Situated in a large expanse of asphalt, the supermarket occupied almost the entire left half of the lot. A smaller version of the zebra crossing lined the path towards the supermarket entrance. It seemed that the zebra crossing was placed there to slow down cars entering and leaving the supermarket’s parking lot, which occupied the other half of the lot.
They arrived at the entrance and immediately the glass doors opened automatically and a gust of cold air from inside welcomed them. Li Xinwen flinched in surprise when the door slid open. This did not escape Madam Li and it prompted her to inquire “Ah‘Wen what’s wrong?”
“En… nothing Mom,” he responded after recovering from his momentary surprise.
They stepped into the supermarket and Li Xinwen could not hide his amazement at what he saw. It was brightly lit, and rows and rows of shelves lined the floor, stacked with various produce. A row of checkout counters lined the front, as if to make sure that customers paid before leaving the premises. ‘Big’ was actually an understatement, it was huge when Li Xinwen compared this to the little market they had in Long Xing.
They made their way towards the left side of the supermarket where pushcarts were stacked together. Li Xinwen excitedly took one and pushed it in front of him. He smiled broadly and looked towards Madam Li as if beckoning her to walk a little faster so they could finally start shopping.
Madam Li smiled and actually walked a little faster after seeing her son’s excited expression. It reminded her of her younger days when they had just started their little family. When she reached Li Xinwen, she was a little out of breath but she said to Li Xinwen affectionately:
“You’re acting like a child Ah‘Wen,” she giggled. “It’s not like this is the first time you entered a supermarket,” she said with a hint of teasing in her voice. “Although you have not been here for a while since you became a celebrity. Are you feeling uncomfortable?”
“En. It has been a long time,” Li Xinwen responded, quickly trying to recover his composure and act normal. “Shall we start shopping Mom?” he said with a smile. “While I was cooking breakfast, I noticed that we didn’t have a lot of meat, so we should get some later. And bread too!” Li Xinwen informed Madam Li as he took off his Ray-Bans and lowered his hat to cover half of his face.
“Meat? Do we not have some pork belly left?”
Hearing this, Li Xinwen made a disgusted expression. “Mom… Xinwen doesn’t like pork…” he told the old woman. “After the accident, my taste seems to have changed.”
“Really! Back at the hospital…” and he began telling Madam Li how little he ate at the hospital because he didn’t like some of the food.
“Alright, we’ll buy some meat later. But Ah‘Wen… Aren’t you on a strict diet of no solid food for a month?” Li mother asked.
At this, Li Xinwen began sweating and he tried to think of an excuse. He had actually forgotten how the doctor advised him to avoid solid food for a month in order to get his stomach used to taking in food once more. However, that was only because this body was injured and had been fed intravenously during the coma. Now that he had reached the fourth stage of Houtian, through his cultivation, all of the injuries had healed. He could definitely eat solid food without any problems. ‘No wonder yesterday’s lunch and dinner didn’t have any solid food… This mother knows I’m not allowed to have them for a month…’
“I’m alright already. Mom shouldn’t worry about me. I know my body well,” Li Xinwen smiled at his mother. “Oh look! There’s the frozen food section. Let’s go get our meat fast, or else… all the fresh produce will be gone,” Li Xinwen said as he tried to change the topic.
Li Xinwen pushed the shopping cart towards the frozen food section with impatience but made sure that Mother Li was able to keep up with his pace. Li Xinwen eyed the meat and could only sigh. In Long Xing, the type of meat that cultivators such as himself liked to eat came from either a divine beast or a demonic beast. Meat from both types of beasts possessed diverse spiritual energies since they too cultivate in their own way… but the meat here was just normal mortal’s meat.
In any case, Li Xinwen had already expected this, and so he wasn’t too disappointed when he saw the limited selection. He let Mother Li choose the meat before it was placed in a plastic bag and tagged with the corresponding price. Li Xinwen wasn’t worried about money. He already knew how much the original Li Xinwen’s savings was.
They continued shopping for groceries, and occasionally, Li Xinwen would pick something from the shelves if it piqued his interest. But he didn’t buy any of those things once he found out they weren’t necessities. After half an hour, the shopping cart was almost full and they were almost finished with their groceries. They were making their way to one of the checkout counters to pay when they passed by the shelves with chocolates.
Li Xinwen picked one of the chocolate brands which lined the middle shelf and eyed it for a while. According to the original’s memories, these tasted really good, and the original liked them very much. This made Li Xinwen curious and he decided to grab a few bags and put them into the shopping cart.
“Ah‘Wen, ah! Why are you buying a lot of chocolate?” his mother asked, shocked by the number of bags of chocolate that Li Xinwen placed into the shopping cart.
“Mom, I haven’t had chocolates in a long time. It’s alright; I have the money to pay!”
“This isn’t about money, Ah‘Wen… Eating too much chocolate is unhealthy,” his mother interjected.
“I will control myself, mom. Don’t worry,” Li Xinwen smiled. Having someone worry about his health like this made him feel warm inside. This was a different kind of worry from what he experienced in Long Xing.
Back in Long Xing, his master would worry about his state of cultivation, giving him advice on what he should and should not do. And that was all so that the sect could benefit from him in the end.
Here, Mother Li’s worry was solely for Li Xinwen’s own benefit and health. “Mom, your child is not a little boy anymore. I can exercise control,” Li Xinwen assured her, until she finally let it go. By the end of their grocery shopping, they ended up needing to buy an extra recycled bag just for Li Xinwen’s chocolates. Altogether, Li Xinwen ended up carrying six bags, three on each hand.
“Are you alright? Aren’t they too heavy? Maybe we should call a taxi?”
“No need Mom. Your son is strong enough to carry all of these,” Li Xinwen smiled reassuringly at her. He wasn’t lying when he said he could carry all of the bags. To the current Li Xinwen, the bags were as light as a feather.