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Chapter 25: Respect the Elderly
Sympathy and compassion were emotions ordinary people had. But long trips were full of danger. Even some cultivators would pay attention to their endurance and mental state. No one wished for accidents and with that an increase in their burden.
Seeing Zhang Yi walk over to care for this old man, most people in the caravan felt no admiration or shame. They had dismissive or scornful expressions.
Everyone could see that this old man was not vomiting because he had eaten something bad or he had sunstroke. This old man was too weak of health. And because of his weak state, this kind of situation would occur repeatedly in the upcoming long journey. He could even die here.
Since he had started taking care now, then he could not give up in the future. Taking care of this old man would become his own matter.
Even more importantly, this old person’s temper was strange. He may have been an old Yan veteran forced into hard labor after being captured in the old war. He was extremely disrespectful to the people of the caravan, and frequently used his age as a weapon. He was very dislikable.
Zhang Yi, however, had no other thoughts. An old person was unwell and needed care. If he was able, he would help. This was just as simple to him as eating when hungry, drinking when thirsty.
He did not show any displeasure due to the stench, carefully wiping away the vomit from the old man’s chest.
After taking several swallows of warm water, this old man was finally able to breath. He was dressed in grey robes and had a withered appearance. His hair was as dry as grass. As the water turned in his stomach, he felt suffocated in his chest again, and started to vomit again, disregarding that Zhang Yi was still wiping him clean.
With Zhang Yi’s present cultivation, even if the old man was a cultivator of his level and the two of them so close, he would be able to react even if the other stabbed him. Yet, he was supporting the old man with a hand on his back. Because he feared abrupt movements would cause the old man to fall off the horse, he only pulled his hand back, and turned slightly. As a result, his sleeve and the side of his robe were splashed with the old man’s vomit.
Even so, Zhang Yi felt no disgust.
Unexpectedly, the old man grew angry. He looked at the water sac and said angrily in a Yan accent, “I feel so uncomfortable but you still feed me water. You think I am not vomiting enough!”
Hearing the old man’s angry speech, the caravan members who had been staying away frowned, and thought that this old man was senile.
Zhang Yi also stilled. He was not angry and bowed slightly to apologize, then explained softly. “If you vomit too much, you will lose water easily. In humid heat like this, it would be more unbearable for your body.”
The old man retched, the sound coming from his abdomen and throat making the people travelling with their heads low uncomfortable. Yet the old man sneered and said unclearly, “Since that’s the case, you should find me herbs or salted water. Why only this lukewarm water!”
Many people grew angry at the old man’s tone, but Zhang Yi had no anger. He stilled and said, “Sir is right.”
“I will first clean you and then make salt water for you,” he said apologetically and then wiped the old man’s clothing and the saddle.
Seeing Zhang Yi so respectful, the old man’s expression grew stiff. But he was not in a good mood due to the discomfort of his body. He made a mixed sound in his throat, and then turned his head away from Zhang Yi.
Qin people, especially those from Guanzhong and Changling, did not have much tolerance for people they disliked. The leader of the caravan, Luo Zhongjing, was in his forties, had a healthy body, short cropped hair, and a clear scar on his left cheek. He sneered when he saw this old man’s response. “Cannot distinguish between good and bad. Why care for him. Have we Qin not killed many Yan people in these decades?”
Hearing this, the old man, whose eyes had been growing heavy due to exhaustion, became furious. He yelled. “You accepted my money. Are you Qin untrustworthy people?”
Luo Zhongjing looked directly at the old man and sneered. “Do you need me to return you your money right now and leave you here?”
The old man paled, and could not speak.
Zhang Yi grimaced at Luo Zhongjing and said softly, “We should respect the elderly.”
Luo Zhongjing said, “I think the elder is disrespectful.”
Zhang Yi opened his mouth and wanted to say something, but the caravan leader turned away crisply and said coldly, “We have just met. I respect Sir for your abilities and want to rely on them, but this person has frequently insulted the Qin and now does not distinguish between good and bad. We cannot stay with him. If Sir wants to take more care of him due to his age, then everything about him has nothing to do with us.”
Zhang Yi felt slightly bitter inside. Looking at the old man’s ashen face, he could not bear it, so he hesitated and nodded.
Luo Zhongjing’s expression did not change visibly. But he and the other members of the caravan pulled away from this old man.
The old man from Yan saw that he was being cut away from the rest of the caravan. His spirits fell, and he appeared faded. But as his gaze moved around, his eyes were filled with cold and dislike as he looked at Zhang Yi who constantly followed him.
The evening grew darker, and vision became obstructed. The experienced caravan leader led the caravan to a camping site to rest and cook food.
Knowing that the caravan disliked this old man greatly, Zhang Yi set up his tent away from the outskirts of the caravan tents, and then spread some herbs around to repel insects.
Seeing Zhang Yi take care of this Yan old man so carefully, most people in the caravan did not understand. But out of respect for a cultivator, someone still brought two servings of food to Zhang Yi’s tent after food was prepared.
The food during the trip was naturally simple. The main meal was boiled dried sweet potatoes, and a soup made from dried meat scraps and wild vegetables.
“I want the meat soup, not the potato soup.”
Seeing the food presented, the Yan old man who had been resting for a while showed his aggressive and unreasonable side. He took over one bowl of meat soup, and then poured the other bowl into his hand before he started to drink.
Zhang Yi frowned for the first time. He was not angry and said worriedly, “Your stomach is weak. You need to eat less and nurture yourself. It is not best to eat meat like this.”
This Yan old man seemed to not hear Zhang Yi’s words. After drinking all of the meat soup, he turned around and said coldly, “You are Qin, I am Yan, why do you help me? Who knows what thoughts you have… but no matter what thoughts you have, I urge you to be at peace. I do not have extra money, I just want to die in my homeland so I am suffering with your Qin caravan.”
“Sir misunderstands,” Zhang Yi looked at this cold-eyed old man and said sincerely, “Respecting the elderly is one’s duty.”
“There are no free meals in the world.”
The old man sneered and said, “Since you say respecting the elderly is your duty, I am uncomfortable now and want to have hot water to bathe. I see that they seem to be slightly afraid of you, you must be a rare cultivator. You should be able to get me some hot water to wash. You should know, based on my physical condition, I will get sores if I do not have hot water to bathe. Dying during the trip is inevitable.”
Zhang Yi glanced at the old man and still did not get angry. He felt that the old man spoke the truth.
He turned to look around and nodded. “Sir, please wait.”
“What does he want to do?”
People in the caravan looked with bewilderment at Zhang Yi who started to get busy.
They saw Zhang Yi borrow the metal pot the caravan used for cooking, walk to a hard stone on the hill, and then started to move his sword.
As sword light flashed, large pieces of rock flew.
As the water in the metal pot started to boil, Zhang Yi poured in filtered cold water into the rock pit, and then poured in hot water.
After testing the water temperature, he walked towards the old man.
Everyone in the caravan finally understood that he had used all this effort, and even the precious vital energy to help this old man bathe.
“Is something wrong with his head?”
The caravan leader Luo Zhongjing could not help but swear.
Translator Ramblings: Zhang Yi oh Zhang Yi.