Xie Hongchen stood to the side, watching as Huang Rang held the golden soil with profound sorrow.
Having been a demon hunter and cultivator for many years, he was accustomed to such scenes. But today, he felt a bit softhearted.
Perhaps it was because he sympathized with his disciple, or maybe… it was because her crying was exceptionally beautiful.
Huang Rang was adept at crying.
No matter when, tears would always flow like pearls, clear and transparent. Her weeping held a certain charm; she was capable of being silent and mournful yet also tender and sorrowful.
However, she never cried herself hoarse.
Crying was of no use.
But if one could cry with pear blossoms carrying tears, displaying the utmost beauty and pathos, at least it could lessen much suffering. Huang Rang had long mastered this exceptional skill, which became her family’s unique talent.
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Rd vbl rypv, Dkl Tsdtnbld jdlo kv olzz, ps bkp blyav alxykdle yp qkax yp kasd, ryukdt kv ds blle.
Jwv dso, kv pllxle vbyv Dkl Tsdtnbld pvkzz eked’v qwzzu wdelapvyde bla.
Tl yrrasynble Twydt Sydt, oykvkdt wdvkz bla naukdt pwcpkele y ckv, clqsal pyukdt, “Twydt Fbw, vbl rlapsd qsaxlazu jdsod yp Twydt Kk, nsxxkvvle dwxlaswp oknjle ellep. Tl dsv sdzu eslpd’v elplahl vs cl y qyvbla cwv yzps eslpd’v elplahl vs cl nyzzle y bwxyd. Zsw esd’v dlle vs cl psaasoqwz.” Gzvbswtb vblpl osaep pswdele kdekqqlaldv, vblu olal xlydv vs nsdpszl.
Rasdknyzzu, kd vblka bwdeale ulyap vstlvbla yp bwpcyde yde okql, pbl bye dlhla alnlkhle pwnb nsxqsavkdt osaep qasx bkx. Zlv dso, yp bkp ekpnkrzl, pbl byp scvykdle vblx.
Tszekdt vbl tszeld pskz qsaxle cu Twydt Fbw, pbl alrzkle, “Plprkvl bkp xydu oasdteskdtp, bl kp pvkzz xu qyvbla. R sol bkx xu zkql, yde pllkdt bkx xllv pwnb yd lde, R nyd’v blzr cwv…”
—Uyd’v blzr cwv cl lmvalxlzu elzktbvle!
Fbl eked’v pyu vbl alpv sq bla vbswtbvp, zlyhkdt vblx qsa Dkl Tsdtnbld vs rsdela.
Gde kdelle, Dkl Tsdtnbld wdelapvsse. Tl nsdvkdwle, “R wdelapvyde. Fkdnl vbyv’p vbl nypl, usw nyd jllr bkp Pbyaxy cseu. Tsrlqwzzu, bl okzz alqzlnv sd bkxplzq, alrldv, yde nbydtl qsa vbl clvvla wdela uswa nyalqwz nyal. Ekvb uswa xlvknwzswp yvvldvksd, vblal xktbv cl y eyu obld bl yvvykdp ldzktbvldxldv yde ynbklhlp y bwxyd qsax.”
That would be great. Huang Rang found a sandalwood box and carefully collected every bit of the golden soil left on the ground. She put each particle into the box, not letting any go to waste.
—He still hopes for such a day?
Clutching the sandalwood box as if it were a precious treasure, she said, “As a human, I should take good care of him.”
Of course, she would take good care of him just to prevent him from truly attaining enlightenment.
But that wasn’t enough. She continued, “With such a tragic event happening to my father, it’s because he didn’t cultivate virtues in the past. However, there are still siblings at home, and without their father returning, they might… act impulsively and make hasty decisions.”
She looked worried, but her words were extremely tactful.
Yet Xie Hongchen couldn’t help but understand that Huang Rang’s siblings weren’t just acting impulsively. They grew up under Huang Shu’s tyranny and were deeply influenced by him.
If they knew about Huang Shu’s death, it would undoubtedly lead to a chaotic situation.
Xie Hongchen asked, “What do you plan to do?”
Huang Rang said, “Disciple wants to take a few days off and return to Xiancha Town, not only to bring the news of my father’s death but also… to consider their future.”
—Future? The future, where they’d learn who the true beast of the Huang family was.
“You’re truly too kind,” Xie Hongchen sighed lightly and said. “Among your siblings, neither their talents nor their characters are commendable. Only you are worthy of the responsibility as the family master.”
“Master, please don’t say that.” Huang Rang hurriedly replied, “My elder brother is still at home, and he can’t stay in Xiancha Town all year round…”
Xie Hongchen said, “Ah Rang.” He said those two words again, and his heart trembled slightly. It was a strange feeling, as if there was… a palpitation.
At that moment, Huang Rang, holding the sandalwood box, also felt a bit puzzled.
It was as if time had never passed, and she was still on the Qilu Terrace when he suddenly appeared. He walked through the crescent-shaped arch and stood beneath the pavilion, softly calling, “Ah rang.”
Xie Hongchen tried to ignore this feeling and continued, “Only by taking on the role of Huang Family Master can the Huang family possibly continue.”
Tears glistened in Huang Rang’s eyes like broken diamonds as she softly asked, “Master, don’t you want me anymore? Do you want to send me back to Xiancha Town?”
Her voice was very gentle, giving him a feeling as if feathers were brushing against his heart. Xie Hongchen almost immediately replied, “No. Never.”
As he spoke those words, he also froze. He said, “Never.”
The tears in Huang Rang’s eyes were about to overflow. She knelt down before him and said, “I also want to stay by Master’s side forever and learn from you. Please don’t drive me away, Master.”
In that moment, Xie Hongchen’s heart softened. He reached out and tremulously touched Huang Rang’s head. Her hair was soft and smooth, and Xie Hongchen had to make an effort to maintain the elder’s kindness.
—And not indulge in mean and dirty thoughts.
“You can learn and govern the Huang family while being at Yuhu Immortal Sect. You are my disciple, and no one would dare to object.” Xie Hongchen gently stroked her head and hesitated before saying, “And I won’t allow anyone to object.”
That would be great.
Huang Rang allowed him to caress her head. So, it turns out that wanting to receive your care means I can’t fall in love with you.
The next day, Xie Hongchen allowed Huang Rang to take a short break. Huang Rang left the sect and returned to Xiancha Town.
However, she waited until the fine seeds on the Qilu Terrace matured. She dried and packed these seeds, bringing them all the way to the post station at the foot of the mountain. She sent them all to He Xijin.
After filling out the address, Huang Rang hesitated for a moment but decided to write a letter to He Xijin.
In the letter, she wrote that, at the request of Sect Master He, she had cultivated several fine seeds. She hoped they could be distributed for free to those in need.
The letter was brief, but she couldn’t help but wonder—what would this Sect Master He do with these seeds?
To gain fame for himself? Or for profit?
It was indeed intriguing.
Of course, Huang Rang didn’t really care about the outcome.
She cultivated these fine seeds only to let Xie Hongchen see her “pure and virtuous” heart.
For her, human nature was just like that.
If you want to see a good person, don’t peel away the sugar coating on the surface of a person’s heart.
After finishing these tasks, Huang Rang prepared to return to Xiancha Town, carrying the golden soil formed by Huang Shu with her.
At this moment, the eldest senior brother, Nie Qinglan, was waiting at the mountain gate.
Huang Rang was slightly startled but still walked over. She didn’t bow but spoke affectionately, “Eldest Senior Brother.”
Her respect for Nie Qinglan was limited, but her friendliness was abundant. After all, in her dream, she had been his madam for over a hundred years.
Nie Qinglan didn’t mind; instead, he liked her innocent and unrestrained nature. He said, “Master knows that Little Junior Sister is going home, so he specially asked me to deliver this letter.” He handed a letter to Huang Rang.
Huang Rang took it and asked, “What is this?”
Nie Qinglan said, “This is a letter from Master to Little Junior Sister. There’s also a teleportation charm. Master wants Little Junior Sister to return to Xiancha Town and immediately gather the elders of all clans to discuss the succession of the Family Master position.”
Huang Rang took the letter but wondered why Xie Hongchen didn’t come personally. She cupped her hands to Nie Qinglan, and he returned the gesture, indicating that she should return home immediately.
As Huang Rang left the Yuhu Immortal Sect, Xie Hongchen stood by the railing on the mountainside, watching her gradually fade into the distance.
Huang Rang left the sect and made her way back to Xiancha Town.
She obeyed and, after returning to the town, immediately took Xie Hongchen’s letter to find the town mayor, asking him to notify the elders of all clans to gather at the Huang family for a discussion.
In this regard, Xie Hongchen’s words were absolutely correct—carrying his endorsement, no one dared to raise objections.
As expected, the town mayor wasted no time and immediately sent people to gather the various clan elders.
Meanwhile, Huang Rang returned to the Huang family alone.
Though she hadn’t been back for a few months, the Huang family hadn’t changed much. As Huang Rang stepped inside, her siblings greeted her with a reunion after a long separation, but there was no trace of joy on their faces.
Her eldest brother, Huang Zeng, looked suspicious and asked, “Why have you returned? Where’s father?”
Huang Rang paid no attention to his questioning and simply wandered around the house.
Her little courtyard had already been occupied by other sisters, and all the belongings inside had naturally been divided up. In an instant, Huang Rang felt like she had never existed in this place.
“Could it be that the Tenth Sister’s intentions were impure, and the sect kicked her out?” A younger sister, ranked around tenth, sneered from behind.
Huang Rang glanced back but didn’t say anything.
She had sixteen siblings, some without official positions, treated as servants by Huang Shu.
The most numerous were Huang Shu’s concubines and maidservants, numbering over sixty.
If things got heated, it could turn into quite a commotion.
After walking around the surroundings, Huang Rang eventually returned to the main hall.
Huang Zeng couldn’t hold back any longer and asked, “Where’s father? Did you go to the sect for many days and lose your voice?”
“Father won’t be coming back,” Huang Rang said as she looked at the painting hanging on the wall of the main hall—a depiction of spring sowing.
“Really?” Upon hearing this, the people present initially showed signs of joy. However, they quickly began to think of other matters. Huang Zeng said, “With father gone, I am the eldest brother. In this Huang family, what I say goes! Huang Rang, tell us, What happened to father?”
As soon as he finished speaking, someone immediately shouted, “Who do you think you are? Just a bastard born to a lowly concubine. You dare to call yourself our eldest brother?”
It was Huang Rang’s sixteenth sibling.
Ah, his mother was the stepmother that Huang Shu had taken after his original wife passed away.
But she had died long ago.
“Huang Cheng, do you still want to take charge? Do you want us to publicly reveal how your mother became a concubine?” Huang Zeng retorted in turn.
For a moment, the entire main hall erupted in chaos.
Everyone argued over who should take charge, but as for Huang Shu’s whereabouts, who cared?!
Huang Rang stood in the hall, once again looking at the spring sowing painting.
Spring sowing… The reason she chose to return at this time was to invite Di Yiqiu for a drink.
She didn’t know if he would come.
The rose wine was buried in the courtyard; she hoped it was still there.
As the main hall became increasingly tumultuous, some people even started fighting.
After a while, Huang Rang suddenly said, “From now on, I will be in charge of the Huang family.”
Her voice was soft, but because she had practiced some martial arts, it sounded like thunder when it came out. Thunder rang in the ears of the crowd, temporarily silencing the noise.
Huang Rang turned around, looking at her siblings with calm and gentle eyes, enunciating each word clearly: “From now on, I am the Family Master.”
“What did you say?! A woman like you dares to lead us?” Immediately, someone loudly refuted her.
Huang Rang’s seventh sister doubted, saying, “You actually want to be the next Family Master. Did you kill father?!”
With her words, the other siblings immediately crowded around her—not to question her but to tear her apart.
If a person looked disheveled, naturally, they wouldn’t be as convincing.
But Huang Rang didn’t resort to violence; she only stepped back.
Just then, someone from outside called out, “What are you all doing?”
It was the town mayor who strode in.
Along with him were the elders of all the families around Xiancha Town.
—The personal disciple of Sect Master Xie returned home, holding a letter written in Xie Hongchen’s own hand; there was no reason for these people not to come.
Seeing the town mayor, the crowd became somewhat fearful and instantly stopped making a fuss.
The town mayor walked up to Huang Rang and first asked, “Are you alright, Ah Rang?”
Huang Rang bowed gracefully to him and replied, “Thank you for your concern, Mayor. I am fine.”
The town mayor nodded and gestured for all the elders to sit down.
Huang Rang handed him Xie Hongchen’s letter and said, “My master suddenly sent me back home and asked me to invite all the elders to read this letter. The truth will be revealed.”
The town mayor wiped his hands on his clothes a few times before carefully taking the letter.
Xie Hongchen’s letter was filled with radiant words.
The town mayor read aloud, “After the investigation by our Sect Master, Huang Shu of Xiancha Town has behaved improperly and indulged in lustful ways. Moreover, for many years, he has manipulated the prices of fine seeds, harming the people. Today, his cultivation has been destroyed, and he is to awaken a sense of benevolence and cultivate the Dao again. The descendants of the Huang family should all examine themselves…”
In the letter, he detailed Huang Shu’s crimes. Some involved seducing other men’s wives; others were related to disregarding imperial laws and manipulating the prices of fine seeds.
However, there was no mention of any wrongdoing by Huang Shu’s biological daughter, Huang Rang.
He knew that such rumors, once spread, would greatly affect Huang Rang.
This might be a stain that would follow her for her entire life, forever difficult to wash away.
And this was precisely the reason she had hidden this from him in her alternate life, the Fifth Year of Chengyuan.
Growing up under the knee of a father with such immoral conduct, one who would even humiliate his own biological daughter, how could she expect her husband to believe in her innocence?
Huang Rang had originally tried to serve him with all her charm, but if this kind of suspicion arose in his mind, wouldn’t they be estranged forever?
Dai Yue was convinced that she wouldn’t dare to speak, and she could only remain silent.
Unfortunately, no matter how much she concealed, in the end, they remained distant for a hundred years.
Nothing had really changed.
Huang Rang stood in the hall, coldly listening to the town mayor read Xie Hongchen’s handwritten letter.
The imminent control of the Huang family couldn’t hold her attention.
She began to think about the wine buried in the courtyard, wondering if Di Yiqiu would come to the appointment.
Or rather, would he be able to come?