Jun Xiaomo continued to run along aimlessly. Her heartbeats thundered in her ear – heavy, yet powerless.
Having lost her memory, she felt as though her life were akin to the path she was on, extending endlessly into the darkness. It was most certainly not a path she could call her own.
She had thought that things would be much easier after leaving Ye Xiuwen’s side. Unfortunately, the further she ran from Ye Xiuwen, the more lost she felt, and the more intense the dread and uncertainty plaguing her heart.
Even though the shackles imposed by Ye Xiuwen made her feel incredibly stifled, it remained a fact that the only person she had come into contact after regaining consciousness was Ye Xiuwen himself. In other words, just like what Ye Xiuwen had mentioned, it was a fresh start, and the only person in her memory since this fresh start was Ye Xiuwen alone.
Thus, the tension in her heart hardly eased up when she drew further and further away from Ye Xiuwen. Instead, it only sank deeper into the mires of loss and dread.
Who is she? Where did she come from? Who else did she use to have in her life before she lost her memories?
Jun Xiaomo began to slow down to a crawl, before she finally stopped dead in her tracks.
As she surveyed her surroundings once more, she discovered that nothing, and no one, around her appeared familiar.
Just then, a burst of immense, excruciating pain shot straight from her abdomen through her head. This intensely debilitating pain caused her knees to buckle, and she collapsed onto the ground.
What’s going on? Did somebody poison me?
This was the only explanation that Jun Xiaomo could come up with.
Jun Xiaomo had thought that the pain would dissipate after a while. Unfortunately, the burst of pain was just the beginning. Moments later, waves after waves of excruciating pain began to surge throughout her entire body, filling her limbs, afflicting her with so much pain that she involuntarily curled up.
As she squatted on the floor in pain, sweat began to flow out of her pores profusely.
The anguish of losing of her memory; the fear of being shackled and bound by Ye Xiuwen; and the peculiar, physical pain that were sweeping through Jun Xiaomo’s body caused her eyes to grow red and puffy in an instant.
Pain. It was truly too painful – so painful that she wished she would just pass out.
The strangest part of this entire experience was the fact that she could vaguely recall another instance in her life when she had experienced such intense pain in her body. That said, she knew in her heart that there was no feeling of dread or despondence accompanying the previous time she experienced such pangs of pain.
“Ungh…” Jun Xiaomo groaned. Having squatted down for a long time, her legs had finally grown numb. Her body swayed slightly, and she collapsed onto the ground in the very next moment.
“It hurts…” Jun Xiaomo drew another deep breath, hoping to suppress the pain emanating from her belly, yet to no avail.
Her surroundings began to blur, as though the darkness were eating away at her rationality.
Finally, Jun Xiaomo’s head slumped down, and she passed out completely.
Just before she passed out, she vaguely noticed a pair of shoes that appeared foreign to her. It was not Ye Xiuwen’s shoes – these shoes belonged to someone whom she had never met before.
“Agh! How coincidental! This is actually Disciple’s wife.” An old man with a bubbly, chirpy voice exclaimed, “Since that’s the case, I think I’d better bring ye to safety before ye get brought away by ill-hearted people.”
As soon as he finished speaking, he waved his hands, and Jun Xiaomo floated up and began to hover about in front of him.
Then, with another flick of his sleeves, both he and Jun Xiaomo vanished into the dark of the night.
Ye Xiuwen arrived in the very next moment. Unfortunately, he was too late. The only thing he saw was a red shadow flicker past him, and Jun Xiaomo had vanished completely.
In that instant, the storm of jealousy began to brew in the depths of his eyes. It was as though two swirling whirlpools had appeared within his dark, abstruse eyes, threatening to swallow all light and heat around him!
Ye Xiuwen immediately released his divine sense, sending it probing about his surroundings, but to no avail.
That said, he did discover the aura of a man who had been here just moments ago. It must have been that man who had taken Jun Xiaomo away.
If I know who it was, I’m going to…
Just as the vile and evil energies sought to consume his mind once more, a little paper crane suddenly flitted out of the darkness and made its way clumsily towards him.
Ye Xiuwen snatched the paper crane out of mid-air, nearly crumpling it.
“Aiyah, Disciple, do ye have to be so cruel?!” The voice of Ye Xiuwen’s master echoed out from the paper crane – that impish old man who was young at heart.
Ye Xiuwen’s eyes quivered slightly as he opened the paper crane and gazed straight at it.
“Why are you contacting me?” Ye Xiuwen barked coldly. His attitude hardly cohered with that which any disciple would treat his master with.
The sprightly old man could see Ye Xiuwen’s appearances through the paper crane, and he immediately discovered the stark changes to Ye Xiuwen’s character that had occurred just over the span of the last few days.
He had become far colder and unreasonable.
The old man was alarmed by Ye Xiuwen’s changes. He instinctually knew that something had happened to his disciple’s body. Unfortunately, Ye Xiuwen was evidently impervious to logical reasoning and cajoling right now. In fact, Ye Xiuwen had even forbidden his own master from calling upon him and interrupting his private life with Jun Xiaomo.
Thus, the sprightly old man decided to take a different, more unconventional approach, and lure his disciple to himself.
“Disciple, are ye looking for yer wife?” The sprightly old man raised his eyebrows somewhat smugly as he asked.
Ye Xiuwen’s eyes grew ashen, “Do you know where she is?”
“Of course I know where she is. I’m the one who took her.” As though he were oblivious to the fury in Ye Xiuwen’s eyes, the old man casually chirped in response.
“Return her to me!” Ye Xiuwen bellowed, glaring coldly at the old man as though he were glaring at a nemesis.
However, the old man was completely unfazed by Ye Xiuwen’s attitude. Instead, he simply nodded his head and responded, “That’s fine. Come look for me, and I’ll return her to ye. I’ve got no use for her anyway.”
“Where are you?” The incisiveness in Ye Xiuwen’s eyes had diminished substantially, but it had not faded away completely yet.
“Ye know the mountain just behind the little town here? I’m in a cave on the southwestern part of it. It’s easy to find. Master is residing there for now. Come find me.” As soon as the sprightly old man finished speaking, he cut off the transmission with Ye Xiuwen.
Furious, Ye Xiuwen crushed the paper crane into a ball, before sweeping a barrage of Wind Blades through it, slicing and dicing the paper crane to pieces.
Anyone who takes Jun Xiaomo from me shall not be spared – even Master! Ye Xiuwen bellowed in his heart as the vile energy filled the depths of his eyes.
After cutting off his communication with Ye Xiuwen, the sprightly old man looked down at Jun Xiaomo as she lay unconscious on the stone bed. Her body was still curled up into a ball because of the pain. The old man sighed as he muttered under his breath, “What a pity; what a pity. I wonder what demons my disciple has in his heart to have tormented such a beautiful lady to this extent. Just look at her sunken cheeks and bony arms! This lady must have been under so much stress over a protracted period of time.”
Then, turning his mind to the reason for which Jun Xiaomo had passed out, a bright, mischievous gleam flickered across the depths of his eyes – Hehe, I wonder how Disciple is going to react when he discovers what’s plaguing her body? I look forward to it.
But, before that, I should first tend to her and nourish her body.
With such thoughts on his mind, the old man stood up, set up several defensive formation arrays at the entrance to the cave, before heading out.
He knew that Ye Xiuwen would be arriving soon, so he was not too concerned that Jun Xiaomo would be in any danger even if he left her here alone. At the same time, he was also not too worried that Ye Xiuwen would decide to leave with Jun Xiaomo, because he had already scattered some Tracing Powder on Jun Xiaomo’s body, so there would be no issues with locating them once again later on.
Unfortunately, what the sprightly old man had failed to consider was the fact that Jun Xiaomo’s greatest threats were hardly the spirit or demonic beasts residing on the mountain – it was his very own disciple, Ye Xiuwen.
Just as the old man had anticipated, Ye Xiuwen found his way to the cave in no time at all. The old man had consciously allowed Ye Xiuwen access through his formation arrays when he had set them up. Thus, Ye Xiuwen was able to slip into the cave without a hitch at all.
There was a bonfire burning in the center of the cave, radiating a pleasant warmth to its surroundings. Ye Xiuwen scanned his surroundings, and he quickly found Jun Xiaomo lying on a stone bed by the side.
Jun Xiaomo’s forehead was percolating with so much sweat that even her disheveled hair had been soaked through. She clearly appeared to be in a tragic state.
Despite that, Ye Xiuwen still managed to perceive some traces of beauty in her weakness and feeble disposition.
Then, as soon as his mind turned to contemplate the fact that she had spiked his tea earlier this evening before slipping away, the vile energy in Ye Xiuwen’s eyes began to swirl once more.
Why did you have to run? Why aren’t you willing to remain by my side for the rest of your life? Isn’t such an arrangement perfect for the both of us? Who were you thinking of running to? Were you thinking of running to Rong Ruihan?!
The demons in Ye Xiuwen’s heart cried out for any such further instances of betrayal on Jun Xiaomo’s part to be nipped in the bud – no matter the price to be paid!
Thus, Ye Xiuwen began to walk towards Jun Xiaomo as swirling storm of rage and oppressive aura flourished all about his body.
Jun Xiaomo stirred slightly, and she turned to lay on her back. The agonizing pain from her belly and Ye Xiuwen’s flourishing aura had just caused her to snap out of her stupor and come to her senses again.
When Jun Xiaomo opened her eyes, the first thing she saw was Ye Xiuwen marching towards her threateningly like a fiendish war god.
“I’ve already said it before – if you dare to run from me again, I’ll break off all your limbs and do everything it takes to keep you by my side. Don’t you remember that?” Ye Xiuwen muttered placidly to Jun Xiaomo. Under the faint illumination of the bonfire, the swirling, vile energy in the depths of his eyes appeared to be even more peculiar and devious than ever.
Jun Xiaomo clambered up from the bed and began to scramble backwards in fear, until her back finally hit the wall of the cave.
“You shouldn’t imprison me like that. I despise a life without freedom.” Jun Xiaomo bit down on her lower lips as she retorted indignantly.
“Ah? Freedom? What do you want freedom for?” Ye Xiuwen finally stopped when he was just in front of Jun Xiaomo. His gaze was trained on her body, yet Ye Xiuwen hardly showed a single trace of sympathy or heartache despite the fear and dread in Jun Xiaomo’s eyes.
“I’ve said it before, you must remain by my side. You don’t need ‘freedom’.”
As soon as he finished speaking, Ye Xiuwen grabbed Jun Xiaomo’s right hand, forcing her back down onto the stone bed amidst her cries of anguish!Previous Chapter Next Chapter