not for the fact that Ye Xiuwen’s cultivation level was high, and Jun Xiaomo’s cultivation level had fallen, her vice-like embrace might even have caused Ye Xiuwen some pain. 

At this moment, Ye Xiuwen lowered his head and his eyes fell onto his little martial sister who had buried her face in his chest. His eyes glimmered with mixed, complicated emotions.

Truth be told, he and Jun Xiaomo were not close at all. Even though they hailed from the same Peak, but they barely interacted with each other.

And it was not because Ye Xiuwen did not pay attention to this little martial sister of his. Rather, it was because of an incident some time ago which created a rift between them, prevented them from getting any closer to each other. As the former Jun Xiaomo never felt any kinship for Ye Xiuwen, she naturally also did not pay any attention to her increasing estrangement from Ye Xiuwen. 

At that time, Ye Xiuwen was fifteen years-old. He had, based solely on his own strength and abilities, won the praise and recognition of several people in the Sect, including Jun Xiaomo’s father, Jun Linxuan.

With Ye Xiuwen’s display of talent at this young age, everyone was certain that he would achieve great things in life. Therefore, Jun Linxuan naturally appointed Ye Xiuwen as the First-Seat Disciple of his Heavenly Peak.

Because Ye Xiuwen was appointed as Jun Linxuan’s First-Seat Disciple, in additional to his usual daily cultivation, Ye Xiuwen also set aside time each day to learn from Jun Linxuan and improve his knowledge of peak management. It was at that time that Ye Xiuwen first encountered his cute and lovely little martial sister, Jun Linxuan’s daughter, Jun Xiaomo.

Ye Xiuwen was older than Jun Xiaomo by a margin of nine years. Therefore, while he was fifteen years of age then, Jun Xiaomo had only been six years-old. Jun Xiaomo had always been sheltered and protected by his parents, and she therefore rarely appeared in public. When Ye Xiuwen first saw Jun Xiaomo, he immediately took a liking to this cute and adorable little martial sister – her agile and curious eyes coupled with her chubby cheeks made her look irresistibly cute.

Anyone who saw the six years-old Jun Xiaomo would find it hard to resist patting her head endearingly. 

The six years-old Jun Xiaomo ran out from behind her father clumsily, looking curiously at Ye Xiuwen with her large eyes. As she fumbled over to Ye Xiuwen’s side, she looked up at that big brother, asking inquisitively, “Brother, why do you wear a hat in the house?”

The Ye Xiuwen back then also wore a veiled conical hat. When Ye Xiuwen was ten years-old, he was disfigured by a demonic cultivator who sent a wave of curse-infused demonic energy sweeping across his face, corroding his skin and flesh, leaving a sprawling, terrifying scar. Even with the vast, combined knowledge of the Sect Elders, no one had any means of removing this horrible scar from Ye Xiuwen’s face. Therefore, Jun Linxuan could only remorsefully pat Ye Xiuwen’s shoulders in dismay.

In fact, Ye Xiuwen was not very much bothered by the fact that the scar could not be removed. He was very mature for his age, and he did not place much importance on his own appearances to begin with.

In any event, this cultivation world was a place where the strong ruled and the weak were despised, and appearances truly did not count for much. Besides, because of his now-blemished appearances, Ye Xiuwen would have less distractions surrounding him and he could be truly focused on pursuing the path of strength. This was also the reason why Ye Xiuwen could become the First-Seat Disciple of Heavenly Peak in the first place – apart from his innately high talent, he possessed boundless determination and diligence.

However, while Ye Xiuwen did not mind his blemished appearances, he did not appreciate the fact that strangers would stare at the scar on his face. Therefore, every time he went outside the Sect’s premises for a task or mission, he would never fail to wear his veiled conical hat.

That day, because he had just completed a task outside the Sect and was just retuning to Jun Linxuan with his report, he did not remove his veiled conical hat.

That fifteen years-old teenager sat silently in the hall, dressed in all white with a veiled conical hat obscuring his appearances. The exceptionally sharp aura he exuded was somewhat diluted by his dignified mannerism and his clean and pure white clothing, making him look both like a deity and yet somewhat warm and approachable at the same time.

Jun Xiaomo was exactly allured by Ye Xiuwen’s aura and appearance. As a bright-eyed six years-old girl, she was easily fascinated by the good things around her. Therefore, she curiously found her way beside Ye Xiuwen, thinking of removing the veiled conical hat from him.

Brother looks so dignified. He must be very handsome as well! The six years-old Jun Xiaomo thought in her heart.

Ye Xiuwen thought that this little martial sister only wanted to play with his veiled conical hat, and he had therefore intended to remove it and let her play with it. However, as Ye Xiuwen’s fingers touched the hat, he momentarily hesitated. 

His hesitation was because he recalled that there was that terrifying scar on his face. He truly adored this cute little martial sister of his and did not want to scare her away.

The six years-old Jun Xiaomo pouted. She did not understand why this big brother looked like he was going to remove his hat, yet stopped at the last minute.

The aggrieved Jun Xiaomo puffed up her cheeks indignantly. But when there’s a will, there’s a way. She had the will, so she would think of the way!

Her eyes spun around as she thought to herself. Suddenly, she mustered her strength and jumped with gusto, instantly knocking over Ye Xiuwen’s veiled conical hat.

Ye Xiuwen was shocked and could not react in time. He never imagined that Jun Xiaomo would resort to such measures to have her own way.

“Wu-wu-……waaaaahhhhhhh—” At that moment, the six years-old Jun Xiaomo immediately started bawling. She had thought this big brother with such a warm temperament would surely be good-looking. Yet who knew that his appearance that was before her eyes right now was so incredibly terrifying!

Ye Xiuwen felt a bit flustered by her reaction. No matter how mature he was for his age, he was still just a fifteen years-old teenager. Besides, the girl crying now was even his master’s daughter!

“Jun Xiaomo, you are not allowed to cry!” Jun Linxuan coldly ordered as his voice boomed across the hall. Even though Jun Xiaomo was his beloved daughter, there were some things that his daughter simply needed to learn. This disciple’s appearances were not of his own choice after all. Additionally, Ye Xiuwen had already received enough strange stares to last a lifetime. Therefore, he could not bear seeing his own daughter rubbing salt into Ye Xiuwen’s wounds!

No matter what, this daughter of his needs to learn not to judge people by their appearances! 

Although Jun Linxuan had ordered his daughter to stop crying, this in fact only made her crying worse. Ever since young, Jun Linxuan had rarely chided, let alone scolded his daughter. Yet today, he had fiercely raised his voice at her just because of a big brother with frightening appearances…

Ye Xiuwen thought for a moment, and then raised his hand, intending to pat Jun Xiaomo’s head to console this little martial sister whom he adored. However, as he stretched his hand forward, Jun Xiaomo ducked out of his arm’s way and ran off to his father’s side, looking timidly at Ye Xiuwen.

The original affection and curiosity in Jun Xiaomo’s eyes had now been replaced by fear.

Seeing this, Ye Xiuwen could not help but feel anguished. In the past when he received those stares from passers-by, he did not feel a thing at all because these people’s existence in his life was transient and momentary. Therefore, he could not be bothered with what they thought at all.

As for the people within the Sect, Ye Xiuwen had also earned their respect with his own strength, and they no longer dared to comment on his appearances.

But as for Jun Xiaomo, she was the beloved daughter of one of the people whom he respected the most – his master and teacher, Jun Linxuan. Jun Linxuan had even once saved his life and brought him back to the Sect and protected him. As the saying goes, “teacher for a day, father for a lifetime”. In his own heart, Ye Xiuwen had long since treated Jun Linxuan as his own father. By association, Ye Xiuwen had also counted Jun Xiaomo as his sister, and had enthusiastically anticipated the day when he would finally meet Jun Xiaomo face to face.

Ye Xiuwen told himself then that if fate allowed it, he would treat her as his own sister, protecting and spoiling her.

Who knew that their first encounter with each other would end in such an awkward manner instead!

Ye Xiuwen appeared to be indifferent, but that instant where his face turned pale and tightly clenched his fist spoke volumes about his unsettled heart. Jun Linxuan sighed, patting Jun Xiaomo’s head, saying, “Xiaomo, apologize to big brother.”

“I don’t want to! I didn’t do anything wrong!” By now, Jun Xiaomo’s eyes had become so swollen and puffy that they looked almost like peaches.

“Why is Mo-Mo crying?” Liu Qingmei stepped into the hall, asking. Her daughter’s hysterical crying had caused her to rush over in a flustered manner.

“Muuuum—” Seeing Liu Qingmei, Jun Xiaomo reacted as though her pillar of support had arrived and leapt into Liu Qingmei’s bosom, furiously wiping her tears off on Liu Qingmei’s shoulders. 

The relentless pitter-patter of Jun Xiaomo’s teardrops would made anyone’s heart ache for her.

“Good girl~ Mo-Mo, would you like to tell mother why you are crying?” Liu Qingmei hugged her daughter, tenderly patting her daughter’s back whilst also glaring at Jun Linxuan.

Liu Qingmei felt that the only one present who could make Jun Xiaomo cry was Jun Linxuan.

Jun Linxuan furrowed his brows. While he usually puts his wife and daughter first, he felt that this time he absolutely could not back down and indulge in Jun Xiaomo’s behavior, because her actions had clearly crossed the line. After all, he did not want his daughter to grow up being unruly and headstrong, lacking common sense, or even cry at the smallest sign of trouble.

“Look at her! She’s crying so hysterically just because I spoke to her sternly. She’s really been spoilt by us!”

“Why did you chide her in the first place?” Liu Qingmei raised her eyebrows, glaring at Jun Linxuan.

“Her actions have hurt Xiuwen. Can I not admonish her for that? Xiuwen did not want her to remove his veiled hat because he didn’t want to shock her. But she insisted on removing it, and now she’s even making a scene out here. I asked her to apologize and she refused to do so. How can we let our daughter be so finicky!”

As Liu Qingmei listened to her husband’s explanation, she roughly understood what exactly happened. She shifted her gaze to Ye Xiuwen, promptly noticing for the first time that he was seated that with a dignified, upright posture. He was only fifteen years-old, and yet his demeanor exuded an inexplicable air of melancholy.

This kind of melancholy was truly heartrending.

Liu Qingmei sighed, patting her daughter’s shoulder, she put her down. With some measure of strength she egged Jun Xiaomo towards Ye Xiuwen, saying, “Mo-Mo, good girl, this is your big brother Ye. Remember how you often hear your father and I talk about him? Don’t you also adore him very much? How about making friends with big brother Ye?”

Jun Xiaomo pursed her lips, twisted her head away, before leaning on Liu Qingmei’s leg, refusing to speak to anyone.

She did in fact often hear her parents talk about big brother Ye, and even mention how he was young and promising. Yet not once did they ever mention that this big brother Ye would…would have such a frightening appearance!

Ye Xiuwen lowered his head slightly. He knew that it might be asking too much to expect a six years-old little girl to discern right from wrong or be considerate to others. But at the same time, it was also precisely because her response was so innocent and pure that it really cut to the heart!

“Master, Ma’am.” Ye Xiuwen stood up and bowed courteously. “Disciple has some sect matters to attend to later, so disciple shall take his leave for now.”

“This…Xiuwen, why don’t you stay for dinner? I’ve prepared several home-cooked dishes tonight. There’s enough food for everyone here.”

Liu Qingmei felt deeply remorseful to Ye Xiuwen for her daughter’s earlier misdeed.

“Thank you kindly, Ma’am, but unfortunately these matters are rather urgent, and I’m afraid I will have to rush back.” Ye Xiuwen tactfully rejected her.

“That’s fine then. When you have the time, I’ll bring Mo-Mo over to your place to apologize to you.” Liu Qingmei also felt a little bit helpless towards her daughter.

Ye Xiuwen calmly smiled in response. After he bid Jun Linxuan and Liu Qingmei farewell once again, he left without looking back.

Ever since that day, Ye Xiuwen developed a habit of wearing his veiled conical hat at every moment of the day, even when he returned to the Sect. Furthermore, every time he crossed paths with Jun Xiaomo, he would subconsciously also avoid her.

A Peak was in fact enormous. If Ye Xiuwen intentionally avoided her, then Jun Xiaomo would not even have the chance to see Ye Xiuwen more than once in a hundred years. As for the young Jun Xiaomo who had been shocked by Ye Xiuwen’s appearances, naturally she did not go about actively looking for her father’s First-Seat Disciple to play with.

As time passed, Jun Xiaomo slowly forgot about this matter, as well as the fact that she once bore such curiosity and adoration for her martial brother Ye Xiuwen. She knew that Ye Xiuwen was her father’s First-Seat Disciple, and also the fact that Ye Xiuwen had been disfigured when he was young, but she had long forgotten how Ye Xiuwen face actually looked like.

To the young Jun Xiaomo, the name “Ye Xiuwen” had slowly become synonymous with just another reputable person that people talked about – Heavenly Peak’s First-Seat Disciple; the third in ranking among all cultivators under thirty years old; the upper-tiered Frozen Sword Sect’s inner disciple, etc. These were all descriptions used to describe this young, rising star in the cultivation world.

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