translator: baumkuchen editor: ellabells
Under Lu Qingjiu’s sloppy persuasions, Yin Xun, who’d always been very accepting, quickly forgot about the pickup truck washing itself in the rain, and focused his attentions on the meal Lu Qingjiu was making.
“What are we having for dinner tonight?” Yin Xun craned his neck and peered into the pot.
“Hasn’t it been getting warmer lately?” Lu Qingjiu said, “I’m making some chilled noodles as well as some steamed buns and a pot of mungbean porridge.” He prepared the dough for the steamed buns yesterday. After steaming, they’d be fresh and ready to be eaten.
Yin Xun asked, “Can I have one first?”
“Go ahead,” Lu Qingjiu picked out a steamed bun from the steamer with his chopsticks and said, “Help bring a couple over to the others to help stave off their hunger for a bit. Dinner will be ready soon. Careful, it’s hot.”
Yin Xun happily made a sound of acknowledgement, then went off with the steamed buns. These steamed buns had been personally made by Lu Qingjiu. Because it was his first time, the steamed buns didn’t look very good, some were big and some were small. But even though their appearance wasn’t very good, their taste wasn’t bad at all. They had a soft, supple and smooth texture; and had a sweet, delicate taste. The more one chewed, the more fragrant it became.
The chilled noodles were also ready. They were topped with fresh bean sprouts and crisp, shredded cucumber from his own home. The seasoning had been prepared by Lu Qingjiu, after mixing it in evenly, the spicy yet refreshing chilled noodles were incredibly appetising. The pot of mungbean porridge was done and was been left off to the side to cool. Lu Qingjiu spooned the porridge into bowls, then called everyone over for dinner.
After Zhu Miaomiao and Yin Xun helped to carry everything over to the dinner table, the five of them sat down and began to eat.
Zhang Chuyang originally seemed to have little interest in dinner. But once he took his first bite, his eyes shone with amazement. He asked, “Qingjiu, you’re actually this good at cooking?”
Lu Qingjiu laughed and said, “President Zhang is too polite. I just casually made a few dishes.”
Because Bai Yuehu loved eating meat, Lu Qingjiu made some plain boiled pork with garlic paste especially for him. Bai Yuehu personally cut up the meat. His knife skills were outstanding, each slice of meat was as thin as the wings of a cicada and when picked up, one could see that each slice was translucent in the light. After coating with the seasoning, it wasn’t at all greasy in one’s mouth, rather filling one’s mouth with the savoriness of meat.
Yin Xun swallowed down five steamed buns in one breath. Although the steamed buns weren’t very big, they were still very filling, so Yin Xun felt unbearably full soon after. Lu Qingjiu had always been one to know his limits, so after he was about 8 parts full, he stopped eating.
Zhang Chuyang and Zhu Miaomiao were also just about done eating. Eventually, the table of people just watched Bai Yuehu swallowing half a steamed bun in one bite,, seemingly not at all close to being full. By the end, Zhu Miaomiao’s eyes were popping out of their sockets. She said quietly, “It would be so nice if I could be like Mister Bai.” Being able to eat as much as she wanted without having to worry about getting fat.
Bai Yuehu completely ignored her. After clearing all the food on the table, he looked up at Lu Qingjiu.
Lu Qingjiu asked, “Are you full? I still have quite a few steamed buns left in the pot. If you’re still hungry, I can bring over a few more for you.”
Bai Yuehu said, “Just about.”
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
Yin Xun asked, “Then we’ll put the leftover steamed buns in the fridge?”
Lu Qingjiu said, “En, put it in there. Tomorrow morning we can deep-fry them and eat them with cherry jam.”
“Okay,” Yin Xun followed Bai Yuehu to clean up the kitchen together. Most of the time, Lu Qingjiu cooked, Yin Xun did some miscellaneous tasks, and Bai Yuehu cleaned the dishes. The work was split very evenly amongst the three people.
Now that they’d filled their stomachs, it was time to get back to business. Lu Qingjiu already had a plan in mind. He went into the kitchen, dug out the tea leaves he bought in town earlier and made a cup of tea for Zhang Chuyang.
“President Zhang.” Lu Qingjiu placed the cup down in front of Zhang Chuyang.
Sensing that the atmosphere had turned serious, Zhang Chuyang’s smile faded. He straightened his posture, sitting upright and still in front of the table.
“I understand the reason that you’re here. However there are a few ceremonial rites that must be performed. If you don’t mind, please cooperate,” Lu Qingjiu’s tone was unusually serious, “When we go through the rites, you must cooperate with me. If something goes wrong, it may result in some negative effects.”
Zhang Chuyang replied, “I understand. I just want to ask, will there really be no side-effects to this?”
“There won’t be,” Because he checked with Bai Yuehu beforehand, Lu Qingjiu could answer calmly.
“Then that’s fine,” Zhang Chuyang touched a hand to his head and sighed, “No matter what rites I have to go through, just say it, and I’ll do it.”
Lu Qingjiu nodded and told Zhang Chuyang about how the ceremony was going to go. Actually, these rites were simply the set of things the shaman had done that time. Lu Qingjiu had just copied everything over. Originally, he didn’t want to make it so troublesome, but thinking about it more carefully, that one hundred thousand yuan wasn’t small change. If they just had to pray a bit to get their hair to grow, it would inevitably give people a feeling of it being too easy. So for the sake of giving Zhang Chuyang’s one hundred thousand yuan value, Lu Qingjiu still decided on making it a little more troublesome for him.
Zhang Chuyang didn’t believe in ghosts or gods, but seeing how serious Lu Qingjiu’s expression was, he inexplicably became a little nervous.
“Alright, that’s just about it for the ceremony. Have a good rest today, take a bath and do your business before going to bed. Tomorrow morning, we’ll be starting the ceremony,” Lu Qingjiu said, “Don’t go out at night, it’s not very safe around here.”
Zhang Chuyang nodded, and headed back to his room to rest.
Zhu Miaomiao waited for him to leave before breaking out into something that was like a smile yet not a smile and patted Lu Qingjiu’s shoulders. She laughed, “Qingjiu, how come I never knew you were so bad?”
Lu Qingjiu shrugged, “I just wanted to make him feel like he was getting his money’s worth.”
Zhu Miaomiao said, “En… That’s all right.” In any case, it would help explain his hair growth.
After Yin Xun finished washing the dishes, he planned to go back home by himself. Lu Qingjiu thought it over and decided to walk him home. Yin Xun wanted to refuse, but seeing Lu Qingjiu’s firm attitude, he ended up agreeing.
Thus, the two of them took out umbrellas and walked out into the rain. Under the heavy rain, Lu Qingjiu sent Yin Xun home.
Yin Xun’s home actually wasn’t far from his. After walking for only about five or six minutes, they arrived. When he was younger, Yin Xun could be considered a left-behind child. After his parents left for work, they left him alone in Shuifu village, where he and his grandparents were dependent on each other. Afterwards, although Lu Qingjiu left the village, he and Yin Xun still kept in contact. When there was an accident in his old home, it had been Yin Xun who would let him know.
“Yin Xun, have you never thought of leaving this place?” When they reached his home, Lu Qingjiu asked Yin Xun a question.
Yin Xun said, “Leave? To where?” The loud drumming of rain made Yin Xun’s voice sound a little muffled, but Lu Qingjiu still heard his answer loud and clear.
“Your parents?” Lu Qingjiu asked, “They…”
“I’m not going to go look for them,” Yin Xun said, “They’ve already divorced and have their own families. What’s the point in me looking for them? I’d be better off protecting my grandmother’s favourite garden in our home.” He walked into the house and waved at Lu Qingjiu, indicating that he should go back.
Lu Qingjiu didn’t say anything else and turned and left.
Everyone has their own fate. Some of these fates were predestined by the heavens, while some came about by one’s own choices. Lu Qingjiu vaguely remembered that Yin Xun’s parents had wanted to bring him with them out of the village just like Lu Qingjiu’s own parents. But in the end Yin Xun had rejected his parents, insistent on staying in this little remote mountain village until he grew up.
The rain had become heavier, making the path muddier. Even though he was very careful, Lu Qingjiu’s pants ended up splashed with quite a bit of mud. Before he entered the house, he went by the area he parked the truck for a visit and found that, sure enough, the originally dirty pickup truck now looked brand-new. It also spotted Lu Qingjiu, flashing its headlights at him.
Lu Qingjiu started laughing after seeing it and reached out a hand to pat it on the head, “Be good, don’t stand up on your wheels, you’ll be spotted by other people.”
The pickup truck honked a few times, indicating that it understood.
Only then did Lu Qingjiu enter the house, propping his wet umbrella up against a wall. After taking a shower, he went to bed.
The next day, he was awakened from sleep by his alarm at four in the morning. Yawning as he looked out the window, he found that the rain had already stopped.
Lu Qingjiu changed out of his pajamas. Unlike usual, he didn’t start preparing breakfast, but instead first brought a bowl of rice over to the inner courtyard, then stuck three incense sticks inside. Even though he lit sticks of incense, he had no intentions of praying… he wasn’t short of hair after all.
Zhang Chuyang also woke up on time and was sitting in the house, looking slightly nervous. His eyes darted outside from time to time.
Lu Qingjiu sensed that his mood didn’t seem quite right, and asked, “What’s wrong? Didn’t sleep well last night?”
Zhang Chuyang said, “Wu… I had a nightmare.”
Lu Qingjiu asked, “What did you dream about?”
Zhang Chuyang hesitated for a moment, “I dreamt that a lady knocked on my door, but when I opened it, there wasn’t anyone there. When I went back to bed, I had the feeling that there seemed to be a little something extra under the covers…”
Lu Qingjiu said, “It’s probably just you overthinking it.”
“Maybe,” Zhang Chuyang looked hesitant. That dream was really too realistic, realistic to the point of making him a little unable to differentiate between the dream and reality.
Lu Qingjiu checked the time and said, “Let’s go, it’s about time.”
Zhang Chuyang nodded and followed Lu Qingjiu over to the inner courtyard.
mungbean porridge (<3) :
Bai Yuehu’s pork: