Soaring the Heavens

 
 

Soaring the Heavens Chapter 13


Chapter 13: Escape 


Miao Yi smiled bitterly. “I only managed to get two of them.”

Yan Beihong could not help but feel deep respect towards Miao Yi. When they parted ways, he thought of him as a person with impure intentions. He left in disdain because he thought Miao Yi was playing a petty trick on him. But now, he realized that he had been measuring the stature of a great man by the yardstick of a smaller man. If he himself were to be placed in a similar situation, he wouldn’t have been able to do what Miao Yi did—give everything he had painstakingly acquired to his little brother and sister, who weren’t even related to him by blood.

He patted Miao Yi’s shoulders and said, “Brother, I have nothing to say, I am very sorry!”

Miao Yi shook his head and said, “Don’t say that, Big Brother Yan. I just want to ask a favor from you. Do you have any clue on how to avoid being captured by the guardsmen? Any idea to help me get away from this mess?”

Yan Beihong chuckled and tugged his arm, “Just leave it to me. Let’s go find a place to eat and drink first.”

Miao Yi immediately stopped to remind him, “Someone is following me.”

“They’re just small fry, nothing to be afraid of!” Yan Beihong dragged him away. “Let’s eat and drink to our heart’s content and fill up our energy. I will send you off tonight!”

They found a noodle stand that had just opened for business and then ordered a few jin of beef with two bowls of noodles. They ate until they were both full, belching when done.

Once again, Yan Beihong took away with him a large amount of food, and then they left in search of an unoccupied residence. He unhitched the door open and placed it on the floor. After that, he laid down on the door and slept.

They whiled the time away until nightfall, then left. To get rid of the people following after them, Yan Beihong picked up Miao Yi and swiftly climbed over the wall. By taking a detour, they were able to shake off their stalkers soon enough.

Hiding near the shadows under the city wall, Yan Beihong observed the patterns of the patrols above it. Being a former Military Commander, he had his fair share of experience.

After he had grasped the situation, he took the first opportunity that came and threw a basic grappling hook that he had prepared in advance over the city wall. With one hand holding a rope, he proceeded to climb, pedaling against the wall with Miao Yi in tow. They quickly reached the top of the high city wall and then immediately slid downwards to the other side.

They sneaked away under the cover of darkness, only stopping after they reached the mountain forest located seven or eight miles away

Using the moon as a source of light, Yan Beihong pushed a bag of rations he had earlier prepared into Miao Yi’s arms.

“Big Brother Yan, this is...?” Miao Yi held the bag in confusion.

“Brother, it’s easy to escape, but difficult to return should you choose to come back home in future. Since you’re now free from any attachments, it’s alright if you don’t return to your house. If you go back, you will surely fall into the hands of Head Guard Huang anyway. I know it’s a difficult decision to leave your home, which is why I chose not to say anything before this so you wouldn’t suffer from heartache. These rations will last you for awhile on your journey. Now go. Go as far as you can.”

Yan Beihong turned around and pointed to the other side, “The grappling hook on the city wall will serve as a clue in the end. So just in case, you should go the opposite direction. This is all I can do. Whether this will all be a curse or a blessing, it is beyond my control. The rest will be up to your luck.”

“Thank you Big Brother Yan, but I have one more favor to ask of you!”

“Just say it, I will help if I can.”

“My little sister is inside the School of Immortals that you wanted to join today. Her name is Lu Xuexin. Big Brother Yan, she is still young, so if she ends up in your care in future, I hope you can keep an eye on her for me.”

“Lu Xuexin…” Yan Beihong muttered a few times, then nodded heavily. “I will remember that. After today’s farewell, I hope we will meet each other again. I won’t hem and haw like a girl, as I can’t delay my own duties any longer. I will take my leave first, please look after yourself.”

He was indeed not an indecisive person. Yan Beihong had said what he needed to say and did what was needed to be done. He gave Miao Yi’s shoulder a pat before he turned around and strode away without any hesitation.

Miao Yi watched as Yan Beihong slowly disappeared into the darkness. He lifted his head and looked at the Ancient City, a complicated look on his face.

When he put himself at risk by entering the Boundless Secular World, at that time he thought he was making the worst decision of his life. But after being lucky enough to return, it was now beyond his expectations to be put on this solitary path. From now on, he had to leave his home and seek refuge alone.

He turned around and after finding the bearings of his house, Miao Yi immediately knelt down and cried, “Father Lu and Mother Lu, Father Zhang and Mother Zhang, Little Brother and Bittle Sister has ascended to immortality. They shall not suffer with me from now on. Please bless and protect them from the heavens.”

After he finished, he bent his head downwards and kowtowed.

The dark green bead around his neck glowed weakly. The qin-playing scholar from the Boundless Secular World appeared behind him in perfect silence. His appearance was still as unusual and striking as before, silently watching Miao Yi kowtowed on the ground.

Miao Yi wiped away his tears after he was done. He stood up and unsheathed the butcher knife resting at his waist, as he considered his next course of action. With the knife in his hand, he quickly left in the direction that Yan Beihong had pointed out for him.

The scholar raised his head and glanced at the bright moon before he quietly disappeared under the moonlight…

From dusk until dawn, Miao Yi passed through the lofty mountains and high ranges without knowing how far he ran. He followed the sunrise and eventually came out from the mountains, only to be blocked by a wide river. Miao Yi could guess how far he had gone when he saw the river.

He was very exhausted and knelt on the riverside, washing his face to refresh himself. He sat on a boulder near the river, taking out the rations that Yan Beihong had prepared for him. He ate a few bites and reached for the goatskin flask strapped to his waist, taking a few swigs of water after removing the cap.

While he was eating, he pondered on how to cross the river, and where to go next. Just then, he saw a canoe floating downstream, more of a bamboo raft to be exact.

A man rode on the bamboo raft, wearing a white robe with a plain, pale-green cape, a bamboo stick held in his hand.

The river kept flowing, and his newly created bamboo stick was green and glossy. The scholar stood on the bamboo raft and faced the morning breeze with his sleeves fluttering about. It was an otherworldly sight that was very pleasing to the eye.

Miao Yi, who was chewing his rations, suddenly opened his mouth wide in shock. How could it be him? Wasn’t this the mysophobic guy from the Boundless Secular World?

“Lao Bai, Lao Bai!” Miao Yi jumped up and waved as he shouted, “Here, here, do you still recognize me?”

The scholar looked towards the direction of the voice. He smiled, rowing his bamboo raft towards the shore with the bamboo stick. When the raft stopped and stabilized, he looked at Miao Yi, who was in a sorry state, and smiled, “It’s you, Little Brother. So, we meet again. Where are you heading to, in these barren mountains and wastelands?”

Miao Yi asked, “Where were you planning to go?”

The scholar looked at the flowing river and smiled gently, “With just a raft flowing down the stream, I came for some sightseeing. There is no specific place to go, I will go wherever I am led to.”

This mentality, this demeanor, all of it was frustrating to him. Miao Yi noticed that whenever he saw this man, he always seemed to be at peace. Even in that dangerous place, he also appeared to be calm, and would always be cleanly and plainly dressed.

Miao Yi rubbed his hands, feeling a bit embarrassed. “Since we are on the same path, I don’t suppose…”

It was obvious that he was wondering if he could ride on Lao Bai’s raft.

The scholar understood and nodded his head. “It is better to have a companion along the journey. If you don’t mind my shabby bamboo raft, let’s travel together.”

“It’s not shabby, not at all. This is my first time seeing such a beautiful raft.” Miao Yi jumped onto the raft happily.

He wasn’t trying to flatter him when he said that; the bamboo raft was indeed crafted skillfully. There was even a bamboo-woven dome in the middle of the raft to provide shelter from the sun and rain.

Using the bamboo stick, the scholar pushed the raft away from the shore. The bamboo raft drifted the two of them along the river, going downstream once again.