Hearing this, Mu Yangling took a closer look at them and realized that something was amiss. Although their skin was also tanned, they did not appear to labor all year round like her father. Instead, they seemed to have specially smeared something over their skin to appear that way. Moreover, the hand holding the flatbread was even smoother and more tender than a girl’s, okay?
It was obvious that they came from money. Mu Yangling hesitated for a moment. In the end, she pitied the two of them for being so young, so she asked, “Where are your families? Do you need my help?”
Qi Haoran opened his mouth to answer, but Fan Zijin tugged at him and smiled at Mu Yangling. “Thank you, Miss. We’ve already found the way. It’s not very far away, so we won’t trouble you. Please tell us your address so that we can repay you in the future.”
When Mu Yangling saw how alert this youth was, her lips couldn’t help but curl into a smile. She wasn’t angry and only shook her head. “No need. It’s just a piece of flatbread.” She looked at the sky and their location before pointing out the way out of the mountain for them. “If you go that way, you should see a path in half an hour. Just follow that path and walk out.”
With that, she turned around and left.
As Mu Yangling’s back disappeared from view, Fan Zijin collapsed to the ground. He glared at Qi Haoran and said angrily, “Don’t divulge our identities to anyone again. Since we’re already in Xingzhou, we’ll be able to find Brother Qi in two days.”
Qi Haoran rolled his eyes. “How are we going to find him when we’re penniless? Besides, she’s a good person.”
Fan Zijin jumped up. “How do you know?”
“I just do. Previously, we were only deceived because we did as you said. If you had listened to me, we wouldn’t have been duped.”
“It’s all because of your loose tongue, answering whatever others asked. People who originally didn’t have any ill intentions also developed ill intentions,” Fan Zijin argued indignantly.
Qi Haoran retorted, “You’re clearly the one who’s a poor judge of character.”
“You’re the one who wasn’t careful…”
The two youths started arguing. Qi Haoran had the upper hand at first, but he had never been good at arguing. Hence, he was defeated by Fan Zijin in this verbal match not long after. In his anger, he tore off a piece of the flatbread in his hand and stuffed it into Fan Zijin’s mouth.
Fan Zijin glared back, but gradually calmed down and noticed that Qi Haoran was only holding a very small piece of flatbread. Feeling sorry for him, he tore off half of his, gave it to him, and said vaguely, “Eat quickly. Let’s go on our way after you’re done.”
Qi Haoran snorted and declared, “I’m strong and healthy. I don’t need this. You should eat it yourself.”
Fan Zijin glared at him and snapped, “Take it. I still need your protection. If we come across more local hooligans, I still need you to fight them off.”
Qi Haoran said smugly, “Now you know I’m great at kung fu, right? What’s the use of doing so well academically? You still need me to carry you when we’re escaping, hahaha…” After saying that, he laughed, clearly pleased with himself.
Fan Zijin snorted and mocked, “What’s so great about being brawny and simple-minded? If it weren’t for me, no matter how skilled you are at martial arts, 40 to 50 people would have surrounded you and beaten you into a meat patty.”
Mu Yangling, who was hiding in the dark, listened to the two youths arguing and saw them feeding each other the flatbread in their hands. The corners of her lips instantly twitched. Why did she feel like those two had a love-hate relationship?
How could a piece of flatbread be enough to fill their stomachs?
Even a nine-year-old girl like her had to eat three or four before she started to feel satiated, let alone these two youths.
After some thought, Mu Yangling turned around and left. Not long after, she walked over with a pheasant and a rabbit in her hands. The two youths were still resting on the spot. They didn’t get up, probably because they had no strength in their limbs. However, they were no longer bickering.
Mu Yangling had just approached when Qi Haoran jumped over and stood in front of Fan Zijin. He asked warily, “Who is it?”
Fan Zijin’s back tensed up.
Mu Yangling threw the pheasant and rabbit in front of them and said, “These are for you. Prepare the pheasant and eat it. Bring the rabbit to town.” Mu Yangling thought for a moment and said, “If you pass by Mingshui County on your way, bring it to the county to sell. The rabbit should fetch a higher price in the county than the countryside.”
When Qi Haoran saw that it was Mu Yangling, a big smile immediately spread across his face. He raised his head proudly at Fan Zijin, and the words “Look, I told you she was a good person” were written all over his face.
The corners of Fan Zijin’s mouth twitched as he silently scolded Qi Haoran for being an idiot. He stood up and bowed to Mu Yangling with a grateful expression. “Thank you so much, Miss. No matter what, you have to tell us your address so that we can have a chance to repay you in the future.”
Looking at the still-tense Fan Zijin, Mu Yangling had to admit that he was definitely not as adorable as the other youth. Seriously, did she look like a bad person?
Seeing that the other party did not relax, Mu Yangling did not mind and said, “My house is very easy to locate—it’s in the village at the foot of the mountain. My surname is Mu. In the entire village, only my family’s surname is Mu. You’ll find out once you ask around.” With that, she turned around and left.
This time, she was really leaving. Mu Yangling wanted to enter the mountain to check out the trap she had dug last night. Her mother did not like to eat wild chicken, for she found it too dry. Wild animals were indeed low in fats, and the meat was not tender enough. Therefore, aside from what she and her father ate, the rest of the food was sold.
A pheasant and a rabbit were not difficult for her to hunt, but they would fetch two catties of fine rice, enough for her mother and younger brother to eat for three days…
Mu Yangling shook her head and chased these thoughts out of her mind. She thought to herself, ‘I’m a soldier after all and can’t be so calculative. They’re children. I should help if I can.’
Along the way, Mu Yangling hung a string of pheasants and rabbits on her waist. Just as she saw the last big trap, she heard a few moans.
Mu Yangling let out a cry and sprinted over. A fat wild boar lay in the trap and was trying to climb up, but its hind legs were probably injured and couldn’t exert enough strength. Coupled with the fact that the trap was big enough, it simply could not climb up.
Mu Yangling threw her head back and laughed. “Ha! Ha! Ha! As expected, the heavens haven’t abandoned me. Now, I have the money to pay taxes.”
Mu Yangling’s eyes lit up as she looked at the wild boar. After some thought, she still couldn’t bear to kill it, but she definitely wouldn’t be able to bring it out alive.
Mu Yangling squatted by the pit and observed the wild boar that was panicking and desperately trying to climb out. Not only did it fail to break through the trap, but it also injured itself in its attempt to do so.
Her eyes slid over its limbs, thinking that if she broke them and tied them up, it wouldn’t be impossible for her to bring out the wild boar alive.
Mu Yangling tossed aside the prey on her body, clenched her fists, and chuckled. “Brother Boar, Brother Boar, you can’t blame me for being ruthless. You can only blame yourself for being born at the wrong time.”
As she spoke, she circled around to the back of the wild boar and jumped down, landing nicely on the wild boar’s back. Without thinking, she punched the wild boar’s head. As she hit it, she was careful not to exert too much strength lest she killed the wild boar.
The wild boar howled and fell to its knees in the pit. Mu Yangling only beat it until it couldn’t move. Before it could recover, she quickly grabbed its hooves and pulled. With a crack, one of its front limbs was broken.
The wild boar kept howling. Amidst Mu Yangling’s quick attacks, soon, its four legs were broken by her, and the entire boar collapsed in the pit.