While Shen Yiren and Su Xiao carried Ming Feizhen along with urgency subsequent to stopping his profuse bleeding, their escort informed, “I shall be awaiting your return” and hid in the forest, giving the impression that he wasn’t permitted to retreat after dropping them off. In any case, the two had to get moving.
Shen Yiren chose to take shelter inside a relatively concealed cavern and put in some extra work to obstruct the interior from outside view.
Ming Fezhen’s bloody wound started at his left shoulder and extended to his lower abdomen. Had he not taken the step back that he did, it would’ve cut deep enough to end him. He was also lucky his assailant sliced down in one smooth motion instead of sawing down. His life was safe and, luckily, didn’t suffer a fever while moving him. With that said, each breath he took was shallow and barely noticeable.
Shen Yiren boiled water to disinfect and bandage Ming Feizhen again since they were in rush prior to escaping. Expecting to find boiled water in the wild was borderline delusional. Fortunately, Ming Feizhen always carried pots, bowls, melon seeds, pork shoulders, a checkers set and a heap of other stuff with him at all times. It went without saying that nobody could understand how he managed to lug around so much weight on his back.
Shen Yiren, using her emergency first aid knowledge and training, tore off some clothing to cut it into bandages, using the remainder to wipe Ming Feizhen’s wounds. Since the injury went down to his lower abdomen, she had no choice but to see his private part. She, of course, didn’t mind and did what needed to be done.
Unlike Shen Yiren, Su Xiao didn’t dare to look at Ming Feizhen’s nether region. More pertinently, he thought she was better at providing first aid than a woman taking care of her beloved husband.
Knowing what was on Su Xiao’s mind, Shen Yiren expounded, “I joined the military at five years of age to help my parents take care of wounded personnel; I couldn’t be more familiar with first aid. Watch over him while I get some rest.”
“Leave it to me.”
Did… Vice-Captain just say she was going to rest?
That was the first time Su Xiao heard Shen Yiren talk about resting. It was actually her first time ever thinking about actively resting.
Shen Yiren propped herself down on a rock by the cavern entrance and then heaved out her exhaustion. She gently wagged her paralysed left hand and bitterly dimpled. She believed she could’ve demolished the trio who ambushed them, yet it was her weariness and headache that stunted her movements severely. If she still had her left hand, she was positive she could’ve protected her comrades even if her headache acted up.
On the flipside, had Ming Feizhen not absorbed a slash, Shen Yiren would still be fashioning denial, not that she should be blamed. After all, losing her left hand was the equivalent of an undefeated pugilists waking up to learn he humiliatingly had his lights put out inside one round. Sometimes, one failure is enough to change a former champion forever. In her case, she proactively chose to use her responsibilities as a means of marginalising her problems, not that denying a problem undoes it. It was painfully clear to her now that she was crippled every time she engaged in a fight. Ming Feizhen’s “death” and her left hand forced her to face reality.
All was not loss. Shen Yiren was fortunate to have her weaknesses and limits exposed early. As a bonus, she found justified reasons to cry on her quest.
Shen Yiren inhaled slowly and deeply. Strangely, the weather on this island was warm despite it being winter. The foliage-enhanced air refreshed her mind.
It really has been ages since I cried.
Lifting her lips didn’t feel as if they were fighting a downward pressure for once in a long tie. There was no more weight on her shoulders, no more noose around her neck for she finally understood that people have strong and weak moments.
And he… There’s no way he couldn’t have avoided that strike. If he purposely took it, perhaps my suspicions aren’t unfounded. I don’t have evidence, but I can’t help feeling he let himself get caught for me to witness. Well, I won’t bother trying to prove my theory or give a “thanks.”
Shen Yiren wasn’t ungrateful. She just knew what he would appreciate instead of hearing “thank you”.
Shen Yiren cast her gaze to the exotic scene of nature outside, gradually letting her eyelids fall. Upon hearing light and steady breaths behind him, Su Xiao looked over his shoulder to see her smiling in her sleep. “It has been rough on you.” Su Xiao added a small bow. “Goodnight, Vice-Captain.”