After the bustling Lantern festival was over, the New Year had finally arrived.
Everyone in the district began busying around.
In Guang Tian, the busiest season could be said to be the spring.
Mo Shu had stayed in the office obediently for the whole winter season. Seemingly restless now, he kept thinking of ways to get out for a walk every day.
Of course, under the restraints of the wise and magnificent Advisor Zhu Xi, the chances of it succeeding were very low.
Zhu Xi had stated that Mo Shu had to stay in the office for two seasons each year at least. If he did so, he wouldn’t force him to stay at other times.
Nan Ge Er was busy as well. Recently, he had been planting seedlings in the ‘vegetable garden’ every morning, and even learned how to water and care for the vegetation from the experienced. After completing that, he had to take a look at the animals he reared in the backyard as well. When he got back after finally finishing his rounds, it was already almost noon.
He had finished his meals before storytelling at the doors of the office. Under everyone’s reluctant gazes, he went back to eat something casual to fill his stomach together with Mo Shu. The night arrived after that.
The poor Mo Shu-xiansheng would use the night time to tidy the house, sweeping it, while also washing clothes if needed.
Nan Ge Er assisted and helped him out.
After the candle was burned for some time, the two of them had washed their hands and feet, blew the candle out and went to bed—saving the oil.
Compared to those affluent people, the two poor children had no choice but to turn their lights out early.
Of course, as compared to the miserable Nan Ge Er, Mo Shu-xiansheng was obviously much more refreshed.
“What legends did you talk about today?” Mo Shu slept on one side while asking Nan Ge Er, who, after hustling the whole day, was currently sleepy and tired to the bone.
Nan Ge Er was in excruciating pain.
He was just a weak, normal human being; completely incomparable to Mo Shu, who had monster-like vitality. After toiling all day, he could only feel his brain getting muddled. How could he find any energy to repeat the story he said today?
Thus, he only casually uttered, “Can’t remember.” His paste-like brain had currently lost its ability to process anything completely…
“I heard that it was a demon with the tail of a fish.” Mo Shu had a great desire to converse. He reached his leg out to poke Nan Ge Er a little. “Is that how it goes?”
“Ah, yes.” Nan Ge Er forced himself to rouse up, giving a half-hearted and hazy answer.
“It was fond of a crown prince.” Mo Shu continued.
“That demon still died.” Mo Shu continued, while persistently poking Nan Ge Er’s armpit with his foot.
“…” Nan Ge Er was extremely speechless, and sighed, “If you had such a clear idea, what do you still want me to tell?”
Why don’t YOU tell it to me, Mo Shu-xiansheng!
“Because I didn’t hear to the end, so I wanted Nan Ge Er to tell me again—ma.” Mo Shu laughed.
… Can you not add that modal particle?
Who are you being coquettish to, old man?
Nan Ge Er was completely awake from Mo Shu’s pokes—alright, a small part of the reason was actually due to…him being woken by embarrassment from Mo Shu’s words.
How outrageous must humans be, to get to that fellow’s level?
“Up to where exactly did you listen?” Nan Ge Er knew that if he didn’t satisfy Mo Shu wishes, he probably couldn’t even hope to sleep tonight. Nan Ge Er had no way out—this was a custom; before sleeping at night, he still had to retell stories to the little kiddie Mo Shu…
“The demon looking for a sorcerer to request human legs.” Mo Shu replied. He even criticized after that, “This demon must have not cultivated enough, to need someone else’s help for that.”
Nan Ge Er twitched his lips—poor little mermaid, being analyzed into a mere utensil by this fellow!
“After that, that princess from the demon tribe became a human, leaving her tribe behind, to find that crown prince in the capital city.” Actually, in the beginning, Nan Ge Er told it in a narrative that respected the original version a little more, but after being twisted by Mo Shu, it became a pirated version of the New Legend of Madame White Snake…
“Thinking about it, the demon’s perspective is rather puzzling.” Instead of just listening silently, Mo Shu liked to comment his thoughts occasionally, “Since she knew that the prince was of a different species from her, she should have just caged him up when she rescued him, because if the crown prince returned to his city, he could enjoy being with countless of beauties, and could even marry someone from an important official’s family in the end, gaining support from his retainers, and obtaining the whole world. And the crown prince, who knew of her existence, may even send out troops to attack her land, killing the demon spawns, to gain a good reputation.” He spouted out treacherous sentences calmly, continuously belittling the little mermaid, “When she saved the prince, she should have submerged him, why did she let him go?”
Nan Ge Er widened his mouth—once again, he lost the de-si-re to finish the story for Mo Shu.
That’s right, Mo Shu-xiansheng always had such shockingly dark comments, clearly analysing the irrational parts of every story.
However, Mo Shu had some opinions yet again when Nan Ge Er stopped speaking, “Why aren’t you continuing?”
What the heck can I add, when you comment on the story this way?
“… Daren, it is just a story.” He really wanted to just shut his mouth after that, pretending that he was already asleep. However, as his previous attempts at faking sleep had always ended in failure, he had no choice but to gloomily explain to Mo Shu, “You can’t just analyze every legend clearly. It isn’t a case, you don’t have to treat them seriously.”
“How uninteresting.” Mo Shu murmured, “But we should chat a bit at least.”
“You should sleep instead of talking at night,” Nan Ge Er spoke as he scrunched his face up.
“Then let’s sleep on the same side,” Mo Shu requested.
Are we best friends? Sleeping on the same side… Are you intending to share some secrets with me, Da ge1 …?
Nan Ge Er didn’t even have the strength to reply to Mo Shu’s suggestion.
However, Mo Shu was always a person with great awareness; noting that Nan Ge Er didn’t move, Mo Shu assumed that he consented, thus getting up at once.
“Lie there and don’t move.” As soon as Nan Ge Er heard the rustling noise in the darkness, he immediately stopped Mo Shu, “I made sweet pancakes today – unless you don’t want to have them tomorrow.”
Mo Shu immediately lay back down.
What a pitiful man, controlled entirely by instincts.
“Jun Yao Country is going to be levying troops tomorrow, some people from the district may be going.” After quite a long time, when Nan Ge Er was almost slipping into his dreams, Mo Shu suddenly informed.
Although his thoughts were jumbled up from his sleepiness, Nan Ge Er still instinctively detected the meaning behind Mo Shu’s words—he said that Jun Yao Country was going to be levying troops.
… How strange.
‘Isn’t Guang Tian within Jun Yao’s territory?’ He puzzled in his heart.
However, as he was too sleepy, his nerves had lost their agility as well, he only found it weird, and didn’t feel nervous or shocked.
“Some of them— might never be able to come back.” Mo Shu continued coolly, “Are you going to take a look?”
… What a strange way of speaking.
‘Why can’t they come back, is there danger outside of the district? Uh, it indeed is dangerous being in the army, but the world is currently at peace, there don’t really seem to be any wars of a large scale, right?’ Nan Ge Er mumbled in his heart.
“… Not fun at all.” Mo Shu muttered, “Hmph, great righteousness is all a pile of dog shit.”
Woah. It seemed like Mo Shu had said some terrible words.
“Will Nan Ge Er be going— tomorrow?” Mo Shu asked again.
He felt that if he said he wasn’t going, Mo Shu would probably be disappointed in him—Nan Ge Er didn’t wish for that to happen.
Though that guy was clueless and infuriating, driving Nan Ge Er mad every time, Nan Ge Er could still discern good from bad.
The people in the district treated him warmly and leniently, and Mo Shu’s treatment towards him was even more indisputable.
Precisely due to that, he didn’t want to disappoint anyone.
Furthermore, Nan Ge Er had also found out how wilful Mo Shu-xiansheng was—if he didn’t give him a satisfying answer, Mo Shu would keep on pestering him.
Hence, he gave him a befuddled, “Mn,” as an answer.
“What a lovable child.” Nan Ge Er had seemingly heard Mo Shu laugh as he spoke.
However, Nan Ge Er was kindly called upon by his fatigue and he swiftly abandoned Mo Shu to play with Zhou Jia Dage2.
The person on the other side of the bed was breathing rhythmically, already rushing into a deep sleep.
After confirming Nan Ge Er was indeed asleep, Mo Shu got up, carefully pressed on the blankets to prevent wind from getting in, before crawling to the side where Nan Ge Er was sleeping. He lifted the blankets up, and made his way in.
The slight coldness of Mo Shu’s body annoyed Nan Ge Er. He smacked his lips in his dreams, trying to avoid him.
However, Mo Shu would never be that easy to avoid; he reached his hands out, placing Nan Ge Er in his embrace.
Though Nan Ge Er was in his dreams, he probably still realized Mo Shu would never let go. After pushing away for a bit, he had his entire body pulled into Mo Shu’s embrace, as if lazily thinking it was too much trouble—through the use of internal force, Mo Shu’s embrace became warmer.
Mo Shu lifted his lips into a smile and reached his hands out to pat Nan Ge Er’s back.
Actually, he didn’t plan on squeezing in, but that child’s attitude elated him since it was hopelessly lovable.
So astute, yet adorable.
1 Da ge: similar to ‘ge’ in chp 5’s T/N, it is a suffix used to address one’s elder brother, or an older male. For this instance, Nan Ge Er is trying to emphasize Mo Shu’s (old) age.
2Zhou Jia Dage:Nan Ge Er was affectionately referring to the God of Dreams. More info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke_of_Zhou#God_of_Dreams