Chapter 575 - The Best Trap

“Since the well water can be used, then we will water the horses in the future from it ah!” Commander Liu also tasted the water in the well and nodded his head in agreement.

By the time the group of them were back at the stable, the red horse, who was previously the most ill out of all of them, was already able to stand up again. Its appetite was quite good and it had finished all of the special fodder had been sent over. Furthermore, it looked as if it wanted to eat more. The other few sick horses had also started to eat after drinking the water in the manger. However, they seemed to be only interested in the special fodder and disdained the rest of the food as beneath them.

“So picky!” Doctor Wang patted each horse and there was finally the sign of a smile on his thin and dried up old face. To him, there was nothing better than a horse getting well to make a person happy.

“Master, Commander!” Zhang Qun, who had been sent off to experiment with the new bait, ran back excitedly, “This bait is quite effective at luring horses over. I tried a few times and found out that it has a range of around five hundred meters. Any further and its effects decrease by about half! Furthermore, the horses really seem to like eating this bait. When this subordinate tried to snatch a piece away from a horse, I was almost bitten by that animal!”

“As long as it’s effective! Lass, when you go back, go make a few more pieces of this bait. Tomorrow, this prince will take you out to lure some wild horses! Didn’t you have your eye on that head stallion earlier, eh? This prince will tame it for you to become a riding steed!”

Xiaocao had done quite a lot today for the stud farm. She not only fixed the problem of catching the wily wild horses but she also helped heal the sick ones at the farm. He obviously knew it all had something to do with her. After all, he was pretty sure the little lass had done something with the fodder that was given to that very ill red horse.

Zhu Junyang could long tell that the little lass was very interested in catching wild horses. As a reward, he was going to fulfill her wishes and take her out to play!

The next day, at the crack of dawn, Zhu Junyang and Commander Liu split into two groups as they headed into the deep grasslands. Zhu Junyang’s goal was to meet up with that herd of wild horses. When they headed out, he only brought along a few trusted aides with him, among them included Hou Xiaoliang and Head Steward Liu.

The last time they were out, although they had startled that herd of horses, the horses didn’t feel threatened as they didn’t show their faces to the animals. Thus, they headed towards that particular valley again. Zhu Junyang decided to set the trap not far from the opening of the valley. There were a few wizened old trees in the area with lush verdant branches that criss-crossed and acted as a perfect screen. It was the perfect hiding place for the humans. Not far from the trees, they set up the traps to capture the horses and they baited the traps with the special bait that no horse could resist.

They had prepared several traps like this throughout the valley. Each one had a trusted aide guarding it. Zhu Junyang and Yu Xiaocao were sitting in ambush at the trap that was the deepest within the valley. Before long, the herd of horses began to move. The smell of the bait was really too attractive to them. Even with the warning of the head stallion, there were still some wild horses who ignored him to head to the trap in the outermost part of the valley.

A few of the wild horses had already been lured over by the smell. The aides, who were next to the traps, hurriedly placed out some more bait as quietly as they could into the traps. If any horse got close, the person near the trap would add an additional piece of bait. Before long, even Zhu Junyang, who was the one closest to the innermost part of the valley, had started putting out bait. As for the aide stationed in the outer part of the valley, there was already a horse who had been lured in!

“One’s here!” Yu Xiaocao mouthed a signal at Zhu Junyang. The young maiden was currently lying on the grass and she had a woven grass hat on her head. On top of the hat was a bunch of colorful flowers. She was a beautifully delicate young maiden to begin with and now with that childish looking hat on top, she looked even more lively and vivacious.

As for the man next to her, Royal Prince Yang, who gave off an air of coldness and killing intent, he was also wearing the exact same flower grass hat on his head as well. If his subordinates could see him now, they would all exclaim that ‘an illustrious man was ruined just like that’!

Zhu Junyang’s phoenix eyes held a hint of helplessness in them. He really wanted to take off the silly looking woven grass hat but the little maiden next to him claimed that he looked very handsome with it on. She even stated that the hat suited him more than anyone else she had seen. He couldn’t bear to not follow her ideas, so he rejoiced that it was only the two of them in the area. There was no third party to see just how foolish he looked right now.

He looked in the direction that Xiaocao had pointed out and saw a plump and sturdy light buckskin horse slowly heading towards their trap. This buckskin colored horse was probably second only to the head stallion in the herd of wild horses. If they were able to tame and train it well, it wouldn’t be any worse than his Fierce Wind! Zhu Junyang immediately became enthused at the prospect and focused all of his attention at luring this horse over.

It was getting closer and closer! The light buckskin horse was already within the vicinity of the trap and its mouth was already going into the carefully crafted noose. Suddenly, it raised its head as if it had sensed some danger nearby and retreated a couple of steps. However, the smell of the bait was truly too alluring. It was akin to the delicious scent of red braised pork to a person who had been starving for a long time. No matter how strong that person’s will power was, he or she would definitely be unable to resist eating that food in the end, so how could a mere horse resist this?

The light buckskin colored horse looked left and right and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, so it stepped forward again. It stretched out its long neck and grabbed the piece of bait, taking it out. It closed its eyes as it enjoyed the taste of the food. It was truly too delicious! In fact, it could tell that this food held the power to help it become more powerful and strong. If it was able to eat more, perhaps, in the future, it’d be able to challenge the head stallion and take over the herd. That way, it would become the leader instead!

With its defenses completely obliterated by the tasty food, the light buckskin colored horse stuck its head fully into the noose and began to eat the remaining few pieces of bait inside. Using this opportunity, Zhu Junyang pulled sharply on the rope, tightening the noose around the buckskin horse's neck. The startled horse let out a scared whinny and struggled fiercely to throw this rope off of it. Unfortunately, it was too late for the horse. It had already been tightly restrained by that strong piece of rope, and the person holding the other end of the rope was Zhu Junyang, who had a monstrous strength in his two large hands.

The alarmed scream of the buckskin horse seemed to be a signal. Other whinnies from horses could be heard from the other traps. As for the horses that were luckily able to escape, the sounds of their frantic hooves thundering were soon heard. Royal Prince Yang could also hear the yells of his trusted aides.

“Lass, look…” When Zhu Junyang turned his head towards the direction of where Xiaocao was previously hiding, he discovered that the slight and delicate figure of the little lass was nowhere to be seen. He had been too focused earlier at his task at hand that he couldn't even sense when the little lass had left. Fortunately, there was no one else around them so he was quite sure that no one had tried to kidnap her. 

He tightened his grip on the rope. No matter how hard that buckskin horse struggled or jumped, it was unable to free itself. Zhu Junyang leapt up and landed on the back of the horse, using his two legs to grip tightly to keep his seat. As an arrogant wild horse, how could it possibly allow a human to easily ride it? The buckskin horse became frantic and crazy, jumping up and down and bucking with all of its might to get this hateful human off. However, Zhu Junyang’s equestrian skills were consummate and he was quite skilled at taming and training horses. It was as if he was anchored onto the wild horse's back. As he resisted the buckskin horse’s attempt to buck him off, he scanned the area quickly, looking for any sign of Yu Xiaocao.

Today, in order to hide herself better, Xiaocao had especially worn a set of clothing that was a light green color and also wore the woven grass hat. With that on, she pretty much melted into the environment. However, Zhu Junyang was still able to keenly spot where she was currently.

That little lass had some guts. He didn’t know when she managed or what method she used to get closer to the herd of horses but the horses in the herd didn’t seem to reject her at all. After the buckskin horse began to whinny and scream in protest, the herd of horses, which had previously been calm and idle, began to move. Worry entwined around Zhu Junyang’s heart as he was afraid the horses’ frantic movements would end up inadvertently hurting the young maiden.

That was right. While Zhu Junyang had focused his entire attention on luring and trapping the buckskin horse, Xiaocao suddenly had an idea come to mind. She sprinkled some mystic-stone water on her body and carefully left that hidden area with her pouch of ‘bait’. She slowly headed towards the wild horse herd step by step.

As expected, when the members of the herd smelled the mystic-stone water on her, they didn’t reject her. Instead, there were even a few horses who stupidly stepped closer to her and used their noses to take a gentle whiff of her body. They almost started to lick her.

Yu Xiaocao didn’t want to get a face full of horse saliva, so she took out a bit of bait from her pouch that had been dipped in mystic-stone water and carefully offered it to one of the horses next to her. She knew that wild horses were quite sensitive and was afraid that if her movements were too large, she’d end up frightening them. Fortunately, the horses were completely focused on the bait in her hands. A dun-colored horse inquisitively stretched out its mouth and chowed down on the ‘bait’ in her hands. When the other horses saw that it was clearly enjoying the treat, they also headed over and begged for food from her.

If an outsider had seen this, they would have never believed that these horses, that were willing to get closer to a human, were actually wild and untamed horses and not horses that were familiar with humans.

What made Xiaocao even more happy was that the head stallion, the horse that had a flawlessly white coat, didn’t seem to reject her getting closer either. The white horse seemed to have a more aloof personality. Although it was also interested in bait in her hands, it continued to quietly stand where it was while the other horses in the herd squeezed over. Its large, tranquil black eyes seemed to hold a bit of arrogance as it gently stared at Xiaocao. It didn’t seem to regard her as a dangerous human and instead seemed to take her as one of its own. The scent of mystic-stone water coming off of her body was able to transcend the limits of species and seemed to make any creature want to get closer to her.

Xiaocao slowly stepped closer to the white horse carefully. When she saw that the horse didn’t reject her attempt, she smiled sweetly at the creature and offered it a piece of ‘bait’. The white horse naturally took the offered food from Xiaocao’s hands as if it was entitled to it. Xiaocao, who was biased, then fed the rest of the bait in her pouch to this flawlessly white horse.

Although the white horse she had ridden here was quite beautiful, compared to this stallion, it was a mere slag. The white horse in front of her was the perfect example of what a horse should look like. She couldn't see a single flaw on it.    

The white horse ate her bait and now regarded her more intimately. When she took out a hand to pet its neck, it didn’t refuse her advances at all. In fact, compared to her arrogant Little Red, it even seemed more gentle.

However, its gentle side immediately disappeared when the sounds of alarmed horses began. As the leader of the herd, it stretched out its neck and trumpeted out an order while its hooves stamped on the ground. The other horses around Xiaocao also began to move around restlessly. As for the horses on the outside of the herd, when they heard the white horse scream out a warning, they began to flee in panic and run towards the deep valley. 

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Myst.2's Thoughts

Sanguine’s thoughts: Stampede!

Translator: Sanguine