Chapter 242 - Inspection

‘Does he know how to read minds? How does he know what I was thinking when I didn’t even say it yet?’ Yu Xiaocao had inadvertently revealed the truth!

Zhu Junyang, ‘You just don’t have the words written on your face, but anyone can see what you’re thinking, okay?’

“You have been living in town these days. If it delays the farming, you will be punished! Don’t forget that you have already signed a military writ!!” Zhu Junyang couldn’t help reminding her. ‘Eh? Why am I talking so much today? What’s going on?’

Yu Xiaocao raised her eyebrows and said with a smile full of confidence, “Rest assured! The corn has been planted for more than half a month. Isn’t it almost up to the calves, Father?”

Yu Hai had to walk around the fields every day, so he naturally knew the progress of the corn like the back of his hands. Hearing her question, he quickly nodded and said, “Mhm! The leaves of the corns are already two fingers wide, and each stalk of corn has at least six or seven leaves. It should have already entered the jointing stage! Daughter, don’t worry, with Father looking after it for you, there won’t be any problems!”

Yu Xiaocao smiled brightly at her father, and then turned to Zhu Junyang and said, “Did you hear? Without being modest, I’ll say that there’s nothing that my family can’t grow!! By the way, Father! I asked you to help me transplant the apple and persimmon trees. Have you moved them yet?”

“Yes, yes! Apples, persimmons, and grapes have all been moved! I also found a hickory nut tree in the mountains and moved it next to our yard.” Yu Hai had never refused his youngest daughter’s requests.

“That’s great! In the future, when we’re staying indoors during the winter, we can sit on the kang bed and eat delicious roasted hickory nuts! Father, you’re the best!!” Yu Xiaocao pulled on her father’s hand and shook it in a spoiled manner.

Yu Hai gently caressed his younger daughter’s little head and smiled until his crow’s feet appeared. 

‘Well, this pair of father and daughter has started chatting with each other now. It is really okay for them to leave me, this esteemed guest, hanging?’ Feeling the deep affection between the father and daughter and seeing their interesting interaction, Zhu Junyang was reluctant to interrupt the warm scene.

“Miss Yu likes to eat hickory nuts? Then you must also like sunflower seeds?” Zhu Junyang didn’t want to just be a spectator and couldn’t help interjecting.

‘Sunflower seeds? There are already sunflower seeds in this era? That’s great! Eating sunflower seeds is my favorite thing to do in my spare time!!’

“Sunflower seeds? You have the seeds??” Yu Xiaocao eagerly asked.

‘Sure enough, she knows about sunflowers! This little girl from the Yu Family must have some kind of secret, just like… the emperor also has a secret.’

Zhu Junyang’s voice was cold but not callous. He slowly nodded and said, “That’s right! Among the seeds that I brought back from the west, there’s sunflower seeds. I heard that cooked sunflower seeds are edible! You can try it!”

“Okay, Okay!! Give me the seeds and I will try planting it!” Yu Xiaocao couldn’t help cheering in her heart. Haha! Fortunately, she had transmigrated to the Great Ming Dynasty and had a senior transmigrator who liked to travel across the sea and look for treasures in the west. In the future, she could eat sunflower seeds. So happy!

Looking at the young girl’s expression, which resembled a kitten who secretly ate a little fish, Zhu Junyang’s mood had inexplicably improved. The most genuine things were the most touching! Perhaps, in Tanggu Town, he could relax wholeheartedly without having to stay away from the crowd.

He didn’t need to be on guard at all times, and he didn’t have to doubt everything. This kind of lifestyle might be more suitable for him… Unconsciously, the corners of his mouth curled up into a charming smile—After so many years, he had finally found the expression of ‘smile’ again.

“When I go back to the capital, I’ll have someone send the seeds over! It won’t be too late, right?” If Princess Consort Jing saw him speaking so much on his own initiative, would she be happy or jealous?

“No, it won’t be too late!” With the mystic-stone water as her cheat, she could still grow the sunflowers even if she got them later. How many seeds would the young royal prince give her? Would it be enough to eat? Holding her small face, Yu Xiaocao smiled so much that only her two rows of pearly whites could be seen, and her eyes had disappeared!

“I want to see the growth of the corn and make a simple record.” Zhu Junyang thought about how he left the troubled Ministry of Revenue behind in the capital and came to Tanggu Town to relax. If the emperor asked about it, he would have an excuse.

Yu Xiaocao, who was in a good mood, nodded incessantly and said, “Alright! Tomorrow I will accompany Young Royal Prince to the fields. Rest assured, there definitely won’t be any problems with letting us grow the corn!”

After setting a time to meet and go back to Dongshan Village tomorrow, Zhu Junyang stood up and said goodbye, “If you guys can finalize a set of methods to cultivate corn and potatoes, this prince will report your meritorious deed. At that time, you will naturally be rewarded!”

Although she was afraid that her identity as a transmigrator would be revealed by her fellow transmigrator, the emperor, the rewards granted by the emperor must be extraordinary. Yu Xiaocao felt distressed in her heart. Should she take credit for this contribution or not?

The next day, the news that the royal prince would visit Dongshan Village had already spread throughout the village at rocket speed. After the village chief received this news from Yu Hai last night, he was so excited that he couldn’t fall asleep for the entire night. With two large dark circles under his eyes, he started making preparations. He gathered the whole village early in the morning and held a meeting. The main point of the meeting was to remind the villagers to be more cautious and keep an eye on their own children, lest they offend the lord. Moreover, they also butchered pigs and sheep and gathered all the well-known cooks in the village to brainstorm and prepare a meal for the noble guest…

When Zhu Junyang arrived in Dongshan Village with the county magistrate, he could see from afar the villagers of Dongshan Village, who enthusiastically lined up to welcome the guests.

Yu Xiaocao rode on the little red horse that her godfather gave her and followed behind the young royal prince and the officials, looking carefree. As soon as they reached the entrance of the village, she saw Village Head Grandpa and the villagers kneel down immediately. She was so startled that she hastily urged the little red horse to move far away from them. Many of the villagers were her elders, so if she didn’t avoid them, her life would be shortened.

Seeing his master’s gaze, Zhu Junyang’s personal imperial bodyguard, Wu Deshun, hurriedly dismounted and helped the white-haired village head up and said, “The royal prince is traveling incognito, so there’s no need to be so ceremonious. Villagers, please get up quickly.”

The village head, who had been helped up, was so excited that he burst into tears and said with trembling lips, “Your Highness has condescended to visit, this commoner doesn’t dare to slight ah. This is something we should do!”

Someone who had studied for a few years was truly different. He sounded so reasonable. Yu Xiaocao got off her horse and went to find her family in the crowd. However, besides her eldest granduncle, Madam Zhang, and the Yu Dashan couple, she didn’t see her own parents.

She crept into the crowd, came to her eldest granduncle’s side, and asked in a low voice, “Eldest Granduncle, did you see my father?”

Yu Lichun glanced in the direction of Royal Prince Yang and saw that no one was paying attention, so he whispered, “Your parents are waiting at home—you must be careful and don’t offend the noble lord.”

From the corner of his eyes, Zhu Junyang saw the little lass going into the crowd like a nimble little squirrel and whispering, as if she was a kitten who was going to steal a fish. How could a person’s expression be so lively and changeable? What an interesting fellow! He didn’t realize that as long as Xiaocao was around, his eyes couldn’t help but follow her.

Yu Xiaocao squeezed out of the crowd and arrived next to Village Head Grandpa, who was acting in a very respectful manner. With a grin, she looked at Zhu Junyang and said in a slightly chirpy tone, “Young Royal Prince, do you want to go directly to the fields, or rest at my house first?”

Wu Deshun looked at the sun. Like usual, he didn’t bother the master with such trivial matter and replied on his behalf, “Since the weather is pretty good right now, let’s go to the fields first…”

“This prince is tired after riding on the horse for so long…” Zhu Junyang suddenly wanted to see what kind of family raised such an eccentric little girl.  

Wu Deshun quickly corrected himself and said, “Miss Yu, please lead the way!”

Yu Xiaocao obediently walked in the front, and behind her, a red filly, which hadn’t fully grown yet, followed her step by step. Zhu Junyang noticed that the reins of the filly wasn’t in the hands of the young girl, yet it followed her obediently. It was quite a tame and clever steed, which was perfect for a young girl like her.

Yu Xiaocao walked in the front, while Royal Prince Yang and his entourage followed behind. Behind him was the new county magistrate of Tanggu Town and the officials of the county yamen, and finally the village chief and several respected elders in the village. The large group quickly reached the old residence of the Yu Family.

Zhu Junyang looked at the brand-new brick and tiled house, which was extremely simple compared with the tall gated estates in the capital. It was a simple compound with a large open yard. There were green vegetables on both sides of the small brick pathway in the yard…

There weren’t any complicated constructions, cascading pavilions and terraces, and precious flowers and plants. However, there was a sense of tranquility and warmth within its simplicity, which made it easier for people to open their hearts, put down all their complex thoughts, and return to the countryside and nature…

In front of the main room in the courtyard, under a blossoming peach tree, there were several different shaped stone stools beside a stone table, which was carved in accordance to the shape of the stone. There were cotton cushions of various colors on the stools, which showed a sense of warmth in the cold.

Yu Xiaocao looked at the large group of people coming over, and moved all the chairs and stools in the house. But there still wasn’t enough seats. She scratched her head and said awkwardly, “Why don’t… I go borrow some chairs from Auntie Zhou’s house?”

“No need, no need! We can just stand!” Zhao Zixuan, the new county magistrate of Tanggu Town, hastily said. What a joke! Was there anyone here who could sit as equals with the royal prince?

In the end, other than Royal Prince Yang, everyone just stood around him like they were being punished. Yu Xiaocao thought it looked somewhat awkward, but the ancient concept of social ranking wasn’t something that a little girl like her could change. She picked a plate of ripe tomatoes and several crispy and tender cucumbers from the garden in the backyard, and then cut a big watermelon that they had at home. She placed them all on the stone table and raised her eyebrows with satisfaction—this was the right way to entertain guests!

County Magistrate Zhao looked at the cucumbers and almost choked on his saliva—She actually served cucumbers to the royal prince. Wasn’t that too weird?

“After walking so far, do you want to eat some watermelon to quench your thirst?” Yu Xiaocao picked up a slice of watermelon and warmly handed it to the young prince. Yesterday, at her godfather’s house, this fellow ate a lot of watermelons and also ordered a cart, so he must like to eat it, right?

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

Myst's Thoughts

Translator: Myst