In the middle of the third month, Helian Zhuo saw that Wei Zhao was almost recovering from his injuries, so he packed him and Yi Yin and sent them to the village outside the city.
In this regard, Wei Zhao had no objection. Anyway, he was a prisoner of Helian Zhuo. The palace and the village house were both cages for him, and there was no difference. Moreover, with Yi Yin with him, the days would not be too boring.
Spring in the north came late, and the temperature difference between morning and evening was also great. It was okay during the day, but it was still terribly cold at night. The conditions in the village were not as good as those in the palace; it didn’t matter that the rooms were not elaborate, the key was that they were not warm enough, and the kang was not hot enough.
For others, including Yi Yin, this temperature was just right, neither too cold nor too hot. However, Wei Zhao was recovering from his injuries, his body was still weak, and he was more afraid of cold than ordinary people, so he couldn’t stand it.
On the first night in the village house, Wei Zhao slept until midnight and was awakened by the cold. He hesitated whether to call someone to heat up the kang again.
It was just that Wei Zhao had always disliked being served in the house. When he was in the palace, because of Helian Zhuo’s instructions, there were always two maids sleeping in the room next to him at night. When he arrived at the village house, the beautiful maids were gone and became mute servants who couldn’t speak. Wei Zhao sent them to sleep in the wing.
At this moment, if he called them from inside, the mute servants might not be able to hear him, but in the middle of the night, Wei Zhao didn’t want to get up and get dressed.
In the midst of this dilemma, in the bright moonlight outside the window, Wei Zhao noticed Yi Yin who was sleeping next to him. Yi Yin’s face was flushed and he was breathing evenly; obviously he didn’t feel cold.
Wei Zhao couldn’t help but stretch out his hand and touch him, and found that his son was warm all over, not like himself, whose hands and feet were so cold that he couldn’t sleep.
There was such a small stove next to him. Why should Wei Zhao give up something near and seek something far away? He gently removed Yi Yin’s quilt and pulled him under his own quilt. He really felt much more comfortable.
“Um…” Yi Yin muttered vaguely as his body suddenly fell into a cold embrace. Wei Zhao thought he was about to wake up and immediately held his breath. He couldn’t tell what he was nervous about.
Who knew that Yi Yin would turn over and fall asleep again, and Wei Zhao had a false alarm. He hugged Yi Yin and soon fell asleep.
The next day, Yi Yin woke up to find that he and Wei Zhao were sleeping together. He couldn’t help being shocked. When did his sleep get so restless that he would get under other people’s quilt in the middle of the night?
Wei Zhao smiled but said nothing, and repeated the same trick at night. After a few days, Yi Yin discovered Wei Zhao’s little moves, but he didn’t say anything. Wei Zhao became closer and closer to him, and there was nothing wrong with it.
The days in the village were very quiet and boring. If he were a real child, he might have felt bored and fidgety, but Yi Yin had been used to being alone since he was a child, and it was easy for him to adapt.
Every morning, the first thing Yi Yin did when he got up was to go to the stable to milk the horses. It wasn’t because the servants Helian Zhuo had given them treated him harshly and did not serve them, but he was used to doing in his previous life. If he didn’t do it, he felt that something was missing.
After bringing the fresh horse milk to the kitchen, Yi Yin practised in the yard, which was his daily routine. When the morning exercise was over, the fragrant horse milk tea was ready. Wei Zhao usually got up at this time, and the father and son had breakfast together.
Yi Yin was born to drink milk and brought up on cow milk and horse milk. Even if he was reborn, his taste had not changed and he drank it with relish.
Wei Zhao, however, did not like food that smelled of milk and had had enough of it in the years he had been in Fuyu. But when he heard that Yi Yin personally milked the horses, he ate a little more than usual.
The morning was a fixed time for Wei Zhao to teach Yi Yin. Fuyu had no written language and ink and paper were rare. Wei Zhao asked Yi Yin to memorise the books, first the Three Character Classic, then various Confucian classics, and he didn’t explain them, he just asked Yi Yin to recite them.
There was not much to recite. Although Yi Yin didn’t like it, he didn’t say anything about not liking to recite it. It was just that one day, when Yi Yin recited the Spring and Autumn Annals in the proficient Han language, he suddenly remembered something and broke out in a cold sweat.
In his previous life, because Wei Zhao didn’t like to talk to him, and everyone else around him spoke Fuyu, Yi Yin couldn’t speak Han before being brought to Yujing by Lu Ming. When he arrived in Yujing, he was laughed at by many people.
But after he was reborn, he used Fuyu to talk to his nanny, and Han to talk to Wei Zhao. Wei Zhao hadn’t taught him to memorise books at that time, you know. He could have become suspicious a long time ago. Yi Yin was speechless about his own carelessness.
Fortunately, Wei Zhao never mentioned this matter, and Yi Yin could only comfort himself that Wei Zhao might have thought that he was born a genius and could speak his native language without being taught. However, Yi Yin couldn’t even convince himself with this explanation.
After lunch, Yi Yin was allowed to go out to play, which was permitted by Helian Zhuo. Even though they lived in an inconspicuous small village, Helian Zhuo had a number of martial arts experts stationed inside and outside, and Wei Zhao was not allowed to walk out of the courtyard for half a step.
There were farmlands outside the village, and more than ten li(1) to the east, there was a small forest where you could hunt pheasants and hares.
Although Fuyu was not a fully nomadic people like Tiele, their children were raised on horseback and rode horses as soon as they could walk.
Yi Yin was no exception. He had a pony that he could usually ride, and he occasionally let the guards take him to the woods to hunt, but his prey could only be caught with their help.
If Yi Yin didn’t go out, Wei Zhao would teach him martial arts. He was strict, Yi Yin worked hard and made great progress. If Pei Di dared to come at Yi Yin again, he would definitely be beaten even worse.
Compared to the lacklustre and tasteless life in the palace, Yi Yin lived freely in the countryside. The only bad thing was that Helian Zhuo would come over every few days, and then Yi Yin would be driven to the next room.
Although the temperature gradually warmed up and Wei Zhao no longer needed him as a heater, Yi Yin was still very upset. That bastard Helian Zhuo, how long was he going to torment Wei Zhao!
If Helian Zhuo’s visits were his normal behaviour, Wei Zhao’s attitude was a bit incomprehensible. He seemed to be more gentle with Helian Zhuo. Although it was not obvious, there was clearly the momentum of softening.
That day, Helian Zhuo pulled Wei Zhao into his room again, and Yi Yin could hear their voices even covering his ears in the next room. Not only Helian Zhuo’s voice, but also Wei Zhao’s, which he usually tried his best to suppress in the past.
Did Wei Zhao accept his fate? Yi Yin felt that it was impossible. If he could easily admit defeat, why should he commit suicide in his previous life? He could just use his brain and win over Helian Zhuo, which he didn’t do.
The spring in Fuyu was always very short, and in the blink of an eye you could hear the footsteps of summer as the grasslands bloomed with wild flowers.
At this moment, the Fuyu people and the Tiele people clashed in the Wusu Steppes. At first, it was small-scale, but gradually it became bigger and bigger, becoming somewhat unmanageable.
After all, that grassland had belonged to Fuyu for more than two hundred years until the 40th year of Yongjia. The Tiele people only took it from the Great Yan last year. Helian Zhuo was able to acquiesce for the sake of the overall situation, but ordinary Fuyu people were unwilling.
From last autumn to the present, Fuyu herdsmen had been continuously grazing in the Wusu Steppes.
On the Tiele side, since the decisive battle in the 22nd year of Yongjia, all the strongholds in the south had been lost. The so-called “there’s no king’s court in the south of the desert” referred to this. Ji Qing and Jun Lin were the eternal nightmares of the Tiele people.
The northern desert was bitter and cold and far worse than the southern desert. The Tiele people were nomadic. The fertile Wusu Steppes were really important to them, otherwise they would not cooperate with Fuyu.
Fuyu was mainly fishing and hunting, nomadic and farming. They had the Songhe Plain, Baihe Plain and Alihe Plain, as well as the Arslan Mountains. The importance of the Wusu Steppes for them was relatively low.
Helian Zhuo also understood that Wei Su had never given up his desire for Youzhou. If he had a rift with Tiele, he was afraid that the Central Plains people would take advantage of it, so he didn’t dare to delay and hurriedly went to the Wusu Steppes, intending to meet with Vaziri, sit down and solve the problem.
As soon as Helian Zhuo left, Wei Zhao began to pack his bag. This was an opportunity he had been waiting for for a long time.
That night, Yi Yin, who had always slept until dawn, suddenly woke up in the middle of the night. He found that his surroundings were so quiet that he could hardly hear his own breathing, and Wei Zhao had gone somewhere.
Yi Yin panicked, his drowsiness gone, and quickly jumped from the kang. He ran outside the house on tiptoe and saw no one. Suddenly, the neighing of the horse came from the direction of the stables, and he immediately ran over there.
Sure enough, Wei Zhao was carrying a bundle, just brought out a horse and was about to get on it. Seeing Yi Yin standing in the yard in a single shirt, with an aggrieved expression on his face, Wei Zhao froze.
“You don’t want me anymore?” Yi Yin was very sad. Although he already understood why Helian Zhuo had crippled Wei Zhao’s limbs in the previous life – Wei Zhao must have failed to escape and the escape attempt must have angered Helian Zhuo – he couldn’t stop it. This was the best opportunity. If it was missed, it would be even more difficult in the future.
Wei Zhao was a proud man. He couldn’t be Helian Zhuo’s toy for the rest of his life. Previously, he was soft and submissive just to reduce Helian Zhuo’s vigilance and wait for the best time to escape.
So after the failure, he would be desperate because he could never go back. In the end, he entrusted Yi Yin to Lu Ming and chose to commit suicide.
“It’s better for you to stay…” Wei Zhao wanted to say this very much, but when he started talking, it became, “Ah Yin, aren’t you afraid?”
Yi Yin shook his head desperately. He would not be afraid; even if Wei Zhao’s escape was destined to fail, he would accompany him. Otherwise, their life here was meaningless.
He just didn’t understand why Wei Zhao would leave him behind when it was clear that they were father and son depending on each other. Did he not trust him or did he really think that it was better for him?
“Since you are not afraid, you are not allowed to go back on your word on the way!” Wei Zhao curled his lips in a smile, and got on the horse with Yi Yin in his arms.
Yi Yin was riding on horseback, his expression still stunned. What did Wei Zhao think? If he wanted to take him along, why didn’t he say so in the first place? If he didn’t want to take him, why did he change his mind after Yi Yin chased after him? Wasn’t it too casual?
In fact, Wei Zhao was also very conflicted in his heart. Of course, he couldn’t bear leaving Yi Yin, but he was so little and Wei Zhao’s own martial arts had only recovered for less than one-third. He might not be able to take care of Yi Yin properly on the road, so it was better to leave him behind.
Regardless of whether he succeeded or not, Yi Yin still was two months short of being four years old, and he was Helian Zhuo’s biological son. It was unlikely that he would be implicated. This made Wei Zhao be cruel and not wake him up.
Who knew there would be such a coincidence. Yi Yin woke up in the middle of the night and found that he was not there, so he chased after him and said he wanted to go with him. Heaven’s will was like that, so how could Wei Zhao be ruthless to the end? He took Yi Yin with him.
- Li ~500 m