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Lin Feng spotted Hao Jian, cheekily messing with Liu Mengqi’s ears. Inexplicably annoyed, he quickly walked over and flicked Hao Jian on the forehead.
“Ah, Lin Feng! She’s like your doppelgänger,” Hao Jian blurted out, eyes widening in realization. “Is she your younger sister?”
Rolling her eyes, Liu Mengqi chimed in, “Actually, I’m the older one here,” and gave Hao Jian a flick as well.
Lin Feng raised an eyebrow at Hao Jian, his voice edged with mild irritation. “Forgot about your potatoes?”
“Good morning, Lin Feng, you’re up early today. Care to taste what I whipped up–” Liu Mengqi promptly chimed in.
“Oh, Hao Jian, you’ve left your Go game unfinished. Just when you’re about to lose as well – you’re not getting away this time,” Lin Feng responded, an involuntary shiver running down his spine as memories of Liu Mengqi cooking those toxic dishes in middle school resurfaced.
With a quick motion, Lin Feng ushered Hao Jian away, leaving Liu Mengqi standing alone, a hint of melancholy clouding her expression.
Noticing her forlorn state, Yan Aoxue stepped out from the neighboring room, towel in hand. “Everything okay, Mengqi?” She observed the vacant hallway behind her friend.
“Just… thinking,” Liu Mengqi murmured, her fingers squeezing the potato slightly harder.
Yan Aoxue moved closer, her voice lightening, “Let’s get started on that meal, shall we? We wouldn’t want our early rise to be for nothing, especially if we’re trying to surprise Lin Feng.”
“Thank you, Aoxue. Truly,” Liu Mengqi replied with gratitude.
“No big deal. We’re classmates, right? Watch and learn,” Yan Aoxue said with a wink, expertly handling the potatoes.
A few steps away, Lin Feng led Hao Jian but couldn’t resist glancing back at the kitchen. “Man, that was too close. We shouldn’t hang around here much longer,” he murmured, letting go of Hao Jian’s ears.
Hao Jian, puzzled, massaged his sore ear. “What’s up with that? Isn’t she your good sister? She’s making you something to eat, and here you are, ducking out?”
Lin Feng rolled his eyes. “She’s my kid sister. Ever tried a concoction of laundry detergent, soap, and candy?”
“No? Who in their right mind would try that? Even I’m not stupid to think detergent is a candy,” Hao Jian remarked while adjusting his archery gear, noting the curiously hollow look Lin Feng had in his eyes as he said that.
“Just drop it. We need to move.”
“What about my potatoes? I’ve prepared a delicious, buttery potato mash for you today,” Hao Jian shot back with a grin.
“Not today? Yea, another day.”
“Well, I don’t mind.” His eyes catching the first rays of sunlight in a long time, Hao Jian gave his limbs a quick stretch. “So, my dear junior, as the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm –no better time for a workout than pre-breakfast, am I right?”
Lin Feng smirked, “Giving off some ‘Mr. Banana’ energy there.” Yet, moments later, he was side by side with Hao Jian, working up a sweat. As much as he craved a few more minutes of sleep, the value of an early morning exercise was undeniable. It might just explain Hao Jian’s impressive physique.
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In the end, a good cat mustn’t neglect his exercises – even in the middle of a run-down courtyard during the apocalypse.