Chapter 22 - Road Block

Among all the children in the village, except for the gifted scholar Qian Wen, Yu Hang admired Zhao Han the most. Zhao Han wasn’t only a skilled fighter but also a good hunter. Thus, he couldn’t turn him down again. He gave most of the roasted meat to his younger sister, then asked Xiaocao and Shitou, “Do you guys want to eat some more?”

Xiaocao hastily shook her hands, “I’m already completely stuffed. Also, look at Shitou’s tummy. It almost looks like a bloated toad.”

Little Shitou laughed foolishly as he rubbed his round belly cooperatively.

“Very well! You guys are secretly eating meat here! I’m going to tell Grandmother. She will definitely beat you guys to death!” Yu Heizi jumped out of the dried ditch beside the road and threatened as he stared at the roasted hare meat in Xiaolian’s hands.

Apart from Yu Hang and his siblings, Zhao Han rarely interacted with the other children in the village. However, he had heard of Heizi’s ‘bad reputation’. He couldn’t help but frown and stepped forward to say, “I was the one who gave them the roasted meat. Do you have a problem with that?”

The plump Yu Heizi timidly stepped back when he saw the strong and burly Zhao Han, who was a head taller than him. But, he didn’t plan on giving up on the chance to eat meat. His beady eyes swiftly darted around, and he cried out in a seemingly fierce manner,

“I don’t care! You guys are eating meat by yourselves, and completely disregarding our grandparents and the rest of the family. You’re being disrespectful to your elders! If I go make a complaint, you guys will definitely receive a beating. Unless…”

“Unless what?” Zhao Han had already seen through his intentions and calmly asked.

Heizi wiped his saliva with his dirty sleeve and confidently said, “It’s very simple. If you don’t want me to complain, just give me half of the meat!”

Zhao Han pursed his beautiful thin lips and sneered, “We can share a portion with you, but half is impossible. The roasted meat should be divided equally among the three of you. If you don’t agree, then I’ll just take them back, and none of you can eat any!”

After hearing Zhao Han’s words, Yu Heizi abandoned his greed and swiftly agreed. If he continued to bargain, he wouldn’t even get to lick the bones.

Zhao Han took the roast hare, which was missing two hind legs, and tore off the two forelegs, as well as the meat around it. Then, he handed them to Yu Hang and Yu Xiaolian. After that, he gave the hare’s ribs and back, which had relatively less meat, to Yu Heizi.

Yu Heizi really wanted to protest, but he could only give up on that idea after Zhao Han swept a gaze over him. Although he received a smaller portion of meat, but he got a bigger piece. He hadn’t eaten meat in a long time, so he was satisfied that he could at least gnaw on the bones!

After Heizi left with the roasted meat in his arms, Yu Xiaocao took out the turtledove hidden behind herself and gave it to Yu Hang and Xiaolian. The siblings were only half-full from their meal at home. However, with the roast hare and turtledove, they ate until they were burping.

The filial Yu Hang said guiltily, “It’s a pity that we couldn’t bring them back for Father and Mother to taste…”

Shitou took out several mud-covered eggs from his pocket and grinned, “That’s alright. We still have some roasted pheasant eggs. Let’s secretly give them to our parents to eat at night!”

They were just eating some eggs, but they had to sneak around like a thief. Zhao Han sighed inwardly as he caressed Little Shitou’s head sympathetically.

Yu Xiaocao hadn’t been at home for the entire day, so when they returned home, it was inevitable that she had to endure a series of nagging from Madam Zhang. However, Xiaocao wasn’t one of the main laborers at home. Thus, Madam Zhang paid very little attention to her. She was already grateful if that wretch doesn’t fall ill and waste her money on medical fees!

“Xiaocao, you haven’t eaten yet, right? Youngest Aunt has a few eggs and half a steamed bun. Take them to share with Little Shitou——be careful and don’t let your grandmother see you.” Her youngest aunt, Yu Caidie, quietly approached Xiaocao and stuffed the eggs into her hands while Madam Zhang wasn’t looking.

Although Xiaocao was already very full, but she couldn’t tell her directly. She just whispered, “Youngest Aunt, it’s alright! If Grandmother finds out…”

“Hurry and take it. Isn’t it fine as long as my mother doesn’t find out? Actually, your grandmother just has a sharp tongue. She’s not really a bad person…” Yu Caidie had a gentle temper and spoke in a soft voice, which sounded very comforting.

Yu Xiaocao didn’t decline anymore and felt grateful within her heart. There’s still ample time ahead, so she will repay her kindness in the future!

“Xiaocao! What are you holding in your hands? Are you secretly hiding delicious food?” Madam Li’s fat body shook as she ran out of her room. She stared at the worn-out jar within Xiaocao’s hands with her beady eyes.

Yu Xiaocao didn’t have any good impression of her eldest aunt whatsoever. She replied in a muffled voice, “What is this? You can just check yourself! Eldest Aunt, don’t unfairly accuse me of stealing again!”

“Second Sister isn’t like Brother Heizi, who’s always going through other people’s room every day! The jar is filled with small fishes that Uncle Zhao’s son, Brother Han, helped us catch. Second Sister said she want to make fish stew for us to eat!”

While his older siblings were distracting everyone, Little Shitou had already sneaked into his room and securely hid the roast pheasant eggs. When he saw Eldest Aunt trying to snatch the jar in his second sister’s hands and slandering his second sister by calling her a thief, he couldn’t resist defending her.

Madam Li angrily glared at Little Shitou with her small eyes, which appeared like a slit on her chubby face. She reached out her fleshy hand and wanted to twist his ear, “You little brat! What nonsense are you talking about? When did your Brother Heizi ever poke around in other people’s room? Be careful that I don’t tear mouth for gossiping!”

Little Shitou skillfully dodged Madam Li’s evil hand and shouted, “I’m not speaking nonsense! Who stole the pastries that Younger Uncle brought back the last time his family visited? Brother Heizi still had crumbs on his mouth when he was caught!”

The old lady, Madam Zhang, came out of her room and screamed, “What’s with all the fuss? Aren’t you afraid of being ridiculed by others! Caidie, bring the jar into my room. Your third brother sent a message back and said he’ll come home for a few days. We don’t have anything good at home, so let’s make some dishes with these small fish tomorrow!”

“Grandmother, these fish are still alive! It’s better to keep them in a vat filled with water. If the fish die, it would be hard to keep them in this hot weather.” Yu Xiaocao handed the earthenware jar to her youngest aunt and suggested. She didn’t want to have stinky fish stew tomorrow.

“Mhm!” Madam Zhang grunted with an awful expression on her face. She watched as her youngest daughter put the fish into the water vat and counted the fish before returning to her room.

No wonder Grandmother was so ‘merciful’ and didn’t scold Xiaocao for over an hour when she found out Xiaocao went to town today. It turned out that Younger Uncle’s family was coming home!

Xiaocao was extremely exhausted today. After carefully hiding the money she earned today, she was already nodding off when her mother bathed her. Xiaocao was so tired that she didn’t even know when she finished bathing. She was in a daze as her mother carried her to the kang bed and immediately fell asleep after being placed on the bed.

It was already late in the morning on the next day, but Xiaocao was still grunting and refusing to get up. Her legs were sore, and her feet hurt! This body seriously lacked endurance! She really shouldn’t stay in the room all the time in the future. Shitou, who was three years younger than her, ran around the mountain and helped with chores every day, but he was still so energetic after a night’s sleep.

Yu Xiaocao put on her patched outer garment and went out to the courtyard to wash her face. However, Madam Li, who was wandering around with a broom without actually sweeping the floor, started to look for trouble. 

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Myst's Thoughts

Translator: Myst