Chapter 227: Shock and Awe

“Yun Ruoyan, you’re the one who asked for this! Don’t blame me.” Cang Song narrowed his eyes.

The spiritual dagger that Rong Yueshan had shot out was aimed at Yun Ruoyan’s shoulder in order to give her a serious external injury, but Cang Song had manipulated it to target her spiritual vortex instead. If she were hit by the dagger, Yun Ruoyan would surely die.

The change was so sudden that none of the bystanders caught what had happened. Yun Ruoyan’s dangersense quickly went off, but she didn’t have the time to use the bracelet’s augmentation to protect herself.

Yun Ruoyan’s face blanched. She had no time to step back, and she could only watch as danger drew near to her. Opening her eyes wide, she looked at Rong Yueshan’s excited, cocky expression.

A split second before the dagger landed, a thin, silver beam of light suddenly struck the dagger, dispersing it in its entirety. Yun Ruoyan stumbled backwards, unable to regain her balance. Surprised cries rang out from around her.

Following these cries, the white-robed Li Mo emerged from the air. Yun Ruoyan felt something suddenly tighten around her waist before she was brought into a comfortable, solid embrace.

“It’s Master Mo!”

“Master Mo has appeared!”

The older students were the most shocked of them all. From their exclamations alone, the newer students could sense their surprise and excitement at Li Mo’s appearance.

“Li Mo,” Yun Ruoyan called out, the heart that had almost been jumping out of her chest settling back down once more.

Li Mo caressed Yun Ruoyan’s right cheek, focusing on the wound on her fake birthmark. His face turned cold, and his eyes to ice and flint.

The crowd’s hubbub died down instantly.

“Master Mo actually saved this new student!” One of the older female students murmured, clearly taken aback.

“I’ve been at Kongming Academy for five years, and I’ve never once spoken a word to Master Mo, but this new student can mobilize him…?” another male student added.

“Seniors, you might not know, but this Miss Yun is Master Mo’s new disciple,” someone explained.

“Oh, is that so…” The newer students seemed satisfied by this explanation, but the old students appeared even more stupefied. “What?! Master Mo took in a disciple? How could this be?!”

Li Mo was quite a special existence in Kongming Academy: although he was an instructor in name, he wasn’t in charge of classes like the other instructors. In truth, Li Mo didn’t appear at Kongming Academy very often, and the students only really had a chance to see him within the trials and expeditions organized by the academy.

However, the almost unbelievable prowess that Li Mo demonstrated during these trials left the students admiring and awed, and even the provosts, who were a generation above him, thought highly of the man.

It had been many a student’s dream to become Li Mo’s disciple, but this dream had been crushed by the appearance of a new student, Yun Ruoyan.

“Why would Master Mo take her as a disciple? She doesn’t look extraordinary at all!”

“Isn’t that so? And her face is marred with a disgusting birthmark—she’s not worthy of being Master Mo’s disciple!”

A chorus of grumbles came from the crowd. Yun Ruoyan didn’t pay the crowd much mind, but Li Mo’s gaze coldly surveilled the jeering students. Instantly, they went silent.

“Yan’er, are you hurt?”

Yun Ruoyan shook her head. Li Mo put Yun Ruoyan down, then turned to look at Rong Yueshan, who turned away immediately. Despite her feigned nonchalance, her legs were visibly quivering.

“Ro-Rong Yueshan greets the Slaughtering King.” Rong Yueshan had no choice but to submit in front of a superior power.

“There’s no Slaughtering King here, only a Master Mo,” Li Mo replied icily. “A concubine-born daughter from the Rong family dares lay a hand on my disciple?”

Li Mo’s voice contained no anger, only a chilling cold that bit at one’s soul. The crowd couldn’t sense the harrowing effect of his voice, but Rong Yueshan could feel an oppressive aura emanating from him that grew stronger and stronger every second.

As though she were being weighed down by a massive rock that grew in size, Rong Yueshan felt her legs quiver, then wobble, then tremble so much she couldn’t stand steadily. In the end, her legs began to bend.

“Ma-Master Mo,” Rong Yueshan gasped. Cold sweat beaded on her forehead, and she felt as though she would crumple to the ground at any moment. “My master told me that challenging other cultivators would spur improvement in my cultivation, and all I wanted was to improve and challenge myself against a strong opponent.”

By the time Rong Yueshan finished speaking, she was gasping for breath. However, she was still confident that the second elder’s name would be sufficient to shield her from harm.

“I’ll exact a price from those who even dare contemplate hurting my student.” Li Mo frowned, and the oppressive aura burdening Rong Yueshan grew acutely stronger.

With a yelp, Rong Yueshan was no longer able to withstand the pressure, and she fell to the ground panting.

“Senior, what’s the meaning of this?” Just then, a voice came from the crowd, which parted way to reveal Rong Tianhai.

Rong Tianhai walked to Rong Yueshan’s side. With the wave of a hand, he infused spiritual energy into her body, relieving much of the effects of Li Mo’s oppressive aura. However, when she tried to stand up, Li Mo increased the strength of his aura until she was forced to kneel again.

“Senior, Yueshan’s done nothing more than challenge your disciple to a standard bout. If you punish her too harshly, surely it won’t reflect well on you when the second elder investigates?” Rong Tianhai continued infusing spiritual energy into Rong Yueshan’s body to ease her burden as he spoke.

“Let the second elder investigate me all he wants,” Li Mo replied coolly.

“You…”

“Uncle, I can’t stand this any longer!” Both of Rong Yueshan’s palms were on the ground, and she had a pained expression on her face.

Rong Tianhai retracted his aura and sent a row of icicles in Li Mo’s direction. With a simple wave of his hand, however, Li Mo dispelled the icicles with a gust of wind.

Both techniques were external mid-rank techniques, but their difference in cultivation was evident.

“Master Mo is truly impressive, isn’t he? He dispelled Master Rong’s attack using only a third of the spiritual energy he did!”

“Right? How advanced do you think Master Mo’s cultivation is?”

“At least ninth-rank, surely?”

The students began discussing Li Mo animatedly. Meanwhile, Rong Tianhai only got angrier and angrier. If he didn’t win even a single confrontation against Li Mo, how was he to establish his authority over the students?”

Rong Tianhai splayed out his palms. He was still using the same spiritual technique, but at the level of a peak eighth-rank blademaster. In front of his body quickly appeared countless icicles, so much that they formed a bulwark around him. With a shove, those icicles rapidly shot toward Li Mo and Yun Ruoyan.

The bombardment of over a hundred icicles caused everyone to falter; the attack, directed at a less advanced cultivator, would have turned that cultivator into a hedgehog.

Li Mo finally modulated his aura, retracted his spiritual energy, and made the motions for a superficially simple technique that generated countless small vortices of air before him, invisible to the naked eye. As the icicles struck these eddies, they splintered into oblivion.

“Master Mo is truly powerful!” the southern college students shouted. The northern college students had lost face, but didn’t dare to shout back with Li Mo around.

“Let’s end the matter here,” Rong Tianhai said, putting both hands behind his back.

Li Mo narrowed his eyes at him. “Were you always around, or did you just arrive?”

Rong Tianhai hesitated before replying, somewhat uncomfortably, “I just came from the college. If I were present, I wouldn’t have let them fight.”

No, something’s wrong, Li Mo thought. The blow that was about to hit Yun Ruoyan looked simple, but was buoyed by a surprising amount of spiritual energy. Someone with an advanced cultivation had to be doing something from the shadows.

Cang Song had snuck away as soon as Li Mo arrived, so Li Mo hadn’t discovered his presence. However, Rong Tianhai’s uneasy expression evidently made him a suspect.

A gust of anger welled up in Li Mo’s heart. If he hadn’t arrived in time, then Yan’er might have…

Li Mo raised both his hands, and a blinding amount of spiritual energy appeared in front of him. That energy coalesced in the shape of a gigantic cyclone. Yun Ruoyan had seen Li Mo use this technique before while fighting the old elder within the Minghuang Cave, and it had been startlingly strong.

“A high-rank wind-attuned spiritual technique!” Rong Tianhai cried out. “Senior, what are you doing?!”

“As I said, anyone who dares harm me and mine will pay the price!”

Li Mo’s expression left even Rong Tianhai quaking, because he had no chance of countering such a technique. Just as the crowd thought Li Mo was about to release the cyclone at Rong Tianhai and Rong Yueshan, he lowered his hands.

The cyclone dispersed, and the spiritual energy dissipated.

“Junior Brother, I hope what happened today won’t happen a second time.”

When Rong Tianhai realized that Li Mo was only trying to scare him, he immediately relaxed. Even though he was furious inside, Li Mo really was beyond him in terms of cultivation.

“Naturally,” Rong Tianhai replied. In order to salvage some of his lost reputation, he proclaimed loudly to the gathered students, “In the future, if you’re duelling with another student, make sure to maintain appropriate behavior. If you grievously wound another student, you’ll be sent to the hall of penitence and punished harshly!”

“Good.” Li Mo turned to Yun Ruoyan and whispered to her in a voice only the two of them could hear. “I still have matters to attend to, so I’ll find you tonight.”

He extended a hand toward Yun Ruoyan, who immediately ducked back. She bowed respectfully. “Your disciple bids you farewell, Master.”

Li Mo knew that Yun Ruoyan was just trying to avoid condemnation and scrutiny in front of the gathered crowd, and he retracted his hand somewhat uncomfortably. “You’re my only disciple in Kongming Academy, so make sure you uphold my reputation!”

Yun Ruoyan barely restrained herself from laughing at Li Mo’s appearance as he said those words. “Yes, Master!”

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