“Ship?” Wang Qing turned to face his brother, thinking he was pondering about Little Father’s paradise. Jiang Moxi turned his head and looked at Wang Qing, saying, “Boat, sailing.”
“Sailing.” Jiang Moxi’s expression was extremely serious. “Uncle Yunan, danger. Sailing, safety.” It took Wang Qing a while to understand. “Big Brother, are you saying that if Little Father is in danger in the future, we should escape by boat?”
Wang Qing suddenly felt that his older brother was amazing, to think so far ahead. “But ships are difficult. Didn’t Little Father say we need a very big ship to reach the other side of the sea?” Jiang Moxi turned his head back and looked at the ceiling. “I’ll make it.”
“Big Brother, you want to make a ship?” Wang Qing exclaimed, propping himself up. “Yes, make a ship. A big ship.” Wang Qing bit his lip. “Big Brother, I’ll help you. Let’s make the ship together.”
“I’ll make it.” Wang Qing didn’t understand. “Big Brother, don’t you want me to help you? I want to help. I also want to do something when Little Father is in danger.”
“You, study. I’ll make it,” Jiang Moxi said, closing his eyes as if he didn’t want to continue the topic. Wang Qing lay down and Jiang Moxi’s voice came again from beside him. “You, Duke. I’ll make the boat.”
“Hmm?” What does that mean? Wang Qing wanted to ask his older brother, but Jiang Moxi turned over and faced away from him, seemingly ready to sleep. With a mind full of questions, Wang Qing closed his eyes. It was about that time when Su Ce came in. Seeing that the two young masters were indeed asleep, he blew out the candle and gently closed the door to the inner room.
Two days ago, due to the disturbance caused by the three big cats, they couldn’t finish the task of picking tea on time. Originally, Wang Shijing was supposed to go and pick Keemun black tea the next day, but he was worried about Shao Yunan taking the children up the mountain alone.
After thinking it over and discussing with Shao Yunan, he had Tang Genshu take the team to pick the Keemun black tea from the less dangerous areas. Once he finished with the tea trees on their own mountain, he would go and pick tea from other places.
Wang Shijing and Shao Yunan were in charge of collecting the tea, and the villagers reciprocated by sending some to the Wang residence. Since the busy farming season had just ended, Zhao Lizheng’s and Wang Wenhe’s families didn’t have much to do yet. Wang Shuping, Zhao Yuande, and Zhao Yuanqing all helped Wang Shijing and Shao Yunan pick and collect the tea.
Wang Xing, Wang Zhuanghua, Sun Dajiang, and Sun Xiaojiang, as well as a few others, were also free from their own businesses and went to help Wang Shijing to pick and collect the tea. Since they had followed Wang Shijing the previous year, they already had experience.
At the Wang residence, Shao Yunan entrusted the task of collecting the tea to the newly appointed housekeeper, Yan Fusheng. Guo Ziyu was no longer serving as the housekeeper and would now assist Wang Shijing in managing their businesses. Wang Shijing and Shao Yunan truly needed an assistant like Guo Ziyu, someone educated and reliable.
Early in the morning, after Wang Shijing and Shao Yunan finished their meal, they headed up the mountain together with the children. They didn’t make any stops along the way and went straight to the tea forest. When the group was about to arrive, Wang Shijing, who was leading the way, stopped. Shao Yunan peeked forward and exclaimed, “Damn it! We’ve encountered trouble. This is definitely the tigers again!”
The three children, who were baptized by the three tigers yesterday, were no longer afraid, but united – to hide behind their father (Uncle Shijing) and Little Father (Uncle Yunan). The tiger’s tongue making contact with their face was just too painful! When they were spotted, the two tiger cubs ran over happily. The big tiger stood there with an arrogant look, tilting its chin slightly.
“Stop!” Wang Shijing quickly reached out and stopped the two young tigers. Even though they were young, if they pounced on them, it would be life-threatening, not to mention they had the children behind them.
The two young tigers skidded to a stop, wagged their tails, and joyfully looked at Wang Shijing and Shao Yunan with what seemed like saliva dripping from the corners of their mouths. Shao Yunan shook his head and said, “Oh my.”
Wang Shijing smiled, walked forward, and looked at the big tiger in the distance. Then he said very seriously, “Today we are here to pick tea leaves, but we were delayed yesterday. We hope Brother Tiger can understand.”
The big tiger flicked its tail, not knowing if it understood or not. The two young tigers were in a posture as if they wanted to pounce. Shao Yunan thought to himself, “This won’t work.” The three tigers didn’t harm people, they just liked to drink water from their place, eat their meat, and even their fruits. Every time he thought about this, Shao Yunan wanted to roar. ‘Are these real tigers? Have you ever seen tigers that love eating fruits?’
In other words, the tigers were just greedy. On the contrary, with the tigers around, he and Wang Shijing didn’t have to worry about other fierce animals in the forest. Shao Yunan stepped forward and stood beside Wang Shijing, saying loudly, “Brother Tiger, how about we discuss it? Let us pick tea leaves first and I’ll make grilled meat for you for lunch. How does that sound?”
The big tiger wagged its tail. “Then you can also have the water you love to drink and the fruits you love to eat. But the quantity is limited.” The big tiger’s tail continued to wag.
“Roar, roar!” The two young tigers drooled and excitedly faced Wang Shijing and Shao Yunan. Seeing that the big tiger wasn’t moved at all, Shao Yunan became angry. He didn’t believe it!
He moved his hand and a bottle containing Spirit Milk appeared in his hand. The two young tigers, who had been bouncing in place, suddenly stopped and sniffed around. The big tiger’s body trembled and with a few leaps, it arrived in front of Wang Shijing and Shao Yunan.
“Roar!” The big tiger bared its teeth and the two young tigers anxiously howled. What was that thing?!
Shao Yunan uncorked the bottle and all three tigers’ tails stood straight up. The big tiger jumped up and pounced, just in the nick of time, Shao Yunan covered the bottle, and it disappeared.
“Roar!!” The roar of the big tiger made Shao Yunan and Wang Shijing stumble back a few steps. Wang Shijing promptly protected the three children, while Shao Yunan wiped the saliva off his face and said to the furious tiger, “You can smell that this is something good, right? As long as you don’t hinder us from picking tea leaves, I’ll give you a few drops for lunch.”
The big tiger’s tail wagged so fast it was about to break. Panting heavily and exhaling hot air, it showed extreme impatience. The two young tigers were about to pounce, but they were stopped by a roar from the big tiger and obediently backed off.
Shao Yunan said, “Brother Tiger, is it okay?” The big tiger replied with a “Roar!” Shao Yunan wiped the saliva off his face again, thinking to himself, ‘Thank goodness this tiger likes fruits; otherwise, this saliva would be even more disgusting.’
Reluctantly, the big tiger, who had sprayed saliva on Shao Yunan’s face, turned around and walked away. The two young tigers didn’t want to leave, but the big tiger swatted them with its tail. The two young tigers whimpered in grievance and followed the big tiger, looking back as they walked.
Wang Qing’s mouth was wide open. His admiration for his Little Father was endless. As the tiger left, Shao Yunan sighed, “Definitely a clever tiger.” Wang Shijing said, “Let’s go. We need to finish picking the tea today.”
Someone spoke up, saying, “What was it?” Shao Yunan turned around. It was Jiang Moxi who spoke. Shao Yunan pulled him over and said, “It’s the essence of the Spirit Spring water. It’s in the water you drink and it’s especially good for the body.”
Jiang Moxi, upon hearing that they drink it every day, didn’t ask any further. Wang Nizi asked, “Little Father, did the tigers leave?”
“Yes, but it might come back during lunch. Don’t worry, it won’t harm us. Now that we’re done picking tea leaves, why don’t you go to the space and pick some vegetables?”
“Okay!” The three children were delighted to hear that they could enter the space.
“But you can’t go to the dangerous area. If I catch you there once, I won’t let you go in again. Nizi, I trust you. Moxi, Uncle Yunan is most uneasy about you.”
“Pinky promise.” Jiang Moxi obediently made a pinky promise with Uncle Yunan, suppressing his inner excitement.
In the tea forest, Shao Yunan sent the three children into the space. Among the three children, he was actually most at ease with Wang Qing. With Wang Qing watching, even if Jiang Moxi couldn’t resist, he probably wouldn’t go to the dangerous area.
Now that it was just the two of them, Shao Yunan discussed, “Shijing, what do you think about getting rid of the things in our space? The children will play there in the future, and those things are too dangerous.”
Wang Shijing thought for a moment and said, “Everything else is fine, but we should definitely get rid of the gasoline and diesel. If someone finds them, it’ll be impossible to explain. We don’t have the ability to extract oil here and there are also firearms and ammunition.”
Shao Yunan suggested, “How about finding a cave in the mountains and storing the gasoline and diesel there? We don’t have to worry about the firearms and ammunition since the children don’t understand them. We can just tell them it’s dangerous and they won’t touch them. But gasoline and diesel can easily explode with just a single spark.”
Wang Shijing agreed. “That’s a good idea. Let’s ask the tigers to find a safe cave for us. If they want to drink our Spirit Spring water, they should help us with something. They can’t just eat and drink for free.”
“That’s a good plan. Let’s find them.”
Inside the space, Wang Qing, Jiang Moxi, and Nizi were diligently picking tomatoes in the well-grown tomato field. The tomatoes were irrigated with Spirit Spring water and there were still water droplets on them. Jiang Moxi had tomato juice at the corner of his mouth, clearly having eaten one while picking.
Wang Shijing didn’t plant much of any vegetable in the space, just enough for their family to eat since the vegetables in the space could never be sold or taken out to eat. Soon, the three children finished picking the tomatoes. Wang Qing and Jiang Moxi carried the baskets into the wooden house and placed them together with the tomatoes they had harvested earlier. Wang Nizi followed behind, holding several large red tomatoes in her arms.
After setting down the baskets, Jiang Moxi picked up a tomato and was about to eat it, but Wang Qing quickly said, “Brother, you already ate three earlier. You can’t eat anymore.”
Jiang Moxi hesitated as he looked at the tomato for a while, but eventually put it down. Then he picked up a cucumber and took a bite. Nizi exclaimed, “Brother, I want to drink water.”
“Okay, I’ll pour it for you.” Wang Qing went to fetch some water. However, Jiang Moxi stopped him, gave him the half-eaten cucumber, and grabbed Nizi’s hand to walk towards the table where a cup of cold water was placed. Wang Qing looked at his older brother and younger sister and then at the cucumber in his hand, deciding not to go over.
After the three children drank water, Jiang Moxi took out some boxes of potato chips and found a few books. The three children sat on the carpet, reading books and eating chips. Wang Nizi read the Three Character Classic, Jiang Moxi read Record of Examination Labor, and Wang Qing read Analects of Confucius.
Shao Yunan’s space didn’t have many storybooks suitable for children. If they insisted, they could probably find Journey to the West, but the version Shao Yunan had was in modern Chinese, which the three children couldn’t understand. Jiang Moxi recognized fewer characters than Wang Qing did. So when the three children saw the thick books about Journey to the West in the wooden house, they could only sigh and wait for the adults to tell them the stories.
Nizi, “Brother how do you pronounce this character?”
Wang Qing, sitting between his older brother and younger sister, glanced to his left and said, “Duan.”
“Oh.” Nizi had learned quite a few characters from her grandmother and Little Father. After a while, a book blocked Wang Qing’s line of sight and a hand pointed to a character on top. Wang Qing looked at it and barely recognized the word. “It should be pronounced ‘Yue’.” The hand and the book were both withdrawn.
Wang Qing let out a sigh. Should he be grateful that he had spent the most time studying with Little Father? Many characters in these books were written differently from what he had learned in the academy. If he hadn’t persisted in studying with Little Father, who also wrote many characters in this way, he wouldn’t be able to read these books either.
“Brother, how do you pronounce this character?”
“Let me see.” Inside the space, the three children were conscientiously studying and none of them slacked off. Outside the space, Wang Shijing climbed up tree after tree, picking the freshest tea leaves of the year. Meanwhile, deep within the forest, birds flew and animals ran.
Edited by: Jaisland