Chapter 395 - Settling in the Cave

Goudan wandered in the forest for three days, and his mother cried for three days. In the end, the fog in the forest gradually dispersed and he followed the sound of his mother’s cries out! 

It wasn’t because of his luck that he was able to come out. Instead, the fog array changed every three days. Even if someone got trapped, there wouldn’t be any great danger and they could naturally come out after three days. Goudan’s incident had a great impact on the villagers of Dongshan Village. They all repeatedly warned their children to stay away from the foggy forest.

Yu Xiaocao looked at him and said with a smile, “Older Brother Goudan, you aren’t frightened by the fog forest, right? Want to have a bet to see who can go in and come out intact?” 

Goudan knew that she was teasing him. At that time, when he made the bet, he had nearly buried himself here for the sake of two wheat steamed buns! 

Had it been someone else, Goudan would have already started fighting with that person. However, when he looked at Xiaocao’s tender and pretty little face, Goudan blushed and scratched his head, “Younger Sister Xiaocao, don’t make fun of me. When I was younger, I didn’t know how to be afraid and did a lot of ridiculous things. I won’t do it anymore in the future…” 

Yu Xiaocao smiled and said, “If I say that I can bring everyone inside safely and provide everyone with a safe place to stay, would you believe me?” 

Goudan was mesmerized by her bright smile. ‘Xiaocao is so beautiful. Her skin is even more tender than a peeled egg and her eyes are big and lively, as if they can speak. Her voice is also very nice and sounded even better than the lark that I caught last time.’ Goudan unconsciously nodded and said, “I will believe everything Younger Sister Xiaocao says! Haha!!” 

Yu Xiaocao rolled her eyes at the foolish-looking Goudan in her heart. She was only twelve, okay? In her previous life, she would only be a little sixth grader. Who did she offend to have so many rotten peach blossoms [1]? 

She ignored Goudan and said to the village head, “Village Head Grandpa, my younger brother and I are very familiar with this forest. We often come here to play when we were younger, and we have never gotten lost. The cave that I mention is at the end of the forest.” 

The village head remained silent for a moment, and then confirmed with her again, “There was no fog in the forest before, so it wasn’t easy to get lost. Have you been here after the forest was shrouded by fog? Have you ever been in this mountain forest? It’s not that Village Head Grandpa doesn’t believe you, but this affects our village of more than a hundred people. I must be cautious ah!” 

Yu Xiaocao firmly replied, “Rest assured, Village Head Grandpa! I came here ten days ago to catch some little white fish in the valley to make soup for the princess consort. If you don’t believe me, you can ask Her Highness!” 

The delicious small white fish could only be found in this valley stream and couldn’t be found anywhere else. After he got Princess Consort Jing’s confirmation, the village head finally agreed to let Xiaocao take everyone into the fog. Originally, many villagers rejected this idea. Didn’t the imperial bodyguards already say that the Wokou had already withdrawn from the forest? So, why couldn’t they just stay in any random cave? Why must they enter this dangerous fog forest? 

Several households didn’t believe Xiaocao’s words. Among them, there was a villager who frequently set traps and hunted in the surrounding forest. He thought that he was very familiar with the surrounding area. The head of those families came to an agreement to work together. After talking with the village head, they took their families and separated from the big group. 

That villager had once gone into the mountain and encountered heavy rainfall. At that time, he hid in a cave to avoid the rain. That cave could accommodate at least thirty to forty people. The families had a good relationship, and there was more than enough room for them. However, that cave was somewhat far from here. Fortunately, they should be able to arrive before sunset. 

The people who stayed chose to believe in Xiaocao. In actuality, the person who they believed in was the village head. Since the village head trusted in Xiaocao, they didn’t have the courage to doubt her. Thus, they could only follow the majority. 

Xiaocao took everyone and stepped into the fog filled forest. The fog didn’t actually exist in her eyes. Therefore, she could clearly see where they needed to turn and the obstacles in their path. The people behind her could only see the back of the people in front of them, and beyond that was completely covered by fog. In order to not make any mistakes, all of the villagers were completely focused on following the person in front. They were afraid that they would get left behind in the forest accidentally. 

Soon, Xiaocao stopped in front of a cliff full of green vines. There wasn’t as much fog here. She turned around to check on her family; none of them were missing! Meixiang, who was beside Princess Consort Jing, also did the same and made sure that the people who came with them were all present. The village head told each head of the household to make sure that everyone in their families were present. 

Xiaocao gently pushed away the vines that covered the entrance of the cave and revealed a pitch-dark and bottomless hole. The entrance of the cave could only fit a person who was bending down. Thus, Princess Consort Jing got off the sedan with Meixiang’s help. Yu Xiaocao, who had a short stature, got a torch from the basket that her uncle was carrying and lit it up. 

Seeing this, Princess Consort Jing hastily told Meixiang, “The entrance of the cave is narrow, so it’s not safe to use a torch. Meixiang, take out the luminous pearl and give it to Xiaocao.”

‘Luminous pearl? Luminous pearls really existed?’ Yu Xiaocao widened her eyes with curiosity. Meixiang carefully took out a circular object wrapped in silk from her small bundle. After she unwrapped it, a white object, similar to a frosted crystal ball, was revealed. She handed the luminous pearl to Xiaocao and said, “Miss Yu, this luminous pearl is the love token that His Imperial Highness gave to Her Highness, so you must be careful and not break it.” 

“So talkative!” Princess Consort Jing glared at her, and then said to Xiaocao, “Don’t listen to her. Just take it, and you can keep it if you like it. Anyway, I have a lot of these things at home and will give them to my family’s Little Three!” 

Little Three [2]? Yu Xiaocao quickly lowered her head and tried really hard to suppress her laughter. So it turned out that the young royal prince had such a ‘hilarious’ nickname. She rubbed her somewhat tired cheeks and did her best to control her expression as she said, “This is an expression of Imperial Prince Jing’s love for you. How can I be so shameless to take it? Your Highness, be careful and follow me closely. I’ll lead the way in front.” 

Without waiting for Princess Consort Jing’s reply, Yu Xiaocao had entered the entrance of the cave. Princess Consort Jing had no choice but to hold up her dress, bend down, and carefully follow behind Xiaocao. As soon as they entered the cave, the originally common ‘frosted crystal ball’ emitted a peculiar glow. The faint blue glow was like a 60-watt lightbulb, but its glow was much softer than a lightbulb. 

The luminous pearl was able to light up around seventy to eighty square meters of its surrounding. Yu Xiaocao had a short stature, so she just needed to bow her head when walking. From time to time, she would turn around to help Princess Consort Jing carry the hem of her dress, or help her walk over the uneven ground. Fortunately, Princess Consort Jing wore a relatively light riding outfit and her hair was styled into a simple bun. She also didn’t wear much jewelry. Otherwise, it would be more difficult to walk.   

After walking about twenty or so meters inside, the opening of the cave gradually widened. Princess Consort Jing could finally straighten her back. Meixiang, who was behind her, quickly stepped forward to support her mistress to rest on a stone beside them. 

The members of the Yu Family were behind Meixiang, and behind them were Xiaocao’s oldest paternal aunt’s family and eldest granduncle’s family. The place that Princess Consort Jing rested at was another opening of the cave that was about 198 square meters. It was dark and deep. From time to time, drops of water would fall down onto the stone, making a light sound.

The people outside came in one by one. Some with bigger luggage had to divide their big bundle into two to three smaller bags. Otherwise, they would get struck at the entrance and couldn’t come in. 

When the village head entered this somewhat small cave, he frowned and said to Xiaocao, “Xiaocao, it’s too crowded for over a hundred people to stay here. There isn’t even enough space to sit.” 

Yu Xiaocao smiled at him and said, “This is just one opening of the cave. It’s very big inside. The biggest cave is capable of accommodating three hundred people. Your Highness, have you rested enough?” 

Princess Consort Jing wiped the sweat on her forehead. She stood up and said with a smile, “Don’t think of me as being so weak. I can now walk up from the foot of the mountains to the entrance of the residence without others helping me.” 

With the luminous pearl in one hand, Yu Xiaocao held Princess Consort Jing’s arm with her other hand. Then she turned around and said to her father, “Father, Oldest Paternal Uncle, light up a torch so that the people in the back can see the path. We can walk faster that way.” 

Before she finished speaking, a clear howling of a wolf spread throughout the cave. The echo within the cave made it hard to distinguish which direction the sound came from. 

The villagers in the back immediately panicked. Some of them instantly turned back and screamed, “Wolf! There are wolves in the cave!! Quickly run ah!!” 

The others also panicked, and even Yu Hai worriedly stepped forward to block in front of his daughter and Princess Consort Jing, solemnly guarding them. Before Xiaocao said anything, Little Black and Little White dashed out from the back of the group. They put down the game in their mouths and made a clear howling sound with their necks stretched out. The sound of the wolf howling on the other side stopped, and a pair of emerald green eyes appeared from a dark cave nearby. The green eyes came closer and closer, and soon appeared within the area illuminated by the luminous pearl. A gray wolf with a rich coat of fur and a powerful appearance showed up in front of the Yu Family.

“Eh? Isn’t this the gray wolf that the royal prince entrusted Xiaocao to raise?” The village head took a closer look and recognized it. He hastily placated the villagers, “Don’t panic, everyone. This wolf is domesticated and doesn’t bite people!” 

Yu Xiaocao bent down, gently touched the gray wolf’s head, and said, “Big Gray, our village is in trouble, so I brought my fellow villagers here to take refuge. Sorry for disturbing you!” 

Big Gray looked at the water bag she was carrying on her body with an apparent meaning of, ‘You guys can live here, but you need to pay rent—what do you think about paying with that mystic-stone water?’

Little Black and Little White were very excited to see their father. Especially Little Black, he immediately hugged Big Gray’s neck with his forelegs and gently nibbled on his father’s ears. Big Gray impatiently shook off his paws, pressed his foolish son onto the ground with his front paws, and grimaced somewhat threateningly at him. Little Black thought that his father was playing with him, so he happily rolled around on the ground.

When the people in the back saw the interaction between the Yu Family’s two ‘dogs’ and the wolf, they finally believed the village head words. Last winter, their village was attacked by wolves and a gray wolf had saved Yu Hai’s life. This was a matter that had spread throughout the entire Dongshan Village. The Yu Family’s children had also used a gray wolf to pull on their sled, which was something that all the village children envied. When they got home, they had told their parents and grandparents numerous times in an envious tone. The villagers’ mood gradually calmed down. 


[1] In Chinese culture, peach blossoms represents romance, so rotten peach blossoms are unwanted or bad luck in romance.

[2] Little Three also refers to the third wheel in a relationship.

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Translator: Myst