Huang Rang is not completely ignorant when it comes to cultivating martial arts.
In the past, she had a detailed understanding of foundation building and body refinement in order to cultivate Xie Jiu’er. However, most of her dowry was spent on Xie Jiu’er, but now she can take out that money in advance to enrich herself.
If her memory serves her right, she will meet Xie Hongchen in the fifth year of Chengyuan. Time is pressing, and she hopes there is still time.
Huang Rang doesn’t want to waste a moment of her time. Naturally, she cannot personally take care of breeding good strains anymore.
Breeding is a laborious task, and she used to spend a lot of time and energy on the farmland. But fortunately, Dai Yue grew up with her and is not completely ignorant of breeding. This girl’s knowledge and insights are quite extensive. Occasionally, when she mentions some seeds, she can provide some reasonable explanations.
The only flaw is that she is not a native earth spirit.
But… this might actually be better.
These days, Huang Rang has been in seclusion, focusing on cultivation.
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Pyk Zwl blpkvyvle, vbld pyke yqvla y obkzl, “Mbld R ypjle vblx vs zlyhl vbl tkqvp clbkde.”
Huang Rang responded with an “Mm” and glanced up, inadvertently catching sight of a pearl rope tied in Dai Yue’s hair. The intricately woven pearl rope had full coral beads, as red as cow’s blood. Just by looking at it, one could tell it was quite valuable.
—She had seen this thing before!
Wasn’t it seen before?
Right before she fell asleep on the White Bone Cliff. When Di Yiqiu came to see her, he gave each of the medical female disciples inside one of these pearl ropes!
This person is really…
“Hah!” Huang Rang sneered, suddenly feeling that the pearl rope was very eye-catching. Unexpectedly, she didn’t have it outside the dream, and she didn’t have it inside the dream either!
Seeing Huang Rang staring at the hair accessory, Dai Yue became somewhat flustered. “Miss Ten…?”
“It’s nothing. You may leave.” Huang Rang dismissed the matter for now. The most urgent task was still to strive in martial arts. She didn’t have the ability to focus on two things at once.
Three months flew by like running water.
The seeds in the flowerpot grew rapidly and eventually produced clusters of pale red grains. There were a total of twelve clusters, with each grain plump and the leaves lush. Moreover, the entire soil was never watered throughout the process.
Di Yiqiu looked at the plants in the pot, shocked. Li Lu and Bao Wu were equally speechless.
—Only three months. This Dai Yue actually cultivated such a perfect strain.
“Dai Yue is truly remarkable!” Bao Wu praised.
Even Li Lu said, “Miss, your cleverness is truly admirable.”
Dai Yue blushed a little. With eager anticipation, she looked at Di Yiqiu. Di Yiqiu picked off the grain clusters from the flowerpot and crushed them in his palm. The surface of the seeds was rough, but the flesh inside was exceptionally thick.
He said, “I’ve rented a good plot of land outside the town. Dai Yue, how about trying to cultivate there?”
Dai Yue couldn’t believe her eyes.
It was impossible for her to own her own farmland with the Huang family. All of Huang’s farmland was previously allocated to the children by Huang Shu and then leased to the tenants of Xiancha Town by them.
They had the final say on what to plant each year.
Later on, Huang Shu became disillusioned, and Huang Rang took charge of the family business. She allocated these farmlands to the young masters of the family. How could Dai Yue, a mere maid, have a share?
She could only accompany Huang Rang and assist her in managing the tenants and doing miscellaneous tasks.
But now, Di Yiqiu has actually allowed her to try cultivating on her own.
Dai Yue was pleasantly surprised and said, “But… but Master of the Household…”
Di Yiqiu considerately said, “I will make arrangements; don’t worry.”
Dai Yue’s breath became rapid, and after a while, she said, “Okay… I’ll follow Your Highness’s instructions.”
Di Yiqiu gently said, “In the future, you don’t have to address me as Your Highness.”
He was a young and handsome prince with such a clear temperament that Dai Yue couldn’t help but blush and lower her head. After a while, she asked softly, “Then, how should I address you? I heard Miss Ten… calling you Lord Chief.”
Di Yiqiu smiled and said, “You can call me that for now.”
Dai Yue gathered her courage and asked, “Is it alright if I call you Lord Qiu?”
“Of course,” Di Yiqiu responded warmly, seeming ready to grant any request.
Indeed, he had rented a large piece of farmland beside Xiancha Town.
Dai Yue looked at that piece of land, and her heart was pounding.
—So much land, even more than the farmland Huang Rang had. If it all belonged to her… Dai Yue’s heart started beating faster.
This time, she didn’t inform Huang Rang about the trial farming.
“Miss Ten is too busy, and I don’t want to bother her with these things. Besides, I’ve been helping her with many tasks over the years. I can handle the trial farming myself.” She silently told herself.
Meanwhile, Huang Rang’s method of using acupuncture to stimulate her acupoints was no longer effective.
After all, she was a grown woman. What would she look like with blue and purple marks on her legs?
She could only grab a spirited little caterpillar and place it by her side. The caterpillar’s radiant glow immediately caught her attention and invigorated her. Whenever Huang Rang couldn’t sit still, she would reach out and cup it in her hand. But as soon as it gave her a gentle zap, Huang Rang would immediately jump up, performing an impromptu “hot hand dance.” The sensation was truly indescribable and could only be understood by experiencing it firsthand.
Huang Rang relied on it to read through the foundational cultivation books, cursing as she read—martial arts were truly not meant for ordinary people. Xie Jiu’er must have had a difficult time back then.
God, if she couldn’t learn it again, then the firefly should learn it instead…
Outside Xiancha Town.
Dai Yue started the trial farming, leading the tenants and instructing them to sow the seeds.
Huang Rang’s siblings, of course, knew about this. Seeing that Di Yiqiu accompanied this little maid every day, naturally, the others were quite displeased. So there were often people secretly causing trouble.
This caused Di Yiqiu to lose all goodwill towards the Huang family.
Thanks to Di Yiqiu’s protection, Dai Yue was able to successfully start the farm. As she saw the seeds sprouting, Di Yiqiu immediately realized something was wrong—the sprouts were weaker compared to those in the flowerpot.
He noticed, and naturally, Dai Yue noticed too.
She felt panicked but couldn’t mention Huang Rang’s matters at this moment. One lie required countless more lies to cover it up. She could only say, “Perhaps the good strain is still unstable. Let me study it for a few more days.”
Di Yiqiu wasn’t surprised; the cultivation of a good strain was never smooth sailing. He had been surprised that Dai Yue produced the seedlings so quickly. Now that there was a problem, it was actually expected.
Thus, he consoled her, saying, “Miss Dai Yue, no need to be overly anxious. It’s not surprising that the first farming attempt encounters difficulties. With your intelligence, you will surely succeed.”
Dai Yue nodded but was absent-minded.
After bidding farewell to Di Yiqiu, she hurried back to the small courtyard and immediately went to find Huang Rang.
When Huang Rang saw her, she asked, “Are you ready to start farming?”
Dai Yue was momentarily stunned. Her thoughts turned quickly, and she said, “Miss Ten, it’s all my fault.” As she spoke, she knelt in front of Huang Rang. Huang Rang stared at her for a while and said, “Did you start farming on your own?”
Dai Yue’s heart skipped a beat, and she had to find a reason. She said, “Lord Qiu couldn’t wait and urged me to start farming. I wanted to come back and report to Miss Ten, but…”
Huang Rang didn’t let her finish. She wasn’t interested in the process. She said, “The seedlings are weak. Even though they can survive without water, they won’t bear fruit.”
Dai Yue looked shocked. “How did Miss Ten know?”
Huang Rang naturally knew. How many renowned experts had been baffled by the cultivation of Liangmi? She had experimented countless times, even having more than 1,800 pots of seedlings at one point. She said, “Come, let’s go to the field and have a look.”
Hearing that she wanted to go personally, Dai Yue immediately became flustered and said, “Miss Ten, are you going now?”
Huang Rang found it strange: “Can’t I go?”
Dai Yue hurriedly said, “No, it’s just…” At this point, she couldn’t hide it any longer and had to say, “Lord Qiu rented a piece of farmland north of Xiancha Town. I… we’re farming there.”
Huang Rang was always astute—an all-around schemer. How could she not figure out the underlying meaning? She said, “It seems that Lord Chief wants to secure a family business for you.”
Dai Yue repeatedly kowtowed, “Dai Yue dare not. I know this originally belonged to Miss Ten. Even if it ends up in my hands, it still belongs to Miss Ten.”
“You said it well.” Huang Rang patted her head. “Get up; lead me to have a look.”
Dai Yue had no choice but to lead Huang Rang and go all the way to the north of Xiancha Town.
Sure enough, good fields had long been prepared there. Huang Rang inspected the farmland and saw that the seedlings were yellow and weak, unable to stand upright. She had to prepare a prescription to adjust the soil. This soil adjustment involved changing the composition and properties of the soil.
It required an earth spirit.
Huang Rang instructed all the tenants to leave the farmland, and then she transformed into her true form. The golden soil was scattered like powder, floating and fluttering down like falling petals. The entire land was instantly infused with golden light, warm and reminiscent of the autumn harvest. The golden sand moved through the entire farmland, countless soil particles vibrating and converging towards her.
Dai Yue stood
at the edge of the field, her heart filled with mixed emotions. She could no longer do this. Even if she wanted to cultivate in the future, she would need the assistance of an earth spirit. She suddenly realized that this might be the reason why Huang Rang could entrust the seedlings to her without any worries.
Because she could never replace her.
Over the years, she had served Huang Rang. She knew too well how Huang Rang gradually took control of the Huang family.
Huang Rang was not as pure and flawless as she appeared. On the contrary, she was skilled in calculations and always strategic. As gentle as she seemed on the surface, she was equally ruthless behind the scenes.
Dai Yue bit her lip, and after a long time, Huang Rang finally finished adjusting the soil.
A golden soil recondensed at the edge of the field, gradually transforming into a vibrant color. Huang Rang tidied her clothes and hair while saying, “Alright, let the tenants upright the seedlings again.”
Indeed, when she adjusted the soil earlier, the seedlings in the ground had been disheveled.
Dai Yue quickly acknowledged, and Huang Rang then left.
The next day, when Di Yiqiu, Li Lu, and Bao Wu came to inspect the field again, the seedlings had regained their vitality.
“It’s truly miraculous,” Li Lu exclaimed in admiration.
When Dai Yue saw Di Yiqiu, she instinctively ran over, wearing a smile on her face. She said, “Lord Chief, I didn’t sleep all night, but I finally adjusted the soil again. As expected, the seedlings have recovered.”
Di Yiqiu scanned the entire field, nodding slightly and saying, “Dai Yue is truly an extraordinary woman.”
For the first time, he didn’t call her Miss Dai Yue.
Dai Yue’s heart was intoxicated, her face blushing, and she said, “I… I’m glad that I could ease your worries, Lord Qiu. Dai Yue is… exceptionally happy.”
Li Lu took a look and thought, “If they’re already talking like this, it’s not appropriate for the two of us to be here.” He said, “Lord, Bao Wu and I will help the tenants with some work.”
Di Yiqiu hummed in agreement, while Bao Wu was still bewildered—We’re going to work?!
Li Lu pulled him away and left.
In the latter half of the year, a grain seed called Liang Mi emerged. It was extremely drought-resistant, able to grow and bear fruit even without a water source. Its leaves were lush, and it had excellent water storage capabilities.
In the second year of Chengyuan, the Celestial Court distributed the seeds, requiring all citizens to plant them.
Of course, things weren’t so smooth.
After the citizens planted Liangmi, they quickly harvested it, and the Huang family received an earful of criticism.
—This thing is just too unappetizing!
Although Huang Shu received the money, he wouldn’t cover up for Dai Yue! Without hesitation, he pushed the blame onto her, making it known to all that this cursed Liangmi came from the hands of Dai Yue.
Dai Yue didn’t have many joyful days before she found herself in an awkward situation, being blamed by the world. Fortunately, Celestial Court sent people to protect her, allowing her to continue living with the Huang family. Huang Shu was dissatisfied and frequently scolded her.
But fortunately, a severe drought soon arrived.
Rivers dried up, and the land turned barren for miles.
Other crops gradually withered, and the people couldn’t even find bark or grass roots. But Liangmi survived. It had low and robust plants, with thick leaves and roots. The people were desperate with thirst, and they discovered that chewing its roots and leaves could quench their thirst.
Although the taste was truly awful, in order to survive, who cared about such things?!
For a while, the curses ceased, replaced by praise.
Dai Yue’s name turned from misfortune to fortune, becoming known to everyone!
Meanwhile, Huang Rang continued her cultivation.
The world’s affairs were shut out. For the common people, this was a matter of livelihood. But to her, it was ultimately just a dream. When the good dream ended, the world would awaken, and she alone would be plunged back into the abyss.
Her time was so precious, and she had no mind to do anything with Liangmi…
Until this day, when Di Yiqiu came to Huang’s family to propose marriage!
T/N: Liangmi is a type of grain