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106 Roaming The Country

 Right now, the Southern Country posed a much bigger threat, so Mua Kong concentrated most of his energy on the southern border. He planned to slowly conquer each village and province one at a time. War takes years of careful planning; this wasn't something that could be rushed.

A couple weeks before the annual fall festival, the master and his servant returned home to the estate.

The annual fall festival was a national holiday. It symbolized the time of year when people gathered their crops and celebrated another bountiful harvest. This holiday began with the King and late Queen who saved the country at one of the most dire situation. Since the King's coronation, the country's economy has gotten better, many of the poorest parts of the kingdom have improved.

Although, there were still many areas around the kingdom that still hadn't improved much, but overall, the country was in a better condition than it was before.

Mua Kong at least acknowledged the hard work his parents had put into improving their country, so every year, he made sure to attend the festival to show his support. Not showing up meant that he didn't acknowledge his late mother's hard work. Even though his memory of her were few, he knew she was the greatest mother he could ask for.

The pair arrived back at the estate later in the evening. Upon their arrival, Yee Len ordered the maid at the entrance to tell the cook to make dinner for their Lord. After commanding the in-house servants a few things, he noticed that his Lord was no longer by his side. Looking around, Yee Len had turned a corner. He chased after him.

Before Mua Kong had reached his study, Yee Len shouted, "My Lord, won't you go take a bath first?" Mua Kong's emotional state had not been stable since the disappearance of Hli Ja, making it hard for others to assist him. Many feared the consequences if they made one wrong move. Since Yee Len tended to Mua Kong since birth, Yee Len knew his lord's the most, thus he was the best person to make sure his lord's was well taken care of whether it be inside the estate and outside.

Hearing Yee Len, Mua Kong paused for a moment. He suddenly changed his direction, moving towards the bathhouse, in the back of his estate. They had been in the countryside for over a week. If he thought about it, he hadn't bathed in a while.

Yee Len ran into his master's study, grabbed a set of new clothes, and rushed towards the bathhouse. He opened the door, went inside and sat Mua Kong's new clothes on the usual shelf. By this time, Mua Kong had already begun soaking in the hot water. His head was on the edge of the bath, as he was looking up at the ceiling, dazed, as if his mind was wandering somewhere in the universe.

"My Lord! I've put your new set of clothes in the usual spot." Yee Len shouted, tiptoeing out of the bathhouse.

A little later, Mua Kong walked out of the bathhouse, looking less homeless. Although he hadn't kept himself shaved, a nice bath can rejuvenate one's body temporarily. He soon headed straight to his study chamber and looked over some files.

While he was opening the door to his study room, Yee Len was walking down the hall carrying a tray of food. Mua Kong stepped inside, moving to his desk. Yee Len was right behind him, setting the food on a nearby table.

After Yee Len had finished setting the table he called over, "My Lord, it's time for your dinner."

Mua Kong did not react to Yee Len, instead he just stared blankly at the piles of work at his desk.

Suddenly, Mua Kong took a deep breath, opening the stack of secret intelligence he had received about  the Northern and Southern countries. He had sent in spies ever since the Hli Ja went missing. His spies were sent not only to find news related to Hli Ja, but also any information that could help him plan with his generals.

Yee Len looked at his Lord, his heart tugging in a complicated rhythm. It is always such a needlessly difficult matter, Yee Len often telling his Lord to eat so that Mua Kong could keep himself healthy. While dinner was being prepared, Yee Len had told a young servant to go buy medicine for his Lord. The last time, when the boy made his delivery, the tea had temporarily improved his Mua Kong's complexion. These medicines only lasted for about a week, and back when they were constantly travelling, it was hard for Yee Len to take proper care of his Lord's health.

Now that they were back home, Yee Len told himself that he would do whatever he could to improve Mua Kong's health.

With a complex expression, Yee Len uttered, "My Lord, food is best eaten warm. I'm leaving it here." He left the study, standing by outside the door.

Mua Kong glanced at the table. He slowly got up from his chair, walking over. He looked down at the dishes, his nose picked up a familiar aroma. Mua Kong's heart pained at a long forgotten memory, triggered by the smell of this simple dinner. He reached down, grabbing a piece of meat throwing it in his mouth. After a few chews, his eyes glittered with signs of life. This meat tasted very familiar!

Mua Kong gasped, his body trembling. He propped his elbows on the table, almost bowling over. He shook his head, trying to figure out what this food reminded him of. He suddenly remembered: he hadn't tasted this flavor since the Hli Ja had gone missing!

Mua Kong rushed out of his study, calling for his closest servant.

"Yee Len!" Mua Kong shouted with a shocked expression.

His sudden outburst startled Yee Len. He worried, thinking that someone might have poisoned the food. Why else would his Lord shout his name?