After the mayor finished reading the letter, it turned out that Master Xie had requested his disciple, Huang Rang, to succeed the position of the Huang family master.
The other elders of the clans all reviewed the evidence against Huang Shu, and it is needless to say that the records were very detailed. Even if there were no incriminating evidence, they wouldn’t dare question it because of Xie Hongchen’s prestige. His reputation was not something these small families could challenge.
With Xie Hongchen personally writing the letter, how could the other elders dare to make things difficult?
The mayor immediately said, “Everyone, have you all understood?”
The other elders also said one after another, “Congratulations to all of you for finally getting a wise family master.”
After saying that, the elders had warm expressions and each took out prepared gifts.
“Ah Rang, you come from Xiancha Town and have studied under a famous master. Your future is boundless. But don’t forget us, the old folks…” Their tone was kindly, and their gifts were valuable.
Each of them treated her like their most beloved younger generation.
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Mbl Twydt qyxkzu oyp dsv alprlnvle yxsdt vbl dlyacu nzydp.
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Mball eyup zyvla, yzz vbl olyzvb sq vbl Twydt qyxkzu oyp alnsaele kd elvykz, yde hyakswp nsdvaynvp yde esnwxldvp olal dlyvzu bydele shla vs Twydt Sydt.
Mbl lzelap lhld oykvle qsa bla vs qkdkpb nyahkdt vbl plyz clqsal vyjkdt vblka zlyhl.
Huang Rang became the true head of the Huang family, and even though her siblings had objections, they didn’t dare to openly oppose her anymore.
But all of this didn’t make Huang Rang happy.
During the spring planting season, it was not Di Yiqiu who came to exchange good seeds.
He didn’t come.
That damn guy still didn’t come.
In the underground layer of Yuanrong Tower in the capital.
Di Yiqiu had planted the seeds Huang Rang gave him in a separate flowerpot and watered them every day.
Those seeds did indeed sprout. At first, the buds were small, but in just two or three days, they grew taller.
When they reached a certain size, the chief finally realized what it was—dogtail grass.
Yes, it was a pot of messy dogtail grass.
What was the mystery behind this gift? The chief combed through the fluffy grass tufts, but apart from growing more luxuriantly, there seemed to be nothing special about them.
Only the caterpillar was delighted and rolled around in it, having a great time.
As time went by, the agreed time to meet in Xiancha Town came, but Di Yiqiu didn’t go.
Firstly, his current physical condition wouldn’t allow it. If he went, he would probably just attract ridicule. Secondly, he had been trapped in Yuanrong Tower for so long that he had lost track of time. He had no idea that it was now the spring planting season.
The layer under the tower seemed to have been cut off by time.
Meanwhile, in Xiancha Town, the Huang family.
Huang Rang dug out the jar of wine from a corner of her small courtyard and carried it out of Xiancha Town.
“That damn guy, he dares to show such disrespect! Since he won’t come, then I’ll go to feed him myself!”
Huang Rang didn’t delay and hurried all the way to the capital. She obtained a pass to enter the inner city and was delayed for a few days.
Finally, she arrived at the gate of the Celestial Court in the capital. She wanted to take a good look at the entrance for nostalgia’s sake. However, as soon as she arrived at the gate, Huang Rang frowned.
At the entrance of the Celestial Court, there were many… young ladies gathered.
Yes, ladies!! There are ladies of all ages and sizes.
Each young lady stretched her neck and curiously looked inside.
Huang Rang naturally squeezed into the crowd, but after looking for a long time, she didn’t see anything. She had to push her way to the front of a guard and say, “Young man, I have an important matter to discuss with the chief. Please inform him on my behalf.”
The guard rolled his eyes and said, “Our chief doesn’t see visitors, so get lost!”
As he spoke, he was about to shoo her away. Huang Rang had to step back but accidentally stepped on the foot of the girl behind her.
“Ah, sorry,” Huang Rang quickly apologized.
The girl, however, smiled with a meaningful look and asked softly, “Are you here to see the chief too?”
“To see him?” Huang Rang latched onto the word and asked, “What do you mean by ‘too’? Are you all here to find the chief ?”
The girl giggled and whispered, “Stop pretending. Everyone knows about it. The whole capital is talking about it. Why be shy?”
“But I don’t know.” Huang Rang’s heart froze, and she asked, “Know what?”
The girl whispered, “What else could it be? You heard that our chief has a ‘treasure’ that he wraps around his waist when not in use, so as not to be unseemly in public!”
What in the world?
Huang Rang was confused. “Is there any evidence for this?” Besides, even if such a thing were true, how could it become so widely known?
Seeing that Huang Rang was genuinely unaware, the girl became excited and said, “Of course, there is evidence. The Bao Qin Pavilion has twelve popular young ladies, nicknamed the Twelve Months. All twelve of them have seen it, and it’s still being spread around!”
Huang Ran looked down at the jar of wine she was holding and felt her mind couldn’t keep up.
Was it the viper blood that changed his physique?
No, that’s not right. She remembered that when she was breeding in the imperial palace’s side courtyard, she sent Dai Yue to look for Di Yiqiu. At that time, Dai Yue came back and mentioned the matter about the chief and the twelve ladies.
Could it be an innate talent?
This matter was uncertain, as she had not paid attention before.
Huang Rang squeezed back to the guard and said, “Young man, I am Huang Rang, a direct disciple of Xie Hongchen from the Yuhu Immortal Sect. I wish to see Deputy Chief Li of the Celestial Court!”
As she spoke, she handed over the token name of the Yuhu Immortal Sect.
Unexpectedly, she needed Xie Hongchen’s Token name to find Di Yiqiu.
The guard relaxed when he heard it was someone from the Yuhu Immortal Sect and said, “Please wait a moment, Elder, I will inform them.”
Huang Rang responded with a distracted “Mmm.”
The girls around her continued their detailed discussions.
The content was simply… indescribable.
Fortunately, Li Lu, the Deputy chief, rushed over after a while.
When he saw Huang Rang, he hurriedly approached her and said, “Miss Ah Rang, please come in.”
Huang Rang followed him inside, still feeling dazed. She had to ask, “Is your chief… doing well?”
When Li Lu saw her, he seemed like a dreamy admirer who had finally met his goddess. He eagerly said, “If the chief knew that Miss Ah Rang came, he would be over the moon! These days he’s been yearning for you and has lost weight due to being unable to eat or drink properly.”
He exaggerated to the extreme, but Huang Rang was still absent-minded.
“Really?” Huang Rang wanted to ask about the rumors, but it was embarrassing. She could only say, “Is the chief here at the Celestial Court?”
Li Lü was naturally unaware of her thoughts and said, “He is still in the palace, but… but…”
Huang Ran saw his hesitation and asked, “Is it not convenient to visit him?”
“No, no, no,” Li Lu said. “It’s just that the chief is still ill, and I’m afraid it might frighten you.”
Huang Rang understood.
She never expected that even after all this time, Di Yiqiu still hadn’t fully recovered to his normal appearance.
Outside her dreams, she had heard Di Yiqiu mention this matter before, but he had brushed it off casually. However, now that she had experienced this time herself, she found herself separated from him by palace walls and high towers.
She spoke with sincerity: “If he can see visitors, please take me to see him, Deputy Chief Li. His appearance doesn’t matter.”
Li Lu hesitated; he wanted to bring Huang Rang over, but he was afraid that if she got frightened, the chief would lose even that glimmer of hope.
Huang Rang saw his expression and quickly understood. She said, “Deputy Chief, you don’t need to worry. I… I have seen him before, and I don’t think it will be scarier than that time.”
Li Lu froze, looking at Huang Rang. She smiled and nodded at him.
In the afternoon, inside the palace.
Li Lu brought Huang Rang and led her to Yuanrong Tower.
Qiu Shengbai was checking today’s prescription when he looked up and saw Huang Rang.
He stared at her carefully, and Huang Rang smiled and curtsied to him, “Greetings, Doctor Qiu.”
“Humph, it’s you, this girl.” Qiu Shengbai snorted but unconsciously stood up and led her to the underground layer of the tower.
Li Lu was quick to sense that Qiu Shengbai was not worried that Huang Rang would be scared.
Holding the jar of wine, Huang Rang stepped into this dark world.
After the replacement of their blood, the prince and princess began to show symptoms of photosensitivity. Therefore, many candles were removed from this place.
The place was cleaned frequently, yet there was still an indelible smell of medicine, salty and bitter.
Huang Rang observed the various cells, where people of all shapes and sizes—men, women, young, and old—were imprisoned. Every one of them seemed lifeless, and even when they occasionally turned their heads, it was eerie and terrifying.
The cell where Di Yiqiu was held was near the entrance.
He had his back to the wall and didn’t turn around.
Clearly, he didn’t recognize Huang Rang’s footsteps like she recognized his.
Huang Rang stood before the railing, silently gazing at his back.
He still hadn’t recovered completely; he looked grotesque, like a monster.
Where was the handsome appearance?
“Di Yiqiu,” Huang Rang softly called his name.
In the small cell, Di Yiqiu’s back suddenly stiffened. He didn’t turn around for a long time. Although Huang Rang smiled, her eyes shimmered with tears.
Outside of Huang Ran’s dreams, Di Yiqiu had been living alone in the official residence of the Black Tortoise Bureau in the Celestial Court for over a hundred years.
During those long days and nights, did he return to this dim cell countless times?
Drowning in pain, unable to find release?
In Huang Rang’s life, most people she encountered brought trouble upon themselves, deserving of their own punishment. Thus, she rarely felt pity for anyone.
But at this moment, she began to feel sympathy for this person.
His life was cut short at the age of nineteen.
The young boy who walked out of this prison cell was no more.
Huang Rang waited for a long time, but Di Yiqiu refused to turn around.
Qiu Shengbai directly opened the cell door. Huang Rang turned around and looked at him and Li Lu, asking, “Could you two step away for a moment?”
Both of them were puzzled, and Qiu Shengbai said, “Allowing you to enter was already a favor. Why so many complaints?”
“Fine.” Huang Rang could only say, “I have another question. If I were to consume his saliva, would I be poisoned?”
“The toxicity is mild,” Qiu Shengbai pondered for a moment and said, “The poison is still in his blood, and his physique isn’t mature yet.”
Huang Rang nodded and then crouched into the cell.
Qiu Shengbai contemplated for a while and finally realized what was strange—no, why would you eat his saliva?!
He looked at Li Lu—did you not hear what that woman said just now?
Li Lu had an expectant expression!
Inside the cell, the caterpillar was sleeping on official documents.
As soon as it heard Huang Rang’s voice, it vigorously climbed up. It crawled over to Huang Rang and was ready to climb up her shoe.
Huang Rang lifted it up, saying, “It’s grown so chubby!”
The caterpillar wriggled its colorful body, and Huang Rang casually put it beside a Double snake fruit. Next to the Double snake fruit was a pot with the seeds Huang Rang had given to Di Yiqiu.
The huge seed looked like a dog’s tail or a fluffy ball, and it was hard to tell what it was.
It had grown so large; it seemed to be growing well.
Huang Rang glanced at it for a moment and then approached Di Yiqiu.
“What are you here for?” Di Yiqiu asked slowly.
He still refused to turn around.
But this time, he was much better.
He wore a clean black robe that covered his entire body. Because of this, his back looked chubby rather than terrifying.
Huang Rang raised the wine jar in her hand. “As I said, during the spring planting season, I invite the chief to have a drink.”
Di Yiqiu’s voice was cold. “I’m not drinking.”
Huang Rang broke the seal of the wine jar, and Li Lu saw it and quickly found a bowl for her.
However, when Huang Rang raised the jar and took a sip of wine, she suddenly pounced on Di Yiqiu, turning him around.
Di Yiqiu felt a slight warmth on his lips as the refreshing wine entered his mouth.
Following that, there was a deep scent of roses.
And also… a warm and tender touch of lips and tongue.
The beauty exuded fragrance, and her warm breath brushed his face.
The chief inhaled halfway and felt a moment where his heart seemed to stop.
As the wine flowed into his throat, his Adam’s apple bobbed slightly as he swallowed it all down.
The soft and warm beauty in his embrace and the scent of her hair filled the air. What he saw in his eyes was a strange and enchanting scene. Outside the cell, Qiu Shengbai exclaimed, “Oh my!” and hurriedly covered his eyes and retreated.
Huang Rang paid no attention to him. She kept advancing, and Di Yiqiu kept stepping back.
Finally, his back was against the wall.
Huang Rang’s gaze locked onto him, slightly tipping the wine jar and taking another sip. She leaned close to Di Yiqiu, using her tongue to lightly smear the sweet wine on his lips.
“I said, during the spring planting season, I will invite the chief to have a drink. If the chief doesn’t come, I will come to you. If the chief doesn’t drink, I will feed the chief,” she said softly, her red lips against the contour of his left ear.
Di Yiqiu trembled as she spoke.
Li Lu came in with a bowl but saw the scene inside and turned around, giving himself a slap on the face. After slapping himself, he left.
With the beautiful woman’s soft, jade-like body and fragrant scent, Di Yiqiu’s hands trembled slightly, but he restrained himself and didn’t even hug her.
Huang Rang was surprised, “Why don’t you have any courage? You had twelve women outside the imperial palace. Haven’t they ever fed you wine?”
He couldn’t be so unenthusiastic! That’s such a waste of money.
Oh right, there are rumors about him, him…
Huang Rang’s gaze shifted downward, looking at his waist.
Unfortunately, he was swollen now, and the black robe was loose, so it was hard to tell.
And at this moment, asking him this question might be rubbing salt in his wounds.
Huang Rang had no choice but to reach out and randomly touch his waist.
Di Yiqiu noticed, and he finally asked, “What are you looking for?”
His voice was hoarse, and his breath was scorching as he softly asked, “What do you want? An artifact? A drawing? Or some other treasure?”
“Huh?” Huang Rang retracted her hand in guilt and asked, “Why do you ask like that?”
Di Yiqiu lowered his eyelids and said, “No need to dodge. You’re still doing it while I describe it like this. If not for these things, what do you want?”
Uh, Huang Ran was very embarrassed. “It’s not easy to say.”
Di Yiqiu’s eyes and brows drooped, and he still spoke softly, “Say it. Tell me what you desire, and I’ll let you take it away.”
“No, no, no, no…” Huang Rang said repeatedly, “I can’t take it away. I can’t.”
Is it too valuable?
Di Yiqiu frowned, and Huang Rang was afraid he would say something shocking, so she quickly said, “I just came to have a drink with you. Really.”
She handed the wine jar to Di Yiqiu, saying, “This jar of wine has been brewing for many years, so many years. I have always been reluctant to open it. When my sister got married, I originally wanted to drink it with her. Unfortunately, there was no suitable opportunity.”
Di Yiqiu glanced at the wine and said, “Since it’s so precious, why give it to me? Between you and me, it seems that we’re not that familiar.”
When he said this, Huang Rang became interested.
She said, “No, this is the most precious time. It’s perfect for this wine.”
Her sweet words seemed to come naturally.
Di Yiqiu stared at the jar of wine, and his gaze seemed to melt into the amber-like wine. Huang Rang handed the wine jar to him, saying, “Take another sip.”
The fragrance of wine filled the entire cell, so rich that even the candlelight seemed drowsy.
Di Yiqiu took the wine jar, and the sound of the lock on his wrist jingled as he moved. But at this moment, the sound didn’t seem so unpleasant.
He raised his head and lightly took a sip of the wine.
He had never drunk alcohol before to maintain the stability of his hands.
Today, he tasted the flavor of this wine.
It was rich and smooth, with a strong fragrance, like the warm and tender lips and tongue of a beautiful woman.
It was a taste he would never forget in his entire life.
The wine wasn’t strong, but Di Yiqiu still got drunk. He really wasn’t good at drinking.
Huang Rang helped him lie down on the small bed, saying, “Sleep if you’re drunk.”
Di Yiqiu’s eyes were sleepy, and he asked, “Are you leaving?”
Huang Rang helped him lie down and said, “I’ll come again.”
Di Yiqiu was already very drowsy, but he still asked, “Why are you treating me like this?”
Huang Rang also lay down, resting her head on his shoulder and gazing at the top of the cell. “These days have been difficult, but I hope that when you think back in the future, you can think of some tiny good things. I have been trapped in the abyss for a long time and have been taken care of by you. This is… my way of showing gratitude.”
Di Yiqiu’s weariness surged, and he closed his eyes, saying, “I don’t understand.”
Huang Rang covered his forehead with her hand, saying, “You don’t need to understand.”
Di Yiqiu knew that when he woke up, this person, along with her warmth, would disappear. He mustered up the strength to say his final words, “But what do you want, exactly?”
Huang Rang thought for a moment and said, “I am learning at the Yuhu immortal sect, and I want you to come see me. Will you come see me? Is that okay?”
“Okay.” After Di Yiqiu finished speaking, he fell into a deep sleep.
T/N: dogtail grass