It was noon, and the sun hung high in the sky. Inside the Grand Vizier’s residence, several servants stood silently at their posts, bowing their heads in subservience. Even if there was something urgent that required their attention, they would go about doing their tasks gingerly, being careful to soften any sounds they made. They were especially wary because they knew that disturbing the man resting in the master bedroom might potentially incite the wrath of the Grand Vizier.
As a result of this, the Grand Vizier’s entire residence was enshrouded with a tense, oppressive atmosphere. Some of the servants even intentionally slowed down their breaths just to keep the silence. The usual hubbub and clamor of the residence was naturally suspended.
At this moment, a set of hasty footsteps broke up the oppressive silence in the atmosphere. A beautiful lady donned in exquisite robes wore an exasperated and infuriated expression as she marched into the Grand Vizier’s residence with a trailing entourage of eunuchs and palace maids as she arrived at the doorstep of the master bedroom.
“All of you wait outside. There’s no need for you to follow me inside.” The lady paused in her steps as she instructed the eunuchs and palace maids.
“Yes, Madam Concubine.” The entourage of eunuchs and palace maids responded in unison.
With that, the lady stepped into the master bedroom, and saw the second prince lying completely motionless on the bed. Instantly, tears welled up in her eyes and began to fall from her cheeks in large globules. She gnashed her teeth in fury as she yelled, “Who’s the one who hurt my son so badly?!”
Some attendants who were in the master bedroom were gingerly applying medicinal balms on the second prince’s body. Then, when they noticed the appearances of this visitor, they hurriedly dropped what they were doing and knelt to the ground.
This visitor was Concubine Ming, the second prince’s mother. These attendants within the Grand Vizier’s residence had more or less guessed the type of clandestine relationship between Concubine Ming and the Grand Vizier. Therefore, they were naturally much more cautious not to offend her whenever she visited the Grand Vizier’s residence.
Concubine Ming walked towards the second prince and sat tenderly at his side. Concubine Ming was not a cultivator. Therefore, when she took a closer look and saw his limp body lying weakly on the bed, she could only silently shed tears as she gnashed her teeth and resolved to do all she could to tear the culprit to shreds!
Once the Grand Vizier returned from his duties, he immediately noticed how Concubine Ming was softly shedding tears by the second prince’s side with a bowed head. Such a doleful or even sorrowful expression on a beautiful lady’s face would normally be a pleasing and heartwarming sight – after all, whenever Concubine Ming revealed such expressions on her face in the Grand Vizier’s residence in the past, it would always result in a warm night of passion. However, their son was grievously wounded and lying motionless on the bed right now. How could they even begin to think about romance at this state?
Hearing Concubine Ming’s soft bewailing voice only served to add fuel to the burning frustrations in Situ Cang’s heart. Thus, he reprimanded her, “What are you crying for?! Ye-er isn’t dead yet!”
Concubine Ming was infuriated at the fact that she was being reprimanded. She no longer maintained the usual soft and charming manner of speech and sharply yelled back at Situ Cang, “If not for the fact that you only know how to lock yourself up in that closed-door cultivation of yours, Ye-er wouldn’t have suffered like this!”
“He’s already a grown-up. This Sovereign can’t always be watching over him and cleaning up his mess every day! Haven’t you seen his actions outside? Spare the rod, spoil the child. His maverick and undisciplined ways are all caused by your incessant spoiling and fawning over him!”
“So what if I spoil him?! Ye-er is the crown prince of the kingdom, and it’s natural that he gets the best of the best within the Inferno Kingdom. Why do you insist on putting my son through all sorts of hardship on the pretext of maturity?”
The bickering between Concubine Ming and the Grand Vizier had already exceeded the boundaries of their ordinary capacities, and it was akin to how a married couple would argue with each other over the manner in which they should bring up their child. All the eunuchs, palace maids and servants standing outside the master bedroom kept their thoughts to themselves as they sheepishly looked down, pretending not to have heard the thought-provoking contents of the argument.
At this moment, the second prince let out a soft groan in the bed, timeously interrupting the argument between the Grand Vizier and Concubine Ming.
“Ye-er, how are you feeling? Don’t scare your mother like that!” Concubine Ming immediately bent over her son as she asked tenderly.
“Stand aside for now. Let me take a look the condition of Ye-er’s meridians and Dantian.” Situ Cang nudged Concubine Ming to the side as he took a seat beside Rong Yebin. Then, Situ Cang placed three fingers on Rong Yebin’s wrist and sent a thread of spiritual energy probing about his meridians and Dantian.
Situ Cang knitted his eyebrows tighter and tighter, while Concubine Ming’s heart gradually constricted with increasing anxiety. She had a terrible premonition at what was to come.
After half an incense of time, Situ Cang finally recalled his spiritual energy. At this moment, his face was filled with intense fury.
Bang! With one swish of Situ Cang’s sleeves, the wooden table in the middle of his room completely disintegrated and became nothing more than sawdust.
“How’s Ye-er?” Concubine Ming wasn’t fazed by Situ Cang’s display of strength. The only thought running through her mind was how Rong Yebin’s condition was.
“This Sovereign has underestimated the extent of injuries on Ye-er’s body.” Situ Cang’s voice tremored slightly as he struggled to speak while masking the swelling hatred within his heart, “I never expected the perpetrator to have such gall – he has shattered Ye-er’s Dantian and meridians!”
“What…what does that mean?” Concubine Ming was unaware of matters relating to cultivation, and she could only seek a clarification of what Rong Yebin’s condition meant.
“Earlier, when Ye-er’s life was dangling by a thread, it was one of the Dawn Sect disciples who had presented me with a bottle of congealed spirit water that allowed me to pull Ye-er back from the gates of hell. This Sovereign thought that the main crisis would’ve been averted like that. However, I never expected that his Dantian and meridians would be damaged so severely to the extent that the bottle of spirit water could not even heal it completely.” Situ Cang gritted his teeth as he explained.
The waters from the spirit spring within Yu Wanrou’s personal spectral demiplane was essentially congealed spiritual energy in liquid form, and it was naturally extremely effective in healing injuries and wounds. However, it could not counteract the loss of a person’s cultivation. This was because the spirit waters could only slowly nourish and refine a person’s constitution, not enable a cultivator to reach heaven in a single bound and achieve instant success. Otherwise, Yu Wanrou would long since have capitalized on the spirit waters to break through her present cultivation levels.
“Then, Ye-er is…”
“Ye-er’s last twenty years of cultivation have all been wasted, and he’s been reduced back to the first level of Qi Mastery. I don’t know when he will be able to regain his former cultivation levels.” As Situ Cang finished explaining, his voice grew frigid, and he added with gritted teeth, one word at a time, “If this Sovereign finds out who hurt Ye-er—No, when this Sovereign finds out who hurt Ye-er, this Sovereign is going to make the culprit pay a thousand times the suffering he has inflicted on Ye-er. He’s going to suffer a fate worse than death!”
“It’s already been so long. Haven’t you managed too locate the culprit yet?” Concubine Ming questioned with some measure of displeasure.
She was not like Situ Cang – she could not understand the importance of cultivation levels to a cultivator. To her, it sufficed that her son had managed to preserve his life.
Of course, the fact that her son was going to live did not mean that she intended to let the culprits go scot-free. Her plans for vengeance had not dwindled in the slightest!
Situ Cang furrowed his brows, and a vicious intent flickered across his eyes as he replied, “Soon. Once this Sovereign’s formation array is complete, I will be able to locate the culprit even if he runs to the ends of the earth!”
On the other side, the first prince Rong Ruihan remained calm and composed as he sat on the floor in the midst of the woods outside Xingping County. From time to time, he would flip the meat that was roasting in front of him – this was going to be lunch for Ye Xiuwen, Jun Xiaomo and himself today.
Jun Xiaomo was already holding onto a piece of grilled meat wrapped in some leaves. However, Jun Xiaomo had no appetite to dig in.
Whenever it crossed her mind that she now faced the prospects of being on the run for the rest of her life, her heart would constrict with intense anxiety, and she would not be able to relax at all. The experiences from her previous life would replay over and over in her mind, and she couldn’t help but feel immensely frustrated and remorseful for her decision to slip out to the second prince’s residence last night.
Who would’ve thought that the second prince would have been so grievously hurt last night?
Jun Xiaomo sighed helplessly as she glanced at Rong Ruihan subconsciously. She couldn’t understand why the first prince was hardly anxious at all. After all, he was the one who had hurt the second prince, and the Grand Vizier was going to come after him sooner or later.
“Why do you keep looking over at this prince?” Rong Ruihan lifted his head and stared straight at Jun Xiaomo as he asked.
Yao Mo had been glancing over at him from time to time for quite a while now. Rong Ruihan couldn’t help but liken Yao Mo’s action to a particular animal who lived in a tree and would come out of his hole to steal glances at his surroundings from time to time.
At the same time, even Rong Ruihan failed to realize that his eyes no longer carried his usual sense of vigilance or distrust whenever he looked at Yao Mo. Instead, he had begun to look at Yao Mo with some measure of warmth in his gaze.
Jun Xiaomo coughed dryly, before responding, “Your highness, do you have any plans or countermeasures to deal with the Grand Vizier? You don’t seem to be anxious about him at all.”
Rong Ruihan hesitated for a moment before he responded slowly, “I do have some plans, but unfortunately I’m not at liberty to reveal them right now.
In other words, even though his life was now inextricably intertwined with Ye Xiuwen and Jun Xiaomo’s lives, he still found it difficult to trust the two of them with such information. Therefore, he intended to keep his plans a secret in the near future.
Jun Xiaomo pouted her lips and grew taciturn.
Then, Rong Ruihan recalled the extent of intimacy between Ye Xiuwen and Yao Mo, and his heart was slightly moved. Therefore, he supplemented his earlier words and added, “This prince has a hideout located at the border between Inferno Kingdom and the Mystic Woods. When the time is right, we’ll use some Teleportation Scrolls to get there.”
Naturally, this was only the first step of his plans. As to the rest, he didn’t see the need to reveal them to Yao Mo for now.
However, Jun Xiaomo hardly hesitated to air her concerns aloud, “The Grand Vizier possesses a saintly spirit tool with him. If he uses this spirit tool, he would be able to locate us no matter where we’re hiding.”
This was one of the main reasons why Jun Xiaomo feared the Grand Vizier. The Grand Vizier had thoroughly tripped her up on several occasions in her previous life.
“That saintly spirit tool can only be operated once every twenty years. And each time it can be operated, it would only be effective for ten uses. After ten uses, the spirit tool would have to be sealed for another twenty years before the next use. Furthermore, that spirit tool’s usage requirements are incredibly demanding. Therefore, I don’t think that the Grand Vizier is going to use that spirit tool to look for us unless it is absolutely necessary.” Rong Ruihan calmly explicated with a steady and composed voice.
Jun Xiaomo was stunned. She had never contemplated these things before.
She finally understood why it took Yu Wanrou one hundred years after she got to know the Inferno Kingdom’s second prince before she managed to locate her. It had to be that the Grand Vizier had never intended to use this saintly spirit tool to locate her at the outset, and it was only when they were left with no other options that he finally relented.
Having understood this, the anxiety in Jun Xiaomo’s heart dwindled substantially. Then, she took out two talismans from her Interspatial Ring and presented them to Rong Ruihan.
“What’s this?” Rong Ruihan raised his eyebrows curiously.
“One of them is a talisman that can be used to conceal your aura; while the other talisman is something that you can use to alter your appearances. Even though this might not necessarily guarantee that we won’t be caught by the Grand Vizier’s search and investigative formation arrays, it’s still worth giving it a shot.” Jun Xiaomo extended her hands as she explained.
In fact, she could have offered the first prince these two talismans much earlier, if not for the fact that she had been reluctant to part with them – especially the Alteration Talisman. After all, she only had two Alteration Talismans remaining in her Interspatial Ring. If she gave one to the first prince, she would only have one left for herself.
Furthermore, Alteration Talismans were not simply to draw up, and she didn’t know whether there would be any more time for her to make another Alteration Talisman in the near future.
As her frustrations festered, Jun Xiaomo contemplated her success rate of drawing up these Alteration Talismans and discreetly calculated the amount of time she would need to complete one. As she did so, a sense of foreboding washed over her and she somehow felt a hunch that her identity might be exposed very soon.
Rong Ruihan reached over and received the two talismans from Jun Xiaomo’s hands with a playful and mischievous smirk on his lips.
Then, he suddenly asked, “Are you also using one of these Alteration Talismans right now?”
“Cough cough cough…” This sudden question caused Jun Xiaomo to suddenly choke and sputter vigorously. Just then, Ye Xiuwen arrived back at their camping grounds after making his rounds of patrol around the vicinity.Previous Chapter Next Chapter