“I wonder what I have to do to earn the first prince’s trust?” Jun Xiaomo gritted her teeth slightly as she asked. Her eyes were filled with indignation.
The first prince chuckled coldly, before he explained, “There’s absolutely no reason for me to believe you now, is there? After all, you had accepted by brother’s bounty-related task to capture me only a few days ago. Yet now, you take out an object that is allegedly a keepsake from my mother and expect me to believe you? How do I know you haven’t tampered with the Blood Jade? How do I know I can trust you?”
Jun Xiaomo was unable to respond to the first prince. She had almost forgotten about these things.
“So, you know about our acceptance of the second prince’s bounty-related task.” Jun Xiaomo sighed.
“Of course. What about it? Are you going to confess that everything you’ve said till now had been a lie?” The first prince raised his eyebrows.
Jun Xiaomo explained herself, “That’s only the plan of the decision-maker within our group. Besides, the person who’s accepted the second prince’s task isn’t me. It’s that fella from Dawn Sect surnamed Qin. Furthermore, don’t you think it’s going to be harder for me to look for you if I hadn’t acquiesced to accepting this task?”
Her gaze remained calm and unwavering, and she locked eyes with the first prince.
The first prince Rong Ruihan deliberated for a moment, before he spoke once again, “Let’s make a transaction, then.”
“What kind of transaction do you propose?” Jun Xiaomo calmly queried. By now, the indignation in Jun Xiaomo’s heart had already dwindled substantially.
Just as the first prince was about to elaborate on his suggestion, the room’s door suddenly rang out with two knocks – thud, thud.
Jun Xiaomo and the first prince were both slightly shocked. Who could have come looking for them this early on in the morning? The sky wasn’t even bright yet.
In the end, it was the first prince who managed to react to the situation first. He once again clamped his hands against Jun Xiaomo’s neck and restrained her limbs as he looked cautiously at the tightly shut door.
If not for the fact that she was being choked right now, Jun Xiaomo would have exploded with rage and castigated the first prince – What’s this guy’s problem? Why does he love to choke people at the drop of a hat?!
Having received no response, the person at the door knocked twice again – thud, thud. Then, a clear, soft voice called out, “Little Mo, are you awake yet?”
So, it’s martial brother…
Jun Xiaomo heaved a sigh of relief. She was just about to respond to Ye Xiuwen when the first prince suddenly tightened his grasp around her neck, leaning in close to her ear as he coldly whispered, “Don’t you dare let him come in. Otherwise, I’m going to snap your neck in half!”
Just like that, a lump of anger swelled up in Jun Xiaomo’s throat. She finally experienced the indignation that the disciples had previously felt when she had cornered them with her words – it was the feeling of being aggrieved and wronged, topped with a momentary inability to retaliate against the perpetrator.
She shot a deadly glare at the first prince, before responding to the man standing just outside her door, Ye Xiuwen, “Brother Ye, I’m awake. What’s up?”
“Nothing much. I only wanted to ask if you wished to go practice my sword arts with me.” Even though Ye Xiuwen’s voice was clear and cool, it was nevertheless filled with warmth.
By now, Jun Xiaomo would have been tormented by the frenetic first prince for one night and half a morning. Apart from her physical weariness, she was also incredibly frustrated and exasperated in her heart. Therefore, Ye Xiuwen’s crystal clear voice sounded as refreshing as flowing waters to her right now. In fact, its effects on Jun Xiaomo were tantamount to a Heart Purging Pill, and it instantly swept away all of the frustrations in her heart.
Sigh, martial brother Ye is still the best. Jun Xiaomo’s heart was filled with gratitude and helplessness as she thought.
However, she knew that she had to somehow worm herself out of this predicament. Jun Xiaomo knew that if her martial brother barged in right now, the first prince would almost certainly kill her before slipping out of the window.
This was a type of self-preserving intuition she had when she was faced with danger.
“Brother Ye…” Jun Xiaomo tried her level best to remain calm as she spoke to steer clear from provoking that madman any further, “I’m a little bit tired today, so I’ll give sword practice a pass. Sorry about that.”
Ye Xiuwen shut his eyes thoughtfully as he considered her response for a moment, before he responded, “Alright, then rest well, Little Mo.”
With that, Ye Xiuwen turned around and left. Jun Xiaomo listened intently as his footsteps drew further and further away, and she finally let out a sigh of relief. At this moment, she couldn’t tell whether she could count herself fortunate, or be disappointed at Ye Xiuwen’s response.
However, Ye Xiuwen had not in fact walked very far because he very keenly picked up that something was wrong – Yao Mo was not a delicate person. Back when they were travelling through the woods, he would make it a point to practice his sword arts with Ye Xiuwen no matter how hard the going got. Now that they had arrived in town and therefore ate and rested well, there was no reason that Yao Mo would suddenly be “too tired” to practice his sword arts.
Ye Xiuwen immediately thought about the “uninvited guest” mentioned by Jun Xiaomo. He sharpened his senses, and then discreetly sent out a thread of divine sense to probe about Jun Xiaomo’s room.
His divine sense passed through the tiny gaps between the doors to Jun Xiaomo’s room. It continued in, and then very quickly arrived at where Jun Xiaomo and the first prince were located.
The first prince was just about to elaborate on his earlier suggestion. However, his beast-like instincts kicked in and he paused midway as he cocked his head at the door. At the same time, the first prince swiftly retrieved a talisman from his Interspatial Ring and tossed it towards the door.
On the other side, some distance away from the door, Ye Xiuwen discovered that his divine sense was suddenly cut off; he could no longer probe into Jun Xiaomo’s room.
Slowly, Ye Xiuwen’s hands curled into tightly clenched fists, and a cold gleam shimmered across his eyes.
“What are you doing?” Jun Xiaomo’s cultivation level was far lower than Ye Xiuwen’s, and she naturally did not discover the divine sense that Ye Xiuwen had sent probing into her room. Because of that, she thought that the first prince was merely behaving strangely.
The first prince chuckled as he responded, “Naturally, I’m taking the necessary precautions against a curious worm who’s trying to play detective.”
Jun Xiaomo was oblivious to the fact that the “curious worm” mentioned by the first prince in fact referred to Ye Xiuwen. She only thought that the first prince’s paranoia had manifested again, so she decided not to press the issue any further.
She gnashed her teeth and asked, “Can you let go of me now?” Jun Xiaomo felt as though her internal organs were being crushed under the weight of the first prince.
The first prince finally let go of Jun Xiaomo and sat at the side. However, Jun Xiaomo knew that the first prince was incredibly tense and edgy. As long as she made any sudden movements, he would immediately restrain her once again, and possibly even snap her neck!
The first prince squinted his wolfish eyes and trained his gaze directly at Jun Xiaomo. Then, he began to elaborate slowly, “Didn’t you ask me earlier what you had to do to earn my trust? Truth be told, nothing you can do will earn my trust.”
Jun Xiaomo’s heart tightened slightly as she found that this man was increasingly more deserving of beating as time went by.
“Therefore, you’re proposing a transaction.” Jun Xiaomo was no fool. Since the first prince had suggested it, then that naturally meant that he was proposing a transaction in exchange for Jun Xiaomo’s fulfillment of her promise made under the Heart-Oath Array.
How frustrating. The owner of the Blood Jade is right in front of my eyes, yet he’s simply not willing to accept it. I don’t even have the power to force him to accept it.
The first prince toyed with the Interspatial Ring on his hands as he responded, “You’ve seen it as well. My current condition isn’t too great, and I would find myself losing my rationality from time to time, transforming into a half-beast that can be easily taken advantage of.”
Jun Xiaomo’s lips twitched. She wanted to interject and refute the first prince’s last statement. After all, the first prince’s offensive capabilities increases by several folds whenever he entered that beast-like state, so how could he be “easily taken advantage of”?
However, the first prince simply ignored Jun Xiaomo’s peculiar expression as he continued, “This condition is here to stay. I don’t quite understand why I would come looking for you time and again whenever I lose my rationality, but this is not something within my control either. Therefore, I only have one request of you – before I fully recover from my present condition, you are not to betray me, and you cannot disclose any clues as to my presence or location to anybody. If you can do this for me, then I will accept the Blood Jade when I fully recover and return you your freedom.”
The Heart-Oath Array was indeed a time of restraint around the oath-maker. Thus, when the first prince mentioned that he would return Jun Xiaomo’s “freedom”, he naturally meant that Jun Xiaomo would be able to fulfill the terms of her oath.
“That’s fine.” Jun Xiaomo nodded her head. She found this transaction to be rather fair, and not too onerous on her.
“Since you’re in agreement, then make an oath on it.” As the first prince added, he retrieved a large sheet of talisman paper with a rather familiar formation diagram drawn on it. This was the very same formation array that she had used on Yu Wanrou previously.
“Cough cough cough…why is it another Heart-Oath Array?!” Jun Xiaomo seriously questioned whether she owed the mother and son duo in her previous life. Why did he have to make yet another oath before she even managed to fulfill her oath on the first Heart-Oath Array?
“I’m already being rather reasonable here. I’m only requesting you to make an oath using the Heart-Oath Array. It’s not as though I’m using any poison pill to control your entire being.” The first prince calmly stated as he presented the Heart-Oath Array to Jun Xiaomo.
Fine. It was a stretch, but she could accept his reasoning. After all, she was too tired to both arguing with this paranoid fanatic right now.
Jun Xiaomo placed her palm into the center of the Heart-Oath Array, before sincerely making an oath that she would not betray the first prince or disclose his presence or location to anyone until the first prince had fully recovered.
A blue light shone brightly, and the Heart-Oath Array took effect. Seeing how things had panned out, the first prince finally relaxed slightly as he rolled up the Heart-Oath Array and stored it safely in his Interspatial Ring.
With the Heart-Oath Array now in effect, the first prince no longer treated Jun Xiaomo with the same level of tension or paranoia. He calmly looked at Jun Xiaomo before he dropped yet another bombshell on her, “I’ll stay here for the near future, then.”
“Haa--?!” Jun Xiaomo had not expected the first prince to make such a request, “Are you even aware that the second prince is residing in his official residence nearby? He even drops by from time to time to loaf about. He’s already aware that you’re hiding within Xingping County right now. Are you worried that he can’t locate you now?”
When Jun Xiaomo mentioned the second prince, Rong Ruihan’s eyes involuntarily flickered with a vicious, cold gleam. Nevertheless, he kept his cool as he maintained his earlier request, “I know that. However, I would lose my rationality from time to time, and I can’t control my behaviour or where I go when that happens. Instead of running around and risking my life that way, wouldn’t it be safer to stay here so that you can look after me when I lose my senses?”
Could this be his real motive for asking me to make an oath on the Heart-Oath Array?
Jun Xiaomo nodded her head in realization, before she immediately furrowed her brows once again as she refuted, “But I can’t always be watching over you every minute of the day. Do you expect me not to step out of my room at all?”
“I’m not asking you to look after me every minute of the day. Generally, I tend to lose my rationality at night. The odds of me losing my senses in the day are much lower. Furthermore, I seem to like looking for you whenever I lose my rationality. Perhaps you won’t even have to expend much energy to “look after” me at all.”
As the first prince mentioned this, he couldn’t help but knit his eyebrows together as well. He could not figure out why he would come running to Jun Xiaomo whenever he lost all rationality either. After all, yesterday had been their first encounter with each other, wasn’t it?
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