“What are you saying!” If Zhu Junyang could move his arms, he would have knocked on her forehead, “How can that be considered a romantic encounter? She’s just a disgusting toad!”
“Pshhh! Well, someone is quite thick-skinned ah. Comparing himself to a white swan !” Yu Xiaocao tutted endlessly.
This time, Zhu Junyang really raised his arm, which couldn’t bend, and lightly knocked on her head. He sullenly said, “Such a young age, yet your mind is filled with all these weird thoughts. Come on, where do you want to go? This prince will accompany you!”
Yu Xiaocao covered her head and made a funny face at him. Who was the one who needed to be accompanied ah! She thought about it and said, “Let’s go to Zhenxiu Restaurant first to buy roasted chicken and osmanthus duck, and then go to Rongxuan Academy!”
Since Headmaster Yuan said her family’s Little Shitou could try taking the county-level examination next year, her younger brother had taken Rongxuan Academy as his home. Even when it was break time, he still seldom went home. He said he wanted to have more time to study. Although Headmaster Yuan wasn’t at the academy, he had entrusted the supervisor and head teacher of the academy to look after his young disciple. He also got many of the previous exam questions for the county-level examinations and told Yu Fan to work on them during his spare time, and then he would give him some advice when he got back.
She hadn’t seen Little Shitou for a period of time, so she really did miss him. Recently, in order to not disturb her younger brother’s studies, Xiaocao didn’t visit him as frequently as before. ‘Did my younger brother get thinner?’
Zhu Junyang had originally come out for a walk because he was bored at home. He didn’t mind where they went, so it wasn’t a bad idea to go check out the famous academy of the Great Ming Dynasty!
Yu Xiaocao went directly to the back kitchen of Zhenxiu Restaurant, and greeted Yang Feng. After that, she took a roasted chicken and osmanthus duck, cut them up, wrapped them in oiled paper, and took them away.
“Dine and dash? You’re not paying?” Zhu Junyang didn’t know about Yu Xiaoaco’s relationship with Zhenxiu Restaurant. He silently watched everything that happened and couldn’t help but ask.
“This maiden has never needed to pay when eating at Zhenxiu Restaurant! You must be surprised because of ignorance, right?” Yu Xiaocao waved the roasted chicken in her hands in front of him and smiled at him in a flaunting manner.
Zhu Junyang knew that one had to make a reservation in advance in order to eat at Zhenxiu Restaurant, especially for private rooms. When the business was good, people still might not be able to get a seat even if they made a reservation over one month in advance. Seeing Yu Xiaocao’s smug expression, he couldn’t help but want to make things difficult for her, “You have so much face ah? Then let’s eat lunch at Zhenxiu Restaurant. You’re treating!”
He originally thought that he would be able to see Yu Xiaocao being embarrassed, but he hadn’t expected that she would nonchalantly nod, “Okay! Isn’t it just a meal? Easy!!”
Last year, with just the year-end dividends from roasted chicken and salted ducks, Yu Xiaocao had received more than thirty thousand taels. She divided the money into five portions and deposited them into the Zhou Family’s bank in town. The four siblings each got a share, while one portion was saved up as pension for Yu Hai and his wife.
Originally, Yu Hai, Yu Hang, and the others felt that it was money earned by his daughter (younger sister), so they firmly refused to accept it. However, Yu Xiaocao’s attitude was even more resolute. She said that she was a member of the family, so of course, the money that she earned was considered the family’s. If they didn’t accept it, then they weren’t treating her as a member of the family!
Seeing that Xiaocao was really angry, they reluctantly accepted the money and decided to save it up for her dowry. Xiaolian also offered to put the money that she earned into the family account since she was also a member of the family. However, her suggestion was rejected with one remark from Xiaocao, “The little money that you make isn’t even enough to fill the gaps between one’s teeth. Does it really matter whether you contribute it or not?”
Xiaolian didn’t concede within her heart, ‘Isn’t my business doing pretty well right now? With an income of several dozens taels a month, I can earn several hundred taels annually. Although it can’t compare with the Younger Sister’s abnormal speed of making money, I’m still one of the few in Dongshan Village who can earn so much!’ However, within her heart, she knew that her younger sister was being partial to her and letting her save up more private savings!
For this matter, Yu Xiaocao had gathered the entire family and held a family meeting. In the future, the money that the family earned would be divided into five portions and each person could freely decide what they wanted to do with their own portion. In the future, the siblings would be responsible for all the expenses of their own weddings. For their parents’ share, they could subsidize whoever they wanted and other people weren’t allowed to complain!
Since they separated from the main family, which method of making money didn’t come from Yu Xiaocao? The most profitable business was also contributed by Yu Xiaocao. Since she had made this decision, what could the others say? The siblings all felt that they had taken advantage of their younger sister (second older sister), and felt very embarrassed inwardly.
Ahem, seemed to have gone off topic! Back to the present, with roasted chicken and salted duck in her hands, Yu Xiaocao bought some of the children’s favorite sweets and pastries from a famous snack shop on the street. After that, she headed in the direction of Rongxuan Academy in a valiant and spirited manner.
Zhu Junyang was quite critical of the pastries in the snack shop, “Is this the most famous snack shop? Those few kinds of snacks that they have doesn’t look appetizing, so they’re probably not very tasty either! When this prince gets back to the capital, I will take you to eat the capital’s most famous ‘fresh Chinese wisteria cake’, ‘sponge cake’, ‘hibiscus cake’, and various flavors of sesame candies. I guarantee that you will want to eat more after trying them and never be tired of them!”
Royal Prince Yang said these words in the snack shop. The worker in the shop heard him and kept shooting daggers at him, yet he still didn’t notice and kept blabbering on. After Yu Xiaocao paid, she nearly fled out of there. If she stayed any longer, she was afraid that the worker would beat them up and kick them out.
“Young Royal Prince, you’re quite talkative today! Yu Xiaocao vaguely reminded him.
Zhu Junyang thought that she was scorning him for being too talkative, so he glared at her and said, “You think that this prince is talking too much? Had it been someone else, this prince would have been to lazy to even say anything!”
Zhu Junyang also didn’t know the reason, but in front of Yu Xiacoao, he no longer had to be in a state of extreme nervousness and be on guard at all times. He could finally completely relax, and thus he naturally became more talkative!
Yu Xiaocao rolled her eyes at him, hung the pastries that she just bought on his finger, and continued to walk towards Rongxuan Academy. Zhu Junyang looked at the snacks in his hands and didn’t know whether he should laugh or cry, ‘So who is supposed to be the minion now?’
Head Steward Liu didn’t dare to let his master carry things, so he hastily took the pastries from the royal prince’s hands. He complained about Yu Xiaocao in his heart, ‘Master’s arms haven’t recovered, yet she made Master carry things. What are they going to do if he pulled a muscle?’
If Yu Xiaocao could read minds, she would definitely roll her eyes at him, ‘It’s only a little more than a catty of pastries. How would that tire out your master? That’s too frail!’
With one in the east side of town and the other in the west, Rongxuan Academy and Princess Consort Jing’s temporary residence were in opposite directions. From the residence, they had to travel across nearly the entire Tanggu Town.
Xiaocao checked the time. It was still too early for lunch break, so they leisurely strolled towards Rongxuan Academy. They arrived at the entrance of Rongxuan Academy right at noon.
To the academy’s gatekeeper, Yu Xiaocao was already considered a familiar acquaintance. After warmly greeting the gatekeeper uncle, Yu Xiaocao went into the small door of the academy with two ‘tails’.
Right at this time, the bell for dismissal rang and students, who were dressed in different colored clothes, came out of their classrooms. Although their height and figure were all different, they all exuded the strong air of scholars. In groups of two or three, they discussed the teachers’ lectures in low voices.
“Second Sister, Second Sister!!” Little Fatty’s loud voice attracted the attention of the students around him. After seeing the sea blue uniform of the primary class, they smiled and turned around. The senior students were quite tolerant of their younger schoolmates.
“This is your younger brother?” Zhu Junyang looked at plump Sun Runze in front of him and tried hard to find a trace of similarity with Yu Xiaocao from his face, but he failed. Could it be that he was so fat that his facial features were squeezed together by his flesh, so he couldn’t see the similarity between the siblings?
Little Shitou pushed Sun Runze’s chubby body away and said with his lips pursed, “How many times have I told you? She’s my second sister, not your second sister!! When did you change your surname to Yu?”
Sun Runze stared at the oiled paper in Yu Xiaocao’s hands and sniffed hard with his nose. After smelling the rich scent of roasted chicken, he grinned and put his arms around Little Shitou’s neck, saying, “Yu Fan, what’s our relationship? Your second sister is my second sister. Why do we need to be so clear about it? Second Sister, you haven’t visited in a long time. What did you bring for your younger brothers?”
Little Shitou’s gaze turned towards the cold-looking man behind his second sister, frowned, and said, “Second Sister, who is he?”
Yu Xiaocao finally remembered that there was someone else behind her. She smiled and said, “Him? Royal Prince Yang ah!! Didn’t you see him at the docks when the young royal prince set out on his voyage? You almost cried because you were scared by him ah!”
Hearing Yu Xiaocao’s words, Royal Prince Yang felt that something like that did happen before. Was he really so scary in the past that he nearly made children cry?
Little Shitou also recalled the scene at that time. He wasn’t the same as before. Little Shitou bowed a greeting at Royal Prince Yang in a refined and courteous manner. His roommates also dropped their usual joking manner and greeted Royal Prince Yang.
Seeing that the kids had become restrained in front of the young royal prince, Yu Xiaocao turned her head and said to Zhu Junyang, “Young Royal Prince, didn’t you say that you wanted to see what Rongxuan Academy looked like? It’s lunch break right now, so you can freely walk around the academy. Don’t go too far. I’ll go find you later!”
‘When did this prince say I want to walk around Rongxuan Academy? She actually sent me away in such a casual manner. I must ruthlessly slaughter this lass at noon and let her release some blood!’ Zhu Junyang glared at Yu Xiaocao, and then slowly walked away with Head Steward Liu.
Before Head Steward Liu left, he gave the pastries to Little Shitou, patted his shoulder, and looked at Yu Xiaocao with a faint smile on his face. This lass was quite bold. No one had ever treated the prince like an eyesore so apparently and shooed him away!
Once the royal prince left, the kids became lively again. Little Fatty volunteered to help Little Shitou get rice so that the siblings could have some time to talk in private.
“How are you doing recently? Is there a lot of assignments? Don’t give yourself too much pressure. Next year, you will only be eight years old. Will it be too early to take the county-level exams?” Yu Xiaocao didn’t want her younger brother to become a bookworm who only cared about studying. She never let her younger brother touch books during his breaks from school. Instead, she took him to the mountains and sea to play, hoping that he would have a happy and unforgettable childhood.
 Reference to the saying, "a toad wishing to eat swan meat" — to crave for what one is not worthy ofPrevious Chapter Next Chapter
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