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Chapter 144

“First, he has incredibly strong demonic energy, recovering much faster than other demon cultivators; second, he holds a very high status, with other demon cultivators willingly offering him most of the medicinal herbs to help restore his abilities. Either explanation, or a combination of both, leads to one conclusion—this person must be exceptionally important.”

No matter how she calculated it, she never imagined that the mastermind behind everything would be that child.

“So that’s why they want Qiao Yan to leave the secret realm.”

Ning Ning’s thoughts became clearer as she continued to analyze: “When spirit foxes are corrupted by demonic energy, they lose their sanity and attack others indiscriminately. The demon clan has been hiding in the Water Mirror out of fear of such attacks. Now that Xiao Zhao’s strength has mostly returned, they just need to wait for Qiao Yan to leave, dismantle the Water Mirror Formation, and then take down the fox clan in one strike. Not only would they get the Sun Blaze Bow, but all the spiritual energy in the secret realm would also be theirs.”

But then she got puzzled again: “At this point, Qiao Yan has little use left. They could easily kill her… so why go to such lengths to persuade her to leave? Could those demon cultivators really have a sense of gratitude towards Qiao Yan?”

That wouldn’t fit their style at all; it’s not like they’re performing ‘The Demon’s Gratitude’.

Pei Ji shook his head and replied in a deep voice, “I can’t figure that out either.”

Hearing his clear voice cutting through the evening breeze, Ning Ning, who was trying hard to think, suddenly paused and looked up at Pei Ji.

“Oh no, He Zhizhou and the others are still in the spirit fox settlement!”


Demon cultivators have all sorts of strange methods, often bloody and cruel. Many of them involve using other people’s lives as fuel and their souls as cores in disgusting sacrificial rituals. The number of people sacrificed could circle the earth twice.

The secret realm hasn’t been opened for many years, and those demon cultivators haven’t seen living people for a long time. Desperately wanting to restore their spiritual energy, who knows what they’re plotting? They could harm He Zhizhou and the others at any moment.

In the secret realm, flying with swords is impossible, and traveling on foot is too slow. To prevent any accidents on the way back, Ning Ning prepared two communication talismans before heading to the settlement, sending one to He Zhizhou and the other to Xu Ye, informing them of the truth.

As for Qiao Yan…

Ning Ning wasn’t sure if she should tell her everything. If Qiao Yan found out that the mirror ghost she mercilessly shot was actually a fellow Fox clan member, the girl would undoubtedly break down on the spot.

When the communication talisman reached He Zhizhou’s room, Xu Ye happened to be there.

Coincidentally, besides these two, there were also two other figures in the room—Xiao Zhao and Qiao Yan’s wheelchair-bound crush.

He Zhizhou stretched his voice and chuckled, “Oh—so your name is Yan Qing. Nice name!”

Ning Ning and Pei Ji had gone somewhere, and these two Fox clan members, using casual conversation as an excuse, suddenly visited while he and Xu Ye were discussing kinetic potential energy acceleration.

He Zhizhou just learned that Qiao Yan’s childhood friend was named Yan Qing.

Not long after, they received Ning Ning’s communication talisman.

At the time, Xu Ye was busy pinching the ears of the Fox clan child, while He Zhizhou lazily leaned back in his chair and opened the message, thinking it was something trivial. However, the moment he read the first sentence, his eyes nearly popped out of their sockets—

[Except for Qiao Yan, the entire Fox clan is made up of disguised demon cultivators. Do not engage with them.]

The impact of this message was so immense that He Zhizhou had to suppress the urge to tremble. He glanced at Xu Ye, who was happily playing with the fox child’s ears.

And then at Yan Qing and Xiao Zhao, who were smiling eerily.

He took a deep breath and continued reading.

If the first sentence was a heavy blow that left him dizzy, the next sentence was like a pot of spoiled rice forcefully shoved into his mouth, nearly making him vomit from fear.

[Xiao Zhao’s identity is extraordinary; he is likely the leader of the demon cultivators and has mostly regained his strength. Be very cautious; Pei Ji and I are on our way back.]

…This is a ghost story, right?

He Zhizhou looked at Xu Ye again, hearing him laugh heartily.

“Xiao Zhao is so cute! Hahaha, look at these little ears—”

The look in his eyes this time was different from the previous time. It had completely degenerated into the look of looking at a dead body.

“Xu Ye. Don’t look at me; don’t talk; just keep laughing and keep rubbing.”

After reading the brief message, He Zhizhou tilted his head back at a 45-degree angle, trying not to let his tears fall. He then moved next to Xu Ye and began to transmit the message, “Ning Ning sent a message. All these spirit foxes except Qiao Yan are demon cultivators in disguise.”

Like a face frozen by too much botox, Xu Ye’s expression immediately stiffened. He then heard He Zhizhou continue, “The kid you’re rubbing, he’s probably the leader from back then.”

Xu Ye: …

Xu Ye’s current mood was like losing fifty consecutive ranked matches late at night, ordering takeout for comfort only to find no chopsticks included, and then realizing halfway through the meal that the rice had turned moldy green. Finally, he called his girlfriend to vent, only to hear his best friend’s voice on the other end.

The pain was about that severe….

Xu Ye’s expression was complicated as he looked at the fluffy ear he was casually playing with and then at Xiao Zhao’s innocent face.

The boy smiled brightly, seeing Xu Ye’s changed expression, and giggled, “Big brother, what’s wrong?”

Giggling like a hen turned spirit.

Although Xu Ye was a bit of a sister’s boy, he was still a proper disciple of an immortal sect. He immediately responded, “Nothing! I—just have a bit of a stomach ache.”

That’s right! He and He Zhizhou had no reasonable excuse to leave right now, but if he pretended to be unwell, they could naturally return to their room!

Xu Ye quickly exchanged a look with He Zhizhou and then clutched his stomach with an “ow,” his face contorting in pain. He reached out with a trembling hand and said, “Senior Brother He, my old ailment is acting up again… Quickly, take me back to my room to get my medicine!”

He Zhizhou understood instantly and, embodying the spirit of a 21st-century actor, slapped his thigh dramatically, “Junior Brother! I told you not to overexert yourself, but you wouldn’t listen!”

He turned to the two others, his face full of apology, and said, “I’m sorry; my junior brother’s health isn’t good. Let us go to his room to get his medicine first, then we can continue our discussion.”


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