Two guards escorted Dai Yue from a distance, making it impossible to hear their conversation here.
Xie Hongchen wore a white robe that seemed as pure as the clouds, and his shoes were free from dust. He made an effort to suppress all emotions, showing the demeanor befitting a sect master, and said, “You have the ambition to help those in need; that’s commendable. Since that’s the case… I will grant your request, as you wish.”
Huang Rang’s face revealed a smile, and she hurriedly prostrated herself, saying, “Disciple pays respect to Master!”
Seeing her bowing and kneeling in the dust, Xie Hongchen felt a strange and inexplicable sensation. He didn’t know where this peculiar feeling came from, but it felt like thorns were pricking his heart, causing discomfort.
Huang Rang personally accompanied Dai Yue to the Li family village, where Dai Yue’s mother was buried.
Facing the villagers who came to know the news, Xie Hongchen had a solemn expression and said, “Although this girl committed serious crimes, her main offense has been pardoned, and she will stay here as a guardian for her deceased mother, reflecting on her own mistakes. You are not required to take care of her, but you must not abuse or bully her either.”
Those two sentences were what truly saved Dai Yue’s life.
Dai Yue took slow steps until she reached her mother’s grave.
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Huang Shu’s heart was filled with excitement, and he didn’t know how to express himself. Xie Hongchen suppressed the turmoil in his heart and said, “Huang Shu’s daughter, Huang Rang, is naturally intelligent, diligent, and hardworking. I… value her knowledge and talents, and I am willing to accept her as my disciple. Please grant your approval, Huang Shu.”
He didn’t know how he managed to say such words. Huang Shu was taken aback—accept as a disciple?
Not a marriage proposal?
Huang Shu couldn’t understand. After all, she was just a small girl. What was the big deal?
Moreover, Huang Rang wasn’t some extraordinary genius. With Xie Hongchen’s status, there would be countless people lining up to become his disciples. Was it worth his special attention?
However, Xie Hongchen had already spoken, and Huang Shu had no choice. Besides, even if it was about accepting a disciple, it meant that the Huang family could benefit from Xie Hongchen’s favor. When Huang Rang became skilled in the future, they could find a suitable marriage and gain great wealth and prosperity.
After quickly weighing the gains and losses, Huang Shu bowed and said, “The master values my daughter; it is our family’s good fortune. I naturally have no objections.”
Xie Hongchen nodded. He didn’t want to prolong this matter unnecessarily, so he turned to Huang Rang and said, “Since that’s settled, pack your belongings and follow me to the sect.” In front of his disciples, he always referred to himself as “your master.”
But, for some reason, he couldn’t say it in front of Huang Rang.
Huang Rang, however, was extremely obedient. She bowed again and said, “Yes, Master!”
She hurried back to her small courtyard and quickly packed her belongings.
Xie Hongchen stood outside, waiting. He saw that she didn’t bring any gold or silver but only carried a small sandalwood box with her. She also picked up the jar of fireflies from the table and put it in her bag. Xie Hongchen thought that the box might contain precious metals, which he could understand. However, the fireflies were quite out of place, and he couldn’t help but laugh, asking, “Why bring them?”
Huang Rang smiled shyly and opened the wooden box, revealing neatly arranged coral bead strings. She said, “These bead strings were given to me by old friends. I must take them with me. As for this jar of fireflies, without its supervision, how could your disciple become an outstanding student? To tell the truth, it was also my former classmate.”
The pearl strings in the box were exquisite, but they were not priceless treasures. Xie Hongchen said, “You really treasure them.” Seeing that she had packed everything neatly, he couldn’t help but ask, “Are you not taking anything else?”
Huang Rang looked around the room and said, “Everything in the house was given by my father. I… I have been unfilial these years, and now that I’m leaving home, I’ll leave everything behind.”
Xie Hongchen nodded, acknowledging her virtuous character, and said, “Then let’s depart.”
Huang Rang walked out of the courtyard and bid a solemn farewell to Huang Shu. Thinking about the Huang family’s future status, Huang Shu was already overjoyed. He repeatedly said, “My daughter, rise! In the Yuhu Immortal Sect, you must be filial to your elders and have friendly relations with your fellow disciples. Also, don’t forget to visit Xiancha Town often.”
Xie Hongchen observed quietly, seeing Huang Rang’s sincere responses without a trace of impatience. When they stepped out of the house, Huang Rang asked, “Master, can I… bid farewell to my deceased mother?”
Ah, she’s thoughtful. Xie Hongchen replied, “Alright.”
Huang Rang then went to the farmland where the spirit Herb was planted. She knelt down and bowed towards the field. Xie Hongchen stood beside her and felt a strange familiarity with this scene.
Huang Rang didn’t look back at him. In the fifth year of Chengyuan, outside of dreams, she brought Xie Hongchen here to pay respects to her deceased mother.
Unfortunately, at that time, Xie Hongchen only thought she was being sentimental and didn’t show such patience.
Huang Rang performed three bows and three kowtows, then looked at the farmland again.
Her mother died by her own hand, which angered Huang Shu greatly, and he ordered that no tombstone or monument should be erected for her. Thus, her remains were scattered here, nurturing all living things. Huang Rang stood up and gazed at the small piece of land.
In the fifth year of Chengyuan, outside of dreams, she left Xiancha Town and never returned.
She wondered if this woman would miss her even a little bit. Or perhaps, like when she was alive, she would still resent and curse her.
As Huang Rang kowtowed, grief showed on her face, and her heart was as cold as ice.
Meanwhile, in the capital’s imperial palace, outside the Yuanrong Pagoda:
Li Lu and Bao Wu had come several times but were blocked by Qiu Shengbai. On this day, Bao Wu became impatient. He didn’t care about his life anymore and shouted loudly outside the pagoda, scaring the eunuchs, Fu, Lu, Zhou, and Xi, whose faces turned pale. If the Emperor heard this, it would be a grave crime to execute the entire family.
Qiu Shengbai had no choice but to allow him inside.
Leading the martial artist, Qiu Shengbai walked inside and said with a kind tone, “The Emperor has not issued an order to forbid visits to the imperial princes and princesses. It’s just that they were too terrifying before, and their temperaments were unstable, which caused the delay. Now that they are better, the people in the mansion want to give something, and I’m just handling the matter.”
Bao Wu had been furious for days about not seeing Di Yiqiu. Now, his mind was not in the mood for conversation. He just followed Qiu Shengbai and arrived at the bottom of the pagoda. The strong medicinal smell and a strange odor wrinkled his brow. Then he saw Di Yiqiu in the prison cell.
Just a glance, and Bao Wu’s hair stood on end.
In the small prison cell, Di Yiqiu’s wrists and ankles were in shackles. He was wearing a black robe, and his exposed skin was swollen and bruised, making him look as if he had gained weight and looking like two people combined.
“Master!” Bao Wu rushed over in two or three steps, tears uncontrollably streaming down his face. His voice trembled as he said, “This is… this is…”
Qiu Shengbai said, “He is emotionally stable now; speak properly. As a deputy chief, you can’t compare to the composure of a woman.”
“What woman?” All of Bao Wu’s anxiety turned into anger. He drew his sword and pointed it at Qiu Shengbai, as if he wanted to split him in two. “What have you done to them?”
“Bao Wu.” Di Yiqiu’s voice was hoarse, partly due to the swollen nasal passages obstructing his breathing, making it sound nasal.
Bao Wu quickly released Qiu Shengbai and approached Di Yiqiu. “Master… Master!” He wanted to reach out and touch him, but he didn’t know where to start. Di Yiqiu had been appointed Chief of the Celestial Court at a very young age. Bao Wu and Li Lu had assisted him throughout, watching him grow up, and their feelings for him were especially deep.
Now, seeing him in this state, how could he not feel heartache?
Di Yiqiu consoled him, saying, “My irritability has subsided in the past two days, and I am feeling much better now.”
Bao Wu suddenly realized that he was the one being comforted during this visit. He took a deep breath, suppressed his temper, and said, “The Chief is recuperating here. What do you need? I’ll go prepare it right away.”
Di Yiqiu shook his head for a while and then suddenly asked, “How is it outside?”
Bao Wu hurriedly replied, “Everything is fine in the Celestial Court. But everyone is concerned about the Chief. Li Lu has been running around for the past few days, wearing out his shoe soles.”
Di Yiqiu made a sound of agreement, wanting to ask some questions but never getting them out. It was Qiu Shengbai who asked, “Is he asking about the young lady who came last time for breeding? How is she doing?”
Ah! Bao Wu suddenly understood and said, “Miss Dai Yue, she’s not doing well. I actually wanted to seek the Chief’s advice on this matter.”
Qiu Shengbai clicked his tongue, feeling that this person was a blockhead.
However, Di Yiqiu asked, “Dai Yue? What happened?” After all, she was that person’s personal maid, so if something happened to her, what about that person… He hurriedly asked, “Was there a mistake in the breeding of the Double Snake Fruit?”
Bao Wu said, “The Double Snake Fruit went very smoothly, thanks to Miss Huang Rang’s assistance. She presented sixty seedlings to His Majesty. This young lady’s talent is truly limitless. But just a few days ago, Xie Hongchen from the Yuhu Immortal Sect appeared in Xiancha Town. He suddenly accused Miss Dai Yue of deceiving her master and stealing her master’s reputation, claiming that the good breeds cultivated by Miss Dai Yue belonged to her. I was doubtful at first, but Li Lu said that with Xie Hongchen’s status, publicly saying something like this is likely not a false claim.”
“Xie Hongchen.” Di Yiqiu softly repeated the name. He certainly knew Xie Hongchen, the current most prominent figure in the cultivation world. He asked, “And… Miss Ten?”
He finally asked this question. Bao Wu was slightly taken aback and said, “Miss Ten is doing very well. Now, everyone knows that she is the true cultivator of breeding, and everyone praises her kindness and achievements. Her reputation has skyrocketed, and even Xie Hongchen greatly admires her. Many people now want to marry her.”
“…Xie Hongchen?” Di Yiqiu’s gaze lowered, and he fell silent.
On the side, Qiu Shengbai had never seen someone so bad at small talk. He said, “If you’re done talking, just leave already!”
Bao Wu glared at him angrily, and the thought that it was this old man who had caused their Chief to end up like this made him want to cut the old man in half. Qiu Shengbai, even better than Di Yiqiu at asking questions, inquired, “Which family did Miss Ten promise to marry?”
Huh? Bao Wu was puzzled. “No one.”
Di Yiqiu’s body stiffened, and Qiu Shengbai asked again, “Why did Xie Hongchen stand up for her?”
Bao Wu looked incredulous and cursed, “What are you asking these for? Are you interested in Miss Ten too?”
Qiu Shengbai didn’t even want to bother with him. “Answer me!”
Bao Wu could only say, “Li Lu said that Xie Hongchen has always been intolerant of evil, so he probably couldn’t stand Dai Yue’s deceitful behavior towards her master.”
Only then did Qiu Shengbai make a sound of acknowledgment and ask, “Did anything happen between the two of them?”
What does he mean by ‘anything happen’. They are both unmarried. Bao Wu had great disdain for those who were disrespectful and still wanted to go after younger women. He said, “I haven’t heard of anything. But you, old man, better not harbor any delusions. Miss Ten is now widely renowned, and it was Xie Hongchen who stood up for her. There’s no way you, an old toad, have a chance. You better focus on our Chief more, and if anything happens to him, I’ll hold you responsible!”
Qiu Shengbai was truly exasperated by this martial artist. He said, “You fool! If something happens to your chief, at least half of the blame is on you!”
“What nonsense are you spouting, old dog?!” Bao Wu was about to draw his sword again, but Di Yiqiu said, “Bao Wu! Enough, go back.”
Though Bao Wu still felt sulky, as he was leaving, he suddenly said, “By the way, Li Lu mentioned that there are many official documents piled up in the Celestial Court. If the chief improves, we’ll bring some over every day to pass the time.”
Qiu Shengbai didn’t quite agree with Di Yiqiu taxing himself mentally, but he still acquiesced. The venom of the Hui snake was too much for an ordinary person to bear. If even their mental strength collapsed, not even immortals could save them. He really hoped that the imperial princes and princesses could have something to do and something to look forward to. Whether real or imaginary, at least with something like that, they would want to live.
And in the days that followed, Li Lu began to bring official documents over every few days.
Li Lu’s intelligence was not something Bao Wu and the others could match. Each time, he intentionally or unintentionally mentioned things related to Xiancha Town. When talking about Xiancha Town, Miss Ten was naturally brought up. He spoke in a seemingly casual tone about how Miss Ten was sympathized with and loved by the people.
He was good at making conversation. After hearing it repeatedly, Di Yiqiu gradually began to take in some of the information.
Seeing this, Qiu Shengbai felt that not everyone in the Celestial Court was foolish, so he no longer prohibited Li Lu from coming to visit.
T/N: I’m really sorry if my translation is wrong or inaccurate, as I’m not very fluent in Chinese and some of the words are so hard to translate that make it harder for me to make it sense in English. But anyway, I will try to make it at least have acceptable grammar (even if it is not perfect) and the translation flow smoothly. Once again, I’m sorry if I make a mistake in any of my translation work. Thank you for reading,and if you like my work, please give me a good rating at Novel Updates so more people can enjoy this novel.And of course,you can also buy me a cup of coffee if you really like my work…hehe 😛