Wednesday, 15 March 2017

VGAFH 28

28. Chapter 28 Dinner
    Lian Fang Zhou thought about her blunder, suddenly feeling a bit embarrassed.


    She coughed once and then laughed. Afterwards, she lightly grinned at Sun Zhang Xing. "Uncle Sun, there's something I want to ask. Please don't be angry!"


    "If there's something, ask!" Sun Zhang Xing froze.


    Lian Fang Zhou then blandly said, "I don't know when Uncle Sun goes hunting every time, ah, but what if you send some game to the judge's house?"


    Sun Zhang Xing abruptly looked at Lian Fang Zhou, feeling surprised with his eyes wide open.


    "Fang Zhou, thank you for telling me!" Sun Zhang Xing immediately understood Lian Fang Zhou's meaning as he embarrassingly smiled. Secretly, he felt ashamed in his heart; even a little girl knows this logical reasoning, How could he be so muddled head!


    The judge serves as the village official. The position may not be grand, but it held real power. The sale of land, the collection of crops tax, and the responsibilities of resolving neighborhood disputes, settling household registration, opening road guide, establishing various official requirements on proof, etc., are all managed by him!


  At least, going through him is necessary for the first step.


   Sun Zhang Xing and his wife lived at the edge of the village. Normally, they upheld  the belief of having less matters rather than more, so basically they made sure not to mingle with the village people. Over time, they become more and more isolated.


   Not only do they have no connections in the village, but no one would think of informing them about whatever matters that happen in the village.


   In fact, several times a few households wanted to sell their paddy fields, and sometimes the prices weren't bad. If they grit their teeth, Sun Zhang Xing and his wife could still buy two acres.


   Unfortunately, when they came to know about it, the new owner has already sowed the field. Sun Zhang Xing could only silently regret and envy other people's luck.


   They can only wait until next time. And this "next time" really means forever.


   But if they have a good relationship with the judge, then it is not the same. At least if there's something, the judge would give them a heads up. When it is time to give allowance, they will give more allowance once or twice, rather than always being indifferent and separating business from personal life.


   "Oh, Uncle Sun these words of gratitude I dare not accept!" Lian Fang Zhou smiled.


   So, the atmosphere suddenly got more lively. On the way back, Sun Zhang Hang took the initiative to talk a lot about the Mount Xian Teng matter to Lian Fang Zhou and her sibling.

Gradually they got out of the mountains. The mountain range did not carry a type of unapproachable atmosphere, and crops also began to appear from afar. There were also more footprints on the road.


   Now they're near home. The three people gently sighed in relief, and their hearts relaxed.


   Home is always the dock of the harbor, especially after exhausting themselves for the whole day.


   "I have to go to Shang village to see if Landlord Zhou needs anything and also to go ask several other people, so we're not taking the same road. You siblings go back first then!" At the fork of the road, Sun Zhang Zhang stopped.


   Lian Fang Zhou and Lian Ze naturally didn't have any objections. The two parties said their goodbye.


   Sun Zhang Xing then took two spotted feathered chickens that hung from his shoulder. One is worth around 4 liang or so. While handing them over to Lian Fang Zhou and Lian Ze, Sun Zhang Xing became somewhat embarrassed as he laughed, "Take these back with you to have a taste! Ah, today's luck wasn't great. If it was better, I would give you some more... ... "


   Although the chickens weren't large, but the meat was very delicious and fresh. Lian Fang Zhou and Lian Ze, already feeling delighted, hurried to smile as they gave their thanks.


   Lian Ze hung the two chickens at one end of the pole. The more he looked at them, the more he love them and could not help but talk to Lian Fang Zhou with envy saying, "It'll be great if could hunt like Uncle Sun. There's endless amount of game to be caught! If I could do it as well, that'll be good! Sister, what do you say if I ask Uncle Sun to accept me as his disciple and teach me archery? Will he accept?"

Lian Fang Zhou glanced at him and laughed. "You think about things too simply! Although he can hunt, if hunting is an essential means of making a living, then it's not as good as you thought it would be or else how can you see Uncle Sun's home in that state? If there's paddy field and a stable living, he certainly wouldn't want to go hunting! You want him to accept you as his disciple? Forget about it! This is his ability to survive. How could it be so easily taught to you?"


   Lian Ze suddenly lost his energy and silently sighed out. "A pity!"


   Lian Fang Zhou laughed. "The mountain is full of beasts, wandering here and there. It is very dangerous. Even if he is willing to accept you, I can't help but worry! So we better not think of that. We'll decently live our days!"


   Lian Fang Zhou believes that with her own knowledge of agriculture, their lives will definitely get better and better, and she does not want Lian Ze to have wild thoughts and become a hunter - having it as an occasional pastime is fine, but being like Sun Zhang Xing is too hard!


   The two talked all the way back without noticing time passing by quickly.


   At this time, night has already fallen. The horizon of the sunset displayed only a thin afterglow, an unusually gorgeous orange hue.


   "Sister! Second brother!"


   In the distant village under a big locust tree, two small figures happily shouted, flying toward them as they ran. They didn’t need ask to know who they were.

The two siblings(LFZ&LZ) looked at each other and laughed. Their hearts warmed up a little.


   Lian Fang Qing and Lian Che ran to the two of them, completely panting. Their eyes looked exceptionally clear and bright.


   "Sister, second brother, you're finally back. We waited for so long!" Lian Fang Qing tugged Lian Fang Zhou's dress, as her little face raised up with a smile.


   "Rest assured Sister, the front door is locked! Two old hens were also penned!" Lian Che also added.


   "Good, good!" Lian Fang Zhou laughed. "You both are good children, but next time best obediently wait at home. Don't come out around this time, since it's cold in evening!"


   While they laughed and talked, they showed them the big and red dates, which were very very sweet, and also the large shrimps, as well as the spotted chickens, the mushrooms and yam. Tonight, there's plenty of delicious things!


   Lian Fang Qing and Lian Che were overjoyed. The four people's happy laughter spread as they walked all the way home.


   When they reached home, Lian Fang Zhou took those dates out and let the two little ones wash them for everyone to eat. Sweet dates entered their mouth, making Lian Fang Qing and Lian Che delighted. The two of them didn't forget their brother and sister and brought it to them to eat, so Lian Fang Zhou was completely moved.

After a short break, the four started getting busy.


   Lian Fang Zhou spread the mushrooms on the clean ground, letting Lian Fang Qing and Lian Che sorted them out, picking out those that were crushed. Then, she went to the kitchen with Lian Ze to make dinner.


   Tonight's dishes were quite lavish. The two chicken's feathers were plucked and were then washed. Using a knife, she cut each into four pieces, and together with fresh mushrooms she made a stew.Simultaneously, she boiled the large shrimp in clear water, while simply frying the slice yams!


   Originally, Lian Fang Zhou was prepared to deep-fry the big shrimp, but she can't waste oil ah, so they can only be boiled. There was rather a lot of shrimp. Therefore tonight they’ll only eat half, then after dinner she plans to use a small fire to slowly evaporate the water in the rest, , leaving them tomorrow for Lian Fang Qing and Lian Che to eat. This is because tomorrow they still have to go back to the Mount Xian Teng.


   The four siblings have not eaten such a lavish dinner for such a long time, so when the stewed chicken and mushrooms' aroma permeated throughout the house, the four couldn't help their eyes lighting up. They  looked at each other and burst out laughing.


   At the same time as she laughed, Lian Fang Zhou's heart secretly felt ashamed; she's almost a thirty-year-old person, but she can actually be gluttonous like a child.


After a splendid dinner, the bones and shrimp skins were collected to be used to feed the chickens tomorrow. When hens eat a lot of shrimp, they will lay more eggs.


    After dinner, the four continued to sort the mushrooms, while Lian Che suddenly said,
"Ah, my sister, I forgot to tell you that sister Ah Juan came over to our house and said that Aunt Zhang was looking for you!"
    "Aunt Zhang was looking for me? I'll go over then!" Lian Fang Zhou stood up and washed her hands, heading over to Aunt Zhang's.


    Initially, she wanted to bring some fresh mushrooms and yams to give Aunt Zhang, but then after thinking about it, when the time comes Aunt Zhang and others will definitely ask where did these come from, and if they heard that they went to Mount Xian Teng, they will certainly discourage them from going again.


    Lian Fang Zhou was neither willing to refute their kindness nor willing to give up Mount Xian Teng. Also, she did not want the people in the village to know that they went there. After thinking about it, she decided that it would be better not bring them for now and wait until after they collected enough mushroom to sell for money. Then, she can buy some gifts for them as a long overdue thank you gift.


Friday, 10 March 2017

VGAFH 27.2

Maggie here! Sorry! Was busier than I thought I would be T.T
 Edited by Marci

The road back is not too far away, and also having to carry the two bags of mushrooms, that is strenuous work ah.

So Lian Fang Zhou and Lian Ze still looked for a few yams to dig out.

These were real wild yams, a bit flat and twisted in some places probably because it grew around a piece of rock, making it deformed.
Each were about 2 or 3 fingers wide. The big ones were half an arm long, while the short ones were palm sized neither neat nor too regularly shaped.
However, it doesn’t matter e if they taste really delicious after being roasted.

    From the cracks of the yams, a warm aroma spread. Inside them looked as white as snow. When eaten, they were powdery and waxy (kinda like mashed potato), whetting one’s appetite.

    This is authentic natural wild food, not to mention Lian Fang Zhou,  it also garnered Lian Ze’s never-ending praise as he ate.

    Then,  the two dug out three or four more yams, cleaned them with water and got some leaves to wrap them to bring back as an ingredient for cooking.

    Full and satisfied, they noticed it was almost time to leave. So the two of them decided not to go anywhere and rest to maintain their physical strength. They chose a place without  sunshine to sit down and rest.



  
The autumn afternoon's rays warmly shone on their bodies. From time to time, an autumn breeze blew by, making the leaves rustle. The two people grew  a little tired, and unconsciously drifted to sleep, until they were woken up by Sun Zhang Xing.

   They rubbed their eyes as they burst into laughter and greeted Sun Zhang Xing with a few words. They saw Sun Zhang Xing shouldered strings of colorful feathers from a pheasant. There were also two fat hares. The two could not help feel envious. They grinned as they said, "Uncle Sun harvested a lot today ah!"

   Who knew that Sun Zhang Xing would give a wry smile, and lightly sighed replying, "Just some small things, not worth much!"

   "Those still aren't worth much! How could that be!" Lian Ze exclaimed with surprise.

   Sun Zhang Xing just laughed responding,  "Do not worry about it! We're not near the city from here or else the city's restaurants will want a lot of them.  So, you can only sell these to landlord Zhou, Assistant Minister Zhu, Master Zhao, and other major families. All of them know that no one else will buy these besides them. And when I keep for ourselves, I can't scratch it (meaning-don't have the heart to eat them), so the price isn't high! Unless I hunt mountain otters, gray martens, squirrels, deer and the like, the fur can be worth some money. A large goat or a wild boar, will also be worth even more money! Of course, we often don’t have that kind of luck."

   Sun Zhang Xing looked slightly vexed as he explained, so Lian Fang Zhou knew that he told the truth. He was neither being perfunctory with the two siblings, nor  pretending to complain.

   Originally, Lian Fang Zhou had also became somewhat confused; having such a large forest  is equal to an endless treasure trove. Why is Sun Zhang Xing, who has wandered here to hunt for so many years, still so poor?

   Today, she finally understood.
  

He doesn't recognise the value of the mountain’s resources. He only knew how to hunt,so it was as if half of the treasure became wasted.

   
And when hunting just having the tool is not enough, you still need luck and time.

   If you do not hit valuable prey, then naturally your harvest will not be worth as much. But most of the large beasts lived deep in the forest, so no matter how good Sun Zhang Xing’s skills were with a bow and arrow, he still did not dare to go further inside  alone.

   And this forest is so vast and full of countless dangers - especially in the evening, so he could only come in the morning and return home in the afternoon. With just that amount of time, how much opportunity would he have to hunt for valuable things? Many hunters enter the mountains, staying for good few days or even ten days.

   No wonder that even when the day has yet to brighten, he has to hurriedly depart to the forest. But this way of fighting for time, in fact only earns an effectiveness that is almost equal to zero.

   After thinking for a short period of time, Lian Fang Zhou completely understood the situation.

   She could not help but look at Sun Zhang Xing with sympathy.
   Sun Zhang Xing just inadvertently glanced over, just happening to meet Lian Fang Zhou's eyes. He could not help, but freeze for a second, before immediately shifting his eyes away. His heart felt slightly a bit unhappy; what did he do to make a little girl feel sympathetic?He didn't mingle around that badly, right?