Chapter 26: Ye Xiuwen’s Abode

As a disciple of Heavenly Sect, Ye Xiuwen’s abode was naturally not very small. A cultivator’s abode did not merely refer to the place where they rested or cultivated. It also included the surrounding areas within a few miles. These surroundings areas would then generally be sub-divided by their owners into different plots of land, each for their own designated usage. Additionally, some cultivators would even place numerous formation arrays to prevent outsiders from trespassing their land!

In her previous life, when Jun Xiaomo suffered several emotional traumas and was perpetually in a muddleheaded state of mind, Ye Xiuwen had granted her access to the restricted zones in his abode in order to prevent her from inadvertently activating any formation arrays and injuring herself. But now, all these things have not yet happened. Therefore, when Jun Xiaomo followed the path she took, she could sense that the area ahead rejected her presence – every time she took a step in that direction, she could obviously sense ripples in the restriction zone. If she were to barge in regardless, the activation of the formation array could seriously hurt her or even kill her! 

“Sigh…I didn’t expect martial brother Ye to set up a restrictive formation array here.” Jun Xiaomo reached out her hand and probed the area in front of her. Instantly, a wave of cold energy resisted her hand, as though there were an invisible wall in front of her.

This was the last fork in the trail which Jun Xiaomo had taken. Jun Xiaomo remembered that the right path led to an area filled with green willows which vaguely obscured a small lotus pond. On the pond sat a small bridge leading to a gazebo which overlooked the waters. While countless fish thrived in these waters, the main star of the show was the lotus flowers which bloomed midsummer, displaying their ephemeral beauty in pink, white, purple and other vibrant colours. 

Jun Xiaomo missed this lotus pond. In her previous life, whenever she got reminded of the loss of her parents and the despondence crept back into her heart, she would always sit silently on the gazebo and stare blankly into space for hours at a time, and her downcast mood would gradually subside and return to normal.

It was a pity that if she wished to see that lotus pond again in this life, she would have no choice but to bide her time until martial brother Ye warms up to her again.

As Jun Xiaomo shook her head with resignation, she walked towards the left fork on the trail. This path led to a vast bamboo forest with no end in sight. In her previous life, Jun Xiaomo would rarely go there, because the bamboo forest looked the same all year around – there was nothing much to see there.

However, that was only Jun Xiaomo’s thoughts in her previous lifetime. Right now, Jun Xiaomo cherished every single part of Ye Xiuwen’s abode as they brought back some of her most precious memories.

This was because in Jun Xiaomo’s previous life, when she and Ye Xiuwen left Heavenly Peak to escape the people tracking them down, Ye Xiuwen burnt his entire abode down in order to cover their tracks. Nothing was spared. Long after Ye Xiuwen’s death, when Jun Xiaomo once again returned to the vague location of Heavenly Peak, she could not locate even traces of Ye Xiuwen’s abode no matter how hard she looked.

Jun Xiaomo thought that this bamboo forest would bear some restrictive formation arrays as well. Unexpectedly, her journey down that path was rather smooth, and there were no invisible barriers blocking her way!

This was a pleasant surprise! When someone does an act without any expectations, and that act instead brings about pleasant results, then that person’s joy would be amplified by magnitudes. Jun Xiaomo had just experienced just this – the disappointment with the series of restrictions earlier had been wiped out. Instead, her lips curled into a faint smile, and she quickened her pace down the path with a slight skip in her step.

As she neared the center of the bamboo forest, Jun Xiaomo suddenly stopped in her steps. 

There is someone in the bamboo forest! Jun Xiaomo’s intuition told her. As she silently made her way towards the heart of the bamboo forest, the swishing sounds which penetrated the bamboo forests became more and more obvious.

This was the sound made by a sharp weapon swiftly slicing through the air. At this moment, Jun Xiaomo’s heartbeats quickened – her intuition now told her that the person whom she had been looking for should be right ahead.

Indeed, as she circled around a man-made mountain, Jun Xiaomo finally saw Ye Xiuwen practicing his sword arts in a clear landing.

Jun Xiaomo did not want to disturb Ye Xiuwen’s practice, so she hid behind a large stone nearby. At the same time, her vision remained trained on Ye Xiuwen, who remained in the center of the clear landing. Because her cultivation level was too low, she could not clearly see every movement which Ye Xiuwen made. Instead, all she saw was the blurry white afterimages left behind by the swishing of Ye Xiuwen’s clothing.

Despite that, Jun Xiaomo continued watching Ye Xiuwen, intently following his silhouette.

As graceful as a swan; as imposing as a dragon. This was perhaps the most apt description of Ye Xiuwen at this moment.

“It seems that brother Ye had not even infused his sword with spiritual energy. If he did, how much more powerful and impressive would this swordplay be?” Jun Xiaomo subconsciously exclaimed aloud.

“Who is it?!” Ye Xiuwen had just comprehended a deeper level of sword intent and was fully immersed in his swordplay. Furthermore, because Jun Xiaomo bore no ill intent towards Ye Xiuwen, he had been completely oblivious to her presence.

However, when Jun Xiaomo exclaimed aloud, Ye Xiuwen immediately heard it. Ye Xiuwen was already at the peak twelfth level of Qi Mastery, and his visual acuity and auditory senses have both been enhanced substantially. Therefore, he was able to pick up even the tiniest peep of sound. This was something that the present Jun Xiaomo at the first level of Qi Mastery would never be able to do.

Jun Xiaomo was flustered. As she attempted to take a step out to reveal her identity, she immediately discovered Ye Xiuwen’s sword intent charging right towards her!

Ye Xiuwen’s sword had been much quicker than she expected! There was no time to reveal her identity right now, and Jun Xiaomo quickly operated the true energy within her body in order to take evasive measures. By now, Jun Xiaomo was already very familiar with the mnemonic to transform true energy to spiritual energy. Everything happened in a blink of an eye, and Jun Xiaomo reacted instinctively. She did not expect to come out unscathed here. But perhaps her recent diligence in cultivation had produced some results, and Ye Xiuwen’s attack barely brushed across her cheek, instantly slicing off a lock of Jun Xiaomo’s black hair.

Shhk! Ye Xiuwen sheathed his sword, and swiftly strode over to Jun Xiaomo. He glowered at Jun Xiaomo, and his face was completely black with rage.

Obscured by Ye Xiuwen’s veiled conical hat, Jun Xiaomo could not see Ye Xiuwen’s expressions clearly. But she knew for a fact that Ye Xiuwen was absolutely furious.

“Bro…martial brother.” Jun Xiaomo stammered. To her enemies, she was able to display her strengths like a proud peacock, speaking in such a sharp and imposing manner that caused others to cough up blood. Yet she could not be so overbearing before the people she cared about because she cared about their feelings.

And besides, she was the one at fault here. If Ye Xiuwen’s sword had shifted its trajectory ever so slightly, she might well have become a blind person by now.

But she could not help it. In Jun Xiaomo’s subconscious mind, Ye Xiuwen was classified in the same group of people as her parents – he would never hurt her in any way. Therefore, she had let her guard down this time.

“Do you know that hiding behind a rock secretly observing someone practice their sword arts is a very dangerous thing? If not for the fact that I had seen your appearance at the very last moment, do you think you would still be able to stand here and speak to me right now?” Ye Xiuwen’s voice was frigid as a snowstorm in winter. His sharp glare at this instant seemed to pierce through the veiled conical hat and cut straight through Jun Xiaomo’s flesh, causing her to feel a sharp pain in her heart.

“Martial brother, I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.” Jun Xiaomo lowered her head and looked at the tips of her shoes. Her deflated look made her look extremely sorry as she apologized.

Ye Xiuwen raised his eyebrows. He had always been good with reading people, but Jun Xiaomo’s current attitude was something completely outside his expectations. This young lady is by nature arrogant and domineering. Even though she bears no malicious intentions, she would always insist that she was right even when she was at fault. However, this time she not only admitted it, she even sincerely apologized – it’s as though she were a completely different person!

It was as if Jun Xiaomo’s close shave with death from the Sect’s punishment had catalyzed a change in her character. Even though she still kept her arrogance, the object of her display of arrogance had seemed to shift slightly.

Ye Xiuwen analyzed this from the perspective of a neutral observer. Even though he generally appeared to be cordial and warm with people, his true nature was nevertheless cold and distant, and he rarely opened up to others. But it was precisely this objectivity in his day to day interactions which allowed him to see the changes in Jun Xiaomo clearer than most others.

He even knew that this little martial sister of his had become far sharper and more quick-witted than before. 

Jun Xiaomo did not think that Ye Xiuwen would have seen the changes in her with just this short period of interaction. But at this moment, Ye Xiuwen’s silence caused Jun Xiaomo to feel uneasy. She raised her eyes and stole a glance at Ye Xiuwen, hoping to see whether he was still fuming mad.

Alas! Jun Xiaomo had forgotten about that darned veiled conical hat of his which absolutely obscured his expressions.

Ye Xiuwen’s veiled conical hat was a spirit treasure that could only be worn by cultivators of at least the twelfth level of Qi Mastery. If Jun Xiaomo’s cultivation were higher, then she naturally would be able to see Ye Xiuwen’s expressions under the veiled conical hat. But at this moment, her cultivation level was still at the first level of Qi Mastery, and all she could see was the veil hanging in front of Ye Xiuwen’s face.

While she could not see Ye Xiuwen’s expressions, but this did not mean that Ye Xiuwen could not see hers. When Ye Xiuwen discovered Jun Xiaomo stealing a glance at his face, the anger in his heart also dissipated substantially.

After all, Ye Xiuwen’s anger was not targeted at Jun Xiaomo’s clumsy behavior. Rather, he was upset by the prospects of causing hurt to Jun Linxuan and Liu Qingmei! Jun Xiaomo was their only child. If Jun Xiaomo had suffered any form of harm, the ones who would be truly upset would be them.

Ye Xiuwen had lost all of his loved ones since he was a young child. Not only did Jun Linxuan rescue him and teach him all he knew, he and his wife even gave Ye Xiuwen a place to call home and experience the love and warmth he thought he had lost forever. This made him deeply cherish his relationship with both Jun Linxuan and Liu Qingmei.

Therefore, Ye Xiuwen never wanted to see Jun Xiaomo get hurt – and especially not on his hands.

But, seeing Jun Xiaomo being so delicate and mindful of the present situation, Ye Xiuwen’s anger also gradually subsided.

Forget it. I’m also nothing more than a martial brother to her. It might be counterproductive if I say too much. Ye Xiuwen thought to himself. His attention swiftly shifted over from Jun Xiaomo’s earlier dangerous act to the basket that was still hanging on her arm.

“What’s that you’re holding?” Ye Xiuwen now discovered a pleasant scent wafting out from the basket. Even though he was far less experienced and learned in the matters of degustation, he was nevertheless captivated by wafts of fragrance.

“Ah, that’s right! I almost forgot this… This is the Flowerleaf Koi which you had caught for us!” Jun Xiaomo leapt over to Ye Xiuwen’s side and held out the basket to him as though she were presenting him with a precious treasure. Smiling, she added, “Mum said that this koi was caught by you, and you should have a taste of it too! So, I’ve delivered it over to you~”

Jun Xiaomo’s smile was truly resplendent and sincere. Seeing this, all of Ye Xiuwen’s earlier anger had completely dissipated.

“Mm. Many thanks to martial sister then. Give my gratitude to your mother as well.” Ye Xiuwen warmly said, revealing a rare and sincere smile on his face.

It was a pity that this smile was obscured by his veiled hat, and Jun Xiaomo did not see it.

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