Chapter 268: Ripening

Yun Ruoyan asked Li Mo exactly how he planned to stir up conflict between the two pairs of magical beasts.

“Bewitching powder.”

“Bewitching powder…” Yun Ruoyan seemed shocked. “You mean, to use some bewitching powder to bewitch those four high-rank magical beasts?”

“Exactly,” Li Mo replied. “Since they’re paired up, even if one side loses, we’ll still have to deal with two high-rank beasts.”

“Isn’t there any possibility that they’d defeat each other, allowing us to claim the spoils?”

“It’s very possible, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be able to snatch the fruits away so easily.” Li Mo frowned. “There might only be four high-rank beasts out in the open, but I’m sure there are quite a number of lower-ranked magical beasts hiding further out, looking for an opportunity to claim the fruits for themselves. If these four really were to defeat each other, then the lower-ranked beasts will surely swarm the tree. In that case, it might be even harder for us to get the fruits.”

After hearing Li Mo’s analysis, Yun Ruoyan also thought that it would be better to use her bewitching powder to bewitch all four high-rank beasts. However, the problem was that the bewitching powder she had on her could only bewitch those of a lower cultivation, let alone high-rank magical beasts.

“Yan’er.” Li Mo extended a hand to her. “Lend me your pill furnace, as well as some of the seeds of the bewitching flower. I’ll make the bewitching powder that we need for this myself.”

Yun Ruoyan’s silver bracelet contained two pill furnaces: one was from the Pei household, and specially designed for pills; the other was bought in an underground market, and specially designed for poisons.

Yun Ruoyan took out the poison cauldron and handed it to Li Mo, followed by some bewitching flower seeds. The moment she did so, Yun Ruoyan saw Mo’er, who had been hiding in Li Mo’s hood, pop out, chirp twice, then snatch one of the seeds away.

“You glutton!” Yun Ruoyan scolded, chuckling.

Initially, Yun Ruoyan had thought that Mo’er might have been able to accomplish something, but the slumberbeast perfectly countered its ability. Although Mo’er’s calls would be able to induce sleep in the beasts, the slumberbeast’s howl had the opposite effect: to awaken all beasts. As a result, Mo’er wasn’t able to play any role in this plan.

“Mistress, it’s a rare opportunity to be able to see the Slaughtering King concoct a poison. You have to take advantage of it,” Qiuqiu advised.

Yun Ruoyan immediately focused on Li Mo’s every gesture. He was far more accomplished a pillmaster than even Lin Zainan, and his spiritual flame was the purest she had seen. When he switched between the seven colors of flame, she could feel no sense of waste or excess.

As Li Mo concocted the poison, he described to Yun Ruoyan the difference between dealing with medicine and dealing with poison, then answered several questions that Yun Ruoyan posed. Although Yun Ruoyan had already taken Li Mo as master, Li Mo hadn’t had much opportunity to impart his knowledge to her, and they had never talked about poisons before. Yun Ruoyan particularly cherished this learning opportunity, and continued to ask question after question during the concocting process.

It was deep into the night when Li Mo finally made enough bewitching powder to affect the four high-rank beasts, and the two of them decided to act the day the heavenly spirit fruits were to ripen.

Two days later, Zhuo Yifeng and Guan Ruliu arrived by the narrow valley across which the heavenly spirit tree was located. Without Li Mo’s assistance, they had encountered quite a few wild beasts along the way, including a few low- and mid-ranked beasts. However, the two were skilled enough to be able to slaughter most of the beasts that came their way and avoid those that they couldn’t.

“Senior Sister Guan, are you able to jump across this valley?”

Guan Ruliu judged the deep but rather narrow valley. “In the past, I would be able to do so easily. Now, however, with my cultivation still not fully recovered…”

Zhuo Yifeng glanced at the other side of the valley and frowned thoughtfully.

“Junior Brother Zhuo, you’re not thinking of crossing the valley, are you? Master Mo told us to wait here for him and Ruoyan to return, and it’s better not to adventure on your own.”

“But now that we’re here, wouldn’t it be regretful for us not to explore the area a little? I wouldn’t want to leave any regrets behind.” Zhuo Yifeng stretched as he took out a teleportation scroll, which he handed to Guan Ruliu. “If you’re in danger, take this and return to the treehouse.”

“Where did you get this?” Guan Ruliu asked quizzically.

“I took it from Song Yi and Sun Yan’s bodies. This one’s for you, and I have one of my own.”

Zhuo Yifeng had been responsible for burying Song Yi and Sun Yan’s corpses, and he had retrieved these two teleportation scrolls before burying them.

“In that case, you need to be careful as well. As soon as you encounter any danger, rip the scroll!” Guan Ruliu knew that any objection on her part would be pointless, since Zhuo Yifeng had already made up his mind.

“Yes, Senior Sister!” Zhuo Yifeng dashed up to the valley, his legs and feet infused with spiritual energy. At the edge, he leaped up and easily cleared the jump. Once he landed, he turned back and waved to Guan Ruliu, then entered the grove.

By then, Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo had already waited by the vicinity of the heavenly spirit tree for two whole days, checking up on the tree every so often. The four high-rank beasts continued to guard the tree, each taking turns to rest. They seemed to have come to some sort of agreement to only fight for the fruits once they were ripe.

“Why don’t they just fight each other right now, instead of waiting for the fruit to ripen?”

“Each of the four beasts has a different affinity than the rest, and each is a master of its own affinity. Their presence here will cower the remaining beasts. If any of them were to die here, another beast would simply take their place, which might cause more trouble for the remaining high-rank beasts.”

Li Mo even suspected that the four beasts might even have been friends—to an extent.

As night fell, the two picked some fruits for dinner and again went to check on the heavenly spirit fruits. Li Mo carefully brought Yun Ruoyan closer and closer to the tree, until Yun Ruoyan was finally able to see a multicolored fruit about the size of a fist.

“How will we know when it’s mature?”

“It’ll release a distinct aroma and fall from the tree,” Li Mo answered.

“Li Mo, look!” Yun Ruoyan suddenly saw a horned beast poke its head out from a nearby glade, causing one of the four high-rank beasts to shoot out a gigantic fireball at it.

With a big explosion, the horned beast’s head caught on fire. It let out a shrill shriek as it scampered away, tossing and turning its head to try to get rid of the flames.

There was another ruckus on the other side of the tree: the green, armored high-rank beast had spat out an icicle as wide as a tree trunk at another beast which she hadn’t seen, killing the mountain-sized beast instantly.

“Truly impressive!” Yun Ruoyan remarked.

As she watched yet another wave of beasts run off, a sudden, enticing aroma caught her by surprise. It was more fragrant than anything she had ever smelled or eaten—not an overwhelming scent, but rather a clean, refreshing one that tugged at her soul.

Yun Ruoyan immediately looked toward Li Mo, who had begun to smile. After glancing at Yun Ruoyan, he quickly turned to the four high-rank beasts by the tree. They had all been attracted by the unusual scent; their eyes were closed, their nostrils flared. 

“Commence the operation!”

“Yes!” Yun Ruoyan immediately replied.

Li Mo and Yun Ruoyan soared toward the tree. 

With two plops, the two fist-sized heavenly spirit fruits fell from the tree, causing the enticing aroma to disappear. The four high-rank beasts all regained their senses and looked greedily at the two sparkling, multicolored fruits now lying on the forest ground. Almost as one, they bared their teeth and began to face off against each other, as though a vicious fight were about to take place.

By this time, Li Mo and Yun Ruoyan had landed almost right by the heavenly spirit tree. Making use of their small human bodies, they hid behind the tree while the other beasts were all distracted by the impending fight. Yun Ruoyan poked her head out from behind the tree, noticing the auras of many beasts from the nearby woods.

She swept her eyes around her surroundings and found over ten pairs of eyes staring greedily at the tree right in front of her. As Li Mo had suspected, if these four high-rank beasts were to heavily wound each other, the beasts hiding in the forest would then start a free-for-all for the heavenly spirit fruits.

If that were to happen, no matter how strong Li Mo was, it would be difficult for him to get the fruits and leave with her while facing so many beasts.

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