"What's wrong?" He asked her, trying to stifle back his laughter.
"Where did you get this?" She asked. She did not believe that Gan Tian Chi would have the clothes of a child conveniently in his giant trunk.
"I stole them from a village." He said as if it was an ordinary thing to do.
[You did what?]
Xue'er almost yelled out, looking at the clothes that although old, were well washed, it was seen how much this person cared for cleanliness even though they were in a bad situation, now they had their clothes stolen.
Seeing the expression on Xue'er's face, Gan Tian Chi did his best to comfort her: "Don't worry, the village was hundreds of miles away, I doubt that they will chase you down."
That wasn't what she was worried about, nevermind.
She knew that she would never be able to argue with the likes of Gan Tian Chi and his common sense anyway.
She utterly gave in.
They arrived at the border town, just before the sun started to set. Gan Tian Chi was dressed like a wandering scholar who traveled around the world to paint beautiful sceneries. While Xue'er looked like a poor child who wandered around to make a living.
They passed the checkpoints into the large gates, that was very much similar to the gates of the Eastern Jin imperial city, it was much more fortified, with more soldiers guarding it.
The checkpoint that one had to go through while entering the gate was a lot easier than the one leading to the imperial capital where the imperial family lived. Perhaps it was because there was less of a threat considering that the highest ranked person only held the position of general. There were no nobles that were willing to go to such a forsaken town, even if it was bustling with people.
Since the kingdoms were in harmony, they were able to enter the town without a hitch.
One had to say that this border town really lived up to its name of being the largest town. It was really bustling, although the sun was about to set, there were still plenty of people with their stalls open and receiving customers.
When Xue'er looked at the scene where the people were shopping for groceries from the stalls, prepared to go home to cook a warm meal for their families, along with some children playing on the streets, she felt her heart go warm, this feeling was unexpectedly nice.
Gan Tian Chi, on the other hand, was thinking about how if a war was to ignite between the two countries, then the people of border town would be the ones to suffer the most. He could never wrap his head around why people would choose to settle in such places.
Such was a profound mystery to him.
Their thoughts did not go on any further, as Gan Tian Chi dragged Xue'er off to a small stall that existed within an unnoticed alleyway of a large border town.
"Two bowls of noodles please." Gan Tian Chi said to the owner Chao of the small stall.
This small stall in an alleyway was a nameless place, but it could be certain that even the locals who have lived here for countless years would also get lost in the many twists and turns of the alleyways.
They sat down at one of the three tables that made up the stall. Gan Tian Chi took off his 'painting container and placed it down on the table.
This place was extremely small, with only three tables, that could seat four people each. The tables were made of old wood that had begun to crack under the passage of time.
Xue'er looked around the place, it was a mystery that this small nameless place somehow managed to remain in business, seeing that they were the only ones here and it didn't seem that this place had customers recently.
There were only two bamboo lanterns lighting up the entirety of the small store in the alleyway. Xue'er was somehow certain that Gan Tian Chi had come here many times in the past, if not how could he possibly know every twist and turn that needed to be made before arriving at this stall, where one would blink and go past it.
Sitting in one of the chairs, Xue'er could feel how old and creaky the chair she was sitting in was, amazingly, it did not fall apart under the pressure of a child's weight.
Xue'er gazed down the alleyway, it was very dark and dank, she also smelled the scent of foul iron. Added on that the moon was completely covered tonight, this alleyway somehow felt sinister.
She looked toward Gan Tin Chi who was waiting patiently for the noodles, he didn't seem at all bothered by the barely discernible smell, or whatever may have happened here.
Or maybe, he didn't care at all.
Very soon, owner Chao came and placed two piping hot bowls of noodles and placed them on the table.
"Enjoy." He said in a raspy voice. Maybe it was because he had a sore throat, or he just didn't speak much.
Xue'er and Gan Tian Chi picked up their chopsticks and selected a few strands of noodles before putting it into their mouths, and chewing the bouncy and chewy noodles.
The noodles were served in an ordinary bowl, covered with a spicy soup, and garnished with a few slices of onions and radishes. There was not the slightest hint of meat within the bowls, but it was still delicious.
The cooking was not bad, especially with the limited ingredients, this was already not bad.
Xue'er quickly ate her bowl, savoring the delicious taste of the thin noodles that were handmade, seemingly as thin as thread.
She couldn't help but wonder why she had been eating so much these few days. When she was in the underground maze, she rarely ate in the past year, maybe this was her body trying to make up for the lost food.