“Oh? Little Mo is interested in this stalk of Blackmoon Grass?” A flirtatious chuckle called out from the side, and Jun Xiaomo immediately knew who the owner of the voice was without even turning her head.
Apart from the second prince, no one else would speak to her with that tone of voice.
As Jun Xiaomo strongly repressed the urge to throw a punch at the second prince’s face, she turned around, gritting her teeth as she muttered, “That’s right. Therefore, I humbly ask the second prince to show magnanimity and refrain from fighting with me over this. After all, with the second prince’s status, I imagine this stalk of Blackmoon Grass is hardly something even worth considering to you.”
The second prince fanned himself in an urbane manner as he responded, “That’s true. This prince has within his residence many herbs that are far more precious and valuable than Blackmoon Grass. That measly stalk of Blackmoon Grass isn’t much to me at all. However, …”
At this juncture, Jun Xiaomo squinted her eyes with chagrin. She had a good feeling that the words about to be spoken by the second prince was the last thing that she would like to hear at this moment.
As expected, the second prince continued to torment Jun Xiaomo, “However, I’ve also said it before – I can never find it within me to resist any request from beauties like yourself. Since brother Yao is interested in this stalk of Blackmoon Grass, then this prince takes it upon himself to bid for it on your behalf. This way, brother Yao can also save some money for the road ahead. After all, it’s always important to have some cash on hand when you’re travelling.”
At this moment, Jun Xiaomo could hardly even be bothered to feign civility with the second prince. She glared at the second prince as she responded with indifference, “Thanks, but no thanks. I have enough money within my Interspatial Ring, and I don’t need the second prince to splurge on me.”
Just as the second prince were about to respond to Jun Xiaomo, the auctioneer at center stage began to introduce the Blackmoon Grass and its effects –
“The Blackmoon Grass grows in a frozen tundra, and it must be harvested in September to tap into its greatest potential. After September, the medicinal effects of the Blackmoon Grass would dwindle substantially, and it would lose all its effects within ten days. This stalk of Blackmoon Grass is something that we had commissioned someone to harvest for us in the middle of September and preserved using Thousand Year Frost as we brought it all the way back here. Its medicinal efficacy remains as strong as it ever was.”
“The Blackmoon Grass is not only useful as a constituent in the creation of various types of medicinal pills; it serves another purpose that most people aren’t even aware of – it has the ability to rid demonic energy. In fact, it is particularly effective in dealing with injuries that had been caused by the incursion of demonic energy – the Blackmoon Grass will not only purge the demonic energy, it will even revitalize and nourish the body. It can be said to be a miracle medicine! Dear guests, if the Blackmoon Grass speaks to you right now, then please place your bids. Don’t miss out on this opportunity! Remember, highest bidder wins! …”
“Pfft…” Yu Wanrou burst out in a melodious laughter in a timeous fashion as she added, “This auctioneer is really good at selling his stuff. At least, he’s much better than the one yesterday.”
As she finished, she turned expectantly towards the second prince, eagerly anticipating his response.
The Blackmoon Grass could also be used as a constituent to refine pills beautification pills. Given the importance with which Yu Wanrou viewed her appearances, she naturally did not wish to pass up the opportunity to obtain this Blackmoon Grass. Furthermore, she wanted to pit herself against Yao Mo and see who the second prince would end up giving this stalk of Blackmoon Grass to.
Even though the second prince did not reject Yu Wanrou’s advances, the fact that he appeared to take more interest in Yao Mo left a sour feeling in Yu Wanrou’s heart. She was extremely bitter and unwilling to accept this “defeat”.
How could I lose to a man?! Yu Wanrou found the notion of this completely ridiculous.
Even then, the second prince enjoyed this fresh development. He fanned himself as he quipped, “Ah, it leaves me in quite the predicament that both beauties covet this stalk of Blackmoon Grass. Brother Yao, what do you think? Who do you think I should give the Blackmoon Grass to?”
In other words, the second prince were now suggesting that whoever could please him more would be bestowed this stalk of Blackmoon Grass.
Evidently, the second prince were hopeful that Yao Mo would compromise on his hard line and cajole the second prince for the Blackmoon Grass.
Jun Xiaomo raised her eyebrows curiously as she refused to fall into the second prince’s trap. Instead, she looked towards Yu Wanrou as she suggested, “Sister Wanrou, it’s not good to live off people and owe others favours. Rather than let the second prince splurge on us, I propose that we compete fairly against each other – the highest bidder wins. What do you think?”
Yu Wanrou bit down on her lower lips, refusing to respond. She even stared at Jun Xiaomo with an accusatory look.
Seeing that Yu Wanrou’s large watery eyes were now filled with tears as though she had been put through severe humiliation, several disciples from Dawn Sect grew indignant. One disciple even turned towards Yao Mo with fierce, accusatory eyes as though Yao Mo had bullied their martial sister Wanrou as he cried out with indignation, “What’s a big man like you doing snatching something from a demure lady? Do you even consider yourself a man?!”
Jun Xiaomo didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at his accusations. Nevertheless, she defended herself, “I’m only suggesting a fair competition. What about it? Am I bullying her now? Do I have to present the Blackmoon Grass to her on a silver platter before I can be called a “true man”?”
Besides, she was not even a man to begin with!
Seeing Jun Xiaomo glare directly back at him, that disciples grew taciturn, hesitant to speak any further.
In fact, that disciple had indeed felt that Yao Mo should let Yu Wanrou have the stalk of Blackmoon Grass. However, he could not bring himself to express his feelings. After all, he knew about the tension between Yao Mo and Yu Wanrou.
The second prince chuckled and brought their attention back to the precondition at hand, “The bidding for the Blackmoon Grass has already begun. Brother Yao, if you don’t call out your bid quickly, this Blackmoon Grass might very well get snagged by someone else instead.”
There were several people in the audience who coveted the Blackmoon Grass. As a result of their competition, the price of that stalk of Blackmoon Grass had already grown to sixty superior-grade spirit stones by now.
However, apart from Jun Xiaomo, every single person bidding for the Blackmoon Grass right now was a female cultivator looking to use it on their appearances – just like Yu Wanrou. Therefore, they were rather reticent to raise prices by too much.
After the bidding for the Blackmoon Grass went up to sixty-five superior-grade spirit stones, the auctioneer began to count down.
“Eighty superior-grade spirit stones.” Jun Xiaomo called out in a sonorous voice, causing several people to turn their attention to her.
It’s a male cultivator! Everyone stared at Jun Xiaomo in astonishment.
“One hundred superior-grade spirit stones.” The second prince coolly raised the bid again.
Jun Xiaomo immediately cast a furious glare at the second prince – she had thought that the second prince was no longer going to bid for this!
The second prince chuckled coyly as he quipped, “Since brother Yao rejected my good intentions, I have no other choice but to buy this for the beautiful Wanrou instead.”
This was the first time that Jun Xiaomo discovered that she secretly hated the rich. In fact, she presently found herself having to suppress the urge to retrieve all of the second prince’s spirit stones from his Interspatial Ring and stuff them all into his mouth.
Just as Jun Xiaomo was about to duke it out with the second prince in a bidding war, she found someone holding on to her hand to restrain her.
Jun Xiaomo froze mid-action, and she turned to look towards Ye Xiuwen. Softly, yet laced with a trace of preemption, Ye Xiuwen uttered, “Let’s go.”
“Haa--?!” Jun Xiaomo didn’t know why her martial brother would suddenly grab onto her hand, and then tell her to leave with him.
Ye Xiuwen stood up where he was and accounted to everyone else present, “Little Mo and I still have some things to attend to, so we’ll take our leave first.”
“Ah…sigh! Brother Ye!” Jun Xiaomo wanted to wait and see how the auction for the Blackmoon Grass would pan out before assessing how she should respond to the situation. Unexpectedly, Ye Xiuwen held onto her hand with such force that she had no choice but to follow alongside as they departed the auction house together.
The second prince continued to gaze at their backs as they left, before he revealed a wry smile on his face, remarking aloud, “Interesting. Truly interesting.”
The grand eunuch standing behind the second prince lowered his head and maintained his silence. However, he involuntarily let out a sigh in his heart on behalf of Yao Mo –
It was alright if this young man had just played along with the second prince’s intentions. That way, the second prince might lose interest in the young man after a short while. However, this young man had time and again rejected the second prince’s advances – and this only served to pique the second prince’s interest in him more and more!
From his past observations, he knew that the more a person resisted, the more the second prince prized that target.
Given how things are going, perhaps the second prince is soon going to resort to some slightly “unconventional” methods against this young man…
After all, this had been the second prince’s modus operandi over the last few years, and the grand eunuch had already grown numb seeing these incidents pan out in the exact same manner.
Regardless, the grand eunuch collected his thoughts and suppressed his sympathy for Jun Xiaomo.
Having dragged Jun Xiaomo out of the auction, Ye Xiuwen walked on the streets without another word. Jun Xiaomo had already dispelled any remnant intentions of returning to the auction by now, yet Ye Xiuwen continued to hold onto her hands tightly. It was as though he were afraid that Jun Xiaomo would immediately take flight if he let go of her hands.
Jun Xiaomo knew that Ye Xiuwen was angry right now, but she could not understand why he was angry, and who he was angry with.
Their surroundings were bustling with people plying the streets and while various shop owners touting their products in their attempts to attract the attention of potential customers. However, the cheerful and lively atmosphere found itself completely cut off from Jun Xiaomo’s heart – it was an impregnable fortress right now. Her heart was completely filled with countless questions and uncertainties.
Then, as they approached a slightly more deserted street, Ye Xiuwen finally stopped in his steps.
“That…brother Ye, are you upset?” Jun Xiaomo felt compelled to break the stifling silence.
Despite that, Ye Xiuwen continued to look ahead as though he were deep in thought. Then, after a moment, he turned back, stared Jun Xiaomo straight in the eyes as he asked, “Little Mo, you were bidding for that Blackmoon Grass for me, weren’t you?”
“Ye-…Yes.” Jun Xiaomo grimaced as she lowered her head in admission.
She knew that with the auctioneer’s thorough introduction of the effects of the Blackmoon Grass, it would not be difficult for Ye Xiuwen to have guessed as much.
As she thought about how that Blackmoon Grass had slipped away from her just like that, Jun Xiaomo’s heart also swelled with indignance. She lifted her head in a huff and stared at Ye Xiuwen as she cried out, “Since brother Ye knew the true reason why I was buying the Blackmoon Grass, why did you have to drag me out of that place?! With your interference, the Blackmoon Grass would most certainly already have been successfully obtained by the second prince!”
“Would you have been able to win the bid had I not interfered at all?” Ye Xiuwen got to the crux of the issue.
Jun Xiaomo puffed up her cheeks and lowered her head sullenly.
Indeed, she would not have been able to win the bid. After all, how could the meagre amount of spirit stones within her Interspatial Ring even begin to compare with the rich and imposing wealth of the second prince?
Seeing Yao Mo’s doleful expression, Ye Xiuwen sighed softly, took a few steps forward and gently pulled Yao Mo into a warm embrace. Then, he patted Yao Mo’s back as he apologized, “Perhaps I’d spoken a little bit harshly earlier. I’m sorry.”
“Brother Ye doesn’t have to apologize. I know you’re doing this for my good too.” Jun Xiaomo understood that Ye Xiuwen would be even more displeased had she let the second prince have his way in order to obtain that stalk of Blackmoon Grass for Ye Xiuwen.
Besides, wasn’t the second prince engaging in bidding wars with them only so that he could coerce Jun Xiaomo to cajole him and draw her close to himself?
After all, the second prince loved dangling carrots in front of his targets to lure them into a trap.
Ye Xiuwen tightened his arms and softly added, “Little Mo, I don’t want you to agree to anything of the second prince just because of me.”
“Brother Ye…” Jun Xiaomo wanted to say that, when push came to shove, it was fine to put on a small show for the second prince.
“Promise me.” Ye Xiuwen solemnly and sincerely pressed the issue, “Little Mo, I’d rather live the rest of my life with this scar than allow you to pay any form of price to the second prince for that stalk of Blackmoon Grass.”
Jun Xiaomo lowered her head and responded helplessly, “Alright…”
Ye Xiuwen softly patted her head, even as he wore a slightly downcast expression on his face.
Truth be told, he was mad. Not at Jun Xiaomo, but himself. If he had been stronger right now, then wouldn’t he possess the ability to extricate himself from such situations and dictate his own rules of engagement?
Ye Xiuwen clenched his fists tightly, and his heart roiled with a strong sense of dissatisfaction.
It was night. Jun Xiaomo had received a Messenger Paper Crane that had the second prince’s name written on it – Rong Yebin.
Jun Xiaomo opened the Messenger Paper Crane, and the second prince’s flirtatious tone of voice immediately filled the room as it teased, “Little Mo, I’ve managed to obtain the Blackmoon Grass at the auction. If you desire it, make a trip to my residence tonight.”
Jun Xiaomo stretched out her lips into a tight grimace, and her heart grew conflicted.Previous Chapter Next Chapter