Yuhu immortal sect, with its towering mountain gate and magnificent halls.
Following Xie Hongchen, Huang Rang once again arrived at the foot of the mountain. She lifted her head, gazing up at this unshakable, immortal, sacred land. In that moment, she could still feel the excitement and joy in her heart from five years ago, when she stepped into the world inside her dreams.
The person walking ahead of her was still Xie Hongchen, but after more than a hundred years, those accompanying her today had already undergone significant changes.
Xie Hongchen led her through the commercial houses and Dao places, and as they ascended further, they reached the Guest resident and the Harmony Garden. However, the Yuhu Immortal sect of today does not have a mountain full of orchids. As Huang Rang walked on the seemingly familiar mountain path, what she saw before her overlapped quietly with the scenes from more than a hundred years later.
At this time, the Yuhu immortal sect was still devoid of orchids.
Ah, there won’t be any in the future either.
If one doesn’t cherish what one has, there’s no need to be attached.
“As a newcomer, you need to pay your respects to the Elder Ancestor first. Follow me to Dark Thunder Peak,” Xie Hong Chen said without turning back. For some unknown reason, another scene appeared in his mind. It was as if he had walked this path with this person before.
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Xie Lingbi was initially waiting for Xie Hongchen, but he immediately noticed Huang Rang behind him. Today, she was still wearing a light golden dress. The dress was not extravagant, but it looked elegant and composed. She appeared gentle and appropriate.
However, for some unknown reason, as soon as Xie Lingbi saw this woman, a chill ran down his spine. His pupils contracted, and an inexplicable sense of unease arose from the depths of his heart, causing him to pause for a moment.
Xie Hongchen paid his respects to him and said, “Master, this is the disciple I recently accepted in Xiancha Town, surnamed Huang, named Rang.”
Without waiting for him to speak, Huang Rang immediately knelt on both knees and paid her respects to Xie Lingbi: “Disciple Huang Rang pays respects to Elder Ancestor Xie Lingbi.” Afterward, she kowtowed to the ground, showing her utmost respect.
Xie Lingbi took a deep breath, dispelling the strange unease in his heart. He didn’t let Huang Rang stand up but said to Xie Hongchen, “Come in with me.”
Xie Hongchen glanced back at Huang Rang, knowing that his master had something to say, so he entered the hall first.
In the Luo Fu Hall, Xie Lingbi sat down at a low table.
Xie Hongchen naturally didn’t need to be invited and went forward to pour tea. Xie Lingbi said, “Just now, I observed this woman. Her appearance is charming, but I fear she cannot endure hardship. Moreover, in terms of aptitude, she is at best average. Why did you specially bring her back from Xiancha Town and personally teach her?”
Xie Hongchen handed him the tea cup and poured one for himself as well, saying, “Disciple investigated thoroughly. This woman has a pure and virtuous character, which she diligently cultivates. If guided properly, she could become a talented individual.”
Xie Lingbi didn’t like it and advised, “Within the sect, there are still more male disciples after all. With her looks, she may easily lead others astray. The Yuhu immortal sect is the top sect among the immortal clans; we can’t allow any jealousy or ugly conflicts to arise.”
Xie Hongchen respectfully replied, “I’ve also considered this matter. In the future, I will supervise her closely and ensure that no trouble arises.”
Seeing his resolute attitude, Xie Lingbi no longer opposed the idea. After all, she was just a female disciple, and he didn’t want to argue with his disciple over such trivial matters. He said, “She can stay here for now, and I will observe her closely.”
Xie Hongchen agreed again, and Xie Lingbi dismissed him, saying, “You may go now.”
With his order, Xie Hongchen had to leave Luo Fu Hall. Huang Rang remained kneeling outside the hall, unmoving. Xie Hongchen glanced at her, knowing that Xie Lingbi was testing her temperament. He didn’t say much and left directly.
Huang Rang continued to kneel in front of the hall, showing no signs of impatience.
— Elder Ancestor Xie Lingbi, for you, I will offer all my patience.
However, it seemed like Xie Lingbi had truly forgotten about her, as he let her kneel outside the hall without intervening.
With a foundation in martial arts, Huang Rang was not afraid of kneeling for a long time. Her posture was upright, and she knelt seriously. As the sky darkened, the surrounding lamps were lit—the light came from glowing treasures called “Zhao Shi,” which were placed on the railings.
During the night, they emitted a bright and gentle light.
Huang Rang knew the Yuhu Immortal sect too well.
With the light of Zhao Shi, she didn’t feel uncomfortable despite being ignored.
Just the thought that Xie Lingbi was so close made Huang Rang feel radiant. What’s the big deal about kneeling for a while?
As the surroundings gradually quieted down, disciples on patrol passed by several times, but no one spoke to her. It seemed that Xie Lingbi intended for her to kneel all night. Huang Rang didn’t mind; she even closed her eyes to meditate.
The next morning, other sects received invitations from the Yuhu immortal sect to attend the disciple-receiving ceremony of their Sect Master, Xie Hongchen.
For a sect like Yuhu Immortal, it was a significant event when the Sect Master accepted personal disciples. Currently, Xie Hongchen has two disciples—Nie Qing Lan, the senior disciple, and Xie Li, the second disciple. Huang Rang’s entry would place her third in seniority.
Such ceremonies only require a witness to validate them. Hence, the various sect leaders were not forced to attend. The sects located far away sent their disciples-in-charge to observe the ceremony.
At the Celestial Court, Li Lu received the invitation and pondered. He asked the messenger, “Is your Sect Master only accepting disciples?”
The messenger looked puzzled and said, “Exactly. The sect asked us to deliver the invitations without mentioning anything else.”
Li Lu nodded and sent the messenger away. He held the invitation, contemplating, and finally decided to attend the ceremony. Meanwhile, He Xijin and the other three were currently dealing with evil forces nearby. Upon receiving the invitation, they also planned to visit together—to have a drink and celebrate.
Outside the Luo Fu Hall, Huang Rang knelt for a whole day and night, and her knees felt sore despite her martial arts training.
At this moment, a disciple came out of the hall and said, “Elder Ancestor wants you to return to Emerald Peak. From now on, set aside worldly thoughts and focus on cultivating diligently. If you dare to cause trouble, there will be severe consequences.”
This stern admonition could be felt. Huang Rang bowed her head and said, “This disciple understands.”
The words were spoken this way, but she found it extremely amusing. Set aside worldly thoughts? Elder Ancestor Xie Lingbi, have you set yours aside?
If not, should I help you with that?
“You may leave now,” the messenger said.
Huang Rang expressed gratitude to the Elder Ancestor before standing up. The messenger knew she was a newly accepted disciple of the Sect Master and extended a hand to support her. Huang Rang smiled faintly and said, “Thank you, senior brother.”
With her captivating beauty and sweet voice, she didn’t display any arrogance. The senior brother whispered, “Elder Ancestor is just testing the new disciples. Don’t take it to heart. Go find Senior Brother Nie Qinglan; he will take care of you. I’m called Sang Feng, and I am responsible for guarding Dark Thunder Peak. If you have any questions in the future, feel free to ask me.”
“Huang Rang thanks Senior Brother Sang Feng.” Huang Rang smiled and bowed once more.
Though the prolonged kneeling didn’t actually hurt her legs, she deliberately walked very slowly, as if enduring pain and trying to appear strong.
Sang Feng watched her leave, nodding with apparent goodwill.
Huang Rang walked all the way out of Dark Thunder Peak, where Nie Qinglan had been waiting for her.
Seeing her, Nie Qing Lan hurriedly greeted her, saying, “Are you Junior Sister Huang Rang?”
Huang Rang bowed to him, pretending not to know, “Yes. May I ask if you are Senior Brother Nie Qinglan?”
Nie Qinglan was somewhat puzzled and asked, “How did you know?”
Oh, I definitely know. After all, outside my dream, you called me ‘Madam’ for a hundred years. In that case, one day as your Madam, a lifetime as your madam. My seniority is quite impressive.
With a smile on her face, Huang Rang replied, “Senior Brother Sang Feng mentioned it just now.”
It was so easy for her to become familiar with everyone in the Yuhu immortal sect. In the world outside her dream, even though Xie Hongchen married her, he didn’t introduce her to anyone within the sect. So Huang Rang brought small gifts and visited each person’s home one by one, eventually getting acquainted with the entire sect.
She treated the disciples kindly and often made snacks for them. She even set up a porridge booth at the foot of the mountain, providing medical services to the disciples of Bai Cao Peak. After a hundred years, she had accumulated a reputation for being virtuous and kind.
Now, as the junior among them, no one bothered with her.
Nie Qinglan commented, “Junior Sister is clever. Today, our Master is accepting disciples, and the sect specially invited various sect leaders to witness the ceremony. Please come with me quickly.”
Huang Rang glanced at her dress and asked, “I knelt all night, and there may be some dust on my clothes, which might be somewhat disrespectful.”
Nie Qinglan saw that she didn’t mind being punished with kneeling and couldn’t help but develop a good impression of her. He took out a small rolling brush-like treasure and said, “This is a dust-removing tool. If you’re concerned, you can use it.”
Huang Rang happily accepted the dust-removing treasure. In the Huang Family, such a treasure was beyond her reach.
The worlds of the mortal and immortal sects were separated by a barrier. How could she use a treasure to remove dirt? In the five years of her dream, she devoted herself to martial arts training, which consumed a lot of resources. She even lacked the wealth she had in the real world. She lived in extreme poverty.
Seeing her joy, Nie Qinglan thought that this junior sister was genuinely pure-hearted and said, “Consider this my gift to you as the eldest senior brother.”
Indeed, being the younger one was much better.
Huang Rang remembered that outside her dream, in the first year of Chengyuan, she had seen Nie Qinglan for the first time, made pastries for him, and gave him a jade pendant. Sigh, being a madam wasn’t easy.
She joyfully put away the dust-removing treasure and said, “Thank you, Senior Brother.”
Nie Qinglan smiled gently and led her all the way to Harmony Garden. Before they entered, they met someone she recognized—Xie Hongchen’s second disciple, Xie Li.
As expected, Xie Li approached and gave Huang Rang a once-over before smiling and saying, “They say Junior Sister Huang Rang has a stunning appearance. I didn’t believe it at first, but now I see that Master’s judgment is indeed extraordinary.”
He spoke casually, but Nie Qinglan was much more composed and immediately said, “Ah Li! Don’t be disrespectful with your words!”
Xie Li made a bow to Huang Rang, saying, “Junior Sister, please forgive me. Second Brother apologizes to you.”
Huang Rang had no idea that Xie Li was so mischievous. In the past, he was quite reserved and behaved well in front of her. Feeling relieved, Huang Rang deliberately lifted her chin, assuming a serious expression, and changed her voice: “Xie Li, as you are the senior brother, you cannot speak so frivolously and offend your fellow disciples. For self-reflection, you shall carry twenty buckets of water!”
Xie Li was taken aback—this was exactly Xie Hongchen’s tone, and even Huang Rang’s demeanor was identical.
Nie Qinglan chuckled and said, “Junior Sister, don’t be mischievous. Please go inside quickly.”
Inside Harmony Garden, when Huang Rang entered, she saw many guests. At first sight, she spotted her sister, Huang Jun.
Ah… Huang Ran stared fixedly for a while before confirming it wasn’t an illusion. The same thing had happened before. When she married into The Yuhu immortal sect, Huang Jun came with her husband, traveling a long way to give her a wedding toast.
But at that time, Huang Rang hadn’t said a word to her.
The past was unbearable, and every mention of it would only expose festering wounds. Why speak of it further?
Therefore, after the wedding toast, Huang Jun left, and they hadn’t seen each other for a hundred years. And yet, today, Huang Rang unexpectedly encountered her again.
All those joys, sorrows, happiness, and anger dissolved into silence. Huang Jun smiled as she met Huang Rang’s gaze, and the centuries passed in a fleeting moment.
Are you well, sister?
As Huang Rang was lost in thought, the hall suddenly fell silent.
Xie Lingbi and Xie Hongchen successively took their seats. Huang Rang had to step forward and stand beside Xie Hongchen. He stood up and said with clasped hands, “It’s a trivial matter for the sect, and I am grateful for the presence of all the immortal sect friends, but I am truly uneasy in my heart.”
The guests stood up, naturally making some polite remarks. After they retook their seats, Xie Hongchen nodded to his junior brother, Xie Shaochong.
Only then did Xie Shaochong say, “Fellow immortal sects, today, our sect master has gained a precious gem and sincerely wishes to take her in as a disciple. Our sect master, Xie Hongchen, currently has two disciples. The first is Nie Qing Lan, 120 years old, who won first place at last year’s Flower Pinning Banquet…”
He recounted Xie Hongchen’s teachings over the years to showcase his exemplary mentorship.
Xie Hongchen glanced at Huang Rang beside him, her hands hanging calmly at her sides. In a trance, he felt that such days seemed to have passed for many years.
It was only when Xie Shaochong finished introducing Xie Hongchen and began to read Huang Rang’s achievements: “In the Immortal Tea Town, the Huang family’s daughter, Huang Rang, excels in breeding. In the first year of Chengyuan, she cultivated Liang Mi, saving the disaster-stricken people from drought…”
His voice was neither hurried nor slow, and everyone nodded in agreement.
Huang Rang’s reputation was actually known to most of the people present. However, she had a lowly background, and her father, Huang Shu, was a greedy and shameless man. How could she befriend people in the immortal sect?
But today was different.
She became Xie Hongchen’s disciple, and from now on, she was his direct disciple. A character like her, with such beauty and grace, had an unlimited future ahead of her.
Huang Rang calmly accepted everyone’s scrutiny, feeling unperturbed—after all, during those days at the Celestial Court, she had been watched by various people, and her thick-skinned nature had developed.
It wasn’t until Xie Shaochong finished introducing her and asked her to serve tea to Xie Hongchen that Huang Rang received the tea cup from her junior brother. She approached Xie Hongchen, kneeled down with both knees, and raised the tea cup above her head, saying, “Master, please have tea.”
Xie Hongchen paused for a long time, unable to find any explanation for the strangeness in his heart at that moment.
How could this be?
He slowly reached out and took the tea cup from Huang Rang’s hand, taking a sip. He should have given her some encouragement, but his mind was in disarray, so he could only hastily say, “After entering the sect, you must respect your seniors, love your fellow disciples, and diligently cultivate.”
Huang Rang replied gently, “I will remember the master’s teachings.”
Her voice was soft and sweet with each word, and Xie Hongchen’s thoughts were in chaos. Xie Shaochong saw that he had no intention of giving a gift, so he said, “The ceremony is complete. Disciple may rise.”
Only then did Xie Hongchen realize that he had forgotten to give her an entrance gift.
He had actually forgotten about it.