Array masters were known to generally be on the weaker side in terms of their combat abilities. Chen Taiguang was no exception to the norm either. Having lived for decades, his cultivation level was still languishing and stagnating at the elementary-tier Foundation Establishment stage of cultivation, without any signs of improvement or development whatsoever.
Thus, He Zhang hardly considered Chen Taiguang a threat at all, and he had only sent several Dawn Sect disciples in the eleventh and twelfth levels of Qi Mastery to silence him.
Even though these disciples were only in the Qi Mastery stage of cultivation, they were nevertheless armed with the spirit tools that He Zhang had provided them with. With that, He Zhang firmly believed that their combined strength was more than sufficient to deal with Chen Taiguang’s meagre abilities.
If the one that they were facing right now was indeed Chen Taiguang, the disciples’ odds of success would in fact be rather high, even if one considered the complacency in their hearts. Unfortunately, their plans were foiled by Jun Xiaomo’s masterful bait-and-switch tactics, and these disciples were heading straight for a train wreck.
“Argh.” As they walked on, one of the disciples suddenly cried out softly as he tripped and fell onto the ground.
“Shh…what’s going on? Are you trying to alert our target?” Another disciple glared at the disciple on the floor as he shushed him.
“Nothing…I just tripped on something.” The disciple looked at the plain, flat ground as he muttered in bewilderment.
“Be careful. We can’t afford to alarm our target now!” The leader of the disciples chided him with displeasure.
“Oh…alright.” The disciple who fell down picked himself up again as he winced in pain.
His fall had been rather harsh and severe, and it might take him some time before he could continue on his way at the same pace as before.
At the same time, a man bared his teeth and made a face at the group of disciples some distance away, before whistling a happy tune as he walked away, leaving the group of disciples far, far behind him.
This man was none other than the man that Jun Xiaomo had rendered aid to – Chen Taiguang. Under the effects of Jun Xiaomo’s Invisibility Talisman and his own Windsail Talisman, he had just slipped out from right under the noses of his assailants and made his grand escape.
Even though it was a pity that he was unable to collect his remuneration for his “efforts”, he knew that preserving his own life was far more important than that. After all, what was the use of having riches if he did not have any life to enjoy it with?
Thus, after a brief moment of deliberation, Chen Taiguang took Jun Xiaomo’s advice, slipped out from his room under the cover of night, and made his way towards the woods surrounding the Dawn Sect.
Then, on his way out of the Sect, he coincidentally encountered the group of disciples which He Zhang had sent to take his life, and he was reminded once again of how he had just been forced to give up a juicy remuneration just like that. Thus, as his vexation manifested, he casually tripped one of the disciples, appeasing his heart ever so slightly.
When he turned back and saw the disciple’s dumbfounded look, Chen Taiguang felt incredibly pleased, and his heart was much more at ease. With that, he clapped his hands and was satisfied to continue making his way out.
We’ll leave it at that. After all, the things I’ve got within my Interspatial Ring is still more than sufficient to tide me through a long, long time. We’ll just take it that I’d slipped up just this once. As Chen Taiguang changed his perspective about the matter, the tune he was whistling got commensurately merrier.
After being slightly tripped up by Chen Taiguang, the Dawn Sect disciples continued to make their way towards Chen Taiguang’s room and began to surround it.
The disciples were completely focused on taking out their target right now. Yet, how could they possibly know that their target was already getting further and further away from them, and the person waiting for them in Chen Taiguang’s room was someone completely unexpected?
On the other hand, Jun Xiaomo was completely busying herself within Chen Taiguang’s room – pasting things here and dabbing the brush there. In the end, with the little time she had, Jun Xiaomo had turned Chen Taiguang’s room into the heart of a massive illusion array.
This particular illusion array was something that Jun Xiaomo had practiced innumerable times within the Proving Grounds, and she was so proficient with it right now that she could even draw it with her eyes closed. To the average array master, this illusion array was something that would require approximately five hours to set up. However, to Jun Xiaomo, all she needed was a matter of a few incense sticks worth of time.
Furthermore, this was a slightly modified illusion array, and the number of spirit stones required to power the array had been reduced substantially as a result of her modifications. Thus, Jun Xiaomo had managed to save a substantial amount of resources with the use of this array.
After setting up the formation array, Jun Xiaomo clapped the dust off her hands and rubbed her chin and she pondered about her preparations. Then, she retrieved a human-shaped Humanoid Puppet Talisman, dripped a single drop of Chen Taiguang’s blood onto it, before placing it onto the ground. Then, with two fingers on the side of her lips, she began to mutter a set of mnemonics to activate the talisman.
Within moments, a bright blue light shone inside the room, and a figure began to clamber up from the floor. If Chen Taiguang were here right now, his jaws would most certainly drop to the ground.
There was now another “Chen Taiguang” in the room who looked exactly like him.
“Be good and play with the kids who’re coming over now, alright?” Jun Xiaomo smiled radiantly as she patted “Chen Taiguang’s” shoulder.
“Yes, master.” “Chen Taiguang’s” expressions were stiff and rigid, and his voice was monotonous and strange. After bowing obsequiously to Jun Xiaomo, he simply remained rooted in the ground where he was.
“Sigh, looks like it’s not a simple task if I want a decent Humanoid Puppet.” Jun Xiaomo murmured with some measure of exasperation as she suffused more spiritual energy into the Humanoid Puppet.
As the suffusion of spiritual energy increased, “Chen Taiguang’s” expressions were no longer as stiff, and he gradually became more nimble and human-like.
Of course, no matter how lively he appeared, this imposter was still built on a mere talisman when all was said and done. He possessed neither the breath of life, nor any soul within him, and he was completely subject to the control and whims and fancy of its master.
Then, when she was finally satisfied with the amount of spiritual energy she had suffused into the Humanoid Puppet, she removed her hand from the puppet. By this time, her face had grown several shades paler as a result of drawing down a substantial amount of spiritual energy, and she was even panting slightly.
It couldn’t be helped. She had not fully recovered from the injuries to her body, and the sudden usage of such a great deal of her true energy was naturally rather taxing on her body.
“Alright, I’m taking my leave now. You’ll stay here. Remember, don’t let them come in too easily.” Jun Xiaomo smiled as she patted “Chen Taiguang’s” shoulder once more.
“Yes, master.” The puppet responded. This time, its actions were incredibly life-like – almost akin to that of a human.
With that, Jun Xiaomo applied an Invisibility Talisman on her body and left Chen Taiguang’s room. When she released her divine sense once more to observe her surroundings, she discovered that the Dawn Sect disciples were still a distance away. Thus, she took the opportunity to set up various formation arrays outside the room, in Chen Taiguang’s yard as well.
Jun Xiaomo was not thinking of taking the lives of these assailants for now. The power of these formation arrays was not too great, and they were used more for trickery and toying with a person rather than to injure and debilitate.
After doing the needful, Jun Xiaomo clapped the dust off her hands once more, before leisurely making her way back to Qin Shanshan’s room.
When she arrived back at Qin Shanshan’s room, she discovered that Ye Xiuwen was not sleeping yet. Instead, he was simply sitting at the table, enjoying a cup of tea.
In fact, it might be more accurate to describe him as holding a cup of tea as his mind wandered. After all, the truth of the matter was that he had only taken two sips of the tea, before pausing for an incommensurably long time. He did not even realize that his tea had already gotten cold by now.
Squeak. The door opened, and Ye Xiuwen immediately cocked his head and looked at the direction of the door.
“Eh? Brother Jun, you’re still awake?”
“Why does your face look so pale?”
The two questions had been asked at almost the same time, and both of them couldn’t help but be slightly taken aback by the other’s question.
Ye Xiuwen grimaced, and he had a somber expression on his face. On the other hand, Jun Xiaomo minced her way over thoughtlessly as she quipped, “What’s up? Is brother Jun concerned about me?”
That said, Ye Xiuwen simply ignored Jun Xiaomo. Earlier tonight, “Qin Shanshan” had slipped out of the room again for an insignificant reason – just to help an array master whom she did not even know avoid He Zhang’s assassination attempt. Ye Xiuwen didn’t think too much of this at first. However, after “Qin Shanshan” left the room, he began to regret the fact that he hadn’t stopped “Qin Shanshan’s” rash, spur-of-the-moment actions.
To begin with, her injuries had not yet fully recovered. Slipping out at night to deal with a group of assailants in such circumstances was far too reckless and irrational.
That said, what Ye Xiuwen had failed to consider was the fact that the “little brat” was also a formidable array master. Dealing with a group of assailants that had come charging towards a single location meant that she did not even have to make a move against them personally.
“How did everything go?” Ye Xiuwen sipped at his tea as he changed the topic.
He had chosen not to respond to Jun Xiaomo’s question. Truth be told, even he was unsure why he was sitting here, waiting for “Qin Shanshan’s” return that late at night.
Jun Xiaomo pouted her lips, “Tch.” She was evidently displeased with how Ye Xiuwen had simply changed the topic just like that. However, she decided not to press the issue either.
“With me there, everything naturally went smoothly.” Jun Xiaomo muttered under her breath in response.
“Is that so? So ‘smooth’ that you’d even run back with such a pale face?” Ye Xiuwen placidly retorted, causing Jun Xiaomo to be taken slightly aback as she glared at Ye Xiuwen, completely lost for words.
In the next moment, Ye Xiuwen retrieved a recovery pill from his Interspatial Ring and tossed it to Jun Xiaomo, “Take it. We’re going to have to make a move in the next few days. The more we drag things out, the more variables we’ll have to deal with. There’s no way we can enter the forbidden grounds with your current condition.”
As he finished speaking, Ye Xiuwen stood up and walked over to the mattress in the outer quarters of the room and laid down.
After staying up for the better part of the night, he was beginning to get tired as well.
Jun Xiaomo toyed with the recovery pill in her hands for a while. Then, after some moments, her eyes curled into a squinch as she tossed the pill into her mouth and swallowed it with a mouthful of tea.
She could sense that the pill was slowly melting in her stomach and slowly replenishing the supply of true energy within her body. At this moment, Jun Xiaomo’s heart felt warm and full – this was the first time she had experienced someone else’s worry and concern for her after over three hundred years of complete solitude.
On this basis alone, she considered herself to have already found a true friend in Jun Ziwen.
Following that, Jun Xiaomo quietly walked into the inner quarters and washed up. After stretching herself and several yawns, she fell asleep with a light, unladen heart.
At the same time, Chen Taiguang’s yard resounded with a series of ghastly, horrific howling and crying, all of which were mind-numbingly shrill. However, under the effects of a sequestering Noise-Cancelling Array, nobody outside of Chen Taiguang’s yard was able to hear these blood-curdling screams.
It was a long, dreary night…
On the second day, the first light of dawn struck the land, ending the misery of the long, arduous night. All this while, over the span of the entire night, He Zhang had been waiting patiently in his own room. However, his wait had evidently been in vain.
He had initially thought that disposing of Chen Taiguang was going to be a simple, easy task that required no more than two hours’ time. That said, having realized that the disciples still had not reported back to him after an entire night, his intuition told him that something must have gone wrong.
The sun continued to rise higher into the sky. As noon quickly approached, He Zhang finally caved to his impatience, left his abode, and began to make his way towards where Chen Taiguang was residing.
As soon as he drew closer to Chen Taiguang’s courtyard, He Zhang immediately paused in his steps. This was because he could feel the thick lingering traces of spiritual energy in the area.
Thus, He Zhang slowed his approach. As he gradually drew closer and closer to Chen Taiguang’s courtyard, the lingering traces of spiritual energy became more and more evident.
Then, when he finally arrived at Chen Taiguang’s courtyard, it appeared as though nothing had changed at all.
That said, he did notice a tiny, little difference – he noticed that there were traces of a massive formation diagram lingering in the center of the courtyard. This was where the lingering traces of spiritual energy was coming from. However, the formation diagram evidently appeared spent. Otherwise, it would never leak and diffuse spiritual energy into the surroundings like that.
The door to Chen Taiguang’s room was completely ajar.
He Zhang immediately skipped over to where Chen Taiguang’s room was located. As soon as he peered into the room, his heart instantly constricted, and he almost passed out from shock.
All of the disciples which he had sent to do the deed were completely covered in scars and wounds as they laid in a miserable state on the ground. The spirit tools which He Zhang had armed them with were scattered and strewn all over the place.
In fact, He Zhang could even sense that the spirit tools were all devoid of any spiritual energy within them right now. In other words, they had all become spent, and they were now reduced to nothing more than a bunch of useless equipment.
And that was not all. He could sense that the Dawn Sect disciples appeared to have something wrong with their bodies. He Zhang’s spirit tensed up once more as he quickly made his way over and squatted down among the disciples as he began to examine the condition of their bodies. To his horror, he discovered at all of the disciples – without exception – have had their cultivation completely crippled.
He Zhang’s heart immediately surged with an intense wave of vicious energy. These disciples could be considered the strongest ones among all of the Dawn Sect disciples, and they were already on the brink of breaking through to the Foundation Establishment stage of cultivation! Everything had been ruined!
Just then, his eye caught notice of some cursive-looking words.
These words were scrawled on the ground, and he had only noticed them after squatting down.
“This is my ‘gift’ to Sect Leader He. Please accept it with gratitude~~~ I sincerely thank you for your ‘kind treatment’ last night!”
Bang! He Zhang flicked his sleeves in fury, ferociously shattering the table beside him.
However, no amount of anger and infuriated would make the crippled Dawn Sect disciples return back to normal once more.Previous Chapter Next Chapter