There was already a big commotion when Yu Huang Rong left the forest with Zhang Shi Lan in his arms. Some people had rushed back to the camp right after them or had come over to the place where the ambush had happened since they had heard the sounds of the fight.
The news of what had happened traveled fast just as they had originally planned. But Yu Huang Rong couldn’t care less. Right now, while he still didn’t know if this was just following the plan or if the bad feeling he had was truly right and there was more to this than he had thought, he just wanted to bring Zhang Shi Lan to somebody who could help him as soon as possible. There were physicians in the campgrounds but just when he wanted to leap out of the saddle and bring him over, Luan Xin stepped out of his tent, directly looking at him.
Yu Huang Rong tensed, his hold on Zhang Shi Lan tightening. He stared at Luan Xin, trying to glean from his expression whether or not this had been his intention.
Luan Xin stared back at him, taken aback. There was blood dying Zhang Shi Lan’s robe and clinging to Yu Huang Rong’s body as well. In fact, the two of them had left a trail on the ground behind. Is this was truly a grievous wound … His face paled.
Seeing this expression that seemed laden with guilt, Yu Huang Rong didn’t dare to stay. He jerked at the reins of his horse and then rushed away, not informing anybody where he was going.
Luan Xin stared after him, his hands trembling slightly before he woodenly turned around and went back into his tent, heavily falling onto a chair. She Ning raised his head, looking at him questioningly. Luan Xin closed his eyes and wiped his face, not sure what to think.
Meanwhile, the people that had returned to the campgrounds couldn’t help but whisper to each other, their gazes unwittingly drawn to the emperor’s tent every now and then. Nobody wanted to say it out loud but there was only one explanation why Yu Huang Rong would take away a person that was this heavily injured instead of having him treated in the camp.
They didn’t want to believe it though. The fact that Yu Huang Rong and His Majesty had had a good relationship wasn’t exactly secret in the capital. If the emperor was able to go so far as to have this person ambushed, then what about their own small lives? They didn’t even have that kind of relationship with him so wouldn’t they be dead for sure if they incurred his wrath somehow?
As for Zhang Shi Lan, they only had one thing to say: Too unlucky! Obviously, this little scholar that hadn’t yet taken up his position at the Academy wasn’t worth it to have the emperor make a move against him. It could only be that he had gotten into the fight between these two behemoths and thus gotten injured. It truly was his bad luck.
Among the people that finally rushed back to the camp were also Yu Huang Rong’s and Zhang Shi Lan’s fathers. Mister Zhang anxiously went to inquire about his son’s situation but people were only giving him pitying looks as if it was a given that his son wouldn’t make it.
Well, there had been way too much blood. A frail scholar might not be able to make it. If the same injury had happened to General Yu, then things might be different. But as for the scholar … They really couldn’t imagine.
Mister Zhang went back to his tent in a daze and fell into his chair, staring into the air without knowing what to do. If he could at least go and see his son, then things wouldn’t be so bad. But now, his son had been taken away. Neither did he know where the General had brought him nor did he know who he could inquire this information from.
If he thought of how they had celebrated just a few days ago because his son would be able to finally follow the path he had always wanted to take, it made him feel that fate truly was too cruel. If his son died … What should he do? That was the only child he had. To think that this kind of thing would come from befriending that young general …
Just at that moment, the older General Yu went to his tent and stepped in with a solemn expression. His own face was almost as pale as Mister Zhang’s even though it wasn’t his son that had been injured. Well, to be honest, he didn’t know that. Nobody had had time to look too closely at Yu Huang Rong’s condition when they noticed the fight. They had only known that that young scholar with him had been gravely injured.
General Yu trusted his son though. This boy hadn’t gone to the battlefield for so many years to be defeated like that now. He wouldn’t die from some cowardly scheme on a hunting trip. That wasn’t the end that his son would have. He refused to believe that.
Even though he thought that, he knew all too well that this ambush had naturally not been aimed at Zhang Shi Lan. The target had obviously been Yu Huang Rong. It was just that somehow this young scholar got caught up in it and thus suffered such a fate.
Thinking of how this person had wholeheartedly treated his son since he came to the capital city, he truly felt ashamed. How could he have suspected this person? Even if he had tried to help Yu Huang Rong get around that marriage, he certainly hadn’t done it because of his own interests. No, he very likely did it out of feelings of loyalty. This kind of child didn’t deserve such a fate.
“My son took him away.” The general awkwardly cleared his throat, stepping a little closer. “You probably don’t want to hear about this or even see me considering that it was likely my son who dragged him into this but Yu Huang Rong knows what to you. He’ll bring him somewhere safe and have him treated.”
Mister Zhang reached up and rubbed his brow. “Shi Lan isn’t a soldier. Who knows if he can hold on for that long?”
The general sat down next to him and slowly nodded his head. Even though he trusted his son, what Mister Zhang said wasn’t wrong either. There really was a big chance that Zhang Shi Lan might not make it. “If there’s anything that my family can do …”
Mister Zhang shook his head. “This is the only child I have. I just hope that he will be able to return.” If not … Then no matter what the General’s family did, it wouldn’t change anything. Lost was lost. Nobody could bring a life back.
As for the two people in question, Yu Huang Rong was taking Zhang Shi Lan to the place where he had previously hidden to train his martial arts. The place wasn’t far from a small town. Not many people would come by but the town was big enough to have a physician. He could keep Zhang Shi Lan at his place and then let the physician come over to take a look at him. That way, if Luan Xin really was out for his life, then he would also be able to hide him.
He urged his horse to run as fast as it could, not willing to lose even a second. About two thirds to the destination, Zhang Shi Lan stirred in his arms.
Yu Huang Rong glanced at him, his expression anxious. “Shi Lan!”
Zhang Shi Lan lightly furrowed his brows and his eyelids fluttered, his eyes finally cracking open.
Yu Huang Rong’s heart beat heavily and he once again urged his horse to run faster. The jostling wasn’t good for Zhang Shi Lan and might even aggravate the wound but there was nothing he could do. He had to bring him there and he had to do it fast. If Luan Xin’s men caught up to them …
Zhang Shi Lan felt dizzy but still recognized the person in front of him. He snuggled up closer and rested his head against Yu Huang Rong’s shoulder. “Huang Rong …”
Yu Huang Rong trembled and nodded. “I’m here.” His voice sounded hoarse as if he was suppressing his emotions.
Zhang Shi Lan who had still been a little disoriented just now caught onto the fact that something had to be wrong. He pressed his eyes shut tightly, took a deep breath and then moved in Yu Huang Rong’s arms, sitting up straighter and taking a closer look at him. “What happened?” He could see the anxiousness in his expression. Obviously, something had to be wrong.
“You …” Yu Huang Rong furrowed his brows and then finally had the horse slow down, taking a closer look at Zhang Shi Lan.
His lover seemed a little out of it, with his face still being pale and a confused look in his eyes. He didn’t seem to be in too much pain though and the confusion seemed to wear off slowly. This was not the look of somebody who was grievously injured.
Zhang Shi Lan looked around, furring his brows. “This … Where are we?”
For a moment, Yu Huang Rong didn’t know what to answer. Had he really thought too much before? But then why had Luan Xin looked at him like that? “How do you feel?”
Zhang Shi Lan wriggled around in his arms and then furrowed his brows. “My back hurts a little.”
Zhang Shi Lan nodded his head. “Yes. I don’t know what they did but …” He shook his head, once again wriggling around.
Yu Huang Rong tightly pressed him up against his chest and kissed his forehead. “Bear with it a moment longer. We’ll be at my hideout soon. I can take a look then.” He didn’t say anything else but he couldn’t help but mull things over in his head. It seemed he truly had been too anxious. Well, with this kind of plan, he probably should’ve expected it. Seeing Zhang Shi Lan like this … He never wanted to have to suffer through this again.