Jun Xiaomo’s suggestion to breach the Sect’s forbidden grounds was immediately met with a strenuous opposition from Ye Xiuwen because it hadn’t been long since her last attempt, and she had not fully recovered from her injuries yet. To make matters worse, she had clearly overdrawn her spiritual energy last night while resolving the matter with Chen Taiguang. Thus, Ye Xiuwen firmly believed that her suggestion to breach the Sect’s forbidden grounds in three days’ time was completely reckless. Even if one were courting death, this would not be the way to do it.
“Alright, alright. It’s fine. I know my own body the best. The injuries might seem severe, but I’m certain that I would be fully recovered by then. Furthermore, He Zhang and the others are determined to dispose of you. If you don’t make a move within the next three day, it’s going to be nigh impossible to find a more suitable time to slip into the forbidden grounds after that. With He Zhang and the rest chasing you around the Dawn Sect, where are you going to find the energy to both deal with your assailants while thinking of a way to slip into the forbidden grounds under their very noses? You have to realize that the forbidden grounds aren’t something easy to break into. Even I needed to divide my probative attempts into three segments in order to determine just how the formation arrays within the forbidden grounds should be individually dealt with.” Jun Xiaomo persuaded earnestly.
“No way! I mean it when I said no earlier. We can deal with things as they come. Right now, I only know that your body is not ready for the third attempt to breach the defenses of the forbidden grounds’ formation arrays.” Ye Xiuwen retorted with a look of disapproval.
“My word! Why are you so hardheaded?! I’d already said that I’ll be fine by that time. Do you think you know the condition of my body better than I do? You…you’re so darn infuriating!” Jun Xiaomo huffed as she glared back at Ye Xiuwen.
“It’s all cause of how you’ve been treating these dangers and injuries as nothing more than a game. Quite apart from the fact that you always return with life-threatening injuries, you always claim that these injuries aren’t severe at all. From past experience, the reliability of your promises is now at an all-time low, and I don’t believe a single word that you’ve just said.” Ye Xiuwen calmly explicated with an intransigent tone of voice.
“You!” Jun Xiaomo glared back at Ye Xiuwen. She was so boiling mad that her emotions had consumed all the words she was about to spew out.
On the other hand, Ye Xiuwen placidly sipped at his tea, ignoring Jun Xiaomo as she continued to stare daggers at him.
Jun Xiaomo puffed up her cheeks as she plonked down onto the stool, glancing at Ye Xiuwen from time to time as though observing whether there was any room for compromise. At the same time, she appeared as though she were calculating something on a mental abacus.
Finally, her eyes glistened as she rolled her eyes at Ye Xiuwen and pouted her lips as she quipped, “Alright. Since I don’t have your blessings, I’ll be left with no choice but to go in secret. You can stay here and deal with He Zhang and the rest on your own.”
This time, it was Ye Xiuwen who found himself completely speechless. He set down the teacup in his hands and retorted with some measure of exasperation, “I’m only doing this for your sake! Lady, why are you being so difficult?!”
Jun Xiaomo noticed the softening of Ye Xiuwen’s attitude towards her, and she smirked as she quipped mischievously, “This is called being ‘flexible’, not ‘difficult’. Besides, my earlier suggestion was the best arrangement for both of us, yet you completely rejected it without compromise. Since that’s the case, I’d naturally had to take a different approach to things.”
Ye Xiuwen looked at Jun Xiaomo’s lively expressions, and he suddenly began to consider the possibility that her injuries were truly not as serious as they looked – Perhaps she might really be fine within three days’ time.
Thus, he lowered his eyes. After some moments of deliberation, Ye Xiuwen finally relented.
“Then, alright. But we can’t force the issue. If we can’t go on any longer, let’s save ourselves first and revisit our plans again after that.” Ye Xiuwen solemnly instructed Jun Xiaomo.
Jun Xiaomo patted his shoulders, “Don’t worry. I know my limits. I won’t die. I’ve not lived life to the fullest yet!”
As she finished speaking, Jun Xiaomo mischievously blinked her eyes at Ye Xiuwen.
At this moment, Ye Xiuwen didn’t know whether to continue being angry at Jun Xiaomo or simply to laugh at her comical behaviour. Thus, he simply picked up his teacup and took a sip from it as he suppressed the urge to smile back at her.
Three days passed in the blink of an eye. After making the necessary arrangements for the disciples whose cultivation had been crippled, He Zhang gathered the Sect Elders and the Peakmasters and ran through the plan to dispose of Jun Ziwen once more.
Even though Jun Ziwen’s cultivation level at the advanced-tier Nascent Soul stage of cultivation could hardly hold a candle to the old monsters who were hundreds or even thousands of years old, they were nevertheless under the belief that Jun Ziwen was an array master. In other words, they were apprehensive of the strange and peculiar methods with which he could employ and draw upon the powers of formation arrays. Thus, they decided that the best way to deal with this unwanted cancerous cell that had infiltrated their midst was to turn up in full force to force his hand.
In the dead of the cold, windy night, while the moon hung high, dimly lighting up the lands, several shadows flickered past and appeared in front of Qin Shanshan’s abode.
For fear of the array master’s abilities, He Zhang and the rest did not immediately charge into Qin Shanshan’s abode. Instead, they chose to send several Dawn Sect disciples in first to understand the situation on the inside. On the other hand, the rest of them simply remained outside, readying themselves to lend a hand at a moment’s notice.
The vanguard disciples were personally led by Qin Lingyu. These disciples were so delighted by the fact that they could undertake a mission personally led by Qin Lingyu that their hands and feet were trembling as they followed closely behind Qin Lingyu.
Yet how would the disciples ever know that their masters and the Sect Leader had thought of nothing more than to use them as cannon fodder when they assigned them to lead the strike as the vanguard of their assault?
On the other hand, Qin Lingyu was initially reluctant to undertake such a role to begin with. Unfortunately, the person instructing him to take the lead this time was his own master, and he had no choice but to comply. Naturally, there was an incredible amount of indignation on his heart right now, and his entire being appeared much more imposing than he usually was.
“Master, Jun Ziwen should be inside. I can see his shadow on the window, and I can also sense his aura emanating from within. Likewise, Shanshan is also inside there.” As Qin Lingyu led the disciples under the cover of the night, he cautiously glanced in the direction of Qin Shanshan’s room, before communicating what he saw to He Zhang on the other end of a Transmittance Talisman.
“Very good. Don’t alert them to the fact that you’re around. Conceal your aura and slowly approach their room.” He Zhang instructed.
Acting in accordance with He Zhang’s instructions, Qin Lingyu and the other Dawn Sect disciples slowly drew closer to the door to Qin Shanshan’s room. They had previously all applied a talisman on their bodies to conceal their auras, and they were confident that the people within Qin Shanshan’s room were unable to detect their presence at all.
Just then, the disciple that was walking furthest behind paused in his steps and stopped moving.
As the other disciples continued to make their way forward, they discovered that there was one less companion beside them, and they turned around curiously and asked, “Ah San, why have you stopped?”
In the very next moment, they witnessed the most unforgettable sight in their entire lives –
A massive man-eating plant suddenly erupted from the ground below and bit off the upper half of that disciple’s entire body. Apart from the cloud of blood and gore that sprayed everywhere, the only other thing that they saw was the horrific sight of what remained of the bottom half of that disciple’s body.
“Ahh!!!” All of the disciples practically screamed in unison. Their cries cut through the tense, heavy atmosphere in the air, filling the dark, night sky with echoes of terror and fear.
Moments later, several more man-eating plants burst through the ground, opened their mouths wide and began to swoop towards the closest Dawn Sect disciples around them.
The group of disciples acting as the vanguard to the assault were thrown into chaos.
“Master, not good. We’ve been set up!” Qin Lingyu hurriedly reported to He Zhang on the other side, “Jun Ziwen is indeed an array master. We’ve been trapped, and we can’t leave this place. I don’t know what other damned formation arrays he’s set up at this place, but I know that as soon as we attempt to take a step out of this place, we’d be eaten alive by a man-eating plant!”
As soon as He Zhang heard this, he was filled with anxiety, anger and hatred.
“Jun. Zi Wen! How many of my disciples are you going to kill?!” He Zhang clenched his fist around the Transmittance Talisman as intense killing intent flowed of his eyes. After what had just happened, he would be a fool if he did not immediately draw the conclusion that Jun Ziwen was an array master with ulterior motives.
“Wait there. We’re coming over right now.” As He Zhang spoke, he waved his hands and led the entire troupe of Sect Elders and Peakmasters as they made a beeline towards Qin Shanshan’s abode. As a Sect Leader, no matter how dire the situation was, he could never stand idly by as he watched his disciples fall into a deadly trap without doing a single thing. Thus, despite knowing the risks involved, he knew he had no choice but to rush towards them.
On the other side, Jun Xiaomo and Ye Xiuwen had already broken through two layers of protective formation arrays sequestering the forbidden grounds from the rest of the Dawn Sect, and they were in the process of working at breaking through the third layer of protective formation arrays.
As long as they could break through the third layer of protective formation arrays, they would be able to successfully breach the defenses of the forbidden grounds and enter its restricted areas.
Just before leaving Qin Shanshan’s abode and making their way towards the forbidden grounds, Jun Xiaomo had not only set up innumerable formation arrays around Qin Shanshan’s abode, she had even set up several talismans so that she could keep tabs on how the situation was panning out in the area.
Thus, Jun Xiaomo knew exactly what had just occurred at Qin Shanshan’s abode, and she couldn’t help but smile to herself in delight.
Ye Xiuwen also noticed the wicked smile on “Qin Shanshan’s” face right now, and he shook his head with some measure of exasperation – he knew that someone’s luck had just run out.
Furthermore, he knew that the only ones whose misery could cause “Qin Shanshan” so much delight at this moment were undoubtedly the people from the Dawn Sect.
That said, on his way into the forbidden grounds, he could be said to have truly witnessed the depth of this young lady’s mastery over formation arrays. Each and every single one of the immeasurably complex and dazzling formation arrays were quickly unraveled and dealt with ease on her part. At times, she would change the constitution of the formation array; at times, she would flick a few talismans onto the heart of the formation array, thereby suppressing all of its effects; and at times, she would simply add or adhere some objects to her body, thus ensuring safe passage through the entire formation array…
Ye Xiuwen couldn’t help but exclaim in his heart. This lady was truly formidable. If he had been in her shoes, he would have been completely dazzled and destroyed by the very first formation array that they had encountered.
Just as they drew closer to the heart of the forbidden grounds, Jun Xiaomo suddenly paused in her steps and looked at a little bridge with furrowed brows. A bloodcurdling, crimson red fluid coursed ceaselessly under the bridge, looking almost as though it were a flowing river of blood.
“This is an Enchanting Bridge. I’d never thought I would see something like this over here.”
“This is a bridge made of special materials. As soon as one sets up a formation array around it, it can achieve the effects of bewitching a person’s soul. When you step onto this bridge later, you will immediately begin to hear all kinds of sounds and noises, all of which are in fact no more than a mere illusion. The most important thing to note is that you should never respond to any of these sounds. Otherwise, you will forever be trapped within this formation array.” Jun Xiaomo solemnly apprised Ye Xiuwen of its dangers.
“Don’t respond to any sounds I hear? Alright. I got it.” Ye Xiuwen nodded his head and took her cautionary words to heart.
“Follow my lead. Remember, follow closely. Speak only after I say you may speak. No matter what you hear, you must always, always remind yourself that it is nothing more than an illusion and a lie. Don’t respond at all.”
Thus, Jun Xiaomo took the lead and walked ahead, while Ye Xiuwen followed closely behind.
As soon as they stepped onto the bridge, a cacophony of sounds and noises began to flow into their ears incessantly. These sounds and voices were filled with familiar memories and traces of the past, causing Ye Xiuwen and Jun Xiaomo’s spirits to tense up uncontrollably.
However, both of them possessed resolute hearts, and they were able to collect their emotions in no time. They steadied their hearts once more, before forging forward with determination in their eyes.
The Enchanting Bridge was something that Jun Xiaomo had not even encountered within the Proving Grounds. However, she knew about this formation array imbued artefact from her great grandmaster’s manuscripts and records, which were replete with drawings and descriptions. Thus, she also knew how to decipher when they had finally made it out of the domain of the Enchanting Bridge.
As they walked on, Jun Xiaomo continued to focus her mind on looking for clues to determine whether they had finally made it out of the domain of the Enchanting Bridge, while Ye Xiuwen continued to stare closely at Jun Xiaomo’s back, doing his best to ignore the sounds and voices that were slowly but surely getting clearer and more distinct.
Just as they were soon about to make it out of the Enchanting Bridge, a fearful voice that was trembling in trepidation suddenly rang out just beside Ye Xiuwen’s ear –
“Martial brother Ye, save me!”
“Xiaomo?!” Ye Xiuwen’s heart skipped a beat, and in that moment of folly he forgot every last bit of Jun Xiaomo’s earlier caution and he reflexively looked behind him.
Jun Xiaomo had also heard Ye Xiuwen’s response, but she simply shrugged it off and ignored it, thinking that it was a mere illusion. However, when she noticed from the corner of her eye how the crimson red fluid surged up like a tidal wave and swept towards them, it suddenly dawned on her that his earlier cry was no mere illusion!
Why would he call out the name, ‘Xiaomo’?!
As she whipped her head around, she saw the wave crash directly onto Ye Xiuwen’s body and engulf him completely.
“Careful!” Jun Xiaomo leapt towards Ye Xiuwen, and she managed to grab hold of Ye Xiuwen’s wrist in the very last moment.
Thus, just like that, both of them were dragged under the Enchanting Bridge by the receding wave, sending them deep into the abyss of the crimson red fluid.Previous Chapter Next Chapter