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In the ancient times, where humans, gods, and demons coexisted, the realms were ruled by three powerful kingdoms: Shen Nong, Xuan Yuan, and Gao Xin. Among them, Gao Xin's Princess Ji Yao, also known as Xiao Yao, endured a century of hardship after being cast into the wilderness. Stripped of both her identity and beauty, she settled in the town of Qing Shui, known as 'Wu Chou Ke Qu, Wu Ren Ke Yi, Wu Li Zi Bao' - with nowhere to go, no one to rely on, and no strength to protect herself. Living as a wandering vagabond, Xiao Yao lived freely and unrestrained. Her cousin, Prince Xuan Yuan Jun Xuan, despite living in disguise and patiently biding his time, embarked on a journey across the wilderness to find Xiao Yao, who he cared deeply for. Their reunion in Qing Shui sparked a series of events that intertwined their fates with those of gods, demons, and humans, leading to a tale of love, sacrifice, and destiny.

Chapter 1 Life is Fleeting

Chapter One: Life is Fleeting

That day, it was just like the thousands of days before.

After a few rooster crows, voices gradually filled the town of Qingshui. Lao Mu from Huichun Tang went early to buy mutton from Gao, the butcher who slaughtered sheep. Two young apprentices busied themselves in front, preparing to open the shop for business as soon as it was fully light. Physician Wen Xiaoliu held a bowl of mutton soup in one hand and a piece of bread in the other, squatting on the threshold of the backyard, slurping it down.

Across the blue stone steps lay two and a half acres of herb fields, sloping down along the middle stone path to a narrow river. As the morning sun rose, mist enveloped the river, speckled with golden light. Wildflowers bloomed on both sides of the riverbank, and waterfowl rose and fell, creating a picturesque scene.

As Xiaoliu looked around, he pondered that the swans seemed quite plump; catching a couple for roasting would be quite nice.

After finishing a bowl of hot soup, he placed the dirty bowl into the wooden bucket by the threshold. There was already a stack of dirty bowls in the bucket, but Xiaoliu didn't care. He picked up the bucket and left the courtyard to wash the dishes by the river.

In the bushes by the riverbank lay a dark figure, indistinguishable. Xiaoliu put down the bucket and casually picked up a stone, throwing it towards the dark figure. The stone hit the figure, but it didn't move. Xiaoliu was puzzled; since when had he become so accurate? He took a few steps closer and peered, realizing it wasn't a bird but a person.

Xiaoliu immediately withdrew his head, returning to the riverbank to wash the dishes as if there wasn't a suspicious body a few yards away. Xiaoliu muttered to himself while washing, "Even if I clean these now, they'll be dirty again next time. Why bother washing every meal? Just use the same bowl each time, it won't get dirty. Wash it every couple of days." Xiaoliu never folded his blankets; he thought it was pointless since he would have to unfold them in the evening. His blanket remained unfolded, but the dishes needed washing; otherwise, Lao Mu would scold him with a ladle.

Muttering incessantly, he washed all the dishes before carrying the bucket, perhaps cleaned, back to the courtyard, not sparing a glance at the bushes. People in Qingshui Town had seen more dead bodies than meals, even children were numb to it.

Although Huichun Tang was not a large clinic, Xiaoliu was skilled in treating female infertility. Out of ten patients, he could successfully treat six or seven, so the clinic's business wasn't bad.

After a busy half-day, around noon, Xiaoliu, feeling stiff from sitting too long, entered the backyard.

Zhang Ma, who was sorting herbs in the yard, pointed outside, "There's a beggar there; I threw him half a piece of bread."

Xiaoliu nodded without saying a word. The kitchen only lit fires twice a day, so there was no hot soup at noon. He took a piece of bread and scooped some cold water from the jar, squatting on the threshold, eating while watching outside.

A few yards away, a person lay on the ground, ragged and covered in mud. Apart from being a person, nothing else was discernible. Xiaoliu squinted, able to see a dried mud trail from beside the beggar all the way to the bushes by the river.

Furrowing his brows, he drank his water and swallowed the hard bread.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the figure on the ground move slightly. Xiaoliu looked at the beggar. Zhang Ma's aim was good; the half piece of bread landed right next to the beggar, yet he seemed to have no strength even to reach for it. Xiaoliu ate his bread while watching him. After a while, finishing his bread, Xiaoliu wiped his mouth with his sleeve, clapped his hands, tossed the water ladle back into the jar, hummed a tune, and went out to make house calls.

In the evening, when Xiaoliu returned, everyone was lively, preparing to eat.

After finishing his meal, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, Xiaoliu was about to go back to his room. But inexplicably, he turned and walked out of the courtyard with his hands behind his back.

"Brother Liu, where are you going?" Zhang Ma asked.

"Just going for a digestive stroll."

Xiaoliu took a walk by the river, humming a tune, and when he returned, he stopped by the beggar's side. The half piece of bread was still there under his feet.

Xiaoliu squatted down, "I stepped on your bread. What compensation do you want?"

The beggar remained motionless. Xiaoliu waited for a while, then got up, shook his head, and went back to his room.

After a while, Xiaoliu reached out and lifted up the beggar. He was a man, with a small frame, yet thin as a rail, so light and airy, without any apparent weight.

Xiaoliu carried him and kicked open the door, entering the courtyard. "Laomu, heat up some water. Mazzi, Chuanzi, come help me."

The three men who were sitting in the courtyard chatting didn't seem surprised at all. They immediately got up and did as they were told.

Xiaoliu placed the beggar on a cot. Mazzi brought in warm water and lit the oil lamp in the room. Xiaoliu instructed, "Clean his body, give him some hot soup, and if there are any wounds, take care of them."

Just as he was about to leave, he heard a startled cry from Mazzi. Xiaoliu immediately turned back, only to see Mazzi's face turn pale, as if she had seen a ghost. Her voice trembled, "Brother Liu, you... come take a look. This man might not survive."

Xiaoliu walked over and bent down to inspect. The man's face was swollen and purple, resembling a pig's head, with no discernible features. His head was large, matched with a skinny body devoid of flesh, a grotesque sight.

Xiaoliu pulled apart the ragged clothes, or rather, scraps of cloth, revealing a body covered in intersecting scars - whip marks, stabs, burns, and a large patch of blackened skin on the chest, likely from branding. Because there was no flesh left, his ribs were clearly visible, with the charred skin loosely hanging over them.

Xiaoliu took hold of his arm, and all his fingernails had been pulled out, swollen and bloody. Xiaoliu gently released his arm and examined his legs. The lower leg bone of his right leg had been fractured, and the toenails of all ten toes had been pulled out, with several blood holes on the soles of his feet, evidently from being nailed with long nails.

Although Mazzi and Chuanzi were accustomed to seeing wounded people, they still felt a chill running down their spines, involuntarily taking two steps back and avoiding eye contact, too afraid to look.

Xiaoliu, however, remained calm. He calmly ordered, "Prepare the medicine."

Mazzi snapped out of her trance and immediately went to fetch water boiled with medicinal herbs. She wanted to say she would clean the wounds, but she didn't have the courage to face those injuries. Xiaoliu seemed to know he couldn't rely on them. Without saying a word, he took matters into his own hands, using a clean cloth dipped in medicinal water to carefully wipe the man's body. Perhaps due to the excruciating pain, the man woke up from unconsciousness, but because his eyelids were injured, he couldn't open his eyes, just clenching his lips tightly.

Xiaoliu spoke gently, "My name is Wen Xiaoliu, but you can call me Xiaoliu. I'm a young physician, and I'm here to clean your wounds. If it hurts, just let it out."

But as Xiaoliu wiped his upper body, he didn't make a sound, just beads of sweat forming on his forehead and temples. Perhaps because of his silent endurance, Xiaoliu felt a sense of respect, and his heart softened. He used a cloth to gently wipe away the sweat from his forehead and temples.

Xiaoliu began to remove his pants, and the man's body trembled slightly, a hatred so deep it seemed to penetrate his bones, but he managed to control it. Xiaoliu wanted to ease his tension and joked, "You're a man, are you afraid of someone taking off your pants?"

When he removed the pants, Xiaoliu fell silent.

There were various scars on the outer thighs to the buttocks, but compared to the tortures on the inner thighs, they were insignificant. The skin on the inner thighs of the man was cut into pieces, from the knee to the thigh, with wounds both old and new, varying in color, resembling a piece of patched-up rag, very glaring. The torturer knew the limits of the human body, knowing that the area between the legs is the most sensitive and tender, cutting a piece of skin each time, causing unbearable pain but not death.

Xiaoliu ordered, "Strong liquor, candles, scissors, bone scraper, splints, bandages, ointment..."

Chuanzi ran back and forth, while Mazzi assisted, but tried to avoid looking at the man's body.

Seeing the various ointments brought by Chuanzi, Xiaoliu frowned, "Go to my room and get the jars of medicine hidden at the bottom of the wardrobe."

Chuanzi hesitated, a hint of reluctance flashing in his eyes, before turning to fetch them.

Xiaoliu's movements became gentler as he focused on cleaning the wounds. Yet, no matter how careful he was, the injuries were still there, some rotten flesh needed to be scraped off, some dead skin needed to be cut, and the lower leg bone needed to be set straight. Due to the intense pain, Xiaoliu could feel the man's body trembling, but he still kept his eyes closed, biting his lips tightly, silently enduring.

He was naked, covered in humiliating scars, yet his posture remained noble, cold and untouchable.

Xiaoliu could fully imagine that he must have endured torture in the same way, and the person being humiliated unexpectedly had more dignity than the one carrying out the humiliation. The torturer must have been filled with frustration. Perhaps because of this, they became even more ruthless.

After two or three hours, Xiaoliu finally finished cleaning all the wounds, also sweating profusely. Exhausted, he said, "External wound medicine."

Mazzi opened a glass jar, from which a fragrant scent wafted out. Xiaoliu scooped out some golden ointment with his fingers and began to apply it starting from the man's face. The cool ointment eased the pain, and the man's lips loosened slightly, revealing traces of blood. Xiaoliu dipped his fingers in the ointment to apply it to the man's lips, but the man suddenly closed his mouth, holding onto Xiaoliu's fingers. That slight wet and soft touch between their lips and fingers was the only tenderness Xiaoliu felt from him that night.

As Xiaoliu was lost in thought, the man had already opened his mouth. Xiaoliu withdrew his hand and gently lifted the man's arm, applying the ointment bit by bit. It took almost another half hour to apply the medicine to the man's entire body and bandage the wounds.

Wen Xiaoliu covered him with a clean blanket and said softly, "I'll be checking your wounds regularly these days. I won't let you wear clothes for now. Don't worry, there's not a single woman in this courtyard. Even if you accidentally expose yourself, no one will hold you responsible for marrying her."

Both Mazzi and Chuanzi chuckled. Wen Xiaoliu began to dictate the prescription: "Six qian of Poria, four qian of Dried Lotus..."

Mazzi concentrated and went to fetch the herbs.

Wen Xiaoliu looked at the sky and estimated that he could sleep for another hour. He frowned at the man's dirty hair and called Chuanzi, "Cloth, hot water, basin, wooden tub."

Xiaoliu sat at the head of the cot, placing an empty basin under his feet. He lifted the man's head onto his lap and began to wash his hair.

Chuanzi said hesitantly, "Brother Liu, you'll need to go out tomorrow to see patients. You should go to sleep, I can handle this."

Xiaoliu scoffed, "With your clumsy hands and feet, I'm afraid you'll ruin the wounds I've painstakingly cleaned up, wasting my night's efforts. Just change the water."

Xiaoliu's movements were exceptionally gentle. He lathered the soapberries in his hands to create foam, massaging the man's hair little by little. After massaging thoroughly, he scooped warm water with a ladle and carefully rinsed, making sure to wash away all the dirt and blood stains. Once all the dirt was washed off, he inspected with scissors and trimmed the damaged hair. After washing his hair, Xiaoliu's fingers roamed through it, feeling the tension in the man's body. Xiaoliu explained, "I'm checking if you have any head injuries." Fortunately and unfortunately, the torturers didn't harm his head to ensure that he fully experienced all the tortures they inflicted on him.

Xiaoliu didn't dare to exert force. He changed several pieces of cloth before drying the man's hair. Afraid that the comb might hurt his wounds, Xiaoliu spread out his five fingers like a wide-toothed comb and gently smoothed out his hair, letting Chuanzi bring a clean pillow and place his head back on the cot.

The sky was already bright when Xiaoliu stepped out of the room. He washed his face with cold water, had breakfast, and instructed Mazzi, who was boiling medicine under the window, "You don't need to worry about the shop these days. Take care of him. Don't give him bread yet. Stew some soft minced meat soup with some greens and feed him. Oh, remember to let the soup cool before giving it to him."

After finishing his meal, Xiaoliu picked up his medicine basket and went out to see patients.

Mazzi spoke to the man on the cot through the window, "Beggar, Brother Liu spent the whole night saving you, but he used up the medicine that could save his own life. You better pull through."

In the afternoon, when Xiaoliu returned, he was both tired and sleepy, struggling to keep his eyelids open.

He threw a wild duck onto the ground, scooped up a bowl of hot soup from the stove, tore up some bread to soak it, and sat behind the stove, slurping it up.

Laomu kneaded dough while saying, "I heard from Mazzi about that man's injuries."

Wen Xiaoliu took a sip of soup, "Hmm."

"Mazzi and Chuanzi might not see it, but you should be able to tell that he's a deity, and not the same kind of low-level deity as you and me."

Wen Xiaoliu drank his soup without saying a word.

"Kill someone, and the consequences will follow. Behind those injuries, there's always a reason. Saving the wrong person is just asking for trouble."

Xiaoliu chewed his food and said, "Prepare that duck, add a little salt, but don't add anything else, just stew it on low heat."

Laomu glanced at him, seeing his indifferent expression, sighed quietly, "Got it."

After finishing his meal, Xiaoliu asked Mazzi, "Did he eat today?"

Mazzi whispered, "His throat is probably severely injured too. He can't swallow the medicine, let alone eat the meat soup."

Xiaoliu walked into the room and saw a bowl of cooled medicine on the table. He helped the beggar sit up, "I'm back. Can you hear my voice? I'm Xiaoliu, and we're taking medicine."

The man opened his eyes and looked at him, a bit stronger than yesterday, able to open his eyes a little.

Xiaoliu fed him the medicine, but it was like feeding a child. Almost all of it flowed out from the corners of his mouth, and the man closed his eyes.

Xiaoliu asked softly, "Did they torture your throat too?"

The man nodded almost imperceptibly.

Xiaoliu said, "Let me tell you a secret. Even now, I drool in my sleep. Once, I dreamt of eating roasted chicken, and I ended up soaking half the pillow. And this condition can't be cured. But yours is temporary. With me, the peerless divine healer, around, I guarantee you'll be fine in a few days."

Xiaoliu climbed into the cot, half embracing the man, scooped up a small spoonful of medicinal soup, and slowly dripped it into the man's mouth like a drop. The man cooperated, swallowing the medicine with all his might, and surprisingly, none of it spilled.

Feeding bit by bit, swallowing bit by bit, it took nearly half an hour to finish a bowl of medicine. Xiaoliu managed to get the man to drink it all. The man was drenched in sweat, as if he had run for miles, utterly exhausted.

Xiaoliu wiped his sweat with a cloth. "Rest for a while. When the duck soup is ready, we'll have some."

When Xiaoliu came out with the empty bowl, Mazzi, Chuanzi, and Laomu stood in a row, all staring at him as if he were a ghost. Xiaoliu glared, "What are you looking at?"

Chuanzi said, "You're more meticulous than caring for a baby. Anyone who doesn't know might think you're his mother."

"You're the one who's a mother!" Xiaoliu kicked Chuanzi's buttocks.

Chuanzi rubbed his buttocks and ran off. Mazzi and Laomu returned to normal. Laomu said, "It's still Xiaoliu, not someone else pretending to be him."

Mazzi patted his chest, relieved.

Yawning, Xiaoliu said to Mazzi, "Close the door. I'm not seeing patients today. I'll take a nap first. Let me know when the duck soup is ready."

Mazzi wanted to offer to feed him, but after witnessing the meticulousness of the previous medicine feeding, he realized he couldn't do it as well.

When the duck soup was ready, Mazzi went to knock on Xiaoliu's door. Xiaoliu stretched lazily and entered the man's room. Like before, it took nearly half an hour to get the man to drink half a bowl of minced duck soup.

After letting the man rest for half an hour, Xiaoliu wiped his hands with ointment and prepared to massage his acupoints. "You, that... the time was quite long, and some muscles have atrophied. It might hurt a bit, but stimulating them like this helps with recovery."

The man closed his eyes and nodded slightly.

Xiaoliu smiled awkwardly. After enduring such tortures, these pains were indeed nothing, but he still chatted while massaging, trying to distract him. "Today, when I passed by a house on my rounds, it had white walls and black tiles. There was a thick purple wisteria climbing the wall, blooming with purple and blue flowers. When the wind blew, the wisteria flowers fell like rain. I was so captivated, wondering why the people in that house were so oblivious. Imagine steaming buns with wisteria flowers, how delicious it would be. Why let the flowers fall..."

Outside the room, Mazzi muttered to Chuanzi, "I don't think Brother Liu will let me take care of Beggar anymore." Beggar's body was so broken and fragile, hideous and horrifying, that he really didn't want to have to deal with him again.

As Mazzi expected, Xiaoliu no longer let him take care of Beggar. From feeding medicine and food to bathing and applying ointment, Xiaoliu did everything himself.

After half a year, the wounds on Beggar's body gradually healed. His fingernails on hands and feet hadn't fully grown back, but he could already bathe without any problems. So Xiaoliu no longer helped him wash his body but prepared a tub for him to bathe properly.

After being meticulously cared for by Xiaoliu for half a year, although Beggar wasn't as emaciated as before, he was still very light. Every time Xiaoliu picked him up, he would complain, "Eat more, you're poking my bones."

Beggar kept his eyes closed and didn't speak. He had always been like this. Every time Xiaoliu touched his body, he would keep his eyes closed and lips tightly sealed. Xiaoliu understood that after enduring those physical tortures, he instinctively had a aversion to physical contact. Every time, he tried hard to restrain himself.

Xiaoliu placed a cloth by his side and said softly, "You wash yourself. Your fingers haven't fully healed yet, so don't exert too much force."

Xiaoliu sat beside him, snacking and keeping him company.

Perhaps because every scar on his body was a humiliation, Beggar had always kept his head half raised, closing his eyes apathetically, never looking at his own body. He just rubbed his body with the cloth, from neck to chest, slowly sliding down to his abdomen, gradually reaching between his legs.

Xiaoliu's gaze followed his movements, but suddenly he turned his head, vigorously gnawing on a duck neck, making a crunching sound.

Beggar opened his eyes, looking at Xiaoliu. Sunlight streamed in through the window, illuminating Xiaoliu. His cheeks reddened, and in the sunlight, he appeared translucent, like a jade with a faint halo of blood.

After Beggar finished washing, Xiaoliu carried him out. Because his legs weren't fully healed yet, Xiaoliu usually helped him put on his robe, but today, Xiaoliu placed him on the cot and immediately let go.

Beggar lowered his eyes, one hand pressed on the cot, supporting his body, and the other hand pressed on the bathrobe. His fingers were thin and long, with newly grown nails showing a tender white.

Xiaoliu lowered his head, placed the clothes beside him, "Um... you try to put them on yourself. If it doesn't work, call me." Xiaoliu hurriedly left the room, stood outside the door for a while, listening to the rustling sound, as if everything was normal, then left.

Chuanzi was sorting herbs when he saw Xiaoliu and asked, "He hasn't spoken for half a year. Could he be dumb?"

Mazzi slapped Chuanzi hard, "Stop talking nonsense!" After enduring such cruel torture, surviving was already admirable enough. Such resilience couldn't possibly belong to a dumb person.

Mazzi asked in a low voice, "Is his throat injured, making it impossible for him to speak?"

Xiaoliu said, "I've examined his throat. There's some damage, so his voice might sound different, but he should still be able to speak."

Mazzi breathed a sigh of relief, "That's good."

Xiaoliu said, "About his injuries, whether you've seen them or not, don't mention them again in the future."

Chuanzi raised his hand, "I didn't dare to look at him properly. I truly didn't see anything."

Mazzi said, "Rest assured, Laomu has already instructed us. My memory isn't good. I forget about other people's matters, let alone my own."

The door slowly opened, and the man leaned against the wall, walking out unsteadily, like a toddler taking its first steps. Previously, Xiaoliu would bring him out to get some fresh air and sun when the sun was about to set, but this was the first time he walked into the yard during the day. He leaned against the wall, looking up at the vast blue sky and white clouds in silence.

Mazzi and Chuanzi stared blankly at the man. His horrifying injuries left them with unpleasant memories, making them subconsciously avoid looking at him. Chuanzi never even entered his room. This was the first time they truly saw his appearance. His ink-black eyebrows, bright eyes, straight nose, thin lips, simple coarse clothes, yet he exuded an aura of nobility and elegance, making Mazzi and Chuanzi feel ashamed and awed in an instant.

Xiaoliu rubbed licorice and said, "If your legs and feet aren't too painful, try to move around more. In another two or three months, you should be able to leave."

The man lowered his head, staring at Xiaoliu, "Nowhere... to go." He probably hadn't spoken in years, his voice hoarse and speech difficult.

Xiaoliu crossed his legs, chewing on licorice, "Nowhere to go, really?"

The man nodded.

Xiaoliu asked, "What's your name?"

The man shook his head.

"Don't know? Forgot? Or don't want to tell me?"

"You... saved me. I... am... your servant. Bestow... a name."

Xiaoliu spat out the licorice residue, "You don't seem like someone who would obey others' orders. I don't want you."

The man lowered his eyes, "I... will... obey... you."

Xiaoliu tossed a small piece of licorice into his mouth and mumbled, "In the future, when you meet people you know, will you listen to me?"

The man pursed his lips, his delicate fingers gripping the windowsill tightly, turning pale. He remained silent for a while. Just as Xiaoliu was about to laugh, the man looked up at him, "Listen!" His clear, black eyes seemed like two flames, as if he wanted to imprint the word "listen" deep into Xiaoliu's heart.

Xiaoliu was taken aback and said, "Then stay."

The corners of the man's lips twitched as if he wanted to smile but couldn't. Xiaoliu tossed him another piece of licorice, "Sit aside and chew on this."

The man obediently sat on the stone steps, slowly tearing open the licorice and putting a piece into his mouth. Although he was eating licorice, his movements were elegant and noble, making people feel like he was eating celestial fruits instead of licorice.

"Hey, that Beggar... this is licorice, good for the throat." Mazzi scratched his head, saying to Xiaoliu, "Liu Ge, give him a name. We can't keep calling him Beggar."

Xiaoliu said, "Let's call him Licorice then."

"No!" Mazzi and Chuanzi objected in unison. "Choose a better name, not like ours."

Xiaoliu slapped himself, "What's wrong with our names?"

"They suit us, but... not him." Chuanzi said earnestly, with Mazzi nodding in agreement.

Xiaoliu blinked and looked at Licorice sitting on the steps, then leaned in to Chuanzi and Mazzi, pointing at his own nose, disbelievingly asking in a low voice, "Am I worse than him?"

Chuanzi cautiously asked, "Does Liu Ge want to hear the truth or lies?"

Mazzi comforted, "Liu Ge, some people are born as clouds in the sky, while others are like mud on the ground. There's no comparison. Let's just stick to our roles as the mud on the ground."

Xiaoliu got angry, "I'll call him Mud."

Mazzi and Chuanzi both said firmly, "No!"

Mazzi begged Xiaoliu not to give Mud a name he might resent in the future, "Liu Ge, please think of another one."

Chuanzi added, "Yes, yes, think of another one, one that sounds as good as yours, Liu Ge."

Xiaoliu became happy only then, casually picked up a medicinal herb from the bamboo mat, and tossed it to Mazzi, "Count the leaves, and that's what we'll call him."

"One, two, three... seventeen leaves."

Xiaoliu turned and said loudly, "Beggar, from today onwards, your name is Seventeen Leaves."

Seventeen Leaves nodded, and Mazzi and Chuanzi thought it sounded good too, so they greeted Seventeen Leaves with smiles.

Laomu called from the front hall, "Xiaoliu, there's a patient."

Xiaoliu kicked both Mazzi and Chuanzi's buttocks and hummed a tune, running out to see the patient.

After more than half a year of staggering, Seventeen's injuries, those that could heal, were completely healed. Those that couldn't heal were indeed beyond recovery. Although the broken part of his lower leg had been set, the treatment came too late. As a result, he inevitably limped when walking. As for the other hidden injuries, Xiaoliu wasn't very sure either. Since Seventeen regained mobility in his limbs, Xiaoliu no longer helped him change bandages.

Mazzi secretly handed over his savings to Seventeen, "This time at Respring Hall... hehe... you can tell that Liu Ge's medical skills aren't really... hehe... Have you heard of the medical skills of the Divine Farmer, Emperor Yan? ...hehe... Go to the east end of town. There's a clinic called Hundred Herbs Hall. The shaman inside is a direct disciple of Divine Farmer Emperor Yan, highly skilled in medicine. Maybe he can heal your leg."

Seventeen silently returned the money to Mazzi.

Mazzi urged anxiously, "No! Take your time returning the money. Your leg is a big deal. You can pay me back double in the future if needed."

Seventeen lowered his eyes and said, "This way... is good."

"What's good about this? You want to be a cripple for life?"

"He... doesn't mind."

"Huh? Who doesn't mind?" Mazzi scratched his head. "Oh! You mean Liu Ge doesn't mind you being a cripple? What use is it if he doesn't mind? Look at Liu Ge's lazy appearance, he can eat a second meal with the same bowl from the first meal, his clothes are as dirty as rags..."

Seventeen looked behind Mazzi. Mazzi was about to continue persuading Seventeen when Xiaoliu's hand landed on his head with a slap, making Mazzi shut up immediately. Xiaoliu snatched the money bag from Mazzi's hand, "Wow, that's a lot of money! We can drink tonight!"

Seeing Xiaoliu's eyes light up, he didn't bother to ask what Mazzi was up to. He grabbed the money bag and rushed out. Mazzi cried out and chased after him, "Don't, Liu Ge! That's the money I saved to get married... We need to do serious things..."

That night, everyone feasted on a big meal of fish, meat, and alcohol. Xiaoliu and Chuanzi ate to their heart's content, laughing joyfully. Mazzi ate a little more to minimize his loss, eating with a pained expression. Laomu drank while keeping an eye on Seventeen.

After dinner, Xiaoliu, Chuanzi, and Mazzi were all drunk. It was Xiaoliu's turn to wash the dishes. But somehow, at some point, the rule at Respring Hall had changed to become: Seventeen's chores were Seventeen's, and Xiaoliu's chores were also Seventeen's. Seventeen tidied up the dishes, filled a large wooden basin with water, and squatted in the yard to start washing.

Laomu stood behind him and asked, "Who are you?"

In the evening breeze, came a hoarse voice, "I am, Seventeen Leaves."

Chapter 2 The Unknown Path 1

Chapter Two: The Unknown Path 1

Qingshui Town, though small, was a very unique place within the Great Wilderness.

Outside Qingshui Town, from north to south, the mountains stretched continuously, forming a natural barrier. After the destruction of the Shennong Kingdom, General Gonggong, who refused to surrender, occupied the area east of Qingshui Town with tens of thousands of soldiers, opposing the Yellow Emperor. Qingshui Town bordered Xuanyuan to the west, Gaoxin to the south, and Gonggong's Rebel Army to the east. It did not belong to the jurisdiction of either the Yellow Emperor or the Jun Emperor of Gaoxin. Therefore, Qingshui Town gradually became a place where three forces were mixed, yet none of them could fully control it.

In Qingshui Town, there was no monarchy, no aristocratic families, no distinction between the noble and the common, and even no distinction between gods and demons. As long as you had a skill, regardless of whether you were a god or a d


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