Chapter 160: A Secret That Must Remain Hidden

“Your Highness, Miss Yun must be misunderstanding something!” Li Luo exclaimed urgently.

Li Mo’s hand was still on Li Luo’s cheek. By the time he removed it, the swelling on her face had vanished.

“Thank you, Your Highness,” Li Luo bowed. “But Miss Yun…”

Li Mo raised a hand and interrupted Li Luo, taking out a prescription from his sleeve. “Prepare the herbs based on the following prescription. Su Nan will come by in two days to claim them.”

“Yes, at once, Your Highness!”

As Li Luo walked off, so did Li Mo. In his mind’s eye, he continuously replayed the scene that had occurred moments ago, as well as Yun Ruoyan’s expression during that time. Was she angry just because he’d put his hand on some other woman’s face? That was jealousy, wasn’t it! Li Mo smirked, finding her jealous face particularly cute. 

Yun Ruoyan strode quickly out of the yard, an unusual rage filling her heart and even giving her a slight headache. She had stormed out after seeing Li Mo and Li Luo, and, unfortunately, she had lost her way.

Why am I so unlucky today?! Yun Ruoyan stood alone by a side path she had never seen before. Although it was already autumn, her surroundings were still lush and green. No one seemed to be taking care of the trees and grasses in the area, allowing them to grow rampantly and in disorder. The place looked nothing like a royal's abode! If not for the fact that the place still had some signs of human activity, it would look no different from a garden that had been abandoned.

“How much more unlucky can I get today?!” Yun Ruoyan stomped on the stone pavement as she screamed.

“Yan’er, what’s the matter? Are you angry with me?” Li Mo’s voice suddenly appeared from behind her.

Yun Ruoyan stopped stomping her feet, straightened her back, and continued to walk forward following the paved stone path, not caring where it led.

“Yan’er, where are you heading?” Li Mo followed with far larger a stride than she. The path was too narrow for both of them together, so Li Mo walked right behind Yun Ruoyan instead.

“This path leads toward the back mountains. Yan’er, do you want to go out hunting or to see the sights?” Li Mo continued chattering incessantly. “I’d love to accompany you, Yan’er, but given the season, I’m afraid all the plants have started to wilt by now.”

Don’t turn back, I won’t turn back. Yun Ruoyan continued walking forward as she muttered silently to herself.

“Even the little creatures have gorged themselves full and are preparing to hibernate until spring,” Li Mo continued advising from behind.

Yun Ruoyan continued walking forward.

Li Mo sighed. “Yan’er, I’m just afraid you’ll be disappointed…”

Unable to bear it any longer, Yun Ruoyan suddenly stopped, turned around, and shouted at Li Mo, “Did I ever say I was going to the back mountains?!”

“No.” Li Mo shook his head and smiled in such a smarmy fashion that Yun Ruoyan itched to punch him. “Then where are you headed, Yan’er?”

With the etiquette ingrained in her after two lives’ worth of practice, she finally controlled herself and gritted out, “I want to leave this place!”

“Oh, you should have told me earlier!” Li Mo stepped forward and grabbed Yun Ruoyan by the waist.

“What’re you doing?” In shock, Yun Ruoyan made to push him away, but her body suddenly lifted up into the air.

Li Mo was soaring into the skies with her once more.

“What’re you doing?” Yun Ruoyan repeated. She didn’t want Li Mo to get too close to her, but she would unbalance if she didn’t step closer to him. “Put me down!”

On the other hand, Li Mo was feeling better than ever. He had never seen her so irritated in all his encounters with her.

“My goodness, you’re really quite feisty today!” Li Mo leaned forward until his face was right by Yun Ruoyan’s. Frowning, he asked, “Yan’er, are you jealous?”

Jealous? Am I jealous?

“Are you kidding? What would I be jealous about?!” Yun Ruoyan refused to admit that Li Mo had guessed the truth. But the more she denied the claims, the more guilty she seemed.

Based on Li Mo’s understanding of Yun Ruoyan, if he were to tease her any further, she really might get mad.

“I was just tending to Li Luo’s wounds,” Li Mo explained seriously.

“I don’t care what you were doing! That’s the first time I ever saw someone treat a wound like that, you sicko!”

Li Mo chuckled before extending a palm to Yun Ruoyan’s cheek.

“Urk!” The sudden touch, accompanied by an icy cold, made Yun Ruoyan shiver. 

Li Mo immediately took his hand back.

“Why’s your hand so cold? It’s even colder than ice!” Yun Ruoyan rubbed her cold, almost numb face as she wondered curiously.

“Water-attuned spiritual energy can be transmuted into ice,” Li Mo explained.

“Really?” Yun Ruoyan instantaneously forgot that she was still trying to be mad at Li Mo. Instead, she clutched Li Mo’s hand and had him release his ice-attuned spiritual energy once more.

Li Mo naturally acceded to Yun Ruoyan’s request, and she asked him if she too could refine ice-attuned spiritual energy. Li Mo told her that that would depend on her talent. Before she began trying to do so, even he wouldn’t know whether or not she would succeed. But because ice and fire were incompatible with each other, she couldn’t try to refine both types of spiritual energy at the same time.

“As a powerful pillmaster, don’t you have a powerful fire attunement as well?”

“I never claimed to have attuned both types of spiritual energy simultaneously. If you want to do so, you’ll have to start with one type and reach its pinnacle, then use it to suppress its counterpart while attuning it.”

“Is that so…” Yun Ruoyan appeared to be having a great revelation. “Do you mean that, if I want to possess ice-attuned spiritual energy, then I’ll have to develop a violet flame first?”

“That’s exactly right,” Li Mo praised. “So, Yan’er, are you still upset with me?”

“Who said I was upset?” Yun Ruoyan certainly wasn’t about to admit it. “Didn’t you say that spiritual energy was precious even to you? Furthermore, I was just about to bring some salve over for her, so it looked as though you were trying to take advantage of Sister Li Luo!”

“...take advantage of her?” This was the first time that Li Mo had ever heard anyone accuse him of taking advantage of someone else, and his lips twitched. “The reason I used my spiritual energy was because it would curb the swelling quickly,” Li Mo explained patiently. “I needed her to help me with something, so I certainly couldn’t have her walk around with such a swollen face.”

“Oh? What’s so urgent?” Yun Ruoyan asked carelessly. As soon as she spoke, she knew that she had stepped out of bounds. She didn’t think that Li Mo would deign to answer her, but he actually did so readily.

“Preparing some pills for treating injuries. Many of the beastkin that we rescued last time are injured, and they urgently need some medicine and salves.”

As soon as Yun Ruoyan thought back to those beastkin, her earlier levity completely vanished.

“You’re not still angry, are you?”

“I really wasn’t angry.”

“Alright, alright, Yan’er was never angry,” Li Mo laughed.

Rumble!

Suddenly, Yun Ruoyan’s stomach grumbled. She was somewhat embarrassed: after all, she had had a full breakfast that morning, so how could she still be so hungry? It was lucky that she was born into a noble family, or she would soon have starved to death.

“Yan’er, not only do you have a big heart, but also a big stomach,” Li Mo teased, finding a place to stop and have a meal with her.

“Let me ask you a question, but you can choose not to answer it,” Yun Ruoyan began.

“Ask away.”

“Why didn’t you tell Duan Tianyun and Zhuo Yifeng about how you rescued so many beastkin? Couldn’t it have alleviated some of their hatred and hostility toward you?”

“Because this is a secret that has to remain hidden,” Li Mo replied solemnly. “Yan’er, don’t you have such a secret too? One that you can’t share with anyone else?”

Yun Ruoyan stilled. 

“Furthermore, even if I were to tell them that I saved a large number of beastkin, so what? They might even have doubted my intentions further.”

Li Mo’s hypothetical scenario did seem quite plausible. Why would someone who had slaughtered beastkin in such large numbers suddenly have a change of heart? There surely had to be a ploy involved.

Li Mo brought Yun Ruoyan back to the restaurant they had once frequented, remembering that she enjoyed the roast pork from the restaurant.

“Add a serving of pork meatballs,” Yun Ruoyan told the waiter.

“Yes, Mistress!” the waiter headed downstairs and yelled loudly, “Simmer-fried ribs, carp steeped in vinegar, roast pork loins, and a serving of pork meatballs!”

Yun Ruoyan’s face blushed when she heard the waiter rattle off a long list of dishes. The waiter and the other customers might have thought that this was a meal for two, but Yun Ruoyan had ordered it all for herself, knowing that Li Mo wouldn’t have even a single bite.

“Ruoyan, I’m very pleased that you have such a good appetite,” Li Mo joked.

“What’s there to be pleased about?” Yun Ruoyan turned to look out the window. “Won’t you have even a little? I saw you eat half a bowl of lotus-seed soup that one time…”

“Vegetarian fare is more or less acceptable, but I can’t have even a little meat. After you start fasting, it becomes somewhat difficult to digest meat.”

“How can you stand something like that? I couldn’t ever lose the pleasure of good food!” Yun Ruoyan promised herself that, no matter how advanced her cultivation became, she would never begin to fast and only consume spiritual energy for nourishment.

Suddenly, a lanky, monkey-like figure dashed past her, quickly followed by a yelling man, “Catch that thief! Catch that thief in front of me!”

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