Chapter 44 Snow Wolves Without Tears Part 1
Yan Changqing was extremely angry and felt a little guilty. He forcefully held on to his face and stared at Helian Rongchuan with a warning in his eyes. “Let go, I will buckle it myself!”
Helian Rongchuan smiled and looked at Yan Changqing’s fierce look like a paper tiger, his arms still tightly bound to Yan Changqing. He had no intention of letting go.
“Why are you annoyed again? Didn’t I just kiss you once? It’s not like we have never kissed.” Helian Rongchuan spoke, as he moved towards Yan Changqing’s cheek. Yan Changqing immediately wanted to hide, but he did not expect to fall prey to Helian Rongchuan’s plan, exposing a large area of his neck.
Helian Rongchuan lightly bit Yan Changqing’s slender neck, and then lightly lapped it with the tip of his wet tongue. Yan Changqing immediately let out an “Ah” and looked at Helian Rongchuan with surprise and annoyance.
“You–!” Yan Changqing usually spoke rigidly and sternly, but he was so angry that his mouth became stupid, and he couldn’t say anything. He only blushed and stared at Helian Rongchuan.
Helian Rongchuan was in a very happy mood. “Ahhhhh, are you trying to call me a hoodlum again, that I am shameless and cheeky? But don’t you like me like this? Why are you still feeling awkward?”
Yan Changqing was almost angered to death by Helian Rongchuan’s cheekiness, and fiercely said, “You– ”
He was interrupted again before he finished speaking. The little imperial physician Wei Jin lifted the curtain, stepped into the tent happily, and said, “The carriage is ready, let’s go!” After speaking, he looked up and happened to see Yan Changqing and Helian Rongchuan hugging each other, so tight it was as if they were going to kiss.
! ! !
Wei Jin looked gentle and elegant, but in fact, because of reading too much of a certain book, he had a problem of fabricating stories and letting his imaginations run wild. Seeing this situation, he immediately filled his mind with hundreds of indescribable engraved illustrations. He suddenly blushed and his heart started beating quickly.
Yan Changqing: …
Helian Rongchuan: …
Yan Changqing immediately said with a serious face. “It’s not what you think!”
Wei Jin naturally retreated the little black boot that hadn’t stepped into the tent back from the air. Covering his eyes, he said, “Go on, go on, I didn’t see anything! I just passed by to pick up rubbish!”
Yan Changqing: …
Helian Rongchuan: …
Xiang Yu was checking the ruts of the carriage outside the tent, and saw Wei Jin running out with his eyes covered. He scratched the back of his head incomprehensibly. “Why are you picking up rubbish? What are you lacking, just say it directly. My family general will not treat you badly.”
Wei Jin’s heart: Your general will indeed not treat me badly. Maybe at this moment he is planning to give me a ten-foot-long machete.
Xiang Yu didn’t understand why Wei Jin’s face was flushed. Thinking it was hot, he stuffed a big palm leaf fan in his hand, and walked into the tent.
Wei Jin was shocked and pulled his sleeves. “What are you doing?”
Xiang Yu looked at Wei Jin with an unclear face. “The opening time is almost here, I’m going to ask the general to make haste.”
“Don’t go!” Wei Jin stated resolutely and decisively, “If you see something you shouldn’t see when you go, you will get a stye!”
Xiang Yu looked at the tent inexplicably. Isn’t it just two big men changing clothes inside? What is there to see and not to see?
But the little doctor would not let him go, so he did not go. In the past two days, Xiang Yu found that this white and pure little imperial physician was quite capable, and he was very impressed, so he was willing to listen to him, and stayed out of the test.
Yan Changqing lifted the curtain and got into the carriage without a word. Helian Rongchuan smiled behind and cast a glance at Wei Jin who was hiding behind Xiang Yu and constantly sticking his head out to peek. He immediately ordered:
“Do not make blind guesses!”
Then he added another sentence: “You can’t even do it once!”
Wei Jin nodded in a cute, refined manner and a nosebleed slowly flowed down.
Helian Rongchuan: …
In the carriage, Helian Rongchuan smiled and comforted Yan Changqing. “Don’t worry, I won’t allow him to make blind guesses.”
Yan Changqing was so embarrassed that he was sitting in the corner sulking. But when he saw Helian Rongchuan wanting to come over again, he immediately moved vigilantly to the place farthest away from him. He said, “Don’t mess around!”
Helian Rongchuan couldn’t help being a little amused. “What are you afraid of? I can’t beat you, so what can I do to you?”
It seemed to make sense. Yan Changqing glared at Helian Rongchuan with a warning look. He turned his head and wanted to open the window to take a look, but Helian Rongchuan pounced on him and hugged him from behind. With his hands wrapped around his shoulders, he turned into an inescapable iron hoop.
Yan Changqing: …
Yan Changqing wanted to cry but there were no tears. He found out that Helian Rongchuan was someone he couldn’t beat against in discussions, he also couldn’t beat him as he couldn’t become fierce enough. Helian Rongchuan is unmoved by force or persuasion, just wanting to pester him, refusing to let go.
Especially at this reunion, he found that Helian Rongchuan seemed to be more attached to him than before, and wanted to hold him in his arms almost every moment, for fear that he would run away.
Yan Changqing was helpless. He knew that struggling was useless. If he got anxious, he didn’t know what embarrassing things Helian Rongchuan would do. He had to resign his fate to being confined by him. He stretched out his hand, and parted the window screen and a pair of bright black eyes looked out.
The wagon wheels creaked through the undulating streets that were torn apart by the earthquake. In the dark night, many houses built of mud tiles on both sides of the street had been cracked. The roofs were slanted, and many had even turned into a pile of rubble. Only the gray spring couplets tossing in the wind faintly revealed the fireworks here. People in twos and threes wandered in front of the collapsed homes, unwillingly trying to dig out some barely usable household items from the rubble, and more of them were slumped among the rubble and shattered tiles, crying in despair.
On the roadside, many refugees set up braziers, weeping silently, and burning paper money to pay homage to their dead relatives. In the flickering flames, a group of Qinchuan soldiers shuttled between the tent and the ruins with white handkerchiefs and cloth gloves. They had begun to clean up the corpses on the side of the road according to Yan Changqing’s instructions to separate the diseased people.
However, outside each temporary tent, there were still small medicine pots boiling the so-called life-saving “holy medicine”, and wisps of white smoke slowly floated up, seeming to want to merge into one with the billowing black smoke of the burning of the corpses outside the city of Qinchuan.
In the black smoke, it was the bodies of people from the Qinchuan plague that were burned.
Yan Changqing looked out the window in silence. He allowed the wind to gently blow across his face, messing up the loose hair on his forehead.
Helian Rongchuan didn’t speak, only quietly hugged Yan Changqing and lowered his head.
“Everything will get better.” Helian Rongchuan whispered, “I promise.”
Helian Rongchuan’s chest was wide and warm. Across his thin clothes, Yan Changqing could feel his heart beating vigorously.
Yan Changqing tilted his head slightly. He looked at Helian Rongchuan’s brown eyes that were like a deep pool, inexplicably reassuring.
“I promise too.”
The carriage traveled for two incense sticks, and finally stopped in front of a rocky cave outside the city of Qinchuan. When the two got out of the carriage, they saw that the cave was six or seven feet high, the entrance was extremely wide, and it looked deep and secluded. Music floated out from the hole.
This cave was the entrance to the ghost market of Qinchuan. At the opening of the market, nearly a hundred beautifully decorated carriages were parked at the entrance of the cave. Many wealthy Qinchuan merchants, as well as the merchants dressed up in Beirong attire, had their faces half-shielded, and constantly came from the black iron fence at the entrance of the cave.
Yan Changqing and Helian Rongchuan also covered half of their faces with a veil. Helian Rongchuan took out two sharp, two-inch-long human vertebrae, and gently squeezed them in his palms. Because it was soaked with cinnabar, the vertebrae appeared bright red, which looked a bit like a toy in the hands of a child. On the side of the vertebrae, two small black seals were engraved: “Clear customs.”
This was exactly the ghost city customs clearance token that Helian Rongchuan made using a few pig bones. He had copied it according to the description of the county government office’s chief. Yan Changqing couldn’t help but worry about being seen through. Fortunately, Helian Rongchuan’s craftsmanship was good, and the ghost city guards couldn’t see clearly under the dim lights. The guard casually placed it in his hand, weighed it, and then called out in a sharp voice: “Pass!”
The two stepped in. Inside the cave, everyone couldn’t help but exclaim with surprise. It turned out that the flickering lights outside the cave turned out to be countless fireflies attached to the cave. Big or small, pointed stalactites hung upside down on the top of the cave and thousands of fireflies lingered on it. A little bit of fluorescent light sometimes gathered and drifted away in the dark, stretching into endless bright little stars, shining brightly. It was like being in a galaxy.
Several round, glowing fireflies flew slowly and landed on Yan Changqing’s shoulders. Yan Changqing gently picked up one.
“The stars can be picked by hand.” Helian Rongchuan smiled beside him, his face covered by the veil, and his words were spoken in a low muffled voice. “They seem to like you very much.”
“Don’t speak loudly.” Yan Changqing glanced at him. Quoting the same poem, a pun. He took the cover given by the ghost city guard and was blindfolded like everyone else. Pulling the rope led by the black city guard in the dark, he walked slowly.
The cave was rugged with strange rocks and the big cave was surrounded by small caves. There were side caves next to the main cave. The so-called Cunning Rabbit Three Caves (a sly individual has more than one plan to fall back on). The ghost market was very tightly defended. Even if county officials were to come to investigate, entering this bewitching and complicated cave, they were likely to be bewildered and sent in circles, unable to get out at all.
Helian Rongchuan lightly held Yan Changqing’s hand and whispered, “Be careful.”
Yan Changqing held Helian Rongchuan’s hand, and gently squeezed Helian Rongchuan’s palm.
Helian Rongchuan knew immediately and shook slightly under the cover of his long sleeves. The fine powder fell gently, leaving no trace in the dark.
This was the path finding power that Wei Jin prepared for them in advance. People can’t find it when it falls on the ground, but the pathfinding spider can find the direction accurately.
Before leaving, Helian Rongchuan and Yan Changqing each brought a pathfinding spider raised by Wei Jin. The spider was not big, and was placed in a small bottle, it was just the right size to hide in the wide sleeves. One was in case they got separated, and the other was to facilitate the guidance of the manpower Xiang Yu would bring after.
Tonight, they will wipe out the black market in one fell swoop and wipe out the witch doctors.
After who knows how long they had been walking, the black market guard yelled out. Everyone tore off the black cloth on their eyes. Yan Changqing looked around. It turned out that they had come to a circular cave, all sides were hundreds of feet high with uneven black stone walls. It formed a huge arch-shaped dome above their heads, and faintly fragmented starlight projected from the round hole in the dome.
In the dim light, the guards handed out rectangular wooden plates with slender handles. Yan Changqing picked up the wooden plate and saw that it was engraved with two large characters in gold——”Shi Yi.”
Helian Rongchuan shook the wooden plate in his hand. His plate said ” Shi Ba.”
Yan Changqing did not understand the purpose of the wooden plate. Just when he was about to search around for the witch doctor’s appearance, suddenly, a weird and long sound of music sounded in his ears. Yan Changqing raised his head, and saw that the cave was instantly brightly lit. The dazzling light made people who had become familiar with the dark, raise their hands and squint their eyes.
“The earth crack, thousands of ghosts come out. You are all living beings waiting to be saved.”
On the high platform in the center of the cave, a lanky figure dressed in a gorgeous black robe with embroidered gold mopping the floor, slowly opened his arms, as if embracing the starlight from the dome.
This person was the great witch doctor.
Helian Rongchuan lightly held Yan Changqing’s hand and lowered his voice in his ear.
With the appearance of the great witch doctor, the crowd erupted instantly, and the half-faced wealthy businessmen held up their wooden plates in their hands and rushed at the feet of the great witch doctor.
“I’m first! I’m first!” The wealthy businessmen screamed, looking expectantly at the huge beast cage that was three people tall and covered with black cloth behind the great witch doctor.
The great witch doctor raised his head, revealing a hideous white wolf head mask. The eyes behind the mask also seemed to be like a wolf, shining with a faint green light. He turned around unhurriedly, and revealed the black drape behind him.
In the huge beast cage made of pure gold, there were dozens of ragged, shivering children!
At a glance, Yan Changqing saw the little girl rescued during the day actually in the corner of the cage, curled up into a ball. Her eyes widened in terror, with wet tears on her cheeks.
Yan Changqing was shocked. Didn’t everyone come here seeking holy medicine? Why are there children here?!
The wealthy businessman beside him saw the cage uncovered and his face was as if it was a hungry beast finally meeting it’s plump prey. He squeezed into the cage even more eagerly, unabashed were the desire and greed in his eyes. He looked carefully at the cage, at every child.
“I think this one is older, this one is good!”
“No, no, no, this one is taller, he must be older, and the White Wolf King would definitely like it!!”
“Ahem.” The great witch doctor condescendingly looked down and pressed his hands down. The cave became quiet instantly.
“I noticed that many new holy disciples have come this time.” The great witch doctor’s eyes swept lightly towards where Helian Rongchuan and Yan Changqing were standing. Helian Rongchuan nodded and gave a respectful smile to the great witch doctor.
The great witch doctor looked away indifferently. “Then I will explain it again. The White Wolf King has mercy on you and other sentient beings, and he specially bestowed the holy medicine to drive away diseases and prevent evil. However, the holy medicine is not an ordinary product. The more sincere the heart, the more powerful the medicine.”
With a wave of his long sleeves, he looked at the trembling young child in the giant pure gold cage. “These sacrifices are an opportunity to prove your sincerity. The higher the bid, the higher the purity of the sacrifice offered. The holy medicine will also be more powerful.
The great witch doctor paused, then said, “Now, let’s start!”
A small boy about six or seven years old was taken out of the cage. Twos and threes of wealthy businessmen raised their wooden plates and started bidding.
Helian Rongchuan couldn’t help but feel a little strange about the relationship between this holy medicine and the “sacrifice” in the words of the great witch doctor, so he asked a short and fat wealthy businesswoman nearby.
The wealthy business woman was very pleased that such a handsome man took the initiative to talk to her, and immediately explained diligently, “You are from Beirong, right? No wonder you don’t know. This holy medicine for exorcising plagues and evil spirits is very effective, and the effect varies from person to person. It is said that the higher the purity of the sacrifices made to the White Wolf King, the happier the White Wolf King will be, and the more spiritual, the holy medicine given.”
“Sacrifice?” Yan Changqing frowned, “Is it these little kids? Where were they even obtained?”
The wealthy business woman glanced at Yan Changqing, her eyes curved together, and said: “Where else did they come from? It’s either stealing or robbing. But you are out of luck. The sacrifices that came in this time are all too young. Their purity isn’t enough.”
“Purity?” Helian Rongchuan asked.
“Ah, you don’t know this?” The wealthy business woman exaggeratedly groaned, and a fat hand with four golden jewels placed a fat hand on Yan Changqing’s shoulder and said, “These are virgin boys and virgin girls! The older the virgin boy and virgin girl, the higher the purity, and the more the White Wolf King will like them, and the higher the price will be. At the same age, virgin boys are more pure than virgin girls.”
The wealthy business woman sighed, “It’s a pity that Qinchuan’s folk customs are too open. It’s hard to find virgin girls over the age of eighteen, let alone virgin boys!”
Helian Rongchuan gave Yan Changqing a smile, and suddenly asked very curiously, “If there is a twenty year-old virgin boy, wouldn’t he be able to sell for a sky-high price?”
As soon as he finished speaking, Helian Rongchuan suddenly bent over and hugged the toe of his right foot. He arched his body and jumped, his eyes bursting into tears with pain.
The wealthy business woman looked at him in surprise. “Hey, what’s wrong with you, Little Langjun (handsome boy)?”
Yan Changqing stood aside and withdrew his feet expressionlessly: “If you talk too much nonsense, you may be condemned by God .”