Chapter 53: Reunion (Part One)
The girl that Ouyang Xiaoleng missed was riding back to the capital city of Yongchuan all by herself. Despite the company and guidance of the cranes, she still felt lonely. But she gained courage from her promise to the Feather Crane Immortal and her longing for her blood pact partner, her friends, and family. She traveled through the Golden Firefly Maple Forest, across valleys, past the Bird Concealment Platform, bypassing Nanzhe City. She galloped all the way back with eagerness.
On the evening of the third day, the capital city finally entered her sight. The North Star Palace looked as grand as ever but there were more people walking on the streets which had been newly decorated. Few people paid attention to the girl who was bundled tightly in a cloak; they took her as a stranger who came to the capital city to witness the glory of the new master of the spirit world. When she came to the main gate of the North Star Palace, she found the gate was open but there were more guards than before; people who went in and out of the palace were subjected to their questioning.
“Go, Green.” Xia Qiu dismounted with a light and expert move and patted the horse on its head. Green gave a snort and disappeared.
When she walked over to the gate, as she had expected, the guards stopped her. She said to one guard with great confidence, ”I’m the Fox Spirit King’s blood pact partner. If you don’t believe me, you can report to Ouyang Hongye, the Red-Haired Fox Spirit Count, and he’ll come see me in person.” Seeing the guard’s hesitation, she continued, ”If you don’t let me in, Hongye will reprimand you.”
After organizing the entire coronation all by himself, Ouyang Hongye was now held in high esteem not only in the capital city of Yongchuan but in the entire spirit world as well. As the previous king Xueye’s sworn brother and trusted subordinate, he was also the adoptive father and mentor of the current Fox Spirit King and was authorized by the elders Ouyang Yong and Shi Wangcheng to handle the daily business in the spirit world. When the guard heard the girl call Ouyang Hongye by his given name, his attitude softened immediately. He bowed to her and let her pass without hesitation.
Walking into the North Star Palace, Xia Qiu was stunned by the bright red carpet covering the central lane of the ground and the luxurious decorations in the palace. Many spirit servants bustled in the halls, and some well-dressed spirits went in and out of different halls or stopped to talk to each other. She quickened her steps and strode toward the Fuxing Hall.
She made a beeline to the residential court in the rear of the hall found it was as quiet as before. When she passed Ouyang Xiaoleng’s room, she found the door and windows were tightly shut. She knocked on the door but received no response, so she went to Grandpa Yong’s room. As before, she smelled fragrance of tea before she entered the room. At this moment, Ouyang Yong was reading a book on the Arhat bed.
“Grandpa Yong!” Xia Qiu had the urge to throw herself into his arms.
Putting down the book, Ouyang Yong looked up and saw her. ”Xia Qiu, you’re back!”
“Yes!” She nodded and ran over, catching his hand.
Ouyang Yong tightened his grip on her hand. His complexion was better; a bit weaker than the last time she saw him, he looked even more kindly as he said, ”Is everything okay?”
“Yes, everything is fine!” Xia Qiu nodded.
“Alas. What a pity that you missed Xiaoleng’s coronation,” Ouyang Yong said with a sigh.
“Was the coronation successful?” Xia Qiu asked immediately.
“Yes. Xiaoleng has inherited the title of the Fox Spirit King and become the master of the spirit world; he’s the king of the spirit world!” Ouyang Yong said with a smile.
“Excellent!” Xia Qiu was so thrilled that she almost jumped up in joy. She asked a bit chokingly, ”Where is he?”
“He has moved into the Yuheng Hall, the inner hall of the North Star Palace and the residence hall for the spirit king. It was cleaned before the coronation and is equipped with guards and spirit servants. He moved into it after the coronation,” Ouyang Yong said meaningfully since he had seen through Xia Qiu’s thoughts, ”Go and see him. He’s been waiting for you.”
“Well, then I…” Xia Qiu nodded and paused in midsentence.
“Go now!” he urged her.
“Okay!” She ran toward the Yuheng Hall.
Guards stood before the Yuheng hall in one line. After the coronation, except for the spirit servants that Ouyang Hongye had designated to the hall and a few people that Ouyang Xiaoleng had named personally, no one could enter the hall without permission. Ouyang Hongye had also moved into the hall to keep him safe. It was difficult to gain entrance, but fortunately, Xia Qiu met Ouyang Hongye at the gate and entered the hall with him.
For some reason, she had felt uneasy after she left Ouyang Yong’s place. She had looked forward to the day when Ouyang Xiaoleng ascended to the throne, but the huge changes in the spirit world caught her by surprise; she didn’t belong to this world in the first place, and now it felt even more unfamiliar.
Her uneasiness eased a bit when she saw Ouyang Hongye. He smiled as radiantly as before and winked at her charmingly, saying, ”He’s been waiting for you.”
“Really?” This was the answer she had been waiting for, but still she wanted to make sure.
“You’ll know I told you the truth when you see how anxious he is!”
Ouyang Hongye led her to Ouyang Xiaoleng’s residence in the rear of the Yuheng Hall and told her about the coronation as they walked. Countless snow lotuses were planted on both sides of the gravel path in the courtyard, and a tall red plum tree stood obtrusively in the field of snow lotuses.
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