Jun Xiaomo’s mind was already back to normal when she regained her senses once more. Her mind was littered with snapshots and images of her memories, both of her previous life and of her present life. However, these snapshots of memories were all over the place, and she was unable to organize her thoughts into a linear or chronological sequence of events. To make matters worse, her mind would seize up with intense pain every time she tried her best to recall what happened in the past, forcing her to let go of any notion of recalling the past.
Of all the scattered snapshots of her memories, the single memory that was most intact and complete was that of her falling prey to the schemes of a group of people, being surrounded and attacked by them in an ambush, before losing her child in a horrific turn of events. The heart-wrenching, gut-spilling pain that ensued was something that lingered on endlessly in her heart, and she continued to experience pangs of echoing pain, even now.
Was there previously another child in here? Jun Xiaomo caressed her lower abdomen gingerly as she contemplated the possibility. As though recognizing the blood connection, her lower abdomen responded with a sense of warmth, bliss and contentment.
Regardless of what happened in the past, I would never allow this child to encounter the very same fate as the one in my memories! Jun Xiaomo swore in her heart!
Gradually, a sense of resolve filled the depths of her eyes.
“Xiaomo, you’ve been unconscious for some time now. Have some food to nourish your body. The child in your belly must be so hungry that even its unformed belly is growling.” A charming man strode over to Jun Xiaomo’s side and handed her a skewer of roasted meat as he cajoled her.
Who else could this sprightly person be apart from Chi Jingtian? Perhaps it was a result of the time they had spent together as master and pet, or perhaps it was just a part of Chi Jingtian’s personality. Whatever the case was, he hardly minded the fact that the child in Jun Xiaomo’s womb was Ye Xiuwen’s child. Instead, he would chirpily take care of Jun Xiaomo’s need for sustenance every day, and he would even place his hand gingerly over Jun Xiaomo’s lower abdomen from time to time, feeling for the child’s gentle warmth.
Anyone who didn’t know any better mind even get the misunderstanding that Chi Jingtian was none other than the child’s father.
“Thank you.” Jun Xiaomo smiled. Receiving the skewer of roast meat, she took a big bite out of it. Truth be told, Chi Jingtian’s culinary abilities with roasted meat was mediocre at best. In fact, his first attempt at a skewer of roast meat ended up being raw on the inside. That said, Jun Xiaomo was touched by his little gesture of care and concern, and she still finished the entire skewer in its entirety.
It didn’t matter if it tasted good or not, as long as it filled her belly with the nutrients she needed. The meat of the spirit beast she had just consumed was filled with spiritual energy, and it was just what the child in her womb needed for its growth. Besides, Chi Jingtian was clearly well aware of the mediocrity of his culinary skills, and he had over the last few days been experimenting with different ways of roasting meat, such as by using various different combinations of seasoning when doing so. Giving credit where it was due, the roast meat skewers had most certainly been improving in its flavor.
Chi Jingtian smiled brightly when he saw Jun Xiaomo meticulously polish off the food he had prepared. Taking his seat beside her bed, Chi Jingtian placed his hands behind his head, leaned back slightly and began to talk drivel to her as she continued to eat.
Chi Jingtian had been pampered and spoilt by his clan members, so he had always acted in accordance with his heart’s desires. Perhaps there would be few people, if any, who would be able to understand why Chi Jingtian was able to do so much for Jun Xiaomo right now. After all, the child in Jun Xiaomo’s womb wasn’t even his.
However, he was content with such interactions of theirs. Back then, when he turned into a little fluffy packrat, he realized that there was nobody he could safely relate his dread and anxiety to. Finally, as his despondence came to a head, Jun Xiaomo was the one who pulled him out of the mires and rescued him. As long as he remained by Jun Xiaomo’s side, he felt safe, secure and at peace.
Thus, he yearned for such feelings. Then, when he learned from his clansmen that Jun Xiaomo had perished, apart from the overwhelming pain that plagued him endlessly, it even felt as though a void had opened up right in the center of his heart, filling it with emptiness no matter what he did.
Fortunately, Jun Xiaomo wasn’t dead, and she had “returned to life”. Overwhelmed with thankfulness, Chi Jingtian hardly thought too much about her pregnancy. As long as Jun Xiaomo was alive and well and accessible to him, this was enough for him. In fact, he didn’t even require Jun Xiaomo to reciprocate his feelings towards her.
If Old Man Chi learnt about these intentions of his, he might very well glare at Chi Jingtian and castigate him for not living up to his potential.
Ye Xiuwen stood from afar, keenly gazing at the blissful interaction between Chi Jingtian and Jun Xiaomo. He clenched his fists in an instant, snapping a thick twig in his hands.
Shaking his head, the old man sighed in resignation, walking away.
He had said all that needed to be said. Whether his disciple would come to his senses was entirely up to fate at this point in time.
He was old, and he could hardly be bothered by the things between young people. As long as there was nothing life-threatening at hand, he would much prefer to spend his golden years peacefully, fishing, enjoying idyllic sceneries and practicing his martial arts from time to time.
Just as quickly as the vile energy began to pour into the depths of Ye Xiuwen’s eyes and swirl viciously, he forced it back where it came from. At this moment, his eyes were incredibly deep and abstruse.
Over the last few days, in order to prevent provoking Jun Xiaomo, Ye Xiuwen had consciously avoided appearing before her when she was awake. Apart from visiting her at night while she was asleep, he would simply watch her from afar, and occasionally hunt for spirit beasts for her meals.
Then, whenever he saw how Chi Jingtian could interact with Jun Xiaomo as though without a single care in the world, the vile energy in his heart would always roil intensely, triggering a primal urge within him to tear Chi Jingtian to shreds!
However, as soon as he turned to how Jun Xiaomo was smiling so radiantly and with such a relaxed disposition, he would by sheer willpower repress the vile energy to where it came from.
Ye Xiuwen had not lost his memories. Rather, it was only his personality that had shifted and become twisted under the influence of the vile energy from the spirit tool. He was well aware of the fact that his personality in the past was vastly different from what it was right now. At the very least, he knew that he would never act recklessly on impulse or have the urge to indiscriminately wipe out any person or even object that drew remotely close to Jun Xiaomo.
It was fine if Chi Jingtian perished. But if he was the only one left by Jun Xiaomo’s side, would she still be able to live on? And even if she were able to live on, would she ever have such bright, radiant smile plastered all over her face again?
Ye Xiuwen mulled over these things. He knew one thing for sure – if he remained passive about the source of the problem, his rationality would soon be irreversibly overwhelmed by the vile energy that was locked away in his heart. He couldn’t even begin to fathom the kind of things he might end up doing at that time.
Turning away from Jun Xiaomo and Chi Jingtian and their blissful interaction, Ye Xiuwen walked off into the distance, far from where the lotus pond was located.
Chi Jingtian was telling Jun Xiaomo about the interesting things that occurred in his clan’s grounds. Tickled by it, Jun Xiaomo burst out into bright laughter. Just then, she noticed a person’s shadow flicker by from the corner of her eyes. As soon as she turned around to take a closer look at it, the person’s shadow had already vanished.
“Xiaomo, what’s the matter?” Chi Jingtian noticed Jun Xiaomo’s laughter pause prematurely, so he couldn’t help but ask if anything was wrong.
“Nothing much.” Jun Xiaomo was stunned for a moment, before she curled her lips into a gentle smile and shook her head slightly.
She had already sensed the same person staring at her from behind several times now. However, whenever she turned around, she would only be met with an emptiness behind her – not a single trace of a person could be seen where the gaze had come from just moments ago.
Truth be told, she could already guess who this person gazing at her was. Her feelings towards Ye Xiuwen was still incredibly complex right now.
She had already recovered bits and pieces of her memory. From these pieces of her memory, she could glean the fact that her relationship with Ye Xiuwen was hardly as poor as she had thought it was. In fact, she knew that she had been rather reliant on Ye Xiuwen in her past.
That said, she was also aware that Ye Xiuwen’s personality in her memories was vastly different from his personality right now. It was almost as though she were dealing with a completely different person.
Jun Xiaomo sighed, thinking that some distance between them right now would be for the best. At the very least, Ye Xiuwen would no longer stifle her with his strict territorialism.
After leaving Jun Xiaomo’s side, Ye Xiuwen operated his Windwalk ability and flew to a wide, open plains some distance away from the lotus pond, and he retrieved the spirit tool from his Interspatial Ring.
Almost as though it knew what its master was about to do, the spirit tool began to emit a low, humming sound, and it even began to vibrate intensely.
The vile energy in the depths of Ye Xiuwen’s eyes appeared to resonate with the spirit tool’s reactions, and it began to surge violently as well, enshrouding his mind with an ashen haze in an instant.
A metallic voice rang out from the depths of his mind, as though warning him not to abandon the spirit tool – never to abandon the spirit tool.
The metallic voice tugged strongly against Ye Xiuwen’s rationality, momentarily blocking Ye Xiuwen’s earlier intentions.
Ye Xiuwen gripped the spirit tool firmly with his hands so tightly that the veins on his arms had begun to bulge and throb.
The palm-strike from Jun Xiaomo some time ago had left an indelible mark on Ye Xiuwen, and it began to echo and throb in pain once more. In turn, the pain from this wound caused Ye Xiuwen’s mind to turn to consider the kinds of wounds he had afflicted and etched onto Jun Xiaomo’s heart as a result of his recent words and actions towards her.
Ye Xiuwen had initially thought that it was sufficient to keep Jun Xiaomo restrained by his side. However, Jun Xiaomo’s disappearance over the last few days had stirred the anxiety in the depths of his heart, which had in turn repressed the vile energy and allowed some measure of his rationality to return to his mind.
Could he really employ such extreme measures to keep Jun Xiaomo by his side? Even if he kept Jun Xiaomo by his side like that, could he ensure that Jun Xiaomo would not employ equally extreme measures to extricate herself from his tight grasp over her?
For instance, suicide.
If that happened, what was the point of keeping Jun Xiaomo by his side? Was it all just so he could force her to a path of no return?
Jun Xiaomo’s expression of resentment surfaced in Ye Xiuwen’s mind once more, shattering all the restraints shackling his rationality and imbuing his mind once more with clarity.
Even though this were only a brief reprieve from the usual haziness enshrouding his mind, this was more than sufficient for what Ye Xiuwen needed to do. Immediately, Ye Xiuwen cut a deep wound on the palm of his hand and firmly held onto the spirit tool’s handle.
In order to void an existing contract between a spirit tool and its master, one would have to pour into the spirit tool far more blood and spiritual energy than when the contract was made, until the invisible connection point between the spirit tool and its master breaks apart. As soon as the connection between the spirit tool and its master is broken, the contract will also have been voided.
However, there was a hefty price to pay for such an action – the spirit tool might very well be rendered completely broken and useless, while the master might very well sustain some damage to his body as well. Thus, most people would never consider doing something that was so highly risky as breaking an existing contract with his spirit tool.
For the very same reason, Ye Xiuwen also began to face a fierce resistance from his spirit tool as soon as he embarked on the process of voiding their contract. Wave after wave of corporeal vile energy surged out from the spirit tool and began to enshroud Ye Xiuwen in an instant.
Ye Xiuwen’s pupils grew hazy and dilated. It was evident just how much of a stronghold the vile energy had over Ye Xiuwen’s heart.
When it rains, it pours. Just then, a variable completely outside of Ye Xiuwen’s contemplations began to stir. Just as Ye Xiuwen was attempting to void the contract with his spirit tool, Zhuang Lenghui had also just managed to link up with the Stoneknife Peak’s Wei Xingping. Within moments, they had begun their march towards the Sunset Mountain Range’s lotus pond.Previous Chapter Next Chapter