In the evening, the pair’s meal really improved greatly. The campfire burned viciously as it cooked the dead rabbit that was held over it.
Sheng Chumu gleefully tore off a rabbit’s leg and gave it to Fu Rou. As she took a bite, her eyes lit up with delight.
Sheng Chumu’s eyes curved into a smile and he wiped Fu Rou’s lips sweetly. He said, “You can rest assured if you are with me. Even if we are a thousand miles from our hometown and hiding our true identities, I promise I will give you a good life.” As long as he could bring happiness to his lover, he would be a hero.
“Hunting wild animals can fill us but where are we going to live?” They could not live without a roof over their heads.
“That is easy, I can hunt a few more tomorrow and sell them in the city. With the money, we can stay at an inn.” All of a sudden, Sheng Chumu whipped his head around and became alert. His expression was cold as he questioned, “Who is it?”
The underbrush moved and a skinny old man dressed in rags led a tiny young girl out. She pointed towards the rabbit meat the two were enjoying.
Fu Rou immediately understood. She waved, beckoning the young girl forward, and offered. “Don’t be afraid, come and sit with us.”
The old man was hesitating but the young girl immediately darted towards Fu Rou. She snatched the rabbit meat and started to eat.
Once the rabbit had been devoured, the four of them started to become more friendly towards each other.
The old man explained that he lived in Lion Mountain. However, the arrival of a few bandits meant that the farmers could no longer survive. On a good year, the bandits would steal the food from the families, not even sparing the ducks and chickens. Unfortunately, on a bad year, the bandits would take the women. The young girl’s mother was taken away by the bandits.
Fu Rou’s heart clenched with pain as she listened. She braided the girl’s hair and asked her for her name. The young girl played with her braids and ran into the field. She plucked a flower and shyly gave it to Fu Rou.
The old man explained, “My granddaughter was born mute.”
Fu Rou was puzzled and she asked, “Old man, did the government just ignore the bandit problem in your village?”
“It was no use. One time, a few thousand troops came to eradicate the bandits from the village. While they said they succeeded and returned to the city, the bandits were still around. After the incident, the bandits started to steal more than ever before.” The old man shook his head. His wrinkled face showed the pain and agony he had suffered.
Sheng Chumu understood this issue especially well. He added, “Some troops are afraid of fighting to their deaths. They randomly brandish their swords at the scene and return to the court to report. They use the opportunity to raise their ranks. A bunch of useless troops! If I had two thousand men on horses, I would…”
He suddenly felt Fu Rou’s gaze on him and immediately shut his mouth. That was right, he had already made the choice to abandon everything.
The old man did not suspect anything and continued, “The present times are definitely more stable than the chaos before. Even if we struggle to get food everyday, we can still survive. In the past, starved corpses could be seen everywhere. However, men can never be happy and we will always be hopeful. The war has ended. If there was another hero like Sheng Xiaojing who can defeat all evil and bandits, life would be so much better.”
Sheng Chumu could not help but blurt, “You know Sheng Xiaojing?”
“Who wouldn’t know Sheng Xiaojing? It is said that the bad guys will become out of breath from a shout and a wave of the axe of Sheng Xiaojing.” The old man revealed in marvel.
Sheng Chumu proudly laughed, “Right right! That is what I heard of too!”
The old man laughed bitterly, “However, it is said that he became court official and he no longer battles. Otherwise, why didn’t he go to our Lion Mountain and help us fight away the bad guys?”
Sheng Chumu defended his father. “Sheng Xiaojing is also human. He has aged and is old now, he should have the time to retire and enjoy, right?”
“Right, right. When we grow old, the only thing we wish for is for our children to be happy. If our children laugh and play, that is our happiness. Sheng Xiaojing is a hero, he should have his own happiness. Unlike me, my wife and children were taken by the bandits. My stupid son disappeared after he refused to give up fighting for them. I am the only one left, an old, white-haired man. What is the point of living? However, I cannot die, I still have my granddaughter. I am old enough and I do not care for myself but I just hope and pray that my granddaughter can have a better life.”
Sheng Chumu stared at the old man and felt overwhelmed. It was like he was staring at his father. Although Sheng Xiaojing had not said anything, when Sheng Chumu returned home alive, he had fainted from the bulk of emotions he felt. Sheng Chumu sighed as he wondered if his father was worried for him.
Fu Rou silently stared at Sheng Chumu, not saying anything.
The next morning, the old man and his granddaughter continued on their journey to find his son and his daughter-in-law. The young girl gave Fu Rou a flower and waved goodbye to her before leaving.
Sheng Chumu also sent them off.
Fu Rou stared at him. She knew that he did not have a good rest at night as he was calling for his father in his sleep. The old man had made him think of his father as well. Fu Rou also missed her parents.
“Chumu, let’s go back.” She felt guilty by leaving without bidding farewell. With a guilty heart, how much further could they go?
“No!” Sheng Chumu turned around sharply. With stern eyes, he stubbornly said, “It was so difficult for us to reach this point. I must not give up. You cannot give up too!”
At Duke Chen Residence, bright lights lit up the front doors and congratulatory words were pasted on the walls.
Lu Yingying sat by a window alone, eavesdropping on the conversations of passers-by outside. Lu Hanxing was getting married and the residence was very busy that day. However, her brother was still unconscious and there was no knowing when he would wake up.
Fu Yin entered the room and bowed towards Lu Yingying politely. Lu Yingying forced a smile and asked, “Is Elder Brother doing better?
“I did according to what you said and fed him a pill each day but he does not appear to be doing any better. However, Imperial Physician Zhang said that the blood clot in Young Master’s brain is dispersing and as long as we persevere, there will be hope…” Fu Yin suddenly stopped and hesitated for a while before continuing, “Actually, I would like to ask Young Miss who gave you that Zhenzhu Life-saving Pill?”
A suspicious glare crossed Lu Yingying’s eyes and she bit her lip. “Why are you asking me this suddenly?”
“There is only one pill left. If you could get another bottle, or tell me where to find it, I can go…”
Lu Yingying maintained a meek smile on her face but she wanted to cry. She said, “Another bottle? It is a pity but what I used to exchange for this bottle Zhenshu Life-saving Pill could only be used once. There is no second chance.”
Fu Yin jumped with shock and apologised, “It is my fault. It must not have been easy to obtain such precious medicine. I have troubled you.”
“You did not say anything wrong. I am useless and I cannot help much.” Lu Yingying knew that she should give up soon. He was a person who was not even willing to smile at her and someone who exchanged a bottle of medicine for her most valuable thing. Why should she sacrifice herself?
“You have become skinnier recently.” Fu Yin carefully asked, “Is there something on your mind?”
“My heart is no longer around. What can I have in mind?” Lu Yingying spoke without thinking but suddenly observed Fu Yin’s shocked expression. She said, “I have been feeling down ever since Elder Brother met with his incident. I must have spoken out of place. Yin’er, please take care of Elder Brother.”
Fu Yin was worried about Lu Yingying. However, she forgot about Lu Yingying when she returned to Lu Qi’s room.
She held his hand strongly and cried, “It is all my fault. It is all my fault that you are like this. From the day I first met you, I did not like you. I cursed at you because you are Lu Yunji’s son and you are the cousin of Lu Hanxing, who caused my mother’s death. I have been lying to you although you took such great care at me. It is my fault, I should not have cursed you. I don’t want you to die. Open your eyes and look at me, please? I beg you, don’t punish me like that.”
She suddenly felt a force gripping her hand. She sat up with a bolt and saw Lu Qi holding her hand. Her happiness overflowed instantly.
Lu Qi opened his eyes and stared at Fu Yin.
Fu Yin thought he heard whatever she said and her heart raced.
“Yin’er…” Lu Qi reached out a hand and held her face. He asked, “Why have you become skinnier?”
Fu Yin heaved a sigh of relief but her vision suddenly turned blur and she fainted.
Lu Yunji immediately called for Imperial Physician Zhang when he heard that his son had regained consciousness. However, Lu Qi desperately asked Imperial Physician Zhang to look at Fu Yin.
Imperial Physician Zhang carefully took Fu Yin’s hand and measured a pulse. He smiled, “Congratulations, congratulations! This young lady serves you right? She is pregnant!”
Lu Yunji burst out with laughter. “Great! Great! My son is awake and I will be getting a grandchild soon! Hanxing’s marriage has been followed by better and better things!”
A few servants carried Fu Yin back to her room. Imperial Physician Zhang prescribed her some medication and left Lu Yunji and Lu Qi in the room.
Lu Qi stiffened and revealed, “Father, it was Lu Hanxing who revealed the path we were taking to Hong Yide. He wanted to kill me.”
Lu Yunji was shocked. Hatred slowly filled his eyes and his expression darkened.Previous Chapter Next Chapter