Three days later, in Xiancha Town.
No matter how hard Dai Yue tried, she still couldn’t cultivate that particular Merit leaf. Faced with the onlookers, she finally lost her sanity and exclaimed, “What are you all looking at? I can’t do it; I can’t breed! Do you know now? Are you satisfied?”
The esteemed divine fairy of cultivation unexpectedly uttered such words in public, shocking the spectators.
Dai Yue caught sight of Huang Rang in the crowd and rushed towards her, wanting to grab her clothes. But Huang Rang evaded her; after five years of martial arts practice, even though it was just a foundation, Dai Yue couldn’t catch her.
Dai Yue grabbed nothing but air, crying, “Why? I served Miss for so many years, doing my best. Why does Miss want to harm me?!”
At this point, she loathed Huang Rang intensely and naturally wanted to expose what kind of person she really was to everyone! She shouted like a madwoman, “Do you think I’ll let you off easily? You…”
But before she could finish her words, Xie Hongchen interrupted her; he probably had countless ways to make her shut up.
Dai Yue opened her mouth, but no words came out. She could only cry and watch the people around her point and gossip about her.
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In his view, Dai Yue had to leave, or else she would eventually expose the truth about the spirit herb variations. He said, “The fox girl, Dai Yue, deceived her mistress and can no longer stay. What does Miss Huang want to do with her?”
By saying this, he meant that Huang Rang only needed to hand Dai Yue over to him for disposal. Even Huang Mansion would not oppose it. Dai Yue’s heart turned cold; she knew that with Huang Rang’s temperament, she had no future, and she was at a loss for words.
Huang Rang stood among the crowd, and everyone’s eyes were on her.
With her temperament, she naturally wouldn’t allow future trouble, but she softly said, “Ah rang is grateful for Master Xie’s understanding. This girl, Dai Yue, has followed me for many years. Regardless of everything, we have had a mistress-servant relationship, and we share many years of friendship. I think I’ll send her to the Li Family Village to watch over the estate.”
Dai Yue was stunned; this was clearly not Huang Rang’s usual way of handling things. She wasn’t the type to beat around the bush.
Xie Hongchen also found this action inappropriate and asked, “Why send her to the Li Family Village?”
Huang Rang said, “Her deceased mother is buried there. She has always been concerned about her mother’s grave, so she might have a better life there. Among the countless beings in the world, not everyone is born to scheme and fight against each other. Perhaps her malicious intentions are forced upon her by circumstances. After all, if one is dragged through the mud, all they see are worms. Only by ascending the spiritual mountain can they encounter the phoenix.”
Indeed, this statement could set Xiancha Town buzzing for quite a while.
But Dai Yue couldn’t speak; she wanted to protest, to reveal how Huang Rang cultivated poisonous variations of the spirit herb and how she treated her own younger sister. But no matter what she did, she couldn’t utter a word.
Huang Rang stood among the crowd, and everyone’s eyes were on her.
As for Huang Mansion, they had no strict rules, and such a wicked servant like Dai Yue was not worth keeping. Huang Rang would naturally not let her become a future problem. However, she said modestly, “This matter is all because of me. I hope Master Xie and all the villagers won’t blame my father.”
Xie Hongchen couldn’t help but step forward. He slightly leaned down to help Huang Rang up and said, “No need for that.”
Huang Rang stood up with his support, intending to bow in gratitude. But her fingertips lightly touched his palm, showing a shy and proper demeanor, like a dragonfly touching water.
Xie Hongchen stared at her slightly pink-tinted fingertips, feeling an inexplicable sense of absurdity. This person, with her gentle and obedient manner, was all too familiar.
Huang Rang’s fingertips gently slid over his palm, and she took the opportunity to say, “Dai Yue committed a serious crime. After she goes to the Li Family Village, I’m afraid she won’t live a good life. As a woman, and being insignificant, could Master… accompany this girl to the Li Family Village? With Master’s assurance, she might have a chance to survive there.”
In her words and sentences, she still considered Dai Yue’s feelings. Huang Shu, who was beside them, hurriedly said, “This wicked servant deserves to die a thousand deaths! How can you trouble Master Xie again because of her? It’s disrespectful!”
Huang Rang quickly lowered her head and said, “I know I was wrong.”
However, Xie Hongchen said, “Not only are you kind-hearted, but you are also meticulous in your thoughts.” Then he turned to look at Dai Yue and said, “Let’s go.”
Huang Shu was confused. Logically speaking, how could Xie Hongchen care about such trivial matters? But he unexpectedly agreed without hesitation! Huang Shu looked at him, then at Huang Rang. Suddenly, an idea came to his mind, making his head dizzy!
Some time ago, Huang Rang mentioned having ambitious plans.
Could this girl really be capable of something like that?!
So, from the beginning of Chengyuan’s era, she deliberately let Dai Yue take credit for her achievements until today, when Xie Hongchen exposed the truth. Has this cunning girl been acting for five years?
A bolt of lightning flashed through Huang Shu’s mind. He looked at Huang Rang again and said, “I’ll send two escorts to accompany you and escort this wicked servant all the way.”
Xie Hongchen didn’t refuse, and Huang Shu was overjoyed—he knew what a big fish Xie Hongchen was.
If his daughter could marry into his family, then he… could hardly imagine it.
This sudden stroke of good fortune made his previously dull mind much clearer. He secretly instructed the escorts taking Dai Yue away to keep a distance and not disturb Huang Rang and Master Xie’s conversation.
Thus, Huang Rang was able to accompany Xie Hongchen and set out from Xiancha Town towards Li Village.
Considering Xie Hongchen’s pace, Li Village was almost within sight. However, he put away all his means and walked alongside Huang Rang. The escorts taking Dai Yue were indeed far away, and their presence wouldn’t affect the distance between the two.
Huang Rang lagged half a step behind, showing respect. Xie Hongchen walked ahead, his expression calm, but his mind was in turmoil, leaving him speechless for a moment.
“Master personally intervened and acted justly for Ah rang. Ah rang is deeply grateful,” Huang Rang’s voice gradually lowered, as if hesitating several times. She said, “However… Ah rang feels ashamed for receiving Master’s generosity.”
“What?” Xie Hongchen asked.
Huang Rang said, “With Master’s wisdom, you must have already thought about why a servant like Dai Yue could threaten me.”
Xie Hongchen’s heart trembled slightly. He stopped in his tracks and turned to look at her.
He saw her dressed in light gold, warm like a bountiful wheat field. His voice softened a bit as he asked, “Why?”
Huang Rang knelt down, giving him a deep bow, and said, “I… because…”
Her tears were about to fall, and unexpectedly, Xie Hongchen couldn’t bear to ask any further. He said, “If you don’t want to talk about it, then it’s alright.”
Huang Rang kept her head down; she took a deep breath and said, “The reason Dai Yue could blackmail me is that she discovered the variations mixed in the spirit herb. The reason why my father has been in a stupor and unable to handle family affairs all these years is because he consumed the spirit herb I cultivated.”
Her words were sincere, and as Xie Hongchen already knew about them, he had no intention to blame her. He asked, “Why did you do this?”
His question sounded calm, expecting that Huang Rang’s answer would simply repeat her childhood hardships.
Huang Rang said, “I was mischievous in my youth and angered my mother, leading to her death. For many years, I felt remorseful, resenting myself, and shifting that anger onto my father. I… I wanted to go meet my mother with him, so I mixed the variations into the spirit herb. But every time, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. After all, he is my father…”
She covered her face and cried in pain, not mentioning anything about Huang Shu’s crimes.
Having battled demons and monsters for many years, Xie Hongchen’s heart was actually quite tough. Yet, hearing her words, he felt a tenderness in his heart. He gently held Huang Rang’s wrist, helping her up, and advised, “The fault is not yours; there’s no need to blame yourself.”
Of course, the fault is not mine! Huang Rang coldly smiled in her heart. She didn’t kill Huang Shu because Huang Shu couldn’t die.
Although the Huang Family was just a small clan in Xiancha Town, if they lost their patriarch, it would be incredibly difficult for her, a young woman, to take charge. She would have to suppress and control her unruly brothers and sisters, as well as resist the criticism and ostracism from other clans. If someone reported the patricide to the immortal sect, she might even lose her life.
If it weren’t for his usefulness, not only would I kill him, but I would also make him suffer the same fate as my mother, with his heart ripped out, liver exposed, and body left to rot in the wilderness!
Ah, I’m letting my emotions get the better of me again. Huang Rang slowly calmed her anger.
This was the aspect Xie Hongchen disliked the most about her. He hoped his wife would treat grievances like a compassionate Bodhisattva, without resentment or hatred. Yet, when Huang Rang faced adversity, she revealed sharp, venomous fangs.
Now, Huang Rang’s every word was filled with self-reproach and regret.
She kept blaming herself, grieving but compassionate. Xie Hongchen said, “If Huang Shu were to find out about this, he might not spare you.”
Huang Rang lowered her head for a long time before saying, “He is still my father; he gave me life and raised me. If I harm him, it would be unfilial. Even if he wants to punish or kill me, I would accept it.”
Xie Hongchen gently released her fair wrist and asked, “Don’t you ever think about yourself?”
Huang Rang’s gaze lowered as she said, “A woman like me has no control over her own life. How can I have any plans?”
Xie Hongchen was momentarily moved and blurted out, “Have you never thought of leaving the Huang family and going somewhere else?”
As he said these words, emotions started accumulating. If… if this woman in front of him asked to stay under his protection…
If that were the case, would he refuse?
For a moment, he was undecided, unable to find an answer.
Huang Rang raised her head, gazing at him softly. Her beautiful eyes still carried tears, like pear blossoms after the rain. Suddenly, Xie Hongchen found an answer. Perhaps that would not be a bad idea.
He silently observed the person in front of him, waiting for her to speak up and make a request. Over the years, he had encountered many women. He knew very well the allure he had for women.
In the past, he had never been moved, but today, unexpectedly, he felt the desire to shield her from the rain.
As their eyes met, he could even anticipate what Huang Rang was about to say.
It was nothing more than a hope to leave the Huang family and follow him, even if it meant being a servant and enduring wind and rain together.
—He had encountered many women like her. However, Xie Hongchen was not attached to women, and his surroundings were always clean.
As expected, Huang Rang took two steps back, then kneeled before him again. She said, “This humble woman owes her life to Master’s rescue and has nothing to offer in return.” In that moment, Xie Hongchen unexpectedly felt a hint of joy. He was savoring this new and pleasant feeling.
Huang Rang continued, “I have the audacity to make a request. I hope to become the master’s disciple and learn the way of the sword. From now on, I will abandon worldly desires and, like Master, eliminate injustice in the world.”
… Xie Hongchen felt as if he had been struck through the heart by a sword, remaining silent for a long time. No, this was not right. But… why was it not right? Her aspiration was a fortunate thing for the righteous path, so why should it be wrong?
An indescribable emotion gripped him, and Xie Hongchen took a step back, muttering, “Become my disciple; learn the way of the sword?”
Huang Rang raised her head, clasping her hands in a respectful gesture, and said, “Exactly. Please fulfill my request, Master.”
This was truly absurd, yet he couldn’t pinpoint what was wrong.
What was he hoping for?!