Chapter 23: Battle, the Three-Year Promise

“Stop!” Two voices rang out in unison a short distance away. Before Jun Xiaomo recovered from the daze of being struck from behind, a blue figure swiftly strode over to her side, helping her up from the ground.

“Cough…” Jun Xiaomo coughed a few times. The stench of blood filled her throat, and her vision was momentarily blurry. It took some time before her vision cleared up and she finally recognized the person supporting her, “Sect Elder Yu…”

Yu Zhuolian was the Dawn Sect’s Seventh Elder, and was also the only female cultivator within the top ten Sect Elders in Dawn Sect. 

“Don’t speak for now.” Yu Zhuolian swiftly depressed a few acupoints on Jun Xiaomo’s shoulder, before promptly retrieving two pills from a bottle of medicinal pills and sending them flying straight into Jun Xiaomo’s mouth. Jun Xiaomo’s mouth was filled with the stench of blood at this moment. With the addition of the medicinal scent of these two pills, the amalgamated smell was completely repulsive. Yet, Jun Xiaomo furrowed her brows, chewed on the pills a few times, and managed to ingest them after much difficulty.

Shortly after that, a wave of warmth emanated from Jun Xiaomo’s stomach and swiftly spread to every corner of her body, causing the immense pain at her back to substantially subside. Her grogginess also gradually dissipated.

It had not been easy for Jun Xiaomo to have finally fully recovered from her earlier injuries. Yet in this instant, she once again found herself injured. Luckily, she had met with Sect Elder Yu Zhuolian. If it were any other person, perhaps she would not have been given recovery medical pills as quickly.

The relationship between Yu Zhuolian and Jun Xiaomo’s parents could only be considered average. But Yu Zhuolian lived strictly by her principles – she would not do anything that lacks integrity. Therefore, in Jun Xiaomo’s previous life after her parents had died and she was taken captive, whilst Yu Zhuolian did not protect Jun Xiaomo, she nevertheless refused to participate in the schemes against Heavenly Peak and covet Heavenly Peak’s spirit treasures and sagely pills.

“Thank you, Sect Elder Yu.” Jun Xiaomo sincerely thanked Yu Zhuolian. At the same time, she was frustrated that her limbs had gone limp as wool, and her body was so weak that the simple “thanks” to Yu Zhuolian had taken so much out of her.

“Mm.” Yu Zhuolian curtly acknowledged Jun Xiaomo’s gratitude. At the same time, her expressions darkened as she looked up towards her good friend standing some distance away, saying, “Laifeng, this matter is caused by your daughter. Doesn’t she need to give our Dawn Sect disciple here a proper explanation?”

Yu Zhuolian was by nature already a very serious person. Now that she wore a stern expression and swept a chilling gaze towards both Dai Yue and Qiu Laifeng, Dai Yue immediately grew unsettled.

Qiu Laifeng sighed, looked at Dai Yue and said, “Dai Yue, come and apologize to this younger sister.”

Dai Yue was older than Jun Xiaomo by two years of age, and it was quite natural to address Jun Xiaomo as a “younger sister”.

Dai Yue’s lips quivered. After a moment of hesitation, she reluctantly muttered under her breath, “Sorry.”

In fact, Dai Yue already regretted her actions the moment that she saw Jun Xiaomo fly backwards.

Dai Yue and Qiu Laifeng had come over to Dawn Sect as visitors today, and at the same time wanted to see if they had an opportunity to bump into Qin Lingyu. But fate has a strange sense of humour. Instead of meeting Qin Lingyu, she had instead encountered Qin Lingyu’s fiancée, Jun Xiaomo. And Dai Yue was then so incensed by Jun Xiaomo’s indifference towards her that she absolutely forgot that Jun Xiaomo’s cultivation had fallen to the first level of Qi Mastery, and thus had not held back when she struck Jun Xiaomo.

Dai Yue was rash, but she was not stupid. She had injured someone within their Sect. If Dawn Sect sends people to further investigate this matter, both she and her mother might not be able to leave this place easily.

However, when her mother insisted that she apologized to her rival in love, Dai Yue’s heart also felt uncomfortable and bitter, and her resultant apology therefore sounded half-hearted and insincere.

Yu Zhuolian’s expression darkened even further, “Laifeng, you and I are friends, and I’ve also seen Dai Yue grow up since she was a small child. But I cannot compromise on this matter at all. If this matter were handed over to be handled by the Sect, I cannot guarantee that Dai Yue would be able to safely leave the Sect’s premises today!”

Even though Yu Zhuolian and Qiu Laifeng were on good terms with each other, but Dawn Sect and Everlasting Summit Sect were not. If Dawn Sect discovered that Everlasting Summit Sect’s disciple had hurt one of their own disciples within Dawn Sect’s premises, then there was no doubt that Dawn Sect would leverage on this to forcibly gain some benefits from Everlasting Summit Sect or coerce them into some form of compromise.

Qiu Laifeng had also thought of this, and as her face grew paler, she turned to Dai Yue and sternly hollered at her, “Dai Yue, apologize!”

Dai Yue was initially still rather reluctant to do so. Yet when Yu Zhuolian’s chilling gaze swept over to her once again, her confidence dwindled.  

“Jun Xiaomo, I’m sorry.” This time, Dai Yue’s words were much more sincere.

Qiu Laifeng judged that Dai Yue’s apology this time ought to be sincere enough to be acceptable. Therefore, she looked directly at Jun Xiaomo as she remained slumped on the floor, adding, “I’ll also compensate you with three fifth-grade superior Energy Recovery Pills, and let’s put this matter behind us, shall we?” 

Fifth-grade superior Energy Recovery Pills! To any reasonable cultivator, this offer was an extremely tempting one. To put things into perspective, with injuries like the ones Jun Xiaomo had just sustained, one fifth-grade superior Energy Recovery Pill would be sufficient to bring her back to full health. And the present offer was a whopping three fifth-grade superior Energy Recovery Pills!

Qiu Laifeng thought that Jun Xiaomo would surely accept this tempting offer. Therefore, she looked calmly at Jun Xiaomo, waiting for her to nod her head in agreement.

Jun Xiaomo squinted her eyes as she sized up the expressions of both Qiu Laifeng and Dai Yue. The former wore an expression as though she were being charitable to a beggar; while the latter timidly hid behind her mother, staring at Jun Xiaomo with resentment and occasionally fearfully glancing over at Yu Zhuolian’s direction.

Ah, there’s every expression possible present except for guilt and remorse. Did they think I got myself injured just so I could have those few lousy Energy Recovery Pills?! Jun Xiaomo’s heart momentarily swelled up with indignation.

This indignation was not incited solely by Qiu Laifeng and Dai Yue. She was also upset by the fact that the present her was just too weak.

If she still had her peak strength from her past life, these people would not even think of looking upon her with such disdainful glares.

The indignation in Jun Xiaomo’s heart grew and grew. She resented the fact that she was beaten so easily. She hated the fact that she was always being persecuted and oppressed by others!

Jun Xiaomo’s eyes also grew frostier by the minute. Yet, when she finally reached her boiling point, her heart suddenly seemed to be at peace once again.

Hooking her lips into a smile, Jun Xiaomo slowly said, “Dai Yue, your apology is not sincere enough. I’d rather not accept it.”

“You!” Dai Yue’s eyes widened with fury. She felt that Jun Xiaomo was trying to provoke her at this moment.

“Then, would this little fellow cultivator mind sharing with us what exactly you are looking for?” Qiu Laifeng’s tone also carried with it some dissatisfaction, and her gaze now carried traces of animosity.

Yu Zhuolian raised her eyebrows. This was the first time she had discovered that her friend’s character was really nothing to rave about. At the very least, Dai Yue was the one at fault to begin with, so what gives her the right to react with such an attitude? This was not any way to spoil her daughter. 

“Jun Xiaomo’s father is the Peakmaster of Heavenly Peak.” Yu Zhuolian matter-of-factly reminded Qiu Laifeng of an important detail.

Qiu Laifeng’s face blackened. She knew that Dawn Sect, Heavenly Peak’s Peakmaster had a daughter, and this daughter of his had snatched away Dai Yue’s beloved. Who would have thought that that daughter was this very lady before her eyes!

Seeing Jun Xiaomo’s frail appearances, Qiu Laifeng’s heart grew disdainful – So what if you are the daughter of a Peakmaster? You can’t even hold a candle to my own daughter. That Qin Lingyu person must be blind to have chosen this weakling over my Yue Yue!

Even though she thought that in her heart, but Qiu Laifeng still decided to be respectful on account of Jun Xiaomo’s father, “Since you are the daughter of a Peakmaster, it’s no wonder you would find these fifth-grade superior Energy Recovery Pills to be nothing special. Would this little fellow cultivator mind telling us what you want so that you are willing not to pursue this matter any further? At the same time, leave a way out for others and you’ll behold a future together. I hope this little fellow cultivator would be willing to give and take, and not be too greedy.”

But how could Qiu Laifeng’s contemptuous gaze escape from Jun Xiaomo’s eyes? Besides, Qiu Laifeng’s words sounded as though she held the moral high ground in the present situation. At the very least, her words were certainly not something that should be said by a party at fault in any circumstance. 

“Huh.” Jun Xiaomo coldly chuckled, before slowly speaking, “It’s still the same thing – the apology is not sincere enough; I don’t need it.”

“You--!” Dai Yue was about to explode with rage when Qiu Laifeng swiftly interrupted Dai Yue with her hand.

Qiu Laifeng coldly said, “I also wish to remind this little fellow cultivator that my husband is the Grand Sect Elder of Everlasting Summit Sect.”

In other words, Qiu Laifeng was now saying that her husband was superior to Jun Xiaomo’s father, because a Peakmaster is only appointed a teacher based solely on their prowess; while a Sect Elder holds greater authority and power within the sect. Therefore, unless Jun Xiaomo’s father managed to get the backing of the entire Sect, he would not be able to match up against Qiu Laifeng’s husband.

Jun Xiaomo squinted her eyes, concealing the intense coldness within.

After a moment of deafening silence, Jun Xiaomo looked at Qiu Laifeng and Dai Yue, saying, “The upcoming Mid-Tier Inter-Sect Competition will be held in two years’ time. I originally had a promise with Dai Yue that whoever wins the other in this competition will gain the right to pursue Qin Lingyu, and the other party must back down. However, I now have no interest in such conditions. How about if I decide to change the condition?”

“What condition do you want to change it to?” Dai Yue impatiently asked, glaring angrily at Jun Xiaomo.

Obviously, the earlier condition has no meaning to you anymore - you and Qin Lingyu have already entered into a marriage arrangement. Infuriating! Dai Yue thought to herself in spitting anger.

Jun Xiaomo smiled, “I’ve decided that…if I beat you, then you shall apologize to me in front of everybody, and it must be with sufficient sincerity and to my satisfaction. How about it?”

Dai Yue was momentarily stunned. She had thought that Jun Xiaomo would suggest a condition which would be extremely difficult to fulfill. As it turns out, it was simply apologizing to her in front of everyone.

“Just like that?” Dai Yue asked in disbelief.

“Just like that. But you must remember that it has to be “to my satisfaction”. In other words, if your apology or facial expressions or body language is not satisfactory to me, you will have to continue apologizing.” Jun Xiaomo calmly explained.

“Huh! You think that you can beat me in your current state? Laughable! Fine, Jun Xiaomo, I agree to your condition. But, if I win, then you and Qin Lingyu must rescind your marriage arrangement. How about that?” Dai Yue laughed wickedly, expecting Jun Xiaomo to be put in a spot at her suggestion.

“Okay.” Jun Xiaomo rubbed her palms together and laughed, “This is a pretty good wager. I agree.”

She had already wanted to rescind the marriage arrangement with Qin Lingyu in the first place. With these conditions, she would not be at any disadvantage whether she wins or loses the wager.

“You…” Dai Yue had not expected Jun Xiaomo to agree to her terms so readily! Therefore, she looked suspiciously at Jun Xiaomo, unsure of what schemes she was employing right now.

At this moment, even though Jun Xiaomo was still slumped on the floor, her face was filled with joy. 

Qiu Laifeng had also found the fact that Jun Xiaomo agreed so quickly a little bit fishy. She had more life experiences under her belt, and naturally her thought processes were a lot more thorough than Dai Yue’s. Qiu Laifeng deliberated for a moment before speaking as though she had found the crux of the problem, “This little fellow cultivator’s marriage arrangement was presided over by your Sect Leader, right? My worry is that if your marriage arrangement cannot be rescinded so easily, then my Yue Yue would be the one losing out on this wager at the end.”

Hearing this, Jun Xiaomo was so infuriated that she almost burst out in a cold chuckle – Your daughter would be losing out? What kind of a joke is this? Who was the one who had hurt me so terribly in the first place? I was already being considerate and kind to them by agreeing to settle this dispute with a mere wager rather than let the Sect settle this matter for them! I give her an inch and she’s now trying to take a mile!

“Then, what condition do you propose?” This time, the one who spoke was Yu Zhuolian. She was sorely disappointed with her friend, Qiu Laifeng. Spoiling her daughter without heed to any principles is something that she could never accept. People who walk different paths cannot make plans together. At this moment, she had decided that after sending them off this time, they would never need to come back again.

Qiu Laifeng also noticed the coldness in Yu Zhuolian’s voice this time. Nevertheless, she did not think she was at fault for protecting her own daughter. Her daughter was after all the child of Everlasting Summit Sect’s Grand Sect Elder. She should not have to suffer any humiliation or disgrace in front of outsiders.

After Qiu Laifeng thought for a moment, she said to Jun Xiaomo, “How about this, both sides are each allowed to change one condition. There is no limit to what it can be changed to, as long as it does not harm anyone; it does not strain the relationship between the two Sects; and it is not require the other to commit an atrocity. How does that sound?”

“In other words, if I beat Dai Yue two years later, she would have to agree to one of my conditions, and this condition could be to apologize, or it could be something else?” Jun Xiaomo raised her eyebrows as she clarified.

“Yes. Conversely, if Yue Yue beat you, then you would also have to agree to one of her conditions.” Qiu Laifeng felt that this wager would be the fairest to both parties.

Jun Xiaomo’s fingers moved about as though she were calculating something while she glanced over towards that mother-daughter duo. Seeing this, Dai Yue sneered at Jun Xiaomo in her heart – I knew that you were a weakling only appearing to be strong. See? You don’t dare to take this wager anymore, do you? A cultivator at the first level of Qi Mastery hoping to beat a cultivator at the eighth level of Qi Mastery in two years’ time? What a joke!

As Dai Yue’s patience wore thin, Jun Xiaomo slowly raised her head, saying, “Okay. Let’s make this wager.”

“Xiaomo!” Yu Zhuolian exclaimed, hoping to voice out her objections – this wager seemed to be too unfair to Jun Xiaomo! At this moment, she truly regretted inviting Qiu Laifeng and Dai Yue over as guests.

“Sect Elder Yu, don’t be too anxious. I have already decided on this.” Jun Xiaomo waved her hand, and then laughing, said, “Even though the chances of winning are slim, but isn’t it more exciting like this?”

She had always welcomed a challenge. Where there is a challenge, then there is motivation. This was the characteristic imposing and brazen attitude of a demonic cultivator.

“Tsk. It’s good that you recognize you can’t win, you useless, first-level cripple!” Dai Yue mocked, before loudly declaring to Jun Xiaomo, “I also agree to this wager. This wager is now officially locked in. You cannot change it anymore.” 

“Absolutely not. Oh yes, how about if Sect Elder Yu witnesses this wager?” Jun Xiaomo turned around and asked.

Yu Zhuolian silently considered this suggestion. She could see that Jun Xiaomo had no intention of changing her mind, and reluctantly nodded, saying, “Sure.”

Qiu Laifeng was now satisfied; while Dai Yue revealed a confident smile on her face. Looking at Jun Xiaomo, Dai Yue mouthed – You. Are. Dead!

Jun Xiaomo calmly smiled – Just you wait and see; nothing is decided yet.

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