Chapter 154: A Sealed Secret

“Li Mo.”

“Hmm?”

“You’re getting more and more inscrutable to me.” Yun Ruoyan faced the morning sun and the wind. Her voice, somewhat indistinct, floated into Li Mo’s ears.

The Slaughtering King, who had allegedly killed tens of thousands of beastkin, had infiltrated the Yuelu Villa one night to rescue a mere two dozen beastkin slaves. No one would have believed such a tall tale. Even Yun Ruoyan would have found it ridiculous, had she not experienced it all for herself.

But Li Mo didn’t intend to resolve Yun Ruoyan’s confusion. With a careless smile, he replied, “Don’t you know that I’m crazy? Just think of it as something that happened during one of my fits.”

“If you don’t want to tell me, don’t.” Yun Ruoyan’s confusion became speechlessness. “But can you at least act more seriously?”

“I’ve always been serious,” Li Mo continued. “But you’re even more serious than I am, Yan’er, and it’s far too boring to hang out with such a serious person. As a result, I can’t help but be more frivolous.”

“Alright, Your Frivolous Highness. May I ask that you send me home?”

Li Mo indeed delivered Yun Ruoyan back to her quarters. This time, he retracted his aura, so that no one else was alerted to his arrival. The reason he hadn’t done so last time was in order to demonstrate to everyone in the Yun manor that Yun Ruoyan belonged to the Slaughtering King. He had no need to attract so much attention now that his goal was accomplished.

Yun Ruoyan handed her green-demon mask to Li Mo, who refused it. “It’s a gift, Yan’er. If you ever want to do anything bad in the future, just put it on and blame it on the Demonic Duo.”

Yun Ruoyan looked at the mask in her hand thoughtfully before keeping it in her storage ring. Just as Li Mo was turning to leave, she suddenly remembered something. “How’s Li Luo?”

“Yan’er, why are you asking about her? The two of you aren’t familiar, are you?”

Yun Ruoyan had only seen Li Luo twice. The first time was when she had been injured and was brought back to the Slaughtering King’s manor; Li Luo had taken care of her there. The second time was when Yun Ruoyan went to the Slaughtering King’s manor in order to find Li Mo, and had found her at the entrance instead.

Although Li Luo had left quite a good impression on Yun Ruoyan, the two were indeed quite unfamiliar to each other. Li Mo was naturally suspicious that Yun Ruoyan was suddenly asking about her.

“You know I don’t have that many friends,” Yun Ruoyan replied. “Even though I’ve only met Sister Li Luo twice, I found her temperament unusually agreeable to mine. If she’s free, I’d love to go to your manor and spend time with her.”

Before Yun Moxiao and Li Luo got together, Yun Ruoyan didn’t want to reveal the truth to Li Mo.

“She’s a bit busy these few days, so I’m afraid she won’t have time for you,” Li Mo replied, “but you’re always welcome in my manor.”

Always welcome? If Li Mo hadn’t been present then, who knew how long she would have had to wait?

“Thank you, Your Highness.” Yun Ruoyan pretended to be overwhelmed by his generosity. “When will Sister Li Luo be free? I’d like to speak with her then.”

“In about two days or so.”

Having consumed Li Mo’s high-grade spiritual pill, Duan Tianyun was more or less recovered, and no longer needed Li Luo’s intensive care. In two days, she would naturally have free time once more.

She had seen Yun Moxiao thumb her scented sachet a few times when he didn’t think anyone was looking, and his gaze made it clear whom he was thinking of. As a result, Yun Ruoyan decided to manufacture an opportunity for the two of them.

After taking a short nap, Peony came to wake her up, at which point Yun Ruoyan asked her to draw a bath for her. Given last night’s search-and-rescue operation, Yun Ruoyan kept thinking that there was a bloody scent lingering on her body. She had killed the guard from afar with the Feilai Blade, so surely no blood had splattered on her. When she thought back to the scene, however, Yun Ruoyan kept smelling the faint iron tang of blood.

As a result, she had lost her desire for breakfast.

Peony was very used to her mistress’ requests at odd times of the day. Starting a few months ago, Yun Ruoyan had become particularly clean. Unless she were secluded in cultivation, she would bathe at least once per day. When it was warm, or when she had gone on an excursion, she would even bathe multiple times.

Although she had always liked cleanliness as a child, Yun Ruoyan had never been so particular. Peony was a little curious as to what had spurred the change, but she didn’t much care: as long as her mistress was happy, so what if it was a little more troublesome for her?

No one knew that the reason for Yun Ruoyan’s stubborn cleanliness was a remnant mental trauma from her past life, when she had been imprisoned in a little shack for firewood. She had been trapped in that shack for three whole months, eating, drinking, and even urinating and defecating in that cramped enclosure.

After three months of not bathing or washing her head, her hair was filled with lice and fleas. That sort of feeling had penetrated deep into Yun Ruoyan’s psyche, so after her rebirth, she felt uncomfortable with even a little bit of dirt and grime on her body. She knew this was only a psychological effect, but it was one that was almost impossible to get rid of.

“Qiuqiu.” As she lay submerged in her bathtub, Yun Ruoyan called out to Qiuqiu. During this period of time, Qiuqiu had also been spending more and more time cultivating. As long as Yun Ruoyan didn’t summon it, it would almost never take the initiative to contact Yun Ruoyan.

“Qiu, Mistress, qiu.” Qiuqiu awoke from its meditation and replied, “Mistress, is there anything I can do for you?”

Yun Ruoyan rested her head along the side of the bathtub, Li Mo’s salve liberally applied to her face. Leisurely, she asked, “Qiuqiu, as a mythical beast, you must be very knowledgeable. Are you familiar with the secrets and rumors of the Chenyuan continent?”

“Naturally, Mistress. Mythical beasts have an incredibly long lifespan and a hereditary memory of sorts, so even though I can’t claim to be an expert with all the continent’s major secrets, I know a fair amount about them.”

“Alright, then I’ll ask you a question.”

“What question?”

Yun Ruoyan sat up straight and began seriously. “Do you know how the Beast King died, and whether or not he truly hid the beastkin’s treasure somewhere on the continent? If so, where?”

Yun Ruoyan asked a series of questions that Qiuqiu knew the answer to, but it didn’t know how to answer her.

After all, these were major secrets, ones that someone with Yun Ruoyan’s level of power and cultivation wasn’t suited to know. If this information was released to the public, it might cause a panic.

Not wanting to lie to Yun Ruoyan, Qiuqiu answered, “I know the answer to these questions, but I can’t tell you, Mistress.”

“Why not?”

“Because some of these secrets contain restricted, sealed information. Anyone who reveals such secrets will pay a painful price,” Qiuqiu intoned. “Sometimes, even those learning about the information have to pay such a price.”

Yun Ruoyan had heard of these seals: apparently, some ridiculously strong cultivators were able to seal information on a particularly sensitive topic.

Those who knew about such affairs would have to face the backlash of the seal upon revealing that information, and the backlash could be very serious. Even those who had unintentionally learned about such information would be put in danger.

Yun Ruoyan just hadn’t realized that these rumored seals were, in fact, true. In this case, she surely couldn’t risk Qiuqiu suffering such a backlash just to satiate her curiosity. Their lives were far more important.

“In that case, forget it.” Yun Ruoyan lost her interest in asking and continued to enjoy her bath.

Then, Qiuqiu continued, “Mistress, as you continue cultivating, you can break some of the restrictions of these seals on the Chenyuan continent’s greatest mysteries. As for this particular information, I can reveal it to you as soon as you become a sword saint.”

“A sword saint?!” Yun Ruoyan was a little shocked. After all, knowing about a sword saint was a minor secret in and of itself.

There were three major bottlenecks to blademaster cultivation: between the third and fourth rank, eighth and ninth rank, and ninth and the mythical tenth rank. Of course, this was just for the more talented cultivators; for less talented blademasters, every rank was a major bottleneck.

Yun Ruoyan had been stuck at the boundary between third and fourth rank for a whole three years. Although it turned out that this was a result of her poisoning, Yun Ruoyan had nevertheless been ingrained with the severity of such bottlenecks.

Furthermore, as far as she knew, Yun Moxiao had been stuck as an eighth-rank blademaster for almost two years. Even now, he was only a mid-eighth-rank blademaster, and there were quite a few cultivators who had been stuck at eighth-rank their entire lives.

Yun Ruoyan knew that her father, Yun Lan, was an early ninth-rank blademaster. Based on Li Mo’s cultivation, he was peak ninth-rank, far more advanced than even her father.

Yun Ruoyan had heard a lot of apocryphal tales about legendary figures who were infinitesimally close to breaking through the barrier of a sword saint, but even those tales hadn’t mentioned anyone who had successfully done so.

Yun Ruoyan was reminded of her conversation with Li Mo in that restaurant regarding cultivation beyond that of a ninth-rank blademaster. He’d stopped short of telling her the specifics, just like Qiuqiu. Presumably, it was something she would naturally find out as a ninth-rank blademaster. Li Mo must also have been on the cusp of triggering a seal.

After her bath, Yun Ruoyan headed once more to the Lin family. Today was the third day of the three-day deadline she had given Pei Ziao.

She was initially quite confident about her soul-stealing pill, but now she was feeling a little hesitant. After all, it was a pill that had emerged from her first attempt at concocting poison. Could she have made a mistake somewhere, or were Pei Ziao’s motions so wooden during the past few days that the poison was discovered?

Yun Ruoyan couldn’t be sure. If that were the case, then she would have to find another way of getting the tiger-canine arrows.

After arriving at the Lin estate, Yun Ruoyan didn’t go visit Zhuo Yifeng. However, Lin Qingchen told her that Zhuo Yifeng was recovering very quickly, and was now even able to continue practicing archery in his backyard. However, he had grown even more taciturn than before.

After last night, Yun Ruoyan could finally sympathize with the beastkin and understand why they so hated Li Mo.

The Li kingdom had only implemented its policies regarding the beastkin in the last four years. Before that, the Zhuo siblings had to have suffered from discrimination. Honestly, it was already impressive that they were able to get along so well with humans and heap their hatred all onto Li Mo.

The morning passed without any sign of Pei Ziao. Not wanting to remain unoccupied as she waited, she headed to the pillmaking chambers to begin refining some pills.

It was almost evening when Lin Bo informed her that Young Master Pei was here to see her.

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