The only thing she wished at this very moment was to enter a deep slumber and sleep for a long, long time never waking up.
Her entire body felt limp with exhaustion, as walking that long distance had already burned all the energy she recovered.
All of a sudden, a roar of thunder clapped, and the rain poured like a raging river. The happily chatting townsfolk ran for cover from the torrential rains.
Those who had opened up stalls in the middle of the streets tried their best to carry their goods searching for a dry spot.
It was not a surprise that rain would come pouring down upon them, the clouds had been accumulating for the past few days now.
Yet, it would always be a surprise to see the clouds let go of all the water after it had been collected for a while.
As for Xue'er, she was now defenseless beneath the blanket of water that was pouring down upon her. Her clothes had been thoroughly soaked, the clothes on her body clung tightly to her skin, all doused with the cold rainwater.
She was too lazy to notice or even shiver, as she had long gotten used to the cold a long time ago. To some, she may have appeared to be a corpse, if not for the frosted breath that came from her lips.
When she heard the orderly footsteps of a person coming towards her, she struggled to open her eyes to see who it was.
It was a man dressed in a water-resistant coak of large dried leaves, with a farmer's hat made to block rain and shine. The large hat had blocked up most of his face, leaving it hard to discern his features hidden in the shadow. The rain that poured onto his cloak carefully dripped off his cloak and onto the ground, mixing in with the rest of the rainwater.
"You should leave." The man's impatient voice resounded in Xue'er's ears. The voice was deep and did not bring much comfort to one's ears.
Xue'er internally wondered if that man did not see her drenched like a soaked cat, anyone in their right mind would know that she wasn't here by choice. Would anyone decide to allow themselves to sleep in the open rain?
Xue'er ignored him and continued laying on the doorstep as though she had not heard him.
"Husband, what's the matter." A gentle woman's voice called out to him. The front door to the doorstep Xue'er was laying on opened. She could hear the wooden door silently swing open.
Xue'er could clearly hear the footsteps of the woman as she prepared to come out, yet was abruptly stopped by her husband.
"My dear, you should not be out in the rain like this." The man's voice held a deep concern, as he went forward to support her, making sure the water from his coat did not touch her.
The woman seemed to have gotten a glimpse of the little girl laid in front of her doorstep and was slightly shocked before recovering.
"Why don't we bring her in?" The woman asked her husband.
"Have you forgotten why we're here?" he asked.
He was prepared to decline, but when he saw the compassion his wife held in her beautiful teary eyes, he found himself unable to do so. Thus, he carried the girl that was on his doorstep into his home. The clothes that had been soaking wet dripped onto the floor.
Xue'er noticed that the environment around her had changed, now she could make out a blob of darkness around her. She knew she was being carried by someone as her skin had always been sensitive to the change in temperature.
The woman changed Xue'er's clothes in the bedroom before putting her on the bed to rest. While her husband took off his rain cloak and allowed the water to slip off in a corner.
"Husband." The woman called out to her beloved, as her face expressed a trace of worry. She unconsciously touched her belly.
"My dear, it'll be fine." Her husband said to calm her down, patting her shoulders, "We will soon make our way to the north, I've asked around, we will leave after the new year." He told her as he gave her a warm embrace.
The woman gave a forced smile as she looked at her belly. She felt as though it was growing larger every passing day.
True, a child was a bundle of joy and a miricle, but under such circumstances she could not feel the joy of becoming a mother. Instead, she felt more like a burden that weighed on her husband's shoulders.
A life that was on the run, hiding from everyone, not even daring to use their true names.
That was the future for them.
Was this the life that she truly wanted to bring a child into?