Come to think of it, Mo Shu was undeniably a strange fellow. Nan Ge Er would sometimes ponder, in his lengthy, thirty nearing to forty years of life, he had never seen someone like Mo Shu.
He appeared to be so refined and mystical, but the truth was, aside from being a little poor and suffering from sudden bouts of idiocy, he indeed had not a single shred of the nasty habits people typically had.
Aside from having meals, his usual routine was to patrol and handle the office work every day, while occasionally taking the yamen runners out to hunt wild animals in the mountain or to catch fish in the river, so as to support the household expenses.
At least from his time staying here, he had no knowledge of Magistrate-daren going to brothels or anything of the sort—It wasn’t due to the lack of money; if Mo Shu were interested, he wouldn’t have much difficulty finding people to pay him for it, let alone him paying them.
There were no signs of Magistrate-daren abusing his power either –Actually, forget about Magistrate-daren not misusing his power, he totally went overboard. Is there any magistrate who would give his salary to the citizens, while starving himself? There is a limit to being compassionate!
And the books that Mo Shu read–The books that filled the worn out bookshelf fully were either awfully scholarly or tremendously practical. No books about legendary tales, not even any so-called pornography or other types of entertainment books, could be found on the bookshelf. The only books that could be considered leisure read were those tattered poetries, music scores, and painting albums…
Although every book was in pretty good condition, all of them were noticeably old, with wear and tear from the countless readings. Every page was marked on with a few strokes of explanatory notes or remarks. The books had a variety of contents. Some were about irrigation conservancy, housing construction and other stuff about the basics of citizens’ livelihood. On the other hand… there were books that absolutely couldn’t be sold by bookshops, as they comprised contents such as military texts and administration of state affairs.
Whenever Nan Ge Er noticed those books, which should only exist in a royal library, being worn out and clashingly displayed with books that were usually seen in a typical citizen’s home, he would be muted for a while.
Another odd aspect of Guang Tian was, although it was said to be under the jurisdiction of Jun Yao, it could undoubtedly be considered prosperous, judging from the living standards of the townspeople, and could be set as a good example for a country. With that being said, it was impossible for him to be unaware of Guang Tian. However, there was not a single trace of a county like Guang Tian in his memory. Moreover, although he had been here for half a year, he never once saw any higher-ups from the government coming over for an inspection—This made the situation even weirder. How was it possible that not a single government official inspected such a prosperous place; unless the king didn’t want his crown anymore.
An even stranger fact was that the people of the county rarely discussed politics. No, there seemed to be no one discussing topics related to royal policies—For a typical citizen, or farmer, this was absolutely inconceivable since any type of policy in the country had the potential to determine their livelihoods.
Also, although the county had bookstores, he had never heard about any kid seeking scholarly honor and ambition. Even their parents didn’t find it weird at all. They were much more interested in battles instead, every single one wanting to be a great general when they grew up…
Guang Tian County’s domain wasn’t all that broad, but it was perfectly equipped and provided excellent benefits. Due to that, combined with the higher living standards of the residents, it had a huge population. To put it in perspective, it could even be compared to a prefecture. In Nan Ge Er’s opinion, it had about the same population as a modern day city.
Truth be told, if he had not noticed that the residents lived in peace and didn’t have a single bit of tension, he would almost suspect that Mo Shu wanted a rebellion. After all, it just didn’t make any sense.
It felt as though in Guang Tian, everyone’s sole leader was Mo Shu. That seeming county king of theirs didn’t appear to be frightening for them. As he stayed longer, the place began to get increasingly stranger.
Such a place where royalty held no weight would be deemed extremely dangerous to any king, but the residents of Guang Tian passed their days peacefully without any care for the royalty, devoid of disturbances from anyone. Nan Ge Er’s many puzzled confusions in the beginning gradually turned jaded as well—Whatever, there is still a magistrate-daren like Mo Shu around, isn’t there? Besides, the fact that I was able to survive is bizarre in itself, that’s probably why I landed in such a strange place…and meet such a peculiar group of people.
Actually, after some careful thought, Nan Ge Er was able to understand the admiration the county residents had for Mo Shu. After all, such a leader was basically unheard of; he was completely a servant to his people. Furthermore, Mo Shu indeed had vast and profound knowledge, was extraordinarily talented, and well versed in music, painting, and calligraphy. He was respected immensely by every teacher and doctor in the county and was said to have unrivalled talents and wits.
Of course, to Nan Ge Er, though it had been sixteen years since he came to this world, he still couldn’t find any appreciation for things like literature and art. Due to his previous environment, he had forced himself to study all that nonsense to get about easily, but currently, in the county, there wasn’t anyone who cared about that. Thus, at a fast rate, he speedily…forgotten about those skills…
Which was why, in Nan Ge Er’s eyes, the greatest thing about Mo Shu was that he knew how to cook meals, wash laundry and clean…He was legitimately a person elegant enough to be shown around in a hall, and diligent enough to cook up delicious meals in the kitchen… Apart from his love of giving money while being poor, being a little dumb from time to time, and having some evilness hidden internally, Mo Shu-daren was really no different from a saint. Nan Ge Er was certain that, if Mo Shu wasn’t a magistrate, the quality of his living standard would at least be doubled—After all, the person in question was talented in every way. Without the burden of being a magistrate, he wouldn’t need to worry about having anything to eat at all, and his financial situation would definitely be better.
Needless to say, the prerequisite was to have someone beside him to help him earn money – He did have a good grasp of Mo Shu’s ability to give money. Or should he say that Mo Shu didn’t have the slightest consciousness in regards to money? Yup, the person in question probably completely ignored how important money was to people. However, no matter the numerous flaws he possessed, Nan Ge Er had no choice but to admit that Mo Shu was truly a perfect man. Before arriving at Guang Tian, he wouldn’t believe the existence of such a person.
Although he didn’t really understand the poetries Mo Shu wrote, based on the number of times everyone sang it, along with the shocked and excited expressions made by the fully bearded old teachers, he knew that Mo Shu must be remarkably spectacular.
He had seen Mo Shu’s handwriting from the comments in the back of the books. It was elegant and graceful, and like its owner, giving out a refined but unconventional aura. Moreover, although there weren’t many words in the comments, the elaborate viewpoint of every single comment was shocking.
Even though Nan Ge Er was unable to have a deep understanding of poetry and verses, he did personally bring a young adult up to the throne after all. At the very least, he was still able to perceptively detect a potential threat to a king. Mo Shu’s various standpoints were enough to ring an enormous alarm to any danger-conscious king.
Upon reading the remarks written on the side of the books by Mo Shu, Nan Ge Er felt that Mo Shu’s outlook on matters was entirely befitting of a king, while being scarily sharp and accurate too. Anyway, the probability of Mo Shu’s identity being merely that of a regular magistrate was an absolute zero.
However, regardless of what identity Mo Shu was hiding or whatever secrets the county had, the current Nan Ge Er had not a bit of interest in them. After all, even if he knew anything now, it still wouldn’t come in handy. Currently, he simply lived on without any purpose, vacantly and instinctively residing in the small county. Maybe he would numbly live this life until his death descended on him again.
Perhaps if he was born in Guang Tian when he first transmigrated over, he might have really accepted his identity in the world, then peacefully grown up, before finding a suitable lady to marry and have babies with, building a family here. However, I have no such thoughts now. If I can survive, I will, but naturally, I’d die if I can’t avoid it.
In the past, fate didn’t exist in his dictionary. He always had an ambitious drive, rejecting the idea that his life was dictated by Gods. Now, it finally dawned on him that everyone’s fate probably had its own path in the first place. No matter his attempts to change it, it would never get better – For example, a king would always be lonely in that dark palace. Now, only that single person was left in that humongous palace, wasn’t it?
For instance, he assumed that he could get the fame and glory that any grown man would only dream of because he was in the body of a child in that other world. However, in the end, his current self was merely busy cooking Laba rice1 in such a place—Moreover, this second chance to live on temporarily was given to him by the merciful gods.
…So I guess everyone probably had their own fated path. What I can only do is to live on thoughtlessly before dying off without any care…If I do so, will my suffering cease? Because I don’t want anything at all.
1Laba rice- rice cooked with red beans. More info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laba_congee (Note – the author wrote rice, not congee, so just replace ‘congee’ with ‘rice’ when reading the wiki to get a better idea)