When he woke up in the morning, he let the hens out to feed them, before shopping around the market. After buying the necessary grocery for breakfast, he greeted others along the way back to the office, listened to the two working yamen runners gossiping at the doorway, and then carried the groceries to the kitchen.
Once he got out of the kitchen, he began his regular cleaning routine. As he was in the middle of cleaning, a huge batch of vegetables of new and diverse varieties was sent over by the familiar grocer. The kitchen aunty arrived then as well. When Nan Ge Er stored all of the fresh vegetables into the kitchen warehouse, she started preparing breakfast with the items she bought beforehand.
As he was packing the vegetables, he listened to the grocer gossiping about various households. When he finished storing the vegetables, he led the grocer out, still listening to the grocer’s countless gossip on the way out.
He casually tidied the place up when he came back. It was time to eat. Dropping the broom and dustpan, he rushed to the canteen. The yamen runners had already gathered in the canteen, eating scrumptiously with their hands holding onto their bowls. Once again, he replied to the numerous greetings and went over to the kitchen aunty to get his food. The kitchen aunty had already prepared his specially-made meal filled with love, which contained bigger pieces of meat, brighter colored vegetables, a softer and larger quantity of rice than others…
With his bowl in his hands, he strolled back. In response to everyone’s calling, he picked a random table and sat down. Yet again, he listened to the powerful-looking yamen runners gossiping around like gossipmongers. Occasionally, the ‘gossip king’, Advisor-xiansheng, would be released from work by Mo Shu to eat. His presence heated up the wave of gossips in the canteen. Truth be told, Advisor-xiansheng was quite well built, dignified, handsome and valiant. However, the favorite hobby of such a mighty and masculine man was actually gossiping! The instant he started talking about the gossips in the town, he became as wretched as he could ever be.
After his breakfast, Nan Ge Er went out for a leisure walk to help with his digestion. Sometimes, he would chance upon the patrolling magistrate-daren. Whenever Mo Shu-xiansheng spotted Nan Ge Er strolling leisurely around with his hands in his sleeves, he would approach him with his eyes shining. Hence, Nan Ge Er would tactfully give up the sweets, which he was planning to have as snacks, as a tribute. As always, after finishing Nan Ge Er’s snacks, Mo Shu-xiansheng threw a useless thanks to him and continued with what he was busy with. Having no snacks left, Nan Ge Er had no choice but to head back…
He came across a few kids that hadn’t reached the age for schooling on the streets. Some asked him for food, some invited him to play house together, some… passed the sweet beans in their hands to him with a look of pity. Poor Nan Ge Er, he doesn’t even have sweet beans when others asked him for food just now… The people in government office were so poor and pitiful…
Nan Ge Er had his hands full with various random toys and snacks. As he greeted the little brats with a dull look, a group of little kids wanting to play with him followed behind him. The bunch of little brats tagging along behind him told him about who broke something, who got their ass beaten, and who peed in their bed that day…
When he returned to the office, he pushed the objects in his hands to the accountant, telling him who those belonged to, and asked him to give them back when he was ‘off work’ at night. As he got back to the courtyard, he wasn’t surprised to see the kitchen aunty cleaning the places he ‘cleaned’ before again. He had no choice; he was utterly bad at things like chores. Even though he had been working for half a year, the experience gained didn’t help at all. Thus, he went out.
A horde of kids stood by the door. Some rode on the guardian lion statues near the door; some tried to take out the stone ball in the lion statue’s mouth; some squatted on the doorsteps to look at the busy ants scurrying around while talking gibberish to one another; some whistled and shouted as a chase passed by; some had bamboo sticks clamped on their legs, riding on the sticks, hopping here and there. Some even pestered the uninterested yamen runners with baffling and childish questions.
Noticing Nan Ge Er walking out, the yamen runners heaved a sigh of relief. The kids rushed over and surrounded him.
“Nan Ge Er, what legends are you going to talk about today?”
“Nan Ge Er, Ah Mao-ge1 couldn’t come today, I saw him copying books at the private school as a punishment by the teacher.”
“Nan Ge Er, let me tell you, Xiao Ya fell into the toilet yesterday because Xiao Ya’s feet got numbed! Haha! She’s so smelly! So smelly! “
“Wawawawa, Xiao Ya is a smelly brat ahahaha! “
“I’ll hit you; I’ll hit you! Lai Fu, you were chased by Gou Dan family’s goose and ran around the streets yesterday, right? How dare you bully our Xiao Ya!”
“Ugh, Lai Fu is a baddie, I will tell your mum…”
“Nan Ge Er, this pancake is for you, my mum said that you’re too skinny.”
“Nan Ge Er, my cricket is awesome, Xiao Tou’s isn’t better than mine.”
“Nonsense, my Black-headed General is the best!”
“Black-headed General clearly got bitten into a crippled general by my Gold-tummy General, haha…”
“You deserve a beating!”
“How dare you hit me!”
In just a moment, a few small groups started fighting for whatever reasons. The corner of Nan Ge Er’s mouth drooped down, “Stop arguing. I will not tell any stories today if you keep that up.” Sadly, his voice wasn’t loud enough to make any impact on the boisterous kids.
“Nan Ge Er said to stop arguing. He won’t tell any legends if we keep arguing.” Naturally, there were lackey-like little sidekicks acting as his loudspeakers.
“Shh shh, stop arguing, stop arguing.”
“I’ll fix you up next time.”
“Just wait and see.”
After making a bit of a fuss, the fighting and arguing little ones finally ceased fire.
“Go and play under the tree now. Don’t fight. We will begin when the others come back from the private school.” Nan Ge Er gestured his hand, pointing at the big tree.
During a certain afternoon, Nan Ge Er became utterly annoyed at the need to reply to the various strange questions asked by the kids when his wrists were already almost breaking from carrying the groceries he bought outside. Therefore, he promised to tell a story to them if they went somewhere else to play instead of squatting at the office’s doorsteps and blocking his path. Ever since then, things had started becoming unmanageable.
Every day, when Nan Ge Er went out for a walk for digestion, there would be a string of kids following behind him like a tail. Surprisingly, in such a huge town, there wasn’t a single storyteller. The people going to the tea house only relied on gossiping to pass their time. Presently, Nan Ge Er, a young university student who had been exposed to and influenced by various eight o’clock shows, legendary stories, and internet literature before his transmigration, seemed to have drifted to the town due to divine intervention to satisfy the need for moral and ideological development of the townspeople!
Initially, he didn’t weigh in the advantages and disadvantages of it. He simply told a story to the kids that were playing at the doorsteps of the government office once, only to find kids of schooling age, who squatted and guarded the government office doors in the afternoon after class, begging him to tell the story again. They even refused to go home to eat if he didn’t do so, and complained that Nan Ge Er was biased and so on if he didn’t tell them the story again… Thus, now that he had learned from his mistakes, Nan Ge Er would usually choose to tell a story after the private school’s classes were over, so he would only need to tell a story once per day.
In the afternoon, as the children came over after being dismissed from school, the people gathering at the office door gradually increased. The bunch of kids that arrived first kept calling out to their family and brothers.
“Ge1 , come over! We can hear the story clearer here.”
“Mum, hurry up! Nan Ge Er is going to tell a legend soon. Have you brought over my egg pancakes?”
There were even little young ones waiting in advance to be in their crushes’ good books.
“Xiao Cui, cover over to my side. This spot is the best; you can have a clear view here. I even brought a sweet osmanthus cake for you.”
“Ah Zhu, hurry up! This spot is great, isn’t it?! I’ve come here early on to save this spot in advance.”
The elderly who had nothing to do at home were there as well.
“Zhu Zi, hurry up and come over. You’re hungry, right? Granny has baked pancakes for you; let’s listen while we eat.”
“Lai Gen, come and rest a while, listen to the story for a bit before going back to farming.”
…I just can’t get used to such a scene no matter how many times I see it. Nan Ge Er sat by the doorway, glancing over at the disordered crowd under the tree. What’s up with this circus-opening-like scene?
Three days ago, only children were listening there. On the fourth day, passersby started squatting there to finish listening to the stories. On the fifth day, more and more adults began to come over…
In the end, as the number of audiences successively increased, such a disordered scene became a natural occurrence every time before Nan Ge Er ‘appeared on stage’.
“Sweet and filling sweet Ciba~”
“Thirst-quenching tea! Take a sip while listening to Nan Ge Er’s storytelling~”
“Appetizing sesame cake~”
“Stir-fried beans, peanuts and seeds~”
“Sweet candied fruit! It’s so sweet, it even sweetens your heart~”
Various peddlers began to arriving as well… Nan Ge Er had no words… According to his current body’s age, he was going to be twenty soon. In the past sixteen years, he totally didn’t have any awareness of being a transmigrator, since, in the cannibal-like palace, any kind of playful thought would get him shredded to pieces. Within a week, after witnessing the maids that served him being beheaded for speaking one wrong sentence, he understood what he should do to survive. It turned out that the knowledge from his past life was of no use to him at all.
However, currently, as he was in such a place like Guang Tian, he was required to set up a tea stall to earn money to fill his belly, do chores like washing laundry and cleaning, and even… storytell!
… Am I finally able to enjoy the benefits of being a transmigrator? A crowd of people is waiting ‘devotedly’ for me to take the stage…Hey, am I a monkey?!
1 Ge: suffix used to address one’s elder brother, or an older male