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Chapter 9: Finally out of the Forest
As the cicadas sang their songs in the summer of the forest, if someone were to be here, they would see: running as fast as the wind, two wolves carrying large bags and luggages on their back chasing a seemingly recklessly shuffling man dressed in black. And in this man’s embrace was a strangely dressed girl with long braids.
“Do… Do you want to stop and rest?” Looking up, Su Shuilian softly asked when she saw that Lin Si Yao’s forehead had developed a light layer of sweat.
Though Lin Si Yao had heard what she said, he only glanced at her, but he did not have any intention of stopping.
Su Shuilian bit her lips; she did not know what to say. To him, she was just a girl who did not know martial arts. Even her walking pace was slower than others. Was she an inconvenience to him?
Seeing her actions, Lin Si Yao let out a light sigh. Choosing a location with a wide clearing, he gently placed Shuilian down on a large stone next to a tree. “I’ll go look for water,” He said as he turned around. With a jump, he disappeared from Su Shuilian’s sight.
Was he angry? Su Shuilian thought as she rubbed her slightly numbed arms. She had apparently heard the stiffness in Lin Si Yao’s voice. But…She was worried that he was overworking himself. Although she was not heavy, she was a… 15-year-old girl. Carrying her continuously for an hour, doesn’t it tire him out?
As Su Shulian massaged her numbed legs, her mind started to wander.
Suddenly, she realised a problem and instantly blanked out. Her hands stopped in the middle of their movements.
Heavens! How old was this body? From her height and the fuzzy reflection from the creek, she had assumed her body was about fifteen in age, but it had already been three months, why is it that she had never menstruated?
Su Shuilian covered her mouth in shock. This body… Was it even fifteen? Dropping her shoulders, Su Shuilian buried her head in her knees.
Seeing her like this, Lin Si Yao who had come back with water held in a large leaf, wrinkled his brows. He was about to call her when the heavily panting wolves who had finally caught up arrived.
“Xiao Chun, Xiao Xue……” Su Shuilian also heard the two wolf cubs. Pushing her frustration aside, Su Shuilian looked up with a smile. Intimately petting their soft fur, she was about to praise their hard work when she saw Lin Si Yao a few meters ahead.
In the shadows of a molded tree stood an exquisitely handsome and slender man. If one were to stand next to him, one would feel a cold breeze instead of the hot summer air.
“You’re back?” Su Shuilian lightly asked while smiling.
Lin Si Yao nodded as he handed to the leaf to her. Even from his leaping, all of the water had stayed in the middle without any droplets to the side of the leaf, let alone dripping out.
“Thank you.” Taking the leaf, she took a small sip from it. She had planned to ask if Xiao Chun and Xiao Xue were thirsty but were surprised to see them walking toward the location of the streams themselves. What she didn’t know was that when she was taking a few sips of water, Lin Si Yao had scared them away with a cold stare.
Su Shuilian looked puzzledly at Lin Si Yao: “What’s with them today? It seems as if they’ve become much more sensible oh.”
Lin Si Yao raised his brow but did not comment. Praising animals as rational, only she would say such a thing. Subsequently laying his back on the large tree, Li Si Yao sat crossed-legged, using this opportunity to rest.
Seeing that Lin Si Yao was self-recuperating, Su Shuilian no longer bothered him. Quietly, she observed her surroundings and listened to the forest’s sounds by the cicadas. Occasionally, there were also bright and beautiful chirping sounds from the wild birds. Resting on the trunk of the tree, she slowly fell asleep.
In her dreams, she returned to her courtyard in the Su House. Sitting in her small, yet beautiful courtyard, Su Shuilian was basking in the warm rays of the afternoon sun. From time to time, she would cheerfully speak to the maidservants that were beside her.
Suddenly, the scene changed. Su Shuilian was standing in her esteemed father’s room, and in her hands, was the embroidery piece that she had painstakingly finished.. This piece was called the “Riverside Stroll.” She had waited for a long time, but neither esteemed father nor her elder brother came, instead, in arrived her stepmother and Shuiyan. Without a word, they snatched the embroidery out of her hands, not only that; they fiercely pushed her to the side.
Vaguely, she heard her step-mother coldly say, “Su Shuilian! The Su Embroidery House will not be singled-handedly deceived by you!”
I didn’t! Su Shuilian wanted to shout back in retort, but she soon lost the strength in her body. Slowly, her sense of sight and smell slowly blurred out.
Su Shuilian furrowed her brows- it was cold. She subconsciously scooted closer and wrapped her hands around the warmth near her.
Lin Si Yao helplessly looked at the little woman in his embrace as he adjusted his grip without affecting his speed as he leaped from tree to tree.
The two wolf pups were right behind the man as they each carried their luggage. After last time, they were determined to keep them in sight and rushed to keep up, or else their owner may be taken away by this man.
When Su Shuilian had woken up, she discovered herself midair and in the embrace of Lin Si Yao.
“Ah!” She embarrassingly buried her head but realised that this action had put her closer in proximity to him.
Realising how naturally she had put her arms around his neck, Su Shuilian stole a peek at Lin Si Yao. Discovering that he had not noticed her embarrassment, Su Shuilian sighed with relief. Quickly, she released her arms, putting a little bit of space between them.
Looking around, Su Shuilian noticed the unfamiliar terrain surrounding her. The sun was close to setting in the west… It seems that she was asleep for quite a while.
Looking down in embarrassment, Su Shuilian tried hard not to let her blush reach her ears.
Only then did Lin Si Yao look down at the currently self-contemplating Su Shuilian. An unknown feeling suddenly emerged from his heart. However, he felt that this feeling had inexplicably filled his heart completely.
“Take a break, we’ll be out of the forest in a hour. I’ll go get more water” In a rather good mood; Lin Shi Yao had spoken more than he had usually done. Under Su Shuilian’s astonished gaze, he awkwardly turned around to begin his quest for water.
Su Shuilian was indeed surprised, but this way Lin Si Yao seemed much more approachable.
Looking at the heavily breathing wolves that had closed in towards her, Su Shuilian gently patted their heads as she untied the burdens on them. Opening the basket of fruit, Su Shuilian took out two that were high in water content to feed to them.
Soon, Lin Si Yao was seen coming back with a large leaf of water in his hands. With a sweep of his eyes, the two wolves subconsciously stepped back but quickly sprang away after Lin Si Yao had arrived towards Su Shuilian’s side.
Su Shuilian dazedly looked at the Lin Si Yao for a second before exclaiming: “They are really smart ah! Even without saying anything, Xiao Xue and Xiao Chun already know what to do! How come I only discovered this now?”
Lin Si Yao sat down, and pretended to have not heard her words. The way that she said it seemed as if he was a wolf whisperer.
“Oh yeah, what are your plans after we make it out of the forest?” Su Suilian asked as she took small sips of the water. Pursing her lips, she could not help but curiously ask about his plans.
Lin Si Yao’s body twitched without her detection, but his face remained cold and frozen. Was she driving him away now? But of course, after they make it out, she will have to go home. He had lived a solitude life, it made no difference where he went or lived.
“I am unfamiliar with the (commodity) prices outside. Say, about how much would a small house cost?” Supporting her chin, Su Shuilian leisurely added. Although she was asking him, Su Shuilian also seemed to be asking herself. Thinking back to her five silver ingots in her purse, Su Shuilian pondered if it were enough to sustain herself.
Hearing this, Lin Si Yao opened his icebound eyes, but this time, there was a trace of confusion in them.
“Are you not going home?” He softly asked. With even her mannerism so elegant, even her sitting posture extruded grace. It was hard to believe that she was like him: a homeless orphan.
“My home…. I don’t think I can go back to.” Su Shuilian replied as she sunk her face. Her hands clutched her silk trousers as her eyes flashed with a sense of loss.
Lin Si Yao turned towards her. Can’t go back home? What does it mean? However, his habit of always performing tasks without ever inquiring caused him not to question her further. Rubbing his fingers, Lin Si Yao pondered for a bit before saying, “In the city, the lowest would be about fifty taels, as for the outskirts and the farm areas… the land there is about fifteen taels.”
Su Shuilian looked at Lin Si Yao in surprise, did he say that to her?
Fifty taels? Fifteen taels?
With the amount that she has, Su Shuilian knew that living in the city was not possible. Fine then. She’ll just go to one of the villages to find a suitable house. With her farmland and house, it seemed that she would become a peasant woman. Thinking this, Su Shuilian let out a smile.
Lin Si Yao looked at Su Shuilian’s face for a bit before turning to check the almost setting sun. He got up and said, “Let’s go.”
“But Xiao Chun and Xiao Xue…” –aren’t back yet. Su Shuilian didn’t finish her words because she soon saw the two emerging from behind the trees. They were even cleverly waiting for Lin Si Yao to tie their share of baggage on their backs.
What kind of situation was this? Are wolves always this understanding to human nature? Su Shuilian looked at Lin Si Yao and then turned her head down to look at the two wolves who were wagging their tails. She was left speechless.
What she didn’t know was that Lin Si Yao had exuded his internal forces, which scared the wolves into obeying his every order. For now, they could only follow his every command as they were too weak to beat him. Of course, wait until they grow up, and soon he’ll know who’s the stronger one.
Around an hour later, Su Shuilian was finally able to see the end of the woods. Without herself knowing, she embraced Lin Si Yao’s neck out of joy. Heaven knew that she had stayed in the forest for three long months! Other than trees were bushes, and other than creeks, were streams! ired from the lack of visual stimuli ah!
Now she finally witnessed a different view, although it was only a mast amount of farmland. A little further, she could see a reflection of stars on the ground, presumably a large pond. Then in the distance… Wow! Villages! Villages with actual smoke rising to the air! Su Shuilian was exhilarated. Finally! She was finally out of the forest!
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