In which Wenren Heng is apparently a great cook.
Qin Yuemian and the scarred man had known Wenren Heng for this long yet had never seen him personally cook anything, not to mention even making mooncakes. This was practically more thrilling than when they witnessed him losing his jade pendant.
Similarly, the inn’s head chef and companions also found this image very thrilling.
This noble and handsome young sir had suddenly come over to their place to make something. None of them knew where exactly they should stand.
After Wenren Heng had sent away the miscellaneous idlers, out of the corners of his eyes, he saw two someones staring blankly at him. Without even lifting his head, he said, “What?”
Qin Yuemian doubtfully asked, “You really know how to make mooncakes?”
Wenren Heng said, “I do.”
In the past, when they lived on Heji Mountain, they were far from any major cities. During Mid-Autumn, they either went down to the county town at the foot of the mountain or bought the necessary items early and cooked things themselves. The master and two disciples would then pass an auspicious and peaceful Mid-Autumn Festival.
He suddenly remembered that, during the first few years of his Junior Brother’s arrival, the other would always get very quiet whenever Mid-Autumn or any other big holidays arrived. His heart suddenly ached at the thought.
That person’s entire clan was exterminated, and while unable to express anything, the person even had to accompany him and Master in celebrating the holidays. At that time, what exactly had his Junior Brother been thinking?
Qin Yuemian was asking on the side, “What else can you make?”
Wenren Heng regained his senses and said, “Many things. I just haven’t made them in a long time.”
Qin Yuemian was extremely curious, and he especially wanted to know how Wenren Heng’s mooncakes tasted.
He thus stood there on the side, maintaining this curiosity as he stared at this whole process from beginning to end. When Wenren Heng finished by placing the mooncakes on the plate piece by piece, he then followed this person upstairs.
The small county town wasn’t actually very big, but because it was the Mid-Autumn Festival, many from nearby villages had come to town. The main road had already long hung up streetlights, and peddlers had also already set out their wares, while children were gathering in groups to frolic and play, running all over with smiles on their faces.
Ye You was standing in front of the window, eyes lowered, to look at the lively streets below. He asked, “You’re not going back to spend the Mid-Autumn Festival with Manor Lord Wei?”
Wei Jiangyue didn’t know how to reply.
Normally, he would go and find his father, but since he began having doubts, every time he saw his father, he feared that the other would suddenly turn into a completely unrecognizable stranger right before his eyes one day. And if he returned alone to his room, his imaginations would just run wild. It was only by staying with Sir Xiao that he could quiet down his heart — even if this person was currently suspecting his father.
Ye You gave him a look and was about to say some more things when he heard footsteps getting close. He waited and, after only a short moment, heard the sound of knocking at the door. Having been close by, Wei Jiangyue stood up to open it and instantly met with the gloomy face of Ding Xilai.
Ding Xilai looked at him, gaze drifting. “You’re also here, huh.”
“Yes, I came to find Sir Xiao.” Wei Jiangyue let him into the room and gave his expression a once over. “What’s wrong with you?”
Ding Xilai didn’t reply. Upon seeing Sir Xiao walk over from the window to sit down, he also obediently sat and then told them that he had already heard about the matter with the Alliance Leader. He asked, heart filled with hope, “Do the two of you think… it’s possible that Uncle Zhong has been wrongly accused?”
Ye You slowly stroked the teacup in front of him and didn’t respond.
Wei Jiangyue conversely avoided the question by averting his eyes.
Of him and Ding Xilai, one wished that the Alliance Leader was the white piece, while the other wished that the Alliance Leader had been framed. They were just like two people trapped on opposite ends of an ice floe, and rupturing cracks had already started sounding from below; whichever side was split open would be whichever side would sink into the depths.
Ding Xilai looked at them and asked, unwilling to give up, “Isn’t there the slightest possibility?”
Ye You said, “Maybe.”
Ding Xilai also knew that this possibility was extremely small, so he wasn’t happy at all. The room than fell into silence for a time, and right when he sluggishly began to realize that the silence was turning awkward, he heard Xie Junming’s voice floating in from the outside.
“Oh, have these really been made by Sect Master Wenren with his own hands? They aren’t freshly bought?”
Wenren Heng said, “They naturally aren’t.”
Xie Junming said, “Come, come, come, then I have to try one.”
Wenren Heng said, “As long as Temple Master Xie has no reservations.”
Xie Junming said, “Yes, no reservations.”
As the two spoke, they pushed open the door, with Xie Junming having already bitten into a mooncake. The scarred man silently stared at him, not very happy. This was something that their Sect Master had made for Young Master Xiao; Young Master Xiao hadn’t even eaten any yet, but this scoundrel had already stolen a taste. Did he have any sense of shame?
If Xie Junming had any shame, then he wouldn’t be Xie Junming.
He unhurriedly chewed and swallowed and then faced his good friend to say wholeheartedly, “The noble madam’s craftsmanship is quite good. With such an exemplary wife, Sir Xiao is truly very blessed.”
The group, “…”
Wenren Heng, “…”
The room’s previous oppressive atmosphere immediately vanished like smoke, having been slapped by Xie Junming’s words all the way into the clouds. Ding Xilai and Wei Jiangyue took a while to react, and they both looked at Wenren Heng and Sir Xiao at practically the same time.
Wenren Heng and Ye You were both very clear that Xie Junming had said such words without any rhyme or reason because he had definitely heard some things from those Elders’ mouths. The former’s expression still remained the same, and he decided to put matters aside slowly for his Junior Brother, while the latter contained his own delighted mood and said, “Temple Master Xie has misunderstood. Our relationship is only that of disciple-brothers.”
Xie Junming asked in astonishment, “Hm? You two aren’t husband and wife?”
Ye You said, “We aren’t.”
Xie Junming said, “Is that so. I saw that you two lived in one room and thought that Sect Master Wenren was your wife.”
Ding Xilai, “…”
Wei Jiangyue, “…”
What exactly were you thinking?!
Xie Junming was roughly able to guess what they were thinking and unhurriedly added, “Oh, no wonder. Before, I had wondered why you still went to find Fuping to be your concubine when you already had Sect Master Wenren as a first wife. Ah, so it turned out that you two weren’t husband and wife.”
Ding Xilai and Wei Jiangyue had been felled into silence by this strong logic.
After all… the one who looked for concubines was the husband, as wives normally wouldn’t be able to do such things. Yes, there wasn’t any fault in this logic.
Those in the surroundings didn’t open their mouths, and the atmosphere in the room immediately started developing in a strange direction. Wenren Heng ignored these people and carried the mooncakes over, placing them in front of his Junior Brother. “Eat it while it’s still warm.”
Ye You didn’t look at his Senior Brother’s tender gaze and focused all his attention on eating the mooncakes.
Wenren Heng asked, “Are they good?”
Ye You said, “Yes.”
Wenren Heng said, “Then I’ll make them for you again in the future.”
With this kind of atmosphere and scene, those present all knew that they should make a slight retreat. Even Wei Jiangyue, whose heart was somewhat unwilling, also felt that remaining behind would render himself superfluous. And so everyone took their leave. Having had his fun, Xie Junming also didn’t continue disturbing them and left, perfectly satisfied.
With a creak, the door was closed.
Ye You swallowed what was in his mouth and, before his Senior Brother could erupt, said, “Want to go out for a walk?”
Wenren Heng said, “Today’s the Mid-Autumn Festival, so we probably all need to eat together.”
Ye You said, “We can go for a walk after we finish eating.”
Wenren Heng said, “All right.”
Ye You observed the other for a moment, and not seeing his Senior Brother show any signs of dissatisfaction, he ended up sitting with the other for a while. Upon hearing someone outside calling them to eat, he thereupon went with his Senior Brother downstairs to meet that crowd of elders, with a tacit understanding between everyone not to mention any matters relating to the black or white piece. Together, they amiably ate a meal together and also chatted for a time before then dispersing.
At this time, the sky was already dark, and outside had gotten even more lively, with throngs of people crowding around each other, all in a hubbub of conversation.
Ye You sported a “lantern” and slowly walked with his Senior Brother onto the street.
The two walked a few steps before Ye You said, “I remember during the Mid-Autumn Festival in the past, you really liked going into town to play.”
Wenren Heng made a sound in acknowledgment.
At that time, he had still been young and carefree with no worries, never having encountered any big life changes, so he naturally liked playing around. What did his Junior Brother think of him back then? Perhaps it was about the same way as how he now looked at Ding Xilai’s crowd of Junior Sect Masters.
He asked, “At the time, did you think I was very foolish?”
Ye You laughed and said, “No, just normally foolish.”
Wenren Heng, “…”
Ye You said, “I’m just playing with you. Actually, I was quite envious of you. These words are the truth.”
Wenren Heng couldn’t help but hold his hand tight, covering the grip with sleeves, pulling him into the light that flowed through the night landscape, and saying, “If something else happens in the future, don’t conceal it from me.”
Ye You said, “Yes.”
The small county town wasn’t big, and the two didn’t walk for long before they reached the end of the main road.
Wenren Heng saw that many people were heading for outside the town and, after asking, learned that there was a river nearby where people were going to release river lanterns. He saw that the time was still early and so also went over.
The river had a stone bridge, and many people were already standing on it.
Ye You found an empty place to stand and, leaning against the stone railings, surveyed the area. He saw that the river surface was completely covered with the warm, yellow glow of lanterns, like stars in the night sky spreading ever outwards, reflecting the full moon up above, beautiful to the point that it enticed people to remain watching here forever.
He swept his eyes over and saw a man and woman lighting a lantern together by the riverside. Midway, the two’s gazes met, and they didn’t turn away for a long time, simply staring at one another while separated by a lantern. The beautiful feelings between this man and woman overflowed, and those feelings appeared as if they could reach even this bridge.
He smiled slightly and was somewhat tempted to pull his Senior Brother over to also release a lantern when, in that instant, he heard a minute sound piercing the air. His heart trembled, and without thinking, he urgently stepped towards his Senior Brother, saying out loud, “Look at how beautiful those lanterns are.”
From behind, the concealed weapon brushed past him and hit the stone bridge’s railings with a light, echoing clink.
Wenren Heng had also perceived the danger at practically the same time as when Ye You had moved over. His pupils darkened, and holding onto the other’s waist, he jumped back half-a-step, lifting his head to look around. He saw two, three people coming on both ends of the stone bridge, along with the nearby person who had just thrown the concealed weapon, and they quickly surrounded the two of them.
Wenren Heng said, “Since they failed in surrounding the mountain, are they in a hurry?”
Ye You said, pensive, “Must be. I’ve already messed up their plans three times. If I was them, the first thing I’d want to do right now is find a way to kill me.”
Wenren Heng corrected him, “It’s us.”
As the two spoke, those people had rushed forward, getting close, and Wenren Heng was no long able to manage a conversation. He pushed his Junior Brother behind him and, in an instant, exchanged blows with them. In the surroundings, cries of alarm sprang up every which way, and immediately the scene turned into complete chaos.
At this time, Ding Xilai had just been walking to the riverside, saying, “Shaotian, let me tell you, if releasing a lantern and saying a few wishes actually worked, then there’d long already be no poor or ugly people in this world.”
Ren Shaotian naturally also didn’t believe in this kind of thing.
He had simply seen that his young master had been much too gloomy today and so had decided to find something for this person to do. He said, “Perhaps it’s that their fate with good fortune is too shallow, so their prayers were ineffective.”
Ding Xilai said, “My fate with good fortune is also shallow, or else I would’ve already become a martial hero a long time ago.”
Ren Shaotian said, “Young Master will profit sooner or later.”
Ding Xilai stroked his chin. “That’s a given.”
Ren Shaotian, “…”
Ding Xilai said, “I only have to hang around Sir Xiao, and I’d definitely be able to…”
He had spoken only halfway when he heard the continuous shouts, rising and falling, from up ahead. He intuitively felt that there was something lively to see and so couldn’t help but walk quicker. When he grabbed a person to ask, he learned that the noise was from people fighting, and that there was even someone who had fallen into the water.
Already used to doing good things out of habit, he immediately rolled up his sleeves. “Don’t worry, I’ll save them!”
Me: I’m going to play video games!!
Also me: My remote is out of batteries and I am too lazy to get up and turn on the TV by hand, so I guess I’ll just translate for now.
So, uh, confession time: I have never set off a river lantern. I think my mom once took me to see some when I was, like, three, but I have zero memory of it. I’ve set off sky lanterns though, and those are pretty cool! I have no idea how similar they are in concept, but on the sky lanterns, you actually write the wishes themselves onto the lantern before you let them float up. (Sky lanterns are huge, by the way, or at least the ones I’ve seen at Pingxi are.)