Greasy. Li Luo was almost disgusted with himself. “Greasy” was a word that best fit mongrels like Shen Jinxiao. How could an urbane, righteous gentleman like himself be greasy?!
"Mengmeng, my heart was already breaking when I saw how hard you were cultivating. Your crushing words have brought it to the brink of completely shattering. Anyway, you must be tired. As your leader, I came to show concern out of the goodness of my heart! How could you attack me like that?!" he cried sorrowfully.
Bai Mengmeng was flustered by his accusations. "Sorry, Leader," she said, her head hanging. "I didn't mean to attack you. I just... spoke too casually from the heart."
This was like a second bolt to Li Luo's heart. So... you DID think that in your heart?
He shoved the cup unceremoniously over to her. "Drink it."
She hastily took it and began to carefully sip from it, sneaking glances up at him.
He shook his head. Looked like he had chosen the wrong approach. Clearly, there was not much point trying to butter up the butterfly girl. Perhaps a more direct approach was in order.
"I heard Mentor Chi Chan say that you researched many formulas before, even a 4-star formula."
She nodded a little shyly. "It's nothing much. They're all fourth-grade or below."
"That's already fabulous. You're still so young; there's so much room to grow. You'll definitely be able to make even better formulas in the future," he said heartily.
"Yes! Thank you, Leader," she said, her sunny smile as sweet as a spoonful of honey.
"And what happens," Li Luo said, so casually that he could have been yawning, "with those formulas?"
"My house takes them," she told him earnestly. "Most are sold to the villas. Our Bai family doesn't really hold any stake in the spirit liquids and purifying lights market."
Li Luo felt his stomach plunge with anxiety at missed opportunities. Regardless, he had expected this. Clearly, Bai Mengmeng did not know the worth of those formulas, but the Bai family behind her did.
"Leader, are you interested in spirit liquids as well?" she asked him with wide, guileless eyes.
"Er... nope. Just asking."
He had originally intended to weasel some high-star grade formula out of Bai Mengmeng so he could use it for the Suncreek Villa. It would definitely be worth a fortune, a fortune that the Suncreek Villa could not afford otherwise.
But abusing the relationship with Bai Mengmeng to get such an unfair deal would feel like bullying. He couldn't bring himself to swindle such a gentle creature.
Ultimately, neither he nor the Suncreek Villa could offer anything of value.
His enthusiasm cooled as his thinking crystallized. Bringing the conversation to a smooth end, he walked over to a refining platform and gathered some ingredients to refine spirit liquids.
Li Luo could already refine second-grade spirit liquids. Given how much stronger he had grown recently, he decided to attempt third-grade spirit liquids.
However, his failures were thorough. Third-grade liquids were a whole scale harder than second-grade liquids.
He was going to need a lot more practice.
The 12 Step Weave and spirit liquid formulas were weighing heavily on his mind today, and his practice went even worse than usual because of this. He even failed at the first step a few times, causing the entire refining to fail.
A stray surge of energy shattered the crystal flask in his hand, the spilled liquid's glow rapidly fading to a disappointing dark-green. A merge failure.
Li Luo put it aside, shaking his head in frustration. Today was not a good day for practice.
He said goodbye to Bai Mengmeng and prepared to leave.
"Leader, I'll help you tidy up the refining platform,” she said with concern, seeing that his workstation was a mess.
"Thanks." He accepted. He wondered what Yu Lang would say if he knew how kind-hearted and demure this girl was. His eyes would probably get as round as a rabbit's.
Too bad he was enjoying none of Bai Mengmeng's kindness. Instead, he lived daily under Bai Doudou's iron fist.
As Li Luo relished the mental image, Bai Mengmeng finished up the cleaning. She took his failed refining product and was about to throw it down with the wastewater.
But as the viscous liquid flowed to the edge, a pungent odor filled her nostrils.
Any ordinary person would probably have done everything in their power to avoid it, but Bai Mengmeng stared at it. She hesitated, then brought the crystal vial up and pressed it against her lips.
The crystal vial slipped out of her hand, shattering on the refining platform.
Li Luo paused, the refining workshop door half-open. He turned back hurriedly, looking at her with alarm. Her eyes were quivering, as though she were about to cry.
There was a smear of dark-green liquid on her lip.
The failed product he had made just now.
He almost fell over with fright. Was this girl's brain addled? Who on earth would drink failed chemical experiments? Who do you think you are?!
What do you think is going to happen to me if Bai Doudou finds out about this?!
He hurried back over. "Are you alright?" he asked urgently.
He took a clean handkerchief, ready to press it against her mouth.
She ducked away, darting towards the table. Desperately, she tried to scoop up the remaining liquid. Frantically, she pawed among the glass shards on the table, oblivious to the blood running down her hands.
Li Luo hurriedly grabbed her hand. "Bai Mengmeng, are you crazy?!"
He was really worried now. She didn't seem normal at all.
She struggled ineffectually against his grip. "It- it's bitter! Bitter!"
Li Luo glanced at the spilled liquid and hesitated. He reached out a finger and dabbed it cautiously into the liquid, then transferred a drop into his mouth. Immediately after, his entire face scrunched up. It felt like the taste of a beast's liver had just exploded in his mouth.
He dry-retched a few times. "Disgusting! What are you talking about?"
She reached out a slim finger and dipped it into the dark green liquid, then brought it trembling to her mouth. Not only did she not retch, but instead she flushed, overcome by emotion.
"It's bitter! This… taste. It's been so many years, but I remember!" Bai Mengmeng stared at Li Luo, eyes wide and beseeching.
Right. Bai Mengmeng had lost her sense of taste, right? Then how would she know that this liquid was bitter?
He turned back to the dark-green liquid.
This nonsense he had cooked up—had it awakened her sense of taste?
Could there really be such a miracle?
Li Luo had no idea what to think.Previous Chapter Next Chapter