Chapter 419 - Her Secret

Minister Liu suddenly opened his eyes wide and looked at Yu Xiaocao, who had her head lowered in an attempt to receive less attention. He laughed and said, “Fantastic!! The secret to having high-yielding crops must be here! Last spring, Miss Yu had gone to the Imperial Plantations once to look at the experimental fields. At that time, she had also given us a pesticide and said that it could prevent pestilence and bugs from harming the crops. That autumn, we had an immense harvest of corn and the ears of corn were larger than the previous year by a great magnitude. The kernels of corn were also large and plump. The fields had surpassed one thousand and five hundred catties per mu. Miss Yu, do you still have any of that pesticide left? We’ve already planted the corn now but it shouldn’t be too late now, right?”  

Yu Xiaocao raised her head to look at this old man. Minister Liu’s head of hair had gone completely white and his skin seemed somewhat rough and tanned from going to the Imperial Plantations often and getting sun exposure. A few wisps of admiration rose in her heart. She lightly nodded her head and replied, “This subject did bring some of that pesticide along this time. It’ll be the same as last year. One bucket of water mixed with one drop of the pesticide should do the trick. The mixture should be sprayed on the corn seedlings and should have the same effect.”  

Director Bai of the Imperial Court Clan noticed that Royal Prince Yang was protecting the Yu father and daughter pair. His eyes whirled quickly and he stepped forward to say, “Your Imperial Majesty, you often say that ‘the court must work for the people and food is the God of the people’. The country will only be stable and prosperous if the common people do not have to worry about starving and dying from the cold. This subject has already heard that Miss Yu has made contributions to medical science but I didn’t know that by combining her medicinal skills and farming knowledge that it could make such a great benefit! Emperor, if Miss Yu can publicize the recipe for her pesticide, then that would be a great contribution to the whole country!”

Yu Xiaocao’s eyes flickered when she heard the official’s proposal and she looked down. Uneasiness bubbled up inside of her. She definitely had the recipe for the pesticide! However, the problem was that the most important ingredient wasn’t something that could be found normally in this world. If she told them that the pesticide required mystic-stone water that was full of spiritual energy as its main ingredient, then it was likely that the emperor and all the officials would think she was a raving lunatic. On the other hand, would they think that she was trying to fool them? She was screwed, what should she do now?

Zhu Junyang could minutely tell from the little lass’s stiff demeanor that she was feeling very nervous and anxious. The little lass clearly had a big secret. This was something he had known for some time. Was this pesticide one of those secrets that she was hiding?

“Your Imperial Majesty, this official believes that forcefully taking someone’s personal recipe is harming their livelihood! Yu Xiaocao spent many months slaving over this to create such an efficacious pesticide. If your majesty does as Official Bai says, using your imperial authority to take her recipe, wouldn’t that be an abuse of your power to force the common people ah?” Zhu Junfan found Zhu Junyang’s every word and act to be very hilarious. His younger cousin had finally grown up and he now knew how to protect the person he admired the most.

Official Bai was the person in charge of the Imperial Court Clan, so he was very aware of who had the most prospects within the imperial clan. It was clearly that the juniors from Imperial Prince Jing’s estate were the future stars. Prince Jing had three sons. His eldest son was steady and calm and would inherit the estate in the future. His second son was talented at martial arts and had gone to the northwest two years ago. His talents had shone on the battlefield and caught General Zhao’s eyes. It was clear that his future would definitely be boundless.

As for Prince Jing’s youngest son, the rumors said he was cold and unfeeling with an explosive temper. However, in the past two years, the emperor had been regarding him with increasing importance. Furthermore, he consistently finished all of the tasks assigned to him by the emperor. Thus, he had been given the title of Royal Prince Yang before the age of twenty and had also been awarded with feudal lands. In the future, it was likely with his continued hard work, the youth may easily become a titled imperial prince. A family that had two imperial princes in it was definitely something to look out for within the extended imperial clan!  

Official Bai was a shrewd man. After the last few court sessions, how could he not tell that Royal Prince Yang regarded the Yu Family in a different light? He had originally tried to get on the prince’s good side by reminding the Yu Family to give up their recipe for the good of the country. That way, the emperor would be pleased and reward them with sinecure titles in the court. Yu Xiaocao would naturally become the daughter of an official’s family then. Thus, in the future, if Royal Prince Yang wanted to, he could easily take her into his back courtyard without anyone quibbling about her status.

However, his attempt at flattery had utterly failed as the first to object to his proposal was Royal Prince Yang. Since it was like this, he couldn’t continue to persist and instead hurriedly said, “Royal Prince Yang is right! The emperor loves his people as if they were his own children. It was this official who was not thinking things through!”

Zhu Junfan had been an emperor for almost a decade so he naturally spotted the minute change in the little lass’s demeanor. He couldn’t help but let his imagination run wild. Wasn’t it just the recipe to a pesticide ah? Why was the lass so nervous all of a sudden? Was it...perhaps his previous suspicions were right and the little lass had gotten a separate dimension to use when she transmigrated over? Thus, the so-called pesticide was just a way to disguise her usage of the spiritual water from the separate dimension?

The more he thought down those lines, the more he decided this made sense. By giving up the recipe for the pesticide, it would be of great benefit to the country and the people. Even without Official Bai’s reminder, a dummy would also know that giving it up would be advantageous in all ways. However, this Yu Family’s lass, who was clearly a sharp one, didn’t open her lips at all. When Official Bai started hinting, she also pretended to hear nothing and only lowered her head more.

Furthermore, his younger cousin had immediately jumped out as soon as the lass started to become uncomfortable to help her get out of this situation. In fact, he used the excuse of abusing one’s imperial power to bully the commoners to stop him. For the sake of giving the common people enough to eat, would he, the emperor, care about gaining the reputation of bullying one person ah? Hmph! Did that fellow, Zhu Junyang, also know something that made him want to protect the little girl so much?

After thinking a bit more, Zhu Junfan started to become angry. This old transmigrator friend was truly too blatant about things. How could she so easily tell someone else the secret of her separate dimension as well as a spring full of mystic-water? These were extremely valuable possessions! Furthermore, if she had to tell someone, why didn’t she tell him, her fellow transmigrator? Was she afraid that he would kill her to gain her treasures? Was he, the emperor, truly such an evil person? However, if this little lass truly had these treasures on hand, then he needed to pay more attention to her. That way, he could prevent someone else from suspecting her...

The sound of Yu Xiaocao’s clear and crisp voice roused him from his thoughts, “Your Imperial Majesty, this subject isn’t being stingy over the recipe for the pesticide but there is a problem with one of the ingredients. It is very hard to find. Because of that, other than myself, no one else is truly able to create a pesticide that is as efficacious.”

How about that? Wasn’t his guess correct? That incredibly hard to find ingredient had to be water from the mystical spring. Other than the little lass’s separate dimension, there wasn’t another spring to be found in this world. Hmph, hmph! The incredible pesticide was only a way to hide the fact that she had access to a spring with spiritual water!

The heavens were too unfair. The little girl was given a giant golden finger when she transmigrated——a special, separate dimension, but what about him? He had only downed two bottles of beer and fallen drunk. After transmigrating over in a muddled manner, he ended up in the Great Ming Dynasty in an alternate reality. Fortunately, his imperial grandfather was also a transmigrator. Otherwise, he would have been locked up long ago by people mistaking his odd thoughts and ways as the signs of a crazy maniac. 

When he transmigrated over, other than having a head full of knowledge in regards to ship-building, he didn't get any other advantage. However, that wasn’t a complete loss. Using his knowledge, he was able to engineer new ships that were able to cross oceans to travel to the western hemisphere and return with precious goods. Furthermore, he was able to bring over new crops early. In addition, he had altered early forms of rockets and cannons to be much more effective. When he traveled across the seas, using those new weapons, he was able to defeat many pirates. The results could be seen recently. When the Wokou pirates had attacked, the reason why the prefectural city’s navy was able to push them back with minimum losses had a lot to do with his contributions to the engineering in this country.

However, he also wanted to have a mystical spring and a separate dimension where he could plant crops and improve their yields. What should he do? Perhaps...he should have his secret soldiers catch the little lass, then threaten and torture her until she gave up her goodies? Was that a bad idea? After all, they were both fellow transmigrators and, in his past life, he had been a person who tried to do good for the world.

Then should he...force the little girl under house arrest and have her use her special items for him for the rest of her life? Ahem ahem, that seemed a bit too dishonest and cruel. The little lass didn’t have it easy either. She had also been forced over into a strange world and she didn't even get to transmigrate into someone of status. He had heard that she had endured quite a few years of hard times in this world. Argh, how could he bear to torture someone in the same boat?! 

Then...maybe he should use a honey trap to bewitch the little lass such that she would willingly ‘work hard’ for him? Ahem ahem, this might cause misunderstandings. He wasn’t the sort of bastard who would steal a woman from another man. In fact, he was thinking of using his little cousin, who had a high IQ but low EQ, as bait. If his cousin married this little lass, then they would all be one family in the future. As the older cousin, it wouldn’t be too dastardly to have a few requests, right?

“Your Imperial Majesty…” Su Ran, who was standing next to Zhu Junfan, could tell that the emperor had been spacing out for a while and couldn’t help but open his mouth to remind the emperor that he was currently at court. Concentration was a must!

Zhu Junfan sat up straight and had a sanctimonious look...ahem ahem, it was an earnest expression on his face, and said to Yu Xiaocao, “Lass, since you’re the only one who can make this pesticide, then I’m afraid you’ll have to work harder in the future to make as much pesticide as possible! There have been disasters plaguing the people these past two years and they have suffered quite a lot. In many places, eating until one is full is an extravagant hope and most only wish to have enough food to not starve to death. Since you have the ability, we are afraid that you’ll have to do the most work in the future!”

Yu Xiaocao let out a deep sigh in her heart. She was truly afraid that the emperor would force her to cough up the recipe for the pesticide. If that was the case, she had just come up with an idea——the recipe for the pesticide was complicated and if other people couldn’t make it correctly, it had nothing to do with her. She was fortunate that the emperor was a good ruler and didn’t force her. Otherwise, she would have to make up a fake recipe for the pesticide to hand out!

“This subject will do my best to deserve the emperor’s trust. I didn’t have much to do during the winter season, so I made quite a bit of pesticide that I stored in the hidden cellar at my home in Dongshan Village. Fortunately, when the Wokou pirates came, they didn't find it and destroy it. This subject will send a letter home and have my family bring it all over!” With the crisis over, Yu Xiaocao felt every cell in her body relax perceptibly. Zhu Junyang, who was watching her from the back, silently laughed at her.

There truly was a batch of pesticide in her family’s cellar at Dongshan Village. However, Yu Xiaocao didn't actually make it during the winter. Instead, she made it recently as she wanted to take advantage of her family’s success at cultivating high-yielding grains to sell it to people in Tanggu Town. Who would have thought that before she could implement that plan, she and her father had been called into capital by an imperial decree? Sigh! She had missed out on making a bunch of money. Her heart was currently aching at the thought! 

As Yu Xiaocao talked about bringing this batch of pesticide in, she couldn’t completely hide her sorrow at losing out on another money making plan. Zhu Junfan thought that her money-grubbing ways were quite amusing. It looked like this old transmigrator friend of his was truly someone who loved making money! 

After thinking about it, he had to admit that everything she did made money. First she started selling braised pig offal, then she came up with early-ripening vegetables. Following that, she cultivated large and sweet watermelons and opened a pharmaceutical workshop as well as a braised food shop. Everything she did was a method to become rich. This Yu Family was truly hiding more than it showed. He reckoned that their family was quite wealthy at this point. They may not be at the point to rival wealthy imperial merchants, but they had to be among the top of the families in Tanggu Town. 

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Myst's Thoughts

Sanguine’s Thoughts: Lucky Xiaocao...the emperor isn’t a bad guy!

Translator: Sanguine