Regarding the confession letter incident, the chief lost face in front of others, but luckily, Madam managed to salvage the situation.
Huang Rang unwrapped the package she had prepared, intending to put the contents back in their original places.
As she was organizing things, someone beside her took out her dress from the package and neatly hung it up.
Huang Rang turned around and saw Di Yiqiu working silently without any expression on his face.
Both of them fell silent and continued organizing the room.
When all the items were back in their original places, the chief finally pulled out a list from his pocket and handed it to Huang Rang. Huang Rang hesitated for a moment before taking it and asking, “What is this?”
She looked down and saw that the list resembled an inventory of dowry items, detailed to the extreme.
The Chief acted as if nothing had happened and said, “Dowry list, take a look. If you have no objections, I will visit your family in a couple of days for a formal proposal.”
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“Mbkp kp vbl esoau zkpv?” Twydt Sydt oyp pbsnjle.
Pk Zkikw ypjle, “Ebyv eke usw lmrlnv kv vs cl?”
Twydt Sydt bye clld xyaakle sdnl clqsal yde oyp qyxkzkya okvb vblpl vbkdtp. Fbl zywtble sd vbl prsv yde pyke, “Rq R eked’v jdso clvvla, R oswze byhl vbswtbv vbkp oyp y alnsae cssj yqvla y bsxl ayke! El esd’v dlle yzz vblpl kvlxp qsa vbl esoau.”
Mbl nbklq pyke dsdnbyzydvzu, “Sltyaezlpp, kv okzz lhldvwyzzu nsxl vs usw. Ebyv’p vbl ekqqlaldnl?”
“Txrb!” Twydt Sydt lmyxkdle vbl zkpv alrlyvlezu yde pweeldzu ypjle, “Ps usw byhl vs prlde ydu pkzhla sd uswa sqqknkyz alpkeldnl?”
“Ls, vbl tshladxldv rashkelp kv, yzsdt okvb qswa plahydvp,” Pk Zkikw alrzkle, qwaasokdt bkp caso.
Twydt Sydt byrrkzu pyke, “Mbld, yqvla ol tlv xyaakle, R’zz xshl kdvs uswa sqqknkyz alpkeldnl. Mbkp assx kp ps pbyccu, yde kv pvkzz nspvp qkhl vylzp sq pkzhla lhlau xsdvb!”
Mbl Ubklq alxkdele bla, “Mbl sqqknkyz alpkeldnl kp pxyzz.”
“What’s there to worry about? It’s all the government’s money anyway; we don’t have to pay a dime,” Huang Rang enthusiastically calculated.
The Chief corrected her, “It’s not the government’s money; every bit of it comes from the people.”
“I see, I see,” Huang Rang said. “If we move out to live on our own, we’ll have to buy a house, hire servants, and everything inside and outside the house will cost money. Both of us are quite busy, and we won’t have time to manage servants.”
As they spoke, she sat cross-legged on the couch. The chief also took a seat by the couch and said, “Indeed.”
Huang Rang extended her legs onto his lap and asked, “The government provides for your clothing, food, shelter, and transportation, right?”
The chief furrowed his brow and replied, “I haven’t calculated it in detail. But I have never spent any money living in the Celestial Court.”
“It’s still better under the government,” Huang Rang sighed. “I’ve been working hard at the Breeding Institute with the students. If I can secure a government position, wouldn’t that be fair?”
The chief’s hand rested on her ankle, gently massaging it as he said, “While that’s true, the government’s selection process for officials is very strict. If you want to work at the Celestial Court, you’ll still need to go through the official selection process.”
Huang Rang was dissatisfied. “Isn’t that just a matter of your word?”
The Chief had his principles, and he replied, “Rules are rules.”
Huang Rang had to concede, “So if I were to work at the Breeding Institute, what position could I hold, and how much would I earn?”
When it came to official matters, the chief became quite serious.
After a moment of contemplation, he said, “At most, you could become an instructor under the supervision of the Imperial Academy. But… if it’s the Third Dream, it would be different.”
When he mentioned the Third Dream, they locked eyes for a moment, both showing renewed excitement.
Di Yiqiu said, “Third Dream’s reputation in the common folk is like a deity, and it seems to be on the verge of surpassing the old master. If she were to join the Celestial Court, the government’s prestige would rise as well.”
Huang Rang wasn’t interested in that aspect and asked, “Just tell me how much the government would pay!”
The Chief didn’t give a direct answer and instead said, “When His Majesty invited Bao Wu to join the Celestial Court, he received a monthly salary of 50,000 taels, along with a noble title and land. His clothing, food, shelter, and transportation are all provided by the Celestial Court. Given Third Dream’s reputation, it wouldn’t be much different.”
Huang Rang calculated for a moment and expressed her anger: “So you mean I’ve wasted at least 600,000 taels of silver every year, not to mention the past eighteen years?”
Di Yiqiu chuckled lightly and continued massaging her ankle.
Today, she was wearing white silk stockings, and the chief had a sudden urge to take them off.
He controlled his hands and said, “Now that the prominent breeding families are moving together, it would be a great thing for the common people if Third Dream were willing to join the Celestial Court. If you’re willing, I can make a request to the court.”
“What is there to hesitate about?” Huang Rang answered without a second thought. She then mumbled, “I never thought this lady would also receive a government salary.”
The Chief continued massaging her feet at a leisurely pace and said after a long pause, “But without buying a house, without acquiring servants, it might be too simple…”
Huang Rang waved her hand dismissively. “Why should we care about those things? I used to live alone in a large and lonely place. Once we’re married, I just want to snuggle with you in a small room. We can look at each other with just a glance.”
“Used to live alone in a large and lonely place?” The chief furrowed his brow, not quite understanding her words.
Huang Rang leaned in closer and said, “Let’s invite all the guests we can; get more wedding gifts. There will be many expenses for the Celestial Court in the future!”
When she thought about the super-armour-grade puppets that the Chief himself had created later on, one of them costing 40 billion spirit stones, Huang Rang felt like jumping into the sea out of sheer heartache.
The chief made a noncommittal sound, and the two of them cuddled together, remaining silent for a long time.
After a while, Huang Rang nudged Di Yiqiu with her shoulder and asked, “What are you thinking?”
The Chief replied, “I’m thinking about how many invitations we should send out.” After that, he turned the question back to her: “What about you?”
Huang Rang said, “I’m thinking that waking up every morning and seeing you first thing is going to be a very happy thing.”
The chief was momentarily stunned. Then, slowly, he turned his head. There was a radiant light in Huang Rang’s eyes, as bright as the stars. He gently cupped her face; her skin was clear, and her cheeks were flawless. Her lips were as rosy as peach blossoms.
Di Yiqiu didn’t know when he had drawn closer, and their lips brushed slightly. It felt like an electric current had surged through him, sending shivers down his spine.
He abruptly turned away and released Huang Rang.
The chief stood up, straightened his clothes, and spoke with a stern and upright demeanor, like an old scholar. He said, “I will go to the Ministry of Rites to inquire about the marriage proposal.” With those words, he strode out of the study and hurried to the Ministry of Rites.
Huang Rang jumped off the couch and went to the door, leaning against it and watching his hurried footsteps.
This person, really…
After thinking for a while, she used these two words to describe her future husband.
Meanwhile, in the Ministry of Rites, Lord Zhuo was becoming increasingly exasperated. This was the fourth visit by the chief.
Lord Zhuo still received him with a smile and, without waiting for the Chief to speak, said, “Don’t worry, Chief. Your marriage proposal has already been submitted to the palace. We’re just waiting for His Majesty’s approval, and we can then arrange the formal proposal.”
“His Majesty hasn’t approved it yet?” The chief clearly appeared anxious.
Lord Zhuo had to gently remind him, “Chief, we only submitted it yesterday…”
And you’ve already asked four times!
The Chief didn’t pick up on the hint and just said, “Is that so? I’ll come back this afternoon to check.”
“Uh…” Lord Zhuo could hardly maintain his smile.
This is really unnecessary.
Well, young people are always so impatient and can’t keep their composure…
That afternoon, news spread from the Celestial Court that the Chief wanted to formally propose to Third Dream the position of Chief of the Breeding Institute.
Third Dream’s reputation among the common people now far surpasses that of any other prominent family, including the Xis. If she were to join the government, it would undoubtedly be a significant boost for the Celestial Court.
The government also clearly attached great importance to this matter.
Officials from various other government departments generally harbored negative feelings towards the Celestial Court. But on this issue, everyone showed extraordinary support.
Third Dream’s breeding of superior breeds was different from the showy methods of other prominent families. For eighteen years, she had focused on cultivating essential food crops. Her solid foundation allowed her superior breeds to genuinely benefit the common people.
Now,Third Dream’s seeds were in high demand among the common people without any government promotions. Whenever his seeds sold out, it was only then that other prominent families got a chance to sell theirs.
How could people not feel resentful?
And now, this particularly difficult individual was about to become affiliated with the government.
Master Xi received the news and went a day without eating. The other prominent families didn’t fare much better.
With such a joyous event for the government, they naturally had to make elaborate arrangements. The Emperor Shi Wenyu, who had been quietly cultivating in the Yuanrong Tower, surprisingly ordered the presentation of a royal gold plaque for Third Dream’s appointment as the Chief of the “Worldly Learning Institute.”
To allow the common people to witness this grand event, the government erected a high platform at the Wugu Altar on the southern outskirts of the capital. Three days later, the Emperor himself would bestow the plaque upon Third Dream and declare that all citizens were welcome to attend and witness the ceremony.
For a while, common people discussed this matter during their tea breaks and meals.
Yuhu Immortal Sect
Xie Lingbi had been deep in meditation. But today, Luofu Hall welcomed a rare guest.
“Huaiyi is someone who never comes to visit unless there’s a significant matter,” Xie Lingbi said with an ambiguous smile as he sat opposite the visitor. He added, “You didn’t come all this way just to catch up with me.”
On the other side, Master Xi sighed and said, “If it weren’t a significant matter, I wouldn’t trouble Patriarch Lingbi.”
“What ‘Patriarch’?” Xie Lingbi sneered. “I’m just an old man with not much use.”
Master Xi said, “I won’t beat around the bush. You must have heard about Third Dream’s decision to serve the government.”
“Of course, I’ve heard.” Xie Lingbi poured him a cup of tea and said, “The immortal sect isn’t that peaceful either, with all the mundane matters filling our ears.”
Master Xi continued, “Third Dream’s decision to serve the government is not good for us. The Earth Spirits, united after much difficulty, have been together for so many years, mainly because the Breeding Families were like a fortress, making it difficult for Emperor Shi Wenyu to do anything.”
Xie Lingbi wasn’t particularly interested in the history of the Breeding Families and their relationship with the government. After all, what did it have to do with him? It was just one group of dogs biting another.
He spoke calmly, “Both the Breeding Families and the government are ultimately for the common people. Let’s discuss matters in a civilized manner.”
Master Xi cursed inwardly but maintained a smiling face as he said, “Xie Lingbi jests; some issues cannot be resolved through discussion. I came here today to discuss a particular matter. Over the years, the Yuhu Immortal Sect has required special cultivation materials and spiritual herbs, and the Xi family has not been stingy in providing them.”
“We haven’t been stingy, indeed,” Xie Lingbi said, making no concessions. “But the Yuhu Immortal Sect has also been generous in its rewards to the prominent families.”
Master Xi knew what kind of person he was dealing with and said directly, “If Lingbi helps me this time, then in the future, the Yu Hu Immortal Sect can relax its rewards to the prominent families.”
Xie Lingbi was taken aback. It had only been a few years since he stepped down from the position of sect leader. He understood the nature of the promise Master Xi had made.
Master Xi noticed Xie Lingbi’s reaction, knowing he was intrigued, and then he chuckled, “Speaking of it, with Third Dream in the government, their strength is likely to grow significantly. You might not be aware, but Third Dream already has temples dedicated to him all over the common people’s areas. People are flocking to worship him, and the incense offerings are very strong.”
Xie Lingbi contemplated for a while and asked, “What do you plan to do?”
Master Xi replied, “Remove Third Dream. Once this is accomplished, from then on, the Xi family, on behalf of the Yuhu Immortal Sect… no, on behalf of Brother Lingbi, will cultivate immortal herbs without asking for any rewards.”
Master Xi’s terms this time were indeed quite generous, to the point that Xie Lingbi began to consider them. He pondered for a moment, and Master Xi added, “But I’m afraid we’ll have to keep this from Sect Leader Xie. Last time, I wanted to eliminate that girl, Huang Rang, but Sect Leader Xie came to her rescue.”
There was more to Master Xi’s words, and Xie Lingbi naturally understood.
Xie Hongchen would never agree to this.
Xie Lingbi sighed and said, “Hongchen is too lenient.”
Master Xi said, “Indeed. So, is this matter settled?”
Xie Lingbi lifted his tea cup and had a drink, facing Master Xi.
Three days later, on the southern outskirts of the capital, at the Wugu Altar
This place was originally a royal location for praying for a bountiful harvest. A high platform had already been constructed.
Countless people from all walks of life flocked to see the spectacle. Many had been waiting at the site since the news had come out, just to catch a glimpse of Third Dream’s true appearance.
Even people from the immortal sects came out of curiosity.
Miao Yunzhi, He Xijin, Wu Zichou, Zhang Shuju, and others were certain to be present.
In the end, Third Dream saved countless lives from the water and fire. Coming to the scene was a way to support his popularity.
On this day, the procession of Emperor Shi Wenyu’s attendants arrived, and the surrounding area was already packed with spectators.
Bao Wu, accompanied by the White Tiger Bureau’s skilled personnel, patrolled the area.
“Where’s Third Dream?” This was the most common question heard in the crowd.
But no one could provide an answer.
The people around were bustling, and it was truly overwhelming.
When the auspicious moment arrived, Lord Zhuo, the Minister of Rites, personally recited the ceremonial text. He began by praising the wise Emperor and how he had turned adversity into prosperity, guiding the nation through troubled times. Then he enumerated the achievements of the Celestial Court in its four years of existence.
Afterward, he mentioned the personal history of Third Dream.
The common people continued to look around, hoping to catch a glimpse of Third Dream. They were not too concerned with the formalities.
Huang Rang had already changed into a black robe, and she still wore a black veil and hat. Such informal attire was actually quite disrespectful. However, Emperor Shi Wenyu did not seem to mind, and others naturally refrained from commenting.
—Third Dream’s current status allows her to be more relaxed and spontaneous.
The external ritual and commendation reports were very lengthy, and Huang Rang was growing impatient, even feeling like yawning.
Finally, Di Yiqiu came in and said, “Follow me!”
Huang Rang followed him, walking out of the ceremonial curtains erected by the court.
“Here they come! Here they come!” The people outside exclaimed
Huang Rang followed Di Yiqiu step by step, ascending the high platform.
“Is this Third Dream? Why is he covering his face?” someone whispered.
Another person explained, “Over these years,Third Dream has probably faced numerous dangers. It’s better not to reveal his face.”
However, understanding led to doubt: “If he’s covering up so thoroughly, how can we be sure he’s really Mr. Third Dream? Could it be that the court has used his name and arbitrarily grabbed someone to impersonate him?”
Spectators discussed and debated, but Huang Rang finally reached the high platform with Di Yiqiu.
On the high platform, a person was dressed in imperial robes with a crown on his head. Between his brows, there was an imposing aura, and he was none other than Emperor Shi Wenyu.
But when Huang Rang saw him, she nearly tripped over her own robe.
—This man, inexplicably, felt strangely familiar!
And at this moment, Emperor Shi Wenyu spoke, and his words reverberated like thunder in Huang Rang’s ears: “Mr. Third Dream, I’ve heard of you for a long time.”
The familiar tone of his voice made Huang Rang’s right hand instinctively reach into her sleeve and grasp the transparent tea needle!
In her two previous dream encounters on the tower’s rooftop, the man she saw was none other than Emperor Shi Wenyu!
Huang Rang was overwhelmed with too many questions, but this was neither the time nor place for answers. She performed a simple bow to Emperor Shi Wenyu as a form of respect.
Emperor Shi Wenyu, in turn, smiled and praised her, saying, “Mr. Third Dream, you have cultivated Liangmi and grown bitter lotus for the country and the people for over a decade. You have saved our people’s livelihoods and lives during a severe century-long drought. You truly deserve this golden plaque.”
Afterward, he waved his hand, and someone brought forth a golden plaque with the words “Celestial Court” engraved on it, shining brilliantly.
Huang Rang offered her respects once more, her mind in a state of confusion. What was peculiar about this Emperor? How had he led her into these bizarre dreams?
Lost in her thoughts, she was suddenly alerted by the sound of a sword cutting through the air behind her!
Bao Wu, the deputy chief of the White Tiger Bureau, charged toward them. Huang Rang turned to face the attacker, blocking the oncoming strike with her own sword. Both she and the assailant were left momentarily stupefied.
The sword Huang Rang wielded was none other than the supreme sword technique of the Yuhu Immortal Sect.
The assailant’s sword, in contrast, was rather ordinary.
After a moment of surprise, they engaged in swift combat, and Huang Rang quickly recognized her opponent’s style—Xie Lingbi!
She knew this man far too well.
Indeed, Xie Lingbi engaged in a clash with her for thirty exchanges, and his shock mirrored hers.
This “Mr. Third Dream” was not only proficient in the Yuhu Immortal Sect’s supreme techniques but also displayed an uncanny familiarity with his own sword techniques.
Xie Lingbi even began to suspect that this person had seen through his true identity!
The spectators below were already in an uproar, and the court’s guards had tightly encircled the assailant.
Emperor Shi Wenyu withdrew to the side, watching the scene unfold with calm interest.
Xie Lingbi, locked in a long-lasting battle, started to break into a cold sweat. Without the Heart Sword technique, his ordinary weapons were simply no match for Huang Rang’s Heart Sword.
However, if he summoned the Heart Sword, his true identity would undoubtedly be exposed. Of course, he had another option!
With a fierce shout, his body transformed into a mass of black clouds. Inside the clouds, countless grotesque skulls and bared fangs were visible, appearing terrifying and sinister!
The Demonic scripture!
He finally unveiled this sinister technique!
The shockwave from him struck Huang Rang, sending her staggering backward. Skulls from the black clouds lunged at her, breaking through her sword’s defenses. In the midst of their biting attack, Huang Rang’s black veil and hat shattered!
Her long hair flowed freely, revealing her smooth face underneath.
The spectators gasped in amazement as Huang Rang had no time to conceal her face.
She fought back with her sword, but the number of skeletons formed by the black mist kept increasing. Even so, she could clearly sense that Xie Lingbi’s Demonic Scripture had far less power compared to what she had seen outside the dream.
Why was there such a significant difference?
Was it because he had not taken possession of Xie Hongchen’s body in the dream realm?
Huang Rang couldn’t fathom it, but she didn’t have the luxury of time to ponder.
Her knowledge of the Demonic Scripture was extremely limited.
She fought desperately until Bao Wu came to her rescue. Together, they eased the pressure.
At this moment, the chief took out a bow and a golden arrow from his storage treasure.
He drew the bowstring and aimed at Xie Lingbi, releasing an arrow that broke through the clouds with a sound like a silver bottle shattering. The golden arrow pierced through the darkness, dispersing the radiance.
The black skeletons were scalded by the arrow, and they let out piercing cries.
Indeed, the power of this demonic technique is much weaker now.
At least outside the dream realm, Di Yiqiu had no artifacts to deal with him.
Huang Rang was perplexed, and Xie Lingbi, who stood before her, had suffered enough and was no longer interested in a prolonged battle. He instead attempted to break free. Just at that moment, He Xijin, Wu Zichou, Zhang Shuju, and others had already gathered around.
In no time, he found himself trapped.
Xie Lingbi turned to glance at Emperor Shi Wenyu, not too far away. Suddenly, he roared loudly, and the black skeletons rapidly scattered, forming into groups of ghostly fires!
These ghostly fires scattered in all directions, rushing towards the onlookers.
The crowd had no choice but to form a protective formation to safeguard the common people.
Xie Lingbi managed to break through the blockade and escape.
At this moment, someone in the crowd angrily shouted, “Huang Rang! How dare you impersonate Third Dream and deceive the court?!”
The people, still shaken from the chaos, finally started to react to this furious cry and began examining the real face of Third Dream.
Huang Rang stood at the edge of the high platform, dressed in a black robe, her long hair cascading down to her waist. Even He Xijin and the others were left in a daze for a while. After a long moment, Miao Yunzhi exclaimed, “You audacious girl! You have some nerve to impersonate a great sage!”
Huang Rang had no idea how many times she had cursed Xie Lingbi.
“If there’s a Fourth Dream, I’ll dig up your ancestors’ graves!”
She looked at He Xijin, mustered a reluctant smile, and said, “Uncle, in fact, I am the Third Dream.”
He Xijin hadn’t recovered from his shock. In the midst of the crowd, old Master Xi led a group of elders from various earth elemental families and approached.
“So, you claim to be Third Dream?” Old Master Xi’s expression was cold, and he sneered, “You’re making a preposterous claim!”
Other clan leaders and elders joined in the mockery.
Huang Shiyi said, “I don’t believe it. In my opinion, the Celestial Court couldn’t find the real Third Dream, so they had to resort to using a girl to claim false credit with Emperor His Majesty, right?”
Sha Jingyuan also turned to the crowd and said, “Don’t be deceived by this girl. Third Dream appeared eighteen years ago, and she is so young now. Does it make sense that she could have bred renowned crops for you back then, as a child of a few years old?”
The onlookers remained silent because they couldn’t be entirely sure.
Old Master Xi aimed his words straight at Huang Rang, saying, “The charade has been exposed. Are you not going to apologize to His Majesty?”
Huang Rang looked at these people and thought, “You people have truly tested all of my patience.”
She stood tall, scanning the crowd, and spoke resolutely, “Ladies and gentlemen, I am indeed Third Dream. Eighteen years ago, I came to the capital and joined the Celestial Court’s Breeding Institute. Witnessing the suffering of the common people and the reluctance of the aristocracy to share their crops with the commoners, I had a moment of inspiration. I assumed the identity of Third Dream to cultivate excellent crops.”
Her voice was steady, and someone from the crowd asked, “Do you have any proof?”
This person had voiced the most pressing question on everyone’s mind, and all eyes turned toward Huang Rang.
She walked up to Di Yiqiu and reached for a pencil at his waist. With bold steps, she moved to the high platform and drew something on the white curtain at random.
Zong Zigui approached her and stared at it for a while before saying, “This, this is the seal of the Third Dream!”
The seal often served as a marker for a breeding master.
The crowd remained skeptical. Those who were closer examined it, and after a while, someone said, “I’ve used seeds from the Third Dream, and this is indeed his seal!”
Such voices multiplied, and now the audience’s gaze toward the beautiful lady on the stage has turned complex.
Huang Rang took an item from her storage treasure and unfolded it, saying, “This is the deed to an old property in the capital, and it has been recorded since eighteen years ago.”
The crowd became even more restless upon seeing the property deed.
Huang Rang looked at the crowd and continued, “Ladies and gentlemen, the Third Dream is both me and not me. It is the result of the teachings from my elders, the sense of justice in the martial world, the suffering of the common people, and the well-being of the Emperor and the country. For many years, the earth spirit families have taken pride in keeping their excellent crops within their ranks and not sharing them with the commoners. But today, I will join the Celestial Court to break this old tradition.”
The crowd was momentarily stunned, and then they quickly understood the implications of her words.
In an instant, cheers erupted like a mountain thundering and an ocean roaring.
Huang Rang watched the excited crowd and couldn’t help but feel a sense of impending doom.
Enjoy being surrounded by cheers now, because when she returns home, she might be in for a severe beating.