Chapter 154: The Trip to Yun Town
Jun Huang didn't waste time on arguing with Nan Xun. She put on the straw rain cape and got one for him too. She had been worried about Nan Xun's health ever since she heard from Nan Xun's second in command that Nan Xun had knelt in the rain overnight to protest the marriage with Shangguan Yue. Fortunately, Nan Xun was built sturdy and didn't catch a cold.
Everyone had put on a cape. Because of the rain obscuring their view, they had slowed down their pace. The horses tread along the muddy path, splashing dirty water at the men riding behind.
Nan Xun rode on Jun Huang's left side. Every once in a while he would say a few words to Jun Huang and remind her to watch the road. Because of the deafening rain, he had to shout at the top of his lungs to make sure that Jun Huang heard him.
The soldiers behind them saw their general shouting something at Jun Huang, but the rain was too loud for his voice to be carried to their ears. Jun Huang, in return, looked at Nan Xun with a faint smile on her face. Every now and then she would turn to look at Nan Xun, but she didn't say much. She either nodded or shook her as a response.
They traveled for a good while without any accidents. The sound of horse hooves hitting the ground grew louder and louder until it could almost rival the pouring rain. Nan Xun turned to tell Jun Huang to stay behind him. The path was getting more and more difficult to navigate. Before he could say anything, however, the horse Jun Huang was riding suddenly reared its front legs and almost threw Jun Huang off its back.
Nan Xun startled. Fortunately, Jun Huang had been on her guard even when she was in a conversation. People unfamiliar with horses would have gotten thrown off. She was able to catch the reign and hold onto the horse's neck, keeping herself on horseback.
Nevertheless, she was no professional, and she was at a loss of what to do next. She didn't have the time to ask Nan Xun before the horse ran off. In reflex, she tightened her grip on the reign and lowered her body, trying her best to calm down the scared horse.
Nan Xun's heart sank when he saw Jun Huang's horse running off. He took a deep breath and told his soldiers to stay put before squeezing his horse's belly with both legs, commanding the horse to follow after Jun Huang.
His horse galloped so quickly he could barely see where he was going. And the pouring rain didn't help. Nan Xun kept his body low against the horseback and rushed toward the direction Jun Huang had gone with his eyes narrowed.
Jun Huang wasn't beyond mortal's fear after all. No matter how level-headed she usually was, faced with this situation, she couldn't stop herself from trembling.
She was never that good at riding. It was all she could do to keep herself from being thrown off. She knew she was not in the right position, but she couldn't adjust her posture. The horse seemed determined to get her off its back.
Jun Huang sucked in a breath. Her entire body went rigid. Her arms were trembling from her dead grip on the reign. She had used so much force that she scraped her palms.
After about the time for a pot of tea to brew, she was brought to the edge of a forest. Jun Huang stilled. She must stop the horse from running into the woods! Otherwise it would be even more difficult for Nan Xun to find her.
Jun Huang prepared herself mentally and tightened her jaw before yanking at the reign. Snap! The reign broke. She fell off the horse like a bag of rock.
Nan Xun widened his eyes. He caught up with Jun Huang just in time to see her fall. He leaped toward her from his horse and caught her in his arms. They fell onto the ground together, rolling in the mud for two rotations until they stopped.
Jun Huang clenched her teeth to brace for the pain. She looked up at Nan Xun, who was lying on the ground looking as messy as she was. Nan Xun stared at her with worried eyes and asked if she was hurt.
Jun Huang couldn't help the fear rushing into her heart when she thought about what could have happened. She shook her head, but was suddenly hit by a shock of pain in her thighs. Her eyebrows drew together.
Her reaction did not escape Nan Xun's eyes. He knew Jun Huang must have scraped her thighs trying to stop her horse. And it was likely that she had twisted her ankle when she fell.
His lips pursed in anger, Nan Xun stood up and looked down at Jun Huang. Jun Huang was getting light-headed from the pain and didn't notice the change in his expression.
Nan Xun's shoulders tensed up further. He took a deep breath and demanded, "Do you know what you're doing? Why do you have to push yourself so much?"
It took some time for Jun Huang to suppress the pain. Her cold sweat mixed with the rain and streamed down her face. She didn't look pathetic, but she looked pitiful.
Seeing Jun Huang's misty eyes, the fire in Nan Xun's heart died down as quickly as it appeared. He knew Jun Huang wasn't showing her vulnerability to him, though, and that the tears filling her eyes were simply a physical reaction to the pain.
Jun Huang would sooner die than show anyone her weakness. She wouldn't have let her pain be seen unless it was so serious it was physically impossible for her to hide. Her pain must have been bad this time.
With a scowl, Nan Xun squatted down to check over Jun Huang's ankle. He finally let out the breath he had been holding after he made sure that her bone had not been broken. A twisted ankle and pulled muscles in her thighs, yes, but nothing too serious.
Nan Xun helped her get to her feet. Jun Huang hissed in pain, leaning into Nan Xun's arms to let him take her weight.
She was unhealthily thin. Even with her in his arms, Nan Xun barely felt weighed down. His heart ached for her.
Nan Xun whistled to call for his horse and helped Jun Huang mount before getting on the horseback himself. Jun Huang was in so much pain that her body went numb. She lay bonelessly against Nan Xun.
Nan Xun felt his heart clench seeing Jun Huang's pale face. What he wouldn't do to take the pain from her!
People often said that they would gladly become the subject of torture for their loved ones. That was exactly how Nan Xun felt.
They returned to the troop. Nan Xun's second in command almost jumped seeing the condition they were in. He quickly went up to them.
The heavy rain had washed away the mud on their clothes, but Nan Xun was worried that Jun Huang would collapse. He turned to his second in command with a frown. "I don't care how you do it. Get me a coach now. Understand?"
Seeing Jun Huang's sheet-pale face, the second in command didn't dare to waste any time. He rushed off to acquire a coach. Jun Huang was going to argue, but before she could do so, the officer had vanished.
Jun Huang swallowed down her unspoken words and let out a quiet laugh. She took a deep breath before pulling away from Nan Xun. She didn't want the soldiers to misunderstand their relationship.
Nan Xun let her go without resisting. He knew what Jun Huang was worried about, and he didn't want to embarrass her. He was still worried, though, so he kept an arm behind her back to support her.
The second in command returned with a coach not long after, panting heavily. He clearly had gone out of his way to get this coach. It didn't look cheap.
Seeing Jun Huang and Nan Xun's odd look, the second in command explained, "I bought this from a rich family in the area."
Jun Huang didn't say anything. Nan Xun helped her into the coach and got some clean clothes for her. "You'll have to get changed in the coach," he said with a pensive expression. "Be careful with your injury. Don't pull your muscles again, alright?"
Nan Xun's caring words brought warmth into her heart. Jun Huang nodded with a smile and got into the coach with the clothes in her arms. Nan Xun stayed outside looking away from the coach.
When Jun Huang finished getting changed and opened the door, Nan Xun was in the rain, and his clothes were completely drenched. She frowned. "Maybe you should get changed as well."
Nan Xun visibly relaxed when he saw that Jun Huang had changed into something dry. He shook his head. "There's no telling when the rain will stop in summer. Even if I get changed, my clothes are going to get wet again. I'm fine. I don't get sick that easily. This rain isn't going to do anything to me." Nan Xun looked up at the grey sky. "It's getting late. You should get some rest."
Jun Huang nodded in resignation and returned to the coach. She shut her eyes.
When she opened her eyes again, the rain had stopped. The setting sun was peeking behind a dark patch of clouds.
The road was covered in mud. Jun Huang was having a hard time even in the coach. She wasn't used to being carried around like this. The constant shaking made her dizzy.
Hearing her movement, Nan Xun got off his horse and got into the coach. His heart clenched when he saw Jun Huang's pale face. He quickly pull Jun Huang into his arms to steady her.
Jun Huang finally felt better when the coach stopped. Feeling her stomach convulse, she pushed Nan Xun away and stumbled out of the coach. She threw up squatting at the side of the road.
Her stomach was empty since she hadn't had anything for lunch. She was throwing up bile and it felt as if her gallbladder was going to come out of her mouth as well.
Nan Xun didn't expect Jun Huang to become this ill. He patted Jun Huang on the back and took a cup of water from his second in command. Once Jun Huang had stopped vomiting, he handed her the cup.
Jun Huang took a gulp to swallow down her discomfort. She inhaled deeply and shook her head. "I'm fine now. Don't worry."
Nan Xun was unsettled by the lack of color in Jun Huang's cheeks. Jun Huang, on the other hand, felt guilty for causing a delay. I'm going to get sick again if I stay in the coach, she thought. I might as well go back to riding a horse. My ankle has stopped hurting anyway.