Just as Lu Jinnian had predicted, at about noon, an elderly and middle-aged man came into the cave. In one hand, they held hunting guns and in the other, they had a random a.s.sortment of animals.
They seemed surprised to see living humans so deep inside the deserted forest. The historical robe that Qiao Anhao wore shocked them further. They froze, thinking that they had encountered a monster.
Lu Jinnian explained their predicament to them in detail, and only then did the two hunters seemed to calm down and regain their senses. Without hesitation, they agreed to help both Qiao Anhao and Lu Jinnian come back to safety.
The forest road was harsh. With her leg injury, Qiao Anhao wasn't able to tread through by herself, so Lu Jinnian carried her instead.
Even thought the elderly man had a full head of white hair and long snowy beard, his footsteps were swift and agile, with no indication of his age. But when he saw Lu Jinnian with Qiao Anhao on his back, he slowed down significantly, even helping to support him when the path started to became harsher.
Through the conversation, Qiao Anhao found out that they were father and son and were hunters. The elderly man didn't speak much, but the younger man smiled cheerfully as he told them that they were lucky to have met them since they would only come every three to five days. If they had been here any earlier, they might have had to wait for up to three or four days.
It was only three hours later when they reached the entrance of the village. It was rather small and filled with wooden houses.
While they were walking over, the pair realized that Qiao Anhao was injured, so the moment they reached the village, they led them to the only health center.
The village was rural and surrounded by mountains. Even though roads had just been built, the conditions in the village were still harsh. The medical center wasn't very advanced, and there was only one doctor who applied a thin layer of medicine onto Qiao Anhao's wound.
After the wound was treated, the hunters brought them to their home. The moment they entered the house, the younger man shouted. Moments after, a middle-aged woman came out. When she saw Lu Jinnian and Qiao Anhao, her gaze turned curious, and her husband explained the situation. She turned back to Lu Jinnian and Qiao Anhao, enthusiastically welcoming them into the house for a meal.
The middle-aged women didn't expect the additional guests, so she was worried that there wouldn't be enough food and headed back to boil another two bowls of noodles.
After the meal, the woman brought them to the west house. She pointed towards a room and told them that she had prepared it for them.
The room had soil flooring and didn't have much furniture. The bed sheets were visibly fresh and clean but looked worn with st.i.tching at the edges.
Beside the bed, there was a water flask and two cups on a black, wooden table. The cups looked new, clearly untouched since the day they were bought.
The middle-aged woman didn't disrupt them. She just told them to inform her if they needed anything before closing the door.
The cave conditions had been bad, so Lu Jinnian and Qiao Anhao hadn't gotten much rest. On top of that, since Lu Jinnian had carried her for such a long walk, he was indeed tired. The moment they laid on the bed, they fell into deep sleep.