Chapter 201 - Mountain Manor

After that, Princess Consort Jing and Lady Fang began to engage in small talk. Since settling at the seaside residence, she almost never left the house because of her health. She listened as Lady Fang talked about Dongshan Village, which was surrounded by the mountains and the sea. It had an amazing scenery, and from time to time, one could also encounter cute little animals. After hearing her description, she really yearned to see it within her heart.

After sending off Lady Fang and her daughter, Princess Consort Jing pondered about how this wouldn’t be her youngest son’s last ocean-going voyage. She knew her youngest son’s character very well. Even if she tried to stop him from going, he still wouldn’t change a decision that he had already made.

‘Ay, I wonder who Yang’er resembles ah!’ His father was courtly and refined, while she was gentle and demure. Her eldest and second son also had a relatively gentle temper. Only this youngest son of hers was different. He was still fine before the age of five, soft and adorable. But, after the age of seven or eight, he seemed to have gotten facial paralysis. He had a cold expression throughout the day, and the gaze in his eyes was getting more and more fierce.

‘It’s all his father’s fault. Why did he get a martial arts teacher for the kids? Look at how they all turned out. One gave up being a scholar and wants to go to the borders to join the army, while the other one goes out on a voyage without any fears whatsoever…’

When going on a voyage, it wasn’t like he could return in three to five months. So, how could she not worry about him? Dongshan Village was close to the sea, so she could look far into the distance of the sea when standing on the top of the mountain slope. She should be able to immediately see when Yang’er returns, right?

Thus, Princess Consort Jing made a decision to build a mountain manor on the West Mountains. Although there weren’t any hot springs, good farmland, or beautiful environment at the West Mountains, it was a place that made her feel as if she was closer to her youngest son, which was all she needed! (Author’s note: It’s no wonder that the second son felt discontented. As a mother, she’s really more biased towards her youngest son. Moreover, she’s being extremely biased ah!)

Once Princess Consort Jing made a decision, it was nearly impossible to change her mind. As long as it was reasonable, most people were also unwilling to let her down. When the news reached the capital, Prince Jing readily agreed. Not to mention a small manor, even if she wanted to build three or five mountain villas, as long as the princess consort was happy, would he, the dignified Imperial Prince Jing, be unwilling to spend the money to build them?

As a result, Prince Jing mobilized a number of landscape architects from the Ministry of Works, hired several famous residential architects in the capital, and sent them all to the small town of Tanggu along with the craftsmen. Taking advantage of his resting days, he took another ten days off and went to Tanggu Town to personally make arrangements for the initial stages of the project.

Princess Consort Jing had already decided to build the mountain manor on the hillside near Dongshan Village, which wasn’t very far from Lady Fang’s residence. The doctor who was accompanying Princess Consort Jing also said that it was good for the princess consort’s health to climb mountains and exercise regularly.  

Imperial Prince Jing naturally wouldn’t disagree. He personally took the landscape architects and craftsmen, and chose a place on the West Mountains with excellent fengshui [1]. It faced the south with its back towards the north. After that, he recruited more workers from nearby villages. Within a few days, construction began in full swing.

On the way back to Tanggu Town, Prince Jing was afraid that the bumpy mountain road would make his precious princess consort uncomfortable, so he ordered a group of people to repair the road. Stonemasons were especially hired to fix the most rugged section of the mountain road. Even if they had to carve it out, they had to carve out a smooth and level road.  

When a generous reward was offered, brave men were bound to come forward. Prince Jing’s Estate didn’t lack money, so they were able to offer a high salary. Although there was a limited construct period, it still attracted a group of people. The road construction progressed very quickly. By the time Xiaocao’s family’s watermelons got off the market, there was a smooth road that went directly to the town from Dongshan Village. It used to take a horse carriage over an hour to reach town, but now it took less than forty-five minutes. All the villagers in the vicinity praised Imperial Prince Jing for doing a good deed.

Speaking of Dongshan Village, when they heard that a prince was going to build a manor in their village, they felt both honored and slightly perturbed. They were afraid that the high-ranking official would take a fancy to their small plots of land and snatch it from them. Seeing that the nobleman had selected a place on the West Mountains, the villagers of Dongshan Village gradually felt relieved.

Now, the village head of Dongshan Village walked everywhere with a ramrod straight back. Their Dongshan Village must be a precious area with excellent fengshui. Otherwise, why would so many members of the imperial family like this place so much?

The village head had interacted with the steward of Prince Jing’s Estate several times. He felt that the servants of Prince Jing’s Estate were quite reasonable and didn’t have the bad habits of the servants of other noble households.

The village head had privately sent the steward a lot of good things and asked him to put in some good words about Dongshan Village in front of his masters. As the saying goes: ‘it was easier to enjoy the breeze while leaning against a big tree’. In the future, if some tactless people came to cause trouble in Dongshan Village, the people in the mountain manor wouldn’t ignore it, would they?

The mountain manor of the Prince Jing’s Household was busy with construction. After over a month of bustling business, the Yu Family’s watermelons had finally been completely sold out. That night, when Yu Xiaocao took out the account book and added up the total, the whole family had a stunned expression on their faces.

With the mystic-stone water as a cheat, each melon field had yielded more than ten thousand catties of watermelons. Thus, the three mu of land had produced more than thirty-five thousand catties of watermelons! In addition to selling them at their own melon shop, they also sold a portion to Wang Ergou and Xiaocao’s maternal uncles at the wholesale price. They had sold nearly ten thousand catties of melons as wholesale. If they calculated it based on one catty cost a hundred fifty copper coins, then it would be a total of fifteen hundred taels. The remaining twenty-five thousand catties were retailed at the watermelon store for a slightly higher price. In this way, based on Xiaocao’s simple calculation, they had earned an income of nearly ten thousand taels!!

Yu Hai swallowed his saliva hard and took a deep breath. It had been very busy this past month, but he never expected that growing watermelons would be so profitable!

Xiaocao took out a stack of banknotes. Every day, she deposited the store’s daily profit into the town’s bank. The smallest amount of one banknote was one hundred taels, while the largest was five hundred taels. She had taken out a very thick and heavy stack of banknotes. Seeing the banknotes, the Yu Family felt a slight sense of surreal in their hearts.

Half a year ago, they were still living in poverty and didn’t even have enough coarse grain to eat. Now, they had become rich people with ten thousand taels of silver! Even in town, ten thousand taels was also considered quite a large sum of money for a family to possess!

Yu Xiaocao saw the stunned expressions on her family members and said with a smile, “Father, Mother! What are you guys planning on doing with this money? Do you want to save it in the bank, or use it to purchase a house and land?”

Yu Hai thought about it and said, “Take some out to repair the old residence. As for the rest of the money… should we buy some good farmland near the town? Our family’s three mu of land is too little! If we buy more land, we can plant more watermelons next year…”

With her lips pursed together, Madam Liu smiled and said, “If there are suitable stores, we can also buy a few. Xiaocao’s two stores are located in a good area! It’s also easy to rent out. Our melon shop has just closed, but there are already people asking if we’ll rent it out. By just collecting a year of rent, we can get an income of around a thousand or so taels for one storefront. If the children have two stores each, they won’t have to worry about their livelihood in the future!”

Yu Hai slowly nodded his head in agreement, “Mhm! Then let’s purchase a few more stores… I think we can also buy a house in town. In the future, we will probably spend more time in town, so at that time, we will also have a place to stay. However, this is our ancestral home. Even if Little Shitou makes a name for himself through his studies, he still needs to come back to his hometown to pay homage to his ancestors!” Yu Hai was still somewhat strong attached to the place where he was born and raised.

Yu Xiaocao said with a smile, “Let’s expand the old residence in fall. However, the most important thing right now is to plow the land and grow some sweet potatoes!”

Yu Hai nodded repeatedly and said, “That’s right! I was so happy that I almost forgot about it! It’s early summer now, so if we plant sweet potatoes, we can harvest them before it starts to snow! In fact, it was a really good idea to plant watermelons. It doesn’t affect the farming season at all!

The next day, Yu Hang asked Xiaocao to help collect marine goods at home while he went to work on the fields with their parents. After they dug out the melon seedlings, they used a whole two days to plow their three mu of land. Xiaocao had also taken up the task of breeding the sweet potato seedlings. This was mainly because she wanted to use mystic-stone water to breed the seedlings. Thus, being responsible for this task would make it more convenient for her to use her cheat. After all, it was a little late to grow the seedlings now.

Xiaocao cultivated a piece of land near her house to grow the seedlings and asked Yu Hai to enclose the area with a bamboo fence to prevent small animals from the mountain from destroying the crops at night. She took out the carefully selected sweet potato seeds and neatly arranged them on the plowed land, and then covered them with an even layer of soil. After planting the seeds, Xiaocao immediately watered the field with water that was mixed with an appropriate amount of mystic-stone water. Fortunately, it was early summer now and the temperature was rather suitable for the germination of sweet potato seeds, so she didn’t need to do anything to keep them warm.

When helping his daughter breed the seeds, Yu Hai keep nagging about how they should have thought about growing the sweet potato sprouts first, wondering whether this would delay the farming period, and so on.

Fortunately, Xiaocao had the little divine stone as her secret weapon. While it normally took people over a month to breed the seedlings, it only took a dozen or so days for her to accomplish the task. In addition to the contribution of mystic-stone water, the little divine stone had also helped out a lot. Under Xiaocao’s order, it ‘used its powers’ on the growing sprouts every day. The strong energy accelerated the growth of the sweet potatoes.

Half a month later, when Yu Hai was urged by his daughter to gather the sweet potato sprouts and plant them in the fields, he asked in surprise, “How did the sweet potato seedlings grow so fast? Has it even been twenty days? Cao’er, your breeding method is pretty good. It saved a lot of time!”

Yu Xiaocao answered vaguely, “It’s probably because we got relatively suitable temperature and rainfall recently. There’s good weather for the crops, so the seedlings grew relatively faster. It looks like it’s about to rain. Let’s work faster and try to plant all the sweet potatoes before it starts raining!”

Yu Hai stopped thinking about the matter regarding the growth period of the sweet potato seedlings. He swiftly gathered the first batch of sweet potato seedlings, transported them to the plowed fields, and planted them. With the whole family working, they finished sowing the sweet potato seedlings in less than a day. It rained that night, so they didn’t even need to water the fields.  

After being nourished by the mystic-stone water, the sweet potato seedlings were not only resistant to drought and high temperature, but they were also resistant to diseases and insects. The sweet potatoes in the Yu Family’s fields looked different every day and grew very well. The villagers all praised Yu Hai for being an excellent farmer.

In the following days, Xiaocao’s family lived very happily. Madam Zhang still had some lingering fear, so she didn’t dare to come cause trouble. Although Madam Li occasionally came over to shamelessly cotton up with Madam Liu, she was afraid to act maliciously due to the pretense of Xiaocao’s godparents.

Lady Fang had basically settled down in Dongshan Village and rarely returned to the estate in town. The two families lived close by, so they were having more and more interactions with one another. When the Yu Family was busy, Lady Fang would also change out of her lavish clothing to help collect vegetables, tend the vegetable gardens, and whatnot.

After more than a month of quiet life, Lady Fang fell in love with this relaxing and comfortable lifestyle. Every day, she would climb the mountains, stroll on the beach, accompany the children to collect seafood by the sea, and then turn the seafood that she personally collected into a sumptuous meal… Lady Fang felt extremely relaxed, both physically and mentally. She was much happier than when she had to put on airs to entertain all kinds of people in the capital every day, whether she liked them or not. 


[1] Fengshui (风水) - placing and arranging buildings/sites/decors/etc auspiciously 

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Myst's Thoughts

Seems like more and more people are moving to Dongshan Village. 

Translator: Myst