The night was dark, the stars were dim, and the curved moon was passing through the dark clouds, casting a little hazy light.
Yi Yin sat behind Wei Zhao, clasping his waist tightly with both arms, praising him in his heart. Set the fire when the wind is strong and kill when the night is dark. Wei Zhao really picked a good time, very suitable for escape.
Yi Yin was very curious about how Wei Zhao dealt with the many martial arts experts in and around the village house. He knew that Helian Zhuo had never taken Wei Zhao lightly; even if he blocked his martial arts, there were no less than twenty guards guarding them, all of whom were rarely good.
Helian Zhuo did this for two purposes, one was to prevent Wei Zhao from escaping, and the other was to protect the father and son. The Great Yan-zhi had no power outside the palace, but the Herong clan had. You had to be prepared for everything.
Knowing that this was not a good time to ask questions, Yi Yin silently kept his doubts to himself and observed Wei Zhao’s route in the faint moonlight.
Yi Yin could see that Wei Zhao was taking him all the way south. If he guessed correctly, Wei Zhao’s destination should be Tianmen Ridge. In his previous life, when Lu Ming was entrusted by Wei Zhao to take him back to Yujing, he also took this route.
The horses were kept in the stables of the village mainly for work and milking, as well as for hunting in the vicinity. Ordinary horses were sufficient for these purposes, but they were not the best ones. The horse would run for a little more than a hundred li and would be too tired to run.
Although Wei Zhao was anxious, he knew that he couldn’t make the horse run without letting it graze, so he stopped and dismounted with Yi Yin in his arms, let the horse rest for a while, eat something and drink some water.
Besides, Yi Yin was still little. Although he could ride a horse, he rode it for a short time. It was the first time he travelled a long distance. Wei Zhao was afraid that he would not be able to bear it.
Finding a relatively clean-looking stone on the side of the road for Yi Yin to sit down, Wei Zhao opened the bag and took out dry food and a water sac.
Yi Yin didn’t reach out to pick it up, and said nervously: “Daddy, will they chase after us?” Even if Helian Zhuo was not in Qingjia, when the guards woke up and found that he and Wei Zhao were gone, they would catch up.
Wei Zhao shook his head gently, and while breaking a steamed bun and feeding it to Yi Yin, he said lightly: “Ah Yin, don’t be afraid, they won’t come, because…” Dead people don’t deliver messages, let alone come chasing.
Wei Zhao’s voice was very low, and the second half of the sentence was barely audible, but looking at his slightly narrowed eyes and the indescribable murderous intent contained in them, Yi Yin could guess that no one of the guards in the village house had survived.
Yi Yin was taken aback for a moment, and said in surprise: “Daddy, your martial arts have recovered?” If this was the case, the road ahead of them would be much safer. Wei Zhao in his heyday, according to Lu Ming, was not far behind Hou Zhaoyang.
Something didn’t seem right…
Yi Yin frowned tightly, and suddenly sobered up. No matter how good Wei Zhao was, the number of guards was there, and it was impossible not to make a sound during the fight. In that case, he should have woken up a long time ago.
Wei Zhao smiled sadly: “How can the secret medicine of the Fuyu royal family be undone easily? I am not good at medical skills, and I could barely get rid of less than one-third of the medicine’s effect. No matter what, this is only as much as I can do. If I knew that today would come, when my cousin taught me medical skills, I wouldn’t have been so playful.”
Less than one-third; Yi Yin was a little disappointed when he heard it, but he knew the cousin Wei Zhao mentioned, Sun Ye, Lord Consort of Wang Lu, the younger brother of Guogong(1) Sun Shu. He was not only Wei Zhao’s cousin, but also half-brother of Jun Lin, Hou Zhaoyang.
Yi Yin immediately asked, “Daddy, how did you kill those guards?” If it was not an open fight, he must have outsmarted them. Yi Yin was a little curious about Wei Zhao’s methods.
Wei Zhao finished breaking a steamed bun, stretched out his hand and nudged Yi Yin’s nose, raising an eyebrow, “The antidote is difficult to get, but the poison isn’t, right?”
Although Wei Zhao spoke lightly, Yi Yin knew that poisoning was also difficult. At the very least, where did Wei Zhao get medicinal materials? Presumably in the past few years, every time he was sick and injured, he took the opportunity to keep something back.
Yi Yin wanted to ask more questions, but Wei Zhao refused to say anything. He packed his bag, brought the horse that had had enough to eat and drink, first picked up Yi Yin, and then jumped up on the horse.
After a short rest, the horse’s physical strength was restored, and it ran with gusto, galloping for almost a hundred li before slowing down.
At this time, they had already reached the foot of the mountain, and Yi Yin speculated based on the direction and distance that this was Tianmen Ridge.
Tianmen Ridge was majestic and steep, magnificent, stretching for hundreds of li, and was a branch of the Xi’an Mountains. The southernmost part of Tianmen Ridge was already in Yunzhou. As they walked up the mountains, although the road was rough and difficult to travel, there were many forks and it was easy not to leave traces and avoid being caught up.
When they entered the mountains, there was still a small path trodden by shepherds and hunters, but the farther up the mountain, the narrower the path was and the steeper the mountain became. The horse couldn’t walk anymore and skidded in place several times.
It was already dawn, and the horizon in the east was pearly white. Seeing this, Wei Zhao simply let the horse go, leaving it to fend for itself, and led Yi Yin to the mountain on foot.
Yi Yin’s body was only four years old, the age when children are the most sleepy, and no matter how determined his mind was, he couldn’t overcome it. Earlier, on the bumpy horse, Yi Yin also fell on Wei Zhao’s back, falling asleep in a daze.
Now that he had to walk on his own, his eyes couldn’t stay open, but he took Wei Zhao’s left hand with both hands, closed his eyes and walked with Wei Zhao, stumbling.
While walking, Yi Yin accidentally tripped over a branch lying on the ground and flopped down, which completely dispelled his drowsiness.
“Ah Yin, how’s it? Does it hurt?” Wei Zhao hurriedly picked up Yi Yin and checked to see if he was injured.
Yi Yin shook his head, embarrassed: “Daddy, I’m fine.” If you don’t look at the road when you walk, can you blame others for falling?
Seeing that his son was indeed fine, Wei Zhao felt a little relieved, and asked, “Ah Yin, are you tired? Do you want Daddy to carry you?” In fact, Wei Zhao was already helping Yi Yin by removing debris from the ground, but the position of the branch was too low for him to notice.
Yi Yin waved his hand hurriedly and said, “I’m not tired, I can go by myself.” There was no more path in the mountain, and many sections had to be crawled using both hands and feet. It was fine if Wei Zhao gave him a hand, but if he carried him on his back, it would be even more difficult to walk.
Wei Zhao saw that Yi Yin was in good spirits and didn’t insist, leading him to continue walking. The two of them took a break on the way, drank some water and ate some dry food.
Yi Yin’s little short legs were not strong enough in the end. Before noon, Yi Yin felt that his calves were soft, swollen and painful, and he couldn’t take any more steps.
But he didn’t dare to tell Wei Zhao, who would definitely carry him if he knew what happened. He felt that Wei Zhao was also very tired, and he could vaguely feel that Wei Zhao had a faint smell of blood on his body. Yi Yin didn’t know if he was injured or something.
Yi Yin’s abnormality did not escape from Wei Zhao. He stopped, squatted down, and asked softly, “Ah Yin, you can’t walk anymore?” By the standards of a four-year-old child, Yi Yin’s performance far exceeded Wei Zhao’s expectations.
Reaching out to rub his trembling calf, Yi Yin nodded reluctantly: “Daddy, I’m sorry!” Perhaps, he shouldn’t have followed Wei Zhao. If it weren’t for him dragging him down, Wei Zhao would definitely be much more at ease.
Wei Zhao pursed his lips and smiled: “Silly boy, it’s not your fault.” As he said that, he untied the bag, wrapped the rest of his belongings in a smaller cloth, and then tied Yi Yin to his back with a long cloth.
The medicine in Wei Zhao’s body had not been completely undone. He had only recovered less than one-third of his martial arts skills. He was barely able to walk on his own. Carrying Yi Yin on his back was very difficult, especially since Yi Yin’s height and weight were outstanding among his peers.
Although there was more weight on his back, Wei Zhao didn’t have to deal with leading Yi Yin anymore. Instead of slowing down, his speed accelerated.
It was just that in this way, Wei Zhao’s physical exertion was even greater. Yi Yin looked at the thin film of sweat on his forehead and asked him to put him down and let him walk several times, but Wei Zhao refused.
“Gah…” Suddenly, Wei Zhao stopped, clutching his chest, and staggered two steps to the nearest tree, holding onto the trunk of the tree and vomiting heartbreakingly.
However, he hadn’t eaten anything seriously since yesterday. He took a break twice on the road and fed Yi Yin. As a result, he vomited for a long time and only vomited some liquid, but the feeling of nausea and retching prevented him from going on.
Yi Yin didn’t know what happened. Seeing Wei Zhao vomiting badly, he hurriedly asked, “Daddy, are you not feeling well? Daddy, say something!”
Wei Zhao was still retching unstoppably. He really couldn’t speak, so he could only shake his hand to signal that he was fine.
Yi Yin frowned and wanted to come down to see what was going on, but Wei Zhao tied the cloth tightly, so he couldn’t break free and he didn’t dare to struggle too hard, making Wei Zhao even more uncomfortable.
After a long time, the nausea finally subsided a little. Wei Zhao straightened up and patted Yi Yin on the back, saying soothingly: “Ah Yin, don’t worry, Daddy will be fine.”
Looking at Wei Zhao’s pale profile, Yi Yin said seriously: “Daddy, I have had a good rest, I can go by myself, you can let me go down.” Wei Zhao had already worked very hard, and he could no longer increase his burden.
Wei Zhao realised that his condition was wrong. Although the vomiting stopped, his chest was still stuffy. He didn’t insist anymore, untied the cloth and put Yi Yin down.
The mountain path became more rocky, and in more places there was no road at all. Wei Zhao led Yi Yin, and his speed decreased significantly.
But no matter how tired they were, they didn’t dare to stop. At the latest at dawn, the abnormality in the village house would have been discovered. Helian Zhuo would get the news sooner or later. The farther they went, the safer they would be.
Yi Yin had been walking intermittently for most of the day, and it was no longer a problem of soft legs and fatigue, but his feet that had never walked far in his life had already been covered in bloody blisters, and every step he took was painful.
Wei Zhao himself was not feeling well; his stomach was churning badly, and nausea and vomiting struck from time to time, but he still noticed Yi Yin’s discomfort.
Pulling Yi Yin to sit down on the tree root protruding from the ground, Wei Zhao took off his shoes and was about to take off his socks when he saw Yi Yin grimace and heard him scream in pain.
It turned out that some of the blood blisters on the soles of Yi Yin’s feet had already broken, and the blood flowed out and stuck to the socks, so it was no wonder that Wei Zhao couldn’t take them off.
Looking at Yi Yin’s appalling feet, Wei Zhao couldn’t let him go any further. Without saying a word, he tied him up with a cloth and carried him on his back.
Wei Zhao’s health had never been good. He had not slept all day and night, barely eating. Carrying a chubby son over the mountains on his back, he couldn’t bear it anymore, but he was holding on by sheer perseverance.
- Gong is one of five noble titles, approximately equal to Duke; Guogong is the highest level of this title. And if you wonder who the hell are all those people mentioned in this paragraph… oh well. So, we have Sun Ye, who is Wei Zhao’s cousin and good at medicine. He is also married to one of Wei Zhao’s half-brothers whose title is Wang Lu (I think his name is Wei Xiao). As to who Sun Shu is… I don’t remember 🙂 I’m sure if it’s important, the author will mention it again 🙂 Which way Sun Ye is Wei Zhao’s cousin and Jun Lin’s half-brother, will be explained. If you’re curious, the sister of Empress Ji, Ji Yang, is Jun Lin’s mother, and Sun Ye is her son from the second marriage.