Chapter 27: Warming Up to Ye Xiuwen

Even though Jun Xiaomo had by now handed over the basket of third-grade Flowerleaf Koi into Ye Xiuwen’s hands, she did not wish to leave immediately. After all, she finally had an opportunity to interact with Ye Xiuwen, and she wanted to make the best of it to improve their strained relationship so that Ye Xiuwen would not only think of avoiding her at every step of the way.

This life would not be like her last, where Ye Xiuwen had of his own volition opened his heart to Jun Xiaomo so that he could look after her. In this life, who knows how many opportunities Jun Xiaomo would have to even interact with Ye Xiuwen? Ye Xiuwen was already at the peak twelfth level of Qi Mastery, and once he reaches the Foundation Establishment level, he would immediately join the upper-tier Frozen Sword Sect. At that time, Jun Xiaomo would have even fewer opportunities to interact with Ye Xiuwen.

Jun Xiaomo softly sighed. She felt that there was so little time and so much to do.

“Has martial sister tried this yet?” A cool and clear voice interrupted her thoughts. Jun Xiaomo was jolted back to her senses, looked at Ye Xiuwen and shook her head.

“Then let’s have it together.” Ye Xiuwen held the basket and headed in the opposite direction of the bamboo forest. He had erected a small pavilion there. Usually when he was taking breaks from his sword practice, he would sit at the pavilion and enjoy a cup of tea on his own.

Jun Xiaomo minced alongside Ye Xiuwen, hesitating for a moment before saying, “That…martial brother, we’ve apportioned some for ourselves. This portion of the Flowerleaf Koi isn’t too much. You should have it all.”

She had indeed wanted to find an excuse to stay behind, but this did not include taking any of the delectable Flowerleaf Koi that should rightfully be enjoyed by Ye Xiuwen. After all, her mother had saved a portion of the Flowerleaf Koi for her in the pot at home.

And besides, the Flowerleaf Koi had been caught by Ye Xiuwen to begin with, and she would feel terrible if she ate part of his portion.

“This portion here is quite generous. I can’t finish it on my own. Don’t worry, let’s eat together.” As Ye Xiuwen spoke, he set the basket down on the stone table and opened the lid of the basket.

Once the basket’s lid was off, a fragrant aroma filled the pavilion and assaulted their olfactory senses. The thick fish soup had been braised until it turned a pearlescent white colour, while freshly chopped spring onions floated atop the soup, gently dancing around the partially submerged fish. Even though the soup had not been flavoured with too many condiments, the freshness of the ingredients more than made up for it.

This basket can hold quite the amount of food. No wonder it was so heavy when I brought it over! Jun Xiaomo exclaimed in her heart. But this was only testament to the original size of the Flowerleaf Koi caught by Ye Xiuwen!

Ye Xiuwen swiftly retrieved two sets of bowls and utensils from his Interspatial Ring and set the table. Taking the ladle from the basket, Ye Xiuwen began to fill out Jun Xiaomo’s bowl with some fish soup and meat.

The creamy white fish meat glistened in the exquisite bowls set before her, emanating irresistible wafts of fragrance. Anyone who saw this would instantly find their stomachs growling with hunger.

“Thank you, martial brother.” Jun Xiaomo grinned as she respectfully served Ye Xiuwen a bowl as well.

Even though her stomach was growling loudly at this point, Jun Xiaomo sincerely felt that it would be more respectful if she let Ye Xiuwen taste the food first.

Ye Xiuwen looked at Jun Xiaomo strangely. He noticed Jun Xiaomo’s pupils were quivering slightly, as though they were saying, “Hurry up and eat! Eat and tell me if it’s any good!

The fact that Jun Xiaomo was straightforward and wore her heart on her sleeve left Ye Xiuwen with a complicated feeling in his heart.

In their last interaction, he already gleaned that this martial sister had matured, was no longer as naïve and ignorant as before, and even knew how to conceal facts and win people over to her side. But the present Jun Xiaomo seemed to be quite different from the last.

It was as though she had once again reverted to that naïve and ignorant lady, albeit less arrogant and much smarter.

Ye Xiuwen naturally did not know that Jun Xiaomo had already lived life once and had seen clearly who her true friends and family were, and also those who were merely putting on a pretense. This was the cause of the change in her personality. Now, whenever she stood in front of enemies, she would don that imposing and domineering persona of a Lady Demoness who would have an eye for an eye and not budge an inch. Yet in front of friends and family, especially those who had showered her with love and countless warm memories, she would shed that persona, subconsciously showing them her vulnerabilities and giving to them charitably, even at great cost to herself. This gave rise to the two seemingly irreconcilable personas witnessed by Ye Xiuwen.

Simply put, if others respected her, she would reciprocate with abundant respect. But if others hurt her, she would pay back that hurt by a hundred or even a thousand times. Repay good with good and evil with evil. These principles conformed exactly with the ones the former Lady Demoness Jun Xiaomo lived by.

Ye Xiuwen did not know that he held such an important place in Jun Xiaomo’s heart. After all, he had barely interacted with this little martial sister of his; and the only occasion that they had interacted did not end well. Naturally, he was puzzled by Jun Xiaomo’s present attitude and behaviour. 

Forget it, there’s no point thinking too much. Let’s wait and see what happens then. Ye Xiuwen silently thought to himself. He looked down, scooped up some soup into his spoon and slurped it up.

Instantly, a warm sensation ran down his throat, and a sweet aroma reminiscent of springtime lingered in his mouth. This was certainly a fresh, high-quality Flowerleaf Koi!

“Martial brother, how is the taste?” Jun Xiaomo anxiously asked, as though she were the one who had prepared the soup. 

Ye Xiuwen was momentarily stunned as he caught himself likening the present Jun Xiaomo to a dog wagging its tail, expectantly waiting for praise. But he quickly dispelled that thought and brought himself to his senses. Nodding, he said warmly to Jun Xiaomo, “The taste is pretty good.”

“Is it? Then let me try as well.” Jun Xiaomo looked back down, picked up her spoon and drank the soup as well. That thick soup and fresh aroma quickly enveloped her taste buds and infiltrated all her senses, and she was instantly fully immersed in the experience.

How many years has it been since she last tasted such delectable cuisine? Jun Xiaomo tried her utmost to suppress these thoughts, focusing her mind on scooping up spoonful after spoonful of this precious and delicious fish soup.

She was afraid if she delved into these thoughts again, her eyes would quickly turn red and puffy. 

This had nothing to do with her vulnerabilities. Rather, it was more because having lived life once, she truly appreciated and cherished the littlest blessings in life. It was so easy for people to always take the simplest blessings in life for granted, and when they finally lose these blessings, it is too late – the only place they can find these again is in their memories.

After finishing the fish soup, Jun Xiaomo’s stomach felt warm and full. She finished her soup much quicker than Ye Xiuwen – even after she had finished the entire bowl, Ye Xiuwen still had half a bowl left. He drank his soup one spoonful at a time, regularly pacing out his sips, while maintaining a perfect body posture and his dignified mannerism.

Jun Xiaomo rested her head on her left palm, observing Ye Xiuwen’s actions, and her mind began to wander –

If martial brother were not disfigured by that demonic energy attack, then by now his popularity would definitely be no less than Qin Lingyu’s! Martial brother’s warm and dignified appearance is not something that can be learnt or mimicked by others after all.

“Have you finished your soup? Would you like some more?” Ye Xiuwen discovered that Jun Xiaomo was only staring at himself in a daze and not speaking, and he thought that she was merely too shy to ask for another bowl, so he motioned to refill her bowl and give her seconds.

“That…martial brother, I’ve had enough. You should finish the rest.” Jun Xiaomo covered her bowl as she spoke. After all, Liu Qingmei had saved a portion for them, and she felt that she should not take too much from Ye Xiuwen’s portion just to satisfy her own cravings. 

Ye Xiuwen raised his eyebrows. Seeing that Jun Xiaomo did not intend to have seconds, he also relented.

“If you want some more, do help yourself. The ladle is here.” Ye Xiuwen said, simultaneously shifting the ladle over to her side of the basket.

“Mm, okay.” Jun Xiaomo acknowledged. While she did not take seconds, she also did not take her leave.

Ye Xiuwen also left her to her own devices.

Truth be told, Ye Xiuwen was not used to having Jun Xiaomo around at all. He had always been used to living a solitary life, relying on no one but himself. Yet now that this little martial sister suddenly showed up here, he did not feel great about it.

But at the same time, he could not discount the fact that Jun Xiaomo had taken the time and effort to deliver the fish soup to him. Therefore, out of politeness and courtesy, Ye Xiuwen did not reveal his uneasiness to her.

Ye Xiuwen was never a man of many words. And at the same time, Jun Xiaomo could not find a suitable conversational topic with Ye Xiuwen. Therefore, at this instant, there was a moment of awkward silence between them.

The only sounds which broke this long drawn, awkward silence was Ye Xiuwen’s periodic clinking of his spoon against the bowl as he had his soup.

The veil on Ye Xiuwen’s conical hat was a distance away from his face. If one peeked from under the veil, one would be able to see Ye Xiuwen’s elegant and fine jawline.

In reality, whenever Ye Xiuwen had his veiled conical hat on, the people he interacted with would never expect there to be a terrifying scar underneath the veil. Instead, their impression of Ye Xiuwen would be a gentle, kind and humble man with the air of a nobility.

It was such a pity…

As she thought about it, Jun Xiaomo glanced over at Ye Xiuwen again and sighed in her heart.

Ye Xiuwen had all along been very alert to his surroundings. Therefore, he caught it when Jun Xiaomo stole yet another glance at Ye Xiuwen, even if he did not show it.

Ye Xiuwen gently set the spoon back down in the bowl, setting off a bright, crisp “clink” into the pavilion.

“Martial sister, why are you looking at me like that?” Ye Xiuwen turned to her and asked her plainly. At this moment, it was as though his gaze had pierced through the veil and looked straight into Jun Xiaomo’s heart.

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