Chen Xing, “...”
Xiang Shu walked into Chi Le Chuan in silence. The atmosphere was so quiet it seemed eerie. A few crows were perched on the royal tent in the distance. They turned around to look at Xiang Shu, and within an instant, they flapped their wings and flew away.
“Xiang Shu,” Chen Xing whispered.
Xiao Shan got off and landed on the snow. He looked around him, sniffed the scent carried by the wind, then turned around and with his steel claws on the ground, dashed through the snow towards somewhere.
Xiang Shu passed through the ghastly sight of Chi Le Chuan’s ruins without saying a word. Intense resentment pervaded the surroundings. When they arrived at the royal tent, Chen Xing instantly shouted loudly. His vision went black and he almost fainted.
Outside the royal tent, the corpse of King Akele’s consort lay curled up with the little prince still being hugged tightly in her arms. The mother and son pair had been dead for a long time.
Chen Xing was so angry that he instantly spat out a mouthful of blood. His vision blurred, and all he saw were double images shaking in front of him. The scenery in front of him seemed distant at times, and then near at others. Xiang Shu, who was next to him, grabbed Chen Xing’s arm with one hand.
Chen Xing finally couldn’t hold on any longer and fell to the ground, unconscious.
Without knowing how much time had passed, snowflakes landed on his face, and an icy cold hand patted his cheek. Chen Xing woke up, only to see Xiao Shan squatting next to him with the dragon claws on his back. He tugged on Chen Xing’s sleeve a few times to ask him to get up.
Chen Xing sat up in a daze, and only then did he come back to his senses. His tears were about to overflow, and he felt so upset he wanted to die -- King Akele had protected him all the way to Carosha, and in order to save him and Xiang Shu, he had even sacrificed his own life. His wife who was far away in Chi Le Chuan had become his only hope, for which he would not even hesitate to die for.
But he didn’t know that the Consort and little prince had died like this at Chi Le Chuan.
“WHO DID THIS!” Chen Xing’s grief and indignation reached its peak as he shouted in anger.
Xiao Shan jumped back in fright. At that moment, even the Heart Lamp couldn’t calm Chen Xing’s rage. He sat in front of the royal tent, his whole body trembling constantly as he only thought about killing...he wanted to hack the body of the perpetrator of all this into pieces!
Xiao Shan pointed to the distance and motioned for Chen Xing to look. Chen Xing looked up, only to see Xiang Shu’s figure walk out from under the dark and gloomy sky.
He carried a corpse on his back and clasped another under his arm as he passed through the open space where Chi Le Chuan held their Autumn Close festival. He brought the dead to the riverside where cremation was once held, threw them down, then silently turned around and went to another tent to find his dead tribesmen.
“Xiang Shu...” Chen Xing’s voice trembled. The atmosphere seemed extremely dangerous. Judging by Xiang Shu’s character, he didn’t know what he would do next, if Che Luofeng...Che Luofeng? Chen Xing didn’t dare imagine what it would be like when Xiang Shu saw Che Luofeng’s corpse.
He immediately got up and chased after Xiang Shu.
Ever since Xiang Shu entered Chi Le Chuan, he had not spoken a single world. Chen Xing looked at his back and said, “Xiang Shu?”
Xiang Shu glanced at Chen Xing. He carried two corpses on his back and moved them to the riverside.
Chen Xing took a deep breath. He pushed a worn out cart over and carried the corpses onto it. Yet Xiang Shu raised his hand, signalling for Chen Xing to not touch the dead.
So Chen Xing could only stand at one side and watch. Xiang Shu carried five or six corpses onto the cart. Chen Xing noticed that Xiang Shu would use one hand to cover the eyes of each of the dead, then whisper in the Tiele language before putting them on the cart properly. His movements were very gentle, as if he was afraid of startling them awake.
Only after that did Xiang Shu motion for Chen Xing to push the cart over.
“Xiang Shu,” Chen Xing uttered worriedly.
Xiang Shu motioned for Chen Xing to go and not care about him. Chen Xing wiped his tears. Together with Xiao Shan, each of them held one belt connected to the cart shafts on each side and moved the corpses to the riverbank.
There were more than 3000 deceased. The sun set, then rose again, and an entire night had passed. Chen Xing finished counting the dead before staring at Xiang Shu blankly.
“No Che Luofeng,” Xiang Shu finally said his first few words.
Chen Xing breathed a slight sigh of relief. There were more than 30,000 people under Chi Le Chuan. There were 3000 deceased here, but fortunately there weren’t any more, and Che Luofeng was still alive too. When the unforeseen event happened, Che Luofeng must have led the other tribesmen to fight and retreat from this place.
Xiao Shan picked up a rusty sword from somewhere and handed it to Xiang Shu. Xiang Shu glanced at it, then nodded to signal that he understood.
That was the weapon brought by the ancient Xiongnu living dead after they were awakened in Mount Carosha.
Chen Xing said, “Where did they go? Were they captured?”
After the scuffle in Chi Le Chuan, heavy snow fell and all of the footprints on the plains had been covered up. But Xiao Shan went to the periphery and cried with an “aowu----” to call the wolves who were watching from the sidelines.
The pack of wolves gathered around. With the weapon in hand, Xiao Shan let the wolves look at it and sniff it, then the wolves split up and scattered all over the mountains to find them.
After Xiang Shu cremated the corpses, he sat at a high place in silence.
“Xiang Shu,” Chen Xing said.
“I’ll be your Protector.” Xiang Shu said, “I want to hunt them down to the ends of the earth. I’ll save my tribesmen.”
“Xiang Shu...” Chen Xing gasped, “You...calm down.”
When Xiang Shu looked at Chen Xing, Chen Xing suddenly felt a sense of dread. A cold chill ran down his spine -- because the Xiang Shu before him had eyes filled with hatred, and it really resembled Murong Chong’s gaze when he was staring at them outside Chang’an City.
Xiang Shu, “I’m no longer qualified to be the Great Chanyu. I can’t even protect my own people.”
Chen Xing said, “Shulü Kong, your heart is now filled with vengeance. You must calm down first.”
Wolves came over from outside. Xiao Shan jumped up and mounted the wolf, then barked at them with “aowuaowu”s. Xiang Shu immediately carried his sword on his back and rushed out of Chi Le Chuan, darting across the snow as he followed the wild wolf that was leading the way!
Chen Xing quickly gave chase. Xiang Shu didn’t slow down so Chen Xing couldn’t catch up. Xiao Shan, who was riding White Mane, made a turn back and signalled to Chen Xing to mount the wolf as well, then carried Chen Xing as they followed behind Xiang Shu.
“Xiao Shan,” Chen Xing said.
Xiao Shan turned around and cast a doubtful glance at Chen Xing. Chen Xing thought about when Lu Ying entrusted this child to them, he did it so that they would take care of Xiao Shan, but unexpectedly Xiao Shan had been of such great help.
“Thank you,” Chen Xing said.
“Chen Xing.” Xiao Shan said, “Chen Xing?”
Chen Xing laughed bitterly and nodded. “Chen Xing.”
Xiao Shan, “Chen Xing, Chen Xing?”
“We’ve arrived!” Chen Xing didn’t expect that it would be so close to Chi Le Chuan! Deep in the southeast Yin mountains, outside a long and narrow canyon, the sounds of fierce warfare could be heard! A bugle horn was blown, followed by the shouts of the Hu people, and a group of cavalry dashed out from the canyon!
Without a word, Xiang Shu unsheathed his sword while on foot. When Chen Xing caught up, he saw legions of the living dead outside the canyon!
“Hold on... Xiang Shu!” Chen Xing shouted.
Xiang Shu had already turned sideways, and along with his sword, knocked harshly into the periphery of the encirclement. Xiao Shan cried out with an “aowu” as well and shook out his steel claws on both hands. He leapt up from behind the wolf and lunged over through the air!
Chen Xing grabbed onto the giant wolf tight. The giant wolf jumped off a cliff and took a shortcut to cut through the battle formation. The pack of wolves surged into the canyon like a roaring tide. The Hu people, who couldn’t hold on any longer at first, were constantly retreating -- the situation was actually reversed now!
“The Great Chanyu is back!”
The beating of war drums from within the canyon shook the heart. With one spurt of energy, the Hu cavalry poured out with a loud rumble! Chen Xing surveyed the surroundings to search for the leader of the living dead army. When he looked up, he saw a black armoured general standing on the cliff high above!
That black armour design -- it was the one they had met at Carosha, the Prince of Donghai, Sima Yue!
“Xiang Shu! Above you!” Chen Xing shouted.
Xiang Shu shouted, “Give me mana!”
Chen Xing immediately activated the Heart Lamp. Xiang Shu was situated in the enemy’s ranks with the living dead on all four sides. He shook his heavy sword, and just when he was about to transform it into a giant bow, the heavy sword unexpectedly didn’t shine with a bright light this time!
The giant wolf turned around and rushed towards the periphery of the encirclement! A bright light was bursting from Chen Xing’s hand as he kept approaching Xiang Shu. Xiang Shu swept his heavy sword across the enemies, but he had lost the formidable power of the Heart Lamp!
“Give me mana!” Xiang Shu shouted again, “Don’t come over!”
Chen Xing urged it a few times, but he couldn’t awaken the light on the heavy sword no matter what and thought, what’s going on?!
“Give me mana!” Xiang Shu forced away the group of corpses that rushed over. He was already very close to the black armoured general -- he could shoot him down the cliff with just one arrow, but Chen Xing’s support never came. He finally burst out in anger, “What’s going on?! What are you doing! Do something!”
“I...” Chen Xing snapped out of his daze and shouted, “I can’t! Retreat!”
Soon after, the black armoured general high above instead tugged on the string of a black bow -- an arrow that was emitting black vapour shot over hundreds of steps towards Xiang Shu with a whoosh!
Seeing that there were more than a hundred steps between Chen Xing and Xiang Shu, and Xiang Shu couldn’t get out of the way in time anymore, Xiao Shan flew over from the side, and with one claw, smacked the arrow away with a clang!
The array behind blew the bugle horn again. The Hu army shot out fire arrows that blotted out the sky within an instant. Fire rain descended like meteors, and the wolves began scuttling away. Chen Xing shouted, “Run! Protect your tribesmen first!”
So Xiang Shu could only let out an angry shout. He dragged Xiao Shan over and threw him onto a wolf, then retreated into the canyon.
The living corpse army receded like a tide. The canyon was filled with panicked Hu people who had all brought their families along. Xiang Shu was riddled with wounds from head to toe. Using his heavy sword as support, he walked towards the entrance of the canyon.
More than 200,000 people, no one even had time to take their livestock or valuables along and were all crowded together just like that. From the expressions on their faces, one could tell how frightened they had been while escaping.
“Where’s Che Luofeng?” Xiang Shu looked around.
No one answered. Chen Xing’s heart thudded.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Caro.