Fields Of Gold / Fields of Gold Chapter 501
Honey peaches had soft and succulent flesh. After taking a small bite, one could lightly suck on it and the meat from the peach would flow into the mouth. They tasted incredibly sweet. Thus, honey peaches were more suitable for young children and the elderly to eat.
Before the large white peaches were ripe, they had a light green color. When the color of the peel slowly changed and approached a light white, then the peaches were ready to be picked. The skin of these peaches were tender and crispy, and the flesh extremely fragrant. Most young people loved this type of fruit.
Blood peaches were completely red and they had a lustrous and bright color. The flesh tasted fresh and, in one bite, even the juice that came out was a blood red color. It had a strong flavor that seeped into a person’s mouth, filling it with flavor. This type of peach could nourish the blood and body. Thus, people who had just recovered from an illness and didn’t have much energy would find great benefit from eating this type of peach.
All of the peaches were packaged in delicately carved boxes to sell. Each box had six peaches in it and their weight exceeded five catties. The price was set at ten taels per box. Compared to ordinary peaches, which were only a dozen copper coins per catty, these peaches were extremely expensive.
However, the high price came with a reason. Ordinary peaches could not even compare to the ones cultivated on the Imperial Plantation, and the difference was like that between that of a peasant and a nobleman. After eating peaches grown at the Imperial Plantation, one would disdain the taste of regular peaches. There wasn’t a lot of fruit grown on the back of the Imperial Plantation, so there was a quota implemented on the peaches. Only a hundred boxes of peaches could be sold a day and they would be sold out before the end of the day. Supply definitely did not meet the demand.
Once the lively and vivacious He Wanning found out that the peaches on the hills behind the Imperial Plantation were ripe, she could no longer sit still. She ran over to the Yu Residence and found out that Xiaocao was currently at ‘Blossoming Beauty’. Thus, she also scurried over to the cosmetics and spa resort and burst into Xiaocao’s private courtyard. She rushed towards Xiaocao, who was currently in the middle of swimming in her private hot spring and stated, “Xiaocao, you’re really too much, you know?”
The so-called hot spring was merely a pool of water that had been heated. Mystic-stone water had been added to the pool, so bathing more frequently could improve one’s skin texture and quality. Yu Xiaocao was currently wearing a swimsuit while she swam freely in the water that was about as deep as a person’s height.
She was quite surprised when He Wanning had burst in. She swam over to the side of the pool and gazed in puzzlement at the other girl and asked, “What’s wrong? How did I make you unhappy this time?”
“Since last year you’ve said that you were going to invite us to go to the Imperial Plantation to hunt and enjoy a picnic. However, you haven’t followed up on that promise. I’ll say, do you even have us friends in your heart at this point?” He Wanning lay down on a cushion next to the hot spring and splashed water towards Xiaocao.
Xiaocao swiftly dove into the water and avoided the other girl’s sneak attack. She surfaced at a distance and smiled mysteriously, “Older Sister He, do you think I don’t know what you’re hinting at? You’re just thinking about those peaches in the fruit orchard, right? If you didn’t come today, I still would have sent out invitations to you, Older Sister Yuan, Royal Princess Minglan and Li Mengru to invite you all to experience the life of a fruit farmer!”
“Experience the day to day life of a fruit farmer?” He Wanning’s eyes immediately lit up and an expression of eager interest crossed her face. Despite her obvious excitement, she said, “Hmph! You clearly know how to make us work for you to pick peaches. After all, you don’t have to pay us for this work. I knew you were a money-grubbing little businesswoman!”
“You don’t want to go? Suit yourself…” Yu Xiaocao stepped out of the pool and took the offered bath towel from Yingchun’s hands. She sat down on a nearby couch and had Wutong dry her hair for her.
“Go! Of course I’ll go! Why wouldn’t I? This time of year, the hares are probably plump, so after picking some peaches we can go hunt some game too. In the evening, we can have a barbecue. If we stay too late, doesn’t Royal Prince Yang’s farmstead nearby have a courtyard residence for you ah? Then we can rest there…” He Wanning became more and more excited with every word she said. She couldn’t help but stand up and spin in delight.
He Wanning bummed a whole body essential oil massage off of Yu Xiaocao’s courtyard before she finally decided to leave. Before she left, she made sure to remind Xiaocao, “Don’t forget to send an invitation. It needs to come quickly!”
That night, Yu Xiaocao sent out a few invitations to her good friends in the capital. She was inviting them over to the Imperial Plantation in two days to have fun. They were to meet at the three-story pavilion on the outside of the city.
That day, Yu Xiaocao rode her little red horse and brought along her two ‘hunting dogs’, Little Black and Little White. Right after she exited the city, she saw that there were already people waiting by the three-story pavilion. However, as she got closer, she noticed that, other than Royal Princess Minglan, Li Mengru and the two beauties of the capital, there were a few uninvited guests too.
The first to speak was Li Mengru who looked quite embarrassed. She glanced at her older legitimate sister and two legitimate younger brothers and softly apologized, “Younger Sister Yu, after I received your invitation, my older legitimate sister and two legitimate younger brothers were also very interested in your proposal, so…without asking for your permission, I presumptively brought them along. I’m truly very sorry!”
Li Mengru’s older legitimate sister, Li Mengqi, had a relatively open personality. When she saw that her concubine-born sister was acting so carefully, she was afraid that they had stepped over Yu Xiaocao’s invisible line and hurriedly said, “It was me. I was the one who coincidentally saw my younger sister’s invitation and I was very interested in picking peaches, so I begged her to bring me and my younger brothers along. Younger Sister is kind and softhearted and couldn’t refuse my request. Blame me instead of her ah!”
“Miss Li is taking it too seriously. Since it is a leisure trip, obviously the more the merrier. I don’t have many friends in the capital, if you wish to come along, then I will be happy to take you. Why would I blame you?” Since these people already came, she felt no need to act the bad guy and make everyone else unhappy. It wasn’t as if she didn’t know how to be courteous. If these people were worthy of being friends with her, then she was happy to incorporate them in the future.
The Li Family’s siblings were one thing, but…who was that weird-looking fellow that was salivating over Little Black and Little White? What was he doing here? Also, who was that handsome man next to him? He was so handsome that he looked like he came right out of a fairy tale. Why did he look so mysterious?
“Hee hee, Feudal Princess Jinan, these two hunting dogs of yours still haven’t had a litter of pups yet? Is it because you can’t bear to give any away that it’s like this ah?” Ning Donghuan desperately wanted these two ‘dogs’. He even claimed that he was famous for having good hunting dogs and knowledge, yet he couldn’t even tell the difference between a wolf and a dog.
Yu Xiaocao was too lazy to pay any attention to this guy. Instead she turned an inquiring gaze over to the other people there. Who the heck brought this idiot along? Someone needed to take charge of him as this fellow had some guts to try to provoke Little White. If Little White ended up losing its temper, then it was likely the wolf would bite this guy’s pants off!
He Wanning let out a couple of fake coughs and looked away as she said in a somewhat unnatural voice, “These two are the young masters from Duke Rongguo’s estate. They are named Ning Donglan and Ning Donghuan and they are the maternal cousins from my eldest sister-in-law’s family. My eldest sister-in-law had gotten pregnant after eating your specially prepared medicinal cuisine and drinking the medicinal tea! Her maternal family came over and I don’t know why but Duke Rongguo’s youngest son came over too. When he found out that I had an outing with you today, he shamelessly pestered me to come along!”
He Wanning’s eldest sister-in-law originally didn’t have any big issues with her body. After she took more care with her food and drink and also began eating the special prepared foods that Yu Xiaocao prescribed, she had gotten pregnant within a few months. This news made the grand princess royal and Marchioness Anning incredibly ecstatic and they especially prepared a large amount of thank you gifts for Yu Xiaocao. Furthermore, they sent over the heir and his wife to express their gratitude in person to Xiaocao. They were so thankful that Xiaocao felt a bit uncomfortable by their expressions.
In the eyes of He Wanning and the other maidens here, it wasn’t too surprising that Ning Donghuan came over as he had always been a hedonistic good-for-nothing. However, they would have never expected that Duke Rongguo’s second son, Ning Donglan, who had a reputation of being a perfect gentleman, would also want to come. It was quite out of character for him and this surprised He Wanning endlessly!
“We’re in luck! Quickly, quickly, we’ve almost caught up with them! I’ll say, Little Yangzi, I don’t think your charms are deadly enough! Your little lass doesn’t even place a lot of importance on you. She’s going out to play today but didn’t even let you know in advance. If it wasn’t for this young master’s connections, you would still be in the dark!!” The person who spoke was a pale-faced youth dressed in green on a buckskin horse.
“Isn’t that the precious grandson of Old General Lu? Wasn’t his relationship with Royal Prince Yang quite bad? How come they’re coming over together?” He Wanning had once been infuriated by Lu Hao’s sharp tongue and had tried to whip him in retaliation. However, her skills with the whip were no match for Lu Hao, who had spent years tussling with Royal Prince Yang. The gap in their skills was too great. She ended panting in exhaustion with sweat dripping down her face while the infuriating youth hadn’t gotten hit even once. Thus, the two people’s argument ended like that!
Yu Xiaocao’s eyes momentarily softened when she saw that familiar handsome youth dressed entirely in black with the phoenix eyes riding on a black horse. She didn’t even need to nudge her mount as Little Red headed over to Fierce Wind and tried to bite the other horse’s ears.
Yu Xiaocao patted Little Red’s head and stopped her from bothering Fierce Wind. She looked at Zhu Junyang with a smile in her eyes, “When did you get back to the capital? You look like you’ve gotten thinner. You still need to take care of yourself no matter how urgent your task is.”
Zhu Junyang reached out a hand to stroke the little girl’s tender face and the severe look on his face gentled, “Last night I had just gotten back…ever since I left the capital, I’ve longed for the food you make. Even the simplest porridge and stir-fried veggies you make are better than the most expensive delicacies. This prince wants to eat your Buddha jumps over the wall!”
Didn’t he just say that even her simplest porridge and stir-fried vegetables were good enough? Yet he suddenly wanted to eat Buddha jumps over the wall. Just what was he trying to say? Yu Xiaocao knew that this fellow wasn’t happy unless there was a meat dish on the table so the mirth in her eyes deepened. She nodded her head and said, “Alright, tomorrow evening you should come over to Count Zhongqin’s estate and I’ll make you some Buddha jumps over the wall…you got back to the capital yesterday; don’t you need to show up at court today to report? Is it really okay for you to go out with us?”
“Not a problem! The emperor gave me a day off to rest up ah!” Zhu Junyang had been out of the capital for more than a month doing his task and had constantly thought of his little lass. The first thing he wanted to do when he got back was to see her. From his good friend, he found out that she was taking people to the Imperial Plantation to play around today, so he came along without even thinking about it.
“Ahem, ahem! Is it really okay for you guys to be like this when there are a bunch of other people around? All of us are just standing here ah, yet you guys don’t feel the least bit embarrassed?! Let’s go, let’s go! Head out!” Lu Hao had just experienced first hand the lovey-doveyness between these two people and couldn’t stand it anymore. He would have never expected that the cold faced royal prince, the cruel and vicious devil star, actually had such a gentle and sweet side of him. Lu Hao shuddered at the memory as goosebumps rose throughout his body. The legendary ‘the tempered sword being twisted around a beauty’s finger’ was actually true!
The emperor raising the status of women wasn’t without benefit. In fact, every noble-born maiden in the capital was quite skilled at horseback riding. In total, the group consisted of over a dozen young nobles. With their maidservants and servants added on, there were around a few dozen horses all headed down the capital’s official roads. The peasant farmers, who were pushing or pulling carts towards the capital, all hurriedly went aside to let these nobles through. Judging by these people’s clothing and attitudes, it was easy to tell that they couldn’t afford to offend any of them. It was better to make way, right? If they had accidentally caused offense to one of these arrogant and noble masters, then they would likely have to pay in blood!