Fields Of Gold / Fields of Gold Chapter 524
Cup after cup of juice was pressed. In addition to snow pear juice, there was also grape juice. Zhu Hanwen drank a cup of snow pear juice with honey added in and started on his pressed juice business again. The juice was sent to the emperor and empress by his personal eunuch accompanying them. Upon hearing that it was pressed by their son, they were deeply moved by the little guy’s filial piety. The juice tasted even better now.
At noon, the summer’s heat was giving off its full power. Prince Jing, who was on horseback, saw the cups of many different colored juices that were sent out from the back of the group. He touched the water bag at his waist that had been empty for a long time and lamented that he had a fake son. Even at seven to eight years old, the eldest imperial prince knew to be filial to the emperor and empress. His son, on the other hand, would follow behind the little girl whenever he had free time. Alas… the moral degeneration of the world was getting worse day by day!
Before he could finish lamenting, Dong Dali, Zhu Junyang’s bodyguard and servant, came over carefully with a cup of snow pear juice. “Your Highness, are you thirsty? This is our master’s filial piety towards you!”
“Was it personally pressed by that boy?” The gloominess in Prince Jing’s heart disappeared and his eyes shone with pride. After taking the juice, he didn’t forget to flaunt it to the other members of the imperial family around him.
Dong Dali seemed to know what the prince was thinking and said in a loud voice, “Yes, Your Highness, it was personally pressed by our master! Have a drink first. If there isn’t enough, there’s also grape juice, tangerine juice, and pomegranate juice!”
Prince Jing finished drinking the sweet and thirst-quenching snow pear juice in one breath. He purposely smacked his lips and said, “Go, let that boy squeeze a cup of grape juice for his father again! I didn’t expect that lass Xiaocao to bring so many fruits. It’s been more than half a month but she still has more in stock!”
Xiaocao’s luggage carriages could be considered to be a line of supply carts. In fruits alone, she had brought along five carts, and all were preserved with ice. There were also ingredients to make all kinds of pastries, seasonings for grilling meat, etc. Everything that needed to be there was there. Zhu Junyang once laughed at her, saying that she could open a food shop at the imperial hunting grounds.
At the time, Yu Xiaocao thought, ‘Do you really think I’m willing to bring so much food along? Did you ever think that, as a small sixth-rank official in a group of first and second ranking officials, anyone could crush me to death?’ If she brought less food along, after being robbed by one person and having another take something else, would she have any left for herself?
In fact, right now was a prime example. The eldest imperial prince pressed cup after cup of juice for fun. In no time, dozens of catties of fruit had gone down and he still hadn’t stopped pressing juice. ‘Eldest Imperial Prince, are you trying to burst the stomachs of the emperor and empress?’
Luckily, Zhu Junyang persuaded him to stop. After he pressed two more cups of juice for Prince Jing, Yu Xiaocao thought about it for a moment. She didn’t have any relatives to show filial piety to. The only one who was qualified to accompany the emperor was her godfather, who had a post at the port in Tanggu Town. She lifted the curtains and looked out towards the white figure beside the bright yellow carriage. An immortal like figure appeared in front of her eyes. Yu Xiaocao pressed a cup of snow pear juice and sent Wutong over with it.
The emperor and empress drank the fruit juice happily at first. Later on, they sipped on the juice with a bitter look on their faces while holding their stomachs. In the end, there were cups full of juice on the carriage. Su Ran could tell the eldest imperial prince was addicted to playing with the juice presser as he sent cup after cup of juice over. The emperor and empress were unwilling to share the fruit juice that their son had personally made with other people, so they could only drink until they were stuffed!
They drank until they were about to burst but at least they were still better off than those who couldn’t even drink one cup, right? Su Ran took a glance at the emperor who had a look of satisfaction on his face. Sadness suddenly rose in his heart. If he hadn’t entered the palace back then, would he have a family of his own right now? Children might be playing around his knees and filially bringing him a cup of tea…
“Sir Su, our young miss has asked this servant to bring you a cup of juice. Please enjoy it!” Although she had seen Head Steward Su a few times before, Wutong was still impressed by his beautiful appearance and face. How could someone be so handsome and unique…
Su Ran, who had been interrupted out of his thoughts, glanced at the snow-white pear juice. The transparent cup had crystal clear water droplets on the outside. That lass, Xiaocao, was so attentive. She knew that he liked to eat cold foods and added ice to the juice. Su Ran’s eyes softened and an intoxicating soft light flooded his gaze. If Xiaocao saw his expression right now, she would be dazzled by it.
He took the snow pear juice and took a sip of it with his slightly red lips. A refreshing sweetness seeped into his heart. The melancholy and unwillingness in his heart seemed to follow the cool taste into his heart, turning into sweet juice.
At his age, if he had married early, he would have a child of about twelve to thirteen years of age. If he had a daughter, would she be smart, capable, attentive, and kind like that lass Xiaocao?
The cup of juice was downed in one gulp. Su Ran’s heart felt slightly melancholy——if he wasn’t a eunuch, taking the Yu Family’s lass as a goddaughter would’ve been a good choice. Unfortunately, with his position and identity, it would only bring the lass a lot of trouble and make her a laughingstock. It was better this way, not too far and not too close, observing her silently. When it was necessary, he’d help. This was the best choice!
A cup of juice being sent out caught many people’s attention. Lu Hao of the Yulin Division took advantage of the break during shift changes and came to Xiaocao’s carriage after wiping his face to ask for some fruit juice to drink.
The eldest imperial prince hadn’t played enough and excitedly said, “Beloved Official Lu has worked hard. I’d like to reward you with a cup of juice that I pressed…”
Lu Hao didn’t expect the prince to also be there. In a panic, he said, “I don’t dare let Your Highness work for me. Let Miss Yu’s servant girl press a cup for this subject!”
After finishing the cup of juice in a couple of gulps, he quickly left. He was afraid that the eldest imperial prince would reward him with a cup of juice. Even though the emperor and empress couldn’t finish the juices personally pressed by the eldest imperial prince, they still weren’t given to others. If they found out that he had drunk the juice pressed by their son, he didn’t know how they would think!
With Lu Hao as an example, several of the noble young ladies who were on friendly terms with Yu Xiaocao, along with Ning Donghuan and his brother who were thick-skinned enough to come up, all came to ask for juice. They also asked that ice should be added. They really thought of her place as a mobile juice stand and the kind that was free too! Just when Yingchun came up with a bitter look on her face and stated that they were running out of fruits from the cart behind them, they finally arrived at the temporary imperial residence for the imperial hunting grounds.
The temporary imperial residence was built in a hurry with limited funds. Compared to the tourist attractions of her past life, it was simpler. Fortunately, the scenery nearby made up for the furnishing of the temporary imperial residence. The forest here was lush. There was plenty of water and plants, and, from time to time, hawks and falcons would fly across the sky giving a different sense of feeling compared to the inner lands.
The hunt was scheduled to begin on the next day. After a short rest, Yu Xiaocao came to the meadow outside the temporary imperial palace and looked out towards the thousand acres of grasslands. Not far away, under the double peaks surrounded by clouds and shadows, the Yixun river rushed down. The vast grassland was dotted with wildflowers. This pure and natural scenery opened up people’s hearts.
“How is it, not bad right?” The emperor’s voice rang out from behind her and he stopped her from giving a salute. Zhu Junfan sighed, “In my past life, I heard that the Mulan imperial hunting grounds was ‘the source of water, the hometown of the clouds, the world of flowers and the ocean of forest.’ Unfortunately, I never had the chance to go see it. This life, I can finally fulfill my wish.”
Yu Xiaocao glanced at Su Ran who was behind the emperor and blinked a few times thinking, ‘The emperor trusts Sir Su so much that he even talks about past lives and this life in front of him without any hindrance. Mmm…there’s something between them! One has the manner of delicate beauty, while the other is rich and handsome. One is handsome beyond compare, while the other has the looks of immortal beauty. A perfect match of a domineering power and gentle beauty——Ouch! Who hit me?’
“What are you thinking about? That pair of shifty eyes of yours hasn’t stopped roving around. There can’t be anything good going on in that mind, right?” Zhu Junfan pulled back the fan that he had used to hit her and turned his gaze back out towards the grassland.
Yu Xiaocao’s mouth moved but she didn’t tell the truth in the end. Her neck was too fragile to survive an encounter with the guillotine the emperor used to chop off people’s heads. It also wouldn’t survive being snapped in two by Sir Su. She changed the subject, “Grey skies, vast wilderness, cattle and sheep can be seen in the grass blown by the wind! Why can’t you see herds of cattle and sheep? I’d want to try the flavor of a whole roasted sheep!”
Zhu Junfan chuckled, “This is the imperial hunting grounds, which was commandeered by us. Naturally, you won’t see the common people releasing cattle or sheep! It’s rumored that there are bighorn sheep and wild deer in the forest on this grassland. When it comes time, there won’t be any less for you to eat!”
“Your Imperial Majesty, aren’t you the most frugal and diligent? How can you think of wasting money to create an imperial hunting ground for autumn hunting?” Yu Xiaocao was looking for something to talk about and casually picked a question to ask.
Zhu Junfan raised his eyebrows at her and the corners of his mouth lifted in a faint smile, “Weren’t those transmigration novels popular in our past lives? Weren’t there a lot of female readers? I don’t believe that you have seen any of them! Tell me, are you on the side of the fourth prince or the eighth prince
“Of course it’s the fourth prince. Although the gentle, jadelike, honest gentleman eighth prince is very attractive, the fourth prince is more to my taste. He is cold on the outside and warm on the inside. In public, he’s just an ice prince; however, in private, he turns into a loyal dog! That’s the type I like!” Yu Xiaocao’s eyes brightened. She didn’t expect the emperor to have the same pursuits as her in his past life!
Zhu Junfan’s eyes flashed with a bantering light and he made a loud ‘Oh’ in assent. Then, he quipped, “No wonder then! No wonder you chose Zhu Junyang that sullen man!”
“What choice or no choice? Did I have a chance to choose?” The current her was labeled by Royal Prince Yang. It was too unfair. If that guy changed his mind, she would die alone. Alas… this patriarchal society was truly too unfair!
Zhu Junfan gossipy heart flourished, and, with the face of a gossiping woman, he asked, “Tell the truth, if you had to choose between Ning Donglan, who is elegant and comparable to a gentleman, and Zhu Junyang, who is majestic, cold and stern, how would you make your decision?”
“Ning Donglan? What does this have to do with him? I’m not familiar with him, ok? Although his appearance is very pleasing to me, I’m not a person who likes to just look at a person’s appearance! Besides, my Zhu Junyang’s appearance isn’t any worse than his, alright?” Yu Xiaocao was audacious enough to obviously roll her eyes at the emperor.
Su Ran looked appreciatively on the sidelines and thought, ‘This lass’s courage can’t be compared to that of ordinary people.’ Maybe it was because the two people came from the same place. When they spoke, there wasn’t any care about the difference between monarch and subject or the distinction between superiors and inferiors.
Zhu Junfan grinned evilly and continued, “‘My’ Zhu Junyang? Looks like you’ve already made the choice in your mind. I pity Ning Donglan, the embers of love are going to be put out heartlessly before they can even be ignited…”
 Zhu Junfan is referring to the novel Bubu Jingxin. It was made into a very famous television drama called Scarlet Heart. In the story, the main character has to choose between the Eight Prince and the Fourth Prince.