Mrs. Long San who ran for her life and became a vagrant
When Feng Ning collapsed, it gave the three assassins quite a scare, as they thought she was just pretending. As they paused for just a moment, another two guards arrived from downstairs, and engaged the assassins in combat, allowing Feng Ning a respite in which to catch her breath.
She supported herself with her hands on the ground and forced herself to get up, and placed the container inside her clothes, at seeing this a man in black hurried attacked her with a sword, Feng Ning clenched her teeth and dodged the attack, and saw from the corner of her eye a Long Family guard receive a blow and stop moving, while the other guard had been forced to the edge of the stairs. At this time, another man in black arrived, and the guard was forced to turn around and defend against him, causing Feng Ning to fall into the unfavorable situation of three-on-one odds.
At this time, Feng Ning’s entire body was stiff, and she had no confidence in herself, there was no escape route behind her, while there were strong enemies in front, and she felt like she was stuck between a rock and a hard place. She backed up step by step, until her back was leaning against the windowsill. The three men in black raised their swords and blocked her path, and Feng Ning just stared at them, while her mind was completely blank.
“Give us the item.” That familiar voice ordered Feng Ning in a cold tone of voice.
Feng Ning stared at his eyes, and kept silent. Another man in black looked at the lake outside the window a bit nervously, they didn’t force the issue against Feng Ning because they were worried that Feng Ning would jump into the lake if she got desperate enough, and if the item sank with her, that would be the worst case scenario.
Feng Ning kept an expressionless face, and breathed deeply several times, she tried her best to not think about what was outside the window, she thought instead about the expression that Long San had when he said “I trust you” to her, the sincerity in his eyes at that moment.
The man in black narrowed his eyes, and lost his patience, and stabbed at Feng Ning in a lightning-fast attack, but unexpectedly, at this moment, Feng Ning shouted loudly, and swept her blade towards the three of them, the man in black hurriedly stepped back half a step to dodge the attack, and Feng Ning took this opportunity to throw away her blade, and she turned around and jumped out the window, shouting: “even if I die, I won’t let you guys have it.”
When Feng Ning jumped, not only were the three men in black really shocked, Feng Ning herself felt her heart stop for several beats as well. After jumping, she shut both her eyes as tightly as she could, and she couldn’t see anything, and relying only on her instinct and intuition, as she was falling from the window, her hands barely managed to make contact against the windowsill, and she used this to swing herself up onto the rooftop.
Without being able to see anything, she wasn’t able to position her hands correctly, she almost ran straight into the roof, she injured the tips of her fingers by scraping them, and twisted her finger as well, it hurt quite a lot, but she couldn’t worry about all this right now, the moment her feet landed on the roof she opened her eyes. She didn’t land that well, and her body shook back and forth a few times, and she almost fell off, she did her best to calm down, and regain her balance, and considered herself really lucky.
Since the lake was right behind her, Feng Ning’s entire body was quite stiff, and she didn’t have the courage to look behind her, she started running immediately, and wanted to jump off the roof to meet up with the guards again, but saw that two men in black on the ground were pointing their swords at her while shouting something, probably reporting her location to the other assassins. At this time, the three men in black from before had arrived as well while chasing her, and Feng Ning had no more time to pause in hesitation, she could only change her direction, and she jumped towards a nearby tall tree.
The men in black were close on her tail, and since Feng Ning was unarmed, with no reinforcements coming to her aid, she kept getting more and more scared as she ran, she really hoped that she could meet up with someone that could help her, but she also worried that if she met up with some people from the Long Family that were weaker in martial arts, that it would cause their deaths instead, she couldn’t think of what to do.
While sprinting, she reached the extremely tall wall around the Long Family manor, when Feng Ning took a look behind her, there were actually six or seven men in black chasing her, they probably abandoned everything else just for the container that was on her. Feng Ning clenched her teeth, and jumping on the tips of her toes, she leaped over the wall.
The pitch-dark streets were eerily quiet, Feng Ning ran towards the wrong direction, taking the opposite direction of the officials and the emperor’s personal troops that were on their way to the Long Manor, she didn’t meet any allies, and she couldn’t find any place to escape to in such a large town, as the men in black behind her pursued her relentlessly, she could only sprint all-out, taking as many sudden twists and turns as possible, circling around throughout town, until she finally hid herself in a clump of tall grass at an abandoned building, and was able to take some breaths of respite.
Feng Ning thought, it should become light out soon, since the men in black were dressed like that, they wouldn’t dare to behave like that in broad daylight, they would have to stop somewhere and change their clothing, and that will give her a chance to bring the item back safely. But, on second thought, what will happen even if she brings the item back? Head Steward Tie isn’t there, nor are Long Er or Long San, and the guards must have suffered heavy losses tonight as well, since these assassins had the audacity to attack a general’s residence right under the nose of the emperor, they must have quite some backing behind them in order to even dare such an attempt.
They knew what to target, and even had the specific location of the container’s hiding spot pinned down, as well as knowing Grandma Yu’s status, and knew the formations and mechanisms in the Long Family well, Feng Ning won’t believe that there isn’t a traitor within the Long Family. She thought about Xia Er, perhaps Xia Er was one of the spies? But she had been accidentally chased out of the manor, and since the manor probably still has someone inside plotting against it, if she brings this item back, what if it gets stolen again?
As Feng Ning curled up within the stinky clump of grass, she thought that the best plan of action would be to hide until Long Er or Long San returned, and she could give it back to one of them personally.
She thought over and over about it, and decided not to return to the manor for now, and to secretly get out of town and hide in the suburbs for two days or so, to wait for Long San and the others to return.
The sky gradually turned brighter and brighter, and Feng Ning put her ear against the ground and listened, and heard no more sounds of people searching the area, then she finally crawled out of the grass as quietly as possible. At such a remote location, there was nobody around in sight, Feng Ning took a good look at herself, she was covered all over in dirt and blood, and she wasn’t able to comb her hair last night, her clothes were tattered from fighting, her socks were missing, this probably doesn’t look any better for her than wearing night clothes does.
And so, Feng Ning decided to clean herself up a bit first. She secretly sneaked into a farmer’s house, where there was nobody inside, since they were probably all out doing agricultural work. She found a mirror on a table, and took a good look at her reflection, and she really scared herself with the way she looked, just how dirty her face was and how messy her hair was, it was such a terrible sight.
She used some water from the farmer family’s water jar, to wash her face and hands, and found some clothes that probably belonged to the family’s daughter, combed her hair, and found a belt to tie the container tightly onto her body with, and she put the clothes on, Feng Ning was happy that she finally looked like a regular girl again.
She spoke to the empty house: “I’m really sorry that I was forced by the circumstances to steal some clothing, I’ll definitely return this tenfold in the future, thank you very much!” She turned around and was about to leave, but just as she stepped across the door, she felt like she was starving, and she thought about it a bit, and turned back around again and spoke the the house once more: “uhh, can you loan me some money as well?”
She immediately took action to borrow money right after saying it, and Feng Ning started going through the family’s cabinets and containers, until she finally discovered two rolls of coppers in a small earthenware jug. Feng Ning thought to herself that she would make a really good thief, she was able to discover it even though it was hidden so well. She put her palms together and thanked the jug, and was about to leave, when she suddenly thought, then they would starve too, if she took everything, what will they do? She felt guilty about it, so she turned around again, and placed one roll of coppers back in the jug, and then thought about it some more, this family seems to have many people in it, and she’s just one person, she hesitated a bit, and counted the money, how many meat buns can a roll of coppers buy? She finally gritted her teeth, and placed another half a roll of coppers back inside the jug.
She placed the jug back in its original location, and said: “when Long San returns, I’ll ask him for some money, I’ll definitely return it to you tenfold, don’t hate me.” After saying that, she carefully held on to the half roll of copper and finally left the house.
Since Feng Ning was wearing rough clothing, she looked a bit like a country bumpkin, and she didn’t have much money on her, so she couldn’t afford meat buns, and had to settle for a few vegetable buns instead, and as she ate them, she went towards where it was crowded, deciding to mingle amongst the crowds and leave town.
After finishing her last vegetable bun, she thought to herself: “Long San, I’m so hungry, you absolutely have to treat me to a good meal when you return.” Just as she finished her train of thought, she saw two suspicious looking men in cyan colored clothing standing by the town gate, they weren’t leaving but were just looking around the area. The way they looked and acted, seemed like people up to no good.
Feng Ning panicked a little, and then calmed herself down, and took two quick steps to reach the side of a man with a carrying pole on his shoulders, there was a child by the man’s side, supporting the pole, probably the man’s son. Feng Ning stuck close to the kid, lowered her head and smiled at him, and that boy wasn’t afraid of strangers at all, seeing a pretty girl smile at him, he smiled back, and Feng Ning kept sticking by his side, while gently patting his head all the while, from an outsider’s perspective, they looked just like a happy family of three.
Feng Ning passed the men in cyan just like this right in the open, and exited the town gate without incident. Just as she was about to sigh in relief, in turned out that a woman was waiting outside, and she said to the man in a loud voice: “our son’s father, you’re finally here. Huh, who’s this?”
This woman’s voice was supremely loud, and caught everyone’s attention on them, and Feng Ning thought to herself that this was bad, and as expected, the two men in cyan looked over in this direction and met Feng Ning’s eyes, and Feng Ning immediately turned around and started running, and those men in cyan were indeed members of the assassins from last night, and started chasing her.
Feng Ning didn’t know where she was going, she just kept running straight forward, and when she looked behind her, there was more than just two people chasing after her, she felt really angry about it inside, but she didn’t have any choice but to keep running away.
Feng Ning ran all the way to the neighboring town, and without even a chance to rest, she was chased to the next town over as well. While fighting and escaping all the way, she ran out of money long ago, and she could only steal clothes to wear and food to eat, and since she was afraid of rivers, lakes, and wells, she was unable to take care of her appearance for several days, and she was only able to take an opportunity to scrub herself a little by borrowing a bowl at a farmer’s house. She starved and slept outside during all this time, and was rather pitiful.
One day, while she was secretly stealing food in a restaurant’s kitchen, she heard a cook and a server chatting, saying that some family’s mysterious illness was cured in Baiqiao City, how great and wonderful Baiqiao City was. Feng Ning suddenly recalled that Long San said before that the leader of Baiqiao City, Nie Chengyan, was one of his good friends.
Feng Ning considered things that day, she might as well go ask Nie Chengyan for assistance, and give this container to him, while she leads away the people chasing her, that way she won’t have to worry about the container falling into their hands, and Nie Chengyan probably will have some method of contacting Long San, so that Long San can come to pick both her and the container up.
These days that Feng Ning spent as a vagrant, she’s been thinking about a lot of things, she remembered back to that day, the way Grandma Yu viewed her with suspicion, the surprise that all the guards and servants showed when they found out that she knew martial arts, and her fight in the study where she gave it her all, and the Long Family guard asking her if she knew those crooks, at the time she didn’t think things over carefully and didn’t notice anything, but now with time to think about things she suddenly felt so, so wronged. The Long Family probably thought she was acting again, and that she joined with the outsiders to steal things from them.
Well, thinking about it, it does seem that way, since she took the item with her but she didn’t bring it back to the Long Family, and escaped with the item to somewhere unknown, plus all the things that she did when she lost her memory, it’s probably very difficult to leave a good impression on everyone.
The more that Feng Ning thought about it, the sadder she got, she could only console herself by thinking, this will all be over soon, as long as she returns the item safely to the Long Family, the truth will be revealed. She doesn’t care what anyone else thinks, and will do her best to do good deeds. Besides, Long San won’t just leave her alone, Long San will definitely believe her, and come to look for her.
She curled up under a big tree, and lit a small fire for warmth, and as she prayed for those crooks to give her some time to rest and stop chasing her, she thought about where she should go looking for food tomorrow.
Before she fell asleep, she said something to herself: “Long San, I’m hungry, I don’t have any clothes to change into, I’m dirty and smelly, nobody is here to have a conversation with me, nobody cares about me…… Long San…… I miss you……”