Chapter 7- Suspicions (2)
Li Ren couldn’t stop himself from giving Su Ming a strange look.
“It’s true!” Su Ming excitedly said. “I couldn’t personally examine it but I am sure it is a magical artifact. It is as thin as sword’s hilt and as big as child’s hand. It is colored black, polished until it shined.”
“Uh…” Li Ren just stared at his commander then gave a helpless look at Old Chen.
Old Chen who was listening quietly the whole time finally spoke.
“I believe you milord.” Old Chen kindly said.
Su Ming eyes shone as he acquired an ally. He continued speaking even more enthusiastically than before.
“And also notice her clothes, her bag and, most importantly, looked at her feet. What kind of shoes is that? Think about it! If our kingdom can acquire the favor of someone from the Jade Forest, wouldn’t we be invincible?”
“That is true, milord! As expected from someone in the Su clan, prioritizing the kingdom before personal benefits. To think you must be already weary after experiencing multiple battles.” Old Chen continued to say. “Since we just got recalled from the front lines, isn’t this a chance to go home and visit milady?”
“… What are you talking about Old Chen? The war is not over yet. We may be summoned anytime to the frontlines.” Su Ming paused for a while before he could respond. He couldn’t understand how the topic suddenly shifted to visiting his home and wife.
Li Ren, on the other hand, quickly grasped Old Chen’s intention.
“I think what Old Chen means is that, including the ambush earlier, you already suffered enough for the glory of the kingdom, Captain. It is not a bad idea to stabi- I mean, refresh your min- uh… body.”
“You…” Su Ming stared at his 100-man commander who spoke in a serious and righteous manner even if he was stammering in the end. The other soldiers nodded as they looked worriedly at their commander.
“Maybe the ambush was a sign that you were walking too hard.” Old Chen said as he stroked his long white beard. “The sooner we escape from here, the sooner you can request for a leave milord.”
Su Ming looked at his men who all looked troubled except for Old Chen who was wearing a soft smile. This certain smile made him scowl as he recalled what that expression usually means.
“Old Chen, stop patronizing me. And stop smiling like that!”
“What do you mean milord?” Old Chen replied innocently.
Su Ming rolled his eyes.
“Don’t pretend Old Chen. You often used that look every time you try to humor my father. I understand you people might not believe me now but you will change your minds sooner or later.” Su Ming finished what he said in a matter-of-fact tone.
Old Chen’s hand, that was stroking his beard, stopped midway. He chuckled as he recalled his previous master. He would also roll his eyes whenever he was exasperated with him. This father and son were really alike.
“I don’t know what you are talking about milord.” Old Chen calmly said. Su Ming snorted in reply.
“If… she is really from the Jade Forest, what will you do? What are planning milord?” Old Chen who was smiling kindly suddenly turned serious. “How will you tie her to the family? Will you be taking her as a concubine?”
“What are you saying? She is a child!” Su Ming was aghast. “She’s too young!”
“There a lot of men who likes them young, Captain” Li Ren cut in.
“Then I am not one of them! Besides, are you trying to make my wife hate me more than she does now?”
“Milord, milady doesn’t hate you. She-”
“That is enough about my marital status Old Chen.” Su Ming interrupted him with a wave of his hand. “We already wasted enough time here. It is already getting dark. Let us leave. Of course, Lilia will be travelling with us.”
“Captain to trust-“ Li Ren hesitantly started to speak but was immediately interrupted by Su Ming.
“Hmph! No need to say anything. I have confidence in her.” He walked towards where Lilia was. He began to tell her that they will be travelling with his men. The little girl gave a soft sighed and spoke to Su Ming with that strange lingo of hers.
Li Ren and Old Chen were watching this scene.
“I think it was poison.” Li Ren muttered. “There must be a needle soak in quick acting poison attached to that so-called magical artifact.”
Old Cheng just hummed in reply.
“Are you not going to inform Captain? He might be getting deceived by this child.” Li Ren asked curiously as he looked at Old Chen.
“Hmmm… I’m also rather curious about this girl. Not for the reasons that milord has mentioned.” Old Chen said.
“Ho? What is it then?”
“It’s the way she carries herself. There is a different… air around her.” Old Chen said thoughtfully.
Li Ren was quiet for a while before he quietly spoke. “Could she actually really be from the Jade Forest?”
“That remains to be seen. Like milord said, it is still a possibility.” Old Chens turned to the soldiers. “Prepare yourselves. We will be leaving now.”
As he spoke, Lilia walked towards Old Chen and the soldiers. Her odd clothes were even more apparent now that she was standing just in front of them.
“•••••• glad•••••• travel with••• grandpa, uncles.” She said with a bright smile as she bowed slightly.
Li Ren and the other soldiers stared at her blankly. They even forgot the throbbing pain from their wounds. Old Chen simply hummed in reply. Su Ming, on other hand, didn’t know whether he would laugh or cry. This girl was really too much. She had also immediately called him uncle. It sounded so natural that any third party would assume that he was the neighborhood uncle that watched Lilia grow up.
Su Ming shook his head. Was this a quirk of those from the Jade Forest? According to the rumors, they were said to have unique skills and habits. But the most important trait was that they were all good-looking. Lilia was a pretty girl with a slender frame and gray colored eyes only seen in the northern kingdoms.
And yet… and yet, how can this child be so shameless? Su Ming lamented in his heart. Is it because she is still young?
“Hohoho There is no need to be too polite. Just refer to this old man as Old Chen.” Old Chen laughed as he lightly replied.
“Old… Chen?” Lilia asked with a tilt of her head. Her eyes full of curiosity.
“That is right. That is how everyone refers to this old man.”
Lilia nodded her head in agreement as she smiled even brightly.
Li Ren coughed. His forehead wrinkled as he frowned. He began to mutter under his breath: “Disrespectful brat! Doesn’t’ even know how to bow properly. Is this how you treat your elders? And how dare this child act so familiar!”
He was annoyed with Lilia’s words and actions. Yet, he didn’t dare to say it out loud. She did have the backing of Su Ming. He had already informed Su Ming of his opinion regarding Lilia. Any more than that would make him sound like he was whining.
A certain 100-man commander’s thoughts (not really):
“Oh shit! Commander went crazy! Did he hit his head somewhere? There are a lot of branches here. I should have come with him when he ran- I mean, performed a tactical retreat. Will my boss noticed? Do I have to inform him that his favorite nephew is now an MC in a harem novel? First, the tsundere waifu and now he meets the sweet loli? I’m so jeal- I mean, how despicable! I hate you Captain!
– currently looking for a girlfriend