When it was already completely dark, the guests came over one after another. Wang Shijing borrowed three tables and not only invited the people who helped him yesterday, but also invited the two sons of the Zhao Lizheng family, Wang Wen the patriarch’s son, as well as the village doctor Sun Langzhong, grandfather of the two brothers Sun Er Jiang and Sun Xiao Jiang who came to help yesterday. Wang Shijing wanted Sun Langzhong to check Shao Yunan and his two children. It’s not that Wang Shijing didn’t invite Zhao Lizheng and the patriarch, but it’s just that it was a bit inconvenient for the two people to come forward on an occasion like this.
Before the guests entered the courtyard, they said, “it smells good.” The guests only thought it smelled good, but Wang Qing and Wang Nizi felt it was even more fragrant. They thought that the dishes cooked by their little father smelled better than the ones they ate at the restaurant,
There were many people and it was cold at night, so Shao Yunan didn’t make a plate of dishes. A pot of crispy pork stewed with sauerkraut – sauerkraut was a gift from others, a pot of pure braised pork, a pot of braised ribs with stewed potatoes, a pot of fish and eggplant casserole, a pot of white radish and meatball bean and mushroom soup, and then the only stir-fried dish – scrambled eggs with leeks.
Wang Shijing was considered the head of the family so Shao Yunan asked him to accompany his guests. When the dishes were all done, Shao Yunan filled three portions of each and brought them out in pots with Wang Qing. As soon as the dishes came out, it became more lively.
“It smells good, Shijing’s wife, your craft is good.”
“This looks even better than the food in the restaurant!”
“What kind of dishes are these? I’ve never seen them before!”
“Shijing, you are so lucky!”
No one asked them where they got the money to buy all the meat. Wang Shijing let Shao Yunan sit beside him, while Wang Qing and Wang Nizi were led away by the fourth aunt. Wang Shijing’s gloomy aura subsided a lot as he took the wine and poured it for the several elders present. He stood up and said, “I just got back and my family is still counting on my uncle, aunts, and brothers to take care of me.”
Wang Xing’s father, Uncle Wang, immediately said, “Shijing, your family’s situation is clear to all of us. The village is full of gossip, but please ignore it. You and Yunan should take care of Qing and Nizi, and live a good life. We, the elders, have watched you grow up and we know how much you have suffered. We also know how much Qing and Nizi have suffered.”
The others immediately agreed. “Yes. Shijing, we will all help you in the future. Things will become better.”
Wang Shijing said with some excitement, “Thank you Fourth Uncle and thank you everyone. I would like to toast all the elders with this cup of wine.” The elders all picked up their bowls and drank the wine with dignity. Wang Shijing wiped his mouth and filled the cup up again before saying, “This bowl is for all my brothers.”
“Brother Shijing, if there is anything you want us to do in the future, just ask.”
Wang Xing, Sun Er Jiang, Sun Xiao Jiang, Wang Zhuanghua, the four young men close to Wang Shijing first took their cups of wine, before the others also followed.
Tilting his head, Wang Shijing drank it again in one gulp. After two cups of wine, Wang Shijing sat down and picked up his chopsticks before urging everyone to eat. Shao Yunan poured a little wine, stood up and with his action, the crowd immediately stopped eating and drinking.
Shao Yunan said with a smile on his face, “Brother Shijing and I came together due to misfortune, but it was also due to fate. I’m a straightforward person. Sometimes my temper comes up and I don’t care about anything, but I hope that everyone can take care of it. I am new here and I don’t know what is going on in the village. If there’s anything wrong, just tell me. Brother Shijing and I don’t have anything now, but we will in the future. We will make our life prosperous, so you can come to us for help. I will also love Qing and Nizi as my own children.”
When Shao Yunan finished his words, there was a moment of silence and it was Aunt Wang who spoke up first. “Yunan, Aunt Wang can see that you are a good person. You have also seen the situation of Shijing’s family, so Shijing don’t blame the fourth aunt for speaking boldly. Your family really needed to find a wife with a temperament like Yunan, otherwise, not to mention the other things, I don’t even know how many grievances Qing and Nizi would have to suffer in the future. It’s good that your family separated, so you can finally live your life in peace and quiet. Yunan, you and Shijing should live a good life. Qing and Nizi are very understanding children. Shijing and the two children will be left to you.”
Shao Yunan raised his wine cup. “Fourth Aunt, you can rest assured. I will do just as I said. I propose a toast to everyone with this bowl of wine.” Everyone picked up their wine bowl, and a few young men even coaxed, “Sister-in-law, after this meal, Brother Shijing will definitely not be able to leave you.”
Shao Yunan drank the wine with a smile. During that time, Wang Shijing glanced at him. Shao Yunan’s cheerfulness has won a lot of favor from everyone, so after drinking a cup of wine, everyone opened up to eating and drinking. Wang Qing and Wang Nizi had a big lunch, but now they still kept stuffing food into their mouths. Their little father’s cooking was better than the one in the restaurant!
Wang Shijing’s excitement also increased, as Shao Yunan’s cooking skills greatly exceeded his expectations. It may also be because the burden in his heart was gone and the person he married was not like he had thought. Although he and Shao Yunan are not really husband and wife, Wang Shijing had a lot of expectations for their future days.
The wine that Shao Yunan bought was considered one of the good wines here, so everyone was satisfied with eating and drinking till they were full. Shao Yunan did not have a big appetite and became full after eating one steamed bun. He got up and left the table first and went to the kitchen after he had eaten enough and just whispered a few words to Wang Shijing before leaving. As soon as Shao Yunan left, Uncle Wang, who was sitting at the same table as Wang Shijing, whispered to him. “Shijing, you should be careful in the future. Don’t do whatever you are told to do like you used to. Yunan is smart, there are things you can discuss with him.”
This table was full of sensible people, so Uncle Wang was not afraid of them gossiping outside. What he meant was actually very straightforward, which was not letting Wang Shijing be bullied by his own family in the future. Shao Yunan was a very smart person, so it should be alright for Wang Shijing to listen to Shao Yunan more.
Wang Shijing nodded and said, “He is a good one. I have nothing to do with my family now, so I won’t take care of the rest of my family affairs unless it’s a marriage or funeral.”
“I’m glad you understand.”
Shao Yunan went to the kitchen to cut fruit. He ate a lot of meat today, so he wanted to eat something refreshing now. Fruits were rare here, but it was nothing to Shao Yunan. If he eats them, he can always buy more later. As he was cutting the fruits, someone came in and Shao Yunan turned his head.
The person who came in was Aunt Wang and as soon as she saw Shao Yunan cutting the fruits, she immediately said, “Oh, why are you still preparing apples and pears? They are very expensive! Auntie knows how you feel, but don’t do this in the future. You got nothing from your family, so you should save money to build a house and buy land in the future.”
Shao Yunan was thinking of how to explain the origin of the money and now was the perfect moment, so he said in a serious manner, “Shijing picked up some beautiful stones when he was fighting in the war and he gave them to me. They looked quite rare, so I thought I should see if I can exchange them for some money. As a result, I went to the pawnshop and I met the Butterfly Jewelry Pavilion’s boss. After looking at my stones, he immediately said that he would buy them. I never thought that these few stones could be exchanged for silver. Otherwise, Shijing and I wouldn’t have been able to treat everyone to meat and wine.”
Aunt Wang was surprised. “Stones can be exchanged for silver?”
“I just found out about it.” Shao Yunan wiped his hands and took out a stone from his pocket. “I still have one left.” Aunt Wang moved forward and exclaimed, “This is a stone? Isn’t this meat?” Shao Yunan shoved the stone into Aunt Wang’s hand. “Feel it, it’s a stone.”
Aunt Wang stared at it from up close and became extremely surprised. “This looks like a piece of cooked meat. How could this be a stone?” She touched it and even took a bite and then… “Ouch, It’s really a stone!”
Shao Yunan smiled and said, “That’s right, it’s a stone. I sold three stones, but now this kind of meat stone is quite rare. Then he smiled and sighed. “These stones were brought by brother Shijing with his life, so I would be reluctant to sell them if I had a choice.
Upon hearing this, Aunt Wang hurriedly stuffed the stone back into Shao Yunan’s hand and said, “That’s right. There is only one piece left, so you should put it away and not sell anymore. Don’t buy so much meat or wine in the future. We all know your feelings. It will not be too late to buy it when your life becomes better.”
“Fourth Aunt is right.” Shao Yunan put away the half palm-sized jade. Aunt Wang then came forward and whispered, “Don’t let those people in the old house know about this stone, especially Shijing’s mother or she will ask for it.”
Shao Yunan continued to cut the fruit as he just said coolly, “I’m not afraid of her. If she dares to come and ask for it, I’ll let her know what the consequences are. Fourth Aunt, brother Shijing and I will not deliberately look for trouble, but if they find me on their own, they can’t blame me for being impolite. We have bought so many things today, it’s impossible that they don’t know about it. But they can make a scene as much as they like.”
When Aunt Wang heard this, she became even more relieved. “I hoped you felt like this. I was really afraid that you would be bullied to death by the other side.” After a pause, Aunt Wang said hesitantly, “Shijing used to be too soft-nurtured and couldn’t protect himself, or even Qing or Nizi. Although their mother ran away with someone, we also understand that in that home, she really couldn’t live. Don’t take it personally. Since Shijing married you, he will definitely treat you well.”
Shao Yunan smiled. “I’m not that careful. Now that Shijing is separated, they can’t hold anything against us. Fourth Aunt, you can tell people how we got the money, so that people won’t gossip behind our backs.”
“If you care about it I will speak about it outside.” Aunt Wang was worried about whether Shao Yunan would be difficult to get along with, but now she liked Shao Yunan a little bit. After the two of them stayed in the kitchen for a while, Aunt Wang took this opportunity to tell Shao Yunan in detail about Wang Shijing’s family, so that he would not suffer losses in the future.
When Shao Yunan and Aunt Wang came out of the kitchen, they immediately attracted a round of applause. Everyone was happy and satisfied with the meal. There were also snacks before the meal and fruits after the meal, so everyone was a little embarrassed that they ate so much. They just helped a bit, but these people were so grateful to them.
There was almost no food left as Wang Shijing asked Sun Er Jiang to take the rest of the soup and water back, so he could mix it with the pig food, adding some oil and water for the pigs. The Sun family raised two pigs, so Sun Er Jiang was not polite.
The host and guests enjoyed themselves and before they left, Aunt Wang, Aunt Zhou, and Sun Er Jiang’s mother, Aunt Sun Xia, washed all the dishes. Shao Yunan didn’t stop them because he didn’t like cleaning up after the meal. The guests were all gone and Shao Yunan didn’t see that one of the guests looked back at him when he left. Wang Shijing went to boil water to wash, while Shao Yunan called Wang Qing and Wang Nizi into the house.
Edited by: Jaisland