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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 21, 2024 7 Comments
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Previous: Chapter 69

Chapter 70

Xu Nian felt a chill run down her spine. Fighting against her fear, she turned around, only to be momentarily stunned.

Rabbits… Rabbits?

She finally understood the source of that inexplicable familiarity. Weren’t these the same creatures that were part of her diet during her cultivation days on Xiao Cang Mountain?

Crouching behind her was a giant rabbit about the height of a person. It had red eyes and long ears, with its body covered in fluffy white fur. Standing on its hind legs, with its front paws dangling in front, the rabbit stared at her, reminding Xu Nian of the March Hare from Alice in Wonderland.

With this association in mind, she even found it somewhat cute and felt an urge to pet it.

The rabbit, noticing Xu Nian’s strange look, quickly opened its three-part mouth and called out to its kin, “Elder brother, second brother, fourth brother, fifth sister, come quickly. I’ve found this sneaky human cultivator. She’s hiding next to the tree hole.”

It’s often said that a clever rabbit has three hiding spots, and these ninth-rank demon rabbits really took that instinct to an extreme level. The deep forest they lived in was filled with burrows and exits they had made for themselves, allowing them to move around easily.

Xu Nian was confused, though. The rabbit seemed to pop up out of nowhere behind her. She looked around but couldn’t find any tree hole large enough for the giant rabbit to pass through on the foul-smelling tree. She wondered if the rabbit demon’s burrows had some kind of concealment ability that made them undetectable.

No sooner had the rabbit finished speaking than four other rabbit demons swiftly surrounded her. The leader, a rabbit much larger than the others and about two meters tall, stood in front of Xu Nian, looking down at her with an oppressive aura.

Xu Nian realized that it had a cultivation of the eleventh-rank, equivalent to the late Golden Core stage in human cultivators. If it came to a fight, this one alone would be enough to give her a headache.

The eleventh-rank rabbit demon, with its red eyes, scrutinized Xu Nian from top to bottom and then spoke in the same old yet childish, spooky voice she heard before: “Third brother has done well. This human cultivator seems like a fine offering.”

Xu Nian realized then that she was the “human cultivator” they were talking about.

It seemed they planned to capture her as some sort of offering. Traditionally, offerings involved the sacrifice of cattle, sheep, and other livestock. By that logic, these demonic cultivators intended to sacrifice human cultivators as livestock to their demon gods.

Now, ten bright red rabbit eyes were fixed unwaveringly on her, as if fearing she might escape.

A chill ran down Xu Nian’s spine.

The situation was bad, and she needed to quickly find a way to escape.

Xu Nian swiftly removed the ring from her finger and the talisman that concealed her demonic aura from her body. Fixing her dark eyes directly on the rabbit demon elder brother, she spoke coldly, “Look closely, I am not some human cultivator.”

Demonic cultivators often follow the survival of the fittest, preying on those who show fear or weakness from the start. Even though Xu Nian’s power level was only in the late stage of the ninth-rank, by acting strong and confident, she might be able to trick the rabbit demons into thinking she’s more powerful than she is, which could help her avoid a fight right away.

She quickly strategized: if these rabbit demons still attacked her even after realizing she was a demon beast, she would summon her snake servants to stall them while using her flying lotus cloud artifact to break through the weakest point in their encirclement. She looked at the one called fifth brother, the weakest among them, seemingly only at the early level of the ninth-rank.

The rabbit that had first discovered her, the third brother, sneered, “If not a human cultivator, then what are you? I could smell your human scent from far away…” As it spoke, it twitched its whiskers and moved closer to sniff Xu Nian.

But suddenly, as if startled, it jumped back three meters, its voice trembling, “How… how is it possible… You are from the Qingxuan King Snake clan.”

Perhaps this reaction was due to an innate fear of a superior predator ingrained in their bloodline.

Its manner of addressing Xu Nian quickly changed from “cunning human cultivator” to a respectful “you.”

Xu Nian, who had lived for so long, had never heard of the Qingxuan King Snake clan. She always thought she was just an ordinary green snake, but now she was being mistaken for something that sounded quite powerful.

Seeing an opportunity, she decided to play along. Her dark eyes narrowed, and with a sweep of her sleeve, she asserted without any hint of uncertainty, “Indeed, I am. Now step aside. Do not dare to confuse me with those filthy human cultivators.”

The third brother, hearing this, had no doubts. In the Eastern Sea Secret Realm, apart from the Qingxuan King Snake clan, who else would dare to act so boldly?

The elder rabbit brother, however, was not so easily convinced. Although Xu Nian indeed emitted an aura that terrified it to its core, she had smelled unmistakably human before.

Its dark red rabbit eyes studied her, its tone laced with suspicion”The demon clans vanished into the Eastern Sea Secret Realm after losing the great war a century ago. Since then, no demon has managed a complete transformation. How did you achieve such a flawless human form?”

Xu Nian’s heart pounded when she heard this. It all made sense now – despite being ninth and eleventh-rank demons, the rabbits hadn’t transformed. The rabbit Elder’s question left her completely at a loss.

But Xu Nian, experienced as she was, barely paused before her expression turned coldly indignant, “How dare you equate our Qingxuan King Snake clan with ordinary demons. The secrets of our clan are not something a mere rabbit demon like you can comprehend.”

The elder rabbit brother was momentarily at a loss for words. He wanted to argue, but he also feared she might truly be from the Qingxuan King Snake clan. He’d heard about the great human-demon war a century ago that split the powerful Qingxuan King Snake clan. Most retreated to the Eastern Sea Secret Realm to recover, but a few stayed within the human cultivators’ territory to fight for land. Perhaps she was one who had returned.

Seeing that the rabbit demon was halfway convinced, Xu Nian didn’t wait for it to speak further. She commanded from a position of authority, “Are the other human offerings still alive? Take me to see them.”

Since they intended to take her back for a ritual, the human cultivators should be alive, and among them, there might be Ji Yuebai, or perhaps other rabbit demons who had seen her.

Xu Nian was reluctant to use the golden bell Ji Yuebai had given her unless absolutely necessary. This place seemed to be a secret realm, and she was still largely unaware of its dangers. Given Ji Yuebai’s severe injuries, if she thought Xu Nian was in danger and rushed to help, it could lead them both into danger.

The naive third rabbit brother, with its bright red eyes, blinked and eagerly nodded, “Alive, alive. Please follow us, Elder.”

The situation suddenly took a turn due to the foolish third rabbit brother’s response. The elder rabbit brother gave it a stern look and took over, “I shall lead the way for the Elder.”

Xu Nian remained cautious. This elder rabbit brother not only had a higher cultivation level but also seemed more cunning than the others. She was on her guard against these rabbit demons.

If these rabbit demons led her into their underground maze of burrows, she might find herself in a difficult predicament. She needed to think of an excuse to refuse.

Surprisingly, the rabbit demons didn’t lead her through their burrows, instead opting to travel above ground. It seemed the elder rabbit brother had overruled the third brother’s plan to take her underground. While this decision seemed to be in her favor, Xu Nian couldn’t understand what the elder rabbit brother was scheming.

What Xu Nian didn’t know was that apart from the simple-minded third brother, no rabbit demon wanted their natural predator to step foot in their secret base. They also didn’t want their burrows permeated with the scent of a snake demon, which would make returning home akin to visiting a haunted house.

Riding on her flying lotus cloud artifact, Xu Nian followed the swiftly running rabbit demons through the dense forest shrouded in toxic miasma.

She had activated a barrier of spiritual energy, protecting herself from the poison. The rabbit demons, using some unknown method, also seemed immune. Suddenly, she caught sight of a strange vine ahead and grew wary.

Could this vine be like the human-faced flower she had encountered earlier, ready to spring up and strangle its prey?

As Xu Nian thought this, the seemingly limp purple-brown vine suddenly sprang to life. The third rabbit brother, caught off guard, was ensnared by the neck and violently thrown backward.

This commotion made the other rabbit demons halt instantly. They circled around the third brother, seemingly oblivious to the murderous vine.

The elder rabbit brother spoke angrily, “Third brother, this is not the time for your games.”

Even the usually meek and timid fifth sister rabbit voiced her concern, “Third brother, stop messing around.”

But the purple-brown vine tightened around the third brother’s neck even more in those brief moments. It constricted so tightly that he could barely breathe.

Xu Nian watched in horror as the third rabbit brother’s eyes bulged, his triple-parted mouth foaming as he struggled in vain to free himself from the vine’s grasp. His struggles grew weaker, and soon he couldn’t even utter a cry for help. His powerful hind legs, which had been furiously kicking, gradually lost their strength due to asphyxiation.

The second rabbit brother squatting aside clicked his tongue, “You know, the third brother’s acting was quite convincing this time. Had elder brother not revealed it, I would have thought it was real.”

Xu Nian leaped down from her flying lotus cloud artifact, astonished, “Can’t you all see these vines?”

The second rabbit brother looked around, genuinely puzzled, “What vines?”

Pushing past the rabbit demons, Xu Nian approached the third rabbit brother and used her spirit-infused longsword to cut through the vine that had ensnared him.

The purple-brown vine, seemingly caught off guard by Xu Nian’s attack, writhed in pain but didn’t dare to continue its assault, slowly retracting instead.

The freed third rabbit brother quickly pawed off the vine from its neck, gasping for breath. It complained to its siblings, “You were all laughing at me, but I was really being strangled by that ghostly vine. I almost saw Granny.”

The rabbit demons exchanged looks of disbelief. Could it be that the third brother, known for his jokes, was telling the truth?

The second rabbit brother was incredulous, “What ghostly vine? We didn’t see anything.”

The fourth rabbit brother nodded in agreement, “That’s right, third brother.”

Right then, the elder rabbit brother stepped up and moved aside the fur on the third brother’s neck, revealing the deep strangulation marks he had mentioned.

The rabbit demons gasped in shock. They had thought it was just another of the third brother’s pranks, never expecting it to be true.

The elder rabbit brother, now more convinced of Xu Nian’s identity, spoke with much more respect, “Thank you, Elder, for saving our foolish brother. We owe you a favor.”

The other rabbit demons now looked at her with newfound respect.

Xu Nian nodded, adopting the aloof demeanor she remembered from Ji Yuebai, “Take me to see the human offerings first.”

As they resumed their journey, Xu Nian noticed that the elder rabbit brother led them on a different path from before, clearly not heading towards the same destination.

She realized then that the rabbit demons might have previously intended to lead her into a trap.

However, since the elder rabbit brother hadn’t shown any sign of this, Xu Nian pretended to be unaware.

Following the rabbit demons through various twists and turns, they finally emerged from the ominous forest onto a small, open grassland.

This seemed to be the rabbit demons’ base. In the center of the clearing was a conspicuous altar, surrounded by wooden branches hanging with many desiccated human skeletons – presumably the unfortunate human cultivators captured by them.

There seemed to be some commotion near the altar, and the rabbit siblings guiding her hurried over.

Xu Nian swiftly followed them.

The horrific scene that unfolded before her made Xu Nian tremble, a wave of bitterness and sorrow overwhelming her senses.

There, she found Ji Yuebai.

But Ji Yuebai was in a terrible condition. A hopeless and deadly aura surrounded her, her robes were stained dark red with blood, and several deep wounds exposed to the air.

What pained Xu Nian even more was seeing the proud and powerful Ji Yuebai crudely bound to a wooden post by these beasts. How dare they, how dare they do this.

If it weren’t for trying to save her, how would Ji Yuebai have ended up like this…

At that moment, Xu Nian didn’t find these rabbit demons cute at all. If possible, she wanted to slay every single one of them for bullying Ji Yuebai.

She was gripping her own arm tightly, forcing herself to remain calm.

No, the priority was to get Ji Yuebai out safely.

One, two, three, four, five… Her eyes swept over the rabbit demons surrounding Ji Yuebai, and she was horrified to discover that each of them possessed the strength of the twelfth or thirteenth-rank, equivalent to a Nascent Soul Elder in human cultivation.

This was bad. With such high cultivation levels, she wondered if her “Qingxuan King Snake” identity would still hold sway.

The elder rabbit brother respectfully reported to a thirteenth-rank rabbit demon standing beside Ji Yuebai, “High Priest, a member of the Qingxuan King Snake clan wishes to see the human offering.”

Xu Nian felt a bit apprehensive, but she still tried to puff out her chest, putting on a disdainful front.

The High Priest looked at Xu Nian’s forehead, where the distinctive mark of the Qingxuan King Snake was, and couldn’t hide its irritation.

With a swipe of its paw, it hit the elder rabbit brother on the head, “Always rushing, always rushing. Everything is ready, and she will be sent over shortly, so stop rushing.”

The elder rabbit brother, resentful but not daring to express it, looked plaintively at Xu Nian.

Then, the High Priest looked at Xu Nian with a sly smile, “May I ask if you are sent from our main branch?”

Xu Nian lifted her chin, “That’s right.” She then pointed at the bound Ji Yuebai.

“I’m here to take her with me.”

The High Priest gave her a scrutinizing look, “You seem unfamiliar, Elder. Do you have a token from the main clan?”

A token, what was that?

Xu Nian, having never seen such a thing and unable to conjure it out of thin air, replied, “I don’t have a token, but she was my prey. You must return her to me.”

The High Priest narrowed its eyes, “It seems, Elder, you are not quite familiar with our rules. In our demonic beast society, whoever captures the prey owns it.”

Xu Nian understood the situation perfectly but knew she couldn’t overpower these rabbit demons. Her only option was to play the fool.

So, she spun another story, “To be honest, she is actually my betrothed. We had to flee because our main clan does not permit our union.”

She sensed that these rabbit demons seemed to value kinship, so she hoped this angle might sway them. Aware that she and Ji Yuebai didn’t resemble each other enough to pass as sisters, Xu Nian opted for the guise of spouses.

Turning to the Elder rabbit, she said, “Didn’t you say you owed me a favor? Return her to me, and we’ll call it even.”

The elder rabbit brother hesitated, quietly recounting to the High Priest how Xu Nian had saved the third brother.

The High Priest huffed, “How can you prove you’re not just trying to steal the human sacrifice to curry favor with our main clan?”

But then, considering her rescue of the third brother, the priest added, “I’ve heard your Qingxuan King Snake clan prides itself on being the noblest and most untainted of demons, detesting these filthy humans. If you can prove through action that she is indeed your wife, I will hand her over to you.”

Xu Nian paused for a moment, grasping the implication in the High Priest’s words.

Without hesitation, she approached Ji Yuebai.

Her fingers gently brushed away the strands of hair from Ji Yuebai’s forehead, gliding over the delicate, porcelain-like skin of her cheek.

The dirt and blood only added a sense of broken beauty to this otherwise beautiful scene.

At that moment, Xu Nian understood the concept of ‘war-torn beauty’ she had come across in her previous life. Yet, if she could choose, she would always want Ji Yuebai to remain the noble, aloof, and unparalleled genius sword cultivator.

Not like now, brought low and covered in dust.

Ji Yuebai’s long eyelashes trembled, and her usually cold black eyes reflected a hint of confusion, mirroring Xu Nian’s face.

Her pale lips parted slightly, as if she wanted to say something.

Xu Nian couldn’t bear to listen or think too deeply. She quickly whispered an apology and then lifted her head to gently press her lips against Ji Yuebai’s.

The Great Escape Technique wasn’t just about traversing space; it also caused temporal disarray.

Ji Yuebai, having lost consciousness from her injuries during the spatial leap and failing to grasp onto Xu Nian, arrived in the Eastern Sea Secret Realm a whole month earlier than Xu Nian.

Unable to find Xu Nian’s whereabouts, Ji Yuebai resorted to divination using the Minor Four Symbols Formation and learned that Xu Nian would arrive in this secret realm a month later.

When Ji Yuebai first entered the secret realm, she encountered several reckless demon beasts. Despite her serious injuries, she was far from being unable to wield her sword. After claiming the territory of those beasts, she began her healing and cultivation. Utilizing the spirit stones from her storage bag and the abundant spiritual energy of the secret realm, she successfully broke through from the Golden Core stage to the Nascent Soul stage.

It was then that she discovered the oddity of this Eastern Sea Secret Realm: despite advancing to the Nascent Soul stage, she did not attract any thunder tribulation.

When the day predicted by the Minor Four Symbols Formation arrived, Ji Yuebai went to the territory of the rabbit demons ahead of time to “clear” it, aiming to ease Xu Nian’s journey.

Interestingly, the remaining rabbit demons were quite perceptive. They actively offered to help her find Xu Nian and even went out of their way to gather wild fruits and hunt prey to please her.

Ji Yuebai, looking at their furless grey paws, felt a sense of disgust. Initially, she wanted to refuse but then thought of Xu Nian, who might like these offerings. So, she allowed them to leave the items.

After an anxious half-day wait, Xu Nian arrived as foretold by the divination.

However, instead of approaching her, Xu Nian stood at a distance, conversing with those unsightly rabbit demons.

Ji Yuebai thought she should have eliminated these troublesome rabbits earlier.

But what felt like just a moment, seemed like an eternity.

It had been a month since she last heard Xu Nian’s affectionately teasing voice calling her “Yuebai~”, since she had been embraced by her, since they had snuggled together as they drifted off to sleep…

Ji Yuebai had intended to extricate herself from this hopeless affection, only to realize it was a punishment to herself.

When Xu Nian finally approached her from among the rabbit demons, every drop of blood in Ji Yuebai’s body stirred in agitation and anticipation. For that one month, her longing had grown into a deep-seated frenzy.

Would she behave affectionately as usual, or joyously say, “I finally found you, Yuebai~,” while wrapping her arms around her?

Or perhaps, would she be even bolder?

Would she wrap her soft arms around her neck, press their bodies close together, and affectionately nuzzle her cheek against hers…

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Previous: Chapter 69

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cyberstingray
cyberstingray
3 months ago

is JYB or XN under illusions?

NovelReader16
NovelReader16
3 months ago
Reply to  cyberstingray

I have a feeling it’s probably JYB

DenimDeans
DenimDeans
3 months ago

I think it’s JYB that is under the illusion. Since XN is now able to use the overpriced lock, the appearance of the place looks completely different for her and she is able to see everything for what it truly is.

cyberstingray
cyberstingray
3 months ago
Reply to  DenimDeans

oh youre right i forgot that detail about the lock

Shakthivel
Shakthivel
3 months ago

Thanks for the chapter…

Iris
Iris
3 months ago

The turn of events seemed necessary for their relationship. I love this!

Hatimo
Hatimo
11 days ago

Jyb seem half conscious in XN pov, but it seems like jyb saw her clearly still