Chapter 42: On the Way
Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Mulin county was the most remote county in the country. The nearby county was also the first county they passed on the way to the exam. The Dean of the Academy did not want his students to have an accident on the way to the exam. Naturally, he had made some preparations.
Cheng Yan drove to the place Lin Xiu said. When they arrived, there were several carriages parked there, and there was a team of guards with swords around. Cheng Yan looked up at them and slowed down the speed of the carriage.
Those guards seemed to have some skills, unlike those captains in the Yamen of Mulin County who were strong outside but weak in the middle. It seemed that the Dean had some background.
There were about six or seven people standing outside or leaning against the carriage and looking down. If they were the people from the Academy, then Cheng Yan could only say that there were so many talents in Mulin county. After all, an Academy could cultivate so many people to appear for the exam. No wonder the Dean of the Academy was personally leading them to the Imperial City.
The guards who stood by saw a carriage coming. They looked sideways. Some of the guards with strong internal force saw that the man driving the carriage was obviously strong. Their eyes narrowed and their bodies were tense.
Other carriages came slowly, and the guards saw them. The other people who were reading or chatting on the side also heard or saw them. Cheng Yan didn’t get close to them in his carriage and stopped not far away from them. Then Lin Xiu got off and explained to the Dean of the Academy.
After Lin Xiu came to talk with Cheng Yang and Lin Mo, he simply took some things and went towards the other carriages. All his classmates and friends were over there and so he went over to greet them. Besides, Lin Xiu still didn’t want to disturb Cheng Yan or Lin Mo. Without him, they should be more comfortable.
After the Lins’ arrived, others also got on the carriage and started to leave. When Cheng Yan saw that they were leaving, he spoke with Lin Mo and drove his carriage, following them.
It would take two days to go to the next place from Mulin county. Their official road was very remote, with lush trees on both sides of the road. Fortunately, there were no thieves and bandits on their side. Their nerves could be relaxed these two days.
In order to hurry up, they didn’t stop at noon, and Cheng Yan, who was behind them, couldn’t stop the carriage. He only asked Lin Mo, who was sitting in the carriage, to eat something to fill his stomach. Lin Mo, who spent the entire morning in the carriage, was a little upset. Hearing the voice of Cheng Yan, he took out a package of cakes prepared by Cheng Yan from the dark cabinet. Then took the kettle and dropped in a few drops of spring water into it.
Cheng Yan, who was driving the carriage, saw Lin Mo coming out and sitting next to him. He quickly gave up one hand to hold him. “It’s windy. Why did you come out?”
“It’s too stuffy inside. You don’t talk to me so I came out to talk with you.” Lin Mo was close to Cheng Yan and looked at him with a smile.
“Sit in for a while. It’s easy to get sick from a cold wind.” Cheng Yan held the rope in one hand to control the horse going forward, helped the person next to him with the other hand, and glanced at him.
“Mn… I’ll feed you.” Lin Mo finished and turned to take out what he had prepared in the early morning from the carriage.
Lin Mo took the paper bag, twisted a piece of cake off and reached for his mouth. Cheng Yan opened his mouth and accepted the cake. Lin Mo put down his hand and twisted off two fingers worth of some crisp pastry, then continued to feed him.
The two people ate one by one, and the package of cakes was soon eaten. Lin Mo drank a few mouthfuls, then put the kettle in Cheng Yan’s empty left hand.
The speed of the carriage slowed down a little. After a sip of water, Cheng Yan glanced at Lin Mo and continued to drink. Whether it was tea or ordinary water, as long as it was from Lin Mo’s hand, it would become unusual, and his brain would wake up after a sip.
Fortunately, it would only happen at home, or in front of the Lin family and him so Cheng Yan didn’t say anything. He believed that one day Momo would tell him his secrets.
After eating a package of cakes and drinking some water, Lin Mo was full, but he still took out the pancakes prepared by Mama Lin for them and handed them to Cheng Yan, “The pancakes are cold.”
Cheng Yan took the pancakes and said quickly, “It’s okay. Go in soon after eating. Your nose is frozen and red.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll go in after you finish.” Lin Mo felt the tip of his nose was cold, and didn’t care much. He knew his body, and at this point, he would not get sick. Why else would he insist on drinking spring water every day for nothing?
Cheng Yan glanced at him and finished the pancakes in his hand. Lin Mo saw it and quickly took another one out for him. “Have another one. I’ll go in after eating and drinking some water.”
Lin Mo knew how much he could eat. Only a single pancake and a few cakes wouldn’t fill him up at all. “Eat slowly. Don’t you worry about choking when you eat so fast?”
Hearing this, Cheng Yan was helpless, but he slowed down a little. After eating the pancakes and drinking the water, Cheng Yan motioned to Lin Mo with his eyes. It was time for him to go in.
At five o’clock in the evening, the carriage in front of them finally stopped, and Cheng Yan found a suitable place to stop. Cheng Yan tied his horse to the tree and picked up some dry branches not far away.
“Fourth Brother, how are you? Can you stand it?” Lin Xiu came over, looked at his brother’s face, and found that it was not as white as he imagined, but he still asked uneasily.
“I’m okay. Second Brother, have some water.” Lin Mo handed him another kettle.
After a day’s driving, although he was sitting in a carriage, the readers who seldom exercised could not stand it. Lin Mo looked up at the carriage in front of him. One or two people had vomited over there. The faces of others were not much better.
“Are those people okay?” Lin Mo asked.
“Them? They’re fine and will get used to it in a few days.” Lin Xiu took a sip of water, looked at the people over there and said at will. After all, they still had a long way to go. Even if they didn’t adapt now, they would have to adapt to it one day.
“I feel that mother’s water can lift spirits.” Lin Xiu said, and took another sip. When he was at home, he drank it every day so the effect was not very obvious. But just after he took a sip at this moment, his tiredness seemed to disappear.
“Is that right? I think so too.” Lin Mo said with a smile.
After Cheng Yan picked up a few bundles of dry branches and came back, Lin Mo and Lin Xiu had prepared things. Cheng Yan set up the pan and Lin Mo added water to it. Considering Lin Mo’s physical condition, they couldn’t eat hard dry food all day. Cheng Yan had also prepared some small pots and pans, which would not occupy too much space in the dark cabinet of the carriage.
The Dean of the Academy clearly knew their students’ physique, and specially used a carriage to put dry food and pots and pans. When Cheng Yan’s pots were brought out, so were the Academy’s.
Cheng Yan took out the cushion from the carriage, sat Lin Mo next to the fire, and stroked the fire.
Lin Xiu sat aside, holding a piece of cooked meat, and said, “At the same pace as today, we can get to the next county by the afternoon tomorrow.”
“Mn.” Lin Mo chewed the meat in his mouth and nodded.
Cheng Yan helped Lin Mo with some more meat, as he whispered, “There is no danger for the journey from Mulin county to the next county, but I don’t know later. Second Brother should come with us from the day after tomorrow.”
“Mn… This is the only way.” Lin Xiu paused and nodded.
Even though there were guards with the Academy, since Cheng Yan asked him to join them, it meant that those guards couldn’t go against bandits.
After eating, it was already dark. Cheng Yan packed his things and got into the carriage. Lin Mo asked Second Brother about something. When Cheng Yan entered the carriage, he opened the quilt for him to come in.
Cheng Yan’s carriage was relatively large, and they could stretch their legs even when sitting in the carriage horizontally. Cheng Yan went in and sat. Lin Mo held Cheng Yan’s waist in his arms and warmed his body after covering up with the quilt. After a day’s drive, all three of them were tired and soon went to sleep.
But since they were outside, Cheng Yan didn’t sleep much. He would wake up the first time he detected something.
It was the next day when Lin Mo recovered his consciousness. Lin Mo’s eyelashes trembled and he opened his eyes. He could not feel heat under him and he felt his body swaying. Half a day later, he realized that he was in the carriage, not in his warm room.
Breakfast had been prepared by Cheng Yan, Lin Mo put on his clothes, opened the curtain and sat next to him.
“Have you had breakfast?” Cheng Yan asked, holding the reins of the horse with one hand and holding him with the other.
“Yes, what time is it?” Lin Mo leaned next to him and looked around.
“It is almost noon, we are just a few more hours away.”
Lin Mo nodded and stopped talking. He sat next to Cheng Yan and stared at the surrounding scenery. Before Lin Mo could sit outside for a longer time, Cheng Yan made him go back. Lin Mo went in and lay in the bed, talking to Cheng Yan from time to time. The regular shaking of the carriage and warm quilt made Lin Mo feel sleepy.
When Cheng Yan didn’t hear Lin Mo’s voice for a long time, he knew the other was sleeping again.
In the afternoon, the group of them came to the next county and drove to a big inn. Cheng Yan stopped the carriage at the designated place, and then picked up Lin Mo who was still sleeping.
When Lin Xiu saw that his brother was picked up by Cheng Yan, he thought something was wrong, so he hurriedly went over, “What’s wrong with Mo’ger? Sick?”
“No, he’s asleep.” Cheng Yan shook his head.
Knowing the reason, Lin Xiu was relieved. Cheng Yan took Lin Mo, in his arms, and booked a room. When everything was arranged, Lin Mo woke up. They had dinner in the room, it was still early. Cheng Yan took Lin Mo out for a stroll and bought some snacks to satisfy his craving on the way.
When the two strolled around, Cheng Yan bought their dry food and water for a few days, then they went back to the inn to rest.
The next morning, when they got up early, the group of people packed their things and set out again. Lin Xiu explained the situation to the Dean of the Academy and got into Cheng Yan’s carriage.
Starting from the next county, it would take a long time, about five days. Moreover, the potential danger was unknown, and no one knew when something would happen. The spirits of the guards around the team began to tense up…