Although Nan Ge Er supposedly had an agreement to accompany Mo Shu during his patrols, in truth, it was impossible for him to go out together with Mo Shu frequently. After all, there were a bunch of chores waiting for him at the government office. As compared to the previous days, he was a tad busier now. However, at least he wouldn’t suffer from the ball-aching boredom he had the year before.
Passerbys generally would inform Nan Ge Er of Mo Shu’s whereabouts when he went out. The said locations were correct most of the time whenever Nan Ge Er went to find him. Similarly today, after finishing his chores in the office and watering the plum tree he bought earlier that year, he sauntered out with a small bundle of snacks in hand.
Strangely, there was a sudden increase in Mo Shu’s official pay. Even though Mo Shu spent his money without restrictions, Nan Ge Er still controlled his entire salary. Hence, he only opened his stall during the spring, having spare time during the other two seasons. With autumn creeping close, Mo Shu’s stay in the government office became imminent too, causing him to exhaust himself as he used up his last chance to wander around…
When Nan Ge Er walked to the door, the few frequent thieves idling outside began informing him once they noticed him, “Mo Shu-xiansheng went to Chun Jiao’s place in the red-light district.”
Nan Ge Er jerked his lips, “Ah Fa, I saw Yamen Runner Gao coming over here.”
Hearing that news, the thief, named Ah Fa, cried out in surprise together with the rest of the thieves before dashing away towards the opposite direction at once…
Tiptoeing over, Yamen Runner Gao knew the situation in an instant once he noticed the youngsters’ stances. He complained as he passed by Nan Ge Er, “Nan Ge Er, give some face to me; we’re all trying to make a living. Why did you tip off to them instead of helping us?”
Nan Ge Er’s reply was practical, “…There’s not enough rice at home.” If I let those youngsters into the government office to have free meals, I’ll have to rebuy more rice.
Yamen Runner Gao was stumped for words. He instructed the subordinates behind him in the end, “Those youngsters went that way, hurry up and chase them.” He turned towards Nan Ge Er, “Mo Shu-xiansheng just sent someone to ask why hadn’t you come by yet; you should go there quickly.” As he relayed the message, he hollered and chased towards the direction the thieves escaped.
Nan Ge Er was absolutely speechless. Never had he seen someone being so arrogant when visiting the red-light district; even daring to let a messenger to ask for him… While looking down upon that Magistrate-Daren of his, Nan Ge Er walked towards to red-light district, defeated.
Similar to before, the red-light district was bustling with countless streams of people wandering around. From the door, one could vaguely view a scene of ladies hanging sweet smiles on their faces with revealing, yet ornate clothes. They leaned against their customers, their posture extremely alluring and provocative, while urging them to drink more and striking up conversations.
Nan Ge Er strolled towards Chun Lou, the brothel where Chun Jiao worked. After greeting the female brothel-keeper near the door, he asked her the room Chun Jiao was in before going upstairs with his snacks in hand.
The moment he pushed the door open, he saw Chun Jiao sticking her whole body onto Mo Shu softly, as if she didn’t have any bones at all. Not even changing his expressions or having a single drop of lust in his heart, Mo Shu vacuumed up the pastries on the table while speaking to Chun Jiao.
Chun Jiao greeted Nan Ge Er with a smile once she noticed his arrival, still sticking onto Mo Shu without any self-consciousness as she did so, “Nan Ge Er, sit down and have a drink.”
“No thanks.” Nan Ge Er made a face as he replied. Who didn’t know that he couldn’t even touch those irritative things due to his weak condition? The ladies were the only ones who would go so far as to ask him to drink.
“Are you bringing snacks to Mo Shu-xiansheng again?” Chun Jiao took a glance. Letting out a faint ‘hm?’, she stood up and took over the paper bag in Nan Ge Er’s hands.
Nan Ge Er gave her a defeated reply, “I can’t just let him eat away all the pastries here, can I? The bill here is really too high.”
Chun Jiao giggled delicately as she helped Mo Shu to open the string on the paper bag, “Nan Ge Er, if you spend a night with me, Chun Jiao-Jie Jie1 can just let you eat on the house, you know?”
Nan Ge Er made a face, “…Nope.” He just couldn’t understand. With a face full of bumpy holes and a body scarred all over, why in the world were the ladies attracted to him? All of them seemingly wanted to kidnap him to their beds. Ugh, or maybe it’s due to Mo Shu’s charm? Loving what he loves, or something like that?
“I’m so hurt.” Chun Jiao was tickled pink by Nan Ge Er’s reaction, “Nan Ge Er really doesn’t know how to treat women tenderly.” Taking a piece of sweet snack specially made in the brothel, she sent it into Mo Shu’s mouth, “Xiansheng, please taste this pastry Chun Jiao fed to you personally.” Mo Shu swallowed without an ounce of resistance.
Nan Ge Er made another, “Hey, as I said, don’t feed him your food. I won’t care if he can’t pay later on.”
“It’s alright.” Chun Jiao flashed a sweet smile, “He can just use his body to repay it.”
Jerking his lips, Nan Ge Er went over to stuff his home-made snacks into Mo Shu’s mouth violently, “Eat up and go away. If not, I’ll just leave you here to repay your debt.”
“You used to call me Xiao Shu Shu2, but now, you’re scorning my eating habits …” Mo Shu nagged on without even stopping his chowing down.
Nan Ge Er felt the familiar nerve, the one which frequently appeared when he flew into a rage from Mo Shu’s antics, jumping back up on his forehead once again…
“Who knew that Mo Shu-xiansheng and Nan Ge Er were so close.” Chun Jiao giggled.
Nan Ge Er took a deep breath, before opening his eyes, shooting a stare towards Mo Shu, and replied to Chun Jiao, “Chun Jiao Jie, do you think that’s possible?” Despite knowing the futility in explaining and understanding the ladies’ malicious delight in making others mad, he still stupidly clarified a bit.
“Why isn’t it possible?” Chun Jiao jested faintly while pouring Nan Ge Er a cup of tea, “There’s nothing impossible here, you know?”
See…? Thanking Chun Jiao, Nan Ge Er took the tea from her and had a sip.
Mo Shu would visit the red-light district every so often to handle some affairs. However, Guang Tian’s red-light district was totally different as compared to the ones he visited previously.
Although the air of cosmetics lingering on the ladies were strong as well, in truth, the guys visiting the red-light district were kind of… They simply didn’t possess the look a typical brothel patron would have. They were straightforward and blatant when they strolled the streets and chatted with the residents in the red-light district.
The most dauntless part of it was, when Nan Ge Er went to the neighboring aunt’s house to learn agriculture cultivation skills from her man a certain time ago, he realised the guy wasn’t around. Hence, he asked for his whereabouts, only to find the aunt replying to him naturally that the guy had gone to the red-light district. Nan Ge Er was stunned right away—the women in Guang Tian are so fearless, being so calm even after knowing that their husbands went to the red-light district. However, as time passed, Nan Ge Er realised the discrepancy in it.
The ladies in Guang Tian’s red-light district appeared to have no shame whatsoever of their position. Everyone didn’t look down on them either. Instead, they treated them as though they were just doing a regular job.
“It’s Xiao Ya who went out today.” Chun Jiao still clung to Mo Shu as she spoke with a velvet tone, “I still think that our guys are better.” Her words had a hint of displeasure in them, “I knew it, the guys outside aren’t as good as Mo Shu-xiansheng.”
Mo Shu merely smiled, without any reply.
“Mo Shu-xiansheng, when do you plan on going out?”
The ladies and guys in Guang Tian’s red-light district would occasionally leave Guang Tian for a period of time. Most people in Guang Tian, including Mo Shu, would leave for some amount of time. Some of them went to purchase goods, a few of them went out for a vacation, but there were even more people who… went out for unknown reasons… In short, Guang Tian was a place like that; full of various strange phenomenons, yet appearing to be exceptionally peaceful.
“Probably sometime later.” Mo Shu chuckled, “There aren’t any letters anyway.”
“True enough.” After Chun Jiao conversed a little while with Mo Shu, she began teasing Nan Ge Er with a grin, “Nan Ge Er, I’ve heard you sleep together with Mo Shu-xiansheng. Do you have any fun incidents to talk about? For example, something embarrassing?”
Nan Ge Er was speechless as he raised his head to look at the lady in front of him who appeared even more delicate than a flower. I think there probably isn’t a single word related to ‘embarrassing’ in your dictionary. In fact, no one in this street has it!
“Chun Jiao stop teasing him.” Mo Shu spoke up; he finally having a conscience. Before Nan Ge Er even had the chance to thank him, Mo Shu continued, “How is it possible for Nan Ge Er to tell you that? He gets shy really easily.”
…Nan Ge Er seethed again. Shy, your ass! We have nothing going on, ok?!
With the incident passing by a long time ago, Nan Ge Er knew the townspeople only shipped Mo Shu and him due to their boredom. Basically, there weren’t many people who took it seriously. It was just that Mo Shu’s tone really made him unable to stay calm.
Noticing Nan Ge Er’s glaring and fumingly red appearance, Mo Shu chuckled, “Look, his face reddens right away.”
Nan Ge Er didn’t utter a single rebuke since he hated his stupid mouth. He only came up with a plan—grabbing the snacks in the paper bag and stuffing them in the wretched mouth that kept spouting out horrible words. Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!
Chun Jiao looked on mirthfully at the side, her laugh becoming more and more unvirtuous.
This place sucks! Where has my constant unbudging and well-regulated demeanor, with the utmost confidence in victory, gone to?!
1Jie: recap from chapter 6’s T/N notes, a term used to address a women older than you, english equivalent= older sister
2Xiao Shu Shu: Similar to ‘Xiao Nan’, it is an (fake) affectionate nickname for Mo Shu