Huang Rang couldn’t believe her eyes; this was the gift Di Yiqiu had given her. She stood alone outside the door, gazing at the puppet from a distance. Di Yiqiu watched as rain soaked her hair, sticking to her forehead.
Separated by a thousand miles, both of them felt despair.
Fortunately, this puppet’s battle had a time limit.
Two hours later, it finally lowered its head and became motionless.
Huang Rang’s clothes were completely drenched, and she cautiously approached the puppet, which now showed no reaction. She finally managed to squeeze through the door, cursing silently. The room was a mess, and she had to move the puppet to the side.
“Thank goodness for my cultivation in martial arts; my strength has increased,” she thought. Otherwise, how could she move this big thing?
Huang Rang moved the puppet to a corner and found her bed collapsed and her boxes damaged. With a sigh, she managed to find a relatively clean set of clothes to change into.
However, little did she know the real purpose of the puppet’s eyes!
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Oh, Miss Ah Rang.
Zhu Xiang quickly caught on, but then she had another question: “You gave her a combat puppet with the strength of Super Armor Grade?”
Di Yiqiu nodded and added, “The most precious Super Armor Grade.”
If he were giving it to her, of course, he would choose the best one.
This was precious! Li Lu asked, “But… can Miss Ah Rang defeat it?” It was a Super Armor Grade puppet, and there were only three of them in the Celestial Court. Usually, they sparred with the experts from the White Tiger Bureau.
A formation of twelve people was required to fight against a Super Armor Grade puppet.
Di Yiqiu pointed to the image of the Nine-Curve Spirit Eyes on the wall.
In the image, Huang Rang had changed her clothes, but her hair was still wet. She was squatting down, repairing the bed that the puppet had crushed.
… Well, it was evident that she couldn’t defeat it.
Sigh….. Men are so straightforward when giving gifts, regardless of whether they break someone’s heart.
Li Lu sighed deeply.
As for the Yuhu Immortal Sect, Huang Rang could only practice even harder.
She explored the puppet’s usage method and gradually discovered that its strength could be adjusted between Grades A, B, and C. By inserting a bronze key into its ear and turning it, she could set it to the lowest combat level.
A battle could last for two hours.
After two hours, the puppet would stop its attack.
Huang Rang found it quite interesting and often sparred with it once a day, in addition to reading, self-cultivation, and breeding. Time passed swiftly.
As a result, she hadn’t been to Yeyun Hall for several days.
And at this moment, in the Yeyun Hall…
Xie Hongchen sat behind a desk while several disciples were sweeping and cleaning the hall.
On the desk, there was a pot of orchids in full bloom, seemingly never withering throughout the four seasons.
Xie Hongchen gently flicked open the lush green leaves and admired the reddish-gold flowers. His thoughts were drawn away from the books and scriptures, and for a while, he felt a bit restless.
Huang Rang hadn’t come today.
However, Xie Hongchen didn’t have any specific reason to summon her to the hall every day. With his status, even as a direct disciple, it was impossible to meet every day. Usually, the disciples would receive the scriptures and practice them on their own. If they encountered difficulties, they would seek guidance or help from senior disciples.
Xie Hongchen had a reserved and cold temperament and didn’t enjoy being surrounded by people.
Of course, he wouldn’t force a female disciple to stay at the Yeyun Hall every day for training and companionship.
But she hadn’t come for several days now.
What was she doing?
Suddenly, Xie Hongchen felt the urge to go and see.
He walked out of Yeyun Hall on this clear summer day. Even though it was early in the morning, the sun had already risen, with a red face hanging in the sky.
Following the mountain path downward, he headed towards the dwelling of the direct disciples.
In a daze, memories came back vaguely.
He seemed to have gone to look for Huang Rang like this before. At the moment between darkness and dawn, walking alone on the mountain path, he couldn’t help but think of her, and many mixed feelings arose in his heart.
Xie Hongchen arrived at Huang Rang’s place of residence. Being a female disciple, her dwelling was situated deep inside, with the small houses of Nie Qinglan, Xie Li, and others on the outside.
Huang Rang lived in a small hollow in the mountains, surrounded by the embrace of the Yuhu Immortal Sect’s mountain range.
Even before Xie Hongchen got close, he heard the sounds of mechanical movement.
A while later, in the splendid morning light, he saw Huang Rang, wearing a light gold practice robe, engaged in combat with a tall puppet.
The puppet was made of refined iron, and the wood used was old and had been soaked underwater for many years, ensuring it wouldn’t easily crack.
The joints were connected very delicately, and in its battle with Huang Rang, its moves and techniques were remarkably similar to those of a real person.
Huang Rang might not have recognized its value, but Xie Hongchen could tell at a glance—this puppet was finely crafted, and its moves were meticulously designed. It was indeed a super armor grade combat puppet from the Celestial Court.
Obtaining such an item from the Celestial Court was no easy task and couldn’t be achieved with just money. After all, the entire Celestial Court only had three super armor grade puppets.
Xie Hongchen stood on the side, observing Huang Rang’s training with the puppet for quite some time before asking, “Where did you get this item?”
“Oh, Master!” Huang Rang was fully absorbed in her training and didn’t notice when he arrived. After getting beaten a few times these days, she had already learned the puppet’s range of attacks.
She agilely leaped back over ten feet. The puppet lost its target, stopped pursuing, and stood motionless.
“Master!” Huang Rang respectfully saluted Xie Hongchen. Sweat was dripping from her forehead, and her rosy cheeks showed a touch of red, making her look even more dazzling under the morning light.
Xie Hongchen couldn’t help but gaze at her for quite some time. He collected his thoughts and said, “The Celestial Court’s super armor grade puppets are usually only used for internal combat exercises. How did one appear here?”
Huang Rang had no reaction to the term “super armor grade.” She calmly replied, “A few days ago, disciple inexplicably received this item, but at first, I didn’t know its purpose. It was only in the past few days that I figured it out.”
“Inexplicably?” Xie Hongchen looked at the puppet in front of him. The puppet also stared back at him, rigid and lifeless. It was a towering figure, making anyone feel as though they were looking up at it.
Xie Hongchen frowned. “After all, the Celestial Court is under the jurisdiction of the court. For such a valuable item to be given away so easily, I’m afraid there might be ulterior motives.”
“Valuable?” Huang Rang captured these two words from Xie Hongchen’s explanation. If something could be called “valuable” by Xie Hongchen, it was undoubtedly rare.
She asked, “Is it… very valuable?”
Xie Hongchen circled the puppet, pondering, “It is one of the masterpieces created by Di Yiqiu, the Chief of the Celestial Court. It caused a sensation among various major sects. However, due to its complex craftsmanship and difficult maintenance, the Celestial Court refuses to sell it. The Ruyi Sword Sect once wanted to purchase one.”
He paused, then looked at Huang Rang and continued, “He XiJin once offered thirty million spiritual stones, but Di Yiqiu rejected it on the grounds of insufficient energy.”
Huang Rang was shocked on the spot.
To her, thirty million spiritual stones were beyond imagination. The Huang family was well-known for their cultivation of spirit plants, but in terms of annual earnings, it was only a few hundred thousand spiritual stones, and that was before accounting for the expenses of supporting the family.
Huang Rang was stunned, but her mind was now on the Celestial Court and the Vermilion Bird Bureau.
The Chief was currently overseeing the recasting of a combat puppet. The construction of this puppet was extremely intricate, and he couldn’t complete it alone. Fortunately, there was a complete blueprint and some spare parts, so although the recasting was time-consuming and labor-intensive, there was little room for error.
As he directed the others to cast the parts, he occasionally looked at the scenes on the opposite wall. In the Nine-curve Spirit Eyes on the wall, there were two scenes. One was a clip of Xie Lingbi, a new disciple of the Yuhu Sword Sect, demonstrating his skills.
This scene was a bit old, recorded with the Yuhu Immortal Sect’s Eye of World Perception, but it was still relatively clear.
The other scene was from that super armor grade puppet.
Upon hearing Xie Hongchen’s explanation about the puppet, Di Yiqiu coldly snorted, seemingly not interested.
Huang Rang, on the other hand, touched the puppet with reverence and instantly forgave it for causing havoc.
For such a valuable item, Di Yiqiu gave it to her without saying a word… this was really…
The words “wealthy and generous” circled in Huang Rang’s mind countless times. Ah, if in the distant years outside of her dream, someone came with forty million spiritual stones for a marriage proposal, how could anything go wrong!
Huang Rang sighed inwardly.
However, Xie Hongchen’s expression became serious, and he said, “This item is too valuable. If you are not familiar with the person who gave it to you, it would be better to return it.”
“Eh?” Huang Rang was always practical. She was touched when she didn’t know the value of the item, but now that she knew, how could she bear to return it? This was something that even thirty million spiritual stones couldn’t buy!
In her entire life, would she even see this many spiritual stones?
Her eyebrows furrowed, and she became quite conflicted.
Seeing her reaction, Xie Hongchen said solemnly, “As a disciple of the Immortal Sect, you should not have too close a relationship with the Celestial Court. Except for Di Yiqiu, no one else would be able to give such a puppet as a gift. As a woman, it’s not suitable to accept such extravagant gifts, which could lead to gossip.”
In one sentence, he clearly drew the boundary between Huang Rang and Di Yiqiu.
Huang Rang could only say, “Disciple will find him and return the puppet.”
Xie Hongchen nodded and continued, “Since you’ve become my disciple, I will teach you wholeheartedly and guide you patiently. While this puppet is convenient for sparring, its techniques are still rigid. It can help you improve in a short time, but you won’t grasp the essence of cultivation.”
He rarely explained with such patience, apparently quite concerned about this puppet in front of him.
No matter how valuable the puppet was, it couldn’t compare to his personal guidance.
As for the Celestial Court, the Vermilion Bird Bureau…
Di Yiqiu’s face also turned grim, and to make matters worse, he overheard Xie Hongchen’s next words.
Xie Hongchen continued, “If you focus on cultivation, it’s a good thing. The doors of the Yeyun Hall will always be open to you.”
These words, spoken by Xie Hongchen himself, were excessively intimate and affectionate.
Huang Rang also felt this way, but a sweet smile appeared on her charming face as she said, “Disciple knows how well Master treats me.” She glanced at the puppet, understanding Xie Hongchen’s intention.
This item must not be kept.
Therefore, even though she felt reluctant, she simply said, “I will contact the Celestial Court and return it.”
Xie Hongchen nodded and looked at the puppet again.
He couldn’t explain the subtle hostility in his heart when facing this item.
Of course, he couldn’t explain it, but the chief on the other side of the Nine-curve Spirit Eyes could see it clearly.
A sour feeling rose from Di Yiqiu’s heart as he looked down at the puppet, seemingly receiving contempt from its owner.
“The doors of the Yeyun Hall will always be open to you,” the chief recited with a sharp expression.
The next day, as expected, he received a letter from the Yuhu Immortal Sect.
The letter was written in a very formal tone, apparently from Xie Hongchen’s hand. It not only expressed Huang Rang’s gratitude for the chief’s care but also informed him that due to the puppet’s excessive value and their lack of previous dealings, she dared not accept it and had to return it.
He begged for understanding, and so on.
The chief crumpled the letter into a ball and threw it into the furnace.
No previous dealings?
Then let there be some!
The next day, the chief set out from the capital with a generous gift, even using a three-thousand-spirit-stone teleportation scroll, directly arriving at the Yuhu Immortal Sect.
At that moment, Huang Rang was conducting the final trial with the puppet—it was about to be returned to the Celestial Court. It seemed that she would have to use it again.
Thirty million spiritual stones! Using it one more time would still be profitable!
She was enjoying her time with the puppet when suddenly a disciple ran in, panting, and said, “Senior Sister Huang! The Sect Master summons you to the Yeyun Hall immediately!”
He ran too hastily, appearing quite impolite. Huang Rang didn’t mind, and she leaped out of the puppet’s attack range, asking, “What happened?”
The disciple said urgently, “Early this morning, the chief of the Celestial Court, Di Yiqiu, entered the sect with a generous gift!” After saying that, he glanced at the puppet and said, “I heard that he wants to discuss the matter of this puppet.”
“…” Generous gift?! Huang Rang couldn’t help but think of marriage gifts. She changed into a new dress and headed to Yeyun Hall.
Inside the hall, a battlefield awaited her.
Huang Rang was no pure and innocent lotus flower; she had already imagined the dialogue scenes in her mind.
Xie Hongchen: “Ah Rang, do you want to go with him or stay by your Master’s side to continue your studies?”
Di Yiqiu: “Ah Rang, if you want to focus on your studies, I will naturally wait.”
Then both of them would look at her, waiting for her reply.
Huang Rang sighed deeply. She walked into the Yeyun Hall and found not only Xie Hongchen and Di Yiqiu sitting there but also Xie Lingbi, who rarely appeared in public.
After entering the hall, the three of them looked at her.
Huang Rang could only kneel down and say, “Disciple Huang Rang pays respects to the Elder Ancestor and Master.”
Xie Lingbi’s face didn’t look good for some reason, and he instinctively disliked Huang Rang.
Xie Hongchen said, “Get up.”
Huang Rang stood up and turned to Di Yiqiu, bowing to him and saying, “Lord Chief.”
The Chief smiled at the corner of his mouth and said, “Ah Rang, we meet again.”
Ahem…. Huang Rang stood by Xie Hongchen’s side, and he said solemnly, “Now that she’s here, why don’t you ask her directly, Chief.”
Di Yiqiu’s gaze followed Huang Rang’s, and their eyes met.
She felt as if she were being burned and quickly looked away.
Xie Hongchen became very displeased and asked, “Chief?”
Only then did Di Yiqiu speak, saying, “Miss Ah Rang, there’s something I’d like to inquire about. I hope you’ll answer honestly.”
Oh no! Is he going to propose again? Huang Rang wailed inwardly. If he proposes now and I reject him, I’ll feel sad. But if I don’t reject him, I’ll have to leave the Yuhu Immortal Sect. What should I do?
Huang Rang felt anxious.
The chief paused, creating suspense, and then asked, “May I ask, Miss Ah Rang, how do you feel about using this puppet in battle?”
Huh? Huang Rang looked at Xie Hongchen and then at Xie Lingbi. Seeing their serious expressions, she was utterly confused.
But she had to answer the question. She replied, “The sparring went smoothly, and the techniques were broken down in detail. It’s truly… an extraordinary creation.” She answered truthfully.
The Chief nodded slightly and turned to Xie Lingbi and Xie Hongchen, asking, “It seems Miss Ah Rang is very satisfied with this puppet. Do you, Elder Ancestor Xie, and Master Xie still think that forty million spiritual stones are not worth it?”
Huang Rang was even more confused.
The chief picked up the tea cup next to him and took a sip, saying, “The Yuhu Immortal Sect is the top sect. Such a small amount of spiritual stone is truly insignificant. Why hesitate?”
Huang Rang finally understood—he wanted to sell this puppet to the Yuhu Immortal Sect!
The chief sipped his tea leisurely, while Xie Lingbi and Xie Hongchen had very ugly expressions.
If they accepted, forty million spiritual stones would be neither too much nor too little. Moreover, it would also give face to the Celestial Court for the Yuhu Immortal Sect to purchase the combat puppet.
If they had declined, the puppet have been in the Yuhu Immortal Sect for over a month, and giving away such a valuable item for free would undoubtedly raise suspicion and criticism.
The chief’s actions would make it known to the world and might lead to people believing that the Yuhu Immortal Sect couldn’t afford such a sum.
In contrast, the chief seemed very at ease. He said gently, “If you are tight on resources, there’s no need to worry. This puppet was originally given to Miss Ah Rang for trial, and even if it’s retrieved after a month, no one will think that the Yuhu Immortal Sect is taking advantage for nothing.”
Xie Lingbi, who had always valued his face, turned iron-blue upon hearing this.
The Chief felt satisfied to see his reaction.
Xie Hongchen’s expression remained calm as he said after a while, “Forty million spiritual stones are not a big deal. Chief, there’s no need for this entanglement, is there?”
Di Yiqiu smiled lightly and said, “You’re right, Master Xie. I’ll send someone over later, and we’ll sign the contract. From now on, the Celestial Court will send people over to maintain it every half year.”
He walked to Xie Hongchen’s side, looking at him, and said, “Thank you for your love, Master Xie. The puppet will also work hard to teach the disciples.”
For some reason, when he said this, he thought of Xie Hongchen’s words: “The doors of the Yeyun Hall will always be open to you.”
Then he remembered Huang Rang’s reply, “I know how good my Master is to me.”
Hmph, feeling sour again.
Xie Hongchen and Di Yiqiu locked gazes, sparks seeming to fly between them.
Xie Lingbi said, “Enough! It’s just a small puppet. Is it worth making such a fuss?” He stood up, glanced at Huang Ragn, and said, “Don’t bring all sorts of unclear things into the sect in the future.”
His words were a reprimand, but Huang Rang didn’t mind. She immediately replied, “Disciple will remember the teachings of the Elder Ancestor.”
Only then did Xie Lingbi glance at Di Yiqiu again, and he left with a sweep of his sleeves.
Naturally, the Chief didn’t have to stay any longer. He arched his hand towards Xie Hongchen and said, “Since everything is settled, I’ll take my leave. Master Xie, there’s no need to see me off.”
Xie Hongchen didn’t even want to acknowledge him, let alone send him off.
The chief had a thick skin and turned to Huang Ran, saying, “Miss Ah Rang, you can accompany me for a bit; that would be enough.”
Huang Rang was about to agree, but Xie Hongchen spoke: “The Chief came personally, so it’s better if I see you off myself.”
The Chief neither agreed nor disagreed and said, “Then, thank you for your trouble, Master.”
Huang Rang watched the two of them leave Yeyun Hall together.
—Xie Hongchen wanted to return the combat puppet, and the Chief came over, brazenly using the trial as an excuse to force Xie Hongchen and Xie Lingbi into purchasing the puppet.
He had given a gift and would be able to recoup the costs.
The Master of Freeloading is truly an expert, and even if you are unwilling,you still have to accept it.
And at this moment, The Chief and Master Xie walked side by side.
Although they weren’t exactly close, they could at least get along on the surface. However, today, surprisingly, they didn’t exchange a single word.
The Chief found it strange as well. In reality, Master Xie could be considered a father-in-law. He should have tried to establish good relations.
But why was there always a sense of aversion in his heart?!