Chapter 43: Becoming an Apprentice?
Su Shuilian and Xicui were half dragged out of the embroidery room by Lin Si Yao to eat their meals.
According to Su Shuilian, sitting and eating lunch would be a waste of time. They wanted it to be served like yesterday: by placing a bun on the edge of the plate and when they are absolutely hungry, they would be able to take just a small bite without dirtying their hands. If they dirtied their hands, the time used going back and forth to wash their hands would allow them to sew another section.
But when she looked into his eyes, she knew if Xicui and her did not go out to eat lunch, Lin Si Yao would be angry at her. And with the thought of him being angry, Su Shuilian decided to obediently put down her needle and invited Xicui to the kitchen to eat lunch.
In the midst of their meal, as Lin Si Yao added another piece of the red braised pork onto Su Shuilian’s bowl, he remembered his plans and decided to informed her of it. “This afternoon, I’ll take Xiao Xue out to hunt, Xiao Chun will stay here to guard the house.”
When Su Shuilian heard this, she blinked her eyes in confusion, “Didn’t you already catch a few yesterday?”
She thought about the the goat given by the village head and the various rabbits, pheasants currently being kept in the duck and chicken coop; if he were to hunt for more animals, where would they keep them?
“It’s for them to eat.” Lin Si Yao seemed to have understood what she had meant and pointed at Xiao Xue and Xiao Chun sitting by Su Shuilian’s feet as he softly explained.
“Oh yeah, I forgot that Xiao Chun and Xiao Xue needed meat in every meal.” Su Shuilian patted their head and gave half of her pork to them. If not for their parents fighting off that white tiger, if not for them leading her to the wolf den, she would have disappeared from this world long ago in the monster-filled forest of Dashi Mountain.
With that thought, Su Shuilian felt more guilt towards the two wolf puppies. House searching, moving in, and marrying… every since they had exited the mountains, she rarely had time to look after them. During the time when she stayed on the mountain, they would take strolls in the woods together, since then she wasn’t able to provide the same.
“After this embroidery, I will come with you guys next time to the woods to pick wild fruits.” Su Shuilian smiled as she looked up at Lin Si Yao.
“Ok.” Lin Si Yao eye’s flashed with tenderness, he prefered her to go out and walk to get some fresh air. It was much better than her staying indoors all day.
“Shuilian jie, these dogs are really human-like. During the wedding, that Hua House’s madam and daughter-in-law pair refused to leave the front yard no matter what I said to them; it was Xiao Xue and Xiao Chun who had dragged them in the main house.” Xicui gazed at the two cute, big dogs by the table. When she thought back to their interaction with the Hua House members, she could not help but start laughing.
“Is that so?” Su Shuilian also found this comical as she pinched the fat cheek of Xiao Xue’s face. “I had always thought so too, they were very sensible, but next time, don’t bite other people’s clothing, ok?” It was ok if they had to pay a few copper coins if their clothes teared, but it wouldn’t be ok if the person were to be injured.
The two wolf puppies whimpered as if they understood Su Shuilian. They then put their heads in Su Shuilian’s arms and shook them, acting coy. This, in turn, made Su Shuilian laugh, but it was only after a “humph” from Lin Si Yao did they stop and retreat. They looked at Su Shuilian and the scary looking Lin Si Yao, they reluctantly turned and went to their little house.
Woowoowoo, it’s not that we are afraid of him, but we fear that he will take back his promise. We want to go to the woods and hunt, we want to eat plentiful meat… The two wolves exchanged looks and whimpered.
After lunch, Su Shuilian and Xicui quickly made their way back to the embroidery room.
Lin Si Yao collected and washed the dishes; even the ones Aunt Lao had brought. He then placed those cleaned plates into the basket, so when Xicui leaves, she could just take the basket home.
He then returned back to the front yard to the garden where he had already loosened the soil. There, Lin Si Yao dug small holes and individually placed the sweet potato seedlings in. In the other three empty ridges, he evenly distributed a variety of seeds that could be harvested in a few months before watering them.
He noticed that the two wolf pups had awoken from their afternoon nap and ran to the river for a few sips of water. They returned and stared into his eyes, as if telling him it was time to go to the forest to hunt.
He collected the dried clothes by the river bank and neatly placed them into the wardrobe located in the bedroom. Afterward, he surveyed from the front to the back yard, making sure nothing was out of the ordinary before he walked to the embroidery room to remind Su Shuilian he was leaving. He ordered Xiao Chun to look after the house before he left with Xiao Xue to hunt.
After several visits, Lin Si Yao had discovered another pathway to Dashi Mountain. Past the trails of Fan Hua Town’s southeast fields was a Xiufeng*. And past the Xiufeng was the boundary into Dashi Mountain.
*(A high peak; another word for a small mountain)
Years ago, with the rumor of the man eating beast in Dashi Mountain, all of the previous hunters decided to become farmers. And with that, the area in the Xiufeng was less visited and soon became overgrown.
This was the first time Xiao Xue had left Fan Hua Town since they moved, so she was very excited. With Lin Si Yao tens of meters in front, she quickly sprinted to keep pace with him.
Soon the one-man-one-wolf pair made it to the foot of Xiufeng.
Lin Si Yao estimated that it would take them approximately thirty minutes to go around Xiufeng, so he decided to take a few second water break at the riverside, by the opening of the forest. Just when he was about to call Xiao Xue to go, the sound of a human came from behind the scrubs near the riverside.
Lin Si Yao lifted his brow as he thought to himself: wasn’t this place suppose to be barren of people?
However, even if there was a human, it was not his business. Although he no longer emitted the murderous chill from living with Su Shuilian, he was never a meddlesome person.
Lin Si Yao turned his body and indifferently said to Xiao Xue, “let’s go” before making his way to the center of the forest. He wanted to make it home before sunset. He was afraid that if he wasn’t there, his little woman would take the advantage to pull an all-nighter. And with that thought, feeling impatient, his pace became faster and faster; just a few steps brought him tens of feet ahead.
The exhausted Xiao Xue stuck her tongue out and moved her sight away from that scrub as she immediately followed after Lin Si Yao.
After Lin Si Yao and Xiao Xue disappeared into the woods, a boy suddenly came out from the scrubs. This young boy was the son of Tian House, Dabao, the twelve-year-old boy with a nine-year-old’s mentality.
“Wow, so cool! So that is the martial arts that dad talked about?” Holding a frog that he had took multiple attempts to catch, Tian Dabao looked in awe at the figure that had taken advantage of his distraction to leave.
“If I were that powerful, those dogs would be willing to play with me right?” The naive Tian Dabao happily exclaimed. He no longer wanted to catch any frogs as he sat on a stone by the riverside. With his hand on his chin, he earnestly looked towards the opening of the forest, waiting for Lin Si Yao to come out. Yes, he, Tian Dabao, decided he wanted to the great Lin Si Yao to make him his disciple.
If Lin Si Yao knew Tian Dabao worshiped him as a rare, good man of Fan Hua Town, he would have found it unbelievable and laughable.
However, ever since Tian Dabao had met Lin Si Yao; when he had pestered Lin Si Yao about the two big dogs, he had already firmly believed in this idea.
In his views, compared to all of the other men of Fan Hua Town, he was the most handsome [said his mom], he was skilled [said his dad], he was considerate towards Fairy jiejie [said his sister], and the questions he had asked him, he had even answered seriously without laughing at him [said himself].
From what he had heard and seen, Tian Dabao could sum it all up —— that Lin Si Yao, big brother Lin, was the best man of Fan Hua Town. And in the future, he must be like big brother Lin, that way he can marry a beautiful person like Fairy jiejie.
The sky turned dark, but Tian Dabao still waited. From his intuition, big brother Lin will come out of the forest from here, as this is the shortest route to home.
The previously injured Dabao was still witty. However, to say he was injured, was also not a correct term. To put it accurately, when he fell into the pond, his head had hit something hard. This caused a thrombosis that blocked the passage of air into his brain, hindering his development. If the clot were to clear one day, his IQ may also recover.
Just as Tian Dabao was about to lose faith in his intrusion, he saw the one-man-one-dog duo come out. He was so happy and excited that a big smile bloomed on his face.
“Big brother Lin, big brother Lin!” Tian Dabao waved his hands in the air, trying to catch Lin Si Yao’s attention. He was afraid if he didn’t, he would just fly past him without notice.
Lin Si Yao had indeed noticed him from afar, but because the sun was almost about to set, he had wanted to hurry home and did not have the intention to stop.
But now, since Tian Dabao had already waved at him, he could not pretend that he didn’t notice him. Plus, Su Shuilian would get angry at him if she were to find out. Afterall, with Tian Dabao’s physical and mental physique, he was not suited to stay here.
“Big brother Lin, you guys went hunting?” When Tian Dabao saw the animals in both Lin Si Yao’s hands and Xiao Xue’s mouth, he asked curiously.
Lin Si Yao nodded. When he realized the current situation, he frowned and asked, “It’s very late, why are you not home yet?”
“Hehe… I was actually waiting for you. Big brother Lin, can I be your disciple?” Tian Dabao asked wholeheartedly. But he quickly became shy as he rubbed his hands together and then scratched his head as his eyes kept glancing at Lin Si Yao for his reaction.
Lin Si Yao did not expect such a sudden request. But he then quickly thought back to the noise he had heard from behind the scrub earlier. That noise must have been caused by him, and when he had seen them disappear so quickly, he must have waited here for them to return.
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