Kanyue City, the inn.
When Huang Rang returned, a large group of people were already waiting in the hall.
Seeing her return, these people remained seated and motionless.
At the head, there was an old man with a dignified aura, and his attire and treasures displayed a distinguished identity.
Perplexed, Huang Rang was approached by a middle-aged man with a serious expression who said, “Huang Rang, come and greet your grandfather.”
Huang Rang frowned, but her small expression couldn’t deceive the venerable old man before her. He was also an earth spirit with pure bloodlines, but his age made him look extremely majestic.
The old man carried a cane and was dressed in a gray robe, but his waist belt was a valuable storage artifact. Faintly visible on it was an inscription, showing it was crafted by Xie Lingbi of the Yuhu Immortal Sect.
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Tl pyke kd y ellr hsknl, “Gqvla uswa xsvbla, Dk Zkd, xyaakle kdvs vbl Twydt Wyxkzu, pbl nwv sqq yzz vklp okvb bla ckavb qyxkzu. Yydu ulyap byhl rypple okvbswv ydu nsdvynv. Lso vbyv kv’p yzz kd vbl rypv, yp y elpnldeydv sq xu Dk qyxkzu, usw pbswze ynjdsozletl uswa ydnlpvayz assvp.”
Gb, bl’p qasx xu xsvbla’p qyxkzu.
Twydt Sydt pxkzle sd vbl pwaqynl, cwv bla blyav oyp nsze. Ylxsaklp pbl bye yhskele qsa xydu ulyap qzssele cynj. Mbyv osxyd oyp yzoyup byapb kd bla xlxsaklp; lhld bla tygl oyp qkzzle okvb alpldvxldv.
Ohld kd vbl lde, obld pbl ekplxcsolzle blaplzq kd vbl nswavuyae, ds sdl csvblale vs ypj obu.
Twydt Sydt yde bla pkpvla bweezle vstlvbla, pkzldvzu oyvnbkdt bla zkql pzkr yoyu, lhldvwyzzu vwadkdt kdvs ulzzso pyde.
Tla zkql oyp qwzz sq byaepbkrp, okvb plryayvksd qasx sze yniwykdvydnlp; bso nswze pbl byhl ydu qyxkzu zlqv?
Twydt Sydt pkgle wr vbl kxrspkdt taswr clqsal bla, yde vbswtb pbl jdlo pbl pbswze cl alprlnvqwz, bla lmralppksd alxykdle osseld. Fbl pvsse qsa y zsdt vkxl, nywpkdt vbl sze xyd kd qasdv sq bla vs taso kxryvkldv.
Ekvb yd kxrspkdt vsdl, bl pyke, “Ebld qynkdt lzelap, pbso alpvaykdv yde alprlnv. Uyd’v usw jdllz esod?”
The middle-aged man beside him also spoke: “Do you need Patriarch Xie to come here personally for you to show the proper courtesy?”
Huang Rang had always known how to act according to the circumstances, but in this particular situation, she couldn’t kneel down.
Just then, someone outside the door said, “Patriarch Xie is here.”
It turned out that the martial arts competition had ended, and Xie Hongchen and others had returned.
The old man in the hall nodded slightly when he saw him and said, “Patriarch Xie.”
Xie Hongchen clasped his hands and said, “It’s Master Xi. Unexpectedly, this year’s new disciples’ martial arts competition has even attracted your attention.”
Master Xi gestured with his hand, and someone brought over another chair for him. He said, “Patriarch Xie, please have a seat.”
Xie Hongchen did not refuse and took a seat before asking, “Master Xi, what brings you here this time?”
As he spoke, he glanced at Huang Rang.
Master Xi placed his cane diagonally beside him and said, “It’s also a matter of fate. This disciple of Patriarch Xie, Huang Rang, is my daughter Xi Yin’s daughter.”
“Xi Yin?” Xie Hongchen frowned slightly. “Is that so?”
In front of Xie Hongchen, Master Xi’s tone also softened as he continued, “Back then, this foolish daughter insisted on marrying into the Huang Family and severed ties with our family. Only a few days ago did we come to know that she and her husband had both passed away.”
Actually, though Huang Shu had his cultivation sealed, he hadn’t actually died.
If Huang Rang took good care of him, there was still hope for him to regain his cultivation.
But for Master Xi and the others, a son-in-law like Huang Rang’s father had better be dead.
—If he wasn’t dead, they wouldn’t have a reason to come and claim Huang Rang.
He spoke up to this point, and Xie Hongchen already understood his intentions. He said, “It seems Master Xi came to visit his grandchildren because he heard that my beloved disciple is diligent.”
Xie Hongchen was quite accustomed to this kind of talk. Master Xi made a sound of approval and said, “This girl is still somewhat promising.”
His words were very clear. He wanted Huang Rang to acknowledge her ancestral roots.
After considering the situation, Xie Hongchen thought it wasn’t a bad idea. He said, “Blood ties should not be severed. Ah Rang, since it’s like this, go and meet your grandfather.”
Huang Rang knew that no matter what, this kinship was now established, and her decision was already set.
In reality, there wasn’t much loss; she only had to shed a few drops of blood from her heart, which wasn’t a big deal.
Then she should kneel!
She was about to kneel down when suddenly someone came down the stairs.
“During the Immortal Sect’s new disciples’ martial arts competition, Kanyue City is under strict surveillance. All those entering and leaving are required to report to the court and obtain a waist token for passage. Now, the official suspects that some evildoers have infiltrated the city. Everyone, please show your waist tokens.” The voice was cold but loud and clear.
In the main hall of the inn, everyone looked in that direction.
They saw a handsome young man walking slowly down the stairs. He had a pale complexion and a cold expression. He was dressed in a purple official robe with a black cloak draped over it. He wore a jade belt around his waist with a gold fish bag tied to it. His feet were clad in black official boots, and he walked with steady steps.
This appearance was familiar to most people in the Immortal Sect.
—It was Di Yiqiu…
As soon as he finished speaking, the footsteps outside became chaotic. After a while, the inn was surrounded by government officials.
Master Xi stared at the young, powerful official before him and couldn’t help but frown. “Lord Di, what does this mean?”
On the side, the deputy official, Li Lu, wiped his sweat anxiously.
But the Chief remained calm and composed, saying, “This is an official inspection, and I hope you all won’t take offense.”
No one said anything—since when did you start conducting inspections!
Among the people in the hall, one was Xie Hongchen, and the other was Master Xi of the Xi family. Who were you here to investigate?
The Chief’s expression was solemn, giving the appearance of being just and fair. He said, “Since Master Xi spoke first, let’s start with you.” He gestured to Li Lu.
Li Lu’s face turned white, but he gritted his teeth and walked up to Master Xi, saying, “Please show your waist token, Master Xi.”
“Me! You!” The usually dignified Master Xi suddenly showed a bit of ferocity. “What did you say?”
Li Lu braced himself, not daring to look at him, and repeated, “Please show your waist token, Master Xi!”
But what kind of status did Master Xi have? In terms of status, he was on par with Xie Lingbi, Miao Yunzhi, and others. The earth spirit clan had never participated in the Immortal Sect’s martial arts competition, so naturally, he hadn’t come here to report to the court. As a result, he didn’t have a waist token.
Xie Hongchen was also very shocked—the relationship between the court and the Xi family was very close.
The court needed good seeds, and the Xi family, with its pure bloodline, was a major supplier of such seeds.
Both sides have always benefited from this relationship.
Today, Di Yiqiu acted in such a manner—what was the meaning behind it?
However, Di Yiqiu appeared calm and composed. He strolled up to Master Xi as if he were facing an ordinary old man.
“Don’t you have a waist token?” He frowned and turned to Li Lu, saying, “I have already ordered strict surveillance. Is this your idea of surveillance?”
Everyone looked at him in confusion while he calmly said, “Arrest this old man and take him to the government office for questioning.”
…You’re really seeking death!
This thought echoed in everyone’s minds.
Huang Rang stared at the “law-abiding” chief before her, feeling completely dumbfounded.
Meanwhile, Li Lu’s forehead was sweating, but he had no choice but to step forward and escort Master Xi and the others out.
Master Xi, despite his high status in the Earth Spirit clan, was ultimately just an Earth Spirit and had no combat power.
Li Lu had to escort him, but he really had no way to do so.
But how could this be resolved?
As Li Lu led him out, he was truly at a loss, and his hair seemed to turn white from worry.
As Master Xi passed by the Chief, his gaze was as fierce as a tiger’s. He said in a deep voice, “Di Yiqiu, you’re doing quite well!”
The head official’s expression became solemn, and he adjusted the cuffs of his sleeves before giving a respectful bow, replying, “I’m just following the law, and there’s no need for the word ‘well’.”
Master Xi was furious, but he sneered and left. The people looked back at the Chief with a mix of awe and dread.
The chief maintained the air of an upright enforcer of the law. He looked around at everyone and said, “The court has always supported the Immortal Sect’s martial arts competition, and His Majesty also cares deeply about it. I hope all sects will restrain their disciples and abide by the laws. Don’t cause trouble indiscriminately. Otherwise, regardless of your status, you will face punishment.”
After speaking, the Chief calmly left.
Leaving behind the people of the Immortal Sect in confusion and shock, their mouths formed the shape of the character “口” .
After a while, everyone finally reacted to what had just happened—The Celestial Court arrested Master Xi, the patriarch of the Xi family, on the pretext of not having a waist token!
Wu Zichou stared at Di Yiqiu’s departing figure and muttered, “Damn it, the Celestial Court is really stubborn…”
Huang Rang walked a few steps, coming to the entrance of the inn. Watching the figure of that person’s robes flutter as he slowly disappeared into the end of the street, she could hear her own heartbeat. It was like a startled deer, nothing more.
How could there be someone so good in this world?
Inside the inn, everyone started discussing what had just happened, coming up with various speculations out of thin air.
Even Xie Hongchen furrowed his brows, very puzzled.
But the matter of Master Xi being taken away by the Celestial Court was a matter between the court and the Xi family. Given Xie Hongchen’s status, he couldn’t say much.
He could only say to Huang Rang, “After all, Master Xi is your grandfather. Since he’s in trouble, as a junior, you can’t just sit idly by.” He casually took off the jade pendant from his waist and handed it, along with two transmission talismans, to Huang Rang. “You take this pendant and go to the Xi family to inform them. They will handle it.”
Huang Rang accepted the jade pendant and said, “I will obey.”
With that, Xie Hongchen nodded and went straight back to his room.
Holding the jade pendant and the transmission talismans, Huang Rang prepared to go out. Suddenly, someone called out from behind, “Miss Ah Rang.”
“Huh?” Huang Rang turned around and found a woman standing behind her. She recognized this woman—it was Qu Manying, the wife of He Xijin.
Huang Rang bowed respectfully and said, “Madam He.”
Qu Manying was also surprised and said, “Miss Ah Rang, do you know me? I remember we haven’t met before.”
Ah, Huang Rang almost forgot. She had seen Qu Manying before at the Celestial Court. Qu Manying brought her sister, Qu Mancai, to meet Di Yiqiu. At that time, although Huang Rang couldn’t speak or move, she had at least seen them.
She respectfully bowed and said, “Because I greatly respect Elder He, I also pay attention to Madam. Please forgive me if it was inappropriate.”
The flattery was well received, and Madam He smiled happily and said, “Look at this child, truly worthy of being Master Xie’s beloved disciple. So eloquent.”
As she spoke, she held Huang Rang’s hand and said, “I saw you in the martial arts competition today, and you were like a nimble dragon, making me delighted at first sight. As a girl, you should be like this.”
She spoke with joy, her words coming from the heart. Huang Rang didn’t feel much warmth from her. Throughout her life, she had encountered too much insincerity.
So she smiled and replied, “I’m just an ordinary disciple with limited talent. I have to work harder.”
Madam He held her hand, unable to hide her delight, and said, “I’ve heard about your skills in breeding before, and later I heard that you also turned to martial arts. I always thought that you must be an extraordinary and outstanding young woman. Now that I see you, you have far exceeded my imagination.”
Huang Rang was actually indifferent to her enthusiasm. In her heart, she knew that Madam He’s purpose was to hope that she would continue breeding.
With this thought in mind, she maintained a smiling expression and said, “Madam He, you overpraise me. I really don’t deserve it.”
Madam He, however, held her hand, reluctant to let go, and said, “Good child, since you joined the Yuhu Immortal Sect, my husband has been sighing and fearing that you would stop breeding. Over the years, every time you sent seeds, he would instruct us to handle them with great care, knowing that they were the fruits of your labor and must not be wasted. Therefore, we have been very cautious and careful in distributing them, thoroughly verifying each recipient.”
She took out a ledger from her storage ring and handed it to Huang Rang, saying, “Ah, we specially recorded the destination of all the excellent breeds. We originally wanted to send it to you earlier, but He Xijin worried that it might affect your studies, so we delayed it.”
Huang Rang took the ledger, but her heart remained unchanged.
In this world, there are too many ways to make accounts even.
Madam He’s enthusiasm was undoubtedly fueled by the hope that she would continue breeding.
With this in mind, Huang Rang smiled and said, “Madam He, you have worked hard. These excellent breeds are the fruits of Master He’s hard work. Since you have distributed them, there must be no mistakes. I don’t need to check.”
Madam He insisted, “No, you must keep the ledger. Ah, in previous years, I didn’t come to the competition for new disciples. But this year, when my husband said that you were also participating, I hurried over. But now that I’ve seen you, I don’t know what to say!”
Huang Rang couldn’t figure out how much of her words were sincere or fake, but she still smiled and said, “I am deeply honored by Madam’s favor. I’m truly flattered.”
However, when she came to Kanyue City before as Lady Xie Hongchen, she had never met Qu Manying and the others.
Qu Manying held her hand and patted the back of her hand, saying, “If you want to travel for study in the future, you must come to Ru Yi Sword Sect. To be honest, our family has some old connections with your mother’s family. But after your mother married Huang Shu, she cut off ties with us… and we haven’t had any contact since then. But since old times have passed, I will entrust you to call me ‘aunt’ again.”
Aunt? Huang Rang lowered her gaze, feeling cold inside.
She was born into such a family, but even blood relatives were distant. Why would she care about an aunt she had no connection with?
Suppressing her emotions, she smiled and said, “My mother made some wrong choices in the past and suffered her entire life because of them. If I were to meet my aunt today, I would feel deeply moved. Since she has passed away early, please let me bow on behalf of her.”
She bowed lightly, and Qu Manying helped her up, smiling with a mix of nostalgia and affection.
As Huang Rang and Qu Manying chatted amiably, Deputy Li Lu was leading Master Xi’s group into the prison.
The prison was damp and dark, with a layer of dry straw piled in the corner. Occasionally, a few cockroaches and bugs would crawl around. When the prison door was locked, the people inside stared at Li Lu coldly, as if they could tear him apart with their eyes alone.
Deputy Li Lu really didn’t want to live.
In the government office, the other officials stood below, gazing at their shoe tips without saying a word. The chief sat behind the desk, lightly stroking his chin, deep in thought.
After a while, Deputy Li Lu hurried over and whispered, “They’re all in the cell, not resisting, but their faces look like they want to devour someone.”
The chief nodded, pondered for a moment, and said, “Put them in for the night and then see.”
“Put, put them in for the night?” Deputy Li Lu covered his chest and said, “Chief, is he really…”
“I know.” The chief’s expression showed thought, “Earth spirits are not good at fighting, and with just a few of them, they won’t be able to escape the prison.”
They won’t be able to escape!
But then, how will you let them out later?!
The chief had a way. He said, “Drag them out and throw them on the main street. With their weak cultivation and their identities, they wouldn’t dare to cause a scene in such a crowded place.”
It was truly a brilliant idea. Master Xi will definitely flay you alive…
Li Lu looked hopeless and asked, “And then?”
The Chief seemed confident: “Then, you prepare a generous gift for me, and I will personally apologize at their residence.”