Chan Fang Li didn't like what she was hearing. Her mother was no longer young, but she didn't need any help going around. But because of the news, it was unwise for her mother to travel alone. She nodded agreeing with her father. She might not be good with combat but she had good eyes and was a passable archer when she went hunting. Hopefully, there wouldn't be an ambush of any kind.
"Don't worry too much, dear," Jia smiled at her husband. "Fang Li and I will be fine. We'll be in town only a while. We won't be buying much; there's still enough in the pantry to keep us going for a week or so." She stooped down to pat her son on the head. "Now, I'm putting you in charge of keeping your father out of trouble, alright? It's a big responsibility. Are you up for it?"
Xuzhu nodded smiling. Eager to live up to his mother's expectations, putting up a strong face as they said goodbye to one another.
When Jia and Fang were further down the road, Jia turned to her daughter with a smile. "Worried?"
Fang nodded. "Why would they come here? We have nothing. Not even a large standing army. I don't understand it! Why do we little people always have to pay?"
"We'll never know, but we always have to survive for as long as we can. It's hard, but we should never give up, agree?"
Fang smiled back. "Agreed. We--"
A rustle came from the right just up the road. Fang tensed and held onto her mother. "Let's get off the road," she whispered to her mother and crept out of the path behind a tree. Fang's heart was beating so loud, she thought anyone could hear it. Her hand trembled as she hid her mother, hoping whoever it was wouldn't see them at all.