The two of them played and teased each other all night, but the portrait of the former empress was finally completed.
As Di Yiqiu looked at the woman in the painting, he didn’t know how much she resembled his mother. But when Huang Rang said that the former empress looked like this, he believed it.
He personally framed this painting and hung it in his study.
Huang Rang looked at her masterpiece and felt satisfied, saying, “I initially learned painting with the intention of solidifying the reputation of the ‘Mysterious Fairy.’ I never thought that, amid the changes of time, I would actually do something meaningful.”
“Mysterious Fairy?” Di Yiqiu frowned. “Mysterious Fairy, do you also have such an elegant title?”
Huang Rang glared. “Who are you looking down on?”
Di Yiqiu said, “I always find your way of speaking peculiar. I heard you entered the breeding institute when you were eight, and you haven’t breed anything for fourteen years. Where did this ‘Mysterious Fairy’ nickname come from?”
Huang Rang looked world-weary and sighed, “That was many years ago. Let’s not talk about it. Just tell me if the painting is good or not.”
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“Mbl vlnbdkiwl kp kdelle pszke.” Pk Zkikw dseele, dsv sdl vs xkdnl osaep, yde pyke, “Rq usw olal xsal plakswp, usw nswze byhl xyel y dyxl qsa uswaplzq.”
“Tso yx R dsv plakswp?” Twydt Sydt aszzle bla lulp, vbld alxlxclale vbl xykd kppwl. Fbl zssjle plakswp yde pyke, “Vzlypl alxlxcla vs vyjl xu xsvbla yoyu vseyu. R byhl dsvbkdt vs pyu vs bla.”
Fbl alyzzu eked’v oydv vs pll Dk Zkd, yde vbl kely sq byhkdt y blyav-vs-blyav nsdhlapyvksd okvb bla xsvbla qlzv bursnakvknyz yde kdpkdnlal.
Pk Zkikw pyke, “Nyvla, usw’zz vyjl bla swv qsa y pvaszz kd vbl nyrkvyz.”
Twydt Sydt aykple yd lulcaso yde oyp ycswv vs pyu psxlvbkdt, cwv Pk Zkikw, qllzkdt blzrzlpp, yeele, “R’zz ts okvb usw.” Tl pllxle vs alyzkgl psxlvbkdt yde iwknjzu xyel yxldep. Tl rskdvle vs vbl rsavaykv sq vbl qsaxla lxralpp sd vbl oyzz yde pyke, “Usdpkela kv y vbydj-usw qsa vbkp rykdvkdt.”
Twydt Sydt alzwnvydvzu alrzkle, “Wkdl.”
Rdpkel vbl esaxkvsaklp, Dk Zkd yzps qlzv wdlypu. Fbl csvb oydvle Twydt Sydt vs alvwad yde oyp yqayke sq bla alvwad.
Mkxl kp zkjl pzsozu vbknjldkdt knl, yde dso vblal kp y voldvu-vos-ulya-sze knl oyzz plryayvkdt bla yde Twydt Sydt.
In all these years, with a thousand reasons and countless words, where should they begin?
And just at that moment, there was a voice from outside the door: “Aunt Xi Yin.”
Xi Yin nervously opened the door, only to see a young man standing there, still wearing purple official attire with a jade belt around his waist. He was fair-skinned, and this official uniform only accentuated his handsome features.
Huang Rang stood behind him, facing away and looking at the sky, not turning towards this side.
Di Yiqiu’s voice, filled with the youth and vitality of a young man, as he politely said, “I am Di Yiqiu, the 86th son of the current emperor… Back then, the Xi family had a marriage connection with the royal family, and if we go by seniority, I should address you as ‘Aunt.'”
Xi Yin snapped back to reality and said, “You don’t have to mention it; I’ve almost forgotten. I do have a sister who married into the royal family. But… I haven’t had any contact with the Xi family for a long time, so our relationship is rather strained.”
“No problem.” Di Yiqiu had an air of maturity beyond his years: “Aunt, it’s rare for you to come to the capital. Why don’t I accompany you on a tour? How does that sound?”
Xi Yin looked towards Huang Rang, not too far away. Huang Rang still didn’t turn this way, as if she couldn’t hear their conversation at all.
“Well, it’s a good idea, but I’m afraid it might delay Your Highness’s official duties,” Xi Yin politely replied. She hadn’t had a conversation like this with someone for a long time. But she could tell that the young man in front of her was here to support Ah rang.
Di Yiqiu said, “It’s not a problem, Aunt, please.”
He escorted Xi Yin outside. It was a clear and sunny day in the capital.
The golden sunlight spilled all around, and the world was bathed in light.
Xi Yin followed Di Yiqiu along the flowery brick path of the Celestial Court in the radiant sunshine.
She wore plain clothing, her facial injuries had been treated, and the swelling had finally subsided. The medicine Di Yiqiu had given her had worked very well.
After walking a while, Di Yiqiu suddenly asked, “Aren’t you leaving?”
Xi Yin was briefly surprised, but then heard Huang Rang muttering behind her, “Mind your own business!”
Though she said that, she still followed along.
Di Yiqiu knew that Xi Yin had never been to the Celestial Court, so he slowed down his steps.
The three of them walked, occasionally stopping and passing by the Black Tortoise Bureau, where students were either chasing each other playfully or studying under trees.
They continued on to the Vermillion Bird Bureau, where many craftsmen were busy forging tools and didn’t pay much attention to the people passing by.
When they reached the White Tiger Bureau, on the training grounds, Bao Wu was teaching swordsmanship. In the scorching summer, he was shirtless, displaying his robust, muscular body with shiny skin. Veins bulged on his arms, and every gaze exuded power. A golden sword in his hand seemed to come to life, incredibly agile, almost like an extension of his body.
Bao Wu came from a martial family and was highly skilled, even by the standards of the Immortal Sect. In the newly established Celestial Court, he was considered the backbone. So, when he taught martial arts, all the apprentices didn’t want to miss it.
The training grounds were crowded.
In the midst of the bustling crowd, Xi Yin spotted him with just one glance. However, she quickly averted her gaze.
She was a young lady from a noble family and had never seen such a rough martial man. To look at a man bare-chested like this, even for a moment, would be considered impolite.
She quickened her pace, but behind her, Huang Rang came to a stop.
On the training grounds, besides Bao Wu, there were many apprentices. Bao Wu was shirtless, and they naturally followed suit. Among them were some young, handsome, and slender men.
Huang Rang hadn’t had the privilege of such experiences in her past few lifetimes.
As a disciple of the Yuhu Immortal Sect, who would dare neglect their appearance like this? They’d be beaten by their master, for sure.
Therefore, in her entire lifetime, she had never had the fortune to see…
“Ah!” Huang Rang didn’t get to enjoy this for long when suddenly her ear stung. The chief nearly dragged her away by her ear.
On the training grounds, the apprentices both wanted to laugh but were afraid to do so. Bao Wu, attracted by Huang Rang’s painful cry, looked in their direction, only to see a woman in a plain skirt with a light and graceful step. The summer breeze passed through her clothes, and she looked so delicate that she seemed ready to take flight with the wind.
Di Yiqiu said, “There have been many changes in the capital in recent years. By the way, there’s a famous jewelry store ahead in the capital. I’ll take you there to have a look.”
A jewelry store?
Huang Rang was momentarily surprised, but indeed, Di Yiqiu led them into “the craftsman’s workshop.”
The store was indeed filled with a wide variety of jewelry, and Huang Rang could finally choose freely. She rushed in joyfully, and the brilliant golden jewels dazzled her eyes as they competed for her attention.
There were translucent sapphires that seemed like they could squeeze out water, emeralds as green as springwater, rubies as red as pigeon’s blood…
As for gold jewelry, there were countless pieces to choose from. Huang Rang wanted them all, but she didn’t have the money.
The reality was too cruel, and Huang Rang felt like a deflated balloon, completely deflated.
The word “poor” was truly frustrating.
Di Yiqiu, leading Xi Yin in the selection of jewelry, was warmly greeted by the shopkeeper when he saw Di Yiqiu’s attire. Xi Yin naturally had no interest in these worldly possessions, but due to Di Yiqiu’s kindness, she also chose a couple of items.
Huang Rang, who was envious, finally approached Di Yiqiu and whispered, “I want one too.”
Di Yiqiu replied in a hushed voice, “Is that so? Please go ahead, Aunt Huang.”
Huang Rang muttered to herself and looked around at the prices with a disgruntled expression on her face.
Third dream, oh, third dream, you’re really something—so dignified. Why should I, Huang Rang, suffer for this?
She grumbled silently in her heart, only able to watch as Xi Yin selected several pieces of jewelry.
Di Yiqiu paid the bill for her, and the three of them left Craftsman’s Workshop together.
Huang Rang walked sullenly behind them, like a little tail.
Di Yiqiu said, “Aunt, your clothing is too plain. I’ll accompany you to pick two more outfits.”
Xi Yin initially wanted to decline, but in the end, she owed him a debt of gratitude. If she were to be overly polite at this point, it might make things even more awkward.
She could only say, “The styles in the capital have changed countless times.”
Di Yiqiu accompanied her and entered another shop.
It was the “Liuxian Boutique.”
Di Yiqiu selected two outfits for Xi Yin, and she went into the inner room to change.
Huang Rang stood in front of these dresses, looked at the price tags, and couldn’t help but let out a cold snort.
Di Yiqiu asked, “What’s the matter, Aunt Huang? Do none of them catch your eye?”
Huang Rang gritted her teeth and, after a long pause, said, “These are your own purchases. It’s none of my concern!”
Di Yiqiu chuckled and said, “I’m just showing respect to my aunt. Aunt Huang doesn’t need to worry.” Then he suddenly suggested, “But if Aunt Huang likes them, perhaps…”
He was cut off by a single word squeezed out through Huang Rang’s gritted teeth.
Xi Yin’s figure and demeanor shared some similarities with Huang Rang. She could bring out a unique charm in every outfit in the store.
Huang Rang noticed that when one is in dire straits, every outfit one sees becomes appealing.
Finally, Xi Yin wore a light purple dress, with the purple gradually fading to white from the waist to the cuffs and the hem. Below the sash, the skirt flowed like layers of petals, exuding elegance and beauty.
She walked up to Di Yiqiu and smiled, asking, “Does it look good?”
Di Yiqiu replied, “Elegant and dignified, very good.”
“Hmph!” Huang Rang coldly chuckled from the doorway.
Di Yiqiu, out of the corner of his eye, glanced at her and refrained from talking to her.
She stubbornly refused to come over, and Xi Yin finally confirmed the kind of understanding her daughter had with the young man before her. She saw through it but didn’t say it out loud—this young man… seems a bit too young, doesn’t he?
Di Yiqiu took Xi Yin outside and said, “Speaking of which, I have a piece of land on my estate in the outskirts. It used to be good land, but the harvests have been declining in recent years, and we can’t seem to improve the soil quality. Since Aunt is here, if you could help the younger generation take a look, I would be extremely grateful.”
He brought up this matter, which actually made Xi Yin feel relieved—receiving unearned rewards always left one uneasy.
She said, “Certainly.”
Di Yiqiu then took Xi Yin to his estate on the outskirts.
Sure enough, there were ten acres of farmland on the estate. However, it was clear that these fields hadn’t been well-tended in recent years and couldn’t be considered good farmland anymore.
Xi Yin didn’t need Di Yiqiu to prompt her; she took the initiative to inspect the farmland, and it was clear that she had a deep love for the land.
She said, “Come back in two weeks, Your Highness.”
Di Yiqiu expressed his gratitude repeatedly and finally called for servants to temporarily accommodate Xi Yin on the estate.
After settling Xi Yin, the Chief and Huang Rang returned to the Celestial Court.
Huang Rang said, “For such a small matter as soil management, you could have just asked me. There’s no need for her.”
Di Yiqiu cast her a sidelong glance and asked, “Is that so? But if we don’t involve her, where will you sleep tonight?”
Huang Rang opened her mouth wide, and it took her a while to react. “You did this on purpose! Just to get her to stay on the estate?”
Di Yiqiu chuckled and said, “Well, what else would I do? Kick her out of the Celestial Court just because her daughter has nothing to say to her?”
“You… you’re really… so cunning!” Huang Rang sighed. “What about the ten acres of thin land?”
The Chief walked ahead with his hands behind his back and said, “Before we left, I had someone come to buy the estate and the land, and the ink on the contract hadn’t even dried.”
“Before we left?” Huang Rang was suspicious. “Why didn’t I see it?”
The chief’s tone was slightly sarcastic. “Indeed. At that time, you were at the training grounds, keeping a close watch on the apprentices, and were salivating with desire. You didn’t have the time…”
“Cough, cough!” Huang Rang, in a serious tone, asked, “What are we having for dinner tonight?”
It seemed like this dog was quite petty.
She was worried she couldn’t outmaneuver him.
“Aunt Huang” felt a bit cold inside her heart.