Cheng Yujin’s heart skipped as she realized the mistake she had just committed. Just now, she rushed forward in a moment of urgency. However, rescuing a person who fell into the water in winter was completely different from summer. It was best for the rescuer not to come directly, but to find a long bamboo pole to pull the victim back to the shore carefully. Otherwise, with more people stepped on the ice, it would only increase the danger.
But now, she had no way to retreat. If she went back now, the ice she had stepped once would bear her weight for the second time, and there was a danger that it would break faster. What’s even more important was that if she retreated in the full view of so many people, regardless of whether she was doing it for a better rescue of not, they would only think that she was a coward who ran away when a small child was in danger.
At this moment, a small crack sounded, and the already fragile ice finally shattered under the child’s panicked steps. The child fell into the opened hole in an instant and was severely shocked by the icy river water.
Cheng Yujin’s heart almost stopped beating. In the next second, she also jumped into the water. The temperature of the river in the winter was freezing. The moment she submerged, Cheng Yujin trembled so hard that she lost her body control for a moment. Cheng Yujin tried to pull the child, but found that her cloak was too heavy after absorbing water. She tremblingly untied the cloak and continued swimming towards the child.
Fortunately, the ice hole was still not too big, but the child was shocked by the icy water and almost lost his ability to react. Cheng Yujin grabbed him, trying to find a block of sturdy ice to shore up, but the ice floating nearby was too thin. After a long time, Cheng Yujin was unable to find a layer of ice sturdy enough to carry the weight of two people, and her strength was quickly draining out as she struggled to keep herself and the child afloat.
Cheng Yujin immediately realized that she was in great danger. Falling into the water during the winter was different than during the summer. If it was summer, as long as there were enough people around, the rescue was easy. But in the winter, the water temperature was very low. Once she ran out of energy and unable to keep herself afloat, it was over. The ice layer covered the entire surface of the river. If she were drifted under the ice and couldn’t find a gap to float, she would either be frozen or suffocated to death. A layer of ice separated her and the people on the surface. Even if they wanted to save her, there was nothing they could do.
Cheng Yujin tried to help the child up first. He was lighter than her and would be safe on thinner ice. Cheng Yujin found a block of ice that was not too transparent and told the child to try his best to climb up while she helped pushing him from below.
However, just by this one action, the block of ice started to show a thin crack. Both Cheng Yujin and the child were exhausted. By this point, all the people near enough to the river had noticed this incident. Du Ruo and Lian Qiao were in panic. They wanted to rush out to save Cheng Yujin, but they were held back by Lin Qingyuan. Lin Qingyuan’s hometown in Jin’an province often had incidents of people falling into the water during the winter, so he knew what to do in this situation. He stopped Cheng Yujin’s two servant girls from getting on the ice, then took a long bamboo pole from a nearby stall and directed the crowd around to use the bamboo pole to pull the two people.
The child’s parents also rushed over. Seeing the sight before her eyes, the mother was so frightened that her legs lost their strength, and she almost fell to the ground. The people nearby quickly followed Lin Qingyuan’s instruction. They took a long bamboo pole from the nearest stall and pushed it towards the child to pull him back to safety. Once the child reached the place with thick enough ice, a few adults swarmed down and carried him to the land.
In contrast, Cheng Yujin’s situation was much more dangerous. Just now, she had spent half of her energy pushing the child up onto the ice. Once he was above, he was already half safe, and his rescue went smoothly. However, Cheng Yujin herself lost a lot of much-needed physical strength. When she first entered the water, her hands and feet were tingling under the stimulation of icy temperature, but now, she gradually felt her limbs slowly became stiff and numb.
Du Ruo and a few more people tried their best to extend another long pole to Cheng Yujin, and even risked standing on the ice themselves. However, Cheng Yujin was so exhausted that she couldn’t even swim the short distance. Lin Qingyuan saw that the situation was not good and immediately said: “She had spent too much energy and is now exhausted. Hold my cloak—I will go into the water to rescue her.”
Lin Qingyuan took off his cloak and outer coat and immediately shivered from the cold wind. Lin family’s book boy who accompanied him strongly opposed. Lin Qingyuan himself also momentarily hesitated after feeling the freezing temperature on his skin. It was during this slight pause that another splashing sound came from the other side of the river.
Lin Qingyuan turned his head in surprise. Under various lanterns’ intertwined lights, he saw a familiar face on the opposite bank.
That was Cheng Yuanjing’s attendant, whom Lin Qingyuan vaguely remembered to be called Liu Yi. Lin Qingyuan frequently went in and out of the Cheng family’s manor and thus was familiar with Liu Yi. At this moment, the usually calm Liu Yi was like an ant on a hot pan: anxious, scared, and panicked.
Cheng Yujin’s two servant girls, Du Ruo and Lian Qiao, yelled without regard for their identity and almost jumped up in joy: “It’s Ninth Master! Miss is saved now!”
They both yelled and hurriedly ran to the other side of the river. The onlookers there also stretched their necks, pointing towards the unexpected development. Seeing Lin Qingyuan was staring intently at the river, Lin family’s book boy held his arm tightly, afraid that the young man would also jump down. The book boy hurriedly said: “Young Master, the water in the winter is too dangerous. Your swimming ability is just average. Please don’t take such a risk!”
A wry smile appeared on Lin Qingyuan’s face, which looked even gloomier under the lanterns’ dim lights: “No need.”
“This is our difference. I was about to jump into the water only because there are no better alternatives. But he, the moment he saw eldest miss Cheng in the water, immediately jumped down to save her.”
“…Young Master, what are you talking about?”
Lin Qingyuan shook his head. He stopped talking and took his cloak from the book boy.
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