Xi Yin was helped onto the carriage, and He Xijin stood by the side of the carriage, bidding farewell to Xie Hongchen.
Xie Hongchen looked at the mother and daughter inside the carriage, deep in thought. He had suspicions in his heart, but he didn’t show them on his face. – No one in Xiancha town knows the style of the Xi family, but Xie Hongchen knows it better than anyone else.
Old Master Xi would not take back Xi Yin, and he would not seek anyone’s help to assist Xi Yin. Qu Manying was one thing, but from He Xijin’s words, a hidden meaning could be discerned. He implied to everyone that the Xi family had asked him to come and handle this matter. He was lying, but why?
With He Xijin’s intense aversion to evil, even if the bandits had no leads, he wouldn’t leave so easily. Suspicion arose in Xie Hongchen’s mind, and when he returned to the Yuhu Immortal Sect, he began to inspect the Eye of World Perception.
He pieced together images from different Eye of World Perception, from Ruyi Sword Sect to Xiancha Town.
Although the details were unclear, it was clear that young Huang Rang went to Ruyi Sword Sect. After that, Sect Master He and his wife took her in a carriage and headed to Xiancha Town.
Naturally, the carriage was not an ordinary one. Judging by its speed, they should have arrived at Xiancha Town long ago. Where did Sect Master He and his wife go during that one night?
At this point, Xie Hongchen was highly suspicious.
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Step on his foot?
Huang Rang hesitated before gingerly stepping onto his foot. He Xijin’s foot was as steady as a mountain. With a slight lift of his foot, he transferred Huang Rang from the carriage’s footboard to the ground.
It took Huang Rang a moment to realize—he was teasing her!
She giggled, but Huang Jun got out of the carriage and pulled out a handkerchief to wipe the dust off He Xijin’s foot.
She left a footprint when she stepped on it earlier.
He Xijin froze, noticing her quiet demeanor. She was an eighteen-year-old girl after all; he shouldn’t joke around. He said, “Let’s….let’s go..go home.”
Huang Jun then led Huang Rang, walking silently beside the couple, into the Ruyi Sword Sect. Compared to Huang’s family in Xiancha Town, the sect was like Heaven and earth.
Huang’s family had simple mud walls and bricks, which were considered wealthy in Xiancha Town. However, Ruyi Sword Sect had vermilion gates and walls, glazed tiles, and gilded beams. Upon entering, countless disciples were seen practicing on the training grounds.
Huang Jun tightened her grip on Huang Rang’s hand; she was somewhat nervous. Huang Rang, having experienced many lifetimes, was not perturbed; she had seen it all.
“Children, follow Aunt Manying,” Qu Manying called out. Huang Jun then led Huang Rang a few steps, fearing they might get separated. Qu Manying led them to a quieter courtyard, saying, “There are many disciples in Ruyi Sword Sect, and it can get noisy. Little Sister Xi Yin will stay here for now. Once you’re feeling better, we’ll find a livelier courtyard for you with more people.”
Xi Yin remained silent all along, looking dazed. She had been hysterical at Huang’s family, and now, outside of Huang’s family, she was also silent.
Qu Manying was worried, saying, “Rest first, little sister. I’ll take the two children around.”
Xiyin didn’t nod or object. Qu Manying then led Huang Jun and Huang Rang outside.
Being considerate, she was afraid that if she left, Xi Yin might have another fit of madness. The two sisters might suffer again.
Taking Huang Jun’s hand, Qu Manying led them to a different courtyard. Two boys were seen in the courtyard, one reading under a tree and the other practicing swordplay.
Qu Manying pointed to the one reading and said, “This is Aunt Manying’s eldest son, He Cui. This is Aunt Manying’s second son, He Dan. Come over and meet your big brother and little brother.”
They exchanged greetings, with Huang Jun appearing quite reserved. Huang Rang was livelier.
Qu Manying said, “Cui is twenty-four this year, the eldest. Jun is eighteen, the second. Dan is nine, the third. Ah Rang is the youngest, eight. Take care of your little sister and don’t bully her, understood?”
He Cui and He Dan agreed.
Qu Manying was satisfied, saying, “Off you go. Take your sisters around the sect. Remember to come back for dinner later. Mother needs to arrange for a doctor to treat Aunt Xi Yin.”
Huang Jun had several brothers in Huang’s family, and due to their unfavorable impression, she was particularly nervous. He Cui saw this and took the sisters to the valley, where the sect cared for small animals. Huang Jun glanced at the pool where a few dogs were drinking water; she couldn’t help but exclaim.
He Cui said, “These are the small beasts that Ruyi Sword Sect adopts. There are cats and dogs here. Play with them; they won’t bite.” Indeed, girls liked such things.
Huang Jun went down to the valley, where disciples often fed the squirrels, wild dogs, and other animals. They all flocked around her. He Dan also joined, introducing each animal’s name and origin. The children quickly became acquainted.
Qu Manying was efficient; she quickly found a physician to treat Xi Yin. However, Xi Yin’s ailment over the years was a heart condition. Heart problems were hard to cure, so treatment mainly involved soothing medicine and comforting words.
Qu Manying wasn’t surprised—her intention was for Xi Yin to recuperate properly. After all, life would improve once they left Huang’s family’s wolf’s den.
In the afternoon, Huang Rang returned with a white rabbit in her arms, accompanied by Huang Jun, He Cui, and He Dan. The white rabbit had red eyes but was well-behaved in her arms, twitching its ears from time to time.
As they reached the door, visitors arrived.
Ruyi Sword Sect often received guests, so this wasn’t unusual. However, today’s visitor was clearly extraordinary.
“It’s master Xie!” He Dan was excited, and even He Cui quickened his pace. As they approached, He Cui took the lead to bow.
Master Xie, Xie Hongchen
He had a pleasant conversation with He Xijin, showing great patience and not minding He Xijin’s stutter.
Seeing He Cui and He Dan, he nodded and smiled. “The two young masters of Master He are truly impressive and remarkable.” “Maste… master… Master’s praise for the eldest and second is well received!” He Xijin was modest as usual.
Xie Hongchen then shifted his gaze to Huang Jun and Huang Rang.
He looked amiable, but Huang Jun still involuntarily took a step back. Xie Hongchen sensed her unease and gently said, “Are these the two sisters from the Huang family?”
He Xijin replied, “Yes… yes… yes.. exactly. The..the children are shy and reserved.” He smiled and said, “Thank you.. master…master…master Xie, for coming and visiting. Once… once they’re familiar and comfortable…they’ll…they’ll be fine.”
Huang Jun discreetly glanced at He Xijin. In Huang’s family, if guests arrived and froze like this, Huang Shu would have scolded them without mercy. He despised them for losing face.
And now, He Xijin encouraged the guest to move around.
“Master He is right,” Xie Hongchen also didn’t mind. He said, “I came in a hurry this time and didn’t prepare much. Just some small trinkets; I hope they can make use of them.”
After speaking, he took out some books and handed them to the four children.
He Cui and He Dan were naturally excited and thanked Xie Hongchen. Huang Rang, holding a white rabbit, accompanied by Huang Jun, lightly bowed to him.
“Ah Rang… thank you, Master Xie.” She took the book that Xie Hongchen handed over, bowed gently, and smiled. In this dream, old feelings of love vanished, and old grievances naturally turned to dust.
Xie Hongchen nodded. He felt that Huang Rang looked familiar. But how could such a young girl be familiar?
He shifted his gaze away, saying, “You two sisters are the descendants of the Xi Clan. I hope you can continue to cultivate good seeds and not let your talents go to waste.”
“Thank you for your guidance, Master.” Huang Rang bowed to him again, behaving like a little adult, looking innocent and lovely.
He Xijin noticed Huang Jun’s nervousness and said, “Go…go and play.”
He Cui then led his siblings away. Xie Hongchen’s gaze followed them, and it took a while before he withdrew it.
He Xijin didn’t mention anything about Huang Shu’s matter, and so Xie Hongchen didn’t ask either. The two of them silently passed over this matter, as if they had an unspoken agreement.
Indeed, the Xi family heard about Huang Shu’s case and knew that Xi Yin had been taken away by Qu Manying. However, they didn’t react at all.
After all, Xi Yin was the legitimate daughter of the Xi family. Her situation leaving the Huang family was naturally spread among the sects. However, the Xi family didn’t inquire. The Xi family valued their reputation greatly, and in a situation like this, they probably wished for their daughter’s death. Naturally, they wouldn’t inquire.
On the other hand, some of Xi Yin’s old friends quietly sent her things. This wasn’t a glorious matter, and it was inconvenient for anyone to show their face. So, they didn’t contact each other, waiting for the rumors to subside and the situation to pass.
The mother and daughters settled down in the Ruyi Sword Sect, but this clearly wasn’t a long-term plan.
The books that Xie Hongchen had given to the Huang sisters were about breeding techniques. Huang Rang used this as an opportunity to ask Qu Manying for help renting farmland.
Qu Manying couldn’t resist Huang Rang’s playful act and saw her as a child. She agreed to Huang Rang’s request and marked out a piece of land from the Ruyi Sword Sect’s territory.
This was originally a way for the children to have some fun; she didn’t really expect Huang Rang to accomplish much.
After all, she was just a child and didn’t have any helpers. What could she do?
However, Huang Jun didn’t enjoy breeding seeds. She often watched the disciples practice sword techniques on the training ground. Qu Manying noticed this and intentionally or unintentionally taught her a few moves.
Huang Jun was serious, and after practicing a set of sword techniques, she surprisingly had a good grasp of them.
Qu Manying was pleased to see this and decided to accept her as a disciple. She didn’t expect Huang Jun to become a master swordsman, but having the child occupied with something was always a good thing.
Huang Rang was busy on the piece of land, and the land didn’t disappoint her.
One day, He Xijin personally fried some candied chestnuts for everyone. Huang Rang and Huang Jun surrounded Qu Manying, while He Cui and He Dan sat next to He Xijin. The family enjoyed a pot of good tea while eating chestnuts and chatting.
Xi Yin didn’t come.
In fact, since they arrived at the Ruyi Sword Sect, she hadn’t gone out much. Fortunately, she didn’t hit or scold people; she just seemed lost in thought.
Huang Rang, who had been busy peeling chestnuts for everyone, tugged at He Xijin’s sleeve and said, “Uncle, I want to entrust you with something.”
“En… entrust?” He Xijin laughed upon hearing this. “Speak..speak…speak out, I’m listening.”
Qu Manying poured tea for Huang Rang. “Have some water; don’t choke.” Huang Rang seriously said, “Yes, I want you to help me sell a batch of good seeds.”
“Oh..oh?” He Xijin nodded and said, “Our… our… our family’s… Ah Rang’s good seeds, they… they must… must be sold at… at a high price!”
Qu Manying and the others chuckled at his words. Huang Rang, however, nodded earnestly. “They must be sold at a high price!”
That afternoon, she brought a bag of good seeds and found He Xijin.
“This is a wheat seed that can be grown year-round.Uncle, help me sell them. “
Huang Rang handed the seeds to He Xijin, but there were not many because her land was small.
He Xijin took this bag of seeds and nodded. “Okay.”
Though he had agreed to Huang Rang’s request, He Xijin knew very well that selling these seeds wouldn’t be easy.
After all, items like seeds were directly linked to the harvest of the following year. Without a recognized name and reputation, who would dare to invest in such a promising variety?
However, He Xijin wasn’t the kind of elder who would casually dismiss a child’s hard work. From a very young age, Huang Rang had also been an earth spirit. Her willingness to cultivate quality seeds was a noble cause benefiting the people.
He Xijin even contemplated sending her to the court’s specialized seed breeding institution for further education.
At present, the court is in dire need of high-quality seeds. They had established their own breeding research institute and were even recruiting students externally. However, the results were meager.
Breeding expertise was most prominent among earth spirits, and it was typically passed down through generations. Who among them would choose to study this art at a court?
Apart from earth sprits, if others attempted to breed, their effectiveness would significantly diminish.
Master He held this bag of seeds, pondering for a while before instructing the sect’s tenant farmers to sow them diligently. As a sect as extensive as the Ruyi Sword sect, it couldn’t solely rely on payment provided by its disciples for sustenance.
They possessed their own land, as well as talismans teeming with swordsmanship and potent mortal practitioners skilled in the art of the sword. Even within the realm of cultivation, financial prudence was unavoidable.
Master He used his personal treasury to pay for Huang Rang’s seed funds.
He thought he had already made a considerable contribution, but Huang Rang wasn’t entirely content, urging him not to undervalue the seeds in future transactions. Master He managed a wry smile—wouldn’t his private savings deplete at this rate?
After about three or four months, He Xijin had almost forgotten about this matter. Suddenly, a tenant informed him that the wheat seeds from last time were ripe.
He Xijin attached great importance to the children’s efforts, regardless of whether they were good or bad. He decided to see it for himself, and after that, he stood in front of the farmland in a daze.
“This… this is… the wheat seeds from last… last time?” he asked.
“Yes, Master,” the tenant answered nervously. “It’s all because of me. I didn’t follow the seed master’s instructions to fertilize them! Please punish me, Master!”
The tenant regretted not having followed the instructions. People like them who made a living through farming cherished good seeds the most. He was deeply distressed.
He Xijin stood by the field, shocked.
Although he wasn’t a farmer, he could still tell the wheat plants were short, but the kernels were plump. He Xijin could see at a glance that this was no less impressive than some of the expensive, well-known varieties on the market!
However, the tenant had not followed the seed master’s instructions for fertilizing. For many good seeds, this was a major mistake.
In other words, with proper fertilization, the yield of this wheat could be… He Xijin was astonished. “You… you… you’ve… you’ve messed things up!” He scolded the tenant and hurriedly rushed back home.
With Huang Rang absent, He Xijin went to the field to find her. As expected, Huang Rang was sitting by the field, propping her cheeks with her hands, and dozing off.
In the field, the golden wheat swayed in the wind, looking like a proud and bountiful harvest.
He Xijin rubbed a wheat seed in his hands. The golden wheat had thick, fleshy kernels that felt heavy and smooth, like jade beads. It was indeed a good thing.
“Ah.. Ah.. Ah Rang!” He Xijin called out to Huang Rang. Rubbing her sleepy eyes, Huang Rang saw him and got up.
He Xijin held her hand and said, “Aunty… Aunty… and Uncle want to send you to… to the breeding… Breeding institute for studying, okay?”
“Breeding institute?” Huang Rang, because of her fondness for him, didn’t even mind his stuttering. She sometimes enjoyed talking to He Xijin.
She asked, “What’s that place? I don’t want to go.”
He Xijin said, “It’s… it’s a… court-sponsored… institute.”
“The court?!” Huang Rang’s eyes lit up, and she tugged at He Xijin’s sleeve, asking, “Is it in the capital?”
“Not… not in the… capital,” He Xijin said. Huang Rang’s excitement faded. “Then I don’t want to go.”
He Xijin added, “Where else can… can… can it be?”
… Huang Rang looked up with a resentful expression. “Uncle, can you speak without gasping for breath next time?” He Xijin burst into laughter. Huang Rang then grabbed him and said, “I want to go! Will you and Aunt take me there, please?”
“Good..good!” With such a talented niece, He Xijin naturally loved her deeply.
This matter needed to be dealt with sooner rather than later. He discussed it with Qu Manying and decided to send Huang Rang to the capital. The court-sponsored institute not only had great scholars teaching but also vast fields for experimentation.
For someone like Huang Rang, who was a “naive little girl,” this was undoubtedly the best way to start. If she were still with the Huang family, there would be someone to guide her. Now that she was on her own, she could only rely on the institute.
He Xijin and Qu Manying wasted no time and set out for the capital with Huang Rang. Huang Rang was excited beyond words, not because of the breeding institute. To her, the capital was always linked with Di Yiqiu. She closed her eyes and even found the sound of the carriage’s movement pleasant to hear.
The carriage of the Ruyi Sword Sect was naturally fast.
The group soon entered the capital city. Huang Rang observed the surroundings as they passed through the streets. However, the current scene was quite different from when Di Yiqiu had taken her shopping in reality.
Although the capital was bustling and its population was large compared to the immortal sects, it gave off a somewhat backward feeling of mundanity. It was rare to see people from the immortal sects here, and the few artifact treasures being sold on the streets were of poor quality and not worth mentioning. It seemed that the current imperial court was indeed weaker than the immortal sects.
When the carriage entered the inner city, the number of people lessened, but the buildings became more refined.
Qu Manying touched Huang Rang’s head and said, “Now that you’re here, you must study well. Don’t talk back to your teachers, understand?” Her tone softened as she continued, “However, if someone bullies you, you must tell your aunt and uncle. Don’t silently endure it.”
Even Huang Rang could sense the reluctance in her words. For a moment, she felt as if her parents were sending her off to school.
The carriage stopped at the entrance of the breeding institute, and Qu Manying carried Huang Rang down.
He Xijin led them inside. With his status, his personal visit naturally gained the attention of the breeding institute. The supervisor, Zongzi Gui, personally escorted them to a study room and warmly received them.
However, upon learning that He Xijin had brought such a young child to study, Zongzi Gui couldn’t help but furrow his brow.
Huang Rang was not yet nine years old and was an earth spirit, which meant her intelligence might develop later than regular people’s. Zongzi Gui was in a dilemma.
Qu Manying naturally saw through this, and just then, someone outside said, “Supervisor Zong, a visitor from the palace has arrived. It’s a senior palace maid from the Empress’s side.”
Upon hearing this, Zongzi Gui’s brow furrowed even more. “Please let her in.”
Soon, the delicate footsteps of the palace maid echoed, and she entered the study room.
“Supervisor Zong.” She greeted the supervisor and then turned to Qu Manying with a smile and said, “Greetings to Master He and Mistress He.‘‘
Qu Manying nodded and asked with a smile, “I haven’t seen your lady for a while. Is she doing well?”
The palace maid replied, “Thanks for the mistress’s concern. Not long ago, the empress was blessed with a prince. The entire palace is celebrating. Since you and Master He have graced us with your presence, the empress sent me to extend an invitation. May I ask if his highness would have the fortune to have the honor of inviting both of you to his full moon celebration?”
“Of course.” Qu Manying replied, “We are honored.”
The palace maid handed them an invitation card and left with great joy.
Seeing this, Zongzi Gui understood that he couldn’t tarnish He Xijin and Qu Manying’s reputations, no matter what.
He had to say, “Master He and his mistress have entrusted such a young child to me from a far distance. Naturally, I trust them fully. I will do my best to educate this child and not let down their trust.”
He Xijin and Qu Manying naturally expressed their gratitude again.
In fact, everyone understood the intention of the empress’s actions; there was no need to reveal it. She specifically sent a palace maid at this time, and the purpose was already clear.
As Qu Manying was already reluctant to part with Huang Rang, they stayed in the capital for a few more days. And on that day, it was time for the celebration of the newborn prince.
He Xijin and Qu Manying locked arms and, along with Huang Rang, headed to the banquet.
In reality, this wasn’t a significant event.
The current Emperor had many children, and the birth of a single prince didn’t warrant a grand celebration. However, the empress had only this one son, and thus she went all out.
For the full moon celebration of the young prince, all the officials of the imperial court attended.
Huang Rang followed Qu Manying, not caring much about the details, and busied herself picking out delicious food to eat.
The current palace is quite different from reality.
Huang Rang curiously looked around—she had no idea how many sons Shi Wenyu had. When would it be Di Yiqiu’s turn?
She sighed, took a sip of tea, and decided to enjoy some of the pastries.
Suddenly, someone beside her commented, “Prince Eighty-Six has such a joyful appearance. Just looking at him brings immense delight.
“Pfft!” Huang Ran spewed her tea all over the floor.
Never in a million years did she imagine that she would be drinking her own husband’s full-moon wine.
T/N : Full moon wine refers to the banquet held one month after the baby is born. In ancient times, the Han people believed that a baby surviving for one month after birth was a difficult time .At this time, parents usually hold a full moon ceremony to celebrate their children’s overcoming difficulties and wish their newborns healthy growth.Relatives and friends need to be invited to witness the ceremony and pray and bless the child. This is where “Full Moon Wine” comes from. Nowadays, people hold wine banquets to celebrate one month after the birth of a baby. This ceremony is called “full moon wine”.