“Xie Hongchen’s” sword silenced all the princes and princesses. Even Bao Wu couldn’t help but shiver.
“This… Is this really Xie Hongchen?” he whispered to himself.
With just this move, everyone could already tell. The Hui snake’s blood constitution, nurtured painstakingly by Shi Wenyu, was no match for this person.
Di Yiqiu frowned, his gaze fixed on the figure of “Xie Hongchen” in the sky, who had transformed from his usual gentle and courteous demeanor into a wild and unrestrained one. “Who are you?” he calmly asked, his attention subtly shifting toward Miao Yunzhi.
Miao Yunzhi had pushed Huang Rang and was slowly withdrawing from the crowd.
He was a crafty old man as well, aware that the situation with “Xie Hongchen” in front of him was unusual. Although he didn’t know the exact reason, he was concerned that it might be related to Huang Rang. He discreetly retreated, not drawing attention to himself.
However, Miao Yunzhi turned his head and glanced back at Di Yiqiu. He saw the Chief of the Celestial Court standing before the crowd, dressed in a purple robe with a jade belt, standing tall and upright. He showed no signs of retreat.
“Shi Wenyu’s son has turned out quite well,” Miao Yunzhi muttered to himself. Pushing Huang Rang, he was about to leave through the back door of the Celestial Court.
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Gp bl prsjl, bl nyaakle Twydt Sydt yde eypble yoyu elprlayvlzu.
Miao Yunzhi wasn’t a sword immortal, but he had seen countless sword immortals. He knew that with Xie Hongchen’s current strength, he couldn’t even use a teleportation spell over such a short distance.
Otherwise, the fluctuations of the spiritual energy would certainly be detected.
Outside the Celestial Court, “Xie Hongchen” sneered, “Just ants, and they dare to block my path?” The Chief knew that this battle was likely to be more dire than auspicious, yet as he gazed at this face, he also felt anger rising within him. He reached into his storage artifact and pulled out a pair of black fingerless gloves, calmly putting them on. “I must give it a try.”
“Xie Hongchen” didn’t waste any more words and unleashed a sword strike that tore through the heavens.
Seeing this, the other princes and princesses could only retreat. Di Yiqiu’s fingerless gloves were as dark as metal yet seemed like cloth. He joined his hands together and unexpectedly caught the sword strike. Sparks flew as the powerful light from the gloves clashed with the sword’s energy.
Smoke wafted from Di Yiqiu’s hand, soon followed by the scent of burnt flesh.
His brows furrowed. The person before him, “Xie Hongchen,” had grown far stronger. And this gaze… it was fierce and authoritative, not the gaze of Xie Hongchen.
Ah, someone had mentioned that he wasn’t Xie Hongchen.
Di Yiqiu lifted his gaze slightly, trying to find the person who had spoken earlier. But within the swirling sword energy, how could he see clearly? Fortunately, Li Lu had already rushed over.
By the time that person arrived, he was already heavily injured. After uttering a few words, he collapsed from the rooftop.
Li Lu searched around and finally managed to pull him up from a ditch by the street.
“Who are you?” Li Lu fed him a spirit pill and urgently asked The man was covered in blood, and his appearance was hard to discern.
“I… I…” The man caught his breath, then uttered three astonishing words: “Qiu Cailing.”
“Qiu Cailing?” Li Lu was taken aback, but time was of the essence. Di Yiqiu couldn’t hold on much longer. He urgently inquired, “What happened?”
Qiu Cailing struggled to sit up and said, “It’s Xie Ling Bi… he took over the position of the sect leader, Xie Hongchen, and secretly practiced forbidden demonic techniques. He even absorbed the power of several elders!”
Li Lu’s mind seemed to buzz. He shouted, “Are all the elders of your Yuhu Immortal Sect dead?”
Qiu Cailing was panting heavily. He said, “I’ve informed the remaining elders; they are preparing for battle and will arrive soon.”
In the past, figures like Qiu Cailing would have been beyond Li Lu’s reach. But now he wanted nothing more than to throw him back into the ditch.
“How can we hold this demon off at the Celestial Court? “
Li Lu’s throat was raw. “Why is he coming to the capital? Is he planning to kill Miss Ah Rang?”
His guess seemed reasonable.
After all, Xie Lingbi had suffered setbacks at Huang Rang’s hands twice in his dreams. His resentment toward Huang Rang wasn’t surprising. But Qiu Cailing was also puzzled, saying, “I… I don’t know.”
Li Lu felt despair. “When will the other elders arrive?”
Qiu Cailing didn’t answer.
In fact, the elders of the Yuhu Immortal Sect hadn’t taken action in years. Suddenly, Xie Lingbi appeared with such astonishing cultivation. Who would dare underestimate him?
For them, a single misstep wouldn’t just mean a damaged reputation, but death itself. They had to prepare all their artifacts and talismans.
Xie Shaochong was becoming frantic.
Currently, the sect’s founder is missing, the sect leader has gone mad, and the elders are either injured or engaged in battle. Only he remained, lost and helpless. It was Xie Li who suggested, “the sect leader has attacked the elders and is heading to the capital. This is truly unusual. Shouldn’t we search the Yeyun Hall to see if there’s anything suspicious?” It was a desperate measure.
Xie Shaochong could only lead the search for Yeyun Hall.
Yet in their search, they made a significant discovery in the hidden chamber of the Yeyun Hall. There, a person was imprisoned.
Xie Shao Chong could hardly believe his eyes. “Elder Ancestor?!”
Inside the chamber, the imprisoned “Elder Ancestor” appeared quite calm. He asked, “Did Master… attack the Celestial Court?”
“Master?” Xie Shaochong was unable to dispel the barriers. He was bewildered: “Who? But it’s true that the sect leader is heading to the capital. According to the information from the Nine-Curve Spirit Eyes, he’s engaged in a fierce battle with the Celestial Court.”
Inside the chamber, “Xie Lingbi” let out a deep sigh: “He really did it.”
Xie Shaochong anxiously questioned, “Elder Ancestor, Master… he’s cultivating demonic arts! Di Yiqiu is already no match for him, and the other elders haven’t arrived yet. The Celestial Court won’t be able to stop him. Please think of a solution!”
“Di Yiqiu… no match?” “Xie Lingbi” displayed a strange expression on his face. He hesitated for a moment before saying, “Could it be… I left a restriction within him when he took over my body. I disassembled the sword technique and gave it to Di Yiqiu. Didn’t he receive it?”
“Take over?!” Xie Shaochong was momentarily stunned, then shouted in realization, “Qinglan? Where is Qinglan?” A disciple ran in from outside; it was the panting Qinglan. He urgently said, ” I don’t know what happened to my master. He’s currently battling the Celestial Court. Di Yiqiu has been injured by his demonic energy and has… likely been defeated. He might already be dead.”
Xie Shaochong was horrified. Inside the hidden chamber, “Xie Lingbi” roared, “I ordered you to deliver something to Senior Miao. Did you not relay my command?” Qinglan was overwhelmed by the shout and nearly fainted. He stammered, “I, I… I did. My master told me to deliver it, so I did… Wait, this matter wasn’t my master’s order, right? How did you know about it, Elder Ancestor?”
“This is impossible… “Xie Hongchen, wearing the body of Xie Lingbi, murmured, “He had a countermeasure; why did he lose and die?” After a while, Xie Shaochong asked, “Are you… or are you not the Senior Brother?”
Xie Hongchen didn’t have time to answer his question, muttering to himself, “This is impossible. Where did it go wrong?”
Xie Shaochong remained silent for a moment and suddenly said, “Is it possible… that the sword technique you left behind was too profound, and he… although he is immensely talented, he is not a sword immortal after all.He might…”
Xie Hongchen looked up and locked eyes with him. After a long pause, the two of them simultaneously said three words: “Can’t understand it…”
“Quick, help me break free!” Xie Hongchen angrily demanded Xie Shaochong, Nie Qinglan, and Xie Li rush forward to assist.
In front of the Celestial Court, during Di Yiqiu’s confrontation with Xie Lingbi’s first sword strike, he immediately realized that he couldn’t withstand it.
His hands were already scorched, but Xie Lingbi’s second sword strike hadn’t managed to take his life. The three super armor grade battle puppets from the Celestial Court all rushed forward in formation, surprisingly managing to block Xie Lingbi’s strike.
“What a nuisance! ” Xie Lingbi said it with disdain. He withdrew his sword abruptly and then exerted a bit of energy. Suddenly, a black mist enveloped his entire body. Within the black mist, there were eerie cries of ghosts. Countless skeletons moved and transformed within the black mist, occasionally revealing sharp fangs.
This didn’t seem like a righteous cultivation technique.
Just facing this resentment, Di Yiqiu involuntarily took a few steps back. He wondered if Miao Yunzhi had managed to get her out of the city. He suddenly thought of this.
“Shi Wenyu! Collect your son’s corpse!” Xie Lingbi’s voice was hidden in the black mist, rising and falling with an indescribable eerie quality. As his voice fell, the black mist condensed and surged directly towards Di Yiqiu!
Di Yiqiu closed his eyes, and all the defensive treasures he had were activated in an instant. Although three super armor grade battle puppets stood before him, they were instantly turned to ash by the invading black haze.
Standing amidst the flying ash, time seemed to slow down to an infinite crawl.
Half a lifetime’s worth of memories blurred and overlapped. He was born with a love for forging, and most of his life’s efforts have been devoted to this pursuit. The world’s distractions and splendors had never captured his attention. Only that glimmer of brightness, a glance, and a lifetime of longing . At their parting, he hadn’t even said a word to her. Unfortunately, in this life, he was too weak to protect her.
The energy from the demonic technique corroded the three super armor grade battle puppets, striking him. Di Yiqiu’s protective treasures shattered completely, and he was sent flying several dozen zhang away, his blood already turning black. (T/N: Zhang is an old Chinese measure of length equal to 10 chi, or 3.58 metres (11 feet 9 inches))
In the face of someone like Xie Lingbi, Hui snake venom was clearly insignificant.
Across from him, Xie Lingbi’s laughter seemed tinged with blood, every word dripping with derision. At a corner of the palace, atop a solitary tower, Shi Wenyu stood, his robe billowing in the wind, silently watching.
Xie Lingbi no longer bothered to hide his true identity. He raised his hand once more, intending to end Di Yiqiu’s life. However, at this moment, a faint spiritual energy fluctuation caught his attention.
Following the trail of energy, he saw someone in the distance at the inner city gate, pushing a wheelchair and about to use a teleportation talisman. Focusing his gaze, he saw a woman sitting in the wheelchair. “Wretched servant!” he shouted, leaping through the air and striking down with a palm!
Just those two words were enough for Huang Rang to recognize him—Xie Lingbi! He had taken over Xie Hongchen’s body, and suddenly, his cultivation had skyrocketed!
Countless black mists, accompanied by surging skeletons, lunged at Huang Rang!
Miao Yunzhi instantly activated all his protective treasures, but Xie Lingbi’s strike was filled with fury. Moreover, he had no cultivation left! Huang Rang watched those malevolent creatures approach her without fear.
Death, for her, was not terrifying. One could even say it was a gift. Any form of death would suffice.
She didn’t even close her eyes, calmly observing this sinister technique.
As the black mist was about to reach her, a shadow suddenly appeared before her.
Huang Rang was momentarily stunned. The shadow standing before her trembled slightly. It took her a long time to see clearly—it wasn’t a shadow at all. It was Di Yiqiu! He was covered in blood and enveloped by the black mist. Countless skeletal figures within the mist bared their sharp teeth at him!
Huang Rang heard herself screaming in agony inside, but she couldn’t make a sound. She could only watch, wide-eyed, as the malevolent creatures cruelly devoured him, drenching themselves in his blood and leaving behind only bare bones.
Di Yiqiu! Di Yiqiu!
She called out in pain… again and again, but no one could hear her.
The person who stood before her, one hand against the inner city gate, was bleeding from his fingers as blood dripped down. He remained silent.
“go!” he said to Miao Yunzhi.
Miao Yunzhi snapped back to reality. He shouted like a madman, frantically pushing Huang Rang and rushing out of the inner city.
The malevolent creatures quickly devoured the lower half of his body. His chest was exposed, revealing his internal organs, soaked in blood and scattered flesh, but he stood resolutely, refusing to fall.
At the inner city gate, there was no one guarding it now.
Miao Yunzhi pushed Huang Rang as they dashed away. Once they were out of the inner city, he could use a teleportation talisman, at least to take Huang Rang to safety.
Huang Rang could hear the sounds behind her, but she couldn’t hear anything from Di Yiqiu. No, I won’t go… I won’t go.
At that moment, her willpower reached its peak, and everything around her seemed to slow down. The sounds became muffled, the countless screams, curses, and cries all merging into one in her mind. Not far away, Shi Wenyu continued to silently observe everything.
Xie Lingbi believed that Huang Rang was dead.
He took a few steps towards the palace and suddenly realized something. He turned back, but even this action became unbearably slow. Below, in the distant inner city, a bloody figure blocked the city gate. Huang Rang’s wheelchair was right behind him.
This wretched woman is still alive!
Xie Lingbi wanted to draw his sword, but in that instant, everything around him suddenly darkened, and he couldn’t sense his own sword.
Huang Rang’s mind throbbed with pain, but this pain filled her with ecstasy.
Thousands of miles away, in the secret chamber of the Luofu hall of the Yuhu Immortal Sect, countless spirits suddenly responded. The dark clouds churned in the sky, and in an instant, the world had changed its appearance.
“Di Yiqiu!” Huang Rang suddenly opened her eyes, tears streaming down her face. She jumped up and found herself in another place.
She was hiding in a haystack, seemingly taking a nap.
Huang Rang quickly realized that this was… the third dream, wasn’t it? How was Di Yiqiu doing?
She lowered her head and saw a transparent tea needle lying on the ground. This time, it seemed she had forcefully entered a dream without encountering that strange nine-story tower or the peculiar man in Daoist robes.
Di Yiqiu, she didn’t know how he was doing.
Huang Rang knew that she had probably returned to Xiancha Town again.
In her life, she had been born in Xiancha Town, married into the Yuhu Immortal Sect, been victimized, and even ended up at the Celestial Court. And finally, the White Bone Cliff. Those were the only places she had been.
At this moment, she touched her own face—she was still a young child. Di Yiqiu hasn’t been born yet.
Huang Rang picked up the transparent tea needle from the ground, gazing at the haystack. Being reborn again didn’t bring her the joy it had before. She had returned to a time when he wasn’t there.
It was truly heartbreaking to think about.
Di Yiqiu, in this dream, I’ve come for you. Can we never part again? Is that alright?
Huang Rang inserted the tea needle into her hair and walked out of the haystack.
The fields outside were both familiar and unfamiliar, with tenant farmers working on their crops. Huang Rang crossed the furrows and finally spotted a familiar figure.
“Sister!” she ran over, and the woman who was examining seeds turned out to be her sister, Huang Jun.
At this time, she appeared to be only sixteen or seventeen years old, but weariness filled her eyes. She didn’t have the carefree demeanor that someone her age should have. Well, of course not.
Huang Rang hid her smile but couldn’t help but take her sister’s hand and softly call, “Sister.”
Her voice was considerably lower, and Huang Jun didn’t have a smile on her face either. She reached into her waist and handed Huang Rang a paper package, saying, “Have some by the side.”
Huang Rang took the paper package, opened it, and found it contained a bundle of preserved fruits.
She slowly retreated to the edge of the field, while Huang Jun continued to inspect the good seeds. Suddenly, Huang Rang remembered that Huang Jun had never been one to smile.
Huang Jun had raised her since she was little, and she was more like a mother than an older sister. But she didn’t pamper Huang Rang at all. She didn’t smile, and she wasn’t gentle. Most of the time, she remained silent. Huang Rang had a piece of the preserved fruit, which wasn’t sweet but instead had a vague bitterness to it. What year have I returned to?
My mother… is she still alive? Huang Rang suddenly thought of this.
In truth, she didn’t want to see that woman at all. That woman, in her memories, was always filled with resentment and cruelty. What was there to see?
With these thoughts in her mind, when Huang Rang snapped back to reality, she had already walked along the furrows and returned to the Huang family. The Huang family at this time was far from the grandeur it would have had in many years. It was nothing more than an adobe-walled, tiled-roofed residence, more like that of a rural landlord.
Huang Rang walked in, following the contours of her memory, but suddenly her scalp hurt as someone grabbed her hair. “You little brat! Where’s your sister?” A voice behind her spoke with a condescending tone.
Huang Rang screamed in pain, feeling like her scalp was about to be torn apart. When she turned around, she saw a face—it was her big brother, Huang Zeng. Seeing Huang Rang not saying anything, Huang Zeng kicked her. Huang Rang was first knocked to the ground, and then she felt pain in her abdomen. The preserved fruits in her hand spilled all over the ground.
Huang Rang realized she hadn’t been beaten in a long time.
She held her stomach and asked, “Why are you looking for my sister?”
“Today, you’re getting it!” Huang Zeng yanked her up and, with a swift motion, slapped her across the face.
Huang Rang’s face was slapped to the side, and Huang Zeng sneered, “You wretch, sooner or later, you’ll be just as embarrassing as your sister. Better off dead!”
He raised his hand to give Huang Rang another few slaps, but a woman nearby said, “Zeng’er! What are you doing? Aren’t you afraid of getting your hands dirty?” Only then did Huang Zeng let go of Huang Rang. He ran over to the woman and said, “Mother, that little brat ran to Father again yesterday and got me scolded.”
The woman then said in a shrill voice, “Just endure it. Who asked Xi Yin to have that ability and bear two daughters? The eldest one, the master, already dotes on her. When the younger one grows up, they’ll be serving him together. It won’t be long before the two of us have to live by their rules.”
She hinted at something, provoking mockery from the other women in the courtyard.
Huang Rang got up from the ground, but from start to finish, nobody from her mother’s small courtyard had come out.
Huang Rang slowly walked into the small courtyard. Time was so merciless; memories were corroded year by year. Later in life, she couldn’t even remember what this small courtyard looked like.
The courtyard was not well maintained, so there were no beautiful flowers or precious trees.
In the Huang family, which made a living from breeding, this was quite surprising.
The shouting and cursing from earlier didn’t attract anyone to the yard. Her mother was still in the backyard, meticulously boiling medicine. It was a fertility medicine.
According to the divine doctor she had found, as long as she followed the prescription and took the medicine on time, she would surely give birth to a boy. She believed it, so she boiled this medicine every day.
Later on, whenever Huang Rang smelled the bitterness of this medicine, she would think of her.
Huang Rang lightened her steps and slowly entered the backyard.
The person in her memory had become frighteningly thin. She was dressed in a light gray dress, her long hair pulled up high. Hearing the footsteps behind her, she didn’t turn around; she just stared blankly at the pot of medicine on the stove.
The medicine boiled, so she carefully lifted the pot down. “Mother…” Huang Rang called out, her voice trembling. However, the person in front of the medicine stove did not turn around.
So Huang Rang stood behind her for a long, long time.
Her face still burned with pain, and she reached under her nose, wiping away the fresh blood that had flowed from her nostrils when Huang Zeng had slapped her so hard.
And she hadn’t even noticed.
Huang Rang reached out to touch the woman in front of her. But, ultimately, she didn’t.
“Please stop making the medicine. It’s not helping,” she wanted to say to her.
But was there any use in those words? They were just as bitter as the medicine.
She turned and left the small courtyard. Those lost years, going around in circles, had piled up in her heart. Suddenly, there was someone speaking nearby, and Huang Rang strained to listen.
“Good little sister, as long as you agree this time, brother swears won’t hit you again. Huang Zeng’s voice came through the wall.
Huang Rang felt a pang of guilt and climbed up the courtyard wall to secretly observe. On the other side of the wall, Huang Zeng was holding onto Huang Jun and speaking in hushed tones.
“Big brother lost a lot of money this time. If Father finds out, he won’t spare me. But they said, as long as you spend one night with them, just one night, they’ll let it go.” He shamelessly said these words.
However, Huang Jun only shook her head, remaining silent.
Huang Zeng grew impatient and sneered, “After all, you’ve been with Father. What’s left to preserve when the flowers have wilted? If you dare not agree, I’ll expose this matter and see how you fare!”
Seeing that Huang Jun still wouldn’t nod, Huang Zeng tried to persuade her again: “Good little sister, as long as you agree this time, I won’t only refrain from hitting you; I’ll protect you. And Huang Rang too! I consider you both like real sisters!”
Huang Rang crouched on the wall, silently listening to his words.
She had been away from this home for too long—so long that she was no longer accustomed to its filth and squalor.