Written by Tinalynge & Blue Jay
Edited by ONI_Ghost
Beta read by OEE
Having arrived at the Chengzi Empire, they didn’t head straight for a remote meadow or ravine to find the Moon Anise. Instead, they ventured towards the center of the empire where the capital was located.
They flew the entire way until they reached the outskirts of the city, then Jiang Yao and Ling Mo descended from the skies and walked on the dusty roads.
Luo Xiao was relieved. When they walked, they moved at a speed he could follow, but even so, Jiang Yao was reluctant to release Xiaoxiao from his arms.
“Come now, I can’t really stay in your arms forever,” Luo Xiao argued. But, Jiang Yao just snickered, “Who says you can’t?” he asked as he tightened his hold on the young man in his embrace.
“But you have things you need to do!” Luo Xiao said. But despite this, Jiang Yao was rather adamant about not letting go.
The groups of people that they passed looked at them with curiosity as they heard the bickering that went on between Luo Xiao and Jiang Yao. Ling Mo’s expression was dark while his mind was filled with murderous thoughts.
To him, it didn’t sound like bickering but like flirting, and he couldn’t handle it much longer.
“Set me down this instant or I won’t sleep in your arms anymore!” Luo Xiao said, finally having decided to threaten Jiang Yao. He glanced at Ling Mo and saw that the man’s expression was pale, and his fists were gripped so tightly that his nails dug into his flesh.
The only reason Luo Xiao dared use this argument as a threat was because Ling Mo thought they were lovers, but he was surprised to see that Jiang Yao was seriously considering it.
“Well, honestly, whether you want to sleep in my arms or not makes no difference,” Jiang Yao said slowly with a lazy, husky voice as he leaned forward and looked at Luo Xiao with a mischievous gleam in his beautiful eyes.
Seeing this, Luo Xiao felt his pulse quicken. His face turned red like a ripe persimmon, and he felt Jiang Yao’s breath tickle his skin.
“Even if you refuse to sleep in my arms, are you really able to avoid it?” he asked, “I’m much stronger than you, so I just have to grab you, and you will have no way to escape.”
Seeing Luo Xiao’s eyes widen, Jiang Yao chuckled as he continued forward, but then he stopped and let Luo Xiao down from his arms. “Although I could do that, I prefer you willingly climb into my embrace every night,” he continued as he rubbed Luo Xiao’s hair intimately.
Many people stared at Luo Xiao and Jiang Yao. Jiang Yao was so alluringly handsome that everyone who saw him felt their face go red, and they couldn’t help but gaze at him. He was so attractive that both men and women threw themselves at his feet wherever he went. But, recently, since acting like Luo Xiao was his lover, people had stopped doing such things because their relationship was obvious.
Were it anyone else, then people wouldn’t have cared, but Luo Xiao was so delicate and beautiful that he resembled a fairy which had descended into this mundane world.
Even if there were many who wanted to throw themselves at Jiang Yao, they would all subconsciously compare themselves to Luo Xiao, and only then would they realize that they were in fact not his match.
Since they couldn’t match up to this handsome and alluring man’s current lover, why step forward just to embarrass themselves?
Ling Mo and Jiang Yao both noticed this, but what Ling Mo was furious about was that this affirmed that Luo Xiao was indeed beautiful beyond words. This caused Jiang Yao to feel relieved and relaxed. He liked being fawned upon, but he was tired of not being able to move without someone coming up to flirt.
Although Luo Xiao was released from Jiang Yao’s embrace, the older man didn’t let him go, instead, he reached out his hand.
Luo Xiao glared at Jiang Yao and his outstretched hand, but he knew he couldn’t refuse if he wanted to avoid seeing a sulking and annoyed Jiang Yao. For this reason, he reached out his hand and grasped Jiang Yao’s.
There had been a few times where his thin-skinned nature caused him not to take Jiang Yao’s hand, and he still shivered whenever he thought about Jiang Yao’s attitude afterwards.
Luo Xiao realized that Jiang Yao could be incredibly petty and hold grudges for the smallest things. If he didn’t do a good job acting like his lover, then he would start pouting and completely ignore him.
If he was ignored, then he wouldn’t get any assistance with his cultivation. If he didn’t get help with his cultivation, then it would be hard for him to advance and get revenge for his village.
Accepting his fate, Luo Xiao and Jiang Yao moved towards the inner-regions of the city. They both completely ignored Ling Mo, but this was something he had become used to. After his attempt to kill Luo Xiao, Jiang Yao had ignored him completely, and although it was uncomfortable for Luo Xiao, he too tried to ignore the other man.
“Where are we going?” Luo Xiao finally asked after he felt like they had ventured through the entire city. He was tired and exhausted. Although it was required they walk, he hadn’t expected that they would be walking so much.
For someone who had spent all his life in bed, and the last couple of days in the arms of a handsome man, his legs weren’t ready for so much exercise. His feet were sore, and his legs trembled, but he refused to admit it and continued forward.
Jiang Yao had long since noticed his condition but said nothing. He just waited for Luo Xiao to give up on his own.
In fact, Jiang Yao was walking in circles to get Luo Xiao to admit that he couldn’t walk any further on his own. However, the young boy was as stubborn as a mule; he simply refused to give up.
Finally, Jiang Yao could do nothing about it. He just smiled and shook his head before heading towards his destination.
They aimed to speak with an information dealer. Every kingdom had one, and they were revered as everyone needed assistance from them when it came to knowing what was going on in the world.
Jiang Yao had purchased all the information about the Moon Anise, and he also bought it out so that no one else could obtain any of the information.
Normally, such a feat would be unthinkable, but Jiang Yao’s status was special, and his finances could easily handle what others would consider impossible.
It was also because of this that Jiang Yao wasn’t in a hurry. The only way someone could take the Moon Anise from him was if someone came across it and realized what they were looking at.
But the Moon Anise was a shapeshifting herb. It would look like natural grass at one point or a big tree at another. It could even take the shape of a stone. Therefore, only a soul cultivator who was explicitly searching for it would be able to see through its disguise.
Luo Xiao was unaware of these facts; he just knew that they were looking for a Moon Anise and that it was important for Jiang Yao to get it.
In the previous town, the information dealer was located in the most rundown section of the city, the beggars’ region, but this dealer was in the most upscale district.
When they reached the front gates of the information center, Luo Xiao wanted to hide behind Jiang Yao. The guards seemed to be strong Qi cultivators, and he sensed strong fluctuations of spiritual energy from within the house. It was clear that many Qi and soul cultivators were inside.
Suddenly, he felt an encouraging squeeze on his hand causing him to look up and see Jiang Yao looking at him with tender eyes and a small smile on his handsome face.
He said nothing but this squeeze already made Luo Xiao feel calmer and relaxed.
The guards glanced at Jiang Yao and the two others, but they didn’t stop them from entering.
“Your Highness!” someone called out when he saw Jiang Yao. Hearing this, Jiang Yao frowned slightly but said nothing. When it came down to it, Luo Xiao was already aware that Ling Mo had called him his Highness, so it was only a question of time before another would do the same.
“We’ve been waiting for you for a long time,” the one who called out continued to speak, as he glanced at Luo Xiao by his side with curiosity.
It was clear he had heard about Luo Xiao, most likely from the other information center in the former city, but he also knew better than to ask any questions.
Instead, he turned to Ling Mo, “Greetings Marquis Ling. It is our honor to have two esteemed experts such as yourself and his Highness within our premises. Please follow me so that we can share the information you have come to get,” he said.
Jiang Yao nodded and followed behind the one speaking. Ling Mo felt better now that he was called out and treated so respectfully while Luo Xiao was ignored entirely, but little did he know that Luo Xiao was actually somewhat relieved. He didn’t want to be compared with these two undoubtedly important people.
The four experts moved together to a small room that was surrounded by formations.
As they entered, Luo Xiao felt an energy which suddenly tried to enter his body, but before it could, Jiang Yao sent a strand of energy to Luo Xiao. This energy shrouded his entire body and protected him against the foreign energy.
The invading energy was from the information center was a method to probe one’s strength and inner secrets. However, Jiang Yao protected Luo Xiao so that all his secrets were kept from them.
The man frowned when he saw this. It wasn’t an easy feat to release energy to shroud another person from their senses, and if he was willing to do so, then it meant that this young man was incredibly crucial to him, or that he had some sort of shocking secret that he didn’t want known.
Even Ling Mo was incapable of hiding beneath the inquiring rays of the information center, but Jiang Yao did nothing to help him. All this time, his hand had not let go of Luo Xiao’s either, causing Luo Xiao to feel much calmer.
As they entered the room, the door closed behind them, and the one leading them nodded his head. “You are looking for the Moon Anise right?” he asked, and Jiang Yao nodded.
“The Moon Anise is in a small ravine close to the borders between the Chengzi Empire and the Heping Kingdom.”
“The ravine is known as Sword Scar ravine, and it’s filled with sword energy. For this reason, not many enter it. It’s dangerous, and many primitive, savage beasts live within.”
“If you set out, you should be able to reach the ravine in a week, in the case you need to rest every night and travel at a moderate speed,” said the man.
He glanced at Luo Xiao, his eyes glistening with curiosity. Who was this child that could make his Highness change his original plans, and what were the secrets on his body that made Jiang Yao shroud him from the search of their information center?