Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
It took only a simple swipe to let that figure clad in black know that he was no match for the eunuch.
"You wanna run? Let's see if my broom agrees, eh?"
Li Mu swung his broom about as he moved, standing before the figure like a bolt of lightning, cutting off the other man's escape.
The man, who had lost both his black attire and his mask, had his face entirely exposed.
It turned out that he was actually an old beardless eunuch dressed in purple robes.
"Who are you?" he asked in a shaky voice.
There were only a handful of people capable of besting him in a fight, given the extent of his abilities.
He also knew who all those people were.
"You have no need to know that," Li Mu said, as he took another swipe at the old man with his broom.
He had to put that old eunuch down once and for all.
He was not about to let anyone disrupt his peaceful days of doing check-ins at the Jingning Palace.
That old eunuch dressed in purple robes blocked him with his saber right away.
His saber was swiped out of his hands right there and then.
His clothes were literally in tatters now.
This guy is just too fast! The old eunuch was yelling to himself.
He had no chance of reacting at all.
He took a hit from the broom to his chest at that very second, sending him flying away.
Blood spewed from his mouth.
The purple-robed eunuch knew that he was done for.
Even if he were to survive this first attack, he was still going to end up dead all the same.
The old eunuch was sent flying outside the Jingning Palace. He stayed airborne for quite a while, before crashing into a building.
"Who goes there?"
Some warriors who were patrolling at that moment noticed what had happened.
A bunch of people made their way over to where the old eunuch had landed.
Li Mu stood on top of the palace and watched for a while, before disappearing and returning to his room to continue training.
Despite having access to the powers bestowed by the pills he received from his check-ins, he nonetheless was diligent with his daily training.
The entire royal palace was stunned by the news of the eunuch being killed.
A huge group of guards made their way to the Jingning Palace the very next morning.
The guards took one look at Li Mu and proceeded to look for the court lady instead.
The number of guards patrolling the area was increased for the next several days, day and night.
Li Mu could hear the eunuchs and the court ladies talking from far away, when he was training at night.
"I heard that the emperor was enraged."
"I wonder just how many formidable warriors are lurking in the dark even now?"
"It was a eunuch from the Zhaochun Palace who served the emperor personally who ended up dead after all. That man was a grade nine of the Higher Heaven Realm. The supervisor guard who performed the autopsy said that he was killed by a single strike. The man who did that was definitely someone of the Spirit Manipulation Realm."
"The Spirit Manipulation Realm, man! Anyone of such a level would definitely be an elder of the clans."
"We can't even get past Warrior Realm, and there are still Acquired Realm and Higher Heaven Realm beyond that. Oh. boy."
"By the way, why was a personal eunuch of the emperor dressed in black anyway? He sure liked to sneak around for someone of such a high status."
"Shh…go to sleep already!"
So, that guy was actually at grade nine of the Higher Heaven Realm?
So, that makes me someone at the Spirit Manipulation Realm then?
There were different levels and tiers among warriors in that world.
Warrior, Acquired, Higher Heaven, Spirit Manipulation, Saint.
Every single stage had nine grades in them.
The eunuchs knew little about the realms that followed after that.
Li Mu had finally learned where he stood.
The load that he'd been bearing on his shoulders was lifted at that moment.
If only I had a sword with me.
This was a good time to make use of the Saint Spirit Sword Techniques after all.
Jingning Palace remained quiet for months after that eunuch in purple was killed.
Li Mu checked in multiple times during that period, but he never got himself a decent weapon.
He was learning sword techniques, and yet he didn't even have a sword.
If that eunuch in purple had had a sword with him, Li Mu would have slit his throat and stolen it.
It was a pity that all he got from the past two years of check-ins were a bunch of trinkets.
He never got a sword once.
Not even one that was broken and rusted.
The Ninth Prince paid a visit to the palace again.
He had grown a lot taller on this visit.
His childish face was finally starting to have a bit of a likeness of an adult in it.
"What are you feeding my mother?"
Loud voices were heard from the palace.
Despite his childlike tone, his voice's strength was undeniable.
"Go and get the kitchen staff to make something good for my mother."
"Yes, your highness."
The eunuch by the Ninth Prince's side was about to leave.
"Hold on," the old court lady called out to the eunuch who was about to leave.
"Yes, granny?" the prince asked out of curiosity.
"Have Xiaolizi go with him."
"Well…all right then."
Li Mu didn't get to see what was actually happening inside the room.
However, he was able to tell that the old court lady had signaled something to the Ninth Prince nonetheless.
Concubine Jing had most probably nodded as well.
Li Mu knew that the old court lady was concerned about someone poisoning the food.
The only person that the old court lady could trust at the moment was Li Mu, who had no martial arts training and seemed to have no agenda, which she had learned after being around him for more than two years.
If Li Mu had had ulterior motives, something would have already happened to the concubine.
Li Mu finally got his chance to venture outside Jingning Palace after waiting for two years.
He was quickly summoned and was ordered to head out to the kitchen with the other eunuch, carrying the token pass that the Ninth Prince had given him.
He checked in furiously along the way.
He then asked for some cakes and other food per the prince's instructions as soon as he got to the kitchen.
"Successfully checked in at the Imperial Kitchen. One Great Recovery Pill rewarded."
Huh? A Great Recovery Pill rewarded at the Imperial Kitchen? Why had the reward at the Imperial Dispensary only been a minor one then? Was this because the kitchen was more renowned or important than the dispensary? He was turning these questions over to himself.
If it was up to him, he would have held the kitchen to be of higher importance as well.
Nothing appeases people more than food after all.
Furthermore, in the eyes of gluttons, the Imperial Kitchen was where the greatest number of the best foods found in the world were.
The Imperial Dispensary was only a place for the storage of medicines after all, and it was far less renowned than the Imperial Physicians' Office.
A Great Recovery Pill would bestow 60 years' worth of powers.
It was only natural for Li Mu to be overjoyed.
He then took the food back to the Jingning Palace.
He tested the food and confirmed that it wasn't poisoned, before he handed it over to the old court lady.
The Ninth Prince had ordered a great many lavish dishes from the kitchen during his visit.
That meant that Li Mu got to eat a lot of good food as well.
It seemed as if Concubine Jing wasn't going to stay like this in the "cold" palace for many more years now.
I wonder if the other concubines will be okay with that?
Poisons had failed to work.
Assassinations had failed to work.
What would they try next?
I guess oppression and pressure wouldn't be of much use.
The emperor wouldn't have given the Ninth Prince so much power otherwise.
All of that was what Li Mu speculated.
He would be content to know that nothing was going to happen to the concubine in the near future.
"So, you're Xiaolizi then?"
The prince had asked to meet Li Mu as he was leaving.
"Yes, your highness," Li Mu bowed and answered.
The prince turned around and left after he'd said that.
Li Mu was stunned.
He was stunned at how the prince had learned how to compliment others at such a young age.
That would have been a bestowal like no other to the other eunuchs.
Yet, as someone who'd hailed from a place where equal rights were commonly practiced in society, he found it rather laughable instead.
He's just a kid.
No need to be petty with him.
He then returned to sweeping the compound.
He deemed that his powers would definitely reach new heights, given that he had received the Great Recovery Pill.
Two more years passed..
He was already 17 years old in that world by then.
If it hadn't been for his status as a eunuch, he would have been a handsome young man.
The Great Recovery Pill that he had acquired two years ago had propelled his training to the peak of the second level of the Zaohua Sutra right away.
He had already made a breakthrough last year.
He was at the moment working on the third tier.
The Zaohua Sutra would allow him to reconstruct his body after getting to the fifth tier.
That meant that he would be one step closer to freeing himself from the status of a eunuch.
"I wonder how far I have come indeed. Common Spirit Manipulation warriors would definitely not be able to fight me. The best to be found in the royal palace are all at the Spirit Manipulation Realm on paper. I wonder just how capable are the ones who are hidden away and not written down on paper."
Li Mu stood at the center of the compound with his broom.
The leaves on the ground moved on their own despite there being no wind to blow them, and they gathered around him as well.
"The Ninth Prince has arrived!"
Li Mu headed to the gates right away as soon as he heard the call, receiving the prince by bowing low.
"At ease, Xiaolizi." The voice of the Ninth Prince could be heard.
Li Mu straightened himself.
The prince had paid multiple visits during the past two years.
There were even times when he would visit once every month.
Things had gotten somewhat rowdy outside the Jingning Palace now since the Ninth Prince showed up more often.
The eunuchs and court ladies who happened to pass by wouldn't shirk the area anymore.
The food from the Imperial Kitchen had gotten increasingly lavish as well.
It would seem that the days of the Jingning Palace being a "cold" palace were numbered.
Danger was looming all the time.
Li Mu deemed that he had to take a risk on that very night, as he could no longer afford to slacken off.