Chapter 233: The Mysterious Black-Robed Man

Guan Tianyu shot out an array of icy knives against Yun Ruoyan’s impending firewall. While his technique was also low-rank, it outstripped Rong Yueshan’s in terms of both size and quantity. Even after melting, they didn’t disappear. Instead, the meltwater quenched the fireball.

Yun Ruoyan re-evaluated Guan Tianyu upon seeing his technique: despite his tyrannical behavior, he did have some skill of his own. 

“I’m getting hungry,” Guan Tianyu announced, clapping his hands together. “I’m leaving.”

He glanced askance at Yun Ruoyan once more, then headed to the other end of the cafeteria. Rong Yueshan gave Yun Ruoyan a scathing stare before following Guan Tianyu away, while Yi Qianying and Pei Ziao both stared at Yun Ruoyan with identical expressions of shock.

Even the Zhao siblings seemed to be thinking about the minor altercation.

“Ah, is that it?!” Li Furong shouted in exasperation. No one was going to do anything about her being drenched in soup! When even her exclamation went unanswered, she stomped her feet and ran out of the cafeteria.

“Yun Ruoyan, I didn’t expect you would be so skilled!” Zong Yang looked Yun Ruoyan up and down, as though this was the first time they’d met.

“Sister Ruoyan, you really are amazing. What sort of spiritual technique is that, to be able to manifest such a large fireball? Even Rong Yueshan’s no match for you!”

The new students who had wanted to attach themselves to Yun Ruoyan, but had run away fearing Guan Tianyu, now came rushing back. “Yun Ruoyan—oh, no, Boss Yun, what sort of technique was that? Where did you learn it? Won’t you teach us?”

“Do you even need to ask?” Lin Qingxue glanced at the newcomers. “Of course Master Mo was the one who taught it to her! After all, Sister Ruoyan’s his only disciple. It’s naturally a secret technique, so Sister Ruoyan can’t reveal it so casually!”

Lin Qingxue was somewhat upset at the students who had run away at the slightest hint of danger. On the other hand, Yun Ruoyan could understand their behavior—it was natural for the weak to want to rally around the strong.

However, the altercation did allow her to recognize the importance of finding good teammates, especially ones who would be able to stand against the strong. If her teammates were to run away upon seeing even a slightly dangerous beast, what good would they be?

Yun Ruoyan couldn’t help thinking of Zhuo Yifeng, one of the few new students who had received Yun Ruoyan’s approval. However, because of her close relationship with Li Mo, the two of them had begun drifting apart.

After he had left with the sixth elder during the schoolwide roll call, Yun Ruoyan hadn’t seen him again. On the other hand, Lin Qingxue had gone to the central college to pay a visit to Zhuo Yifeng. When she returned, she told him that Zhuo Yifeng was under the sixth elder’s personal tutelage, and he was growing stronger at a rapid pace.

Yun Ruoyan sighed. Anger and vengeance were good motivators that could draw out one’s full potential, and Zhuo Yifeng had had a very good foundation for cultivating. He had both the mental and physical fortitude to bear with pain and gruelling agony, and he was undoubtedly going to become strong.

However, given Li Mo’s ridiculous advancement in cultivation, Zhuo Yifeng had no hope of catching up to him at present. Yun Ruoyan didn’t want to think about their impending battle: one was a friend with whom she had gone through life and death, and the other was her intimate lover… Hopefully, the day of their fight would never arrive.

“Was the Slaughtering King really the one who taught you that technique?” Lin Qingchen asked.

“That’s right.” Yun Ruoyan nodded.

Lin Qingchen frowned. She lived very close to Yun Ruoyan, and would often have dinner together with her. Except for when they were sleeping, they tended to do everything together. When had the Slaughtering King had the time to impart her cousin with this new technique? It looks like I’d better find some time to have a chat with Sister Ruoyan…

“As expected of Master Mo’s first disciple.” Suddenly, Guan Ruliu got up from her seat. “Is everyone done eating? In that case, let’s head back to the southern college to prepare for our afternoon classes.”

As Yun Ruoyan left with her group, she suddenly felt a gaze staring at her from behind. Turning around, she saw a few familiar faces. She glanced at them calmly before continuing to walk forward, until she disappeared from sight.

Wang Meng and Li Qianxiao sat at a rather isolated table in the cafeteria.

“Brother Wang, I noticed that you’ve been looking at Miss Yun quite a bit. You haven’t grown fond of her, have you?” Li Qianxiao asked.

“Crown Prince, you must be joking,” Wang Meng denied the allegation. “On the other hand, I’ve seen you glance at her quite a few times already. Miss Yi’s your concubine, but you haven’t glanced at her at all; instead, your attention’s completely focused on Miss Yun. May I ask why?”

“Haha.” Li Qianxiao laughed dryly. “I’m just curious as to Miss Yun’s birthmark. It seems to vary in size and saturation quite a bit: sometimes it’s small, but sometimes it’s large. Sometimes it’s a faint red, almost pink, but sometimes it’s such an intense red that it looks as if blood could drip out of it at any moment. Brother Wang, you’re more learned than I am. Do you know why?”

“Is that so?” Wang Meng had only ever seen the veiled Yun Ruoyan before. After she had taken off her gauze patch, he too was shocked by the birthmark on her face.

Wang Meng had seen how much Li Mo adored Yun Ruoyan, and he had even gone as far as to take her as his disciple. Did Li Mo truly not care about her appearance? Wang Meng couldn’t believe that.

In that case… could it be that Yun Ruoyan’s birthmark was fake?!

Wang Meng was a pillmaster, and he knew that a certain mixture of herbs would be able to create an ointment that would mimic a scar. This was a commonly used method to disguise one’s appearance, and Yun Ruoyan had likely been using a variation of the same ointment.

“Brother Wang, what’s the matter? Why do you look as though you’re in a daze?”

“Oh, no, nothing.” Wang Meng gulped down a mouthful of soup, not intending to share his new discovery with Li Qianxiao. “Why haven’t I seen the fourth prince today?” He abruptly changed the topic. The last few days, he’d often seen the fourth prince while visiting Li Qianxiao.

Wang Meng hadn’t been familiar with Li Qianxiao in the past, and had only seen him a few times during banquets organized by Pei Yingxiong. However, they had quickly become familiar with each other given Wang Meng’s intentional attempt to befriend him.

“He told me yesterday that he’d had enough fun at Kongming Academy, so I had a senior of mine send him down the mountain this morning,” Li Qianxiao replied.

“Oh, is that so? I’d planned on drinking with him tonight, but it seems like I’ll have to shelve that for the moment…”

On the second floor of the southern tower, Shui Yun was giving Li Mo a report. “According to your instructions, Your Highness, I intentionally found an opportunity to get close to Li Qianyue. As expected, he asked me about the all-seeing mirror.”

Shui Yun smiled as she continued, “And as you predicted, Your Highness, Li Qianyue doesn’t know about the heaven and earth array surrounding the mirror. The moment I revealed it to him, he was so shocked that his face turned green, and he snuck away from the academy this morning.”

Li Mo nodded.

“That old codger only cares about being rescued, so why would he reveal such ‘unnecessary’ information? Otherwise, no one would risk heavenly tribulation to transmit a message to the draconic realm on his behalf. I’d planned on letting that old man go soon, but now that things have changed, I suppose it wouldn’t be so bad to delay things by a few years.”

Li Mo’s tone and expression were far more malicious than usual, causing Shui Yun to feel quite uneasy. Although she had always found Li Mo icy and cold, he was actually very kind to his subordinates and kinsmen. However, whenever anyone brought up the draconic realm, his eyes would instinctively fill with killing intent, making even her, a long-time subordinate of Li Mo, fearful.

“I’ve asked you to keep a careful eye on that girl, Li Furong. Did you discover anything?” Li Mo’s questions continued.

“Yes, Your Highness. The night you gave me the order, I was patrolling outside her cottage. In the middle of the night, a black-robed man did enter the cottage. I intended to overhear their conversation from the outside, but he had spread his mental energy over quite a wide distance in order to detect any such intrusion.”

Exuding one’s mental energy was even more taxing than exuding one’s spiritual energy, and one had to possess quite an advanced cultivation to be able to do so for a prolonged period of time.

“Given that the man’s mental energy remained outside his body for the entire duration of the conversation, it’s quite probable that he’s at least a ninth-rank blademaster,” Shui Yun hypothesized.

“Alright, I understand. Did you manage to discover where he headed?”

“I apologize, Your Highness. He fled quickly, and I didn’t dare to follow too close to him, and he shrugged me off along the way.” Shui Yun bowed.

“I understand. You’re dismissed.” Li Mo waved his hand, motioning for Shui Yun to leave.

Li Mo then headed to the roof of the tower, where he stared at the academy from high above. His gaze swept over the southern college by his feet, headed to the western college, then to the northern and eastern colleges, as well as the central college in one corner.

His forehead was slightly scrunched. The black-robed man that Shui Yun had seen was undoubtedly the same man that Yun Ruoyan had told him about. And of the blademasters that he knew who were above ninth-rank, the second elder was the only one who possessed a red sword aura!

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