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Chapter 165

In the distance, the dim light of an eternal lamp struggled to pierce through the thick and heavy darkness of the night. Under this dim light, only the silhouettes of the mountains could be seen, like giant beasts lurking in the shadows.

The wind howled incessantly, and the night rain was blown everywhere, passing by crumbling walls and landing on Pei Ji’s high-bridged nose.

Ning Ning’s abrupt question hit him like a blunt knife on his head.

Pei Ji had never heard such a question before, nor had he ever thought anyone would ask him this. Although he was momentarily stunned, his eyes stared straight ahead, falling fixedly on the face of the young girl in front of him.

This gaze made his heart race.

It was as if his brain hadn’t fully processed the feelings, but his body and nerves had already responded honestly.

When Ning Ning mentioned “the girl you like,” he almost instinctively lifted his gaze, meeting hers directly.

Did this mean that he—

Pei Ji seemed to understand something, yet it all felt foggy and unreal, as if he were in a dream.

Cheng Ying, usually dormant in his heart, remained silent. Pei Ji felt inexplicably restless, wishing for once to hear its noisy voice that sounded like a broken drum.

Without that distraction…

He would definitely blush in front of Ning Ning.

Feeling so flustered over a single question made him feel hopeless.

Standing next to him, Ning Ning was equally flustered. She quickly looked away when their eyes met, gripping her outer garment tighter.

When she spoke again, her voice was dry and raspy, like a thousand-year-old mummy: “It’s okay if you don’t want to answer. I was just asking casually, not really wanting to know.”

As soon as she finished speaking, Pei Ji’s deep, slightly hoarse voice, sounding like it was enveloped in mist, replied, “You—”

Ning Ning’s fingertips trembled slightly.

Cheng Ying, finally unable to continue playing dead, gasped like someone on the brink of death, flailing like a drowning puppy.

But halfway through its gasp, it seemed to give up again, rolling its eyes and nearly bidding farewell to this beautiful world.

Pei Ji’s tone remained calm as he finished his sentence: “Why did you ask that?”

Cheng Ying: …

Cheng Ying felt like spitting out old blood, freezing it into an ice block, and smashing it onto this brat’s head, feeling utterly wronged and stomping its feet in frustration: “Rebellious son, Wooden Head! What a perfect opportunity! What are you doing with that answer? I want to disown you immediately! Right Now!!!”

“Earlier on the road, didn’t you mention how Qiao Yan reunited with her childhood sweetheart?”

Cheng Ying was livid, but Ning Ning, the person involved, showed little emotional fluctuation, answering smoothly: “I suddenly thought of them and decided to ask about your situation.”

Having finally thought of a reasonable excuse, Ning Ning mentally gave herself a thumbs up.

To be honest, she once carefully pondered the question of what kind of girl Pei Ji liked.

After all, in the original story, he was always alone. Even after becoming a decisive, godlike figure, he remained indifferent to the advances of various female cultivators, focusing solely on leveling up or dueling, almost as if he had “detached from emotion and love” written on his forehead.

However, secretly mulling it over was one thing; asking him directly was entirely different.

The question had slipped out so unexpectedly that even Ning Ning hadn’t realized it at the time. Now, looking back, she could only remember two thoughts she had.

She didn’t seem to mind getting closer to Pei Ji.

And she wanted to know more about him.

In any case, the pouring rain must have muddled her mind, making her ask such a question.

“Oh, right!”

Amidst the overwhelming sound of the rain, Ning Ning suddenly exclaimed softly, pulling out a storage bag and starting to search through it. Pei Ji waited silently, watching a smooth white orb roll out of the bag.

It was the night pearl she had secretly bought for Lin Xun.

“I originally planned to give it to him after the trial, but it looks like I’ll need to use it first.”

Ning Ning held it up with both hands; her fingers and cheeks illuminated brightly. Remembering Pei Ji’s fear of the dark, she offered it to him: “It’s a pity I don’t know where my Xinghen Sword is. If I had it, I could show you light as beautiful as the stars.”

The gesture was normal, but for some reason, Pei Ji’s eyes darkened slightly as he lowered his long eyelashes, murmuring, “I don’t need it.”


Seeing his reaction, Cheng Ying immediately understood everything. It began another dramatic monologue, almost tearfully lamenting: “Seeing that night pearl, does your heart ache, feeling stifled? Don’t be sad; Daddy understands you, Pei Xiaoji! The child is feeling chest pain for no reason; it’s probably jealousy!”

Pei Ji, holding his sword tightly, had a fleeting shadow cross his eyes.

As annoying and nagging as Cheng Ying was, what troubled Pei Ji most was that its words were often true.

For instance, now, seeing the night pearl Ning Ning had bought for Lin Xun for a large sum of money, his chest felt inexplicably heavy, a faint sourness welling up inside, as if it were all blocked in his chest.

Cheng Ying loved teasing him when he was in this state, continuing with a mocking tone: “I never thought you would have this day, tsk tsk, tsk tsk tsk, this is so sour, I can’t believe it.”

After a pause, it added with even more sarcasm: “Pei Xiaoji, you are getting deeper and deeper into this trap. I’m afraid you are completely screwed.”

“What’s wrong? Your expression is so strange.”

Cheng Ying was still gloating when Ning Ning’s voice suddenly sounded in his ear. Pei Ji reflexively looked up, meeting her bright eyes.

The distance between them…seems a little too close.

The outer garment draped over them made it impossible for him to retreat. The summer night’s heat slowly built up in the narrow space, turning the boy’s fair ears a light red.

He was usually good at enduring, but now he felt an intense heat inside, his throat moving slightly as he shook his head lightly: “Maybe it’s the surrounding demonic energy… I’m fine.”

“Demonic energy?”

Ning Ning looked around and indeed saw a thin, blood-red mist. It seemed to be pressed down by the rain, gathering low and looking denser than usual, like scattered blood flowers.

“The resentment in this secret realm is deep, and the demonic energy might not disappear for a while.”

She then turned to Pei Ji with a serious expression: “By the way, what happened to the demons in this secret realm?”

“When you were asleep, we went to the waterfall.”

He answered calmly, “The demon cultivators were injured during the battle; their spiritual energy was damaged, unable to withstand the intense demonic energy here. By the time we arrived, many were already unconscious, now all imprisoned in the village, probably not having much time left.”

It was ironic that the demonic cultivators were severely hurt by the demon energy left by their own kind.

Ning Ning listened quietly and then leaned back against the wall, her head tilted slightly: “Demons… Pei Ji, what do you think of them?”

She didn’t notice the growing hostility in the black-clad boy’s eyes.

Pei Ji answered quickly, without hesitation, his tone as cold as ice: “They are utterly evil, deserving of death.”

It was a highly ironic situation.

Since joining the sect, he has learned many stories from the wars between immortals and demons. Whether it was the Goose City incident or the near-extermination of the Spirit Fox clan, demon cultivators were always associated with slaughter, violence, and death, evoking deep disgust and loathing.

Yet ironically, he himself was a demon descendant, born with tainted, violent blood. No wonder the outer sect disciples had often given him trouble; with such vile blood, there was no excuse for him.

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