Shao Yunan almost shouted, ‘Wang Shijing I love you.’ He was really given everything he wanted! He then spoke impatiently, “Brother Shijing, can you show me to the west mountain tomorrow? If we can pick enough tea leaves, maybe we can soon get some money to build a house openly!”
“Alright, but tomorrow morning after breakfast we will go to Aunt Zhou’s house to take measurements first. In this way aunt Zhou can also help us look after Qing and Nizi when I take you into the mountains.”
Shao Yunan’s smile showed all of his teeth. “Brother Shijing, you are my benefactor!”
Wang Shijing closed his mouth and avoided Shao Yunan’s burning gaze by wiping his eyes. But there was a faint smile in his one eye.
At night, lying on the kang, although the two of them were in separate bedding the distance between them had shortened considerably. Shao Yunan was excited and Wang Shijing was obviously not asleep either.
“Brother Shijing, I want to go back to the county town the day after tomorrow.”
“I want to buy two stone mills, one big and one small, as well as two new iron pots for making tea.”
“Find people in the village to make the stone mill. Don’t buy a ready-made iron pot. Go to the blacksmith shop and order them. The pots made this way are better. The iron pot for tea making has to be the best, right?” Shao Yunan suddenly felt that he was quite lucky to meet Wang Shijing when he first came here.
“Then go and buy the land where we live first. I will decide how much land to buy after I see the tea trees. If a certain amount of tea can be made or if a few of the small businesses I have in mind can be done, you should buy more land preferably together with the land for our new house in the future.”
“Ok, it’s up to you.” The feeling of being in charge of the family was really good. Shao Yunan closed his eyes and became even more motivated for his future life.
The next day, not long after the rooster crowed, Wang Shijing and Shao Yunan got up. Shao Yunan told Wang Shijing to wash up first and when he was done, he gave him a new basin of water to wipe his eyes. Wang Shijing had slept well that night, where previously he couldn’t sleep well due to the pain in his eye. Wang Shijing was not without doubts especially when the wet cloth on the eyelid brought him a burst of coolness. Perhaps, this was one of the things Shao Yunan said he could not tell him for now. Wang Shijing wiped his eyes silently and looked at Shao Yunan, who was busy in the kitchen.
“Brother Shijing, I don’t know how to make noodles, before I learn it you should make the family some noodles.”
“Little father, I can do it.” It was said by the early riser Wang Nizi, who was then followed by Wang Qing. “Little father, I can do it too.”
“You’re up so early.” Shao Yunan, who was frying eggs in a large iron pot, poked his head out of the kitchen. Shao Yunan had the original owner’s memory of making noodles, but he himself had never done it. The only kind of dough he could make was for dim sum. But when he has time, he will learn. As the owner of two restaurants, Shao Yunan was not averse to entering the kitchen.
“We used to get up earlier.” Wang Qing and Wang Nizi went into the kitchen, sniffing the scent that was very good. “Go wash up. There is hot water in the basin. For breakfast there is porridge, steamed bread, and pickles with fried eggs. There were enough steamed buns leftover from the previous night for the four of them to eat.
The two children immediately went to wash up and obediently washed their hands with the bath beans. Thinking of the promise of teaching the two children some calligraphy today, Shao Yunan said apologetically, “Qing, Nizi, little father has to go to the mountains with your father to look for something today, so you have to wait till I come back.”
Wang Qing said understandingly, “Little father, go ahead.” Wang Nizi also said, “I will wait for my little father to come back to teach us.” Shao Yunan put the fried eggs in a bowl. “Anyway, little father has broken his promise, so I will make amends and cook a big meal for you when I come back.”
Wang Qing and Wang Nizi smiled. Their dad came back and their little father was also very good. The two children were full of hope for their future, so their panic of being bullied by their ‘stepfather’ dissipated thanks to Shao Yunan’s kindness.
The four of them ate breakfast and Wang Qing and Wang Nizi both said they liked the fried egg very much. Wang Shijing didn’t say whether he liked it or not, but he also ate it in two bites. After eating, Wang Shijing washed the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen before taking the cloth in his arms and taking Shao Yunan and his two children to the Zhou’s house.
Uncle Zhou and Aunt Zhou also got up early. When the couple came for dinner last night, they didn’t bring Zhou Tianbao with them, but Wang Shijing still prepared food for them to take back to Zhou Tianbao to eat. Zhou Tianbao giggled foolishly when he saw the strange guest. Since he was troubling people to look after the children, Shao Yunan brought over the leftover snacks from yesterday. As soon as he came in, he gave three to Zhou Tianbao, which made Uncle Zhou and Aunt Zhou very embarrassed. Since they ate other people’s food last night, it doesn’t matter if they took care of the children.
For fear that Zhou Tianbao would trouble Shao Yunan and the two children, Uncle Zhou took his silly son out to avoid it, while aunt Zhou measured them. In addition to pants, Aunt Zhou needed to make all the inside and outside clothes for the four people.
Wang Qing and Wang Nizi were still children, so Aunt Zhou didn’t mind making their inner pants. But Wang Shijing and Shao Yunan would need to do theirs themselves. Shao Yunan was wondering in his mind how long the pile of modern underwear in his space would last him. Aunt Zhou was taking measurements and teaching Shao Yunan how to make the simplest pants. Shao Yunan felt it was hopeless, while Wang Shijing listened very carefully. Wang Nizi on the side also listened very carefully. When she grew up, she would be the one to sew her little father and her father’s clothing.
Hearing that Aunt Zhou also knew how to make shoes, Shao Yunan immediately said that the shoes for his family of four would be given to Aunt Zhou in the future, Aunt Zhou just agreed with a smile.
When Aunt Zhou finished measuring, Wang Shijing paid the money. Since they were all from the same village, there was no need to pay for delivery. Aunt Zhou also did not refuse to take care of the children and let Wang Shijing and Shao Yunan just go about their work. Shao Yunan specially told the two children not to wander off and then went home together with Wang Shijing to get a basket and bow and arrow for their trip up the mountain.
Wang Shijing had been away from the village for five years, but he was no stranger to the mountains around the village. He grew up being treated harshly by his parents and had never felt the warmth of his parents for as long as he could remember. The half grown boy ate very poorly. When he was growing up, Wang Shijing didn’t have enough to eat at home, while his mother gave all kinds of delicious food to his second brother to eat. In order to not starve, Wang Shijing often snuck into the mountains to find food, while also learning how to hunt by himself. So the mountains here were very familiar to him. Now that he has spent three years in the army, he was even less afraid of going to the mountains.
There was no way up the mountain, so Wang Shijing opened up a path with a machete that he held in one hand, while his other hand held Shao Yunan’s wrist. The morning dew made the mountain road unusually slippery and Shao Yunan’s body was thin and frail. So without saying a word, Wang Shijing grabbed his wrist when they reached the mountain and did not let him break free. After walking for a while, Shao Yunan accepted his help, otherwise this journey would be very difficult for him.
Edited by: Jaisland