Chapter 240 - Contact

Since the seeds had been planted, nearby villagers would come to the Yu Family’s corn fields to see the rare crop. Due to being specially notified by the royal prince from the capital, the county magistrate attached great importance on this matter and sent bailiffs to patrol the fields every now and then. The village head of Dongshan Village took this as a great honor and established a patrol team. Every day from morning to night, there would be people guarding the fields, so it made things a lot easier for the Yu Family.  

Most of the villagers looked up to Yu Hai with great respect. The village head also didn’t dare to put on the airs of a village head in front of him. When the village head’s successful sons returned to the village, they also took the initiative to be on friendly terms with Yu Hai.

This was no joking matter because Yu Hai’s family was definitely different from before! First, they became friends with the young boss of Zhenxiu Restaurant and caused the future master of the Zhou Family to regard them with special respect. After that, they became adoptive relatives of a general. But that wasn’t the end of it. Now, they had also became acquainted with a royal prince from the capital! He was a real member of the imperial family ah!

To be able to work for the royal prince, it wasn’t only the pride of the Yu Family, but also the entire Dongshan Village. In the future, if someone wanted to cause trouble at Dongshan Village, he would have to first consider whether he had the ability to do it. One had to know who the master was before striking a dog! Imperial Prince Jing had built a mountain manor in Dongshan Village, so he would certainly provide some protection to Dongshan Village. The village head felt his back becoming ramrod straight, and in front of other village heads, he felt a slight sense of pride in being superior to them.

There wasn’t anyone in the surrounding villages who didn’t know that Yu Hai was protected by the royal prince. Therefore, although a lot of people came to see the rare crop, none of them dared to have any malicious intentions.

“Tsk tsk, is this the corn that was brought back from the west? Why does it look like sorghum seedlings ah? They didn’t plant the wrong seeds, did they?” Someone gloated.  

The Yu Family’s corn, which had been planted for less than half of a month, had already grown upwards. With a green stalk and wide leaves, it looked like a green flag fluttering in the wind. Compared with the corn in her previous life, Yu Xiaocao relied on her cheat, the mystic-stone water, and sowed ahead of time. As expected, corn watered by the mystic-stone water grew very fast. Corn usually took around a month to mature, but the growth period had actually been shortened by half. Moreover, it had grown very luxuriantly.

As if it was in a competition, the watermelon fields next to it grew rapidly. Normally, watermelon planted in March or April would be ready for harvest in July or August. For the Yu Family, this regular pattern of growth had already been broken. At the beginning of March, when the land in the north had just thawed, the Yu Family’s melon seedlings had already sprouted and were buried in the fields.

In order to prevent freezing, straw thatches were moved to the melon fields. When the temperature was low at night, they would be used as ‘blankets’ for the seedlings. At noon, when it was warmer, the watermelon seedlings would bask in the sunlight. Even in the early spring when the temperature was low, the watermelon seedlings still grew tenaciously.

It was currently still late April, but the watermelons in the fields were already about the size of a rubber ball. The dark green watermelon in the green foliage resembled a mischievous child poking his head out to look about curiously. Yu Hai walked around the melon fields and picked out several watermelons that had ripened early for his daughter in town. He planned to go to town tomorrow and bring two watermelons for her to taste.

Wang Ergou trotted over with a grin and looked at the plucked watermelons. His eyes lit up and he said with a smile, “Brother Dahai, there’s already ripe watermelons? That’s great! It won’t be long before we harvest the watermelons on a large scale, right?”

Yu Hai picked up the largest watermelon, stuffed it into Ergou’zi’s hands, and patted him on the shoulder, saying, “Brother Ergou, you have worked hard during these past two months! Take this watermelon back and taste it!! Rest assured, we will definitely give you priority for this year’s watermelon!!”

This year, they planted six mu of watermelon. According to last year’s output, they should probably yield about one hundred thousand catties of watermelon. Seeing that the Yu Family and Wang Ergou made a lot of money from selling watermelons last year, ideas emerged in the minds of the villagers of Dongshan Village. They had already quietly approached Yu Hai, hoping to get a wholesale quota.

There was a limit to the amount of ripe watermelons produced every day, so he couldn’t promise everyone. After a period of distress, Yu Hai chose to work with several families that he had a closer relation with, and politely declined the others. Those who had been rejected would certainly feel unhappy in their hearts, but now Yu Hai was rich and had backing from influential people, so what could they do even if they felt unhappy?

Yu Xiaocao, who was taking care of her godmother and younger brother in town, couldn’t return to Dongshan Village every day, but she was always concerned about the watermelon fields! She counted her fingers every day. Soon, the watermelons would be available on the market. In her heart, she pondered whether she should rent a shop in town to sell the watermelons this year.

Although the two shops near Zhenxiu Restaurant were located in a good area, they had been rented out after all, and signed a three-year lease. If they rented a shop randomly, it would probably be hard for their business to achieve the same popularity as last year. Just as she was troubled over this matter, her father, Yu Hai, had come to visit his precious daughter with several ripe watermelons.

Fang Zizhen had gone to the harbor, so the head steward invited Yu Hai to the study in the front court and sent someone to the inner court to notify the eldest young miss. The head steward didn’t dare to slight the master’s adoptive relative, who had come from peasant origins. Not to mention the master’s attitude towards this adoptive relative of his, but just based on the fact that his daughter was even more important than the master’s own daughter, no one would dare to look down on him.

The head steward had worked for Fang Zizhen since he had been conferred the title of a general. Due to his loyalty and competence, he had been bestowed the same surname as his master. For servants, it was a great honor to be given the same surname as their master! Whether it was in the General’s Estate in the capital or the residence in Tanggu Town, Head Steward Fang was second only to the masters.

Yu Hai was honest and sincere, but he wasn’t dull. He knew that, in order for his daughter to live comfortably in the Fang Household, he couldn’t offend Head Steward Fang. He picked one of the watermelons that he brought over and handed it to the head steward. Yu Hai said with a smile, “It’s a homegrown watermelon, which isn’t worth much money. Head Steward Fang, take it and have a taste!”

Were there watermelons at this time of the year? As the chief steward of the General’s Estate, Head Steward Fang naturally wasn’t someone who lacked knowledge and experience. His master was favored and trusted by the emperor, so he would be rewarded with some of the watermelons that were given as tribute every year. His master was very generous to the servants, so he had also tried them from time to time. However, weren’t watermelons used to relieve the heat in midsummer? Why were the watermelons already matured when it wasn’t even summer yet?

Although there was doubt in his heart, Head Steward Fang happily accepted the present and sincerely thanked him. Seeing Eldest Young Miss coming from the inner court, he excused himself and left. Head Steward Fang had come to Tanggu Town with his whole family. When he brought the watermelon to his own housing compound, his two young sons welcomed him with a cheer, “Watermelon? Father, you’re actually willing to buy such an expensive thing for us to eat?”  

The corner of Head Steward Fang’s mouth twitched. He patted his youngest son’s bottom and said with a smile, “When was your father ever unwilling to buy things for you guys? This watermelon was rewarded by the general’s adoptive relative. At this time of the year, it can’t even be bought with money!”

“They probably grew it themselves, right? Last year, I heard the servants of the Zhang Estate next door say that the Yu Family’s watermelons are big and sweet, moreover, the price is much cheaper than in the capital! At that time, the lord often lived in Dongshan Village, so he must have eaten a lot of watermelons!” Head Steward Fang’s oldest son, who was fifteen years old, took the watermelon with a smile and spoke as he eagerly went to find a knife.

The head steward’s wife, who was in charge of the inner court’s kitchen, wasn’t in the room at the moment. His oldest son took his two younger brothers and skillfully cut open the watermelon. The red melon meat was dripping with alluring juice as the knife sliced through it, and a sweet smell hit their noses. His youngest son, who was only six, couldn’t resist swallowing his saliva, and he stared at the watermelon as if his eyes were glued on it.

The head steward couldn’t help from laughing and patting the little guy’s bottom again. In his heart, he thought about his youngest son’s age and the possibility of his youngest son becoming the young master’s personal manservant in the future. Their age gap wouldn’t be considered too big, would it? Everything in the general’s household would definitely belong to the young master in the future… It seemed like he needed to personally teach his youngest son!

“Steward, Head Steward…” A slightly flustered voice sounded in Head Steward Fang’s ears. It was the gatekeeper, Old Zhou. Could it be that something happened at the entrance?

Head Steward Fang didn’t have time to enjoy the delicious watermelon with his sons and hurriedly rushed out of the room. He saw the gatekeeper, Old Zhou, trotting in, but he couldn’t tell whether the expression on his face was due to excitement or panic.

“Head Steward… Yang… Royal Prince Yang… Royal Prince Yang…” Since he had rushed over, Old Zhou was out of breath and stuttering, which made Head Steward Fang very anxious.

“Royal Prince Yang? Royal Prince Yang came? Our madam has a good relationship with Princess Consort Jing. Did the princess consort send Royal Prince Yang to visit our mistress?” His master didn’t have any relations with Prince Jing’s Estate, let alone Royal Prince Yang, who was aloof and proud. Except for this reason, Head Steward Fang really couldn’t think of another possibility.

Old Zhou first nodded his head, and then shook his head incessantly. He patted his own chest several times and finally stopped gasping for breath. After that, he loudly said, “Royal Prince Yang came to see our eldest young miss!!”

After the birth of the young master, the Fang Zizhen couple had ordered the servants to call their goddaughter ‘Eldest Young Miss’. This was to show that Yu Xiaocao still had a very high position in the couple’s hearts, and was comparable to their own child.

Royal Prince Yang wanted to see Eldest Young Miss? When did Eldest Young Miss know this cold-faced Royal Prince? Although Head Steward Fang had doubts in his mind, he still rushed over to personally greet the royal prince, and respectfully invited him into the estate.

“Royal Prince, our eldest young miss is currently in the reception hall of the outer court. This way please…” Head Steward Fang was polite and respectful, but not cowardly.

‘That lass is in the reception hall? Since when was a little girl allowed to entertain the guests in the Fang Household? It seems like the lass has quite a high position in the hearts of General Fang and his wife ah!’ Zhu Junyang’s pair of deep eyes were filled with the glow of interest.

Yu Xiaocao, who had received the news from the reception hall, saw the youth, who appeared to be isolated from all heat despite being bathed in the sunlight. Beside the tall, green bamboo, a young man who exuded a faint and indifferent aura, walked over with the light against his back. Under the warm spring sun, circles of dazzling light shone on the youth’s hair, which was scattered on his shoulders…

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Translator: Myst