Chapter 289 - Plain-Clothes Official

Because they had agreed to help Third Young Master Zhou obtain the best quality abalones and seafood, Yu Hai spent his entire summer going out to sea with Liu Shuanzhu. Liu Shuanzhu caught fish while Yu Hai dove down. Yu Hai’s swimming skills were quite good and with the help of an air bladder made of sheepskin, he was able to dive around twenty meters down. Every time he dove down, he had quite good luck. He was able to pick up some lobsters, sea cucumbers and abalones. However, most of them were not considered of the best quality, so all of these seafood ended up being at the table for the Yu Family to eat.

Yu Xiaocao also spent a lot of time this summer diving in the water. Every time she made sure to look presentable with her shark-skin diving suit and a sheep-skin bladder full of air. Her father repeatedly warned her to be careful so she always went into the shallow parts of the water. Her little dolphin friend knew how to find her so it was always waiting for her nearby when she dove in.

With the help of the little dolphin, she was able to swiftly swim into the deep parts of the ocean. Furthermore, with the little divine stone’s magical bubble, she didn’t have to worry about running out of air or getting crushed by the water pressure. Sometimes, the little divine stone was in a good mood and would lead her directly to some areas that had the best quality seafood. Thus, her little sack at her waist was always bulging with her finds.

After diving a few times, she was able to get enough seafood to fill the Zhou Family’s yearly quota. Every time she gathered seafood, Yu Xiaocao had to surreptitiously go into town and then come back home to assert that Third Young Master Zhou wanted her father to turn this seafood into dried goods. Yu Hai couldn’t help but lament in admiration every time he saw the seafood, “In the wider world, there are always people more talented than oneself! I don’t know who is so talented and fortunate to be able to gather such good quality sea cucumbers and abalone all the time.”

After the highest quality seafood was turned into dried goods and sent into the capital, the patriarch of the Zhou Family couldn’t help but rejoice within his heart that his grandson was able to have a good relationship with the Yu Family. There were very few people in the world who had the swimming ability and fortune of the Yu Family! He repeatedly advised his grandson to make sure to have a good relationship with the Yu Family. In the future, all of the seafood the Zhou Family gave to the imperial court relied on the help of this family!

Third Young Master Zhou naturally didn’t need his grandfather to remind him. The Yu Family’s father and daughter pair were too astounding. If he didn’t try his best to maintain a good relationship, then he would be the one who was stupid. He especially had to maintain a good relationship with Yu Xiaocao. She was extremely talented despite her young age. Many speciality dishes of Zhenxiu Restaurant had come out of her hands. Furthermore, from his understanding, she was the person who managed to bring out early-ripening vegetables and watermelons to the market. Recently he had heard from the head manager of Zhenxiu Restaurant in Tanggu Town say that the little lass had come up with a new pesticide to destroy locusts and had planted vegetables in her courtyard. When this harvest of vegetables came onto the market, who knew what kind of sensation that would cause. 

Two years ago, they had met by chance in an alleyway in Tanggu Town. Out of the kindness of his own heart, he had helped the little girl and ended up being rewarded for his good deed. With Yu Xiaocao’s help, he was able to make Zhenxiu Restaurant a sensational success. They also opened a condiment factory and started manufacturing vermicelli and century eggs together. All of this allowed him to be looked upon highly by his grandfather and be groomed as the next family successor. His successes had defeated his highly ambitious older brother and he was now the acknowledged heir. The saying, ‘good deeds lead to good outcomes’ had truly come to full circle for him!

As the Yu Family’s vegetables matured until they were about ready to be harvested, Royal Prince Yang, who had been away in the capital for more than twenty days, had finally returned back to Tanggu Town covered in dust and travel-worn. He rested for merely one day at the manor in Tanggu Town and then set off the next day to Dongshan Village.

As soon as Zhu Junyang passed through the Yu Family’s front gate, Yu Xiaocao joyfully rushed over. When she saw that there was nothing valuable in his hands, she curled her lip and turned around to leave as she muttered, “Didn’t you say you were going to get a reward for my family ah? Where’s the reward? One absolutely cannot believe a man’s words!”

“Pfffttt——” An unfamiliar laugh caused Yu Xiaocao to turn back again. She looked curiously at the strange figure who was behind the young royal prince.

The stranger had a tall and imposing figure, pale luminous skin, and a dazzling pair of dark eyes that seemed to be able to see into the depths of a person’s soul. When he laughed, he looked as bright as the moon, and when he was serious, he looked as austere as a cold star. He had a straight nose bridge and dark red lips. His face seemed gentle when he smiled and foreboding as ice when he was stern. The profile of his face seemed to be perfectly sculpted by a sharp knife and he was stunning without looking like a gentle beauty...in essence, he was a perfect example of an extremely handsome man!

“And you are——” Yu Xiaocao felt a bit embarrassed by her earlier petty actions. She gazed at that man who was more handsome than any of the actors or idols of her previous life and asked in a somewhat hesitant tone. 

Zhu Junyang naturally didn’t miss the flash of astonishment that had gone through her eyes. His face became ice cold and he frowned as he turned around to look at the man behind him. He seemed not to know how to properly introduce this person. The emperor was seriously too much. He actually had so much free time that he wanted to travel incognito among his people and insisted on coming with him to Dongshan Village. He really didn’t know what he was thinking.

The man smiled slightly and calmly replied, “We...ahem ahem! I am Junyang’s eldest brother. You can call me Older Brother Junfan!”

The young royal prince’s eldest brother? Oh right, Prince Jing had three sons. She had already seen his second and third sons, so the only one she hadn’t met and only heard about was his heir. Yu Xiaocao hurriedly bowed and delicately said, “Greetings to the heir of Prince Jing, may you have much fortune!” 

“Ahem ahem…” ‘The heir of Prince Jing’ seemed to have choked on his own saliva. After coughing a bit, he hurriedly replied, “No need for such courtesy! Us brothers all tend to have easy-going temperaments. Miss Yu doesn’t need to act so politely!”  

The person who was pretending to be Zhu Junyang’s eldest brother was the current emperor. Since the two of them were cousins, he technically wasn’t lying. Calling him ‘older brother’ was something that Zhu Junyang should do.

Why did the emperor decide to come to Dongshan Village? It was quite simple; he was very interested in the Yu Family. When he saw the corn and potatoes that Zhu Junyang sent back, as well as the booklet containing pages and pages of potato recipes, Zhu Junfan was certain that one member of the Yu Family was also a transmigrator like him.

From what he was able to pry out of his younger cousin’s mouth, he was pretty sure that his fellow transmigrator was probably the clever and interesting, talented at cooking, Yu Family’s youngest daughter. In order to confirm his hunch, he traveled along with his younger cousin to Dongshan Village while incognito. 

As soon as they met, this little girl used a phrase that was out of turn. Wasn’t it one of those sappy phrases from those historical dramas in his previous life? This era didn’t have anyone saying ‘and may you have great fortune’ as a greeting. 

When he saw the entire courtyard filled with verdant green vegetables without a single locust on any of them, Zhu Junfan was quite surprised. Despite his astonishment, he didn’t reveal any of it on his face. He grinned slyly and pointed towards the green vegetables with the fan in his hand as he said, “Did you spray pesticides on these vegetables?”

Yu Xiaocao nodded her head, “My lord is wise. This commoner girl followed the precepts of traditional medicine and, with the help of Doctor Sun from Tongren Medicine Hall, created a pesticide that could destroy locusts. I spray some on the plants every morning and evening, and it protects the vegetables from being eaten by the insects.”

“Since this pesticide can kill locusts, that means it has a bit of poison in it, right? Would there be any adverse effects to the people who end up eating the vegetables then?” When Zhu Junfan found out that this pesticide could kill locusts, he thought further ahead. If this could be mass-produced and disseminated, wouldn’t the people be able to plant a crop before the start of autumn and harvest something? However, if this was similar to the pesticides in his previous life and had bad effects on the body, then he would forget about it!

Yu Xiaocao proudly smiled and explained, “Although my pesticide does have some poison in it, the poison is volatile and completely dissipates within twelve hours of being sprayed. As long as I don’t spray any on the vegetables about twelve hours before we harvest, there won’t be any harm to a person’s body. Furthermore, even if someone accidentally ate some vegetables with the pesticide still on it, it’s not a big deal. The poison isn’t very strong. Those with strong and healthy bodies won’t feel any effects. As for those who are weaker, they’ll just end up going to the bathroom to relieve themselves a couple of times. As long as they drink enough water, they should be fine!”  

“Volatile?” Zhu Junfan repeated this term a few times as a mysterious smile flickered on his lips. Aha! I’ve caught your little tail. He was willing to bet the head on his shoulders that the Yu Family’s youngest daughter was a transmigrator.

Yu Xiaocao thought he didn’t understand what the term ‘volatile’ meant and hurriedly gave an explanation, “Volatile means that it dissipates quickly! The pesticide’s poison has a time limit for how long it is effective. When enough time passes, then the poisonous effects will disappear. It doesn’t go into the air and actually truly disappears. It won’t have any polluting effects on the air or soil around it!”

‘Pollution? Heh heh! Miss Yu Xiaocao, the more you say the more mistakes you make! It is you! You are my fellow transmigrator!’ Zhu Junfan was calculating the possibilities within his mind and didn’t beat the grass to scare the snake. If he had to choose between Yu Hai and Yu Xiaocao being the transmigrator, he would rather Yu Xiaocao be the transmigrator.

Why? The reason was simple. Men tended to have ambitious thoughts. After all, didn’t his current grandfather, who was previously a general in his past life, snatch an opportunity during the chaos of the previous dynasty and became the emperor who established the Great Ming Dynasty? Although he wasn’t very attached to being the emperor, he also didn’t want the hard work that his grandfather had done in establishing this dynasty to be destroyed by someone else.

If this little girl, Yu Xiaocao, was the transmigrator, then he didn’t have to be worried. From his taciturn younger cousin, he could tell that this little girl had either been a farmer or a small restaurant owner in her past life. Otherwise, how could she come up with methods in growing vegetables and watermelons early as well as be able to cultivate potatoes and corn so well?

If his hunch was correct, then he didn’t have to worry that the little girl was someone like Wu Zetian [1]. Today he was finally able to meet this weak, delicate, and adorable little girl. He could tell in one glance that she wasn’t someone who had raging ambitions. This made him relax even more.

When Zhu Junyang noticed that all of Yu Xiaocao’s attention was on the emperor, he immediately felt as if he had been coldly abandoned. He dryly coughed a couple of times and stated, “Yu Xiaocao, I want to eat pork stewed with vermicelli and savory and spicy river snails...”

Yu Xiaocao turned around and rolled her eyes at him, “We don’t have any river snails today! We only have potatoes stir fried with potatoes, green vegetables sauteed with green vegetables, and locusts fried with locusts!”

“Locusts? You can also eat locusts?” Zhu Junfan had been born and raised in a city in his previous life. Thus, he had only seen locusts as illustrations in books. 

Yu Xiaocao turned back to face the ‘heir of Prince Jing’ and immediately changed her aggressive expression into one filled with smiles, “Although locusts look quite scary, they are actually very tasty. Furthermore, locusts are very nutritious, so they don’t harm the body and only strengthen it! My lord, do you want to try some at noon?”  

Zhu Junfan was just about to agree when his younger cousin with the stiff face interjected, “If you don’t have any river snails, you can go gather some! There’s still some time between now and noon. If you gather some now, you’ll still have time to clean them of their dirt!”

“If you want to eat them, go gather some yourself! The back courtyard has a gate that leads to the lakeside. I’ll have Little Shitou show you the way!” Yu Xiaocao rolled her eyes at him again and replied in a voice full of impatience. 

“Savory and spicy river snails? I’ve heard that they are quite good. We...I would also like to try some!” Zhu Junfan started reminiscing about his college days. At that time, he had gone out with three of his buddies and they had ordered a plate of river snails and a few bottles of beer. It was the summer, so they were shirtless as they sat next to the small food stall as they ate food and drank beer leisurely. Those were the times that he missed the most ah! Unfortunately, it was highly unlikely that he would ever see those buddies of his again...


[1] Wu Zetian (武则天) - A Chinese sovereign who ruled unofficially as empress consort, and later officially as regent, empress dowager, and empress regnant during the Tang Dynasty 

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Myst's Thoughts

savory and spicy conches

Sanguine’s Thoughts: Whenever the author waxes on and on about how beautiful one of the male characters are, I just want to throw a fit and write: “and he was a super, utter hottie okay!”

Translator: Sanguine