Chapter 39 – Gambling and Losing (1)
Deep in the woods, the group stumbled upon a lakeside forest which the sika deer find most pleasing to live. Sika deers have a particular liking towards cleanliness and silence just as what this place appeared to be. Nonetheless, they are very social animals which are quick in running in the presence of danger.
Autumn is the season when the does are in heat. At this time, they will appear restless and will have losses in appetite. With the females in the herd in heat, male deer are fierce and aggressive, so hunters must be more careful than usual.
Ye Zhen rolled over, dismounted and walked slowly in the grass. She saw a sika deer feasting on the grass with its head bowed. Lu Lingzhi’s brothers walked behind her with one eye on the sika deer and the other on Ye Zhen moving with stealth through the forest. Her sandals slowly touched the dirt and she crouched low after fathering the hems of her gown.
Tang Zhen soon arrived and saw only three horses on the other side and no one. He made a sign with others to disperse and go hunting. He took a few steps to the front and found a slight noise in the grass. He thought it was prey but when he looked intently, he saw that it was only Ye Zhen and her brothers.
He bent down and walked past them, only to find a sika deer not far from them —Ye Zhen was eyeing it intensely. Tang Zhen held his breath and did not move forward again for fear of alerting the sika deer.
Ye Zhen has pulled out the bow and arrow, positioned her arm, ready to launch. When she released the arrow, doubt crept on her face all of a sudden and she intentionally budges the bow a little to the left. As a result, the arrow hit not the deer, but the grass it was eating!
The sika deer jumped and ran as fast as it could deeper in the forest.
Frustrated, Ye Zhen’s eyebrow wrinkled up, giving an almost murderous look towards his companions. After brushing her knees, she stood erect and gathered her bow and arrow in her frail arms. “I’ll find the next prey.” She whispered to Lu Xiangzhi.
“Why didn’t you shoot it?” Lu Lingzhi asked in a low voice.
Ye Zhen turned around and found Tang Zhen behind. He and Lu Lingzhi had a look of confusion on their faces. It was such an excellent opportunity wasted! Why did she not shoot down the sika deer?
“Third sister, don’t you want my silver whip?” Tang Zhen asked with a playful smile.
Lu Xiangzhi answered before Ye Zhen could throw a word, “Just now, it was a female deer and is pregnant. A pregnant female deer shall not be killed.”
Ye Zhen was slightly stunned in her heart. She didn’t expect Lu Xiangzhi held dear to the same principle This brought her to thinking of Lu Yaoyao. He and her twin sister always did the same thing in the past. Surprisingly, although she and her sister did not grow up together, many of their habits were the same! Feeling remorse in her heart, Ye Zhen thought that if they grew together, she and Lu Yaoyao would have agreed on so many things.
“Third younger sister, I’m afraid your kindness will cause your defeat,” said Tang Zhen before belting a laugh.
Ye Zhen said flatly, “The prosperity of all things requires continuous growth. If hunters kill even the pregnant female deers sooner or later, there will be no deers to hunt anymore! What kind of hunting did you wish to play then? Killing the youngs are benevolent enough, let alone butchering the pregnant does.”
Tang Zhen didn’t expect Ye Zhen to say such a thing, and he couldn’t help but admire. “What the third sister said is true.” The corners of Lu Lingzhi’s lips lifted as he watched the exchange. Judging by her origin, he didn’t expect her to have such reasonable insights about these things.
Guess what, Lu Lingzhi was in for more of her surprises.