2 Li Junwei

The dog chase that was on an equal footing had now turned into a cat-and-mouse skirmish with both Cui Kang and Liu Yan going back and forth during the chase.

Liu Yan's forces were exhausted as it had nearly been a whole day since she and her cavalry were being chased nonstop without any rest. Not only that but Liu Yan was in an especially worse condition as she was pregnant and no matter how strong or resilient she was, the hot and strenuous pursuit was starting to get to her.

On the other hand, Cui Kang and his forces had lost their momentum at first due to Liu Yan's persistence and resilience as she and her soldiers threw arrows and spears whenever the foe got inside the target range. Even so, the tables were slowly turning as Liu Yan and her cavalry did not have an unlimited supply of arrows and spears. On top of that, the horses she and her men were riding on were starting to wear out as the terrain was unfavorable and the horses were not suitable for the mountainous region full of hills, ridges, and wilderness.

While the Cui Clan had an excellent breed of steeds specialized and trained for a rigid, uneven terrain. These were mountain horses that had a lot more stamina and strength and so steadily, the distance was closing in.

A ruthless smile floated on Cui Kang's face as he could already see the rear ranks of the enemy a few miles ahead of him getting closer and closer. 'Soon! I will soon kill you!' Cui Kang thought to himself maliciously as the face of Liu Yan—the woman who he was so infatuated with appeared in his mind.

With that beautiful, graceful image of hers, also came the anger and resentment that was boiling inside his heart.

"You dare humiliate me?! If I can't have you, then no one can!" Gnashing his teeth, Cui Kang muttered to himself.

Liu Yan whose hair was messy and sticking on her face due to sweat felt a chill going through her spine. Looking back, she spotted the enemy who was rapidly approaching.

Enduring the fatigue, Liu Yan clicked her tongue as she strode onwards. Old man Huo looked at her as he robe alongside with a worried expression on his face, his eyes showing hints of desperation and hesitation.

Noticing him from the corner of her eye, Liu Yan spoke, "Sir Huo, do not act stupidly in desperation. Nothing will happen to us. Tell me, how long will it be?"

The old man's eyes flashed with surprise as a single teardrop fell from his eye. Solidifying his resolve, the old man thought that he would not hesitate to sacrifice his life if things got any worse. However, he did not show these thoughts on his face and replied, "We are close. It should take us till midnight to reach the Purple Lotus City. The Wang Clan has had historically friendly relations with our Li Family. I'm sure the Wang Clan head will give us refuge for some time."

"Good, let's hurry then." Li Yan replied.

"Hmph, that delusional swine won't even acknowledge that I'm no longer Liu Yan. The moment I married into the Li Family, my name became Li Yan. I will one day rip out his tongue and feed it to the dogs!"

Li Yan muttered abruptly in a ferocious tone, looking like a resentful banshee as she remembered the name by which Cui Kang had called her previously.

Seeing her like this, the horsemen as well as old man Huo and Yao Wuhan chuckled awkwardly. This was not the first time they had seen her this way. Everyone in the Li Family knew that their Lady was like a lump of burning coal. She was totally not like other traditional noblewomen. Li Yan was scary, like an Ashura from the depths of hell, once angered. She was a free-spirited woman like a perching Phoenix who did whatever she wanted. With her disposition of a coconut, hard exterior, and soft interior—she had garnered the admiration and respect of many.

'This is nothing surprising I suppose. She is afterall, a disciple of the Yanlin Academy.' Yao Wuhan thought to himself in wonder.

At this moment, a cold breeze blew bringing with it an earthly scent as it grazed everyone's faces. The sun dipped down behind the peaks, blanketing the sky with dim darkness that intensified with time.

"My Lady, look ahead."

Suddenly, Old Man Huo's grim voice sounded as he pointed ahead.

Li Yan's expression sank as she narrowed her eyes and looked ahead, in the dim residue light of the sunset, she saw the scene ahead of them.

The terrain ahead of them was increasingly difficult. The flat, smooth ground gave way to an undulating landscape, with hills rising steeply into the distance. The hills were cloaked in a patchwork of vibrant greens and browns, with dense foliage and rocky outcrops jutting out from the earth. The sun behind the peaks best down mercilessly, casting long shadows and a blanket of darkness that stretched out over the rough, stony ground below. The horses' hooves pounded against the rocky terrain, sending up plumes of dust that clung to the air like a thick fog. Despite the beautiful scenery, there was an ominous sense of danger looming ahead, as the landscape presented a formidable obstacle that they had to overcome to evade their pursuers

"Not good, the horses are already fuming in exhaustion. They can't handle this rough terrain ahead. I suggest that we engage with the enemy while My Lady escapes. I'm confident that we can hold them off for four hours." Sir Huo suggested with firm eyes in a pleasing tone.

"Absolutely not. Have faith. We continue onwards no matter what." Li Yan spoke with conviction, her tone demanding absolute obedience as she hid the anxiety deep in the corner of her heart while her eyes held a glimmer of hope and undeniable faith.

Without giving anyone the chance to say anything, Li Yan stroked the back of her horse lovingly as if to convey her desperation. The horse neighed loudly as it shook its head as if understanding the situation and ran even faster, startling everyone.

"Damn it!" Both old man Huo and Yao Wuhan blurted as they too urged their horses to keep up.

While Cui Kang who was only just a kilometer behind Li Yan grinned in delight as he saw the Li Family's horses struggling to climb up the hill through the rocky landscape.

"Hahaha! Where will you run now? Even nature wants me to kill you today!" Cui Kang yelled deliberately in a confident, jeering tone, boosting the confidence of his men and striking fear in the heart of the enemy.

Soon, the distance between the two parties began closing rapidly and Old Man Huo decided to stop with the men and engage the enemy.

Li Yan noticed this and her heart sank, just as she was about to stop Huo and the others from doing this, suddenly everyone sensed something very unexpected happening while Li Yan's eyes glowed even brighter with the light of hope.

Cui Kang raised his brows in alert as his instincts screamed at him of a bad premonition. The earth began shaking as if an earthquake was coming. Everyone felt the tremors going through them as the resounding sound of horse hooves beating the grass and stone rang, coming from beyond the hill on the right. Soon after, dust clouds rose in the distance from beyond the hill as the moon's luminous shimmer reflected off the dust particles, making it look as if silver flakes ascending to the heavens.

Feeling confused and fearful, Cui Kang focused his vision and noticed the glow of torches spreading out over the edge of the precipice of the hill. Moments after, he saw a banner with the emblem of two dragons intertwined, fluttering in the wind illuminated by the glowing torches.

As Cui Kang noticed all this, Li Yan too, saw everything as a wave of relief washed over her. She smiled with tender warmth as a large cavalry appeared on the hill and suddenly swept down descending the hill with Godspeek like a tsunami.

"Fuck!! Fuck fuck!! TURN BACK! QUICKLY!"

Quaking in his boots, Cui Kang ordered fanatically as he was the first one to turn around in decoration and run his horse like there was no yesterday.

The cavalry galloped down the hill in no time with insane momentum ignoring the group of Li Yan completely, turning the tables as it began pursuing Cui Kang's forces with relentless drive.

While the mighty cavalry ran down the hill, a single horse broke off from the ranks and approached Li Yan and others.

Soon the horse arrived, revealing a tall, gallant visage and a handsome yet stoic face.

Seeing the man, everyone behind Li Yan bowed deeply while on their horses not daring to raise their heads. A serene silence soon fell in the surroundings.

"H- husband!" Li Yan exclaimed in happiness, her face that was stiff moment before becoming so tender and soft that one would doubt their eyes in wonder thinking how could one person be so different.

The man smiled bitterly with an apologetic expression as his gaze fell on Li Yan's bulging belly. Seeing the relieved look on her face and her haggard but otherwise safe appearance, the man finally released the breath that he had been holding while a fiery flame of fury surged in his heart.

"Yan'er, please forgive me for being so late. Go to the Wang Family for now and wait for me there. Firstly, I must chase that dog to wherever he came from." The man said calmly, his gaze once again turning to her bulging belly. Feeling pained and guilty, he averted his gaze and said solemnly, "And… Take care of our child."

Li Yan blushed as she looked at her husband with a tender, loving gaze and nodded reluctantly. The man in front of her was her husband and the father of the child that was growing in her belly. He was the reason for her confidence and faith. He was Li Junwei.

Li Junwei smiled gently before his expression became stoic once again. After exchanging looks with old man Huo and Yao Wuhan, he pulled the reins of his horse, the horse jumped high, and then galloped onwards.

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