Chapter 144: Medicine
Jun Huang's heart skipped a beat. They were obviously waiting for her. If Nan Xun had not come, she would have to face these men on her own.
Nan Xun was surprised by what he saw. Under the moonlight he could not make out the men's faces clearly, but he could tell how well-built they were. He pursed his lips when he thought about how Jun Huang had faced all three of them alone earlier.
Nan Xun knew the level of training Jun Huang had received. He knew Jun Huang would be able to defend herself if there had been only one of them. Faced with all three? She didn't stand a chance. She was lucky to come out the other side with only minor injuries. Anyone else wouldn't even be able to survive.
The youngest of the three men turned to Jun Huang with a smirk. His eyebrow jumped up when he saw Nan Xun. He didn't expect Jun Huang to be able to find a helper while she hid in the alleyway. They had unestimated her.
Nan Xun knew this was a fight they could not avoid. He must protect Jun Huang from any harm, or what was the point of him being here?
Jun Huang didn't notice the grave look on his face. She tightened her grip around her fan, the gears in her head spinning to find a way for her to be a help rather than be a burden.
Nan Xun didn't intend to let Jun Huang continue this fight. He pulled Jun Huang to the side and gestured at her to sit down. Jun Huang looked up at him questioningly.
"Stay here and don't do anything reckless. I don't know how good these people are. I may not be able to keep an eye on you the whole time. Remember to stay behind me so that I can protect you."
"I can also – "
"You're hurt already," Nan Xun cut her off, looking at Jun Huang with a firm expression. "If you get in the fight and get injured further, there's no point in me being here, is there?"
Jun Huang took a deep breath and nodded. She knew that Nan Xun had a point. Still, she couldn't tamp down her urge to help Nan Xun.
She had to convince herself to stay on the sideline – She was not at her best. If she insisted on getting involved, it might do more harm than good.
Nan Xun gave her a smile and brushed a strand of her hair behind her ear. He could feel a wave of killing intent coming his way.
His eyes went cold. He drew his flexible sword off his waist and whirled around to knock the attacker's long sword away.
The youngest man didn't expect Nan Xun to be this strong. He was flung to the side along with his weapon and he hit the wall with a grunt. The other two men came forward when they saw one of their own getting hurt. They put aside their pride and charged at Nan Xun together
Nan Xun dodged their attacks easily and knocked them off with a kick to each of them.
The men had underestimated Nan Xun and took the kicks directly. They shared a look. This was different from their fight with Jun Huang. None of them would be able to defeat Nan Xun on their own. They lunged at Nan Xun in unison.
Nan Xun spared each of them a cold glance before blocking the attacks with his sword. He was able to keep all three of them at bay without staggering.
The three spies from Eastern Wu were shocked at how good a fighter Nan Xun was. They shifted all their focus to Nan Xun. A mistake could mean the difference between life and death.
Nan Xun had blocked the three swords on his own, but it required a great level of brute force. Even though he had gotten used to the weight of a red tassel spear while fighting at the border, he wasn't as packed with muscles as these men were. Gradually, sweat broke out from his forehead and dropped down from his chin.
Noticing Nan Xun's strained look, one of the men withdrew his sword and stabbed at Nan Xun from below. Just when the blade was going to break Nan Xun's skin, Nan Xun took a step to the side. The blade brushed past him and hit the wall behind Nan Xun. Sparkles flared up at the impact.
Nan Xun jumped up and propelled himself forward against the wall to kick at all three of the spies. The kicks weren't forceful enough to knock them off their feet, but they were enough to make them lose their balance. They staggered back.
They had failed to advance even a step further into the alleyway. Nan Xun was a formidable foe. The leading man told the other two, "He is not a regular soldier. There aren't a lot of people in Northern Qi who possess such skills and deep reserve of inner energy."
The leader had figured out who Nan Xun was. He decided that it was wise for them to retreat since they couldn't even get close to Nan Xun.
The youngest man thought differently. He clenched his teeth, unwilling to give up so easily.
He charged at Nan Xun without any regard for his companions. Nan Xun scoffed. He knew this man was a stubborn one. Nan Xun stabbed at the man before the man could strike at him.
The man barely dodged the attack. The black robe he wore fluttered as he whirled around. Before he had the time to react, Nan Xun struck at him again. He was forced to move backward.
Nan Xun's sword buried into his shoulder. Just when Nan Xun was going to end the man's life, he noticed the other two men were advancing on Jun Huang. Jun Huang raised her fan at them. Cold sweat dropped onto the ground and left dark circles beneath her feet.
Nan Xun kicked the man before him with all his force, sending him flying. The man hit the wall before collapsing onto the ground and spitting out a mouthful of dark blood.
With a hand over her chest, Jun Huang held her fan like a sword to guard herself. She warily watched the two men approaching her. Her breathing was shallow not because she was afraid, but because she was ready to strike back at any moment.
Nan Xun rushed toward Jun Huang and struck at the two men with a sweeping slash, sending gust of wind towards them and knocking them backward. Both of them coughed out a mouthful of blood.
The leader could tell he wouldn't be able to hurt Nan Xun, but he couldn't accept such embarrassing defeat. He took out a dart and threw it at Jun Huang.
The dart was finely crafted. It shone brightly under the moonlight. Nan Xun narrowed his eyes. By rotating his wrist in circle at lightning speed, he formed a shield with the sword and knocked the dart away.
The spies had failed to hurt either Nan Xun or Jun Huang. They knew that if they did not retreat now, they would suffer a worse defeat. They might even end up getting themselves killed.
After weighing their options, they fled the scene with their egos bruised.
Jun Huang let out a long breath when the three men disappeared. The bubble of tension in her mind burst and her knees went weak. Nan Xun hurriedly pulled her into his arms. His heart ached when he saw how pale she was.
"You alright?" asked Nan Xun.
Jun Huang took a deep breath and tried her best to put on a smile. "Yes."
The fact that she continued to put on a front even in this state upset him. He said, "You don't have to push yourself. When there is no other people around, there's no need for you to hide your weaknesses."
Jun Huang tilted her head. She didn't know why Nan Xun was angry. Her raised eyebrow was her only response.
She tried to stand upright, but she couldn't muster enough strength. She lay against Nan Xun for a good while before she felt steady enough to stand on her own. She walked outside with a hand against the wall.
Nan Xun looked at her without a word. She was too weak to stand upright without support! A wave of guilt hit him. He should have walked Jun Huang back. Then she wouldn't have gotten hurt again.
The more Nan Xun thought, the heavier his heart grew. He walked up to Jun Huang and bundled her into his arms. Jun Huang yelped in surprise and squirmed a little on reflex.
Jun Huang slowly exhaled. Her head was light and her limbs were weak. There was no point in being stubborn. She lay against Nan Xun's chest and let him carry her.
They were both good-looking. Jun Huang wasn't as masculine as most men, but her pale face was both gentle and handsome. Many pedestrians stopped and looked their way. A few young women covered their flushed faces as they stared at Nan Xun and Jun Huang. The subjects of everyone's attention, however, made their way to Nan Xun's manor without paying attention their surroundings.
When they arrived at the manor, the housekeeper and a few servants were preparing dinner. The housekeeper dropped the lantern in his hand in shock when he saw Nan Xun and Jun Huang. The candle inside the lantern toppled and in an instant the paper lantern was consumed by fire.
When Nan Xun and Jun Huang were outside, they were surrounded by strangers. Jun Huang therefore wasn't particularly embarrassed. Now that they were inside Nan Xun's manor surrounded by people they knew, Jun Huang couldn't help feeling mortified despite her usually calm personality. She curled up and buried her flushed face into Nan Xun's chest. Nan Xun was riveted by the intimacy.
The servants couldn't help but stop and look at them, temporarily putting aside matters they had to attend to. Moonlight gently shrouded the winding hallway with a layer of silver glow. Nan Xun held Jun Huang tight in his arms. He ordered a servant to prepare a medicinal bath before striding towards the side building.
Once they arrived at the building, the servants had prepared the bath already. Nan Xun carefully put Jun Huang down on the empress chair next to the bath and tested the temperature of the water himself. Good, it isn't too hot.
Nan Xun coughed and pointed at the other side of the screen. "Go soak yourself inside the medicinal bath. I'll be waiting outside the room. If there's anything you need, just call out for me."
Jun Huang nodded. There was finally some color on her face after a short rest on the chair. She waited until Nan Xun had left the room before she propped herself up. She was dizzy for a brief moment.
There was no serious injury on her body. She was simply exhausted from the training during the daytime and the rage overtaking her in the evening. She would recover after some time in the medicinal bath.