IWOL Chapter 240: ⏹

The girl ran much faster than Dong Zheng had anticipated. He followed her figure for some unknown distance. But since a child’s physical strength wasn’t as good as that of an adult, her speed soon slowed down gradually, and Dong Zheng caught up to her.

“Don’t run, we’re not bad people!” Dong Zheng grabbed the girl’s thin arm and pulled her to a stop. The girl immediately screamed, as if it wasn’t a human being who grabbed her but something extremely scary, like a monster that could kill her.

“Don’t be afraid, I won’t hurt you.” Dong Zheng tried his best to comfort the girl, but the girl continued to struggle and scream. It was at this time that Dong Zheng realized that she was a Dashi person and probably had no clue what he said.

What should he do? He couldn’t speak Farsi.

In that awkwardness, Ren Heming finally reached him, panting and supporting his figure on a tree trunk. The girl gradually lost her strength and could only sink her teeth into Dong Zheng’s arm. When Ren Heming saw this, he said something to her.

Dong Zheng: …?

Ren Heming uttered another gurgling string of unfamiliar language. The girl gradually loosened her teeth and stared at Ren Heming, trembling with fear. Dong Zheng gasped with pain. Although his clothing had provided a layer of protection from her teeth, he felt as if his skin was on the verge of bleeding.

Ren Heming noticed the girl was willing to speak to him and so he continued to communicate with her.

The girl sobbed and spoke to Ren Heming in a whisper. Her voice was so small that it seemed as if it would disappear.

As Ren Heming was talking to her, he made eye contact with Dong Zheng, who immediately released the girl. He rolled up his sleeve to study the bite mark on his forearm and was relieved to see that there was no blood.

The girl was wearing a red dress that was too large for her, and her bare feet were covered with mud and dirt. After Ren Heming chatted with her for a while, the girl gradually stopped sobbing.

Dong Zheng didn’t understand what the two of them were saying. In fact, he was surprised that Ren Heming could even speak Farsi. This shixiong¹, who he’d allegedly studied with under Maoshan School, seemed to have many secrets he had yet to figure out.

The conversation lasted for five to six minutes, but at last, Ren Heming nodded his head. Still trying to catch his breath, he pulled the girl down and wiped her dirty feet with his uniform.

“She is the child the village sacrificed in an attempt to stop the plague,” Ren Heming told Dong Zheng. “The team from the village that sent her encountered something mid-way up the mountain and so she ran away in the chaos…”

“Then what shall we do now? Send her back to the village?” Dong Zheng asked. “In that case, she might become infected with the plague in the village and also die of it. Not to mention, the villagers wanted to use her as a sacrifice.”

“But we can’t take her with us.” Ren Heming sighed. He looked at Dong Zheng and said gravely, “Lao Qi, we have our official duties. We’ve been chasing after the evil spirit for this long, and we still haven’t seen its shadow yet. At this moment, the best choice is to send her back to her family.”

Ren Heming was right. Dong Zheng had always been very sensible, and the words he spoke just now were merely out of consideration. They returned to the place where’d first met the girl and picked up their horses before looking for the path to the village.

Although the merchants had repeatedly advised them not to go there, they couldn’t ignore this matter and would have to find a place for the poor child to settle down.

Ren Heming asked the girl to sit on the back of his horse, and he and Dong Zheng led the horse slowly through the forest. Dong Zheng walked ahead, opening up the way with his xiuchun sword and chatting a few sentences from time to time with Ren Heming.

They had to find the right path as soon as possible.

The girl on horseback was very quiet. She didn’t understand their conversation, and remembering Ren Heming’s agreement to take her home, she gripped the reins firmly.

“Unexpectedly, Shixiong knows the Dashi language. I didn’t know this. Where was Shixiong from?”

As they chatted, Dong Zheng began testing Ren Heming. But when he looked back at him, he was stunned.

“What?” Ren Heming looked blank, but he soon discovered that Dong Zheng didn’t seem to be looking at him, so he turned his head to look behind him.

The back of the horse, at some point in time, it had become empty.

Ren Heming:???

Ren Heming:!!!

Where was she?

Dong Zheng questioned, “You didn’t feel anything when she left?”

“No.” On Ren Heming’s forehead was a big question mark. He touched the saddle, feeling the lingering temperature there. “I asked her two minutes ago if she was thirsty and if she wanted to drink water, and she responded to me. How could she disappear in the blink of an eye?”

The girl’s disappearance was so sudden that Dong Zheng and Ren Heming were caught by surprise. Ren Heming called out the girl’s name for a while but didn’t get a response. They also searched the area but found no trace of her.

She left behind no footprints on the road, and the grass had no indications of being trampled.

It was as if she’d disappeared into thin air.

“Well, it seems that we can’t find her.” Ren Heming sighed, and their moods became a bit heavy. But they continued walking for some distance, until they passed through some thick trees and saw a Dashi mountain village not far away. The village looked very ordinary, but it was extremely quiet.

Not only were there no human voices, there were also no sounds of livestocks or birds.

They finally found the village but had lost the girl.

“Do you want to go over?” Ren Heming asked with a wry smile.

Dong Zheng frowned, and said in a low voice:

⏹ “Let’s get out of here as soon as possible.” → Skip to Chapter 246.
⏺ “How about we take a look?” → Skip to Chapter 247.

————
Translation Notes:
(1) Shixiong — I’m too tired to write Senior Brother so I’ll just stick to the pinyin from now on.


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