They dug up some wild vegetables along the way. It would be a waste not to make a stew.
There were no factories near the national park. The lake water was clean and could be drunk directly. Li Du went to wash the vegetables; Godzilla and Big Quinn each butchered a goat; Hans started the fire.
They immediately drained the blood from and skinned the goats. The organs, heads, and claws were buried in the soil.
Godzilla diced the goat meat and added it to the pot. Big Quinn sliced the meat of his goat instead, so it could be cooked on the grill.
Ah Meow dug into the backpacks to look for some fish snacks. Li Du caught it, and dragged it out, along with giving the ocelot two slaps to the butt. This soured its mood.
Near them was a family of four out for a picnic. Seeing Ah Meow lying unhappily in the grass, a young girl brought a piece of fried fish over to it.
Ah Meows pupils scurried left and right. Seeing that no one else had noticed it, the ocelot waddled over to the young girl to cuddle up to her.
The young girl giggled and gave it the fried fish. Ah Meow wolfed it down in two bites, and continued gazing at the young girl with eyes full of anticipation.
With that, with just its eyes, Ah Meow won a free meal.
Having had its fill, the young girl was about to pick it up for a hug. But then, Ah Meow sprinted away and out of sight, leaving behind the devastated young girl.
After seeing that, Li Du shook his head helplessly. He then brought Crispy Noodles over to the young girl, saying, "This is another pet of mine. Its much more obedient than that ocelot. Let it play with you instead, alright?"
Crispy Noodles was also furry and cute. The young girl gladly accepted and said politely, "Thank you, mister."
Li Du corrected, "Its big brother."
The young girls parents were looking on with faces full of smiles. "Dora, how will you thank that big brother over there?"
Hearing her mothers words, the young girl asked Li Du to squat down, and gave him a peck on the forehead.
Li Du smiled too, and said, "Is this a kiss from an angel? What a blessing."
Hans saw that he was beaming from ear to ear, and asked, "This cant be your first kiss, right?"
Li Du scoffed, "A first kiss is one that is lips to lips. I still have to have mine."
"What a load of sh*t, youre really still a virgin," Hans sighed. "Turns out that the world still has strange life forms, such as old virgins like you."
Li Du couldnt be bothered with him; he felt that he would start beating Hans up in a fit.
Stewed and grilled meat were the two main dishes. Big Quinn had also brought hamburgers for lunch and took them out. Godzilla opened his backpack, and there was a ton of food inside: Jerky, sausages, popcorn, chips, fries, buns, and a dozen cans of beer
Li Du dabbed the grilled goat meat with chili sauce before stuffing it into his mouth. It was flavorful, with a stronger smell than domesticated goats.
However, Americans disliked this smell. Hans shook his head after taking a bite. Godzilla and Big Quinn were less picky, and were enjoying the meal just like Li Du was.
They ate the grilled meat and sausage paired with beer in their hands. The four started chatting.
Due to Big Quinns appearance, no one else came near their space. The flat grass patch that they were at was soon empty. Thus, they could joke and laugh loudly without having to worry about disturbing others.
Steam started gurgling out of the pressure cooker. When the sound turned to a whistle, that meant that the stew was ready.
Li Du opened the cover. The stew had turned into a creamy white. The diced meat was dancing in the boiling water, the aroma permeating into the air and floating into their noses.
A pity that it was summer. If it were winter now, it would be bliss eating this fresh goat stew.
Even so, most of the stew was finished up by them.
Between the four, Hans ate the least. Li Du had used the bug in the morning and was tired. Godzilla and Big Quinn had huge appetites. It was mostly the three of them eating.
Having had their fill, Li Du said, "The weather now is too hot. Well go hide out for a bit. Once its cooler, well go hunt again, how about that?"
"Are we staying in the mountains tonight?" Big Quinn asked.
"Of course," Hans said, "didnt you see that we brought our tents?"
"It because I saw the tents that I asked. Then I cant rest nowIll carry the two boars down."
"Whys that?" Li Du asked. "Cant we move them tomorrow?"
Big Quinn shook his head. "No, there will be other wild animals looking for food tonight. Even if they are hung on the tree, there will be a high chance of them getting eaten. Also, the weather is too warm. Theyll start to smell badly within two days."
Having finished, he armed himself with the hunting rifle and set off, informing them that he would return at 2:30 p.m.
Seeing Big Quinns large frame disappearing into the forest, Hans exclaimed, "That guy sure is tough. He doesnt get tired."
"Thats why Im showing him so much hospitality. We must recruit him."
They rested in the shade. With the beautiful greenery beside the lake and the constant mountain breeze, even in the vicious afternoon sun, they didnt feel the heat.
The water and grass carried the smell of nature. Li Du took in a deep breath and sighed, "If we were to stay here for too long, I might end up never wanting to return to the city."
Hans said lazily, "If there were chicks, liquor, and Internet here, then I wouldnt want to return either."
By this time, most of the other hikers had finished their lunch. They set up tents and hammocks to rest. Thus, their surroundings were quiet.
Li Du was enjoying the serene atmosphere. With his body and mind relaxed, he soon started dozing off.
However, after some time passed, a ruckus reverberated through the air. With that, the peaceful atmosphere was broken.
Li Du sighed in irritation. He stood up and asked, "Whats going on?"
Hans looked across to the other side of the lake. "Seems like two groups of people are fighting"
Before he could finish, the sound of a gunshot reached their ears. Li Du jumped in surprise. "Someone fired?"
With the gunshot, the lakeside was no longer calm.
Some people who were staying at the other side of the lake hurried over to this side, farther away from the point of conflict.
Hans was a nosy person. He asked one of the men who had run over, "Hey man, what just happened?"
"Seems like some conflict over who had the rights to some prey," the man said. "Seems like some Native American were bullying some old fellas."
Hearing that, Li Du immediately stood up. It could have been Harris and Martins party.
He glanced at Hans and said, "It cant be such a coincidence?"
"Wont we know if we just go over and see?" Hans said.
The three packed their things, and rushed over with their weapons.
They reached the other side of the lake. Li Du went to scout, and couldnt help but smile bitterly.
Hans gave a dry laugh too. "So such coincidences do happen, buddy."
In the shrubs not too far from the lake, two groups of people were fighting. They surrounded two mule deer, one big and one small carcass. The one leading the first group was Harris, while for the other, Li Du spotted Sophies father, Thomas Martin