The vitality of Huang Rang gradually waned. She lifted her hand and gently removed the transparent tea needle from her head. The droplets of melted needle tea merged with the blood on her hand.
A chaotic sound echoed in her ears, and Xie Lingbi’s miserable screams were shocking.
Huang Rang’s gaze shifted, only to see that the vajra demon-quelling pestle in the hands of the combat puppet had already pierced half of his head. Blood dripped down, mixed with white brain matter. This made him look like a demon, which was indescribably terrifying.
Although Xie Hongchen was anxious, he remained composed in the face of danger. He said, “Where is Senior Miao?”
In the midst of the crowd, Miao Yunzhi didn’t need much explanation; he had already come forward. He crouched in front of Xie Lingbi and drew out a silver needle, intending to provide pain relief for Xie Lingbi.
Nestled in the embrace of Di Yiqiu, the more blood flowed, the colder she became. She started to tremble. “Senior Miao!” Di Yiqiu dared not move Huang Rang but said, “Please help me check on Ah Rang.” However, Miao Yunzhi was the only one available, and he looked at Huang Rang and found the situation tricky.
Huang Rang smiled and said, “No need. She pressed her face against Di Yiqiu’s chest and suddenly said, “Let me tell you something; remember it even after you wake up.”
“What do you mean by waking up?” Di Yiqiu didn’t quite understand.
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She didn’t have time to clearly see the person in front of her. A hand gently pressed against her chest, as if confirming that the injuries from the dream were real.
Huang Rang finally saw the person in front of her.
Di Yiqiu’s black hair was loose, and he was only hastily wrapped in a purple official robe, obviously in a rush. He crouched in front of her, his outer robe open, revealing more.
Di Yiqiu’s complexion was actually fair, but from below his left shoulder, half of his body was covered in green-blue snake scales, which were very conspicuous. He had a slender figure, a tight waist,
Huh, while his foundation was okay, there weren’t any ‘treasures’ tied around his waist.
Could it be that those ‘twelve flowers’ were actually sent by him?
Rumors are indeed not to be believed.
Huang Rang was trying hard to dispel the rumors, and just when Di Yiqiu was about to ask, “What are you looking at?” in a commanding tone, a loud bang came from outside the door! Miao Yunzhi almost flew in!
He saw that both Di Yiqiu and Huang Rang were present and finally let go of the worry he was holding in his heart.
“What happened just now?!” He rushed to Huang Rang because the dream was too real, making it hard for him to distinguish between reality and the dream. But seeing that Huang Rang was unharmed, Miao Yunzhi finally breathed a sigh of relief.
“Did we have another dream?” he asked.
Di Yiqiu tightened his robe and was about to answer when, suddenly, a group of female physicians and medicine attendants gathered at the door.
Miao Yunzhi’s senior disciple, He Shouwu, said, “Master, we were trapped in another dream just now. And this dream lasted for over a hundred years. It seems that this dream is no different from the previous one.”
Miao Yunzhi responded with an “Mmm,” but he turned to Di Yiqiu and said, “She’s not injured!” Di Yiqiu pulled his robe tight and expressionlessly confirmed, “Mmm.”
Miao Yunzhi’s expression turned solemn as he said, “In the previous dream, I heard that Xie Lingbi, Xie Yuanshu, and even Xie Hongchen were all injured after waking up! If the dream is accurate, then Huang Rang should have been injured as well. Why is she unharmed after waking up?”
Di Yiqiu tightened his robe even more, answering, “I don’t know.”
Miao Yunzhi suddenly grew furious, grabbing his collar and scolding, “You don’t know?! As the Chief of the Celestial Court, don’t you think you should investigate even if you don’t know?!”
Di Yiqiu finally said, “As the Chief of the Celestial Court, even if I were to investigate, I would at least dress properly first.”
Miao Yunzhi looked down at the robe he was clutching, only to find that Di Yiqiu was bare-legged and barefoot, with nothing under his purple robe. Moreover, the gazes of the female physicians outside were like hungry wolves, fixed on the room. “Ahem.” Miao Yunzhi let go of his grip and said, “Hurry and put on some clothes; this is really unbecoming!”
After saying that, he walked out and was about to close the door. Di Yiqiu reached into the bathtub and suddenly exclaimed, “Wait!”
Miao Yunzhi asked, “What’s wrong?”
Di Yiqiu, still testing the water temperature with his hand, asked, “What time is it now?”
Before Miao Yunzhi could answer, Di Yiqiu turned and rushed out of the room, running all the way to the sundial at White Bone Cliff.
Miao Yunzhi and the others followed suit, also stunned—they had just experienced a very long dream, yet the time remained at its original point and hadn’t moved.
The dream’s time might not align with real-world time, but it still needed time.
In a deep voice, Di Yiqiu said, “The water temperature in the bathtub hasn’t dropped at all. It’s clear that the sundial didn’t make a mistake.”
Miao Yunzhi looked grave. At that moment, someone came in panic and reported, “Master, there’s something strange!”
“What’s strange?” Miao Yunzhi scolded, “Panicking like this in broad daylight!”
However, the disciple said, “Master, it’s true! Disciple was cleaning the room with the puppet just now and saw several patients. But they had clearly died!”
On the side, He Shouwu suddenly asked, “Are those the ones from Shu Region?”
“That’s right, that’s right!” the disciple hurriedly confirmed.
He Shouwu looked at Miao Yunzhi and said, “These few people did indeed die before they entered the dream. But, Master, do you remember that in the dream, you tried different medicines on them, and they… came back to life.”
Miao Yunzhi quickly went over to check, and Di Yiqiu also quickly dressed. As he was about to leave the room, he fetched a cloak for Huang Rang and pushed her out as well.
Indeed, the three patients who had died and been revived were still in the room.
Everyone could clearly see their appearances.
However, these three people seemed to have no memory of having died outside of the dream. They smiled at He Shouwu and said, “Doctor, we’ve truly troubled you with our illnesses these days.”
Miao Yunzhi stepped back a few steps until he stood shoulder to shoulder with Di Yiqiu. He said, “How do you all feel now?”
The three brothers moved their limbs a bit and said, “We’re much better now, but we still get headaches every night…”. They described their symptoms in detail, leaving Miao Yunzhi and the others secretly astonished.
Meanwhile, Di Yiqiu asked in a low voice, “What happened to the bodies of the three brothers?”
“They had no relatives, so we buried them at a random burial mound.”
Miao Yunzhi realized something and then called a disciple, “Cangzhu, go find the bodies of these three brothers.”
The random burial mound wasn’t far away, and soon a disciple reported, “Master, the bodies are still there. They’re a bit decomposed, but otherwise intact.” What had happened? Even Miao Yunzhi was shaken. Di Yiqiu said, “Bring the bodies here.”
The bodies had been there for some time, and the smell was unbearable. Nevertheless, everyone had no choice but to hold their noses and dig out the three corpses, carrying them back to White Bone Cliff.
Seeing the bodies placed at the doorstep,Di Yiqiu called the three men and asked, “Do you recognize what this is?” The three men walked up to the bodies, looked for a while, and appeared puzzled.
“This… why do the clothes look so familiar?” One of them reached out, trying to examine the clothing on the bodies. However, as soon as his fingertips touched the clothes, the three men froze in place, and then, like wax, they melted.
Quickly turning into nothing.
As everyone came back to their senses, the three decaying corpses on the ground still emitted a foul smell.
This scene inevitably reminded people of the moment of awakening from the dream.
Miao Yunzhi quickly spoke, “This dream is ending, and I’m afraid everyone will start suspecting its origin is related to Huang Rang. White Bone Cliff can’t protect her.” His mind was clear, and he immediately began plotting countermeasures: “You need to take her back to the Celestial Court and take strict care of her!”
Di Yiqiu agreed with an “Mmm” and then suddenly asked, “I wonder if Senior could accompany me to the capital for a few days?” Miao Yunzhi was taken aback for a moment, then sighed and said, “Let’s go.”
Di Yiqiu hadn’t expected him to agree so easily, so he had prepared a set of arguments. However, Miao Yunzhi waved his hand and said, “This dream is so peculiar, and the key lies with this woman. The dream lasted for a hundred years, and now the world is probably in chaos. White Bone Cliff, though a secluded place, how can one avoid the world by staying hidden?”
At this moment, the entire world woke up from the dream.
If the first dream had left everyone amazed, this second dream brought about a sense of fear.
Because this dream had lasted for a hundred years and because many people and things within the dream were different from the outside world. Thus, those who should have died outside the dream were now reappearing.
However, their memories were all from within the dream. They were completely unaware that in the world outside the dream, they had already died.
Yuhu Immortal Sect.
Xie Hongchen woke up in the Yeyun Hall, his eyes still covered by a plain veil. The overwhelming emotions from the dream flooded him. The century spent with Huang Rang seemed as if it had just happened. He got up and went to the rear hall.
Yet the martial arts practice arena was empty. Huang Rang was nowhere to be found.
Xie Hongchen passed by the desk and suddenly noticed that there was indeed a potted orchid on it! His heart raced, and he nearly stumbled as he rushed over.
However, just as his hand touched the orchid, it suddenly melted. It slowly flowed and transformed, finally disappearing.
The desk was empty. The sight from earlier had been like an illusion.
Xie Hongchen retracted his hand, summoned his natal sword, and directly flew towards the Luofu Hall! Inside the Luofu Hall, Xie Lingbi was clutching his head, wailing incessantly.
Xie Hongchen hurried forward. With the experience of the first dream, he wasn’t surprised. Indeed, Xie Lingbi’s cultivation had suffered, and his head injury was severe. However, this might not be the most serious consequence. In the dream, Xie Lingbi had not only used the natal sword to battle Huang Rang, but he had also lost. Losing was one thing, but he had even broken through the arena’s restrictive barrier in an attempt to kill Huang Rang at his peak strength.
A venerable elder like him had been defeated by a junior disciple in front of numerous sect members. Not only that, in his anger and shame after the defeat, he had broken the barrier and made an attempt on her life. Ultimately, he had been seriously injured by the combat puppet of the Celestial Court.
Every single sentence was a devastating blow to Xie Lingbi’s reputation.
“Capture that wretched servant!” Xie Lingbi grabbed Xie Hongchen’s wrist; his expression twisted like a malevolent spirit. “I’ll torture her mercilessly to soothe the hatred in my heart!”
He had turned into this. Xie Hongchen looked at the person before him and felt a sense of unfamiliarity.
Xie Lingbi had always been very concerned about his status. When has he ever acted like this? “I will find her,” Xie Hongchen said.
Due to the century of cultivation in the dream, he had regained the cultivation he had lost in the first dream. However, now the matter with Xie Lingbi could likely affect the reputation of the entire Yuhu Immortal Sect.
“It’s not about finding her! It’s about capturing her, capturing her!” Xie Lingbi clutched his head, as if a Vajra Demon-Quelling Pestle had been driven into his head. Xie Hongchen had a lot of questions he wanted to ask.
What deep-seated grudge did Huang Rang have against him? Why had she sought revenge on him after entering the dream?
By now, Xie Hongchen understood that everything in the first dream had been orchestrated by Huang Rang.
And in the second dream, her revenge had been even more direct—she had chosen to immerse herself in cultivation and publicly defeat him. Xie Hongchen recalled the events both inside and outside the dream, realizing for the first time that he didn’t really know her. Were her words in the dream true?
He had to find Huang Rang, and after these two dreams, he had already gained a direction for his search.
To the capital.
The palace and the court were both in chaos.
In the dream, a hundred years had passed, and many who shouldn’t have died had died, while those who should have died had come back to life.
Especially in the palace, of the originally nine princes and princesses who had been used for testing the snake venom, over eighty had survived!
These people, who had originally died, followed the memories of the dream without realizing anything was amiss.
For the first time, the entire imperial court encountered such an unusual event, and letters seeking assistance flooded the Celestial Court like falling snowflakes.
Li Lu and Bao Wu were worn out and stressed beyond measure. Di Yiqiu had not yet returned.
Meanwhile, at the Huang family residence in Xiancha Town, Huang Shu was causing quite a commotion.
In a dream, he was cunningly manipulated by Huang Rang. His cultivation was not only ruined, but he was also compelled to toil the land for Huang Rang.
To nourish the soil, he had to deplete his own cultivation.
His anger surged, and Huang Shu personally rushed to the Yuhu Immortal Sect, demanding to see the sect master’s wife. However, the Yuhu Immortal Sect was currently in turmoil, and since Huang Rang had already gone missing, no one paid him any heed. Consequently, Huang Shu resorted to making a scene at the entrance of the sect.
At the Phantom Butterfly Sect,
Dai Yue had married into a respectable family, and her life was previously tranquil.
She originally served as Huang Rang’s personal maidservant, and her promotion had been endorsed by Sect Master Xie Hongchen. With her connection to both her former sect and her new family, she anticipated fair treatment.
However, in this dream, she betrayed her master, falsely claimed her master’s achievements as her own, and was consequently exposed by Sect Master Xie Hongchen and publicly chastised. This unveiled her true colors, leading to the odd gazes of those around her.
Her husband’s family upheld their principles and values, so how could they tolerate such behavior?
Therefore, in tandem with the Phantom Butterfly Sect, they sent a letter to the Yuhu Immortal Sect, seeking verification from Xie Hongchen and Huang Rang about the events in the dream.
Yet the Yuhu Immortal Sect was preoccupied and couldn’t tend to such trivial matters.
Bai Cao Peak’s disciples were occupied with caring for Xie Lingbi. Xie Shaochong, Nie Qinglan, and others had to explain his ignoble conduct in the dream to their elders. Even more significantly, He Xijin, Wu Zichou, Zhang Shuju, and others arrived at the Yuhu Immortal Sect simultaneously.
The three influential figures of the sect demanded to meet the sect master’s wife, Huang Rang. But where could Xie Shaochong find Huang Rang?
The world was in chaos, and Xie Jiu’er remained at Bai Cao Peak. In this moment, who had the energy to attend to a little insect like her?
In this dream, she met Huang Rang, much like in reality. However, Huang Rang let her go.
Xie Jiu’er had complained countless times before. She believed that if Huang Rang hadn’t adopted her as his daughter, she wouldn’t have endured years of neglect from her adopted father. But in this dream, Huang Rang indeed didn’t adopt her again.
Thus, she didn’t exist in this dream. She was merely a golden cicada, living quietly for over a decade due to her slight spiritual power. Ultimately, she also failed to achieve her goal and passed away.
She won’t pay any attention to me anymore. Xie Jiu’er suddenly grasped this truth, sinking into an irrevocable sadness.
And at this moment, a green-bordered, green-winged emerald butterfly fluttered into the Celestial Court.
It navigated its way to the desk of the chief, as if it had done so countless times before, and settled on the window ledge, slightly out of breath. — Sure enough, it’s not his biological son. No one even searched for it. Humph.
vajra demon pestle
(T/N: The vajra, as a weapon, is wielded like a club by figures such as the wrathful deity Vajrapani in order to subjugate an external or internal obstacle and thus is simultaneously a tool of compassion and a skillful means leading to the indestructible state of enlightenment. Wielded by deities described in the Vedas, ancient Indian religious scriptures, the vajra pestle (kongōsho) has long been used in esoteric Buddhist rituals. The word vajra means diamond and thunderbolt in Sanskrit.)