Chapter 9 Courtyard 4: Moss

Everything needed a starting point. Even if it was just placing a stone down, it wouldn’t be a real start without this action.

I could easily give up something I didn’t think I had really started, but I was very persistent about things once I had started them.

In order to achieve the image I had in my mind, this courtyard required a long period of prep work, as well as some favor from God. There weren’t many things I could do during this period of time I was waiting for news from Wang Meng, but there actually was something very interesting that I could do.

I could look for moss.

There was a special type of courtyard called a moss garden, which was a place specially used to appreciate moss.

Not everyone could appreciate the beauty of moss, but I knew that Poker-Face could. That kind of peaceful and slow-growing plant with its subtle green, indigo, and yellow colors would actually be good decorations for the ground and rocks.

In fact, there were two types of moss that could be used to decorate the courtyard: hypnum moss and hoary fringe-moss. (1) These two types of sun-loving moss could enjoy the sunshine together with the other plants. I eventually chose to go with hoary fringe-moss, which could easily be found on the mountain behind Xilaimian, but it would still take me quite a while to find some good ones.

We still got up early in the morning to work at the restaurant but decided to close at three that afternoon. I even put up a sign that said: The bosses have something to do, please come again early tomorrow. The three of us then went to the town to buy small plastic shovels and buckets and carried them up the mountain to start looking for moss.

The three of us were just like elementary school students on an autumn field trip. At first, I thought about digging up as big a patch as possible, but later, I found that the moss here was sparsely scattered across the mountain. As such, I could only dig up what I saw. Fatty made the mistake of digging up the wrong ones at first and ended up with a lot of unknown ones. When I touched them, I found that they were slick. If we planted them in the courtyard, we could skate across them as soon as it rained.

When we got tired of digging, we ate some wild fruits we had found. As the three of us rested, I found that Fatty had more white in his hair now.

But I didn’t say anything. I knew that he would secretly color it.

After we came back, we set the moss up in the courtyard by spreading it out on the ground and spraying it with water. Tomorrow, I’d have to buy some sand and lay out a general design for the courtyard. Although we had dug up two buckets full of moss, it was still far from enough to fill the size of the courtyard I wanted. I figured that it would take another year for the moss to grow big enough, but I obviously wasn’t going to wait that long. So, I decided that I would dig up more moss when I was free tomorrow. After all, the more moss I planted, the faster it would grow.

When I was emptying out Fatty’s plastic bucket, I found some wild mushrooms that looked edible. Fatty asked me if I wanted to put them in the chicken soup we were going to have for dinner but I shook my head no. When I was in the study later that evening, I looked up information on poisonous mushrooms and found that the mushrooms Fatty had picked were actually a type of poisonous mushroom called trogia venenata.(2) We were almost killed off by Fatty’s soup, I thought to myself.

That same evening, I made Fatty read up on poisonous mushrooms all night long. He was frightened by what he read and said that he didn’t expect so many poisonous mushrooms to look like shiitake mushrooms.

At about nine o’clock, I looked at the courtyard outside the window and saw Poker-Face sorting out the moss alone. I leaned against the window ledge and watched him sort the moss for more than two hours.

I wasn’t sure whether he liked my plan or not, but I figured if Fatty liked it a lot, then he may like it a little bit.

The next day was the same. The sand and gravel I had ordered were piled up in the courtyard in the afternoon, and that evening, the three of us took shovels and stood in the middle of the yard. I was planning on digging the pond first.

The feeling of this moment pulled up memories of the past. Although it wasn’t a Luoyang shovel in my hand, it was still in my DNA.(3)

“Mr. Naïve,” Fatty said, “what do we do if we dig down and find something?”

“We’ll just use you to fill it in,” I said.

“Don’t fucking joke with me. With your constitution, maybe you have a force field or something around you where you’ll automatically end up building a house on top of a tomb.”

I glared at him, but Poker-Face ignored us and took the lead in digging. The three of us dug for ten minutes before I found that instead of a pool, we had ended up digging a grave robbers’ tunnel out of habit.

When I stopped them, Fatty looked at the hole and asked me, “Mr. Naïve, isn’t this pool a little small?”

“Yeah,” I said while thinking to myself that it was just big enough to soak our feet. “We have to widen the sides. Brothers, I know this will leave our comfort zone, but we have to be brave.”

After I finished speaking, I started working on the sides, but things like habits were really amazing. Even after giving each other a reminder every ten minutes, we still had to work really hard to make it look like we weren’t digging a tunnel. Just as I was wondering what to do, Fatty’s shovel suddenly made a clanging sound as it hit something. It must have been very hard, for Fatty almost fell down from the impact of hitting it.

Completely shocked, I turned and saw that Fatty had dug up something that looked like a millstone.

<Chapter 8><Table of Contents><Chapter 10>


TN Notes:

(1) Hypnum moss is also called “cypress-leaved moss”. Looks like this:

Hoary fringe-moss looks like this:

(2) Also called “little white mushrooms”. Look like this:

(3) The raw actually called it a whirlwind/tornado shovel but the pics here looked like the Luoyang shovel that’s always mentioned in DMBJ so I used that instead. Maybe “Ghost Blows out the Light” (aka Candle in the Tomb) used this term instead of Luoyang shovel. I don’t really know/care


Me: Hooray! I got off work early for once so maybe I can get 2 chapters out!

Me 2 sentences later: Yeahhhhh I’m over it. 1 chapter is good enough ( ̄▽ ̄)


7 thoughts on “Chapter 9 Courtyard 4: Moss

  1. It was a beautiful chapter! Thank you for your pure intentions! 💖(*^▽^*)💖

    And Wu Xie going so far as to choose a plant just for Poker Face…🥲🥲🥲 and then him actually taking 2 hours to sort them ☺️☺️☺️ And then Fatty nearly ending them all with a random mushroom
    ( ̄▽ ̄);;;

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m really laughing hard by the way they ended up creating a grave robber’s loot instead of some ordinary pit HAHAHHAHAHA I really love this retired life of theirs


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