Accompany by a Fool to Do Farming
Chapter 55: 上山 (To go uphill)
Time passed slowly . Soon it was time for lunch. Meanwhile in the kitchen, Zhong Ziqi had reached the finishing touch.
A plate of simmer fried fish, a plate of Yan Shui prawns, a plate of deep fried oysters, a plate of steamed pork with preserved plums, a plate of tenderloin, a plate of cold dish, a plate of vegetarian dish, and a pot of thick soup.
There were eight dishes in total, which was a lucky number and standard to entertain honorable guests.
Zhong Ziqi asked Hong Ying, who was standing behind him, “Help me carry it over!”
Hong Ying walked over with a blank face and carried a plate of dishes to the dining table which was set up in the hall.
“It smells good.” Shen Yu Bei leaned over in his chair and sniffed, taking a deep breath, even though he hadn’t opened his mouth to eat it yet, he knew it would definitely be delicious.
“I said he wouldn’t let you down. Ziqi’s skill is the kind of ‘the color blue is made out of indigo but is more vivid than indigo’. There’s no one in the eight villages around here who can match him.” Zhao Zheng’an set up the dishes and brought out the jar of good wine he had bought today and filled it up for him.
[青出於藍而勝於藍 : qīng chū yú lán ér shèng yú lán—lit. the color blue is made out of indigo but is more vivid than indigo (idiom) / fig. the student surpasses the master]
“That’s enough. Drink a little less today! Avoid making a fool of yourself!” Shen Yu Bei reached out to block Zhao Zheng’an’s hand from continuing to pour.
Zhao Zheng’an didn’t force himself to pour another bowl. He also didn’t pour it for Hong Ying, it seemed like, as a guard he couldn’t drink.
When all eight dishes were served, Zhong Ziqi also sat in the chair next to Zhao Zheng’an, except for Hong Ying, who stood motionless on the side. Without his master’s permission,as a junior guard he was not qualified to sit at the same table with his master. On previous occasions, in order to be less high-profile, his master allowed him to sit next to him.
“Eh … little uncle” Zhong Ziqi pointed to Hong Ying, was this asking them to eat while he watches them eat?
That’s cruel …
Shen Yu Bei swept a glance at the wood-like Hong Ying: “You sit down and eat together too.”
“Thank you, master.” Hong Ying couldn’t help but gulp as he sat next to Shen Yu Bei, his hands on his knees, his head slightly hanging down, sitting upright.
“Little uncle, eat ba! I didn’t make any special dishes. All of the dishes are just ordinary home-cooking. I don’t know if the cooking suits your taste or not. ” Zhong Ziqi said politely.
Shen Yu Bei looked at the eight dishes on the table and smiled helplessly, “You kid! Didn’t I tell you not to cook so much? Even at the old mansion it wasn’t this luxurious.”
“I just cooked this in a hurry, otherwise I could have made a few more delicious dishes. It’s not troubling at all. Try some.”
“Okay, I’ll try it.”
Shen Yubei picked up his chopsticks and took the nearest plate of diced meat, put it into his mouth and chewed it twice, his eyes lit up, then he gave a thumbs up: “Delicious! The chef in the restaurant at the same level is not even as good as you!”
Shen Yu Bei was inwardly quite surprised. Zhong Ziqi’s skill was not an exaggeration, it was really good. This was something he hadn’t expected, it was even better than the restaurant chef had, Zhong Ziqi’s dishes carried a very unique flavour. He didn’t know what the flavour was, but he knew that everyone had their own taste in cooking.
“Little uncle, exaggerating isn’t it? It’s not that tasty.” Zhong Ziqi smiled shyly.
“Little Uncle is right. Your cooking is much better than those chefs.” Zhao Zheng’an also took a bite of Zhong Ziqi’s first time cooking the oyster and said with a nod of his head.
Zhong Ziqi kicked him under the table, “Just eat your own!”
“Little Uncle, just eat! The food will get cold later.”
“En,let’s eat! ”
“Wait little uncle, let me toast you with this bowl first.” Zhao Zheng’an said solemnly as he raised his wine bowl.
“Good.” Shen Yu Bei also raised his bowl and toast it with him. Both of them took a big sip. After that, they started to move their chopsticks and ate the delicious food on the table.
Although Shen Yu Bei was from a big wealthy family.The rule of not saying anything at the dinner table was not a rule to be strictly observed.The oriental people were all close when eating meals together, so the three of them were very enjoying eating and talking at the same time.
[The original saying is: “you can’t speak while you eat, and you don’t speak when you sleep”(食不言，寝不语)which means that you should not talk while eating, so as not to affect digestion, also do not communicate with people before going to bed, so as not to affect the quality of sleep.]
Poor Hong Ying was uncomfortable and didn’t dare to clip the far away dishes, so he could only eat rice and clip the only plate of vegetables on the table. Even though the vegetable dish was also very fragrant, the meat not far away was probably even better.Hong Ying thought of this, but the movements of his hands remained the same. He still clipped from the plate of vegetables.
The inattentive Zhao Zheng’an was the first to notice him: “Brother, don’t just eat the vegetables! Eat some meat too! There are so many dishes here.”
Zhao Zheng’an pushed a plate of meat towards him.
Hong Ying bit his chopsticks without saying anything. Shen Yu Bei coughed and swept a glance at Hong Ying, who immediately met. Hong Ying stretched up his chopsticks for the first time, adding the vegetable into his bowl, taking it from the plate of meat dish…under the gaze of the other three people.
Shen Yu Bei felt for the first time that his trusted aide (confidant) was sluggish enough and foolish,so under the table he lifted his leg and kicked him in the knee.
The movement of Hong Ying eating a meal paused for a moment, he glanced at his master, saw him staring at him, so he hurriedly took another chopsticks of dish, this time he took the small tenderloin of pork that he had been craving him for a long time. When the meat entered his mouth, it tasted as good as he had imagined, Hong Ying’s eyes took on a hint of joy.
They chatted as they ate. The meal didn’t end quickly and it was almost over by the afternoon.
In the afternoon, with the breeze blowing and the sun shining high, the back of the Zhao Jia village was still lush and green,as the birds were singing.
The four of them walked up the hill along the path that had been trodden out by previous generations. Zhong Ziqi led the way, walking through a small earthen ditch, and not far from there was a small, grassy grave, with a simple wooden board in front of it, with a few big words written on it: “Tomb of Zhong Zhen Hang and his wife Shen Yu”.
“This is the grave of my Amu and my father.”
Zhong Ziqi said sadly. Don’t get him wrong, this emotion really came from his body, not from him. In fact, he usually didn’t dare to come here. If it was his own father and mother, forget it, but the point is that they were two people who were strangers to him and he hadn’t met yet.
And he had taken possession of his son, how dare he appear in front of people? Thank God if he didn’t come looking for him in the middle of the night! He really didn’t have much guts.
“Let me stay here alone for a while, okay?” Shen Yu Bei said in an unstable mood.
“Okay. We’ll go down the mountain first. ‘You’ just go back the same way.” Zhao Zheng’an said understandingly, there must be a lot to say after not seeing each other for so many years.
Shen Yu Bei nodded and waved his hand.
Zhao Zheng’an then pulled Zhong Ziqi down the hill. Zhao Zheng’an used his arm to block away the messy branches and said, “Seriously, we haven’t visited Amu for a long time.”
“Well …… it’s been too busy for a while.”
Zhong Ziqi said somehow feeling guilty, it seems that in the future it would be better to drag Zhao Zheng’an along to the grave, it was not always possible for him not to come since this family of three was gone. Moreover,he did not expect the Zhong family would come and burn paper for them. So he had to come.
Zhao Zheng’an rubbed his head and didn’t say anything. He thought Zhong Ziqi’s strange behavior was because he remembered his parents’s sadness.
“It’s getting late. They will definitely be staying here tonight.” Zhong Ziqi silently tidied his hair that had been messed up and changed the subject.
“Well, I think so too. Is there still enough food? Shall we go to Zhao Amu’s house and catch a small rooster?”
Zhong Ziqi thought about the extra pounds of vegetables he bought and shook his head, “I don’t know, let’s talk about it later! Anyway, it’s not too late to catch it by then. Isn’t Uncle Bao Gen at home?”
“En, listen to you.”
Back at home, Zhong Ziqi and Zhao Zheng’an had nothing to do, so they simply took two small benches and sat in front of the door to talk and tease the two big black dogs.
“Liaten to my little uncle’s atory, my grandfather and grand amu are both alive.
Do you think they will come to our house too? Or want us to go, ah?” Zhong Ziqi asked Zhao Zheng’an with a tilted head.
“Can’t guess. But you are, after all, the orphan of his elder brother’s ger, so I’m sure we would meet them. It’s just, I don’t know if they are easy to get along with or not.”
“That’s right o. It’s probably going to be harsh.” Zhong Ziqi said with certainty as he recalled some of the things Shen Yu Bei had described to him.
On the mountain, Shen Yu Bei wiped the crystals from his face, stood up and patted his knees: “Brother, it’s getting late, I’m going down the mountain. You have raised Ziqi very well, I like it very much. I’m sure Daddy and Amu will like it too. We all miss you so much! I’m off now, brother! Next time, I’ll come to see you again.”
Shen Yu Bei rambled on for half a day before he and Hong Ying went down the mountain.
Just as they reached the foot of the mountain they saw two sneaky figures hiding behind a large tree, secretly watching them.
Shen Yu Bei frowned, at this moment he was in an absolutely terrible mood and did not want to pay attention to these people with unknown motives. The two people were sneaky but didn’t come over to annoy him.
“You’re back, little uncle.” Zhong Ziqi opened the door and looked at the master and servant standing in the doorway.
“En…” Shen Yu Bei nodded and walked into the courtyard: “By the way I saw two sneaky people following us when I was going down the hill just now.”
Zhong Ziqi was stunned and Zhao Zheng’an looked at each other, there didn’t seem to be many people who could do such a thing.
“You guys know?” Shen Yu Bei felt that there was something wrong with the two people’s faces and couldn’t help but wonder who these two were.
“Who else could it be? Either those parents of his or my eldest uncle’s. No one but them could have done this.” Zhong Ziqi said helplessly.
Zhao Zheng’an rubbed his nose awkwardly and smiled at Shen Yu Bei.
Shen Yu Bei followed their example and took a small bench to sit in the courtyard and asked, “What? Do they often come to trouble you?”
“Not often, but almost. Every few days they come to the door and ask for this and that.”
Zhong Ziqi is full of complaints about this. This was so annoying! It was a pity that they were his and Zhao Zheng’an’s blood relatives, otherwise he would have taken a broom and driven them away.
“Oh? There’s still this thing? Do you promise then?”
“How can I say yes? if there’s one, there’s two. If I agree to their request the next time you can’t stop them from asking more.”
Shen Yu Bei nodded appreciatively:”That’s right. You can’t promise. We have to find a way to get something done once and for all. Completely, to keep them honest. Otherwise, maybe one day they’ll bring harm?”
Zhong Ziqi nodded thoughtfully, thinking that what he said made sense. It was just that he couldn’t think of any solution for a while.
Shen Yu Bei looked at the two of them and pointed out leisurely: “If you want to hold someone, you have to find out their weakness first. If you get their weakness, are you still afraid that they won’t listen to you?”
Zhong Ziqi and Zhao Zhengan’s eyes lit up. The Zhao family’s weakness seemed to be their youngest son, right? After all, there was only one child whose heart was towards them. In the future, they would have to look up to him for him to raise them in their retirement.
In ancient times, it was especially important to have an heir to the family, so the Zhong family…also had two children, a ger and a son, both unmarried. If there was any bad publicity, the two children would be ruined and could not hope to marry or get married to a good family.
The more Zhong Ziqi thought about it, the more he thought it made sense, so he said in his heart: This time, let’s see if they dare to mess with me again!