Chapter 171 - Watermelon Shop

Madam Hu didn’t say anything at this time. She was somewhat interested in the idea until she heard that a cart of watermelons cost over fifty taels. If they couldn’t sell them, how many years would it take for them to repay the debt?

“Second Maternal Uncle, don’t worry about the cart! We’re going to buy a horse carriage, so you can borrow our donkey cart! It just depends on whether you guys have the courage to do this!” Yu Xiaocao also wanted to help her maternal grandmother’s family. She had already made herself very clear. If her maternal uncles couldn’t make up their minds, then there’s nothing that she could do.

While Liu Han was still hesitating, Madam Hu’s eyes shifted around and she whispered, “Husband, should we… work together with Eldest Brother-in-law?” In this way, they could share the risk with someone. If they needed to repay the money, there would be less pressure with two branches of the family.

Liu Han, who couldn’t make a decision, also felt that he should ask for his eldest brother’s opinion. ‘It just so happens that Eldest Brother took Zhiwei to work at the docks today. I can discuss this matter with him when I see him later!’

“Miss Yu, I brought you the horse carriage!!” Qian Xiaoduo drove a horse carriage over with an unfamiliar worker. Seeing that everyone was busy in the watermelon fields, he didn’t treat himself as an outsider and helped them load the watermelons onto the carriage.

They had already signed a supply contract with Zhenxiu Restaurant. Madam Liu saw that Qian Xiaoduo and other staff had come over on two carriages. The brand-new one was for their family, while the other one was for buying watermelons!

“Little brother Qian, how many watermelons do you guys want?” Madam Liu took the scale and asked Qian Xiaoduo with a kind smile.

Qian Xiaoduo said sweetly, “Auntie, just leave it! How can I bother you to weigh such heavy watermelons ah?! Little Haozi, you go help Auntie carry the scale!”

Little Haozi? Yu Xiaocao looked at the thin and small teenager and had a hard time suppressing her laughter. Little Haozi’s face flushed and muttered, “My name is Niu Hao. It’s the hao from the word vast, not the hao from the word mouse!”

Qian Xiaoduo snickered and said, “Haha! Stop explaining and get to work. After weighing the watermelons, we still need to gather the vegetables!”

It was the first day of Zhenxiu Restaurant’s free fruit tray event. They weren’t sure if the reactions would be good, so they only bought two hundred catties of watermelons. They still purchased the usual amount of vegetables, filling the carriage to the brim.

Yu Hai picked out all the ripe watermelons in the fields and filled a horse carriage and donkey cart with them. Xiaocao drove the donkey cart, while he steered the horse carriage. The father-daughter pair followed Zhenxiu Restaurant’s carriage and headed to town unhurriedly.

Fang Zizhen was currently in the store in town and preparing for the grand opening tomorrow. In fact, Yu Xiaocao didn’t plan to operate this store for a long time. Thus, it was furnished very simply. The signboard of ‘Tanggu Watermelon Shop’ had already been hung above the entrance of the store, but it was covered by a red cloth at this time. Inside the shop, there were custom-made wooden shelves with wooden planks nailed all around the racks to ensure that the watermelons wouldn’t fall off the shelves.

The storefront next door had already been rented out. ‘Splendid Brocades Manor’ was a store that sold high quality fabrics such as silks and satins. At this time, the owner of Splendid Brocades Manor and several noble customers looked at the shop next door from time to time.

“Shopkeeper Feng, do you know who rented the shop next door? What kind of business are they doing? The interior looks so shabby. It won’t be a general store, right? If they put a bunch of sundries at the entrance, it will affect your business!” The eldest young miss of the town’s Zhuang Family pursed her lips in disdain and shook her handkerchief as she spoke.

Shopkeeper Feng was a woman under the age of thirty, with a fair complexion and a slightly plump figure. She beamed with joy and said, “No, I don’t think so! How much money can a general store make? The rent here isn’t cheap. Do you guys see? That man, who is busily working, is a government official! He was dressed in an official’s robe last time he came here!”

Eldest Young Miss Zhuang’s bosom friend, Miss Wang, revealed a curious expression and looked at the layers of shelves next door again. She asked, “Weren’t they going to start business tomorrow? Why isn’t there any goods in the store today? How weird!”

Shopkeeper Feng was about to say something when she saw a carriage packed with watermelons in front of her store. She was stunned for a moment. Watermelons weren’t popularized at this time. She was born and raised in the little town of Tanggu, so she had never seen a watermelon before.   

“Aiya! It’s here, it’s here!!” Miss Wang put down the cloth in her hands and took two steps towards the door. Sure enough, the carriage stopped in front of the shop next door.

Eldest Young Miss Zhuang was holding a brocade embroidered with lotus flowers against her body and examining it. When she heard her words, she said, “What’s coming? Can you stop making a fuss! So embarrassing!”

Regardless of their foundations in Tanggu Town or family background, the Zhuang Family was stronger than the Wang Family. As a result, Eldest Young Miss Zhuang would always unconsciously display a sense of superiority.

Miss Wang didn’t take it to heart and said, “The goods for next door has arrived! Hey, it looks like the watermelon that I ate at your house!”

“Watermelon? How can there be people selling watermelons in our Tanggu Town? The watermelon from last time was brought back by my older brother, who went on a study trip to the capital!” With a face of disbelief, Eldest Young Miss Zhuang continued to look at the fabrics.  

Miss Wang looked at the big and round watermelons being moved into the store next door and said with slight uncertainty, “Maybe it’s not? The watermelon that I ate last time at your house wasn’t as big and fresh!”

Eldest Young Miss Zhuang threw the cloth in her hands, glared at her, and said, “You’re complaining that the watermelon at my house is small and not fresh? Then why don’t your family take out a bigger and fresher one ah! I didn’t hear you complain that it’s not fresh when you were eating it! I didn’t even eat as much as you!!”

Miss Wang’s face flushed bright red upon hearing her words, and she murmured, “Ah-mei, don’t be angry. That wasn’t what I meant…”

Eldest Young Miss Zhuang wasn’t in the mood to shop for fabric anymore. She went out the door of Splendid Brocades Manor with heavy footsteps and was about to enter the shop next door.

“This young miss, please stop! Our shop hasn’t opened yet, so it’s really messy right now. It’s better not to dirty your embroidered shoes!” Yu Xiaocao was ordered by her godfather to stand on the sidelines and watch them move the watermelons. She, who was bored stiff, said to Eldest Young Miss Zhuang, who was about to enter the door.

When Eldest Young Miss Zhuang heard her words, she really stopped in her tracks. She looked at Xiaocao’s clothes with a scrutinizing gaze, and then revealed a look of contempt. She asked in a haughty manner, “Little girl, what exactly are you guys selling in this shop?”

Yu Xiaocao was someone with a keen sight. Eldest Young Miss Zhuang was dressed in exquisite clothing and fine jewelry. It was obvious that she was a young miss from a noble family, who could be one of her potential customers ah! Customers were top priority, customers were supreme.

Xiaocao politely said, “We are a watermelon shop! Not to boast, but our watermelons are sweet and juicy. Absolutely high quality and inexpensive!”

Eldest Young Miss Zhuang watched as Wu Yun passed by with a large watermelon in his hands, enter the shop and put it on the shelf. She asked in disbelief, “What? You’re really selling watermelons? Where did you guys get these watermelons? It looks really fresh!”

With a slightly proud tone, Yu Xiaocao replied, “We planted them ourselves. We just picked them from our fields this morning, so of course, they’re fresh!”

Eldest Young Miss Zhuang exclaimed unbelievably, “Someone in Tanggu Town is growing watermelons? Why didn’t I hear about this before? Little girl, you aren’t lying, are you?”

“What’s the point in lying to you? It’s also my family’s first time growing watermelons. We asked the young boss of Zhenxiu Restaurant to help us find the seeds, but we didn’t expect that it would really grow—Godfather, Uncle Li, Uncle Wu, thanks for the hard work! Come sit down, wash your hands, and rest for a while! I’ll go cut a watermelon for you guys to quench your thirst!” Seeing that her godfather and his two subordinates were almost done unloading the watermelons, Yu Xiaocao hastily called out to them.

Her godfather and his two subordinates were such good workers. A portion of the unloaded watermelons were organized on the shelves according to their size, while the rest were stacked inside a room in the rear courtyard.  

Fang Zizhen chortled as he looked at his goddaughter busily looking for a knife and washing the watermelon, like she was a little squirrel storing autumn food. He felt a sense of ‘everything was well with a daughter’ within his heart.

Eldest Young Miss Zhuang should have left, but her eyes were glued to the shelves after shelves of watermelons. Just like what Miss Wang said, the watermelons were big and round. But… was it possible to grow watermelons in Tanggu Town? Were these watermelons edible? She couldn’t move her feet at all.

She quietly stared at the little girl, who was dressed in ordinary clothing, pick out a big watermelon, wash the skin, and cut it on top of a table in the shop. With a cutting tool that looked like a long knife, she neatly cut the watermelon in half. The red pulp and black seeds appeared before her eyes, and she could smell a refreshingly sweet fragrance from afar.

The watermelon was cut up into small pieces. Fang Zizhen had already picked up a piece in haste and ate it with big mouthfuls. The red juice had dripped down his beard, but he didn’t bother to wipe it.

For the sake of his daughter’s store, Fang Zizhen had made an all-out effort and he had been busy from morning till now. He didn’t even have time to rest and drink a sip of water. The sweet and juicy watermelon moisturized his dry and thirsty throat. The cool feeling penetrated into the bottom of his heart.

Seeing their master eating with relish, Li Li and Wu Yun couldn’t help but pick up a piece each and lightly take a small bite. Their eyes suddenly lit up, and before they had even swallowed their first bite, they already took another bite impatiently. They didn’t even want to spit the seeds out.

Eldest Young Miss Zhuang used her handkerchief to cover her mouth in disgust when she saw the three men eating in a boorish manner. But she couldn’t help swallowing the excessive saliva within her mouth.

Gulp…

Miss Zhuang was shocked and thought that she was the one who made a loud swallowing sound. How could she allow herself to make a fool out of herself? She was about to turn around and leave, but she noticed Miss Wang was swallowing her saliva incessantly beside her. She breathed a sigh of relief inwardly. ‘I knew it! That embarrassing sound just now, how could it have possibly come from me?’

“Stop embarrassing yourself here! If you want to eat it, just wait until they open for business tomorrow and buy it!” Eldest Young Miss Zhuang covered her face with her handkerchief and returned next door to Splendid Brocades Manor. Miss Wang walked away unwillingly and looked back repeatedly at every step.

“Three older sisters! This is the watermelon that we’re selling in our shop. Please try it! If you like the taste, you are welcome to visit us tomorrow!” Yu Xiaocao placed the small pieces of watermelon neatly on a plate. She carried the plate on a tray and walked into the fabric shop with a smile.

Miss Wang widened her eyes in surprise and exclaimed, “You’re letting us eat it? For free?”

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Myst's Thoughts

It seems like Xiaocao has successfully caught another little foodie. xD

Translator: Myst