Xie Hongchen agreed to this marriage proposal in public. Although Xie Lingbi was dissatisfied, he didn’t voice his objections. As the Elder Ancestor, he couldn’t contradict the Sect Master in front of the Celestial Court and other influential figures like He Xijin, Zhang Shuju, and Wu Zichou.
However, He Xijin, Zhang Shuju, and Wu Zichou were meticulous individuals. Even after the matter was settled, they didn’t leave. Instead, under the guise of being elders, they assisted the Yuhu Immortal Sect in preparing for Huang Rang’s lifelong event.
Handling the procurement was a given, and the arrangements within the sect had to be equally meticulous.
Although they were the leaders of their respective domains, they remained at the Yuhu Immortal Sect, personally attending to these minor matters. Huang Rang naturally knew whom they were doing this for.
they must have known that Xie Lingbi was dissatisfied and concerned about potential difficulties.
Throughout her life, Huang Rang had figures like Huang Shu and Xi Yin as father and mother. But at this moment, she was truly seeing what a genuine elder should be like.
Under the guidance of these individuals, invitations from the Yuhu Immortal Sect were sent out one by one. Every corner of the mountain, from the larger venues to the smallest details of plants and trees, was adorned and prepared.
This joyous occasion stirred up quite a commotion. It was the topic of discussion not only within the immortal sects but also among the common folk.
Some speculated that this indicated a reconciliation between the court and the immortal sects. Others suggested that Huang Rang might be a spy sent by the sect to the court. There were even those who claimed that Xie Lingbi was compelled by pressure from He Xijin, Zhang Shuju, Wu Zichou, and others.
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“Marketplace scum…” the chief muttered. “Scum!” He expressionlessly ordered, “Arrest whoever published this book!”
Time flew by, and the day of the marriage arrived. Both the Celestial Court and the Yuhu Immortal Sect attached great importance to it. This day was even more festive than when Huang Rang became a disciple; it was bustling with activity.
Even White Bone Cliff’s Miao Yunzhi made a long journey to join the celebrations and share in the wedding wine.
Miao Yunzhi rarely concerned himself with matters of the mortal or immortal realms. Over these years, he wandered to help the world, though his temper remained foul. He had been invited by Emperor Shi Wanyu for birthdays before, but he didn’t even send a congratulatory message. His appearance now was indeed unexpected.
With his presence, other reclusive experts began to gather.
This added even more radiance to the Yuhu Immortal Sect. It felt less like a disciple’s wedding and more like a grand event.
On this clear morning, Huang Rang was awakened early by the bridal attendant to begin her preparations.
Her wedding attire was prepared by the Celestial Court and was incredibly elaborate and beautiful. Not to mention the pearl crown, personally crafted by the Chief himself with exquisite attention to even the tiniest details.
At the auspicious hour, the bridal attendant assisted Huang Rang out of her residence. Xie Hongchen was already waiting at the door. The sound of joyful music filled the air, yet he remained calm and collected.
“Miss Huang Rang’s father has passed away, but fortunately, the Sect Master is like a father. Please, Sect Master, personally place the bridal veil over Miss Huang Rang,” the bridal attendant exclaimed with excitement. Such a wedding would become her lifelong boast.
Xie Hongchen stepped into the room and approached Huang Rang. He saw her in her resplendent dress, her eyes bright, and her skin flawless.
Upon seeing him, Huang Rang gave a slight curtsy and said, “Disciple pays respects to Master.”
The bridal attendant handed the red silk veil to Xie Hongchen, her smile radiating happiness. A wedding like this was enough for her to brag about for a lifetime. Xie Hongchen took the dazzling red fabric, and memories began to intertwine, reminiscent of overlapping shadows. In that instant, he saw the glow of candles, the gentle lifting of the bride’s veil, and the blushing face beneath.
The world seemed to spin, and he felt that something was off. Yet he couldn’t quite put his finger on the unsettling feeling.
“Master, the auspicious time is approaching,” the bridal attendant urged softly.
Xie Hongchen lowered his head. Looking at the beautiful woman before him, he extended his hand, and the red silk veiled her face. The eyes he couldn’t forget and the delicate features were hidden behind the fabric, merging with the memories.
“Alright, Master, you can lead the bride out now!” The bridal attendant announced it loudly.
Outside, firecrackers resounded, and music played in harmony. Xie Hongchen led Huang Rang step by step, departing from Emerald Peak.
The guests and onlookers gathered on the mountainside, and Di Yiqiu had already changed into wedding attire and was waiting ahead. The sea of red silk, the burst of firecrackers—it was a spectacle to behold.
Xie Hongchen felt as though a layer of suppressed memories was shaking and trembling with every sound, as if it were on the verge of shattering.
What was that?
Who did he once lead into the Yuhu Immortal Sect, walking up this mountain path, paying respects to heaven and earth, and entering the bridal chamber? In that golden autumn, who gave him a flower? And at the moment of parting, what did she tell him? Who called out “Hongchen” earnestly, yet he refused to turn back?
His thoughts were in disarray, and even his steps were without order. Yet he still led Huang Rang to stand before Di Yiqiu. At this moment, Di Yiqiu was dressed in red, his gaze lingering on Huang Rang.
Why is this?
Xie Hongchen stood facing him, mere inches away. Yet, in that moment, he suddenly wondered, Can just anyone marry her?
The relationship between the Celestial Court and the Yuhu Immortal Sect had grown increasingly tense in recent years, so why could he do it?
Xie Hongchen’s lips slightly parted, wanting to speak, but the voices in his ears were too chaotic. “Divorce… divorce agreement? What divorce agreement?” “Did she ask you to do this?”
“Alright… alright then. Anyway, I’m now like a useless person, no longer the parasol tree she’s willing to rest upon.”
He held Huang Rang’s hand, passing it to Di Yiqiu, feeling like his brain was boiling and the pain unbearable. Whose true feelings were buried in the overgrown grass?
Di Yiqiu took Huang Rang’s hand, fingers intertwined. Huang Rang stayed motionless for a long time, wishing this moment could last longer. A hundred years of chaos, too few reunions, and joy too brief
If time could freeze at this moment, at least both of us would be full of happiness, enough to pretend for a perfect moment.
Huang Rang slowly released her hand. But Xie Lingbi still has to die! Otherwise, how can I justify a hundred years of arduous cultivation?
Huang Rang raised her hands, gently lifting the veil.
The voices around them gradually fell silent. Obviously, everyone noticed the bride’s action.
Originally, the Yuhu Immortal Sect was a sect of immortals and didn’t need to be overly concerned with mortal customs. But the Celestial Court was associated with the Imperial Court, so this gesture was still considered impolite.
Zhang Shuju said, “Ah Rang, you can’t lift the veil in advance.”
He stepped forward, about to re-cover Huang Rang with the red veil, but she faced another person, smiling as she spoke: “Elder Xie Lingbi, as I wed today, I must bid farewell to the sect. Before I leave, I have one last wish, and I hope Elder Xie Lingbi will grant it.”
Xie Lingbi’s dissatisfaction had reached its limit, but in front of everyone, he couldn’t lose his composure. So he asked, “What is it?”
Huang Rang still smiled gently, saying, “After years of learning, I have been devoted to the way of the sword, yet I’ve rarely encountered your teachings. Today, I wish to ask Elder Xie Lingbi for a personal lesson, to allow me to… learn from you today.”
The words “learn from you” were enunciated clearly and decisively, carrying a hint of determination. The crowd was taken aback by her statement.
She was openly challenging Xie Lingbi.
All eyes turned to Xie Lingbi, who coldly smirked. As the sect’s elder, he couldn’t back down at this point.
Otherwise, word would spread, and people would mock him for fearing a junior from the sect.
He stood up, softly saying, “The sea of learning is boundless. Your willingness is commendable. ” The words were practically gnashed through gritted teeth.
“Wha… what? Understood…” He Xijin spoke with haste, his words stumbling.
Fortunately, Wu Zichou on the side rushed in, saying, “Ah Rang, you’re being foolish. This old man has always been dissatisfied with you. Provoking him like this—what if he tries to harm you during the duel? What then?”
Naturally, Zhang Shuju was concerned too. He smiled, saying, “Since it’s Elder Xie Lingbi who is granting the lesson, it should be done within limits. With Elder Lingbi’s skill, he wouldn’t harm a mere junior. Master Wu is overthinking.”
The three individuals had different ways of saying it, but their underlying message was the same: to protect Huang Rang.
Feeling this protection, it was like a cloak wrapped around Huang Rang, unseen yet shielding her from the harshness of the world. She smiled, bowing sincerely to the three, a sincerity that surpassed her half-hearted “filial piety” before Huang Shu.
“Thank you, three esteemed masters. ” She bowed to them before turning to face Di Yiqiu.
Di Yiqiu gently released her hand, saying, “Although we haven’t paid respects to heaven and earth, I am now your husband. If you need me to stand in for you in battle, it is acceptable.”
He didn’t know why Huang Rang had to challenge Xie Lingbi on her wedding day. But he didn’t ask.
From their initial conversation in Kanyue City until now, he has silently supported her, never asking for reasons.
Huang Rang smiled, saying, “For half of my life, I’ve been used to relying on myself for everything. So this battle, I’ll personally face it.” After her words, she removed the outer garment of her wedding attire and handed it to Di Yiqiu.
Huang Rang drew two swords from her storage of artifacts; one was the “Lone Blossom” sword forged by Xie Lingbi himself. The other was a golden sword crafted by Di Yiqiu.
She unsheathed the Lone Blossom sword and slung the golden sword over her back.
Xie Lingbi had already coldly entered the sparring arena. He lifted his hand, and a disciple’s sword flew into his grasp. Clearly, he wanted to use this sword to fight Huang Rang. Or rather, he didn’t believe Huang Rang deserved his natal sword in battle. Xie Hongchen frowned; only he knew that Huang Rang’s cultivation was absolutely not weak. Over these years, she had worked so hard.
Everyone gathered around the arena, with a mixture of confusion and excitement in the air.
This was a battle between Xie Hongchen’s disciple and the sect’s elder. Even though the term “battle” might not be appropriate, it was still an unprecedented event in history.
Why did Huang Rang, on her wedding day, provocatively demand a duel with Xie Lingbi? Not even Xie Hongchen understood, let alone others.
Over these years, how Huang Rang had ardently cultivated like a madwoman became clear to everyone. Nobody knew her intentions. And now, after a hundred years, she has staged this spectacle.
He Xijin was anxious but couldn’t find the right words. He tugged at Zhang Shuju and urged, “Ver… verdict…”
Zhang Shuju immediately caught on, addressing Xie Hongchen, “Master Xie, this battle is bound to be quite spectacular. How about you and I officiate it together, determining the outcome?”
Then he added, “Of course, Elder Xie Lingbi possesses profound cultivation, while the junior may still have shortcomings. This would only be a formality.”
Xie Hongchen understood their concerns for Huang Rang. He said, “Alright.”
However, within the arena, Xie Lingbi sneered, “Merely giving guidance to a junior; why such concern, all three of you?” He fixed his gaze on Huang Rang, his words cutting like a knife. “Huang Rang, even if you’re married into the Celestial Court, you’re still a disciple of my Yuhu Immortal Sect. Are you afraid I’ll harm my own disciple?”
After finishing, he turned to Huang Rang, saying, “If you wish to test your skills, come forward.” As he spoke, he raised his hand, and the barrier surrounding the arena opened.
The barrier was quite refined, preventing others from interrupting the duel. It also limited the participants’ cultivation to the same level, with the lower cultivation taking precedence.
Of course, now that the barrier was open, He Xijin and the others couldn’t enter the arena anymore.
Xie Lingbi was willing to lower his cultivation to match Huang Rang’s for the duel. This was quite a concession for a senior to make to a junior, showcasing his elder’s demeanor. And around them, the onlookers nodded in admiration.
Xie Lingbi was an elder of the sect, while Huang Rang had only been practicing for around a hundred years.
In the mortal realm, a hundred years were like a river’s length. But within the realm of the immortals, it wasn’t considered much time. Even if Xie Lingbi lowered his cultivation, nobody thought highly of Huang Rang.
“Respectfully challenging, please instruct me, Elder,” Huang Rang said, unsheathing the Lone Blossom sword. At that moment, her eyes blazed with determination, and her wedding attire was aflame. All the surrounding sounds quieted down while Di Yiqiu, watching from outside, held onto his lingering doubts for a century.
From the moment she began learning, it seemed like she was awaiting this duel.
So, during the time of seeking a marriage proposal at the Qilu Terrace, she said, “There won’t be any marriage arrangements; it’s not worth it.”
However, what deep-seated grudge does she hold against Xie Lingbi?
Xie Lingbi had semi-retired many years ago, and it was Xie Hongchen who had been managing the affairs of the sect.
There seems to be no enmity between the Huang family’s ancestors or the Xie family’s ancestors and the Yuhu Immortal Sect. Given Huang Rang’s age, what connection does she really have with him?
Di Yiqiu couldn’t figure it out.
But he knew that this was something Huang Rang had always wanted to do.
So be it. He stared at the burning flames in the martial arena, sensing the fervor of this person.
And at this moment, Huang Rang finally made her first strike.
A thousand overlapping sword shadows danced in the arena, their brilliance intimidating everyone and causing them to squint their eyes.
Xie Lingbi’s face was frosty. Opening this martial arena’s barrier was certainly not only for the purpose of modestly guiding Huang Rang.
Only this way, those reptiles wouldn’t intrude and cause trouble.
He fixed his gaze on the red light and shadows in front of him, his eyes gleaming with a growing intent to kill. Wretched servant, this is of your own making, but don’t blame me.
He clashed against Huang Rang with his ordinary artifact.
A crisp sound resounded in the arena, like the collision of gold and jade. The two swords met, and a shower of sparks fell like fireworks. Amidst the numerous sword shadows, the two swordsmen accurately found each other’s blades.
Uninformed spectators erupted in cheers, while Di Yiqiu and others had grave expressions.
Xie Hongchen stood closest to Xie Lingbi, clearly baffled as to how things had escalated to this point.
Within the barrier, light and shadow flickered incessantly, and bursts of sword aura quickly exploded.
Initially, people were offering opinions and discussing, but soon, everyone fell into contemplation.
In front of Xie Lingbi, Huang Rang didn’t seem as vulnerable as many had imagined.
Not only that, but it could even be said that Huang Rang had a certain level of battle prowess.
The reason is simple: she knows Xie Lingbi’s martial techniques and moves too well. As soon as Xie Lingbi drew his sword, she was already prepared to respond.
Xie Lingbi didn’t notice initially. Some of his moves were actually common sword techniques of the Yuhu Immortal Sect. It wasn’t surprising that Huang Rang could react promptly. However… after a flurry of attacks as rapid as a downpour, Xie Lingbi suddenly felt a sharp numbness and pain in his wrist. Then the sword in his hand began to fracture, inch by inch. Another strike from Huang Rang, and Xie Lingbi’s sword finally succumbed to the strain, breaking into several pieces with a resounding snap!
After a while, the crowd finally realized what had happened—Huang Rang shattered Xie Lingbi’s sword! A clamor of astonishment echoed around!
In theory, since Xie Lingbi’s sword was broken, the outcome of the battle had been determined.
However, just at this moment, Xie Lingbi’s hands conjured a cluster of light and shadow, and then the sword’s light extended.
Once again, a sword appeared in his hand. It was the natal sword!
The primary treasure of a sword immortal
Could the elder ancestor be serious?
Others exchanged puzzled glances. Although they were still within the barrier and Xie Lingbi’s cultivation was suppressed to match Huang Rang’s, using the natal sword in battle seemed like a deliberate attempt to deceive.
He Xijin urgently arrived by Xie Hongchen’s side, tugging at his sleeve and pointing to the arena. He seemed so flustered that he couldn’t find the words.
Xie Hongchen also sensed the tension. He raised his voice, saying, “Master, guiding a junior disciple—it brings honor to the entire sect. Let’s conclude this battle here.”
However, Xie Lingbi appeared to disregard this. He locked his gaze on Huang Rang, channeled power into his sword, and brought it down in a strike.
Huang Rang’s sword was personally forged by Xie Lingbi. How could it withstand the force of his full-strength blow? In an instant, the sword blade turned red and disintegrated into ashes.
Huang Rang staggered back, but the force of his sword energy still shook her. A slender cut appeared on her cheek, releasing a drop of blood while enhancing her unparalleled beauty.
Although Xie Lingbi’s strike had gained momentum, he didn’t pause. The second strike swiftly followed, slicing through the heavens and cracking the earth!
Within the barrier, illusions filled the air, and Huang Rang reached behind her with her bare hand, gripping the hilt of the golden sword on her back. Then she exerted a sudden force, and a strong golden light burst forth from the sword sheath, shining like the morning sun!
The clash between the golden light and Xie Lingbi’s natal sword created a deafening explosion, shaking the heavens and earth. Dust filled the air within the barrier, and amidst the dust, the sword light resembled lightning. It was nearly impossible for onlookers to discern the state of the battle, but everyone shared the same question in their hearts: how could Huang Rang be so formidable, forcing Xie Lingbi to resort to his natal sword?!
And at this moment, Huang Rang’s hundred years of study and understanding of Xie Lingbi’s techniques have fully manifested.
With equal cultivation levels and temporarily matched artifacts, Xie Lingbi’s sword techniques surprisingly didn’t hold the upper hand. This was something Xie Lingbi was unwilling to admit under any circumstances. It wasn’t until his arm was struck by a sword that he acknowledged it.
Blood splattered out, staining his right arm.
Xie Lingbi held onto the wound, his eyes filled with disbelief. The thinning dust revealed the bloodstains on his pristine robe. Silence enveloped the surroundings.
But how could Xie Lingbi willingly accept defeat?!
He roared furiously and lunged forward once again.
Huang Rang’s swift sword was no inferior match. Though their sword shadows collided momentarily, the participants had already ventured through the gates of death several times. Xie Lingbi grew increasingly furious; he knew what it meant to be defeated by Huang Rang. His prominent position within the sect, which he had enjoyed for so long, would become a laughingstock.
For the rest of his life, whenever his name was mentioned, it would be inextricably linked to this incident. This disgrace would accompany him eternally, even to his grave.
Xie Lingbi, a senior member of the sect, was publicly defeated by a junior disciple who had been cultivating for only a hundred years. This declaration was like a horrifying curse.
Yet Huang Rang remained fearless.
She had fought for this her whole life, giving it her all. And now, with the assistance of Di Yiqiu, even if she were to lose, she would only blame her own inadequacy. No more resentment.
Xie Lingbi’s sword energy piled up heavily in front of her, one powerful wave after another. The once-respected founder of a path was now at his wit’s end. Huang Rang had several cuts on her body, but her clothes were vividly red.
Even redder than blood.
So when the blood flowed out, it seemed to disappear like tears in the ocean, ultimately vanishing into nothingness.
Xie Lingbi had become ferocious, but she didn’t back down.
This competition had taken an unexpected turn, with one striving to maintain their reputation and status and the other… striving to win. The reasons were unclear, but they wouldn’t compromise.
Everyone could see this shift, and they held their breath, fearing to miss a moment.
The golden sword crafted by Di Yiqiu truly withstood the power of the natal sword.
This shattered Xie Lingbi’s intention of restoring his honor using his artifact. Huang Rang thwarted his sword techniques, making him lose the grace and elegance of a sword immortal. The silence outside made him realize that if he wanted victory, he needed to break the barrier.
Only by breaking the barrier could his cultivation be restored, giving him a chance against Huang Rang. But this would be an unsightly move.
Xie Lingbi’s forehead was covered in fine sweat; his demonic technique couldn’t be revealed. And these past years, he hadn’t encountered a worthy opponent for far too long. Now, powerful adversaries pressed him step by step, and he couldn’t escape in the presence of a large crowd.
Xie Lingbi’s sword intent slowed slightly, while Huang Rang’s sword intent became faster and more ferocious. A decade of resentment was finally reaching its reckoning.
Huang Rang felt as if she couldn’t sense her body anymore. She seemed to have fused with her wounds, becoming one amidst the chaotic sword light. A splattering sound—Huang Rang’s sword pierced into Xie Lingbi’s chest!
As she withdrew her sword, Xie Lingbi’s blood spilled to the ground.
He couldn’t stem the flow of blood, just as he couldn’t halt his deteriorating situation!
“Huang Rang!” he roared in anguish. Finally, he broke the barrier of the arena! After breaking through, his cultivation was immediately restored! His eyes were bloodshot, resembling a furious, wild beast as he charged toward Huang Rang, aiming to strike her down!
At this moment, Di Yiqiu, Xie Hongchen, He Xijin, and others had already rushed forward!
Although nobody understood the origin of their grievances, it was apparent to everyone that this was a fight for life and death!
Indeed, before breaking the barrier, Xie Lingbi had anticipated obstruction. He suddenly bellowed, channeling his full cultivation to hold back the crowd for a moment using the barrier’s residual power. Subsequently, he lunged at Huang Rang, vowing to kill her with his bare hands! He went berserk, his long hair flying and his face contorting like a malevolent spirit.
With a loud thud, Xie Lingbi exerted all his strength, his palm striking down. A part of Huang Rang’s chest caved in, and it was only much later that blood began to gush out.
Just then, Di Yiqiu, Xie Hongchen, and the others had arrived!
As Xie Hongchen restrained the crazed Xie Lingbi, he suddenly heard a sound—a slight click like the turning of machinery.
The super armor grade combat puppet that had been standing quietly in the arena suddenly lifted its hand, wielding a pestle! In an instant, the pestle pierced into Xie Lingbi’s skull. Xie Lingbi was completely unguarded.
The speed of the super armor grade puppet was beyond even Xie Hongchen’s capabilities at that moment.
“Ah—!” Xie Lingbi screamed in agony, and his blood sprayed like red silk. With every struggle, he experienced excruciating pain. The entire Yuhu Immortal Sect was thrown into chaos.
Huang Rang collapsed into the arms of Di Yiqiu. Her breastbone was shattered, and her clothes were mired in a mess of blood and flesh. But she could still manage a smile. She grabbed a corner of Di Yiqiu’s crimson robe, whispering softly, “I rigged the puppets in advance, even if he was driven to fury. Aren’t I amazing?”
Even in the midst of the battle, she had precisely manipulated the bronze key of the combat puppet. Aware that Xie Lingbi would break the barrier, she planned everything cunningly and ruthlessly.
Di Yiqiu gently caressed her head. On her forehead, a transparent tea needle was gradually oozing droplets of water and starting to melt.
“Why did you do this?” Di Yiqiu’s voice trembled. “Ah Rang, was this what you sought all your life? Practicing martial arts that you detest, never finding a moment of peace, dedicating your whole life just to scheme against this one person?”
Huang Rang was struggling to breathe. Her body felt like a broken bellows, yet she was still smiling. “Yes,” she said with effort, each word accompanied by blood. “Di Yiqiu, you are much more beautiful than revenge and hatred. It’s a pity I realized it too late. Look, whether in dreams or reality, I always realize it too late…”
“Not too late.” Di Yiqiu lowered his head, their foreheads touching, and whispered softly, “We’re already married, aren’t we?” He wanted to cover her wound, but the blood overflowed his hand, flowing continuously.
T/N: I often make a mistake with the names, so if you see First Autumn, that means Di Yiqiu. And if you see huang ran or huang rao, that is huang rang… Sorry for the inconvenience, and I will try to make it better after this. Once again, I hope you can enjoy my translation work. Thank you.