Xia Xun was awakened by the Hu man who patted him heavily on the face a few times without any mercy.
The pain made Xia Xun open his eyes quickly.
He was still beside the stream, sitting on the ground with his back against a large boulder.
Qi Yan lay flat on the side, his robe stripped off and all his wounds treated. Farther away, the corpses of the Bai Yue were strewn in various poses.
Xia Xun calmed down slightly. The Hu man was the only one who could have done those things. Since he treated Qi Yan’s wounds, it meant he didn’t want him to die.
It was already dark; the Hu man was sitting by the stream, chewing on a piece of hu cake.
He asked Xia Xun while eating:
“Now you should tell me, how did you know I was nearby? I think I hid well, how did you find out?”
Xia Xun opened his mouth but didn’t have the strength to talk, feeling dizzy and sweating all over.
The Hu man let out a dissatisfied “tsk”:
“You are a big man and you are not injured, right? Why are you so weak?”
Xia Xun squeezed his temples tightly, waiting for the dizziness to pass.
The Hu man broke off a piece of cake and threw it to him. He didn’t catch it and it fell to the ground.
He picked it up from the ground and shoved it into his mouth.
The hu cake was dry and hard; Xia Xun chewed on it for a long time before trying to swallow it. Who knew that the cake would get stuck in his throat. He couldn’t get it down for a long time, his chest aching from choking.
He hammered his chest, trying to push the cake down. He could imagine the opponent’s expression without looking at the Hu man.
“Really useless!” The Hu man muttered, took the water flask from his belt and threw it over.
Xia Xun grabbed it, took a big sip and choked all over again.
It was not water, it was strong wine.
The Hu man took the flask away in disgust:
“Don’t drink if you don’t want to, don’t waste it. This wine is very expensive!”
With the lubrication of a few drops of wine, the cake slipped into his stomach and Xia Xun finally stopped coughing.
He wiped off the wine leaking from his chin, leaned against the boulder and gasped in embarrassment.
The Hu man stared at him closely: “You have eaten the cake and drunk the wine. It’s time for you to talk, right?”
Xia Xun licked his lips.
“Don’t worry, you hid very well, even Qi Yan didn’t notice you, let alone me.”
The Hu man raised one eyebrow and said curiously: “Then how did you know—?”
Xia Xun was straightforward:
“You once said that you followed Qi Yan from the day he arrived in Lingnan. Since you could follow him all the way from Lingnan to the capital, you would definitely not let him escape from your surveillance. Qingzhou is only a few hundred miles from the capital. If you want to know his whereabouts, you will follow him secretly.”
The Hu man curled his lips and said in dissatisfaction: “Am I so easy to guess?”
Xia Xun continued:
“I don’t ask what your goal is, I will only trouble you with one thing. Send us to the county authorities ahead.”
The Hu man shrugged, unwilling to help:
“I’m not so capable that I can do that single-handedly.”
Xia Xun pointed to a few horses scattered nearby. These horses belonged to the Bai Yue. The Hu man was very principled, only killing people but not hurting horses.
“Don’t you have them? You don’t need to lead the horses yourself, you just need to follow me. I am worried that those Lingnan people still have a back-up.”
The Hu man’s light-brown eyes flashed. He sat up straight and said to Xia Xun:
“I gave you the bird whistle before because I wanted you to cooperate with me and kill Qi Yan. Who knew that you called me to ask me to save Qi Yan instead? Do it or don’t do it, but I won’t take up money-losing errands! I didn’t even get paid for killing those people for you, I’ve already lost a lot of money. I can’t lose any more!”
Xia Xun looked at the gurgling stream and said slowly:
“I didn’t say that I won’t cooperate with you, but not now. It’s not a suitable opportunity right now. Qi Yan and his entourage agreed to meet at Taichang County at dark. Once they find out that Qi Yan didn’t arrive in time, they will definitely go back and look along this road. Maybe they have already set off now. If you kill him at this time, you will be discovered soon.”
Xia Xun’s palms were wet with sweat. He came up with this set of rhetoric right on the spot. He never thought of cooperating with the Hu man.
He was not that naive. He had learned a lot of things in Lingnan over the years.
One of them was not to cooperate with people you don’t know the details about.
The Hu man’s origin was mysterious. Xia Xun didn’t even know his name; he would never easily believe his nonsense.
But Xia Xun needed to use him, at least making him protect him and Qi Yan until they got to the county authorities.
Xia Xun must have spoken extremely sincerely. The Hu man listened to him, considered it for a long time and actually believed it:
“Well, I agree with what you said. I can take you to the village ahead. But I also tell you clearly that my patience is limited, and I will only give you one more chance. Next time, when you blow the bird whistle again, I will definitely come to take Qi Yan’s life.”
Xia Xun breathed a sigh of relief, staggered to his feet and caught two horses from nearby.
The Hu man put Qi Yan on the back of the horse, Xia Xun took the reins and walked forward on the uneven road.
The Hu man mounted another horse.
He didn’t urge to hurry Xia Xun either, letting his horse slowly follow Xia Xun. He sat on the horse, admiring the moonlight and drinking a few sips of wine from time to time.
When they reached the county magistrate’s office, he finished drinking his wine.
Qi Hui had actually taken people all the way to find them, as Xia Xun said.
The office of the county authorities was brightly lit, and Qi Hui stood in front of the door with many soldiers holding torches.
When the Hu man saw it, he got down from his horse and said to Xia Xun:
“They call it sending the Buddha to the West, but I am sending you to the West.” (send the Buddha to the West – finish the task without giving up in the middle)
Xia Xun ignored his absurd words and thanked him.
The Hu man nodded and disappeared into the night like a wisp of smoke, leaving no trace.
Before leaving, however, he said a few words:
“My name is Fumeng Tancha, don’t forget.”
Xia Xun looked to the direction where he left until Qi Hui found him and Qi Yan and rushed over with the soldiers excitedly.
His master was the only one Qi Hui saw. He didn’t even look at Xia Xun, ran to the horse, quickly carried Qi Yan down, and asked the county magistrate to find a doctor urgently.
This way, it was another night of chickens flying and dogs jumping.
Xia Xun was tired and hungry. While Qi Hui helped the doctor treat Qi Yan’s wounds, he sat aside and ate the dinner prepared by the magistrate’s servants.
In fact, it was all porridge and side dishes, and he ate them sullenly but didn’t say anything, as if he hadn’t seen refined food in eight hundred years.
Zhi Gui was waiting by the side, and somehow, she looked a little nervous.
She waited until Xia Xun had finished gobbling the food before she made a sound and asked him what happened.
Xia Xun waved his hand and silently dragged his feet to the bedside.
He dropped heavily on the bed, closed his eyes, and immediately fell asleep.
The first ray of the rising sun shone on Xia Xun’s face.
His consciousness gradually became clear, and he felt someone’s scorching gaze, so he suddenly opened his eyes.
—It was Qi Yan.
He was leaning on the cushion at the head of the bed and looked at Xia Xun without blinking.
Xia Xun looked away.
The doctor was still there, sitting on the footrest by the bed.
Qi Hui came in with a bowl of black concoction. The doctor took it and smelled it before handing it to Qi Yan.
Qi Yan drank it all.
His lips were still bloodless, but his spirit was obviously much better, his eyes bright and sharp, and he didn’t look like an injured man at all.
He waved his hand and everyone in the room walked out.
Xia Xun was also about to leave, but was stopped by him.
Qi Yan’s physique was much better than his; he shed so much blood, but after a night’s rest, he was back to his old vigorous self. And Xia Xun walked a few miles carrying him and his back still hurt.
Qi Yan beckoned to him and asked Xia Xun to sit down.
Xia Xun reluctantly took a few steps and stopped not far away.
Qi Yan said softly:
“Yesterday… did you save me? The doctor said all my injuries were treated. A good amount of medicine was applied to all the wounds and the bleeding stopped. Otherwise, I would have died on the road a long time ago. You saved my life.”
He paused, and then asked, “Where did you find the medicine for the injuries?”
Xia Xun’s expression gradually became cold.
Qi Yan didn’t care about him, he was clearly investigating.
He didn’t directly ask Xia Xun what happened yesterday, he had to go in a roundabout way and ask him where the medicine came from.
It was clearly an insinuation, but when he spoke, he had a smile on his lips and a tender look in his eyes, as if Xia Xun was the person he trusted most in the world.
Many years ago, Xia Xun would have been bewitched by such an expression.
At that time, he never doubted Qi Yan. He thought Qi Yan really liked him.
Xia Xun slowly lowered his head; his mind kept turning.
He couldn’t tell Qi Yan about Fumeng Tancha. The Hu man was still useful to him.
He thought hard and came up with something to say.
He told Qi Yan:
“I found the medicine for the injuries on the Bai Yue. After you fainted, the pursuers quickly caught up. I took you and hid behind the boulders by the stream and they didn’t find us. The horse that carried you to the magistrate’s office was also theirs. After I escaped the chase, I walked with you on my back for a while. Then I happened to meet a single horse, so I put you on horseback and brought you to the county authorities.”
Xia Xun deliberately understated the things that happened, as if it was quite easy to save Qi Yan and all the details were not worth mentioning.
After saying that, he added: “Is there anything else? I’m going to rest. I carried you for too long and I’m still very tired.”
Qi Yan rubbed his fingers lightly, thinking intently, without looking at him or saying anything.
Xia Xun didn’t wait for his answer, turned around and walked out.
When he was at the door, Qi Yan stopped him again:
“Xia Xun! I keep forgetting to ask, have you seen those Bai Yue people before? I’m not talking about these two days, I’m talking about… in Lingnan.”
Xia Xun’s movements stagnated.
Qi Yan was really smart and keen, and with no effort, he could link together all the events that happened during this period of time and then quickly deduce the conclusion closest to the facts.
It was too difficult to deceive him.
Xia Xun sighed, unable to speak.
After a long time, he said unwillingly:
“…I have seen them.”
Exiled prisoners were sentenced to forced labour.
Before Xia Xun arrived in Lingnan, he fell seriously ill. He escaped by faking his death within a few days after he arrived in Douzhou.
But his eldest brother Xia Wen couldn’t do it.
It was impossible for him to fake his death right after Xia Xun.
In order to make it more believable, Xia Wen decided to stay for a few months of forced labour and wait for the limelight to pass before finding a chance to escape.
Most prisoners couldn’t stand the hardships of forced labour and there were not a few who died after working for several months.
The place where Xia Wen served was a mine.
It was a jade mine, rich in southern jade, and it was also the only place in Lingnan that produced jade.
Xia Wen worked in the mine every day.
He Cong was still in Douzhou at the time. He paid for a dilapidated hut near the mine and placed Xia Xun there.
Xia Xun’s illness was very serious, and it took many days for him to recover. He Cong Yi took care of him with all his heart.
Because he was afraid that Xia Xun’s identity would be discovered, he did not dare to hire a maidservant, so he was the only one to do house chores from beginning to end.
He had never been in the kitchen in his life. In order to make some food for Xia Xun, he spent three hours in the kitchen. Without anyone teaching him, he cooked a bowl of burnt gruel that barely let Xia Xun fill his stomach.
After this, his cooking skills magically increased, and later he could make a table of dishes for Xia Xun.
Prisoners in the mine were not allowed to come and go, but the guards and the soldiers could do it. They often went to the towns around the mine between their shifts to eat, drink and have fun.
Every time they went back and forth, they passed by Xia Xun’s house.
During that time, Xia Xun lay on the bed to recuperate, doing nothing, and often looked out the window in a daze.
The window of his room was facing the road, and those officers and soldiers were the only living beings he could see except He Cong.
Xia Xun, relying on the fact that he was in the room and the people outside could not see him, always stared at them recklessly.
Over time, he could remember the looks of all of them.
Later, Xia Xun gradually recovered and was slowly able to get out of bed and walk around. Xia Wen also found an opportunity and used his skills again to fake his death and escape.
The two brothers left the hut and lived in a more remote place.
Since then, Xia Xun had never seen those men.
After a lapse of seven years, he almost forgot them.
But yesterday, his sealed memory was suddenly restarted, and he remembered their faces again.
—At least half of the Bai Yue people who followed him and Qi Yan were the guards in the mine.
After listening to Xia Xun, Qi Yan didn’t seem surprised, just asked him:
“The guards and the soldiers who watch the prisoners in the mine, why did they go all the way to Qingzhou to kill you?”
Xia Xun believed that Qi Yan could definitely think of the answer to this question.
He asked, knowing the answer.
Xia Xun looked straight into his eyes and said solemnly:
“They wanted to kill me because of you.”
2 thoughts on “Guanshan Muyu Chapter 29”
La tensión me esta matando y de verdad quiero llorar por todo lo que Xia Xun sufrió, quiero saber porque Qi Yan lo mandó allí si lo amaba.
Oh yes, everything will be revealed and some things will be unexpected! I hope you’ll enjoy it! 🙂 🙂