“Alright! Stop trying to look so pitiful, you look like such a wuss!” Yu Xiaocao slanted her eyes at Third Young Master Zhou, who was biting on his handkerchief and sobbing pitifully. She couldn’t help but make fun of him again.
Third Young Master Zhou placed his hands on his heart as tears pooled in his eyes. The expression on his face was mournful and it looked as if he was accusing Xiaocao of having a heart of stone!
Yu Xiaocao swiftly calculated what was needed and then carelessly waved her hand at him, “Stop pretending! Isn’t it just half a catty’s worth of dried seafood every month?! I’ll talk to Father when I get back home. You also know that my father is a good hand at gathering and catching seafood. There’s nothing too difficult for him!”
The tears in Third Young Master Zhou’s eyes momentarily evaporated and the wretched-looked expression on his face also disappeared. He looked at her with trust in his eyes and nodded his head, “After hearing your words, my heart is at ease and I now have a plan! Xiaocao, your family is truly my savior, my lucky star…”
“Enough, enough! I’m back home, so you should go do what you need to do ah——oh right, when do we need to start supplying the dried seafood?” Yu Xiaocao reliably asked for the crucial detail.
Worry crawled up Third Young Master Zhou’s face again as he said, “It’s been almost a month since the emperor has bestowed us with this position, so then the dried seafood requirements start next month...now the seawater is a bit cold and it’s not a good time for people to go out to sea, what do you…”
Yu Xiaocao verified with the little divine stone silently first and then waved her hand in dismissal at the youth, “Alright, I know! At the beginning of next month, come to my family’s residence to receive the dried seafood…”
Third Young Master Zhou asked somewhat hesitantly, “At this time of year, can Uncle Yu really handle it? Xiaocao, I don’t want Uncle Yu and your family to have something happen because of my family’s situation…”
Yu Xiaocao felt very grateful inside yet kept a tranquil expression on her face as she mildly replied, “My family still has some dried seafood at home. Originally the plan was to eat that seafood ourselves but my parents thought that it would be too wasteful for us to eat something so expensive. We only ate some once during the New Year celebration but since then they couldn’t bear to eat anymore. I estimate we probably still have around one catty’s worth…”
“Xiaocao, you guys are truly my saviors!!” If Third Young Master Zhou wasn’t currently riding his horse, he likely would have ran over and held her hand out of supreme gratitude...ahem ahem, men and women should not touch when they give or receive things. Since they were both on their respective steeds, he could only use the windows to his soul——his eyes, to express his gratitude and respect.
Yu Xiaocao gave him a look full of dislike and said, “Wipe that disgusting expression off your face. Just looking at it gives me the chills!”
After settling the problem of next month, Third Young Master Zhou was in an incredibly good mood. He noticed that they were both about to enter through Tanggu Town’s gates, so he enthusiastically invited Xiaocao over for a meal.
Yu Xiaocao rolled her eyes. This morning, she had left very early from Dongshan Village. Although Little Red was a young and small animal, it had been raised on mystic-stone water, so it wasn’t any slower than an adult horse. At this time, wasn’t it still around eight in the morning? What kind of meal did he want to treat her to? She had already eaten breakfast and it wasn’t time for lunch either. It was obvious that he wasn’t being sincere since he wanted to treat her to a meal now.
“I need to head back after getting my supplies so I can make some medicinal cuisine to nourish my godmother’s body. I’ll take a rain check on this meal! That being said, when can’t I get a table at Zhenxiu Restaurant? Anyway, you’ve already set aside a private table for me, so I can use it whenever I want. Therefore, you treating me to a meal doesn’t have much meaning!” Yu Xiaocao had a slightly smug yet sweet expression on her face.
On one of the side streets was Zhu Junyang, who had gone out early to help his mother buy some side dishes. He coincidentally came across this scene. He looked at the small, porcelain-skinned face that still had traces of baby fat on it. Under the warm light of the beautiful morning that had clouds drifting by, her face looked extremely full of life, especially her pair of vivid and limpid doe-like eyes. Her eyes seemed like they could speak volumes and were full of a mystical spiritual energy. He had never seen a little girl before who was more real or adorable than her. She seemed to have some sort of magnetic attraction coming off of her, no matter how far away she was, she could always draw his attention…
As if she could feel his gaze on her, Yu Xiaocao moved her pair of lively eyes in his direction. The two of them made eye contact in the sea of bustling people.
People walked to and fro on the bustling street, and there was no lack of rich people dressed to the nines in fine brocade. However, Royal Prince Yang seemed to be the only one that mattered. Everyone else in the area melded into the background, while he seemed to be glowing. His mere presence attracted multiple looks from all of the young maidens and matrons in the area.
Yu Xiaocao calmly stared at Zhu Junyang, who wasn’t standing far away. In her previous life, even the most attractive and handsome teen idol celebrities couldn’t hold a candle to Royal Prince Yang’s looks. He had a fine nose, as if it was sculpted by the best plastic surgeons, and extremely attractive, lightly-pink lips that were on the thinner side. His sword-like eyebrows were full and arched perfectly on his face. There wasn’t a part of his body that wasn’t perfect!
The more attractive part of him was that air of slight apathy that came off of him. He was a solitary man in a vast world, as stately and independent as a mountain. Occasionally, in his cold eyes, there would be a flash of loneliness that could draw a person to drown in that pair of deep eyes.
In her previous life, Yu Xiaocao was the epitome of a person who was drawn to looks. Her favorite celebrities were the teen idols who had beautiful and handsome faces. Consequently, she couldn't help but appreciate people who were extremely good-looking.
Ever since Zhu Junyang had reached the age of twelve to thirteen, he always had the admiring gazes from young, well-bred maidens following him. About four to five years ago, he had found it harder and harder to endure those adoring yet calculating stares. His special ability made him be able to feel every little bit of attention that was on him.
All of the well-off young ladies pretended to be shy and timid on the outside. However, all of them were acting. Despite their virtuous and gentle exteriors, they all hid calculating and scheming hearts. Some of them liked him because of his looks; others liked him because of his status as the Third Young Master of Prince Jing’s Estate. And then, there were even some who wanted to get close to him because of his lord father’s power and prestige…
He had never encountered a person like this little girl in front of him, who purely appreciated him as his own person. It made him feel like he was the most flawless jade, the most moving landscape. Her appreciation didn’t have a hint of an ulterior motive. Within his dark and icy heart, a ray of blazing light seemed to have appeared, cutting through the dense murkiness and warming his entire body.
Yu Xiaocao noticed that the young royal prince had a jar full of pickled vegetables. She dismounted from her horse and walked towards him with a genial smile on her face. She greeted him, “Young Royal Prince, you’re out so early to help the princess consort to buy side dishes ah!”
The princess consort really enjoyed the appetizers from the pickled vegetable stand that Xiaocao had invested into, especially the sweet and sour crispy radishes. Every day, when she ate her congee, she needed to eat some to help her finish the meal. Otherwise, she wouldn’t be able to eat much. Xiaocao calculated the number of days that had passed since the last time she had brought some radishes, that she had personally pickled herself, over. It was around the right time to get more. She had been busy these past few days with helping her godmother and younger brother settle down, so she didn’t have the time to send some more to the princess consort.
Zhu Junyang silently looked at her without even nodding or shaking his head. It looked like he had no intention in replying to her. Yu Xiaocao knew from the princess consort’s stories that her youngest son had an eccentric personality and didn’t like to talk. So, she didn’t hold the expectation that he might talk to her.
Just as she was about to find some words to say farewell, the young royal prince unexpectedly opened his mouth, “Mhm! This stand’s products are even more delicious than the ones in the capital!”
Well that was obvious, just look at who they got their recipes from! Xiaocao silently joked inside and a somewhat arrogant expression showed up on her face. Little Jiang’s family’s pickled vegetable stand was no longer located in that desolate and remote food market anymore. They had not only moved into main food market but also rented a larger area to sell their goods.
A while back, Xiaocao had written a few more pickled vegetable recipes for them. Little Jiang was very talented at making pickled vegetables. The pickled vegetables he made after following her recipes were almost at her level. Thus, the Jiang Family’s pickled vegetable stand’s reputation had long spread throughout Tanggu town. In addition, their pickled vegetables were tasty and priced affordably. No matter how rich or how poor someone was, everyone was able to afford their products and enjoyed eating them. Every day the line of people waiting to buy pickled vegetables at the stand almost rivaled the line of people at Zhenxiu Restaurant waiting to buy osmanthus duck and roasted chicken. Xiaocao’s dividends naturally increased with every passing month. The little girl’s personal savings had multiplied again!
Zhu Junyang was somewhat puzzled when he noticed the slightly proud expression on Xiaocao’s face. Suddenly, he remembered that his lady mother had told him that the pickled vegetables they had been eating for the past couple of days had been personally made by this little girl. Perhaps…
“Does your family own the Jiang Family’s pickled vegetable stand?” That couldn't be right. If it was owned by her family, why wouldn’t it be called the Yu Family’s pickled vegetable stand instead? Zhu Junyang became even more confused.
When she saw the puzzled look on the young royal prince’s face, Yu Xiaocao became even more proud. The corners of her mouth lifted up and she raised her tiny nose towards the sky. She snorted and then stated, “Although the pickled vegetable stand isn’t owned by my family, it’s still related to me! Many of the pickled vegetables they sell were all thought up by me. The sweet and sour crispy radishes and wine-pickled soybeans in your hands are examples of my handiwork!”
The wine-pickled soybeans were savory, spicy, and had an aroma of wine. Zhu Junyang immediately liked these pickled soybeans from the first time he ate some. The sweet and sour crispy radishes were tasty and crisp, so they were his lady mother’s favorites. Both of these, however, had been crafted by the little girl in front of him who hadn't even reached the age of ten. It was hard to say whether people should praise her for being talented or admonish her for being too dazzling.
“I really want to open up that little skull of yours and find out how many weird and eccentric ideas you have in there…” Young Royal Prince, was it really okay for you to say such scary things with such an admiring tone?
Yu Xiaocao immediately covered her head with one of her hands and pretended to panic, “You’re not allowed to open it up! If you don’t open up my head, you still have the opportunity to find out what else I know. However, if you open it, then the only thing you’ll see is the whitish-gray color of my brains…”
Zhu Junyang wasn’t unfamiliar with bloodshed. In the time period before he was able to control himself, he had an explosive temper and had ended up hurting a lot of people. However, those people all deserved the pain! Regardless, he had seen the aftermath of his violence before. Whenever he thought of that happening to this odd yet lively little girl in front of him, Zhu Junyang felt his heart ache in rejection!
“With this prince around, who would dare to harm you?!” A wave of brutality surfaced within Zhu Junyang’s body and rushed out. His pair of icy eyes suddenly seemed to be overwhelmed by a sea of red. Next to him was his bodyguard of many years, Wu Deshun, and the other man’s heart fell to the ground as he thought in despair, ‘We’re screwed! Master has lost control of his temper again! There are so many people on the street, who knows how many will be injured? Master only took me along today when he went out, but I’m not able to hold him back ah!!’
“Eh? Weren’t you the one who said that you wanted to open up my skull ah? How come you suddenly forgot this?” Xiaocao’s voice was as clear as a raindrop, and it managed to pour into Zhu Junyang’s consciousness. In an instant, the rage building inside of him was washed away into smoke.
Her heavenly voice caressed him and pulled Zhu Junyang’s reason back into the forefront. Reason gradually returned into his eyes and the smell of brutality emanating from his body gradually dissipated into mist. Wu Deshun was astonished and his mouth fell open until it could hold two chicken eggs, ‘Oh my god! Master was somehow able to control himself! I have never seen something like this before, where he was able to pull himself back from the abyss! This...could this be related to the little girl in front of me?’Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Sanguine’s thoughts: Wonder what Prince Yang thinks of all of this...