Tuesday, 7 February 2017

VGAFH 25 & 26

CHAPTER 25 + 26
translate  by Maggie edited  by Marci

25. Chapters 25 Opportunity gotten by sacrifice

   Mrs Miao secretly speculated that this scoop of rice should be at least four jin(or 4x500g) or it could have also been five jin(2.5kg). Mixed with vegetables, sweet potatoes and the like, it’s enough for the couple to eat for the next two weeks.

   Only leading the way, and you can get this much rice. Only a fool wouldn't do it.

   "How about this," Mrs Miao thought for a bit: "Tomorrow, I will make a trip to your uncle and aunt's home with the both of you in order to let them know. After all, it's such a long trip, and you’ll be heading into a large forest. It’s better to let the adults at home know.

   Lian Fang Zhou and Lian Ze looked at each other. Neither of them thought that Mrs Miao would say that.

   They knew Mrs Miao's intention about greeting the adults to obtain consent. In case anything happened, they can explain everything clearly.

   Lian Fang Zhou could understand Mrs Miao's misgivings.

   However, this was uncle and aunt; needing to give greeting to that couple, this -

   Lian Fang Zhou didn’t know what to say.

  It must be mentioned that although the siblings and the couple are not on friendly terms with each other as Lian Li and Mrs Qiao bully them fiercely, outsiders don't catch a wind of it. This is because after all, their quarrels never broke out into public.

But even so, the fact is Lian Li and Mrs Qiao can’t be considered as their elders - at least the siblings don't treat them as elders.

   If they had the appearance of elders, then when the Hua Family came several times to bully them, they would have stood up to protect them  or at least said a single fair word.

   To have these kinds of people, that happen to be their "elders" in the eyes of outsiders,  make decisions for them? Lian Fang Zhou could only snort in her heart.

   Lian Ze became anxious, just when he was about to speak, Lian Fang Zhou  lightly pulled his sleeve. She nodded and smiled as she said, "Great, then Aunt Sun tomorrow call on me, and we'll go to my aunt's to let them know."

   Lian Fang Zhou had readily agreed.

   "OK, then now it's settled!" Mrs Miao felt slightly relieved, and also candidly smiled as she nodded.

   Sun Zhang Xing then said, "You really did come at a good time. The day after tomorrow, if the weather is good, I was planning to go on a trip to forest!"

   "Really? That's really great! Our luck isn't bad!" Lian Fang Zhou's eyes lit up as she spoke.

   "Haha, who says it isn't!" Sun Zhang Xing also started laughing.

Seeing that matters have been discussed, Lian Fang Zhou and Lian Ze took their leave.
Lian Fang Zhou left the rice behind with reluctance.

   Mrs Miao was joyful at first, followed by a little hesitation and said, "This - not right, your aunt, we don't know if she will agree or not to let you go ... ..."

   "How would she not agree!" Lian Fang Zhou smiled, using a carefree tone and said, "Uncle Sun isn't an untrustworthy person, and us siblings are not without sense, so how could aunt disagree!" "

   Lian Fang Zhou without any explanation, gently rested the melon scoop on the table, saying "Put it here for now!"

   "Haha, then ... ... Haha!" Mrs Miao rubbed her hands; her words of refusal were pushed back into her throat, as she became a bit speechless.

   Lian Fang Zhou also did not give her the opportunity. She smiled as she took her leave, pulling Lian Ze along.

   "Sister." On the road, Lian Ze worriedly asked, "Would Aunt really agree? She treats us -"

   Lian Fang Zhou thought about it thoroughly, and coldly said, "That is why she'll agree, Hmph, possibly in her heart she’ll wish something will happen to us in the middle of it!"

   Lian Ze's chest tightened, his face changing a bit. His eyes looking at Lian Fang Zhou expressed his emotions quite clearly, what if -

   "Don't worry," Lian Fang Zhou faintly smiled toward him, saying "We will definitely come back perfectly fine!"

He did not know why, but when Lian Ze heard her  tone filled with certainty and saw her faint mood, his heart settled down.

   "I believe in my sister," he said softly.

   Just like Lian Fang Zhou expected, the next day she and Mrs Miao knocked on the door of Lian Li’s home. She pleasantly smiled as she talked about this matter to Mrs Qiao. Mrs Qiao was surprised for a moment, and then gently harrumphed. With neither a salty nor bland tone, she replied, "Where you go to is your own business. Do as you like. Everything is fine and you come and ask me for what? "

   Mrs Miao wanted to say something, but Lian Fang Zhou already interjected, "Since Aunt said this then we don't have worry.Rest assured! Aunt Sun, let's go!"

   Mrs Miao froze; then she suddenly thought of some rumors she occasionally heard, and coupled with the lack of sleep she had after they so happily accepted the rice last night, she half-heartedly let Lian Fang Zhou pull her away.

   Anyway she has greeted the elders of the Lian Family!

   Mrs Miao thought in her heart.

   Because the next day they had to walk along such a long mountain road, that day Lian Fang Zhou and Lian Ze didn't go anywhere and stayed at home to rest. Lian Zhou also instructed Lian Che and Lian Fang Qing how they should be at home.
     The next day, when it was still not bright outside, Lian Fang Zhou and Lian Ze had already gotten up.

   After opening the door, the morning cold chill blew in, seeping into their bone marrow. They hastily started the fire, ate something, and took the sacks they prepared last night for the outing.

Yesterday Lian Fang Zhou asked Sun Zhang Xing, what kind of things did they need to bring, such as dry food, water and the like?

   Sun Zhang Xing unrestrainedly waved his hand, answering "No need! The mountains have the cleanest spring water. And during this season, there's a lot of wild fruit; mountain herbs aren't scarce. What need is there to carry dry food?"

   Even with that being said, Lian Fang Zhou still felt afraid that, since it’s the first time the siblings are going unlike Sun Zhang Xing, not eating something to suppress the hunger, might inhibit them from carrying on.

   Coupled with the fact that the two of them weren't familiar with Mount Xian Teng and still needed to ask Sun Zhang Xing a lot, in order to prevent his impatience, they gotta bribe is that not right?

   There is a way to make people’s mouth soft by eating. Lian Fang Zhou doesn't believe that after eating their family's food, he won't answer their questions.

   As a result, she gritted her teeth and made five boiled eggs, and used bamboo leaves to wrap three rice dumplings up. She left two eggs for Lian Fang Qing and Lian Che. Then she carefully packed the remaining three and the rest of the rice dumplings in a clean cloth.

   Before going out of the house, Lian Fang Zhou gently woke up Lian Che and Lian Fang Qing and said a few words. Afterwards,  she went out together with Lian Ze.

   These two children were lovable. Even with half-squinting sleepy eyes, they still knew to say "sister and second brother come back early."

At the east, the white color of fish belly have yet to appear; the dark blue sky was so blue that it was exceptionally clear, with a clean desertedness stars that seemed to be suspended in the ice.

    In the sky, one star looked particularly bright. That was the morning star.

    The siblings used the weak starlight to go to the village entrance where Sun Zhang Xing's home was located. From afar they could see his house with a dim light shining within the hut.

    "Uncle Sun!" Lian Fang Zhou and Lian Ze happily greeted him as they stepped forward.

    "Oh, you have come!" Sun Zhang Xing laughed with a 'haha' and gave them a nod, saying "I was just talking about it, and you came! Let's go. We'll set off!"

26.Mount Xian Teng

 "En," Lian Fang Zhou and Lian Ze smiled as they agreed. The two, sister and brother, felt the excitement and curiosity of exploring new things, as well as, joy in their hearts.

   "Be careful on the road! And come back early!" Mrs Miao waved at them.

  Sun Zhang Xing turned back and said. "En, I know! You go back now! The day’s still early; go back to sleep!"

   Mrs Miao did not respond to his words and yelled, "Take care of Fang Zhou and her brother!"

   "I know. Don't worry," Sun Zhang Xing said.

   After they walked far away and reached a bend, Lian Fang Zhou subconsciously looked back, and could faintly see Mrs Miao still standing there, looking over in their direction. In the cool night, she looked so lonely and frail.  
   Lian Fang Zhou's heart felt a little bit pained. She couldn't help but think about how all year round, there are many days that Uncle Sun goes hunting and how Aunt Sun's share of waiting in torment also isn't little.

   In the end, it’s because of being too poor, ah!

   Sun Zhang Xing was very familiar with the mountain road, but he still hasn't entered the mountains. There was a large number of people on this road, what's more is that it’s also flat and not difficult to walk on. Therefore, it is not difficult for Lian FangZhou and Lian Ze to keep up with him.

Sun Zhang Xing is also a kind-hearted person. Because he felt that his own family received so much rice, not taking care of them, could not be justified. So he was very patient from time to time reminding them of their steps on the road and did not once go as he liked.

   Gradually dawn arrived, and the morning star hanging high above the sky gradually faded. At the East appeared the white fishbelly. The road beneath their feet can already be seen clearly, and so the three sped up their pace.

   After walking for about half an hour later, Sun Zhang Xing turned around and smiled. "Let's take a break here. In a while we won't get to rest. There's still two more ridges too! If you’re tired, just  say it and we'll stop to take a break. Traveling through the mountain road needs one burst of energy. If we rest the legs they'll become soft, then it will only be more and more harder to walk!

   Both Lian Fang Zhou and Lian Ze nodded, smiling as they said alright and gave their thanks again.

   Sun Zhang Xing pointed to the side said, "Down that the slope, there's a spring. If you're thirsty, you can go drink a few mouthfuls of it!

   Lian Fang Zhou then laughed. "I was going to ask Uncle Sun if there’s any place I could get a drink around here!" Then she stood up.

   Lian Ze also said he wanted to go, so the siblings went over together.

   After resting more than a few minutes, the three continued travelling.

   The sky was getting brighter, and thin faint rays appeared at the east sky. It is expected that it won't be long until the sun comes out.

At this moment, without having to concentrate on her foothold on the road, Lian Fang Zhou took the opportunity to ask Sun Zhang Xing various things about Mount Xian Teng.

   Originally, she was worried that Sun Zhang Xing wouldn’t be willing to tell her anything. Who knew that he was a talkative person. It just happened to be a good way to pass time on the road, so he endlessly chatted with the siblings.

   The two siblings from time to time asked questions, which made Sun Zhang Xing more and more interested in them. In the end, the three of them did not feel tired as they travelled.

   After about an hour, they finally reached the foot of mount Xian Teng.
   In fact, when they gradually got closer to Mount Xian Teng, both sides of the forest seemed to be a lot taller; vegetation also seemed to be more lush. On both sides of the mountain, the forest obviously didn't look the same as the ones they previously saw. They were more towering, tall and broad.

   "I have to go into the woods to see if my luck is good and if i can hunt some good stuff! You two don't go too far. If you lose your way, then you're in trouble! In case you can not find the way back, remember to go find streams in the mountain and follow the direction of flow to leave the forest! When entering the mountain, it’s best to follow along the stream, well like that one right there. Doing it this way will be better! Around shen hour(3-5pm), let's meet up here, and we can head back together. You better not be late!"

   Sun Zhang Xing solemnly said.

   Lian Fang Zhou and Lian Ze quickly agreed. Lian Fang Zhou smiled and took out the egg and rice dumpling, handing them to Sun Zhang Xing. "We brought some food, just a little bit of our gratitude. Uncle Sun we hope you won't refuse!"

Sun Zhang Xing originally wanted to decline, but hearing Lian Fang Zhou say this, declining would be a bit too hypocritical. He generously accepted and smiled. "Thank you. Thank you both! Well, I have to go first! This is the time to hunt, and time flies. In the twinkling of an eye, one day will be over! "

   The siblings bid him farewell.

   "Come on. Let's eat something, then we’ll go after a while!" Lian Fang Zhou said.

   "En!" Lian Ze nodded. The two sat down as they ate the eggs and rice dumplings. They rolled up leaves to scoop the nearby mountain spring water to drink.

   "Sister, do you think we can find mushrooms?" Lian Ze looked up and observed the gloomy big forest that looked as if it could open its mouth, waiting for people to send themselves in. His heart thumped like drums.

   "Let's try it first! Since we came, we can't go back empty handed ah!" Lian Fang Zhou laughed.

   Lian Ze also grinned and nodded. His heart was originally thumping, but since Sister wasn't afraid, and since he is a man, what is there to be afraid of?

   When they had eaten, they sat down again in the time it takes to make tea. Then, according to what Sun Zhang Xing said, they walked along the direction of the stream into the forest.

   They just needed to remember the location of the stream, so going a little further from the riverside also isn't a problem.

The two walked into the forest, reaching the tall trees which are rushing toward the sky. Below the trees that had lush vines climbing and wrapping around their trunks, the area was filled with a variety of short grass and shrubs, lots of whose names aren't really known.. It looked pretty, but walking through the vegetation was difficult.

   Perhaps since normally no one came to this place, the mushrooms were plentiful. Because numerous trees fell down and a  long period of time had passed with no one to deal with those fallen trees, they began to decay, covered with moss and wrapped with vines.

   And these kinds of rotten wood are the best place for mushroom to grow.

   The siblings were extremely delighted.

   "Sis, can these be picked?" Although Lian Ze was filled with excitement until his eyes shone, he did not forget to ask Lian Fang Zhou first.

   Lian Fang Zhou could not help but be secretly delighted in her heart. First, she took a good look and then pointed out to him how to pick them.

   This forest did not only have mushrooms, but it held various types of mushrooms . Just with a glance, she could see that there's ectomycorrhizal, Morchella, wild shiitake, wild jelly ear, and Russula. Lian Fang Zhou also found some Tremella fuciformis and Boletus edulis. It made her overjoyed. She carefully harvested them.

   This place has an abundance of mushrooms, so in less than an hour, the two Lian siblings already filled the four sacks they brought with them.

   They tied the sacks tightly and picked up an appropriate branch from the forest to use as the pole. Each carried two sacks out of the woods. They came to the place where they separated from Sun Zhang Xing and set the sacks down on the grass.

Fortunately, the mushrooms weren't heavy, but they could not be squeezed to minimize the space they took up. Although the sacks were loaded to the top, in fact they weren't heavy.

   The two took a break for a while. Seeing that the day was still early, Lian Ze said that he wanted to go to the stream to see if there are any fish. Lian Fang Zhou went with him.

   This terrain was more leveled, so the stream of water was also more gentle. The width of stream was two meters or so.  They can see through the crystal clear water, and at the bottom were large chunks of dark stones.

   The edge of the stream was full of coin-size wild chrysanthemum. A touch of purplish blue petals wrapped the golden stamens. At first glance, it grew along the river to no end, dazzling people's eyes. 

   Perhaps because it was daytime, the stream was too clear. It has fishes, but the thin small fish were the size of pinky finger or a chopstick. Schools of fish swam here and there, but there were no big fish.

   However, under the large stones, there are thumb-sized freshwater shrimp.

   They carefully removed the stones. Then saw hard-shelled, almost transparent shrimp waving their long pair of claws. With their thumb and index finger, they pinched the backs of the shrimp, gently holding them and pulling them out of the water. The pair of slender pliers waved around as their bodies struggled.

   "Sister, such big shrimp and also this many. Really rare!" Lian Ze excitedly laughed. "We can catch more to bring back!"

   "Good! Tonight we’ll have something good to eat again!" Lian Fang Zhou is also delighted.

The river next to the village also has shrimp, but no big shrimp like these. Just small ones about an inch long. Its body was the size of a green bean or a soya bean. Those kinds of shrimp can be caught only using a special net. The locals called them "shrimp twist.". This is because there’s no way of catching them, not because they can't catch enough. Then people would get exhausted after fishing for half-day and would still not be able to catch enough for a break.

       Both sister and brother were overjoyed to catch such big freshwater shrimp. Each shrimp that came from under the stones were thrown to the shore. The feeling of watching them jump under the sun was incomparable.

Sorry for the delayed release! Will try get another one done tomorrow as an apology!