The few kernels of golden corn quietly lay on the sand that had been churned around from the activity. Suddenly, a large foot that was shod in straw sandals started going towards the golden colored seeds. Yu Xiaocao’s mouth opened and closed but the words to stop the person didn’t come out. The giant foot had already pressed the seeds into the sand.
Yu Xiaocao no longer cared that the docks were under martial law and rushed over. She squatted down by the large footprint. Old Hao, who was coming up from behind her with a giant bag, almost couldn’t change his direction in time and narrowly avoided tripping over her.
How dangerous! If Old Hao had fallen over, a man who weighed around eighty kilograms and also had a bag that was around a hundred kilograms of weight, he might have killed her on impact or at least injured her severely. Old Hao staggered a couple of steps and then caught his footing. Just as he was about to yell at the offender, he saw who the tiny person in front of him was. He swallowed down the profanities that were about to bubble up and stated with concern, “Little girl Xiaocao, this is not a safe place for you to play around. Hurry up and leave!”
The man behind Old Hao had almost crashed into him as well. The worker raised his head to look at Old Hao and then circled around the two of them to walk past. The other workers behind them also followed his footsteps, working hard to carry the cargo on their shoulders.
Today, the boss had told them that after they finished unloading everything from the ships, they would get double the pay. Although they would be going home later than usual, this job was worth it!
Yu Xiaocao raised her head and smiled at Old Hao. She continued to use her small hands to push away the sand in the footprint until a few kernels of corn appeared! Xiaocao was incredibly excited, ‘Corn is a high-yielding crop! Unlike sweet potato, which causes heartburn when a person eats too much, corn can truly be a staple food to be eaten daily!’ Childhood memories of eating golden and crispy baked corn cakes and tender and delicious corn porridge passed through her thoughts…Yu Xiaocao suddenly had to swallow down her saliva.
Despite Old Hao’s warning, she followed along her eldest maternal uncle’s tracks and looked for the corn. The hole in the burlap bag must have been very small. She had to go several steps before she could find the other kernels of corn.
After drinking mystic-stone water every day, Yu Xiaocao’s five senses had become very keen. Even though the color of the corn kernels were pretty much the same as the grains of sand, she was still able to find most of the kernels on the ground. Occasionally she would bypass one, but the little divine stone would remind her.
The little divine stone’s thoughts were linked with its master’s. Thus, it also knew just how important these kernels of corn were to Xiaocao.
When the squadron of imperial bodyguards had finished eating the delectable zhajiang noodles and braised pig head meat, they wanted to return the bowls and utensils. However, the little girl had left and they didn’t know where she went. The bodyguards weren’t nervous about her disappearance. All of the merchants on the docks had their backgrounds examined earlier and all of them were innocent people making a living. That being said, how much trouble could a little girl, who hadn’t reached the age of ten and didn’t even have the strength to truss a chicken, cause?
Yu Xiaocao continued her on her journey to find corn with her head bowed down. Suddenly, her eyes lit up. In the front, not far from her, were four to five kernels of corn! If she added those to the ones in her hand, she already had around twenty or so seeds. The weather was getting better, so she could start planting the corn in the rear courtyard to get a good supply of seeds. By next year, she would have enough to plant around two to three mu of corn fields. If another two years went by, then she would become a corn tycoon! Yup! For the sake of growing corn, she needed to buy a few more fields of fertile land!
Her pale and delicate little hands hurriedly reached towards those few kernels of corn. Suddenly, a foot that was shod in black boots crafted of brocade with cloud patterns stepped on the corn on the ground. Before Xiaocao could think things through, her tiny hand had already grasped that foot to lift it out of the way and left a conspicuous sandy print on those black boots.
Zhu Junyang grimaced as he looked at that irksome dirty print on his foot. The atmosphere immediately became awkward. Both Steward Liu and Commander Fang, who were behind the prince, felt as if there were stormy clouds rushing towards them! However, that small and slightly-built figure crouching on the ground didn’t detect this change at all. She was still trying to move the young royal prince’s foot with all of her might.
“You——Do you know what you’re doing?” Zhu Junyang squeezed out a question. His voice held an obvious gloomy undertone as if he was grinding his teeth anger.
Yu Xiaocao didn’t even raise her head as she replied, “How annoying, please raise your precious foot, you’re stepping on my stuff!”
No matter how much force she tried to use, Zhu Junyang’s foot remained firmly planted on the ground. The youth apparently was so angry that he wanted to laugh. His handsome face, which originally had a frosty expression on it, revealed a faint smile. Commander Fang felt the hairs on the back of his arms rise straight up when he saw the abnormal looking smile on Royal Prince Yang’s face. He immediately had a desire to be far, far away from this man.
“I would like to know why these seeds, which I, this prince, had traveled the oceans for, are suddenly yours, hmm?” Zhu Junyang crossed his arms across his chest and tilted his head at a forty-five degree angle to look at the little kid who hadn’t even turned around to interact with him. This was the first time in his life that someone had the guts to treat him so impolitely. Zhu Junyang felt a desire to play a cat chasing a mouse at this moment.
‘This prince? Don’t tell me that the person talking to me is the young royal prince who had just gotten home from his seafaring journey? I can’t be that unlucky, right?’ Yu Xiaocao’s grubby little hand abruptly stopped moving on the black boot in front of her. ‘Ah! Judging by the material of these boots, even though I don’t know much about boot materials, I can tell that it is quite expensive. What kind of ordinary person would be able to afford using something like this to make shoes with? I’m screwed. I was too focused on picking up corn kernels and I didn’t notice this. What am I to do? The princess consort had mentioned that her son’s temper isn’t very good. Am I about to be flogged with wooden planks? That won’t do, my body is so weak and small, I definitely won’t be able to endure that torture. I need to find a way to draw this out long enough for my godfather to find me to go home…’
She pasted on what she thought was her most innocent-looking smile and opened her large eyes wide before she slowly raised her head up to stare at the person who was the owner of the black boots.
‘It’s her?!’ Zhu Junyang’s ballooning impatience and anger had suddenly been popped by something. He felt his temper slowly cooling down. The pair of large, innocent eyes in front of him overlapped with the round eyes that haunted his dreams.
‘So it was her! She’s the little girl who had discovered me at my lowest point and had gotten her father to save me.’ His memories of his rescue were quite vague now. The only thing he remembered with crystal clarity, even after almost two years had passed, were that pair of eyes that seemed to be able to see into the depths of a person’s soul.
The smile that she had used hundreds of times to get out of trouble didn’t seem to be working today! Yu Xiaocao looked at the expressionless handsome face in front of her and rubbed her nose out of embarrassment. However, right now she was only a little girl who was pretending to be innocent. Although the royal prince’s temperament was cold, he didn’t seem like a vicious person. He wouldn’t lower himself to the level of a child...right?
“Ah...this commoner greets the young royal prince. May the young royal prince have an auspicious life!” Yu Xiaocao hurriedly scrambled up from the ground and haphazardly bowed.
Steward Liu Fusheng had also recognized this little girl’s identity and he couldn’t help but feel a shiver run through his heart for the child. Earlier, on the ship, he had accidentally said ‘young royal prince’ and had been given the lightest punishment of being flogged twenty times as a ‘reward’. This little girl had not only dirtied the shoe of the royal prince, who was a germaphobe, but also called him ‘young royal prince’! If his master accidentally executed this little girl in a fit of pique, wouldn’t the masses accuse him of ‘biting the hand that fed him’?
Just as Steward Liu Fusheng was contemplating whether he should plead leniency for the little girl, his master finally replied, “Wipe that disgusting smile off your face! How hypocritical!! Tell me, why are the seeds that I, this prince, brought back now yours?”
Although his master’s voice was just as chilly as usual, Steward Liu had a feeling, ‘It looks like my master isn’t that angry! Looks like people truly can change!’
“Ah…” Was her smile really disgusting? Didn’t everyone tell her that her smiles were sweet and beautiful and were able to make a person feel happy ah? The young royal prince truly stood out from the masses as his tastes were different from common people. However, now wasn’t the time to discuss whether her smile was disgusting-looking or sweet, she needed to get out of this mess as fast as possible!
“Then...this lowly commoner didn’t know that the things on the ground were yours, young royal prince. I thought that things that fell on the ground didn’t have an owner. Since there’s no owner, then it becomes finders keepers!” Yu Xiaocao explained using a child’s reasoning.
“Finders keepers? Hm? Who taught you this reasoning? Was it General Fang eh?” Zhu Junyang had received quite a bit of information during the short period of time he had been on land. However, he himself wasn’t quite sure why he remembered this particular piece of information. It must be because it was related to General Fang, it must be!
The size of Yu Xiaocao’s eyes when compared to the size of her pointed face were a bit large, especially when they were opened wide. It truly made her resemble a little flying squirrel as most of the space on her face seemed to be taken up by those two eyes. She pouted pitifully, “Why do you have to blame my godfather for my mistakes? I noticed that the seeds fell down on the ground. If I didn’t pick them up, then they would be buried by the sand. It would be such a shame!”
Zhu Junwang watched her silently. Although the expression on his face was mild, it still made her scalp feel numb. She had trouble keeping a smile on her face.
The young royal prince seemed to have sensed her discomfort. He stooped over and dug up the kernels of corn from underneath his feet and mercifully broke the silence, “You...if you’re able to tell me the name of these seeds, then I, this prince, will pardon you from the crime of being rude.”
“Really?” Glee rushed through Xiaocao’s heart and a brilliant smile blossomed on her face. She almost blurted out the word ‘corn’. However, at the last second, she managed to reign in her composure. This crop had just been brought back from the distant seas. If she was able to say its name, then it would truly be astonishing.
She pretended to ponder for a bit before she cautiously replied, “Young Royal Prince, these seeds resemble pebbles of jade, I think they should be called ‘corn’ , what do you think?”
Corn? It was the same term that the emperor had used for this crop. From the little girl’s earlier expression, Zhu Junyang was certain that this wasn’t a name that was fabricated out of thin air. Instead...she already knew what this plant was!!
However, how could a rural farmer’s daughter recognize a plant that grew in the far-away west hemisphere? Zhu Junyang regarded this slightly-built girl in front of him with an inscrutable expression as the doubts in his heart piled up. Apparently, this little girl had a secret that no one else knew about!
“Corn?” Zhu Junyang roughly sounded out this word, as if he was hearing it for the first time. He slowly nodded his head and continued, “This name is not bad. When I submit my report to the emperor, I will also use this name…”
Yu Xiaocao panicked and hurriedly raised her voice to stop him, “Don’t do it!!”
She was already quite certain that the current emperor was also a transmigrator like her. In her past life, she had read plenty of novels. In some of those, the people who had transmigrated into high positions would trap other transmigrators in order to not blow their own secret. It was hard to say if something like would also happen to her!
 In chinese, the word corn is made up of two characters that literally mean 'jade rice'. For the life of me I could not think of an equivalent English term to use instead...corn is just corn lol.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Sanguine’s thoughts: Uh oh, Xiaocao is in a bit of a pickle here...