Chapter 227 - Gift

Her fellow transmigrator was the current emperor, so her life would be over if he just randomly charged her for any crime! That wouldn’t do. If the emperor heard the name ‘corn’, her identity would be exposed! No, she definitely couldn’t let that happen! 

“Uh…” Under the young royal prince’s doubtful gaze and everyone’s scared expressions, Xiaocao muttered, “Young Royal Prince, this commoner is just a fisherman’s daughter from the mountains. How can I be qualified to name the new species of crop that you, this royal prince, has brought back? Aren’t you thinking too highly of me? Young Royal Prince, this commoner reckons that such a valuable crop should be named by the emperor or you!”

Zhu Junyang saw clearly the action and expression of the young girl racking her brains to think of a reason. He felt that the young girl in front of him was very similar to a small animal—an alert, sensitive, and interesting little squirrel. Unbeknownst to him, the indifference in his eyes gradually faded, and an unfamiliar emotion emerged within him.

Head Steward, Liu Fusheng, noticed the slight change in his master. While he felt surprised, he also felt that he should put in a word for his master’s savior, “Master, the young lady’s words are reasonable. Let’s discuss the matter of naming the new crop when we get back to the capital! Master, if you leave the noodles for too long, they will muddle together!”

However, Zhu Junyang didn’t want to let go of this young girl who was like a little squirrel. Based on his intuition, this young girl definitely knew how to grow corn. Before he went on the voyage, the emperor had once told him that it would be best if he could also bring back someone who knew how to grow corn. Unfortunately, those natives all felt inseparable from their homeland. As a result, he was unable to fully accomplish the task that the emperor entrusted to him. But, perhaps the young girl in front of him could give him a different surprise!

When Liu Fusheng saw that his master seemed to have taken in his words, he turned around and walked to their temporary lodging. After walking a couple steps, Zhu Junyang stopped again and turned back to look at the young girl, who secretly breathed a sigh of relief and was currently patting her own chest. Seeing this, he almost couldn’t refrain himself from laughing. Why did this little lass have so many expressions? Compared to those noble ladies in the capital, who were either delicate or dull, she was simply a weirdo, a cute little weirdo.

He took in a deep breath inwardly, kept a calm expression on his face, and then said to Xiaocao, who had instantly resumed an innocent expression, “If… I give you the seeds, can you guarantee that you can grow them?”

Liu Fusheng peeped at his master and felt surprised inwardly, ‘Master has really changed today. Not only is he taking the initiative to speak with others, but they’re also chatting very happily (Yu Xiaocao: With which eye do you see us chatting happily?). I wonder what expression Princess Consort Jing would have if she found out about this?’

It should be noted that it was always Princess Consort Jing pestering his master. She had even pretended to be sick to gain sympathy from him so that he would say a few more words with her. Princess Consort Jing was always worried about whether her youngest son would lose his ability to speak. It seemed like Princess Consort Jing’s concern was unnecessary.

Yu Xiaocao noticed that the crisis had been resolved, so she quickly put on a flattering smile and said, “Of course! Young Royal Prince, you can go ask around. My family members are experts in farming. During this season, besides families with hot spring resorts, only my family can grow fresh vegetables! There’re also watermelons, which my family has already started breeding. In a little over two months, if you can come to Tanggu Town again, you will be able to eat my family’s watermelons… I can say for certain that if my family can’t grow the seeds, then there isn’t anyone else who can!”

Zhu Junyang watched as the young girl patted her chest and vowed with confidence, yet he didn’t detect any sense of boasting at all. It seemed like this young girl was really confident in her family’s farming skills. Perhaps… he could believe in her this one time. If she could really grow the crop of the seed that he brought back, then that could make up for his regrets from this voyage.

“Head Steward Liu, go make the arrangements to get fifty catties of corn and fifty catties of potato seeds for the little lass.” After thinking about it briefly, Zhu Junyang decided to give a portion of the seeds from the two crops that he brought back the largest quantity of and let the young girl try growing them. Even if she failed, it wouldn’t be a big problem.  

Yu Xiaocao was extremely delighted about this. Fifty catties of corn seeds were enough for at least ten mu of land! But, there didn’t seem to be enough potato seeds. She looked at the young prince with bright eyes and weakly asked, “Young Royal Prince, can you give me a little more of the potato seeds?”

Zhu Junyang looked at Yu Xiaocao with a ‘so you really do know what a potato is’ expression. Yu Xiaocao decided to just go-for-broke and continued to stare directly at the young prince’s intimidating gaze with expectant eyes.

“How much do you want?” Zhu Junyang stopped trying to find out where the little girl had heard about corn and potatoes. Since she had heard about them, it meant that there was an even higher probability that she would be able to grow them.

Yu Xiaocao thought about it and answered, “At least a hundred catties? That’s enough for half a mu of land…”

“I’ll give you two hundred catties! Do you dare to make a military writ that you will definitely be able to grow the potatoes?” Zhu Junyang’s intuition became even clearer—this young girl might be able to create a miracle! His intuition had never been wrong since he was a child!

“Yes!” Yu Xiaocao replied firmly without any hesitation.

Head Steward Liu Fusheng coughed on the side and tried to give the little girl some room for leeway. He explained softly, “Young maiden of the Yu Family, do you know that if you can’t fulfill a military writ, you will be beheaded?”

Zhu Junyang swept a sharp glare at him, but he didn’t blame him for being talkative. Liu Fusheng secretly wiped the sweat on his forehead, ‘Master, isn’t this old servant just thinking about this little girl’s kindness to you?’ It’s so hard to be someone’s servant ah!

Yu Xiaocao’s eyes shifted slightly, and then she continued, “I will definitely be able to grow them, as long as there aren’t any natural or manmade disasters!”

Natural or manmade disasters? Zhu Junyang secretly praised the young girl’s carefulness in his heart. He couldn’t control natural disasters. As for manmade disasters, wouldn’t that be taken care of with just one word from him?

“Rest assured! This prince will ask the county magistrate to tell your village head to fully cooperate with planting. As for natural disasters, it’s not someone that can be controlled by humans, so it will not be considered within the scope of the military writ!” Zhu Junyang’s decisions were quite humane, so Xiaocao was very satisfied.

Seeing that the little girl was full of confidence, Liu Fusheng stopped persuading her. He took his order and led several imperial bodyguards to retrieve the corn and potato seeds from the carriage nearby.

Yu Xiaocao, on the other hand, followed the young prince to his temporary lodging nearby. She saw that there was a bowl of bean sauce noodles, which had already lumped together, on the table, as well as her family’s braised food. She slightly hesitated and said, “Young Royal Prince, the noodles won’t taste good if it’s cold. Should this commoner bring you another bowl?”

Zhu Junyang glanced at the noodles that he had just eaten a few bites of. It was quite tasty. As for the braised food, before he had the chance to taste it, he saw this little lass walking behind the dockworkers with her waist bent and bending down from time to time to pick up something from the ground. After eating some noodles, he no longer felt so uncomfortable in his heart. Prompted by his curiosity, he walked over to see what she was picking up. Unexpectedly, he had found a treasure due to his curiosity!

Zhu Junyang ordered a little eunuch to buy the noodles at the noodle stall. He instructed someone to bring the four scholarly essentials, and then he wrote down the military writ with exquisite calligraphy. He was afraid that the little girl couldn’t read, so he read the contents to her.  

Yu Xiaocao saw that there wasn’t anything difficult to achieve within the military writ. Not to mention that she had grown corn and potatoes in her past life, but even if she had never planted them before, she still had the mystic-stone water as cheat. She could even revive a dead plant, so what would she be afraid of! Without any hesitation, she picked up the brush and signed her name. After practicing her writing with her younger brother for a period of time, she could write her own name pretty well.

Could daughters of peasant families also read and write now? Zhu Junyang didn’t show the confusion in his heart and handed the dried military writ to Head Steward Liu, who just came back with the seeds. After that, he sat down uninhibitedly, picked up his chopsticks, and grabbed the bright red ‘pig ear strips in chili oil’. The pig ear strip was crispy, slightly spicy, and very appetizing.

By the time the piping hot bean sauce noodles was brought, he had already eaten half the plate of pig ear strips. Xiaocao pointed at the sautéed pig intestines and said, “Young Royal Prince, this has gotten somewhat cold. You can put it in the noodles and heat it up before eating it, or you can take it back to our stall to heat it up….”

When Zhu Junyang heard her addressing him as ‘Young Royal Prince’, he paused briefly. But he didn’t say anything and just waved his hands at Yu Xiaocao. Head Steward Liu quickly went forward and whispered, “Miss Yu, the prince asked you to leave! Come, I will send the seeds over for you!”

After sending away the necessary people, Zhu Junyang looked at the plate of sautéed pig intestines. He thought about it and placed two pieces into the piping hot noodles. After a while, he picked it out and placed it into his mouth. He savored the taste as he carefully chewed it. ‘Sautéed pig intestines’ was Xiaocao’s best dish. When it just came out of the pot, it had a golden color, and it was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. With a savory and fragrant taste, it was suitable for all ages and people would never get tired of eating it.

Zhu Junyang, who was born in the imperial family, had never tried food like innards. If he hadn’t experienced the hardships of ocean voyage, he probably wouldn’t even touch the food in front of him. However, after eating a piece of intestine, Zhu Junyang thought that it tasted rather good, and put a few more pieces into the noodles.

Commander Fang, who had been waiting on the side in silence, watched as Royal Prince Yang ate one piece after another of the sautéed intestines. He was extremely curious about this kind of food—when it was time to change shift, he had to go buy a portion to try! 

When Xiaocao returned to her stall, she thanked Head Steward Liu and happily accepted the corn and potato seeds. She planned on eating the delicious roasted corn on the cob and stir-frying a plate of sour and spicy shredded potatoes, which she really missed, in autumn… That would be such a happy feeling!!

When Imperial Envoy Fang came over, the stall was serving the small peak of dinner time. Seeing that his daughter was so busy that she didn’t even have time to rest, Lord Fang couldn’t just sit down anymore and took up the position of a waiter. All of the dockworkers knew who he was. The imperial envoy was straightforward and unassuming, so the dockworkers all liked him very much. So they joked, “It’s really the blessing of three lifetimes to be able to eat the noodles personally served by the Lord Imperial Envoy ah!”

Fang Zizhen guffawed and said, “Eat more! You will have more strength to work when you’re full!! In the future, when the harbor construction is completed, would you guys still have to worry about not getting any benefits?”

Most of these workers were regular employees of the management office. The new port, which was not too far away from the old wharf, was starting to take shape and it was more than twice the size of the old docks. There was a commercial street not too far from the harbor. Although the shops weren’t built yet, the layouts of the shops could already be seen. Lord Fang was right. With such a large harbor, would they still have to worry about not being able to find work? The salary of dockers had doubled compared to the past and it would only be better in the future! 

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Myst's Thoughts

Food pic

Translator: Myst