The flowers were bright and colorful, while the grass looked like a green carpet. There were a pair of siblings and a wolf within the myriad of colors, yet the atmosphere was harmonious and at ease.
After the wolf licked all the mystic-stone water on Xiaocao hand, it was still unsatisfied and continued to lick Xiaocao’s fair and soft palm with its coarse tongue. However, it seemed to know that the person in front of it only had those few drops of mystic-stone water at the moment, so it didn’t demand for more.
The fear in Little Shitou’s heart gradually faded. He looked curiously at the gray wolf, who had clean, thick fur and gentle eyes. He whispered to Xiaocao, “Second Sister, is this a dog? If it’s a wolf, it would have eaten us already!”
Xiaocao’s heart had also completely relaxed and she was in the mood to tease Little Shitou, “Have you seen such a tall and mighty dog? Isn’t it obviously a wolf? As for why it didn’t eat us, maybe it just finished eating and isn’t hungry!”
With a mournful expression, Little Shitou looked pitifully at the gray wolf and continued to speak in a low voice, “Then… will it keep us as reserved food supply?”
Xiaocao knocked on his head and laughed, “This valley is rich with water and grass, so would there be a lack of prey? Do you think that your meat is really tasty? Human flesh is sour, so it doesn’t want to eat it ah!”
Little Shitou immediately went off the topic, “Second Sister, how do you know that human flesh is sour? You’ve never even eaten it before!”
“Who said I have never eaten it before? I’m an old goblin from the mountains. Your second sister has already been eaten by me…” With a grim voice, the corners of her mouth were arched into a strange smile and her face was filled with a sinister expression… Had it been nighttime, people would be terribly frightened by Xiaocao’s current appearance.
Little Shitou looked at her blankly, as if he had been frightened. Xiaocao realized that the little fellow was only six years old after all, so he must have been scared silly.
Just when she wanted to pacify the little guy, the corners of Little Shitou’s mouth slowly raised and his voice was filled with confidence as he said, “Second Sister! Although your character and temperament are completely different from before, I am certain that you definitely won’t harm any of us. You are my second sister, my kind and capable Second Sister!”
Yu Xiaocao tenderly ruffled the little fellow’s hair and chuckled, “I thought you really believed it! How can there be so many demons and ghosts in the world? As long as one doesn’t commit a sin, one doesn’t have to be afraid of ghosts knocking on the door in the middle of the night. Most of the time, people who harbor malicious intentions are the ones who are filled with suspicion! Our Shitou must be an honest and upright person ah!”
Little Shitou sternly nodded and said, “Second Sister, I’ll remember!! …But, shouldn’t we return now? With this wolf here, how are we supposed to go back?”
“How are we going back? Just go back ah! Do you think that this wolf will carry us back?” Yu Xiaocao could feel the goodwill of the wolf, and she also had the little divine stone’s assurance, so there was naturally nothing to be afraid of.
She picked up the flowers that she had thrown away earlier when they were trying to escape. Fortunately, she didn’t throw the jar in her hand, otherwise, they would have come in vain! Xiaocao asked Little Shitou to hold the flowers, while she carried the ceramic jar. With her free hand, she patted the wolf’s head, “We’re leaving now. We’ll come back to visit you in the future!”
The gray wolf wagged its tail, which was dangling behind it. Little Shitou laughed and said, “Could it be the offspring of a dog and a wolf? It’s really similar to Eldest Granduncle’s Dahuang ah!”
The siblings walked around the wolf and headed towards the cave. The gray wolf followed behind them for a while and watched them enter the cave before reluctantly leaving.
By the time they got home, it was almost noon. Lady Fang knew that the siblings had gone to the forest. Seeing that they hadn’t come back for so long, she was very worried and asked Zhenzhu to go to the forest several times.
“Aiyo! My dear Young Miss, you guys finally came back! If you come back any later, Madam is about to send people into the forest to look for you guys!” Zhenzhu finally saw Xiaocao after waiting for so long. She quickly went forward and took the jar in Xiaocao’s hands. She looked at it curiously and asked, “What kind of fish is this? I’ve never seen it before!”
Xiaocao giggled and said, “We call it little white fish. It has a tender flesh and doesn’t have any strange smell at all. Godmother should be able to eat some!”
Zhenzhu was so moved that her eyes teared up. The madam had a poor appetite recently and slimmed down quite a lot. As her maidservant, of course, she was worried about her master. Xiaocao had been trying different methods to cook for her madam just so she could eat a little more. This was something that Zhenzhu had seen clearly. She said sincerely, “Young Miss, this servant thanks you in place of Madam!”
“Why do I need you to thank me? Your madam is my godmother. It’s only right that I treat her well!” Yu Xiaocao glared at her with a smile.
Zhenzhu quickly said with a smile, “Yes, yes! This servant is wrong!”
The group of three laughed and chatted, and soon reached the Zhao Family’s residence at the mountainside. From afar, they saw Lady Fang being supported by Linglong as she stood at the entrance and looked over in their direction.
Xiaocao’s heart warmed up. She carried the flowers that she dug up and quickly ran towards Lady Fang. Lady Fang finally revealed a relieved smile and said, “Slow down. Watch your step and be careful of the small stones!”
The flushed little face in front of her was covered with a thin layer of glistening sweat like a rose covered with dew. Lady Fang pulled out her handkerchief and gently wiped the sweat for her, and then she softly said, “Why did you go for so long? In the future, if you want to play in the forest, get your godfather to accompany you. With you godfather’s abilities, you don’t have to be afraid even if you encounter a tiger!”
Yu Xiaocao nodded incessantly yet she thought inwardly, ‘We didn’t meet a big tiger this time, but we encountered a big gray wolf! But, with the little divine stone present, there won’t be any problem even if we encountered a big tiger!’ However, she was afraid that her godmother would be frightened and startle her little brother in her godmother’s belly. So, she didn’t mention anything about the gray wolf.
When Lady Fang’s gaze turned towards Xiaocao’s hands, a sudden sense of surprise emerged within her eyes. She grabbed Xiaocao’s arm, and gently took the flowers from her hands. With a slight trace of pain in her eyes, she asked, “Aiya! This… is this the famous species of orchid—Fairy Flying in the Snow Field? I have only seen it once in the empress’s bedroom. I heard that it was a tribute from Tufan . Aiyo, the roots have been cut. I wonder if it can survive!”
Lady Fang was a famed lover of orchids. After Fang Zizhen found out about this, he never forgot to find many different types of orchids for her wherever he went. He had specially hired a horticulturist, who was an expert at raising orchids, to tend the dozens of species of orchid at home for a high wage.
Ever since she saw the ‘Fairy Flying in the Snow Field’ in the imperial palace, Lady Fang had always been thinking about it. After many unsuccessful searches, Fang Zizhen had thick-facedly gone to the palace to ask the emperor for the orchid. However, he was kicked out by Jianwen Emperor. ‘As if you’re the only one who loves your wife, you actually dared to want something that belongs to my wife!’ Seeing the roots that Xiaocao had cut because she was anxious, Lady Fang felt as if a part of her heart had been dug out. It hurt so much ah!
“Uh… Godmother, let’s plant these flowers first. If we delay any longer, it might wilt!” Seeing her godmother’s agitated look, it seemed like she had inadvertently dug out a rare type of orchid! Fairy Flying in the Snow Field was quite a beautiful name!! So Godmother liked orchids ah. Next time, she should dig out more varieties. Perhaps her godmother would have a better appetite when she was in a good mood.
As if she was holding a rare treasure, Lady Fang carefully held the orchid in her hands. She asked Linglong to fetch a flowerpot, and then she personally planted the orchid inside. Due to her love of orchids, she was quite experienced in planting orchids. After planting the flowers, it needed to be watered. Xiaocao, who was helping out besides her, changed the water to the diluted mystic-stone water.
The other two plants were camellias that already had small flower buds on them. Lady Fang didn’t like camellias as much as orchids, but with her keen sight, she could tell that these two camellias were quite extraordinary.
“Second Sister, I’ll put these flowers into a vase…” Little Shitou wasn’t interested in planting flowers. He was planning on helping his older brother collect seafood after putting the flowers in a vase.
When Lady Fang turned her head and saw the gorgeous camellias in Little Shitou’s arms, she nearly fainted from the pain in her heart, “Oh heavens! Eighteen Scholars!! How can you guys pluck Eighteen Scholars and put them in a vase? I… I really don’t know what I should say…”
Seeing the pained expression on her godmother’s face, Xiaocao quickly said, “Godmother, that must be one of these two plants. If you like it, I can dig out some more for you tomorrow… Godmother, why is it called Eighteen Scholars ah?”
When Lady Fang heard that there seemed to be more of this type of camellia on the mountains, the pain in her heart felt slightly better. With her goddaughter’s support, she slowly entered the house. Upon seeing the gorgeous and charming Eighteen Scholars camellia in the flower vase, she thought, ‘Princess Consort Jing loves camellias the most. If she knew that I have ‘Eighteen Scholars’ in a vase, I wonder if she will be envious or will she scold me for recklessly wasting god’s gift?’
“A lot of people think that Eighteen Scholars is breed from eighteen flowers of different colors, but that isn’t the case. Eighteen refers to the eighteen rows of petals, not the colors. Most Eighteen Scholars has eighteen layers of petals and its tree also has graceful shape, so it’s highly sought after by the common people. There are three types of Eighteen Scholars: Pink Eighteen Scholars, Red Eighteen Scholars, and White Eighteen Scholars. The flowers that you picked seems to include all the varieties. I don’t know which type you’re transplanting?” Lady Fang touched one of the buds and tenderly explained to Xiaocao.
Xiaocao nodded and then shook her head and said, “I don’t know either. Daughter doesn’t know anything about flowers. We’ll have to wait for it to blossom in order to know which type it is! But it’s okay. I can go back a few more times, and we will eventually move all three colors of camellias over here. Next time, I’ll take a shovel with me. It was inconvenient to use a wooden stick, so a lot of the roots were broken!”
Lady Fang lighted patted her shoulder, sighed, and said, “I didn’t expect that the West Mountains has such rare species of flowers. Do you know? Just this camellia alone is hard to find even with thousands of gold. Yet it’s just like radish and cabbage to you. Are you trying to enrage all those flower lovers?”
Xiaocao touched the back of her head and said with a silly smile, “Godmother, is there anyone who is knowledgeable about flowers around you? That person can come with me tomorrow to see if there’s any other rare species of flowers. We can dig more back so Godmother can gift them to your bosom friends when you return to the capital. You won’t have to spend money to buy them!”
“This little money-grubber! Those precious flowers can only be discovered and not sought. It’s not something that can be bought with money! I thought you would say to dig more back to sell for money! Godmother didn’t dote on you in vain!” Lady Fang gently pinched her fair and soft cheeks, and her smile was full of emotions.
 Tufan (吐蕃) - old name for Tibet during ancient ChinaPrevious Chapter Next Chapter
lol I can already imagine Xiaocao making a lot of $$ with those rare flowers