Li Mo lightly caressed Yun Ruoyan in bed, his fingers trailing her face, her hair, her lips. They rubbed against her lips firmly, as though he was trying to remove the marks that Zhuo Yifeng had left behind.
“Li Mo, you’re hurting me,” Yun Ruoyan mumbled, grasping his hand.
Li Mo draped his body over hers, kissing her firmly on the lips. The image of Zhuo Yifeng kissing Yun Ruoyan kept reappearing in his mind, causing his heart to ache. In his displeasure, he began kissing Yun Ruoyan more and more aggressively, prompting her to struggle and try to break free.
As Yun Ruoyan reached out to stop Li Mo, he grabbed her wrists and held them above her head. She kicked Li Mo with her legs, but he clamped them down with his own. All the while, Li Mo continued to deepen the kiss, assaulting her in a manner that detested and shocked her.
It had been a long time since she had recalled Li Mo behaving in this manner, a long time since she was last so helpless. Yun Ruoyan had thought that such a feeling would never return to haunt her, but now, she couldn’t help thinking back to her past life.
When Zhuo Yifeng treated her in this manner, she was disappointed. When Li Mo treated her in this manner, Yun Ruoyan was deeply hurt and distressed. Tears fell uncontrollably from her eyes, trailing down her cheeks and smearing her lips—no, their lips.
So bitter were her tears that Yun Ruoyan could almost taste the sensation, as could Li Mo. He woke up from his stupor in a shock, immediately stopping what he was doing. He raised his head and looked toward Yun Ruoyan’s tear-stained face, his heart suddenly seemed to compress.
The woman below him was his wife, the woman he loved most in the world. How could he treat her in such a rough, cruel manner?!
“I’m sorry, Yan’er, I’m sorry. How can I make things up to you?” Li Mo slowly began to wipe away the tears on Yun Ruoyan’s face, hoping for a response from her, but she simply shut her eyes. “Yan’er, please don’t cry…” Li Mo was more than a little flustered. “I’ve once told you that your tears are the harshest punishment I could bear. I know what I did wrong—do you want to beat me to let out your frustrations?”
He held Yun Ruoyan’s palms against his face and struck his face with them, but Yun Ruoyan quickly clenched her palms tightly and wrested them free from Li Mo’s grasp. Afraid that he would hurt her further, Li Mo took a different tact. “Yan’er, I was blinded by jealousy. When I saw how Zhuo Yifeng was treating you, I was about to go crazy. I didn’t deal with my own emotions and ended up taking it out on you. Yan’er, I swear, if I ever hurt you like this again, that a thousand swords shall pierce my heart, that—”
A warm hand blocked Li Mo’s mouth. Li Mo kissed the heart of Yun Ruoyan’s palm. “Yan’er, does this mean you forgive me?”
Yun Ruoyan wrenched her hand from Li Mo’s mouth. “You’ve already done what you shouldn’t have, so how will swearing now make a difference?”
“In that case, Yan’er, what would you have me do? I’ll do anything you ask!”
“You promise?” Yun Ruoyan finally opened her eyes to look at Li Mo.
“I do! Anything you request, Yan’er.”
“I want you not to touch me for a whole year,” Yun Ruoyan said, staring into Li Mo’s eyes all the while.
Li Mo hesitated, evidently not having expected Yun Ruoyan to present him with such a request. “But… what about our dual cultivation technique? We’re already reached the third advancement in the technique, and we’re nearing the fourth…”
“We’ll stop, of course.”
“In that case, Yan’er… won’t you miss me?” Li Mo whispered into Yun Ruoyan’s ear. As his gentle breath hit Yun Ruoyan’s earlobe, it sent frissons down her spine. They had been married for over a year, and Li Mo knew her body better than his own. Her earlobes were the most sensitive part of her body, and when he saw the shift in her expression, he kissed her again, as gently as the brush of a feather.
Pleased with her reaction, he began to caress her again, but right before he could undress her fully, Yun Ruoyan grabbed her by the hand and stopped him.
“What’s the matter, Yan’er?” Li Mo gasped, panting.
Yun Ruoyan didn’t answer his question. Instead, she brought his hand to her stomach.
Li Mo didn’t understand her gesture. He continued looking at Yun Ruoyan in a dazed fashion. “Are you uncomfortable? Does your stomach hurt? Do you want me to infuse you with some spiritual energy?”
Yun Ruoyan shook her head, frustrated. “I don’t have a stomachache, and I’m not feeling uncomfortable…”
Li Mo waited patiently for her to continue.
“It’s been two months since my last period,” Yun Ruoyan finished.
“Two months without a period…” Despite his ignorance with female biology, when Li Mo put her words in context… “Yan’er, do you mean that you’re with child?” His eyes stared ardently at Yun Ruoyan’s stomach. His eyes gleamed blue, and his lips parted in a wide smile. He faced the sky and began to laugh, so loudly that she felt the reverberations through the bed.
It was rare for Li Mo to express such emotion, and Yun Ruoyan had never before seen him so happy. In shock, she sat up and clutched his mouth. “Don’t scare those around us.”
“Yan’er, we have a child, a child!”
“Not necessarily.” Wary that Li Mo would once again turn dramatic, Yun Ruoyan quickly continued, “All I can say is that my period hasn’t arrived for two months. It’s likely that I’m with child, but that’s certainly not a guarantee. I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had the time to have it confirmed.”
“I know, I know. I’ve been taught this as well,” Li Mo replied, internally cursing himself for having been so thoughtless. How had he not discovered that Yun Ruoyan hadn’t had her period for two months? These past days, she’d been running back and forth with him, and they had even taken part in a large-scale battle a few days ago!
“No, no.” Li Mo shook his head. “Have Feng Bo take a look at you tomorrow, and Lin Qingchen! She’s a female, after all, and she’d be more suited to care for you. And you can’t come with me to the Pi city tomorrow—it’s too risky!”
“Li Mo.” Yun Ruoyan’s face instantly turned serious. “Remember well what you said to me.”
“Hm? What did I say?”
“You said that you’d listen to whatever I said!”
“I will! Except when it comes to our child,” Li Mo hastily corrected.
“Li Mo, the reason I didn’t go to a physician was because I was afraid of startling you. I’d intended on having Feng Bo and Qingchen check my body after I return from the Pi city with you.”
“That’s far too dangerous!”
“Li Mo, I’ve made up my mind,” Yun Ruoyan repeated. “I told you, no one can force me to do anything, and no one can force me not to do anything—not my enemies, and not even my lover. My will is mine alone.”
In the end, obstinate though he might be, Li Mo still gave in to Yun Ruoyan. The next day, the two of them travelled to the Pi city together. Along the way, his concern, care, and protection for her seemed to have trebled. His eyes would remain fixed on her body and his hands on hers, making Yun Ruoyan feel as though they were conjoined twins. Yun Ruoyan was both exasperated and touched by his gesture.
After two nights and a day, they finally arrived at the Pi manor. Their plan was to infiltrate the Pi manor that night, but Li Mo forced Yun Ruoyan to rest at an inn for a whole day before the next step of the plan.
It was at the inn that Yun Ruoyan learned of the cruel fate that had befallen the women of the courtesan troupe, who were being hung alive on the city gates. One new woman had been hung each day, and there were fifteen of them in all. With every passing day, more had died of thirst and dehydration. The more weak-willed among them, unable to bear the torment and suffering, bit off their tongue and committed suicide. Apparently, only two among the fifteen still lived.Previous Chapter Next Chapter