Chapter 413: Adulthood

“She just doesn’t know that you like her too.” The demonic spirit’s voice seemed to possess a magnetic, hypnotic rhythm. “Doesn’t Yun Ruoyan treat you differently from anyone else?”

Zhuo Yifeng recalled how, the first time he met Yun Ruoyan, she had given him more help than he had ever received from anyone before. She had helped him craft a set of tiger-canine arrows, then found him a place to stay within the Lin family. Didn’t Yun Ruoyan take care of him more than might have been expected?

“You’re not a bad match for her,” the demonic spirit continued. “Yun Ruoyan’s had a good impression of you from the very beginning, but Li Mo got to her first.”

“Is that really the case?”

“Of course,” the demonic spirit replied. “What you need to do now is to snatch her back.”


“First, make her aware of your intentions,” the demonic spirit said.”

“You mean, confess?”

“Yes, confess! Think about it—if you lose your life in a fight, wouldn’t you at least want the woman of your dreams to know that you loved her? Not doing so and dying would be the most tragic your life could get!”

“Confess, I have to confess, haha, I have to confess and let her know, I love her, before I die…” Zhuo Yifeng murmured, his mind in a drunken haze.

As the new year began amidst a sky wreathed with fireworks, Yun Ruoyan turned sixteen. On both the Chenyuan and Mingyuan continents, one reached adulthood at fifteen and was truly an adult by sixteen.

Amidst the festivities, Yun Ruoyan turned to glance at Li Mo, whose arms wrapped around her in an embrace. When Li Mo noticed her gaze, he too looked toward her.

“Yan’er,” Li Mo whispered. “You’re finally an adult now.”

Yun Ruoyan frowned. “I’ve long since grown up.”

“Is that so?” Li Mo raised his eyebrows. “Yan’er, why don’t we have a baby?”

Yun Ruoyan’s cheeks and ears flushed a bright red. She didn’t respond verbally, but her head inclined in what seemed like the barest fraction of a nod. Li Mo grinned, his smile as bright as the fireworks against the night sky, glowing with warmth.

After the celebration, everyone returned to their own rooms.

“Sister, can I sleep with you tonight?” Lin Qingxue tugged on Lin Qingchen’s clothes.

“If you aren’t afraid of the creatures by my house, you’re welcome to stop by,” Lin Qingchen replied. During this period of relative peace, she had begun learning medicine from Feng Bo and to study all sorts of strange pills and the herbs, insects, and beasts that were relevant as ingredients for these pills. Except for sleeping, eating, and cultivating, all she would do was study and research these ingredients and beasts of hers.

Lin Qingxue had originally found her sister’s life to be boring and dull, but now, she was somewhat envious of her ability to concentrate on what mattered most to her. As far as she could recall, Lin Qingchen had never been too bothered about anything; after dedicating herself to the study of medicine and pillmaking, she seemed to have become immune to mortal woes.

“Of course I’m not scared!” Lin Qingxue claimed, puffing up her chest. “I’m not even scared of your catfish anymore, so what else is there that could scare me?”

“In that case, do come.” Lin Qingchen smiled.

When Lin Qingxue stepped into her sister’s yard, she sucked in a deep breath. “What’s that?!” She was pointing at a big cage by the corner of the yard, in which a black, indistinct creature was being kept. It was snoring so loudly that she could hear, and even feel, it from across the yard.

“It’s a snoozebear,” Lin Qingchen explained. “I asked for a remedy against sleeplessness from Feng Bo, and one of the essential ingredients is the blood of a snoozebear.”

“Sister, you’re wonderful!” Lin Qingchen tugged on her sleeve coyly. “How did you know I was suffering from insomnia?”

Lin Qingchen glanced at her. “This isn’t for you, Qingxue.”

“Ah? In that case, who is it for?” Lin Qingxue seemed a little confused. “Uncle isn’t suffering from insomnia. In fact, he created his own technique to allow him to sleep whenever he wants.”

“Why not let Father teach it to you, then?”

“I tried asking, but Uncle told me that the technique’s only suitable for him. If I tried to practice it, it would hurt my body,” Lin Qingxue replied wearily. “So, if this isn’t for me or for Uncle, who could it be for?”

Lin Qingchen refused to tell her, but Lin Qingxue didn’t back down. She asked again and again, not stopping until they were both tucked in bed and ready to sleep.

“It’s for Madam Hong, from the courtesan troupe,” Lin Qingchen finally relented, unable to stand her sister’s pestering. “She’s trying to find a way to bring the head of a small family to our side. He suffers from insomnia, so when Madam Hong last returned to the Feng city, she asked if I could make a cure for it.”

“Oh, is that so? In that case, Sister, would you make me a little too?”

“No!” Lin Qingxue pulled her sleeve away from her sister’s hand. “You’re not suffering from insomnia, but from an illness of the heart. Once that’s resolved, your insomnia will go away on its own.”

Lin Qingxue repeated her sister’s words. “An illness of the heart… in that case, what’s my cure?”

“You like Zhuo Yifeng, but Zhuo Yifeng likes Sister Ruoyan.”

When she heard these words from her sister’s lips, Lin Qingxue pursed her lips, her eyes drooping. The room was dark, and she could barely make out her sister’s features. She clamped her mouth shut and refused to speak.

“First, you don’t know how to let go of Zhuo Yifeng, how to stop thinking about him. Second, you’ve developed feelings of jealousy toward Sister Ruoyan, because Zhuo Yifeng likes her but not you.”

“No, I haven’t!” Lin Qingxue denied her sister’s claims futilely. “I’m just, I’m just—”

“Perhaps not jealousy,” Lin Qingchen corrected herself. “But at least reproach, annoyance, irritation…”

During this period of time, she could clearly see that Lin Qingxue was no longer as intimate with Yun Ruoyan as before, but this was understandable. However, there were quite a few times when Lin Qingchen caught her sister staring at Yun Ruoyan with something very close to jealousy in her eyes, which prompted her to have a discussion with Lin Qingxue.

If Lin Qingxue hadn’t shown up at Lin Qingchen’s rooms, she would have gone out to find her herself.

“However, you know better than anyone else that Sister Ruoyan’s heart is with the Slaughtering King. Whether or not Zhuo Yifeng likes you has nothing to do with Sister Ruoyan,” Lin Qingchen concluded. “You just can’t bear to admit it.”

“Sister, stop—!” Lin Qingxue clutched her face in agony.

Lin Qingchen had no intention to stop. “Regardless of whether you want to hear it, I feel obligated to say this out loud. If you like Zhuo Yifeng, that’s your own business. If Zhuo Yifeng doesn’t like you back, that’s his. Don’t hate or begrudge anyone else for it. If you can do that, I promise you’ll be able to sleep well at night.”

Lin Qingxue began to cry, small sobs that turned into bawls. Tears flowed down her eyes through the cracks in her fingers, wetting her hair and Lin Qingchen’s pillow.

Lin Qingchen rubbed her sister’s fleshy earlobes, just like she had done when she was scolded as a child. “Cry, cry. Let your negative emotions flow out of you.”

“Sister, my heart feels like it’s going to split in two—it hurts, it hurts,” Lin Qingxue choked out.

“Let it out. Time will cure all wounds.” Lin Qingchen patted her sister’s back. “Better to let it out than let it corrupt your heart.”

“Sister, will I be able to forget about Brother Zhuo?”

“That’s a hard question,” Lin Qingchen replied truthfully. “It’ll be best if you can, but it’s fine even if you can’t. Just know that he’s not obligated to like you back. Your heart might twinge when you think of him, but you’ll still be able to lead a very happy life.”

“Is that really possible?” Lin Qingxue wiped her face with her hands, then looked piteously at her sister.

“Of course. When have I ever lied to you? Sleep well and welcome the start of the new year.”

In her sister’s arms, Lin Qingxue finally fell into a deep sleep.

The temporary ceasefire was slated to end about ten days after the new year. Feng Bo began busying himself training the Feng swordsmen, and Zhuo Yifeng and Qin Feng both returned to the Feng city guards. They were both inducted into their ranks, and would train, fight, and carry out difficult missions together.

One day, Yun Ruoyan also received a mission, one that came from Lin Qingchen. She started by going to Yun Ruoyan and Li Mo, then Feng Bo. “Madam Hong sent word saying that the families she’s been recruiting have volunteered to send a few swordsmen to supplement the Feng troops.” Lin Qingchen handed the note in her hands to Feng Bo.

Feng Bo took the note and read it carefully. “Where did you get this news?”

Lin Qingchen explained how Madam Hong had asked her to make a cure for insomnia. “She told me to hand the cure to a travelling merchant called Huai Da in the eastern part of the Feng city. A few days ago, I finished the cure and handed it to him. Today, he found me and handed me this note, claiming that Madam Hong wrote it herself.”

When Yun Ruoyan saw how serious Feng Bo seemed, she asked, “Feng Bo, are you suspecting the veracity of this letter?”

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