Chapter 460: The First Winter (VII)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Eventually, Wei Ci successfully treated the bandit leader. Zhang Ping was also ignorant about the words exchanged between his companion and the bandit leader. Both were honoured as esteemed guestS in the bandits’ den rather than prisoners. The bandits were extremely polite to them, and such a drastic change in attitude startled Zhang Ping.
Asking Wei Ci, the other party just smiled and kept silent.
“Continue to hide and tuck it away, one day you’ll spit it out of your own will.”
Zhang Ping was infuriated; he was curious beyond measure. Yet his companion from home kept him in suspense, and it was so frustrating.
Again, some time had passed, and the bandits had surprisingly managed to successfully ambush a group of Tsing Yi soldiers.
In total there were fewer than 83 men, and appallingly they could stubbornly go head on against Tsing Yi army, a might five times theirs, to rescue many innocent ladies.
Not only that, the bandits were apt at using military strategies. After they fought one round, they would flee without a trace.
This was obviously not the quality a group of men born in the wild would possess.
After a while, Zhang Ping caught it. Wei Ci was the one who pointed out to the bandits how to exploit the mountainous terrain to their advantage.
“No, Zixiao what is your intention?”
Zhang Ping nudged Wei Ci. He could not fathom the depths of this young fellow’s thoughts.
Wei Ci sneered, then replied peaceably, “The times are chaotic now, the North of Dongqing is already a warzone between Tsing Yi army and the Red Lotus group. The court and Prince Changshou are at an impasse in the south. If we wish to travel peacefully to the north, it is almost impossible. Who knows if we’ll be kidnapped by the Red Lotus group or Tsing Yi army?”
Truthfully, even though he was a male, having such a face and moving around, his safety was at risk.
Wei Ci wasn’t a narcissistic person, but he knew his face could be a source of trouble.
Zhang Ping continued, asking, “So what?”
Wei Ci’s vision was directed outside, his eyes exuded deep meaning and his dark, bright pupils narrowed.
“Ci strategized for them so they will escort us on our journey. These bandits originally proposed to move their camp and head elsewhere, but they felt aggrieved. Before they leave, they want to take revenge for their innocent families who died. Coincidentally, Ci can aid them. That head bandit is a good man who keeps his word, he promised Ci that if their revenge is successful, they are willing to bring us safely to Xiangyang district.”
Zhang Ping almost burst out laughing, “You seriously believe what a bandit said?”
He tapped the short table lightly with his fingers, then lowered his voice and said softly, “Ci doesn’t believe in the others, but this person can be trusted.”
In fact, Wei Ci also didn’t think he would meet Dian Yan at this location.
Who was Dian Yan?
Except in times like this, an appraisal of a boorish man from the wilderness, Wei Ci recalled that that person would rise to become one of the founding generals of the Jiang dynasty. An upright man who followed Liu Xi from the start, standing by her since she was a bandit leader to a dominant marquis, and eventually the ruler of nations. Her reputation wasn’t good, but Dian Yan belonged to the minority whose loyalty never wavered.
In his previous life, Wei Ci only wished to use all the talents he had to serve a virtuous Emperor. He aspired to support his deserving lord to dominate the world, to return to the realm of a peaceful world.
To put it more bluntly, he, Wei Ci, had never been loyal to anyone. He was loyal to the people of the world but not solely to one person.
When his previous lord was defeated in battle and died, Wei Ci didn’t die for him, and neither did he live in seclusion. Following his will, he pledged loyalty to Jiang Pengji.
Based on the world events then, if he wanted to truly fulfill his aspirations, he had to submit under a new lord.
As a newly appointed strategist, he didn’t draw attention to himself to prevent offending others. He abided by the principle to listen and observe well but talk less, and he kept a low profile as if he were a non-existent person.
With the others, he maintained superficial relations, those whom he had more contact with was solely Dian Yan.
Once in the court, there was a period where choosing fractions was popular. Dian Yan stayed true to the lonesome hero archetype, only pledging his loyalty to the Emperor.
This upright man was born rough and violent, and his moustache covered his entire face. Truthfully, he possessed an introverted and shy personality and could be easily read.
When the majority of men belittled Wei Ci, only Dian Yan still maintained his usual attitude.
Presently, Liu Xi wasn’t a bandit. She was the legitimate precious child hailing from an aristocratic family, hence both had no chance of fighting to become acquainted. Thinking of the injuries Dian Yan sustained, Wei Ci shuddered at the memory of his wounds infested by maggots.
If he had come any later, her future valiant general Dian Yan may be non-existent.
Wei Ci didn’t intentionally change the course of events, he just wanted to make the link.
The previous Emperor was worthy of Dian Yan’s submission. He followed her until death. If their fate as master and official still existed, Dian Yan should belong to her.
If fate forbid it, there would be no need to force it.
All in all, let’s not bother with this, just take him to Xiangyang district first.
Zhang Ping seeing Wei Ci speak with so much faith, he inevitably revoked his heart of contempt.
The youths who were friends with Dian Yan were comprised of those from the same or neighbouring villages who were of similar age. He had been their big brother since their youth, so his words carried more weight. The group of bandits regarded him as their leader.
Everyone packed their bags in preparation to head north. They depended on stealing from Tsing Yi army to survive and save some innocent people along the way. Sometimes to avoid meeting the big group of Tsing Yi army, they had to detour to take a longer path. Slowly, their team expanded to more than 500 men.
Though the speed was slow, they were indeed nearing Xiangyang district.
Blessings don’t come in pairs and neither does trouble walk alone.
One day the temperature plummeted. Without warning, Wei Ci fell sick, and he had a high fever for two days consecutively.
Unfortunately, at that time, their hideout was being discovered by an army of 2000 Tsing Yi soldiers.
It was no big deal that their tracks were discovered, but crucially they had stolen Tsing Yi army rations recently.
Fresh conflicts and old hatred were rekindled. How would the Tsing Yi army let them go easily?
They were helpless and under Zhang Ping’s leading, they retreated to the deep mountains. Following the directions of Zhang Ping and Wei Ci to set up traps, they used the mountainous terrain as a defense. Moreover, the heavy snow blocked the mountains and there was no way Tsing Yi army would reach them. They were temporarily safe.
Luckily in their midst there was a freelance doctor with superficial medical knowledge, who knew how to prescribe medicine for fever. Otherwise if Wei Ci didn’t die from his fever, it could still cause brain damage. Finally, with much difficulty, his fever subsided but he started coughing again.
“Having known you for many years, I never knew your health to be so severely weak.” Zhang Ping was surprised.
Wei Ci smiled bitterly, “Ci also didn’t know.”
His entire being appeared frail and weak, but truthfully, it wasn’t that bad. In his previous life, he almost never got sick.
In this lifetime, for some reason, he was particularly unlucky.
Over that half a year that passed, he fell gravely ill time and time again.
“Ai– this is perhaps the will of the heavens.” Wei Ci spoke emotionally.
Zhang Ping remarked, “You, this sickly beauty, torture yourself all day. What has this got to do with heaven’s will?”
If you bring turmoil on yourself, the heavens will not bear this burden.
Wei Ci from the past would surely be annoyed with anyone who called him “sickly beauty”. Yet his skin had become thicker.
“Xiheng doesn’t understand. The heavens are fair, if you’ve gained something, you probably lose something else in the process.”
Raising the sword to commit suicide, only to return to one’s vibrant and lively days of youth, what fate is this?
To lose his health for this, he doesn’t deem it as his loss.
Zhang Ping angled his eyes and glanced at Wei Ci’s sorrowful eyes, they said plainly, “You should focus on getting well, seize the opportunity to regain some meat. Anyway, unless the snow melts away, we cannot depart from the mountains.”
Wei Ci coughed lightly twice, and thanked Zhang Ping softly.