Eh? The little lass could actually speak underwater? Zhu Junyang was even more surprised and his eyes opened wide. This was truly unbelievable! His little lass was too awesome. She not only could speak normally and breathe underwater but he also gained the same skills when he was by her side...perhaps Xiaocao was the reincarnation of the ocean’s Dragon King’s daughter? Although it seemed a bit far fetched, he couldn’t help but think along those lines in the face of the impossible.
Yu Xiaocao pulled Zhu Junyang onto a shallow reef as if she was dragging a dead dog. The Wokou pirates in the water had long been left behind by her. On the dark and silent reef they watched as the ships, which were not far from them, slowly sank into the sea. The ship that they had damaged first had already sunk down and its masts almost weren’t visible.
Since Zhu Junyang had lost quite a bit of blood, his head felt very dizzy and heavy. He leaned against a rock and a smile appeared on his ghastly white face, “Although it was dangerous, we still managed to complete our mission perfectly!”
Yu Xiaocao didn’t give him a happy look and instead scrunched up her face, “Perfect? Just what was perfect about any of this? It was so perfect that you almost lost your life and became shark feed!”
The smile on his face became even more enchanting and there was a hint of trying to obtain favor in it, “I owe a lot to you for today, Xiaocao. Otherwise my life really would have been lost in this section of seawater. Tell me, how can I thank you properly?”
“Hmph! Who was the one who said that I don’t know martial arts and would only slow the group down so you didn’t want to bring me along?” Yu Xiaocao trembled as she began to settle her previous grievances.
“It was my bad! I apologize to you for looking down on you!” Zhu Junyang followed her lead and the look he had in his eyes as he gazed at her had become extremely gentle. The little lass absolutely had some kind of secret. If she didn’t want to talk about it, then he was just going to pretend he didn’t notice it. He was willing to bury her secret deep within his heart and not say a peep.
Yu Xiaocao slanted a look at him and began to make her request, “Then...in the future if something else like this comes up, will you still refuse to let me come along?”
“Uhh...that really depends on the situation. If it’s too dangerous, then it’s better if only men like me go. As a lass, all you need to do is hide behind me…” Zhu Junyang immediately refused the request. No matter what, he didn’t want his little lass to get her hands stained with blood and he was even more reluctant to have her be put into dangerous situations.
Yu Xiaocao glared angrily at him, “Before we came, that’s what you said but look what happened, ah? If there wasn’t a little lass like me along, wouldn’t all of you men be an easy banquet for these Wokou pirates?!”
“Ahem ahem...how could I become an easy banquet? It’s not as though those Wokou pirates are completely savage and are willing to eat raw meat…” Zhu Junyang had lost all of his face so he hemmed and hawed. It took quite a bit of effort for him to sit up on the reef and move his arms and legs. When he was in the water, his wounds had ached furiously and he thought that he had been seriously injured. However, now he discovered that these were all superficial wounds. Although the injured areas were all a bit white from being in the water, none of them were serious.
Zhu Junyang felt quite puzzled by this discovery. He was pretty sure he remembered that there were a few serious injuries. In fact, one of the pirates had hurt him near his heart. How come there weren't any problems there right now? He felt his chest. It ached a little but other than that minor pain, he didn't have any other feelings.
The little divine stone, which was on Yu Xiaocao’s wrist, felt quite proud. It arrogantly boasted to its master, [This divine stone saved your man, how are you going to thank this stone?]
[What are you being so arrogant for, speaking like the prince? Where did you learn this from? Saving a person’s life is more meritorious than building a seven-level pagoda. This is also something that will help you regain your cultivation and spiritual powers. This is a mutually beneficial act for you to do. That being said, that fellow is absolutely not my man!] Yu Xiaocao was not going to fall for its act. This stone must have some sort of crazy request on mind so she needed to prevent it from acting up.
[Hmph! This divine stone is generous and open-minded so I won’t bother to quibble with you!] However, she didn’t expect the little divine stone to let it go so easily. Yu Xiaocao didn’t know that this fellow was currently smugly thinking, ‘Apparently saving the young royal prince is as helpful in increasing my cultivation as saving my master herself. My master is still in denial, hmph hmph! In the future, we’ll see what happens to you.’ The little divine stone didn’t say anything else and went back into the multi-colored stone to continue cultivating.
All of the more serious injuries on Zhu Junyang’s body had been healed by the little divine stone while Yu Xiaocao swam through the water with him. The remaining injuries were mostly some superficial wounds that would heal after resting a bit. The only other issue was that he had lost too much blood, but that was easily fixed. When they got back, Xiaocao just had to make him some medicinal cuisine to nurse his body back to full health.
“Oi! At this time, all of the Wokou pirates who were on the ships should be grouping up on land to start looking for us! If we leave now, we will probably be caught by them. What do you think we should do now?” Yu Xiaocao used her foot to lightly kick at Zhu Junyang’s leg as she asked.
Zhu Junyang thought for a bit and proposed, “It’s probably better if we circle around to the neighboring village. Although there are probably Wokou pirates there, most of them should be sleeping. If we’re careful, there should be no problems!”
Yu Xiaocao considered his plan and then nodded, “Okay! Then we’ll just circle around to the neighboring village...I don’t know if Zhuang Xiaomo was able to escape or not.”
Before the pirates arrived, they had already made a plan with Zhuang Xiaomo that they would wait an hour for him to meet up with them. When everything happened, they still hadn’t seen that youth appear. Xiaolian had already mentioned him several times. That little lass was only twelve yet there was spring love in the air already? It was clearly puppy love ah! Sigh, the ancient people definitely matured too early!
Zhu Junyang felt a burst of sourness rise up in his heart and his face darkened. He grumbled peevishly, “My injuries are so serious yet you don’t seem to be worried about me for one bit. In fact, you seem to be more worried about that other fellow who has nothing to do with you!”
“Zhuang Xiaomo isn’t someone unrelated to me! He’s the future son-in-law that my parents both want!” Before Yu Xiaocao had finished what she was saying, she had been pulled into an icy cold hug.
Perhaps he had lost too much blood but Zhu Junyang felt like his entire body was chilly and his head was spinning. He locked the little lass into his arms and sourly remarked, “The son-in-law that they want? That stupid, good-for-nothing, tanned young fellow? How could he compare to my stunning good looks, skillful martial arts and boundless future?”
“Pffftt...” Yu Xiaocao sprayed out a laugh and forcefully pushed him away. When she saw Zhu Junyang stagger after being pushed, she reached out to support the weakened youth as she said, “Just why are you being so jealous right now? Zhuang Xiaomo is someone that my mother wants for Xiaolian’s future husband. You’re so tyrannical so how could my mother possibly try to find someone else for me besides you?”
Only after hearing that did the jealousy in Zhu Junyang’s heart slightly settle down. He pretended to be very weak as he leaned against Xiaocao’s shoulder, but he was also afraid that his weight would push her down and make her too tired. On the nearby reef, Commander Zheng had left a secret message hinting that they had already gone back to the West Mountains.
The two of them relaxed and circled around the sandy beach to avoid the Wokou pirates searching for them. They got to the vicinity of Zhuang Xiaomo’s village. In the distance, using the hazy light of the moon, they could see some human-shaped figures dangling from the large tree at the mouth of the village. When they got closer, Yu Xiaocao almost vomited from the sight. The figures hanging from the tree were all the villagers that the pirates had slaughtered. They must have been dead for at least two days as their corpses were giving off a dense, rotten scent. After the storm from the evening, all of them had swelled up and didn’t resemble people anymore.
Didn’t Zhuang Xiaomo run back to warn the villagers that the pirates were coming? How come there were still so many villagers who had been brutally killed? However, how could she know that the village chief of Zhuang Xiaomo’s village refused to believe the words of a youth who was half grown and didn't take any of it to heart. Other than the few families who had a good relationship with him that had packed and fled to the nearby hills, the other villagers didn’t prepare anything and had met their doom when the pirates arrived.
This village was smaller than Dongshan Village but it still had around eighty to a hundred villagers usually. From the looks of it, at least fifty to sixty of them had been brutally murdered. Yu Xiaocao had also noticed that there were almost no young women among the corpses that were hanging on the trees. Anyone with a brain could tell what had happened to those women. The Wokou pirates were too cruel. Stealing the villagers’ belongings was one thing yet they also had to viciously slaughter innocents and rape helpless women! Yu Xiaocao felt simultaneously disgusted and afraid. She ground her teeth in rage.
Zhu Junyang lightly covered her eyes and gently comforted her, “Xiaocao, don’t worry! All of these lives will definitely be paid back for you! I will definitely make sure that these bastards pay blood for blood!”
Yu Xiaocao sniffed and then helped him to circle around the village along a tiny muddy trail. They headed towards the West Mountains. Since Zhu Junyang had been injured, their speed was very slow. By the time they entered the mountain, the first rays of light from the sun had just peeked over the horizon. The sounds of birds chirping gradually filled the air.
Her head was still filled with the mournful images of the village. Fortunately, the village chief of Dongshan Village had trusted her and the Yu Family and made a wise decision. His decision saved all of the lives at Dongshan Village. Their lost possessions could be slowly earned back but people who lost their lives could never come back!
The two of them silently trudged through the forest with difficulty. Suddenly, Zhu Junyang stopped moving and made a gesture to her, telling her to be quiet. He was listening to the sounds in the vicinity.
“What’s wrong? Did you hear something? Is it a person or animal?” Yu Xiaocao immediately became nervous. Could it be the Wokou pirates had chased them into the mountain? Although Royal Prince Yang was very skilled at fighting, he had been heavily injured. If they were in the water, she might have some skills to get them out of a bad situation. However, on dry land, she couldn’t be of any help. What should they do? What should they do?!
Zhu Junyang pointed at a large tree behind them and helped her climb up. He followed up behind her with a lot of effort and they used the dense tree leaves to cover up their figures.
Before long, the figure of an adult man appeared underneath the tree and a familiar voice could be heard, “So weird, I’m pretty sure I shot that animal. How come I can’t find it now?”
“There’s a blood trail here. If we follow it, we will definitely find it. Xiaomo, don’t be in a hurry. That dumb roe deer absolutely can’t run for too far!” This was the voice of the adult man. Yu Xiaocao wasn’t very familiar with it.
However, she could already guess the identity of this man and the worry within her heart gradually dissipated away. Zhuang Xiaomo wasn’t too stupid. At least he knew to hide in the deep mountain forest. Luckily, he didn’t lose his life. Otherwise, she wasn’t sure how to break such news to Xiaolian.
“The crisis is over, it’s Zhuang Xiaomo and the others!” Yu Xiaocao quietly informed Zhu Junyang. Zhuang Xiaomo, who was under the tree, suddenly raised his head to look at the leaves above him. His dark and bushy eyebrows slowly came together in a frown and he also slowly raised the bow in his hands in the direction of the tree top.
“Oh ho! This fellow has some pretty good ears on him. Too bad he’s on the older side. If he was able to get formal training when he was young, he absolutely wouldn’t be any less skillful than Zheng Yun and the others!” Since the other person had already spotted him, Zhu Junyang naturally also raised his voice.
Yu Xiaocao rolled her eyes at him and revealed her small head from the cover of the leaves as she hurriedly said, “Zhuang Xiaomo, it’s me, Yu Xiaocao!”
When he heard her voice, Zhuang Xiaomo lowered the bow in his hands. The few men behind him only discovered that the tree was hiding people after they heard the sound of Zhu Junyang’s voice.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Sanguine’s Thoughts: The death of those other villagers is sad...as is the fate of the women in the village. Unfortunately, these things happened all the time in the past (and sometimes now in more restless areas of the world).