Don’t Save Me!
A shadow flashed in between the lush and densely growth trees. It was a young girl. She has been dashing for a long time through the trees. Finally, she stopped in front of an overgrowth underbrush, and pricked her ears, detecting the sounds of heavy friction and movements. After a long time, the sounds ceased. The eldest miss of Zhao Yuan Armed Escort Company, Zhao Jianlong, revealed a smile full of ambition.
Zhao Jianlong lightly pushed away the underbrush and drilled herself into it. Then, she saw the sika deer, which she had hit its neck, had stopped struggling. The strange thing about this deer was the deeply embedded dagger in its neck. It appeared that the knife had promptly claimed the deer's life. Earlier, she clearly saw that she had hit the deer, but there was no sharp weapon used. This dagger had appeared out of nowhere. It meant that there was someone else in the vicinity.
Zhao Jianlong's expression became dignified. She stood up, circulated her qi and focused on her hearing. She didn't detect any movement in her surroundings. However, the smell of blood around here was rather heavy. When she squatted down before, she thought that the smell of blood came from the deer. However, after contemplating a bit, it was unmistakingly an act perpetrated by a human and that person must have substained some injuries if that person could be this merciless against a mere deer. What's more, that person must be hidden in the vicinity. Who knew if that person was a friend or a foe.
Zhao Jianlong unsheathed the sword on her waist. She walked around hacking, cutting and thrusting the grass and bushes. She slowly approached a place where the smell of blood was very concentrated. Just as she expected, her eyes quickly caught the sight of a motionless person in black clothing lying in disarray on the grass.
The grass and leaves on the ground were dyed in blood. Judging from the blood trail, that black-clothed person had rashly came from another direction. At this moment, his breath was extremely weak to the point she could barely sense it. Based on the deadly wound on the deer, that person was certainly not simple. She didn't know whether this was a calculated coincidence or not. She didn't move and carefully examined the scene.
The motionless person's face was covered in blood. Furthermore, he must have bled a lot from his wounds during his escape. In short, he cut a very sorry figure and it was impossible to determine his real appearance.
Zhao Jianlong saw his eyelashes moved several times before his eyes opened. She became slightly nervous. "Who are you?"
Hearing her voice, the man sluggishly turned his eyes in her direction.
At that moment, Zhao Jianlong had a very strange feeling that she couldn't describe. It felt as if her heart was ruthlessly hit by someone. The gaze he showed her was incredibly complex – shock, affection, and deep despair. However, their meeting was a coincidence, so how can he show such a painful expression?
The black-clothed man didn't answer her question. Just when she thought his injuries were too heavy to have the strength to talk, she saw his thin lips trembled. "Don't save me…" He fainted as soon as he finished speaking.
Zhao Jianlong doubted her ears. Did she hear correctly? In this kind of situation, that man actually didn't want to be saved? Could it be that he was afraid that she was a bad person?
She was incredibly surprised to the point that she didn't notice someone approaching her until that person was right behind her. "Eldest Miss, the deer is on this side. What are doing looking over there?"
The person who arrived was Shan Zheng, a servant of the armed escort company. Today, Shan Zheng followed her and her big brother, Zhao Qinghuai, on a hunt. The maidservant looked in the same direction as Zhao Jianlong and saw the black-clothed man. She screamed in alarmed. "Eldest Miss, what's going with that person?"
"I just arrive too." Zhao Jianlong crossed her arms and stood up.
Shan Zheng only knew a bit of martial arts, but since she wasn't someone from the jianghu, her courage was somewhat lacking which could be seen from the way she walked to the unconscious man. Zhao Jianlong gave a signal and watched as Shan Zheng's hands quickly darted toward the man and fumbled his body.
Then, Shan Zheng got up and took out a handkerchief to wipe off the blood from her hand. "There's nothing on his body."
"Ah-Zheng, that person has dubious origins. You shouldn't approach him so easily. Be careful or you will get cheat someday."
"Then, what should we do?" Shan Zheng widened her eyes in order to appeal to her young miss.
"I'm also at loss." Watching someone died in front of her without saving wasn't a conduct any sons or daughters of the jianghu should have. Yet, to save an unknown person might invite unwanted troubles. What's more, the man's action was particularly strange. This caused her to be more entangled in her dilemma.
"Then, I'll go ask Eldest Young Master."
After Zhao Qinghuai arrived, he took the decision not to save the man on the basic ground that a person wearing such attire was rarely a virtuous one, so they can't save him. Besides, the man only have a breath left; it would be a waste trying to save him.
Zhao Jianlong didn't object to his decision. However, prompted by a feeling of compassion, she poked his acupuncture points which would give a hemostatic effect and immediately left with her elder brother.
When the pair of siblings arrived to Jade Lake Forest, they could see from a distance the outlines of the city of Jiangning. It took at least half a day by horse to reach the city, therefore they planned to leave this place by nighttime. The area encompassing Jade Lake Forest was enormous and filled with ancient trees and abundant preys. It was a place where many hunters loitered around. Their group of three people took a rest in a small wooden cabin owned by a family of hunters. Every time they rest at one of those cabins, they need to leave behind some of their spoils or a bit of money on the table before leaving.
After they made the fire, they cleaned the deer and skewered the meat to roast. As the meat cooked, the fragrance assailed their nostrils. The meal was accompanied by rice wine which made the taste more delicious. While eating, Zhao Jianlong and her two-years-older brother started to bicker like usual about who got the most preys and whose martial arts progressed quicker.
In the depth of the night, sleep couldn't come to Zhao Jianglong. She kept her eyes shut, lying on the stone with her clothes still on. For a long while, her heart continued to be in turmoil until she couldn't stand it and got out of bed. Her eldest brother was sleeping soundly, lying on the table, too intoxicated from the wine and Shan Zheng was as oblivious to the world as he was.
Zhao Jianglong sighed. An oil lamp illuminate her way as she returned to the place where she encountered the black clothed man. From the moment she had glanced back at him before her departure, she knew she couldn't let him be. Even if his origins were dubious, there was an urge that pushed her to save him.
As expected, when she arrived at the place, he was still lying there in the same way they left him, a proof that his injuries were too heavy for him to move even after a whole day has passed. She squatted down, never letting her guard down. She scattered some sulfur to cover the smell of his blood as not to attract some wild beasts.
Next, she probed her finger under his nose in search for a sign of breathing. She was shocked not to feel any breath. 'Can it be that… ' She promptly tried to feel his carotid pulse, pressing harder to feel it, unwilling to believe he was dead. Fortunately, she felt the pulsatile beat, although weak, but still present. His life was hanging on a single thread.
She didn't think twice before undressing him. The shine of the oil lamp didn't offer much visual in the darkness. It was barely enough to help her examined his injuries. She avoided looking at that sensitive part below his hips, but it was unavoidable as she went down to check on his legs. She got rid of any distracting thoughts and didn't think too much about it.
Many sword injuries riddled his body, but none of them even touch his vital parts. On his left thigh and on his right calf, horrendous gaping bloody holes could be seen. It appeared to be made by arrows. It wasn't hard to imagine the battle scene at that time when arrows were sent and swords slashed down, and his desperate attempt to escape from the jaw of death as his body was pierced and slash. After escaping from the arrows, he must have quickly dash into the dense forest, hiding himself amongst the vegetation while pulling out the arrows.
Zhao Jianlong couldn't help to admire his bravery, wisdom and his high endurance.
Martial artists could somewhat deal with bleeding and external injuries, but they would need the help of a doctor when dealing with internal injuries. Thus, Zhao Jianlong could only help him with hemostatic drugs and dressing his flesh wounds. Then, she dressed him again with her brother's clothes.
However, the task was harder than she could imagined. She was only a 14 years old teenager who lacked the strength to pull up an unconscious man. She panted from the strenuous effort, her eyebrows wrinkled into a frown. "I did everything that I could, now everything rest on your good fortune. I hope that I didn't save the wrong person. Don't let me regret it."
When she turned back and walked away, her feet kick something which hit a tree. She curiously searched for it with the light of her lamp oil and saw a crimson whip, like a coiling snake. When she saw the weapon, her heart palpitated with excitement. A sudden memory flashed through her mind. It was years ago when her father encountered Qiu Jia. At that time, her father was at a disadvantage in order to protect her. When everything seemed to be lost, a crimson whip flew out, like a springing snake, coiling around Qiu Jia, saving their father and daughter.
Five years has passed, she could barely remembered the face of her benefactor. However, the memory of this whip remained deeply etched into her. When she looked at the crimson whip, it was the same appearance as it was years ago, unchanged. 'How can someone throw it in such a place?'
But what if it wasn't throw away but dropped instead. She suddenly remembered the black clothed man. It was highly possible that the whip belonged to him. If he truly was her benefactor, what she did today was too excessive.
She hurriedly went to wake up her brother to discuss about it with him and bring back this man of unknown origins.
Seeing the severity of his injuries, that man must have offend someone that he shouldn't have. The siblings weren't fool, so they carefully lifted him and put him on the plank means to transport their wild games and covered him with the beasts carcasses. After they return home, they immediately send Shan Zheng to notify their father.
Their father, Zhao Changshan, listened to their story before rushing to take a look at the whip. A look of regret appeared on his face. He stroked his beard while muttering, "It is the whip that save us. There's only one Coiling Dragon Whip in this world. It says that this was created by Extreme Prosperity's Five Poisons Cult' leader, Shi Zhongtian. How can the leader of the Five Poisons Cult appeared in the central plains that? It couldn't be just to save us. I believe that the one who save us on that day isn't Shi Zhongtian. Countless years has went by and no trace of him could be found. Now that the Coiling Dragon has reappeared, perhaps it is fate. We might be able to find out the truth after he wakes up."
Zhao Changxian's second little brother, Zhao Changlin, was proficient with medical techniques. In order to block the news from spreading, the black clothed man's health was completely entrusted to him. The mysterious man's internal injuries were extremely grave, adding to too much blood loss, he would need a long time to recuperate.
After seven days of coma inside a room of Zhao Yuan Armed Escort Company, the mysterious man finally woke up with great difficulty. He has returned to life.