25 Mount Xian Teng
"En," Lian Fang Zhou and Lian Ze smiled as they agreed. The two, sister and brother, felt the excitement and curiosity of exploring new things, as well as, joy in their hearts.
"Be careful on the road! And come back early!" Mrs Miao waved at them.
Sun Zhang Xing turned back and said. "En, I know! You go back now! The day’s still early; go back to sleep!"
Mrs Miao did not respond to his words and yelled, "Take care of Fang Zhou and her brother!"
"I know. Don’t worry," Sun Zhang Xing said.
After they walked far away and reached a bend, Lian Fang Zhou subconsciously looked back, and could faintly see Mrs Miao still standing there, looking over in their direction. In the cool night, she looked so lonely and frail.
Lian Fang Zhou’s heart felt a little bit pained. She couldn’t help but think about how all year round, there are many days that Uncle Sun goes hunting and how Aunt Sun’s share of waiting in torment also isn’t little.
In the end, it’s because of being too poor, ah!
Sun Zhang Xing was very familiar with the mountain road, but he still hasn’t entered the mountains. There was a large number of people on this road, what’s more is that it’s also flat and not difficult to walk on. Therefore, it is not difficult for Lian FangZhou and Lian Ze to keep up with him.
Sun Zhang Xing is also a kind-hearted person. Because he felt that his own family received so much rice, not taking care of them, could not be justified. So he was very patient from time to time reminding them of their steps on the road and did not once go as he liked.
Gradually dawn arrived, and the morning star hanging high above the sky gradually faded. At the East appeared the white fishbelly. The road beneath their feet can already be seen clearly, and so the three sped up their pace.
After walking for about half an hour later, Sun Zhang Xing turned around and smiled. "Let’s take a break here. In a while we won’t get to rest. There’s still two more ridges too! If you’re tired, just say it and we’ll stop to take a break. Traveling through the mountain road needs one burst of energy. If we rest the legs they’ll become soft, then it will only be more and more harder to walk!
Both Lian Fang Zhou and Lian Ze nodded, smiling as they said alright and gave their thanks again.
Sun Zhang Xing pointed to the side said, "Down that the slope, there’s a spring. If you’re thirsty, you can go drink a few mouthfuls of it!
Lian Fang Zhou then laughed. "I was going to ask Uncle Sun if there’s any place I could get a drink around here!" Then she stood up.
Lian Ze also said he wanted to go, so the siblings went over together.
After resting more than a few minutes, the three continued travelling.
The sky was getting brighter, and thin faint rays appeared at the east sky. It is expected that it won’t be long until the sun comes out.
At this moment, without having to concentrate on her foothold on the road, Lian Fang Zhou took the opportunity to ask Sun Zhang Xing various things about Mount Xian Teng.
Originally, she was worried that Sun Zhang Xing wouldn’t be willing to tell her anything. Who knew that he was a talkative person. It just happened to be a good way to pass time on the road, so he endlessly chatted with the siblings.
The two siblings from time to time asked questions, which made Sun Zhang Xing more and more interested in them. In the end, the three of them did not feel tired as they travelled.
After about an hour, they finally reached the foot of mount Xian Teng.
In fact, when they gradually got closer to Mount Xian Teng, both sides of the forest seemed to be a lot taller; vegetation also seemed to be more lush. On both sides of the mountain, the forest obviously didn’t look the same as the ones they previously saw. They were more towering, tall and broad.
"I have to go into the woods to see if my luck is good and if i can hunt some good stuff! You two don’t go too far. If you lose your way, then you’re in trouble! In case you can not find the way back, remember to go find streams in the mountain and follow the direction of flow to leave the forest! When entering the mountain, it’s best to follow along the stream, well like that one right there. Doing it this way will be better! Around shen hour(3-5pm), let’s meet up here, and we can head back together. You better not be late!"
Sun Zhang Xing solemnly said.
Lian Fang Zhou and Lian Ze quickly agreed. Lian Fang Zhou smiled and took out the egg and rice dumpling, handing them to Sun Zhang Xing. "We brought some food, just a little bit of our gratitude. Uncle Sun we hope you won’t refuse!"
Sun Zhang Xing originally wanted to decline, but hearing Lian Fang Zhou say this, declining would be a bit too hypocritical. He generously accepted and smiled. "Thank you. Thank you both! Well, I have to go first! This is the time to hunt, and time flies. In the twinkling of an eye, one day will be over! "
The siblings bid him farewell.
"Come on. Let’s eat something, then we’ll go after a while!" Lian Fang Zhou said.
"En!" Lian Ze nodded. The two sat down as they ate the eggs and rice dumplings. They rolled up leaves to scoop the nearby mountain spring water to drink.
"Sister, do you think we can find mushrooms?" Lian Ze looked up and observed the gloomy big forest that looked as if it could open its mouth, waiting for people to send themselves in. His heart thumped like drums.
"Let’s try it first! Since we came, we can’t go back empty handed ah!" Lian Fang Zhou laughed.
Lian Ze also grinned and nodded. His heart was originally thumping, but since Sister wasn’t afraid, and since he is a man, what is there to be afraid of?
When they had eaten, they sat down again in the time it takes to make tea. Then, according to what Sun Zhang Xing said, they walked along the direction of the stream into the forest.
They just needed to remember the location of the stream, so going a little further from the riverside also isn’t a problem.
The two walked into the forest, reaching the tall trees which are rushing toward the sky. Below the trees that had lush vines climbing and wrapping around their trunks, the area was filled with a variety of short grass and shrubs, lots of whose names aren’t really known.. It looked pretty, but walking through the vegetation was difficult.
Perhaps since normally no one came to this place, the mushrooms were plentiful. Because numerous trees fell down and a long period of time had passed with no one to deal with those fallen trees, they began to decay, covered with moss and wrapped with vines.
And these kinds of rotten wood are the best place for mushroom to grow.
The siblings were extremely delighted.
"Sis, can these be picked?" Although Lian Ze was filled with excitement until his eyes shone, he did not forget to ask Lian Fang Zhou first.
Lian Fang Zhou could not help but be secretly delighted in her heart. First, she took a good look and then pointed out to him how to pick them.
This forest did not only have mushrooms, but it held various types of mushrooms . Just with a glance, she could see that there’s ectomycorrhizal, Morchella, wild shiitake, wild jelly ear, and Russula. Lian Fang Zhou also found some Tremella fuciformis and Boletus edulis. It made her overjoyed. She carefully harvested them.
This place has an abundance of mushrooms, so in less than an hour, the two Lian siblings already filled the four sacks they brought with them.
They tied the sacks tightly and picked up an appropriate branch from the forest to use as the pole. Each carried two sacks out of the woods. They came to the place where they separated from Sun Zhang Xing and set the sacks down on the grass.
Fortunately, the mushrooms weren’t heavy, but they could not be squeezed to minimize the space they took up. Although the sacks were loaded to the top, in fact they weren’t heavy.
The two took a break for a while. Seeing that the day was still early, Lian Ze said that he wanted to go to the stream to see if there are any fish. Lian Fang Zhou went with him.
This terrain was more leveled, so the stream of water was also more gentle. The width of stream was two meters or so. They can see through the crystal clear water, and at the bottom were large chunks of dark stones.
The edge of the stream was full of coin-size wild chrysanthemum. A touch of purplish blue petals wrapped the golden stamens. At first glance, it grew along the river to no end, dazzling people’s eyes.
Perhaps because it was daytime, the stream was too clear. It has fishes, but the thin small fish were the size of pinky finger or a chopstick. Schools of fish swam here and there, but there were no big fish.
However, under the large stones, there are thumb-sized freshwater shrimp.
They carefully removed the stones. Then saw hard-shelled, almost transparent shrimp waving their long pair of claws. With their thumb and index finger, they pinched the backs of the shrimp, gently holding them and pulling them out of the water. The pair of slender pliers waved around as their bodies struggled.
"Sister, such big shrimp and also this many. Really rare!" Lian Ze excitedly laughed. "We can catch more to bring back!"
"Good! Tonight we’ll have something good to eat again!" Lian Fang Zhou is also delighted.
The river next to the village also has shrimp, but no big shrimp like these. Just small ones about an inch long. Its body was the size of a green bean or a soya bean. Those kinds of shrimp can be caught only using a special net. The locals called them "shrimp twist.". This is because there’s no way of catching them, not because they can’t catch enough. Then people would get exhausted after fishing for half-day and would still not be able to catch enough for a break.
Both sister and brother were overjoyed to catch such big freshwater shrimp. Each shrimp that came from under the stones were thrown to the shore. The feeling of watching them jump under the sun was incomparable.