Perfected Yun waved off the mad ramblings and said, “Many have wished for my death since I left Yunkong Mountain, but I am still alive.
Unless someone from the sacred mountain or a deity appears, who can kill me?”

The old dwarf agreed, saying, “Perfected One speaks the truth.”

Curious, Perfected Yun asked, “Did the crazy woman say anything else?”

The old slave then recounted the Diviner’s final words, saying that she had stared at the divination for a long time before she died.
He then showed Perfected Yun a painting.

Perfected Yun looked at the painting and shook his head in disdain, muttering, “More mad ravings.”

Meanwhile, Wang Erguan perked up his ears and listened intently.
He pretended to respectfully approach Perfected Yun’s back to sneak a peek at the painting.

Fascinated by what he saw, Wang Erguan decided to tell Ji Luoyang and the others about what he had seen.


The courtyard was quiet.

Ji Luoyang sat in front of the courtyard wall practicing the core method, while Lin Shouxi and Xiao He sat by the cliff watching the clouds.

In the tranquility, Xiao He folded her hands on her slender legs, her body slightly sideways, and her little head resting on Lin Shouxi’s shoulder.

The mountain breeze brushed their faces, and the mottled light and shadow danced on the deep blue skirt.

Since the day she fell asleep leaning against Lin Shouxi, Xiao He had often leaned on him like this.

Suddenly, Xiao He remembered something and asked, “By the way, that day when I was sleeping, it felt very warm.
Did you… do something to me?”

Lin Shouxi nodded candidly.

“What did you do?” Xiao He’s heart tightened, and she hugged herself.

“I put my robe over you,” Lin said simply.

“That’s all you did?” Xiao He didn’t quite believe it.
She felt he was hiding something from her.

“Mm,” Lin Shouxi confirmed.

Xiao He closed her eyes and leaned on his shoulder again.
An hour passed, and she opened her eyes resentfully.
“Why didn’t you put any clothes over me?”

“Because you were pretending to sleep and testing me,” Lin Shouxi answered truthfully.

“You…” Xiao He felt a little dizzy in her head.
She said displeasedly, “You’re so rigid.”

“Time shouldn’t be wasted on such meaningless things,” Lin Shouxi lectured.
“Xiao He, focus on your cultivation.
In the end, the only ones who can ensure our safety are ourselves.”

“But aren’t you the most relaxed?” Xiao He was unconvinced.

“I am always working hard,” Lin Shouxi said seriously.

“Really?” Xiao He was surprised.
She looked at Lin Shouxi and asked, “Are you constantly cultivating?”

Lin Shouxi shook his head.
“No, I’m recovering from my injuries.”

“…” Xiao He was silent for a moment, not knowing how to argue.

“By the way, I’ve been forgetting to ask you.
What was the name of your sect?” Xiao He changed the subject to avoid being irritated by him.
“Judging by your appearance, you must come from a prestigious sect, right?”

“The Joyous Union Sect,” Lin Shouxi admitted truthfully for once.

Xiao He was stunned for a moment, then smiled and said, “You just made a joke right after I called you rigid? You’re really rebellious.”

“I’m not lying to you.”

“If that’s true, you couldn’t have been a very good disciple.
With that kind of rebellious behavior, there’s no way they didn’t kick you out.”

“What? I was an excellent disciple,” Lin Shouxi protested.

“I don’t believe you… Didn’t you say you were a floor sweeper last time? Besides, if you really came from the Joyous Union Sect, with your appearance, your senior sisters would have caught you and taken advantage of you”

Xiao He narrowed her eyes like a curious little cat.

“No, my senior sisters were good to me,” Lin Shouxi said seriously.

“Good? How good?” Xiao He suddenly became nervous.

Lin Shouxi smirked and changed the subject.
“You have a strange smell on you.”

“What smell?” Xiao He sniffed herself and shook her head.
“I don’t smell anything.”

But then, she realized what he was getting at and blushed.
“I’m not jealous!” She exclaimed before running back into her room, leaving Lin Shouxi chuckling to himself.

When Lin Shouxi returned to the courtyard, he found Xiao He’s door tightly shut, and a black bird perched on the rooftop, cawing as if mocking his cluelessness.

“Care for some sword practice?” Ji Luoyang offered as Lin Shouxi returned, handing him a wooden sword.

“Sure,” Lin Shouxi accepted without hesitation.

“I spent quite some time picking out two pieces of wood that are still usable.
Please be careful not to break the sword when you use it,” Ji Luoyang reminded him.

“I’ll be careful,” Lin Shouxi assured him as he tightened his grip around the wooden sword.

Even though it was just a wooden sword, it brought him some peace of mind.

The two young men faced each other, motionless, until their wooden swords clashed in an instant.

Ji Luoyang’s movements were swift and agile, his sword movements like a venomous snake that continuously struck, slashed and thrust at Lin Shouxi, relentlessly attacking him.
Lin Shouxi’s movements were smaller, but his sword strikes were precise and sharp, often intercepting Ji Luoyang’s attacks at key moments and forcing him to retreat time and time again.

After several rounds of sparring, they finally separated.

Neither of them had emerged as a clear winner.

“We always end in a tie.
You’re not holding back on me, are you?” Ji Luoyang sighed.

“Me? What about you? It’s obvious that you’re being considerate of my injuries and are not using your full strength,” Lin Shouxi replied.

“You noticed?” Ji Luoyang asked with a grin.

“Yes,” Lin Shouxi nodded.

“Your swordsmanship is the most elegant I’ve ever seen.
I hope you recover soon so we can have a proper fight,” Ji Luoyang praised.

“I hope so too,” Lin Shouxi handed him the wooden sword.

“You can keep it.
Consider it a gift for our meeting,” Ji Luoyang said generously.

“Thank you,” Lin Shouxi accepted it gratefully.

“Hey, do you have any secret sword techniques that you haven’t shown me yet? Let’s try them out together,” Ji Luoyang asked eagerly.

“I don’t have any left.
I used all my strength just now,” Lin Shouxi said with a smile.

“Okay,” Ji Luoyang nodded understandingly.
“Since that’s the case, take care of your injuries.
We’ll have another match next time.”

Lin Shouxi nodded in agreement.

The two sat down at the stone table, resting for a while before Ji Luoyang’s curiosity got the better of him.
He gestured towards Xiao He’s closed door and asked, “Did you upset her again?”

“I didn’t upset her.
She said she was tired and went back to her room to rest,” replied Lin Shouxi calmly.

Ji Luoyang couldn’t resist starting some gossip, “Do you really like her?”

“I… don’t dislike her,” Lin Shouxi replied cryptically.

“That girl is always following you around, clinging to you,” Ji Luoyang observed.
“But from what I’ve seen, I don’t think you have feelings for her.”

Lin Shouxi was puzzled, “Why do you say that?”

“She’s young, with an average figure and a plain face.
She’s not as good-looking as you are,” Ji Luoyang whispered, “I feel like you two aren’t a good match.
But of course, don’t tell her I said that.”

Lin Shouxi was taken aback, “What? I think she’s very beautiful.”

“Beautiful? Are you sure you haven’t hit your head?” Ji Luoyang teased, “Or maybe love is blind? Oh, don’t tell me you’re really falling for her.”

“Plain face? Not as good-looking as me?” Lin Shouxi thought to himself.
“Is that so…”

He was certain he hadn’t hit his head, and in his opinion, Xiao He was a breathtakingly beautiful woman, a match for a snow-haired goddess.


Wait a minute…

Suddenly, it felt as if ice crystals were forming in his blood, and a chill ran through his body along his spine.

For the past few days, Lin Shouxi had sensed that something was off, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on what it was.
It wasn’t until this moment that he finally caught that thought!

Ji Luoyang noticed Lin Shouxi’s expression and asked, “What’s wrong with you?”

Lin Shouxi was about to confirm his suspicion when Wang Erguan strolled in confidently, interrupting their conversation.

“Hey, have you been secretly practicing swordplay behind my back? Did you feel jealous when Perfected Yun met with me alone and decided to work harder?” Wang Erguan sat down next to them, intentionally twisting the ring on his finger to draw their attention.

“What did Perfected Yun say to you?” Ji Luoyang asked.

“Perfected Yun said he wants to train me to be the first young master’s attendant and gave me this treasure,” Wang Erguan boasted.

Ji Luoyang offered a simple congratulations.

Wang Erguan nodded with a smile, then turned to Lin Shouxi and found him looking down, his face as dark as murky water. 

What’s with this attitude?

Wang Erguan was displeased by Lin Shouxi’s lack of interest, but he decided to set aside the feeling for the moment as he continued chatting with Ji Luoyang, describing the Wu family’s sinister atmosphere and the treasures in the pavilion in detail.
Ji Luoyang listened with genuine interest and amusement, nodding and occasionally interjecting with questions or comments.

As Wang Erguan spoke, spittle flew from his mouth in his excitement.
However, when he looked over at Lin Shouxi again, he found him still seeming distracted.
Growing increasingly annoyed that he wasn’t taking interest in his story, he cleared his throat and spoke in a mysterious tone: “Hey, but those things aren’t the main dish though.
This time, I learned some incredible secrets.”

“What secrets?” Ji Luoyang asked.
Lin Shouxi also perked up a bit.

“I heard that the Wu family had a diviner.
Do you know what that is? It’s a shaman who specializes in divination,” Wang Erguan began, his voice low and conspiratorial.
“But it seems the Wu family changed the name from ‘shaman’ to ‘diviner’.
I suppose they find using the word ‘wu’ outside of their family name to be taboo.”

He leaned in closer, his tone becoming even more hushed.
“Well, that diviner was a crazy woman, and she died yesterday.
Apparently, before she passed away, she divined quite a few things.”

“I’m not sure I believe this,” Ji Luoyang said.

“You don’t?” Wang Erguan shook his head and replied, “Those who reveal the secrets of heaven shall be punished by heaven.
It is likely that the old woman met her tragic end because she divulged some heavenly secrets.”

“So what did she divine?” Lin Shouxi asked.

Wang Erguan lowered his voice even further.
“She divined two things.
The first is that Perfected Yun is going to be killed.”

Ji Luoyang shook his head in disbelief.
“Who can kill that monster?”

Wang Erguan continued.
“The second thing is… the Wu family is going to fall apart.”

Lin Shouxi was surprised.
“Is it related to the person who killed the God of Protection?”

“I don’t know about that, but that crazy woman claimed to have seen the source of calamity before she died.
She opened up a piece of paper, picked up a brush, and drew the vague outline of that figure,” Wang Erguan said coldly.
“I saw that drawing.
It was of a female ghost!”

“A female ghost?”

“Yes, a female ghost!” Wang Erguan said.
“That crazy woman drew the silhouette of a young girl, and the shadow alone was so beautiful it was frightening.
What’s even more eerie is…”

Wang Erguan paused, lowering his voice even further.
“What’s even more eerie is that the girl had all white hair!”

“White hair? There aren’t many young girls with white hair in this world,” Ji Luoyang mused, his brow furrowed in thought.
“It’s probably an old witch in disguise, right?”

“Or a female ghost.”

As Wang Erguan repeated this, he glanced over at Lin Shouxi only to be startled.

Lin Shouxi, who usually showed no interest in anything, now looked like he was seriously ill.
His pupils shrank, and his face was so pale that there was not a hint of color!

“Hey, what’s wrong with you? Did you get scared silly?” Wang Erguan shook his shoulder.

Lin Shouxi regained his senses slightly, and was about to speak when a crisp, moving voice sounded behind him:

“Hey, what are you guys secretly chatting about?”

Xiao He had appeared behind him, her eyes as cold as ice and snow.

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