Chapter 55: Aunt Tian’s Worries
Winter was approaching. Lin Si Yao, Tian Dabao, and Xiao Chun climbed Dashi Mountain one last time to hunt for the remaining animals that had yet to hibernate. This time around, Xiao Chun and Dabao’s competition yielded three badgers, one wild boar, and a hare with its litter. In addition, Lin Si Yao actually captured a bear who was still trying to fill its stomach in preparation for the harsh winter.
After carrying it back, Lin Si Yao spent two whole days by the riverside skinning the fur from the bear. Afterwards, the skinned bear was split into quarters. Lao House and Tian House got a piece of hind leg and paw. The remaining two pieces were then soaked in water for two hours before it was marinated in a salt and wine mixture and boiled with scallions and bay leaves. One of the pieces was to be brined in a jar and before being salted, air dried, and made into cured meat. As for the other piece, after it was fully covered in salt and spice, the meat was placed on a grill to be barbequed. The two wolf pups never had barbequed meat before, so this was their chance to enjoy it.
As for the other quarter, Lin Si Yao had brought them to Fan Luo City while allowing Tian Dabao to tag along. Ever since the discovery of the man-eating beast in Dashi Mountain, it became rare for wild animals to be sold in the market. Not to mention, the animals they brought were still alive! So the three badgers and the wild boar was sold at a high price of eight taels. Lin Si Yao gave Tian Dabao five taels as those animals were hunted by him and Xiao Chun. As for the family of hare, Lin Si Yao allowed Tian Dabao to bring them home to raise.
Su Shuilian was already busy caring for the hare in her house. Of the previously caught two rabbits, one had already given birth to a litter of six; two males and four females. The pheasants had also given birth. Two clutches from two separate mothers, one nest had five, while the other nest had seven. As for the female goat that was gifted to them from the village head, the village head borrowed it to mate it with his male goat.. It later gave birth to four baby goats, one of which was gifted to Lin Si Yao and Su Shuilian. And so, the southern part of the courtyard was prosperous with the new additions. Lin Si Yao had even made a separate section in the garden for the carrots to feed the rabbits. As for the grass and seeds to feed the chicks and goats, it was all gathered from the foot of Xiufeng when Lin Si Yao, Tian Dabao, and the wolves would come back from their morning training.
Lao House and Tian House never imagined that they could enjoy bear meat during this season. Furthermore, they never thought that they could have the rare and nutritious bear paw. They were very happy, but they were also worried for Lin Si Yao and Tian Dabao’s safety. They even went to Su Shuilian to thank her and ask her to persuade Lin Si Yao not to enter the dangerous Dashi Mountain.
“Girl, I already spoke with Aunt Lao. We agreed not to let anyone know that we were able to eat bear meat. However, please advise your Lin Si Yao not to enter Dashi Mountain again. Not only are there ferocious bears in there, there are tigers, and also wolves! Anyways, just don’t go to such a dangerous place… You may not know this, but in a neighboring town there used to be countless hunters. Not anymore. Once they entered the forest of Dashi Mountain, they never came back…”
Aunt Tian tried her hardest to persuade Su Shuilian. Although she had sent the warning towards Lin Si Yao, Aunt Tian was more worried for her son, Dabao.
In just three months of training with Lin Si Yao, Tian Dabao’s body had gotten noticeably stronger. Usually during the winter, Tian Dabao would get sick with a fever. This year, not only was he not sick, Tian Dabao was fine walking out with only two layers of clothing.
The Tian House had found these changes really surprising. Originally they hoped that after Tian Dabao followed Lin Si Yao, he wouldn’t randomly disappear and wander. At the same time, it was to also learn some self defence so he would no longer be bullied by his younger peers. Who knew that in just three months, Tian Dabao would have enough strength to even beat his father. Aunt Tian had only found out today that he would follow Lin Si Yao in and out of Dashi Mountain. He had even earned five taels and a litter of rabbits. For a family of six, this amount was enough to last them a whole year. However, knowing that the hare and money came from Dabao risking his life to enter the dangerous forest, Aunt Tian found it hard to swallow. Even Tian Dafu was not able to eat and sleep well for the past couple of days in fear of losing Tian Family’s only son.
Yes, he may be mentally impaired, but he was still alive and well. But… what if… aiya! What am I thinking! Aunt Tian mentally reprimanded herself for thinking of such things. After snapping out of her thoughts, she continued her best to persuade the quiet Su Shuilian.
“Yeah, girl, although the bear meat was delicious, it’s not worth the risks. We all know that Lin Si Yao is very skilled, but just in case something happens…” Aunt Lao also added, trying to make their argument sound more persuasive.
“Nm, aunties, rest assured, A Yao is aware of what is acceptable. When he returns, I’ll let him know.” Su Shuilian smiled as she nodded; she was not worried, she had already cautioned him the past few times as well. He even smiled and assured her that there was no problem. He had said that he and Dabao never entered deep into Dashi Mountain and only stayed near the woods bordering the mountain to train. Dabao would sometimes follow the wolf puppies as they chased after the wild animals in the area. Lin Si Yao kept watch as he stood on the tip of his toes on a branch of the cloud-high bamboo while consolidating his [Mystic Nethereal – Wind Cloud Enchantment] that had gone through grand completion. If he were to detect any ferocious beast within a hundred meter perimeter, he would immediately leave the area with Dabao and the wolves. He would never gamble with his life since he already has his own lovely wife and cozy house.
“So do not worry. A Yao would not let anything happen to Dabao.” Su Shuilian repeatedly assured. Lin Si Yao would never joke around with Dabao’s safety as he wouldn’t do so with his own safety. The people who had been taken under his wings can absolutely have faith in his protection.
“Girl, Tian House has had only one son every generation for three generations. I had hurt my body after I gave birth to Tian Dabao, so I am unable to conceive again. That is why I am so anxious for Dabao….” Aunt Tian spoke in a desperate manner. It wasn’t that she did not trust Lin Si Yao, however, Dabao was their only son, and she didn’t want to take any chances.
If she knew that Dabao would accompany Lin Si Yao into Dashi Mountain, she would have never allowed Dabao to become Lin Si Yao’s disciple even if her life depended on it. However, when she had casually mentioned this to Dabao, he had protested with a hunger strike. This kind of display, it was hard to believe he had a nine year old’s mentality…
Aunt Tian had wondered whether he had recovered from his mental stunt, but it was not the right moment to think about that. She still had to convince Lin Si Yao not to bring her son to any dangerous places.
“Ok. I will relay the message to him.” Su Shuilian nodded her head. Since Aunt Tian had spoken, she will not make it difficult for her. She herself (SS) did not believe that Tian Dabao was in any danger. He (LSY) had only wanted Dabao to quickly learn those powerful sword moves.
“A Yao… Aunt Tian and Aunt Lao came earlier.” Su Shuilian handed Lin Si Yao, who had just returned, some warm tea and wrung a towel for him to wipe his face with.
These few days were perfect for sowing the winter millets. Therefore, other than bringing Tian Dabao and the wolf puppies out in the morning, for the rest of the time Lin Si Yao had been in the fields. Dabao was given a five day break. And while Lin Si Yao was out, Su Shuilian was accompanied by the wolves. It was closer to say she was being guarded by them as Lin Si Yao would worry for her safety.
Lin Si Yao raised his eyebrow when he heard what she had said before taking the towel from her hands and wiping his somewhat sweaty face.
“Aunt Tian said… Dashi is too dangerous….” Su Shuilian cautiously opened her mouth and continued. She did not want to upset Lin Si Yao. She clearly could see his genuine care for Dabao. Although he had never showed it- although he had been very strict with Dabao- she knew how much Lin Si Yao was dedicated to teaching Tian Dabao.
“She wants me to stop bringing him there.” Lin Si Yao finished her sentence.
“You… You’re not mad?” Su Shuilian looked up at his face and asked.
“Why should I be angry?” Lin Si Yao did not know whether to laugh or cry.
“Um… You were only doing this with good intention.” Su Shuilian stammered.
“No worries. He only need to strengthen up. Now there’s no need to go there.” Lin Si Yao finished the large cup of wild raspberry tea before he answered with the corner of his lips rising.
“What do you want to eat for lunch?” Lin Si Yao said and walked to the food storage cabinet, looking for possible ingredients.
“Oh, I had already made us Shijin Rice*.” Su Shuilian said as she happily trotted over to the stove and took the lid off from a large pot. Inside that large pot was a generous amount of fragrant Shijin Rice.
(什锦饭, Shijin Rice – almost like fried rice, but the meats and vegetables are cooked with the rice, instead of adding the condiments after the rice is done. Google says its like Jambalaya.)
“Didn’t we agree to make the food after I return?” Lin Si Yao furrowed his brows, took her hands, and pulled her close. He inspected both hands for any cuts.
“You were working so hard, how could I just stay home and do nothing?” Su Shuilian took a rice scooper and filled a large bowl of rice for Lin Si Yao and then a smaller bowl for herself.
“You should eat more.” Lin Si Yao took the rice scooper from her and filled her bowl some more before handing it back to her.
She looked small and delicate; it was comfortable holding her in his arms. The areas that should be full have never slimmed. Even so, he worried for her; when the harsh winter comes, the strong winds blowing will knock her onto the ground.
If Su Shuilian had known Lin Si Yao’s inner thoughts, she would have strongly refuted. Other than that time of the month, she never felt any discomfort since she had left the forest.
TL note: This novel is fiction and we do not endorse feeding carrots to rabbits on a regular basis. Carrots should only be fed to rabbits as an occasional treat as it is high in sugar.
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