The night sky over the grassland is spacious and lofty. It is distinct from the cloudy and misty sky over the center of Chuan province. Because of industrial pollution, it’s more and more difficult to see stars there.
Dun Zhu has no broken bones so she can be out of the hospital the next day. She comes back home with lots of medicine prescribed by her doctor.
Dun Zhu is wounded in the leg so the job of livestock grazing falls to Ze Yitong and Anar. Luckily, they can look after cattle and sheep under the collaborative work.
Ze Yitong can take part in the Naqu Horse Race meeting, so she cannot figure out how to pay for her nana’s surgery soon. As a result, she is a little unhappy when whipping up the horse. Anar finishes grazing and goes home. She collects some leftover leather materials and makes them into a rope. Ze Yitong sees Anar, but she doesn’t pay much attention because she is in a bad mood.
“Ze Yitong, do you still want to participate in the Naqu Horse Race?” Anar pulls the rope in her hands to make sure it is strong enough.
Ze Yitong’s mouth twitches. She really wants to race. However, her nana is old and infirm, and her mom injures her leg. She is not sure if she can attend the trade fair, let alone the horse racing.
Anar looks down at her dress. She got her leather boots from the bottom of the lake. The rope is strong enough and the leather bag is full of some pieces of rare roast lamb. When Anar was grazing these days, she intentionally rode away to check out places around Silver Lake. With all these good preparations, maybe she can give it a shot?
Ze Yitong looks at smiling Anar, feeling very puzzled. “Ajia, what are you smiling about?”
Anar lifts the rope, giving Ze Yitong a sign to stay low.
At first, Ze Yitong does not know what she means. Then in whispers, Anar asks her where the finest grass is on the grassland. Ze Yitong finally figures it out.
Her eyes are wide open with a look of excitement and surprise, “Ajia, you are too bold… It won’t work!”
Anar shushes her, “If we don’t try, we’ll never know if it can work, right? Come on, I will tell you the plan while walking.”
Dun Zhu’s voice drifts out from the yurt. Anar speaks louder and tells Dun Zhu and nana that she and Ze Yitong are about to leave immediately.
Flashing out the whip, Anar and Ze Yitong, who have a lot in her mind, lead cattle and sheep to graze as usual. Beside the yurt, Nana looks at their backs disappearing in the distance.
“Ajia, can it work?”
Ze Yitong is destroying the wildflowers in her hands. Her nails are grimed with the juice of flowers. The grass under her feet has also been flattened.
Anar nods, “When you get back, just persuade your mom Dun Zhu and nana to take other herders’ carts. And you are responsible for driving cattle and sheep to the Naqu Town… If things go well, I will be there before horse racing.”
Ze Yitong mutters, “What if things don’t go well?”
Anar bursts into laughter, “Even if I can’t succeed, I will still go to the trade fair to barter for us. When you go back, don’t mention anything about horse racing. You just tell them that I have found some clues about my identity so I won’t be back in a few days.”
Ze Yitong is in a bit of a dilemma. She grew up on the grassland so she definitely knows how difficult it is to catch wild horses. She also heard about people catching wild horses, but it can only be done with full preparation. Firstly, a group of men of the grass scatters wild horses. And then they besiege and catch horses together… So, she knows how hard it will be for Anar to do that all by herself. However, deep in the little girl’s mind, she has an idea that Anar is so smart and knowledgeable that she won’t do things that she is not so sure about. Can she really make it?
Anar sees the little girl’s look, knowing that she has almost convinced her.
So she tries harder, analyzing the pros and cons and promising to protect herself. Ze Yitong finally agrees to the plan.
It has proven to be that the finest grass on the grassland is right opposite to the Silver Lake. But something happened in Silver Lake in the past, so usually, herders are not willing to come here.
Anar pats Ze Yitong and asks her to graze cattle and sheep somewhere else. Too much sound will stop wild horses from coming here to drink or graze.
For defense, Ze Yitong gives Anar a small dagger that never left her since childhood. She drives flocks and herds, reluctant to leave. In the end, she slowly disappears on the grassland.
Anar pats the pony that she brings along. Her face can feel the warm breath of the pony. It is a little sad to leave her.
Anar makes a tough decision, driving it away. The pony runs in the direction of where Ze Yitong grazes to catch her up.
Only Anar stays. She braids her hair and walks across the Silver Lake. With the dagger, Anar carefully chooses a piece of fine grass and slowly pulls it out, together with the ground.
Her movements are gentle, and every step is done very carefully. It takes her a long time to completely peel off a piece of pasture larger than a person. Then Anar starts digging on the ground where the pasture was removed.
She throws the soil dug out into the lake little by little.
Finally, there is a large pit on the ground, enough to fit a grown man. Anar lies down to have a try and puts on a satisfied smile.
At this moment, the sky is aglow with sunset colors. Anar has worked for a long time, and now she feels hungry.
She takes out lamb in the leather bag and nibbles it in silence.
What kind of person was she before? Why can she know the steps of catching wild horses? An ordinary woman can’t even think about such a dangerous thing. Only she can calmly come up with this plan with confidence… She suddenly thinks of the three of Ze Yitong. Now they should be on the way to Naqu Town.
After Anar finishes off the lamb, she drinks the water of the Silver Lake from her cupped hands.
Footprints nearby show that these wild horses have not been here to drink and eat for several days. If the grass by the Silver Lake is really the finest one on the whole grassland, then the horse of heaven, as quick as lightning, will definitely come here. Even if other wild horses won’t be here to eat—the king of all horses must eat the most delicious grass on the grassland. It deserves that!
There is a determined look on Anar’s face. Man proposes and God disposes of. She had to do something for her family so that she can return the favor that Dun Zhu saved her and took her in.
If it’s just catching an ordinary wild horse, with her formidable power, Anar is 70% or 80% sure of success.
However, though the speed of wild horses is fast, it’s still difficult for her to win with her mediocre equestrian skill.
As for the horse of heaven, as flawless as white jade—Anar didn’t want Ze Yitong to worry about her, so she didn’t tell the little girl what she always wants to catch is the horse of heaven, very sacred horse in the eyes of all herders!
About catching the horse of heaven, she thinks she only has a 10% chance…
Anar spends the first night by the lake and she is almost frozen.
The temperature drops sharply on the grassland at night, so she ha to hide in the pit she dug during the day. Anar finds some waterweeds to cover her body and then she makes an air outlet. She just spends the night in this way. When the morning comes, Anar stretches out and breathes a sigh of relief.
For a moment, she remembers that she once had a similar experience in a snowy and icy day. She also dug a cave to protect herself from the cold. However, when she thinks about it carefully, the memory disappears again.
She has been waiting carefully beside the Silver Lake for a whole day. There are no sheep, not to mention wild horses that come to drink water.
Anar also doesn’t know why she can be so patient. When she is hungry, she eats lamb. When she is thirsty, she drinks water from Silver Lake. She doesn’t do these things near the pit, for she needs to keep the trap the way it is before wild horses come.
Time is going by so fast and soon it’s the third day. Anar is a little anxious this day.
In the evening, she finally knows the reason for her restlessness. There are three wild wolves with green eyes drinking by the Silver Lake… Anar clenches the sharp dagger in her hand.
These wild wolves have already smelled the breath of a stranger, so they try to outflank the haystack where she is hiding.
Anar is holding her breath. If she is surrounded by these wolves, she will definitely be in danger.
She grits her teeth and suddenly jumps on a wild wolf. She is agile in her movements.. It’s like a reflex for her to avoid sharp wolf teeth and stab it in the neck with a dagger.
The warm blood of the wolf spurts over her leather skirt. Anar glimpses another wolf coming at her. She kicks the wild wolf so hard that it falls back on the grass and can’t get up for a long time.
The other wolf is totally petrified. On ‘their impression, an isolated human is nothing but food. It never considers that one day a woman will change this fact.
This “food” is too powerful. Two wolves are injured in a face-to-face fight. Anar firmly holds the dagger and stares at the third wolf. They are in a stalemate for half an hour. The wolf stabbed in the neck is going to bleed to death. Finally, the remaining two wolves are terrified and decide to withdraw, carrying the injured wolf.
Before they leave, they turn their heads and take a good look at Anar, as if they want to keep her in mind.
Being alert for another half an hour, Anar believes that they won’t be back. She is exhausted and almost collapses to the ground.
Stabbing the wolf, swift kick… all her movements are very smooth, like the instinctive reaction of her body—maybe she was really a hunter before?
Anar shakes her head with a bitter smile. What times is she living in? Now there are few people hunting for a living, let alone a woman who does so. Looking at her hands, she doesn’t even have a cocoon. How could she do that kind of work?
She frowns when she sees the wolf blood all over the ground. The blood there can be covered by soil. As for that on her leather skirt and boots, she can only wash them immediately.
Anar puts up with bitter coldness and washes her boots and leather skirt. She is hesitating whether to make a fire to keep herself warm tonight or not. At this moment, she hears a synchronized sound of hooves from the distance, like an army heading for a city. The grassland is actually shaking.
Thousands of armies, thousands of horses…The dust becomes thicker and thicker.
Anar’s look changes. She throws the pungent lamb she carries into the lake. Anar hurries to the trap and finally gets there in time. She hides in the pit before horses cross the grassy hill, and covers herself with the large piece of pasture she peeled off before.
The sound of horses is as neat as that of a snare drum, knocking on Anar’s heart.
Anar has thrown all her food away. She only has this chance so she must seize it. Anar cheers herself up. She can see that the horses are coming in this direction. Lying still in the pit, her right-hand holds tightly to the strong rope that has been tied to a loop.