When Nan Ge Er finished packing, he went up to the mountain with Mo Shu right away. Of course, those packed supplies were carried effortlessly by Mo Shu-xiansheng. Nan Ge Er followed behind, panting heavily as he climbed up the slope at a tortoise pace.
The target of their current hunt was rumored to be living in the middle of the mountain, so they need not stay in the mountains for long. If they were lucky, they probably would just take three days to capture the hunted prey back home. Once Mo Shu settled Nan Ge Er down in a cave, he began finding traces left by the aforementioned prey.
Before leaving, he even captured a pair of rabbits and foxes to ‘accompany’ Nan Ge Er. After warning Nan Ge Er repeatedly to not go out of the cave, he left the cave in a flurry while being pelted with stones by Nan Ge Er. As Mo Shu returned at nightfall, he noticed the ‘playmates’ he arranged to accompany Nan Ge Er had already turned into a sizzling dinner that glistened with oil above the bonfire…
Nan Ge Er used his might in pulling the wild rabbit’s leg, which was roasted to an extreme toughness, as he mumbled to Mo Shu, “Don’t mind my amateur skills for now, fill your stomach up first.” In his hands was a half-opened book.
Fantastic, this child of mine won’t feel lonely at all. Mo Shu threw the prey in his hands down, walking over to work on the utterly tough meat for a second time.
He cut a hole open, squeezing juices from various plants, before sprinkling a bit of salt taken out from his bosom. He flipped and roasted the meat again and again. Only when the slabs of meat gave off an alluring fragrance did he cut a piece and pass it over to Nan Ge Er, who was unaware that he had stopped tearing away the rabbit leg for quite some time. “Eat up.”
Due to the awful record Mo Shu set all the time, Nan Ge Er paused a little before taking the object from Mo Shu’s hand. Despite feeling that he probably wouldn’t be poisoned to death, he still took a cautious bite, chewing it up. Following after, his delayed chewing hastened gradually. Giving Mo Shu an incredulous glance, he took another bite.
Mo Shu didn’t need to ask Nan Ge Er his thoughts about it; his reaction was the greatest answer. Moreover, he trusted his cooking capabilities; it was at least a few levels better than Nan Ge Er’s. With a chuckle, he picked up the rabbit leg, which was placed on the floor by Nan Ge Er, continuing to work on it.
Noticing Mo Shu’s experienced movements, Nan Ge Er asked while busy chowing down, “You seem to be good at this, huh?”
Mo Shu lifted his head, looking at Nan Ge Er as he feigned a shocked expression, “Haven’t I told you before? I’m quite skilled in cooking and thing along that line.”
Nan Ge Er halted his mouth, glaring at him soon after, “You totally didn’t!” If I knew Mo Shu was proficient in cooking, I wouldn’t be cooking every day! Isn’t it better if he just does it himself?!
Getting more pissed off as his thoughts went on, all of a sudden, he recalled the numerous times when he asked Mo Shu proudly if the dinner was tasty… Next, he compared the meat he roasted, and the meat worked on by Mo Shu, flying into an involuntary rage out of humiliation right then, “Is it that fun to tease me?!”
Tilting his head, Mo Shu grinned as soon as he saw Nan Ge Er’s irritated expression, “Mn.”
“You!” Nan Ge Er’s blood boiled from his anger—seriously, he suspected that he might be puking out blood soon.
“But mocking your cooking ability wasn’t the reason why I didn’t cook.” Mo Shu smiled while explaining, “Although I don’t know others’ opinions about it, I do feel that your meals are pretty good.”
“Nonsense!” Nan Ge Er got even madder as he smashed the meat he had in hand towards Mo Shu’s body, “With that skills of mine?”
He didn’t mind Mo Shu’s usual mischiefs at all since he didn’t take it seriously. However, his decision for cooking meals and whatnot was made just because he wanted to do something for Mo Shu. Now, it turned into an object of ridicule instead, how could he not get angry by that?
“Skills are just secondary.” Catching the food thrown over by Nan Ge Er, Mo Shu skewered it before continuing to roast and heat it up, “I just feel that it’s no fun to cook and eat alone, so I rarely cook.” He smiled while glancing at Nan Ge Er, who was infuriated but still listened to him, “Personally, I prefer meals cooked by others.”
“in that case, why did you roast meat out of the blue?!” And even giving me a blow calmly while doing so!
“Because I just decided to cook from now on.” Mo Shu chuckled.
“Finally weary of my food?” Nan Ge Er grunted with a humph. He knew his culinary skills weren’t actually that great, but such thorough scorn still displeased him.
“No.” Mo Shu smiled.
The night blanketed down gradually, leaving only the slightly flickering bonfire. A hazy orange layer covered Mo Shu’s face, adding a bit of glamor to his entire face. His typically plain expression seemingly became rather gentle and warm too. “It’s just because I decided to cook tasty food for you.”
“Huh?” Nan Ge Er was stunned for a while, blinking following after, “…Oh.” He didn’t have a full grasp of what Mo Shu meant, only capable of letting that single syllable out as a reply.
“You’re too skinny.” Mo Shu continued.
“…Oh.” Does my skinniness obstruct you, o great magistrate? Are you going to say you will plump me up to eat in the new year after that?!
“I can’t treat the wound in your heart. I only wish that by making your favorite food, you will at least look forward to every day.” Mo Shu whispered, before raising his head to face Nan Ge Er. “People that have no expectations for tomorrow die easily.”
Usually, Mo Shu’s eyes looked clean and sharp, only displaying a bright acute air when drinking wine. Mo Shu’s eyes were pitch-black presently, as if containing a hollow-like, boundless experience. Nan Ge Er wasn’t able to look straight at Mo Shu’s current gaze, so drifted his line of sight away. He kept thinking that he couldn’t hide himself from the present Mo Shu.
“Don’t die.” Mo Shu muttered while reaching his hand out to pat the top of Nan Ge Er’s head.
Sensing him approaching, Nan Ge Er trembled a bit but he didn’t evade away.
“Everyone likes you very much, including me. Curently.” Mo Shu spoke, “So, I’m not fond of you dying.”
On the contrary, the ‘currently’ added behind Mo Shu’s words made Nan Ge Er want to believe in Mo Shu. Neither did he believe Mo Shu would treat him well right from the start, nor did he believe people in Guang Tian would disclose the secrets there to him right at the beginning. He only learned about Guang Tian steadily by living there for almost three years. Unlike plants, people would grow emotions, wouldn’t they? Besides, never was he someone with a heart of stone.
His former cruelty stemmed from his need to be cruel. At present, he had no need to persevere and force himself in Guang Tian, so an inevitable bond towards the place would obviously arise in him. Nan Ge Er finally nodded his head, “…Mn, I… don’t dislike here.” He could only reply “I don’t know” to Mo Shu’s question in the past two years. Now, he finally could answer with, “I don’t dislike”.
He wasn’t sure if he liked it or not, since the prolonged darkness made him forget his exact desires and likes long ago. However, he was willing to stay at least. This alone proves that I probably don’t dislike it here. An eccentric place, with noisy and outrageous residents in it, and a magistrate who often irritates others… But I don’t dislike it.
Not expecting Nan Ge Er would tell him that then, Mo Shu was stunned for a moment, chuckling right after.
“And also.” Nan Ge Er’s tone was icy cold, but a storm could be faintly heard from the calmness.
“Hm?” Mo Shu smiled lightly, rubbing Nan Ge Er’s head again.
“Take your dirty and oily hands off me!” The roar rang out, enveloping the entire area.