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Zhou Xuanlan put down the letter in his hand, glanced at the thick stack of accumulated documents on the desk, and then opened another letter.


“Cinnabar Mole,” “Heartblood,” “Sweet farewell,”

However cheesy, he wrote Ye Bingran as if he was the most precious existence, that he couldn’t live without him, and that nothing in the world was worth staying for without him.

When Zhou Xuanlan first discovered the letters, he was stunned for a while.
He tore up the letters, reducing them to ashes.
Later on, he realized there were too many letters, accumulated over ten years.
Destroying one letter would just lead to finding the next one in the storage pouch.

By the time he finished reading all the letters, his emotions had calmed down.

Clearly at a glance, it was all copied.

The Master wrote these, and Zhou Xuanlan couldn’t sense any genuine feelings in them.
They seemed perfunctory, and he felt there was no need to pay much attention to them.

Zhou Xuanlan chuckled softly, but the grip on the fingers holding the letters tightened, turning them into ashes in an instant.

“There are also many romantic words in the letters, all written by the Master himself,”

One by one, Zhou Xuanlan turned each letter into ashes, casually saying, “It seems these things are very precious to the Master.
Disciple has kept them well and is looking forward to returning them to the Master.”

Inside the library, Shen Liuxiang was still immersed in the sickening sweet words, his head spinning from the impact.

How could such things exist?!

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It’s embarrassing, beyond embarrassing.

He wished he could find a hole to hide in.
Hearing Zhou Xuanlan’s voice again, he was jolted awake, “Not precious at all! Not precious at all! Just throw them away!”

He didn’t want to read those letters.

“Before, I only knew that the Master admired Ye Bingran, but I didn’t expect the admiration to run so deep.
A letter every three days, uninterrupted for ten years.
There’s an additional letter on birthdays, one on breakthroughs in cultivation, and even one on returning safely from experiences.”

The person on the other end of the jade slip sighed softly, “Master, how deeply did you care about him back then?”

Shen Liuxiang: Not caring at all! I didn’t care at all!

He didn’t like writing letters to people.
This was all the original Shen Liuxiang’s doing.
He cannot carry this pot!

As Shen Liuxiang was about to explain further, a calm and familiar voice came from behind, carrying a hint of confusion, unable to restrain its curiosity, “Who is Ye Bingran?”

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Shen Liuxiang: “??!”

Zhou Xuanlan: “??!”

Shen Liuxiang froze all over, afraid to turn around.
He tightly clutched the jade slip in his slender, fair fingers, hesitated for a while, and only then reluctantly turned his head.

His gaze met Emperor Yunyu’s eyes.
He blinked, barely managing to force a smile on his face, “Emperor—”

The person on the other end of the jade slip fell silent for a moment, then spoke again in a calm voice, “Zhou Xuanlan pays respects to His Majesty.”

Hiding behind the bookshelves and observing quietly, Xu Xingchen widened his eyes upon hearing the name.

The Ninth Demon King?!

He had never delved into Shen Liuxiang’s past, only knowing him as Qingling’s Immortal Shen.
Therefore, he knew nothing about the man on the other end of the jade slip.

But Emperor Yunyu did.

Shen Liuxiang had a disciple who had his identity exposed seven years ago and returned to the demon realm.
That disciple was the current Ninth Demon King.

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However, he didn’t know that the two of them had been secretly communicating through jade slips.


Emperor Yunyu pondered for a moment, then placed his hand on the jade slip.
The light on the jade slip dimmed, and Shen Liuxiang’s heart sank.

“When did you start contacting each other?”

“Three years ago,” Shen Liu Xiang looked at the jade slip with apprehension as it was taken away.

“Let me keep it for you first,” Emperor Yuhuang flipped his palm and took the jade slip, saying, “There are ten days left to go to the Demon Realm.
Keep your heart collected, remember the tasks I’ve assigned.”

Shen Liuxiang felt a bit deflated, as if his enthusiasm had been doused.

That night, he lay on the bed, arranging his books in a row as usual, but he lacked the interest to read.
He intended to sleep early.

However, the quietness around him was too unsettling.
Without Zhou Xuanlan’s voice, he felt uncomfortable.

Tossing and turning throughout the night, Shen Liuxiang couldn’t fall asleep.
He yawned in the morning, sporting a pair of panda eyes.
With a groggy head, he stepped out, seeing Xu Xinglian walking towards him from the corridor with a smile.

“Just greeted Emperor Father,” Xu Xinglian looked at him with concern.
“What’s wrong with my elder brother?”

“Haven’t rested well,” Shen Liuxiang said, noticing the additional accessory, a tributary of hairpins, in Xu Xinglian’s hair.
The charm dangled, emitting a faint light as it swayed, with the phoenix on it looking vivid and lifelike.
It made her already beautiful face appear even more enchanting.

“This hairpin looks good on you,” he remarked.

“Elder brother, do you think it’s pretty too?” Xu Xinglian blushed and smiled shyly.
“Emperor Father gave it to me.”

Hearing the phrase “Emperor Father,” Shen Liuxiang was reminded of the lost jade slip and let out a faint sigh.

Xu Xinglian, aware of yesterday’s incident, pondered for a moment and said in a low voice, “Elder brother, why don’t you plead with Emperor Father to return the jade slip to you?”

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“No use unless I snatch it,” Shen Liuxiang’s voice paused, and his eyebrows lifted slightly.

Emperor Yuhuang didn’t carry a storage pouch.
His belongings were most likely kept in his sleeping chambers.
Shen Liuxiang could seize the opportunity when Emperor Yuhuang wasn’t present and secretly retrieve the jade slip.

Xu Xinglian was taken aback.
“Elder brother wants to snatch it back? That’s too audacious, and it’s unlikely you’ll succeed.”

Shen Liuxiang mused, “Emperor Father won’t stay in his chambers all the time.
I can take it while he’s away, exchange it with a fake, and he won’t check the jade slip all the time.
Maybe he won’t even notice for days or weeks.”

Xu Xinglian hesitated.
While Shen Liuxiang’s reasoning made sense, who would dare to sneak into Emperor Father’s chambers and switch items?

If he were discovered, Emperor Father’s rage would be like thunder.

She wanted to offer advice, but seeing Shen Liuxiang rubbing his temples, she noticed the traces of bloodshot in his eyes, and his weary appearance.

“It’s just a jade slip.
Why bother so much?” Xu Xinglian tried to console him.

Shen Liuxiang rubbed his forehead, looking helpless.
“Before, someone used to read me storybooks every night until I fell asleep.
Now that it suddenly stopped, I’m not used to it.”

Xu Xinglian furrowed her brows.

She heard that the person contacting Shen Liuxiang with the jade slip was his disciple.

However, it was quite implausible for a disciple to read storybooks to his master every night, especially if the person was a demon king with a busy schedule.
To deliberately make time to soothe someone’s sleep seemed too bewildering.

It didn’t feel like a simple master-disciple relationship.

Looking at Shen Liuxiang, Xu Xinglian wanted to speak but hesitated.
After a moment, she gently pursed her lips and reminded him, “At the sixth hour today, Emperor Father is reinforcing the protective barrier around Mount Shenqi.
Elder brother, you could use this chance to get inside.”

Shen Liuxiang’s eyes flickered slightly, as he began to calculate his plan.

Yesterday, Xu Xingchen seized a minor weakness of Shen Liuxiang.
Early in the morning, feeling refreshed, he got out of bed and strolled around the palace.
Unintentionally, he caught sight of two heads close together in the corridor, appearing secretive and mysterious.


He had a hunch that Shen Liuxiang was up to something mischievous and wanted to involve his sister.

Xu Xingchen furrowed his brows and instructed his subordinate behind him, “Keep an eye on Shen Liuxiang for me.
If there’s any unusual behavior, inform me immediately.”

The subordinate bowed in response.

As the rooster hour (2) approached its end, Shen Liuxiang held a freshly forged fake jade slip and saw Emperor Yunyu leaving the imperial palace from a distance.

He squinted his eyes slightly and then made his way to the luxurious and grand sleeping palace.

Although there were guards stationed at the entrance, their cultivation was low and they couldn’t perceive the movements of a Harmonization realm cultivator.
Shen Liuxiang’s figure flickered, and the attendants at the door only felt a gust of wind passing by without noticing anything out of the ordinary.

Having visited several times before, Shen Liuxiang smoothly entered the inner chamber.

He went around an elegant folding screen and saw a row of objects displayed on a cabinet, among which stood a dim blue jade slip.

A day apart felt like three autumns.

Shen Liuxiang efficiently swapped the jade slip, then departed silently.

Before returning to his room, when he saw that no one was around, he sat beneath a parasol tree, took out the jade slip, and sighed in relief.

A gentle breeze passed by, and the rustling of leaves could be heard above.

Shen Liuxiang infused his spiritual energy into the jade slip, and in an instant, a faint light emanated from it.

There were some slight movements from within.

Shen Liuxiang immediately spoke up, succinctly saying, “I’ve stolen the jade slip back.
There are nine days left before going to the demonic realm, and I’ll be landing at the Seven Demons’ King’s territory.”

The other end of the jade slip remained silent for a moment before a calm and low voice drifted out.

“Oh, I see.”

Shen Liuxiang’s expression stiffened, and his hand holding the jade slip trembled slightly.

“It’s… Father.”

Emperor Yunyu’s tone was calm, “I’ll talk to you when I get back.”

Shen Liuxiang scrutinized the jade slip and noticed a tiny inscription in the corner — “Emperor.”

It wasn’t “Zhou”!

Shen Liuxiang was petrified in place.

“Young Master Shen has been sitting in Changfeng Pavilion for half an hour, but he seems unwell.”

“I don’t know, his complexion isn’t too good.”

Several palace maids passed by, whispering to each other.
When they saw the arrival of the imperial princess, they stopped talking and bowed.

Xu Xinglian asked, “Why does brother look so downcast? Didn’t you find the jade slip?”

“I found it,” Shen Liuxiang spread his hand, revealing a jade slip, “But it’s Emperor’s.”

Xu Xinglian was stunned.
Transmitting jade slips always came in pairs; you needed two specific ones to communicate.
Taking Emperor’s jade slip meant he couldn’t reach Zhou Xuanlan at all.


She didn’t know what to say for a moment and could only say, “You can try again later and look for it.”

“I just transmitted a message,” Shen Liuxiang replied.

Xu Xinglian: “…”

She forced a smile, trying to console him, when Emperor Yunyu’s figure appeared in Changfeng Pavilion, followed by Xu Xingchen.

Emperor Yunyu looked at the young man in the pavilion with slightly raised eyebrows.
His tone gave no hint of emotion as he asked, “Want to take back the jade slip?”

Shen Liuxiang nodded, “Otherwise, I won’t be able to sleep tonight.”

Emperor Yunyu furrowed his brows involuntarily, pondered for a moment, and then a jade slip appeared in his palm, carved with the character “Zhou.”

“Since that’s the case, I’ll give you a chance.”

A thin rope materialized around the jade slip, and in the next instant, it was coiled around Emperor Yunyu’s wrist.

“The jade slip is right here.
Before leaving the palace, you’re welcome to come and snatch it.
If you succeed, I’ll give it back to you.”

Xu Xingchen and Xu Xinglan both were stunned.

In the hands of the Emperor Father, who could successfully snatch them?

Shen Liuxiang, however, showed a pleased expression and asked, “As long as I can grab it, any method will do?”

After all, he had been thinking about the jade slip, losing sleep over it.
He might as well take a risk.

Emperor Yunyu: “Naturally.”

A faint smile tugged at the corner of Shen Liuxiang’s lips as he slightly raised his tone, “Then, Emperor Father, be careful.”

Upon hearing the term ‘Emperor Father,’ Emperor Yunyu was momentarily taken aback.
He raised an eyebrow and lightly said, “You should be careful too.
I won’t hold back.”

With these words, Shen Liuxiang unexpectedly reached for the jade slip, but Emperor Yunyu lightly flicked his hand.
Shen Liuxiang’s hand, almost touching the jade slip, was pushed back, and with a bit more force, he was sent flying out of the Changfeng Pavilion.

A loud crash!

A large pit formed on the distant grassland.

All of this happened in the blink of an eye.
Before Xu Xingchen and Xu Xinglian could react, they saw Shen Liuxiang climbing out of the pit, covered in dirt, looking quite disheveled.

Emperor Yunyu remained silent, sweeping his sleeves as he departed.

“Brother, are you alright?” Xu Xinglian approached, supporting Shen Liuxiang.

Coughing from the dust, Shen Liuxiang shook his head, “I’m fine.”

He had just tested the waters; Emperor Yunyu’s reaction was too quick.
He even doubted if, in the eyes of Emperor Yunyu, his movements were as slow as a turtle’s.

Xu Xinglian reached up and plucked a blade of grass from his hair, “Brother, trying to snatch back the jade slip from Emperor Father is as difficult as reaching the heavens.
You should consider other methods.”

However, Shen Liuxiang stared at the departing figure of Emperor Yunyu, a sharp glint in his eyes.
“There are still nine days.
He will show a weakness.”

That night, the moon graced the branches.

Within Emperor Yunyu’s sleeping chamber, all was quiet.


A figure appeared silently behind a folding screen, peeking towards the figure on the bed.

Emperor Yunyu had his eyes closed, his brows relaxed.
He was covered by a quilt, his meticulously styled hair spread over the pillow, lending him an air of relaxation.

Shen Liuxiang’s gaze traced over his face, landing on the fingers placed distinctly on the quilt, a jade slip hanging silently by its side.

Carefully, Shen Liuxiang crept towards the bed, holding his breath, his fingertip reaching for the jade slip.

A loud snap!

The chamber doors briefly opened and then immediately closed.

Hearing the commotion, the attendants patrolling the palace hurried over, seeing Shen Liuxiang hanging upside down from an ancient tree.

“You, Young Master, what are you doing?”

Unexpectedly tossed onto the tree, Shen Liuxiang had managed to hook his feet onto a branch just in time, preventing him from falling headfirst.
With a concerted effort, he held onto the branch, slowly pulling himself up.

Taking a deep breath, Shen Liuxiang lowered his gaze, “No need to panic, just practicing inverted hanging technique.”

The attendants were bewildered.

Did he really need to practice hanging upside down, especially in the middle of the night outside the Emperor’s sleeping chamber? Was this some Feng Shui practice, hoping it would yield faster insights here?

Ignoring the onlookers, Shen Liuxiang leaned against the tree trunk, resting his chin on his hand, lost in thought.

He needed to come up with a new plan.

The next day, as the sky began to lighten, a group of palace maids stood outside the door, holding the clothes Emperor Yunyu would change into, waiting patiently.

When the appointed hour arrived, they entered the sleeping chamber.

Emperor Yunyu rose from the bed, gathered his long hair, and extended his slender hand towards the robe held by one of the maids.
The jade slip hanging from it jingled softly.

Suddenly, his movement halted.

He caught sight of the phoenix-patterned white robe moving as if in a breeze, its cuff slightly lifting, seemingly with a will of its own, eager to touch his hand.

Emperor Yunyu’s gaze slightly narrowed, a faint curve forming on his lips, as if he chuckled softly.
With a single palm, he flicked the robe to the ground.

The maids turned pale, dropping to their knees in fear, thinking they had angered the Emperor with some mistake.

In the next instant, they saw the fallen white robe, letting out a pained groan as it transformed into the appearance of a handsome young man.

The maids widened their eyes, “Young Master?!”

Emperor Yunyu lifted the jade slip, his fingertip gently caressing it as he commented, “The disguise is quite good, just a bit lacking.
What a shame.”

Shen Liuxiang squatted on the ground, grinding his teeth in frustration.

T/N: LMAO why did I think Immortal Shen was going to disguise himself as a maid?

(1) – Cinnabar mole is similar to the mean of a white moonlight, if you read a lot of chinese literature you will be familiar with this term.
Otherwise known as a vermillion birthmark, the mark is symbolic of a past shared between two individuals in the romantic sense.
In this case, Shen Liuxiang refers to Ye Bingran as his Cinnabar mole, someone that he loves and thinks about often, but can never have.
The term Sweet Farewell also has this sentiment of someone they love but can never have.
Shen Liuxiang referring to Ye Bingran as his heart blood most symbolises that he is someone kept close to Shen Liuxiang’s heart, and what makes his heart beat.

 

(2) – The rooster hour corresponds to the period between 5:00 AM and 7:00 AM.

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