Yang Guo stroked its head and said, “We just want your milk, and we won’t kill you.”
Li Mochou then placed the baby at a teat. The baby was starving and suckled immediately. The leopard could provide a lot of milk and as soon as the baby was full she closed her eye and slept.
Their gaze never left the baby girl as she fed and fell asleep. The two were filled with delight as they watched her smiling in her sleep and they smiled at each other.
The smile shared between these two dissolved most of the wariness between them. Li Mochou’s face was filled with tenderness and she hummed a song as she held the baby in her arms. Yang Guo found some soft hay and made a bed on a large rock beneath a shady tree. He said, “Let her sleep here!”
Li Mochou quickly signaled with her hand, telling him to be quiet. Yang Guo stuck out his tongue and made a face at her. As he watched the baby sleep peacefully, he gave a sigh of relief before turning his heads to the cubs who were feeding off their mother.
The scent of flowers filled the air, a warm breeze blew through their clothes, the aura of death disappeared as both man and beast felt at ease.
Yang Guo had been through hell and high water in the past few days and it was only now that he could unwind. But it was in the strangest of circumstances; there was a cold blooded murderer to one side of him and a vicious beast on the other.
Li Mochou sat beside the baby and used her fly whisk to chase away the forest’s flies. Her fly whisk had killed countless people and could send shivers down the spines of the people of Wulin; yet now it was doing the first kind thing it had ever done.
Yang Guo watched Li Mochou as she stared at the baby. Sometimes there was a smile, at others there would be sadness on her face. She would look overwhelmed then suddenly, peace would fill her face. Yang Guo guessed that she must have been looking back on her life. He did not know much about her; all he knew were a few things that Cheng Ying and Lu Wushuang had told him. Behind all these cruel and vicious acts was someone who must have endured bitter suffering; he had always hated her but right now, he couldn’t stop himself from pitying her a little.
After a while, Li Mochou lifted her head and her eyes met Yang Guo’s. She was slightly taken aback by this. She said quietly, “It’s getting dark, what are we going to do about tonight.”
Yang Guo looked around and said, “We can’t take that big leopard with us, we’ll find a cave to spend the night in for the time being and decide on what to do tomorrow.” Li Mochou nodded her head.
Yang Guo looked all around and eventually found a cave that was just about suitable. He gathered some long grass and made a small and large bed in the middle of the cave. He said, “Martial Uncle Li, rest here, I’ll go find something to eat.” He then went off in search of some food. He was back within the hour with three rabbits and some wild fruits. He untied the leopard’s mouth and fed one of the rabbits to it. He then gathered some firewood and roasted the other two rabbits for Li Mochou and himself. Afterwards, Yang Guo said, “Martial Uncle Li, go to sleep, I’ll go outside and guard the cave.” He took out a long rope and suspended it between two trees, and slept on the rope in midair.
This didn’t surprise Li Mochou at all; after all, it was a skill of the Ancient Tomb. Apart from occasionally traveling with her disciple Hong Lingbo, she had always wandered alone. Tonight she had spent time with Yang Guo who tended to all her needs; what a contrast it was to the all the times she spent alone in the wild. As she thought about this, she sighed.