Chapter 196: Getting Prepared Against a Rainy Day
Ardent and righteous as they were, the six frontier soldiers were still startled by the news. “But Qin Lin was a prince. How could he kill him?”
“What kind of background does this man in front of us have on earth?”
Oblivious to their astonishment, Li Mu continued, “It’s just that you’ve all been involved in this case. If you stay in the city of Chang’an, I’m afraid you can hardly be spared when Lord Zhenxi starts his retaliation. So, I’m wondering what plans you guys have got.”
“Emm…” Wu Beichen pondered over it for a moment and then gritted his teeth and declared, “We’re willing to be witnesses on your side. We can testify that Qin Lin had engaged in misdeeds and jeopardized the military tomb…”
“They are true men indeed.” Li Mu praised them inwardly.
When he saw Wu Beichen and his company stuck up for Granny Cai, Li Mu was already well disposed towards those passionate frontier soldiers. Just now, upon hearing that Wu Beichen was valiant enough to stay and be his witness, he could not help but have a higher opinion of the centurion.
The soldiers from the frontier force truly were upright and hot-blooded.
Nevertheless, Li Mu waved Wu Beichen’s suggestion off and cut in, “It’s pointless to do that. Giving testimony or not, and what the fact is, which party is at fault, don’t matter at all for today’s empire noble family. Nor will Lord Zhenxi listen to any of those matters. Now that you’re from the frontier force and the mourning has been done already, why not return to the borders? There your security is more guaranteed, isn’t it?”
And Wu Beichen said, “Absolutely. Lord Zhenxi might have extended influence, but he can’t poke his nose in the border area. There is the territory of our frontier force.”
At those words, Li Mu was much more relieved. He then advised, “That’s great. Now, I’ll see you off out the tomb. After that, you guys must travel straight to the border area at top speed. If so, by the time Lord Zhenxi realizes what has happened, you’ll already be far from the dangerous waters.”
“Then what about Granny Cai and her granddaughter?” Wu Beichen hesitated for a second and said, “Your Honor, I have a presumptuous request that I wish you could approve.”
Li Mu said, “Go ahead.”
Wu Beichen cast a glance at Granny Cai and her granddaughter. Then, he said, “When we were mourning for the deceased, we exchanged some words with Granny Cai and learned that she was the mother of Cai Kangyong, the honorable man who saved the lives of the six of us. Four years ago, in a battle at night, Cai Kangyong was killed for rescuing us. Before he died, he told us that as a true man, he had no pity for dying on the battlefield while fighting the enemies, but he had only one concern, and that was the security of his wife, daughter, and aging mother. So, he asked us to take care of them. However, in the past four years, the situation at the borders was quite critical. We were all tied up in one battle after another. Today, we finally made it to Chang’an and planned to visit the tomb of His Honor Cai first and then set for Peace County to find Granny Cai and Caicai. But surprisingly, we met the two under such a circumstance. Well, the six of us hope to bring Granny Cai and Caicai to the border area and support them there. We know life in the border area is not gonna be cozy, but we swear that we can assure them to live a life without worrying about food or clothing. And we can also educate Caicai…”
The border area was not all taken by the barracks. There were several significant big cities and counties that were impregnable. The Qin people there were adapted to the militarized lifestyle, so they actually lived a more organized and stable life than the folks inland.
“Wow, what a coincidence!”
Hearing the centurion’s story, Li Mu was amazed.
“This way, Caicai’s father and Wu Beichen were used to be superior and subordinate. And Wu Beichen is in debt to Caicai’s father because the latter had saved his life. Turns out that he already has such a close relation with Caicai before today’s incident.”
“If Granny Cai and Caicai are willing to go to the border area, I certainly won’t object your idea.” Li Mu agreed.
After all, he had no saying in this kind of matter. So, in truth, there was no need for Wu Beichen to ask for his opinion in the first place.
“Granny Cai and Caicai already give me their approval.” Wu Beichen felt the weight pressing his heart suddenly lightened.
Because as he saw Granny Cai and Caicai were quite close to Li Mu, he thought Li Mu would make other arrangements for them. But he and his fellow brothers all wished to pay back their late superior by taking care of his mother and daughter and also made a plan for them to settle down. In case their plan conflicted Li Mu’s, Wu Beichen posed that question.
“Yeah, older brother, granny and I want to go with Uncle Wu and move to the place where Daddy fought enemies,” spoke Caicai, whose eyes were reddened. Apparently, she had a good cry when mourning her father. Then, she held up her head, displaying a determination that could not be seen from any her peers on her bony face, and added, “Caicai also would like to go to the borders. Perhaps I can hear more stories of Daddy there.”
Li Mu heaved with a sigh and gently stroked her hair.
“How unfair fate is when it treats this innocent and kind little girl!”
“Master Madcap, thank you for helping me so many times. I and Caicai have lost everything and cannot go back to Peace County anymore. Brother Wu is a good man. Caicai always wants to go to the borders, and I, already old and useless, might as well spend the rest of my life there…” Granny Cai said in dismal, “If by any chance you run into that beautiful woman in white, please tell her that I and Caicai will definitely repay that gold ingot to her in our remaining years.”
After her husband and her three sons all died for the Qin empire on the battlefield, she could not be more agonized.
“Take care, Granny Cai.” Li Mu then took out two golden banknotes that he had prepared in advance, each of which worth five hundred ounces of gold. He handed one to Granny Cai and the other to Wu Beichen, and then said, “Remote as the border area is, I wish you all a safe journey.”
Unable to refuse his generosity, Granny Cai and Wu Beichen had to accept the banknotes in the end.
Then, Li Mu mused for a moment and gave Caicai a jade pendant. After helping the little girl to wear it around her neck with his own hands, he said, “This small gift is a talisman your big brother gave you. I hope you will wear it at all hours. I’ve put some magic in it, so it has already taken you as its owner. If you are in any danger, it will protect you.”
“Thanks, brother!” exclaimed Caicai as she wiped her tears off.
Since her father died and her mother disappeared, this big brother was the only one who had her best interest in heart apart from her granny.
But, of course, right now she had no idea how valuable and precious the pendant Li Mu just gave her was.
Its rarity was actually manifested through the slightly stunned looks in the eyes of Wu Beichen and his men.
Given that the six frontier soldiers were well aware of Li Mu’s strength, they naturally knew how precious that jade pendant was. With the constant company of such a treasure, Caicai basically had obtained several extra lives.
They felt so happy for Caicai.
After that, Li Mu fished out several secret manuals on martial arts from his pockets and handed them to Wu Beichen. “If Caicai has the gift to learn martial arts, you can pick some skills among those and teach her.” Those secret manuals were spoils he acquired from an assortment of factions and experts in the northwest Wulin World. They were already of no use to him, for his cultivation was way more advanced. But they were great introduces to the practice of martial arts, so he decided to give them to Caicai.
And the secret manual about the Heaven-sword Sixteen Styles was included in those books.
Li Mu had already learned that secret manual by heart. Now that he had absorbed all the quintessence of it, it was no use for him to keep it. Thus, it was better to give it to Caicai and make a friendly gesture at little cost.
“Well, if you guys are interested, it’s also fine for you to practice those skills,” added Li Mu.
The more powerful Wu Beichen and the others were, the better chance they had in battles. As long as they were alive, the poor Cai family would be safe. That was an indirect way to protect Granny Cai and her granddaughter.
Wu Beichen, an expert in martial arts, suddenly rounded his eyes as he captured the book tilted ‘Heaven-sword Sixteen Styles’.
It was a secret manual on a seventh-grade technique!
And they had also heard of the legendary power of the Heaven-Sword Celestial Being.
“Thanks a million, Your Honor.” Very much thrilled, he accepted the gift without hesitation.
Li Mu beamed.
His original plan was to take Granny Cai and her granddaughter to his Taibai County. But based on the current situation, sending them to the military town on the borders seemed much better.
At last, Li Mu led Granny Cai, the little Caicai, and Wu Beichen and his fellows quietly crossed the side gate of the grave and left the Chang’an Tomb.
Then, he watched them take off.
Wu Beichen seemed quite confident about the journey.
The frontier force was a highly united team. They had their exclusive channels for traveling and communication, which were extremely efficient, convenient, and covert. Normally, no one could detect their activities. Thus, after thorough preparation, they left Chang’an on the very same day’s afternoon.
“Older brother, I’ll write to you.”
Seated in a carriage that was galloping away from the city, Caicai waved goodbye to Li Mu with the reluctance of parting.
After sending off Wu Beichen and the Cai family, Li Mu went back to the Pig-Herding Alley.
It was around noon at that time.
The sun was scorching.
Zheng Cunjian, who had picked up the news, was already waiting at the doorway of the Shack in the Pig-Herding Alley.
Li Mu entered the yard and greeted his mother first.
Then, he quickly grabbed a bite of the lunch prepared by his mother and the maids before summoning Zheng Cunjian to his study on the excuse of discussing official business.
“How long will it take if one travels from Chang’an to Taibai County at the fastest speed?” asked Li Mu without beating around the bush.
Zheng Cunjian was, after all, well informed. By then, he had received news about what happened in front of the Chang’an Tomb. Although he was shocked by it, after hearing Li Mu’s question, he immediately got the rough idea of what Li Mu was getting at. So, he answered, “With the best carriage, the fastest horses, and if Madame Li and her maids can travel day and night without stop, we’ll make it to Taibai County by tomorrow afternoon.”
Tapping the desk with his knuckles in rhythm, Li Mu was buried in thoughts.
At the time, Zheng Cunjian dared not make a sound.
The current pressure Li Mu imposed upon him seemed totally different from that he felt days ago when they were still at Taibai County. Right now, the enigmatic aura and the imposing pressure around him was even more unfathomable. Even though Zheng Cunjian usually excelled at figuring out other people’s thoughts, he could not predict Li Mu’s acts and always walked on eggshells when he was around.
That was due to the unparalleled martial arts strength Li Mu possessed.
“Can I trust you?” Li Mu looked up to stare at Zheng Cunjian. His eyes were shining like sharp blades of a broadsword as if he would X-ray the scholar’s insides with them.
Zheng Cunjian felt his heart shuddered. He replied, “Young Master, I’m one hundred percent trustworthy. I…”
But Li Mu simply interrupted his long speech of showing his loyalty by saying, “Forget it. Save your breath. The Life-and-Death Spell is still inside you. I can make you beg for a quick death whenever I want. And you also have witnessed my power. Frankly speaking, even if you find a great warlock in the Celestial Being Realm, there is no way to lift that Life-and-Death Spell in your body. Compared to your loyalty, I prefer to believe that you care about your life most.”
Zheng Cunjian nodded repeatedly.
Indeed, Li Mu had killed two Natural Experts. One was the Heaven-Sword Celestial Being, the other was today’s Zhou An. Such unbelievable combat achievement had completely dashed Zheng Cunjian’s hope of escaping by a fluke.
“Go and make the arrangement. As you said, prepare me the best carriage and the best horses. We’ll set off in two hours.”
Li Mu rapidly made up his mind.
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