Amidst the billows of dust and smoke, that person rushed over with a whip raised. Though the silver mask made his expression unreadable, she still faintly saw a hint of worry through that pair of gloomy eyes.
As if he had walked in the desert for too long and suddenly saw an oasis, or drifting in the vast sea and suddenly saw a lone boat float by.
Emotional attachment and lingering fear. At this moment, these emotions flooded the heart.
But as if she thought of something, her mouth pursed and she turned her head away, unwilling to look at him.
The person on top of the horse saw her safe and sound standing there, and his heart that had been suspended all along was finally set down. Immediately he vaulted down, all in one go, and with quick steps he walked to stand in front of her. His eyes had already passed by the horse's wound as well as the city wall that was within reach. With this glance, he could already see the urgency of the situation at that time. He lowered his head to look at the person in front of him and couldn't help but caress her head. "Are you injured?"
Chu Qing-Yan stubbornly pressed down on her temper and didn't respond. She kept her head down and fiddled with her own fingers.
Xiao Xu didn't know what she was being difficult about, he usually lacked patience and what he had were all used on her. So seeing her perfectly safe, yet throwing a temper, his brows knitted and was about to berate her.
But his sharp eyes saw one then two pea sized teardrops fall on the back of her intertwined hands. In an instant, like a blooming flower it splashed onto the ground and was buried into the dirt as specks of darker color.
Xiao Xu was slightly stunned, it wasn't that he hadn't seen people cry before. On the battlefield, the guys would cry tears when not far from life or death. With no regrets, the tears would turn into smoke after the event. The weak, the old, the women and children would cry from their lungs or sob in despair or wail in fear. However, this was the first time he saw her cry, he panicked slightly, not because he hadn't seen her tears before, but perhaps because it was the first time he had seen such a strong person cry, as if the whole world had abandoned her.
Sadness penetrated her heart, Chu Qing-Yan lifted her hand and wiped away the tears on her face; but the more she wiped, the more there were, finally, she just gave up.
Xiao Xu didn't know where to start to comfort her. Before, those aids and officials hadn't written down anything on how to deal with this kind of situation. In the end, stemming from instincts, his long arm extended out, pulling her into his embrace, imitating how those mothers would pacify their children, lightly patting her back.
He didn't think that this hug would let Chu Qing-Yan find a gateway to give vent to her feelings, her tears over flowed like river water, dampening more than half of his lapel.
He originally thought that she would calm down from his comfort but unexpectedly, it was completely the opposite. He had always been in control of the situations, a person in the position of power. This was the first time he faced such a delicate child and was actually at a loss as to what to do.
"Perhaps Female Benefactor has been scared. After returning and drinking some medicine to calm the nerves, she should be fine." The white-clothed monk suggested with palms together in prayer.
Only now did Xiao Xu finally notice the person before him, although he was holding Chu Qing-Yan, he did not feel this was awkward. His cold and cheerless gaze looked at him. "Great Master Xu Jian, I trust you have been well since we last met."
"Your Highness Prince Ying, you have been well these past few days?" Xu Jian wasn't discontent because he was ignored by the other party just now, his complexion still remained free and outstanding.
"Thanks to great master's fortune, this king has not been ill nor met any disaster. Life has been getting by tolerably well and smooth! On the contrary, after not seeing the great master for a long time, it seems your skills have progressed even more. Congratulations, great master." Xiao Xu replied back indifferently.
"The achievement in Buddha's teaching is merely to recuperate and couldn't be considered congratulatory." Xu Jian's lips bent into a smile that was like a fantasy dream, neither sadness nor joy could be seen clearly. His line of sight fell onto the person in Xiao Xu's embrace, and he slowly said. "This Female Benefactor must be the future Princess Ying. This poor monk offers his congratulations to Your Highness. Only, this poor monk has a few words to give to Your Highness."
"Great Master, there is no harm in saying what one thinks." All of Xiao Xu's thought were on the person in his arms, now hearing Xu Jian speak, he raised a brow slightly to look at him.
"Your Highness, Love will leave, blame and hatred will meet, let go of returning to the west, for nothing is of that kind. However, it is merely empty flowers that fill the eyes, everything is an illusion. This poor monk implores Your Highness not to get too attached, this poor monk only has these to say, Amitabha." Xu Jian closed his eyes and chanted.
Xu Jian was the most famous immortal senior monk under the heavens. Although he wasn't that old, he had already received every royal family and common people's reverence. Able to receive an incantation from him could simply be said to be good fortune accumulated from three lifetimes.
Xiao Xu didn't believe in Gods and Buddhas, however he wouldn't exclude it. After hearing Xu Jian's words, he didn't take it to heart and just said a word of thanks.
But after Chu Qing-Yan who was buried in Xiao Xu's arms heard Xu Jian's words, she was a little bewildered. Was it possible Xu Jian's a god stick? Looking at his whole body giving off Buddha nature, could it be he was also like those people in the modern world that wore monk's clothing but didn't do monk's stuff?
Because Chu Qing-Yan was pondering over this, her tears stopped. Sensing her change, Xiao Xu pulled her out from his embrace and lowered his head to say. "Let us return!"
Seeing Xiao Xu lead the horse over, Chu Qing-Yan knew that no matter what, she still had return to the prince's manor, so she lowered her head to walk forward. However, when she had just reached the ground, a burst of pain came from her naked foot. She cried out in surprise as her body bent and fell down.
The person who stood closest to her side extended a hand and supported her up. Chu Qing-Yan was suddenly enveloped by a cold sandalwood scent, she subconsciously raised her head and coincidentally heard him say in a even tone. "Careful."
And Xiao Xu also heard the movement and strode over with large steps. Seeing her in so much pain as to bite her lips, he immediately crouched down and inspected her right foot and found a big swelling on her right ankle.
Chu Qing-Yan looked down and was also frightened, she hadn't thought it would be this serious. It was definitely twisted when she evaded the black-clothed person, just now she only felt a little discomfort, perhaps it was because she was fleeing for her life in a hurry that she couldn't care less about it. Now that the crisis was over, she relaxed so the pain became clear.
Xiao Xu felt this injury shouldn't be placed aside for long, without thinking much, he took Chu Qing-Yan from Xu Jian's hands. He bent down slightly, slipping his hands under her ribs and lower legs and effortlessly carried her.
"Great Master, many thanks for saving this prince's people today. Another day, I'll express my gratitude." Xiao Xu nodded slightly towards Xu Jian, then he quickly vaulted onto his horse, with one hand protecting her in front of his body and the other hand holding the reins. He and the people who followed behind him quickly began to rush inside the city.
Xu Jian's gaze followed the two leaving figures with a calm face. Just now, he detected a trace of scent on Chu Qing-Yan that didn't belong to this place. It was a foreign land's lonely soul that would one day be eliminated from this mundane world. Therefore, he was able to predict Xiao Xu and her were destined to meet but not fated to be together, she would be forever alone and that's why he had earlier warned Xiao Xu to weigh the gains and losses and not to get entangled with her.
Finished saying those words, as to what ended up happening would depend on the two people's predestined chance meeting.
He turned around and was about to leave then heard something break. In an instant, he saw the wooden beads on his wrist scatter in all directions, and soon, all of it tumbled to the ground.
He frowned, looking at the rolling wooden beads, perhaps it was caused earlier by when he pulled Chu Qing-Yan up and came into contact with her vermillion hairpin. This was given by his master three years ago after leaving the Buddhist temple to wander everywhere. He said it had something to do with his calamity.
When the wooden beads stopped moving, he wrinkled his brow, the 18 wooden beads looked as if they had fallen without order, yet they formed a rare divinatory diagram, he couldn't help but tap his fingers to figure it out.
Chu Qing-Yan's angle just so happened to see that figure behind Xiao Xu's back getting farther and farther away.
Those white clothes really weren't pure white, there were slender black Buddhist writings embroidered on it. It moved with the wind, coming from the secular earth, as if it would return home by riding the wind.
When she shifted her gaze away, Chu Qing-Yan was slightly puzzled. Why did a layer of surprised color emerge from those rippleless, calm, pure and holy eyes now?