However, she had misunderstood the young royal prince yesterday. Although the jade pendant in the embroidered pouch wasn’t gold or silver, even she, who didn’t know much about jade, could tell that it wasn’t ordinary from its texture. She quietly showed it to her godmother in the evening. It was worth at least several thousand taels of silver ah! To buy a cart of watermelons with several thousand taels, he was indeed a member of the imperial family. So rich!
The watermelon that she cut today was relatively large, a total of twenty-something catties. The young prince definitely wouldn’t be able to finish it himself. Yu Xiaocao, like the Child of Wealth, picked up a piece of watermelon and started distributing it.
Looking at the sweet-smelling watermelon in front of him, County Magistrate Zhao glanced hesitantly at Royal Prince Yang, and didn’t dare to pick up the watermelon until he permitted. Zhao Zixuan was born in a poor family and didn’t have any one of high status supporting him, so he had only gotten the position of a county magistrate at the age of forty. He finally got this rare opportunity to interact with a noble from the capital, so he naturally didn’t dare to make any mistakes.
Seeing the county magistrate take the watermelon, the other officials of the yamen, who came to familiarize themselves with the noble guest, also took the watermelon and thanked the young girl. Not only the officials of Tanggu Town, but Royal Prince Yang’s servants and imperial bodyguards also got watermelons. Of course, the elders in the village also received a piece.
Due to the joyous scene in the yard, Zhu Junyang felt that today’s watermelon was even sweeter than yesterday’s. The sweetness went all the way to his heart. In a good mood, he picked up a cucumber, looked at it curiously, and began to chew on it. ‘Mhm, the taste is pretty good, and it’s crispy and juicy. Although it isn’t as sweet as a watermelon, it has a distinctive taste.'
Poor child had never seen a freshly plucked whole cucumber. When he ate it in the past, it had been carved meticulously by the chef. Thus, he didn’t know that this glossy green colored and delicious-tasting thing was what a cucumber originally looked like!
Seeing that the young royal prince was enjoying the cucumber, County Magistrate Zhao also picked up a cucumber and chewed on it like the royal prince. He couldn’t help praising, “The cucumbers grown by Miss Yu’s family are even tastier than the ones sold in the market! They all say that your family has a secret method of cultivation. Is it true?”
Yu Xiaocao got a tomato, took a small bite, and sucked the juice with relish. Hearing that, she said with a smile, “What secret method can there be? We’re just tending the crops more carefully! It may be that our vegetables matured earlier and everyone is tired of eating cabbages and radishes in the winter, so they think that it’s a fresh experience!”
After Zhu Junyang finished the cucumber, Zhu Junyang saw Xiaocao enjoying a tomato. He picked up a big red tomato and copied her by taking a small bite and gently slurping the sweet and sour juice inside.
“This… what is this?” Zhu Junyang couldn’t help but ask curiously.
Yu Xiaocao excitedly introduced, “This is called tomato, and is also known as wolf peach! It seems to be imported from a foreign land, and is used as a decorative plant. In actuality, it is a kind of vegetable with high nutritional values. Unlike the rumors, it’s not poisonous—oh, right! The unripe green tomatoes do contain some toxins…”
“What? It’s poisonous??” The entourage was shocked. Wu Deshun grabbed the tomato in Royal Prince Yang’s hands and had a terrible expression on his face.
County Magistrate Zhao’s face turned pale, and he hollered, “How dare you!! You actually dared to poison the royal prince; do you know what crime that is?! Quick, quickly arrest her!!”
Yu Xiaocao, who was nibbling on the inner flesh of the tomato, was immediately held down by Royal Prince Yang’s imperial bodyguards. The tomato in her hands fell onto the ground and rolled to Zhu Junyang’s feet.
Zhu Junyang frowned slightly as he looked down at the small tooth marks on the half-eaten tomato. Seeing the apparently painful expression on Xiaocao’s face, his gaze turned deep and his thin lips were pursed. Wu Deshun, who had worked under him for many years, knew that his master was really angry, so he hastily admitted his mistake, “This subordinate noticed too late, please forgive me!”
“Why are you guys arresting me for? Let go! Let go!!” Yu Xiaocao’s arms were twisted behind her back, and their strength made her very uncomfortable. She struggled slightly and shrieked with a wrinkled face.
Yu Lichun, who had followed over, quickly knelt down in front of the cold-faced Royal Prince Yang and pleaded in a trembling voice, “Your Highness, this commoner has eaten tomatoes numerous times. It’s definitely not poisonous! Royal Prince, please make a wise judgement!!”
The village head had also eaten the tomatoes grown by the Yu Family, so he also kneeled and pleaded on behalf of Yu Xiaocao, “It’s true that tomatoes aren’t poisonous. This commoner ate two this morning ah! There… there must be some misunderstanding!!”
Yu Xiaocao finally understood why she was being held down. She didn’t know whether she should cry or laugh as she said, “If tomatoes are poisonous and I just ate it myself, wouldn’t I be committing suicide because I’m tired of living? I have no enmities with the royal prince, so how would poisoning him benefit me?? I reckon you guys are too anxious. You guys don’t have persecutory delusion, right?”
“Persecutory delusion? What’s that?” Hearing the new term, Zhu Junyang made a gesture to tell his subordinates to let go. It seemed like he had often heard these weird and novel terms from the emperor before! This little lass wouldn’t be a long-lost illegitimate child of the emperor, would she? Young Royal Prince, wasn’t that thought too absurd?
Yu Xiaocao plopped down on the stone chair in front of him and angrily picked up another tomato. She waved it at the boorish guards, like she was demonstrating to them, and then fiercely took a large bite, as if the tomato was the bodyguards’ flesh.
With her mouth stuffed with the tomato, she said in a muffled voice, “Poisonous? A ripe tomato is not poisonous!! How ignorant and unworldly!! Persecutory delusion is an illness here, always thinking that someone wants to harm yourself!”
As she said that, she pointed at her own head with her index finger.
Zhu Junyang also picked up a bright red tomato and placed it in his mouth, but he was stopped by his loyal guards, “Royal Prince…”
“Don’t make a fuss! No one here will hurt this prince! Relax, otherwise, you’ll really be a patient suffering from persecutory delusion!” With his eyebrows raised, Zhu Junyang was apparently in a good mood, and the tomato in his mouth seemed even more delicious.
After eating a stomach full of fruits, it seemed like it was time to get up and move. Zhu Junyang stood up, grabbed a tomato in his hands, and slowly walked out the yard as he said, “Come, it’s time to look at the corn fields!”
When the group reached the corn fields, the Yu Hai couple and Liu Hu’s family had just finished watering the over ten mu of land. There wasn’t a lot of rain this spring. Fortunately, the Yu Family’s farmland was close to a mountain stream, so it was convenient water the crops.
Waving his hands to stop Yu Hai and the others from kneeling down to greet him, Zhu Junyang personally went to the edge of the field and bent down to look at the corn seedlings, which were nearly up to his knee. It hadn’t been twenty days since his return, but the corn had already grown so tall. It seemed like this crop, corn, grew pretty fast!
He straightened his back and looked around. Ten or so mu of corn fields were stretching their leaves under the sun. Under the bright spring sun, there seemed to be a lively sprite jumping on each leaf.
“Not bad! You guys have grown the corn very well!” Zhu Junyang didn’t stint on compliments and praised them sincerely.
Yu Hai was about to reply humbly, but his dear daughter, who was silly and bold, proudly said, “Of course! We don’t fight uncertain battles. If we can’t grow them well, then why would we be so bold as to sign the military writ?”
Looking at the little lass’s complacent expression, Zhu Junyang felt—that today’s sun was great, warm and brilliant. The scenery of the West Mountain nearby was pretty good. It was verdant and lush. Even the fields with the fragrance of soil seemed to have become more lovely…
His good mood lasted until he returned to the residence that Princess Consort Jing temporarily stayed. Princess Consort Jing looked at her son, who was walking over. Although he still maintained an expressionless face with his lips still pursed and eyes exuding coldness, she clearly felt that her son seemed to be in a good mood.
Her little Junyang went out early in the morning and didn’t come back until the evening. Did something good happened that caused him to change from his state of a ‘walking air conditioner’? Uh, she accidentally used the emperor’s evaluation of her son. But, it was quite a vivid description!
Based on her understanding of her son, if she directly asked, she wouldn’t be able to get any answers. She could only do it in a roundabout way by asking his subordinates. She glanced at her son, who was currently drinking tea, and then asked Wu Deshun, who was standing ramrod straight beside her, “Where did you go with the young royal prince today?”
Wu Deshun looked at his master and saw that the other party didn’t seem to mind him answering, so he quickly replied, “In reply to Your Highness, today I went to Dongshan Village with Master and checked the Yu Family’s growth of corn and potatoes.”
“Oh, to Dongshan Village ah! I heard from Lady Fang that it’s a good environment, surrounded by mountains and sea. Yang’er, what do you think?” Princess Consort Jing had heard Lady Fang praise Dongshan Village many times, so she yearned to visit the place. However, right now she was more curious about what good thing her son had encountered at Dongshan Village.
“Mhm, it’s not bad!!” Ay, she shouldn’t have asked this son of hers, who cherished words like gold. Look, he only said four words like he was already doing a big favor to others!
However, that didn’t affect the communication between the mother and son. Princess Consort Jing had become accustomed to the conversation mode of her speaking to herself, “I heard that lass Cao’er say that the weather has gotten warmer now, so it’s suitable to go up the mountains to dig for wild herbs, as well as set some traps to catch some pheasants and wild hares for a special meal. Also, when the tide is low, one can also gather seafood at the beach. Clams, scallops, oysters… If one’s lucky, one can find sea cucumbers washed up on shore! Last time, that lass brought over some marine goods and made spicy stir-fried clams, steamed scallops with garlic, grilled oysters… I’m drooling just by thinking about it! You say, why didn’t I meet Xiaocao first? In that case, the position of her godmother would have nothing to do with Lady Fang!”
Princess Consort Jing babbled, but didn’t notice that her youngest son was listening attentively.
Zhu Junyang touched his chin. Spicy stir-fried clams? Steamed scallops with garlic? They sounded pretty appetizing! The meal he had at the Yu Family’s old residence this afternoon was made by the little lass, under his order. The taste was extraordinary. Although they were all common homemade dishes, the taste was different and suited his taste even more than the dishes in the famous restaurants in the capital. He quietly pondered how to find a reason to try the seafood cooked by the little girl.
“Ah-choo!” Yu Xiaocao, who was lying with her limbs spread out on the kang bed after sending off the great lord, Royal Prince Yang, suddenly felt an itch on her nose and sneezed.
“Who is it? Who’s scheming behind my back?” Yu Xiaocao rubbed her nose and murmured.Previous Chapter Next Chapter