Wang Ergou didn’t believe her at all, “Passing by? All of our village’s farmland are outside the village. What were you doing outside the village in the middle of the night? Moreover, pass by Brother Dahai’s watermelon fields?”
This Wang Ergou was quite good! During these past two days, he had experienced the benefit of selling watermelons. His net income for two days was a total of one hundred taels, which was something that he would have never expected in the past! Looking at his wife’s slightly protruding tummy, Wang Ergou’s eyes became gentle, and he was filled with the radiance of a loving father.
This was the money that he had earned through honest labor, and the family property that he had accumulated for his unborn son. In the future, his son wouldn’t be the same as he was as a child. In his youth, he was dressed in rags, didn’t have enough food to eat, and always thought about stealing something…
After doing a few more days of honest labor, he would be able to hire someone to build a five-room brick house and buy some more farmland. If his family couldn’t manage all the fields, he could rent them out to others! In this way, he could leave some family properties for his son. If his son was willing, he would also send his son to study at an academy so that he could take the government examinations. If his son was unwilling, then he could live off of collecting farmland rents. In the future, he, Wang Ergou, would no longer be a loafer that even the dogs and cats of the village despised. He could stick out his chest and be a dignified and upright man!!
In Wang Ergou’s opinion, the Yu Family’s watermelon fields were the key to building up his family’s fortunes. He must take good care of them. Hence, when he returned from selling watermelons and saw that Brother Hai still had to watch over the melons after working the whole day, he volunteered to take over the task of guarding the melon fields. Unexpectedly, as soon as it got dark, he had caught someone with malicious intents. Ha! Moreover, it was Brother Hai’s troublesome relative!
But Wang Ergou didn’t care whether they were relatives or not. He regarded the person stealing watermelons as someone who was blocking his road to earning money. Brother Hai only planted three mu of watermelons, so the number of watermelons would decrease as they got pluck one by one. If one got stolen, then that meant he would earn less money. How could he let that happen!!
Madam Li, who had been caught, cursed repeated within her heart. Had Yu Hai been the one guarding the melon fields, she could just apologize, and this matter wouldn’t be spread out. After all, in the simple Dongshan Village, the villagers would spurn and isolate sticky-fingered people. However, the person guarding the watermelons today just happened to be the ignorant Wang Ergou, who was a total blabbermouth. If he spread this out, would she still have face to stay in Dongshan Village?
“Brother Ergou, the watermelons belong to my second brother-in-law’s family. There’s nothing wrong with eating one of my younger brother-in-law’s watermelons, right?” Madam Li knew that she couldn’t argue with a fearless person like Wang Ergou, so she softened her tone.
Wang Ergou knitted his brows. It was common for the villagers to pick a handful of spring beans and take a few eggplants from their relatives’ fields. So her words seemed quite reasonable, but…
Yu Xiaocao let go of her godmother’s hand, walked two steps forward, and said with a faint smile on her face, “Eldest Aunt, if you want to eat a watermelon, you can just tell Brother Heizi to come tell us! Why do you have to come pluck it in the middle of the night without telling us? Fortunately, our family didn’t raise a dog to guard the watermelons. What should we do if it took you as a thief and bit you ah?! You see, Uncle Ergou isn’t a violent person. Had it been someone else, they would have beaten you up without giving you a chance to explain yourself. Wouldn’t you have to suffer then?”
Since the imposing General Fang had warned her with a grim face, Madam Li had become somewhat scared of Xiaocao. When facing Xiaocao’s gaze, which seemed to be able to see through everything, she couldn’t help shifting her eyes away. She stammered, “That… I…”
“Eldest Aunt, you have always had a lot of ideas, but other people aren’t stupid! In the future, it’s better to do less of these things—Godmother, I have shown you something embarrassing…” Yu Xiaocao had a short stature and a young face, but her words were forceful and carried a lot of weight. Thus, Madam Li was not only unable to defend herself, but she also didn’t dare to refute her.
Another reason why she was so obedient was that she had heard Xiaocao call the noble madam beside her ‘Godmother’. Didn’t that mean that she was Lord Fang’s wife? Commoners were most afraid of dealing with officials. Madam Li naturally acted much more honestly in front of Lady Fang. She didn’t dare to have those little ideas anymore.
Seeing that she was acknowledging her mistakes with a good attitude, Yu Xiaocao decided to save some trouble and just sent Madam Li home.
Madam Li left the old residence dejectedly. She didn’t get anything from them but made a fool out of herself instead. She went home feeling extremely aggrieved. Seeing that the lights in the main room was still lit, she shifted her rat-like eyes and knocked on the door of the main room. At this time, Madam Zhang was worrying about matters related to her younger son! The in-laws whispered privately for a long time. When Madam Li left, the worried expression on Madam Zhang’s face had suddenly disappeared and she had a calculating look on her face…
The next day, Lady Fang woke up to the merry singing of birds. Outside the window, the breeze made a light rustling sound as if it was gently brushing against leaves. A bird with bright feathers in front of window looked inside curiously as it chirped melodious tunes from time to time.
Linglong helped her madam put on her clothes and wash up. She looked at the beautiful bird outside the window and said with a smile, “I didn’t think that someone would install glass windows in this remote village.”
Lady Fang took the handkerchief in her hands, wiped the water on her face, and said in a soft voice, “Patriarch Zhao was a general of the previous dynasty and he was born in a famous noble family. Although he has been a refugee for many years, a lean camel is still bigger than a horse. Thus, he still has some resources. If it weren’t for fear of attracting too much attention in this small village, he was certainly capable of building an exquisite rural estate in the mountains. Did you not notice? The furniture might look simple, but they are made of red mahogany and red sandalwood, which is worth a lot of money!”
Zhenzhu, who was a good cook, brought over the breakfast and smiled when she heard her words, “General Fang’s family is very generous. They left all of this to the Yu Family.”
Lady Fang sat at the red mahogany round table, rinsed her mouth with warm water, and then said, “Young General Zhao is close friends with Xiaocao’s father, and Xiaocao’s father has also saved Young General Zhao’s life before. There’s nothing wrong even if they gave them more things, let alone this house. Where’s Furong? Not up yet?”
“She might have been too tired yesterday. Miss Furong was raised in a pampered lifestyle, so how can she withstand all of yesterday’s happenings?” Linglong said with a smile, “Should I go wake her…”
“No need. Let her sleep some more!” Lady Fang wasn’t someone who liked to make things difficult for others. She picked up her chopsticks and prepared to eat breakfast.
Fang Zizhen had never cooked here, so there wasn’t anything in the kitchen, except for the several catties of white rice, wheat flour, and vegetables that Xiaocao brought over yesterday. Therefore, compared to the breakfast eaten at the General Estate, this breakfast was rather crude. There was a pot of plain congee, several deep-fried dough cakes, and stir-fried greens. Even the second-ranked maidservants in the General Estate ate a more sumptuous meal! Zhenzhu was worried that her master would dislike this breakfast, so she lowered her head perturbed.
Lady Fang grabbed some greens with her chopsticks and chewed it in her mouth. She slightly creased her brows as she swallowed it. Then she lowered her and drank a mouthful of plain congee, which was so plain that it couldn’t arouse her appetite. She lightly sighed and put down her chopsticks—Indeed, it was difficult to live a frugal life after one got accustomed to luxury ah!
“Godmother—are you awake?” The sound of Xiaocao’s crisp voice, which was like the singing of larks, came from outside the door, and then the gates were pushed open. With her hair styled into a playful double bun hairstyle, a figure dressed in an emerald green cross-necked dress hopped inside the door, carrying a large food basket that looked somewhat uncoordinated with her height.
Linglong hastily went forward and took the food basket from Xiaocao’s hands. She smiled and said, “Miss Cao’er is really early ah. Madam has just gotten up and is eating breakfast right now!”
With crescent-like eyes, Xiaocao said with a face full of smiles, “I came at just the right time then!”
When she entered the main room, she glanced at the nearly untouched breakfast on the table. Looking at the plain congee and greens, even she didn’t have an appetite, let alone her godmother who was used to living in a pampered and comfortable lifestyle.
“Godmother, I made lean pork and century eggs congee, crispy egg pancake, chives stuffed potstickers, steamed eggs with shrimps, as well as sweet potato pancake made with the sweet potatoes that I dug out yesterday! Try it while it’s still hot!” Yu Xiaocao pushed aside the plain congee in front of her godmother and replaced it with the hot and fragrant lean pork and century eggs congee that she made. After that, she took out all the food inside the food basket and put them all on the table.
Looking at the table full of fragrant and delicious breakfast, Lady Fang was very moved. Her daughter must had woken up very early to make such a sumptuous meal for breakfast ah! She didn’t know much about an ordinary family’s breakfast, but she guessed that it must be extremely simple. Her daughter must have specially prepared these seven to eight mouthwatering dishes for her. Her eyes brimmed with tears, and she felt very happy with the feeling of having a daughter being filial to her!
“Godmother, quickly eat! It won’t taste as good when it gets cold!” Yu Xiaocao ladled a small bowl of congee and grabbed a piece of luscious sweet potato pancake, which was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, for her godmother. She watched her eat it with a face filled with anticipation for praises.
Lady Fang was amused by her expression. Unlike the sweetness of other sweet snacks, the rich taste of sweet potato melted in her mouth and stimulated her taste buds. ‘Mhm, this sweet potato pancake tastes great. I wonder why this tasty sweet potato is considered a food eaten by low status commoners?’
After eating a piece of luscious sweet potato pancake, she drank a mouthful of the fragrant century eggs congee. She immediately fell in love with the unique and novel taste. There were also the crispy egg pancakes, soft and refreshing steamed eggs with shrimp, and the delicious pan-fried dumplings… Lady Fang felt that this meal was even better than all the breakfasts that she had eaten in the past. In particular, the look of her daughter, Xiaocao, eating with relish could really stimulate the appetite of the person watching her.
Xiaocao brought over a lot of breakfast, so even after the mother-daughter pair filled their stomachs, there were still a lot leftover. All the food that was leftover was awarded to the two handmaids. When Zhenzhu and Linglong were serving their master to eat, they had already been tempted by the rich breakfast. They had been well-trained, so it was hard to tell on the surface. But, in actuality, they had been drooling over the food for a long time already.
By the time Xia Furong woke up, there was only the plain congee, pancake, and stir-fried greens made by Zhenzhu. This noble young miss had never eaten this kind of food, so she threw a tantrum. However, she didn’t eat much last night because she was fighting with Xiaocao, so her stomach had long been growling in hunger. If she didn’t eat, then she would have to starve! With the thought that her aunt has eaten the same food, Xia Furong ate until she was sixty or seventy percent full while feeling aggrieved.
As soon as Lady Fang arrived here, she had noticed that there were many things that she needed to buy. Knowing that Xiaocao needed to visit her watermelon shop in town after eating breakfast, she decided to go together with her. Xia Furong still had lingering fears about the rough and bumpy mountain roads yesterday, so she volunteered to stay at home. She only had a little maidservant with her, so Zhenzhu, who was a good cook, stayed at home with her.
They went to town on the Fang Family’s horse carriage. It had been specially improved, so it was naturally very comfortable. After passing the mountain road, Xiaocao rested comfortably in her godmother’s arms, taking a nap with her eyes closed.Previous Chapter Next Chapter