The doors of the County Magistrate Government Office opened, and a woman dressed in flowing immortal robes appeared at the entrance, accompanied by the County Magistrate.
The hungry people waiting outside, who were waiting for porridge, immediately knelt down and bowed, saying, “County Magistrate!”
Bao Gu had never seen a Female Immortal before, and her first impression was that the dress she was wearing was beautiful. Her second impression was that Female Immortals truly lived up to their name, as she was glowing all over, with the only part covered being her face. The books always said that Female Immortals were beautiful and would astonish anyone who saw them. But this Female Immortal was covering her face. Could it be that she was an ugly Female Immortal?
Aunt Zhou pulled Bao Gu’s sleeve forcefully and said, “Bao Gu, kneel down quickly! Don’t offend the County Magistrate.”
Bao Gu quickly lifted her skirt and knelt down, still raising her head curiously to look at Aunt Zhou. She lowered her voice and whispered, “Aunt Zhou, is this Female Immortal covering her face because she’s ugly?” As soon as she finished speaking, she noticed that the Female Immortal suddenly turned her head and stared directly at her with bright eyes. Bao Gu felt a chill down her spine from being stared at by the Female Immortal and thought, “Can her ears be that good? I spoke so softly, and she can still hear me?”
Aunt Zhou knelt down and dared not raise her head. She didn’t notice the gaze of the Female Immortal. She raised her palm and lightly patted Bao Gu’s back, whispering, “Stop talking nonsense. It’s disrespectful to the Female Immortal. Female Immortals are not ugly. Only beautiful maidens can become Female Immortals. It’s great that a Female Immortal has come. We are saved.”
Bao Gu muttered softly, “Did they come to deal with the Drought Demon? But I heard Sun Xiucai say that the Drought Demon can swallow clouds and kill dragons. To defeat the Drought Demon, we need a majestic and powerful immortal like a Great Spirit God. Look at this Female Immortal, she has thin arms and legs. I just carefully observed her. It’s not her flying, it’s the sword under her feet that’s flying, carrying her. Could this Female Immortal be an apprentice…hiss…Aunt Zhou, why are you pinching me? It hurts!”
Aunt Zhou exclaimed, “Stop talking! You’re going to kill me!” She quickly moved her knee to the side, creating some distance between her and Bao Gu, pretending they were not together.
The County Magistrate asked everyone to stand up.
Bao Gu stood up, patted the dirt off her knees, and looked again at the County Magistrate and the Female Immortal standing at the entrance of the County Magistrate’s residence. It had to be said that even if this Female Immortal had an ugly face, her figure was excellent, and the immortal robe she was wearing looked really good.
The County Magistrate loudly said, “Everyone, this immortal is Immortal Yu Mi from the Xuantian Gate in the Yunnan Mountains, 80,000 miles away…”
Immortal Yu Mi! Bao Gu was instantly shocked. Corn (Yu Mi means corn haha) could also become an immortal? Then couldn’t she become an immortal too? A picture of recognition suddenly appeared in her mind. She took two steps forward and held the hand of Immortal Yu Mi, saying, “Hello, Yu Mi, I am Bao Gu!” She thought about it, but she didn’t dare to go up and claim kinship. However, she had some objections to the County Magistrate’s statement about the Yunnan Mountains being 80,000 miles away. It was clearly only 8,000 miles. Bao Gu silently criticized in her heart, but she didn’t dare to really cause trouble or refute the County Magistrate’s words. In front of everyone’s eyes, she couldn’t dismantle the County Magistrate’s position!
The County Magistrate was saying, “Immortal Yu Mi passed by this place and noticed unusual weather patterns, so she came to investigate…” Suddenly, Immortal Yu Mi stared at a twelve or thirteen-year-old girl in the crowd, feeling something different. She quickly bowed to Immortal Yu Mi and said, “Immortal Yu Mi…” and gestured slightly towards Bao Gu.
Bao Gu thought, “Oh no!” She quickly shrunk her neck and hid behind Aunt Zhou.
Aunt Zhou was afraid of getting into trouble, so she took two steps aside and exposed Bao Gu.
A pleasant voice sounded, “I see that child has a strong affinity for immortality.”
The one speaking was Immortal Yu Mi. When she spoke, she was still staring at Bao Gu, and everyone’s gaze followed Immortal Yu Mi’s gaze and fell on Bao Gu. Their eyes were filled with respect.
Bao Gu felt a cold sweat running down her back. When her father was still alive, the family would often hire laborers to move grain. If any of the laborers deliberately opposed her father and caused trouble, her father would not be able to deal with it in front of everyone. He would praise them with a smile and then deal with them harshly. She lowered her head guiltily and wanted to hide herself. But when she looked around, she couldn’t find a second person within three feet of her, not even Aunt Zhou was close to her. Bao Gu was afraid of being dealt with, so she made up her mind, bent her knees, and knelt down, pleading for the people, “Immortal Yu Mi, I am Bao Gu. We haven’t had a drop of rain in Qing Shan County for three years, and there has been no harvest. Countless people have starved to death. I beg the Immortal to use magic to bring rain and save the people from this disaster.”
“Please, Immortal, save us with rain…”
Outside the County Magistrate’s residence, everyone knelt down, and the people who had suffered from the drought for so long couldn’t help but cry at the thought of the three years of suffering and loss.
A sharp gaze shot towards Bao Gu’s head, but Bao Gu, who was bowing her head, didn’t notice at all.
Immortal Yu Mi said, “I have observed the celestial phenomena in this area, and it seems that there is a monster causing trouble. I will subdue and eliminate it, and you all will be safe.”
Bao Gu, hearing this, thought it sounded like an excuse to avoid responsibility, and quickly said, “Immortal Yu Mi, I have heard that immortals have the ability to manipulate the weather, make soldiers out of beans, and create food out of thin air. Currently, there is a three-year drought, and countless people are starving to death. I implore you, Immortal Yu Mi, to use your magic to bring rain and provide food for the people of Qing Shan County. We will be forever grateful and will record your benevolence in our books, build a shrine in your honor, and offer incense.”
The County Magistrate glared at Bao Gu, his gaze as if accusing Bao Gu of stealing his lines. He bowed to Immortal Yu Mi and said, “Immortal, on behalf of the people of Qing Shan County, I earnestly request your help in saving the lives of the people.”
The starving people on the ground all knelt down and pleaded in unison.
Immortal Yu Mi asked, “County Magistrate, do you want to address the symptoms or the root cause? If it’s the symptoms, I will immediately call upon my fellow disciples to use magic to bring rain. If it’s the root cause, I will personally take action to subdue the monster that is causing trouble and bring peace to the people.”
Bao Gu, upon hearing “call upon my fellow disciples to bring rain,” suddenly realized something and thought to himself, “So this Immortal Yu Mi can’t actually bring rain! Clearly, her cultivation level is not high enough!”
The County Magistrate and the kneeling starving people all pleaded with Immortal Yu Mi to subdue the monster causing trouble in Qing Shan County.
Immortal Yu Mi said, “I will go now!” She formed a sword seal with her hand and suddenly a small sword, emitting a colorful light, appeared in front of her. The small sword flew through the air and transformed into a large sword, seven feet long and one foot wide, under Immortal Yu Mi’s feet, lifting her up into the sky.
Bao Gu watched as the figure of Immortal Yu Mi flying towards Yun Ling Mountain became smaller and smaller. She muttered in doubt, “Can this Immortal Yu Mi with her thin arms and legs really defeat monsters? Could it be that she’s using the excuse of subduing monsters to escape back to Yun Ling Immortal Mountain?” As soon as she finished speaking, she suddenly saw the figure that had reached the sky violently shake, and then it disappeared without a trace.
The County Magistrate cleared his throat and shouted to the starving people kneeling outside his residence, “Fellow villagers, Immortal Yu Mi has gone to subdue the monster. Qing Shan County will soon return to peace. Please all return home and wait for good news from Immortal Yu Mi! Everyone, get up and disperse!”
The starving people knelt outside the County Magistrate’s residence, eagerly looking at him, not moving an inch.
The County Magistrate said again, “Fellow villagers, please disperse and go home!”
Bao Gu looked down at the pot in front of her, touched her hungry stomach that was already hurting, and firmly stayed in place without moving.
A person who looked like a steward whispered something to the County Magistrate. The County Magistrate suddenly realized something, stroked his beard, and said to the steward, “Go and see if the porridge is ready. If it is, bring it out.” He then remembered something and turned to Bao Gu, who was tightly holding onto the pot, and beckoned with a friendly face, saying, “Come, come!”
Bao Gu looked at the County Magistrate and then pointed at himself, asking in a low voice, “Me?”
The County Magistrate nodded with a smile and said, “Little girl, come here.”
Bao Gu quickly lifted the pot, stood up, and walked to the County Magistrate’s side. She curtsied and said, “Bao Gu greets the County Magistrate.”
The County Magistrate looked Bao Gu up and down and asked, “Are your parents still alive?”
Bao Gu replied softly, “They have passed away.”
“Oh!” The County Magistrate sighed and said, “It’s a natural disaster! Who else is left in your family?”
Bao Gu replied, “It’s just me.”
The County Magistrate asked with some surprise, “Just you?” Clearly, he was somewhat skeptical.
Bao Gu responded, “Yes.”
The person who looked like a butler on the side interjected, “Bao Gu, I see that you are well-dressed and have a beautiful face. If you are the only one left in your family, how did you…”
Bao Gu understood what the butler meant. They thought that everyone in her family had starved to death. In this place where people were starving to death, her family only had her left, and she hadn’t starved to death or been driven to desperation like other hungry people. It seemed that her situation was much better than the hungry people around her. She replied, “My father was the owner of a grain store on Dongcheng Lane. He passed away at the beginning of this year due to illness. After he died, I smashed the brick platform used for weighing grain in our house and found a few pounds of moldy miscellaneous grains. I also pried up the floor of the backyard granary and dug out the mouse holes. I found a few pounds of grain in the floor cracks and mouse holes. That’s how I survived until now.”
The County Magistrate sighed, “Ah, how pitiful! I’ve heard of your father. He was a good man.” He turned to the butler and instructed, “Go and get a few White Flour steamed buns for Bao Gu.” He sighed, “Bao Gu, what a good name. It means food!” He turned and walked through the gate of the County Magistrate’s mansion.
Bao Gu looked at the County Magistrate’s back and said, “…”
Bao Gu waited for a while, and the butler came out with a plate containing five steamed buns and put them into the clay pot that Bao Gu was holding.
Bao Gu was extremely hungry and wanted to immediately stuff the steamed buns into her stomach, but she also knew that it would be impolite to do so. After expressing her gratitude, she held the clay pot with five large steamed buns and returned to Aunt Zhou’s side next to the stone lion. She took out one steamed bun and gave it to Aunt Zhou, who was staring at the steamed bun with drooling mouth, and she grabbed one for herself and put it in her mouth. As she was about to take a bite of her steamed bun, she noticed that there was a circle of people around her, their eyes shining as they stared at the White Flour steamed bun in her hand, their mouths watering.
Aunt Zhou hugged her clay pot tightly, vigilantly staring at the hungry people who were crowding around. With her mouth full of steamed bun, she mumbled something unclear.
Bao Gu didn’t understand, but the situation around her made her feel something was wrong. She swallowed the steamed bun in her mouth in one gulp and asked, “Aunt Zhou, what did you say…” Before she could finish her sentence, the steamed bun in her hand, which she had just taken a big bite of, was suddenly snatched away by a hand that reached out, and it fell into the hands of a starving person who was so emaciated that he couldn’t be recognized as a human. The starving person wolfed it down in one gulp.
Aunt Zhou was also instantly overwhelmed by the hungry crowd. Following that, Bao Gu heard a “clang” sound of porcelain breaking, and saw her clay pot shatter on the ground. The steamed buns she had put in the clay pot were covered in dust and were immediately snatched away by countless dirty and skinny hands. The steamed buns were divided into several pieces under the scramble of the hungry people, and those who were extremely hungry immediately sent the crumbs of the steamed buns into their mouths. Several steamed buns were quickly devoured.
The persistent hungry people were crawling on the ground, searching for crumbs of steamed buns.
Aunt Zhou sat back against the stone lion, crying and pounding the ground, shouting, “You damn people! These were given by the County Magistrate!” Her clothes were torn, her hair was a mess, and there were several fresh shoe prints on her dirty clothes. There were several scratches on her bony neck and collarbone.
Tears welled up in Bao Gu’s eyes as she stared at her broken clay pot, her mouth flattened as she forcefully held back her tears. But in the end, she couldn’t hold back and cried out, “My White Flour steamed buns!” Tears fell down. Her White Flour steamed buns, her clay pot! She finally understood what Aunt Zhou’s unclear words meant: “Hurry up and eat, don’t let them snatch them away!” It was too late to understand! Her White Flour steamed buns were gone! Sob…