Chapter 33: Discovery of the Truth

On the other side, Jun Xiaomo had also just had a sleepless night. She had wanted to cultivate in meditation, yet because there were concerns weighing on her heart, she grew so agitated that she could not properly enter a meditative state of mind. 

“Sigh…Should I, or should I not ask martial brother Ye for help to increase my cultivation speed?” Jun Xiaomo thought with immense frustration as she impatiently tapped on her cheeks.

Her little packrat snoozed in a small basket beside her. The basket was laden with cotton wool, and it was extremely soft and warm to the touch. When her little packrat first dove into the basket, it was so happy that it squeaked excitedly for a long time.

“It truly is a simple-minded creature.” Jun Xiaomo smiled at it as she pulled a thin silken sheet over her little packrat’s body to prevent it from catching a cold.

One whole night passed just like that. As dawn broke, Jun Xiaomo finally made the decision to look for Ye Xiuwen for help.

Actually, Jun Xiaomo was not an indecisive person. However, when faced with those whom she cared about and even owed a debt of gratitude towards, then she would invariably find herself overtly considerate towards their feelings. After all, she knew that she was not a very conscientious person, or she would not have been bamboozled by that scumbag Qin Lingyu in her previous life. Therefore, in this life, she was determined to be much more conscientious where it mattered – whether it be assessing potentially dangerous situations or dealing with loved ones.

And besides, even though Jun Xiaomo had in her previous life interacted with Ye Xiuwen for quite some time, a good part of their interaction had been when Jun Xiaomo was in a muddleheaded state of mind and depressed. Because of that, her understanding of Ye Xiuwen had largely been gleaned from her memories of him and put together only after his death, and it could only be said to be shallow at best. Therefore, if the present Jun Xiaomo wished to improve her relationship with Ye Xiuwen, she had to tread gingerly and take things one step at a time.

Jun Xiaomo rummaged through her Interspatial Ring for some time, carefully picking out a few items that were suitable for Ye Xiuwen’s usage – a bottle of fifth-grade Energy Recovery Pills, ten pieces of third-grade Thunderbolt Talisman and a bundle of third grade Fragrantroot Grass. She placed all of these items into a small basket and then departed her room and headed directly for Ye Xiuwen’s abode.

Before she stepped out of her room, Jun Xiaomo even repeatedly warned Packie not to run about, and only left after Packie replied obediently with two squeaks.

Even though daybreak had just arrived, Jun Xiaomo knew with her basic understanding of Ye Xiuwen’s habits that he would already be awake and practicing his swordplay. Ye Xiuwen had always been a person of both talent and diligence. Otherwise, he would not been selected by Jun Linxuan as the First-Seat Disciple of Heavenly Peak at such a young age. It must not be understated that Jun Linxuan’s criteria for accepting disciples were not merely abilities – he looked intently at a person’s character as well. If this person’s character did not meet his requirements, then no matter how strong that person was, he would not receive Jun Linxuan’s approval at all.

As expected, when Jun Xiaomo neared the same man-made hill from yesterday, her ears immediately picked up sounds made by a sword slicing through the air. The fallen leaves in that area had even been ground to dust and scattered about by Ye Xiuwen’s sharp sword intent, travelling as far as the other side of the man-made hill.

Jun Xiaomo had learnt her lesson. This time, she no longer went ahead towards where Ye Xiuwen was. Instead, she waited silently behind the man-made hill for Ye Xiuwen to finish his practice before heading out.

After some time, the sky had already brightened substantial. Ye Xiuwen concluded his practice and patiently waited until his body’s spiritual energy had calmed down, before finally leaving in the direction of the man-made hill.

Ye Xiuwen had discovered the presence of another person during his practice earlier, but he also sensed that that person bore no ill-intent towards him, so he left that person alone.

After that incident with Jun Xiaomo yesterday, Ye Xiuwen also grew more cautious, and he would no longer rashly attack a stranger with his sword.

In fact, Ye Xiuwen had roughly already guessed who this person was. In the first place, the people who visited his abode would generally only include his master and his martial brothers and sisters from Heavenly Peak; it was quite rare to have visitors from other Peaks. Furthermore, most of his martial brothers and sisters from Heavenly Peak had followed Jun Linxuan to the back of the mountain to undergo special training in a closed-door cultivation environment. Therefore, the only other person who still had the freedom to walk about Heavenly Peak as she wished could only be his martial sister Jun Xiaomo.

As expected, once he circled around the man-made hill, he immediately bumped into Jun Xiaomo, who wore a bright and cute smile on her face which accentuated her two dimples on her cheeks.

“Brother Ye~” Jun Xiaomo respectfully addressed him as she smiled. She still felt rather ill at ease thinking about that awkward incident from yesterday. Therefore, she gently lowered her head, and carefully observed Ye Xiuwen’s response to her.

Ye Xiuwen had always given some indulgence to Jun Xiaomo and her antics on account for her identity. Furthermore, he was not even extremely angry at her yesterday. Even if he had misunderstood Jun Xiaomo’s intentions, he attributed her behaviour to her childish personality and did not take it to heart.

Thus, when he saw Jun Xiaomo’s expression which seemed to say, “I’m ready to face the music”, Ye Xiuwen could not help but find this scene rather comical.

This martial sister of his had always had a devil-may-care attitude, and whenever she interacted with people she would always do as she pleased, rarely taking into consideration the feelings of others. Yet today was a rare occasion where she actually seemed concerned about the consequences of her actions yesterday. Perhaps she even cared about him?

Ye Xiuwen was not an undiscerning person. Since Jun Xiaomo was willing to interact with him with sincerity, then he would not bear grudges and blindly reject her goodwill.

After all, everyone grows up after some time. The present Jun Xiaomo seemed to have matured quite a fair bit from their earlier interactions.

“What is this?” Ye Xiuwen warmly asked as he pointed to the basket hanging on Jun Xiaomo’s arm. Incidentally, he also shattered Jun Xiaomo’s ill-at-ease feelings with these words.

“Ah! I almost forgot about this. Martial brother, this is my gift to you to pay respect to my master!” Jun Xiaomo smiled widely as she spoke, simultaneously removing the cloth covering the basket to reveal its contents to Ye Xiuwen.

“Gifts to pay respect to your master?” Ye Xiuwen raised his eyebrow in bewilderment, “You and I are martial brother and sister, how can I be your master?”

Wouldn’t this be absurd?

Jun Xiaomo puffed up her cheeks at Ye Xiuwen, mumbling, “It’s not formally making you my master; it’s just…I’d like martial brother Ye to teach me sword arts.”

Jun Xiaomo had thought it through. With her current cultivation, it would not be practical to learn anything else – given that the present Jun Xiaomo could not muster any spiritual energy, she was no better than a mere mortal. She was unable to infuse a silver needle with spiritual energy, so if she tried to fling it out, it would be soft and limp, and even a worm would not die from such an attack, much less be able to use it in combat. Sorcery would be even more impossible. The present her could not even activate a spell as simple as Flame, so what else would she be able to do? 

At the same time, she needed to increase her true energy transformation speeds through combat and skirmish. Therefore, the best method to do this would be through sword arts.

Ye Xiuwen was a Chosen Disciple of Frozen Sword Sect, and his knowledge and understanding of the sword arts far exceeded anyone of his generation. Therefore, Jun Xiaomo thought that there would be no better person to learn these sword arts from than him.

Furthermore, if martial brother Ye taught her sword arts, this would increase the interactions they had with each other and possible foster better relationships. With so many benefits from this arrangement, Jun Xiaomo would be daft if she did not seriously consider this. This was the result of her the entire night’s worth of contemplation after all.

Therefore, Jun Xiaomo had brought this humble “introductory gift” to Ye Xiuwen to seek his approval to teach her sword arts.

Ye Xiuwen silently sized up Jun Xiaomo at this moment. He was uncertain of whether she was doing this impulsively, or whether she seriously wished to learn the sword arts.

Of course, the present Ye Xiuwen leaned towards the latter.

As she realized that her martial brother was sizing her up and seriously considering her suggestion, her heart grew with increasing excitement. After a few moments, she inquisitively prompted, “Martial brother?”

Ye Xiuwen deliberated for a while, before finally asking. “Martial sister, tell me truthfully – why do you want to learn sword arts?”

Jun Xiaomo bit down on her lower lips, choosing a more palatable reason, “Martial brother, as you know, my cultivation level has since fallen to the first level of Qi Mastery. I also need to have the ability to protect myself.”

But Ye Xiuwen was not so easily deceived.

“If that is the case, then you should devote more of your time to increasing your cultivation level, and not spread yourself so thin learning sword arts on the side while practicing cultivation. This could stifle your progress on both ends. And besides, if you remain in the Sect, who would be able to hurt you? As of now, you don’t really need the abilities to protect yourself.” Ye Xiuwen calmly analyzed the situation and pointed out the crux of the matter.

Jun Xiaomo’s heart was filled with defeat, as she discovered that Ye Xiuwen could truly see through all her lies.

Sometimes, she truly felt like revealing all her secrets to Ye Xiuwen. But as the words were about to leave her mouth, she would always stop herself – some secrets are meant to be kept as secrets all her life. The fewer the people who knew it, the safer she would be. Besides, the Ye Xiuwen now might not even believe her if she told him everything.

Seeing Jun Xiaomo’s eyes redden, and hesitating to speak, Ye Xiuwen’s heart also softened. He sighed and said to Jun Xiaomo, “Martial sister, perhaps I have been too harsh with my words, but this is really for your own good. You have to know that practicing sword arts is not something that produces results overnight. You have to persevere and work diligently at it, and it would even use up a good part of your precious meditating hours. If you truly like sword arts, why not wait till you have recovered your eighth level of Qi Mastery before making your decision? If you still wish to learn at that time, I will do my best to teach you, alright?”

Jun Linxuan’s forte was sorcery, therefore asking Ye Xiuwen to teach Jun Xiaomo sword arts was completely understandable.

After listening to Ye Xiuwen’s words, some expressions and colour finally returned to Jun Xiaomo’s originally stunned, pale face. But she was still determined. She shook her head, looked up at Ye Xiuwen and told him seriously, “Martial brother, I cannot wait any longer. If I cannot learn sword arts, then there is a good chance that I will forever remain at the first level of Qi Mastery. Even if I spend my whole life meditating, I will still be unable to progress in my cultivation.”

This time, it was Ye Xiuwen’s turn to be stunned. He thought about how Jun Xiaomo had used demonic energy when she struck out at Yu Wanrou that fateful day, and then contemplated how absurd it was that Jun Xiaomo presented herself later that same day with her crippled cultivation.

He felt that there is an important secret deep within Jun Xiaomo’s heart at this moment.

As he thought about it, Ye Xiuwen grabbed Jun Xiaomo’s hand and pulled her into the pavilion. As they entered the pavilion, he pressed on a part of the stone table sitting in the middle of the pavilion. Instantly, the surroundings seemed to shift and distort – bamboos, flowers, trees, stones…everything moved on its own, until when they finally settled, the surroundings looked completely different from before.

This was a formation array, and it could ensure that no one would be able to enter or secretly listen in on the conversations at that pavilion. Even though the probability of these things happening were rather low, but the meticulous Ye Xiuwen would rather not take the chance no matter how low they were.

After making all these preparations, Ye Xiuwen calmly looked at Jun Xiaomo, asking, “Martial sister, tell me the truth now, what exactly happened with your body?”

Jun Xiaomo was initially stunned by the fact that Ye Xiuwen would of his own volition hold onto her hand. Who would have thought that Ye Xiuwen had done an entire series of surprising things just to elicit the truth from her?

Ye Xiuwen’s actions caused Jun Xiaomo to realize one thing – Ye Xiuwen may well have guessed a portion of the truth about her.

Jun Xiaomo bit down on her lower lip, uncertain of what exactly she should be revealing to Ye Xiuwen.

Seeing Jun Xiaomo’s hesitation, Ye Xiuwen’s eyes immediately darkened.

“Xiaomo, is there the existence of demonic energy within your body?”

As Ye Xiuwen said these words, Jun Xiaomo looked up in astonishment, blankly staring at Ye Xiuwen with her widened eyes, completely stumped for words.

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