Chapter 217 - A Fright in the Valley

Recently, Lady Fang didn’t have a very good appetite. Besides the vegetables that Xiaocao had watered with mystic-stone water, she vomited everything else that she ate as soon as she consumed them. Meat and seafood, in particular, were food that she couldn’t touch at all. Xiaocao understood the importance of a well-balanced diet for the fetus. It definitely wasn’t enough to just eat vegetables, so Xiaocao racked her brain in order to make her godmother eat some meat dishes.  

Little Shitou was at home because it was summer break for Rongxuan Academy. Last week, he received a letter sent to the academy from Brother Han in the capital. In the letter, Zhao Han briefly wrote about his life in the capital. His grandfather had already left for the borders to serve as the commanding general of the army. For the time being, he and his father were staying in the capital on standby. The contents of the letter mostly consisted of his memories of his life in Dongshan Village, as well as the scenes of him hunting, roasting meat, and cooking fish soup with the siblings…

When Little Shitou heard his second sister saying that her godmother couldn’t eat any meat or fish, a lightbulb suddenly lit up in his head and he said, “Second Sister, do you remember the secret base that Brother Han took us to?” Secret base was the name that his second sister gave to the valley. Little Shitou thought that it was quite vivid, so he always referred to the valley in that way.

Xiaocao was pondering whether she should try making some sour and spicy food, which stimulated the appetite. The dish ‘boiled fish with pickled cabbage and chili’ should be quite good. Her family didn’t make any pickled cabbage, but her maternal grandmother should have them. Godmother liked to eat sour food, so ‘boiled fish with pickled cabbage and chili’ should suit her taste. At that time, if she sliced the fish into very thin slices and soaked it in water for a while, there probably wouldn’t be a fishy smell anymore…

Hearing Little Shitou’s words, she nonchalantly replied, “What? You want to go play in the valley? When Second Sister is free, I will definitely take you there… You should go study!”

“I don’t want to go play! Do you still remember the little white fish in the valley creek? The meat was so tender that it melted in one’s mouth. Perhaps Auntie Fang can eat it!” Little Shitou felt that he had been looked down upon.

He wasn’t the Little Shitou of the past anymore, ok? He was now a student in the primary class of the Rongxuan Academy. How could he only think about playing? However, he seriously didn’t want to admit that he really missed the valley, the taste of the barbeque at that time, and the delicious little white fish…

When Yu Xiaocao heard that, she immediately looked at Little Shitou and gave him a thumbs up, “That’s a good idea! You have indeed been studying for half a year; you’re coming up with ideas faster than me! Come, let’s go to the secret base and catch a lot of little fish back. It’s too hot recently, and our parents have been focused on the construction of the house. They have apparently slimmed down quite a lot. The small white fish are delicious and nutritious, so let’s catch more to stew soup!”

This matter should not be delayed. If they left now, they could return in time to make lunch for her godmother! Xiaocao carried a ceramic jar and headed to the mountain forest with an excited Little Shitou.

The cool breeze was blowing in the early morning. In summer, the West Mountains was filled with verdant and luxuriant foliage. When walking in the dense forest, one couldn’t feel the scorching summer heat at all. Walking through the forest, the siblings arrived at a mountain wall covered with green vines. Yes, the secret base that the siblings mentioned was right behind the green vines.

Pushing aside the thick green vines, a cave that was about a half person tall appeared in front of the siblings. The deeper one walked inside the cave, the more spacious it became. Even if an adult stood up, their head wouldn’t be able to touch the stone wall on the top of the cave. After walking for about fifteen minutes, three paths appeared in the cave. They chose the path on the far right. After walking for a while, a brightness suddenly appeared in front of their eyes, which gave people the feeling of seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

This was the valley that Zhao Han had once taken Xiaocao and her younger brother to in the past. There was flowing water and flowers blossoming like a piece of brocade. Also, due to its strange topography, it was surrounded by mountains, and thus the temperature inside the cave was slightly lower than outside. This was a good place to avoid the summer heat.

“If the opening of the cave wasn’t so narrow and hard to pass through, I really want to bring my godmother here to avoid the heat! Godmother will definitely like the scenery here!” Yu Xiaocao’s mood had also become more happy and carefree because of the beautiful flowers in front of her.

As they spoke, a snow-white hare stopped not too far away from the siblings. With its pair of ruby-like eyes, it stared curiously at the two strange intruders. Little Shitou cast aside all the constraints of the academy and returned to his true nature. He cheered and ran after the hare, and his laughter echoed throughout the valley.

Yu Xiaocao asked the little divine stone to check around the vicinity. It didn’t find any ferocious beast that could hurt people, so she allowed her younger brother to frolic in the valley. She went to the clear stream and bowed her head to search for the fish in the gaps between the stones.   

This small white fish seemed to be a specialty of this valley. Xiaocao had never seen it anywhere else. The small white fish was about 6.6 to 9.9 centimeters long. It was very thin and had a snow-white body. It swam in a very nimble and quick manner, so most people wouldn’t be able to catch them.   

Xiaocao placed the jar, which was filled with mystic-stone water, into the stream and waited for the white fish to enter the jar. Soon, the white fish nearby sensed the spiritual energy within the jar and slowly gathered over. Xiaocao noticed that the valley was bustling with all kinds of exotic flowers. Her godmother, who had come from a noble family, would certainly like them. Thus, she decided to pick some back, put them in a vase, and put it in her godmother’s room. She also planned on digging out the roots of the ones that she liked and try planting them at home!

Although Xiaocao didn’t know much about flowers, she still had basic ability to admire them. She dug out a plant that should be camellia, and two plants that looked like orchids. She sprinkled some mystic-stone water on the roots to increase their survival rates.

When she returned to the creek, the jar was already filled with many little white fish. After pouring out the water, there should be at least two to three catties! She didn’t know whether her godmother could eat them, so these should be enough for now! Looking at the sky, they had been out for about two hours. When taking their return trip into consideration, they should arrive home just in time to make lunch.

Just when Xiaocao was about to call back her frolicking younger brother, as if they had telepathy, Little Shitou ran out of the tall grasses with the dazed white rabbit, who didn’t seem afraid of humans, in his hands. He grinned, “Second Sister, look! I caught the rabbit! Let’s raise it with the rabbits at home. Look at this rabbit’s snowy white fur. It must be very warm and beautiful when woven into a vest.”

The little fellow still remembered what Xiaocao said last winter! At that time, they hadn’t split from the main family yet and the siblings were still dressed in ragged clothing, which couldn’t withstand the cold in the north at all. Little Shitou had gotten frostbite on his hands and feet, so Xiaocao had to use hot water to warm his feet over and over again. She also said that they should raise some rabbits next year and weave some gloves, socks, and vests with the rabbit wool. She hadn’t expected that the little guy still remembered that when it had already been over half a year!

“Alright! This rabbit’s fur is quite thick. Let’s raise it well, so when winter comes, we should be able to collect enough rabbit fur to weave vests and socks.” Holding the earthen jar, Xiaocao took the lead to walk out of the valley.

Suddenly, a rustling sound came from the grass nearby. Little Shitou happily exclaimed, “Could it be another rabbit? Let me go see…”

“Come back!!” Xiaocao’s voice had turned stern. This was because the little divine stone had warned her that it could feel a gray wolf nearby. She hadn’t expected that there really were fierce animals in this mountain valley. They were quite lucky that they didn’t encounter them in the past.

Little Shitou had never heard his second sister speak with such a strict voice. He stopped in his tracks and turned his body to look his second sister with confusion. Behind him, the movement within the grass got closer. Xiaocao darted forward, grabbed her brother’s hand, and sprinted towards the exit of the valley.

The gray wolf had already noticed the siblings, and quickly ran after them. The valley was overgrown with weeds, and the areas that didn’t have grass were covered with rocks. There wasn’t any road at all. How could the siblings be faster than the four-legged wolf? The gray wolf caught up to them very quickly.

The gray wolf suddenly sprang over the siblings’ head and landed in front of them. With a drooping tail, it observed the siblings with its pair of glittering eyes.

Yu Xiaocao guarded her younger brother behind her back and watched the big gray wolf nervously. The wolf didn’t appear very fierce and looked similar to a Siberian husky with gray fur and white face. There wasn’t any malevolence within its gaze. It just stood in front of them and looked at them quietly.

[Don’t be scared! You guys have my spiritual energy on your bodies. Animals have more keen senses, so it probably followed the energy over. Perhaps you have already noticed that my spiritual energy can make animals have good feelings and be dependent on you. The best evidence is the dumb roe deer and Little Gray at your house! The gray wolf won’t attack you, but it’s hard to say whether it will let you go!] There was a sense of delight in their misfortune within the little divine stone’s voice.

The wolf quietly looked at Xiaocao, as if it was confirming that the friendly feelings that attracted it was emitted from her. It walked a few steps forward and was less than two meters away from Xiaocao.

Little Shitou hugged in the rabbit in his hands in fear, yet he still remembered that he was a brave boy who should protect his older sister. He took a step forward and wanted to protect Xiaocao behind him, but it was a pity that he wasn’t tall enough. ‘What should I do? I should just let the wolf eat me and give Second Sister a chance to run away.’

Little Shitou whispered in a trembling voice, “Second Sister, I’ll block it. You… you quickly leave…”

Yu Xiaocao felt moved in her heart. Little Shitou was only six, yet he had such courage. He was indeed worthy of being her younger brother. Xiaocao carefully observed the gray wolf. It really didn’t seem to have the intention of attacking them, but it blocked their only path home and just stared at them without moving.

“Uh… Mr. Wolf, if you can understand what I’m saying, can you move a little? We need to go home…” Yu Xiaocao felt that, according to her past experiences, this wolf should be able to understand her words.

“Second Sister, it doesn’t understand your words! I’ll block it. You leave… We can’t both die here…” Little Shitou summoned all his courage as a brave, young boy and sacrificed himself in order to protect his older sister again.

[If you give a few drops of my bathing water to it, it will become like the dumb roe deer and like you even more. Even if you leave, it won’t attack you!] The little divine stone couldn’t help but remind her. How could it have such a foolish master ah? She was as foolish as that dumb roe deer!

Xiaocao thought about it and took out the bottle of mystic-stone water from her chest pocket. She dripped a few drops onto her palm, and then slowly walked towards the gray wolf.

[Tsk tsk… You actually dared to use your hand to feed the mystic-stone water to it. Aren’t you afraid that the wolf will bite off your hand?] The little divine stone exclaimed in a teasing tone.

“Aren’t you around? Would you just sit back and watch if your master got in danger?” Although Xiaocao said that, she was actually quite anxious inwardly.

The little divine stone rolled its eyes, ‘Master is finally smart for once!’ Indeed, before it had returned to its heyday, it was one with her. So, of course, it wouldn’t let its master be harmed.

Little Shitou had just wanted to stretch out his hand to pull his sister back, but he was surprised to see that the gray wolf gently licking his second sister’s palm like the dogs that his eldest granduncle raised. Its eyes had narrowed as if it was enjoying it very much. 

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Myst's Thoughts

Boiled fish with pickled cabbage and chili

Our brave little Shitou🤗

Translator: Myst