At this time, Fang Haolin, who had been placed on the floor, secretly glanced at Yu Xiaocao before he toddled towards Lady Fang. He did his best to outstretch his chubby little arms that looked like lotus roots, cutely saying, “Mommy, eat fruit!”
Lady Fang picked up her son and placed him on her lap. She shook her head and said, “Your sister gave you that, so you eat it!”
Little Linlin stubbornly put the peach to her mouth, “Linlin eat after Mommy eat!”
“Godmother, Linlin is so filial. You should just take a bite!” Yu Xiaocao smiled sweetly as she looked at the little toddler, who was barely two yet already knew to first let his mother eat the good things. Although this little fellow was a little shy, his parents had taught him well.
Only after Lady Fang pretended to take a small bite into the top of the peach did Little Linlin happily eat the peach. The peach was full of juice and extremely sweet. Just by biting into the skin and lightly sucking it, a piece of sweet and juicy peach went into the little fellow’s mouth.
‘So yummy! It’s even better than the cherries that Mommy bought before. Mm...it’s almost as good as the watermelons that Older Sister sent from Tanggu Town!’ Little Linlin secretly looked at his fair-skinned, doe-eyed older sister. ‘So this is my older sister who lived in Tanggu Town. She’s the one who can make delicious food, and often sends delicious pastries and fruits over to us, right? Older Brother Xuanxuan said that his older sister treated him very well and spent all her monthly allowance on him! Now that Linlin also has an older sister, will she also treat Linlin as good as Older Brother Xuanxuan’s older sister does?’
Our little friend, Fang Haolin who was barely two years old, thought about all this as he ate the big peach, but he accidentally ate too much while he was distracted! He had gotten spleen-stomach disharmony recently. Moreover, he did not cooperate with the treatment. Therefore, he ended up rolling on the bed while clutching his stomach and wailing until tears and mucus streaked his face.
Lady Fang felt both amused and helpless. She resignedly gave out orders to brew the medicine, but the little fellow refused to take his medicine even though his stomach was in pain, “Mommy, Linlin doesn’t want to drink that bitter medicine. I don’t wanna, don’t wanna!”
“If you don’t drink the medicine, your stomach will hurt for the whole afternoon.” Coaxing her son to take his medicine was a difficult task. Lady Fang saw the little fellow bury his head into his blanket while leaving his wiggling little butt exposed outside, looking like a big, stupid caterpillar. Seeing this, she couldn’t help but feel her head ache.
Our little friend, Fang Haolin also felt very aggrieved. His tummy was so painful, yet his mother still wanted to make him drink the bitter medicine. Was she even his biological mother? He hugged his stomach and wailed, “I don’t wanna drink that bitter medicine. I wanna drink the sweet medicine that Older Sister sent!”
“Syrup is used to treat coughing, so it can’t be used to treat your indigestion!” Madam Fang admonished earnestly, but the little fellow was barely two years old. Thus, he did not understand anything about using the right medicine for the right disease. Since he did not need to drink bitter medicine to treat cough, the same could be said for his stomachache!
“I want Older Sister. Older Sister is a doctor and she has medicine that isn’t bitter!” Little Linlin’s eyes brightened as he pulled his head out from under the blankets. His eyes that had been washed with tears now shone like the brightest star in the night sky. Didn’t his mother say that his older sister was very skilled? Imperial physicians would only give bitter medicine to little children, but his older sister was able to make sweet-tasting medicine. Older Sister must be more skilled than imperial physicians!
“I hear that Little Linlin is looking for me. Why is Linlin looking for Older Sister?” Yu Xiaocao returned to the main courtyard after she got cleaned up and changed into another set of clothes in her courtyard. She did not expect to hear Fang Haolin wailing for her before she even entered the room. It seemed that she was still quite popular among children—she had not met him for almost a year yet Little Linlin was still quite close to this older sister of his!
When she entered the room, she noticed that Little Linlin had two streaks of tears running down his cheeks while he pitifully and somewhat shyly looked at her. The sight made her heart melt. She went up and held the little fellow who had a milky scent into her arms, gently and softly asking, “Little Linlin, why did you cry? Tell Older Sister, where are you feeling uncomfortable?”
‘Older Sister’s embrace is so fragrant and comfortable!’ Our little friend, Fang Haolin buried his face into his older sister’s embrace and deeply took in her scent. ‘My tummy doesn’t seem to hurt as much when I’m in Older Sister’s embrace.’ The little fellow stayed in Xiaocao’s embrace, refusing to leave no matter how hard his mother tried to coax him. He even used an adorable tone to pitifully moan, “Older Sister, Linlin’s tummy hurts…”
Xiaocao looked up at Lady Fang with a gaze filled with curiosity. Lady Fang felt angry yet amused as she watched her son ‘rebel’ and leap into her goddaughter’s embrace. She glanced at him, saying, “He has some indigestion issues lately, but he forgot all about it because he was overcome with joy that you’re here. This little guy must have overeaten after eating such a big peach!”
Fang Haolin nervously watched his older sister, lowering his head in embarrassment, ‘Would Older Sister disdain him for being gluttonous and disown him?’ The little fellow stared at his chubby fingers and the tears in his eyes threatened to fall at any moment.
Xiaocao lightly rubbed the little fellow’s abdomen and softly said, “It’s Older Sister’s fault. I shouldn’t have given you a whole peach. Older Sister will make you a cup of milk tea later, it can help digestion.”
“Is milk tea bitter?” The little fellow was the most afraid of consuming something bitter. He blinked his doe-like eyes and looked at his older sister with a hopeful expression.
Xiaocao lightly tapped the tip of his nose, smiling, “It’s not bitter; it’s sweet and fragrant!”
“Mommy, you see! Older Sister has medicine that isn’t bitter!” The little fellow Fang Haolin still had a drop of tear on his cheek as he broke into a smile.
Since Royal Prince Yang brought back a few dairy cows from his expedition to the western hemisphere, drinking milk became all the rage among many people in the capital. In a farmstead under the name of Royal Prince Yang, some dozen mu of farmland had been converted into pastures. Now, he already had more than twenty dairy cows and this dairy now supplied milk to the majority of the wealthy and powerful families in the capital.
Lady Fang had accepted her goddaughter’s suggestion—not only did she make her son drink cow’s milk even after stopping his intake of breast milk, she also persisted in drinking cow’s milk. The benefits had already started to show after a period of time. Her body and bones became stronger, her sleep quality had improved, and her skin also became much more delicate than before. When combined with the effects of the peach blossom tea and wine that her goddaughter sent her, even her close friends who were younger than her now looked like her older sisters! They were so envious of her that they also began to drink cow’s milk themselves!
Yu Xiaocao took the milk that they already had in store and boiled it with white sugar. Then, she added a few ladles of tea and a few drops of mystic-stone water. She let it cool down, and then served it to the little fellow, Fang Haolin. Perhaps it was the psychological effect, or the mystic-stone water’s effect, but the little fellow quickly patted his stomach with a grin, “It doesn’t hurt anymore. I’m cured! Older Sister is more skilled than the imperial physicians!”
“Don’t speak these words carelessly! Be careful that you won’t be able to invite any imperial physicians to treat your illness in the future!” Xiaocao pinched the little fellow’s chubby face and couldn’t resist kissing his cheek.
Little Linlin suddenly became bashful, hiding his face into his mother’s embrace. ‘Mommy doesn’t smell as good as Older Sister, but…since Older Sister kissed Little Linlin, does this mean Older Sister likes Little Linlin? Little Linlin also likes Older Sister!’ He pulled away from his mother’s embrace and said to his older sister, “Older Sister is skilled and makes delicious medicine that isn’t bitter! Since I have Older Sister, I won’t need imperial physicians to treat me in the future!”
“Then when Older Sister returns to Dongshan Village, who’ll treat you when you fall sick?” Yu Xiaocao could not help but tease him.
Hearing this, Little Linlin’s face creased up, tearing up, “Don’t go back, Older Sister! Isn’t it okay to just stay here, Older Sister?
“See! Your little brother doesn’t want to part with you, so you should stay in the capital for a few more days this time!” Lady Fang glared at her reprovingly. Ever since she returned to the capital to await labor, this busy goddaughter of hers had only visited her twice! What a heartless girl!
Yu Xiaocao rubbed her nose, laughing drily. All of a sudden, her gaze lit up as it landed on Little Linlin, “Godmother, Little Linlin is older now, so you can bring him to Tanggu Town! Now that they’re winding-up the last few details of the harbor, Godfather would be busier and need to stay for a while longer at Tanggu Town. If you bring Linlin to Tanggu Town, he wouldn’t have to worry about the two of you after work!”
After a moment’s silence, Lady Fang raised her head and shot her a side-glance, “It’s as though I’m trying to harm you by keeping you in the capital for a few more days! Now you’ve even come up with the idea of ‘abducting’ the two of us to Tanggu Town! Linlin, isn’t your older sister bad?”
“Not bad! Go to Tanggu Town, find Daddy!” Little Linlin had gotten pertussis not long after he had been born, and even after Xiaocao had treated his illness, the servants of the General’s Estate still treated him with the utmost care. The general and the madam were only able to conceive this golden child when they were nearing forty years of age, so the servants were naturally afraid that they did not serve well enough.
Little Linlin was almost two years old, but he had never gone out of the General’s Estate before. He only had friends to play with when Lady Fang’s close friends brought their own children over. It was why he was very attached to Older Brother Xuanxuan and Older Sister Juan’er. He often pestered Lady Fang, asking her why they had not come to play with him.
Once he heard that he could go to Tanggu Town to visit his father, Little Linlin was naturally very enthusiastic. Going to Tanggu Town was good because his father could come back home every day, and he could see his older sister much more often. He would be able to enjoy his older sister’s pastries more frequently, too!
“You little traitor, you don’t want your mother anymore once you see your older sister!” Lady Fang felt happy to see her son get close to her goddaughter so quickly, even to the point of attachment. She was already extremely grateful to be able to have a blood-relative like this in her lifetime. If this child was close with his older sister, he would have another family member in the future. Xiaocao had a mind of her own, so in the future when she and her husband passes away, the brother and sister duo would still be able to discuss matters with each other and be each other’s support. This was what she hoped!
“Mommy! Linlin likes Mommy the most! Linlin wants Mommy, but Linlin also wants Older Sister!” Our little friend, Fang Haolin said cutely as he leapt into his mother’s embrace and hugged her neck. The sweetness in his voice went straight to their hearts.
Lady Fang laughingly called him ‘little flatterer’ and teased him, “Then...if Mommy stays in the capital and Older Sister returns to Tanggu Town, will you stay here with me, or follow Older Sister to Tanggu Town to see Daddy?”
Fang Haolin’s face was full of ambivalence. He looked at his mother, and then at his older sister who was smiling sweetly. He thought long and hard about it, until he eventually reluctantly said, “Then...Linlin will still stay in the capital with Mommy!”
“Why?” Yu Xiaocao pretended to be hurt, pressing her hand to her chest.
Little Linlin hurried to hug her in an effort to comfort her, “When Older Sister returns to Tanggu Town, Daddy will have Older Sister as company. Mommy is alone in the capital, so Linlin will stay and keep Mommy company!”
Lady Fang was touched. She hugged her son tightly, “Good son, Mommy hadn’t pampered you for nothing!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter