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638 It Was All Worth It!

 Yin Shixiong explained to her that it didn't mean that she had to always keep an eye on how the kitchen was making food. It meant that when possible, she should sneak in there before the food was ready to check how it was made, who made it, where the vegetables were bought, where the rice came from and where all the salt, sauces, and seasonings were produced. The last and most important thing was to be the last one to eat or even eat the leftovers in someone else's bowl to avoid being the first to eat when having food in an unfamiliar place and when she had no way of checking how it was made if she couldn't cook it herself. These were all lessons paid for using blood and sacrificed lives. People typically didn't have all those worries, but for someone in a special line of work, it was of the utmost importance.

Gu Nianzhi knew the peculiarities of Yin Shixiong and the other men's work, so this common knowledge from their daily training could guarantee good habits when they went on missions and help avoid mishaps. Over time, Gu Nianzhi was also subtly influenced. It wasn't that she distrusted others, but she had been indoctrinated by Huo Shaoheng and his men's rules of conduct. She couldn't be at ease without checking herself. Also, she was truly hungry and perhaps she would eat anything no matter who it was from.

Unfortunately there was no food in the kitchen, and that nun disliked her. Gu Nianzhi planned to go out to the river to catch a few fish to cook for the nuns to thank them for taking her in. Gu Nianzhi was proud of herself. Despite she being treated coldly, she was still going to roast fish for them. She was really amazing!

Gu Nianzhi slowly walked down the long hallway and didn't return to her room. Instead, she returned to the slightly dark stairway to arrive at the door to the first floor. Opening the padlock, she pushed the door and took a deep breath. The rain had stopped, and the moonlit sky appeared to have been rinsed through with water, making the air especially fresh. Like the air from the Black Forest, one breath was enough to leave her drunk with oxygen.

Gu Nianzhi checked her phone habitually and found there was only 10% battery left. She thought she'd better ask Josephine if they had an Apple charger when she got back to recharge her phone. Then she could find a way to call Yin Shixiong and his men. She could no longer trust any of the German police, and she was afraid Smith and his colleagues were being eavesdropped on. She didn't want to contact them anymore. Putting the phone back in her pocket, she walked outside.

Although it was no longer raining, there were still some small puddles on the cement. The sky wasn't fully bright yet, as the sun hid in the clouds far away. It was barely light outside. In the early morning, the Alps were surrounded by drifting mist and by forests as far as the eye could see. The view was as beautiful and dreamy as a portrait. Gu Nianzhi suddenly felt refreshed at the stunning sight.

Taking a deep breath, she cast the prior unpleasantness aside and continued to wear the dirty tennis shoes with her hands clasped under the habit as she strode out through the great iron gates. This time, she continued to support herself on one hand and vaulted over the waist-high iron gate. Once she walked out, the cement path ended at the asphalt road. As she went further, the asphalt road ended, and she was then on a muddy mountain path. Gu Nianzhi walked around the mud on the path and tried to stay on the grass to make the trek easier. She went back the same way she came yesterday and soon saw the small river and the road she fell off the cliff from.

All the fish in the river feared Gu Nianzhi but were helpless against her increasingly professional spearing skills. She quickly caught several fish and strung them up on a straw rope to take back to the nunnery. When she got back, only an hour had passed, and it was a bit past five in the morning. The nuns were all starting to rouse and were washing up before going to breakfast in the dining room.

Gu Nianzhi took the fish directly to the kitchen, and saw the depressed-looking old nun was no longer in the kitchen when she poked her head in. The kitchen and oven were empty, so the bread and cake from earlier must have been done by now. Gu Nianzhi turned to look down the hallway and happened to see a nun looking down and walking her way. Gu Nianzhi called out and the nun looked up. It was Josephine, who had let her in last night. Gu Nianzhi was very happy and waved at her before asking in English, "Sister Josephine, it's perfect that you came. I wanted to roast these fish. May I borrow your kitchen?" Gu Nianzhi knew that Christian nunneries were unlike Chinese monk temples because they didn't forbid consuming pungent food like meat and fish, so she felt comfortable asking.

Josephine noticed her holding the fish and nodded with a smile as she answered in English, "Yes, use it as you please. But breakfast is already made and was delivered to you room. I was just looking for you at your room, but you weren't there. I thought you'd left already."

Gu Nianzhi set the fish down in the kitchen and said gratefully, "Oh? It's already sent to my room? How can I thank you? I'll roast some fish for everyone to eat." As she spoke, she had already found a knife to clean the fish. During the past few days, she had become practiced with using a tiny Swiss army knife to gut fish, so it was now much easier with a long vegetable knife. As she scaled the fish, she asked Josephine, "How many nuns are in the nunnery? I only caught five fish, is that enough?"

Josephine laughed. "That's perfect. There's five of us here including Reverend Mother. Today she got up early in the morning to make breakfast and already went back to sleep. So there's only four people to cook for, five including you."

So the old nun who disliked Gu Nianzhi this morning was the Reverend Mother. Gu Nianzhi had an idea but quickly suppressed it. "Then I'll roast them all so everyone gets one."

"Ok, you can roast them here, and I'll help you." Josephine agreed instantly.

"Oh? That's great!" Gu Nianzhi was very happy and quickly prepared the fish. She found salt in the kitchen to sprinkle on the fish, then also added a bit of honey and olive oil before setting them on the baking tray to push into the oven.

Josephine smiled kindly next to her. "You're quite good at catching fish..."

"Yes, I like to fish and roast them back at home." Gu Nianzhi avoided the topic and didn't continue the subject with Josephine.

Last night, Reverend Mother told Josephine that Gu Nianzhi was lying, so she was guarded towards her. But seeing and speaking with her now, Josephine thought nothing of it. She didn't care if the girl was lying or not. Since there were only five nuns in the nunnery, she didn't know what was worth scamming here. It wasn't Josephine's business if Gu Nianzhi lied. Her mood towards Gu Nianzhi brightened considerably when she thought of this. Looking at the roasting fish with great interest, Josephine asked, "How long do we cook them for?"

Gu Nianzhi looked at her watch. "Fifteen minutes should be enough." The fish were very tender and would overcook easily. Josephine waited in the kitchen with Gu Nianzhi and began to tell her about the various habits of the nunnery. Gu Nianzhi listened intently and murmured from time to time, "So only Reverend Mother has a phone here? You usually can't go online, and there's not much cell signal?"

"Yes, the mountain is too high, so the signal is poor. There's typically no signal." Josephine shrugged nonchalantly. "We don't go online anyway or contact the outside world, so phones and the internet aren't important to us."

Gu Nianzhi lamented internally. She really needed a phone and internet! Looked like she could only borrow a phone from the Reverend Mother. Gu Nianzhi then asked about the older nun. "You said Reverend Mother was the one making breakfast early today? She was alone?"

"Yes, it should've been another sister making breakfast today because we all rotate. But this morning Reverend Mother said she wanted to make it herself and had her leave." Josephine inhaled deeply. The air was fragrant with roasting fish, so it must be delicious. Gu Nianzhi also swallowed hard. As expected, using a real oven and adding actual seasonings would make delicious fish! When the time was up, Gu Nianzhi opened the oven and used oven mitts to take out the tray. Five roasted fish glistened gold and sizzled with oil, obviously delectable.

Josephine's eyes nearly bulged. "Cereus, I didn't think you'd know how to roast fish so well! This is too perfect! Even four-star Michelin restaurants can't cook such nice fish!"

"Josephine is exaggerating!" Gu Nianzhi grinned widely. After all, she was a terrible cook back in the Huaxia Empire but ended up earning high praise from a German nun. It was all worth it! Placing the five fragrant roasted fish on separate long white china plates rimmed with gold, she set them all on a large tray.

Josephine took charge leading her to the dining room. "Let's go and show off!"

Gu Nianzhi nodded vigorously. "I'll also bring my breakfast downstairs. It's nicer to eat together."

"Ok!" Josephine nodded. She also didn't understand why the Reverend Mother insisted Gu Nianzhi eat alone in the room. It wasn't the first time they had hosted lost travelers in the nunnery, and they had all dined together like family.

Gu Nianzhi was very touched by her words and smiled. "But Reverend Mother must have her reasons. Is it ok if I go downstairs?"

"That's fine! We're only eating together, why does it matter?" Josephine thought nothing of it. "Also you roasted fish for us. Those other travelers did nothing but expected us to serve them!"

Gu Nianzhi couldn't help getting nervous. In the past, she probably would've been one of the oblivious travelers who expected to be served. They walked to Gu Nianzhi's room, and Josephine went in to bring out her breakfast tray. Gu Nianzhi glanced at it. The red cherrywood tray was laden with three bone china plates. One carried two golden muffins with roasted blueberries, and another had a slice of blueberry cake with two red strips of bacon along with yellow scrambled eggs. There was also a glass of milk. Everything looked good, except for the blueberries. As they went downstairs together, Gu Nianzhi thought about digging them out when she ate it later. The dining room was very spacious, and three nuns sat at the dining table.

They all stood up in greeting when Josephine came over and looked at Gu Nianzhi with curiosity and asked, "Who is she? A new sister?"

"No, she's not a new sister but a lost traveler. She's just staying here temporarily." Josephine laughed and gestured for Gu Nianzi to set down the tray of fish. "She roasted fish for everyone. It smells really good!"

The three nuns were instantly interested in the fish. Their eyes gleamed, and they were suddenly very friendly towards Gu Nianzhi. Gu Nianzhi wanted to snicker. It was a prime example of getting away with things by giving benefits. Josephine and Gu Nianzhi sat across from the three nuns and moved Gu Nianzhi's breakfast tray to her. A rather thin nun across from her eyed the breakfast on Gu Nianzhi's tray and sighed longingly. "Cererus, you have bacon and scrambled eggs?! How lucky... We only get bacon once a week."

Gu Nianzhi looked at the other three nuns' breakfasts. Each had two blueberry muffins and a slice of blueberry cake like she did. However, the nuns also had a bowl of oatmeal while Gu Niaznhi had the extra plate of bacon and eggs.

Josephine explained sheepishly to Gu Nianzhi, "Don't listen to her. It's actually good to have bacon only once a week. That's healthier."

Gu Nianzhi happily divided the roasted fish to give to each nun and quietly asked Josephine, "You always treat travelers staying here like that?"

"Of course not. You're the most special!" Josephine immediately giggled. "Reverend Mother not only made your breakfast herself but delivered it to your room, too!"

"Oh..." Gu Nianzhi's heart sank as she recalled the rules Huo Shaoheng and his men had about food from strangers. She pushed the tray aside and traded with the nun who said she liked bacon and scrambled eggs. "Sister, I happen to crave oatmeal. Here, let's trade!"

The nun was delighted. "Ok! Thank you, Sister Cereus!"

Josehine didn't think anything was amiss and was happy to see Gu Nianzhi offer her bacon. She didn't stop them at all. Gu Nianzhi traded meals with the nun, and because all the other nuns happened to wait for Josephine to eat, they hadn't touched the food yet and were able to swap cleanly. Everyone was very satisfied and ate both Gu Nianzhi's roast fish with the nunnery's breakfast. They chatted happily and enjoyed their time together. After breakfast, Gu Nianzhi mentioned wanting to borrow their phone to make a call, but when Josephine took her to Reverend Mother's room, they saw she was still sleeping.

"Just wait a bit more." Josephine quickly said, "Didn't you say you needed a charger? Only the Reverend Mother has an iPhone charger."

"Ok." Gu Nianzhi had no other choice but to nod in agreement. "I'll wait some more."

She headed back with Josephine, and just as they turned the corner, a nun came over and said to Josephine, "Sister Josephine, Tess just passed out suddenly. I took her back to her room and noticed she was only sleeping, but I can't wake her up no matter what I do."

Josephine was amused. "Asleep? Did she pass out or fall asleep?" They went to the room of the nun named Tess. Gu Nianzhi observed carefully and saw that it was the nun who had traded breakfasts with her that morning! Her heart sank as she retreated.

Josephine was focused on Tess and bent over to feel her forehead, then checked her breathing with her hand. She laughed. "It's fine. She's just sleeping, so let's just let her sleep awhile. If she gets a fever, we can take her to hospital." Josephine moved aside, and Gu Nianzhi went to look at the nun. Her cheeks were ruddy, and her breathing was even. She was sleeping very deeply. Gu Nianzhi reached out to pinch the nun's face hard. Typically, a pinch would wake up someone who suddenly passed out and fallen asleep. But despite Gu Nianzhi's vicious pinch, Tess continued to sleep soundly. She just had breakfast and immediately fell into a deep sleep like this, so she basically fainted?

Gu Nianzhi already knew that there was something wrong with the Reverend Mother. As for the others? Gu Nianzhi didn't want to delve too deeply into it right now. At least the four other nuns should be fine, but at a time like this, Gu Nianzhi had no moment to spare to analyze which of the five nuns were friends or foes. She had no time or energy. She was only worried that this incident was related to the people trying to hunt her down. Otherwise, how could there be such a coincidence? She was only staying temporarily, and these people wanted to drug her after one night? It didn't make sense if it was a simple robbery or murder. With the tattered clothes she came in with, she looked nothing like a wealthy person. On the other hand, the people trying to hunt her down were omniscient and were even able to intercept emergency calls to the police and use Trojan viruses to hack into people's phones. If they had pursued her here...

She'd better leave right away! Gu Nianzhi immediately made the decision but didn't say anything to anyone. She merely replied to Josephine, "I'm also feeling a bit sleepy. I can't even keep my eyes open. I got up too early and want to catch up on sleep now. I'll come back after the Reverend Mother wakes up."

Josephine nodded. "Ok, you really did wake up too early today. Go to bed. I have morning prayers with two sisters in Rose Hall over there and won't be able to come out. I'll wake you up when it's time for lunch. After lunch, we can go ask Reverend Mother to borrow her phone and charger."

Gu Nianzhi was glad to hear that the three nuns had morning prayers and wouldn't be able to come out right away. She nodded quickly. "Go on, I'll get some sleep. Oh, my eyes won't even stay open. How can I be so sleepy?" As she spoke, she headed to her room. She glimpsed Josephine and the other two nuns turning the corner in the opposite direction. They entered a doorway and closed it gently.