The Scarlet Heavenly Wolf that had just regained its freedom slowly strode out of the formation array in a dignified manner. It stretched its back and kicked its foot, before it threw its head up to the sky and howled wildly – Awooooo!
Now that it was returned its freedom, it immediately released its powerful aura with abandon, frightening the innumerable spirit beasts in the locality. Within moments, the entire area was filled with a tense atmosphere.
Jun Xiaomo didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry as she patted its head and attempted to persuade it to contain its joy and delight. Fortunately, the Scarlet Heavenly Wolf understood Jun Xiaomo’s intentions, and it immediately collected and restrained its powerful aura within moments.
In fact, the chief referee had earlier subconsciously furrowed his brows when he noticed the Scarlet Heavenly Wolf act with such primal and reckless abandon. However, when he saw how obedient the Scarlet Heavenly Wolf was to Jun Xiaomo, he couldn’t help but click his tongue in wonder.
It seems that with this young lady around, the Scarlet Heavenly Wolf really won’t pose a threat to life and limb any longer.
Thus, Jun Xiaomo led the Scarlet Heavenly Wolf as she made her way back to her lodging. She encountered several disciples from the other sects on the way back, and each of them were equally astonished when they saw the majestic and dignified Scarlet Heavenly Wolf walking obsequiously behind Jun Xiaomo. That said, their astonishment would quickly turn into looks of admiration and wonder.
Jun Xiaomo actually succeeded? Perhaps this spirit beast might even become Jun Xiaomo’s combat companion in future. That’s not a bad deal at all! Several people exclaimed in their heart.
That said, there were also a few people who found it a pity that Jun Xiaomo had not perished under the razor-sharp claws of the Scarlet Heavenly Wolf.
Faced with the baptism of gazes, Jun Xiaomo turned a blind eye to each and every one of them as she calmly walked through the midst of the crowd that had gathered around to witness this sight.
Jun Xiaomo walked on for a moment, before she suddenly paused in her steps as though she had just recalled something important.
Jun Xiaomo had intended to let Rong Ruihan take a look at the Scarlet Heavenly Wolf before entreating him to contact old man Chi. However, when she glanced around, she discovered that Rong Ruihan was not among the members of the Heavenly Peak disciples at this moment.
Has brother Rong gone back too his clan to attend to his own matters already? Jun Xiaomo’s heart swelled with a sense of unease, and she thus asked the disciples around her.
“Brother Rong? He didn’t appear too well a few days back, and he’d returned early to the inn. Now that martial sister mentioned it…I don’t think we’ve seen brother Rong in the last few days.” Wei Gaolang rubbed his head as he spoke.
Wei Gaolang had overheard all of this from the other Heavenly Peak disciples who had not participated in the group battles. However, he thought nothing much of it, and he very quickly forgot all about this.
To his mind, Rong Ruihan was a powerful and formidable existence, so he was confident that there was no real cause for concern as to the condition of Rong Ruihan’s body.
Yet who would have thought that Rong Ruihan would “disappear” for a few days on end. The Secondary Inter-Sect Competition had concluded for some time now, but Rong Ruihan continued to remain missing.
Jun Xiaomo’s heart immediately grew anxious and concerned.
“Father, mother, do you all know what’s going on?” Jun Xiaomo asked the two people who would probably know best what happened to Rong Ruihan.
Now that the question had directly been poised to Liu Qingmei, she paused for a moment to recollect what had happened, before responding with some measure of guilt on her part, “Back then, Xiaomo was in the most intense part of the competition, and unfortunately mother didn’t notice what had happened to your friend.”
“The most intense part of the competition?” Jun Xiaomo was slightly taken aback.
“That would be when the Scarlet Heavenly Wolf appeared in the marshlands. He spat out some blood and fainted, and I’d asked the other disciples to send him back to the inn.” Jun Linxuan calmly responded.
“Spat blood and fainted?!” Jun Xiaomo immediately recalled what had happened –
While she was duking it out with the Scarlet Heavenly Wolf, she discovered that her earrings had grown hot all of a sudden. At that point in time, the Scarlet Heavenly Wolf had taken a vicious swipe at her while she was distracted, and she had indeed thought that she was going to perish there and then.
Yet in the end, she did not perish. Even she was unaware as to what exactly happened that preserved her life and limb. However, the situation had been far too intense back then, and she had conveniently shelved these thoughts and put them on the backburner.
From what she knew, that incident might very well have been linked to brother Rong. After all, the pair of earrings had been gifted to her by none other than brother Rong.
Having realized this, Jun Xiaomo knew that she could wait no longer. She hurriedly spoke to everyone around her, “Not good! Something might have happened to brother Rong’s body. I’ve got to get back to the inn to take a look!”
As she finished speaking, Jun Xiaomo immediately started sprinting towards the inn, while the Scarlet Heavenly Wolf followed closely behind her. Everyone else who remained behind looked at each other and exchanged astonished glances.
Jun Linxuan thought of a possibility as to what might have happened as well. Thus, he addressed the other Heavenly Peak disciples around, “Come on, we’d best follow along and take a look as well.”
Just like that, the entire entourage of Heavenly Peak disciples followed Jun Linxuan’s lead as they rushed back to their inn after Jun Xiaomo.
Her anxiety and concern for Rong Ruihan had come to a head, and Jun Xiaomo rushed straight to Rong Ruihan’s room and pushed open the main door without knocking at all.
The first sight that entered her eyes –
Rong Ruihan sat in a dignified by his table, while an agent clad in black garbs knelt courteously before him, as though Rong Ruihan were instructing him and entrusting him with some tasks. Rong Ruihan also held a bowl in his other hand.
“Eh…Rong…brother Rong, I’m sorry. Am I interrupting something?” Jun Xiaomo was slightly embarrassed.
She had been far too reckless. How could she have rushed straight into the room without knocking on the door first? This was particularly the case when Rong Ruihan appeared to be in the midst of something important as well.
Seeing how Jun Xiaomo stood awkwardly at the door, not knowing whether to enter or to leave, Rong Ruihan smiled faintly, “It’s fine. It’s nothing serious. Xiaomo, come in.”
Once he finished speaking, his expressions turned cold and somber once more as he addressed the agent kneeling at his feet, “So, do you understand what I’ve instructed you? I want to see results within three days’ time.”
“Understood. Your servant shall get on it now.” The agent bowed his head courteously. Then, in the blink of an eye, the agent completely vanished from sight and disappeared from the room.
Jun Xiaomo still believed that she might have interrupted Rong Ruihan with something important, and she continued to appear embarrassed. However, when Rong Ruihan looked back at her with a slightly quizzical expression on his face, she smiled radiantly back at him, walked over and took her seat at the other end of the table.
It was only at this moment that she discovered how Rong Ruihan presented himself with a rather pale face, while the bowl that he was holding in his hand contained medicine.
Medicine?! Jun Xiaomo’s heart constricted. She immediately recalled what Jun Linxuan had said earlier, and she couldn’t help but ask, “Brother Rong, your injuries…”
“This is just because I’d been careless.” Rong Ruihan calmly explained.
“You know that’s not true! Brother Rong, was it because you’d activated the trace of your soul that you’d placed on my earrings, so you’ve…” Jun Xiaomo didn’t know how she should continue the rest of the sentence.
“You’re far too sensitive, aren’t you?” Rong Ruihan chuckled with some measure of exasperation, “Actually, it’s really nothing much. I’ll be able to recover fully with some rest. After all, I can’t stand idly by and watch you get injured during the competition, can I?”
Jun Xiaomo was taken aback by Rong Ruihan’s explanation. She wanted to refute him, but she could not find the right words to express her disapproval of what he had done.
In fact, what Rong Ruihan had said was right. If their roles had been reversed, she would have done the very same thing for him as well – after all, if she was presented with a choice between a light injury to herself or grievous wounds to her friend, she would undoubtedly choose the former.
But, with this, the number of favours I now owe to brother Rong must be innumerable, huh? Jun Xiaomo chuckled bitterly to herself.
Rong Ruihan thought about it for a moment, before he patted her head gently, “Don’t be too hard on yourself. I’m truly glad you’re able to return right now. Oh yes, the energy within your earrings must have been depleted. Let me store some more of my energy in them.”
“This…brother Rong, no…”
Jun Xiaomo was just about to tell him there was no need, but Rong Ruihan had already leaned over the table and placed his hand over her earlobes.
Within moments, Jun Xiaomo once again felt her earlobes awash with a warm sensation, just like what she had experienced in the heat of the battle with the Scarlet Heavenly Wolf.
Just as her awkwardness mounted, a long howl suddenly resounded from outside of her window – Awoooooo-
Rong Ruihan’s hand paused for a moment, “Wolf?” Then, he looked out of the window and was immediately met with a pair of long, half-squinting eyes.
It was none other than the Scarlet Heavenly Wolf. Rong Ruihan’s room was on the third floor of the inn, while the massive Scarlet Heavenly Wolf had leaned against the wall of the inn so that he could peep through the window. It just happened to notice Rong Ruihan draw close to Jun Xiaomo.
Several people within the inn, including the innkeeper and his attendants, looked fearfully at the massive creature that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. Everyone’s first concerns were whether the tiny little inn would collapse under the weight of the Scarlet Heavenly Wolf.
Fortunately, the outer walls of the inn were incredibly sturdy, and nothing happened despite the fact that the Scarlet Heavenly Wolf had leaned on it for a long period of time.
Jun Xiaomo heard the Scarlet Heavenly Wolf’s howl, and she was immediately reminded of why she had come looking for Rong Ruihan to begin with – she wanted to implore old man Chi to purge the Scarlet Heavenly Wolf of any remnant refinement technique within its body so that it would truly be granted its full freedom.
“Brother Rong, there’s something else I might have to trouble you with.” Jun Xiaomo looked at Rong Ruihan apologetically.
“Oh?” Rong Ruihan lowered his head and was immediately met with Jun Xiaomo’s contrite expression, “Does this have to do with the Scarlet Heavenly Wolf?”
“Brother Rong, how did you guess?!” Jun Xiaomo was astounded by Rong Ruihan’s quick-wittedness.
“Haha, I’d noticed how this Scarlet Heavenly Wolf had acted during the group battles, yet now it’s obediently following you and not being attacked by other cultivators outside, so I’ve simply connected two and two and guessed just as much.” Rong Ruihan looked bemusedly at Jun Xiaomo staring back at him with disbelief in her eyes.
Because of what had just happened, Jun Xiaomo was slightly awkward with how Rong Ruihan was looking at her right now. She smiled as she fervently suppressed the stifling feeling within her heart, before she spoke with a lighthearted tone of voice, “Is that so…I guess brother Rong has already guessed what I was going to ask.”
Rong Ruihan patted her shoulder in response, “That’s because Xiaomo has everything written all over her face.”
As he spoke, he walked over to the windowsill and looked the Scarlet Heavenly Wolf. As he drew closer, the Scarlet Heavenly Wolf immediately began to howl repeatedly, in a slightly unfriendly manner. It was evident that its guard was up, and it seemed to treat Rong Ruihan as an enemy.
“Xiaomo, are you certain that it’s prepared to leave with me?” Rong Ruihan turned around and raised an eyebrow at Jun Xiaomo.
“This…I’ll do my best to convince it. It’s highly wary and vigilant of people, but once you earn its trust, it becomes extremely warm to you. That said, as long as there are traces of the refinement technique on its body, it would not be able to possess true freedom for itself – there will always be that lingering possibility that it would once again lose its mind.” Jun Xiaomo sighed softly.
Having experienced these incidents with her little packrat and the Scarlet Heavenly Wolf, Jun Xiaomo’s impression of the refinement technique was now at rock bottom.
If possible, Jun Xiaomo truly hoped that everyone in the world who used refinement techniques would all suffer from a backlash from their usage, so that they could experience for themselves a taste of the pain and torment that these poor spirit beasts had experienced during refinement.
Rong Ruihan knew that Jun Xiaomo cherished this spirit beast of hers, and the favour only required a small amount of effort on his part. There was no reason for him not to agree to help.
“Then, Xiaomo, do your best to convince it. As long as it’s willing to lower its guard and follow me obediently, I’ll be able to bring it back to the Chi Clan’s grounds. Perhaps only master will have a way to purge its body and save it.” Rong Ruihan agreed.
“That’s great! Thanks, brother Rong!” Jun Xiaomo leapt with joy and smiled radiantly at Rong Ruihan.
“There’s no need to stand on ceremony between us.” Rong Ruihan patted Jun Xiaomo’s shoulder and returned a smile.
Just as Jun Xiaomo went on to do all she could to get the Scarlet Heavenly Wolf to trust Rong Ruihan and let its guard down, Yu Wanrou finally regained consciousness after a period of comatose.
She had spat out a mouthful of blood while Jun Xiaomo had been competing in the group battles, before passing out completely. At that time, her master, the Peakmaster of the Pill Cauldron Peak, had sent a thread of his spiritual energy coursing through her body to investigate the cause of her malady, but to no avail. Thus, he simply sent Yu Wanrou back to the inn to rest and recuperate.
He still had other disciples with him, so there was no reason for him to waste so much time on Yu Wanrou to begin with.
When Yu Wanrou first regained her consciousness, she was incensed to discover that Qin Lingyu was not waiting patiently by her side for her to wake up. Then, in the next moment, she discovered to her surprise that the fox-shaped totem just under her clavicle had transformed slightly!Previous Chapter Next Chapter