"First, we must find an area between the mountains and a stream. We'll set up camp there. We will wait for the main forces to arrive. Then, we will journey onwards with them," Jun Mo Xie gave the order unenthusiastically. They were about to go to the Xue Hun Manor. And, Jun Mo Xie wasn't going to act a fool and look for the tyrannical enemy on his own.
[We may still face bad luck. But, at least all the influential families will face it together in that case.]
The Young Master Jun would try to get some small advantages in secret if the conditions were to permit. After all, he didn't harbor a favorable impression of the Xue Hun Manor due to the past events. He wouldn't even grieve if every member of the Xue Hun Manor were to die.
Moreover… the Xuan Beast uprising had gone out of control by this time. However, it had still been instigated by the Young Master Jun. Therefore, Tian Fa's Xuan Beasts were fighting for Jun Mo Xie by any interpretation. If not… they were at least his allies.
Wang Dong sent eight people in eight different directions to look for a suitable place to set up camp, and the men eventually found such a place. Jun Mo Xie, Guan Qing Han and Dugu Xiao Yi immediately picked their spots.
The place was a small hillside.
There was open land in front of the hillside. It was surrounded by dense woods. There was a turning corner nearby. There was single official road at this bend. They would be able to keep an eye on all developments in the vicinity if they were to place scouts at that spot.
A 'gurgling' sound could be heard from behind the hill; it was similar to the sound that was made when one made dumplings. One would see a medium-sized stream on taking a detour. It meandered as it came down. The stream was clear, and its bottom could also be seen. And unexpectedly, there was a clear pool downstream. It wasn't too far away; it was just after a bend downstream.
Dugu Xiao Yi and Guan Qing Han became somewhat excited when they saw this.
Women love cleanliness. These two had been travelling this route for such a long time. So, they were very exhausted. How could they ever have an appropriate opportunity to clean themselves? They could only wash themselves if they managed to stumble across a wild mountain stream at night. But, that was nothing like their family homes' large baths. However, they had finally seen a very satisfactory sight in the form of that clear pool. Dugu Xiao Yi's body started to itch at the sight of the pool.
Guan Qing Han also found the pool very promising. However, she controlled her itch for a thought. She understood her younger Brother-in-law's character very clearly. [Won't he try to peek if I went into the pool with Xiao Yi? I need to think of a method which would ensure that he won't be able to. Wouldn't I die of shame otherwise?]
Jun Mo Xie coughed in a dignified manner after he looked at the pool. He then turned his head to look somewhere else and pretended that he hadn't notice it.
Jun Mo Xie had seen many teams of Xuan experts 'whistle' past him over the course of this journey. These people were rushing towards Tian Fa. However, he had noticed that these people were identical in terms of their attitude towards him. They would either look towards Jun Mo Xie's team in disdain, and or would just pass by after glancing at them.
It was clear that the Army didn't have any importance in the minds of these Xuan experts. So, they obviously cared even lesser for Jun Mo Xie.
However, they had witnessed a decreasing number of coincidental encounters with those Xuan experts in the past few days. The road had become increasingly deserted.
Three roads forked-out at a junction outside the sparse woods. These roads seemed very long. Each road looked empty and deserted. The sky above this territory was far bluer than the one in the cities.
The 200+ guards began setting up camp. Jun Mo Xie along with Guan Qing Han and the some others proceeded to the mouth of the valley in order to avoid the fiery construction scene.
They had gone out to breathe-in the fresh air. Jun Mo Xie and the two extremely beautiful women were closely followed by four others. They were the Heaven Destroyer Team and the Spirit Devourer Team's deputy leaders.
Jun Mo Xie let out a long sigh. He felt a spacious and empty void around him. The sky had also become increasingly silent. The insects and cicadas were chirping around the woods. Jun Mo Xie seemed to be in a pensive state of mind. His mind seemed to be in chaos, yet seemingly in a tranquil state. His thoughts were complex yet simple. He eventually couldn't help but raise a perplexing thought.
Even a moment's perplex can be sufficient to become a fatal mistake for an assassin. Even a top-notch assassin like Jun Mo Xie isn't an exception to this fact. However, Jun Mo Xie was a complete loss at this time. Moreover, this state of mind had lasted a decent length of time.
[Nature makes man. My spirit and soul don't belong to the world they have been brought to. It has been nearly half-a-year since my spirit has come here. Each day has been a struggle; just the way it used to be in my previous life. I've been using my mind a lot more. But, my limbs haven't been exercised that much. I've played the fool a lot, but I haven't used my iron-blooded methods much.]
[Half-a-years' time has passed-by so quickly. I've been immersed in these boring matters. But, for what reason have I come to this world?]
[Is it to conquer this world? Is it to remain a nobleman throughout the ages? Or perhaps it's for living free and unfettered? …for what purpose have I been sent here?]
Jun Mo Xie put his hands behind his back, and started to walk forward; neither too fast, nor too slow. However, it was an astonishing sight in the eyes of the six people! Jun Mo Xie's previous licentious and greasy debauchee-like appearance had been swept aside. The individual's temperament and innate character had been transformed. He seemed like a hermit who had transcended the earthly characteristics. It was obvious that he was walking on firm and solid land. But, those who watched him felt as if he was walking to another time and space with each of his steps.
That other time, and that other space… was a profound mystery to those people.
The others felt a very unfathomable feeling at that time; [this person can't be considered of this world. In fact, he never ought to be of this world.] This particular feeling was obviously very absurd to their perceptions. However, it still existed.
He walked forward step by step. However, it seemed that everything in that world — the people besides him… the ground beneath his feet… the trees on his sides, and the dust in the air… weren't meant for him. It was evident that nothing in that world had anything to do with him.
Everything still existed in harmony. However, one thing seemed in discord with the world. And, it was that one living individual in front of their eyes…
He seemed like the only independent existence between the heaven and earth. He didn't intermingle with the living things; nor could he ever blend in. It seemed that this one individual — Jun Mo Xie — was all alone in his own little world.
This wasn't a feeling of loneliness that's felt by those at the top. Rather… it was one of detachment. Moreover… there was an extremely desolate air to it.
He had transcended beyond everything. He was independent from the living world. However, he could still intervene in it.
[I'm not of this world, but I exist in this world. This world is not mine, but I will die in this world.]
Guan Qing Han and Dugu Xiao Yi had forgotten about walking. They just foolishly stared at the image of that person in front of them. The both of them had the same thought; [are these his true colors…?]
Dugu Xiao Yi couldn't help an urge of walking to Jun Mo Xie, and talking to him. However, she got scared away by that strange feeling that came from him. Guan Qing Han had also pulled her back, and had stopped her from opening her mouth.
Guan Qing Han didn't know what was happening with Jun Mo Xie. She didn't know why things had suddenly become such. However, she had a keenly sensed that Jun Mo Xie shouldn't be disturbed at that moment. She was aware that even a little sound could interrupt his unusual stupor.
Then, there was a shout…
Jun Mo Xie let out a very long breath as he stopped in his footsteps. He then put his hands behind his back, and looked up at the heavens. He stared at a white cloud for a long time. Then, the Young Master smiled bitterly, and shook his head. And then, he remained standing in a calm and quiet manner — only to find that the thoughts in his mind had become ordered, clear and bright.
[There will be no desires if there's no thought. Nothing is permanent in this world.]
It seemed like an individual had awoken from a dream, and was back to reality now. Jun Mo Xie distinctly felt his spiritual strength increase by a huge margin. However, he still wasn't able to break through his bottleneck. It seemed that there was a faint and thin layer of mist in front of his eyes. This layer of mist separated him from the next level. It was unclear and hazy. However, his spiritual abilities would enhance by leaps and bounds if he were able to break through that.
And… Jun Mo Xie could vaguely feel the source of that obstruction.
It came from his heart.
"Mo Xie… you… what were you thinking just a moment ago…?" Guan Qing Han's voice seemed cold and clear; just as before. However, Jun Mo Xie could make out that her voice was filled with a lot of concern and care.
Guan Qing Han was very intelligent. She could sense that Jun Mo Xie had suddenly sunk into a spiritual realm. And, she had also felt that he was at a very important juncture of an unexpected break through. So, she watched as he seemingly remained immersed in that spiritual realm. She watched him for some time. However, she felt that he suddenly started to seem like someone who had been on the verge of gaining immortality, but had been struck down to the mundane world of mortals. She could distinctly feel the difference in him. So, she couldn't help herself, and asked.
"Just a moment ago… I was thinking…" Jun Mo Xie still seemed absentminded. It seemed like one of his feet had remained stuck in the fantastical spiritual realm. He said, "What am I to do in this life? Or perhaps, why did I get this life? What is my goal? What can I do? What am I to achieve?"
"Goal?" Guan Qing Han asked hesitantly before she continued, "It isn't necessary for every living person to have a goal, is it?" However, she asked herself in her thoughts; [what about me? Why am I alive? What's my goal here?]
Guan Qing Han suddenly felt overwhelmingly listless. [My younger brother-in-law must have a goal. However, I? Do I have the qualification to pursue my goals? Do I have this qualification?]
"Yes. Everyone should have goals. Everyone should have them. I used to have a notion. I wanted to use my strength to make the world a brighter place. I wanted to kill and slaughter to rectify the world's filth. I hoped that it would bring the world to the peace and prosperity I desired for it. I didn't wish to see things that seemed unjust to my eyes…" Jun Mo Xie smiled bitterly as he spoke.
"I've never paid attention to other people. I've only followed my own methods, and I've done what I feel like doing in any give circumstance. I've always gone my own way. I didn't change even when I knew that it's inadequate and I'm striving fruitlessly… However, I'm at a loss after I've come here. I'm at a complete loss…"
Guan Qing Han naturally didn't know what Jun Mo Xie meant by "striving fruitlessly". And, she understood what he meant by "coming here" even less. However, she listened to Jun Mo Xie speak, and came to the conclusion that he felt extremely lonely.
This made her as calm as still-water. However, she felt a dull ache in the innermost part of her heart.
It was like watching warrior with a "never say die" attitude in a state where he had expended the entirety of his energy and skill — only to face that harsh truth that his enemy was spread across the entire world… and that it would be eternally beyond his ability to defeat and destroy his enemy.
He had persevered with his conduct throughout his life. But, he had merely overrated himself and had attempted to do something impossible in reality. It was a sort of desolation, helplessness, un-reconciliation and frustration that couldn't be described in words.
Guan Qing Han thought for a while. She then said in soft and comforting tone, "Man has but one life; grass has but one spring. Who can say what the purpose of one's life is? It's very difficult to say. Now that we are talking about it… we women are only to assist our husbands and take care of his children; day after day… years after years… no matter how we age. However, we don't feel any disappointment. I'm certain that most women in this world are like this. And, this kind of dull and rigid lifestyle makes countless women happy and satisfied. As for men… especially those who have power, strength and ability… they strive for their honor, fame and success. Each one of them strives to be brave and fierce. Even mediocre and ordinary people try very hard for their food and clothing. It's what they call 'Man eats man…"
She didn't realize that Jun Mo Xie had turned around and approached closer as she was speaking this. His eyes shone like the full moon as he looked at her. However, those eyes didn't have a frivolous or a stunned look in them. They seemed deep, tranquil and thoughtful. His expression was profoundly pensive.
Not many women in such a feudal society could see things as clearly as Guan Qing Han could. This had left him very astonished.
"Most men in this world work too hard. And, it's genuinely not worth it," Guan Qing Han had a perplexed look in her eyes. But, her eyes also seemed to be full of tough resolve, and a bit of contempt. It seemed that the question that — 'what men are supposed to do' — was even something that she considered worth mentioning.
"So, what do you think everything on this earth is for? Perhaps, you can tell me what are we supposed to do in this world?" Jun Mo Xie asked as he continued to ponder.
"I don't know the purpose of others. Nor am I qualified-enough to represent them. But, I do know myself," Guan Qing Han slowly spoke. Her eyes shone brilliantly. "I, Guan Qing Han, am just a feeble woman. As for this man's world… I'm not even qualified to be a good wife… So, what I'm looking for in this moment… is just peace of mind… and that will be sufficient for me. "
[Yes. I Guan Qing Han only seek true peace of mind.]
[I had been engaged to Jun Mo You for my family's sake. I had never met him before. But, I did it for the sake of my family… for the sake of my parents. I had no other choice.]
[And, I was willing to pay this price for my parents and family.]
[Therefore, my heart was at peace.]
[I had met Jun Mo You only twice in all that time. My emotions were never worthy of a mention in this regard… But, I had known that he was a great man, and that he would be a great husband. Moreover, I had already been betrothed to him. So, I had to accept my fate…]
[And then, when Mo You died in battle… I thought that such a good man was worth grieving for.]
[Therefore, I was willing to grieve for Jun Mo You — the Empire's hero. I decided to live with the Jun Family as a widow, and left my family disheartened. However, Jun Mo You's heroic spirit was far more important to me. I would feel unworthy in my conscience if I were to revoke my vows to him.]
[And the fact is… my choice was right. I was lonely at the time… very lonely.]
[But, my heart was at peace.]
[And now, I haven't hesitated to go to Tian Fa with this weak body to ensure that Jun Mo Xie and Third Uncle return home safely. I'm acutely prepared for all difficulties. I won't hesitate or spare any effort to ensure that this uncle-nephew duo safely return home to the north.]
[I'm prepared to sacrifice my life for the sake of these two people.]
[And, my heart is at peace with this as well.]
[I have no other demands! That's all!]
[The Jun Family has treated me justly… like I were their own flesh and blood. So, wouldn't I be worse than a beast if I were to helplessly watch as Jun Mo Xie and Uncle Jun Wu Yi died because of me?]
There was also an additional secret reason… Jun Mo Xie seemed to have a lot of affection for her. She used to be cold towards him in the past, and hadn't cared about his feelings. However, she had recently been letting her guard down, and had been ignoring the warning signs. This was especially true since the time when Jun Mo Xie had helped her improve her Xuan Qi cultivation. There had been an indistinct skin contact between them at that time. That feeling had been returning to Guan Qing Han every night. It had gotten even worse recently. And, this had left her in panic…
[Therefore, it's better to go to Tian Fa. My death will solve all problems. It will solve my quarrels with this mortal life. I can repay the Jun Family's great kindness with my life. It will also rid my younger brother-in-law of his infatuation with me.]
[This will solve everything, and my heart will remain at peace.]
[The Jun Family's honor will remain intact, and the Guan family's honor won't be tainted. The two families' reputation won't be affected. As for me… I needn't think about it.]
"Good! You spoke well! You spoke very well! Ha ha ha…" Jun Mo Xie suddenly started to laugh. "Only seek for the heart to be at peace! Only seek to have no quarrels in one's conscience! People often say that a peaceful heart can find justice in this world. But, who could've imagined that a peaceful heart is the justice of this world!"
"Killing a person is okay. Saving a person is okay. One shall not have to carry a heavy burden in this mortal life as long as one's heart is at peace. I, Jun Mo Xie, won't work for my country or its people. I will work for my heart. I will only work for my heart to be at peace! Everything has to do with one's heart! What's the need to think too much over it? What of the country's prosperity? What of worldly affairs? That is nonsense; nothing else!
"Therefore, I will live my life my way! I will be unrestrained; I will be unfettered! No one can influence my thoughts! No one can control my actions! The world may slander me or praises me… it may even be indifferent to me… how would that make any difference to me? My heart will be at peace as long as I walk this world by following my path! I only seek to have a peaceful heart and an indomitable spirit! And, that will be sufficient for this life!"
Jun Mo Xie burst into laughter. Guan Qing Han had unintentionally untangled his conundrum.
The Young Master Jun was very happy. However, Dugu Xiao Yi and Guan Qing Han were shocked. And, the deputy leaders of the Heaven Destroyer Team and the Spirit Devourer Team — those four men who still stood behind the two ladies — could clearly see the change in Jun Mo Xie.
Jun Mo Xie had undergone an astonishing transformation in front of their eyes.
He had gone from being a showy licentious and debauchee of a Young Master — to a very able hermit. This change was no doubt exceptional and lofty. However, another exceptional and lofty transformation had taken place with him. And, this transformation too had made him transcend ordinary men. In fact, it had transformed him into an extremely cold force.
He resembled a sword that had been unsheathed from its scabbard. This sharp sword stood proud between the heaven and earth. It seemed that he could reflect a great amount of radiance. The heaven and earth were vast. However, it seemed that they could never restrain him.
That indescribable sense of confusion had been swept away from his mind. He could distinctly feel the formless Spiritual Energy of his mind rise by leaps and bounds.
He was completely integrated with the world, but he wasn't confined to anything.
[How can I be happy with the status quo in this life? How can I sleep stranded under this heaven?]
[I will pass unhindered through the world! I will hold a great sword, and the world will ask, "Who is that hero who scales to such heights?"]
[I don't wish to conquer the world. But, no one in this world will ever think of telling me what to do! They won't even dream of messing with me, or my family!]
[My goal is finally clear to me!]
[I want my Jun Family to become an existence that far surpasses the Silver Blizzard City and the Xue Hun Manor! I want it to become a family which sits at the highest levels in this world!]
[Even the Emperor or the Great Masters wouldn't be able to look at its members!]
[And, this is bound to require a flood of blood.]
[However, my heart is at peace!]
[This will be the direction of my life's efforts! I… will have no regrets!]
The corners of Jun Mo Xie's mouth became crooked as he smiled in a cold manner. Then, he softly said, "Then, my journey of slaughter begins with Tian Fa!" A cold and extremely powerful murderous aura suddenly burst-out from his body, and spiraled towards the heavens.
That unparalleled murderous aura raged-about, and made the sleeves of his six companions flutter. It was late autumn, and the withering leaves were already at death's door. They started to flutter-about due to his sky-high murderous aura. Then, they left their branches and circled down in the wind as they dropped.
The scene resembled an all-encompassing yellow rain.
A number of small birds left the trees. Their wings flapped a couple times before they suddenly came across that dense murderous aura. They then tweeted mournfully for a while as they dropped to the ground.
The shadows of three individuals were quickly flitting through the wooded mountains in the distance. However, they immediately stopped after they had looked at this scene. One of them spoke in a serious tone, "This is a very frightening murderous aura. Who's behind this?"
The two men besides him wore a cautious expression as they looked into the distance. Then, one of them contemplated out loud, "Could it be that Chu Qi Hun has finally arrived?"
"It's not necessarily true. It's true that Chu Qi Hun's murderous aura is very powerful. However, it is sharp, acute and concentrated. So, it advances in front of his body — in the same direction as him. However, this person's aura is extremely overwhelming. It even blots out the heavens. These two auras are completely different. So, I can tell that this individual isn't Chu Qi Hun! However, this person's murderous aura is no less than the Great Assassin Chu Qi Hun's. In fact, it may even surpass his'!"
"No matter who it is… let's take a look!" The other person suggested, "We three possess great powers. We shouldn't necessarily be scared of this guy… even if it is the Great Assassin Chu Qi Hun!"
"Good!" The black bearded middle aged man contemplated and replied in a heroic and resolute manner, "Good! We are the three swords of Dong Fang. So, why should we be afraid? Even if it's Chu Qi Hun… what reason do we have to fear?"
"That's right Elder Brother. I heard that the Jun Family's Third Commander will be arriving here. Shouldn't we…" a short but stout person muttered.
"No! That matter still gnaws at mother's mind! Moreover, he had gotten injured, and his meridians were also destroyed. So, why should we mess with the Jun Family? The Little Sister has also been in a coma for the last ten years. So, why should we bother? Is it any of our business if Jun Wu Yi has the skill to return alive, or dies trying here?" The black bearded middle-aged man's eyebrows shot up as he spoke angrily.
"However, even so… Jun Mo Xie is our nephew. He is related to us by blood! Mother had said those words to you… but, aren't you concerned with his fate?" the short and stout middle-aged man asked in defiance.
"That's a sin!" The black bearded middle-aged man sighed deeply. He then spoke resolutely, "I won't allow anyone to harm Jun Mo Xie. And, I'm aware that Jun Wu Yi is a good man. He has courage and moral integrity. But, our younger sister, brother-in-law, and our two nephews wouldn't have died if it weren't for him. So, we won't discuss this again!"
The man sighed as he spoke. Then, the three men changed directions, and shot forwards like meteors. They advanced towards the direction of that murderous aura's source.