“Even for finding people to back up, the choice of place was also really important, if it were for me to decide, I would rather let the reinforcement be place to be on some road, instead of Pine Cone Hill.”
Ning Que looked at the marked point on the hand-drawn map. “They chose to go from the north mountain, yet forgot to think that even though this is a single road, the two sides of the road are covered by forest, which is easy for ambush.”
After finish this sentence, he remained silent for a while. He put the hand-drawn map into his clothes and shook his hand. He sneered at himself, “The so called ‘guide,’besides leading them into the way of north mountain, was more of a target to confuse the enemies by grabbing their attention. That stupid princess had not trusted General Ma at all, and therefore she won’t trust me either.”
“One idiot is leading a group of idiots.” Ning Que thought about the possible incoming ambush on the way of north mountain, the possible nonexistence of the reinforcement troop, his feeling became heavier and lost. He lowered his voice and said harshly, “Stayed about a year on the Great Plain, yet still did not become any smarter, I don’t understand where did she get her reputation from.”
“Kang!” Ning Que took out the three slightly rusty swords and opened up a water bag. He poured water on the grindstone and began to grind silently. After entering the path of north mountain, there may be several continuous fights. While it’s too late to grind right before the fights, he could at least calm himself down by doing so.
“If we separate from them as soon as we entered the way of north mountain, how can you get any chance to ask that elder?” Sang Sang asked.
“Staying alive is the most important thing.” Ning Que looked down to grind his knife, slowly but determinedly,”As long as we can arrive Chang An alive, we can always find opportunities to learn those things. Yet if we our lives in the hands of that group of idiots, we won’t have any more chances.”
The more they went South, the higher the temperature rose. In theory the landscape outside was supposed to become fresher, But because this group went onto the higher altitudes of Mian Mountain, the green grasses around the carriage lessened little by little becoming tall trees on the sides. The leaves were not yet green, keeping the sternness from last year’s fall and winter.
As the temperature lowered, a tense and depressive aura covered the entire carriage. Everyone understood, the big figure in Chang An who dared to plot to murder the princess, if he wanted to prevent the princess from peacefully returning to the Capital, the Mian Mountain between the frontier and the inner provinces would be his last chance.
During the tense caution and search, the carriage traveled for days and eventually arrived at the entry of the path of the north mountain. Looking at the gloomy dense forest, most people in the team did not feel worried like Ning Que did, but became much more relieved.
That pretty maid had chat with Sang Sang for much less time in these days. Most of the time she remained on the second wagon. When she got off in the evening, she even had a little smile.
When she decided to leave the Great Plain, she had already sent messengers into the territory of the empire. Although it was difficult to gather a large army to escort the princess home, the messenger had enough time to contact some loyal subordinates of the princess.
Ten days ago when she received the emergency report from Gu Shan state, she did not hesitate for a moment and went straight into the North Mountain road. Her determination was cause by her trust in the young commandery of the Gu Shan state. She believed that he already lead his troops into the south opening of the North Mountain.
Although she left Tang empire for a year already, but she still believe that her subordinates were still loyal to her. Some people might be bribed by that woman in the Royal Palace and turned against her, but Hua Shan Yue definitely would not, because……his eyes were always so gentle when looking at her.
When the group was thirty miles from the meeting point, it started to set up camps and rest in the dusk. Traveling through the forest in midnight seemed like a risky choice from all angles. Some guards even suggested her to wait outside of North Mountain and wait for Hua Shan Yue’s troop to aid the party.
As for this suggestion, she was still thinking. But whatever the situation, she and the child were very safe for now, gentle smiles once again crawled back onto her soft cheeks. Happiness once again seemed to return to the entire carriage.
In the light of dusk, a simple camp was set right outside of the circular formation of the carriage. The guards asked one time, but the owner of camp stayed there and just wouldn’t join the formation created by the five carriages and supply carts.
“If we don’t set the camp further away from the formation, how are we going to run away when emergencies happen?” Ning Que explained, he tied the big black umbrella up with grass string and made a pretty flower knot, then put it on Sang Sang’s back.
Sang Sang raised her head, looking at his chin with a hint of mustache and asked, “If we ran away, what are they going to do?”
Ning Que was checking if the bowstrings were damped. When he heard the question, he turned around and looked at the little dark face of the maid. After a period of silence he said earnestly, “You might have forgotten what happened when you were young, but I did not.”
“I dug you out of a corpse pile. Since I survived when I was young, I endured some struggles that normal people would not even imagine.”
“Sang Sang, you should always remember that we struggled really, really hard….. even gambled our lives to stay alive in this world. If we struggle so much to live, then we should not die so easily.”
After saying this sentence, Ning Que did not explain any further. He put the freshly sharpened swords into their sheaths, used some grass string to wrap around them and coordinated the sheaths to a perfect distance, then put them onto his back.
Sang Sang did not ask any further and started packing silently. She used her small hands to test the straightness of each arrows. Because she know when darkness of night fell upon the earth, it will be the moment she and Ning Que would ran off into the vast and open Mt. Min. She was not afraid, because when she was younger, they had traveled through the mountain and forest countless times during the night.
Right at this moment, the hand of Ning Que that was holding the sheaths stiffened.
The curtain of the simple camp was lifted by a single hand. The maid walked in, but the smile on her delicate face turned into frozen ice.
Her original purpose was to come chat with Sang Sang, but she did not expect to see the two packing their belongings. It was easy to guess that they wanted to leave.
“What are you guys doing?” She stared coldly at Ning Que’s face and said, “At a time like this, your action is hard to not be considered as suspicious.”
Ning Que did not speak a word at first, but smiled a moment later. He was ready to explain. Suddenly his ears moved a little, the dimples on his face disappeared and his expression became heavy and serious. Quickly he carried the three swords onto his back and pushed the maid aside unpolitely and walked out the camp.
The camps were located right outside of the opening into North Mountain. There was no dense forest covering them. The formation was comfortably warm.and showered under the last light of dusk. But at this moment the light seemed to turn to a layer of crimson red.
The wind traveled through the newly awakened forest and whistled lowly, almost like crying of ghosts. Ning Que wrinkled his eyebrows and observed the depths of the forest closely. He listened to the details of the whistles carefully, and suddenly yelled, “Ambush!”
The silent noise in the low-pitched whistle of the wind finally showed its true identity. An arrow shot from the forest and flew straight into the fancy carriage like a thunder strike!