The next morning, Jing Yi went to the herb field together with another servant of the estate and a man that the merchant had hired from outside to pitch in for the men that had died.
Having more people than just Jing Yi go had been the idea of the merchant when he heard the plan from Liu Cheng. He felt that this way, Jing Yi would not attract as much attention and might not give anything away. This, in turn, should make things safer for him. Even though he wasn’t responsible for him, he still wouldn’t feel right if he didn’t even try to help the boy out that Si Fen had entrusted to him.
Liu Cheng hadn’t been thrilled at first considering that this might also mean that the demon would choose somebody else as their victim but he finally relented. Anyway, there weren’t just downsides to this. He just had to make sure that Jing Yi did a good job of getting closer to Peng Mu.
In fact, Liu Cheng was worrying too much. If one didn’t count the years growing up in the village when Jing Yi had been afraid of everyone and everything safe for his parents, he had never had trouble getting close to people. In the capital city, he had found a friend in Shao Hai almost immediately and the customers of the teahouse had adored him. In the Yun Zou Sect, the senior martial brothers and sisters had soon started to like him despite the fact that they had been instigated behind his back. And on his travels with Si Fen, the servants had soon taken a shine to him as well.
A lot of this might have had to do with the fact that he was still young but much came also from the fact that he was working hard and not shirking any responsibilities just because people liked him. It made him appear sincere and trustworthy. The older people would probably feel bad if they didn’t even try to take care of him a bit.
This was proven once again when he arrived at the herb field. He was more nervous than he had ever been before when arriving at a new place. After all, this time, there was a creature close by that might want to kill him. He didn’t know much about demons but this was what he had understood from Liu Cheng’s narrative. And even if he wasn’t targeted personally, one of the people he got to know here might be the demon’s next victim.
Seeing him so flustered, some of the workers couldn’t help but laugh. One of them even turned to the steward. “What kind of child did you get to work here? Are you sure he can pull his weight?”
The steward gave a wry smile. He also didn’t quite understand why the demon hunter had wanted this boy of all people to get involved in this. If a grown man wasn’t able to defend against the demon, then a child shouldn’t be able to even more so. But, well, he wasn’t supposed to judge this. “Don’t worry. He won’t be here for long. He’s on his way back home but needs to wait here for a while so the Master sent him over here to make himself useful. He’ll leave soon.”
The other person scoffed in response and went on to mutter under his breath about how this was a waste as well.
Some of the others were a bit more well-inclined to Jing Yi though. “Well, having a young man work a little is better than having nobody to help at all, isn’t it? And anyway, you haven’t seen what he can do yet. Just give him some time. Maybe he’ll not be that bad.”
“Oh, please! What could that kid be able to do?”
There was some spirited discussion, making Jing Yi who was standing not far away feel embarrassed. It seemed he would have to work extra hard to prove to these people that he wouldn’t be making more work for them instead of helping.
He took a glance at the people that had spoken up and took note of the person that was in favor of him. It was a middle-aged man with a kind smile. If he had any problems, he should probably go and ask this person. At the very least, he could expect an answer.
Soon enough, everybody returned to the fields and Jing Yi, and the other two followed along. For now, they were only supposed to go and get water so the others could care for the plants. The person to show them where everything was the same man with the kind smile that had spoken up before, making Jing Yi feel even more that he was the right person to ask for help if he needed it. For the time being, there wasn’t any problem though.
Jing Yi filled the buckets, picked them up, and then started to bring them over to the field. He didn’t complain even when one of the other workers scolded him for putting it down in the wrong spot and just picked it up again and brought it over to where the man wanted to have it. After making sure that nothing else was wrong, he picked up another bucket and went to fetch water again.
In this way, a few hours went by, and finally, the time for lunch arrived. Contrary to the group around Si Fen that had hardly made breaks in the middle of the day whether it was while traveling or while being in a town, things were different in the fields.
Jing Yi didn’t quite understand and felt that now would be a good time to ask. He looked around and soon spotted the man with the kind smile. He walked over and gave a smile of his own. “I’m sorry but would you mind if I asked you something?”
The man looked up and then motioned at the spot beside him. “Of course not. Come on, sit down. I’m Peng Mu.”
Jing Yi stared at him in a daze. Ah? How come the person he had thought of as the friendliest was the one that had a relationship with a demon? This … Somehow, this seemed wrong.