“Daren, after this journey, it is uncertain when we will be able to meet again.” The one speaking was a young child. On his tenderly youthful face was a gravely severe expression at the moment. Moreover, Nan Ge Er noticed that, at this point in time, every child would address Mo Shu as Daren. Mo Shu was sitting in the hall, looking at the crowd of young children, without any word uttered.
“Please take care of your health.” Another girl, whose age wasn’t too far from the previous young boy, spoke as well. “You are our hope and support.”
Although Nan Ge Er, who was sitting beside Mo Shu, wanted to criticize how ‘supporting’ Mo Shu could be. However, due to the atmosphere being overly heavy, he appeared calm on the surface.
“And also, we will be leaving Daren to you.” Another child directed this to Nan Ge Er while kowtowing.
Nan Ge Er maintained his composure on the surface, but in actuality, he was totally speechless in his heart. What’s with that entrusting tone? Why is he left to me?!
In the morning, every child in the district who was of thirteen years old gathered in the government office’s hall. Their family and elders didn’t enter. Instead, they silently peered in from the outside. The ones talking to Mo Shu now were the young children.
Even though Nan Ge Er tried to ignore the many eccentricities of Guang Tian, he still understood, that, at least, it was impossible for the levying of troops in other places to be as solemn as it was in Guang Tian.
In this world, the people in the levied troops were usually young adults who had no choice but to be drafted into the army due to their inability to find a suitable job. They were just trying to have a job by doing so, it was just that the job’s title was ‘soldier’.
Although some did make a name for themselves, such as becoming heroes in battlefields, those were still in the minority. Typical soldiers usually muddled along until they reached a certain age, they then received money given by the country, before returning home to farm, or do other types of jobs. This was all on the premise that they were able to survive in the army. To conclude, drafting to the military was just a choice for those in a tight spot, but in Guang Tian, it was almost bestowed as some kind of solemnly tragic duty and responsibility.
All those who were able to attend stood silently outside the hall. The doors of the government office were opened wide, and a huge crowd of people stood quietly outside watching the children speak in quite a sophisticated manner to Mo Shu.
When Nan Ge Er was buying groceries in the morning, he did realise the uncommonly quiet atmosphere in the county as well. Now that he was here, he felt that he probably knew the reason. Is this because the children would be leaving Guang Tian to join Jun Yao country’s army?
Mo Shu remained silent, looking at those children who were speaking. After all, they weren’t adults. Therefore, after speaking for a bit, they began choking back their words. Some weren’t even able to speak up, only able to have tears streaming down their faces.
However, not a single child uttered their refusal to join the army. They only spoke about missing their parents, friends, teachers, neighbors, and the dogs and cats at their neighbors’ houses…
Facing a large group of sobbing children, Mo Shu still didn’t speak a word. On the contrary, the crowd outside began chatting in whispers, while wiping their tears away too. Nan Ge Er watched at the side, not knowing what exactly Mo Shu was thinking, or perhaps, he didn’t understand this custom of Guang Tian.
After a long while, Mo Shu finally raised his head, gazing at the bright sky, as he faintly commented, “What great weather.” Though Mo Shu’s words weren’t loud, they hushed everyone.
Upon hearing that, Nan Ge Er shifted his gaze to the skies outside as well. The sky in the early spring was a little pale, cold still lingering in the air, but it still made onlookers feel particularly energetic. It gave off a feeling that everything was just beginning; packed with power and hope.
“It’s great weather to do something.” Mo Shu continued, smiling after that, “Didn’t you guys decide to go out because you wanted to carve out a career for yourselves?” Truth be told, although Mo Shu didn’t give any inciting speech, the atmosphere at the moment was indescribably stirring.
“Your families, brothers, all of them are able to do it, so you can do it too,” Mo Shu calmly stated. He didn’t show a vehement expression, nor did he raise his tone, instead only spoke serenely. The lull made it as if the words spoken were the truth. Outside the hall, one could hear a pin-drop.
Everyone listened attentively to Mo Shu. Even Nan Ge Er, who didn’t feel any sense of immersion, couldn’t help but turn his head to Mo Shu, listening to him.
“Do something outside,” Mo Shu stated, “Don’t forget your identities.” Mo Shu’s expression seemed unusually cold when he said his last sentence. It wasn’t a coldness in temperature. Instead, it was some kind of numbed, undaunted heartlessness.
Nan Ge Er was awakened by the ‘chill’ in Mo Shu’s expression. He glanced at Mo Shu, perplexed—he still had quite a confidence in his intuition. He believed that there wasn’t anything wrong with his gut feeling just then. Furthermore, the silence from those in his surroundings confirmed that his hunch wasn’t overly sensitive. At that very moment, Mo Shu indeed displayed an exceedingly cold side of him.
“And,” Mo Shu suddenly cracked a warm and gentle smile again, “Remember that no one can ever hurt you, except for me and yourselves. When you get tired, you can come back anytime. No matter what you’ve become, we will always welcome you here. This place is your home. Well. I’ve finished my speech, get ready to move out. You guys are our pride as well.”
“Yes!” Filled with pride and aspiration, the slightly childish voices from every child rang out within the hall.
Nan Ge Er glanced at Mo Shu, a little astonished, yet unsurprised—how should he say this; he wasn’t surprised at the children’s excited emotions, and he wasn’t shocked about Mo Shu saying those words, but he just felt that Mo Shu, who was able to say such things, was weird on his own.
…However, he slightly understood why the townspeople would regard Mo Shu so highly. Merely a few simple words spoken with his usual calming voice was enough to get everyone emotional. Nan Ge Er was very familiar with such auras; he had seen them in kings before. The only difference was that Mo Shu seemed more befitting of a king, as opposed to the kings he had met previously. Gentle yet cold, sharp yet blunt. No king could do it better than him. At that moment, Nan Ge Er honestly thought so.
I think… I briefly saw a bit of the truth of Guang Tian. He felt that way in his heart. Is it something good or bad? Mo Shu… why did he want me to see that? Did he want to share something with me, or wanted to use me to do something…? Or he just innocently wanted me to know? As he pondered, he cast a slightly puzzled look at Mo Shu.
Mo Shu seemed to notice Nan Ge Er’s gaze, he turned his head to him and blinked before lip-syncing to him, ‘Cook honeyed beans later,’ revealing a pair of anticipating eyes while he did so.
Yet again, Nan Ge Er returned to his usual expression when facing Mo Shu, almost on the verge of raging. I firmly believe, sooner or later, I will lose control of my emotion, and eradicate Mo Shu! He may really be an extraordinary fellow, but before anything else, he definitely is an idiot. Even if he is extraordinary, he is still just an extraordinary, idiotic sweet-food-con, and food junkie!