Chapter 258 - Changes

“Who said you guys had no roots? I will be your backer, who would dare to touch my people?" With a cold face, Zhu Junyang started emitting cold air. However, he was interested in the words ‘cannon fodder’. He wanted to ask what they meant but he was afraid the little lass would say that he was ignorant, so he stayed silent.  

"Yes, yes, yes! You are powerful! No matter how powerful you are, you still have to eat right? Here, scrambled eggs with tomatoes!" While talking, Yu Xiaocao had quickly cooked up the last dish. Just as she was about to bring it over to the stone table in the courtyard, Zhu Junyang, that door god, blocked the way, so she slipped the vegetables into his hands. 

Zhu Junyang looked down at the bright red and golden ‘scrambled eggs with tomato’, and then looked at Xiaocao who had turned around to scoop out the rice. ‘What does she mean? Is she telling me to take the dishes out for her? This lass's courage is growing bigger and bigger; she even dares to order this prince around!’

When Head Steward Liu saw this, his expression changed and he hurriedly rushed over to take the dish out of his master’s hands. Head Steward Liu's heart shuddered and he thought, ‘My little ancestor, how can you order the Royal Prince to take the dishes? Isn't this just asking a venerable old man to go hang himself—to go seek death?’

Unexpectedly, his master didn't appreciate his actions and dodged his hands. He carried the plate in one hand, held his other hand elegantly behind his back and walked out of the kitchen.

"Get out of the way! Here comes the rice!" Yu Xiaocao's voice rang out just as Zhu Junyang set the dish of scrambled eggs with tomatoes down on the table.

When he turned around, he saw that the lass, as if she was doing acrobatics, holding a big bowl of rice in one hand and had a teetering plate on top of two adjacent bowls in the other hand. Without thinking, Zhu Junyang reached out and took the plate of 'stir-fried spoon worms with chives’ on top. 

As if he had seen something extraordinary, Head Steward Liu’s eyes almost fell out of his eye socket. They could say the dish just now was given by Miss Yu, so his master just brought it out. However, his master actually took the initiative to help Miss Yu with the dishes, this.. this... should they check to see if the master had been substituted by someone?

When Yu Xiaocao passed by Head Steward Liu, he grabbed her and quietly whispered, "Miss Yu, if you have any work, feel free to tell me. Don't be embarrassed about it...." 

Yu Xiaocao saw that most of the dishes were already brought out so she waved her hand and said with a smile, "There's nothing for you to do. You can just sit and wait to eat the meal!"

How could the servant just sit and wait to eat, while the master serves the food? Did he still want to live?

"Young Royal Prince, do you want to have steamed buns or rice?" Head Steward Liu wanted to say something else, but he was interrupted by the clear and melodious voice of Yu Xiaocao. Seeing that his master had looked over, and even glared at him, Head Steward Liu tactfully closed his mouth.

Not only was Zhu Junyang not angry at Xiaocao for letting him bring out the dishes, but he also thought it was a new experience. . When eating at home, there were usually people serving them, so it looked comfortable and relaxed. But, in fact, there was a lack of ambiance. Unlike his family, even Yu Hai, who came back from the fields, helped distribute the bowls and chopsticks. The feeling of the whole family working together gave off an overflowing sense of warmth.

After helping bring out the two dishes, Zhu Junyang suddenly felt he was no longer a high-ranking prince nor the enviable third son of Prince Jing, but instead he had integrated into the warm family and became a part of them.

"You guys, there’s no need for a separate table. Just eat with this prince!" Zhu Junyang expressed an 'it's a great honor for you to eat dinner with me' attitude. In actuality, he had longed for the atmosphere of smiling and talking while eating, like the Yu Family.

Yu Hai was going to decline, but Yu Xiaocao wasn't going to act courteous with him. She merged the two tables of dishes into one, and quickly set up the stools. Zhu Junyang looked Yu Hai and blocked his words of refusal with a simple, “Sit down.”

Head Steward Liu was numb already. Ever since coming to Dongshan Village, the master had become less and less like himself. Looking at the little master, whom he had watched grow up, he felt that, with the Yu Family, the master felt more and more human. This didn't seem to be a bad thing.

"You don't need to wait on me here, go eat!" Zhu Junyang saw Head Steward Liu standing behind him, holding chopsticks and ready to try the dishes for poison, so he sent him away.

Head Steward Liu's eyes became tearful; he could finally eat a hot meal. The Yu Family's meals were all cooked in one pot, there was a portion set aside for him from every dish. Head Steward Liu usually insisted on serving the master himself, so by the time it was his turn to eat, the food had already gotten cold. Head Steward Liu was old and his stomach wasn't as good as when he was young. After a cold meal, he would always have a dull pain in his stomach.

When he was in the estate, it wasn't as bad. As the Head Steward, his disciples and followers, who had a good eye for things, would help him heat the food. However, when he got to Dongshan Village, the master didn't even want to bring him along, much less other people. Head Steward Liu could only bear it.

He looked worried at the young master, who was eating and sitting among the Yu Family, and discovered that the master was able to do as they were doing, happily eating. Head Steward Liu finally felt relieved and sat down at the wooden table on the side and slowly ate.

"Father, didn't Third Young Master Zhou take over the supply of dried seafood for the imperial palace? He wants to make a contract with us. All the high-grade abalone and sea cucumber we catch in the future will be sold to the Zhou Family! They'll buy it at a high price!" The Yu Family didn't have rules where they couldn't talk while eating. They were usually busy with their own matters, so they could only get together when they eat. Due to this, they always talked about their matters at the dinner table.

Yu Hai glanced at the royal prince, who was seriously eating his meal, and cautiously said, "Even if we don't make a contract with the Zhou Family, with their care for us, we can still sell the high-grade seafood to his family!"

In Yu Hai's opinion, the Zhou Family really did treat them well. When they hadn't separated their families yet, the Zhou Family paid high prices for their quarry. When opening the factories and hiring workers, they trusted them to help. Also, the business of collecting spoon worms and oysters allowed them to earn them quite a bit of money in one year. In his honest opinion, if they took care of his family like this, then if he had something good, he naturally would think of them as well. 

"It's just that the high-grade abalones and sea cucumbers aren't easy to come across! The Zhou Family can't just rely on our family...." Yu Hai thought his swimming skill was pretty good, but he still wasn't sure about being able to catch abalones and sea cucumbers.

"Don't worry, they definitely won't just rely on to us! Let's just try our best! Father, my swimming skills is pretty good now, I can go to help you! 

"You? No way! How many times have you been in the sea? The deep sea has many dangers, not only do your swimming skills have to be good, but you also need to have good physical strength. If you run out of energy in the middle of a dive, no one will help you, it's too dangerous!" Yu Hai adamantly refused.

Zhu Junyang glanced at Yu Xiaocao and couldn't help saying, "The sea isn't for horsing around. In the future, don't go into the sea so often!"

Yu Xiaocao glared at him. With bad intentions, she gave him a chopstick full of chives. She smiled and innocently said, "Young Royal Prince, try the stir-fried spoon worms with chives. It's delicious!"

During these past few days, Yu Xiaocao had noticed that the cold Young Royal Prince's mouth was very picky. He didn't touch vegetables like chives, onions, and garlic that had a strong taste at all.

Seeing that the young royal prince was gradually furrowing his brows as he looked at the chives in his bowl, Xiaocao felt very proud of herself. 'Humph! We are talking about family matters, what are you cutting in for? Ha, serves you right!'

Zhu Junyang stared at the chives in the bowl as if he were going to war with it. After looking for a long time, he finally moved. He stuffed all the chives into his mouth, drank a big mouthful of soup, and directly swallowed without chewing. 

‘Humph! This lass must've done it on purpose!’ Zhu Junyang glared at Yu Xiaocao. ‘Returning her kindness’, he picked up some shredded ginger and put them in Yu Xiaocao's bowl. Zhu Junyang had long noticed that every time that lass eats a meal, she always picked out the ginger and put them on the table.

Seeing that the little girl was up to her old tricks of picking out the shredded ginger, Zhu Junyang said with great dignity, "It’s this prince’s first time picking up food and giving it to another person. This is a great honor to you, so you must eat it and not throw it away! Otherwise... Humph, don't blame me for punishing you!"

‘Humph! Seeking revenge for such a small grievance!’ Yu Xiaocao's thoughts were full of complaints toward him. She mixed the shredded ginger with the rice and ate it with a bitter face. Zhu Junyang and Yu Xiaocao were even now!

Yu Hang looked at his younger sister's dissatisfied expression, which looked like she wanted to continue provoking him. Thus, he hurriedly touched her with his feet under the table. His youngest sister's courage was really too big. Who was the person sitting across the table? The Great Ming Dynasty's Royal Prince Yang, a member of the royal family. We, ordinary people, couldn’t wait to put up offerings for him or hide from him, yet why was she constantly looking for trouble?

Receiving her older brother's warning, Yu Xiaocao pouted and picked at her rice. Her little mouth was like a bloated frog trying to hold itself up. Zhu Junyang gazed at the little girl with a hint of a smile.

In this way, Royal Prince Yang came to ‘inspect’ Dongshan Village every three or five days, saying it was to record the growth data of corn and potatoes. In reality, his ulterior motive was the food and warm atmosphere of the Yu Family.

Princess Consort Jing was also aware of the changes in her youngest son. Her youngest son used to be indifferent to everything except her, his mother. It was like he was isolating himself in a circle and choosing endless loneliness as his company. Princess Consort Jing always felt that if it continued like this, she would eventually lose her son...

These days, her son seemed to be busy, diligently running to Dongshan Village. Every day, he would head out early in the morning and come back at night. Where did he eat lunch? Did she even need to ask? Her youngest son had been a picky eater since he was a child, he would never eat anything that didn't suit his taste. Besides that little girl of the Yu Family, who else would have that talent?

After a few days, her son's thin cheeks were filling out more and more every day. Although he still seemed cold and indifferent, that uncomfortable deathly aura of his was slowly dissipating, making him look more ‘human’.

She wasn’t saying that her son wasn’t human, but like a ten-thousand-year-old cold iron, her youngest son used to be a big block of ice, making it hard for people to get close. Now, he was becoming more affectionate and talkative. He talked more and more frequently about the little girl of the Yu Family…

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