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Chapter 176

The spirit fox clan has suffered greatly. Even if they become mirror ghosts due to the invasion of demonic energy, their offensive power is not significant.

While Ning Ning was still sound asleep during the day, He Zhizhou, Xu Ye, and Ye Zongheng accompanied Qiao Yan in searching throughout the secret realm. They gathered many fox clan members into a village, waiting to send them out of the secret realm once it opened.

When Qiao Yan opened the door and saw Ning Ning and Pei Ji, she was slightly taken aback, then smiled gently and stepped aside to make a path.

“Come in and have a seat.”

There were few surviving spirit foxes after the great battle, let alone those who had endured years of demonic energy. It was even rarer to find those who survived in such harsh conditions.

They had found more than twenty and placed them in different courtyards.

There was also one in the room next to Qiao Yan’s.

“We just met Senior Brother Ye Zongheng. I heard that Miss Qiao found her real mother.”

Ning Ning, sitting on a wooden chair, finally felt relieved.

“How is Qin Niang?”

Like Pei Ji, Qiao Yan had dark shadows under her eyes, indicating a lack of sleep. She looked exhausted, with swollen red eyes as if she had cried recently, but she still managed a gentle smile, no longer putting on a forced, mature demeanor.

“Fortunately, she’s fine.”

Her voice was soft, unguarded for once, and she revealed a childlike innocence in her eyes.

“Although my clan members lost their memories and sanity, it seems they retained some of their instincts. Most of them stayed near the village—when I found my mother, she was near Sunset Pool, a place she often took me to.”

Though her clan members had changed in appearance, the deep familial bond made it impossible for her not to recognize them.

Qiao Yan paused, looking at Ning Ning with admiration.

“Miss Ning Ning, the spirit fox clan can see the light of day again thanks to your recognition of the formation’s core and breaking the water mirror. I don’t know how to repay you…”

“No need!”

Ning Ning, feeling embarrassed by the praise, waved her hand.

“Miss Qiao, I’m just happy that you can leave this place with your clan. No reward is necessary.”

Then, recalling something, she asked seriously, “I heard Young Master Yan Qing was injured. Is he alright now?”

Hearing his name, Qiao Yan smiled again.

“Thanks to the medicinal herbs from Little Daoist Xu, we pulled him back from the brink. He has mostly recovered and is resting in another room.”

Despite the many twists and turns in the secret realm, the outcome was not too bad.

The spirit fox clan saw the light of day again, with a chance to leave the secret realm. As long as they could rid themselves of the demonic energy and slowly recover with spiritual energy and proper medicine, they might one day return to their original state. The demon cultivators were severely injured, and Demon Lord Qi Han was imprisoned in the village, unable to escape.

Ning Ning breathed a sigh of relief, recalling what the female demon cultivator said: “Good will be rewarded and evil will be punished.”

Inexplicably, she also thought of Chen Lubai, whom she had met in the floating tower.

Like Qiao Yan, she was once an innocent, carefree girl doted on by her parents. But she had to mature overnight, enduring hardships and separations and shouldering unimaginable responsibilities.

And both of them did very well.

If Chen Lubai were still alive, she might have a similar character to Qiao Yan.

Ning Ning chuckled softly.

“Young Master Yan Qing must care deeply for Miss Qiao.”

“Unless he tells me himself, I’ll pretend I don’t know.”

The shadows in Qiao Yan’s eyes lifted slightly as she hummed softly.

“I’ve made up my mind. Once Yan Qing regains his senses, I’ll stick to him as usual and see when that wooden guy finally speaks up.”

She glanced at Ning Ning and Pei Ji, her smile turning a bit mischievous as her ears twitched.

“Miss Ning Ning, I really don’t understand why there are people like this—they care about you to death, but they don’t say a word and only show a little concern at the most dangerous moment.”

She couldn’t sleep last night but saw the two of them return from a midnight walk; the atmosphere was rather intimate.

Pei Ji’s eyes met her meaningful gaze coldly.

“Oh my, Pei Xiaoji, you’ve been found out.”

Cheng Ying laughed loudly, sighed, and shook his head.

“Even the little fox saw through the trick; your acting is not very good.”

Ning Ning thought Qiao Yan was complaining about Yan Qing being a dull person and laughed.

“This kind of personality is actually not bad; it is quiet and gentle and very reliable.”

Qiao Yan’s eyes lit up, her ears twitching more.

“Really? Do you like that kind of personality, Miss Ning Ning?”

Ning Ning was stunned, not quite understanding why she was so excited. She glanced around and inadvertently saw Pei Ji, who was standing silently beside her.

This kind of personality…seems a bit similar to Pei Ji.

It’s just that Pei Ji looks a little more ferocious than Yan Qing.

“Well, I wouldn’t say ‘like’…”

As soon as she spoke, Pei Ji’s eyes darkened, and he clenched his fists.

“No, Ning Ning! Actually, you like it! ..YOU REALLY LIKE IT!!!”

Cheng Ying’s hair was disheveled in the wind, and he looked like a sad old mother who watched his son being dumped.

“Pei Ji, hold on, don’t cry! Don’t look so sad; otherwise, they will find out! I’m going to go and calm down first…”

“But… it’s kind of cute.”

Ning Ning lowered her head, smiling at some thought.

“If I had to say, it depends on the person.”

Cheng Ying was so scared that he hiccuped.

The middle-aged uncle was sincere and stood still in Pei Ji’s consciousness. His mood changed instantly, and he started to smile foolishly.

“Pei Xiaoji, she said you are cute. Hehe… cute…hehe.”

Pei Ji lowered his lashes, letting his hair cover his eyes and ears, hiding his reddened ears. He did not dare to look at Ning Ning and replied coldly in his heart, “She is just referring to that kind of personality. Don’t be self-indulgent.”

Cheng Ying was unhappy and muttered softly, “Besides you, who else around her has such a weird temper? Maybe when Ning Ning said this, she was secretly thinking of you in her heart.”

These words lacked conviction, so Pei Ji naturally did not believe them, but he was caught off guard when he felt the little girl beside him turn her head and glance at him and add in a brisk tone, “Like my little junior brother, for example…”

Pei Ji: …

Cheng Ying: …

Cheng Ying ascended to heaven on the spot; his spirit transformed into a fat Maitreya Buddha, with the corners of his mouth rising to the horizon and standing shoulder to shoulder with the sun.

Pei Ji still had a cold face and lowered his head deliberately, causing his black hair to fall forward a little, covering his ears and temples, preventing her from seeing his red ears.

“Pei Xiaojie.”

Cheng Ying flew back and forth, his shadow spinning into a gorgeous flower that blossomed in Pei Ji’s heart.

At last, he murmured lovingly, “Please restrain yourself. Your heartbeat is too fast and too heavy. My ears are almost hurt by it.”

“By the way”

The two of them were restless because of that ‘one sentence’, but Ning Ning, who was the culprit, knew nothing about it. She continued to talk to Qiao Yan with a smile, “Do you have any specific plans when you leave the secret realm?”

Qiao Yan’s smile faded a bit.

“I’ve decided to take my clan to a place without demonic energy for better cultivation, but…”

She trailed off, but Ning Ning understood.

The fox clan’s violent and bloodthirsty nature after being demonized was hard to control for a young girl. Moreover, with her lack of knowledge about the outside world, Qiao Yan would struggle to find a suitable place to settle.

She couldn’t just take her mutated clan to sleep on the streets.

Ning Ning frowned, trying to think of a solution, when a familiar male voice echoed in her mind.

“What’s there to hesitate about? Of course, you should come to our Xuanxu Sword Sect!”

It was her master, Tian Xianzi.

Qiao Yan and Pei Ji also heard, and their expressions changed.

Tian Xianzi continued, oblivious to the situation.

“My Great Xuanxu is full of spiritual energy, and there are all kinds of rare treasures. There are also many cute little disciples who can help take care of the fox clan. It’s really a perfect place!”

“Miss Qiao, don’t listen to this guy’s nonsense!”

Another clear voice interrupted, pushing Tian Xianzi aside.

“My Liuming Mountain is a sacred place for immortals, and the disciples are all elegant and obedient, unlike the rude people in the Xuanxu Sword Sect who only know how to draw swords and fight. In addition, we have sufficient financial resources and no shortage of rare medicinal materials, which is the most suitable place for recuperation.”

Qiao Yan was startled by the sound of so many voices that seemed to be haunted. Before she could react, she heard a clear female voice, like the chirping of an oriole.

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