Chapter 44 - Bitter Disappointment

“Borrow money? Who’s going to pay the debt?” Madam Li interjected.

Yu Hai glared at her and replied with a slightly angry tone, “It’s natural that I will repay the money since I was the one who borrow it! Eldest Sister-in-law doesn’t need to worry about it!”

“Second Brother-in-law, don’t forget that all the money that you earn has to be handed in!” Madam Li reminded him with a smirk.

“What? I’m the one who earns the money, but I can’t even use my hard-earned money to get medical treatment for my daughter. As a father, should I just watch my daughter die of illness without doing anything? If I did that, am I still worthy to be a father? What’s the point of me earning all this money? Why should I continue to fish and hunt? I might as well just stay at home, and then die of illness or starvation with my wife and daughter!” The honest man finally erupted in rage and vented his anger at Madam Li, who kept provoking him.

Madam Li shouted back, “I didn’t even get a single penny from the money that you earned! Why are you screaming at me?”

“Alright, stop talking. Even if you don’t talk, no one will think you’re a mute!” Yu Dashan noticed that his second brother was really angry right now, so he hastily dragged his wife back to their east room. 

With a sorrow filled gaze, Yu Hai looked at his father and spoke with a hoarse voice, “Father, Cao’er is your granddaughter and a descendant of the Yu Family. Are you really going to be so cruel and just watch her…”

Old Yu sighed deeply and said, “I’ll go to your eldest uncle’s house to borrow some money. You can repay them with the game that you catch in the future…”

The inner room’s door slammed open before he could finish speaking. With a grim expression, Madam Zhang fiercely glared at the old man and yelled,

“A certain someone can fish and hunt, so he has a better reputation than you. Why would he need you to help borrow money? There’s a price inflation this winter and we’re not making any income right now. If we continue to eat like this, wouldn’t our family eventually go bankrupt? In the future, we will have a light breakfast, and the pancakes served for dinner will be limited.”

After she finished speaking, she slammed the door shut again. She shut the door so hard that  all the dust on the house beam drifted down to the ground.  

His daughter’s life was still in danger, but her grandmother was still only concerned with saving money. Yu Hai despondently looked around the house, and then rushed towards his eldest uncle’s house with Xiaocao in his arms.

Yu Hai’s eldest uncle, Yu Lichun, raised two big dogs at home. They were useful for pulling the sleigh when it snows. It had snowed heavily a couple days ago, so it would take him at least half a day to reach town by foot. Thus, when he visited his eldest uncle this time, not only would he need to get a loan, but he also needed to borrow the sledge.

With a dazed expression, Yu Hai knocked on his eldest uncle’s front door. The person who opened the door was Xiaocao’s third uncle.

Yu Jiang looked at his older cousin in surprise. When his gaze shifted to the small figure within Yu Hai’s arms, his voice instantly changed, “What happened? Did Xiaocao get sick again? Eldest Brother, Eldest Brother… quickly bring the sledge over! Second Brother needs to use it!”

Yu Lichun had two sons and three daughters. His eldest son was five years older than Yu Hai, while his second son was younger than Yu Hai. Yu Hai was the second oldest, so they called him ‘Second Brother’.

Yu Lichun’s whole family was home, hiding from the winter weather. When they heard the youngest son’s shout, they all immediately rushed out of the house. Yu Lichun didn’t even put on his cotton-padded jacket when he hurried over to check on Xiaocao’s situation.

Yu Hai went straight to the point and directly stated the purpose of this visit. Yu Lichun immediately turned towards his wife, Madam Sun, and said with a firm tone, “How much money does our family still have? Give them all to Dahai.”

Without any hesitation, the old lady went into the room and came back with a gray bag. She didn’t even open the bag before directly handing it to Yu Hai, and told him, “Take the whole thing. It’s more important for the child to get treatment first.”

The eldest son’s, Yu Xi, wife’s mouth twitched and muttered in a low voice, “If we give all our money to Dahai, what are we going to eat over the New Year? The children are all anticipating the chance to eat some wheat flour during the holiday!”

Elder Yu, who had just set up the sleigh, heard his daughter-in-law’s remark and glared at her, “Is eating more important than a person’s life?”

The eldest son’s wife didn’t utter another word, but she criticized inwardly: His parents have so much more money than our family. Why does our family have to pay for the little girl’s medical fees? That aunt of hers is seriously a miser who won’t even give away a single penny!

Yu Hai had always felt grateful to his eldest uncle. When his birth mother passed away, his eldest uncle and aunt took great care of him and his older sister. If it weren’t for his eldest uncle’s support, he didn’t even know when he would be able to get a wife.

Yu Hai bowed deeply towards his eldest uncle’s family. He didn’t say anything else and took the bag of money. After that, he got onto the sleigh and sped all the way to the village entrance.

Shortly after they left the village entrance, Xiaocao, who had been attentively listening to her surroundings, pretended as if she had just woken up and called out to Yu Hai, who held her tightly in his embrace.   

A trace of expression finally appeared on Yu Hai’s face. He smiled at his precious daughter, who was wrapped up like a ball, and softly asked, “Cao’er, you awake? Can you tell Father where you’re feeling unwell?”

As Yu Xiaocao struggled to sit up, she shook her head firmly and said, “I don’t feel uncomfortable anywhere. Father, don’t worry. Earlier, I was just scared by Grandmother and fainted. I’m fine now, so let’s go back!”

“We should still go to town and get a doctor to check on you. We need to make sure that your illness is completely cured.” Yu Hai touched his daughter face and insisted on taking her to see a doctor.

When faced with Yu Hai’s stubbornness, Yu Xiaocao felt moved and helpless. She continued to persuade her father, “Father! I’m really fine! No matter what I can still be considered half a doctor. Wouldn’t I know about the condition of my own body?”

Yu Hai gave her a perfunctory reply as he controlled the sleigh, “Father knows that our Xiaocao is very capable. However, the ancients often say: ‘Doctors don’t treat their own illnesses.’ Father will only be at ease after a doctor from Tongren Medicine Hall checks on you.”

Without any other choice, Yu Xiaocao came up with a compromise, “Father, let’s do this! Let’s go to the mountain first and set some traps. We might be able to catch some game. In that case, we will have money for the medical fee. It’s inauspicious to owe money during the New Year.”

Yu Hai looked at his daughter’s rosy cheeks and her liveliness when she spoke. Seeing her persistence, he decided to compromise. So, he ordered the two dogs to turn towards the direction of the mountain forest.

The snow accumulated on the main road had been trampled on by pedestrians and carriages, so it was hard and firm. However, it was different in the mountain because the snow was soft and knee-deep high. When the two dogs travelled in the deep snow, only their heads were visible, which made it extremely difficult for them to walk.

Yu Hai decided to simply unload the sleigh from the dogs and pull his daughter into the mountain himself. He would be too worried to leave his daughter alone on the mountain road when it was so freezing cold.

The snow was beginning to clear, so many hungry little creatures came out to seek food in the mountain forest. After walking briefly, they saw a pheasant flapping its wings and flying pass them.

Yu Hai felt somewhat regretful and said, “It’s a pity that I didn’t bring my hunting tools with me.”

“It’s alright, Father! Let’s go over to the left side. Brother Han and I hid some ropes for the traps there.” Sitting on the sleigh, Yu Xiaocao enjoyed this new experience and curiously touched everything around her. From time to time, she made a snowball and threw it at the branches. She giggled ceaselessly as she watched the snow on the branches falling down.

Yu Hai finally felt relieved when he saw his daughter looking so energetic. A moment later, the two of them found the ropes. Yu Hai broke off some dead branches and set up around twenty traps of varying sizes.

Yu Xiaocao was also working busily behind him. She was either sprinkling some mystic-stone water on the snows around the noose or putting a batch of dry grass, which were soaked with mystic-stone water, around the traps. Ever since Yu Xiaocao freed up two bottles and filled them up with mystic-stone water, she had always carried a bottle with her for emergencies. In order to prevent the animals in the mountain from causing an uproar, Xiaocao urgently diluted the mystic-stone water with snow water before she sprinkled it.   

It took them over two hours to finish setting all the snares. Yu Hai was an experienced hunter, so it was inevitable that he was better at setting the traps than she was. He specifically chose to set the traps on the routes that the animals frequented. After they set the last snare and returned on the same route, they noticed that there was already quite a lot of harvest.

“Wow! Cabot’s tragopan! Partridge! There’s also blue-rumped pitta!” Yu Xiaocao screamed excitedly. After such a big snowstorm, these live mountain birds should be worth quite a lot of money.  

Yu Hai tied up those small game with a rope and put them on the sleigh. After that, they also caught several wild hares.

“Father! Look, what’s that? Is it a roe deer?” Yu Xiaocao saw from a distance that there was also some harvest under the few bigger snares that they had lay out. The creature looked similar to their family’s Tiny.   

Yu Hai swiftly rushed towards the struggling game, pushed it down onto the ground, and tied its limbs with a rope.

“Ha-ha! We got quite a harvest today. We actually caught a deer at the edge of the forest! My daughter, this isn’t a roe deer. It’s an adult male deer! The deer’s blood and meat are all very good things. The wealthy people in town really like this!” A smile finally emerged within Yu Hai’s eyes. The deer probably weighed over a hundred catties. If he sold it, then he wouldn’t need to borrow money to pay for his daughter’s medical fees.

By the time Yu Hai and his daughter came out of the forest, the sleigh was already filled with game. After he reassembled the sleigh, they travelled all the way to Tanggu Town on the dog-pulled sleigh.

When they reached the gate of Tanggu Town, it was already noon. They left the sleigh with a family who lived near the city gate and gave them a pheasant as a payment for their help.

After the blizzard, the prices for goods steadily soared, so such a fat pheasant would cost at least one or two hundred copper coins. That family was extremely happy and promised to take good care of the two dogs.

“Hey? Isn’t this Brother Dahai? Did you come deliver game to our Fulin Restaurant? Quick, quick! Please come in!” Fulin Restaurant’s manager was sharp-eyed and quickly recognized Yu Hai and his daughter. When he saw the game that Yu Hai carried on his back, he, who was usually arrogant, couldn’t help but greet them warmly.

Yu Hai was very uncomfortable with his hospitality. As someone who frequently delivered game to town, Yu Hai naturally knew about Fulin Restaurant’s Manager Liu’s usual attitude and behavior. He was a powerful man who despised the poor. Manager Liu had also incessantly forced him to lower the price for his game.

With the booming business of Zhenxiu Restaurant and their increased demand for game, Yu Hai rarely did business with Fulin Restaurant. Had Manager Liu gone mad today? He actually acted so friendly with him and he even called him ‘brother’.

Yu Xiaocao, who was holding several small game, had a terrible impression of this Manager Liu. Moreover, she had previously made a verbal agreement Third Young Master Zhou. If she caught game, she would prioritize Zhenxiu Restaurant. Thus, she naturally didn’t want to do business with Fulin Restaurant, since they had unethical business conducts.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

Myst's Thoughts

We're inching closer...

Translator: Myst