Chapter 388 - Travelling In The Same Direction
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News of Wei Yi’s antics spread like wildfire.
The next day.
Jing Rong and his party were prepared to leave Shanhuai County. Lang Po mounted his horse uneasily. Fortunately for him, Wei Yi had long been brought into a carriage by Ji Yunshu and could no longer bother him; he could thus relax a little. However, the surrounding guards’ gazes towards him had already changed, some of them were even whispering amongst themselves, and a chuckle could be heard every now and then. Lang Po was embarrassed! How did a man of his calibre fall to his current state - what a lapse in judgement!
The culprit, Wei Yi, had long forgotten all about this. He was sitting together with Ji Yunshu in the carriage, hugging two boxes of cakes and munching on them happily. “It’s great, we can finally go home!”
Ji Yunshu asked, “Do you miss home?”
He nodded, “Of course! I haven’t been back in ages - I don’t know how Ah Mi is doing, and Uncle Fu, Ah Da… I miss them all!”
Ji Yunshu patted his head, “You’ll be able to see them soon, in about ten to fifteen days.”
“Then Shu’er, are we never leaving again?”
She shook her head, “We’re going to Yufu County - we’re only passing by Jinjiang.”
“Oh,” Wei Yi looked down in disappointment.
Ji Yunshu looked right through him and smiled gently, “Wei Yi, when we get to Jinjiang, you should stay there. I’ll come back for you when we finish our business at Yufu.”
“I don’t want to.” He refused, hugging Ji Yunshu’s arm as he leaned his head on her shoulder, “I want to be with Shu’er; I will go wherever you go. We promised each other never to separate.” He was like a little kitten, wedging himself in her arms, refusing to leave - he looked adorable!
Ji Yunshu laughed and let him be. She pulled open her curtains with her slender, pale fingers and glanced at the carriage behind. She asked the guard outside, “Is Aunty Xie alright?”
The guard replied, “She has been fine the past few days, but she’s a bit anxious, since her daughter’s case…” He stopped, pondering if he should continue. Ji Yunshu nodded in understanding and dropped her curtains back down.
Ahead, Mo Ruo still had wine in his hands, the smell of alcohol engulfing the entire carriage as he entered. Jing Rong did not follow suit, so Mo Ruo popped his head out, questioning, “What's wrong? Can’t bear to leave?”
“That’s not it.”
Jing Rong tilted his head, his gaze landing on the carriage behind as he remarked, “I’m worried about her.”
Mo Ruo smiled, “If you’re worried, then go. I can ride this carriage alone - it’ll be so spacious.” He popped his head back in excitedly. He was free - he could drink like there was no tomorrow, no-one would care if he died in his drunken stupor, and more importantly, no-one would be there to stop him!
Jing Rong had already arrived outside Ji Yunshu’s carriage, rapping a finger on the carriage door. Ji Yunshu looked outside, “What’s wrong?”
“Ask Wei Yi to get out.”
“The carriage in front has more space - ask him to go sit together with Mo Ruo.”
“Then what about you?”
“This Prince will ride with you.”
Ji Yunshu paused, what was wrong with this fellow? Before she could assent, Wei Yi’s voice floated across, “I don’t want to. I want to sit with Shu’er.” He stretched half his body outside, glaring huffily at Jing Rong.
Jing Rong did not want to spend any extra energy on this and pulled Wei Yi outside in one smooth movement. He threw him to the guard on duty, ordering, “Take him to Mo Ruo.”
“I don’t want to!” Wei Yi struggled and twisted his body, but he was no match for the skilled guard. He could only stare after Ji Yunshu with puppy eyes, calling out ‘Shu’er’ pitiably.
Ji Yunshu could not bear to look at him like that, and told Jing Rong, “Even if you wanted to ride here, you don’t have to chase Wei Yi away. Mo Ruo stinks of alcohol - how could he stand it?”
That was indeed true. But... Jing Rong frowned, “This carriage would be too cramped.”
Ji Yunshu rebutted, “Then you can sit with the coachman.”
Jing Rong had no good comeback; once Wei Yi was released, he quickly scurried up the carriage.
Suddenly, the guard behind shouted. “Your Highness!”
Jing Rong and Ji Yunshu turned back simultaneously, only to see about five or six men on horseback approaching. Those men were tall and bulky, each ferocious-looking and armed with a sabre at their waists. They looked to be charging at them, but instead of approaching Jing Rong, they dilly-dallied a short distance away. The person at the head was Zhao Huai! His sleeve was torn in half where his arm used to sit, and his other arm was firmly on his reins. He sat upright and proud on horseback; losing an arm did not seem to affect his charisma, instead complementing it!
Zhao Huai’s gaze met Ji Yunshu’s - strangely, something like loyalty flickered in his gaze. Ji Yunshu averted her gaze, retreating back into the carriage. She’d rather leave this hot potato to Jing Rong.
Jing Rong was immediately suspicious. Although Zhao Huai only brought several men with him, he still had to be cautious and ordered his men to test the waters. A guard returned, reporting, “Your Highness, he says he’s travelling in the same direction.”
“On the same path?”
“He’s also going to Shanhuai County.”
This reason… Jing Rong could not help but be wary. The guard spoke, “Your Highness, should we…”
Jing Rong interrupted him, “There’s no need. Just be careful, if there’s any commotion, protect Teacher Ji first.”
“This servant understands.”
Jing Rong then headed up Ji Yunshu’s carriage. The three of them rode together, but as Wei Yi was afraid that he would be kicked out by Jing Rong, he curled up in the opposite corner, avoiding Jing Rong’s gaze at all costs.
“What is Zhao Huai doing here?” Ji Yunshu asked puzzledly.
Jing Rong replied, “He says he’s also going to Yufu County, heading in the same direction.”
“Why is he going to Yufu County out of the blue? It’s so strange!”
“Looking at the likes of him, I don’t think he’ll stir up any trouble.” Ji Yunshu ceased questioning, and the party began their journey towards the Shanhuai County city gates.
Once they left Shanhuai County, they arrived at Yuzhou Lake shortly after noon. The heavens were not helping them as a storm passed through. The muddy roads meant that they could not make it to Yuzhou before dusk fell, so they decided to make camp in a rundown temple.
Jing Rong’s subordinates secured their horses and carriages, then cleaned up the temple and started several campfires. Zhao Huai’s men also entered after them, but sat in the opposite corner. They started a campfire themselves, but did not move or approach them at all. The two groups sat awkwardly facing each other.
Jing Rong picked up a stick out of habit, prodding at the fire before him occasionally. Several sparks leapt onto the back of Mo Ruo’s hand, hurting him. He furrowed his brows and complained disdainfully, “When can you correct this habit? Didn’t your mama teach you never to play with fire?”
Jing Rong gave him the stink eye. Mo Ruo swallowed, “Fine, fine, fine. I’m at fault. I woke the sleeping tiger, so I’ll escape first.”
He picked up the two jars of wine that he had just warmed up and headed towards Zhao Huai, squeezing himself in as if they were originally a family. He offered one jar to Zhao Huai, “You’ve only recently lost an arm, why, oh why are you still on the road?”
Zhao Huai did not answer, but he took a mouthful from the jar, tossing the remaining to his brothers.
Mo Ruo continued, “Where’s Zhao Qing? Why isn’t he here with you?”
“He went to Lu An Temple. I’ve dispersed my gang brothers - these men are all that I’ve brought.”
“Then why are you heading to Yufu County?”
ChouFleur Rants Corner
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