The big man bowed his head down and said with a bitter smile, “My brothers really couldn’t run any longer.”
Tang Yin looked at the few soldiers in front of him to find that they indeed looked like a mess. All of them were hurt and they were all covered in blood. The armor and weapons they carried were also badly ruined. Their faces were pale, their eye bags were heavy, and their eyes were red. They didn’t look like soldiers, but instead fugitives who hadn’t eaten and slept for several days.
Sighing, Tang Yin didn’t ask anymore questions. At this time, Qiu Zhen walked over quickly with a smile on his face. He said, “So we’re all on the same side, you guys really scared the hell out of us just now.” As he spoke, he looked around and continued, “Do you guys want to live or die?”
All the soldiers were stunned at the same time and didn’t understand what he was saying.
Qiu Zhen said, “If you want to die, just stay here. It won’t take long for Ning state’s soldiers to reach this place. If you want to live, come with us…”
Without waiting for him to finish, Tang Yin’s sharp gaze was already glaring at him. One Qiu Zhen was already troublesome enough, he didn’t wish to add more burden by his side.
Although he didn’t know him for long, Qiu Zhen had already known Tang Yin’s character well enough. Knowing his indifference, he pulled him to the side quickly and whispered, “Tang… Brother Tang, it’s not troublesome to have many people. On the contrary, The more people we have, the safer we’ll be. At least, having a few more helping hands wouldn’t bring us any harm. Plus, if you don’t care about them, they would really have trouble returning to their hometown alive.”
As he was asking Tang Yin for a favour, Qiu Zhen didn’t call him directly by his name. Instead, he changed it to ‘Brother Tang’.
Tang Yin wasn’t impressed by Qiu Zhen’s self-righteous expression, yet he did frown at his words. He couldn’t help but look back at the few Feng state soldiers, and they were also looking back at him pitifully. If it was before, Tang Yin wouldn’t care about these people’s survival at all. However, merging with Yan Lie had brought changes to his personality. He had become passionate and was no longer as carefree and merciless as he was before. This kind of change made him feel annoyed.
“Whatever!” Tang Yin threw out a word and continued walking forward without saying anything more.
Qiu Zhen giggled and cheered out to the others, “Brother Tang has agreed to bringing you guys with us. Come on!” Qiu Zhen was not a warm-hearted person and didn’t care about these soldiers’ survival at all. But there was one truth among his words, the more people they had, the safer he and Tang Yin would be.
Tang Yin was indifferent and was hard to approach. Yet Qiu Zhen who looked friendly but in fact was relentless mingled quickly with the few soldiers.
“My name is Qiu Zhen.” Qiu Zhen smiled and introduced himself, and then pouted at Tang Yin who was walking in front of him, and said, “This is Tang Yin. You’ve seen how great his skills are, right? Dozens of those Ning state soldiers who ambushed you guys earlier have all been killed by him alone!”
“Ah? He… Just him alone could kill so many enemies?” All the soldiers looked at Tang Yin’s back with disbelief. No matter how hard they looked, he was very ordinary. His figure wasn’t tall and built, his appearance wasn’t fierce, and he was even wearing an ordinary soldier’s uniform.
“Of course! I saw it with my own eyes.”
“Why didn’t you take off the enemies’ heads then?” The soldiers asked in confusion.
Because Tang Yin simply didn’t give me a chance! There were so many Ning people, over a hundred heads, how great his merits would have been! Qiu Zhen was regretful. Of course, he could only keep his regret in his heart. On the surface, he still said with justice, “We’re running for our lives now, wouldn’t bringing so many heads just be a burden? Is life more important, or merit points? Plus, you guys weren’t even there at that time. Otherwise…” He shook his head and sighed.
“That’s true!” The crowd nodded and said, “If we knew that Tang Yin was so powerful, we wouldn’t have run at that time!”
Qiu Zhen frowned and said with a straight face, “Since you guys are following Brother Tang now, you will have to obey his orders. You can’t call him directly by his name. From today onward, address him as Big Brother Tang!” Having many people was naturally a good thing, but if they were like loose sand, it would ruin their plan. Hence, they must be cohesive and have a strong core. Qiu Zhen knew that he wasn’t qualified, so Tang Yin would of course be this core.
In the midst of troubled times, the strong one would rule, and the weak ones would follow. Especially the Feng state that was proud of martial abilities. The concept of respecting the pros had long been rooted deeply in their hearts. Everyone exchanged glances with one another and nodded in agreement with Qiu Zhen’s words. They accelerated their pace and caught up with Tang Yin to introduce themselves, “Big Brother Tang, my name is Zhang Bao.” The big man who attacked Tang Yin with a spear from the bushes was the first to speak.
“My name is Liu Yu.”
“My name is Zhang Yi.”
“My name is…”
Listening to their names, Tang Yin didn’t react on the surface but was memorising quietly in his heart. These people were of a different world and were completely unrelated to him initially. Yet they had now come together, it could only be said as the fate!
Knowing that their physical strengths had already reached their extreme limit, Tang Yin stopped after walking for a while more and said indifferently, “We’ll rest here.”
“Okay!” After listening to this, the soldiers were relieved. They sat on the ground and gasped heavily, even Qiu Zhen was doing the same.
After a while, he moved over to Tang Yin and said, “We’re still at least three hundred miles away from Tongmen. If we have horses, we could probably rush there in a day if we hurry. But if we walk, we might need another three to four days!”
Tang Yin responded with a sound and waited for Qiu Zhen to continue.
Qiu Zhen said again, “So we have to find horses.”
Tang Yin asked strangely, “Why can’t we walk?”
Qiu Zhen shook his head and said, “I am worried that if we walk to Tongmen, we wouldn’t be able to enter upon arrival!”
Tang Yin raised his eyebrows and questioned, “What do you mean?”
Qiu Zhen said with a straight face, “We are fleeing in the direction of Tongmen, what makes you think that the Ning people aren’t headed there too?” As he spoke, he sighed gently and continued, “Tongmen is Feng state’s western gateway. Our men have choices to attack or to defense with Tongmen as our base. All along, Tongmen has always been coveted by Ning state, wanting it for themselves. It’s just that Tongmen has a dangerous terrain and a strict defence. Ning state could only watch from afar. Our defeat this time has cost us our troops, Tongmen’s defence has weakened. I’m guessing that Ning state would never give up such a great opportunity and launch a great attack. It is unknown how many Ning people have already gathered outside Tongmen now. If we drag on for another three to four days, what are the chances of us entering?”
Tang Yin looked down and thought for a while. He then said, “You’re saying that Ning state will take this opportunity to attack Tongmen? This is just your guess.”
Qiu Zhen smiled bitterly and said, “Although it is only my guess, I dare to guarantee that it wouldn’t differ too much from reality.”
Tang Yin said, “Even if this is the case, where do we go to find horses?”
“There is only one way?”
“That’s right!” Qiu Zhen said, “We hide on both sides of the road, and as long as they’re not of a huge party and they have horses, we will rush out and snatch regardless if the passer bys are Feng people or Ning people. With your skills plus those brothers, I don’t think it’ll be a problem for us to deal with a group of people!”
Tang Yin hesitated for a moment and nodded, “Sure.”
The conversation between the two just ended, and a young Feng soldier approached Tang Yin slowly. He was holding a water pouch in his hand as he handed it over to Tang Yin with a timid expression. He stuttered, “Tang… Big Brother Tang, have some water.”
Tang Yin’s appearance wasn’t horrifying. On the contrary, he was very handsome. The corner of his mouth tilted upward naturally, making it seemed as if he was always smiling. It’s just that his gaze was too cold, and there was always a glimmer of light in his glance, making people fear to look him straight in the eyes.
Water? Tang Yin looked at the young man. He looked quite young, probably around sixteen to seventeen. In his world, this age would still be considered as half a child. Yet here, this young man was already a soldier who handled sharp blades on the battlefield. He remembered that this young man was called Sun Bao. Seeing his dry lips, he said gently, “I’m not thirsty, you have it.”
“That… How could I…” The young man turned back to his other companions and placed the water pouch at Tang Yin’s feet quickly. He then took out a paper bag and opened it, inside was some dried meat and biscuits. These food and water were brought together by all of them, they couldn’t bring themselves to eat and drink, saving them all for Tang Yin. For them, saving food for the most powerful person in order for him to maintain his strength was the right thing to do.
Tang Yin looked at the young man and looked around at the other soldiers. Seeing their pale and weak faces, it wasn’t hard for him to guess how hungry and thirsty they were. The fact that they could still give away their food and drinks to him even under such a situation made him feel a sudden strange feeling in his heart. It was a warmth he had never felt before.
He stood up and walked silently into the bushes.
“Big Brother Tang, where are you going?”
His actions shocked everyone. They all thought that they had done something wrong to provoke Tang Yin where he was about to just leave them behind.
Tang Yin looked back and smiled. He said softly, “I’ll be back in a bit!”
He looked extremely charming when he smiled genuinely, it was also very charismatic. There was no coldness, and it made everyone feel a sense of warmth.
He went off quickly, and came back quickly. It’s just that he left empty-handed, but he came back with two fat and huge wild rabbits in his hands.
He threw the rabbits in front of the people and simply said, “Today, we’ll eat these.”