“How is it?” The Madam inquired with an intense look.
“Everyone is dead,” Yang Kai muttered while shaking his head. Zhang Ding and his group were definitely through. The people who died in their sleep were struck at their vital points, and the people who died fighting laid maimed and similarly lifeless.
Of the entire convoy, only Yang Kai and three women were alive.
The young lady sobbed from inside the carriage. Cui Er’s eyes were red and swollen, and her tears showed no sign of stopping. She kept rubbing her eyes. The Madam had seen many great storms, so though she grieved heavily in her heart, she suppressed her tears.
“Birds die in pursuit of food…” The Madam whispered. She seemed to be taunting, ridiculing and reprimanding someone softly.
Yang Kai watched the three women wallow in their misery, but he interrupted by asking, “So, what are you going to do now? Do you still want to go to Sea City?”
The Madam regained her focus and gave a slight nod. She looked at Yang Kai hopefully and requested, ”Young Hero, can you please escort us through the wild to the city?”
All around them was wilderness and outside of the reach of the law of any country; after experiencing such trauma, how would they dare to continue travelling without the escorts?
Cui Er wrapped her hands around Yang Kai’s arm and pitifully asked, “Little Beggar, you have no other choice, you have to be responsible for us.”
“Cui Er,” The Madam reproached. “You should not be so impolite.”
Before they knew Yang Kai was no little beggar but an expert in fighting, they paid little heed to him. Now that Yang Kai became their benefactor, their impoliteness has faded.
Yang Kai glanced at Cui Er and agreed, “Since it’s only about a day away from where we are, I will escort you.”
“Many thanks, Young Hero,” The Madam huffed in relief.
“I knew you wouldn’t abandon us!” Cui Er thanked enthusiastically, compared to the madam who picked her words carefully.
The Young Lady whom at this point had not yet spoken a word suddenly opened her mouth to express her gratitude in a high, sharp voice, “The smell of blood is filling the air. This will attract many monsters. It would be best if we were to depart as soon as possible. We should arrive at Sea City by tomorrow evening.
The Madam hesitated, but she asked anyway, “Young Hero, could I trouble you with something?”
“What is it?” Yang Kai probed, looking at her.
“Many people who died here tonight lost their lives protecting us, and I don’t want their corpses to be violated by animals, monsters or the weather…”
She hadn’t finished speaking when Yang Kai’s face showed clear disagreement. He could kill anyone at a moment’s notice, but it’s a pain to bury corpses, especially since there were many of them here. It would take quite a while to finish burying them.
The Madam is a knowledgeable person. She can distinguish a person’s answer by his expression. She forced a smile and continued, ”If you don’t want to, I understand. There is no need for the Young Hero to exhaust his strength. Cui Er and Young Lady, come with me. We need to bury Old Man Wu. As for the others… let’s just leave them as they are.”
“Okay,” Cui Er nods and looks at Yang Kai fearlessly and waves a fist at him.
Yang Kai looked at the three and made way for them.
Cui Er, the Madam and the Young lady came out of the carriage and uneasily looked at the corpses. With white faces, they gathered swords from the corpses. Then, each holding the sword with both hands, they sought for a suitable place to dig.
Old Man Wu must have been cherished by them, otherwise, the Madam wouldn’t have insisted on burying him.
The three females began to dig. Yang Kai moved towards the bodies and started collecting the deceased’s valuables.
Once he finished, he approached the three toiling women. They had only dug less than an inch of dirt. The Madam and Young Lady were high-society women, and right now they were reduced to digging. They did not have the proper tools to dig and they were falling over and stumbling from the hard work.
Yang Kai watched them and became cautious.
“The smell of blood in this place is stacking. It might attract wolves to this place. If they turn up, we won’t be able to get away from them.” Yang Kai commented.
The Madam and the Young Lady listened and their faces turned pale.
Cui Er shivered from anger. She dropped the broadsword and stomped in front of Yang Kai, then with her two small fists she began to pound Yang Kai’s chest and shouted, “You are discouraging us. I have given you so many snacks, such a waste!”
As she scolded Yang Kai, a long, eerie howl came from between the trees. The howl petrified not only the Madam and the Young Lady, but Cui Er as well. She settled down and stepped closer to Yang Kai and asked timidly, “Are there really wolves here?”
“Alright, you three tidy up the precious belongings,” Yang Kai ordered. “I will dig.”
Truthfully, if the Madam had mentioned before that they only needed to bury Old Man Wu, Yang Kai wouldn’t have declined. After all, in the few days they spent together he was always his side. It’s embarrassing to take back words that have been said, however, but he was able to find the appropriate opportunity to give a hand.
“Many thanks, Young Hero,” the Madam politely thanked. She then took the Young Lady and Cui Er to the second carriage to reorganise it.
Shortly afterwards, Yang Kai managed to dig a proper hole and buried Old Man Wu’s body in it.
On the other side, the three females have also tidied up, and the precious things that they didn’t have space for can only be thrown away, to be found by a lucky passerby.
“Let’s go.” Yang Kai herded them into the carriage, and proceeded to take Old Man Wu’s seat on the driver’s, taking his horsewhip in hand and memorised the track and direction in which they had been moving. He then cracked the whip and ushered the horses to pull.
In the dark night, they distanced themselves from the bloodbath.
Although it was the first time Yang Kai was driving a carriage, it was manageable, thanks to the horsewhip. The horsewhip had traces of Old Man Wu’s martial arts skills that Yang Kai could detect. Slowly, he began to sense the martial art. His understanding started to become more and more profound. As the time passed by, his sensibility to the whip began to fuse.
The next day early in the morning, Cui Er called for a break from inside the carriage. Yang Kai listened and stopped the carriage at an appropriate spot.
Cui Er lit a fire and started to prepare food hurriedly. Their brush with death last night removed any sense of security they had. They were restless the entire night, unable to even get a wink of sleep. They didn’t have appetite too, but they needed to eat to maintain their strength.
When they moved out again, Cui Er didn’t return inside the carriage, but instead, she sat beside Yang Kai and looked at him from the corner of her eyes curiously.
As time passed, her curiosity got the better of her and she asked, “Aren’t you just a Little Beggar?”
“Of course I’m not,” Yang Kai replied superciliously.
“Then I think I can safely assume that you are a young master of some aristocratic family running away from a marriage. You ran away without any money and therefore you look like a beggar.” Cui Er said using her bold imagination.
Yang Kai laughed, “Did you listen to these types of fairy tales as a child?”
“No, I have never listened to such stories during my childhood, but I listened to the Young Lady mentioning these incidents frequently and they are frankly quite amusing. A Young Master running away from home because of marriage and roams the world, meeting difficulties in life…”
Before she finished speaking, the Madam coughed from inside the carriage.
Cui Er stuck out her tongue at Yang Kai.
Yang Ka smiled faintly and cracked the horsewhip again.
Hours later, Yang Kai noticed a strange thing on the horizon. He turned vigilant and asked suddenly, “Some people are blocking the way ahead. Do any of you know why they are doing so?”
The Madam suggested in a surprised voice, “Perhaps they are from the Miao family.”
The Miao Family home was the Madam’s ultimate destination. He received this information from Cui Er. Yang Kai also knew from their conversations that the Young Lady and the Miao Family Young Master were betrothed to each other when they were babies. After the Master died, The Madam led the Young Lady to Sea City; firstly to seek asylum, and secondly to marry off the Young Lady so that they could settle down in Sea City.
“Did you notify the Miao Family of your pending arrival?” Yang Kai asked.
“Since we have arrived at your destination, I no longer need to travel with you.” Yang Kai relaxed.
Cui Er asked anxiously, “Little Beggar, are you leaving?”
“You don’t want to give me up?” Yang Kai teased, turning to Cui Er.
“You want to die?!” Cui Er blushed. [The Madam and the Young Lady are sitting in the back and this scoundrel boy is harassing me…]
Yang Kai continued, “Madam, I hope you will not reveal last night’s incident to anyone.”
The Madam was stunned at Yang Kai’s request, but she remembered Cui Er’s bold speculation. Was he really a young master of some family running away from a marriage arrangement so he did not want his status exposed?
The Madam nodded, “Young hero, you don’t need to worry. We were rescued by an expert who was passing by last night.”
“That’s good to hear,” Yang Kai smiled.
Soon after, the carriage arrived at the blockade.
A person emerged from the crowd with his fists cupped. He asked resoundingly, “May I ask, does this carriage belong to the Jiang Family?”
The Madam echoed from the carriage, “Yes it is.”
The mysterious person grinned excitedly, but he controlled his emotions and welcomed the ladies, “Miao Huacheng, your little brother, welcomes you!”
The man started sobbing suddenly, “In the past, Elder Brother and I parted. In a flash, ten years passed by but didn’t I expect that we would part forever. The time we spent together is a period I remember it clearly like it was just yesterday.”
Sniffling could be heard from the Madam and the Young Lady from inside the carriage. Cui Er’s eyes also turned red.
The Madam consoled, “Brother, please restrain your grief.”
Miao Huacheng said, “Sister, you don’t need to mind me. You have suffered more than me.”
There was no reply.
Miao Huacheng broke the silence and found the need to show manners, “Sister, you must be very tired but please, you need to persevere for a half day more and we will finally arrive at Sea City.”
While speaking, his eyes fell on Yang Kai and furrowed his brows, “Why is there a beggar here?”
The Madam narrated her recollection of the event last night in a few words and concluded, “Afterwards, we were lucky enough to bump into a competent little beggar who agreed to help us drive the carriage.”
“If Zhang Ding didn’t die, I would have killed him today. No, not only would I have killed him, I would have torn him to shreds too!” Miao Huacheng growled in anger. He then looked at Yang Kai and urged, “Little Beggar, you can get down from there. You have worked hard.”
Yang Kai complied with a single nod and jumped down from the carriage.
Miao Huacheng then signalled to someone, and a person came forward and gifted Yang Kai a silver ingot as a reward. Yang Kai would have to put up an act of sorts, obviously. After all, he was playing the role of a beggar. With the payment in hand, he expressed his gratitude profusely.
“Let’s move!” Miao Huacheng shouted, sitting beside the carriage’s new driver. Everyone gathered to form a group and then moved together towards Sea City.
They shot forward and kicked up a dust cloud. Yang Kai stood on the same spot and watched the carriage depart. He saw three people staring at him from the window of the carriage.
Although he was sad for the unfortunate bitter experience of this widow from the Jiang Family, he couldn’t do anything else for her. Since they met only by chance, they are likely to never meet again.
Once the carriage disappeared from sight, Yang Kai followed the convoy, Old Man Wu’s horsewhip still in his hand. He walked, practising his movement technique along the way.
In half a day, he finally reached the city.
This city was bigger compared to Black Plum Village, but there was a distinct fishy smell in the air. It was not foul; it was a smell that inspired spirit, especially in a coastal city.
It was the first time Yang Kai had visited a coastal city. He was excited, to say the least, but knew that the first thing he needed to do was buy some clothes and to look for an inn to stay, for the time being.
Silavin: Hey guys, for those that actually took the time to read Martial Family, I would like to announce that the chapters will be continuing! Since I don’t have much time to write, I will upload two chapters per week!