Chapter 206 - Diving

Lady Fang looked down at her and slowly shook her head, “Furong, you really disappoint me! It seems like, after bringing you up for all these years, I still wasn’t able to get rid of the things that you have learned from the Xia Family… I shouldn’t have let you go back to the Xia Family so often. At the Xia Residence, your parents frequently inculcated the idea that ‘everything in the Fang Family will be yours in the future’, right? As a result, you want to remove all the obstacles that is obstructing your path to achieve your goal, right?”

“Auntie…” Xia Furong was still trying to put up a last-ditch fight.

Lady Fang blocked her with one sentence, “Furong, do you think Aunt is stupid? The maidservant merely receives a few hundred copper coins in a month, how would she be able to take out two hundred taels of silver to help her master vent her anger?”

Xia Furong’s voice stopped abruptly and her complexion was gray with defeat. Xia Furong naturally ended up being sent back to the oppressive Xia Family. Since she was abandoned, she naturally wouldn’t be able to live well. After she reached adulthood, she was married off to a high-ranking official’s stupid son. She was unhappy in that marriage and died before she reached the age of thirty.

When she was in despair, she would often recall back to the mistake she had made that night, and her heart would always be full of deep remorse. If she wasn’t muddle-headed by jealousy, then she would’ve still been the niece that her aunt doted on. As long as she was well-behaved, her aunt would’ve arranged a good marriage for her and prepared a considerable amount of dowry. She would’ve had a husband who loved her and respected her. She would give birth to a group of cute babies… At the time of her death, Xia Furong seemed to have seen a different life…

When Yu Xiaocao reappeared in front of the villagers of Dongshan Village after the case was over, the villagers looked as if they had seen a ghost. Wasn’t the Yu Family’s second daughter buried in a mass grave? How could she still be alive? Could it be that she still has a grudge, so that her deceased soul has not yet dispersed?

After she scared another group of little girls in the village to tears, Yu Hai and Fang Zizhen had no choice but to go to each and every family to explain the situation to them. They explained that Xiaocao had encountered bandits and was rescued by the second son of Prince Jing’s Estate. In order to draw out the people from behind the scene, she had feigned death…

After the villagers understood the matter, they all sighed and were very happy that Xiaocao was alright. Only Madam Zhang secretly cursed in her heart, saying that Xiaocao was a scourge who wouldn’t die in a thousands of years...

The days passed by one by one, and it was already midsummer. There weren’t many children in the fishing village who didn’t know how to swim. When the tide was low, one could always see a few heads bobbing up and down in the water, just like a nimble little dolphin.

Yu Xiaocao learned to swim in her previous life. There was a large pond in the village, and in the summer, children liked to jump into the pond and play while the adults watched over them. After a while, everyone liked to dog paddle a few times in the pond. Sometimes, the adults also liked to swim back and forth inside the pond, or they would give their children some pointers in regards to swimming. In her previous life, Xiaocao’s father was one of the best swimmers when he was young. Xiaocao and her younger siblings had learned their swimming skills from him.

Unconsciously, it had already been a year since she transmigrated. Everything in her past life was gradually fading from Xiaocao’s heart, only an everlasting imprint was left behind deep within her heart. The most important thing was to cherish her current life. She should live in the moment and cherish the things in front of her.

“Xiaolian, Xiaocao! Let’s go diving in the sea to catch abalone. We would be able to receive a few taels of silver if we catch a high-quality abalone!” Zhou Shanhu bounced in from outside and opened her outer garment mysteriously, showing Xiaocao and her sister the diving suit she was wearing.

The Great Ming Dynasty had greatly improved the status of women which had also impacted the small fishing village of Dongshan Village. No one would say anything if a young girl went to the sea wearing a tight diving suit before she reached adulthood. Thus, it was common for a little girl like Zhou Shanhu to have her own diving suit.

The diving suit was similar to the one-piece wetsuit in her previous life. It was usually made of sea fish skin, jellyfish skin, or shark skin. It was waterproof and warm in the sea. However, the method to making them had been lost in later generations. Xiaocao was very interested in the diving suit, so she touched it again and again.

Zhou Shanhu proudly said, “My father just bought me this diving suit this year. The diving suits made from sea fish skin is only worth barely a few taels of silver. I wonder how many taels of silver would be needed to make one from jellyfish or shark skin? Xiaocao, your father is the best at hunting sharks, why don’t you ask him to make you one?”

Xiaolian smiled and said, “Younger Sister, Father secretly  made me a sharkskin diving suit for me last year. If you like, you can try it on.”

As the weather got warmer, it was harder to preserve meat dishes, so they stopped selling braised food. As a result, Xiaolian had been home doing nothing for the past two days, which was something that she wasn’t used it. She had been thinking about asking Xiaocao to help her come up with another business, so that she would be able to earn some money to spend.

In order to cultivate his children’s independence, Yu Hai decided to allow his children to run their own business. All the money they earn would belong to themselves. For example, all the money Yu Hang earned from collecting seafood and Xiaolian earned from selling braised dishes all belong to them. Although they may still be young, they both have a considerable amount of money saved up!

However, the two of them were used to giving their younger sister the money they earned. So Xiaocao helped them opened a bank account. When she received a hundred taels from them, she would deposit it into their bank account. Whenever the siblings got together to talk about their savings, Little Shitou would noisily complain that everyone was earning money, and that only he had money going out but not in. He was very frustrated and believed that he was the most useless one of his siblings!

Yu Xiaocao comforted him, “Shitou, you are the one with the most prospect in our family. In the future, the one earning the most will be you! Think about it, no matter how much money we make, we’re still little ants that can be easily crushed in the eyes of those influential officials. If you study hard and become a big official in the future, wouldn’t you be able to shelter your older brother and sisters? You are now at the investment stage, so you will receive the returns in the future!”

Her reasoning allowed Little Shitou to stop thinking about running a small business after school. In order to not make Little Shitou feel left out, Xiaocao also helped him open a bank account and would deposit ten taels of silver into his bank account each month. Little Shitou knew that his second sister was the richest person in the family. She received dividends from Zhenxiu Restaurant and Zhou Family’s factories, and she also received rent from two of the shops in town. She was a wealthy little lady, so he didn’t refuse it.

After Xiaocao heard that there was a sharkskin diving suit at home, her heart felt itchy and she urged Xiaolian to take it out for her to try. Although Xiaocao had grown in the past year, her current height wasn’t much different from Xiaolian’s height last year. Xiaolian’s diving suit from last year was a perfect fit for her.

Xiaolian watched as her younger sister put the diving suit over her undergarments and then put her outer garment over it. Seeing how eager she was, she quickly tugged her and said, “Younger Sister, you haven’t learned to swim yet. Just stand by the edge of the water, don’t enter the water!” 

Xiaocao smiled and said, “What’s so difficult about swimming? I’m so smart, so how can such a trifling matter stop me? You’ll see.” 

Xiaolian didn’t feel relieved at all. After she bid her mother goodbye, she followed behind Xiaocao and Shanhu as the two of them chattered. The three of them arrived at a secluded place by the sea.

Zhou Shanhu looked around and saw that there was no one else around, so she took off her outer garment, plunged into the sea, and swam far away. Her swimming skills was not bad. After she wiped away the water on her face she waved her hand towards Xiaocao and shouted, “Xiaocao, don’t be afraid! The water isn’t deep here, you can descend into the water bit by bit!” 

Yu Xiaocao took off her outer garment and stuffed it in Xiaolian’s hands. She smiled and said, “There won’t be any problems. You can watch over me by the shore. If something goes wrong, you can come in and fish me up!”

Xiaolian reluctantly sat by the reef on the shore as she watched her younger sister slowly descend into the sea. The sea right now was very gentle, and there were clear ripples on the surface of the blue sea. Although it was morning, the two girls didn’t feel cold at all while wearing their diving suits. 

“Younger Sister, don’t go further in, you don’t know how to swim…” When Xiaolian saw that only Xiaocao’s head appeared on the surface of the water, she quickly stood up and shouted loudly towards Xiaocao. However, her voice came to an abrupt stop and her eyes widened in surprise when she saw Xiaocao’s adept swimming style. Was her younger sister a genius? How was she able to learn without a teacher? 

After having already swam a circle, Zhou Shanhu swan closer Xiaocao’s side for fear that an accident might occur since this was her first time in the water. But after she saw Xiaocao’s skilled dog-paddle, she smiled and said, “Xiaolian said that you don’t know how to swim. She’s worrying over nothing! Aren’t you pretty good at swimming? There aren’t many people here, so I think we should be able to find some abalone at the bottom of the sea. Let’s swim a little further before diving!” 

Yu Xiaocao followed Zhou Shanhu as they swam further into the sea. Suddenly, Zhou Shanhu plunged into the sea and there wasn’t any movement from her after a long time. Xiaocao panicked and busily buried her head into the sea to figure out where Zhou Shanhu was. Although she could swim, she didn’t know how to dive. After fluttering about for a while, she still couldn’t dive in.

Hahaha…” A burst of laughter could be heard, Xiaocao quickly lifted her head up. Zhou Shanhu had appeared not far from where she was. One of her hand was holding a dark sea cucumber, while she used her other hand to point her finger at her, laughing until tears was about to come out.

Yu Xiaocao swam to her side and splashed some seawater at her face. She angrily said, “What’s so funny? I just don’t know how to dive, teach me quickly!” 

“Your appearance from before looked exactly like a drowning duck as you fluttered about. It was so funny! Haha…” Zhou Shanhu let out another burst of laughter.

Yu Xiaocao waited for her to finished laughing before she modestly asked her to teach her how to dive. Zhou Shanhu had good diving skills, and she was also a competent little teacher. Yu Xiaocao was also a fast learner, and soon mastered the trick to diving. With one plunge, she was able to reach all the way to the bottom of the sea.

Zhou Shanhu looked as if she had suffered a blow, “It’s true that ‘once a disciple has learned, the master will starve’! If you pick a high-quality abalone later, don’t forget to give me a bonus!” After she finished speaking, she held her breath and plunged into the water. The little girl’s diving skill was pretty good. This time, she went down for two to three minutes before she resurfaced again.

Yu Xiaocao waved her hand at Xiaolian, who was on the shore, and then she took a deep breath and dived down. The sea was clear and transparent and the reefs at the bottom of the sea was clearly visible. Occasionally, a multicolored fish would swim pass the reef, and a small sea crab was startled by her that it drilled itself into the sand. Xiaocao was amazed by this interesting scene. She lingered at the bottom of the water until she couldn’t hold her breath anymore. Then, she would push herself up and rush to the surface of the sea.

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Myst's Thoughts

Translator: Vi