Chapter 381: Returning to the Capital!
Without any hesitation, Wang Chong crushed the bamboo tube between his fingers, and a powdery substance reminiscent of wooden shavings poured out from within.
"This is..." Staring at the powdery substance, Wang Chong narrowed his eyes. Suddenly, a thought flashed through his mind.
He grabbed the broken bamboo tube and placed it to his nose, and only then could he catch a whiff of an extremely faint odor. It had a sickly sweet smell mixed with a slightly bitter tang reminiscent of an apricot.
Were it not for the huge amount of powder in proximity to his nose, he would have never been able to perceive the scent.
Thousand Li Fragrance!
Wang Chong finally understood what it was that Zhao Qianqiu had given him. This was a powder created through a unique recipe. Due to the rare ingredients required in its creation, it was extremely difficult to procure it.
The Thousand Li Fragrance was often used for tracking purposes.
It released a lasting fragrance which was unfazed by the wind direction, allowing it to easily reach a thousand li away.
While it might not be perceivable to the human nose, specially-trained bees could detect it clearly and accurately trace the source of the fragrance.
This was often used in the military to mark scouts and spies.
More importantly, due to the intensity of the fragrance, it could be diffused even from within the bamboo tube.
This meant to say that...
"... Zhao Qianqiu can track my whereabouts!" With this thought in mind, Wang Chong's eyes lit up.
He finally understood what it was that Zhao Qianqiu gave him to save his life.
It had been days since the assault, so news of it should have already spread. By now, Zhao Qianqiu should have known that he had encountered an ambush.
In other words, Zhao Qianqiu was likely to be on his way here at the moment.
With this, Wang Chong knew what he had to do.
He immediately scattered the Thousand Li Fragrance around the ditch. Through this, he could make intensify the fragrance in the air, thus pointing out the direction even more clearly to the bees.
After doing this, carrying the remaining half a tube of Thousand Li Fragrance with him, he returned back to the ditch, covered himself, and executed the Tortoise Breathing Art once more.
But at this time, he was in a much more feeble state from before, and his consciousness was slowly fading.
After an unknown period of time, Wang Chong awoke to a familiar voice.
"Lad, I have finally found you!" It was a deep and warm voice. The top layer of dirt above him was swiped away with immense force, and a powerful arm pulled him up from the ditch.
Wang Chong struggled to open his eyes as blinding sunlight pierced his eyes. Vaguely, he could see a familiar brawny figure built like a mountain standing before him. There seemed to be a relieved smile on his face.
"Instructor!" Wang Chong muttered weakly with a faint smile.
At the moment that he saw Zhao Qianqiu, he knew that he was finally out of danger.
"You sure are lucky. I thought that you had died. That would be such a huge waste of the Thousand Li Fragrance that I had given you," Zhao Qianqiu chuckled. Unlike his usual composed demeanor, Wang Chong could feel his body trembling slightly in agitation.
Of all the students he had taught Wang Chong was indubitably the most outstanding of them all, as well as the one he was the proudest of. When the news of the ambush first reached him, he was truly worried that the latter might have died.
But fortunately, Wang Chong didn't disappoint him.
Though his sharp wits, Wang Chong had successfully overcome this ordeal.
"Don't worry, I have left half a tube to you!" With a difficult smile on his pale face, Wang Chong reached out into his sleeves and took out the remaining half of the Thousand Li Fragrance.
"You lad!" Seeing this, Zhao Qianqiu couldn't help but laugh.
"Instructor, how is my White-hoofed Shadow? Have you found him?"
"Don't worry, we found him at the foot of a neighboring mountain to the east. He is heavily injured, but our men have already fed him a recovery pill. On top of that, he seems to have found some herbs in the midst of his escape to alleviate his injuries, so his condition isn't too bad," Zhao Qianqiu reassured him.
Upon hearing those words, Wang Chong's heart finally settled. The fatigue and exhaustion that he had accumulated over all this time struck him all at once, and his body abruptly slackened.
"Wang Chong, Wang Chong, Wang Chong..." An anxious voice sounded by his ear, but it gradually grew fainter and fainter, and eventually, silent.
This time, Wang Chong slept for a very long time. He woke up groggily from time to time, but he would fall back to sleep soon enough. By the time he was finally completely awake, he was already back in the Wang Family Residence in the capital.
This time, he had rested for a very long time.
His mother, little sister, second sister, and big uncle had visited him several times, but they dared not to disturb him for too long in fear of hindering his recuperation. After saying a few words, they would hurriedly leave so as to allow him to rest.
The residence was extremely silent, but while Wang Chong was resting, he would hear some whisperings outside. His mother, big uncle, little sister, and cousins would loiter outside his room, discussing some matters.
In the time to come, more people came to visit. King Song, the old butler, Lu Ting, as well as the officials of the royal court, but most of them stopped before Wang Chong's door.
Extremely feeble, Wang Chong was unable to leave his room. Nevertheless, he could clearly sense the storm brewing outside.
Big uncle's visits became less frequent over the days, but in times that he did, Wang Chong could feel wrath boiling beneath his calm exterior.
But despite all that had happened, there was not a single person in the residence who spoke about this matter to him.
While he was recuperating, Wang Chong received a letter from his eldest brother, Wang Fu. The letter was short and concise, the content focused on how his physical condition was.
Wang Chong replied with a letter saying that he was fine before asking about how his eldest brother had been faring in the army.
It felt as if the Wang Clan had built a huge dome around Wang Chong, attempting to protect him from whatever was out there.
This was the first time since his reincarnation that he had suffered such grievous injuries. That arrow was more formidable than he had thought, causing immense damage to his body.
Thus, Wang Chong chose to rest silently in the residence without asking anything.
This continued until the eighth day.
By then, Wang Chong had already nearly recovered from his wounds, so he stood up and walked out of his room for the first time in a very long period.
At the door, a large group of maids and guards hurriedly bowed to Wang Chong as they gazed at him in concern. In the last few days, everyone had been talking about how gongzi had met with an ambush, and it had caused a huge storm outside.
They had been worried about his physical condition over the past few days, but he had been cooped up in his room, and very few people were allowed to be around him. Thus, this was the first time they had seen him since his return.
"Un!" Wang Chong nodded. "You have worked hard. Do you know where Little Shadow is?"
"Gongzi, Little Shadow is in the stables. There are many people taking care of him," a green-robed servant replied humbly.
Wang Chong nodded before walking down the stairs from his room. He turned around and headed for the stables. This would be the first time he meeting Little Shadow ever since they parted half a month ago.
The green-robed servant was right, Little Shadow was indeed being taken care of well. At the stables, Wang Chong saw six stablemen tending to his needs.
Little Shadow was lying in the center of the stable with his legs and body wrapped in a thick layer of cloth. An overwhelming medicinal scent drifted in the room.
Right in front of him was a huge stack of soybeans and forage, allowing him to feed without even standing up.
As if that wasn't enough, someone actually came up with the idea of having a carpenter create a rotating plate to place the mountain of food on.
With that, Little Shadow just had to twist the plate slightly with his head to get whatever he wanted to eat to him.
Of course, this wasn't a particularly easy action for a horse to make, but by the time Wang Chong arrived, Little Shadow was already able to do it skillfully.
Before Wang Chong could speak, Little Shadow had already noticed Wang Chong, and his eyes lit up. With a loud neigh, he abruptly stood up and trotted over.
Even though his movements were wobbly and a little strained, he still managed to walk over to Wang Chong without too much trouble. It was apparent that he was in a much better state than he was back when they parted at the lake.
After a momentary sneeze, Little Shadow dove into Wang Chong's embrace, caressing the latter with his face intimately, obviously missing him a lot.
"Hehe, Little Shadow. I think you have gotten quite plump over the days. Are you sure that you can still run like that?" Wang Chong teased as he stroked Little Shadow's back.
Over the past month, despite suffering grievous injuries, not only did Little Shadow not grow thin, he even became fat. His stomach was bulging, and fat was sagging from his feet.
It could be seen from this that he had been really well-fed over the past few days.
Little Shadow neighed in displeasure as he lightly pushed Wang Chong with his head angrily.
Unlike normal horses, Little Shadow possessed sentience, and he had displayed it on many occasions.
"Hahaha!" Seeing Little Shadow flying into a rage, Wang Chong burst into laughter as relief flickered across his eyes.
Ever since parting at the lake, Wang Chong had been deeply worried about Little Shadow. It was indeed extremely fortunate for the both of them to have survived that crisis.
"How can you gobble down so many soybeans without exercising? Come, I'll bring you out for a walk. It'll be good for you to feel the sunlight once more after so long," Wang Chong said as he patted Little Shadow's lustrous neck.
Little Shadow neighed softly as he nodded, seemingly giving his approval.
Wang Chong smiled, and without bothering to prepare the saddle or anything or that like, he turned around and took the lead with his hands behind his back. Little Shadow followed behind him quietly.
The gates to the Wang Family Residence opened, and sunlight spilled in.
"... I guess it is about time to resolve some matters." Gazing at the brilliant sunlight before him, Wang Chong sighed deeply before walking out with Little Shadow.
PS: It might be a little confusing, but Second Sister refers to Wang Zhuyan (They are cousins, but the latter told him to address her as such)