The streets weren’t very spacious and were quite crowded, especially at noon. But the old man kept on walking leisurely. He always found the crack in the crowd and brushed right past.
Gu Nan did not hesitate to follow the old man, gradually matching his pace. Her gaze alternating between the man and the purse at his waist.
The rope connected to the purse is tied with a slip knot, allowing it to be easily removed with a single pull. This method is convenient for withdrawing money but equally convenient to steal. If it was an actual knot, Gu Nan would just walk away without saying anything.
The purse looks heavy, and it swayed with each step.
Now all that’s left is to wait for the opportune moment.
Gu Nan licked her lips and scanned forward. There seems to be a very popular food stall in front. There are about seven or eight people standing in line. This place should be equivalent to a downtown market and with many people passing through.
“Cough.” The old man glanced at the stalls. In the past, he may have stopped to have a good cup of wine, but he’s too old now. His mouth has grown too weak for the taste of wine. Though, he might still stop and find a good tea shop.
“Hm?” It felt as if somewhat was softly tapping his right shoulder. Reflexively, he turned and saw that no one was there.
“Whoosh.” There was a sound of a light breeze behind him, almost indistinguishable from the noise of the street.
The old man suddenly realized what was happening, and his brows furrowed in surprise. A dangerous streak crossed his eyes.
Good, someone dares to steal from me!
Hehe, got it. Gu Nan’s hand was like a snake, and it maneuvered without a single sound, gently tugging on the rope.
With a slight pull, the purse had already fallen and a hand waited below.
Yes, mission accomplished. Gu Nan's mouth formed a slight smirk, and as she was about to melt back into the crowd, a hand firmly grasped her arm.
A slightly hoarse voice said calmly, “Little boy, stealing is not the way of a gentleman.”
The old man turned his head, and a pair of sharp eyes scanned the thief.
“…” Just for being on the receiving end of that gaze, Gu Nan felt like going from the hot summer to plunging into a tub of ice. Cold sweat began to form on her forehead, and her heart began to race.
When the old man saw Gu Nan's face, his gaze turned a little bit awkward. Then his eyes fell on her slightly raised chest and nodded, “Oh, it seems I was wrong. It’s a little girl.”
God, who said that the old men were slow! Come out, I promise I won’t beat you!
With a flicker of the eyes, Gu Nan spotted an empty street.
But as she tried to maneuver out, the old man’s hand was like a knot, anchoring her there.
The man remained without a single disturbance, all while Gu Nan pulled ferociously. But, it was of no use.
Hm? The old man frowned slightly. His hands tightened, and he was already exerting 80% of his strength.
He’s well aware of his own strength. Although he’s old, his power without using internal strength is at least 600 jin. (300kg)
Even the might of two or three men would not budge him.
Yet this seemingly young girl forced him to use 80% of that strength, which is at least four or five hundred jin.
This girl has good strength! The old man thought to himself, but he still did not release his grip.
Damn it, what’s this old man doing? Are all people so weird? Gu Nan had the urge to cry. It was only stealing money for a meal, how did this happen?
After pulling enough to realize that continuing would be stupid, Gu Nan took a deep breath and smiled at the old man. “Oh, hello, sir, life is really hard, right? How about letting me go? May we meet each other upon the mountains and rivers, and today’s grace will not be forgotten.”
The girl's tone was light and dispelling. The old man simply smiled and reached out and retrieved the purse from Gu Nan's hand.
He looked at her from top to bottom. She’s certainly dressed very poorly. There was even some mud that dried on her face. Perhaps her family met some misfortune and she’s the remnant. “Girl, where are you from?”
“I…” Gu Nan hesitated, she didn’t even know where this place was, much less provide a name.
Coughing slightly, Gu Nan's eyes evaded his and said, "I don't remember."
“You don’t remember?” The old man furrowed his brows for a second. “Your family?”
With nothing to hide, Gu Nan simply bowed her head and said, “None.”
This was at least a true statement, and it’s long since been a way of life.
Good grief, no father or mother, even their own home has been forgotten. Looking at the girl with her head bowed, the old man's eyes showed some helplessness, and the iron grasp seems to have loosened. Alas, this is such a troubled world.
“If you don’t want to be turned in to the officials, come with me.” The old man released his hand and turned to walk away.
Oh? It seems this old man doesn’t have any underhanded thoughts.
Gu Nan looked down at herself, and although she didn’t want to admit it, she’s quite the pretty girl. Nothing good would probably come from following strange men.
“Don’t think about running. It would still be very simple for this old man to catch you.” The old man glanced back and said with a confident tone.
Gu Nan heaved a sigh and started to follow the old man through the streets.
There was a small teahouse on the roadside, although it was more of a tea stall. It was an ugly structure held up by bamboo and thatched with hay.
There were a few tables in it, but the wooden tables were rough and coarse. There was a worn-down bed on the side, and this place probably functioned as a house for the owners.
The place was stuffed with people. In the sweltering weather, travelers would like a break from the sun and roadside tea shops were a popular choice.
People would come for tea, food, and to chat, and the teahouse was lively with discussions.
In the corner, there was a table with two people. The old gentleman poured himself a cup of tea and gazed out into the street. The teenager lifted up a rice bowl and was rapidly taking huge mouthfuls of food.