Though they missed Master a lot, Eldest Senior Brother and the rest were not that worried. Senior Sister Linglong even said with a smile, “Master is most likely somewhere seeking good liquor, drowning his worries and completely forgetting about us again.”
Other than Xiaodong, who didn’t completely understand her words, everyone else immediately understood.
Jiang Fan passed Xiaodong a small plate of peeled melon seeds and said with a smile, “Master doesn’t have any hobbies, but he does love liquor. One year, he went down the mountain and encountered someone in possession of good liquor. Master was willing to go through great lengths to buy his liquor, but that person wouldn’t sell it no matter what. Master proposed various ideas, and finally they decided that if Master won against him in chess he would be able to drink his liquor. Everyday, for the span of two to three months, Master would head over to play, only returning to the mountain after finishing the entirety of that person’s hidden stash.”
Linglong laughed when this was brought up. “Master hated playing chess the most. He claimed that it wastes too much brain power. In the past, his friends and acquaintances would often request to play chess with him, but he always rejected their invitations. However, in order to win at chess and drink that person’s liquor, he put in a great deal of work. We don’t know just how delicious that liquor was, but since then, Master’s chess skills improved greatly. You could say his skills improved by leaps and bounds.”
“Speaking of liquor, I suddenly have the urge to drink some too. We have meat and vegetables here, but it’s a pity we don’t have liquor. Eldest Senior Brother, why don’t we open up a jar of liquor for ourselves?”
Eldest Senior Brother only pondered for a short while before he readily agreed. “Sure. It’s Third Junior Brother’s birthday today, so let’s make an exception and retrieve some liquor. However, Little Junior Brother is still young and the liquor we have is rather strong, so it’s best that we don’t give him any.”
Xiaodong shook his head like a pellet drum. “Eldest Senior Brother, don’t look down on me. Why does everyone get to drink except me? I’m not satisfied. Not to mention I’m not that young anymore, and I drank liquor back home too.”
Jiang Fan had the softest heart among them. The moment Xiaodong put it that way, he chimed in. “That’s right, Senior Brother. Since it’s my birthday today and everyone is happy, let Little Junior Brother have a cup as well. It’s fine as long as he doesn’t drink too much.”
Linglong and Chen Jingzhi joined in the persuasion. Eldest Senior Brother said with a smile, “Enough, enough. Every single one of you sure is able to come up with impressive justifications. Then, I will allow him to have a cup, not a single more.”
When Xiaodong had brought up his past, Eldest Senior Brother was a little worried that he would feel down from recalling his deceased uncle. However, when Eldest Senior Brother saw that Xiaodong’s face was still all smiles, he was relieved.
Junior Brother Jiang’s words also made sense. It was rare that everyone was so happy today and that all of Master’s disciples were gathered together. Letting Little Junior Brother and the rest drink a little liquor shouldn’t be a problem.
“Then I’ll retrieve the liquor. All of you wait here.”
Master secured his liquor well. Anyone other than Mo Chen probably couldn’t successfully steal any.
The moment the jar was opened, the thick fragrance of liquor fluttered out. Forget about drinking it, light drinkers might get drunk from the fragrance alone.
When it came to the act of pouring liquor, it was usually a job left for the youngest. However, Senior Sister Linglong snatched away the jar, hugged it, and said with a smile, “Let me pour it then. You lot just sit still.”
Hugging the jar, she poured liquor for her brothers in order. Xiaodong had a sip and did not think that the liquor was even the slightest bit bad. Most likely, this was a good liquor that Master hid, right? The liquor that Xiaodong had tasted in the past was both bitter and spicy. With a single sip, the spicy scent would charge straight into his nose and make his eyes water.
However, this liquor was different. It was extremely fragrant, and from his tongue to his throat, all he could feel were incredible warmth and comfort when he swallowed. It wasn’t bitter at all, and Xiaodong even tasted a hint of sweetness.
“It’s so delicious. No wonder Master loves liquor so much.” Linglong raised her head up high and drank down a large half of her cup.
Everyone looked different after drinking the liquor. Eldest Senior Brother’s eyes clearly shone brighter, Senior Sister Linglong’s voice grew a lot louder than before, and Senior Brother Jiang’s face was so red it was as if it had been brushed with a thick layer of powder.
As for Xiaodong? He couldn’t see his own appearance since there wasn’t a mirror around, though he felt his body was light and floaty, and even his emotions felt fluttery. He couldn’t stop giggling and showing a silly smile.
Jiang Fan even teased Linglong. “Don’t get too addicted and head over to Master’s room to steal more liquor. Master keeps tabs on his liquor. Putting aside us stealing a jar today, even if a small bottle goes missing, Master will definitely realize it as well.”
“If he realizes it, so be it! Master’s sword techniques will definitely be passed down to Eldest Senior Brother. We definitely won’t steal them away from you, Eldest Senior Brother. Even if we wanted to, we wouldn’t be able to anyway. As for drinking liquor, let me have the honours then! In the future, Eldest Senior Brother will have the best sword techniques on the mountain, while I will have the biggest liquor capacity on the mountain!”
Xiaodong didn’t know how big Senior Sister’s liquor capacity was, but from this day on, everyone discovered how terrifying Xiaodong’s liquor capacity truly was. Earlier, the liquor had all been poured and everyone had a cup in front of them. Because Eldest Senior Brother was watching at the side, Xiaodong could only take a single sip from his cup. While Senior Sister Linglong was happily playing finger guessing with Jiang Fan, they suddenly realized someone was missing from the table.
Everyone was in a fluster. They looked left and right, only to find out that Xiaodong had slid down from his chair earlier and was already beneath the table. His eyes were closed tight and he wouldn’t wake up no matter how many times he was called. However, he still occasionally let out a silly laugh.
Xiaodong was not the only one who had gotten drunk that night. Linglong was drunk as well. In the end, she couldn’t resist the enticement from the jar of liquor. One cup at a time, she finished the half jar of liquor remaining.
Chen Jingzhi had also gotten drunk too.
He had something heavy on his mind in the first place and had been unhappy the entire day. After being lured in by the liquor, he couldn’t control himself any longer and stopped being as proper and neat as he usually was. Not to mention the liquor lacked spiciness. As he had sip after sip, he unconsciously drank a lot. After all, anyone with something on their mind would get drunk faster than the average person. After getting drunk, Chen Jingzhi’s head fell onto the table and he instantly fell asleep.
Out of the five, three people were drunk. It was already late in the night, and because heavy winds were blowing outside, it wouldn’t be worthwhile to move them all to their own rooms. Eldest Senior Brother summoned an attendant in-charge of miscellaneous affairs on the mountain and had her bring Linglong back to her own room. As for his two junior brothers, he decided that he might as well have them stay put. In any case, the Kang bed-stove was wide enough for them to sleep in, and all he had to do was bring over extra bedding for one of them. So it was fine to have them stay the night.
Senior Brother Jiang was a little tipsy as well. After setting up the bedding, he moved the two drunkards over and settled them in. His body was already covered in sweat then.
“Senior Brother, why don’t you stay for the night too? It’s already pretty late, and the winds outside are strong.”
The winds outside really were especially strong. Fortunately, the mountain winds had been considered when constructing their houses. Though there were homes that were already several tens of years old, the doors, windows and pillars were all especially sturdy. Even if the winds blew a little stronger than they currently were, the structures would still stand strong.
“That’s true.” Mo Chen agreed immediately, though he didn’t do it just to save himself the effort of walking a few steps. Rather, he was afraid that these two little drunkards would cause a ruckus and that Jiang Fan wouldn’t be able to take care of them alone.
Fortunately, the two of them didn’t make much of a fuss and were just asleep from having drunk too much. When Mo Chen carried Xiaodong over to the bedstove, he heard Xiaodong vaguely calling out to someone.
It sounded as if he was calling his uncle, but his words were too mumbled and his voice was soft, so Mo Chen couldn’t hear them clearly.
If he weren’t pay attention, he would have thought that a little kitten was crying out next to him.
Mo Chen lowered his head and sized him up properly. Fortunately, Xiaodong didn’t seem to look unhappy. He might be recalling something fun that happened in the past. His brows were relaxed, and the corners of his lips were slightly curved up. That light smile of his seemed so cute, as if he were completely satisfied with something.
There was a high probability that he was having a good dream.
Most likely, he had met his uncle again.
Mo Chen had never seen that Uncle Xie before, though he knew that Uncle Xie was a good friend that Master had made when he was younger. However, they last spoke a few years ago. Despite his illness, that person climbed the mountain in order to entrust his orphaned child to Master, and Master readily agreed. It seemed the two of them had a terribly good relationship.
Mo Chen wondered what kind of person he was, but he was definitely a good uncle. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be missed to such an extent.
Mo Chen was also taken in by Master when he was young. Without any relatives nor a homeland, he had never missed or cherished someone to the extent that Xiaodong had.
Probably because of the liquor, he couldn’t help but feel a bit more soft, and he began to ponder a lot more as well.
If there were to come a day… when he was no longer in this world as well, would there be someone who would miss him like so?
Master might miss his disciple, his junior brothers and junior sister might miss their senior brother, and the friends that he had made outside might also think of him.
However, they would not oftenly and deeply reminisce about him like this. There might be occasionally times where they recall their relationship, but after that he would be quickly forgotten.
Probably, such deep affection could only exist between relatives.
However, he did not have any.
He was also alone in this world.
After covering Xiaodong properly with a blanket, Jiang Fan had already gotten the bedding ready for Mo Chen. He took out a brand new pillow and said, “Senior Brother, sleep on this then.”
His bedding was right next to Xiaodong’s.
When Mo Chen laid down, a hint of curiosity actually grew in his heart.
Just how many years had it been since he slept so close to someone? Ever since he could remember, he had been sleeping alone.
Master pampered his junior brothers and junior sister more, while he had always been very cold to Mo Chen. Ever since Mo Chen was young, Master had always told him to be independent, serious, and have the behaviour befitting the eldest disciple of Returnflow Mountain. He was told to become the role model for his junior brothers and junior sister.
Jiang Fan was exhilarated today. He celebrated such a joyous birthday, ate longevity noodles and drank wine with his fellow brothers and sister. Though, it was unfortunate that Master was not present. He had been brought up by Master since he was young, and Master had also imparted him with skills and knowledge. In his heart, he undoubtedly saw Master as his father. No, even someone’s biological father would not usually show such a degree of kindness to his son.
He talked, laughed and took care of his fellow brothers and sister for half a night, so it was natural that he was completely fatigued. After setting up Mo Chen’s bedding, his consciousness was already beginning to drift away. He struggled to take out his outer garments and then crawled onto his own bed. The moment he closed his eyes, he began to snore.
Mo Chen fell asleep very quickly as well.
It was his first time sleeping in his junior brother’s room with so many people next to him. On his left was his Little Junior Brother’s head, and on his right was Junior Brother Jiang’s face. Before he slept, he even wondered if he could actually fall asleep when their inhalations could be heard so clearly?
In the end, he actually fell asleep almost immediately.