When Li Mo saw Yun Ruoyan’s dazed expression, he couldn’t help kissing her forehead. “Yan’er, you’re so intelligent, except when it comes to one’s emotions—but I like that about you.”
“I am a little slow, aren’t I?” Yun Ruoyan had to admit that she really was slow when it came to such matters. It was a flaw that had followed her from her past life and into the present: in the past, she had fallen head over heels in love with a trashy male like Pei Ziao; in the present, perhaps overcompensating for her previous mistakes, she was wholly oblivious to Zhuo Yifeng’s inclination towards her.
When Li Mo was pursuing Yun Ruoyan, no matter how much he had tried to show his affection, no matter how forceful he had been, Yun Ruoyan refused to believe that he truly loved her. Instead, she believed that he was attracted to her ugliness.
Even after the two of them became a couple, Yun Ruoyan was still somewhat reserved until the consummation of their marriage.
Li Mo naturally didn’t know of Yun Ruoyan’s past life; instead, he thought that she was still too young to have a deep understanding of such affairs, and began analyzing the situation for her. “Anyone who’s had any experience with romance would be able to tell that Zhuo Yifeng likes you,” Li Mo began. “Maybe someone as carefree like your cousin wouldn’t, but you’re so intelligent and meticulous, Yan’er. Couldn’t you tell?”
“I—well, you know how bad I am with emotions.” Yun Ruoyan pursed her lips. “If you already knew everything, why didn’t you tell me? What should I do now?”
“Do nothing.” Li Mo’s eyes were perfectly serious. “Simply be my wife. Zhuo Yifeng isn’t someone who can’t control his own emotions, and your two cousins need to grow up. You might be able to shield them from harm, but you can’t grow up for them.”
Li Mo’s words finally freed the burden on Yun Ruoyan’s heart. She bit her lip and nodded, then began pulling at Li Mo’s collar. Li Mo smirked, then reached out and deftly parted Yun Ruoyan’s robe…
Zhuo Yifeng lay tossing and turning in his bed. Unable to fall asleep, he decided to sit up and cultivate. However, the moment he closed his eyes, his brain filled with an image of Yun Ruoyan looking at Li Mo with deep affection. Her eyes and smile weren’t directed at him, but the sight was still burned into Zhuo Yifeng’s mind, one that he couldn’t seem to remove no matter what he did.
Zhuo Yifeng, don’t do this to yourself! She’s someone else’s wife, and her husband’s your mortal enemy. You’ll eventually have to fight with him, and she’ll become your enemy as well.
“If you keep distracting yourself like this, your mental defenses are going to be far too easily overcome,” the malicious voice spoke disdainfully, interrupting his thoughts. “If you like someone, chase her! Snatch her! What sort of man does nothing but pine?!”
“Shut up!” Zhuo Yifeng called out.
The malicious voice snorted and continued, “If you don’t dare to chase her, I will. What a shame to miss out on such a cute, pretty girl!”
“I told you, shut up!” Zhuo Yifeng was completely enraged. “Don’t you dare peek at my thoughts or think about doing anything to Yun Ruoyan, or I’ll bring you down with me even if I have to sacrifice myself, too!”
“Alright, alright, I’ll stop!” The demonic spirit immediately acquiesced.
The next day, before Yun Ruoyan could find Zhuo Yifeng, he announced that he would return to the barracks of the Feng city guards. Qin Feng had been struck by lightning during that monumental fight with Pi Yan, but his broadsword had taken the brunt of the attack. Although he was injured, it wasn’t too debilitating, and he had returned to the Feng barracks soon after he was able to get back on his feet.
When he found out about Li Mo and Zhuo Yifeng’s return, he had come back from the barracks. When he saw Zhuo Yifeng, he asked him if he wanted to go back with him. Zhuo Yifeng thought it a good idea, and he had just announced his intentions to everyone.
Yun Ruoyan naturally had no objections, and she and Li Mo set off for the Lie city alone. Once they were there, they took Feng Yicheng’s letter to the Lie manor and spent a hundred spirit crystals to have it delivered to Lord Lie. Only after a long wait did the servant to whom they’d entrusted the letter step back out with a note for the two guests.
There was a restaurant’s name written on the note; Lie Sen had instructed the two guests to meet him there.
“It looks like this Lie Fenglan doesn’t think highly of the Feng family,” Li Mo murmured.
“After all, they’re far closer to the Pi family. In such a sensitive period, it’s not unexpected that they wouldn’t treat representatives of the Feng family well,” Yun Ruoyan replied. “Well, let’s go wait for this Young Master Lie.”
The two of them headed to the Hongyun Restaurant that the note had specified, the largest restaurant and inn in the entire Lie family. They booked a room for themselves, then sat down by one of the most prominent spots of the restaurant, ordered some food and drinks, and waited.
The wine was good, and the dishes were excellent in quality. Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo sipped the wine slowly and occasionally had a bite or two to eat.
“I used to be so hungry that everything tasted good, but now that I don’t feel any sense of hunger, everything feels rather tasteless,” Yun Ruoyan lamented.
Not too long after she spoke, a waiter’s eager voice piped up by the entrance to the restaurant, “Ah, Young Master Lie! It’s been so long since I’ve seen you last. How may I help?”
Yun Ruoyan was sitting with her back to the entrance, and she immediately turned around as she heard the voice. Lie Sen’s gaze was sweeping through the restaurant, and he noticed Yun Ruoyan immediately.
In order to avoid attention, Yun Ruoyan was wearing an understated green dress. She wasn’t as stunning as Lie Sen remembered seeing her at the Feng banquet, but her perfect smile was enough to make his heart twinge. His gaze fell slack once he found her face. When Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo stood up and walked toward him, Lie Sen finally reacted. Rather than directly greeting his two guests, he instructed the waiter, “Send your best dishes to my personal suite.”
The waiter nodded. Lie Sen motioned for Yun Ruoyan to follow him as he headed upstairs, and Li Mo followed suit.
As they ascended, they found a Lie swordsman poking his head into the restaurant and noted that the Young Master Lie seemed to be under strict surveillance. They followed Lie Sen into a private suite. Li Mo was just about to knock when the door was opened from within, and Lie Sen greeted Yun Ruoyan with a beaming smile.
“Miss Yun, please.”
“Thank you for the courtesy, Young Master Lie.” Yun Ruoyan eyed Li Mo before stepping into the suite. Li Mo frowned and entered.
After they were all settled, Lie Sen began, “I’ve read the letter that Brother Feng wrote me, and he said you were here as guests.”
“Indeed,” Li Mo replied. “Young Master Lie, please introduce us to Lord Lie.”
Only then did Lie Sen turn away from Yun Ruoyan and focus on Li Mo. Lie Sen had represented the Lie family at the seven cities’ tournament, and he naturally recognized him. However, his first impression of Li Mo was exactly the same as that of Pi Batian: that they were both dull, boring men.
“Young Master Li, the situation is more complex than you might imagine,” Lie Sen replied. “The Lie family has been a longstanding ally of the Pi family, and it won’t be so easy to get us to change sides. Last time, I recommended Feng Yicheng to my father, but not only did he refuse to meet him, he even put me under surveillance to prevent me from interacting with the Feng and Hua families.”
“Young Master Lie,” Yun Ruoyan began. “Is there a way for us to meet Lord Lie directly?”
Yun Ruoyan’s words immediately drew Lie Sen’s attention, but when he processed them, his smile fell. “It’s not that I’m unwilling to help, but if I did so, I’d likely be placed under house arrest, not just surveillance.”
Yun Ruoyan frowned, and her features turned worried. This was clearly a big blow to Lie Sen, who immediately exclaimed, “Let me think… is there a way to bring you two into the Lie manor without having anyone realize that it was I who did so?”
“That’s simple.” Li Mo broke off Lie Sen’s train of thought. “Young Master Lie, you need only provide us with a blueprint of the manor.”
“That’s simple,” Lie Sen replied. He asked for brush and parchment from a waiter, then detailed the inner workings of the Lie manor.
That night, Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo infiltrated the manor. According to Lie Sen’s plans, they entered Lie Fenglan’s backyard—their sole objective was to find Lie Fenglan and have him hear them out. After evading quite a few patrols, they finally arrived at his bedroom, only to find it perfectly silent.
Lie Sen had mentioned that Lie Fenglan would only be in two places at night: his bedroom, resting, or the cultivation chamber, where Lie Yun was being held for treatment.
Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo immediately headed to the cultivation chamber. The area all around it was eerily quiet, apparently because Lie Yun needed to rest in solitude. If there were too large a commotion, her lunacy, which had been suppressed, might break out in full force once more.
Before they could enter the chamber, however, a tall, middle-aged man walked out of the chamber. His gaze was sharp, his features resolute, although his hair was turning white.
Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo immediately judged that this was the head of the Lie family, Lie Fenglan.
“On what grounds am I receiving this nighttime visit?” he asked, in a deep, sonorous voice.