In the main hall, Huang Rang walked to the center and bowed to Huang Shu.
Huang Shu had a yellow complexion with a touch of black, but he had a very robust physique. Even when dressed in luxurious clothing, he lacked elegance. Upon seeing Huang Rang, he was somewhat pleased and said, “Ah Rang, why haven’t you paid your respects to His Excellency the Eighty-Sixth Prince?”
He thought that addressing him as “His Excellency” was a flattering remark, but he failed to notice the slight frown on Di Yiqiu’s face.
The current Emperor had many children under his name, but in order to prevent them from vying for the throne, he expelled all of them from the imperial family, forcing them to change their names and surnames. The current Di Yiqiu, although he is his son in reality, no longer holds the status of being his son.
Huang Rang believed that the identity of a prince might not bring much glory to Di Yiqiu.
She smiled lightly and walked gracefully in front of Di Yiqiu, bowing, “I, Huang Rang, pay my respects to the Lord.”
A commoner paying respects to a member of the royal family should perform a grand ceremony, but she performed the ceremony of a daughter. The ceremony of a daughter was gentle and elegant in style. Huang Ran had a delicate figure, and when she gracefully bowed, it was as if a gentle breeze was supporting a willow tree or delicate leaves were concealing flowers.
Because of her graceful demeanor, no one had ever found fault with her in these years.
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As expected, Di Yiqiu’s smile became very forced.
Huang Rang took over the conversation and said, “All things grow by following their own path. Even the most drought-resistant seeds will find it extremely difficult to grow in barren lands stretching for miles. Lord Chief, your request for these drought-resistant seeds may not be easy.”
Her address as “Lord Chief” had somewhat pleased him. Di Yiqiu clearly preferred talking to her. He said, “Precisely because it’s not easy, I have been searching for renowned experts in breeding. I have heard that the Huang family in Xiancha Town is skilled in breeding. Can’t we give it a try?”
At this moment, Huang Shu hurriedly said, “Of course we should try. Ah Rang, put aside everything else in your hands these days. Focus on cultivating this drought-resistant variant for His Excellency the Eighty-Sixth Prince!”
As he spoke, his tone became more serious. Huang Rang knew her father’s temperament and immediately said, “Daughter will obey.”
Huang Shu then smiled and said, “Rest assured, Your Excellency the Eighty-Sixth Prince. The Huang family will do their utmost to alleviate Your Excellency’s worries.”
He addressed him as “Your Excellency” repeatedly, while Di Yiqiu remained patient. He said, “Then I will trouble Miss Ah Rang. I will come again in ten days.”
After saying that, he stood up and left.
Huang Shu accompanied him to the door, watching him mount his horse and depart before turning back and saying, “Listen, the court has promised a substantial reward this time. No matter what, we cannot fail!”
Huang Rang’s face was full of smiles as she replied, “Earlier, I spoke of the difficulties just to let His Excellency know the hardships my father faces. After all, the entire Huang family relies solely on my father’s support. As a daughter, seeing my father work so hard, how could I not share his worries?”
Her appearance was unparalleled; her voice was sweet and gentle; and her words were pleasing to the ear. Naturally, Huang Shu’s anger subsided. He held Huang Rang’s hand, gave it a gentle pat, and said, “Among all my children, you are the most sensible.”
Huang Rang assisted him back to the inner room, where his two concubines were already waiting. When they saw him enter, the two concubines hurriedly approached, helping him remove his outer robe and assist him in sitting on the reclining chair. One concubine took off his shoes and began massaging his feet.
With a raised hand, a maidservant brought a tobacco pipe to Huang Rang. Skillfully rolling tobacco leaves made from spiritual herbs, she said, “Daughter will roll the tobacco for Father to smoke.”
Huang Shu nodded in satisfaction and said, “Ah Rang, you understand Father’s thoughts the best.”
Huang Rang quickly rolled the tobacco and handed the pipe to him. Huang Shu took a few puffs, and his two beloved concubines started massaging his legs and shoulders. Before long, Huang Shu seemed immersed in a cloud of mist. He closed his eyes, completely relaxed.
Huang Rang quietly got up and left the inner room without making a sound.
Di Yiqiu, Li Lu, and Bao Wu rode on their horses. The spring weather was beautiful, and everything was budding.
Bao Wu said, “That old Huang Shu—listening to him talk is like carrying a load of manure into the city—it stinks.”
Li Lu chuckled and said, “His daughter, on the other hand, is quite good. She is gentle and well-mannered, and her watery eyes are captivating.”
Di Yiqiu didn’t participate in such conversations. He simply said, “It is said that the Huang family is renowned for breeding excellent varieties, but when I look at Huang Shu, his eyes reveal wickedness, his body is weak, and he lacks intelligence. He doesn’t seem like a truly talented person.”
Being young in age, Li Lu naturally took care of him more and explained, “In these years, the Huang family has indeed cultivated many famous breeds. Perhaps there are other talented individuals within the family, but their achievements have been overshadowed by him, so their reputation isn’t prominent. Let’s see what he has to say in a few days.”
Di Yiqiu made a sound of agreement. Seeing a villager passing by the road, he dismounted and stopped the villager, asking, “It is said that the Huang family excels in breeding exceptional varieties. Is this true?”
The villager glanced at him and cursed, “Who are you? Can’t you understand the principle of a good dog not blocking the way?”
Before he could finish his sentence, Li Lu had caught up and swiftly handed him a small piece of silver. The villager glanced at the silver ingot and immediately changed his tune, saying, “Hey, I, a lowly person, was blocking the way of the official. I apologize, honorable sir. The Huang family indeed excels in breeding exceptional varieties, but the master of that family, Huang Shu, is just good for nothing. If you want to breed, you should seek out Miss Huang, the tenth young lady. Hehe.”
After taking the silver, he swiftly ran off.
The Huang family… the tenth young lady?
Di Yiqiu pondered. Li Lu asked, “Huang Rang?”
The three of them looked at each other in silence for a long time.
They continued to ask several more people, and the responses were all similar.
And at Huang Rang’s small courtyard in the Huang family.
After a while, a dozen villagers came running, but they didn’t enter the courtyard. They stood at the gate. Huang Rang looked at these people, stunned for a while before she remembered—back then, it seemed she had secretly given good varieties to many villagers in the town, and whenever someone asked, she would discreetly boast about herself.
So these people were actually her… connections.
“Hehe, Miss Huang,” the villagers flattered with smug smiles. “You entrusted us with a task, and we have completed it perfectly. You can rest assured, there hasn’t been a single flaw!”
Huang Shu never allowed his children to make a name for themselves. Only in this way could he take credit for all of the Huang family’s achievements. And these children, who were lacking in accomplishments, would be more obedient under his control.
Young Huang Rang came up with this trick back then.
For the villagers, the good varieties she provided were lifesaving resources. But for her, it was just a small leak from her hands. She was truly clever back then! Huang Rang sighed and said, “I will personally distribute this year’s good varieties to each of you.”
The dozen villagers became ecstatic, expressing their thanks repeatedly, and happily departed.
In Xiancha Town, Di Yiqiu asked numerous villagers and indeed received the same result.
That day, he remembered one name—Miss Huang Rang, the tenth young lady.
Once all the villagers had left, Huang Rang returned to the courtyard.
She raised her hand and touched the tea needle at her temple. Only this object reminded her that it was all just a dream. She began to understand somewhat, as if everyone had entered her dream and accompanied her back to the early years of Chengyuan. Throughout the entire dream, she was the only one who remained awake. Others would only have memories after waking up from the dream.
If that’s the case… Huang Rang gently stroked the tea needle between her temples with a graceful demeanor. Xie Lingbi, I will offer you another pleasant surprise!
“Miss!” Beside her, Dai Yue looked worried. “You were laughing in such a terrifying manner just now.”
“Is that so?” Huang Rang turned to look at her, paused for a moment, and suddenly asked, “Dai Yue, do you want to become famous throughout the world?”
Dai Yue was a pitiful child. Her mother was a mortal woman and a servant of the Huang family. One day, Huang Shu invited a few minor spirits to drink, and his mischievous friends were naturally up to no good.
Those minor spirits encountered the servant girl while in the backyard and defiled her. Soon after, that servant girl gave birth to Dai Yue.
Daiyue was born as a half-human, half-spirit with two fox ears on her head. Everyone teased that her father must have been a male fox spirit.
Of course, the male fox spirit would never acknowledge her. Her mother soon fell ill and died. Dai Yue was beautiful, and if she wanted to serve Huang Shu, it wouldn’t be difficult for her to become a concubine in the Huang family.
However, she often appeared downtrodden and didn’t flaunt her beauty.
Huang Rang needed a maid in her courtyard, so Dai Yue actively demonstrated her abilities and competed diligently. Huang Rang liked that she kept a low profile and was efficient, so she accepted her. Once she was by Huang Rang’s side, there were no more filthy people coveting her. Otherwise, she would likely have the same fate as her mother.
Thus, Dai Yue served Huang Rang wholeheartedly, to the point where Huang Rang didn’t avoid her in anything she did.
As time went on, she became Huang Rang’s confidante.
But later… oh, later, Huang Rang became involved with Xie Hongchen and wanted to marry into the Yuhu Immortal Sect.
However, Xie Hongchen wasn’t blinded by love. He conducted a detailed investigation into Huang Ran, with Dai Yue, her personal maid, playing the biggest role. The condition was that Xie Hongchen would take her away from the Huang family, free her from slavery, and allow her to join the immortal sect.
In this tempting condition, Dai Yue spilled all of Huang Rang’s secrets. Of course, to prevent Huang Rang from retaliating if she found out, she embellished some details, telling seven parts of the truth and hiding three parts.
Originally, she thought it would be impossible for Huang Rang to marry Xie Hongchen, no matter what. Who knew that Huang Rang would still succeed in marrying him? For a while, Dai Yue was very anxious, but fortunately, Xie Hongchen was trustworthy. After confirming from multiple sources, he indeed redeemed her from the Huang family, freeing her from slavery, and recommended she join the Illusory Butterfly Sect.
Initially, Dai Yue was constantly fearful and uneasy, afraid of Huang Rang’s retaliation. However, Huang Rang never made a move, and the two never saw each other again.
With Xie Hongchen’s recommendation and her previous position as Lady Xie’s personal maid, Dai Yue had a decent life in the Illusory Butterfly Sect. It was heard that she even married into a wealthy and prestigious family.
—After all, Lady Xie’s virtue and reputation were well known in the immortal sect. Naturally, her personal maid wouldn’t be lacking.
And many years later, Huang Rang saw her again. Time truly couldn’t be reversed, otherwise, many words would sound ridiculous.
For example, now Dai Yue appeared hesitant and said, “Miss, you’re mocking me again. I am just a maid serving you. How could I dare to think of becoming famous throughout the world?”
Huang Rang didn’t mind and said, “Now, you can think about it.” She paused for a moment and suddenly said, “In ten days, you will be responsible for receiving the Eight… Eight… Eighty-somethingth Prince, right?”
Dai Yue looked helpless and said, “The Eighty-Sixth Prince.”
“Yes,” Huang Rang said, recalling the order and finding it amusing. She said, “I’m already thinking of congratulating you in advance.”
Huang Rang was well aware of the sensational events regarding Lian Mi ( drought resistant seed). Now she was passing that responsibility to Dai Yue, naturally handing over the fame and fortune. Dai Yue was naturally puzzled and asked, “Me, me? Can I do it, Miss?”
Huang Rang said, “I have a way to make it work.”
Dai Yue asked, “Miss, what about you? What are you going to do?”
Huang Rang carefully examined her delicate hands and said, “I, myself, am going to cultivate the martial path.”
“What, what?!” Dai Yue widened her eyes, as if she had heard something incredibly shocking.
But from that day on, Huang Rang really started to cultivate the martial path.
She used her savings to buy many elixirs and began to temper her physique, laying the foundation for her path of martial cultivation.
Dai Yue looked at her as if she had seen a ghost.
—When did the Tenth Young Lady ever show interest in these things?
The agreed-upon ten-day period set by Di Yiqiu quickly arrived.
Huang Rang had previously cultivated the Lian Mi, so cultivating it again was effortless for her. She handed the flower pot to Dai Yue and whispered a few words to her. Dai Yue remained uneasy, but Huang Rang impatiently said, “Leave immediately and don’t disturb my practice.”
Helpless, Dai Yue had no choice but to carry the flower pot and leave.
Di Yiqiu arrived at the Huang family but did not go to see Huang Shu; he truly disliked the man.
He went straight to Huang Rang’s small courtyard. It was evident that the impression left on him by the previous batch of “protégés” that Huang Rang had invited was quite deep.
However, as soon as he entered the courtyard, he saw a maid squatting in a corner in front of a flower pot. He walked over and suddenly noticed that the soil in the pot had dried up and formed clumps, but a small green sprout had emerged from the soil.
“What is this?” Di Yiqiu suddenly spoke. Of course, that maid was Dai Yue. She was startled, and she looked up to see him. She quickly knelt down and said, “Dai Yue pays respects to Your Highness.”
“Your Highness” again… Di Yiqiu frowned. Why did people like this title so much? But he didn’t intend to argue with a woman. He simply asked again, “What is this?”
“Ah… This!” Dai Yue remembered what her Tenth Young Lady had told her and hurriedly said, “In response to Your Highness, this is… a grain variant cultivated by Dai Yue. After hearing the words of the Chief last time, Dai Yue… secretly cultivated one.”
“You?” Di Yiqiu moved the flower pot in front of him. He saw that the soil in the pot was clumpy and cracked, devoid of moisture. But the small sprout was lush and vibrant. He said, “Even a maid from the Huang family has this ability. It seems that I underestimated Huang Shu.”
Dai Yue blushed with embarrassment at receiving affirmation for the first time in her life. “Your Highness overpraises me. I have simply been following the Tenth Young Lady since I was young, learning a bit along the way.”
Di Yiqiu nodded and said, “You cultivated this yourself. Does your Tenth Young Lady know about it?”
After a momentary hesitation, Dai Yue replied, “Tenth Young Lady… she doesn’t know.”
Di Yiqiu nodded and said, “Then continue cultivating it on your own. I will be staying in Xiancha Town for the next few days. If you need anything, send someone to inform me.”
Dai Yue raised her head slightly and met Di Yi Qiu’s gaze. Her heart trembled, and she felt lightheaded. For the first time in her life, she was being spoken to by such a handsome and noble figure. Moreover, he spoke with such kindness, warmth, and familiarity.
“I… I’m… alright,” she stammered in a state of panic.
Di Yiqiu didn’t see Huang Rang again. He walked out of the courtyard, where Li Lu and Bao Wu approached him. Li Lu asked, “Why didn’t you meet with Miss Huang again, Chief?”
“No need.” Di Yiqiu recalled what had just happened and said, “Perhaps the maid named Dai Yue, who is by Miss Huang’s side, is the one with true talent in the Huang family. To be able to produce such a fine breed within ten days of our request, she is remarkable.”
Li Lu glanced at the courtyard and said, “But if we’re talking about appearance, the Chief should prefer Miss Huang’s style. I thought the Chief would meet with her.”
Di Yiqiu gave him a quick glance, and Li Lu immediately bowed, saying, “I spoke out of turn; my apologies.” As he spoke, he pretended to slap himself.
Of course, Huang Rang didn’t intend to meet with Di Yiqiu either. She was diligently studying.
“What the hell is this writing?” Huang Rang scratched her head in frustration. She felt like sleeping after just flipping through a few pages of the book. But the Tenth Young Lady was a strict person. She took off the tea needle from her head and pricked her thigh with it, instantly revitalizing herself.
— Hanging by a beam and pricking the thigh with a needle—that’s all there is to it.
Xie Lingbi, you just have to wait and see.