Desert Arc ー Chapter 20 (Part 2): Night Attack
Old Monk nodded. “If that’s the case, great!” He came over to hit the acupuncture point on Jue Ming and the child continued to sleep soundly.
Xiao Xuan flatly refused. “I won’t abandon her. If I’m leaving, then we have to leave together.”
I protested, “Everyone will only get captured if you bring me along!”
Xiao Xuan was furious. “Hide? They brought dogs. Where can you hide?”
“I can hide right here.” I persuaded, “The cave is deep and there’s also the smell of beasts so the dogs won’t come. Besides, I have medicine with me.”
Xiao Xuan bellowed, “No!”
Old Monk agreed. “Great!”
Xiao Xuan yelled, “Great Master!”
Old Monk advised him, “Your Highness, please prioritize everyone’s interest and think of the big picture! Young Lady Min is clever and Heaven helps the worthy. She will definitely be fine.”
Damn baldy. If I’m really sacrificed because of this, are you going to establish a memorial hall for me, recite Buddhist scriptures and perform ceremonies for my soul to find peace?
Xiao Xuan was in a great deal of agony and was really in a dilemma. His eyebrows were wrung up together and his expression was ferocious and scary. He was stubborn. “I can’t leave you behind!”
I understood this very well. This situation was just like the precipice where both of us are hugging to a vine as we dangled from the cliff but the vine can only bear the weight of one person. One person has to let go of his hands and jump down but as long as the other person has a conscience, he would not be able to accept this sacrifice. However, there is only death if the two people continue to hug onto the vine together.
No no, our relationship is still not so close until we should die together.
Xiao Xuan suddenly said, “Why don’t you let Great Master bring you to leave together?”
I smiled. “That bunch of people clearly came to chase after you three. Even if I’m captured, on the account that I’m someone irrelevant and that my father is Grand Tutor Xie, they also wouldn’t kill me. At most, I’ll just suffer some external pain. Old gramps is already at this age already, it’s better for me to not burden him.” ー Only after a very long time did it occur to my mind that even if the Zhao Family won’t kill me, Miss Xie Zhaoke who was on the verge of insanity would also personally dispose of me. Poor me…
Old Monk’s ears pricked up as if he had heard something. He urged, “Move faster!”
Xiao Xuan dragged me outside. I was impatient and flung his hand away. “Elopement won’t cause me to lose my head. All of you, quickly scram. Don’t implicate me!”
Old Monk pulled Xiao Xuan and wanted to leave. Fire was spurting out from Xiao Xuan’s eyes. At this moment, Little Jue Ming who was in his arms suddenly stirred. He stared blankly as if he had just remembered this child.
I smiled and shook that fragrant pouch on his waist. “Bring the child to a safe location first. Then, come back to look for me.”
Xiao Xuan kept staring at me. His gaze was like two beams of searchlight illuminating my brilliant and lofty figure.
I smiled at him. He clenched his teeth and raised his hand to toss that sword to me.
Old Monk called out, “Your Highness!”
Xiao Xuan instructed, “Take this ‘Pure Green Jade’ to protect yourself well.”
I didn’t know whether I should laugh or cry. Your Highness, do you want me to use this sword to protect myself or commit suicide?
Xiao Xuan ordered, “Stay here and don’t run around. I will definitely come back to get you!”
Old Monk finally hastily pulled Xiao Xuan and dashed away. I hid in the mountain cave and threw those animal bones outside as much as possible. As I walked further into the cave, it became increasingly narrower. In the end, I could only huddle myself into a ball as I squatted at the corner. After being washed by water, I no longer had the self-defense medicine I often carried on me. I also didn’t have the chance to work on the herbs I had picked these few days so I could only depend on my luck now.
Not long after, I could hear the sound of birds being alarmed and flying off in the woods. Then, the sound of a dog barking could be heard. As I expected, the dog sniffed the remnants of the smell left by the beasts but it only barked at the entrance of the cave and didn’t dare to enter.
A surprised voice sounded. “Lord Ling, there’s a mountain cave here!”
“Lord, the ash is still hot!”
Amidst the cacophony of a jumble of sound of footsteps and the sound of a dog barking, a cold voice clearly traveled into my ears. “Go in to search!”
A few soldiers carried a torch as they entered the cave. I was hiding in the innermost part of the cave so my body was almost embedded in the shadow of the rock. Those few robust men walked until a place not far from me before they turned their head to report, “Lord, we can’t enter the back anymore.”
The men remarked, “They’re bringing a woman and child along with them. They can’t travel fast.”
“Lord, they seemed to have gone eastwards.”
The man resolutely commanded, “Continue chasing!”
I heaved a sigh of relief.
The sound of humans gradually faded as they went further away. I huddled between the narrow space between two rocks and was freezing until I was trembling but I didn’t dare to go out. As soon as there were any rustling movements from the woods, I would jump in fright.
I stayed like this for about more than half an hour before I finally climbed out. I exercised my joints which were frozen until they were making creaking sounds and threw Xiao Xuan’s instructions to the back of my mind. With the help of the dim moonlight, I made my way into the woods.
At that moment, a gust of gale along with a crisp sound attacked me from my back. I couldn’t guard against it in time and abruptly felt a burning sensation on my back. Then, I was struck until I was lying prone on the ground.
The acute pain caused my eyes to blur and my remaining reasoning allowed me to not cry out.
After I fell down, my first action was to climb up and continue running into the woods.
But I had only run more than 10 meters when another gust of gale came attacking. This time, I paid attention and dodged one side. The whip brushed past my arm and hit the tree beside me. Even under such dim light, I could see that the bark of the tree was beaten until a piece flew off.
I have really underestimated them this time!
What kind of best quality person who was utterly devoid of conscience and was the last of his line did the Zhao Family dispatch to come kill us?
Without the time to think further, the next whip closely ensued. I could only see it but couldn’t evade it. I inwardly cried, ‘Am I going to die again?’ In a moment of desperation, I pulled out the sword Xiao Xuan gave. The whip struck the sword and I could only see white sparks shooting out as the tremendous force shook me back. I tripped over a vine on the floor and didn’t have the time to panic before I fell backward. The end of that whip brushed past my cheek while I fell down and rolled down according to the topography of the mountain.
The precipitous slope caused me to roll down in an instant like a log. My head spun and my body was chafed by shrubs and stones until it extremely hurt. There was no way for me to control my body at all so I only continuously rolled down very far away. When I was desperately trying to grab onto something in my panic, my feet suddenly stepped on thin air and my body experienced weightlessness as it was suspended in midair. My hand tightly pulled on a vine at the last juncture.
The pain all over my body was now nothing much. The fact that my legs were hanging in the air was what made all the fine hair on my body to stand up.
No no no, I don’t need a rare martial arts book, I don’t want to fall down the cliff!
My leg randomly tried to tread around in the air. Fortunately, it stepped on a protruding tree root so I could barely stand.
The cloud covered the moon. In the middle of the darkness, I heard the rustling sound of footsteps approaching. Someone had come to the cliffside.
I held my breath as my heart palpitated like a drum.
A cold snort could be heard and it was like a sharp sword which broke my calmness. Trepidation rushed forth and my whole body trembled.
That blurry tall figure looked down on me and unhurriedly raised his hand. It was if the silver whip was concentrated with all the rays of light in the world and it was so bright that it was dazzling. It drew a curve gracefully and flew towards me.
I closed my eyes in despair.
Alright, I’m back haha. I’m not sure how many of you read my announcement last time but anyway, there’s a new announcement so do check it out for the ‘mass’ release and updates. 🙂