Chapter 254 - Dispute

Yu Xiaocao, who had handed the job of processing the abalones, sea cucumbers, and shark fins to her father, occupied her mother with Xiaolian at night. Yu Hai could only aggrievedly sleep on the same kang bed with his eldest son, Yu Hang! When his youngest daughter wasn’t at home, he missed her. But, when she was at home, she would steal his wife away from him. Yu Hai felt so conflicted ah!

The next day, Yu Xiaocao, who finally had time to rest at home for a couple days, couldn’t stay idle. She followed her father early in the morning and went to help in the melon fields.

For the Yu Family’s first batch of watermelons, there wasn’t really a lot of ripe watermelons. There were about three to five thousand catties every day. Since Wang Ergou often came to help and did his best to take care of the watermelons, he and her two maternal uncles naturally got priority for the watermelons!

Wang Ergou earned quite a lot of money from selling watermelons last year, so he bought an ox cart this year. Why did he buy an ox cart and not a horse carriage? It was more economical ah! Think about it, he could only sell watermelons for a little over a month every year. If he bought an ox cart, he could normally pull people to town, and when he was busy with farming, he could lease the ox cart to earn money.

Now, due to the Zhou Family’s factories, the villages around Dongshan Village had become much richer than before. The people who needed to go to the town market didn’t mind spending a few copper coins for a ride! The neighboring village’s Old Ma’s cart was full every day. He could earn money faster than working at the docks!

No one in the village had bought an ox cart except for the village head! The villagers of Dongshan Village, who began to open up their money pouches, all lined up to rent the village chief’s ox when it was time to plow. For ten copper coins per mu, if it kept plowing for a day, then it could plow ten or so mu of land. He would be able to earn more than one hundred copper coins! One must say that when Wang Ergou’s mind was used in the right way, he was quite clever in trivial matters.   

When they reached the melon fields, Yu Xiaocao’s oldest aunt’s family had already begun working! Liu Hu and Oldest Aunt’s eldest son was already very skilled with the task of picking out the mature melons. The father and son were in charge of plucking the ripe watermelons, while Xiaocao’s oldest aunt and her daughter were responsible for taking the watermelons to the edge of the fields. Little Fangping obediently sat by the watermelons and looked after them. 

Wang Ergou had already brought his ox cart to the fields and started working in the fields early in the morning. Seeing Yu Hai, he greeted him with a face full of smiles, “Brother Dahai, thanks to you, I’m going to make a lot of money!”

It might be because he had a son now, so he had a prospect in his life. Ergou’zi had gotten much fatter than last year, and his previously protruding mouth and monkey-like chin had changed. He looked much better with his round face!

Yu Hai smiled and said, “You worked hard to earn the money, so how is that thanks to me? Work hard and earn more money for your son and wife!”

Wang Ergou smiled so much that his eyes had disappeared. He nodded repeatedly and said, “Brother Dahai is right! I plan on building a house with the money I made from selling watermelons this year. Build a five-room house with a large yard!”

Yu Hai patted his shoulders and said, “Not bad, not bad! I have confidence in you!!”

At this time, Yu Xiaocao’s two maternal uncles each drove a horse carriage over. They cooperated with a famous fruit store in the prefectural city. Every few days, they had to deliver two carts of watermelons over. In this way, they earned quite a lot of money from the price differences!

Yu Hai and Xiaocao also went down the field to look for mature watermelons. Due to the tight time and heavy task, Xiaocao asked the little divine stone to transform into a kitten and help. The little divine stone could clearly perceive the internal structure of each watermelon. Its power hadn’t recovered enough yet, otherwise, it could share everything it sees and hears with Xiaocao. In other words, it could see the inside of the watermelon, so if they could share perception, Xiaocao would also have the perspective ability!

The little divine stone, who was just a step away from this state, had no choice but to move its poor little legs and shuttle through the cluster of melons, while Yu Xiaocao followed behind it. When it found a ripe watermelon, the little golden kitten would jump on top and meow. Xiaocao bent down, pretended to pat on the melon, and plucked it.

The one-man-one-cat cooperation became more and more tacit, and soon Xiaocao left her father far behind. In order to avoid repeating the work when picking watermelon, they were each divided a piece of land to work on. Yu Xiaocao swiftly found all the mature watermelon in the mu of land that she was assigned to, and then she went to work on another piece of land.

Seeing his younger daughter’s fast speed, Yu Hai was afraid that she had picked the raw melons. He went over worriedly and carefully examined the watermelons that she plucked. He was surprised to find that his younger daughter was not only more efficient than him, but none of the watermelons that she plucked were unripe. Thus, he was completely relieved now.

With the little golden kitten as a cheat, Yu Xiaocao finished picking melons in three mu of land alone, and successfully completed the task. Liu Junping was also afraid that she would have missed something due to her fast speed, so he followed behind her and carefully examined the melons again. He realized that there wasn’t a single ripe watermelon in the areas that his youngest female cousin had walked by.

The admiration and doubts in his heart were forgotten due to the heavy work of loading the carts. After filling up Wang Ergou’s and the Liu brothers’ carts, there were still many watermelons left. Liu Hu suggested that he and his eldest son drive the carriage to town to sell the watermelons.

Yu Hai wanted to sell the watermelons to him according to the wholesale price, and let his older brother-in-law keep the money that he earned. However, Liu Hu refused! In his opinion, his family was living and eating at the Yu Family’s, and he also owed them a lot of money for his medical treatments. If he took advantage of the Yu Family again and earned money with the Yu Family’s carriage and watermelon, he would be worse than pigs or dogs!

Liu Hu intended to help the Yu Family sell the watermelons and give all the money that he earned to the Yu Family. Yu Hai knew that his older sister and brother-in-law were going through hard times, so how could he take advantage of his older brother-in-law? When neither could convince the other, Yu Xiaocao finally spoke up, “Father, Oldest Uncle! If you guys continue to argue, the melons will rot in the ground!”

Yu Caifeng glared at Yu Hai with a long face and said angrily, “Xiaohai! You’re treating Older Sister like a stranger ah! Older Sister knows that you want to help me. However, as your older sister and older brother-in-law, if we take advantage of you when we can’t even help you, how would we still have the face to stay in Dongshan Village in the future? If you continue to be like this, we’ll move…”

Seeing the unhappy expression on his sister’s face, Yu Hai quickly explained, “Older Sister, that’s not what I meant. I…”

“Father, Oldest Aunt, I have a suggestion, so why don’t you hear me out!” Yu Xiaocao saw that both sides were very persistent and didn’t have the intention to take a step back, so she came up with an idea.

Yu Hai knew that his younger daughter had always been a clever child, and she must be able to think of a way to make the best of both ways. So, he nodded repeated and said, “Cao’er, what’s your suggestion? Let’s hear it.”

“Father, Oldest Aunt! One thinks that Oldest Aunt’s family has helped out a lot and felt sorry for letting her do free labor. The other felt that my father has helped you guys a lot, so you feel more at ease by doing some work…” Yu Xiaocao first analyzed the mentality of both sides.

Upon hearing that, Yu Hai and the Yu Caifeng couple nodded in agreement!

“Oldest Aunt, Oldest Uncle, what are your plans for the future?” Yu Xiaocao suddenly asked.

Liu Hu seriously thought about it for a moment and said, “I have discussed with your aunt. After the busy period for your family have passed, we will apply for a piece of land with the Village Chief, build a shack, and move out… Dahai, listen to me! I’m also an upright and dauntless man, so I won’t rely on my younger brother-in-law to survive! If I did, wouldn’t people criticize me behind my back?”

Without waiting for Yu Hai to dissuade him, he continued, “Don’t worry, as a man, would I not be able to support my wife and children? When I was in the northeast, I often went up the mountains to hunt for game to improve our lives. As long as I don’t go too deep into the West Mountain, there are still many preys! With my body, I’m not worried about not being able to find a job at the docks! Your older brother-in-law isn’t as capable as you, but I won’t starve your older sister and the kids!”

After several days of rest, Liu Hu’s body had already completely recovered. He was a typical man from the northeast, who had a tall and sturdy build and was very strong! Yu Hai, who was also a head of a household, put himself in his older brother-in-law’s shoes and thought that he was right. As a man, one couldn’t rely on others all the time!

“Oldest Aunt, Oldest Uncle! I can understand that you guys don’t want to burden my father, but we can’t let you guys work for nothing ah! Look, the people who come to help pick the vegetables every day can make twenty copper coins daily. You guys helped plant corn and look after the melon fields, busily working the entire day. If we don’t do anything, we’re afraid that the villagers will say that we’re taking you guys as free laborers and working you to death!” Yu Xiaocao expressed her father’s concerns. On the one hand, Yu Hai wanted to help his sister and her husband. On the other hand, he was afraid that people would gossip behind their backs.

Yu Xiaocao stopped briefly, and then said, “As the saying goes, ‘even blood-brothers need to settle accounts without ambiguity’. Oldest Aunt, Oldest Uncle, how about this? In the past, we sold watermelons per unit. The big ones cost five taels, while the smaller ones were four taels. At the end, we sold the remaining ones for two or three taels! You can pull the carriage to the side of Zhenxiu Restaurant and tell the manager that it belongs to our family and that you want to set up a stall there. He definitely won’t stop you! Since you’re helping us sell the watermelons, we can’t let you do it for free. For every watermelon you sell, we’ll give you a commission of twenty copper coins. What do you think?”

Yu Xiaocao didn’t want to take advantage of her relatives, but she knew that if the commission was too high, her aunt and uncle wouldn’t definitely disagree. A watermelon for twenty copper coins, and there would be at least thirty to forty watermelons on a cart. If they pulled two carts to town daily, her oldest aunt’s family could earn an income of at least a little more than one tael.  

With the yield of her family’s watermelons, there was enough to be sold for at least a month. At that time, her oldest aunt’s family could use the money earned from selling watermelons to build a decent house. Oldest Aunt had already decided to settle down in Dongshan Village, so it necessary for her to have a house of her own! Oldest Uncle wanted to build a shack, which would be fine in the summer and fall. However, with the winter temperature in the north, they would freeze to death!

Yu Caifeng wanted to say something else, but her eldest son stopped her by pulling on the edge of her clothes. Liu Junping whispered in his mother’s ears, “Mother, let’s just do as Younger Cousin said! We don’t have the ability right now. We will have a long time to repay their kindness in the future! Even if we continue to argue until the evening, there still won’t be any results!”

Yu Caifeng felt conflicted for a moment. She knew that once her younger brother made a decision, even eight horses wouldn’t be able to pull him back. Xiaocao’s suggestion should be her younger brother’s biggest compromise. As her eldest son said, they still had a lot of time ahead of them. If her younger brother’s family needs help, she could help them do more work. During the farming seasons, the whole family could go help out. They could slowly repay their kindness!

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Translator: Myst