It was obvious that neither the pig trotters nor the chicken could be salvaged. They were only cooked with oil and soy sauce, and the heat was so high that they would have been burned if they weren’t.
With a pitiful expression, Lian Qing placed the burnt pig trotters and chicken on a plate and brought them to the table in the living room. Lian Sang followed closely behind him, staring at the unrecognizable food with sympathetic words of comfort for his shixiong: “It’s okay, shixiong. I can lose weight. Anyway, Shifu said that I have a little belly, and I’ll soon become a little fatty.”
Lian Qing smiled wryly and pulled at the corners of his mouth. “Don’t listen to his nonsense. Look at other kids, how many of them don’t have a little belly? That’s a blessing!”
“But you don’t have one, shixiong.”
“Am I a kid like you?”
“Shifu said you are.”
When Li Chengsi walked in, he saw Lian Qing standing with his hands on his hips, arguing with Lian Sang, who was also standing with his hands on his hips, with Lian Qing saying “I’m not” and Lian Sang saying “you are”. The taller little monk clearly didn’t have much advantage in the argument against the smaller one, and the situation was getting out of control.
Li Chengsi looked blank for a while before mustering up the courage to knock on the door. “Hey, what are you two doing? Lian Qing, you’re a grown man. Why are you arguing with your shidi who’s only three years old?”
The two of them finally stopped arguing. Without waiting for Lian Qing to explain, Xiao Lian Sang waved his hand and said, “It’s my shixiong’s fault…”
Before he could finish speaking, his pouty little mouth was covered by his senior brother’s hand. The little guy calmly looked at his shixiong.
Lian Qing blinked his eyes pitifully and leaned close to his ear to whisper, “Give shixiong some face, okay?”
The little guy gave his senior brother a cold look and reluctantly nodded. Lian Qing then let go of his hand and said to Li Chengsi, “It’s nothing, Brother Li. What’s up?”
Without going into detail, Li Chengsi asked, “Your kitchen is out of use today, but you two haven’t eaten yet. I came to ask what you’re going to do?”
What are they going to do? This is also the main reason for Lian Qing’s distress. It’s obviously not appropriate to cook again, and he still has some psychological trauma from cooking. If only there were leftover pork trotters and chicken to eat, he wouldn’t be so troubled. Looking at his little junior brother, Lian Qing sighed silently in his heart and asked, “Brother Li, do you have any leftovers at home?”
“I do, but not much. It’s probably only enough to feed the little one half full,” Li Chengsi replied.
“It’s okay, I’ll ask the others and see if we can gather enough for a meal. Let my shidi eat first.”
Upon hearing this, the little one protested, “No, let my shixiong eat first.”
“You eat first, you need to grow taller!”
“You eat first, you need to do the hard work!”
“You eat first…”
“No, you eat first…”
Li Chengsi couldn’t help but smile at their bickering over a meal, but also felt a twinge of heartache for the two children. He shook his head and turned to ask the others if there were any leftovers, hoping to gather enough for a meal for them.
Seeing this, Lian Qing followed him out. The little one shouted, “Shixiong, wait for me!” and chased after them. Lian Qing simply bent over and scooped him up into his arms. The little one calmly rested his bald head on his senior brother’s neck, displaying an expression of complete trust and dependence.
Just a moment ago they were arguing loudly, but in the blink of an eye, they became “sweet and affectionate.” Li Chengsi couldn’t help but feel envious as he quickened his pace. He wanted to finish helping out as soon as possible and return to his daughter.
With Li Chengsi’s help, the two managed to order some dishes and two bowls of rice. Lian Qing handed the bowl of rice that looked fuller to his shidi and said, “Let’s split it in half, it’s fair, isn’t it?”
The little guy compared the two bowls and found that they were equal, so he solemnly nodded his head.
They ate in silence, and Lian Qing had his junior brother do some marching exercises while he washed the dishes in the kitchen. The kitchen had already been cleaned up, and the door had been hastily repaired, but it was still not very secure when pushed open. Lian Qing tiptoed into the kitchen, motioning the cameraman not to turn back with a “shush” gesture. The little guy looked like a thief, making the cameraman unable to help but laugh.
Lian Qing looked around and finally found his plate of pig trotters in the corner. He picked up a small knife and went over to the trotters, holding them down with one hand and cutting them with the other. In no time, the blackened skin of the trotters was peeled off, revealing the intact flesh inside.
Lian Qing’s face lit up with joy, and he could eat! He grabbed the trotters and ate them in big bites. While eating, he would occasionally glance at the door, as if afraid of being caught stealing.
The cameraman couldn’t help but ask, “Are you very hungry?”
“Lower your voice,” Lian Qing said, adding, “I usually have to eat at least four bowls of rice. One bowl is not enough to fill me up.”
Four bowls of rice… never mind his appetite. So he came to steal because he was too hungry? The cameraman felt a little sorry for him and wanted to ask him to stop eating this burnt and cold food, which was not good for his health. But seeing that he had almost finished eating, he had to give up.
After finishing the pig trotters, Lian Qing wiped his mouth and commented with restraint, “It’s too bland, no taste.” He missed his big brother Yu Wenning even more.
The cameraman: “…” speechless.
After wiping away any traces of his theft, Lian Qing returned to the room to check on Lian Sang before going back to the kitchen to boil water.
He boiled water, bathed the little guy, then quickly took a shower himself, and then he started washing clothes.
As he washed, he couldn’t help but feel lonely and said, “These clothes are really difficult to wash. If I had known, I wouldn’t have worn white.”
As he continued to wash, he said again, “I feel like a little white cabbage. Little white cabbage, yellow in the field, two or three years old…”
He hesitated for a moment and murmured, “I never had a mother.” Then he sang, “Can’t eat enough, can’t dress warm enough…”
The cameraman found it funny but also heartbreaking, and couldn’t help but think about sneaking some food for this kid. He was just a half-grown guy and still a child. He shouldn’t be starving.
When he finished, it was already 10 o’clock at night. He took the phone from the staff and held Xiao Sang and invited his Shifu for a video call.
The old man quickly answered and happily greeted his two apprentices, telling them where he went and what friends he met.
After chatting for a while, Lian Qing said, “Shifu, show me where you’re staying.”
“I told you before that I’m staying in a hotel and not sleeping on the streets…” The old man spoke while using his phone to scan the hotel environment and then said, “Are you satisfied now?”
Only then did Lian Qing feel relieved and repeatedly told his master not to save money for him.
After hanging up the call, Lian Qing thought for a moment and asked Xiao Sang, “Do you want to video chat with your big brother?”
“Yes!” The little guy answered without hesitation. So Lian Qing called Yu Wenning, and he answered soon after.
On the video call, Yu Wenning was wearing a white bathrobe, his wet hair occasionally dripping down his face, sliding down his chin, and dropping onto his collarbone. Then it slowly disappeared under his loosely fitting robe…
Lian Qing couldn’t help but gulp and suddenly felt a bit hot…
On the other end, Yu Wenning gently smiled and asked, “Is something wrong?”
Before Lian Qing could say anything, the little guy in his arms grabbed the phone and shouted at the video, ” Yu gege, help us! Shixiong blew up someone else’s kitchen and burned the pig trotters.”
Lian Qing: “……..” Didn’t he care about his face anymore?!
Lian Qing, the little monk who needs to eat at least four bowls of rice: weak, pitiful, helpless, but able to eat.