Chapter 19: I Am Born In The Year Of The Rabbit
Back in the courtyard, Song Qi saw the results that sister-in-law got back and complained, “That Old Head Yu bullies the weak and submits to the strong. I shall go myself.”
Ye Jiayao resented, “Forget it. It doesn’t matter if it is a little lesser, there might be even lesser in the future. It would be harder to drink porridge, not to mention side dishes.”
“Just stop causing inconvenience. Since the Dragon-breaking Stone has been released, there would be a period where we won’t be able to go down the mountains,” Peng Wu told Song Qi.
“Really?” Song Qi was shocked.[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======
Peng Wu sighed, bringing the vegetable basket back into the kitchen. There was too little meat. Initially, Ye Jiayao wanted to make pork buns, but now, she can only make it half meat and half cabbage filling.
Song Qi assisted Ye Jiayao with the preparation, kneading the dough thoroughly and evenly. Ye Jiayao split the kneaded dough into equal sizes, rolling them into evenly thick bun skins, adding the filling and closing it up by pinching it into 18 even pleats skilfully.
“Sister-in-law, is there anything that you can’t do?” Song Qi exclaimed in amazement. The foods that big sister whipped up were always so exquisite, both in appearance and taste.
Ye Jiayao smiled. “I am not as capable as you think. All of these are home-cooked food, it only takes practice.”
“It is difficult to make home-cooked food so good,” Song Qi countered.
Suddenly Xia Chunyu walked in, throwing two rabbits on the floor. “Song Qi, kill them.”
“Third-in-charge, these rabbits are too timely because we are lacking meat today,” Song Qi said merrily, lifting a rabbit ear to take a look. “This rabbit is meaty.”
Xia Chunyu turned to walk away expressionlessly.
Song Qi was about to bring the rabbits out to slaughter them when Ye Jiayao stopped him. “Ay, don’t kill them.”
Both rabbits had been shot in the leg by Chunyu, and they were severely injured. Ye Jiayao was born in the year of the rabbit and has a special affliction towards rabbits. Who wouldn’t like such cute and obedient animals? She used to have a rabbit pet in the past but it ended up dying. She grieved its death, even getting it a small box as a coffin to bury it in.
“Why not?” he asked.
“I am born in the year of the rabbit, so no eating of rabbits,”?Ye Jiayao replied with conviction.
Song Qi was stunned.??Is that really a real thing?
“I am born in the year of the chicken but I still eat chicken,” Song Qi reasoned.
“That’s not the same. Anyway, it is not allowed.” Ye Jiayao’s hands were full of flour and she couldn’t care for the furry creatures herself. Instead, she ordered Song Qi,?“Pull the arrows out, apply a little medicine to it and wrap it up. Don’t kill them, or I will come after you.”
Song Qi was speechless and could only act according to orders, tending to the injured rabbits.
During breakfast, Xia Chunyu did not see Ye Jiayao around, so he asked Song Qi for her whereabouts. He replied that their big sister was feeding the rabbits in the backyard.
Xia Chunyu frowned. “Feeding the rabbits? Didn’t I tell you to slaughter them?”
“Sister-in-law wouldn’t allow it. She said she is born in the year of the rabbit so we are not allowed to eat rabbit meat,” Song Qi replied in discontent.
The corner of Xia Chunyu’s mouth twitched. Looking at the pork filling in the bun, he thanked his lucky stars that she was not born in the year of the pig, otherwise, he won’t get to eat pork.
“I’ll go up the mountains to take a look later. I made a trap a few days ago, not sure if there would be any prey caught, but it would be good if there is a wild boar,” Song Qi said.
“Mm, if you catch a wild boar, I will make you some pork tripe and chicken.” Ye Jiayao said, catching the tail end of the conversation as she entered the kitchen.
Remembering the deal that they had made involving pork belly and chicken, Song Qi’s head dropped. Peng Wu could not resist and asked her, “Sister-in-law, how did you know we would choose rock?”
Ye Jiayao raised her hands up in a surrendering gesture. “How would I know you would choose rock? I am just lucky, either that, or you let me win on purpose.”
Xia Chunyu glanced at her, disbelieving. She was so confident then, like someone who knew they were guaranteed a certain win. He knew that there was a trick there somewhere.
Ye Jiayao was not going to tell them that she bested them using the results of a psychological research. It was not like she was going to play with them again. She was definitely not giving them the chance to make a comeback.
“Peng Wu, send some breakfast to second-in-charge later,” Ye Jiayao said.
Peng Wu looked at third-in-charge for affirmation. Xia Chunyu did not express any objection which they all took as a silent consent. Xia Chunyu had thought about it last night and deemed that there was no harm in doing it.
So, Peng Wu received the order gladly and carried the lunchbox to second-in-charge’s place.
Ye Jiayao sat down to eat just as Song Qi asked, “Sister-in-law, are you planning to care for those two rabbits?”
“No. I will release them back into the mountains when they recover,” Ye Jiayao replied, afraid that she would inadvertently kill the rabbits.
“There would be more people hunting in the mountains the next few days,” Xia Chunyu reminded her.
That was right! There was not enough food in the stockade. People would be sure to hunt in the mountains for more meat. Those two rabbits were fat and cute, they would be unable to escape those evil clutches.
“Then I should keep them as pets! Chunyu, can I keep them?” Ye Jiayao was uncertain if Chunyu liked small animals. This place was, after all, his territory. It would be best to seek his permission. If he didn’t like it, she would have to send the rabbits to Auntie Jiang and have her take care of them.
Xia Chunyu shrugged, replying indifferently. “Up to you.”
He really could not care less. Any way it goes, he was not the one who would be taking care of them.
“Chunyu, you are so nice,” Ye Jiayao said coyly, smiling at him.
Xia Chunyu and Song Qi shuddered together, shaking the goosebumps out. Xia Chunyu did not like to be called nice, and Song Qi certainly would never think of third-in-charge and nice in the same sentence.
While they were conversing, Peng Wu returned, saying that second-in-charge drank the porridge, and refused to even touch the pig liver soup Old Head Yu delivered.
Ye Jiayao rejoiced and felt a little proud of herself. “Who would be able to stomach eating pork liver soup early in the morning?”
Old Head Yu certainly lacked consideration for the people who would be eating his food. What was the point of only knowing how to cook? When cooking, one must consider the preferences of the eater, the person’s body condition, and changes in the seasons. No matter how great the food was, if it didn’t suit the appetite, it was useless.
Peng Wu laughed. “I told second-in-charge that sister-in-law wants to cook for him and he said that he wants to eat sister-in-law’s meat patty.”
“Sure, I will make him some for dinner,” Ye Jiayao replied happily. She threw some coquettish glances at Xia Chunyu proudly.
Xia Chunyu lowered his glance, pretending not to see.??This woman is too undignified!??He was puzzled, though. Second-in-charge was a typical Shan Dong man, yet he was enjoying the food with a southern taste?
Their peaceful breakfast was quickly disturbed by a series of purging operation. First-in-charge has ordered those who came up the mountains within the span of the year to be investigated. Song Qi was one of the first waves?of people to be questioned.
Xia Chunyu said nothing as he faced those who came looking for Song Qi, though his complexion turned a little unsightly. Song Qi was hidden very deeply and so he should not have been suspected. This was most likely targeted at him.
Peng Wu patted Song Qi on his shoulders to comfort him. “Song Qi, it’s going to be alright. First-in-charge just needs to understand the situation. Just be truthful, and you’ll be fine.”
Song Qi puffed his chest, raising his chin up. “I have nothing to be afraid of. I am not a spy.” He?walked away with the people who came to get him, feigning confidence.
Xia Chunyu pushed his bowl aside, saying, “Peng Wu, let’s go to the training grounds.”
Ye Jiayao thought of what Xia Chunyu told her last night and shivered. Song Qi was Chunyu’s person. By singling Song Qi out first, does that mean that they were targeting Chunyu?
After a little over two hours, Song Qi came back, his face gloomy.
“How was it? Did first-in-charge suspect you?” Ye Jiayao asked in concern.
Songqi replied angrily, “I was boiling mad, I almost fought with them!”
The Song Qi that Ye Jiayao knew was a happy-go-lucky guy, always has a smile on his face and was easily pleased. Seeing him this angry was a first for her.
“Don’t be so angry at them, they were just acting upon orders,” Ye Jiayao said, trying to calm him down.
“I just can’t stand how they interrogate me like I’m a common thief,” Song Qi said in a low voice.
“If they let you back, it means they trust you. Don’t be so angry anymore,” Ye Jiayao consoled him. Could first-in-charge really find the spy by investigating this way? Which spy would be so stupid as to admit to being a spy? Unless there was concrete evidence, this would only disappoint people and make everyone worry. It looked like first-in-charge really didn’t think things through.
Ye Jiayao was right. The consecutive days of interrogation resulted in over 200 people in the stockade reporting at?first-in-charge’s place, yet, there was not even a shadow of the spy to be seen. Instead, it had caused cries of complaints, some expressing their desire to go down the mountains and find another place to go to. Xia Chunyu showed his might and locked these people up. No one dared to say anything after that.
Only, this way, Xia Chunyu became the target of everyone’s frustration. Ye Jiayao could only guess Chunyu’s intentions vaguely. By standing out at this time, and helping first-in-charge take the brunt of the people’s annoyance, he was putting himself on first brother’s good graces.
After getting Peng Wu to send the food to second-in-charge for two days, Ye Jiayao decided to take the food over herself.
“Second brother, are you feeling better today? Your complexion looks good.” Ye Jiayao smiled, carrying a goblet of pigeon soup to second-in-charge’s living quarters.
She was amazed by second-in-charge’s toughness and ability to withstand pain. After being shot by an arrow, and enduring a slash on his chest, it was said that he was almost on the brink of death. Within only a few days, he was able to gradually recuperate and show an impossible progress. If it were someone else, they would’ve lied on a bed for almost half a month, half dead.
Second-in-charge laughed candidly and suddenly choked, holding on to his wound as he breathed heavily.
Ye Jiayao asked with concern, “Second brother are you alright? Should I call Mr. Liu over?”
Second-in-charge waved his hands dismissively, taking a few deep breaths as if to steady himself. “It’s nothing. Just this f*cking pain.”
“I could only imagine the pain you’re going through. A small wound on my finger is already extremely painful, I wouldn’t know how to handle being shot by an arrow. I especially stewed this pigeon soup for you, it is extremely beneficial for healing wounds.”
Second-in-charge smiled gratefully. “That would trouble you.”
“It’s not trouble, it really did not require much effort. Although first brother and Chunyu didn’t say it, I know they are very worried ever since you got hurt. Chunyu could not sleep in peace. Yesterday, I just mentioned casually that drinking pigeon soup would help in healing wounds, and he got up before daybreak, going up the mountains to hunt a wild pigeon. After half a day, he actually caught two,” Ye Jiayao told him.
“He wears a strict face all the time and doesn’t even know how to say anything remotely nice.?Fortunately, I could grasp a little of his temper, otherwise, I would have died of anger.”
“Third brother is like that, a cold face with a warm heart. Sister-in-law, you will have to just bear with it a little,” second-in-charge advised her, chuckling a little.
“I have no other choice. It was just my luck to marry him. This is all fate’s plan, there is nothing to do about it… ay! Second brother, take your time to eat, I shall go back first.” Ye Jiayao was not eager to become friendly with second-in-charge. Building relationships take time.
Immediately, as Ye Jiayao stepped out, she saw first-in-charge walking towards her direction, his hands behind his back, head lowered.