This thought was only a strange idea that flickered briefly before vanishing. At this moment, Yujia could not afford to think of anything else besides a pure conscious stream of
"how to not fall off
The survival mindset was real.
As the horse— no, absolute demon-creature— galloped on through the woods, tearing through branches and bamboo, twisting and turning in all sorts of directions, Yujia clung onto its reins and neck for dear life.
She couldn't even bother to care about anything, such as the direction she was going, or how much time had passed since "Little Cutie"— no, "Little Demon"— began to gallop. All she could think about was her attempt of staying on the horse.
Perhaps it was adrenaline doing its job, since Yujia didn't feel too much fatigue as she clung on for dear life. The scenery around her flashed by in colorful blurs, but she didn't even dare to lift her head to look. She just squeezed her eyes shut, tried to stay put on the horse without getting thrown off, and prayed to all the deities she could think of.
If she came out of this entire ordeal in a whole piece—
At this thought, the horse suddenly froze in its steps.
It took a few seconds for the pause in rapid gallop and the thudding of hooves to register in Yujia's mind. When it did, she slowly moved her head up, taking a bold look at everything around her.
The world, to her shock, did not present itself in flashes of indiscernible colors. Instead, everything was still.
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The motionless world startled her. In fact, seeing how tranquil everything was, Yujia felt even more nauseous than before.
Her first thought: she was alive.
Her second thought: she needed to get off.
Yujia didn't waste any time sitting around and pondering her nausea on the horse.
Only two seconds after she realized the horse stopped, she immediately let go of the reins and clumsily scrambled off the mare. Then, she stumbled backwards, swiftly putting as much distance as she could between herself and the demon.
Once she was a secure distance away, Yujia looked at "Little Demon", who was now peacefully grazing in the grass as if nothing had ever happened. The two had stopped in a grassy clearing in the midst of the bamboo forest.
Yujia glared in its direction, an immediate string of colorful curses flying out of her mouth. All the times in the past where she contained herself, speaking properly to fit the time period, went to the back of her mind. The absolute rage and shock from the ordeal she just had to go through broke those barriers of etiquette.
She had to vent her anger in some way, and cursing was just the best method.
Her rant of curses went on for what felt like a solid five minutes, but the horse only continued to graze, not paying any attention to her words.
When Yujia paused to catch her breath, the horse finally looked up at her, sending a glare filled with equally as much murderous intent as she had been giving it. It then reared back, neighing loudly, and Yujia took a few steps back in more caution.
The moment she stumbled back, "Little Demon" dropped back down, snorting as if laughing at her.
That was when Yujia decided that if she had enough physical strength, she would love to murder "Little Demon" right at the spot.
Strangulation sounded awfully appealing.
But sadly, she was a sickly, poisoned girl who was pretty much skin and bones, neither fat nor muscle existing in her two arms. Even if she wasn't completely worn out from the ride, she wouldn't have any strength to strangle the demon's neck anyways.
"Little Demon" looked at her for one last time, then turned its head and trotted away, as if it couldn't bother to spare another second around this human. And Yujia wasn't sorry to see it go at all— the further away the chestnut mare was, the better.
Yujia didn't want to relive that insane horseback ride again.
Once the mare was out of her sight, Yujia sighed loudly and dropped down in the tall grass. She stared up at the open sky above her.
That name rang out loudly in her head.
Yujia sat back up.
She was going to kill him.
He tricked her! He absolutely, positively, one-hundred percent tricked her. And the worst part was, she fell for it.
Was this his whole plan all along? To just take revenge on her for drawing a cat face on him? Except, wasn't that just too petty of him? She only drew some cute whiskers on him, while he was out her trying to take her life.
He claimed that he just wanted to race with her, but after what he did today, Yujia doubted his true motives. If "Little Demon" was really that timid mare he claimed she was, would Yujia have gone through the events she went through? He claimed that the horse belonged to his sister, but thinking about it, the Bo Family didn't even have a young miss, as far as Yujia knew!
At this moment, fury boiled up inside of Yujia.
Zhizhong and her had a good relationship up until now. She knew that Zhizhong likely didn't mean to hurt her, but still, that fear she felt when the horse started galloping was very much real. She couldn't help the desirable idea of smacking Zhizhong replaying in her thoughts.
Her heart still raced at the thought of riding the horse, but not to the point where she was reliving the memories, or going through the fear that crawled into her heart after nearly drowning. Perhaps it was the fact that Yujia was never harmed by the horse, or that the shock and adrenaline that rushed through her during the event made the whole event feel a lot less personal. Yujia couldn't even believe that she rode a horse through all of the woods, and was still altogether in one piece.
Regardless of all this, Yujia was just tired. Thoroughly tired.
She waved the thoughts of horses and Bo Zhizhong out of her mind, then collapsed back into the grass. Above her, the sky was as blue as always. Today was a clear day without clouds, unlike the past few days which had been a combination of clouds dotting the sky. In Yujia's eyes, the pure blue was beautiful, but she also missed the rain.
Would it rain anytime soon? It hadn't for a whole month now, ever since she transmigrated. She missed the clean smell of air after a good rainstorm, where the storm carried away all the dirt and grime with it.
Yujia closed her eyes, breathing deeply and calming herself.
No more horses, no more Bo Zhizhong, no more races, no more games.
Just alone, cradled by the blades of grass, listening to the rustling leaves, and feeling the cool breeze drift by, Yujia cut the strings of stress from her life one by one until there was nothing else except for her with herself.
And then, a wet nose and furry face woke Yujia up.
She found herself face to face with a grinning dog panting over her.
Yujia's eyes immediately flew open from the half-closed state she was in. She flinched up, startled, and the dog took a few steps back as well.
"Who are you?" she blurted, shrinking back.
She wasn't afraid of dogs. But getting caught unprepared by the sudden face of this dog, nose to nose with her as she laid down in the grass, did startle her.
The dog, obviously, could not speak. If it did, Yujia probably would've just quit life at this moment. There were too many chaotic things today, and a speaking dog wasn't making anything any better.
But the dog did grin.
Yujia had never seen a smiling dog. But this dog had a crooked one, with eyes curved up like crescent moons and lips curled back. It was both amusing and also offputting.
Seeing that the dog had neatly groomed fur, Yujia thought that it might not be a stray. She worried for a second about rabies, but recalling how the dog behaved around her, she didn't think that it was a rabid dog.
The dog sat down next to her, panting. He seemed out of breath and tired just like her, though it was still grinning widely.
Yujia observed the dog for another moment. He didn't have any collar, but because of his fur being so clean and well-combed, Yujia was fairly convinced at this point that it wasn't a stray. The dog, besides its grin, had a honey-colored coat with white fur lining his stomach, and short triangular ears that stuck up. His tail was bushy and swished side to side.
After sniffing Yujia all over for a few moments— it was a ticklish experience— it trotted off a few steps to the right and peed on a tree.
Yujia let out a laugh, and the dog came scampering back to her. He kept grinning, then licked her face.
Ah. He was really too cute. She had no idea who this dog was, or where it came from, but she knew one thing for sure: he sure was adorable.
Yujia couldn't hold back anymore and reached forward with two hands, patting the dog. She rubbed him on the back, and his grin seemed even wider now.
"I don't know who you are," she said with a hum threaded through her voice, "or what you're even doing here. Where's your master, hm?"
The dog barked in response, then pawed her, as if to say, 'keep patting'.
That was when— speak of the devil— Yu Zixu burst through the forest, stumbling out into the grass clearing.
Yujia blinked twice. Was she seeing things correctly?
That was the last person she expected. And this timing as well— he appeared right after she asked the dog who his master was.
What was this coincidence?
Yujia considered for a serious moment if she was seeing the wrong person. It couldn't be Yu Zixu. She thought that he was busy. What was he doing in the forest?
But Zixu— it was definitely Zixu, despite Yujia's denial— looked in her direction. His gaze skimmed over her and only fell on the dog next to her.
"Mimi!" he exclaimed, then rushed in her direction with open arms.
Yujia stared at Yu Zixu. Then she looked back at the dog, who was happily running towards Zixu as well.
This day has been too strange. First, Bo Zhizhong and horses. Now, Yu Zixu and dogs…
She admitted that she was a bit speechless.
The horse was going at the speed of light, and Yujia was a very terrified time traveller. Somewhere, in between all of her screams and completely incomprehensible thoughts, Yujia suddenly had a sudden idea: if a person who belonged to the current time period transmigrated to the modern world and got in a racecar, would they feel the nausea and terror that she was going through right now?