During the master-disciple’s banquet, various members of the immortal sects smiled and talked about a person named Huang Rang. At this moment, she was no longer the daughter of the earth spirit Huang Shu in Xiancha Town but the disciple of Master Xie Hongchen, the sect master of the Yuhu Immortal Sect.
Although the person was the same, the identity and status were completely different, and the difference was like night and day.
Thus, her past achievements shine even brighter at this moment.
After offering tea to Xie Hongchen, Huang Rang stood up. Xie Shaochong then handed her the identity token of the Yuhu Immortal Sect and said, “Your artifact weapon will be forged by the mentor after assessing your cultivation.”
Huang Rang replied, “Yes,” but Xie Shaochong, who was Xie Hongchen’s junior brother, used to treat her respectfully when she was his sister-in-law. But now it was her turn to address him as her junior uncle.
Xie Shaochong had a good impression of this junior niece and said, “You are a steady child; in the future, you should follow the sect master and cultivate diligently.”
Huang Rang lightly bowed to him and said, “Thank you for your guidance, junior uncle.”
Satisfied, Xie Shaochong said, “Come and pay respects to the Elder Ancestor.”
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With the bow to Xie Lingbi completed, Huang Rang was now officially a disciple of the sect.
Xie Hongchen stood up and said, “Today, it’s an honor to have all my fellow immortal sects join the celebration. I feel uneasy about it. This cup of wine is a special toast to all of you.”
Upon hearing this, the others naturally stood up as well. After everyone had a drink, the atmosphere became livelier. Huang Rang’s seat was next to the second senior brother, Xie Li.
After she took her seat, everyone looked at her.
One person, with a different intention, raised his cup and toasted Xie Hongchen, saying, “Congratulations to Sect Master Xie on gaining a talented and beloved disciple.” The person with a smile on his face was Chai Tianrong, the sect master of the Enchanting Flower Sect.
Xie Hongchen was always easygoing, and he stood up when he saw the toast. He said, “For this lousy disciple of mine, it’s an inconvenience for Sect Master Chai to come all this way. It’s truly a hardship.”
Chai Tianrong chuckled. In fact, Xie Hongchen didn’t have to receive him personally since she wasn’t the first disciple and the post for a disciple was announced hastily. Sending an envoy over would have been enough to show his goodwill.
But since he came, there was, of course, another reason for it.
Chai Tianrong glanced at Huang Rang and said, “I must confess, I came specifically to the Yuhu Immortal Sect this time for another matter, and I would like to discuss it with Sect Master Xie.”
Indeed. Xie Hongchen was not surprised at all; he knew the temperaments of these sect masters too well. For example, the current Chai Sect Master was someone who couldn’t help but voice his opinions on everything. Xie Hongchen said, “Please, Master Chai, go ahead.”
Chai Tianrong beamed and said, “It seems fate has brought us together. The eldest son of my family foundation is already stable, but he is still unmarried. You have met my son, who, though not comparable to your esteemed disciples, has a good character. Just now, I saw this Miss Huang Rang under your seat, and I am really fond of her.”
As Chai Tianrong spoke, Xie Hongchen could hardly maintain his smile on his face. At the same time, another person at the banquet frowned—it was Li Lu, the deputy of the Celestial Court.
With Xie Hongchen’s status, even if he was annoyed, he couldn’t lose his composure on such an occasion.
He slowed his breathing and suppressed his displeasure, saying, “Master Chai, a tiger’s offspring is naturally extraordinary, and your son is undoubtedly exceptional. However, Huang Rang has just joined our sect and has yet to complete her studies. It wouldn’t be appropriate to make other arrangements for her immediately. Please understand.”
Chai Tianrong naturally understood; he knew it wasn’t right to rush such matters. He replied, “You are right, Sect Master Xie. I was too hasty. However, my son has admired you for a long time and talks about you every day. I wonder if I have the privilege of sending him to the Yuhu Immortal Sect for studies?”
Xie Hongchen couldn’t refute him openly in front of everyone and had to respond, “Our sect has always welcomed aspiring individuals to come for studies. Master Chai can inform the outer sect, and the arrangements can be made.”
Chai Tianrong was overjoyed and thanked him repeatedly.
As Xie Hongchen’s gaze swept across the room, he looked at Huang Rang at another table. Huang Rang held her chopsticks while Xie Li whispered the names of the guests beside her. In fact, Huang Rang knew most of them; after all, she had been the wife of the Yuhu Immortal Sect’s master for a hundred years.
On occasions like this, she always had to come forward.
Seeing that she was engrossed in conversation with Xie Li, Xie Hongchen felt a sudden sense of annoyance.
Finally, the banquet ended.
The guests gradually dispersed, and Huang Rang remained, waiting for someone.
In a corner, Huang Jun slowly stood up. The two sisters smiled at each other, but there were not many words to exchange. The past was unbearable, as if every word spoken would be a wound. That’s why they never recalled the old days. Huang Jun smiled and said, “I rushed over as soon as I received your letter a few days ago. Fortunately, nothing happened to you.”
And Huang Rang’s response was only three words: “I am sorry.”
She knew that you didn’t want to return to that place, that you didn’t want to talk about the past, and that your heart would bleed again.
“I am sorry.”
Huang Jun lowered her eyes and said, “Don’t say that. I know you have a good reason for what you did. For so many years, you have always been more decisive than me.”
She harbored no grievances, and Huang Rang didn’t explain too much either. In fact, she hadn’t seen Huang Jun in so many years except in her dreams. Huang Jun had married into a respectable and upright family, though not particularly wealthy or prestigious. But what mattered more was their good character and the fact that they lived far from Xiancha Town and were involved in breeding as their profession. After marrying into that family, Huang Jun helped manage the fields, and she and her husband lived in harmony.
At first, her other siblings sneered at Huang Jun’s in-laws, dismissing their background. But later, seeing that Huang Jun was doing well, they became envious.
One of her younger sisters even wanted to confront Huang Jun’s in-laws when Huang Jun gave birth to her first child. But Huang Rang, who had always carried herself with dignity and grace, personally sewed her younger sister’s mouth shut with a needle and thread. After that, no one dared speak ill of Huang Jun’s family again.
Ah, that was one of the accusations Xie Hongchen held against her—that she had harmed her siblings over mere gossip and arguments.
Indeed, as a person like him, pure and untainted, and living in the immortal sects, he could not possibly know how fragile the peace in the mortal world was. How mere words could kill, and how many lives were destroyed by rumors.
Some old matters are of no use to bring up again.
Huang Rang asked, “Is everything well with my nephew at home?”
“Everything is fine.” Huang Jun mentioned him with a smile at the corner of her lips. She said, “Last year, I had another daughter, and the family was delighted. I always think she looks more and more like you as she grows. I’ve been wanting to bring her to see you, but…”
She didn’t finish her sentence, but Huang Rang understood—who would want to bring a child back to such a place?
These innocent children, even if they were tainted with a little impurity, would be heartbreaking, wouldn’t it?
She said with some sarcasm, “Oh really? Does she dare to have the same beauty as me?”
Huang Jun laughed and said, “With one-third of your looks, she is already stunning.”
Huang Rang nodded in satisfaction and said, “That’s good enough.”
She casually mentioned it, and Huang Jun asked, “Is Ah Rang planning to follow Sect Master Xie and focus on cultivation?”
As they walked side by side, Huang Rang, from outside the dream, had never discussed this matter with Huang Jun. She knew that Huang Jun didn’t want to be involved in anything related to Xiancha Town, so she didn’t bother her anymore. As a result, later, Huang Jun just accompanied her husband to the Yuhu Immortal Sect and had a wedding toast.
There was almost no conversation between the two of them.
At this moment, Huang Rang couldn’t even distinguish time. It felt like a hundred years ago, from outside the dream, when she was desperately trying, using all means, to win this good relationship.
And Huang Jun was standing before her.
Time could be so heartless. In the blink of an eye, it had been a hundred years since they last saw each other.
She said, “Yes and no. Anyway, in the future, Sister doesn’t need to go back to Xiancha Town.”
“Yeah, no need to go back.” Huang Jun murmured.
Huang Rang accompanied her to the foot of the mountain and said, “I won’t walk you any further. Take care, Sister.”
“I won’t need you to walk me further. May your nightmares be dispelled, and may the world be bright and clear. Take care.”
Huang Rang turned to leave. Behind her, Huang Jun said, “Ah Rang.”
Huang Rang stopped her steps, and Huang Jun said, “Forget about those things. Don’t always live in the quagmire.”
Huang Rang turned around and went up the mountain. The two sisters gradually separated in opposite directions.
“I will forever be deeply mired in the quagmire, venting my hatred and dispelling my resentments and fears over and over again. Perhaps this is the only meaning that supports my entire dream.”
Huang Rang didn’t look back; she didn’t want to see Huang Jun’s figure. Attachment and reluctance were such extravagant and unnecessary things.
She hurriedly walked into the mountain gate and indeed saw another person standing at the foot of the mountain.
Li Lu had come looking for Huang Rang on purpose, but he was here for a different reason—he was talking to He Xijin. Even more frighteningly, Wu Zichou and Zhang Shuju were speaking to Xie Shaochong.
He Xijin was obviously inquiring about the incident of the Celestial Court hunting down vipers and snakes, and he spoke so much that even someone as gentle as Li Lu was at a loss.
Fortunately, Huang Rang walked up and performed a graceful bow, saying, “Greetings, Master He, Deputy Li.”
Upon seeing Huang Rang, He Xijin immediately showed the gentle demeanor of a senior. He said, “Ah, Ah, Ah Rang, Mi, Miss, Miss Ah Rang, you, you are so, so… admirable! You, you, you in, in, the future…”
No, no, no, you are the admirable one. Huang Rang’s smile seemed to have turned into a mask.
Li Lu took a breath and quickly walked to the side, inviting Zhang Shuju over. Seeing He Xijin talking to Huang Rang, Zhang Shuju hurriedly walked over. Hearing He Xijin’s words, Zhang Shuju said, “If you have some free time in the future, you can visit the Ruyi Sword Sect, the Wenxin Pavillion, and the Ancient Fist Sect. Nowadays, various sects encourage the exchange and sharing of cultivation experiences among disciples.”
He Xijin heaved a sigh and said, “Right!”
In any case, I will never go to the Ruyi Sword Sect. for cultivation in the future. Huang Rang’s mind was made up. However, He Xijin continued, “Breed…breed…breeding…”
Zhang Shuju said, “Breeding concerns the common people of the world. Although you have joined the Immortal Sect, immortal sects should not stray from the path. I hope you will always maintain a compassionate heart and not neglect your skills.”
He XiJin nodded repeatedly, and Huang Rang was surprised—this second-ranked master of the Immortal Sect stopped her and just said something with such difficulty. But in the end, he said that.
“The words of the two seniors will be deeply engraved in Ah Rang’s memory,” Huang Rang replied respectfully, but her thoughts were quite different. Along her journey, she had seen too much evil in people’s hearts.
From childhood until now, there were few good people around her. Even Emperor Shi Wenyu and Xie Lingbi, who ruled the Immortal Sect, weren’t free from selfishness and vicious intentions.
As for He Xijin, Zhang Shuju, and Wu Zichou, Huang Rang wondered what kind of true nature they would reveal if they removed the facade of righteousness.
Huang Rang sneered inwardly but still maintained a respectful appearance. She escorted them to the mountain gate but actually wanted to talk to Li Lu for a moment.
Li Lu was naturally anxious, as the Celestial Court was established by the imperial court and was not in conflict with the Immortal Sect. The reason no one troubled him was that the current strength of the Celestial Court was simply negligible.
Fortunately, Xie Hongchen and Wu Zichou also came down the mountain, so He Xijin and Zhang Shuju naturally had to go over to greet them. Once they left, Huang Rang quickly asked, “How is the Chief doing?”
Li Lu suddenly let out a sigh of relief; fortunately, she still remembered our Chief.
He no longer cared about his dignity and said, “He… he is still okay. But he misses Miss Huang Rang deeply and mentions her every day. If Miss could bring an item to comfort him, it would be even better.”
“Item?” Huang Rang was at a loss. She searched her body but only found one thing.
“Deputy Li, please stretch out your hand.” Huang Rang said. Li Lu quickly reached out his hand, and then a colorful thing was placed in his hand. Immediately, Li Lu felt a burning sensation in his palm, followed by pain and itching.
Li Lu looked at the colorful thing in his hand, and his hair stood on end. “This… this is the… caterpillar!! (T/N: I’m not so sure about this actually; I translated it as fireflies in the previous chapter, but as I looked it up in an online dictionary and of course asked my friend about it, I found out that caterpillar is a little bit more accurate than fireflies, so I will translate it as caterpillar from now on, and I’m sorry for translating it wrongly before : ( ) But later on, Miss wants me to bring it to our Chief?”
Huang Rang also felt apologetic, saying, “I only have this now. Tell the Chief to take care of it for a year. When we meet next year, I will prepare another gift and exchange it back.”
“This item…” Li Lu pondered for a while and finally found a decent word: “is indeed unique.”
After saying that, he asked, “Does Miss Ah Rang have any message for the Chief? Li Lu can convey it.”
At the foot of the mountain, Xie Hongcheng certainly noticed that Huang Rang was talking to Li Lu. He bid farewell to He Xijin and others and quickly walked over, saying, “Deputy Li, please take your leave. We won’t send you far.”
Li Lu understood the direct meaning of the words.
He bowed slightly to Xie Hongchen and turned to leave.
Only then did Xie Hongchen turn around and walk a few steps, sensing someone following him.
—She still follows him after all. When this thought arose, Xie Hongchen was shocked.
Did he have other thoughts about her?
But… she is his newly accepted disciple!