The memory finally vanished completely. Qin Jianmei’s spirit, still trapped by Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo’s spiritual energy, was trembling all over. The images and scenes that had appeared were all past memories that she hadn’t wanted to revisit.
She had imagined that the past was the past, gone and forgotten for good. As long as no one knew about what she had done, then it wouldn’t be of any import to her. When she had cut apart her own father’s chest, she had buried her conscience and her guilt.
But when she saw her wooden face as she removed her father’s heart from his chest, when she saw her cold, calculating face as she poisoned Lin Yuemei, when she saw her sinister face as she had her own daughter bring Madam An a concoction that would slowly turn her crazy…
When these memories resurfaced, she found that she couldn’t bear to look at them, that she was so afraid her whole body trembled.
As Li Mo continued releasing his spiritual energy, he looked at Yun Ruoyan. Qin Jianmei’s memories had clearly shown how she had poisoned Lin Yuemei, and that her true father wasn’t Yun Lan, but instead a man called Long Yin.
Li Mo didn’t know that Yun Ruoyan had long since found out about her true parentage, so he was very worried for her. Unexpectedly, Yun Ruoyan seemed to receive the news calmly, so he relaxed and turned back to Qin Jianmei.
Yun Lan frowned as he looked at the three people in mid-air. While he was in the alternate dimension, he had personally witnessed a demonic puppet being killed. Under normal circumstances, killing the owner of the demonic puppet would cause the puppet to vanish as well. Only high-ranking demonic puppets would be able to host their masters’ spirits, as was the case here.
Yun Lan hadn’t expected that Qin Jianmei’s demonic puppet was already at such a level. He glanced at Qin Jianmei’s lifeless body, his eyes turning even darker.
“Madam Qin, you’ve already paid the price for what you’ve done. Now that you’re dead, don’t hold onto your grudges any longer,” Li Mo murmured.
“I’m dead?” Li Mo’s words finally provoked a reaction from Qin Jianmei. In her spirit form, she raised her head, looked all around her, and chuckled bitterly. “I thought I would be able to change my fate, and yet this was my outcome… no, I refuse to submit! The heavens might have cursed me, but I will not succumb!”
Yun Ruoyan thought that she would have been happier to see her mother’s killer so desolate, but her past life’s experience had instead left her with some sympathetic resonance for Qin Jianmei. Neither of them began as evildoers, but chance and accident had compelled them deeper into their demise. One wrong step had doomed their fates for good.
In her past life, because Yun Ruoyan was weak and useless, because she listened to others mindlessly, she had suffered a wretched fate. Meanwhile, because Qin Jianmei had been bewitched by Yun Lan’s honeyed words, she had fallen in love with someone who wouldn’t ever love her back.
“Madam Qin,” Yun Ruoyan found herself saying. “Do you believe in reincarnation? If fate were to give you a second chance, would you have lived your life the same way?”
Yun Ruoyan’s sudden question was quite unexpected to Qin Jianmei. As a member of that shamanic tribe, she naturally believed in reincarnation, in the Buddha of the past and the Guanyin of the present. However, she believed in it in the abstract, not as though it were reality.
“If I could reincarnate, I would certainly not believe the words of men so easily. Even if I have to lead a dull, ordinary life, even if it meant I would have to give up on the possibility of being truly strong, I would never stoop so low again,” Qin Jianmei pledged.
“In that case, why not let go of your grudge and let this demonic puppet dissipate? Go where you ought to go, and you might find another chance at life,” Yun Ruoyan said.
Qin Jianmei stilled again. “I killed your mother, and I ruined your life. Don’t you hate me? You should loathe me so much you would damn me to hell for eternity!”
Yun Ruoyan hadn’t expected Qin Jianmei to have recognized her. She was a little shocked, but quickly calmed herself down. “You’re already dead, Madam Qin, and my revenge is done. If you do intend on causing trouble, though…”
“Haha.” Qin Jianmei suddenly began to laugh. “Ruoyan, I actually do like you. You’re not at all like your mother; she was beautiful but sheltered, whereas you’re worldly and intelligent.”
“Madam Qin,” Yun Ruoyan sighed. “I hope you can give yourself a chance.”
“Ha, ha…” Qin Jianmei’s laughs seemed to turn low and mournful. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions. For me, perhaps having my soul scattered to the winds would be the best possible ending…”
Her spiritual body suddenly grew larger and larger, so quickly that even the spiritual energy that Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo were giving off wasn’t enough to restrain her. At the same time, the demonic puppet began to move. It swung a fist toward Li Mo and Yun Ruoyan. Li Mo steered his sword away from the blow, but in doing so, freed Qin Jianmei from his restraints.
“Not good,” he murmured. “The demonic puppet’s going to merge with her spiritual body!”
Yun Ruoyan brandished her Scarlet Eye, and Li Mo had readied an icicle in one hand and a fireball in the other, both of them prepared for a prolonged battle.
However, the demonic puppet turned away from them and instead toward Yun Lan, the man whom Qin Jianmei had loved her entire life but was never able to possess.
“Even if I die, I’ll bring you down with me!” Qin Jianmei hollered.
Under her control, the demonic puppet blew out two gusts of demonic aura at him, one black and one red. They morphed into gigantic claws which pounced on Yun Lan. They were far stronger than the claws that had plagued Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo, having been infused with the power of Qin Jianmei’s grudges. Even the wind generated from their motion was sufficient to blow Su Nan, Yun Moxiao, and Li Mo’s other guards aside.
Only Yun Lan seemed to be unaffected by the attack. With his hands clasped behind his back, he patiently waited for the claws to approach him. One claw seized his neck, and the other his two legs, raising him high up into the air.
“Yun Lan, you’re the bane of my existence! Only with your death can I reincarnate in peace.” The demonic puppet that had merged with Qin Jianmei raised a gigantic fist at him.
With a great smash, the fist landed on Yun Lan’s body. However, contrary to her expectations, Yun Lan didn’t die or turn into meat paste. Instead, Qin Jianmei could feel a surprising surge of strength resisting her blow.
Everyone gathered could see Yun Lan encased in a shield of blinding white light. Yun Ruoyan could identify that shield as a membrane made of spiritual energy, one that could be activated by any eighth-rank blademaster during times of duress. However, if the attack was from a cultivator with a more advanced cultivation, then the membrane might as well be useless; it was only effective against attacks from a lower cultivation. If the difference in cultivation was large enough, then it could even reflect an incoming attack.
Zhuo Yifeng had once been injured by this damage reflection.
If Yun Lan’s spiritual membrane was able to defend against the demonic puppet’s attack, then it could only mean that his current cultivation had exceeded that of the demonic puppet!
Yun Ruoyan was immensely shocked. It was rare that her father would reveal his own cultivation to anyone, and she hadn’t expected that it would be so extreme.
“This is the realm of a sword saint!” Li Mo whispered in her ear. “That fruit of cloud and sky was surely a great help to him.”
Yun Lan’s spiritual energy grew whiter and even more blinding, and the demonic puppet’s fist was pushed further and further away by its force. With a great Bang!, the demonic puppet’s enormous body was flung into the wall of the teahouse and brought it crashing down.
The white spiritual energy on Yun Lan’s body slowly turned red. Just like Yun Ruoyan, Yun Lan also used fire-attuned spiritual energy. With some technique unfamiliar to her, he covered his entire body with spiritual flame. Upon touching the flame, the black and red demonic claws crumbled into ash.
A blood-red sword aura appeared underneath Yun Lan’s feet as he flew toward the demonic puppet. With a manifestation of spiritual energy, he forcibly extracted Qin Jianmei’s spirit from within the demonic puppet.
“You want to kill me?” Yun Lan asked. “Why?”
“I wanted to kill you, but it looks like it won’t be possible!” Qin Jianmei’s face was bitter. “I wasted my entire life’s emotions on you, and this is what I get? You were the one who reduced me to this sorry state, so of course I’d take my revenge on you!”
“Foolish!” Yun Lan muttered disdainfully. “You killed Yuemei, so I can’t spare you. Die!” Yun Lan’s voice was cold, without any hint of warmth, nor even a shred of sorrow or disappointment.
“Yun Lan, was I never in your heart?” Qin Jianmei asked, unwilling to give up.
Yun Lan’s eyes narrowed. “There have been many women in my life, but except for Yuemei, they’re all one and the same. I initially thought you might have been a little different from them, but it seems as though you were simply more foolish.”
The spiritual flames on his body slowly encroached upon Qin Jianmei.
“I am foolish, aren’t I? You might not think much of me, but please treat Ruoyu well. After all, she’s your daughter by blood—”
Before Qin Jianmei could finish speaking, her soul, evanescent and fragile, had scattered to the winds...Previous Chapter Next Chapter