The June sky cried like a baby, bringing gusts of wind and bursts of thunder. The group traveling immediately became a bit frantic.
"Come on, hurry up," someone in the party shouted loudly.
"Are we hurrying to find a place to shelter from the rain, or are we going to put up the tents?" someone asked.
"You fool. There are no villages in a ten mile radius, just wilderness. Where can we find shelter from the rain?" said the first.
"Then put up a tent," someone answered.
"You fool, put up what tents. This is a passing rain; it will be gone in a minute," the man shouted again.
Manager Gao couldn't listen anymore. He looked in front and looked back, as the horses twitched.
"Noble Son Ling, then what do you want to hurry up for?" he asked.
Zhu Zan in the front looked back. He lifted a bundle from his horse's back.
"Quickly wear these rain clothes," he said with furrowed brows. "Don't we all have them? What's there to ask?"
Then you should just say hurry and wear the rain clothes. Just yelling and shouting like that will get everyone panicking.
Manager Gao saw him click his tongue.
"I need to say that? Shouldn't everyone know that?" Zhu Zan said, putting on his rain cloth.
"Have you ever traveled before? Are you a guard? Aren't you just someone randomly invited?"
"How much did you spend on these people?
"Are you a foolish spendthrift too?
"You rich people can't waste money like this."
Manager Gao could not stand to hear it anymore. He turned away and shouted that everyone should put on their rain cloths to get him to stop talking.
Although heavy rain was coming and the mountain breeze was cool, Manager Gao still reached out and wiped the sweat off his forehead and face.
"Say, why did you invite him?" one of the people following him whispered. "Is this true? We have to listen to him the whole way?"
Manager Gao whimpered miserably.
"Listen," he said, then looked at the man whose rain cloth could not disguise his stalwart figure.
"Spent ten thousand taels of silver, useless, wasted," he muttered to himself so his companion wouldn't hear.
"However, this person is okay. Organization is not bad, and we've been traveling quickly," said the follower. "The bad thing is he talks too much."
As soon as he said this, he heard Zhu Zan shout again.
The companion shrank back and made a sympathetic look at Manager Gao.
Manager Gao took the rain cloth and turned around to respond affirmatively while forcing out a smile.
"Noble Son Ling…" he said.
Zhu Zan raised his hand.
"I told you already," he said. "Don't call me Noble Son Ling any more. It sounds like you're calling my son."
Manager Gao looked at him strangely.
But your surname is Ling… Is it possible that since you now don't want to be called Noble Son Ling, then in the future you won't want to be called Lord Ling and Old Master Ling?
"Then how should I call you, Noble Son?" he asked.
Zhu Zan thought for a moment.
"Call me Noble Son Jiu," he said.
Manager Gao nodded.
"Yes, okay," he said. "Noble Son Jiu."
After he said this, thunder clapped and the rain grew heavier.
"Hurry up, hurry on," Zhu Zan said, putting on a rice hat. He urged his horse forward. "Be careful, keep your eyes sharp, and make your horse take small steps."
Manager Gao exhaled.
"Ten thousand taels is a lot. But saving a life is more expensive," he said to himself. "Noisy, noisy, if they didn't feel this noisy, what's to be afraid of."
He pulled down his rice hat and moved to the middle of the group being pelted by rain.
Just as Zhu Zan said, it was a passing storm; it stopped shortly.
Lei Zhonglian shook the reins with one hand and his rice hat with the other. While he was flinging off the rain drops, a horse approached him. Without Lei Zhonglian seeing him, Zhu Zan hopped onto the carriage.
The horse remained next to the carriage.
"The pace is not fast," Miss Jun said from the carriage, having lifted the curtain.
Compared with the lightweight and shabby carriage they had taken on the way here, their current carriage was spacious and luxurious, with several tea tables inside, incense, and even a small bookshelf.
Fang Chengyu leaned on the brocade cushions, fanning himself as he looked through the rolled bamboo curtain outside of the carriage. His expression was happy and relaxed.
Miss Jun held a fan in her hand and gently fanned as it as she spoke to Zhu Zan.
The pace is not fast, was this a complaint?
"Do you blame me?" Zhu Zan said ill-humoredly. He reached out with his hand. "Tea, tea."
Mis Jun reached backwards. Fang Chengyu had already gotten up to pour Zhu Zan tea while Zhu Zan was talking. He passed her the tea cup.
Miss Jun took the tea cup and handed it to Zhu Zan. Zhu Zan poured all of into his mouth.
"It's because of you," he went on, tossing the cup away.
Miss Jun reached out her hand to catch it.
"Since you insisted on waiting to set off, it's now the hardest time to travel," Zhu Zan said. "If we left on May 23rd like I said, we'd already be in Huaiqing."
"I said there would be a month of consultations, so how could I not make good on my word?" said Miss Jun. "People would say we just talked big."
"Yes, we have money. We can afford it," Fang Chengyu added. "A promise is worth a thousand coins."
Zhu Zan turned around and scoffed.
"You can just throw your thousand gold coins at them, or throw it to other doctors and pharmacies so they can see them. Isn't it the same?" he said.
"How can it be the same?" Miss Jun said. "How can other doctors compare with me?"
Zhu Zan barked out a laugh.
"I didn't notice," he said, "that you were so narcissistic."
'Who is narcissistic?' Lei Zhonglian looked at him.
Zhu Zan also looked at him.
"Uncle," he said, "you really owe me a lot of money."
Miss Jun waved her fan and smiled slightly, then looked at Zhu Zan and sighed.
"Have you been in the northern territory for many years?" she asked.
"Where would I go besides the northern territory," said Zhu Zan, leaning against the backrest and swinging his legs that almost reached the ground.
After fighting with Twelfth Royal Uncle, he probably stopped coming to Beijing. After all, he liked to stir up trouble.
She didn't know how the Duke of Cheng had been doing these years.
"Is your father well?" she asked.
"Very much so," Zhu Zan said, looking at the sky clearing up.
"Recovered completely from winter cough?" Miss Jun could not help but ask again.
Zhu Zan turned his head and looked at her with bright eyes.
"It seems that you are really concerned about my father," he said.
Miss Jun smiled.
"We are close to the north. The people he protects are very concerned about him," she said.
Zhu Zan drank and laughed, then sized her up again.
'What's to see? You can't guess who I am after all,' Miss Jun couldn't help but think with a little bit of mischief. She faced his gaze head on with a slight smile.
"Don't look at me with such admiration. Look at your little husband," Zhu Zan said, turning away and looking straight ahead.
Ahead, the fields gradually led way to densely packed mountain forests.
Miss Jun smiled and was going to say something, when Zhu Zan suddenly jumped out of the carriage.
"Stop," he said.
Lei Zhonglian pulled back on the reins, and the horse stopped moving.
The rest of the group was a bit puzzled by his shout and took a few more steps before stopping.
What was it this time?
Manager Gao urged his horse over.
"Noble Son Jiu, what are your instructions?" he asked.
Zhu Zan looked at the front.
"Ahead of ust, it's not very peaceful," he said.
Not very peaceful?
Everyone looked ahead.
Because of heavy rain, all they could see was the landscape. As far as their eyes went, they could not see any other travelers. As the rain washed the land, they could only smell the calming and refreshing scent of rain.
Occasionally, some birds would pass by overhead.
"What's happening ahead of us?" Manager Gao asked loudly.
The sentry at the front was questioned, then a few quick horses were sent over to investigate. After a little bit of time, smoke rose from the mountain forest ahead.
This was the signal of all clear.
The people present sighed in relief.
"Noble Son Jiu, you see, there isn't anything there," Manager Gao said amiably.
Zhu Zan looked ahead with his arms crossed. His expression was calm, but his eyes were hard.
"I sense something," he said.
"How can you tell?" Manager Gao asked.
"Instinct," Zhu Zan said.
Everyone shuffled about slightly.
This person had annoyed them all the way here It was fine before, and he was good at traveling, but what was this instinct?
"You should not look down on the instincts of a woodcutter," Zhu Zan said with a crooked smile.