Chapter – 23

Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~


Afternoon

 

 

Liu Qing hid in the small house with her face flushed with embarrassment; she felt both blissful and vexed in her heart. Blissful because her feelings towards Zhang Xiaolong was now out in the open, but vexed because she had only arrived for a few days, and they were already treating her so lightly.

Despite her embarrassment and confused feelings, she had interacted with the grandmother long enough to know that she is a reasonable and understanding woman, and would not have intentionally put her in a difficult situation. However, the old lady must have been muddled from her age, and although her actions were forgivable, how would she have the face to meet everyone outside now?

The people outside were also thinking along the same lines. Zhang Xiaolong was speechless when he saw his grandmother smiled gleefully. However, his body was weak even though the heart was willing, and he could not enter the house to salvage the situation. Hence, Guo Sufei pinched Zhang Xiaohua’s ears and said “This matter was caused by you. Go in and convince Liu Qing to come back out again.”

Zhang Xiaohua rubbed his ear gently and muttered “What does this have to do with me?”

Guo Sufei smiled as she gave him a nudge, saying “If you did not raise this matter to your grandmother, how would she have known?”

Zhang Xiaohua replied “So you already knew.” Then, without any other choice, Zhang Xiaohua picked himself up and entered the house, thinking on what to do as he walked.

Liu Qing was in the house feeling embarrassed when she saw Zhang Xiaohua walked in. Zhang Xiaohua skipped jovially to her front, held her hand and said “Elder sister Liu, it is boring to stay indoors. Come with me to see the field and well I have worked on.”

Liu Qing replied “Okay, I have heard from you eldest brother that you have reclaimed the field all by yourself, and I have been meaning to go over for a look. Let’s go today then.”

Then, Liu Qing pulled Zhang Xiaohua’s hands as they walked out of the house.

Zhang Xiaohua followed behind Liu Qing and as soon as he left the house, he shouted “Dad, mom, I am bringing elder sister Liu to see my field in the hills. We will be back a while later.”

Guo Sufei then replied “Then go ahead and remember to come back early for dinner. Xiaohua, you must protect your elder sister well.”

Zhang Xiaohua laughed and said “No problem, mother.”

Liu Qing walked to the front of Guo Sufei and said in a low voice “Aunt, I will be going now.”

Guo Sufei smiled and replied ”Go quickly and come back early.”

Thus, Liu Qing and Zhang Xiaohua headed out of the Zhang family courtyard.

On the way to the hills, several familiar villagers would wave across at the two people. The village was not large after all, thus, whenever something huge happened to one of the families, the news would quickly spread throughout the village. Earlier on when Zhang Xiaohua paid the Liu family a visit, they have already heard that that their relatives’ children would come over for a visit to take care of the injured family members. The plainly visible injuries on Zhang Cai, Zhang Xiaolong and Zhang Xiaohu also provide credibility to the story.

Zhang Cai could not be blamed for his caution, the events at the neighboring village had served as a lesson on the importance of laying low.

Although being relatives was a reasonable explanation, when the villagers saw a lady who was prettier and more elegant than the other girls in the village looking after Zhang Xiaolong, the facts pointed to a different story and it became an open secret. Hence, they greeted Liu Qing with a knowing expression, which led the latter who initially escaped the house to avoid embarrassment felt even more uncomfortable.

Fortunately, the road was not long, and they soon reached the bridge. Liu Qing loved the river, she loved the way the waters would flow freely downstream, so she asked Zhang Xiaohua “Xiaohua, when you came over to our village, did you see our Bali Gou village’s river?”

Zhang Xiaohua shook his head and replied “Nope, when I went to your village, I was only thinking of how to get you to your own house so I did not notice the river.”

Liu Qing laughed and continued “Bali Gou’s river is many times larger than the river in your village, and there are much larger pieces of land beside the river. My household actually owns one such piece of land, but we rented it out because no one in our household could farm.”

Zhang Xiaohua replied “What a waste, if our family had a plot of land like yours, we would have needed to reclaim some land in the hills.”

As they continued their conversation, they already crossed the bridge which led on to a small winding road up towards the hills. It was not a real road, but because many people travelled along the same route, a trail appeared from the constant tempering of the travelers. Liu Qing took light steps as she walked along the road, her musical-like pace made Zhang Xiaohua exclaimed “Elder sister Liu, the way you walk is really pretty.”

Liu Qing smiled lightly and replied “Little rascal, hurry up and walk.”

Under the winter daytime, the hills were bathed in a rare moment of warmth, so the two people did not feel uncomfortable while walking. The field in the hills looked the same as before, as it laid there by itself after a long period of neglect by its owner.

Liu Qing took a few glances, and said in surprise “Xiaohua, you did this all by yourself? This is a rather large field.”

Zhang Xiaohua scratched his head and said proudly “Yea, elder sister Liu, I did all these by myself. Eldest brother and second brother did lend a hand from time to time.”

Liu Qing complemented him “It seems that you are not a simple person, this is really good.”

Then, her gaze fell naturally to the large rock platform under the tree, and asked “This stone is pretty rare, it looks neat and yet its size is so large, we would seldom see such stone at the mountains around my village.”

Xiaohua asked Liu Qing “Elder sister Liu, can guess where this stone came from?”

Liu Qing laughed as she replied “How would I know? Surely you did not dig it up when you were reclaiming the field? Perhaps it was brought over from the riverside?”

Liu Qing walked over to the stone and sat on it, her hands touching the rock, and then realized that the stone was not what she imagined it to be like. It actually contained some warmth, and if not for the ugly color, she would have thought that it was a large piece of jade. She thought to herself  “Strange”.

Zheng Xiaohua did not notice these minor details, he was already deadbeat trying to get the rock up, who would have observed if it was warm or cool? Furthermore, ever since it was left there, he no longer paid any attention to it, and even when he sat on it, he attributed its warmth to the sun.

Zhang Xiaohua smiled and said “Since elder sister Liu cannot guess the answer, I will bring you to see something else.”

Then, he led Liu Qing down the slope and to the well at the pit of the hills. When Liu Qing saw the huge well mouth, she let out a laugh, guessing that the large piece of rock must have come from here. If not, she has never seen a well mouth this large ever before.

Zhang Xiaohua then said “Elder sister, the stone from above was dug out from this well. It took a lot of effort, and the well was almost not completed in time for winter.”

He then used the tools beside the well to draw some water up and passed it to Liu Qing, saying “Try this, elder sister. The water is delicious, even more so than the river.”

Liu Qing received some water and took a small sip; her eyebrow stood, Xiaohua was right about the water. It was even more delicious than the spring water she tried before in the past, and if it was used to make tea, her father would definitely take a liking to it. As the thought went through her mind, she snickered knowing that her father would be too lazy to leave the house, so he might take several buckets home at one go instead.

Liu Qing then asked “Is the spring water around here all this delicious?”

Zhang Xiaohua shook his head and replied “Nope, only the spring water in this mountain is like that.”

Liu Qing persisted “Could it be because the well was constructed at the pit of the hills?”

Zhang Xiaohua shook his head again before saying “The neighboring village also dug a well, but we do not know if the water from that well is as delicious because nobody would want to go near such things.”

Liu Qing asked curiously “Why?”

Zhang Xiaohua then recounted the story of Mr Wu and his family while Liu Qing listened, feeling horrified.

After half a bell worth of time, Liu Qing looked towards the sun which was beginning to set, and said “Xiaohua, draw some water so we can boil some tea at home tonight.”

Zhang Xiaohua said happily “Is that what I drank at your place? Will it taste bitter? I have tried some from Old Guo who lives at the east part of our village, and it was too bitter.”

Liu Qing replied “I have not seen the tea that you tried before, but it should be the same one. I have brought some over but never had the chance to take them out. I guess we can all try some today.”

Zhang Xiaohua enthusiastically drew a pail of water from the well, and followed behind Liu Qing as they climbed down the hill and head home.

As they were walking, Liu Qing asked “Xiaohua, why do you thjink that Mr Wu’s good fortunate would become such as disaster?”

Zhang Xiaohua thought for a while before replying “If bad people know about your good fortune, and you do not have the ability to hold on to it.”

Liu Qing faced Zhang Xiaohua with a serious face and said “That is right, Xiaohua. You have to remember this, the man is innocent, but when he is at fault when he holds on to valuables.”

Zhang Xiaohua did not understand and asked “Elder sister, what does that phrase mean?”

Liu Qing explained “The meaning is if a person has been living without any problems, if he obtains such treasure, it will invite calamity. Xiaohua, you are still young so you may not understand this when I say that the most unpredictable thing in the world is human nature. You cannot be assured that whoever who sees your treasure will not be tempted. Mr Wu made a mistake when he let other people know that he dug up a treasure chest. If that piece of information was not let out, no one would knew about it and naturally, no one would have robbed him.”

Then, liu Qing joked “In the future, if Xiaohua chance upon any precious treasure, you must also keep it a secret, because only then can you hold on to it.”

Zhang Xiaohua smiled gleefully as he replied “I will, elder sister. If I ever find a treasure, I will not tell anyone except you, okay?”

Liu Qing replied “No, if you told the secret to only me, and I shared the secret to another close person, then what do you think would happen in the end?”

Zhang Xiaohua nodded his head and said “En, elder sister is right. People will tell other people until everyone know.”

Then, he continued “Then sister, if the person who dug up the treasure was hero Wen, would he be alright?”

Liu Qing replied “In that case, the situation is different.”

Zhang Xiaohua asked curiously “Why so?”

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