C102 – Moral Degeneration
The following morning, Guo Fan awoke and opened his eyes, finding himself face to face with Song Ru’s fair visage. His eyelids twitched, and he instinctively moved back.
He was instantly taken aback, recalling that he had deactivated his card, rendering Song Ru, a Core Forming Stage warrior, beyond his perception as she currently operated at the Foundation Establishing Stage. He let out a silent sigh of relief and inquired, “Why are you up so early…”
Guo Fan felt assured about Song Ru’s safety, given the presence of a peak Nascent Soul hammer and Yijun, a formidable figure at the God Forming Stage, in the vicinity.
Song Ru pleaded with an earnest expression, “Can I pet your cat, please?”
Guo Fan hesitated briefly, retrieving the white cat from the bed and placing it on his lap. He caressed its back and head gently. The cat remained drowsy, curling its paws and rubbing against Guo Fan’s hand, seemingly half-asleep. “I can lend you the hammer, but as for her… Well, I think she needs some more rest.”
Guo Fan subtly conveyed the need for his cat to recuperate, but Song Ru didn’t appear eager to part with the fluffy creature before her.
Hey there, don’t look like you’re about to wear out the hammer with all that rubbing.
Guo Fan’s mouth twitched as he helplessly remarked, “Daoist Priest Song Ru, weren’t you satisfied with yesterday?”
Song Ru’s eyes wandered, her hands clasped together as she softly responded, “It’s such a fluffy thing; how can I be satisfied with just a touch?”
“But you’ve only been here for a few hours!” Guo Fan added in a hushed tone.
Recognizing her transgression, Song Ru fell silent, her gaze fixed on Guo Fan, her longing eyes locked onto the gently snoring hammer.
… It was all because the hammer was too irresistible.
It had to be acknowledged that the hammer’s cat form perfectly aligned with human aesthetics. Initially, Song Ru mentioned that she often assumed this form to deceive Immortal cultivators before revealing her true self. It was clear that her professionalism led her to select the most flawless form.
Guo Fan added, “And my cat… She can be quite temperamental. I’m concerned you might get bitten.”
Song Ru blinked in bewilderment and voiced her doubts, saying, “But I’ve attained the Core Forming Stage in my Immortal Cultivation. How is it possible for a cat to bite me?”
Guo Fan’s mouth twitched in response. He found himself at a loss for words. Did he dare imply that her cultivation level was lower than that of this cat, suggesting she could be bitten to death in a single bite?
With an embarrassed yet somewhat polite smile, he displayed a faint sense of trepidation befitting a Foundation Establishment cultivator. “I’m concerned that if she bites you, it might provoke your anger… I’ll discipline her to vent my frustrations.”
“Meow?” The feline companion appeared to have caught wind of the notion of being disciplined. It trembled slightly, recalling the image in the Shadow Stone, and quickly retreated into Guo Fan’s embrace.
Guo Fan shot Song Ru a look that seemed to say, “You see, that’s it,” while wearing an innocent expression.
Little did he know that he was the root cause of the situation.
Song Ru emitted a somewhat disheartened “oh,” nodded, and reluctantly turned around. “Just a touch?”
Guo Fan couldn’t decide whether to laugh or sigh. It seemed that when Tan Ling had been kneaded like this yesterday, it had only intensified Song Ru’s desire, prompting her to yearn for more with each caress…
He could only nod, conceding, “Just a touch.”
A spark of excitement gleamed in Song Ru’s eyes as she reached out her hand.
The few individuals who had just awoken nearby stared in bewilderment.
Various thoughts raced through their minds— “Early in the morning,” “touch, touch,” ‘a bit exhausted,’ “limited sleep,” ‘indulgence,’ “unkept,” all within a span of just a few hours…
Subsequently, the female scion of the Soaring Wisdom Sect extended her hand toward the young cultivator of the Foundation Establishment Stage.
What… What was happening?
Had it only been one night, and yet the Upper Central Realm had already descended into such a state of affairs? Or had their youthful mindset already strayed far from convention?
The recently emerged Immortal Cultivators, who had just concluded their seclusion, couldn’t believe their eyes. They gazed at the Daoist-robed woman in the Core Forming Stage standing beside a Foundation Establishing Stage Immortal Cultivator’s bed, their worldviews seemingly shattered.
Yuan Jiang, hailing from the strict Fishtree Family, couldn’t contain himself and uttered, “Daoist Priest Song Ru…”
“Huh?!” Song Ru turned around, picked up a hammer, cradled it in her arms, and rubbed her head. With a composed demeanor, she inquired, “What’s the matter?”
Gradually, the horror and bewilderment on everyone’s faces gave way to calm, and they resumed their activities.
Oh, it’s just a cat. Crisis averted.
Nevertheless, they remained intrigued by Song Ru’s sudden familiarity with Xia Shui. Their interactions and conversation seemed strangely intimate.
Meng Jin, who had initially mocked Guo Fan, observed him closely. When he saw Guo Fan approach Song Ru and they stood shoulder to shoulder, he extended his hand to pat the hammer that had roused him. There was hardly any distance between them.
Song Ru showed no signs of stopping him; instead, she warmly smiled at Guo Fan.
Meng Jin recalled his earlier intention to express goodwill but had only responded indifferently. He felt a sense of imbalance in his heart.
Why were the true disciples of the Soaring Wisdom Sect suddenly so interested in this sectless cultivator and the Lady Boss of the Secret Jewel Inn…
Wait a minute, the Lady Boss – could Song Ru’s kindness be because of the Lady Boss? Yes, that must be it. Otherwise, why would this young man, who seemed to rely on a woman, receive special treatment?
Meng Jin coldly sneered to himself. In any case, there were still two days left. When they reached the Sword Singing Conference, this guy would experience the disparity between an orthodox sect and a sectless cultivator.
After packing their belongings, they prepared to make their way to the Sword Singing Platform in the heart of Night’s Fall Sword City to register.
Guo Fan entrusted the Daoist Canon to Gu Chao and instructed him to cultivate diligently here. As they descended the stairs, they spotted Luo Shun entering the inn with a young man in tow.
The young man had a tall, sturdy frame, sun-kissed skin, and an open and honest countenance. He sported rough linen attire but carried a bronze sword case on his back. He kept nervously running his hand through his hair, wearing a bashful smile.
Guo Fan immediately recognized him as the mortal swordsmith from the original storyline – Lang Qing.
“My lord, neither of them displayed any suspicious behavior. Luo Shun resided on the first floor of the Secret Jewel Inn, expressing his desire to understand the lives of lower-level cultivators and address the inequalities in people’s hearts. As for Xia Shui, she appeared to have a close connection with the fox demon’s female proprietor. She even claimed to be friends with her during the day. However, her nighttime visit to the proprietor’s room was disrupted by Song Ru from the Soaring Wisdom Sect. Nevertheless, upon opening the door, the female proprietor’s attire appeared disheveled, her face flushed, and her hair in disarray. It strongly suggests she was engaged in… well, you know.”
Xuegang, her fair visage slightly blushing, reported to Xun Yimu about the information their spies had gathered the previous day.
Xun Yimu, with a hint of disappointment, acknowledged the report and scattered some bait into the pond. This attracted a swarm of koi fish competing for the morsels, creating ripples on the water’s surface that gently swayed the fresh green lotus leaves.
Lanfang Garden, serving as the City Lord’s private residence, boasted an exquisite environment. Even when compared to the pavilions of the Profound Yin Family, it didn’t pale in comparison. It showcased the elegance and dedication of Fang Xiang’s hospitality, reflecting his genuine intent to entertain the guests.
Having spent a night at the garden, Xun Yimu experienced the delicate comfort of having no place to hide.
While they had dispatched individuals to keep an eye on the two most prominent figures, they only discovered that one was a sword cultivator from an orthodox clan, and the other was a free-spirited sectless cultivator, possibly hailing from the Demonic Fox Furnace faction.
Xun Yimu couldn’t help but feel uneasy at the thought of her Xiaobo associating with a Demonic Fox disciple.
Frowning, she grappled with a growing sense of discomfort. Her Profound Yang Bead resided within Xiaobo’s body, and he had vowed to be its guardian for life. The prospect of someone else taking possession of it troubled her greatly.
It appeared that she would need to employ the Night’s Fall Sword Array to integrate the God Pan Ghost Divination Art into it, thereby extending its influence throughout the entire Night’s Fall Sword City…