Records of the Dragon Follower
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 9: Lying Side By Side
Actually, Xiaodong feared neither the cold nor the dark.
He nimbly laid down the blankets and placed the pillows down properly. He let Senior Brother sleep on the outer end, while he threw off his slippers, took off his outer garments and then snuck into the blanket that was placed deeper into the room.
The moment Mo Chen turned around after locking the door, he saw that Xiaodong had already snuck into the blanket, revealing only a little head.
“Are you cold?”
“I’m not cold, I have this.” Xiaodong tightened his grip on the warm wood that he had already snuck into the blanket. “There’s actually something so splendid in the world. I wonder what the tree looks like. If we could build a house out of such wood, then we wouldn’t have to fear winter for the rest of our lives.”
Mo Chen laughed, “Warm wood is not something commonly seen. Even after so many years, this is the only piece I’ve seen.”
“I know. I’m just saying.”
It was such a rare piece of wood. Eldest Senior Brother must have great use for it since he brought it back. In the end, it was now given to Xiaodong for warmth.
Xiaodong pursed his lips to hide his joy.
It was alright. He was merely hugging it for warmth, it wasn’t like he was going to use it as firewood. Once spring came, he would just return the wood to Senior Brother. As for next year’s winter, his martial arts should be better than they currently were, so he wouldn’t feel this cold again. In other words, he wouldn’t need to hug the warm wood again.
Mo Chen placed the candle to the side and laid down after also taking off his outer garments.
“Hurry and sleep then.”
Though it was snowing, and though there was no need to wake up early tomorrow to practice martial arts, Mo Chen had no intentions of allowing his junior brothers and junior sister to slack off. Laziness was feared by all men. A habit would quickly form after just one or two days of rest. After that, urging them on would require a lot more effort than before.
He thought of gathering everyone together tomorrow morning and speaking of the core principles behind the movement technique, which he hadn’t finished in teaching yet.
He wondered about Master’s whereabouts, and if he would return these next few days. He had only managed to complete half of the tasks Master had given him on his trip. He had received all of the letters that Master had sent, but of the list of things that Master entrusted him to find, not even half had been located. Thinking that more than half a year had passed, and afraid that Master would worry, he then hurriedly returned. In the end, Master wasn’t even on the mountain.
As Mo Chen ruminated, Xiaodong had already secretly turned his head to look at him several times.
Though Senior Brother didn’t speak, it felt completely different with an additional person in the room.
It felt pretty good like this.
Why did it feel good? He couldn’t put it into words either. In any case, it was good. His heart felt warm and fuzzy, and his body felt warm and fuzzy as well. He didn’t feel that the room was dark when he opened his eyes, nor did he feel that the room was empty when he closed them.
It was as if he wasa little mouse that had stolen oil. As he lay there, the corners of his lips couldn’t help but raise upwards.
“Stop smiling, hurry and sleep.”
Startled, Xiaodong hurriedly covered his lips. However, the next moment, he felt it was strange.
“Senior Brother, how did you know I was smiling?”
He didn’t even laugh, and the room was so dark as well. Furthermore, Senior Brother basically hadn’t turned to look over at him at all, so how did Senior Brother know he was smiling?
Even without turning his head to look, Mo Chen knew what expression was on Little Junior Brother’s face.
So why bother turning his head to find out?
Without knowing the answer, Xiaodong would most likely find it hard to sleep that night. Even after being asked twice, Mo Chen continued to ignore him. Xiaodong stretched out his hand from beneath his own blanket and boldly tugged Mo Chen’s blanket.
Once. Twice. Eldest Senior Brother failed to react and continued ignoring him. It was as if he had immediately gone to sleep after saying those words.
Liar, who would be able to fall asleep so quickly?
Xiaodong’s hand continued to stretch forward…
And he couldn’t stretch any further.
Eldest Senior Brother’s arm was coincidentally pressing tightly on that side of the blanket, preventing Xiaodong’s hand from slipping inside. It was as if a wall had been erected, firmly blocking the path.
Yet Xiaodong did not retreat in the face of adversity. Instead, the more frustrated he was, the braver he became. Since he couldn’t beat his enemy with brawns, then he could obtain victory with brains! He bent his fingertip and began to tickle Eldest Senior Brother’s arm through the blanket.
The secret that Eldest Senior Brother was afraid of tickles, needless to say, had been exposed by Senior Brother Jiang.
As expected, after just two tickles, Eldest Senior Brother’s arm loosened. With great joy, Xiaodong took this opportunity to press his attack, and his hand slipped into Eldest Senior Brother’s blanket.
In the end, before he could celebrate, Eldest Senior Brother’s arm dropped right back down, squashing Xiaodong’s entire palm tight.
At this, Xiaodong was dumbfounded. Eldest Senior Brother did not seem like he was exerting much force. It was just a slight drop, yet Xiaodong’s hand could not budge at all. It couldn’t be called heavy, after all, it didn’t hurt the tiniest bit. Yet, it couldn’t be called light either, since he couldn’t move his hand at all. He couldn’t slip it further inwards, nor could he pull it out. It was truly a crisis on both ends. He was so anxious he groaned while exerting force,even resorting to using his other arm. However, it didn’t help even the slightest.
Senior Brother Jiang was a liar. How was Eldest Senior Brother kind? He was simply mean to the core!
Xiaodong, understanding that he wasn’t Eldest Senior Brother’s match, had no choice but to whisper, “Senior Brother, Eldest Senior Brother? I was wrong…”
Mo Chen suppressed his urge to laugh, his voice sounded rather Senior Brother-ish, “You understand your wrongs now?’
“I was wrong, I really was wrong. Eldest Senior Brother, please raise your noble arm, my hand is about to go numb.”
Mo Chen listened to Xiaodong’s countless praises before he finally showed kindness and raised his arm. Xiaodong hurriedly pulled his hand out and tightened his grip on his own blanket. He obediently prepared to sleep, not daring to easily play with the whiskers of a tiger again.
Mo Chen, however, felt all that all of thiswas really fresh.
His junior brothers and junior sister were all especially respectful of him, and they had never dared to tease him like this. Little Junior Brother usually looked cowardly as a little sparrow, but he actually had a rather lively personality.
While he was reciting the heart cultivation mantra in his mind, Xiaodong’s obedient phase disappeared and he once again called out quietly, “Eldest Senior Brother, are you asleep?”
Mo Chen kept quiet.
“Are you really asleep?”
He couldn’t continue reciting his heart cultivation mantra, but strangely, he did not feel the slightest bit frustrated.
Xiaodong knew that he was still awake and continued, “Earlier, I suddenly thought of something. Fourth Senior Brother and I came up the mountain later on, while Eldest Senior Brother, Second Senior Sister and Third Senior Brother have all been living on the mountain since you were little. However, why are all your surnames different? Are they your families’ surnames? Senior Brother, where’s your former home? Is there no one at home?”
Mo Chen did not expect that he would bring this up and was absent-minded for a short while. However, he immediately regained his senses and softly replied, “The three of us are different. Junior Brother Jiang was an orphan that Master picked up. When he was picked up, there was a letter on him, and it seems that his surname is from his family’s. Junior Sister was also taken in after a disaster struck the family of Master’s old friend.”
As for Mo Chen himself, ever since he could remember, he was already by Master’s side. He had once asked about his origin, but Master simply said that he encountered Mo Chen by coincidence. He did not have any parents and was an orphan.
In the past, he too had once thought about why he didn’t have Master’s surname, Li, even though Master said he didn’t know his origins. He had used the name ‘Mo Chen’ for so many years, and when he headed out, people would always courteously refer to him as Hero Mo as well.
However, he himself didn’t know why he had the surname Mo.
Mo Chen didn’t continue speaking, and Xiaodong had already begun to regret asking about something that he shouldn’t have.
Who was willing to be orphaned? Earlier Xiaodong had been trapped in the pain of losing a relative. Now that he thought about it, which of his senior brothers and senior sister still had their parents? Other than Fourth Senior Brother, the rest lacked any living relatives. Though his parents had passed away while he was young, he still after all had his uncle. However, when compared to his senior brothers and senior sister, he was actually luckier than them.
“Senior Brother, I’m sorry. It’s my fault for asking something I shouldn’t. Don’t be angry.”
“I’m not angry,” Mo Chen said, “Master raised me up and took me as his disciple as well. It will be hard for me to repay this kindness my entire life.”
Xiaodong hurriedly chimed in, “Right. Master is really great.”
Wasn’t he taken in by Master too? If Master didn’t take him in, without any relatives and a home to return to, he really couldn’t imagine how his life would have turned out instead.