Yi Yin was completely shocked. Who the hell was Huo Qingyang that he could find these things in the deserted mountain forest?
Seeing this situation, Wei Zhao was also quite moved. Could it be that he really thought too much? Huo Qingyang was a kind-hearted young man who was benevolent and enthusiastic to help others. He had nothing to ask for from them.
Huo Qingyang didn’t care what Wei Zhao and Yi Yin thought. He cleaned up the two pheasants, one for stew and one for roasting on the fire, and then turned to deal with the deer.
Wei Zhao gently turned the branch that pierced the roasting pheasant to cook it evenly, but his mind was obviously not on the roasted pheasant. As he looked at Huo Qingyang’s busy back, Wei Zhao’s eyes were dark, and it was unknown what he was thinking of.
The two pheasants were taken care of by Wei Zhao, and Yi Yin had nothing to do, so he squatted beside Huo Qingyang and watched him butcher the deer. He was so skilled with his knife and moved so nimbly that he soon cut the deer into eight pieces.
Considering that the three of them couldn’t finish eating so much meat, Huo Qingyang salted most of the venison and planned to take it on the road as a reserve food, leaving only two deer legs to be roasted tonight.
Even so, Yi Yin thought it was too much, so he said, “Brother Qingyang, there are only three of us. Can we finish eating two pheasants and two deer legs?” The Flying Wings Peaks were so sparsely populated that the size of the birds and beasts was very considerable and he was afraid of wasting the meat.
“Of course we can finish eating.” Huo Qingyang said without raising his head: “I can eat a pheasant and a deer leg by myself. Can’t you two finish the rest? I’m worried that there won’t be enough to eat, so I’m thinking of cutting off another piece of venison.”
Yi Yin quickly waved his hand and said hurriedly: “Enough is enough, enough is enough, don’t cut it anymore, won’t it be a pity if we can’t finish eating it.”
“Really?“ Huo Qingyang was dubious, looked at Yi Yin up and down, and teased: “Seeing that you’re so strong, I thought you were a good eater, just like me when I was a kid.”
Yi Yin sweatdropped and looked down at his arms and legs that were by no means slender. No, when he returned to the Central Plains, he would have to train hard in martial arts, so that he would never grow into the round body shape like Pei Di.
Huo Qingyang didn’t notice Yi Yin’s “grievance”, and said to him: “When I was a child, my mother’s biggest worry was that there was not enough food at home. She and my sister often saved their own rations and left them to me and my father. It’s a pity…”
Yi Yin didn’t answer, because no matter what life he lived, he had never had the experience of not being able to eat enough, and since Huo Qingyang didn’t finish what he said, just listening to his faint sigh, Yi Yin could guess that his family must have suffered some kind of misfortune.
Just when the two of them fell into an embarrassing silence, Wei Zhao’s voice reached them: “The pheasant is roasted and ready to eat. Don’t you still want to roast the deer legs? Why don’t you bring them over quickly?”
Huo Qingyang immediately picked up the deer legs and raised his voice: “Coming right away.” Yi Yin stood up, rubbed his numb calves and moved over too.
Wei Zhao divided the roasted pheasant into three parts. The largest one was given to Huo Qingyang, and the rest was divided equally between him and Yi Yin. The pheasant in the crock was more troublesome, because they didn’t have chopsticks and it seemed too reckless to fish it directly from the soup with their hands.
Huo Qingyang thought for a while, went outside and broke a few thin branches, washed them in the stream and brought them back to act as chopsticks, thus solving the pressing problem.
For more than ten days, Yi Yin had eaten either roasted meat or wild fruits every day. He had long been tired of eating them. Today, seeing the pheasant soup he hadn’t seen for a long time, he couldn’t help but have a big appetite. Even Wei Zhao ate more than before.
After eating the pheasant in the crock, Huo Qingyang and Yi Yin reached a tacit agreement, and the crock of soup was handed over to Wei Zhao to eat.
Before Wei Zhao could say anything against it, they each picked up a deer leg and ate happily. It was fine for Huo Qingyang. Although his face was childish, his figure was adult, but Yi Yin, with such a little head, looked very funny holding a deer leg.
Of course, Yi Yin didn’t finish the deer leg, and at least two-thirds of it was solved by Huo Qingyang for him.
After dinner, Wei Zhao told Yi Yin a story, and Huo Qingyang listened too. Only then did Yi Yin know that Wei Zhao could tell a good story, but he had never done so before and had to tell him the history of the Great Yan, which made him drowsy.
However, no matter how good Wei Zhao’s story was, Yi Yin was too old to listen to it, so his expression remained calm. But Huo Qingyang listened with relish.
When Wei Zhao told Yi Yin to go to bed, Huo Qingyang asked if he could continue the story tomorrow, leaving Yi Yin speechless.
After a night’s rest, Wei Zhao’s physical condition improved significantly. Huo Qingyang wanted to carry him again, but he politely refused.
Huo Qingyang still didn’t give up and insisted. Wei Zhao was helpless, so he pointed to Yi Yin and said, “Ah Yin has short legs and can’t walk fast. If you don’t find it too troublesome, you can carry him on your back.”
Who knew that Huo Qingyang would shake his head, curl his lips and say, “I don’t want to carry him. The little guy is so chubby, he should move more to avoid growing even fatter in the future.”
Yi Yin was first disliked by Wei Zhao for his short legs, and then by Huo Qingyang for his fatness. He simply didn’t want to talk to them anymore. Where are his legs short? Where has he grown fat? Pei Di is two years older than him, and only a little taller than him, okay? He is strong, not fat!
In the end, Huo Qingyang carried the remaining venison and their bags, while Wei Zhao led Yi Yin and embarked on the journey home.
Yi Yin had always felt that Huo Qingyang was a typical two-faced guy. When he talked to Wei Zhao, his tone was gentle and friendly, like a spring breeze. When he talked to him, every sentence was teasing, as if it was fun to make him angry.
It was just that although Huo Qingyang’s mouth was sometimes a bit annoying, considering Wei Zhao’s health and Yi Yin’s age, he still took the initiative to slow down his pace to match theirs.
Not only that, but Huo Qingyang was exceptionally familiar with the terrain of Tianmen Ridge and made all the necessary arrangements for their daily meals and nightly camping.
Two days later, they could no longer see the strange and steep Flying Wing Peaks. Huo Qingyang said that they had entered the territory of the Great Yan.
Although they hadn’t gone out of the mountains yet, Wei Zhao and Yi Yin were still relieved to hear Huo Qingyang’s words. This meant that they were already safe, and it was impossible for Fuyu pursuers to go deep into the Great Yan.
Looking at the endless sea of forest in front of him, Yi Yin asked, “Brother Qingyang, when can we get to the border village?”
Huo Qingyang raised his eyebrows and said, “According to our current speed, it will take four days. If it were me alone, it would be fine in two and a half days, less than three days.”
“Only four days? So fast?” Yi Yin had heard people say in the past that the Flying Wing Peaks were located in the middle of Tianmen Ridge. It took them nearly ten days to walk from entering the mountain to the Flying Wing Peaks, and it should be about the same to walk out of the Flying Wing Peaks again.
Huo Qingyang didn’t understand why Yi Yin was so surprised, but heard Wei Zhao say coolly: “It seems that a few days ago, we took a lot of detours in the mountains.”
Yi Yin nodded in agreement with lingering fear. If they hadn’t run into Huo Qingyang, let alone four days, they might still be spinning in the mountains for another ten days. It was not unreasonable for Huo Qingyang to say that they were lucky.
Huo Qingyang’s estimation of time and distance was very accurate. In the afternoon of the fourth day, they arrived at the border village before sunset. Huo Qingyang graciously invited Wei Zhao and Yi Yin to his home as guests, saying that he was the only one in the family, so it was very convenient to stay.
Wei Zhao looked at the clothes on him and Yi Yin that were in a wretched state, and nodded in agreement. It was no big deal in the mountains, but now that they were in the populated place, it was a bit embarrassing to be dressed like this.
The first thing Huo Qingyang did when he brought Wei Zhao and his son home was to boil water for them to bathe in, and as for himself, he rinsed himself off while fetching water from the well.
Wei Zhao’s figure was similar to that of Huo Qingyang. They were both thin, so Huo Qingyang’s clothes fit Wei Zhao. But Wei Zhao was half a head taller than Huo Qingyang. The pants were obviously too short, showing his calves. Fortunately, it was summer, so it could do.
Yi Yin was the pitiful one. The Huo family had no clothes he could wear, so he could only wrap himself in Huo Qingyang’s shirt as a robe. Huo Qingyang said that for one night it was fine, and tomorrow he would go to the east of the village to borrow clothes from the little grandson of the village official.
People have to bow their heads when under the eaves, so Yi Yin naturally wasn’t picky. Besides, he and Wei Zhao had already troubled Huo Qingyang a lot along the way, so he didn’t have the heart to make a request.
The next day, Huo Qingyang really brought Yi Yin clothes, not the coarse cloth shirt he imagined, but fine linen. In addition, Huo Qingyang also brought Wei Zhao a set of fine cotton clothes, and they were brand new.
Wei Zhao and Yi Yin looked at each other, and saw doubts in each other’s eyes. Huo Qingyang’s own clothes were made of coarse cloth, with patches on his elbows and knees. Why should he borrow such good clothes from them, and why would others lend them to him?
Wei Zhao didn’t want to disturb Huo Qingyang for too long. After changing his clothes, he wanted to take Yi Yin to say goodbye. He said that he had no money at the moment and could not thank Huo Qingyang for the time being, but when he returned to Yujing, he would definitely send someone to his home to thank him.
Huo Qingyang shook his head again and again, saying that he didn’t need them to repay him. Saving people’s lives was better than building a seven-floor pagoda. He also invited Wei Zhao and Yi Yin to stay for a few more days to recuperate. Besides, the border village was thousands of li away from Yujing, so they couldn’t just walk there.
If they were not in a hurry, they might as well wait for him for a few days. After he took the game he had brought from the mountains to the county town and exchanged it for silver, he would give them the money and they could hire a carriage or something. And he had nothing to do, so he could just send them back to Yujing.
Suddenly, Wei Zhao’s expression changed, and he said sharply: “Huo Qingyang, who are you? What is your intention in approaching us father and son?”
All along, Wei Zhao had a conflicted view of Huo Qingyang; his appearance was too sudden and he had been too kind to them; to say that he did not have any purpose was something Wei Zhao could not convince himself of. However, he had observed Huo Qingyang all the way and could not see anything wrong with him.
Originally, Wei Zhao planned to stop delving into it and take Yi Yin away directly. Even if Huo Qingyang really wanted something from him, as long as it was within reason, he would never refuse.
Unexpectedly, Huo Qingyang still had such a thing in mind. He could be called warm-hearted and willing to help, but Huo Qingyang himself was very poor, and he still wanted to give them money, and even wanted to send them back to Yujing in person. Wei Zhao couldn’t help but be wary.
Huo Qingyang looked straight at Wei Zhao, not avoiding his examining gaze. After a moment of silence, he knelt down on one knee and said with a serious expression: “I will never forget Your Imperial Highness’s kindness in saving my life and it will never be enough to return the favour!”
As soon as these words came out, Wei Zhao and Yi Yin were both dumbfounded. Who saved who?