“Who gave you food?” Chen Xing asked Xiao Shan, "What about the wolves?”
Xiao Shan pointed to the place where the Xiongnu people had gathered, and Chen Xing understood that the food was coming from there.
The wolves spread out; each of them sitting on the rocks on the top of Yin Mountains, occupying the high point and staring out into the distance. Chen Xing climbed the hillside, and he saw that further away, the living corpses had yet to disperse, and instead, they formed groups of three to four amidst the snowfield, slowly moving in. Although they were near the entrance of the canyon, they didn't rashly charge in.
“What are they waiting for?” Chen Xing frowned.
Xiao Shan, sitting next to Chen Xing, had just finished eating pastry when a thin, one-eyed wolf came over. It carried a strange animal on his back. The animal had long hind legs and short forelegs; its entire body was covered in khaki-colored hair, and it had a silly face.
“What is this?” Chen Xing looked curiously at the strange animal on the wolf's back.
The animal made a breathing sound a few times, and Xiao Shan patted its head. Chen Xing said, “This is a bei ma? Yin Mountains have beis?”
As the old saying goes, “The wolves and the beis collude together,” it was rumored that beis were very intelligent animals, often giving wolves advice on how to harm people; this was the first time Chen Xing had seen a living bei.
That bei seemingly wheezed on the ground, as if it wanted to say something. Xiao Shan pushed Chen Xing, hinting at him to follow it.
“You find anything ma?” Chen Xing asked.
“Ma?” Xiao Shan replied.
Xiao Shan occasionally imitated Chen Xing's words, but he didn't know what they meant. When Chen Xing had some free time, he used it to teach Xiao Shan. After all, he would need to return to the human world sooner or later.
“Stand up and walk on foot.” Chen Xing said, “Stand up and stand straight.”
Xiao Shan always liked to walk using all four limbs, and with the extra two claws, he could run like the wind. He was a little unwilling when Chen Xing asked him to stand and walk on foot, but since through some observations, he saw that all the Hus were walking upright, he reluctantly walked according to what Chen Xing asked him to.
Chen Xing originally wanted to return to Chi Le Chuan, gave Xiao Shan some clothes, and then bathe him, but because of the current situation, there was no such opportunity.
“What's in here?” Chen Xing was taken by Xiao Shan to a cave; only a slight breeze could be felt inside the cave.
Xiao Shan drew several mountains on the ground. He first pointed all-around before pointing at the cave and drawing a slender stickman outside of the mountains. Then, he drew a line that passed through the mountains and went towards the stickman. He ended the line with an arrow symbol.
“Great! A cave! This mountain cave can possibly lead out!” Chen Xing exclaimed, “Great! You are so clever!”
The wolf that carried the bei on its back walked out of the cave. Xiao Shan waved his claws again, and Chen Xing immediately understood that he wanted to launch a sneak attack on Sima Yue, one of the black shadow generals. Not only because the group of living corpses invaded Mt. Carosha in the past, but because it also led to the deterioration of Lu Ying's condition. Although Xiao Shan didn't know the reason, he could feel that the living corpses, the warriors, and many things were related to Lu Ying's death, and he wanted revenge.
“Wait,” Chen Xing said decisively, “let's get the people out first. Let's go.”
Xiao Shan tried to make his way through the cave, but Chen Xing said: “Don't make trouble! Follow me!” And so, he forcefully dragged Xiao Shan back to the Tiele camp. Chen Xing suddenly found that this trick was really convenient. No wonder Xiang Shu liked to drag or even sack him up directly every time he didn't bother to explain.
The atmosphere in the Tiele camp was quite heavy. When Chen Xing rushed in, the crowd seemed to be making an extremely difficult decision. Xiang Shu's face was even uglier.
“What are you going to do?” Chen Xing saw that there was food in the camp; he took it and gave it to Xiao Shan. As soon as Xiao Shan saw something to eat, he temporarily forgot about revenge, sat down, and began to eat and drink.
Xiang Shu said: “At the fifth of the night watch periods, the Tiele will take the lead in guiding the 16 Hus of Chi Le Chuan to break through the siege. Then, we will count how many people manage to escape. After that, we'll then find a place for the old and the young to settle in before looking for Che Luofeng.”
Chen Xing said: “Xiao Shan found a place… Ai! Don't drink! That's wine!”
Xiao Shan was holding an earthen jar and already drank more than half of the wine.
At the second of the night watch periods, more than 200,000 people of Chi Le Chuan retreated quietly through the cave, not making any sound at all. Xiang Shu and Chen Xing stood at the entrance of the cave, covering the rear. Each of the clan chiefs counted the number of people and followed them to leave.
At the third, fourth, and all the way until the fifth of the night watch periods, crows could be heard all around the canyon. The Tieles were the last ones to leave.
“After leaving the Yin Mountains, where are we going?” Chen Xing said, “Traversing the pass?”
“Go northwest,” Xiang Shu said, “Karakorum.”
Chen Xing thought Xiang Shu would stay behind until people were evacuated, then single-handedly charge into the living corpses' army and track down Che Luofeng, but he didn't do so.
“Let's go,” Xiang Shu handed over the drunken Xiao Shan to Chen Xing.
Chen Xing was a little surprised. Xiang Shu took a deep breath, frowned, and said: “You're right; I have to be with my people now. I can't leave them again.”
As they moved towards the horse, Xiang Shu suddenly said: “Who taught you this?”
“What?” Chen Xing, who was still thinking about the enemy, said off-handedly.
Xiang Shu said: “You think more clearly than I do. Instead of acting on impulse, it's better to cherish the people in front of you.”
Chen Xing couldn't help but smile, thinking that perhaps it was because he didn't have much time left. As long as one knew that their life was ending soon, one would naturally pay more attention to the matters in front of them.
But he didn't say that and instead replied: "I also don't know whether this is right or not, but you see, they all put their hopes on you. They just suffered an attack from the drought fiends and haven't calmed down yet. If we rashly counterattack, it will only be more dangerous. Everyone needs to catch their breath."
All the horses were distributed. Chen Xing, Xiang Shu, and Xiao Shan all got only one horse.
“That's strange,” Chen Xing said, “where's the horse your mother left behind?”
Back at Carosha, after the horse ran away, it never came back. Chen Xing always felt as if the horse had wanted to take them somewhere. Not only that, he was pretty surprised by that bei which understood human nature. After the Silence of All Magic, many yao tribes in the world had lost their abilities to talk, let alone cultivate their bodies. Although it wasn't said that the Yin Mountains had many yaos, there must've been a few of them. Maybe both the horse and the bei were yaos, and they knew more about what was going on.
But since the situation was very urgent, they didn't have time to track them down. Xiang Shu, with Chen Xing who carried Xiao Shan, rode one horse together and followed the army. The 16 Hus knew that this was their last chance to live, so they all began to march in a hurry. Horses and chariots were given to the old, weak, women, and children. They reached Xarusgol River within a day.
They arrived at Longcheng after three days and nights, and Chen Xing was very exhausted. More than 200,000 people swarmed into Karakorum, making the whole abandoned ancient city come back to life. The first thing Xiang Shu did was to dispatch all the clans, reinforce the city walls, send more patrols, and burn torches throughout the night, turning Longcheng into a huge military fortress.
The hunters scattered all over the plain, scouting while trying to prepare supplies for the winter and hunting animal meat to feed their tribes. Xiang Shu said very little for several days, which made Chen Xing a little worried. On the first day of their arrival in Longcheng, there was a little disturbance.
The wolves completely surrounded Longcheng's walls, making the tribes a bit fearful. Along the way, Chen Xing explained to the Hus that the wolves were the guardians of the Xiongnus, reassuring the rest of the tribes. But, on the 22nd of the twelfth lunar month, the wolves began to howl one after another.
Chen Xing followed Xiao Shan up to the city wall. Xiao Shan squatted down on the wall and shouted a few times.
Xiang Shu also came and saw White Mane stepping out of the group; it looked up at Xiao Shan, and they howled at each other several times. Chen Xing suddenly saw tears in Xiao Shan's eyes.
“They're going to go away, aren't they?” Chen Xing asked Xiao Shan.
Xiao Shan didn't know why, but he kept hearing the word ‘go' these days. He understood and nodded.
So White Mane led the wolves north and disappeared into the snow.
Xiang Shu said: “The wolves also knew that by staying here, they would only compete with others for food, and nobody would end up surviving the winter.”
The Xiongnus came out one after another to say goodbye to the white-maned wolf who was regarded as the “Wolf God.” Chen Xing thought: Xiao Shan, from now on, you will only have yourself.
“OK ba, in that case…” Chen Xing said, “Xiao Shan, since your comrades are all gone, uh... why don't we just…”
Xiao Shan: “?”
“Take a bath?” Chen Xing was fed up with Xiao Shan.
“No!” Xiao Shan shouted, “No! No! No! Go! Go!”
The first phrase Xiao Shan learned was "Chen Xing", the second was “No!" and the third was “Go!”. After that, Chen Xing made a round all over the city and finally, with the help of the Xiongnus, the Tieles, and the Gaoches, he managed to seize Xiao Shan and put him into a public bath filled with hot water.
Xiao Shan shouted “No! No! No!" and when Chen Xing finally scrubbed him, he began to scream more madly.
“Look, I need a bath, too!” Chen Xing said, “You are human! Not an animal! Even animals have to take baths!”
Chen Xing's whole body was soaked by the struggling Xiao Shan that he had to go in himself to make it easier to control him. The bath inside the Xiongnu King's temporary residence in Karakorum was six [tn content=chi]1 chi = 22 cm[/tn] square. There was firewood being burned inside the waterhouse, making the snow inside the frosted reservoir turn into hot water, which then could be used for people to wash.
Chen Xing took a bath with Xiao Shan together, and Xiao Shan finally got all wet. He broke a jar before finally quieting down.
“Just look at you!” Chen Xing took Xiao Shan's wrist, scrubbed it for a long time, and then said: “So dirty!”
Xiao Shan leaned his head over to Chen Xing.
Chen Xing: “??”
Xiao Shan's hair was very messy, and then Xiang Shu's voice sounded: “He's letting you lick it.”
No matter what happened, Chen Xing wouldn't want to lick using his mouth. He remembered that when a wolf bathed his cub, it seemed it would lick the cub's hair; this was what animals meant by 'calf lick'. Chen Xing had no choice but to lean over and sniff at it, creating an illusion as though he had licked it.
Xiang Shu went inside the bathroom, unfastened his Great Chanyu robe, and entered the bath, breathing exhaustedly.
“What's the situation?” Chen Xing asked.
“The scouts detected that the living corpses are already on their way,” Xiang Shu replied. “They have just crossed Xarusgol River."
Since it was freezing, the living corpses' army would move slower, Chen Xing had overheard it a few days ago from the Tieles. Xiang Shu drew a plan and postponed his revenge; the most important thing was to take care of the lives of the whole tribe. In any case, if Che Luofeng had become a member of the living corpses' army, he would certainly come back.
Chen Xing could feel that Xiang Shu's mood was extremely depressed these days. If it was according to his own will, he would've gone to look for Che Luofeng by now. But as the Great Chanyu, it was his greatest responsibility to protect the whole Chi Le Chuan.
Chen Xing dared not ask more questions about Che Luofeng. He earnestly straightened out Xiao Shan's hair and only said: “We have to wipe these guys all at once outside Longcheng.”
“Yes,” Xiang Shu replied, “ever since the founding of Chi Le Covenant, this is the biggest danger we've ever faced, but I'm sure we can make it because fortunately, we have you.”
Chen Xing was quite surprised to hear this and glanced at Xiang Shu.
Xiang Shu leaned over slightly and motioned to Chen Xing to rub his shoulders. Chen Xing said, "What?! Me?”
“You wash Xiao Shan, but not me?” Xiang Shu asked casually with his eyes closed.
Chen Xing had no choice but to put down Xiao Shan and help Xiang Shu wash his hair. Xiao Shan wrapped himself on Chen Xing's back, his entire body was clinging onto him. Xiang Shu suddenly turned around and pushed Xiao Shan into the water, making Chen Xing and Xiao Shan immediately shout together.
F A M I L Y B A T H T I M E ! ! !
Btw, after some discussion, we’ve noticed that in Dinghai the Hu family names are: Yuwen, Murong, Shulu, Tuoba, Fu. The trend seems to be either ‘one character surname + one character given name’ or ‘two characters surname + one character given name’. So going with it, I’ve changed Shimokun to Shimo Kun. But then, there’s another question. Does that mean… Che Luofeng is supposed to be Cheluo Feng all this time?
So, Zryuu returned after some research and we concluded that ‘Shi’ and ‘Che’ are probably the Han version of their surnames. Basically, from the middle of Qing Dynasty onwards, many Mongolians changed their surnames to use Chinese characters: ‘Che’, ‘Tie’, and ‘Shi’ are some of the results of the conversion.
Conclusion: We’re going to use Che Luofeng and Shi Mokun!
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Caro.