Chapter 812 – The Solitary Star Returns
Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
The stones had clearly been turned pure white only after being washed by water for many years.
Not far from the stones was a river. It was currently late winter, a period of low water, but if it were summer, the river would probably reach up to here.
There were two paths to Wenshui. One path went along this river, while the other path circled around from the north and was a bit more difficult to traverse.
Chen Changsheng chose the northern path. This was different from his planned route, but it had also been a part of his plans.
To the northwest of Hanqiu City was a massive and lifeless mountain of rock. After passing through this mountain and working one's way around a vast swamp, one would arrive at the Cong Province Army headquarters.
The Cong Province Army headquarters was the most remote of the ten-some army headquarters the Great Zhou had in the north, and was extremely close to demi-human territory.
Walking through this barren rock of a mountain where only a few blades of grass grew, Chen Changsheng very naturally recalled that Xue Xingchuan had made his name at the Cong Province Army headquarters. He then remembered Madam Xue, and also that young master of the Xue clan who had entered the Orthodox Academy last year. Finally, he remembered that it had already been many years since he had last seen Luoluo.
The sun hung in the western sky, quite a few of its rays piercing through the sand in the air. It seemed to be in a bad mood.
Right when they crossed this rocky mountain, Nanke's eyes narrowed, and her small face suddenly appeared extremely vigilant.
Although she was an imbecile that had forgotten her past, she still had her strength. She was incredibly sensitive to hidden dangers.
Chen Changsheng glanced at her.
Nanke raised her face and sniffed at the air like a small dog.
"What do you smell?" Chen Changsheng asked.
"Blood, a very thick scent of blood."
Nanke's voice was absolutely flat, her mood indifferent, like she was commenting about the smell of food.
Chen Changsheng asked, "Did you smell the scent of that monster?"
After leaving Hanqiu City, that monster never appeared again, but Chen Changsheng remained vigilant. If that monster really was from the Yellow Springs, if he really had judged correctly, then it would be a very vexing problem.
Nanke shook her head. She lowered her head to think for a while, then continued walking along the mountain ridge.
Ever since they had set out from Hanqiu City, the gravelly ground and the color of the sky were of the same hue: a dusty gray.
But when they crossed the mountain, the colors of the world instantly changed.
This side of the mountain was red—not the natural tone of the earth, but dyed by blood.
Everywhere was blood and corpses.
Some corpses were like small mountains. From their coarse fur and specially shaped armor, they were probably soldiers from the Brown Bear tribe.
There were also many corpses belonging to human soldiers.
The stones on the ground had all been painted red by blood, the thick and sticky substance exuding a foul stench into the air.
It was like a small-scale war had taken place here.
Amongst the corpses, only one person was still alive. He slowly stood up and turned to Chen Changsheng.
In such bitterly cold weather, he only wore one layer of clothing, and he had even rolled up the sleeves, baring his forearms to the elements. His pants were also shorter than normal pants, making for a rather comical look. But upon realizing that he had done this to make it easier to attack and run, one might feel a chill in one's heart.
He was still like before.
Chen Changsheng felt like he was back at the Grand Examination, standing in front of the Li Palace and looking at that youth in the morning light.
With a flicker of the morning light, five years passed.
Chen Changsheng walked over to him.
Zhexiu walked over to meet Chen Changsheng.
Chen Changsheng opened his arms wide, preparing to give a warm embrace in the style of Tang Thirty-Six.
But Zhexiu gripped his sword, a hint of red appearing in his eyes. Surprisingly, he was prepared to undergo berserk metamorphosis.
Chen Changsheng followed his gaze and realized that he was staring at Nanke. He understood and said, "It's okay."
Zhexiu did not relax his guard. Staring at Nanke, he asked, "What's going on here?"
In the Garden of Zhou, he had not personally met with Nanke, but given his personality, he had naturally investigated her thoroughly in preparation for when they met in the future. To his surprise, the next time he saw this Demon Princess, she was at Chen Changsheng's side, and she was clearly acting like a follower.
Chen Changsheng put down his hands, using his eyes to indicate that it was not convenient to speak about the matter in detail as he said, "I'll explain it to you later."
He then looked around at the corpse-covered ground and asked, "And what's going on here?"
"Someone was worried that you would come from the north, and sent people to kill you."
Zhexiu's tone as he spoke was still as flat, or indifferent, as it was in the past, as if there was nothing that could make him too agitated.
Like this gory sight and the plot hidden behind it—assassinating the Pope was not a trivial concern.
Nanke suddenly spoke, wary and disbelieving, "You killed all these people?"
She did not recognize Zhexiu, but she could sense how dangerous he was. Her wariness was to be expected, and as for her disbelief, this was also very reasonable.
Since they were sent to kill Chen Changsheng, these soldiers of the Brown Bear tribe and human soldiers must have been extremely powerful, with many experts among them.
No matter how skilled Zhexiu was in battle, he could not kill so many people. Moreover, not a single one of them had been able to escape.
Chen Changsheng also felt this to be very strange. Even if Zhexiu managed to advance by leaps and bounds in his cultivation over these past three years, he could not have reached this level.
"I had companions," Zhexiu answered.
As if to prove his words, many mournful wolf howls suddenly rose from the distant mountain ridge.
"A few young fellows from the tribe snuck out and are currently following me. Besides that, I have a few acquaintances in Cong Province."
Zhexiu said to Chen Changsheng, "The Brown Bear tribe has always been crafty. We lay in wait here for three days, and then…"
Chen Changsheng suddenly felt very cheerful and didn't pay attention to the rest of Zhexiu's account.
The Wolf tribe's attitude towards Zhexiu seemed to be changing, and he surprisingly also had acquaintances.
In the past, this would be quite unimaginable.
Zhexiu, who had fixed the Solitary Star Heaven's Curse as his Fated Star, actually had companions?
It appeared that that period in the Orthodox Academy had effected a few unforgettable changes to every person living within.
On the same night, the three made camp in the desert on the other side of the mountain valley, upwind where they could not smell the blood. With a few moment's effort, Zhexiu had dug out a slanted cave around three zhang deep in the cold, hard earth. The bottom of the cave was very dry and still somewhat warm, and there was no need to worry about being disturbed by beasts.
Zhexiu had been living like this since he was very young.
Nanke laid down the bedding at the bottom of the cave and lay down. Chen Changsheng took out his needles and began to treat her.
By the time the treatment finished, Nanke had already fallen asleep. He pulled the blankets up to her neck and then turned around and headed out of the cave.
Zhexiu was crouched on the ground outside the cave, looking at something.
He was still used to crouching, not sitting. Like a lonely wolf, he was prepared to attack or escape at any moment.