Chapter 181 - Treating a Meal

Linglong and Zhenzhu looked at each other. It seemed like Miss Yu was highly regarded within the madam’s heart ah! At least, she had surpassed the madam’s niece, the young miss who had lived with the Fang Family for several years. They reminded each other with their eyes: In the future, they absolutely could not neglect or have any contempt for the adopted young miss!

However, Yu Xiaocao said embarrassingly, “Godmother, I’m not a child anymore. I should walk myself and not tire you out.”

“How much do you weigh? I can even carry a hundred catty sandbag with ease at home. Even carrying something that weighs three times as much as you do won’t wear me out!” Lady Fang put Xiaocao on the bed and helped her take off her jacket like she was taking care of an infant.

“I’ll do it myself…” Yu Xiaocao blushed with shame and took off her outer garment. But her movements were too big, and she accidentally pulled at the wounds on her back, causing her to grit her teeth in pain.

“You ah, stop trying to be brave!” Lady Fang pressed her down onto the bed and lifted up her snow-white inner garment. She saw an obvious and hideous dark purple bruise on her nearly transparent, fair back.

Not only was Lady Fang extremely heartbroken, but Linglong and Zhenzhu also gasped in shock. It must be so painful ah! Had it been another little girl, she would have definitely cried out loudly in pain a long time ago. Yet the young miss had been holding back the pain and amusing the madam so that she wouldn’t be angry…

Lady Fang had brought along a small medicine box. She took out a delicate porcelain bottle from her small medicine box, which was a bottle of ‘bruise soothing powder’ bestowed by the emperor. She carefully poured some of the powder onto her palm and gently covered the bruise on the slender back with her hand. For the bruise soothing powder to be effective, it was necessary to use some strength to relieve the acupuncture points and dissolve the bruise. Lady Fang was afraid that the little girl couldn’t endure the pain, so she first gently massaged before gradually increasing her strength.

At first, Yu Xiaocao hissed as she sucked in a breath of cold air. Then she wailed sorrowfully, “It hurts, hurts, hurts… be more gentle. Godmother, please be more gentle!”

“Endure it for a bit. If I don’t use some strength, it won’t be effective…” Lady Fang tenderly comforted her, but she didn’t reduce the strength in her hands. Yu Xiaocao continued to scream and flail her limbs vigorously, hitting the bed loudly.

Linglong and Zhenzhu lowered their heads and tried to hold back their laughter. At this time, the young miss looked like a fish out of water. Her unpretentious appearance looked really cute.

Xia Furong gnashed her teeth and stared enviously at the whining brat. Her paternal aunt was so biased. When she first came to the General Estate, she was only seven to eight years old and her aunt’s most intimate action was to hold her hands and touch her head. But how can this dirty rural girl let her aunt hold her in her arms and personally apply medication for her?! The bruise soothing powder was awarded by the emperor, and it would be difficult to obtain on the market even with a thousand pieces of gold. How was that wretch worthy of such a precious thing?

However, Yu Xiaocao didn’t want this honor at all. She was only a little bruised. When she got home, she could just let the little divine stone blow a breath of celestial air on her back and everything would be fine. Why did she have to suffer like this for no reason ah!

Lady Fang giggled, patted the little girl’s restless butt, and daunted, “Behave! Be careful not to hurt your arms and legs. If they get bruised, you’ll have to suffer again.”

After hearing that, Yu Xiaocao immediately stopped, as if she was a robotic doll that was out of power. But her cry of pain became louder and louder. A crying child would get milk, so she wasn’t going to go for that act of ‘gritting her teeth and enduring in silence’!

“What’s going on?” Eldest Maternal Aunt, Madam Han, and Xiaocao’s maternal grandmother, Madam Yao, had come to deliver the goods. As soon as they entered the shop, they had heard Xiaocao’s loud shrieking, so they hastily came in to inquire. Seeing the bruise on the little girl’s back, the two couldn’t help but feel heartache.  

Yu Xiaocao immediately stopped screaming. She turned her head to see her maternal grandmother and eldest maternal aunt’s wan smile, and softly said, “Grandmother, Eldest Maternal Aunt, it’s alright! I just accidentally bumped into the door. I’ll be fine after applying some medication—By the way, this is my godmother, who came from the capital!”

Madam Yao and her daughter-in-law knew that Xiacocao had gotten an official as her godfather. Hearing that she was Xiaocao’s godmother, didn’t that mean that the wife of an official had come? The two honest matrons were bewildered as they just stood there and smiled awkwardly.

Lady Fang smiled affably at them and said gently, “We are relatives now, so you guys don’t have to be so restrained.”

Seeing her maternal grandmother and aunt’s perplexed expression, Yu Xiaocao smiled and said, “Grandmother, Eldest Aunt, I don’t know if Uncle Li can handle all the work in front, so can you guys go help out first? I’ll come help after applying the medication.”

Madam Han nodded and said, “It’s not that busy, so it will be fine with just your grandmother and me. You’re injured, so you should just stay and chat with your godmother!”

Xia Furong’s heart was full of contempt for the typical speech and behavior of the two rural women—As expected, that damned wretch’s relatives were unpresentable.

Yu Xiaocao’s ‘torture’ finally ended. She spread out her arms and legs on the bed and pretended to be dead. Lady Fang was so amused by her that she couldn’t stop laughing. She patted her fleshy little butt and said, “Stop playing around. Quickly get up and put on your clothes so that you won’t catch a cold.”

Yu Xiaocao sat up and moved her arms. It seemed like her back really didn’t hurt as much as before. She slowly put on her clothes and said, “Godmother, are you going to go rest at the residence in town or come back to Dongshan Village with us?”

Her godfather’s job was basically the same as a project supervisor. It would take at least three to five years to complete the construction of the port, so he bought a residence in town. But her godfather rarely lived in the residence in town. He usually stayed in the Zhao Family’s old residence at the foot of the West Mountains. This was because it was located close to Xiaocao’s house, which made it more convenient for him to freeload meals from the Yu Family.

Fang Zizhen had already explained this matter to his wife in his letters. Lady Fang pondered for a moment and then said, “With my understanding of your godfather, he will go straight to Dongshan Village when he returns from the prefectural city. So I will wait for him at Dongshan Village!”

Yu Xiaocao nodded her head obediently and said, “Mhm! Godfather set off to the prefectural city early this morning so he should almost be there by now. I reckon he will have to stay a night at the prefectural city and come back tomorrow! The conditions of the residence in town is better, but no one has been living there for a long time after all. So it will be very troublesome to clean. Although the house in Dongshan Village is simple and crude, it’s closer to my house and we can take care of each other. Godmother, you’ve been traveling for such a long time, so you should be hungry, right? I’ll treat you to a feast at Zhenxiu Restaurant…”

It would cost at least a hundred taels for a meal at the Zhenxiu Restaurant in the capital, and it was common to pay three to five hundred taels for a meal. Lady Fang knew that her adoptive daughter had average living conditions. Although the watermelon shop was doing very well, it was still better to help her daughter save some money.

“I heard from your godfather that you have excellent cooking skills. Godmother wants to try your cooking.” Lady Fang caressed the young girl’s smooth, black hair, and inwardly praised the little girl’s hair for growing so well. Unbeknownst to her, this head of black hair was still as dry as a stick of firewood half a year ago!

Yu Xiaocao thought of the empty kitchen in the courtyard. She had been so busy with the opening of her shop that she didn’t have time to prepare the kitchen utensils, let alone the seasonings. She bit her lip and murmured, “Godmother, there’s nothing prepared in the small kitchen in the shop. A skillful woman can hardly cook without rice. It’s almost noon already, so how am I supposed to make food for you now? If you want to try my cooking, I can show you my skills tonight! Let’s just make do with a meal at Zhenxiu Restaurant first…”

Going to eat at Zhenxiu Restaurant, yet she described it as putting up with a meal? If others heard this, she would definitely get beat up! Due to Zhenxiu Restaurant’s endless stream of new dishes, even the tables in the main dining hall had been fully booked for several days. Without making a reservation in advance, don’t even think about eating the delicacies at Zhenxiu Restaurant!

Xia Furong narrowed her eyes and sneered with a smirk, ‘A poor village girl wants to pretend to be capable and impress my aunt by treating her to a meal at Zhenxiu Restaurant? Even a table of the most simple dishes at Zhenxiu Restaurant will cost several dozen taels. Even if she sells watermelons for an entire day, she still might not earn enough money for a meal at the restaurant.’ Later, she must take advantage of this opportunity to order more of their signature dishes so that the damned brat would have a heartache! Even the snobby and arrogant noble ladies in the capital seldom had the chance to eat at Zhenxiu Restaurant, let alone her!

It was almost noon. Xiaocao, who had been busily working since dawn, was so hungry that her chest was sticking to her back. After having a small talk with her godmother, she accompanied her godmother to the nearby Zhenxiu Restaurant.  

When she passed by the shop, she smiled at her maternal grandmother and eldest maternal aunt, who were in the store, “Grandmother, Eldest Maternal Aunt, since there isn’t a lot customers right now, let’s go eat something across the street first!”

Madam Yao looked at the lavish silk brocade that Lady Fang wore, as well as the impressive aura she gave off. Even the two maidservants behind her were dressed better than them. She felt slightly ashamed of her inferiority, so she shook her hands repeatedly and said, “You go accompany your godmother! There needs to be people in the shop. We can just buy two steamed flatbreads to eat later!”

Xiaocao also knew that, even if her maternal grandmother and eldest maternal aunt went, they still wouldn’t be able to eat with ease. Thus, she didn’t force them and said, “I’ll ask the server to deliver some food over. Grandmother, Eldest Maternal Aunt, Zhenxiu Restaurant’s roasted chicken and osmanthus duck are pretty good. Later, have a taste and see if they suit your appetites!”

“No need, no need! How much money would you have to spend to get chickens and ducks?! Even if you have money, you still can’t spend them like this. I think eating steamed flatbread is fine!” Eldest Maternal Aunt disagreed with Xiaocao spending money recklessly.

None of them knew that Yu Xiaocao had never needed to spend any money when eating at Zhenxiu Restaurant. No matter what, she could be considered as business partners with the boss of Zhenxiu Restaurant. The money that she helped them earn was enough for her to eat several lifetimes of sumptuous meals!

It was currently mealtime, so Zhenxiu Restaurant was completely packed with customers. Several people from out of town, who had come to visit after hearing about the famous restaurant, walked out of the restaurant with disappointment upon hearing that the tables had been reserved for the next three days.

“Seems like there isn’t any tables left.” Lady Fang, who was holding her goddaughter’s hand and unwilling to let go, heard the disappointment of the visitor who passed by. She lowered her head to look at Xiaocao and softly said.

Xia Furong also had a face full of disappointment. She couldn’t control herself and blurted out, “Younger Cousin, did you pretend to be generous and treat us to a meal because you knew that we wouldn’t be able to get a table at Zhenxiu Restaurant at this time?!”

“Furong!” Lady Fang could understand a young girl having slight vanity, so she wasn’t mad about this matter. She was afraid that her daughter would become angry from embarrassment, so she hastily chided her niece.

Xia Furong felt even more angry. She snorted unhappily and said, “Aunt, you’re siding with her! Look, even someone like Second Young Master Zhu couldn’t get a table, let alone an ordinary peasant girl like her?”

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Myst's Thoughts

Steamed Flatbread

Translator: Myst