The orange cat was lying lazily on the kang bed and watching Su Tang work. Slowly, a text bubble formed over its head: ‘I never knew that your craftsmanship was only at this level.’
‘I guess you didn’t choose me as your host because of my talents? Was it purely for my beauty then? I didn’t expect a great four-legged Divine Beast to be so shallow!’ After she noticed the text bubble, Su Tang replied with a wink.
The orange cat’s whiskers twitched and his big eyes glared at Su Tang. He really must have been out of his mind to choose this woman as his master. What an abominable two-leg creature she was!
Su Tang was very amused to see it get so angry. They went back and forth like this a few times and she ended up laughing so much that she was still chuckling when she heard Su Nuo’s voice call to her from outside the house. “Sister, I’m back!”
When she heard that voice, Su Tang promptly ignored the orange cat, put down the clothes she had been working on, and went out to greet her little brother. When she got outside she saw that the little guy’s face was smudged up to the point that he looked like a dirty little kitten. When Su Nuo saw Su Tang coming his eyes began to sparkle. “Sister, look at this! I picked some fruits on the mountain.”
Su Tang took a look and saw that there were two different kinds of fruits in the little guy’s basket. There were some of the red fruits that the locals called ‘Tuomo’, which were actually just mountain raspberries. The raspberries looked ripe and when Su Tang tried one she found that they were a good mixture of sour and sweet, overall they tasted excellent.
As for the small plums, she didn’t know what their scientific name was, but she recognized that they were also a common wild fruit that grew on Black Bear Mountain. The black-purple fruits were about the size of a baby’s fist and when she tried one she found that the plums were ripe and they tasted very sweet. But because they were wild fruits they had thick skin that tasted very bitter and the pits inside were very big.
Usually, the children from the village would pick these kinds of plums and eat them directly because they had no better method. They weren’t like modern people who had a refrigerator and could be able to put these kinds of plums into the refrigerator for a few days before taking them out to eat, unfortunately. If you prepared these kinds of sour plums like that it would bring out more of the fruit’s sweetness.
Su Tang looked at the little guy who had a beaming smile on his face and nodded to him with a smile. “En, Xiao Nuo is really great. Let’s wash up and eat some porridge now though. This afternoon we can wash and eat these fruits.”
When Su Nuo heard what his sister said he hesitated a little. “Couldn’t we sell them for money instead? We don’t need to eat them.”
Su Tang sighed internally, all this little guy thought about was working hard to make money. Su Tang reached out and gently patted his head. “But your sister wants to eat fruit. So isn’t it better for us to just eat these ourselves? If not, I’ll have to go buy fruit from the market.”
Su Tang really couldn’t bear to crush the little guy’s enthusiasm. But the truth was that it was almost autumn, the season when all kinds of fruits were being harvested and the price of fruit crashed through the floor. And, most importantly, these kinds of small mountain plums were known to be a small snack often eaten by the children from the nearby villages, so the people from town somewhat disdained them.
On the other hand, the raspberries could probably fetch a decent price because of their unique sweet and sour taste, but they were unfortunately fairly rare. Su Nuo had only picked a handful of raspberries, it really wasn’t enough to make selling them in town worthwhile.
But, of course, Su Tang couldn’t say all that to the little guy. After all, he just wanted to share the burden of holding up their small household. That’s why Su Tang rejected him gently by saying she wanted to eat them herself.
When Su Nuo heard his sister say that she wanted to eat the fruit, he immediately said, “Then I’ll give them to you, there’s no need to sell them for money. Anything that is mine is also yours, free of charge.”
When she saw his clever appearance Su Tang’s heart warmed and she nodded, “OK, then shall we eat the fruit together after lunch?”
Su Nuo nodded happily, “Yes!” Then he gulped.
He had said that he did not want to eat but was that really true? In fact, when they were staying with Su Yonggui’s family they had often eaten rice gruel that was so thin that it could barely stave off death by starvation, and whenever Su Nuo had found anything good to eat back then it would be immediately taken away, so how could he not want to eat?
It was just that he wanted to make money more than he wanted to eat. Even though he was at such a young age he already knew how to exercise such restraint, it really made Su Tang feel equal parts distressed and optimistic about the little guy. Distressed because he had missed out on childhood. But optimistic because he was so young and already had such a firm heart. As long as his heart stayed like that, would there be anything he couldn’t accomplish in the future?
The brother and sister pair washed their hands together and then ate the porridge Su Tang had cooked. Then Su Nuo went out into the yard, sat on a small bench, and seriously stooped over the washbasin to very carefully wash each of the plums and raspberries.
Meanwhile, Su Tang sat inside and dutifully worked on making their clothes. Occasionally she would look over at the little figure stooped over the washbasin, smile, and then return to her work.
Like this, they passed a warm and leisurely afternoon…