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What's wrong with a snake that just wants to cultivate and transform?

What’s wrong with a snake that just wants to cultivate and transform? By Mar 16, 2024 6 Comments
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Previous: Chapter 60

Chapter 61

Xu Nian suddenly remembered something important. Delving into her storage bag, she retrieved a box of demon cores and carefully pushed it toward Ji Yuebai. “I want to return these to you,” she said, opening the box to reveal the glistening cores.

Ji Yuebai, observing the box of demon cores, inquired “What does this mean?”

Xu Nian’s eyes fell on the cores shimmering inside the box. “Today, at the auction, I realized how precious these ‘gems’ you gave me are. It’s wasteful for a demon beast like me to keep them. These were yours to begin with, and I thought they’d be more useful in your hands.”

Was this a gesture of guilt, a way to return what she felt she owed?

“Is this because of Mu Yanyu?” Ji Yuebai’s voice, delicate as shattered jade, trembled slightly.

Xu Nian paused, momentarily unable to grasp the implication behind her words, her beautiful black eyes staring blankly at Ji Yuebai.

Ji Yuebai’s fingers twitched inside her wide sleeves as she coldly refused, “There’s no need to return them. I never take back what I’ve given.”

But those demon cores were worth millions of spirit stones.

If they were to be used as jewelry or in alchemy, Xu Nian worried about losing them and the heartache that would follow. She neither had a suitable weapon for inlaying them nor knew how to refine pills. It wouldn’t be right to ask Mu Yanyu to do alchemy with them.

She understood it wasn’t right to give away Ji Yuebai’s presents, but accepting such lavish gifts without earning them made her feel uneasy.

Hesitating with the box in hand, Xu Nian wanted to say more.

But Ji Yuebai, without further words, left the room, as if not wishing to continue the conversation.

Xu Nian looked sadly at the box of demon cores. Since Ji Yuebai insisted on her keeping them, refusing further would seem pretentious. She had once dreamed of a wealthy benefactress providing for her, ensuring a life of luxury and ease.

But now that such wealth had literally fallen into her lap, she felt uneasy and anxious, believing she couldn’t reciprocate Ji Yuebai’s kindness with anything of equal value.

Although Xu Nian had indeed once saved Ji Yuebai, what she had received in return far exceeded her initial gesture of kindness. Her meager debt of gratitude had been repaid many times over. While she often likened herself to Ji Yuebai’s little pet, at heart, she still considered herself human. This self-brainwashing was actually her way of justifying accepting Ji Yuebai’s kindness.

Upon reflection, she realized how shameless her actions were.

Xu Nian silently closed the box of demon cores and stored it in her bag, vowing to remember Ji Yuebai’s kindness and repay her many times over if she ever became successful.

The autumn night’s sea breeze carried a bone-chilling coolness, and the tide roared, mercilessly crashing against the rocks before retreating silently.

Ji Yuebai stood rigidly on a cliff, her lips pressed tightly together, radiating intense hostility.

The room was filled with a warm and inviting sweetness, infused with her scent. If Ji Yuebai had stayed any longer, she didn’t know what she might have said or done out of jealousy.

She had thought about demanding answers from Xu Nian, questioning her.

For the sake of Mu Yanyu, you would give up being a sword cultivator.

Just because you returned a gift to her, you feel guilty and want to draw a line between us.

On one hand, you act charmingly and on the other, you help Mu Yanyu.

Xu Nian, have you ever considered my feelings?

Her mind swirled with jealousy and agitation. Cultivators are supposed to be detached and rid themselves of worldly thoughts, but she was unsettled by her jealousy.

Yet, as soon as Ji Yuebai realized the nature of these emotions, she suppressed them.

She had no right to demand anything from Xu Nian.

Their relationship was neither of master and servant nor intimate lovers, but something more than mere friendship.

Ji Yuebai dared not think about what would happen if one day she lost control and expressed these feelings to Xu Nian.

Would Xu Nian’s admiring gaze turn to disbelief, disappointment, or even revulsion?

How despicable it was, initially an act of gratitude, but over time, it turned into a desire for possession.

For a moment, her mind seemed to cool down with the cold wind.

Ji Yuebai realized that Xu Nian’s feelings for her never contained even a trace of romantic love.

Xu Nian might have a place in her heart, but it would never be the only one.

Determined, Xu Nian stored away the box of demon cores and dove into intense cultivation inside the black box. She aimed to reach the tenth-rank and beyond, preparing to help Ji Yuebai one day. She also experimented with the Seven Passages Exquisite Lock she had acquired at the auction, trying to infuse it with spiritual energy.

Despite hearing at the auction that the lock was unresponsive to spiritual energy, Xu Nian had confidently assumed that since it was made of the same material and style as her divine artifact, they were meant to be used together.

However, her assumptions proved overly optimistic. Even after pouring spiritual energy into the lock for nearly fifteen minutes, it remained stubbornly closed, its components fitting together seamlessly without a hint of opening.

Xu Nian nervously picked up the lock and shook it, then leaned in close to try and make sense of it. She couldn’t shake off the feeling that the lock seemed solid… Could the auction house have deceived her? Was this intricate lock nothing more than a worthless lump of metal?

But no, the auctioneer had clearly stated that this Seven Passages Exquisite Lock, after being inspected by the Elders of the Fanyin Pavilion, was found to have no spiritual energy, and it was uncertain whether it contained any treasures inside. It was a gamble, and buyers were cautioned.

Realizing this, Xu Nian felt like she’d been struck by lightning. She had spent 450,000 spiritual stones on a costly lesson, playing the fool.

But Xu Nian refused to believe it. Like every gambler who has just lost, she tried everything: exposing the lock to fire, lightning, water, slashing it with a knife, even dropping it from great heights. Yet the cursed Exquisite Lock showed no reaction whatsoever, and Xu Nian’s hopes gradually faded.

However, in terms of resilience, this cursed lock did share some similarities with her black box.

Xu Nian looked at the unlucky lock with a frown. True to its name, it was small and exquisite, hardly the size of half a palm. Even if she used it as a shield against heavenly tribulation, the lock would hardly cover a third of her smallest form.

She regretted not buying the protective shield from the auction instead, which at least would have offered some defense.

Still, having paid a hefty price for it, Xu Nian, despite her disdain, carefully stored the lock in her storage bag. A tiny hope lingered in her heart that it might prove useful someday, despite its seemingly useless appearance.

After a series of fruitless attempts and practicing with the flying lotus cloud artifact, the wards at the door stirred – Ji Yuebai must have returned. Xu Nian eagerly emerged from the black box to welcome her.

The cold aura emanating from Ji Yuebai made Xu Nian hesitate, sensing the temperature change. Even as a demonic beast, she was sensitive to such variations.

But it was Ji Yuebai, and Xu Nian had no reason to push her away. She was about to help her take off her robe when Ji Yuebai stopped her with a gesture, “No need.”

Xu Nian sniffed and commented, “Where did you go, Yuebai? You’re so cold, even your robe feels icy, and there’s a scent of sea breeze on you.”

Ji Yuebai hung her robe on a rack, her eyes as cold as snow. “Nothing, just went out for a walk.”

As usual, Xu Nian wrapped her arms around Ji Yuebai’s arm, but this time, Ji Yuebai subtly avoided her embrace.

Blinking in confusion, Xu Nian wondered if Ji Yuebai had missed her gesture. Usually, Ji Yuebai would pat her head upon returning, a habitual gesture like petting a small animal first thing when coming home. But this time, it didn’t happen.

Lost in thought, Xu Nian snapped back to reality as Ji Yuebai seated herself at the desk, immersing in a new ancient scroll.

Xu Nian always felt that the Ji Yuebai’s rapid progress in cultivation was not solely due to physical talent, but perhaps also due to an exceptional innate understanding. Unwilling to accept her illiteracy in this world, she pestered Ji Yuebai to teach her to read. However, she soon grew bored of it after just a few days.

Her restlessness was the main reason. She felt that the characters she was learning had no application in cultivation. Moreover, considering that most demonic beasts didn’t understand the language of human cultivators and wouldn’t pass down their cultivation methods through books, the secrets of human cultivators were of little use to her. The cultivation methods of beasts and humans differed, and blindly following human practices could lead to deviations and even madness. Thus, she completely lost interest in studying and soon developed an aversion to learning.

In stark contrast, Ji Yuebai, whether at Tian Yuan Sect or aboard the flying boat, devoted herself daily to reading these ancient scrolls and sword manuals. Her dedication inspired a sense of longing in Xu Nian.

Thus, she contentedly watched Ji Yuebai from the side. Every move Ji Yuebai made seemed like a stroke in a painting, captivating Xu Nian endlessly.

However, her usual gaze now seemed to unsettle Ji Yuebai, who struggled to focus on her reading.

Ji Yuebai couldn’t understand why Xu Nian, who supposedly had no romantic interest in her, always looked at her with such affectionate eyes, making her feel as if she was the center of Xu Nian’s world.

Furthermore, Xu Nian often made intimate gestures that could easily lead to misunderstandings.

Ji Yuebai had once naively thought that Xu Nian might have some feelings for her.

But this time, she was completely sobered.

Putting down the scroll, Ji Yuebai stood up from the desk.

Xu Nian, jolted back to the present, clung to Ji Yuebai’s side: “Yuebai, you’re finishing early today. Are you going to rest? Let’s sleep together.”

Such words that led to misunderstandings.

Ji Yuebai’s gaze fell on Xu Nian’s cheek, down to her alluring eyes and tempting red lips.

Her gaze drifted lower to Xu Nian’s slender figure and the gentle curves of her back, which often pressed against her at night, murmuring her name, making it hard for her to sleep.

Ji Yuebai stopped in her tracks. “I’m just going to take a bath.”

Xu Nian blinked, recalling their previous encounter in the bath, where her attempt to tease Ji Yuebai backfired, and hesitated to follow.

Ji Yuebai looked at her with dark eyes, her voice low. “Do you want to join?”

Hearing this, Xu Nian’s head shook like a rattle. “No, no, I’ll pass on that.”

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Previous: Chapter 60

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Iris
Iris
4 months ago

This one’s rather angsty, but in the end, I hope they’ll be happy.

orinj
orinj
4 months ago

dawm. my strong empathy made me feel yuebai’s heavy feelings of jealousy and confusion. i kinda want to karate chop xu nian on the head for not being able to be sensitive and careful enough in dealing with yuebai. i mean, even i would feel irritated. imagine, stooping down low to win some low level competition just to give her the prize only for that person to give it to someone else. not that i blame yanyu (if I’m correct abt her name). but dayum, xu nian, stop giving mixed signals 😭

Bielt
Bielt
4 months ago
Reply to  orinj

I agree with all that but I also understand Xu nian side…
… She probably know that she loves Yuebai but she has a severe low self-esteem due to being a snake, she is convinced that Yuebai only likes her as a pet and can’t really see another person loving her snake self, since even herself think she is ugly.

It doesn’t help that the cultivators abhors demons and would discriminate against people who has relationships with them, even Yuebai is a source of that considering how she treated Xu nian before losing her memories.
So yeah, unless someone outright say that they love her she is unlikely to even think it’s possible

Sami
Sami
4 months ago
Reply to  Bielt

Yeh I also thought of that . . . Boi I feel the slow burn coming, it’s refreshing tho to see a character that knows what they want (referring Yuebai).

Shakthivel
Shakthivel
4 months ago

Thanks for the chapter..

Hatimo
Hatimo
18 days ago

Angst comin, but needed, we haven’t got clear view of Xu nian feelings, I hope this coldness from yuebai can wake her up