Striving for ScienceChapters List
Chapter 18: Mountain Springs Valley
"Sir, for tomorrow..."
Liu Mao stared at Dao Nian in astonishment. He was afraid he had misheard, and his voice became more careful, "Do you mean you want to go out to play tomorrow?"
Dao Nian didn't say a word, but his silence was an implicit agreement.
"I'll go down and make the arrangements right away. Are you going to the sea in the east or the desert in the west, or the frigid northern and southern regions?" Liu Mao took out a big token from his pocket, prepared to have the local spirits clear the area, making sure nothing would affect Sir's enjoyment.
After so many years, it was not easy to be able to hear the word "play" from the Sir's mouth.
"Mountain Springs Valley."
Where is the Mountain Springs Valley? Liu Mao froze, is it in Shennongjia or in the Five Mountains? [T/N: Shennongjia, directly administered forestry reserve in east Hubei; Five Sacred Mountains of the Daoists, namely: Mt Tai [Tai Shan] in Shandong, Mt Hua [Hua Shan] in Shaanxi, Southern Mt Heng [Heng Shan] in Hunan, Northern Mt Heng [Heng Shan] in Shanxi, Mt Song [Song Shan] in Henan]
"Brother Liu, the Mountain Springs Valley that the Sir mentioned is probably that valley about 30 kilometers away," one of the twins whispered softly, "Have you forgotten that Mr. Shen made an appointment with Sir to go on a weekend trip together?"
Liu Mao came to a realization and didn't say much more.
Mountain Springs Valley got its name because there are clear springs in the mountains. However, the locals in Wuming City are not very interested in this place. To them, it's just mountains and water, nothing special.
Usually the people who come here are outsiders or old people who have nothing to do to climb mountains and exercise. In recent years, the local government spent a lot of money to develop Mountain Springs Valley, but unfortunately its popularity is limited and it doesn't attract many tourists. Every year, the first day of the new year is the peak of its traffic.
Shen Changan packed food and water in his bag and was about to go downstairs to catch a cab when he saw Liu Mao waiting for him downstairs in a car. Seeing him coming down, Liu Mao smiled brightly: "Mr. Shen, this way ."
The car window slowly opened, and Shen Changan saw Dao Nian's handsome face, as Dao Nian lazily glanced over.
Seeing Dao Nian, Shen Changan jogged over, pulled open the car door and sat next to Dao Nian, and in the meantime, put the bulging backpack to the side.
Dao Nian glanced at the backpack.
"There is water and food in it. The stuff in the scenic area is expensive and not very tasty. If we don't like the food inside, we can nibble on these as snacks," Shen Changan patted the backpack, which made a snapping sound under his palm.
Dao Nian blinked, indicating that he understood.
"Originally I said I'd go over to find you, why did you come over first instead?" When Shen Changan buckled his own seatbelt, he realized that Dao Nian hadn't fastened his seatbelt, and reached over to fasten it for him, "Last night I asked my colleagues and they said there's a steep section on the road into Mountain Springs Valley, you have to fasten your seat belt securely."
"By the way, I made sandwiches in the morning. Do you want one?"
Liu Mao sat on the co-pilot, listening to Shen Changan crooning a one-man show all by himself, couldn't help but be a little curious. Obviously Sir didn't say a word then how did Shen Changan continue the conversation?
In front of Sir, he did not dare to open his divine sense, and could only steal a few glances behind. Sir indeed did not say anything, but he was already eating the sandwich made by Shen Chang'an. He really did not see the usual lazy demeanor and picky eating at all.
Noticing Liu Mao's peeping eyes, Shen Changan took out a piece of cake from his backpack, "Sorry, I only made the sandwich for one person. This is the cake I made last night, have some to try."
"Thank you." Just as Liu Mao reached out to take the cake, he saw the Sir lift his eyelids and look at him.
"Milk, hot." Shen Changan shoved a bottle of hot milk into Dao Nian's hand, "I added a little bit of sugar, it would taste better."
Dao Nian withdrew his gaze, silently taking a sip of milk.
After finishing the sandwich and milk, he saw Shen Changan take out a bag from somewhere to put the sandwich wrapper and milk bottle in.
Ten minutes later, Shen Changan took out a few packages of figs from his backpack.
"Eating snacks and chatting while rushing to the destination is also an important part of the journey." Shen Changan handed a packet of figs to Dao Nian, "Here, have a taste."
Dao Nian stared at a packet of unpeeled figs, with rejection in his eyes.
"Don't like this?" Shen Changan noticed and took out a few other things from his bag, "Pick what you like to eat."
Things with shells.
Things that need to peel.
Things that get your hands sticky.
Dao Nian stared at the few snacks for a long time, then reluctantly picked a bag of sweet potato chips.
"Mr. Shen, I didn't expect you to like snacks, I thought only girls liked these." Liu Mao was worried that Shen Changan would be too embarrassed to talk to himself alone, and would not look for Mr. Play in the future, so he had to find a way to find a topic for an awkward conversation.
"What's the difference between men and women when it comes to liking food?" Shen Changan lowered his head to peel the fig shells, "Adhering to gender stereotypes goes against your nature then it is equivalent to wasting your own life."
When he was very young, there was a little girl next door who liked to play soccer, and he asked his mother why does that girl like to play soccer like the boys.
His mother told him that everyone has the right to enjoy what they love, regardless of gender. Later, in order to make him understand that soccer is not exclusive to boys, his mom even dragged him to watch a few women's soccer matches.
He was young and didn't understand why his mom said and did that, but as he grew older and saw more and more things, he finally understood the deeper meaning behind his mother's actions.
At least now he can eat snacks without fear that it was damaging to his masculinity.
"Madam Ling was indeed an extraordinary woman." Liu Mao was still about to praise Shen Changan's mom with a few more words when Dao Nian suddenly spoke, "My hand hurts."
"What's wrong?" Shen Changan lowered his head to look at Dao Nian's hand and found that his right thumb was a little red and swollen, no wonder he didn't eat the snacks that needed peeling.
He grabbed Dao Nian's hand and took a closer look for a few moments. Except for some swelling, there were no signs of festering, and he breathed a sigh of relief. He asked the driver to stop the car and went to a nearby store to buy ointment.
After applying the ointment and bandaging, Shen Changan took another look and was satisfied with his own work: "It's fine, it'll get better by tonight."
Liu Mao looked at the bandaid on Dao Nian's hand, and then at Shen Changan who had lowered his head to peel figs for Dao Nian. His expression was as complex as if he had just caught his own 90-year-old grandfather suddenly being shy and nervously confessing a newfound crush like a monkey.
"This half is yours, this half is mine," Shen Changan divided the peeled figs in half, giving one half to Dao Nian and eating the other half himself in a few bites. "We're almost at Mountain Springs Valley."
Shen Changan ate the figs very quickly, but Dao Nian was sure that Shen Changan ate more than the number in his own hands.
He squinted at Shen Chang'an. This dishonest human!
"Quick, look, there's fog on the mountain." Shen Changan grabbed Dao Nian's sleeve and pointed out the window, "Shrouded in mist and clouds, it looks like a fairyland."
"Celestial places aren't this simple." Dao Nian stared at the fig in his palm, tensing the corners of his mouth.
"Hey?" Shen Changan turned around to see that he wasn't eating, "You don't like it, then I ......"
Before he could finish his words, he saw Dao Nian start to eat it expressionlessly in front of him, and was still eating it one by one.
Shen Changan: "......"
Is this childish ghost a kindergartener?
At the entrance of Mountain Springs Valley, there was a ticket booth. Because there weren't many tourists, the ticket seller was lazily sitting in the ticket office and didn't even notice a car driving by.
"Sister." Hearing someone gently knocking on the ticket counter outside, the ticket seller lifted her head to see a young boy outside wearing a white long-sleeved t-shirt and frameless glasses, with a pair of eyes shining brightly, making people feel in a good mood just from seeing it.
The ticket seller looked like in her forties-fifties, and being called "Sister" by a handsome young man, her mood immediately improved. Not only did she give him a few tourist brochures, but also told him which restaurants inside had good food for low prices.
Returning to the car with the travel brochure given by the ticket sales lady, Shen Changan distributed them to Liu Mao and Dao Nian in the car: "There's even a hot Springs bathing place mentioned inside, should we go try it this afternoon?"
Dao Nian was silent for a few seconds before nodding slowly.
Perhaps because the mountain was relatively high, the fog became thicker as they drove deeper into it. Normally tour buses ferried tourists into the mountains, but since there were so few tourists today, apart from Shen Changan's car, no other vehicles passed through the entire road.
Maybe because the mountain was relatively high, after the car drove into the mountain, the fog has not been dispersed, on the contrary, there was a trend of getting thicker and thicker, usually the scenic area has tourist buses to send tourists into the mountains, probably because the tourists were too few, so the entire highway in addition to Shen Changan their car, there was no other vehicle passing by.
Shen Changan opened the window and took a peek outside, whispering softly: "Has Wuming City's tourism industry deteriorated to this extent - there's no one coming during the weekend."
"Foggy." Dao Nian replied with one word.
"Yes, the fog is thick. Sometimes you can't even see people standing nearby." As soon as Liu Mao finished speaking, cars drove past them, though not many, at least it wasn't desolate without any people.
Only after a tourist bus used in the scenic area also drove past did Shen Changan's strange feeling completely disappear. He peeled a handful of figs and put them all in Dao Nian's hand: "We should be almost at the mountain, right?"
Dao Nian accepted the figs, and the corners of his lips that had been tightly pressed together relaxed slightly.
The car bypassed the mountain highway, winding along the mountain road it crossed another bridge, and stopped at a spacious parking area. Through the thick fog, Shen Changan caught a glimpse of the roof of a building. He rubbed his hands together, turned around to see Liu Mao taking out a folding wheelchair from the trunk, so he bent down and carried Dao Nian out of the car.
With a loud clang, the folding wheelchair slipped from Liu Mao's grasp, smashing the ground. Meeting Shen Changan's puzzled eyes, Liu Mao smiled awkwardly, "Sorry, my hands slipped."
After placing Dao Nian in the wheelchair, Shen Changan glanced at Dao Nian's slender legs, turned around and took out the blanket from the car to cover his legs saying, "It's quite cold in the mountains."
He looked at a tourist bus parked next to them, the bus was splattered with a lot of mud, it should have been driven up two or three days ago when it was raining in Wuming City.
Thinking of this, Shen Changan reached out and pointed at the building obscured by the thick fog and smiled, "Look guys, don't this look like a scene from a horror movie? Horror movies often use hotels as backgrounds – when the main and side characters get trapped in the hotel and can't get out, and apart from thick fog and darkness, there is nothing outside the hotel."
Liu Mao silently looked at the Chinese-Western style hotel obscured by thick fog.
"Ah, that seems to be the hot springs resort mentioned in the travel brochure. Since it's so foggy now and the temperature has dropped a bit, why don't we go soak in a hot spring first, and then go out to enjoy the scenery when the fog clears in the afternoon?" Shen Changan flipped through the travel brochure and looked down at Dao Nian, "What do you think, Dao Nian?"
Dao Nian stared at the building obscured by fog and nodded: "Okay."
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