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chapter 173

As Bai Ye threw away all his tokens, the big melee showcasing the talents of disciples from various sects finally came to an end.

Apart from a few individuals from the Xuanxu Sword Sect, the Wanjian Sect, and the Fanyin Temple, the remaining cultivators either self-destructed and were eliminated or were rendered unconscious by those who self-destructed.

Ning Ning upheld the traditional virtues of the Chinese people, embodying the spirit of “the mantis stalks the cicada, unaware of the oriole behind” and “coming to the capital, one cannot suffer losses“,” as she diligently searched the crime scene.

(T/N: Since I’m here, I might as well make the most of it.)

She was responsible for finding the items, while Pei Ji carried them. When it came to Lu Minghao and a male cultivator from Suwen Hall, Pei Ji refused to let her search their bodies personally. Instead, he directly handed all the tokens to Ning Ning and squatted down with a cold expression.

It seems that Pei Ji is still a traditional and conservative elementary school chicken at heart, always mindful of the separation between men and women. Ning Ning found this amusing but didn’t tease him as she usually would.

Earlier, when she had been dodging near Bai Ye, a talisman had left a cut on her arm. Although the thunder and fire talismans didn’t cause her to bleed, the combined effects of the electric current and flames resulted in bone-deep pain and a scar akin to a burn.

Bai Ye hadn’t used his full strength, so the wound wasn’t severe and would heal after a few days of applying medicine.

With enough troubles already, Ning Ning didn’t want others to worry, so she endured the pain and pretended nothing was wrong, planning to treat the wound herself later.

If she continued searching for tokens now, the movement might expose the scar.

…However, Pei Ji probably wouldn’t care much about her injury.

Thinking about this, she felt a subtle, inexplicable sense of disappointment and frustration. She clasped her hands behind her back and looked ahead, only to meet Pei Ji’s gaze.

Only then did Ning Ning notice the dark circles under his eyes, his slightly red eye rims, and the bloodshot veins around his pupils, as if he had stayed up all night and just woke up.

It made sense. Last night, they had returned to their rooms very late. While Ning Ning quickly fell asleep due to exhaustion, Pei Ji was different.

He saw that she was upset and had red, swollen eyes. Having overheard her mention of the “Xinghen Sword,” he had apparently searched the entire secret realm meticulously to find the sword.

The thought flashed through her mind, and as Pei Ji stared at her, she couldn’t help feeling a bit flustered. She tried to compose herself and asked, “What’s wrong?”

He silently handed her a few rectangular tokens.

Lu Minghao’s body dissipated with the motion, and Ning Ning took the tokens, shifting her gaze to the male cultivator from Suwen Hall.

“What about him?”

Pei Ji immediately responded, “I’ll handle it.”


She had no choice but to nod, and then looked at the two human-shaped pieces of meat lying in the middle of the road: “Where are He Zhizhou and Xu Ye?”

“I’ll handle them too.”

The stern-looking young man in black seemed to recall something, pausing briefly before speaking again with a hint of hesitation and stiffness: “The Xinghen Sword… keep it safe for now, I’ll clean it later.”

“No, no, no! How can I really let you do that! I was just joking, I can handle it myself.”

She couldn’t let Pei Ji become everyone’s all-around nanny, so she waved her hand repeatedly. “By the way, where did you find it? It must have taken a long time.”

“In a lake.”

He was searching for tokens with his head down, his voice somewhat muffled. Probably to dispel her confusion, he uncharacteristically continued, “The formation used water as a mirror, and the Xinghen Sword pierced through the water screen sky, falling into a body of water in the real secret realm. I searched each lake until I found it.”

He made it sound simple, but just thinking about it, one could tell it wasn’t easy.

Not to mention the countless lakes in the secret realm; even if he found the right one, he had to dive into the bone-chilling water to search.

Ning Ning’s thoughts churned as she gripped the sword tightly and softly said, “Thank you. When the secret realm exploration ends, I’ll treat you to a meal.”

Feeling more confident, she recalled her little stash of wealth from the Floating Tower and boldly added, “It’ll be the largest and most expensive restaurant in Luan City. You can choose whatever you like. My little junior brother deserves it!”

Pei Ji listened intently, then turned his head away.

He didn’t speak, but Cheng Ying in his heart chattered endlessly, “Oh, are you happy? Are you showing off? Your heart is blooming with joy when you hear this? Pei Xiaoji, if you want to laugh, just laugh directly; don’t deliberately turn down the corners of your mouth so obviously.”

Not satisfied after saying that,Cheng Ying actually used a rough uncle’s voice to imitate Ning Ning’s tone just now, so pretentious and impure: “Oh dear, my little junior brother deserves it~”

Pei Ji’s eyes lost their amusement, replaced by a sudden burst of killing intent.

After they collected all the tokens from the eliminated contestants, the once-crowded path now seemed somewhat empty.

Mingjing was snoring while sitting cross-legged, and Mingkong had finished eating his lettuce and was now engrossed in a book titled “The Meditation Record of Falling Plum Blossom.”


(T/N: “Falling Plum Blossoms” is a seven-character regulated verse written by Liu Kezhuang, a patriotic poet in the Southern Song Dynasty . The first couplet depicts a desolate and decaying scene of falling plum blossoms. The second couplet continues the first couplet, further depicting the falling plum blossoms with neat parallelism and vivid metaphors. The third couplet continues to write about the ending of the falling plum blossoms. On this basis, the last couplet expresses the discussion and points out the main meaning. The whole poem describes plum blossoms, but no plum blossoms are seen. The writing is euphemistic, organically combining the description of objects with the expression of feelings and also expressing the poet’s emotions vividly.)


This book is worthy of its name. After the little monk read it, he can now confront others with reason and calmness without changing his expression, causing his opponents to suffer heart attacks from frustration every time.

He declined the offer to return to the village for rest, giving a lengthy lecture on “heaven and earth as home,” so Ning Ning didn’t insist and instead looked towards Su Qinghan under an ancient tree.

However, Su Qinghan had disappeared.

“Thank you all for taking care of Xu Ye.”

As Ning Ning wondered, Su Qinghan’s voice came from behind her. She turned to see the female cultivator standing by the unconscious Xu Ye, looking at his pale face.

Sensing the sudden gaze, Su Qinghan raised her eyes.

“I saw the bright light and traces of stars and guessed it must be you.”

Senior Sister Su and Pei Ji were both aloof by nature, but the former was proud while the latter was cold and distant.

She spoke with little emotion, but her eyes were filled with battle intent. Remembering something, she looked disappointed: “I wanted to have a good match with you, but seeing your current state, you must have little spiritual energy left.”

She must have seen the zombie-like scene. Ning Ning smiled sheepishly, “Senior Sister Su, once I recover my spiritual energy, I’m always ready for a match.”

Su Qinghan smiled at last, then lifted Xu Ye onto her shoulder without hesitation. Her movements were not gentle at all, treating him like a sack of rice and even swinging him around in the air.

She smiled sweetly, “Where is his room?”

Ning Ning was stunned: “Any room will do, take your pick.”

The legendary, aloof, and elegant Senior Sister Su walked away, leaving Ning Ning reeling from the shock.

Then another shock hit her simultaneously.

Someone lightly lifted her long hair with their fingers, causing a strange ticklish sensation by her ear.

Startled, she looked up into Pei Ji’s dark eyes.

He raised his right hand, brushing aside the hair by her ear, looking displeased with a slight frown. Seeing her confused gaze, he moved his hand away: “You have an injury on your face.”


Ning Ning hadn’t noticed, only occasionally feeling a stinging pain by her ear. Upon hearing his words, she touched her face and winced in pain.

Due to the cover of her black hair, the wound on her temple was hard to see. Pei Ji had only noticed it when her hair was blown aside during her conversation with Su Qinghan.

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