103 – Go through fire and water!
Cui Xiaoxin movements were skillful, quick and neat.
While one hand used the pearl hairpin as a needle to puncture the blisters, her other hand gently and cleanly wiped off the blood and pus leaking out from within using the white handkerchief.
After all the blisters on Li Muyang’s foot were punctured, she wrapped the handkerchief around the pearl hairpin, then from her bag pulled out a small white porcelain bottle, removed the cork, and evenly sprinkled the medicinal powder on the soles of Li Muyang’s feet.
She then took the Understand Heaven Sword from Li Muyang’s hand, cut two blue pieces of fabric from her clothes and used as medical gauze to wrap around Li Muyang’s feet, she finished by playfully tying a beautiful bow.
“Better.” Cui Xiaoxin said with a smile on her face. “I have not done this for a long time, so my skills are out of practice. It’s not that good, I hope you don’t mind.”
“You did this kind of thing before?” Li Muyang looked at Cui Xiaoxin with a face full with gratitude. He saw the fear and concern between this girl’s eyes and her seriousness when she wrapped the bandage.
Beautiful, excellent temperament, studious, and a good family background, a good girl like her did not mind how dirty he looked and was not disgusted by the strong stench of his feet. She used her pearl hairpin as a needle to pierce the blisters on his feet and her slender lily-white hand attentively bandaged his feet, Li Muyang was emotionally moved.
If he could, he wants to marry her on the spot—-of course, Cui Xiaoxin would have some objections.
“I learnt it before.” Cui Xiaoxin gave a soft smile, looked down and picked up the handkerchief and pearl hairpin: “My mother always wanted me to learn many things, literature, economics, painting, calligraphy, sewing, applying medical bandage, as well as the treatments for some common illnesses—–After learning about the common illnesses, I had very little opportunity to practice. I never thought it would be put to use today.”
Cui Xiaoxin wrapped the handkerchief around the pus-stained pearl hairpin and buried into the ground. Then, she washed her hands in the nearby stream.
When she returned, she brought back a huge leaf contained with water and held it in front of Li Muyang. “Drink it. Your lips are dry.”
Li Muyang took the leaf filled with water and drank it in one breath.
Cui Xiaoxin then drew from her pocket a handkerchief to wipe Li Muyang’s sweat, which was raining down his face: “You will be more comfortable like this——-”
“Xiaoxin—–” The muscles in Li Muyang’s throat moved up and down, constantly swallowing saliva, and his voice hoarse when he said: “I can do it myself.”
“Why be so polite with me?” Cui Xiaoxin said, pouting. While busying herself, her cheeks were a rosy red and beads of sweat formed like dew on her forehead. Her facial features were like a painting and her every movement delights the eye.
“Then I won’t.” Li Muyang giggled foolishly. “You’re so nice to me, I don’t know whether this is real or fake—–even if it’s fake, I’m still very happy.”
“Fool. I’m standing right here in front of you, how could it be fake?” Cui Xiaoxin chuckled, the corners of her lips curled into a smile as she looked at Li Muyang.
“Yes. It’s real.” Li Muyang repeatedly nodded. “I was worried it would be fake—–”
Cui Xiaoxin’s gaze wondered over Li Muyang’s body: “Do you have other injuries?”
Li Muyang glanced at his crotch. “I am ashamed to say——I bandaged there myself. “
Cui Xiaoxin also noticed Li Muyang’s line of sight, a faint blush came to her face, then crept down her neck as she said in a low voice:”Pervert.”
“———” Li Muyang thought to himself, just how was he a pervert? He didn’t ask her to help him bandage there.
Li Muyang slipped into his shoes, then borrowed the little white porcelain bottle from Cui Xiaoxin and threaded his way through the woods to treat himself.
After he came out, he returned the little bottle of medicine to Cui Xiaoxin but Cui Xiaoxin did not accept. “You can keep it with you.”
Since the blisters on his feet have been punctured he was able to walk much more comfortably now.
Li Muyang drew his sword and with one slashing stroke severed off two branches of a tree, leaning heavily on the branch, he and Cui Xiaoxin walked up the mountain.
Boy and girl walking together, the journey became less exhausting.
His heavy steps before became easier and effortless, not only did he walk faster, he also could turn around to look at Cui Xiaoxin closely following behind him from time to time.
The majority of the time, they lowered their head, hastening on with the journey, but occasionally when they said a word to each other, they felt a long-lost understanding, like they were able to understand each other’s mind.
Even though they did not talk, looking at each other, face to face, was enough to fill their lungs and hearts with joy.
“Ah—–” Cui Xiaoxin suddenly exclaimed aloud.
Li Muyang quickly twisted around and saw Cui Xiaoxin knelt on the ground.
Li Muyang dashed to the front of Cui Xiaoxin, anxiously asked: “Xiaoxin, what’s wrong?”
“Foot. I’ve sprained my foot.” Cui Xiaoxin’s brow wrinkled, her little face grew pale from the pain.
“Let me see.” Li Muyang said. He reached out to take off Cui Xiaoxin’s boot.
“Don’t.” Cui Xiaoxin stopped him. She was a girl, how could she let a guy take off her shoe?
“Let me see.” Li Muyang insisted. From the painful expression on Cui Xiaoxin’s face, he knew that she was severely injured, he had to examine her before he could relax.
Cui Xiaoxin nibbled on thin lower lip, eventually let go after some hesitation.
Li Muyang took off Cui Xiaoxin’s shoe and sock. Cui Xiaoxin’s delicate and fair foot was now right before Li Muyang’s eyes.
Li Muyang had no time to admire this beautiful foot, instead was focussed on examining the swelling of the ankle. He reached out and gently touched it.
“Ahh——” Cui Xiaoxin cried in a low voice: “Hurts. It hurts.”
“The ankle joint is injured.” Li Muyang drew his brows together and said: “Let me help you to massage it—–do you have any medicine?”
“No.” Cui Xiaoxin answered, shaking her head.
Li Muyang swept his eyes all around, then ran into the woods and teared off a fiery-red dog bone grass. He rubbed the dog bone grass in between the palm of his hand until a red paste formed. Then, gently and carefully applied it on the swollen ankle.
“Cold.” Cui Xiaoxin spring back, trying to dodge.
“Dog-bone grass exerts an anti-inflammatory effect, although it has a fiery nature but its juices are ice-cold, it eases and relaxes your meridians, strengthens the bones and muscles and work wonders on sprained joints.”
“How do you use dog bone grass to heal my bones?” Cui Xiaoxin said coquettishly.
“———-” Li Muyang remained silent. He did not know how to answer this question.
“So you also know about medicines too?” Cui Xiaoxin asked, looking at Li Muyang’s eyes.
“Long illness makes the patient into a good doctor, I was often ill as a child, so I read many medical books——-” Li Muyang explained while slipping the sock back on Cui Xiaoxin’s foot and helped her put on her shoe. “Your joints are injured, you should not walk for a while—–”
“You can go first.” Cui Xiaoxin said. “My foot won’t get better for some time and the date for enrolment can’t be delayed.”
“I can’t do that.” Li Muyang said firmly: “We’ll go together, if you don’t go, I’ll stay behind with you. How can I leave you all alone here?”
“No buts.” Li Muyang supported Cui Xiaoxin up and then squatted in front of Cui Xiaoxin, turning his back towards her: “I will carry you.”
“Without you, I would never wake up from that state of lethargy. Without you, I would never be the first place in the imperial exams. Without you, I won’t be here——-” Li Muyang said with a smile. “Come on, I’ll carry you.”
Cui Xiaoxin’s eyes glistened, she gently laid her head against his back and wrapped her arms around Li Muyang’s neck.
Li Muyang rose and hoisted Cui Xiaoxin up piggyback onto him.
Climbing up the mountain was already strenuous; carrying a person on his back was hundred times more difficult. Every step felt as heavy as thousand pounds, without walking far he was already dripping with sweat.
However, Li Muyang did not look like he minded at all.
It was his responsibility and was something he was willing to do.
“Li Muyang.” Cui Xiaoxin leaned forward, resting her head on Li Muyang’s shoulders. When her soft voice and her sweet breath murmured in Li Muyang’s ears, Li Muyang felt he was going crazy.
This was a scene that only appeared in his dream. He did not expect today he would fulfil his wish.
“Huh?” Li Muyang answered softly. He felt his heart was melting.
“Your clothes are drenched with sweat.”
“Oh.” Li Muyang said.
“You can let me down. I will rest for a while until my foot is better then I will walk again.”
“Then you should stop for a moment, sit down and rest.”
Li Muyang thought for a while before he said: “Your injury won’t get better for quite some time, even though I applied a layer of the juice of the dog bone grass, it will be at least one week before you could walk again. Rest is an option, in that case it would take at least ten days before we reach the top of the mountain—–When I have the strength I will carry you, when I’m tired I’ll let you down and take a rest. If I’m by your side, I can take care of you.”
“But in that case it would be half a month before you reach the top of the mountain, and that’s only if everything go smoothly.” Cui Xiaoxin said worriedly: “What if you miss the date for enrolment?”
“It’s alright.” Li Muyang said with a smile: “Although the school told us the period of time to report to the school but they did not specify when we must climb the mountain. We’ll walk slowly together and then report to the school——-Starry Sky won’t decline us because we’re late. That won’t make sense?”
“Xiaoxin, it’s okay.” Li Muyang said eloquently: “Let alone carrying you up the mountain, I will carry you through water and fire, regardless of the sacrifice—–”
Before the sound of his voice had died away, a loud rumbling noise fell on Li Muyang’s ears.
Li Muyang listened carefully and asked: “Thunder?”
“No—–” Cui Xiaoxin cried, her voice trembling.
Her finger extending out, pointed in front where brutish giant waves came roaring down the mountain.
Flooding the sky and engulfing everything.