After that incident, Huang Rang never saw Di Yiqiu again.
As time passed, nearing the end of the fifth lunar month, she finally handed over the double snake fruit tree seedlings. Though she handed over quite a few plants, Shi Wenyu did not summon her. Instead, he ordered Fu Gonggong to escort her back to the town of Xiancha.
On the day Huang Rang left, the weather was sunny. The golden sunlight draped the entire palace like a veil. Fu Gonggong led her and Dai Yue through the palace path.
Standing in a distant attic, there was a figure.
Huang Rang knew who it was, but she didn’t lift her head to look. Instead, she intentionally slowed her pace, taking a long time to walk through this section of the path. This world was filled with decadence, and time seemed to stretch endlessly. There were nights without stars or moons.
And those who walked alone through the night could only be strong.
Far away, on Wenjing Pavilion, Di Yiqiu leaned against the railing, looking this way.
He wore a black robe, large and hooded, completely enveloping him. He hid behind this darkness, resembling a creature that couldn’t bear the light.
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Di Yiqiu gazed at him, hoping to see a hint of fatherly compassion on his face. But there was none.
“Father,” Di Yiqiu regained this term of address and asked, “Have you ever looked at any of the people who died in the Yuanrong Tower? They are all your own flesh and blood. Have you ever thought about any one of them?”
Shi Wenyu didn’t look at him but said, “My tears of blood have already been shed for the world.”
So, you haven’t.
Di Yiqiu lowered his gaze, and Shi Wenyu said, “You will come to understand sooner or later that I am right. If the court cannot control the Immortal Sect, we must have the strength to confront them. Otherwise, how can we stabilize the nation? Rest well, for yourself and for the welfare of the people.”
Having said that, he turned and left.
Di Yiqiu silently watched as the spring chill approached. He began to cough severely. The blood toxin flared up again, and his entire body was wracked with pain, like being bitten by countless ants or engulfed in raging flames.
He leaned against the railing, sitting on the ground, silently curling up into a dark shadow.
When Huang Rang returned to the Huang family with Dai Yue, coincidentally, Shi Wenyu’s reward arrived before her. Huang Shu welcomed her with a smile, saying, “My clever daughter is exceptional. The rewards from His Majesty have arrived even before you came back.”
Huang Rang knew his temperament very well. She immediately bowed gracefully to Huang Shu and said, “What ability does a daughter have? It’s all thanks to Father’s excellent guidance.”
Huang Shu chuckled and said, “These past two years, my daughter has let Dai Yue take credit for her breeding achievements. It’s quite surprising. So, my daughter has such remarkable skills. Now that you have turned the tide, His Majesty and the 86th Prince must be very satisfied, right?”
On the side, Dai Yue lowered her head, seeming to understand something, her eyes filled with resentment.
For five years, Huang Rang made her famous, only to use her as a stepping stone? But if she thought about it carefully, it was quite possible. Huang Rang was always someone who valued fame and fortune. How could she be so kind as to give her an advantage for nothing?
So, she was actually waiting for her to make a fool of herself in public?
She gritted her teeth inwardly.
Huang Shu continued, “Well, has the 86th Prince asked His Majesty to approve the marriage yet?”
Huang Rang linked her arm with his, and even though she felt repulsed inside, her face displayed a sweet and gentle smile. “With Father’s wisdom, why bother caring about the insignificant Xiancha Town? Ah Rang is her father’s daughter and naturally has ambitious plans. Father, please rest assured, your daughter has a more detailed plan.”
“You don’t plan to marry the 86th Prince?” As soon as Huang Shu heard this, his face darkened. “Have you gone mad? Apart from the court, who else can grant Xiancha Town to the Huang family? Don’t think you have wings now; without my approval, you are nothing!”
A fierce intent flashed in his eyes, and Huang Rang shook his arm, acting coquettishly, saying, “Father, how can you say such things? Even if your daughter gets married, she will still have to negotiate the price. Now, apart from the court, there is someone else who can pay a high price. Your daughter has only one father. If I suffer in the future, besides Father, who else can stand up for me? Your daughter is not foolish; how could she disobey Father?”
Her words actually matched Huang Shu’s wishes, and he snorted, saying, “You understand well. By the way, that servant, Dai Yue, has caused such a mess. There’s already a lot of gossip about her outside. Yesterday, there was a family willing to buy her. In my opinion, we might as well sell her.”
Dai Yue, standing beside them, turned pale at hearing this. People like her were regarded even lower than livestock in Huang Shu’s eyes. Now, seeing her reputation damaged, the only thing Huang Shu thought of was to sell her for a good price.
He didn’t even bother mentioning to whom he would sell Dai Yue.
Huang Rang smiled but advised, “Father, as for Dai Yue’s matter, your daughter has her own plan. Father won’t suffer any losses.”
Huang Shu, hearing her opposition again, immediately said, “You’ve gone on this trip, and you seem to have your own ideas now! Speak up; in this situation, who else can help you achieve your goals?”
Huang Rang leaned close to his ear and softly mentioned a name.
“Him?” Huang Shu’s eyebrows furrowed, and he looked at his daughter again. Huang Rang’s eyes were like spring water, with ripples flowing in them. After pondering for a while, Huang Shu felt it was reasonable and said, “If you have a plan, you can give it a try. But with the 86th Prince, you should also keep him on a leash. Don’t let both sides go empty-handed.”
Such words were far from fatherly advice, yet he said them naturally, without any disguise.
Huang Rang gently led him back into the house and said, “Of course, Father, you can rest assured.”
In the main hall, a dozen boxes were neatly arranged. Seeing them, Huang Shu’s mood improved. He opened one of them, and a gleam of gold spilled out, reflecting him like a golden frame. Inside, there were rows of gold ingots neatly stacked.
Feeling pleased, Huang Shu no longer cared about the previous matters and waved his hand, saying, “You’ve worked hard these days. Go and rest.”
Huang Rang understood that he didn’t want her to see the rewards given by Shi Wenyu, so she curtsied, expressed her gratitude, and turned to leave.
As she walked outside the main hall, an official approached her with a small box, saying, “Miss Ten, this is from the Chief for you.”
Hearing that person’s name, Huang Rang’s smile became more genuine. She took the box, thanked the official, and carefully opened it. Inside the box were neatly arranged strands of pearls. The entire box contained hundreds of them.
Silk threads and pearls, each one intricately woven and exquisitely crafted.
Huang Rang picked up one strand, holding it in her hand, lost in thought for a long time.
In the following days, Deputy Chief Li Lu from the Celestial Court came to inspect this year’s autumn planting matters again. Huang Shu naturally couldn’t forget about Di Yiqiu’s case. However, no matter how he tried to inquire, Li Lu remained tight-lipped about it.
Seeing the fat in his mouth slip away and the person Huang Shu mentioned not showing up, he couldn’t help but blame Huang Rang. Fortunately, he was now obsessed with the spiritual Herb and didn’t have much time for clear thinking.
On this particular morning, Huang Rang carefully selected her dress and applied makeup for herself. Then she carried half a basket of bean seeds as she left the house. Since she was usually in charge of the Huang family’s farmland, it didn’t seem strange at all for her to be carrying seeds.
Huang Rang silently pondered the logic of her trip, calculating the timing.
If she remembered correctly, something significant was going to happen in Xiancha Town today.
Today was the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. The sky was crystal clear, with brilliant sunshine, but not as overwhelming as in the height of summer.
In the center of Xiancha Town, there was a huge banyan tree. This place was perfect for chatting and drinking tea, so villagers often gathered here to chat and gossip. When they saw Huang Rang coming, they hurriedly greeted her.
The Huang family was considered a big household in Xiancha Town, with more than half of the villagers being their tenants. However, in reality, the Huang family was also very poor, especially for someone like Huang Rang, who had been the head of the sect’s wife for a hundred years. At this moment, she couldn’t even afford storage for artifacts and treasures.
Inside the Immortal Sect, artifacts and treasures were extremely expensive. Especially the ones with the Yuhu Immortal Sect’s seal, even if they were not very useful, they were highly sought-after and hard to come by. The entire Huang family had only Huang Shu, who bought a storage bag for show.
To the common people in these remote areas, the Immortal Sect, who stood above all living beings, was as far away as the sun and moon on top of their heads.
In the villagers’ words, they dined on dew and fresh flowers, and with a breath, they could transform into clouds and mist. The people even fantasized that even the dogs of the sect were not ordinary dogs but heavenly, divine dogs that could speak human words from birth.
To Huang Rang, these words were naturally absurd and ridiculous.
However, in the years before her dreams, when she was still a young and naive little earth spirit, she would hear these strange and incredible rumors and couldn’t help but be moved by them.
That used to be the direction of her heart.
“Miss Ten, what good seeds have come out this year?” a villager asked. Clearly, this was a matter of concern to everyone, and the other villagers gathered around. Huang Rang then opened the cover on the basket and said, “These are this year’s bean seeds, fuller and with a shorter maturity period than last year.”
She handed the bean seeds from the basket to the crowd for inspection, but she secretly kept an eye on a corner.
In a nearby corner, several children with braided hair were playing.
Indeed, just as she remembered, they discovered a rat hole, and out of curiosity, they poured hot water into it.
Huang Rang didn’t look up, but she knew that on this banyan tree, there was an artifact from the Yuhu Immortal Sect called the “Eye of World Perception.” Like the later “Nine-Curve Spirit Eyes” from the Celestial Court, it could transmit the scene here to the Yuhu Immortal Sect thousands of miles away.
The common people held the bean seeds, examining them closely and discussing them among themselves. Nobody paid attention to the children in the corner.
In the Fifth Chengyuan Year, Huang Rang had only heard about Xie Hongchen’s demon-slaying incident. She didn’t know about the “Eye of World Perception” on the banyan tree, so she couldn’t have come here earlier to wait. Back then, it took considerable effort to capture Xie Hongchen.
This time, it should be much easier.
And at this moment, a sudden light smoke spread from the corner. Huang Rang saw clearly that a rat-headed, human-bodied monster was standing in front of several children. The children were frightened, standing still and forgetting to cry out.
Huang Rang didn’t dare to look up. If she had known about the Eye of World Perception, the next plan would have been compromised. Seeing that the rat-headed monster had already grasped a child’s neck, Huang Rang angrily shouted, “Stop!”
As she spoke, she closed her eyes and mustered her courage, rushing toward the monster!
God, please let Xie Hongchen come on time. Otherwise, I’m afraid I’m done for!!
Huang Rang had never been impulsive and brainless. She even despised such behavior.
But this time, she had no choice.
Really… it made people sigh.
She rushed to the monster, attempting to strike it with her palm. Although her recent martial arts training had been good, it was only a tiny foundation. Compared to her five years of martial cultivation, this monster was probably not afraid of her at all.
Sure enough, her palm didn’t even scratch a single rat’s hair.
However, her intervention had startled the children, and they immediately tried to crawl away. The nearby villagers were all panicking. When the monster realized it had been discovered, it became furious.
It grabbed Huang Rang and its sharp claws pierced into her flesh. With a tearing sound, its hooked claws not only tore a piece of her flesh but also damaged her shoulder clothes.
Huang Rang retaliated with another palm, but her strength was simply not enough. The monster ignored her attack and lunged to bite her throat!
In that moment, Huang Rang even smelled the foul stench from its mouth.
And at that moment, the cloudless sky suddenly roared with a loud sound. In the distance, like rolling thunder, a strong wind rose, and people looked up to see a clear light breaking through the clouds. A white-robed swordsman descended from the sky. The wind lifted his black hair, making him look like he came from the clouds, untouched by worldly dust.
As he landed, his precious sword turned into light and dispersed, his feet treading on the earth, giving rise to a sense of nobility in a humble setting.
“Master Xie… Master Xie!” At that moment, fear was dispersed by the sight of the Immortal Master, and the people cheered loudly.
Xie Hongchen held his sword of clear light and slashed at the rat monster. The monster suddenly threw Huang Rang away and, taking advantage of the distraction, fled into the distance. As Huang Rang landed, she pretended to lose her balance and stumbled forward.
Xie Hongchen’s heart sword caught up with the monster, cutting it in half. He reached out his hand and supported the graceful beauty.
The woman wore a light apricot dress, soft and bright in his embrace. The tassel on her ear brushed against his cheek, causing a slight itch. Her shoulder was scratched by the rat monster, and her dress was torn, revealing a large area of skin stained with blood.
Xie Hongchen averted his gaze and untied his white cloak, casually draping it over her.
Truly, it was a heroic scene of seeking beauty and eliminating evil! Anyone who saw it would cheer loudly, and this heroic tale would spread far and wide.
Huang Rang raised her head, her eyes holding just the right amount of lingering fear. She stood up straight, slightly bowing, and said, “Thank you, Master, for saving me.”
Xie Hongchen looked at her face and suddenly felt an inexplicable strangeness.
This person, her aura, her appearance, and her voice seemed to be entwined in countless soul dreams with him, so familiar that it startled him.
But who is she?