Chapter 518.2: Pursuing

Although Qin Yining couldn’t see through how much of Liao Zhibing’s act was true or fake, she was still very sympathetic. Madame Liao being abandoned in the desert was essentially a death sentence under those circumstances. Perhaps after being left behind, Madame Liao might’ve regretted not revealing the treasure’s whereabouts.

The Zhou brothers saw how anguished Liao Zhibing was and supported him on both sides in gentle comfort. “Brother, don’t feel too sad.” 

Liao Zhibing shook his head, speaking with difficulty, “If I had just spoken a few more words to her back then and prevented her from getting involved with the treasure, she wouldn’t have lost her life here.”

“That’s right, brother. It was sister-in-law who refused to listen to you, but in any case, she’s gone, so grieving over it is useless.” 

“Furthermore, we’ve lost all clues as to the treasure’s whereabouts.” 

Qin Yining was secretly suspicious of the three, but none of it showed on her face as she listened to them talk. She didn’t believe that Liao Zhibing and the others really had no clue where the treasure was. However, they didn’t seem to be faking it either. 

But though she was doubtful, she kept an open mind. She’d already lost so much for the treasure, there was no need to pay any more for mere worldly possessions. 

Although she no longer completely trusted Azure Justice, she didn’t think the alliance would expose their whereabouts. Azure Justice wasn't comprised of good and loyal citizens devoted to Great Zhou. 

They were a marginalized group back in the days of Great Yan and had further lost citizenship when it came to Great Zhou. They spent most of their days eking out a living on the Tatar border and basically had no sense of belonging towards Great Zhou. Without gains to be had, Azure Justice shouldn’t expose their location.

As long as nothing happened in this short period of time, all would be fine. 

Qin Yining decided to let the three stay and prepared a tent for them. However, she didn’t tell them anything about their route or future plans. 

On the other side, Lu Heng treated his two bodyguards very warmly. He led them to Uncle Alham’s bonfire and even introduced the two to the Minuo tribespeople gathered there.

Since the start of their Tartar escapade, Qin Yining had rarely seen Lu Heng as happy as he looked now. As she watched his projection of genuine emotions, she ultimately decided not to remind him to be careful. 

Lu Heng was an intelligent man and had more experience than her in the vicissitudes of business. He wouldn’t need her to remind him to be on guard. 

That night, Qin Yining still shared a tent with Cao Yuqing. Meanwhile, Feiying and Feilian stayed with Lu Heng. 

The next day, they continued on their journey. 

Although Qin Yining didn’t care much about the new additions to their group, Lu Heng was visibly happier. However, as time passed, their group gradually started to run into the troops pursuing them.

The large number of wagons they had were encumbrances that they couldn’t bear to throw away. Thus, everybody could only grit their teeth and clash head-on with Siqin’s soldiers. 

It was fortuitous that the three from Azure Justice and Lu Heng’s two bodyguards had found them. They were all incredibly strong, each capable of taking on ten people. This made their circumstances much better than if it was just the Minuo bearing the brunt of it all. 

However, the pursuing troops were in contact with each other. When one squadron found them and engaged them in battle, it was impossible to ensure that absolutely no one got away. Thus, their situation grew more and more reactive. It was becoming common that not even two days would pass after their last battle before running into another group of soldiers.

After being tormented like this for ten days, they were all physically and emotionally exhausted. 

After temporarily losing the soldiers, everyone hurried to set up basic tents to catch up on some sleep. However, heither Qin Yining or Cao Yuqing were sleepy. Their nerves were stretched taut with constant worries of pursuers catching up.

Qin Yining closed her eyes and let herself rest for a while until she suddenly heard a voice outside the tent. “Alliance Head.”

Qin Yining abruptly opened her eyes, and asked in a hushed voice, “Who is it?”

“Alliance Head, it’s me, Liao Zhibing.” Liao Zhibing lowered his voice, “I have something to report.” 

Qin Yining locked eyes with Cao Yuqing, only answering after receiving a nod. “Please come in.” 

Liao Zhibing murmured a few words of courtesy before pushing open the tent flap and stooping by the tent entrance, perfectly abiding by etiquette. “Alliance Head, I’ve just discovered Second Master Lu has run away.” 

“Run away?” Qin Yining was greatly startled. “How do you know? Did you see him?”

The three from Azure Justice were all in tents close to her’s, which was located in the female side of camp. In comparison, Lu Heng and his two guards were with Harbhara and Caganbhara, at the other end of the group.

There were eight hundred tribesmen in the group, in addition to all the supplies they were transporting. That made for a great distance between the two ends of the camp. If Liao Zhibing personally saw Lu Heng run away, he would’ve had to travel all the way to the other side. Why would he be sneaking around instead of sleeping in the middle of the night?

When Liao Zhibing saw the suspicion on Qin Yining’s face, he quietly cut straight to the truth. 

“I lived in the Miao territories for a few years and learned some of their venom techniques. Those techniques are focused on raising poisonous creatures like centipedes, snakes, or scorpions. When we just arrived, I didn’t really trust Lu Heng and left a tracking bug on him. Just now, I felt him leaving.” 

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etvolare's Thoughts

!!! Lu Heng ran off??