Chapter 293 - Saving a Life

Before Yu Hai had finished speaking, Zhu Junfan interrupted, “How can purchased pork be better than meat hunted by oneself? Don’t worry, this prince’s imperial bodyguards can all single-handedly fight with a ferocious tiger. I’m afraid we won’t encounter them, but if we do, I’m certain that they won’t be able to return!” 

With no other choice, Yu Hai could only take the ‘heir of Prince Jing’ and his party to walk around the periphery of the West Mountain. Yu Xiaocao was also conveniently taken along by Zhu Junyang. 

The drought was still on going. The grass and trees on the mountain that had been eaten by the locusts had all withered. The entire West Mountain was like an old man with a scalp full of lumps. Yu Xiaocao’s initial worries weren’t superfluous. The herbivores who lost vegetations as their source of food were faced with hunger, and some had died because they couldn’t find food. In a gap between stones not far from the road, Yu Xiaocao found a dead wild hare that was scrawny and had mottled fur. It looked very miserable. 

The group didn’t travel for long before encountering a family of wild boars—two adult boars came out to search for food with three young boars. Fortunately, the wild boars could use their tusks to dig out the grass roots in the soil and gnaw on the tree barks. Although they looked slightly thin, they still appeared quite spirited.

The imperial bodyguards of the ‘heir of Prince Jing’ surrounded the boar family as their master pulled back his bow and shot his arrow at the male boar’s eyes. Wild boars had thick and rough skin, so it was usually very difficult for ordinary arrows to penetrate their thick skin. In order to kill it in one shot, one had to aim for its weakness—the eyes. 

The male boar seemed to have noticed the upcoming danger, becoming grumpy and restless. With the female boar and his children, he was about to leave this place that made him uneasy. Just as he blinked his little eyes and wanted to find a way out of this dangerous situation, Zhu Junfan shot an arrow through the wild boar’s eyes and penetrated deeply into the boar’s head. The male boar instantly died before he could even make a sound. Seeing this, Yu Hai inwardly complimented, ‘Excellent skills!’

When the female boar realized that her husband had been killed, she became crazy and ran aimlessly through the forest. Coincidentally, she was charging directly towards Yu Xiaocao. 

Due to the little divine stone, Yu Xiaocao had an affinity with taming animals, but she had no way to deal with a crazy boar that could allegedly defeat a bear! 

As the tusk of the wild boar was about to penetrate her body, Yu Xiaocao felt her body becoming light and found herself on top of a tree in a blink of an eye. She looked at the arm that was around her waist, and then turned to see the young royal prince’s icy face. It turned out that at that critical moment, Zhu Junyang had hugged her waist and jumped up on a big, slanted tree nearby. 

Qinggong, you know how to use qinggong?” Yu Xiaocao’s pair of big eyes twinkled with light. Her apparent admiration made Zhu Junyang very confident about himself. 

He feigned indifference and faintly said, “It’s a basic skill for martial artists to be able to raise their qi and lighten their bodies. It’s nothing special!” 

Yu Xiaocao continued to look at him with admiration and asked, “After practicing qinggong, can one really leap onto roofs and vault over walls? And climb cliffs and mountains as though walking on flat ground?”    

Zhu Junyang nodded slightly and said, “In theory, it’s possible. As long as one can find the right foothold, there shouldn’t be any problems with climbing a cliff.” 

“Wow! So amazing!! Young Royal Prince, can you teach me qinggong?” Yu Xiaocao had long forgotten that there was a large boar attacking them under the tree, and was completely focused on her desire to learn the qinggong.    

Zhu Junyang looked at her weak and frail body and said with lips curled up, “You? Let’s forget it! qinggong isn’t a specific type of martial arts. It’s supported by one’s inner energy. If you start learning now, you will have to practice for at least ten to twenty years to achieve moderate success. At that time, you should be able to jump up a tree this tall.” 

Yu Xiaocao’s desire to become a chivalrous heroine, who could leap on roofs and vault on walls, instantly disappeared by half when heard that she also needed to cultivate inner energy. Moreover, after practicing for ten to twenty years, she could only jump up a three to four meter tall tree. She was capable of climbing up such a tall tree without learning qinggong, okay? 

As they spoke, Zhu Junfan had already killed that wild boar that was crazily charging at the tree. The three younger boars should have been born recently, but they were very difficult to tame. However, they weren’t opponents to the imperial bodyguards and were soon captured alive. 

“Don’t kill those young boars. We can raise them at home and slaughter them when they get fatter!” Yu Xiaocao nimbly got down from the tree and suggested as she looked at the screeching boars in the guards’ hands. These young boars didn’t even add up to twenty catties in total, and they were so thin that their stomachs were shriveled. There was barely any meat to eat. It was better to raise them at home, and then slaughter them for meat a few years later! 

Zhu Junfan made a ‘listen to her’ expression to the imperial bodyguards, and then teased his younger cousin, “Junyang ah! Where’s your bow? It’s not like you to go hunting without your bow and arrows and hide on a tree when encountering danger ah!” 

Zhu Junyang glanced at the emperor with his long, charming phoenix eyes and had a look of indifference to his provocation. But Yu Xiaocao jumped out and said, “The young royal prince suffered an injury on his arms. He can’t lift heavy things or use a bow for half a year. What kind of older brother are you? You don’t know anything about your younger brother’s injury, moreover, you’re also teasing him?” 

“Impudent!” Zhu Junfan’s personal imperial bodyguard glared at her with large, copper bell-like eyes and hollered. 

Yu Xiaocao wasn’t afraid of him. Her godfather’s eyes were much bigger than his, okay? Even if he didn’t glare at people, he still looked more stern than him. She raised her little nose and snorted at the imperial bodyguard, “Stop pretending to intimidate people. Your master didn’t even say anything yet, so how dare you speak? My lord, your subordinate doesn’t know any proper manner. He needs to be properly disciplined!” 

Zhu Junfan still had a smile on his face as he nodded in assent, “You’re right! Miss Xiaocao is right. As an older brother, I’m not caring enough about my younger brother! You, what are you still doing here? Aren’t you going to withdraw?” 

Su Ran lightly glanced at the imperial guard and nonchalantly said, “When you return, remember to receive your punishment at the punishment chamber…” 

The imperial bodyguard’s forehead was full of cold sweat, so it was apparent that the punishment chamber that the head steward mentioned was a very terrifying place. Yu Xiaocao felt some sympathy for him and said, “Sir Su, since it was his first offence, please spare him this once. After all, he was just trying to protect his master.” 

The imperial bodyguards that the emperor brought along this time were all trained by Su Ran, and they were all elite bodyguards. They had already experienced Su Ran’s methods of handling people and situations, so when facing this handsome young man, who appeared seemingly harmless, the imperial bodyguards were all like mice seeing a cat. They were all extremely terrified of him. 

Su Ran had a well-known characteristic, which was the fact that no one was allowed to refute his decisions. Even the emperor wouldn’t be able to change his mind! As a result, those imperial guards who made a mistake could only hope for the best!

Su Ran looked at the little girl in front of him with a smile on his face. So it turned out that she was a kind-hearted girl who didn’t hold grudges. With a gentle voice, he softly said, “He scolded you, and had such a bad attitude. I’m helping you punish him, so shouldn’t you be happy?” 

“I was indeed being disrespectful to the heir of Prince Jing. What’s wrong with the imperial bodyguard brother faithfully protecting his master?” Yu Xiaocao helped put in a good word for the imperial bodyguard without any ill feelings.

“You also said that he didn’t have the right to speak when his master hadn’t spoken?” Seeing that the little girl was reasoning with him in a serious manner, Su Ran began to tease her. The imperial bodyguards were all amazed. Normally, the fellow who dared to contradict the head steward would have already been smacked to death by him. There was no way that he would be so kind as to reason with the little girl in such an affable manner. 

“The master’s dignity was provoked, so of course, the subordinate should immediately jump out in his defense. If he only waited for his master’s orders, then he would be too tactless. From my perspective, I will definitely feel unhappy after being reprimanded by him. On the other hand, from the standpoint of the imperial bodyguard brother, not only should he not be punished, but this is also something he should be praised for!” Yu Xiaocao wholeheartedly felt that the imperial bodyguard didn’t do anything wrong. Why should he be punished?

Su Ran had an even deeper smile on his face, “Based on what you’re saying, I’m in the wrong for punishing him?” 

Yu Xiaocao nodded and said, “If you insist on punishing him, then that’s definitely not right! The heir of Prince Jing only ordered the guard to withdraw, and didn’t say that he should be punished. Why are you acting on his behalf? You are both subordinates of the heir. Although your position is slightly higher than his, you shouldn’t act this way because others will hold grudges against you. Sir Su, you should win people’s heart with virtue!” 

All the bodyguards inwardly took in a breath of cold air. ‘The head steward got disciplined by a little girl. This little girl is going to be so miserable. Those who disciplined the head steward a long time ago had long become a pile of bones. 

Zhu Junfan, on the other hand, watched the little lass of the Yu Family lecture Su Ran with great interest. She had a series of logic, and even knew the principle of ‘win people with virtue’. Interesting!

What surprised everyone the most was that Su Ran actually nodded solemnly and said, “Miss Xiaocao is right. Only by convincing people with virtue can people truly be convinced. Since you don’t think it’s reasonable to punish him, then let’s withdraw his punishment!” 

“Sir Su is wise!” Yu Xiaocao slightly flattered him. When she turned her gaze to the imperial guard, she noticed that the cold sweat on his forehead still hadn’t dried yet. Sir Su was such a gentle and amiable person. Why did the imperial bodyguard brother look as if he had seen a ghost? Wasn’t he too cowardly! 

When Zhu Junfan saw his imperial bodyguards looking as if they had seen a ghost, he hastily suppressed his laughter and asked, “Junyang, what happened to your arms? It sounds pretty serious.” 

With an emotionless face, Zhu Junyang simply answered, “It’s fine now!” 

Zhu Junfan looked at Yu Xiaocao with questioning eyes, and it was apparent that he wanted her to explain. Yu Xiaocao did as he expected, saying, “In order to save my father, he hurt the tendons and muscles in his arm when drawing a bow that he didn’t usually use. Fortunately, Doctor Sun has excellent medical skills and cured his arms. However, there’s still half a year of recovery period. He can’t carry heavy loads with his arms.”

“He just carried you up a tree earlier. Would it hurt his arms?” Zhu Junfan knew that the injury of muscles and tendons was very serious. This younger cousin of his was too willful and reckless. Zhu Junfan knew about that bow of his. Even two well-known strong men in the military couldn’t draw back the bow together, yet he actually pulled it forcibly. Did he still want his arms? Zhu Junfan couldn’t help but worry. 

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Myst's Thoughts

Xiaocao should really be more careful with her words...

Translator: Myst