Book 8 Chapter 2 - Because I Want to, That’s Why I Stayed Behind

Lin Xi sat down under the shade of a tree.

As early as when he was in Green Luan Academy, he already knew that the composition of Yunqin’s border army personnel was extremely complex, comprising of young soldiers who were full of hot-bloodedness and ideals, criminals banished to atone for their crimes, fallen nobles who wished to recreate their families’ glory, impoverished individuals who wished to use contributions to change their lives, as well as some children of followers who previously worked for the army.

An environment that was extremely nasty, the death of some comrades and the constant threat of death, this would make many arrogant and fierce individuals become even more arrogant and fierce, to the extent where it would leave behind psychological trauma that was difficult to recover from deep within their hearts. On the surface, some soldiers looked like ordinary people, but they actually carried extremely severe psychological illnesses inside. Yunqin’s War Priests, while spreading faith through the army, would also treat these soldiers’ psychological problems, this was also one of their main missions.

Toughness, silence and pressure made most members of the border army not that easy to communicate with.

Under this type of situation, if one wanted to obtain their trust and acceptance, it naturally became even more difficult.

Lin Xi already fully experienced the arrogance and unreasonableness of Dragon Snake Border Army. It had already been three days since he was stationed in Sheep Point Field Mountain’s Patrol Army, but during these three days, apart from soldiers bringing over food and water, no one else paid him any attention. It was to the extent where the people in this troop would normally avoid appearing in his line of sight. He was completely alone in this valley.

For example, right now, he was under the shade of a yellow vine, looking at the mountains, looking at the trees… In those black-armored soldiers’ eyes, he might only be able to senselessly stare at the mountains.

However, Lin Xi’s heart was instead extremely calm, not having much dissatisfaction.

These white mountains, black waters and the camps surrounding this place, for him, they were another unfamiliar and new world. There was no way he could become sick of it in just a few days of time.

When he was still on his journey, when he saw this Dragon Snake Mountain Range covered in a massive, overgrown primitive forest, the occasional tall watchtowers, man-made stone paths, as well as some stone walls and camp ruins left behind from war, he was already a bit stunned and shocked, as if he had entered a magical poetic saga. Meanwhile, this camp in Sheep Point Field Mountain carried a bit of a similar feeling to the buildings in the ‘The Hobbit’.

The railings piled up through rough and large logs didn’t have any flags, but under many shaded areas, there were totems carved out from tree stumps that represented the Patrol Army: A blade wielding skull face general standing next to a long horned deer. 

The soldiers here lived in sturdy black leather tents covered in dry turf.

Because he only saw himself as a tourist of this world, what Qin Xiyue said wasn’t wrong… He wouldn’t accept the notion of glory being greater than oneself, if he didn’t want to come here and take a look, no one could force him to come here.

It was because he was already a Green Luan Academy student, because he didn’t care about many of the things the people of this world cared about, because he didn’t care about how others looked at him or what they thought about him.

With the attitude of a tourist, he merely calmly appreciated these white mountains and black waters.

A black-armored soldier walked over, bowing respectfully towards Lin Xi, and then placed a meal wrapped in large tree leaves before him.

“Thank you.”

When Lin Xi returned his greeting with a smile and a nod, this soldier produced two cloth packages, handing them to Lin Xi.

“What is this?” Lin Xi saw that these two cloth packages seemed to contain a type of medicinal powder grinded from herbs.

This soldier was a bit overcautious as he said, “The black-colored powder is Snake Repellent Powder, many vipers don’t like this smell, if you smear it over you, there will be basically no chance of being bitten. The gray prevents one’s feet from rotting… Dragon Snake Mountain has many areas that are too damp, after smearing this medicinal powder and heating it over a fire, this won’t happen. However, these cannot be used in the swamp region near the outside of the mountains, the cave barbarians’ noses are too sharp, instead making it easier for them to ambush you.”

“Thank you.”

Lin Xi expressed his thanks towards this soldier again.

This overcautious soldier wasn’t much older than him, rather young. There were many acne scars on his face, stature not tall, half a head shorter than Lin Xi. Because Lin Xi was sizing him up, his facial lines seemed to have become a bit taut.

“What is your name? Are you a child of a service worker on this side?” Lin Xi lowered the medicinal packages, suddenly chuckling and asking him.

The pock faced young soldier felt a bit of hesitation, but in the end quietly said in a reserved voice, “Yes sir, my name is Zhu Xun.”

“Zhu Xun? Quite the unusual name.” Lin Xi laughed and said, “I have a friend named Tang Ke, also someone who was born in the border army like you.”

The young soldier relaxed a bit because of Lin Xi’s words. However, because he seemed to still be unable to adapt to Lin Xi’s style of chatting, he remained momentarily silent.

“I don’t have any other intentions.” Lin Xi looked at this young soldier, having him relax a bit. “I only felt like you don’t hate me as much as the one who brought me food before, and that is why I decided to chat a bit more with you.”

This young, pockmarked soldier named Zhu Xun hesitated, but a moment later, he nodded and said, “I feel like sir is a good person… but Sir Xin is also a good person. I hope sir doesn’t carry too much resentment for Sir Xin.”

“Does it look like I have any resentment towards him?” Lin Xi chuckled.

Zhu Xun looked at the smiling Lin Xi, unable to respond.

It was because he intuitively felt that Lin Xi wasn’t a bad person, but everything regarding Lin Xi was too hard to understand for him. After all, if anyone else was abandoned here, how could they still smile like Lin Xi right now?

“I can understand what Officer Xin and everyone else is thinking. I am indeed too young, and I know almost nothing about Dragon Snake Mountain Range. If I were Officer Xin, I might not be able to trust such a young and inexperienced official either. Even if cultivators are rare, they will still try to get an experienced cultivator commander.” Lin Xi looked at the slightly rigid Zhu Xun who didn’t know exactly how to respond, still smiling as he said, “Moreover, the more he doesn’t accept me, the more I am sure that he at least doesn’t wish to harm me… That is why I instead quite like him. Also, Officier Kang and yourself aren’t bad either, fearing that I would treat him unfavorably… It is easier for a commander to make their subordinates yield, but to earn their love, respect and concern, it is more difficult.”

“Sir…” Zhu Xun gave Lin Xi a somewhat grateful look, but still didn’t know what to say.

Lin Xi put away his smile and said to Zhu Xun. “Officer Xin has already predicted that I might have provoked some influential officials, so staying behind here will instead bring more trouble, yet he still lets me remain here, this is already the most he can step back. However, he hasn’t thought about everything… If this place really didn’t have any dangers, really allowing me to just calmly watch the mountain and waters, why would I be sent here?”

“If one didn’t want another to be at ease, why would they send them to a place where they can live comfortably?” Lin Xi pointed towards the distant white mountains and black waters, taking a deep breath and quietly saying, “I fear that soon, this place won’t be as peaceful as it looks like right now… It is precisely because I like all of you that I will stay behind. It is because by staying here, I can at least help out a bit.”

Zhu Xun was a bit stunned. Because he was only an ordinary soldier whose face was bitten by bugs, leaving behind many pock marks that were hard to get rid of, someone who wasn’t all that smart, not knowing much about how the winds blew in the royal court unlike Xin Weigai, he felt more and more like Lin Xi wasn’t as weak as everyone here thought, able to understand a bit of what Lin Xi was trying to say as well.

Because it was truly related to life and death, Xin Weigai didn’t dare take the slightest bit of risk. He also definitely wouldn’t change his mind because of some of Lin Xi’s words, so only when Lin Xi truly showed him through his actions, would his opinion of Lin Xi change.

That was why Lin Xi could only wait.

Lin Xi didn’t harbor any hatred inside, so he just calmly faced this type of solitude, looking at the mountains and the waters, as the wind and rain scattered across this valley.

“Is there anything I can do for sir?” This ordinary young soldier wasn’t that great with words, not having much of a vocabulary to choose from. He only bowed respectfully towards Lin Xi while asking this.

“In this place, apart from me, are there any other cultivators?”

“There aren’t… Officer Wu from before was transferred away, and there has never been any cultivators who were transferred over since. From what sir has said, the north has suffered several great defeats, difficult to even fill in ordinary soldier spots. From last year autumn until now, our Sheep Point Field Mountain Patrol Army has only been supplemented with eleven soldiers.”

“Then how many do we have in total right now?”

“A total of fifty-seven.”

“Only fifty-seven?”

Lin Xi was stunned, and then he shook his head, a bit speechless.

According to the staffing structure of the border army patrol armies, there should be a hundred to three hundred people. This meant that someone of his official rank commanded at least a hundred men. However, this patrol army only had fifty-seven people… this could only mean that this place wasn’t some good place to begin with.

“Don’t tell me your Officer Xin also offended some people too?” Lin Xi couldn’t help but say this in self-mockery.

“It isn’t only our place.” Zhu Xun wasn’t certain. After a bit of hesitation, he said, “Ever since this spring, all of the armies in our region have had it hard, our numbers not receiving much supplementation.”

“Have there ever been any serious battles here before?”

“From this spring until now, there hasn’t been any yet. Only during the battles in last year’s autumn and the autumn before that one… quite a few people died.”

Ever since this spring, the activity of the cave barbarians in the white mountains and black waters was already more frequent than the past autumn and winters.

Even though he didn’t know the exact reason, this was something Lin Xi was already aware of before he arrived here.

Lin Xi remained quiet for a moment, and then he raised his head, looking at Zhu Xun seriously and saying, “If you really want to help me, help Officer Xin, can you help me with this… if you all have any missions to carry out, find a way to secretly inform me.”

Previous Chapter Next Chapter