When Liao Zhibing saw that Lu Heng was growing soft hearted again, he hastily took a step forward.
“You guys said it yourselves that you sold your lives to him. Since it’s selling, that’s a transaction. Even if you died, Second Master Lu would’ve provided financial support to your family and silver in exchange for your lives. So that transaction ended a long time ago.
“However, not only have you failed to accomplish anything for the second master, you selfishly decided to betray your former master. You traded your master to better your prospects. Yet despite all this, you shamelessly use your relationship to plea for leniency. What an eye-opener it is, seeing men like you!” Liao Zhibing’s mocking truly hit where it hurt, turning the two further shades of red and purple.
Lu Heng grew increasingly hesitant. Logically, he knew that he shouldn’t let them leave. However, emotionally, he couldn’t bear to watch those who used to be his men be killed.
The rest of the group could see Lu Heng’s dilemma, and all felt a little helpless.
Cao Yuqing laughed and decided to speak, her soft, pleasant voice ringing crisply through the air. “But if we let such scum go, wouldn’t the heavens themselves punish us?”
“Mercy, please mercy! We know our wrongs! Second Master!” Seeing that they were about to lose their lives, Feiying and Feilian kowtowed repeatedly at Lu Heng. Their hands were bound, leaving only their legs free from restraint. Because of their anxiety, blood seeped from their foreheads just after a few kowtows. The two looked quite tragic and pitiful under the moonlit night.
In the end, he just couldn’t forget how long they’d served by his side. Even raising a cat or a dog would inspire affection, not to mention a real, live human.
In this moment, emotion defeated logic in Lu Heng’s mind. “Just leave.”
Right now, all he could feel was despair. His family already decided to sacrifice him, and his formerly trusted subordinates had betrayed him as well. His future seemed lost and nebulous; he didn’t even know whether to persist on in life or not.
Everyone looked at each other, but no one dared speak after seeing the determined, resolute expression set on Lu Heng’s face.
Feiying and Feilian’s faces lit up as they hopped toward the forest, not even bothering to deal with the restraints on their arms first.
“Let’s go back.” Lu Heng then turned back and walked to where the horses were bound.
Qin Yining watched Lu Heng’s back and shook her head with resignation before catching up with Uncle Alham and the others.
Cao Yuqing raised a brow and shared a glance with Liao Zhibing, who nodded in reply. The pair quietly took a few steps back before using their swiftness skills, speeding through the forest like lightning.
The two returned just a few moments later and mounted their horses, following behind the group as if nothing had happened. Qin Yining shared a horse with Cao Yuqing, giving Lu Heng the horse she’d travelled here on.
Everyone but the dazed Lu Heng knew what Liao Zhibing and Cao Yuqing had just done, especially Qin Yining. Her senses had always been sharp and although the two both put their swiftness skills to full use when they left, she could still sense that something was amiss.
Qin Yining didn’t think much about what happened to Feiying and Feilian. There wasn’t really much to ponder over—in any case, there was no way Cao Yuqing and Liao Zhibing would’ve allowed any possibility of exposing their whereabouts.
Everyone made swift time back to camp, worried that something might’ve happened in their absence. But when they drew close to the site, they noticed hoof markings in the snow. They were organized and appeared similar to tracks left by a scouting party.
The group returned to camp and made straight for Harbhara and Caganbhara’s tent.
The brothers didn’t dare to sleep deeply, getting up immediately when they heard the footsteps and sighing with relief when they saw Qin Yining’s group had returned.
“How is the situation outside?”
“It’s not looking good,” sighed Qin Yining. “We found the footprints of a scout on the way back. We’d better leave this place soon.”
The group’s expressions turned grave, and even Harbhara and Caganbhara tensed up with nervousness.
“Then I’ll go tell the tribe to start packing.”
“Alright.” Harbhara led a group to wake up the people and prepare them for departure, while Qi Yining discussed their next plan of action with Uncle Alham.
Cao Yuqing glanced at Lu Heng and saw that even at this critical juncture, he was still thinking about what happened earlier. Displeased by his weakness, she couldn’t help but frown. She approached him and asked lowly “Don’t tell me that Second Master Lu is still thinking about those two traitors.”
Lu Heng jumped from the sudden address and jerked his head up. When he met Cao Yuqing’s gaze, his lips moved, but he didn’t speak.
“You know that I’ve already killed the two, right?” Cao Yuqing snorted.
Lu Heng’s face instantly twisted. “So you actually did kill them.” He didn’t sound surprised—clearly, he’d already known.
“I’ve always known Second Master Lu to be an esteemed figure, successful at a young age and talents being second to none. But seeing you dither now, I see you also have moments of soft-hearted foolery. You should know that if they’d left and exposed our whereabouts, the entire tribe would’ve been destroyed because of your hesitation! We are in the most critical of periods right now. Will you have time to regret when the Tatars catch up to us? Have a think about it.” Cao Yuqing strode away with that parting shot.
Lu Heng just stood there, dazed from the rebuke. Only after a long while did he heave a large sigh and adjust his mood before catching up with Qin Yining and the rest.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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