As the evening sun faded and the sky darkened, Hua Niang, carrying a bamboo basket full of elixirs and holding a little girl of seven or eight years old, entered the courtyard with a smile, pushing open the wooden fence.
Both mother and daughter were wearing pink dresses and had pink ribbons tied in their hair, like a pair of sisters.
“A'Zhi, come out quickly, Aunt Hua has brought you..." The moment she raised her head and saw Yan Yuan, who was holding A'Zhi in front of the wooden house, Hua Niang froze in place.
Yan Yuan smiled, "I've come to take A’Zhi home."
His body was surrounded by strong divine energy, and without much explanation, Hua Niang soon understood the reason.
After dying on Earth and ascending to become an immortal, he could stand in front of her properly.
Hua Niang was still a bit overwhelmed by the suddenness of his appearance.
She looked at the man in the white robe and said, "Don't they say that all immortals are cut off from love...
you still remember mortal affairs and remembered to come to fetch A'Zhi"
Yan Yuan smiled lightly and replied, "I remember."
"The immortals are not cut off from love, immortals also seek immortal partners...
to form love contracts and have children with their lovers."
“Really" Hua Niang thought of something, despairingly dropping her eyes.
The atmosphere became a bit depressed for a moment.
A'Zhi did not know why Hua Niang was suddenly so sad, and could not help but call her in a small voice: "Aunt Hua..."
“Hey," The moment Hua Niang raised her head, her face showed a smile that contained the aura of heaven and earth, and she walked over with her daughter in tow, looking at A'Zhi.
"Aunt Hua will make shrimp cakes for you to eat."
"You guys stay and have dinner before you go."
"Okay." Yan Yuan knew that Hua Niang must have something to say.
Afterwards, they went inside, and Hua Niang greeted Yan Yuan and invited him to sit at the table, put down the bamboo basket on her back and began to prepare dinner.
She and her daughter were flower spirits, so they only needed to drink the dew from flower petals to survive, and they ate lotus seeds and flower petal porridge.
A'Zhi is different, he is the son of a human and a dragon and must have a good balance of meat and vegetables to be healthy.
Hua Niang lived alone with her two children and although life was not easy, she never treated him harshly and the family prepared fresh ingredients every day.
There was a guest today, but there were enough ingredients.
Her husband is a snow wolf demon and is fond of human food, which Hua Niang has learnt to cook.
She was chopping vegetables at the stove, and the little girl of seven or eight was crouched low on the floor helping her mother build the fire.
Hua Niang was worried that her daughter would get burned, so she took the torch from her hand and stuffed it into the stove, stroked her head and told her to sit next to her, but the little girl blinked her pretty pink eyes and timidly glanced at Yan Yuan and A‘Zhi every now and then, relying on her mother and refusing to go.
In fact, Ying’er and A'Zhi were not too close.
A’Zhi did not like to talk too much, he was always sullen, only when Hua Niang took the initiative to communicate with him was A'Zhi willing to say a few words.
After all, such a young child, without a father and in a completely unfamiliar environment, no one would be able to get used to it right away.
Once his father arrived, A'Zhi's whole body came to life, wrapping himself around his father's neck like a little octopus and burying his face in his shoulder, refusing to get off of him.
When the food was served, Yan Yuan coaxed A’Zhi to sit on a stool by him, while Hua Niang and her daughter took their respective seats at the table.
Eight dishes and a soup were placed on the table, and the red candle in the centre was the only source of light in the room, but the dimness of the candle did not dispel the strange atmosphere in the room.
Time could not wash away the past.
Hua Niang deeply remembered how Xuan Long had died by Yan Yuan's hand, and even if Yan Yuan had been a good father later, that was no reason for him to be forgiven, and she was in no position to forgive anything for Xuan Long.
But A'Zhi needed his father, so they would have to sit here and have a good talk.
"It's a simple meal, so I hope the divine ruler won't mind." Hua Niang spoke in a soft voice.
Yan Yuan paused, "This time, it has been hard for you, thank you for taking care of my child for me."
Hua Niang shook her head and gave a piece of shrimp cake to A'Zhi, and gave her daughter a bowl of flower petal porridge: "I did it for A'Long."
Yan Yuan's throat tightened, "Thank you anyway."
The meal was very quiet.
The children's appetites were small and they were soon full, Hua Niang asked Ying'er to take A'Zhi out to the swing.
A'Zhi looked at Yan Yuan and knew from the look in his eyes that his father also wanted him to go out for a while, so he took one step back and went to the courtyard with Ying'er.
The only people left in the house were Hua Niang and Yan Yuan, who sat facing each other, and Hua Niang was the first to speak, “A’Zhi is very happy that you have returned."
Yan Yuan: “En, he has been with me since he was a child, so he will rely on me."
Hua Niang was silent for a while and clenched her chopsticks in her hand: "You said that you immortals also get married and have children, so you will certainly get married in the future...
Once you get married and have other children, can you still be good to A'Long's child"
Yan Yuan slowly met Hua Niang's gaze and laughed lightly, "I will not take a wife."
"If I want to marry, I will only marry him."
Hua Niang: "...
What does that mean"
"He'll be back soon." Yan Yuan whispered.
Hua Niang's eyes widened and she forgot to breathe for a moment, "You mean A'Long..."
"I'll use the soul gathering box to condense his soul and reshape his physical body, and he'll be able to live again."
"Don't worry, A'Zhi won't be bullied by anyone, and when his mother returns, no one will be able to bully him." Including myself, his own father.
With Yan Yuan's ability, if he wanted to take A'Zhi away by force, Hua Niang would not be able to stop him.
There was no need for him to coax her, so it was all true...
Hua Niang's eyes were misted over as she murmured in disbelief, "You mean, A'Long… A'Long can be reborn"
“That ashes to ashes..."
Xuan Long died in Yan Yuan's arms, leaving with such sorrow and despair, they all saw it.
“En, I know, it was ashes to ashes." Yan Yuan's voice was mute.
"It's good that the Heavens are still willing to give me the chance to redeem myself."
Hua Niang smiled and cried, "That's great...
The two children outside were preoccupied with their own thoughts, and the swing was no longer interesting, so they both moved to the door and peeked into the house.
Seeing her mother crying, Ying’er quickly ran inside and threw herself into her mother’s arms and hugged her waist.
Seeing this, A'Zhi also entered the house and went to his father's side.
Yan Yuan lifted his arm and embraced A'Zhi's small body, smiling at Hua Niang and saying, "You will have the chance to meet each other later."
Before leaving, Hua Niang took her daughter's hand and sent Yan Yuan and A'Zhi to the door.
She hesitated to speak, but finally could not help but say, "When he returns, you must not rely on him being so kind...
you may break his heart."
"I know." Yan Yuan turned back and smiled.
The woman watched his eyes, her heart was really worried that Xuan Long would be fooled by this very bewitching face again.
She walked to A'Zhi, squatted and took A'Zhi's hand, and instructed in a low voice, "From now on, A'Zhi should protect his mother, your mother is the most kind-hearted, do not let him be bullied by evil people."
A'Zhi had not seen his mother since he was born, but he had heard his father tell him many things about him.
If anyone dared to bully his mother, A'Zhi would fight to the death, so nodded immediately.
"Don't worry, Auntie Hua, A’Zhi will."
"Good boy...” It was not in vain for Xuan Long to fight to the death to give birth to him.
Hearing what Hua Niang meant, Yan Yuan did not get angry and rubbed A'Zhi's little head, saying in a warm voice, "Say goodbye to Aunt Hua."
A’Zhi lifted his hand and waved it, saying softly, "Goodbye, Auntie Hua, thank you for treating A'Zhi so well."
“A'Zhi will remember to miss you."
Auntie Hua's eyes were red at the end and she said yes repeatedly.
A'Zhi waved his little hand again and said goodbye to the little girl in the courtyard, who waved back to him, whispering, “Good bye A’Zhi Di Di."
When Yan Yuan was away, A'Zhi thought of his father day and night, but when he really had to leave, A'Zhi felt some reluctance in his heart.
He turned his head towards the small courtyard behind him, which was caged in the moonlight, and kept looking at it.
He was very affectionate, just like Xuan Long, and Yan Yuan promised him that he would soon be able to meet Hua Niang and her daughter again.
Only then did A’Zhi turn his head back and ask Yan Yuan, "Father, are we going back to the palace"
Yan Yuan took A'Zhi's hand and walked deeper into the cherry blossom forest, answering in a soft voice: "Not to the palace, but to Father and Mother's hometown."
A'Zhi: "Where is home Isn't Chang'an Father's hometown..."
"In the sky."
"But before we go back, we still have to pick up your mother first."
As he spoke, the soul gathering box in Yan Yuan's palm suddenly burst with blue light.
He raised his hand and executed a technique, and a white light rose from his fingertips into mid-air and split in two, drilling into his and A'Zhi's eyebrows at the same time.
In an instant, the sky and the earth were brightly lit, the breeze blew, and cherry blossoms flew in the sky, as beautiful as a wonderland.
Not far away there was a thin, dark figure walking among the cherry trees.
The man was walking slowly, looking around as if he was looking for something, but he couldn't find it, and panic showed in his icy turquoise eyes.
The man called out blankly, his soft voice drifting into Yan Yuan's ears with the wind, causing Yan Yuan's heart to explode with pain, and it took several calls from A’Zhi before he came back to his senses.
A'Zhi asked him why the sky had suddenly brightened, but Yan Yuan did not say anything, squatting down and hugging him, looking not far away and saying hoarsely, "A'Zhi, that is your mother."
A'Zhi froze and looked straight over, "Mother..."
"It is a wisp of your mother's soul, if we bring him back, you will soon be able to truly meet your mother."
Seeing the man in black clothes coming closer and closer towards them, A’Zhi stared intently at the other man's eyes which were the same colour as his own and tried to leave Yan Yuan's arms to take the initiative to walk towards the man, but he was held by Yan Yuan.
“A’Zhi, wait here for Father, Father will go over first."
"Doesn't Mother like A'Zhi a lot..."
At the moment, Xuan Long's soul consciousness was incomplete, so he might not be able to recognize the grown-up A'Zhi.
Yan Yuan was afraid that A'Zhi would be sad, so he made up a reason to coax him over.
A'Zhi was always obedient, so he stayed where he was and waited.
Yan Yuan got up and walked away.
Xuan Long was searching too hard and only when Yan Yuan was in front of him did he look up as an afterthought, “...
"What are you looking for" Yan Yuan asked him.
"I..." Xuan Long mumbled breathlessly as he looked down, "I seem to...
have lost the child."
"I have been searching for a long time..."
"Why can't I find him..."
Yan Yuan grabbed his hand and held it hard, saying with red eyes, "No, you didn't lose him."
"You gave him to me after you gave birth to him, have you forgotten"
Xuan Long looked up at him in a daze, "...
I gave him to you"
Yan Yuan nodded, “En."
"You said you didn't want the child..." Xuan Long's memory was clearly confused as he frowned and whispered a little sadly as if he was upset.
“Want, I want both you and the child." Yan Yuan hurriedly explained, raising his hand to cast his spiritual power not far away, and A'Zhi instantly changed from a five-year-old child to a baby in swaddling clothes, appearing in his arms.
In fact, it was a cover-up technique.
Yan Yuan handed A'Zhi over carefully.
"Look, this is our child, I listened to your words and carefully named him A’Zhi."
The child in the swaddling clothes looked too small, Xuan Long had never held him before and didn't quite dare to take him, his fingertips gently touched his soft little face, his eyes gradually moistened: “A'Zhi..."
“En, you can be happy." Yan Yuan said with a smile.
Xuan Long nodded his head and curled his lips, "I am happy."
“A'Zhi and I have come to take you home."