Faced with Lanxi Liuhua’s scorching gaze, her face also felt hot. She looked away, and her eyes once again fell on the coffin in the middle of the courtyard. Turning to Lu Shi, she asked, “Mother, you can tell me now. Who’s that man?”
“To be honest, I don’t know him,” answered Lu Shi helplessly.
Chu Ye’s face darkened. What the heck?
“You don’t know him. So how did he die in our house?” It caused her to mistakenly think that something had happened to Chenzhu.
“I… actually just picked him up.” Embarrassed, Lu Shi glanced at Lanxi Liuhua, then at Huan Cheng, who was leaning on the fence with his head lowered, silent and deep in thought. As a married woman, she picked up a man from the side of the road and returned home with him. It was simply easy bait for gossip.
After a pause, she explained, “Early this morning, I took two servant girls to accompany me for a walk in the garden at the west of the city, as was usual. But then I found this person behind a big tree. At that time, I was unable to verify whether he was still alive or not. I carried him home and immediately invited a physician. And the physician said that he had no heartbeat nor breath, which meant that he was already dead. I would never go as far as to throw him back to where I found him, so I called for someone to buy him a coffin. I originally planned on giving him a simple burial. But when I received news that you were going home today, it was delayed.”
For a moment, Chu Ye muttered to herself, eyes furrowed. Then in a stern voice, she said, “Mother, you’re too kind-hearted. Aren’t you aware that what you did was dangerous? What if that man you brought home is an enemy that is only playing dead? If something bad were to happen, no one would come and help you. Don’t just casually bring home strangers in the future. Even if they’re dead.”
She recalled that person who held deep resentment for her. If she were to use this method to get close to Lu Shi… Fear invaded her heart at this thought.
If Lu Shi were to suffer even the slightest injury because of her, she would drown herself in self-condemnation for the rest of her life.
Because she had long regarded Lu Shi as her beloved mother.
“Is this matter so… serious?” Lu Shi shrunk her neck. She whispered, “We mother and daughter hadn’t offended anyone. Who would scheme against us like this…”
“That was only in the past. No one found it worthwhile to scheme against us since we previously weren’t a threat to anyone. But now it’s different.”
Chu Ye’s lips pursed into a grim line. Staring into Lu Shi’s eyes, she gravely added, “I’m no longer the powerless, cowardly Boling Yili who could only live an ignoble life and watch other people. I’ve already changed my name to Chu Ye. Similarly, I’ve reformed myself into a brand-new me. And with my outstanding magic talent, I will undoubtedly encounter a few troublesome situations and provoke some unsavory people. That’s why we should be careful in the future.”
This was the first time Chu Ye tried to reveal her real identity to Lu Shi. Although she spoke ambiguously and didn’t expose everything, she was still afraid of frightening Lu Shi.
So she gave Lu Shi a more abstract explanation. As long as Lu Shi was willing to delve more deeply into her words, it would be easy to grasp the hidden meaning behind her words.
But it was obvious that Lu Shi didn’t intend to do so. After a moment of stupor, her eyes looked at Chu Ye with more tenderness.
She raised her hand to tidy up the hair on her forehead, a soft smile spreading across her lips. “My Lili has really grown up. You’ve matured and become sensible. Good, this is very good. Mother can now worry less. Rest assured, Mother understands what you’re saying. Mother will take care from now on so that I’ll never be a burden to you. You just boldly strive forward. Go as far as you wish to. Mother will be behind you, supporting you every step of the way.”
Gazing into Lu Shi’s clear, bright eyes, Chu Ye felt like she had a misconception. Maybe Lu Shi already knew everything. How could a mother who dearly loves her daughter not know her true nature?
But she was reluctant to touch upon this topic, obstinately insisting that she was her daughter.
To be more specific, perhaps she had already recognized Chu Ye in her heart.
“Thank you…” Chu Ye’s nose soured, and her eyes grew a little hot. It was during this moment that she truly accepted Lu Shi as her mother.
Chu Ye stepped forward and wrapped her arms around her in a tight hug.
“Mom!” yelled Chu Ye, pouring out her yearning for maternal love, which had been repressed in her heart for over 20 years.
“Mm.” Although Lu Shi somewhat didn’t understand why Chu Ye called her “Mom”, she could feel the attachment and love exuding from Chu Ye. So she nodded without the slightest hesitation.
Then the two looked into eyes with a smile. Their affection for one another had risen to new levels.
But as Chu Ye and Lu Shi mutually expressed their heartfelt feelings, Huan Cheng, still silently leaning against the fence, seemed to have thought of something. His head snapped toward Lu Shi. “Auntie, you said that you picked up the man in the coffin in the garden at the west of the city?”
Lu Shu nodded, a little puzzled by his question. “That’s right.”
However, Huan Cheng was already rushing to the coffin before Lu Shi even finished speaking. When he leaned forward to look inside, he stiffened. Then, in an excited voice, he shouted, “Honored Father! Honored Father!”
Hearing this, Chu Ye, Lu Shi, and Lanxi Liuhua, who was still keeping his silence at the side, were all taken aback.
Huan Cheng turned around, a rare grin blossoming on his typically cold face. “Chu Ye, it’s my honored father. I’ve found my honored father…” he cheered.
Chu Ye and the other two’s faces turned black.
Chu Ye said, “Then… Huan Cheng, if this person is really your father, then he’s already dead.”
The guy’s dead. So why was he so ecstatic?
It didn’t make sense.
Chu Ye suddenly wondered whether there was something wrong with his head.
“Who said that my honored father’s dead?” said Huan Cheng with a straight face. “He’s not dead. He’s only… sleeping.”
“Sleeping.” A hint of disbelief flitted through Lanxi Liuhua’s eyes. “He clearly doesn’t have any heartbeat. Nor is he breathing anymore.” It wasn’t that he wanted to go against Huan Cheng. He only felt that as a man, Huan Cheng should assume responsibility and bravely face reality.
On the other hand, Chu Ye believed in Huan Cheng a bit more. “His complexion does look like that of a living person. I can even feel a faintly discernible aura coming from his body.” In fact, when she first saw the handsome middle-aged man in the coffin, she had a feeling that he was only sleeping.
“What’s going on?” questioned Lu Shi, confused at what they were saying.
Meanwhile, Huan Cheng already took out the middle-aged man from the coffin. “Chu Ye, can you please give me a room to stay? Once I’ve found a place for my honored father to stay, I will let everyone know.” As Huan Cheng fixed his hold on the man, the man’s head tilted towards Huan Cheng’s shoulder, his forehead gently resting on it. With the side-by-side comparison, one could tell that their faces resembled each other by fifty to sixty percent.
The other three inwardly gasped in surprise. They indeed were father and son.
Lu Shi also finally understood why there was a sense of familiarity when she first saw Huan Cheng by the entrance.
“Sure. This way.” Chu Ye then led Huan Cheng to the last empty room in the courtyard. The room was furnished rather simply, with only a bed and a table with four chairs around it.
After Huan Cheng laid his father flat on the bed, he took out two glimmering, overly fragrant pills. One bright blue and one sparkly translucent silver. He then put it in his father’s mouth in succession, after which he breathed out a sigh of relief.
He turned back to Chu Ye and the others, providing a simple explanation as to what happened.
It turned out that the name of Huan Cheng’s father was Huan Jue. He was sneak-attacked right when he was at a critical juncture in his cultivation, causing him to lose his life. However, his strength was already beyond ordinary people’s imaginations. His spiritual energy was strong enough to form a soul. So even though his body died, his soul hadn’t, allowing him to still use his body.
However, in order to protect his father’s body from aging and decay, Huan Cheng had to feed him a Bishi pellet and a Bigu pellet every half a month.
The Bishi pellet was a medicine specially invented for the dead. Upon consumption, one’s body would be tightly wrapped in a colorless, invisible protective film, preventing the body from oxidizing and decomposing, essentially achieving immortality.
(T/N: Bishi – means shunning the world)
The Bigu pellet was a medicine specially made for the living. It provided all the nutrients needed by the body, allowing one to never feel hungry, thirsty, or full.
(T/N: Bigu – means shunning grain)
For both types of medicine, the efficacy of one pellet only lasts for 15 days.
In other words, 15 days after ingesting a pellet, one must take another to maintain its effects.
Such miraculous medicines was definitely very valuable. Correspondingly, they also had a staggering price tag attached to them.
For the ordinary nobility, these pills were beyond their financial capabilities.
After listening to Huan Cheng, Chu Ye finally understood why he was so short of money.
From participating in the Human and Beast Fighting Ground to his mad hunting of magical beasts in the Nine-Layer Heavenly Pagoda. Everything he had been doing was to make money for his father’s medicine.
But he is only one person after all. While he was out to make money, he could only leave his father in an inn.
And outside of his expectations, his stay in the Nine-Layer Heavenly Pagoda this time lasted for 10 days. The innkeeper assumed that he wouldn’t be coming back, so he went to tidy up his room. And there, he discovered Huan Jue “sleeping”.
His heart pounded in fear. The innkeeper thought that someone was killed in the inn. But he dared not disclose this, only telling Xiao Er to covertly toss Huan Jue in the garden west of the city once it was nighttime.
In order to avoid misfortune, one should maintain personal morality, even during turbid times.
He didn’t expect that Huan Cheng would return the next day, looking for his father. Knowing that he was in the wrong, the innkeeper told him where they tossed the corpse. But when Huan Cheng reached the garden, Lu Shi had already taken Huan Jue home with her.
Huan Cheng didn’t manage to find his father.
So he went completely out of control. He ran all the way back to the inn and beat up the innkeeper and Xiao Er, even planning to demolish the inn. Fortunately, due to Chu Ye’s timely arrival, he was stopped and brought to her home.
This could be considered fate.
If Huan Cheng hadn’t befriended Chu Ye in the Nine-Layer Heavenly Pagoda, his search for his father Huan Jue would have been fruitless.
As for Huan Jue, who was in a “dead” state, he would have been buried by Lu Shi, never to see the light of day ever again.