Chapter 41: In Xianyang, the East Market to the City Gate is only Four or Five Steps.
Gu Nan doused some cold water on her face. The stinging cold numbed and eased her shaking hands quite a bit.
The dried blood caking her hands was washed away in the tent’s small basin. The cold water became dyed with a red tint. Her hands were gripped on the sides of the table, and the water droplets dripped from her nose and rippled the water underneath.
Gu Nan heaved loud breaths as her chest felt weighed down. She quietly looked at the reflection in the water, forcibly calming her breathing as well.
It was getting late into the evening. The wind had picked up, replacing the diminishing, light snow.
Gu Nan tied her identification pendant to her waist and went to the stables to fetch Blackie out for another walk.
Outside the camp, the winds blew fiercely at her cloak. The night was already full as she looked down at the dark path ahead.
Only after killing that Zhao spy, did she fully grasp the gravity of being on the battlefield. It’s to kill or to be killed. A slight mistake and you may not realize how you died.
Suddenly, Gu Nan chuckled and shook her head. Enough, my life is pretty minor and cheap anyways. Someday, I’ll fall just into a dream and not wake up.
She sneezed from her reddened nose and stopped thinking about those miscellaneous thoughts.
“Blackie, go, faster! You can run as much as you want tonight.”
Blackie turned and rolled its eyes, unsure why this person would suddenly want to vent her frustrations. But his hooves still dug into the ground as he propelled forward.
Gu Nan has never seen Blackie gallop like this.
“Wa!” With her exclamation, the horse and the rider flew like a shadow into the snowy lands.
The sentry on the high walls looked at the rapidly receding figure, shaking his head. For her to act so leisurely outside the camp, she’s probably the only one in all of Qin.
According to legend, General Bai is said to have picked her up from the streets. It seems those rumors were true.
As they made their way to the grassy hill, Blackie snorted out some columns of mist and slowed down his pace.
Gu Nan stretched out rustled Blackie’s mane. “Eat as much as you can. You run fast but eat slow.” Laughing, she jumped down from the horse.
Suddenly feeling a fleeting gaze over her, Gu Nan turned around to see a man already sitting a bit further near the summit of the hill.
After a soft sighing, she patted Blackie’s neck. “Go and eat.”
Blackie glanced at the man on the hill, but not feeling any hostility, he turned away.
“What a coincidence.” Gu Nan walked up the hillside and sat down casually.
The man was the same Zhao Shi from before.
“Ah, yes what a coincidence.” Zhao Kuo forced a smile and continued looking over the Changping mountains.
Two people from Qin and Zhao are actually sitting together with such enthusiasm. How could this be a coincidence?
The two sat quietly with their legs crossed on the ground. Suddenly, Gu Nan said slowly, “Today, I killed a Zhao spy from your army. It was my first kill.”
“…” Zhao Kuo was silent and nodded. “How does it feel to kill?”
He didn’t blame her because this was the battlefield. In a place where life and death are so closely intertwined, it’s useless to blame others.
“Not very good.”
“My first kill was at the age of eight. It was a death-row criminal. I cried in my mother’s arms for two days.” Zhao Kuo recalled as he looked into the darkness over Changping.
Gu Nan felt her mouth twitch. “How wimpy.”
“En.” Zhao Kuo also smiled. “Thinking about it now, it really incited a powerful feeling.”
After a pause, Zhao Kuo said, “If we meet on the battlefield, I will not show mercy. You are someone from Qin, and I will execute you if it comes to be.”
“I won’t be merciful either. We haven’t even competed yet. Who’s to say which of us is going to be executed?”
“Hahaha.” Zhao Kuo laughed and continued, “I thought about the words you said that night…”
As he said, his eyes were shimmering at the Changping landscape. “Truly, I really envy those people.
“If there was no war, maybe you and I can be good friends.”
Gu Nan shook her head. “I have no interest in knowing you.”
Zhao Kuo looked back but was stunned by the sight. This is the first time he saw Gu Nan’s face.
The long black hair swayed with the high winds. Her face was like spring but contained a heroic air. Although she was sitting casually and she wore her military armor, it wasn’t difficult to see that it was a girl.
A pair of beautiful eyes looked at the falling snow with sharp eyebrows. It’s difficult to find the typical feminine feeling of a girl, but she was certainly very beautiful nonetheless.
“Brother Gu.” After Zhao Kuo’s brief shock, he smiled and sighed. “I had spoken incorrectly. If we had known each other earlier, just to say, I would have taken you as my wife.”
“Oh.” Gu Nan lightly responded without much thought. Judging from the circumstances, she felt like Zhao Shi was joking and lazily replied, “Sorry, I have no interest in men.”
“Haha, so it’s like this. I am really quite pitiful.”
Not paying attention to Zhao Kuo’s thoughts, Gu Nan reminisced back to Xiao Lu and Painting Fairy. These days in the army are quite rough. How soothing it would be for another one of Xiao Lu’s shoulder massages or Painting Fairy’s songs.
“Hmph, I must say, is your Zhao army even going to fight or not? You better not drag this out. I’m still waiting to return to get my own wife.”
Zhao Kuo laughed. “Brother Gu doesn’t need to worry. As handsome as you are, all the ladies of Xianyang would line up for you.”
Gu Nan indifferently nodded. Her face hardening as she lied, “That is true. Without me saying anything, it could span from the East Market to the city gates.”
At noon, the highest arc of the sun.
The winds of Changping fluttered the banners loudly. The countless spearheads jutting upward on the military fields signified the amassed army in preparation. The nicks and dents were a testament to the numerous wars and battles witnessed by their wielders.
Zhao Kuo was riding on his horse, holding the reins tightly to control his restless mount. Facing the neatly-grouped battalions and teams, he shouted aloud, “Army, attention!”
“Here!” The four hundred thousand voices echoed over the camp.
The soldiers fastened their armor equipped their helmets. Marching forward, their synchronized footsteps sent tremors through the ground.
Everyone knows that the decisive battle has come. Win, and they can leave alive; lose, and they can only lie here forever.
The gates of the Zhao camp creaked open. Teams of soldiers poured out without a visible end. In front of them was a young man on a black horse. Although young, his demeanor was like a veteran of thousands of battles, void of the smallest symptom of fear.
Zhao Kuo finally put on the helmet from his hands.
The sounds of heavy armor echoed endlessly in the valley.