After they returned back home from the yamen, the whole Yu Family felt as if they had narrowly escaped death——If Yu Hang was more unlucky, then wouldn’t he also had become one of the skeletons buried in the back courtyard of the carpentry shop?
Finally, the notorious Shopkeeper Zhang had been sentenced to a beheading at the end of autumn. In addition, all of his property was confiscated. After all of the carpenters and apprentices at this shop were investigated and found to be innocent, they were all let go...
Traveling from the town back to their home took over two hours of time. Although Steward Yao was burning with impatience, there was nothing he could do. Luckily, the Yu Family’s donkey, which looked very ordinary, had a decent speed and wasn’t any slower than the Yao Family’s horse cart.
However, after seeing Yu Xiaocao’s ghostly white face and an expression that seemed to be a sliver away from vomiting from being jostled in the cart, Steward Yao had no choice but to ask a couple of times whether they should slow down.
“No need!” Yu Xiaocao took out the pouch of water she took everywhere with her and drank a mouthful of mystic-stone water. Her stomach immediately calmed down. She continued softly, “If we hadn’t been delayed for so long at Zhenxiu Restaurant, then we would have reached home already. In fact, we might have loaded almost half of the cart by this point! If we’re not any faster, then you will have to go back home in the dark.”
Seeing her uncomfortable expression, Steward Yao felt both touched and worried, “Miss Yu, if your family frequently goes in and out of town, then you guys really need to get some better cart wheels. However, rubber cart wheels are not only quite expensive but also incomparably rare. It’s not possible to get a set with only money!”
“It’s really that hard to get a set of rubber cart wheels?” Yu Xiaocao had thought it was like her previous life, something that she could just buy some with money. That being said, rubber trees only thrive in the tropics. Tanggu Town was in the northern part of the Great Ming Dynasty. In ancient times, traveling and shipping goods was not that easy.
Steward Yao nodded his head when she asked the question, “It’s said that it is hard to manufacture rubber wheels, and the output is extremely low. All of the high ranking officials and noble people in the capital get first dibs, then the officials in the rest of the country. As for people like my master’s family, those with money but no power, they had to run around pulling strings to just buy one set. However, you shouldn’t worry too much, Miss Yu. The Zhou Family are imperial merchants, and they have a lot of connections with the nobility in the capital. Since Third Young Master Zhou promised you, he absolutely will be able to get you a set.”
Yu Xiaocao wasn’t doubting Third Young Master Zhou’s reliability. However, in her heart, she did feel like she owed Third Young Master a big favor.
As they were talking, the donkey cart had just rolled into Dongshan Village. Under the old elm tree at the entrance of the village, there were several old villagers chatting. When they heard the sounds of hooves, all of them looked over.
“Old Yu, it’s your second son’s donkey cart that’s come back.” An old man swayed as he stood up. He placed a hand at his eyebrows to look in the distance and only then did he squat back down. With a voice that had a hint of envy in it, he said, “Your family’s second son is quite capable, ah! After separating from the family for not too long, he bought a donkey cart and started a business selling things!”
Old Yu’s eldest brother, Yu Lichun, unhurriedly stood up and slowly replied, “You guys can only see the good side of things, but can you remember their difficulties? When Dahai split from the family, he had been seriously injured and no one knew whether he would be able to keep his leg! Dahai’s wife also has a weak body and their Xiaocao has had a bad constitution since birth. A few days ago, Xiaosha had been pummeled until he was at death’s door! Luckily both Dahai and Xiaosha were fortunate and weren’t fated to die yet…”
Old Yu’s face flushed red in embarrassment under the knowing gaze of his older brother and the implication in his words. He looked at the horse cart that was right behind the donkey cart and quickly changed the subject, “I’ve never seen the horse cart that is behind Dahai. I’m not sure if Dahai and his family need help right now. I need to go over and see!”
“Father! Eldest Uncle…” Yu Hai had also seen them and pulled on the little donkey’s reins to slowly cut down the speed until they stopped at the village entrance.
Yu Xiaocao also sweetly greeted them, “Eldest Granduncle, Grandpa! Are you guys chatting here?”
Yu Lichun’s face lit up with a kind smile, “Xiaocao, did you into town with your father? Did you go to Tongren Medicine Hall and have Doctor Sun check you guys out? Your complexion doesn’t look too good…”
Yu Xiaocao rubbed at her bright and radiant little face and grinned, “Eldest Granduncle, the donkey cart was going too fast earlier, so I feel a little dizzy from being bumped up and down. Don’t worry, I’m perfectly fine!”
“If you don’t feel well, you need to tell your father. Don’t endure a minor sickness until it becomes a serious illness! If you don’t have enough money, Eldest Granduncle still has some!” Yu Lichun couldn’t forget what had happened that past winter. The vision of a motionless Xiaocao in her father’s arms was engraved into his memory.
Yu Xiaocao felt a burst of gratitude arise in her heart, “Thank you Eldest Granduncle! Xiaocao will remember your words!”
Old Yu took a glance at the properly dressed Steward Yao and pulled Yu Hai aside. He quietly asked, “Who is that person? What is he here for? Did you get into trouble in town?”
Although Steward Yao was only a servant in the Yao Family, his attire was about the same as other prosperous families in town. In Old Yu’s eyes, he was not someone that they could afford to offend.
“Father!” Yu Hai helplessly replied, “He’s a steward at the Yao Family. Tomorrow is Patriarch Yao’s birthday celebration, and they need to pick some vegetables from my house. I’m no longer a strapping young lad, how could I possibly just randomly cause trouble?”
“Picking vegetables? How are there any vegetables to be had in this season? No one has even planted any vegetable seeds!! You’re not trying to trick your father, right?” Old Yu still didn’t feel relieved. It’s necessary to forgive his terrified attitude, after all, it’s better to be careful than to make a large blunder.
Yu Hai didn’t know what else to say and continued, “If you don’t believe me, then come with me to the old residence and check it out yourself, okay?”
“Village elders, we are against the clock right now. Would it be possible to make a long story short and try to finish up?” Steward Yao glanced at the color of the sky and a worried expression appeared on his face.
Old Yu swallowed down the words he was about to say when he heard the steward’s remark and repeatedly nodded his head with a smile, “Of course, of course! Then we won’t delay you folks anymore!”
Under Steward Yao’s eager gaze, Yu Xiaocao waved farewell to her Eldest Granduncle and hopped into the donkey cart again. This time, the horse cart was in front to open the path, so no one else dared to stop them again. However, word quickly went through the whole village. People all said that Yu Hai was seriously too capable to be able to forge a connection with a rich family in town...
The horse cart stopped in front of the gate at the old residence. Yu Hai opened the gate, lifted up the doorsill, and brought the donkey cart into the courtyard. He didn’t bother unharnessing the donkey before he asked Yu Hang, who was lying on a long chair getting sun, in a loud voice, “Xiaosha, where’s your mother?”
“She’s in the backyard doing laundry! Father, what’s going on?” At this point, Yu Hang noticed Steward Yao, who had come in behind his father. Out of caution, he somewhat wanted to stand up.
When Yu Xiaocao saw this, she hurriedly said, “Older Brother! Your bones are still too weak, don’t move around recklessly!! I’ll go into the back courtyard and get Mother to help us harvest vegetables!”
Madam Liu had already heard the sounds of her husband’s voice. She shook her dripping hands, walked in from the rear court, and asked, “You’re back? How did selling the vegetables go?”
“We sold out! Keep the laundry there for now and help us pick some vegetables first. Steward Yao still needs to hurry back!” A hint of excitement was threaded in Yu Hai’s voice. A whole cart of vegetables was sold for twenty taels. If he told this story to other people, who would believe him? His daughter was really too amazing. Selling vegetables at the price of meat, but there truly were people who would buy them!
As soon as Steward Yao stepped into the courtyard, he was stunned by the sight of the lush, green vegetables surrounding him. It was a very large space and had to be at least seven to eight plots of land. All of it was used to grow all different types of vegetables and there was only a small strip of land left as a walkway for people.
All of the vegetables were at their peak, and they revealed their lush vitality. Under the bright sun, the dark green leaves glistened and flickered. Every single leaf seemed to have a tiny life there budding and throbbing. This Yu Family was really a good hand at growing vegetables. Even if you didn’t consider the current season, their output was absolutely the top of the top.
Madam Liu noticed the stranger in their yard and politely greeted, “You must be tired, guest. Please sit down inside and drink some water to quench your thirst!”
When Steward Yao had gotten back from the food market, he had directly reported to his master and then immediately went to the stables to get the horse cart. He also had to anxiously wait at Zhenxiu Restaurant’s back door for a long time and then rush over with the father and daughter pair from the Yu Family to Dongshan Village. Only now could he catch his breath. After he heard her suggestion, he immediately felt how dry and scratchy his throat was.
However, he didn’t enter the building and instead sat down on a large stone in front of the rooms. He smiled, “I don’t need to enter your house, sitting here, where I can get some sun, is also quite comfortable.”
Madam Liu poured him a bowl of water that had been boiled. Steward Yao stood up to take it and politely thanked her. He didn’t even notice how crude and simple the ceramic bowl was as he finished the water in the bowl in one big gulp. Perhaps he was too thirsty, but Steward Yao thought this bowl of plain water was even more refreshing than any tea he had before. He couldn’t help but compliment it a bit.
A golden kitten jumped off of Yu Xiaocao’s shoulders and rolled its eyes at him——’What a naive fellow! This divine stone’s bathing water is full of spiritual energy. Even if it’s diluted a bit, it still can’t be compared to ordinary water, so of course it tastes good!’
Yu Hang watched as his parents and youngest sister rolled up their sleeves and busied themselves in the vegetable field. Ever since he had come home, he had to watch the rest of his family run around the house day in day out. However, he couldn’t help them at all. However, in his heart, he was clear about one thing: the most important thing he could do right now was to let his body recover fully. Afterwards, he would definitely help his family with their tasks! Regardless, he still felt impatient! Especially in times like now, he wished with all his heart that he could stand up and help them harvest the vegetables.
As the little divine stone stepped by gracefully, it passed by Yu Hang. It seemed to sense Yu Hang’s inner turmoil and stopped for a short period of time. It lightly leapt onto his knee and had an expression on its face as if it was conferring the boy a great favor. It let Yu Hang scratch it. The little divine stone inwardly thought: ‘Weak and puny human ah, this divine stone is letting you scratch an itch, but this is your good fortune. Appreciate it!!’
Yu Hai, his wife, and daughter Xiaocao were all bustling busily in the vegetable field. The little assistant that came along had also been ordered by Steward Yao to help. Although he didn’t know how to harvest vegetables, he was able to help them put the food into baskets or other activities that didn’t require much skill.
Old Yu slowly walked into the old residence and was stunned at the sight of the courtyard full of green vegetables. The last time he came over, the whole courtyard was covered completely with mats made of rice straw and wheat stalks. At that time he didn’t know what they were for and asked a few times but never got an answer. He never thought that under the grass mats were vegetable sprouts that were planted! It only took around ten days of effort, yet the vegetables were already ready to be harvested?
Old Yu first went to his eldest grandson and carefully asked him about his injuries and condition. After seeing his second son’s family bustling without a break, he also rolled up his sleeves and entered the fields to help them!
A bit of time passed and Xiaolian also came back from the docks. The Yu Family’s one copper coin per portion of braised food was famous at the docks! As soon as one of them got there, almost all of the food they brought would be sold out after half an hour! Their family’s braised food was not only priced well but also delicious beyond imagination.
Now, not only did all of the dockworkers know about them but also the people living in the nearby villages. If one of them had a guest come over, they would especially go over to buy a couple portions. Using the Yu Family’s braised food to serve guests was a very welcoming thing to do!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Sanguine’s Thoughts: I don’t think Old Yu is a bad person per say...just too weak of a personality.