FIRST ENCOUNTER

"Fuu—" Shen Yi ran over breathlessly, "Zi Xi! Zi Xi!"


Gu Yun held the Qian Li Yan, making an "Mm" sound in response without turning his head. His eyes still did not leave the Barbarian scouts who had just quietly left: "More than ten carts of Ziliujin, the wheel imprint on the ground is one palm deep. Good! Very good for a field officer of eight counties of the North. Such great appetite and courage!"


In the 27th year of Yuan He, Gu Yun received a classified order to come to the Northern Frontier to look for the whereabouts of the Fourth Prince who was lost among the common folk.


The Fourth Prince's birth mother was a Barbarian, Gu Yun's ears and eyes that had been damaged since he was a child were a gift bestowed on him by the Barbarians' poison. No one dared to touch his invert scale, but His Majesty that grand old man dared to do so.


The meaning of Emperor Yuan He was very clear - the little prince had been lost among the commoners for many years, meeting sudden changes, he must be confused and uneasy, thus he would ask Gu Yun to escort him along the way to form a good bond, to leave the resentment of the previous generation behind.


The old Emperor pressed his head forcing him to ‘form a good bond’, it was not convenient for Gu Yun to resist the decree either, thus he started carrying out a lazy and half-hearted job, and ordered people to ‘inquire and search’ just for the sake of it. If it weren't for him taking notice of the strange movements of the Barbarians, he would still be in charge of the Western Regions by now. Just a little prince who couldn't distinguish round from flat absolutely could not force him to transfer to this place.


"Ji Ping, you are here just in time," Gu Yun, who was not even twenty at that time, chuckled a little bit and threw the Qian Li Yan to Shen Yi. "You go back tomorrow and transfer a team of Black Eagle from the Black Iron Camp here."


*Yifu is 19 years old here.


Hot sweat broke out on Shen Yi's forehead: "Let's not talk about this, the little prince..."


Gu Yun was still in his youthful and frivolous age, a group of generals in the north who didn't listen to his deployment were all considered to have offended him. His head was always filled with thoughts about how to display his might and to punish these people, "No need to capture this traitor of a field officer of the North in a hurry. Let's stay here for a while and let the Barbarians shed more blood. I want to see how many pests their ‘Gold Erosion’ plan will be able to dig out. We can haul in this net when the time is right, then confiscate the load of Ziliujin."


Shen Yi strode to catch up with him and tried to interject: "The little prince ..."


"Ah, just say we haven't found him yet!" Gu Yun lied without blinking, "Let that golden branch and jade leaves grow in this field for a while longer. Either way, he is already this big, it's not a big deal to wait another year, no need to be so impatient. Without him, what excuse do I have to run to the north all the time? After I received the confidential order, there was no end to the broken mouths of those in the imperial platform. "


Shen Yi couldn't bear it anymore, he broke the rules and pulled Gu Yun's shoulder.


Gu Yun: "What are you doing?"


Shen Yi: "The little prince is gone!"


Gu Yun impatiently raised his long eyebrows: "Gone? Then you send someone to look for him. What are you complaining to me for?"


Shen Yi: "The Black Eagle heard that it seems the child has run to the outside of the pass by himself!"


"Tch," Gu Yun looked back at the dark skyline in the distance. The cruel environment of the Northern Frontier was about to welcome a heavy snowstorm. He frowned, "How troublesome, please don't get eaten by the wolves."


Shen Yi was frightened of his crow's mouth: "Ancestor, can't you say anything nice!"


"Go, let's go have a look."


The snow quickly started falling. In an instant, heaven and earth were a vast expanse of white. The thick fur coat could not resist the bone piercing cold wind. Gu Yun widened his eyes, blinked away the snow on his eyelashes, and took a sip of liquor to warm himself up. He thought furiously, "Little brat, do you want to find death?"


"Marshal," a Black Eagle landed from within the snowstorm, "There are wolves domesticated by Barbarians four miles away in the northwest. I only dare to fly a bit further thanks to the snow, for fear of being discovered by them, I did not dare to approach."


"Raising wolves?" Shen Yi was shocked and turned to Gu Yun. "Only the nobles of the Northern Barbarians can raise wolves. Those Barbarian Nobles wish they could stay far away from our Great Liang border. How could they let out their wolves here?"


"Well, I've heard a rumor." Gu Yun said thoughtfully, "The prince of the Man, the one named Jia Lai Ying Huo, seems to have had an affair with their goddess. I don't know if it's true."


"... His Highness is the son of the goddess and the Emperor." Shen Yi's face changed. "If Jia Lai Ying Huo knew that His Highness had left Hu Ge Er's sight, would he..."


"Ouch," Gu Yun, who was one to not avoid seeing the fun, said with great emotion, "Alas, blue waves for thousands of miles, the beginning of spring fills up the skies.*"


*yifu made up this romantic nonsense


Shen Yi said: "Marshal, can you say something sensible!"


"There must be owners near the wolves. Don't gather here in one place, they will notice. I'll go and have a look." After he finished speaking, Gu Yun ushered his horse and swiftly rushed out.


The snowstorm was getting heavier and heavier, splashing into the seven orifices of the person charging forward, making one's windpipe ache. Gu Yun and Shen Yi whipped up their horses, not long after, they could hear the solemn howling of wolves intertwined with the wind.


Shen Yi shuddered for a moment, and said to himself, "A little boy of only eleven or twelve years old. If he really falls into the wolf pack, ..."


Would he be able to survive?


But it is the prince!


He couldn't help but glance at Gu Yun, who was wrapped in snow-white fur and a snow-white cloak. Even the horse was white. With just one brief moment of startling, both his body and horse seemed to have melted into the snow.


The horse went fast but was not imbalanced. For a moment, Shen Yi suddenly realized that after the Black Iron Camp incident twelve years ago, the little problem child of the Marquis’s Manor fell out of the luxurious brocade overnight. How could he have no grudge against the son of the Barbarian woman? Maybe he would come here to have a look, just to half-heartedly enact the Emperor's decree. Maybe Gu Yun did not care if the prince was dead or alive at all.


If the child was unlucky and died here, in front of the Emperor, Gu Yun only needed to find an excuse.


After all, the Emperor was old. The young generation of eagles and wolves couldn’t wait to show their claws and teeth made of black iron. They planned to set off a bloodbath in the northwest. How could a young boy who had no mother or family and no relatives outside rely on his father's distant and empty love even if he was of royal blood?


Just then, the shrill howl of a wolf echoed in his ear, Shen Yi's senses came back to him.


Gu Yun: "Ji Ping!"


A few male wolves with shiny fur warned the approaching intruders at a high altitude, then sprang forward to engage in battle. Although they were dressed in civilian clothes, their horses were war steeds. They were not afraid of wolves. With a long neigh, they raised their front hooves and kicked out.


With the Barbarians nearby, Shen Yi could not reveal his Wind Slasher. He bent down and pulled on a pair of iron horse pedals, the sound of metal colliding was heard for several miles in the open and empty field outside the pass, the bloodthirsty wolves bowed their backs in fear.


Shen Yi lowered his voice and asked, "Zi Xi, kill them?"


"What are you saying? We are just two weak scholars passing by." Gu Yun squeezed out a few words from the corner of his mouth, then quickly raised the volume of his voice.


"Don't be afraid, big brother. Don't we have powder to drive off the wolves? Hold on a little longer, I'll find someone to help!"


Shen Yi: "..."


Gu, Zi, Xi!


How could this man play the role of a little white face that runs off in the face of danger so well? As if he had practiced it a thousand times!


The wind outside the gate could change direction at any time. With the advantage on their side, Shen Yi did not fight with that surname Gu. He raised his hand and threw a medicine bag into the air, splitting it with a horsewhip. The roaring wind rolled out the pungent powder, splashing it onto the wolves.


The wolves whimpered and retreated, but the Barbarians who were hiding in the dark probably saw that there were two shit-stirring sticks here, so what they wanted to do today might not be possible. A distant wolf whistle sounded, the wolves retreated with their tails between their legs, leaving a mess on the ground and a tiny figure.


Shen Yi's heart tightened. Before he could see clearly, a breeze passed by. Gu Yun had already urged the horse to move towards it.


"How is it?"


"Still breathing." Gu Yun reached out to him, "Bring the wine bottle."


Shen Yi looked closer and saw that it was a boy of eleven or twelve years old, thin and bare-boned, being held in Gu Yun's arms, he was only a small lump. The boy's body was covered in blood. One hand was hanging softly, it seemed that a bone was broken. The other hand was still clutching a knife.


Gu Yun gently clasped his hand holding the knife. The boy's mind awakened instantly. His dark eyes stared straight into the young general's, like a pair of flints holding flames, which would not extinguish even on the verge of death.


Gu Yun was stunned.


"Wine!"


Shen Yi threw him the wine bottle. Gu Yun returned to his senses, caught it and placed it at the boy's mouth: "Open your mouth."


There was no telling if the boy understood. When Gu Yun poured the wine into his mouth, he did not refuse and swallowed it obediently.


Shen Yi quickly checked his injuries: "Fortunately, a wolf claw scratched his back, and his leg was bitten, but it is not severe. The rest may have been caused by falling down while running. Why is there so much blood? "


Gu Yun: "It's wolf blood."


"Ah?"


Gu Yun didn't say a word. He wrapped the boy in his cloak and said, "Let's go. To Yanhui."


As Gu Yun finished, he heard a soft sound. The boy's hand loosened, and the knife covered with wolf blood fell to the ground. He struggled for a bit, then reached out a hesitant hand and held onto Gu Yun's clothes.


"So trusting of me? But you don't know me." Gu Yun's heart suddenly moved. He looked down at the strange boy and thought, "So light."


As he thought so, his strength involuntarily lightened, as if he was afraid of crushing the tiny bones and flesh in his arms.







Many years later, Uncle Wang was sorting out the old things in the Marquis’s Manor and pulled out a pair of leather wristbands from the bottom of the box. The workmanship was very rough, like those worn by the countryside hunters. One could tell at first sight that it was not something from the manor. Uncle Wang didn't dare to throw it away, waiting until Gu Yun was free to bring it to him to ask.


"This thing," Gu Yun smiled at first glance. "It was a gift to me from a country boy who was biting at the wolf. The wolf died horribly. A good piece of wolf skin was cut by him as if it had been bitten by a dog. At last, there was only a little bit left that could be of use, enough to make into a pair of wrist guards - Ah, what are you doing?"


Chang Geng happened to pass by. He could tell at a glance who created this object with eye-aching craftsmanship. He tried to grab it with his hand, but Gu Yun dodged it lightly.


"Why are you keeping these kinds of rags," said Chang Geng. "Throw them away quickly. This year’s autumn hunting, I will make you a better one with a complete piece of skin."


"That's good." Gu Yun said, hugging the leather wristband in his arms, "That will be from the big beauty. This one was from the little beauty."


Chang Geng: "..."


"The little beauty was quite shy, even stuttering when giving me this gift." Gu Yun's improper fingers lifted the Emperor's chin, pretending to dislike him. "Unlike this one, who is in charge of heaven and earth, but has an even thicker skin than a wolf."


Chang Geng hissed and went to catch his hand, but as he was unable to, he jumped on to his body: "It's not as thick as yours, give me! Clearly, I had given that to Teacher Shen that year…”


Gu Yun: "Given to who? You say it again. "


Uncle Wang laughed and retreated, no longer disturbing the two masters playing with each other.







"Your Majesty, when you were holding onto that knife, it seemed you would rather have died than let go. How come you threw it away as soon as you saw me?"


"Maybe it's because Marshal is a little more handsome than the wolf."


"Are you itching for a beating?"


"A lot more handsome —— a lot, alright?"





Or perhaps


My general, some people are predestined by fate. With only one glance, you would never be able to escape.