“Go to the left. Since they said there’s something wrong with the border village, we shouldn’t take any risks,” Dong Zheng suggested.
“Yes.” Ren Heming nodded. He lit the talisman paper again to determine the direction of the evil spirit. The ashes the talisman paper left behind pointed to the middle of the two roads.
“If we go to the left, we can take a detour and chase it to the main road.” Ren Heming took two sips from the water flask. After a short lunch break on the side of the road, they travelled on without stopping.
The small trail on the left was winding. The weed-covered trail was so thin that it could barely be recognizable as a trail. They left behind the fork and the official road on the right, and soon the trail was too narrow for two horses to travel side by side, so Dong Zheng followed behind Ren Heming.
There wasn’t much communication between them, especially on Ren Heming’s end, who was too busy frowning to notice. But he had chased the evil spirit all the way from the imperial city to the border and still hadn’t managed to catch the evil spirit. He must be under great pressure.
This path led to a valley. During this period, they once again determined their position to ensure that there was no deviation. In front of them, the terrain on both sides gradually increased and began sloping upward into a mountain. The incline was gentle, but there were still too many tall trees growing. If there was something hiding in the thick forest, it would be difficult to find. In the age of war, this would definitely be a place easy to defend and difficult to attack.
There was a route through the valley, but the two of them knew that this kind of terrain wasn’t very safe so they rushed onward until the horizon ahead expanded. Soon, they walked out of the valley.
The two good horses under them were already gasping wearily. They stopped and led the two horses a few steps into the wood to rest and eat grass.
Since there was no water source nearby, Dong Zheng only leaned on a tree to rest. Suddenly, he heard a slight, unusual sound.
The kernel made Dong Zheng’s five senses much more sensitive than ordinary people. He looked straight in the direction of the sound and increased the data flow to the kernel’s auditory port. The sound became clearer. It came vaguely from far away, riding along the wind in all directions.
It was the sound of crying.
“Someone is crying,” Dong Zheng whispered to Ren Heming. Ren Heming immediately shook his body and listened carefully. He also caught a slight sound brought by the wind, and his expression became serious. “Let’s go and take a look.”
They immediately led their horses toward the direction of the crying. As they gradually walked closer, the crying became clearer; it was the cry of a girl, the cry weak and sad.
They crossed the path to the other side and then walked up a certain distance in the mountain. When they lifted the branches in front of them, they finally saw a girl huddling under a tree, crying with her face buried in her knees.
The girl was only 11 to 12 years old. Her large, red clothes hung on her skinny body. She sobbed without stopping, but when she heard the sound of Dong Zheng and Ren Heming approaching, she vigilantly raised her head. When she saw them, she immediately crawled up to her feet and ran.
“Wait! We’re not bad people!” Ren Heming yelled after her, but the girl only ran faster. She didn’t even turn her head back, and in the blink of an eye she drilled through the lush woods and disappeared.
Ren Heming turned his head and looked at Dong Zheng. The two of them met each other’s eyes and saw the heaviness and suspicion there.
In this inaccessible place, how could such a little girl be left out?
Looking at the leaves that hadn’t yet stopped shaking from the girl’s movements, Dong Zheng decided to: