When Di Yiqiu had fallen into a deep sleep, Huang Rang got up.
“Is our chief alright?” Li Lu entered quietly to check.
Qiu Shengbai glanced at Di Yiqiu, then at Huang Rang, and after a moment, he said, “You really can speak your mind!”
What kind of talk was that? Li Lu immediately retorted, “Our Chief has good qualities. Even if that’s the case, he’s still somewhat presentable.”
Qiu Shengbai rolled his eyes and couldn’t be bothered to argue with him.
Li Lu turned to Huang Rang and smiled apologetically, saying, “Miss Ah Rang, don’t mind him. Our chief doesn’t drink, so his alcohol tolerance is not great.”
“Don’t bother boasting; your Chief doesn’t have any alcohol tolerance to begin with.”
Huang Rang walked to a corner of the cell where Double snake fruit trees were placed, and a caterpillar was resting on one of the leaves.
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“Rv’p y zkvvzl pwarakpl qsa Ubklq.” Twydt Sydt cawpble sqq vbl qkdl qzwqq sd bla bydep, pvsse wr, yde oyp ycswv vs zlyhl obld Ckw Fbldtcyk bwaaklezu pyke, “Eykv!”
Ekvbswv oykvkdt qsa Twydt Sydt vs ypj, bl vssj swv y rkzz yde bydele kv vs bla, pyukdt, “Rv nyd nswdvlaynv vbl hldsx sq vbl Twk pdyjl.”
Xb. Twydt Sydt vssj kv yde poyzzsole vbl rkzz.
Jlpkel bla, Nk Nw lytlazu pyke, “Nlv xl pll usw sqq, Ykpp Gb Sydt.”
Twydt Sydt dseele yde vssj y qlo pvlrp, vbld vwadle cynj. Pk Zkikw oyp rlynlqwzzu ypzllr sd vbl dyaaso cle kd vbl nlzz.
Fbl qlzv y nlavykd nzspldlpp yde vldeladlpp vsoyaep vbkp rlapsd, cwv kv nswzed’v cl nyzzle ellr yqqlnvksd.
However, thinking about her whole life, it seemed like she had never been so close to someone without any ulterior motives.
Huang Rang left the Yuanrong Tower, and outside, the weather was sunny.
The wind carried a hint of pale golden sunlight, stirring all things on earth. Those restless branches and twigs had swollen buds, showing a faint hint of new greenery.
Spring was approaching.
On the lower floor of the Yuanrong Tower, when Di Yiqiu woke up, he found himself alone in the cell.
He didn’t know what time it was; the alcohol had numbed his senses. He propped himself up and struggled to stand. Before him, there was only dim candlelight, and the room felt cold and desolate.
If it weren’t for the lingering fragrance of alcohol, it would be as if that person had never been here.
Drinking together and then being left alone. That kind of loneliness quickly engulfed him.
Di Yiqiu walked slowly to the cell’s entrance, but the chains had reached their limit, and he couldn’t go any further. He lowered his head and saw a corner of the wall, where he suddenly froze.
In the corner were two flowerpots. One contained the snake fruit, with a caterpillar sleeping on its leaves.
The other flowerpot contained the seeds Huang Rang had given him last time. Those seeds were extraordinarily large, and he watered them diligently every day, even having Qiu Shengbai move them outside to bask in the sun.
When the seeds finally sprouted, he realized it was a pot of dogtail grass.
This grass grew extremely fast and was now up to his knees.
Originally, he thought it was just Huang Rang’s joke, so he laughed it off and didn’t mind. However, before leaving, Huang Rang tidied up the pot of dogtail grass.
The twisting branches and leaves intertwined and eventually formed a character.
The character “Autumn”
Di Yiqiu’s fingertips touched the character. This small surprise could offset the emptiness that followed after waking up from drinking.
In the Yuhu Immortal Sect, Huang Rang continued to diligently cultivate her skills.
In terms of martial arts talent, she couldn’t be considered a prodigy. But hard work can make up for one’s shortcomings, and this is a well-known saying.
Huang Rang’s cultivation gradually surpassed that of ordinary disciples, and she began to stand out on the Emerald Peak.
And she indeed didn’t neglect her breeding work either.
On one hand, it was her hobby, and on the other hand, it was her curiosity about He Xijin, Wu Zichou, and Zhang Shuju.
These three sect leaders sent her a sum of money regularly each month, never asking where the money went.
Huang Rang used this money to cultivate various good breeds for them.
She secretly kept track of the prices of these good breeds on the market, knowing it would be a huge fortune.
What exactly did these three prominent figures do with these good breeds?
She didn’t ask. She simply sent back a large number of good breeds to them.
Infinite giving—how would it affect a person? Huang Rang was looking forward to it.
Xie Hongchen was very satisfied with Huang Rang’s progress in cultivation. Her cultivation was gradually catching up with Nie Qinglan, Xie Li, and others.
She became a role model in the sect. Countless senior masters used her as an example to educate their disciples.
Other disciples were overwhelmed by this.
This girl is a lunatic. She never rests!
Meanwhile, in the Yuanrong Tower, Di Yiqiu’s body was gradually improving.
He no longer resisted taking medicine and would even actively discuss prescriptions with Qiu Shengbai. He started to try moving his body, and Qiu Shengbai even unchained him, allowing him to walk around inside the tower.
Di Yiqiu personally collected leaves for the caterpillar, prepared food, and took the dogtail grass to bask in the sun. He also personally tended to the Double snake fruit trees.
Finally, he expressed his desire to return to the Celestial Court.
Qiu Shengbai frowned and asked, “What did you say?”
Di Yiqiu repeated, “I want to live in the Celestial Court. Don’t worry, I’ll come on time to exchange blood.”
Qiu Shengbai took a deep breath and slowly exhaled, seemingly contemplating.
Di Yiqiu said, “Someone from the Celestial Court will come on time to collect the medicine.”
Qiu Shengbai finally asked, “You… with your current condition, aren’t you afraid of being seen by others?”
This was something that concerned young people the most. However, Di Yiqiu replied, “It doesn’t matter. I don’t mind.”
Ah, of course he didn’t mind. Because the person he cared about didn’t mind either.
Qiu Shengbai sighed and said, “Alright. But if you don’t follow my medical advice, I will bring you back to the Yuanrong Tower at any time.”
So, Di Yiqiu held the Double snake fruit in his left hand, a dogtail grass in his right hand, and the caterpillar perched on the leaves. He left the palace and returned to the Celestial Court.
As Qiu Shengbai had said, his body was still unusual, and he looked quite frightening.
Numerous strange gazes came from all directions, stealing glances at him from time to time.
But Di Yiqiu was already indifferent to them.
Among the princes and princesses, he was the first to leave the Yuanrong Tower.
Qiu Shengbai watched him leave, and beside him, Fu Gonggong asked, “You allowed him to go back home just like that. Aren’t you worried?”
“He will come back on time,” Qiu Shengbai said softly, “because he still wants to live.”
Because he really wanted to live well.
After Di Yiqiu returned to the Celestial Court, the first thing he saw was a group of women standing outside the gate.
Seeing him dressed in a black robe, half his face hidden under the hood, looking rather eerie and strange, they couldn’t help but step back, making way for him. Di Yiqiu entered the Black Tortoise Bureau and looked around, asking, “What’s going on?”
Uh… The guards awkwardly explained why these women were waiting outside.
The Chief saw these women, then lowered his head to look at his waist.
He seemed to understand why Huang Rang had been touching and kneading him around the waist in the Yuanrong Tower.
The Chief hesitated, looking troubled.
Although he didn’t have this “waist treasure,” the chief cooperated well with Qiu Shengbai.
He would go to the Yuanrong Tower on time to have Qiu Shengbai check his pulse, and he would take all the medicine sent by Qiu Shengbai on time and in the right amount.
Although every blood transfusion was painful, he was improving, and he persevered in his efforts to get better.
Time flowed like water, passing by in a hurry.
On this day, the Immortal Sect held a martial arts competition for new junior disciples.
It was a great opportunity for the new disciples to show their talents.
In order to let the common people appreciate the splendor of the Immortal Sect, the martial arts arena was set up in Kanyue City.
Kanyue City was a small city located between the Yuhu Immortal Sect and the capital city, making it easily accessible from all directions.
Strictly speaking, this place was under the jurisdiction of the imperial court.
However, the imperial court had never opposed it.
Given the Immortal Sect’s standing in the hearts of the people, opposition from the imperial court would probably be futile.
Thus, Shi Wenyu generally approved of this move.
As a result, the small city of Kanyue was packed with people who came to watch the competition.
These people were from all walks of life, mixing with each other. But most of their discussions revolved around one thing: which new junior disciple would win the martial arts competition?
The Celestial Court, the Black Tortoise Bureau, Di Yiqiu’s study room.
In the corner was the pot of dogtail grass, which had grown taller, forming a lush cluster, but it still looked like a vibrant “Autumn” character.
The Double snake fruit trees were placed on the desk while the caterpillar slept on the leaves of the Double snake fruit.
Di Yiqiu was attempting to carve an artifact. His body had recovered quite well; the swelling had subsided, revealing a lean appearance.
However, his hand’s stability had not fully recovered, and the requirements for this artifact were stringent, so he worked with great care.
The sound of footsteps approached from outside, and it was Qiu Shengbai.
He carried a medicine box and entered the room, asking, “How’s your condition these days?”
Di Yiqiu extended his hand, letting him take his pulse, and replied, “It’s alright. In a couple of days, I want to leave the capital for a short trip. I’ll be back in a few days.”
“No, you can’t!” Qiu Shengbai exclaimed angrily, “Your current constitution seems stable, but it’s still dangerous. If others find out, the matter of Hui snake blood may be exposed. And then the emperor will investigate.”
Di Yiqiu interrupted him, saying, “That won’t happen. This trip is not official business; I won’t be leaving as a representative of the court. It’s just…”
Qiu Shengbai grew more frustrated. “You’re just going to Kanyue City to meet that girl!”
Di Yiqiu fell silent. Qiu Shengbai continued, “That girl is now Xie Hongchen’s disciple and an exceptionally outstanding direct disciple! If you go to see her, do you think Xie Hongchen is blind? If he takes action, can you handle it?”
Di Yiqiu remained silent.
With his current strength, he couldn’t match the current number one Sword Immortal in the Immortal Sect.
Qiu Shengbai said, “Your current body constitution and talent were not easy to come by. How can you recklessly venture into danger? I’m going to say something that goes against the rules: Don’t let your emotions cloud your judgment!”
After saying this, he left, annoyed.
Originally, it was just a trivial matter, but during the night, Di Yiqiu discovered something—that the caterpillar was missing!
Normally, it would either be eating and drinking to its heart’s content, sleeping on the Double snake fruit tree, or rolling around in the dogtail grass. But now, Di Yiqiu searched the study room and couldn’t find its trace.
“Come here!” Di Yiqiu’s face turned cold, and the guards outside the door knew it was not good, so they hurriedly came over.
“Who has been in my study?” Di Yiqiu asked in a stern voice.
Everyone looked at each other, and, after a while, someone answered in a low voice, “Master, we’ve been guarding the door and didn’t dare to leave. No one has entered during this time.”
As he finished speaking, there was a loud bang. Di Yiqiu angrily slapped the table, causing the teacup lid to jump high.
Taking a deep breath,Di Yiqiu said in a deep voice, “Something is missing. Notify everyone in the Celestial Court to find it immediately!”
Then he took out a charcoal pen from his waist and drew a sketch.
On the sketch… was there a worm?
What can be done?
The entire Celestial Court searched high and low, digging three feet into the ground, looking for a worm!
But how could that be easy?
After two days, the Vermilion Bird, Black Tortoise, Azure Dragon, and White Tiger Bureaus were busy searching. Countless Caterpillars were captured, but not a single one was the special love letter bug from the esteemed Senior sister!
Li Lu and Bao Wu lamented incessantly, tirelessly searching for worms day and night.
Inside the palace, at the Yuanrong Tower.
Qiu Shengbai was earnestly filling out medical records. Di Yiqiu was the first to leave, but the other princes and princesses were still very cautious.
He was busy every day; even when sleeping at night, he kept one eye open, afraid that something might happen to these nobles.
It was now late at night, and Qiu Shengbai had finally finished today’s medical records when suddenly he felt a sharp pain in his ankle!
“Ah!” He cried out in pain, lowering his head to find a worm crawling up his ankle.
Qiu Shengbai pinched the worm, and even when it was right in front of him, the esteemed Medical Master still couldn’t believe his eyes.
It… It was actually the caterpillar from Di Yiqiu!!
The esteemed Medical Master looked into the caterpillar’s two large bean-like eyes and couldn’t help but curse despite his good upbringing, “You, you dumb thing! Didn’t you follow your dad back to the Celestial Court?!”
Who could believe that this damned dumb thing had crawled all the way from the Celestial Court to the Yuanrong Tower just to bite him?
“I won’t let your dad go out, and who is it for? You, this dumb thing, actually repaid kindness with enmity! Don’t think that just because you’re a worm, I won’t settle scores with you! If your dad doesn’t compensate me for the mental distress, I won’t rest until I crush you!” The esteemed Medical Master had been working hard for years and finally broke through at this moment.
He gritted his teeth, ignoring the intense pain in his ankle, and muttered as he carried it to the Celestial Court to hold someone accountable.
The three-day worm search operation at the Celestial Court ended in the esteemed Medical Master’s raging fury.
The cost was the Chief compensating half a month’s salary.
Meanwhile, in Kanyue City.
The Immortal Sect’s new junior disciples’ martial arts competition was about to begin. Xie Hongchen led four new junior disciples from the Yuhu Immortal Sect into the city.
All sounds in the city stopped at his appearance, and everyone’s gaze was drawn to the Master of the Immortal Sect.
Xie Hongchen was still dressed in white like snow, with a jade pendant hanging from his waist, just like the rarest treasure of the sky.
Huang Rang followed closely behind him, feeling deeply moved as she saw everyone welcoming them on both sides.
— Twelve years ago, outside of the dream, she had also come to watch the competition with Xie Hongchen. However, at that time, she was the Sect Master’s wife and only needed to attend in formal attire.
And Xie Hongchen was busy with social engagements and couldn’t accompany her.
Now, in the dream’s twelfth year, she wore sturdy clothes, carried a treasured sword on her back, and walked with determination. She had lost any trace of the gentle elegance of the Sect Master’s wife, with only the pearl hairpin hanging down, pure white ice silk, and red coral floating gracefully, radiantly beautiful.
She followed closely behind Xie Hongchen, standing straight and tall and exuding an imposing aura, resembling her master. Naturally, she attracted countless curious gazes.
Xie Hongchen sensed something and turned slightly, saying, “When we return to the inn, practice by yourself and don’t wander around randomly.”
Huang Rang replied, “Yes.” She hadn’t intended to wander around.
Xie Hongchen was quite satisfied with her response. For some reason, he didn’t like others looking at Huang Rang.
But how could a young girl carrying a sword, full of youthful vigor and radiant beauty, not attract attention?
Huang Rang paid no attention to Xie Hongchen’s thoughts; her gaze wandered around, surveying the small town of Kanyue.
Though Kanyue City was small, it bustled with numerous taverns and inns, bustled with pedestrians, and was busy with the flow of carriages and horses. Its prosperity was not much less than that of the capital city.
Xie Hongchen stepped through the crowd’s gazes and arrived at the inn where he would stay. As his direct disciple, Huang Rang’s room was right next to his.
Xie Hongchen couldn’t rest yet, as he, being the host, had to meet with the sect leaders from various factions attending the martial arts event for the new elite disciples.
The fortunate new disciples who came to participate also had to come in advance to pay their respects.
He was very busy.
Huang Rang was not idle either; the inn had a small kitchen.
She found her way there, and as expected, the small kitchen was still there. Ah, even the layout was exactly the same.
Huang Rang began to doubt the reality of this dream; how could it be so authentic?
She found the ingredients and began to cook.
In the 15th year of the Chengyuan outside the dream, she also made a few small dishes. At that time, she and Xie Hongchen shared the same room, but Xie Hongchen briefly returned and left in a hurry.
This time, she decided to make a bowl of sweet soup.
She steamed the Chinese yam, mashed it into a paste, mixed it with glutinous rice flour, and blended it with cow’s milk. Then she rolled it into small dumplings, boiled them in water, and added sweet wine and a little sugar. Finally, she decorated it with a few rose petals.
She cooked earnestly, not paying attention to her surroundings.
In the room opposite, someone was watching from afar through the window.
– Di Yiqiu had been watching for a long time, and Li Lu proposed, “Since we’re here, why don’t we go say hello to Miss Ah Rang?”.
Di Yiqiu shook his head.
He was wearing a black cloak with the hood pulled down, covering half of his face.
Due to his physique, his skin was pale, and faint snake patterns were visible on his forehead.
Now he stood by the window, quietly observing the person making sweet soup. He knew which room Xie Hongchen would stay in, so he chose the best place to watch. Sure enough, he saw her.
Li Lu said, “The Chief has been working day and night these days; he must have prepared a gift for Miss Ah Rang. Since we meet her today, it’s only proper to give it to her.”
When he mentioned the gift, Di Yiqiu’s expression became less natural.
“Just a little trinket, nothing more.” Di Yiqiu’s hand reached into his chest and pulled out a sachet. It was a storage artifact, a golden thread-woven hollow gourd with ivy vines and half-open flower buds carved in jade at the gourd’s mouth.
The jade wrapped around half of the gourd, appearing perfectly natural. Underneath it, fine golden threads hung like thin vines, with a few white flowers blooming on top, exquisitely beautiful.
Obviously, a lot of effort had gone into this gift, especially given Di Yiqiu’s current condition; casting and carving it were far from easy.
Would she… like it?
Di Yiqiu lowered his head, feeling uneasy like a young boy preparing a gift for a girl he admired for the first time.
Huang Rang estimated that the time was about right, so she carried the sweet soup out of the kitchen and went upstairs.
Di Yiqiu watched her walk through the corridor, sometimes appearing and sometimes being blocked.
Like the bright moon amid the clouds.
However, Huang Rang didn’t go back to her room while carrying the bowl of sweet soup. Instead, she went to knock on Xie Hongchen’s door.
Di Yiqiu’s expression gradually became gloomy. Seeing this, Li Lu quickly said, “Miss Ah Rang is Master Xie’s disciple. It’s only natural for a disciple to show respect to their master.”
Di Yiqiu made a sound of agreement but walked away from the window.
Though he walked away, his gaze couldn’t help but look outside through the window again.
Huang Rang knocked on the door twice, and it opened.
Xie Hongchen was there, of course. Huang Rang knew when he would return.
She carried the sweet soup inside and said, “Master, you’ve worked hard today. Have a sip of the soup to soothe your throat before going out again.”
When with the other sect leaders, Xie Hongchen naturally couldn’t avoid alcohol and meat.
He didn’t like them much and couldn’t eat much either.
Now, looking at the sweet soup, its fragrance wafted into his nostrils, arousing some appetite.
“I didn’t expect you to know how to cook,” he said as he sat down at the table, wearing freshly changed clothes. His clothes weren’t scented; there was only an icy-cold aura about him.
Huang Rang placed the sweet soup in front of him, and naturally, the door remained open.
If they closed the door while being alone in a room, it might be difficult to explain.
She smiled and said, “Master underestimates his disciple. In terms of cooking, I’ve also practiced.”
—She practiced for a hundred years on the Qilu Terrace. As she spoke, she served the sweet dumplings in a small bowl.
Watching her actions, Xie Hongchen felt a sense of warmth and familiarity. It seemed like there were countless nights when she would divide the meals for him while speaking softly and gently.
Huang Rang placed the filled, sweet soup in front of him, and she even added a silver spoon.
Xie Hongchen paused for a moment and said, “You should have some too.”
“Sure.” Huang Rang didn’t refuse and sat opposite him.
Xie Hongchen scooped a sweet dumpling and slowly put it in his mouth.
This thing suited his taste; after it entered his stomach, it warmed him with its sweetness.
Xie Hongchen ate a few more.
Huang Rang wanted to serve him more, but Xie Hongchen stood up and said, “No need. I need to go out for a while. You should rest in your room.”
He tried to maintain a safe distance between them as master and disciple.
Huang Rang agreed and was about to leave, but she poured a cup of water for him to rinse his mouth.
Xie Hongchen accepted it without saying a word, as if they had done this countless times and understood each other without words.
Huang Rang collected the bowls and utensils and left on her own. Xie Hongchen stared at her departing figure, listening to the gradually fading footsteps.
On the other side, someone watched all of this with a cold expression.
Li Lu tried to persuade, “Chief, they are master and disciple, master and disciple! As the saying goes, the one who is a teacher for a day is a father for life. It’s natural for them to be close.”
The response of the Chief was a cold snort.
He walked out with a gloomy expression and saw a big yellow dog.
Suddenly, he approached and quickly tied the sachet around the dog’s neck. Li Lu was full of questions: “Chief… what is this for?”
Chief’s expression was icy, “Didn’t you ask why I’ve been carving this treasure day and night? I’m giving it to the dog.”
He pointed at the yellow dog and casually cast a small spell. The dog whimpered lightly and ran away.
Li Lu: “…”
After cleaning up the bowls and utensils, Huang Rang was about to return to her room when she turned around and saw a dog.
The dog was an ordinary, big yellow dog, but it had… a storage artifact tied around its neck.
These days, dogs are also wearing storage artifacts!
The big yellow dog walked straight up to her and sat down.
Huang Rang was taken aback and took the storage artifact from the dog.
The artifact was a gourd-shaped sachet, half jade and half golden thread, exquisitely crafted and masterfully made. The hollow gourd could hold incense pills, making it very suitable for a woman to wear.
Huang Rang held the sachet and made gestures around her waist; she couldn’t help but love it.
“Is this… yours?” She asked the big yellow dog, “Are you trying to give it to me?”
The big yellow dog, of course, didn’t answer her; it wrinkled its nose and ran away.
This… a dog gave me an artifact?
Huang Rang held the gourd, utterly puzzled.