“So my good luck can only be used until I’m twenty.”
Editor(s): Amelea, juurensha, Zryuu
Fourth year of Taiyuan, 2nd February. Conflagrations in Xiangyang City obscured the sky; a lone mount rushed out of the city, heading south as it broke through the black smoke and ran far, far away.
At noon, when the radiant sun was high in the sky, Chen Xing constantly urged his horse to flee Xiangyang, taking Xiang Shu with him as they galloped for nearly twenty miles. Crowds had gathered along the way; South Dangyang Road was packed with commoners fleeing from the calamity with their families. Wails of anguish swept across the land for a moment, the road was so crowded that people could hardly take a step forward, and the cries of those searching for their beloved seemed to go on endlessly.
150 years ago, Guan Yu had besieged Cao Wei’s garrison outside the city and drowned his seven armies, thereby attaining glorious military exploits. Afterwards, Mai City was lost in defeat, and the route they had taken was exactly this road. Sorrowful cries shook heaven and earth, as if people were attending a memorial for the immortal God of War who lived on the Divine Land many years ago.
Chen Xing was distraught with anxiety. He saw that he couldn’t pass through the crowd, so he had resort to walking through a trail instead. After reaching the foot of a mountain, he set Xiang Shu down and untied the layers of rope that Xiang Shu was trussed up in.
In an era of war, nine houses out of ten were deserted in Jingzhou. People either crossed through the south to Jiaozhi or fled east to Jiankang, Gusu, and other places. Chen Xing passed through the woods and found a small village at the foot of a mountain. In this afternoon where winter and spring alternated, fog gradually rose, and everything was still.
It was evident that the village had also gone through a period of disaster. It was in shambles. Poultry and vicious domestic dogs had been taken away. Chen Xing trespassed into two houses and saw no one, so he could only try and find some water to drink from the well. He inspected Xiang Shu’s complexion again; after a whole night of torment, it was fortunate that he seemed all right. The twelve-hour mark was at hand; after the effects of the medicine waned, Xiang Shu’s meridians should be able to recover. Chen Xing has to find food for him to eat as soon as possible in order to help him restore his physical strength……this guy’s really too skinny. If he was raised better, he’d probably look pretty good.
According to the register in Zhu Xu’s hands, Xiang Shu was 20-years-old this year, only four years older than Chen Xing. However, there were many Hu people who took wives and had children after their thirteenth birthday. At his age, people would already be married and have started their careers.
“Protector, do you feel better?” Chen Xing was backlit by the sunlight as he studied Xiang Shu’s appearance. Xiang Shu’s face was completely blackened from the smoke. He originally had a tall stature, and now he looked just like a savage. However, when Chen Xing looked at himself, he he wasn't any better off. After going through all that chaos and turmoil, the two of them looked just like two beggars now.
Chen Xing got some more water and helped Xiang Shu wipe his face, and wipe his face. The effect was astounding. Once his face was clean, that pair of eyes amidst Xiang Shu’s messy beard were still clear and bright; he had a slim face, thick and black eyelashes, while his eyebrows resembled the sharp edge of a sword. His eyes were as fathomless as the night sky, and the lips under his beard were now rosy because of the effects of the medicine. If he were just slightly tidied up, he would definitely be renowned for his peerless elegance and handsomeness!
My family’s Protector is so good-looking!
Chen Xing couldn’t help exclaiming, “What a beautiful jade ahhhhhh!”
Also, from head to toe, aside from how his ** satisfies the Hu people’s size standards……features of the Hu people couldn’t be seen in his facial features and skin at all. How could he be part of the Hu? Dress him in a scholar’s robe and hang an ancient sword by his waist, and he would turn into a one hundred percent beautiful and refined famous scholar; with wooden clogs that tread on wind as he whistled crisply to the moon in the sky, the group of literati in Jiankang would all have to stand aside.
Chen Xing, however, didn’t really have any requirements for his Protector’s appearance; everything was fine as long as his Protector could fight. The road ahead of them was long and abundant with thistles and thorns. For someone like him whose only redeeming feature was his good luck and can only rely on God’s help in fighting his enemies during a battle, having a Protector who was skilled in fighting was of utmost importance.
But good-looking men are pleasing to the eye, and one would tend to be in a good mood after often being in the company of one. But God bless me, hopefully the new Protector wouldn’t be like an embroidered pillow like me.
“I heard that the emperor of Great Qin, Fu Jian, is fond of good-looking men.” Chen Xing sat under the tree and let Xiang Shu use his thigh as a pillow. He casually wiped Xiang Shu’s neck for him, “Previously, he even wanted to raise Murong Chong in his palace. In a few months, we need to find an opportunity to go north to Chang’an, tidy you up a little when the time comes, then rely on your beauty to move him!”
Xiang Shu’s fingers twitched slightly. Chen Xing got up and went to the river to wash the cloth. The stream was filled with crushed ice, and the water was so cold the chill penetrated to the bone.
“……no matter if you’re a Hu or Han. As long as you don’t kill people indiscriminately, then……”
Before he could finish uttering one sentence, Chen Xing was suddenly slapped on the back of his head, and he fainted.
A quarter of an hour later, Chen Xing’s face was doused with cold water. He woke up, and realised that he had been stripped of his outer robe. He wore only an unlined garment with a blanket wrapped around him along with the chair he sat on. He had been kidnapped by Xiang Shu, then carried out and placed in the backyard.
Chen Xing shouted angrily as soon as he woke up, “Is that how you’re gonna treat your benefactor?”
Xiang Shu carelessly went through Chen Xing's belongings one after the other. There was a charcoal stove on the side with a fire that had been started under it. A pot of white porridge was being cooked on the stove; apparently, it was the last bit of rice found in the farmer’s house.
Chen Xing, “Bastard! Say something!”
Xiang Shu tossed Chen Xing’s dagger back and forth as he glanced at it, fiddled with it briefly, put it aside, then examined his carry-on medicine bag. He didn’t recognise all the medicinal items.
Chen Xing was wrapped up like a stripworm; he was firmly tied up and unable to move.
Xiang Shu went to the well to draw a bucket of water. He stripped himself bare without hiding from Chen Xing. In any case, whatever that could be seen had all been seen already anyway. He started washing his hair and taking a bath. After his bath, he faced the water and used Chen Xing’s dagger to shave his beard off.
Chen Xing, “Wei! Wei!”
His beard fell. In less than an hour, Xiang Shu had tidied himself up. When he turned around, although he was so skinny that he barely looked human, he still had a handsome face, deep-set and lively eyes, a distinct jawline, and a peerlessly handsome appearance. He sat down in front of the stove and began to eat.
Chen Xing’s stomach grumbled with a “gu——”.
After finishing his porridge, Xiang Shu entered a room, rummaged around and found two unlined garments that belonged to the man who owned the house, then changed into them. The man who owned his house was a hunter before he died. Xiang Shu took his outdoor hunting clothes and tied his martial sleeves. When he appeared again, although the clothes were a little small on him, he still had a slight majestic air about him.
Chen Xing, “……”
He’s obviously a Han, how could he be a Hu? Chen Xing actually forgot about everything else for a moment and only thought about this point.
Xiang Shu grabbed the bow and arrows of the hunter, bundled up Chen Xing’s dagger, robe, and medicine bag. He led the horse over, mounted it, and glanced at Chen Xing with a cold and detached expression.
Chen Xing struggled, “Release me! If you leave me tied up here, I’ll die!”
Xiang Shu turned the horse around. Chen Xing was still shouting from behind, “Is it that you don’t want to be a Protector?! If you don’t want to, then don’t! When did I ever provoke you! I saved your life, and I even had a chance to kill you, but see, I didn’t do it……”
Xiang Shu’s back faced Chen Xing. He had spurred the horse into a slow amble, but slowly came to a stop when he suddenly heard those words. He nocked an arrow on his bow and turned slightly towards Chen Xing.
Chen Xing, “……”
Immediately afterwards, Xiang Shu’s arrow left his bow, and an arrow shot over with a whoosh!
Chen Xing closed his eyes, but he felt the ropes around his body loosen -- they had been torn by the arrow.
“Jia!” Xiang Shu shouted.
Xiang Shu rode his horse, turned onto the main road, and left the village.
“Ai!” Chen Xing, dressed only in an unlined garment, ran out, his teeth gritted, “Get back here! Protector! You bastard!!”
That was Chen Xing’s first time hearing Xiang Shu’s voice. That “jia” was both clear and powerful, and resonated through the air. Chen Xing couldn’t help but think, my family’s Protector has a really nice voice……wait, no! A bastard is a bastard! Why did my Protector run away?!
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Caro.