Tuesday, 28 August 2018

VGAFH 51

51.Talkative Third Aunt

Lian Fang Zhou had already notice Lian Ze's thoughts but didn't bring it out into the open. Now that Ah Jian said it like this and Lian Ze eagerly looked over at her, Lian Fang Zhou smiled as she spoke. "You want to learn, and Ah Jian is willing to teach, what else can I say? However, learning a martial art isn't an easy matter. It'll be very arduous."

"I'm not afraid. Thank you, Sister!" Filled with euphoria, Lian Ze thanked Lian Fang Zhou. He turned his head to look at Ah Jian with his sparkling bright eyes, which carried a hint of fawning.

Ah Jian laughed at him and nodded. So this matter was settled like that.

The three of them chopped at one spot, while Uncle Li and the others were much further away. So Uncle Li and the others didn't notice what's happening at their side since they weren't talking loud. If they looked over now, how odd would they think it is, seeing Lian Ze lost in joy.

"Such a big pheasant, so fat! Aiya, so lucky today!" As she commented, Mrs. Zhao was already back from picking up the pheasant.

Ah Jian's stone broke one of the pheasant's wings. It took Mrs. Zhao a lot of effort to catch the flopping bird in the grass patch.

At this moment, the pheasant in Mrs. Zhao's hand could only cry out tragically and continue flapping its wings as Mrs. Zhao held it up.  She laughed: "It's really plump and big. Look at these legs; it's all meat, really thick! Haha, tonight we got good dishes! Such good luck! Didn't waste a trip!"

Everyone looked over and started joking. That pheasant was enormous, at least three jin (1.5kg).  It quite rare for pheasant to grow this big.

Aunt Zhang gave her daughter-in-law a criticising stare and lectured: "Look at you, so delighted that you became muddlehead* ((literally: can't tell where north, west, south, east))! If it weren't for Ah Jian, how could you catch the pheasant? When we return, don't forget to give half to Fang Zhou!"

Immediately Mrs. Zhao's heart ached after hearing this. Mother-in-law was right, so she can't refute.  Thinking in another way, treat it as doing them a favor. In the future, when Ah Jian catches pheasant, they might share some with her family.

In the end, Mrs. Zhao quickly agreed: "Mother-in-law is right. I had the same thought! Fang Zhou ah, you might as well wait for me to cook the pheasant and then bring over a bowl of it. It'll save some trouble! What do you think?"

Although Mrs. Zhao said this, in her heart she was already scheming: When the time comes, I have already chopped it into pieces. So even if I give them less, they won't notice...  Naturally, I can't give them those meatless claws and wings. It'll be too obvious!

Why Lian Fang Zhou bother quibbling over every detail in these small matters? So she replied, "Alright, then I'll trouble Saozi!"

"It's no trouble at all!"  Mrs. Zhao laughed in glee.

Seeing that the sun was going to set soon, everyone moved the chopped up wood to the side of the charcoal kiln. After tidying up, they made their way back.

On the way back, Lian Ze was very excited. He stuck to Ah Jian's side as he talked with him. Eyes were completely shining. Seeing this, Lian Fang Zhou secretly laughed and thought, 'Don't know how many days can he persist.  It'll be good if he can really successfully learn a bit.'

Once they returned, Third Aunt had already cooked dinner and also boiled some washing water for them.

Seeing that they're back, she said: "You guys wash up and rest. I'll cook something, and we can eat! Che-er, come and help me with the fire!"

Lian Fang Zhou called out to stop Third Aunt. "If it not a difficult dish, then cook it in a while. Today we caught a pheasant. Zhao Sao-zi will cook it and bring us a bowl!"

"Pheasant?" Third Aunt's eyes immediately lit up and hurriedly to ask what happened.

Lian Ze was enthusiastic to answer as if praising Ah Jian also make his face glow. He earnestly recounted everything.

Lian Fang Zhou knew without guessing, how Third Aunt would react. She turned around to walk out to wash her hands and face.

Third Aunt had no interest in praising Ah Jian's skills.

As predicted,  she just turned around and heard Third Aunt rapidly questioned. "So you're saying Ah Jian shot down a pheasant? Then why did you let Zhao Mei Zi take it? How clever of her! Just cook one bowl for use? Hmph, who knows whether the pot she gave us is bone or meat!  No, it can't do, I must go over to her place!"

Originally Lian Fang Zhou wanted to stay out of this matter, but now she can't. She rushed to halt Third Aunt: "Don't go! What's the point of quibbling over every little detail? Whether it's more or less, it's alright! We still need to rely on Uncle Li and Brother San Ge on the charcoal!"

Third Aunt still couldn't accept it. She harrumphed as she glared at Lian Fang Zhou. "You're really generous. I'm afraid someone going to become more and more greedy. It was said that you were very fierce against the Hua Family's daughter-in-law. I believe that was most likely not real?"

As she spoke, she dragged Ah Jian over. "Ah Jian got a powerful body. From what I see, two of your Uncle Li and Brother San Ge added together still isn't enough to match up! What relying on them! Who would believe that!"

Lian Fang Zhou was speechless. Third Aunt is very talented in calculating gain and loss. Lian Fang Zhou could not refute these words.

"How could Hua Family's daughter-in-law compare with Aunt Zhang?" Lian Fang Zhou wrinkled her brows."I said can't go, then you can't go! How much did Aunt Zhang and Uncle Li help us?

Stifled with anger, Third Aunt simply sat down. " Fine then, you said can't go, then I won't go. You're the family head anyway! One matter is one matter, who would say it like you? So, if that Mrs. Zhao asks you for money, you will also give it to her? She said borrow, then what about returning it? If she doesn't return, could you ask for it back?

Lian Fang Zhou replied, "Isn't there still Aunt Zhang? I have my plans, so don't worry!"

Seeing the two of them started quarreling, Ah Jian hurried to intervene. "Third Aunt, listen to Fang Zhou. Isn't it just a pheasant? Next time I see one, I'll catch it!"

Initially, Third Aunt was just feeling indignant and grumbled a bit. She dare not disobey Lian Fang Zhou. Ah Jian's words made her sigh. "You're also helping her. You guys breathe out with the same nostril. What else can I say--- Could you hunt some rabbit?

"Sure!" Ah Jian nodded.

"Any other? Can you catch others?" Immediately Third Aunt was full of curiosity.

Ah Jian laughed and nodded after some giving it some thought. "As long as you can name it, wild goats, wild deer, roe deer, marmot, muntjac... I think I can!"

"Wonderfully! That's just perfect!" Third Aunt started cheering and ordered Ah Jian. "Next time hide it from the Li family, especially that insatiably greedy Mrs. Zhao!"

"Alright." Ah Jian agreed with a nod.

Lian Fang Qing and Lian Che heard Ah Jian talk that impressive; they couldn't help pester him with endless questions. Ah Jian was very patient with them. He answered each question one by one with a smile, making the two little guys exclaim in admiration.

Lian Fang Zhou had already walked away as if she didn't hear anything.

Not long later, Mrs. Zhao brought over a big bowl of soup of stewed mushroom and pheasant in a bamboo basket. And the top was covered with a lid.

Once the lid was uncovered, the aroma overflow. Lian Fang Qing took a deep breath in and her mouth watered. "Smells so good!"

When the authentic aroma floated out, no one could resist the temptation. Even Lian Fang Zhou couldn't help move her fingers toward the table. She gave her thanks with a grin.

Mrs. Zhao carefully placed the pheasant soup on the table and beamed. "Stewed mushroom and pheasant garnished with ginger slice and scallion.  Will be very savory! It's split in half between us, two families. We didn't take any more than that!"

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