Little Divine Stone hadn’t planned on paying attention to her, but when it felt her faint feelings of sadness, it proudly opened its mouth, [You actually don’t trust me, this divine stone! Let me tell you, my powers have improved a lot recently. I can already turn into a physical form. As long as I, this celestial stone, help him clear his meridians  and circulate his vital energy every day, he will definitely be able to walk within half a month. But, he did suffer a serious injury after all, so he might walk with a limp.]
Yu Xiaocao was completely relieved now. She excitedly hugged the little golden kitten and kissed it a few times, and then said, [You can turn into a physical form? Doesn’t that mean that your powers have improved quite a lot? That’s great, Little Glutinous Dumpling. You’re seriously my lucky star! Thank you so much!]
The little divine stone felt slightly shy and awkwardly exclaimed, [Go away, go away! I want to transform into a girl in the future. You lesbian…]
“Ha-ha…” Seeing the little kitten being shy, Yu Xiaocao couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
“Youngest Sister, what’s wrong?” Xiaolian, who was beside her, was startled awake. She rubbed her eyes and asked with sleepy eyes.
“No… Nothing!” Xiaocao quickly put away the multicolored stone and stuffed the little golden kitten into her blanket. She pretended as if she had just woken up and said, “I had a dream and woke up laughing…”
“What kind of good dream did you have to be so happy?” Xiaolian flipped over and lay on the bed facing her.
Yu Xiaocao hastily closed her eyes as if she was very sleepy and replied, “I don’t remember…”
She was afraid that Xiaolian would continue asking, so she deliberately slowed down her breathing and pretended to sleep. She didn’t know when, but she really ended up falling asleep as she pretended…
After they sent the five taels over, they didn’t have much money left at home. They couldn’t plant the three acres of sweet potatoes until May and it would take over half a year until they could harvest them. How was their family going to survive during the half a year?
Xiaocao carefully calculated their family’s resources. In the kitchen, besides the two wild hares that were left over from the banquet, there were still five cabbages and a few radishes. They had about two catties of wheat flour and four or five catties of millet flour. Sweet potato flour was the thing that they had the most of, but there were only less than ten catties left. In the backyard cellar, they had a little over a hundred catties of sweet potatoes that her maternal grandmother gave them. If they lived frugally, they could last for a little over a month.
They only had forty-something copper coins left at home. They were reluctant to eat the two hares, so they took them to the town market and sold them for more than two hundred copper coins.
The winter blizzard had become a disaster. Even though the government had stabilized prices, the common folks still lived a tight and frugal life.
Yu Xiaocao had learned that the prices in early spring were much higher than when she first transmigrated here. The prices in the grain shop was a good example. Coarse grains, such as millet flour and sweet potato flour, used to be two copper coins a catty, but it cost three or four copper coins now. Refined flour, which cost five copper coins per catty last year, cost at least eight copper coins now. Of course, the price for white rice was even higher. It had risen to fifteen copper coins per catty at its peak. It cost thirty copper coins a catty for pork right now, while the price for eggs had also risen quite a lot.
They only had two hundred sixty copper coins left. Their family would probably consume at least one hundred catties of grain per month, so after making a rough calculation, they didn’t even have enough money to buy coarse grain. Ay… No wonder most of the villagers couldn’t eat wheat flour throughout the year!
In her opinion, being frugal wasn’t enough. They needed to expand their sources of income!
Madam Liu also understood the fact that they couldn’t just sit idly while eating away all their resources, so she found a job in town to help people wash their clothes. She had to go once every three days. She went out early in the morning and returned at around three to five in the afternoon. She earned fifteen copper coins each time she worked. In the early spring, the weather was still relatively cold in the northern regions. Madam Liu’s hands were red and swollen due to prolonged exposure to the cold water. Yu Xiaocao’s heart ached when she saw the bloody cuts on her mother’s fingers.
Every day when Madam Liu came back, Yu Xiaocao would help her mother warm her hands and feet with boiled water that the divine stone had soaked in. With the mystic-stone water’s nourishment, the frostbitten areas on Madam Liu’s hands were healed in a few days. The calluses on her hands had also disappeared. Her hands had become so fair and delicate that she didn’t need to worry about accidentally scraping the threads when she did embroidery anymore.
When their mother went to work, Yu Xiaolian took on all housework at home. As if she was a little housekeeper, she gathered firewood, cooked, washed clothes, and also cleaned the yard. When she was free, she would sit under the warm sun and embroider purses and handkerchiefs to help support the family.
Yu Xiaolian’s embroidery skills were nearly on par with Madam Liu’s. However, before they had split from the Yu Family, she was too busy and didn’t have any time to sew.
Yu Xiaocao seriously admired this young eight year old girl. In her previous life, Xiaolian would have just been a second grader in elementary school. However, she had shouldered most of her family’s burdens on her weak shoulders.
In fact, Xiaocao should call her ‘older sister’. But even when the original host was still alive, she had never called her in that way. The reason was that, when Madam Liu gave birth, they hadn’t expected that she would give birth to twins. During the confusion, the midwife had mixed them up and didn’t know who the older and younger sister was.
Later, due to Xiaocao’s weak constitution, Xiaolian, who was more sensible, always took care of her and protected her. Thus, the family began calling Xiaolian ‘the eldest daughter’ and Xiaocao naturally became the younger one.
However, Xiaocao had always felt that she was the older one and was unwilling to call Xiaolian ‘older sister. Their family decided to just let her be and didn’t correct her…
The renovated old residence had a large courtyard with at least half an acre of land. There was a small entrance in the backyard that led to the pond behind the house. During the late winter and early spring, there was little rain and the water level of the pond was low. There were also plenty of fertile, empty land beside the pond. So, Xiaocao made plans to use the vacant space in front and behind their house.
In modern times, there was greenhouse farming, so most vegetables weren’t limited to certain seasons. People could buy whatever vegetables they wanted to eat in the supermarkets throughout the year. However, in ancient times, late winter and early spring was the time when the new crop of vegetables wasn’t ripe yet. Even if people wanted to eat greens and had the money to buy them, it probably wasn’t even available anywhere. If someone could grow fresh greens at this time, they could definitely sell them for a good price.
Due to the restrictions of her living conditions, Xiaocao definitely wouldn’t be able to make a big greenhouse and brooder, but she also didn’t plan on doing so. She was almost certain that the emperor had also transmigrated here, just like her. So, she didn’t want to do anything out of the ordinary. She had made up her mind to ‘silently make a fortune’!
However, she could first use the indoor temperature to grow the vegetable seedlings, and then transfer them to the yard when the weather became warmer. In this way, they would certainly be able to sell the vegetables in the market earlier then if they planted them during early spring.
Just as Xiaocao was enthusiastically considering the type of soil she should use to fertilize the seeds with, the Little Divine Stone muttered beside her ears, [Why go through so much trouble? You can just soak the seeds in this divine stone’s bathing water. Not only will they become resistant to the cold and pests, but it can also reduce the ripening time of vegetables…]
Yu Xiaocao felt elated inwardly when she heard its words. She held Little Glutinous Dumpling’s tiny body and kissed it fervently, which provoked the little divine stone to repeatedly protest against her action.
Right now, the little divine stone had already transformed into the form of a little kitten and became a part of the family. As for the origin of the little fellow, Yu Xiaocao’s explanation was that she had found it at the foot of the mountain when she went to gather firewood. Seeing that the little kitten was about to freeze to death, she kindheartedly brought it back.
The whole family readily accepted the proud golden kitten, and thus Little Divine Stone became the second popular pet of the family after the little roe deer.
But, the little divine stone didn’t care about anyone else except for its master, Yu Xiaocao. Its favorite thing to do every day was to lie down on its master’s fluffy head and sleep. From afar, it looked as if Xiaocao was wearing a golden headdress.
Yu Xiaocao was overjoyed when she found out that Little Divine Stone could enhance the quality of the seeds, “Little Glutinous Dumpling, you’re seriously my big lucky star! I’ll go plow the field immediately…”
Under her father and Xiaolian’s questioning gaze, Yu Xiaocao took a hoe and went to plow the land.
Little Glutinous Dumpling paced leisurely around her feet and spoke in a voice that only Xiaocao could hear, [If it wasn’t because of the fact that helping you can help me lift the shackles placed by the Goddess of Spirits, I wouldn’t have bothered to help you! Not only do I have to help treat your father’s leg at night, but also soak the seeds. I need to replenish my spiritual energy, so I strongly demand that you throw me into the water vat…]
Frequent contact with water would be helpful for the restoration of its powers. Xiaocao would usually just let it bathe inside a pot, but it had long been interested in the water vat in the yard.
Yu Xiaocao eventually surrendered to its Monk Xuanzang-like  naggings. She took off the multicolored stone bracelet from her wrist and threw it into the water vat. The little golden kitten gracefully jumped onto the water vat and sat on the edge of the vat, wagging its tail. Little Shitou couldn’t help but worry that the little fellow would accidentally fall into the tank. Since then, all the water, even for washing vegetables and clothes, used by Xiaocao’s family were mystic-stone water.
“What are you guys doing?” Madam Liu, who had returned from work with hands reddened from the cold, curiously asked when she saw Yu Hai and the three siblings kneeling in the yard and excitedly turning over the soil.
Yu Hai could walk a few steps without his crutches now. He was in a good mood, so when his second daughter suggested that they plow the field and grow vegetables, he went to help without any hesitation. He pulled out the grass root from the plowed land and threw them aside. Then he lifted his head and said, “Cao’er is planning on planting various vegetables in the front and back yard. In the future, our family won’t have to worry about not having anything to eat. Our daughter is so competent!”
Madam Liu was annoyed and amused at the same time, so she replied, “Of course we need to grow vegetables, but it’s only February. The water in the tank still freezes up in the evening. It’s not like we’re in a hurry sow the seeds, so why are you guys rushing to plow the land?”
“We have nothing to do anyways so we might as well work on the field first!” In terms of pampering children, no one would dare to take first place even if Yu Hai identified himself as second. He had always done his best to fulfill all the requests made by his children, let alone a proper matter like plowing the field and growing vegetables.
Madam Liu couldn’t win over them, so she also rolled up her sleeves and joined in. By evening, the front yard’s half an acre of land had all been turned over, leaving only a small path to walk in the center.
In the evening, Xiaocao asked Madam Liu for the seeds that her maternal grandmother had sent over. Madam Liu looked at her and asked, “Cao’er, are you planning to grow the vegetables right now? It’s not time yet. If you sow the seeds now, it won’t sprout at all and the seeds will be wasted in vain.”
“Mother, the God of Fortune came to enlighten me again last night. He taught me a method to keep the vegetable field warm. Think about it. When other people’s vegetables have just sprouted, we can already sell ours. The town folks have already eaten radishes and cabbages for the entire winter, so they will definitely buy them despite the high price!” Xiaocao, who was mentally a modern person, knew better than anyone else about the principle of ‘hoarding a rare commodity and selling it at a high price’.
 Meridian (经络) - (in acupuncture and Chinese medicine) each of a set of pathways in the body along which vital energy is said to flow. There are twelve such pathways associated with specific organs.
 Monk Xuanzang aka Tang Seng (唐僧) – the monk from Journey to the West, who is the master of the Monkey King and co.; known to be strict and persistent in his beliefs and morals; often used to describe people who nags a lotPrevious Chapter Next Chapter