Chapter 42: Punishment and Torture

Jun Xiaomo clapped off the dust on her palms as she finally finished the last mouthful of her green fruits. Then, she sauntered over to the gate to her yard and swiftly removed the invisibility talisman off her own body. Once the invisibility talisman completely immolated and vanished into thin air, Jun Xiaomo leisurely skirted around the surrounding walls and entered her yard as though she had just “returned”.

“Oh! You guys sure are early!” Jun Xiaomo looked at the two persons in her yard who were giving each other the silent treatment as she hooked her lips into a slight smile.

Even though these two people standing before her were her fiancé and her “love rival” from her previous life, she felt awash with complete, unwavering calmness.

In fact, it would be a good thing if Yu Wanrou could make Qin Lingyu fall head over heels in love with her - then she would have no issues with rescinding the marriage agreement they had. However, it was a pity that the present Yu Wanrou did not have Cupid’s blessings in this regard. At the very least, in Qin Lingyu’s eyes, the value of those two fifth-grade Energy Rejuvenation Pills far outweighed the value of his relationship with Yu Wanrou right now.

Jun Xiaomo’s voice cut through the heavy air about Qin Lingyu and Yu Wanrou like a knife through butter. Hearing this, Qin Lingyu’s heart leapt as he quickly turned his head in the direction of the voice – he had never had such a burning desire and anticipation to see Jun Xiaomo show up before. Of course, the object of his desire and anticipation was not Jun Xiaomo per se. Rather, it was for Jun Xiaomo’s two fifth-grade Energy Rejuvenation Pills.

Yu Wanrou also looked in the direction of Jun Xiaomo’s voice, but her reaction was vastly different from Qin Lingyu’s. She dreaded seeing Jun Xiaomo’s arrival. In fact, she detested Jun Xiaomo so much that she had hoped Jun Xiaomo would never again show up in front of her and Qin Lingyu.

But obviously, her hopes were dashed at this very moment.

Seeing Jun Xiaomo glance over, Qin Lingyu promptly walked over to her, saying with a pleasant voice, “Xiaomo, you’re back. We’ve been waiting for some time.”

Hearing this, Jun Xiaomo lifted her eyebrows strangely. It was an extremely rare thing to hear such a pleasant tone in Qin Lingyu voice. She discovered that this man before her had no bottom line or principles when it came to matters concerning his own benefits or interests.

But as Jun Xiaomo stared straight into Qin Lingyu’s two long and narrow eyes, she saw that this was a mere pretense – she could tell that there was no joy or pleasure in Qin Lingyu’s heart, only a deep, cold ambition brewing in his heart.

Having noticed this, Jun Xiaomo realized that she disliked Qin Lingyu even more – she found this kind of aggressive, overambition to be repulsive and disgusting.

Jun Xiaomo’s smile faded away as she ignored Qin Lingyu and turned her gaze towards Yu Wanrou. At this moment, Yu Wanrou was still biting down on her lower lips, looking deeply aggrieved as though she had just been humiliated.

“Pfft!” Jun Xiaomo burst out in a sprightly laughter, saying to Yu Wanrou, “What is it, martial sister Wanrou? You must be very disappointed to see me, aren’t you? What’s with that expression plastered all over your face that makes it look like I’ve owed you eight lifetimes’ worth of debt, huh? I really can’t bear to see this.” 

Qin Lingyu furrowed his brows and turned to look at Yu Wanrou, signaling to her with his eyes that she should quickly apologize to Jun Xiaomo.

Yu Wanrou gritted her pearly white teeth as she struggled against her own emotions. Finally, she unwillingly walked in front of Qin Lingyu and Jun Xiaomo, lowered her head and with a voice as small as a mosquito, she murmured, “Martial sister Xiaomo, sorry.”

Jun Xiaomo glanced at her from the corner of her eyes, commenting, “Martial sister Wanrou, are you talking to a mosquito or a human being? Are you sure that kind of voice can be heard by normal people?”

Yu Wanrou increased her volume, parting her teeth slightly as she muttered, “Martial sister Xiaomo, sorry.”

Jun Xiaomo smiled genially as she casually repeated, “I still can’t hear it.”

“Martial sister Xiaomo, sorry!” Yu Wanrou’s voice finally reached the volume of a normal speaking voice.

“I still can’t hear it.”

“Martial sister Xiaomo, sorry!”

“I still can’t hear it.”

“Martial sister Xiaomo, sorry!!!” Yu Wanrou lifted her head, staring straight into Jun Xiaomo’s eyes with fury raging in her own as she tightly clenched her fingers around the silken handkerchief in her hands.

If Jun Xiaomo still says that she can’t hear this, then I…

But with Qin Lingyu staring her down from the side, what else could she do? Yu Wanrou finally understood how all those other women felt when she stole their men. That is, no matter what she said or did, her lover would not only ignore it; he would even take the side of her love rival and stand against her.

The thought that Jun Xiaomo was going too far had also crossed Qin Lingyu’s mind. Jun Xiaomo had clearly repeated that same phrase of “I can’t hear” in order to torment Yu Wanrou and rub salt in her wounds. But when Qin Lingyu remembered the treasures promised by Jun Xiaomo, he chose to remain silent and watch on at the side.

Qin Lingyu could not risk offending Jun Xiaomo just for Yu Wanrou – after all, Yu Wanrou was a pretty-looking fellow disciple who only moved his heart slightly; while Jun Xiaomo was a gateway to immeasurable treasures and resources. With these resources, he could easily rise above the competition and stand at the peak of all his contemporaries without having to risk his life obtaining the same.

Jun Xiaomo took in both the expressions on the faces of Qin Lingyu and Yu Wanrou, and she assessed that the time was ripe for her next move. Therefore, she looked at Yu Wanrou and wryly said, “Alright, I’ve heard your apology. But…since you are apologizing, you ought to do so with a hundred and twenty percent sincerity. I don’t feel the remorse in your voice when you’re just shouting at me like that.”

Yu Wanrou’s face momentarily froze, turning green and pale as she experienced conflicting emotions in her heart. Finally, she coldly remarked, “First, you say that you can’t hear me; then, you say that I’m shouting at you. Martial sister Xiaomo, tell me, what exactly should I do to show my “sincerity and remorse”?”

Jun Xiaomo leisurely responded, “It’s simple. Just tell me in detail why you are apologizing to me and write me a statement saying that you will not make this mistake again. This manner of apology would be sufficient to appease me. What do you think?”

Yu Wanrou indignantly retorted, “It’s martial sister Xiaomo who asked me to come and apologize to you today. Don’t you already know the full reason, or are you just trying to torment me today?”

“Yeah, my initial intention was indeed to torment you. What about it?” Jun Xiaomo admitted that fact without any hesitation, causing Yu Wanrou’s face to freeze in shock as though she were choking on something.

How could anyone so plainly and honestly reveal their wicked thoughts? This was the first time Yu Wanrou had seen someone as brazen as Jun Xiaomo.

“But…” Ignoring their responses, Jun Xiaomo continued, “I’ve also said it. If you apologize with enough sincerity, I won’t pursue this matter any longer and I’ll let you off the hook. I, Jun Xiaomo, am a woman of my word. How about it, Yu Wanrou, do you admit your mistake?”

“I admit it.” Yu Wanrou wished to quickly leave this place and free herself from this torment. 

This torment was not a physical one, but rather a torment of the heart and mind. Yu Wanrou had always been jealous of the fact that Jun Xiaomo had everything going for her; but at the same time, she had never set had Jun Xiaomo in her sights because she also looked down on Jun Xiaomo’s foolish and naïve disposition. Therefore, when Jun Xiaomo time and again trampled on her pride, causing her to feel helpless beyond belief, Yu Wanrou’s heart felt like it had fallen into an inescapable pit.

“Let’s hear it, tell me what mistake you’re admitting to.” Jun Xiaomo tucked her hair behind her ear as she ardently pressed the issue.

“I should not have slandered martial sister Xiaomo and said that you injured me…” Yu Wanrou said unwillingly, but she instinctually got defensive and added, “But it can’t really be considered slander at the same time. The person I saw at that time really bore martial sister Xiaomo’s appearances, and Second Elder said it could have been a demonic cultivator posing as you to harm me. I was just reporting what I saw to the Sect Elders, how was I wrong in any way?!”

Yu Wanrou looked at Jun Xiaomo intently, hoping to salvage some of her diminishing pride.

“Oh, but martial brother Qin didn’t find any traces of the demonic cultivator perpetrator, did he? Since he didn’t, then Second Elder’s conjectures are no longer valid. Besides, you say that you’ve seen my appearances, but did anyone else corroborate your testimony? And do you have any hard evidence to prove I hurt you? You made all these allegations to the Sect Elders without the confirmation of any other witness or hard evidence. Martial sister, don’t you think that you’ve been too thoughtless in the circumstances? If not for the fact that my cultivation level fell to the first level of Qi Mastery, I might very well have been punished by the Sect for nothing!”

“You…you…you’re being ridiculous! Can’t I gain any sympathy from the fact that I was injured to begin with? And besides, the Penal Hall is presided over by the honourable Sect Elders and they would make a fair determination of the matter, so how would you have been punished by the Sect for nothing?!”

“If martial sister Wanrou had evidence, then you would be making reasonable accusations. But if martial sister Wanrou had no evidence to begin with, then what difference is it from false accusations? Martial sister, I’m saying all of these things so you can understand one thing – some things cannot be said thoughtlessly without any consequences…for example, the rumours about me bullying you.”

As Jun Xiaomo made her diatribe, she took a few steps forward, all the while keeping her eyes locked on Yu Wanrou. Jun Xiaomo’s lips curled into a sardonic smile as she said, “Don’t you enjoy telling people in the Sect that I’ve always been bullying you? You’ve always had these allegations at the tip of your tongue. Why not martial sister Wanrou give an account for the basis for such statements then? Or do you think that it is alright making such baseless, irresponsible statements to the world, without having need for any evidence, hmm?”

At this moment, the rims of Yu Wanrou’s eyes reddened and filled with tears. She looked over at Qin Lingyu, only to discover that Qin Lingyu only lifted his chin slightly and gave her a meaningful look. His message? Continue to apologize.

This was because as long as Yu Wanrou could not give Jun Xiaomo a satisfactory apology, he would not be able to obtain the promised medicinal pills from Jun Xiaomo.

“Alright. I apologize for all of my irresponsible statements as well.” Yu Wanrou finally gave up arguing with Jun Xiaomo. She knew that as long as Jun Xiaomo held onto the resources which Qin Lingyu coveted, Jun Xiaomo held all the cards and there was no way Yu Wanrou could come out on top of this situation.

This is only temporary… Yu Wanrou silently consoled herself as she lowered her head, obscuring a vicious glint in her eye.

Jun Xiaomo laughed heartily and decided not to press the issue any further. At this moment, she retrieved from her Interspatial Ring a talisman with a formation array drawn on it and waved it in front of Yu Wanrou, asking, “Do you know what array this is?”

Yu Wanrou looked at Jun Xiaomo, keeping silent. She had relied solely on the spirit spring within her spectral demiplane to attain her present cultivation level. Therefore, when it came to formation arrays, secret arts, talismans and other fields of knowledge, she was completely ignorant, and no better than the mere mortals living outside the Sect.

Anyway, Yu Wanrou had never bothered herself with these things. Given her personality, she never once desired to become a strong cultivator. Instead, her direction in life had always been to seduce men who were stronger than her. 

Jun Xiaomo also knew that Yu Wanrou would be clueless about these things, so she took her silence as ignorance as she explained, “Heart-Oath Array – have you heard of this?”

“Heart-Oath!” Qin Lingyu immediately understood where Jun Xiaomo was going with this.

“Yes, Heart-Oath.” Jun Xiaomo nodded, “This is the most basic Heart-Oath Array, but its strength is enough to make you pay for your actions. Once you swear an oath on this array, you will suffer punishment from this Heart-Oath Array if you violate your oath. Do you dare make an oath here, Yu Wanrou?”

Jun Xiaomo once again waved the Heart-Oath Talisman in front of Yu Wanrou’s face.

Her current cultivation was too low, so the present effectiveness of the Heart-Oath Array was not too great. In fact, its effectiveness was limited to one instance of punishment for violating the oath. Once that punishment occurs, the Heart-Oath Array would lose its power. However, Jun Xiaomo naturally left out these little details when she described her array to Yu Wanrou.

She only wanted to see whether Yu Wanrou dared to make such an oath or not.

As expected, Yu Wanrou once again hesitated.

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