Hua Shan Yue looked around the forest, noticing the corpses of both guards and enemies. Looking at the blood and traces of battle, especially after seeing that thin handle-less little sword, he finally understood how horrifying the assassin was, his feeling changed involuntarily.
He asked the subordinate to get a horse ready, said, “Princess, the reinforcing troop was already on its way, we should leave as soon as possible.”
Princess Li Yu nodded her head, agreed to his arrangement, walking away under the protection of the heavy riders.
Hua Shan Yue then gave a cold glance at Ning Que. Looking at him indifferently, he was guessing the real relationship between this young soldier and the princess. However, no matter how hard he thought he could not see any potential from the youngster to threaten him, so his sight became indifferent.
The indifference hidden in his vision actually consisted of multiple probability. Ning Que understood this point very clearly. He quietly looked at Hua Shan Yue’s shadow, remembering this person’s previous warmth in his vision, understanding that he would not do any harm to the princess, yet his desire to possess the princess was way too strong.
Young general’s drastic love for the princess, honestly, had nothing to do with Ning Que, who was only a low rank soldier. However, Ning Que really disliked Hua Shan Yue’s indifferent attitude. He knew that this indifference represented strong power and background, represented contemptation.
Ning Que disliked, so he stood up, looked at the woman who was about to get on horseback, smiled and said, “Princess highness, actually since the beginning in Wei City, I had always wanted to say something to you…”
Hua Shan Yue suddenly looked back. The pretty princess sitting on the white horse frowned and turned back, silently staring at the young soldier standing by the firewoods, seemed about to scold, but ended up saying indifferently, “Tell me when we returned to Chang An.”
Before marching on, Hua Shang Yue whispered with the head of guards for a while, understanding what princess had encountered, and knowing what Ning Que did in yesterday’s assassin. He remained silent for a while, then walked to Ning Que and said calmly, “You made great contributions this time, there would be awards to you when we got back to Chang An….Little kid, nice job.”
Ning Que took Sang Sang to the shabby tribe and started to pack up.
Sang Sang fastened the big black umbrella back to her back, suddenly turned her head up, frowned and asked Ning Que, “Master, did you say ‘you have something to say’ on purpose?”
“Yeah.” Ning Que cleaned his knife, replied, “The guy called Hua Shan Yue was too hypocritical and too boring, I would have a bad mood when looking at him, so I have to give him a bad mood too.”
“Master, what were you going to tell the princess?” Sang Sang stopped what she was doing, asked curiously.
“How would I know?” Ning Que push in his knife into the sheath, shrugged his shoulder, said, “No matter what I can’t say, since the beginning when I saw you in the Wei City, I deeply and enthusiastically fell in love on you…..”
“But Hua Shan Yue may think that way, princess…may believe that you want to say this too.”
“Idiots think in idiots’ way. I am not surprised.” Ning Que answered.
The little maid looked at his eyes, said, “Don’t you think that you are really boring sometimes?”
Ning Que shrugged his shoulder, accepting the comment.
Sang Sang shook her head, looking at him after a few seconds, said, “Master, is it true that, in your eyes, everyone else besides you is an idiot?”
Ning Que thought seriously as as he fastened the handle of his knife. He thought for a long time, then replied seriously, “This is not my problem. It’s just that in this world, there are always many idiots doing stupid things. People like Hua Shan Yue are not supposed to count as an idiot, yet since he actually believes in love, then he is also an idiot.”
Sang Sang pointed at herself with her finger, asked seriously, “So in your eyes, am I also an idiot?”
Ning Que looked at this black little face, answered seriously, “You are not idiot, you are just silly.”
Before the group left the entry to the way of North Mountain, a little scene happened.
Some of the Gu Mountain Province calcaries stayed at the place. The assassins who dared to murder Tang princess would definitely not leave any traces, so they were not staying to find evidences, but rather to protect these corpses of soldiers. When the reinforced troop came, they would move the corpses back to Chang An and bury them – – no matter dead or alive, they can’t abandon not even one comrade, this is Tang’s military rule.
They carefully juxtaposed the soldiers’ corpses in the forest. On the other hand, they left the enemies’ corpses randomly on the ground, preparing to burn them into ashes. When they were going to burn the corpse of the mid-aged scholar, they felt hesitated. They knew that he was a Great Sword Master, so they were not sure if they should show him respect corresponding to his identity.
Hua Shan Yue slight frowned, deciding to bury this Great Sword Master. Yet at this point, the old man Lu Qing Chen whispered to them, “This person already fell into Demonism.”
Hearing the word Demonism, the young general’s face suddenly became cold. When he looked at the corpse again, there was no more respect in his eyes, but only contempt. He waved his hand like waving a fly away, said, “Throw it out and burn it.”
In the morning they moved out of the exit of the way of North Mountain, and at noon they encountered the big reinforced troop. Under the protection of hundreds of elite heavy riders, Tang’s fourth princess Li Yu continued moving towards the capital Chang An. At this point, no matter enemies inside or outside the empire could threaten her.
The days that followed, Li Yu and the barbarian prince had always stayed inside the wagon, and never appeared in the public.
Even though there were hundreds of calvaries, the guards who survived and Great Plain barbarians insisted to protecting the surrounding of the wagon, regardless of their wounded body. The elder Lu Qing Chen was at the second wagon. The heavily wounded guards and barbarians were at the wagons behind. As for Ning Que and his little maid Sang Sang, they were sitting on their own shabby wagon, far behind the others.
At the boundary of Gu Mountain province, all the heavy riders changed to light riders, so the group sped up suddenly. The solid wagons in the front could follow up, but Ning Que’s wagon could only barely keep up.
One cavalry ride near their wagon scolded angrily, “Your speed is way too slow, speed up!”
Like the first few days when they just left the Wei City, Ning Que appeared to be sleepy again. Looking like he would fall at any time, entirely depending on Sang Sang to laboriously carry him up. Hearing the furious scolding for the cavalry, he opened up his eyes and glanced at him, without speaking a word.
Looking at the view of the cavalry’s back, Sang Sang wiped out the sweats on her forehead, squinting her willow-like eyes, said, “Master, we seem to be abandoned.”
“Good usage of the word ‘abandoned,’if use ‘being forgotten,’ it will sound pretentious and showy.”
Ning Que looked at the wagon in the most front, thought about the princess highness who never showed up again, smiled and said, “To us, the poor people who need to gamble with lives to live, any type of pretentious and showy expressions are nasty.”
Sitting with a princess by the firewoods and telling a night of fable, such image, no matter at Chang An or the Great Plain, appeared to be fantastic and imaginative; such image was the real fable. It’s not real.
A little frontier soldier, occasionally rescued a noble by chance. Later on, he received corresponding awards, then they never interact anymore, this is the story of the real world.
In this world, there are heroic epics, yet there are not that many fables. If Romeo was not a noble’s son, but simply a garbage man, presumably Juliet will think ten times more before she dies for him.
Ning Que always had a clear understanding of such things. He knew that the hidden face of the girl by the firewoods was only dream like picture. More importantly, he had never really loved, but only appreciated the fact that she could also have such beautiful moment, so he did not really feel upset or disappointed.
After resupplying in Gu Mountain Province, the group did not rest for a moment. The princess was clearly in a hurry to head back to Chang An, where her lovely and caring father lived. They chose to travel directly south for the fastest route.
Hua Shan Yue did not misinterpret Ning Que’s relationship with the princess because he investigated Ning Que’s background and found out that he was just a regular soldier in a borderline city, nothing could ever happen between the two. Therefore Ning Que was not trouble during his stay at the Gu Mountain Province.
After setting up the camps to rest, Sang Sang went to a nearby river to wash the rice and clean up the fish. She made a big meal for dinner. The young master and the young maid took the main dish into their bowls and started eating happily. They did not stop until they were filled content and joyful.
A cold and harsh looking man walked by them and saw this scene, he shook his head and smiled, “We asked you guys to eat with us but you didn’t. We thought you were resenting us, but now I see you just find our food quite lacking….. It is your previous life’s fortune that you can get a hardworking maid like this.”
Comparing Sang Sang to a fortune of previous life was certainly an exaggerated compliment. But Sang Sang did not say anything, she just smiled and continued eating while Ning Que felt that it was obvious she was his precious gem.
The name of the incoming man was Peng Guo Tao, he was princess’s trusted guard leader who performed decisively and bravely in the bloody battle of North Mountain. He brought his subordinates and followed the princess into the Great Plain for a year, and encountered several ambushes when returning home. Out of all of his loyal subordinates, only seven of them remain alive; for sure this guard leader’s current feeling was complicated and hurt.
Ning Que and him were partners who overcame the threats of death in the North Mountain entrance. Relationships blossomed from blood and glory were usually more reliable than normal ones, and Ning Que’s performance during the battle will definitely be engraved into the memories of the soldiers presented.
This was the reason why the carriage disliked by the knights of Gu Mountain Province often welcomed in Peng Guo Tao and other guards as guests recently. The few barbarian soldiers also sent some strong alcohol to Ning Que and Sang Sang as gifts, but they rarely step anywhere closer to them than a ten yards radius. they avoided speaking to the master and the maid whenever they can. Perhaps they were scared of the story told in Shu Bi Lake.
“I know your backgrounds are certainly clean without problems, and you guys are probably not comfortable traveling with the unit of heavy riders. But there was no reply after submitting your request,” Peng Guo Tao looked at Ning Que and apologized, “You are a soldier sent from Wei City, you cannot leave unless the princess gives out the order.”
Ning Que scratched his head and said, “Then I’ll follow the group for a while longer.”
Ning Que expected the rest of the trip to Chang An to be calm and boring without any events, but the night after, Ning Que suddenly received an invitation from the other carriage. The elder, Lu Qing Chen, wanted to see him.
Ning Que was both surprised and happy, he tried to think for a long time, but decided to let it be. He put out the campfire next to his carriage and walked towards the other carriage with Sang Sang.
The curtain was lifted, the dim candle shined its light around the carriage. The psychic master Lu Qing Chen looked at Ning Que and the young maid bowed towards him respectfully. He was surprised, he expected the youngster to understand the reason that he invited him to his carriage. Wouldn’t Ning Que be worried that he won’t enlighten him when there was a third person present?
Then the elder remembered the story he heard around the campfire at the entrance to North Mountain. The story that he wanted to listen to even when he was meditating…. the story of a boy and girl struggling to survive in the vast and dangerous Min Mountain. Lu Qing Chen thought he realized the reason Ning Que brought Sang Sang along with him, therefore he was pleased and favored Ning Que even more.
In reality, Ning Que wasn’t really thinking. Bringing Sang Sang along with him to anywhere was just a deep-rooted habit of his.
The two hands of the elder crossed each other above his knees. He spoke warmly, “You know the reason I wanted you here.”
Ning Que was silent. he pressed his left hand onto his right hand’s back, and put them both onto the ground. His two knees were on the ground, and he bowed slowly until his forehead touched the back of his left hand. It was the most sincere gesture in Tang Empire.
A sincere gesture only came after a great favour. Although Lu Qing Chen did not do anything yet, and most likely wasn’t able to help him because xiuxing was a world only those who were qualified can enter, Ning Que still thanked him. Only people like Ning Que who memorized the entire Extreme Sense but still couldn’t find the Way can realize the sympathy and grace of a xiuxingist to help enlighten a regular person who did not have the quality to xiuxing.
Sang Sang did not understand the action of her young master, but after watching Ning Que bowed the sincere gesture, she also followed his actions and kneeled before the elder.
Lu Qing Chen observed this scene and smiled while brushing his beard. He lifted Ning Que up and concentrated his mind. The elder closed his eyes and place his two hands against Ning Que’s chest and back of the waist. A moment later, the warm candle light in the carriage became blurry, almost like countless dust started to swirl around in the air swiftly.
There was a dead silence, and time past without people realizing.
The dim and blurry candle light started to become clear and strong again. The elder gradually took back his hands and looked at Ning Que, whose hands were shaking because he was trying to suppress his expectations and wonderment, then sighed lightly.
“There is a breath between heaven and earth, and that breath is the so-called ki. Xiuxingist are able to detect the presence of ki because they have a strong mind that can sense it. Therefore the ability to xiuxing all depends on your strength of mind, and whether or not you can detect the presence of ki.”
“I observed you back in Wei city, and discovered that there is not a single motion of ki in your body. Today I throughly checked inside your body, and I was right, your Mountain of Qi and Sea of Soul is empty.”
“……………There is nothing in it.”