Chapter 1936B – A Snowy Night
The group set up a bonfire. They sat around the warm edges eating dried meats and drinking water. The entire time, they remained vigilant against Lin Ming.
The little boy in Zhu Yan’s arms was quiet from beginning to end. His large eyes blinked as he stared at Lin Ming.
Lin Ming noticed that this little boy had a thread of red silk hanging around his neck and adorned with a common-looking bronze medal. This bronze medal had a unique flower petal design on it.
Zhu Yan seemed to realize something. Unhurriedly, he slipped the bronze medal into the boy’s collar…
After eating, Zhu Yan sat in rest with his eyes closed. But, his attention was focused on Lin Ming the entire time.
He didn’t know why, but the more he looked at this person, the stranger the feeling that tickled his mind. He just couldn’t identify what it was.
Lin Ming was also looking at Zhu Yan. Over 130 years had passed and the endless changes of mortal life had been and gone. Recalling the proud and arrogant youth of the past, Lin Ming found it hard to imagine that such a person had undergone such a dramatic transformation.
Lin Ming had heard their words when they were outside the cave just then. It was clear that they were searching for children from the royal family.
As Lin Ming crossed through the northern deserts and grasslands, he had seen the turmoil of war and the chaos of battle. He was able to guess just what was occurring.
This was a war of a mortal nation. When a nation was destroyed by another nation, the royal family fled the capital and the prince and princess were separated…
As for Zhu Yan, he and his subordinates were assigned to seek out the lost children of the royal family. It was clear that this was a dangerous mission.
If they weren’t careful then they would all be killed.
Lin Ming could feel that Zhu Yan didn’t do all of this for glory and riches. This was because Zhu Yan didn’t have much life left to live. At his current cultivation boundary, a hundred some years was his limit.
He likely wouldn’t be able to wait for the revival of the nation. Moreover, such a defeated dynasty usually found it impossibly difficult to stage a comeback.
Then for what reason did he support all of these meaningless actions that were also extremely dangerous?
As this thought was crossing through Lin Ming’s mind, a sheepskin bag of water was tossed towards him.
Lin Ming reached out a hand and grabbed the water bag. The bag was hot in his hands; the water had been heated over the bonfire and then poured into the bag.
This water bag was thrown over by Zhu Yan.
“Aren’t you cold? Drink some hot water.” Zhu Yan looked at Lin Ming, his eyes wary.
Lin Ming took off the lid and drank a mouthful before tossing the water bag back.
He didn’t speak to Zhu Yan. The several people in his group rested in the cave and took turns on watch, but Lin Ming didn’t sleep a single moment throughout the night.
Early in the morning, Zhu Yan and the others donned their bamboo hats and left. Their group trudged through the boundless heavy snow, quickly vanishing from sight…
Lin Ming quietly watched Zhu Yan’s fading back and also stepped into the snow…
He arrived at a small town. There weren’t many people here. Without anyone to sweep away the snow, the ground was a blank white canvas.
Walking through the streets, Lin Ming could feel the coldness within his body becoming increasingly heavy and thick.
Suddenly, his body shook and his face paled. In that moment, an indescribably agonizing pain swelled up from his spiritual sea.
Lin Ming spat out a mouthful of blood. The bright red blood splashed onto the front of his clothes. This was a grisly and shocking sight.
Lin Ming trembled. He somehow couldn’t support himself and slowly slumped to the ground.
Many people saw him. A woman cried out in alarm and several people began hurrying far away.
As war echoed through the land, everyone remained vigilant of others. They thought that someone had been killed on the streets.
But upon further inspection, they discovered that Lin Ming seemed to have randomly spat out a mouthful of blood.
“What’s wrong with him?”
“Who knows? Perhaps he has some hidden wounds that were suddenly stirred up.”
“Look at that mask on his face. He definitely isn’t an ordinary person. He might be someone from the organization, or even an assassin…”
“He definitely knows martial arts, and if so then he was wounded by someone even stronger.”
As people said this they began to draw further and further away. A kind and soft-hearted woman couldn’t help what she was seeing and wanted to aid Lin Ming, but she was stopped by her husband.
“War is everywhere now. Don’t stir up needless troubles. If he is someone from the old dynasty and we rescue him then that will be the death penalty for us.”
People fled far away, as if they were hiding from a god of plagues.
Lin Ming’s body shivered as he withstood this scorching pain. This sort of pain originated from his soul and came from its depletion; it was unbearable.
He felt his strength rapidly drain away. His meridians and blood vessels were crudely and savagely torn open.
The pain continued for a full two hours. The white snowy canvas beneath him was already dyed red with blood. White and red, these two bright contrasting colors formed a fierce and chilling image.
“Big brother, you… are you alright…?”
As Lin Ming nearly fainted from the pain, he heard a shy voice echo out from nearby.
He opened his eyes to see a dirty little girl with big and bright eyes looking at him. She wore a tattered cloth bag over her body and a broken piece of pottery hung across her neck. It was unknown just where she had picked it up from. From the looks of it, she was a young beggar.
“Big brother, if you drink some water you might feel better.” The little girl timidly held out a canteen of water. “I haven’t eaten and I don’t have any food, so I can only give you some water…”
The little girl was extremely pitiable. With the cold weather and her ragged clothing, her small face and hands almost seemed frozen.
Lin Ming wiped the blood from the corners of his lips and shook his head, “There’s no need…”
In this era when war ravaged the lands, this little girl was likely an orphan. Her parents had probably died in the chaos of war…
Without her parents, she could only beg for food. But in this tumultuous times when the common people didn’t even have enough food to fill their own stomachs, how could they have anything to give to a small child?
Her destiny was likely to die alone, drowning in fear, cold, and hunger…
As Lin Ming thought of this, he felt his heart tighten.
The hardships of a mortal were everywhere.
To a martial artist, these hardships might not even seem worthy of mentioning. But when these hardships befell these mortal commoners, it was actually a monumental matter.
Lin Ming wanted to help this little girl, but unfortunately he didn’t have anything to give her. He wasn’t even able to give her a steamed bun or a few copper coins.
As he was saddened, he suddenly noticed a thin red thread around the little girl’s neck.
Lin Ming had seen this red silk thread before. It was exactly the same as the one that the little boy in the mountain cave had been wearing.
Sweeping out his sense, Lin Ming discovered that beneath this little girl’s tattered clothing, there was a bronze medal. This bronze medal had a unique flower design, also similar to the boy’s bronze medal…
Lin Ming suddenly recalled the conversation Zhu Yan had with his subordinate. Zhu Yan had said, “Just forget it. We have to find the little princess within three days, evacuate from this area and return to our base. If we stay too long then the White Guard will definitely find us.”
Was this little girl in front of him the little princess that Zhu Yan was searching for?
An orphan from the old dynasty. She once lived an extravagant and sumptuous lifestyle every day, but now she suffered the distresses and miseries of the mortal world…
It was likely because she experienced such drastic changes that she was able to sympathize with others at such a young age.
Lin Ming was silent for a moment. He held onto the little girl’s hand.
The little girl didn’t resist and allowed Lin Ming to pull her along.
Lin Ming spread out his sense, covering an area of several hundred miles.
Then, Lin Ming easily found Zhu Yan and the others. They were stationed in a humble little restaurant, eating a meal as they spoke with the restaurant owner.
Lin Ming turned to the little girl. He said, “Would you like to come with me? I’ll bring you to look for your big brother.”
Lin Ming’s words left the little girl startled. She took a step back, her eyes somewhat wary.
However, Lin Ming’s eyes seemed to contain an indescribable feeling, one that seemed filled with kindness and understanding. Slowly, she nodded.
Lin Ming hugged the little girl and packed her in his coat. Then, he moved towards that common-looking restaurant.
The restaurant was only 70-80 miles away from Lin Ming, in another small town.
Lin Ming didn’t walk quickly. But for some reason, that distance only took an incense stick of time beneath his feet.
Lin Ming held the little girl and walked into the restaurant.
Zhu Yan and the others were immediately on guard. They all drew their weapons.
As for the restaurant owner, he reflexively acted and closed the restaurant doors.
“It’s you… just how…”
Zhu Yan looked at Lin Ming and was surprised to see him.
They had crossed paths twice now. The first time could be called a coincidence but the second time could not.
This common restaurant was in truth one of their secret hideouts. The restaurant owner was actually vice-commander of the royal guard and was a loyal and devoted servant of the emperor.
It was at this time that Lin Ming and the others also noticed the child held tightly to his chest.
Facing so many drawn weapons, the little girl was scared. Her hold on Lin Ming tightened and her small and dirty face paled.
Zhu Yan didn’t know who this little girl was, but the boy behind him did.
The boy was stunned for a moment and then finally called out, “Ping’er, is that you?”
The little girl looked at the boy and was dumbfounded. After a long time, tears began to fall down her cheeks. “Big brother! It really is you!”
This little girl remembered that Lin Ming had told her he would lead her to her big brother, but she didn’t think they would really find him.
Half a year ago when their nation perished, that could have been called a parting of life and death. She never imagined that they would see each other once more.
Lin Ming set down the little girl, who ran forward and hugged her big brother.
Seeing this, Zhu Yan was bewildered.
Everyone was also left in a stunned daze. This was no different from a dream.
What was going on?
Why was this masked man holding the little princess?
It was impossible that this was a coincidence. This masked man before them had clearly brought the little princess over to look for them.
How did the masked man know they were searching for the little princess and how did they know she was this little girl?
Even if he did find the little princess, how did he know this was their secret hideout?
Everything was simply far too unbelievable!
Zhu Yan looked at Lin Ming, his sword held the entire time. He noticed the chin that was revealed outside of Lin Ming’s mask as well as Lin Ming’s two hands.
From the looks of it, Lin Ming didn’t seem too old; he seemed like someone in his twenties. At this age, he couldn’t be some peerless master, right?
Then at this time, Lin Ming suddenly began to hack and cough. He used his hands to support the lower corner of his mask. He couldn’t stop the violent coughs from continuing, and it seemed as if he would cough out his lungs.
Slowly, from between the seams of Lin Ming’s fingers, blood flowed out. Stream after stream, this was an alarming sight!
The people around Zhu Yan gulped as they saw this sight. This person was coughing so badly that he was vomiting blood.
No matter how they saw it, this person had reached the terminal stages of an illness and didn’t have much longer to live.
But at this time, Lin Ming was startled. In that instant he felt a change; there was killing intent… that had locked onto this location!
He spread out his sense and discovered that outside the restaurant was a crowd of white-clothed swordsmen approaching at rapid speed.
Wherever they went, citizens would flee in all directions as if they were running from snakes!
The goal of these white-clothed swordsmen was the little restaurant where Lin Ming was!
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