Chapter 149: The Blushing Sleepyhead
Having burnt the corpses, Hui Yue and the group once more followed the road leading towards the capital. Everything which happened gave everyone a new sense of vigilance and they expected more attacks to follow. While they did not observing every single stone on the road, they viewed any group they met along the way with hostility for they could possibly be enemies.
Walking down the dusty road the group, step by step, inched towards the capital and after six days of travels, as the sun was setting at the west end of the cave, the city finally came into view in the distance.
Seeing the capital, energy sprouted within every member of the group. The capital city had inns, places where they could sleep in a proper bed and bathe in warm water, and although the food was decent on their travels it could not compare to a good stew cooked by a proper chef.
“Tomorrow,” Xu Piao said, the longing evident within his voice as his eyes looked towards the city walls with excitement, “Tomorrow we will be in a proper city once again!”
Hearing those words said at dusk, everyone felt a joy that they had not felt for a long time, and conversation rose together with laughter as the group once more started moving, heading towards the distant city.
As dusk turned to night and when the moon was high in the sky, the group finally stopped and like clockwork everyone performed their tasks and helped set up camp and cook dinner. The atmosphere was no longer heavy and vigilant, but cheerful and light.
“It seems that we over thought the situation,” Xu Piao said with a smile on his face as he looked at Hui Yue who was seated next to him eating Horned Snake soup which Sha Yun cooked for them.
Having finish the food and done the dishes, snoring sounds soon filled the campsite as Hui Yue was seated atop of a boulder, his head resting in his palms while his legs were crossed. Thoughts of the battle against the mercenaries floated into his head. Although he had been deep in meditation throughout the entire battle, he managed to see the final moments of their leader and the power unleashed by Xu Piao that had deeply surprised him.
He currently knew very well that he was weak. The experts which managed to unlock the upper dantian were rare, but even still one King ranked expert was all it would take to make Hui Yue and his friends nothing but ash, much like what happened to the group they ran into earlier.
Deng Wu and himself were the strongest of their group, yet neither of them were even close the King rank. Hui Yue was thinking about how it would be possible for him to increase his power, an increase which would make him capable of protecting the ones he loved.
He was seated contemplating like that from dusk to dawn, not even moving a muscle throughout the entire night, instead, his mind constantly thinking about the options available to him. Sadly though, none of them seemed viable. The only thing which Hui Yue truly had to increase his strength was to either borrow Wu Wei from the merged soul with Lan Feng, or allow for the phoenix to take over his body and defeating his opponents.
“Have you been seated like this all night?” A sweet voice came from behind and the thoughtful young man spun around only to see Wang Ju Long watching him with a smile on her face.
Her long hair was hanging loose and it shone beautifully in the early rays the sun. Her skin was no longer pale like it had been when she lived a sheltered life as the young master of the Wang family, instead now it had a warm color which showed that she spent every day outside in the sun. One of her rare smiles was adorning her beautiful face and Hui Yue was completely taken aback by her stunning beauty.
Shaking his head dumbstruck, he vaguely remembered the question he was asked moments before and a small smile appeared on his face as he jumped from the boulder.
“I had to do some thinking,” The answer was all he gave before he moved towards the pretty girl and without realizing what he was doing, his hand gently removed a wayward lock of hair which was hanging down in front of her beautiful face.
Wang Ju Long flushed beet red as he touched her and she unconsciously backed away a few steps, her mouth opening and closing speechless, unable to say anything for a moment.
“Sorry.” Hui Yue was feeling somewhat guilty when he saw the flustered expression on the beautiful girl’s face, and an apologetic smile appeared on his face. Somehow he suddenly felt an urge to tease her as her red face was incredibly appealing, “I could not help it, it’s your own fault for being so cute early in the morning,” He said with a cheeky smile. Wang Ju Long’s eyes widened in surprise her petite mouth stuttering, “I… I… I need too… Uhm…” unable to finish her sentence, the young woman turned around and rushed back to her tent leaving behind a young man with a sly smile on his face.
The rest of the camp slowly woke up and both beast and humans were surprised as they saw Hui Yue’s cheerful smile, wondering what he could have possibly experienced that night that would make him look so happy.
As the morning proceeded everyone packed up their tents apart from one tent which had no activity all morning. Wang Ju Long did not even seemed to be awake yet oddly.
Everyone was puzzled about what was happening. Wang Ju Long was usually very diligent, waking up before everyone else and always the first to pack up her tent. Seeing that the young woman still was stuck within her tent, everyone apart from Hui Yue, were worried about whether or not their serious friend had turned sick. After waiting for her for the majority of the early morning, Xie Lan finally climbed into the tent to see what was wrong.
After a few moments, Xie Lan came out her face slightly red and she glared towards Hui Yue, causing the young man to raise an eyebrow while the cheeky smile stayed on his face, making Xie Lan exhale deeply and shake her head.
Her actions caused everyone to be extra puzzled. Wang Ju Long’s peculiar actions were perhaps done because of Hui Yue? But if so, what happened between them?
Deng Wu was the first to reach a conclusion as his handsome face quickly twisted into an expression of disbelief, after which a lascivious expression spread on his face. His voice was somewhat hoarse as he opened his mouth, “Yue! To think that you would do that to poor Ju Long!” He exclaimed, disbelief filling his face.
“Do what?” A sharp voice replied as Wang Ju Long left her tent, her face once more beet red as she remembered how close Hui Yue had been earlier, how his hand grazed her forehead combined with the gentle smile she saw on his face.
Seeing how Wang Ju Long blushed deeply, Deng Wu was certain in his belief that something had transpired and his arm reached up and patted Hui Yue on his shoulder, a proud smile on his face. “Young friend,” He started the ceremony once more, never letting go of any chance to be dramatic, “Now that you have become a man, I need to make you understand and take responsibility!” Having said those words, Deng Wu managed to say nothing else as he was knocked out by Wang Ju Long, wielding her red staff and not holding back on her power in the least smacking into his head.
Looking at the unconscious Deng Wu, the young white-haired man was simply unable to hold back his laughter, as he picked up a storage stone in which he deposited Deng Wu’s items before he lifted up the heavy young man and carried him on his back.
“Nothing happened,” He said through his laughter as he looked around, his eyes serene and honest. “We had a small conversation this morning and I accidentally touched upon an embarrassing subject, let’s leave it at that.”
Having heard an excuse from Hui Yue, Xie Lan and Xu Piao looked at each other as neither believed the honest looking young man in front of them. Shrugging, as though he did not mind, Hui Yue started traveling towards the city eager to make it in time before they closed the gates for the night.
Seeing that Hui Yue said all he would on the subject, the group slowly made their way towards the city. Based on their speed, as long as Deng Wu woke up at some point they were likely to reach the city in the late afternoon. If Deng Wu stayed unconscious it was debatable whether they would make it in time before the gates close or not.
On the way to the city not much was said, instead everyone was busy thinking. Wang Ju Long was still somewhat embarrassed, while Xu Piao and Xie Lan were conversing without using words. The two had been together for such a long time that sometimes, words were not needed.
Hui Yue could not help but remember the sight from the morning where Wang Ju Long’s beauty stunned him and while he was not aware of this he could not help but feel a longing to see her like that once more.
By his side was Sha Yun following closely her eyes turned dark and her mouth closed. Unlike the others of the party, she was neither entertained nor curious about what happened between her master and the other girl. If anything, she already thought it was nothing as Hui Yue said, but what annoyed her was Wang Ju Long’s blushing face. The intimacy the two shared. Sha Yun felt sick to her stomach as she thought about it.
The silent travel was for some uncomfortable, while others it was filled with longing. For some they passed it in unconsciousness, yet others were filled with bile.
Finally, as the afternoon was drawing to a close, Deng Wu woke up and the previous silence was quickly broken as the young man started an argument with Wang Ju Long about her decision to knock him out, on top of the fact she did not even heal him afterwards!
The broken silence quickly resulted in everyone talking once again, Hui Yue with Sha Yun about various theories, new discoveries, or breakthroughs they experienced recently, Wang Ju Long and Xie Lan about healing as the older woman took the young girl as an apprentice.
Deng Wu and Xu Piao were busy talking about god knows what, both laughing out loud most of the time making Hui Yue imagine that they were comparing certain life experiences.
The further the group travelled the more urbanized the areas became. Small villages were visible here and there and the road also became much more trafficked.
Small carts were seen on the road stocked full with vegetables, meats, skins, and other wares which were going to be sold in the capital’s marketplaces. Groups of mercenaries were returning to the city from their various missions, chatting loudly as they looked forward to picking up their hard earned salary.
The speed with which the group was travelling at previously was no longer possible, instead they were slowed down following the stream of people who were making their way to the city. As they made their way towards the capital smiles were evident on everyone’s faces, even Xu Piao and Xie Lan the two cultivators who had been to the capital many times before.