Chapter 317: A Moonlit Confession; A Settled Heart

Ye Xiuwen heart was deeply tormented, and his gaze grew deep and abstruse.

The lady that had held his heart captive for such a long time was now standing right in front of him, and he would be able to touch that tear-stained face and immerse himself in her soft, enchanting fragrance if he just lowered his head or lifted his arm. Ye Xiuwen could heart the thunderous beats of his heart thumping away with crescendo.

Previously, he had always been under the impression that Jun Xiaomo had always viewed him as nothing more than a dear martial brother, devoid of any affection or feelings as between a couple. Thus, he had always been afraid of overstepping his boundaries and jeopardizing their existing, cordial relationship.

But now, as Ye Xiuwen gazed into the vacant, puzzled look in Jun Xiaomo’s eyes, it suddenly dawned on him that things would never depart status quo if he did not actively make that first step. His Little Martial Sister would forever treat him as nothing more than a mere martial brother, and he might even be relegated to the sidelines when another man steps in and confesses to Jun Xiaomo.

Ye Xiuwen’s emotions right now were like a beast that had been caged for far too long – stifled and bound, yet always waiting expectantly for the day when it could break free of its shackles.

“Martial Brother?” Jun Xiaomo discovered that the atmosphere between them had grown thick and dense, to the extent that it was almost stifling. Jun Xiaomo’s spirits tensed up uncontrollably as she continued to gaze into Ye Xiuwen’s deep, abstruse eyes. She could see that his eyes were filled with her own image.

Then, Ye Xiuwen stretched out his arm and placed it gingerly on Jun Xiaomo’s cheeks. His index finger gently caressed Jun Xiaomo’s long eyelashes that were still damp from her tears.

Jun Xiaomo held her breath. Her mind was a complete blank at this moment, and her lashes fluttered lightly like the wings of a butterfly.

As Ye Xiuwen’s emotions escalated to unprecedented heights, they tugged ferociously at his heartstrings, sending the feelings that had been suppressed in the depths of his heart bursting forth like waters breaching a dam, overwhelming all of his rationality. Ye Xiuwen lifted Jun Xiaomo’s face, and then slowly and softly kissed her.

Even though this was not the first time Ye Xiuwen had kissed Jun Xiaomo, the previous instances were all on her hair or her forehead. At best, those kisses would have evinced nothing more than trace levels of affection that could be easily shrugged off as an older brother’s display of affection for a younger little sister.

But this time, Ye Xiuwen had kissed Jun Xiaomo directly on her lips, indubitably communicating his feelings for her through his actions.

That said, Ye Xiuwen had kept his kiss to a gentle peck on Jun Xiaomo’s lips so as not to frighten her. At the same time, his eyes were completely trained on Jun Xiaomo’s expressions and slightest of reactions as he had done so.

Jun Xiaomo was completely taken aback. His kiss had been so sudden and abrupt that her heart was completely unprepared for it.

She could smell Ye Xiuwen’s faint yet distinct fragrance permeating through her olfactory senses, and she could vividly feel the sensation of Ye Xiuwen’s lips lingering on hers. As she looked up at Ye Xiuwen’s eyes, the intense, passionate gaze in his eyes instantly sent her heart spinning and fluttering about once more.

So, it’s like that…

A numb, ticklish sensation burgeoned in her chest – it felt as though an earlier void in her heart had just been filled.

The urge to cry washed over Jun Xiaomo’s heart once more.

His Little Martial Sister’s lips had been softer than he had expected, and it even carried a slight fragrance as though a cherry blossom. Even though he felt like fully immersing himself in that experience, Ye Xiuwen’s strong sense of rationality told him that it was prudent to stop at a probing peck for now.

“Do you hate this kiss?” Ye Xiuwen backed off slightly and released Jun Xiaomo, yet his eyes continued to remain fixated on the expressions on Jun Xiaomo’s face.

In the next moment, he noticed that the rims of Jun Xiaomo’s eyes had now grown red and puffy, as though she was about to cry. Ye Xiuwen’s heart sank, and bitter astringency began to pour in and fill his heart with emptiness.

Have I misinterpreted the signs? Perhaps it’s true that Little Martial Sister only treats me as nothing more than an older martial brother.

Having made his move, Ye Xiuwen knew that the relationship between him and Jun Xiaomo would never be able to return to its previous state again. That said, he knew that he still remained the First-Seat Disciple of the Heavenly Peak, and Jun Xiaomo would continue to remain part of his responsibility in her capacity as a little martial sister to him. He could not afford to let Jun Xiaomo fear him or distance herself from him. Thus, he had said all these things in order to salvage the situation as much as he possibly could.

Ye Xiuwen’s rationality had once again returned to the forefront of his mind, and he knew what exactly he had to say in order to break the awkward tension between them right now. However, he was completely stunned by what Jun Xiaomo did next.

Jun Xiaomo propped herself up on tiptoe, embraced Ye Xiuwen around the neck, closed her eyes, and returned a light kiss on Ye Xiuwen’s lips.

Ye Xiuwen’s heart trembled slightly, and his pupils constricted instantaneously.

“This is my answer.” After the kiss, Jun Xiaomo opened her eyes once more and smiled brightly at Ye Xiuwen. Every trace of her previous expressions of disappointment, anxiety, distress and pain had all been wiped out by this single, radiant smile of hers.

It suddenly dawned on Ye Xiuwen that he might very well have underestimated his Little Martial Sister earlier. And it stood to reason – after all, how could a person with the fortitude to endure over three hundred years of painful solitude within the Proving Grounds be stumbled by something so relatively insignificant like an older martial brother’s feelings?

Perhaps Jun Xiaomo has never needed my concern or consolation to begin with. Perhaps I’d been unable to discern these things because I’d not seen her nor been part of her life for such a long time.

When all was said and done, it was unmistakably a good thing that he had still taken this first step.

Furthermore, it was fortunate that the result of his gamble was positively the result he had always been hoping for – at the very least, his affection had not gone unreciprocated.

Ye Xiuwen gently pulled Jun Xiaomo into a warm, sincere embrace, placing his chin gingerly on Jun Xiaomo’s head.

As Jun Xiaomo’s petite frame snuggled into his bosom, he could feel the warmth from her embrace filling up the emptiness in his heart. In fact, his heart felt incredibly full right now – it felt as though everything he had done back in the Death’s Gorge, where he had been painstakingly cultivating day and night just to fight his way out and return to the surface, had culminated in this very moment.

Ye Xiuwen’s long hair dangled by Jun Xiaomo’s shoulders, mingling harmoniously with her hair.

Jun Xiaomo hesitated for a moment, and then she lifted her hands and wrapped them around Ye Xiuwen’s firm, muscular waist.

As she carefully avoided the bandaged areas on Ye Xiuwen’s body, Jun Xiaomo locked her fingers tightly around Ye Xiuwen’s back in a feeble attempt to conceal her trembling right now.

“Why are you crying again?” Ye Xiuwen discovered some dampness on his shoulders. When he released his grip over Jun Xiaomo’s body once more, he discovered that there were traces of tears around her damp, moist eyelashes.

“Can’t you allow me to enjoy my moment of bliss?! These are tears of joy, understand?!” Jun Xiaomo glared at Ye Xiuwen. It was as though the confirmation of their feelings for each other had displaced all need for decorum, and Jun Xiaomo no longer treated Ye Xiuwen as she would have an older martial brother.

Ye Xiuwen sighed in relief, before chuckling with some measure of exasperation as he quipped, “Alright, Little Mo is right. Tears of joy are completely understandable.”

“Then, are you still going to fall for Zhang Shuyue?” Jun Xiaomo glared at him as she demanded an answer. It was as though she had turned into a little cat baring its teeth in just the blink of an eye.

Ye Xiuwen raised his eyebrows quizzically as he rapped Jun Xiaomo hard on the head, “Since when have I given you the impression that I’d fallen for Zhang Shuyue?”

“That…didn’t Martial Brother Chen and the rest all say that you and Zhang Shuyue have become a couple? After all, they’d seen you two spend an inordinate amount of time together over the last few days.” Jun Xiaomo murmured.

Ye Xiuwen rubbed his temples in exasperation as he responded, “She’s been the one approaching me all this while. How else should I have reacted under everyone’s watchful eye? Besides, this is her place of residence to begin with, and I don’t have the right to chase her away.”

Jun Xiaomo puffed up her cheeks as she continued to press the point, “But she obviously likes you. Are you saying that I’ll have to bear with her hanging around by your side now?”

Ye Xiuwen tousled Jun Xiaomo’s hair, “Sorry. Martial Brother had been too concerned looking for a place for your recovery and recuperation, and I’d overlooked all of these considerations, including Miss Zhang’s feelings towards me. That said, since you seem to have recovered substantially now, why don’t we depart this place tomorrow? That way, we won’t risk leading others on.”

Jun Xiaomo looked at the bandages on Ye Xiuwen’s body in dismay as she quipped, “I’m certainly much better now. However, you’ve just got yourself injured. Perhaps it might be better if we leave after another few days? After all, the thick spiritual energy here will aid in your recovery speed as well.”

Ye Xiuwen chuckled, “These injuries are nothing. Furthermore, since I’ve got no feelings towards Miss Zhang to begin with, there’s no reason in overstaying our welcome and owing others a favour. After all, repaying a debt is easy, but repaying a favor isn’t. Getting embroiled in such relations might give rise to a misunderstanding on Miss Zhang’s part.”

Jun Xiaomo nodded her head in agreement as she contemplated the schemes and ploys implemented by Zhang Shuyue in her previous life.

Zhang Shuyue was hardly a saint in Jun Xiaomo’s previous life. Back then, Zhang Shuyue had been willing to resort to any and all means necessary just so that she could achieve her own ends. In her present life, Zhang Shuyue was undoubtedly still the exact same person that she had been before; and there was nothing suggesting that her character had changed a single bit.

Thus, she knew that it would be prudent to nip the budding problem now. After all, if they allowed Zhang Shuyue’s feelings for Ye Xiuwen to continue to deepen any further, she might resort to some extreme measures just to get what she wanted, and things would be far more problematic and troublesome at that time. Furthermore, Zhang Shuyue’s master was a vicious person who was over-protective of her own disciples, and she would be even more difficult to deal with than Zhang Shuyue was. Were they really going to wait till her master was back before they left?

When that time came, whether they could leave with life and limb intact would be a whole other issue to be dealt with altogether.

“Martial brother, I think it would be best to leave tomorrow. We can’t let Zhang Shuyue have any more chances to scheme against us.” Jun Xiaomo grabbed Ye Xiuwen’s arms as she looked at Ye Xiuwen with a deep gaze in her eyes.

Ye Xiuwen smiled and patted Jun Xiaomo’s head, tacitly signifying his assent as he reassured her.

Jun Xiaomo couldn’t help but curl up her eyes brightly as she revealed yet another radiant smile.

Ye Xiuwen’s heart stirred, and he caressed Jun Xiaomo’s face once more as he gently planted another kiss on her lips.

This time, Jun Xiaomo was no longer caught unaware. Instead, she closed her eyes, tipped her toes and embraced Ye Xiuwen around his neck as she received Ye Xiuwen’s gesture of affection with open arms.

On this clear, ordinary night, the two lovebirds who had already developed feelings for each other since a long time ago finally confirmed their feelings for each other and committed themselves to the other.

Hours later, the first light of dawn scattered the darkness of the uneventful night.

It might have been a result of her injuries; it might have been a chill she had caught as a result of the cool night; or it might have been an automatic reflex of her body as a result of the extreme undulation of her emotions between the heights of great joy and the abyss of great sorrow – but regardless of the reason, the fact remained that Jun Xiaomo had fallen asleep amidst an impassioned kiss with Ye Xiuwen last night.

When Ye Xiuwen first realized that Jun Xiaomo had passed out completely, his heart raced with intense anxiety. Then, when he finally discovered that she had simply fallen asleep, and there was nothing wrong with her body, Ye Xiuwen heart reacted with ambivalence – he didn’t know whether to laugh or get mad at her.

The injuries on his body were still echoing with throbs of pain, and Ye Xiuwen could hardly be bothered to carry Jun Xiaomo back to her own room. Under the confluence of these factors, Ye Xiuwen carried Jun Xiaomo straight back to his own room.

There, he set Jun Xiaomo down on the bed gingerly and tucked her into bed. He stood at the door and watched her affectionately as she slept, and a warm, tender smile crept up the corner of his lips. In this blissful moment, his heart felt completely warm and fuzzy.

After adjusting Jun Xiaomo’s posture for her comfort, Ye Xiuwen retreated to the outer room where he retired for the night on a mattress.

Several hours later, Ye Xiuwen found himself jolted awake by the intrusion of a stranger’s aura. His eyes opened wide as he glanced vigilantly outside of his room. However, his vision was obstructed by the door to his room, and he couldn’t see who it was who had entered his courtyard.

“Oh…I think we’ve got a visitor?” Jun Xiaomo had also awakened from her slumber, and she sat at the side of her bed as she rubbed her eyes. She was still wearing Ye Xiuwen’s outer coat and wrapped up in Ye Xiuwen’s blanket at this moment.

“You can sleep for a little while more if you’re tired. I’ll go take a look.” Ye Xiuwen walked over to the bed and patted Jun Xiaomo on the head.

Jun Xiaomo was evidently still groggy from her slumber as she blinked her eyes vacantly.

As Ye Xiuwen opened the door and walked out, he discovered that the visitor waiting in the courtyard outside was none other than Zhang Shuyue.

“I wonder what brings Miss Zhang over to my place this early in the morning?” Ye Xiuwen asked courteously, carefully measuring his response to keep his distance and interaction as that between a guest and his host.

“I was just looking to discuss with Brother Ye about what Brother Ye had mentioned yesterday. I’ve thought about it for some time, and I really think that there’s no need for brother Ye to be in such a hurry to leave.” Zhang Shuyue uttered softly, “Perhaps there’s some misunderstanding between Sister Xiaomo and I, or perhaps she’s got some misgivings against me, but everything will be resolved once I have a chat with her. Brother Ye has saved my life after all. I’ll feel really bad if you’d left because of such a small hiccup.”

As she finished speaking, she looked sorrowfully at Ye Xiuwen, hoping that he would be moved by her spiel.

“Now’s a better time than any. If Miss Zhang wants to clarify any misunderstanding or misgivings with me, you can do it right here, right now.” A clear, crisp voice rang out from within the room. Moments later, with Ye Xiuwen’s outer coat still around her, Jun Xiaomo stepped out just beside Ye Xiuwen and revealed a meaningful smile at Zhang Shuyue.

Zhang Shuyue was taken aback, completely flabbergasted. After reeling in shock for some time before she finally managed to let out a shrill shriek in horror, “Why would you be in Brother Ye’s room?!”

Jun Xiaomo raised an eyebrow quizzically, “Oh? Can Miss Zhang please tell me why I can’t be in Brother Ye’s room?”

The cocky look on Jun Xiaomo’s face right now was truly deserving of beating.

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