Chapter 6: Encountering Qin Shanshan

After fleeing for her life for decades and then spending more than three hundred days in that dark and dank dungeon, Jun Xiaomo had almost forgotten the carefree feeling of casually browsing at the markets. Jun Xiaomo took in sights and sounds before her. The dazzling array of goods on display at each booth. The merchants dressed in various bright-coloured garments – some standing behind their booths, while others sat lazily waiting for their next customer. Some merchants yelled loudly to promote their products, while others found themselves haggling with difficult customers. The hubbub of the bustling market brought a wide smile to Jun Xiaomo’s face.

Having been reborn for some time now, this was the first time she had felt so much at ease.

After purchasing the pills and medicine she needed, Jun Xiaomo stored them in her Interspatial Ring before wandering around aimlessly in the market.

It was still early, and she felt like staying a little while longer. Dawn Sect was a place which reminded her of many depressing memories, and she wanted to indulge herself in this pleasant change of environment.

However, life has a strange sense of humour; and fate often draws together enemies in serendipitous encounters.

“Sister Xiaomo! I didn’t expect to see you here!” A voice resounded behind Jun Xiaomo with pleasant surprise. Jun Xiaomo’s body stiffened, and her eyes dulled momentarily. Qin…Shan…Shan… I didn’t expect to be able to encounter you so quickly.

Jun Xiaomo did not turn around, but Qin Shanshan did not find this strange. She thought that Jun Xiaomo was simply too engrossed right now to hear Qin Shanshan’s call.

After all, Qin Shanshan knew how infatuated Jun Xiaomo was with her brother – Jun Xiaomo would do anything for him, even give herself up! Qin Shanshan casually sauntered up to Jun Xiaomo side. As she approached, the object Jun Xiaomo was holding onto caught her eyes, and her eyes shone with delight.

“Sister Xiaomo, have you also taken a fancy to this Purple Phoenix Feather Hairpin?” Qin Shanshan reached her hand out, intending to take the Purple Phoenix Feather Hairpin from Jun Xiaomo. Qin Shanshan’s actions here were fluent and natural, and seemed almost habitual. After all, she had on numerous instances taken things from Jun Xiaomo without asking, while the former Jun Xiaomo never found it unnatural. But now…

Jun Xiaomo swiftly pulled back her long, slender fingers, tightly securing the Purple Phoenix Feather Hairpin in her grasp.

Qin Shanshan raised her head with a puzzled look on her face. She did not know what this gesture by Jun Xiaomo was supposed to mean. At this moment, Jun Xiaomo also had strange expression on her face, one that seemed like a smile but was not quite really a smile.

It was still the same person with the same features; yet Qin Shanshan felt that something seemed to be different about Jun Xiaomo.

Faced with the present Jun Xiaomo, Qin Shanshan pulled back on her unbridled attitude and acted with a bit more modesty. Retracting her hand, she smiled brightly, yet continued to look at the Purple Phoenix Feather Hairpin with a trace of greed in her eyes.

Jun Xiaomo noticed the hidden meaning behind Qin Shanshan’s gaze. Curling her lips, Jun Xiaomo started toying with the Purple Phoenix Feather Hairpin between her fingers.

Truth be told, she did not fancy this Purple Phoenix Feather Hairpin. Even though the Purple Phoenix Feather Hairpin were imbued with some low-level defensive spells, Jun Xiaomo’s path of cultivation vastly detracted from the norm, and this hairpin would not be of much use to her to begin with.

The only reason why she had picked up the Purple Phoenix Feather Hairpin for a closer examination was because it was assembled in a unique manner which made it look different from other hairpins. Equipment used by male cultivators differed substantially from equipment used by female cultivators. Male cultivators were often only concerned about the equipment’s power or strength, and how the equipment looked or enhanced their looks were hardly even a consideration. Conversely, women innately desire to look good. That was why, apart from the strength or power of equipment, how the equipment looked or enhanced their looks was of utmost importance as well. If the equipment were ugly, no one would want them.

Qin Shanshan could not tell whether Jun Xiaomo intended to purchase this Purple Phoenix Feather Hairpin. However, she coveted it very much.

Qin Shanshan was fifteen years-old – one year younger than Jun Xiaomo. She had just attained the fifth level of Qi Mastery, and such accessories that were imbued with low-level defensive spells would be perfect for her. Besides, the Purple Phoenix Feather Hairpin looked exquisite. Even if she were not yet qualified to equip it, she could always display it at home and keep it for future use. However, her father was not a Peakmaster or a source of immeasurable wealth, and she had to be frugal with how she used her allowances. How could she afford to splurge on these accessories?

Therefore, Qin Shanshan was always deeply envious – even jealous – of Jun Xiaomo. She felt that Jun Xiaomo was not outstanding or deserving in any way. She was simply fortunate enough to have been born into the right family.

Seeing that Jun Xiaomo was about to return the hairpin to the booth, Qin Shanshan suddenly asked, “Sister Xiaomo, can you let me try it on?”

Jun Xiaomo smiled, promptly handing over the hairpin. As Qin Shanshan received the hairpin, she once again sized up Jun Xiaomo and read her expression, discovering that her smile was the same as it had always been. Seeing that there was nothing strange about Jun Xiaomo after all, Qin Shanshan dispelled her reservations, thinking that she might simply have been oversensitive earlier. 

Having no reason to hold back any longer, Qin Shanshan eagerly inserted the hairpin into her hair bun and began to admire her looks in a nearby mirror.

It had to be said that Qin Shanshan and Qin Lingyu were both blessed with good looks. Even if one discounted all the ugly people in the world, their looks would still be considered well above average. Otherwise, how could Qin Lingyu have caused Jun Xiaomo to be so infatuated and obsessed with him in her past life?

Presently, the light-purple hairpin emitted a faint glow of light, making the cheeks of the fifteen years-old lady even more radiant. The resulting radiance even caused the beads on Qin Shanshan’s clothes to shimmer with light, completing a royal, resplendent look.

The more Qin Shanshan looked, the more she liked it. The merchant at the booth even spared no effort to praise Qin Shanshan’s looks to promote his products.

“Sister Xiaomo, do you think it looks nice?” Qin Shanshan turned around and asked Jun Xiaomo.

Jun Xiaomo’s eyes flashed. She maintained the very same smiling expression and nodded gently, saying, “It looks good.”

“I also think it looks pretty good!” Qin Shanshan carefully turned around before softly muttering, “It’s a pity it’s so expensive. Two pieces of mid-grade spirit stones!”

Hearing this, the merchant got a little bit anxious, “Miss cultivator, my prices are very fair. If you would just take a closer look the colour and style of this hairpin – the quality raw materials used here have already cost me one mid-grade spirit stone. My profit-margin is really not much.”

Qin Shanshan knew that the merchant was not lying. However, she only gets ten mid-grade spirit stones a month. She could not bring herself to fork out two pieces just to buy a hairpin. 

Therefore, she wanted to manipulate Jun Xiaomo into buying this as a gift for her. In order to please her future sister-in-law, the former Jun Xiaomo would have done so with no reservations.

“Sister Xiaomo, do you think this hairpin is worth two mid-grade spirit stones?” Seeing that her earlier statement had drawn no reaction from Jun Xiaomo, Qin Shanshan hinted to her again.

“I find the price rather fair. If you like it, you should buy it.” Jun Xiaomo responded plainly.

Qin Shanshan’s face stiffened. Why is she so slow to catch on today? She bit down on her lips and walked closer to Jun Xiaomo’s side. Holding onto Jun Xiaomo’s arms, and with pouting lips, Qin Shanshan said pitifully, “Sister Xiaomo, I’ve finished using almost all of the spirit stones given by my brother this month. But I really like this hairpin, is it possible…”

Jun Xiaomo’s heart swelled up with a deep sense of disgust and nausea. She calmly removed Qin Shanshan’s hands from her arm, glanced at Qin Shanshan, before saying matter-of-factly, “If you don’t have enough spirit stones, then buy it next month.”

“Next month? Next month, this hairpin might not be around anymore!” Qin Shanshan screamed with increasing anxiety, glaring at Jun Xiaomo with anger-filled eyes.

Qin Shanshan accusations made it seem as though Jun Xiaomo would be at fault if she did not buy this hairpin for her.

Jun Xiaomo’s eyes grew cold with hatred, and her breathing grew in intensity. Look! Look at the true nature of the “sister-in-law” I had spent all my past life trying to please!

Even animals would reciprocate with affection and gratitude if one feeds them. This person before her could not even hold a candle to an animal.

Jun Xiaomo resented herself for stooping so low in her past life. But, who else could she blame for her inability to discern Qin Shanshan’s true nature?

If not for the fact that she was presently too weak, Jun Xiaomo would really have given Qin Shanshan a tight slap on the face. She could not care less for karma – she did not believe in karma in the first place. After all, how would karma account for the people who had annihilated her family and Peak, yet later attained transcendence?!

Karma was just one of the laws constructed by these ruthless practitioners. If one were strong enough, one would hold the power of laws within their hands!

The present Jun Xiaomo was not able to take Qin Shanshan’s life. However, she certainly did not intend to give in at all. She stared right back at Qin Shanshan with a fierce glare. Qin Shanshan even reflexively took one step back.

Jun Xiaomo’s lips curled, evoking a cold smile as she said slowly, “Qin Shanshan, tell me. If you don’t have any mid-grade spirit stones, how do you intend to buy this hairpin, huh?”

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