AR Chapter 58: Race hype.
Crule woke up the next morning and was greeted by the crisp morning air. The temperature was quite low and he could see his breath, but after covering his body with a thin layer of energy, he warmed up quite nicely. He took out a nice warm blanket and gently place it over Ming who was sleeping in the wagon as well.
The defense he put up last night worked well as no monsters attacked them through the night, so most of the students could get a good night’s rest. He took a walk and found a nearby river. The water seemed clean enough so Crule washed his fast with the freezing cold water to wake himself up. He did his morning exercises and returned back to camp with another wild boar he caught during his “exercise”.
Eating meat again in the morning seemed like a bad idea, but it didn’t stop him from using it. He took out a large pot from his storage and filled it with the fresh stream water. Crule then placed it over the fire pit and boiled the water. He placed in some rice like wheat and some diced vegetables he found in the vicinity that he knew was edible. Afterwards, he added the diced boar meat and allow it to simmer for an hour. Tasting for salt and pepper, he added the necessary amount. The hot stew in the morning should keep the students ready for another long days hike.
The delicious smell of congee in the morning woke the students up as they crawled up from their sleeping bags. Quite a few of them were cold and sneezing. Guess they are not use to living in tents yet.
Crule kept an eye on the pot while the awoken students did their morning routine. Most of them went to the nearby river to brush their teeth and wash their face. The frigid water woke them up fast. Quite a few of them were shivering as a gentle breeze blew by.
They huddled together near the large pot of congee and waited.[Crule]: You guys should really learn how to cook yourselves…But that’s for a later day I guess.
The students each got a hearty bowl of boar congee with cilantro on top. They enjoyed the warm meal after a cold night.
By then almost all the students have woken up by the commotion caused by breakfast. Some students who had wilderness training were already packing their things and moving about to warm themselves. They didn’t have enough control over their energy to provide homeostasis of their environment yet.
Ming finally woke up later. Rubbing her eyes, she walked over and got a bowl of congee as well.[Crule]: Morning. [Ming]: Morning. So you made congee? [Crule]: Felt a warm breakfast would get the kids going. [Ming]: Taste great. [Crule]: Thanks.
Ming snuggled close to Crule as he tend the pot. She placed her head on his shoulder and continue sipping on the hot congee.
The students looked jealously at the two sitting by the fire.[Student 1]: Always knew those two were a couple. [Student 2]: Ah, I’m at a tender age where I must find love! Where is my knight in shining armor? [Student 1]: You’re over exaggerating…and shining armor would attract the attention of monsters here in the wild. [Student 1]: You know what I mean.
The students were already gossiping and chatting in the morning. The lively atmosphere filled the camp and by late afternoon, they had already finished packing without paying much attention.
The large pot was cleaned of its congee quite easily by the bottomless pits of a stomach the students have. Crule took it to the river and cleaned it. Some fishes ate pieces that were cleaned off from the large pot.[Crule]: Hmm… too bad there’s not enough fish to feed everyone.
He stored the pot again and went back to camp. Everyone had their backpacks ready to go and lined up in their groups. Ming was waiting for him on the wagon, commanding everyone to line up.
Crule walked up to the front of the group.[Crule]: Today our goal is to reach the forest. As a little game today, whichever group reaches the forest first, shall be given a break the day after from hiking.
After experiencing the endless hike yesterday, the student’s eyes burned with inspiration and competitive spirit as they all gripped their backpacks tighter.[Crule]: Ready, set, go.
The students dashed off. The wagon quickly followed behind with Ming and Crule riding on it.[Ming]: Looks like they improved their speed quite a bit. [Crule]: Let’s see how their stamina will last them.
The groups ran at full speed. Any onlookers would only see a large blur rush by followed by a very fast wagon following behind. After an hour, no one seemed to be slowing down.[Crule]: Looks like you really trained their stamina quite high. [Ming]: You know my methods. [Crule]: Hmm.
Around midday, the group started to slow down. Signs of fatigue emitted from the group like a dense miasma. People were starting to run out of water.[Crule]: Ok, let’s take a break for lunch.
The students gladly collapsed on the side of the gravel road under a single large tree. The river from earlier that morning was still flowing alongside the gravel road. Most students directly stuck their head in the river to take large gulps of water and to refill their canteens.
After running for the entire morning, most of them forgot why they were running in the first place. The competitive spirit died down somewhere near the last dozen kilometers as the fatigue piled up.[Ming]: We should award them with a banquet of a lunch. [Crule]: We will have to see what we find first.
They still had some of the leftover boar, cow, and chicken that came to attack them on the first leg of the trip, but having that much meat isn’t good for you. Growing kids needs all of the essential vitamins and minerals.
Crule stood watch this time while Ming went foraging for ingredients.
She found some larger fish in an ox bow lake that formed beside the river. There were also some larger mushrooms growing beside the sparse trees that spawned across the prairie. They had plenty of spices so that was not a problem. She went back to the camp after finding some wild tomato like fruits.[Crule]: Looks like we are having pasta then.
Crule took out the large pot again and filled it with water. He boiled a large amount of dried noodles from the general store at the tunnel. He added a dash of salt and drained the water after the noodles were cooked. He minced the fish after deboning them and diced the mushrooms and tomato. Crule refilled the pot with water and set it boiling again. He placed in some diced onions and garlic with some fresh herbs and spices. He added in the mushrooms and tomato and the stew turned a rich hue of red.
Crule then left the pot lid open and allow the water to evaporate a little, allowing the soup to condense into more of a paste. He took a second pot and boiled some water with the wild chickens they got. Using the chicken stock, he mixed the sauce and noodles and added some grated cheese and cilantro.
Meanwhile, the students stare in wonder as Crule cooked.[Thunes]: He really is the jack of all trades… [Lawks]: Our professor seems to be able to do everything…at such a young age too. I wonder who taught him that…
Crule took the chicken meat that was boiled and pulled it from the bone, He added the stripped chicken meat to the pasta and finished it up with some pepper.[Crule]: Lunch everyone. Its fish and chicken pasta.
The students who were eagerly waiting went with their bowls and got a serving.[Student 1]: I think I will be spoiled by how good the food is during this field trip… [Student 2]: No kidding, it’s far better than the cafeteria food. [Lawks]: Maybe because for the past month we have been doing nothing but shoving food in our mouths without properly enjoying it…
The students once again shuddered at the memories of those days and carefully enjoy their meal.[Ming]: Nothing like trauma to make one enjoy the simple things huh? [Crule]: Right.
After lunch was cleaned up, they resumed on their race. By the time the sun was setting, they have actually reached the edge of the forest ahead of schedule.
The first student to set foot in the forest, was actually Lawks.[Lawks]: I-I f-finally w-won.
She was completely out of breath as the rest of her group joins in and just keeled over on the grassy forest floor.[Crule]: The winner is Ms. Lawks group. Congrats, tomorrow, you guys get to sit in the wagon.
The students look bright eyed at the wagon behind Crule.
The others stared jealously at the winning group, but gave up as they were too tired to keep thinking about it.