Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The little three-wheeled motorcycle drove past a stretch of muddy dirt road toward the village.
A comforting scenery of green mountains and clear waters greeted him. Small hovels were built along the mountainside in the distance. He could see smoke rising from the chimneys.
After crossing a bridge over a stream, he reached the entrance of the village.
There were some women doing laundry next to the stream. They carefully examined Tang Hao. Dragonrock Village was a small settlement and not many people lived there. Everyone knew each other and so they would be curious whenever a stranger turned up.
“Eh! Whose kid is this?” The group of women talked among themselves.
Suddenly, a woman stood up and exclaimed in surprise, “Oh? Aren’t you Lil Hao?”
“Lil Hao? Isn’t that Caifeng’s son?”
The full name of Tang Hao’s mother was Shi Caifeng.
Tang Hao stopped and turned to look. “Auntie!” He greeted that woman. She was Liu Yan, his maternal uncle’s wife.
“Oh, you’re really Lil Hao? I haven’t seen you for only months and I almost didn’t recognize you.” Liu Yan smiled.
“He’s really Caifeng’s son! He’s already so tall!”
“Ah, he must be leading a hard life! I’ve heard that he’s a delivery boy now. That’s not too bad!”
The women discussed him while doing their laundry.
Liu Yan placed the clean laundry in a basket, then walked uphill from the streamside. “Lil Hao, you’re here just in time. Come, let’s have lunch at my house!” She said hospitably.
Tang Hao felt welcome. His aunt had a friendly personality and had always treated him well. She always invited him for a meal every time he visited.
“It’s alright, Auntie. I want to visit Grandpa and Grandma first. Are they still healthy?”
“Not bad, but as you know, they’re already old. It’s unavoidable that they have small problems!” Liu Yan said.
“Hop on, Auntie, let me give you a ride,” Tang Hao beckoned.
Liu Yan was happy. “You’re such a courteous kid! Right, how’s work?”
“Not bad!” Tang Hao nodded.
“Good to know!”
After he sent Liu Yan back and exchanged greetings with his uncle, Tang Hao rode toward Grandma’s house.
From a distance, he saw Grandpa sitting outside the house basking in the sun. His body was covered in mud, evidently having just returned from toiling in the fields. Grandpa had been a laborer all his life and could not sit still at home, even at this age.
“Grandpa!” Tang Hao hopped off the motorcycle and greeted his maternal grandfather.
“Lil Hao?” Grandpa stood up. An expression of joy came to his face. “Why are you here all of a sudden? You didn’t inform me before this, I could’ve asked your Grandma to prepare some good food for you.”
After that, he turned around to enter the house.
“Eh, it’s fine, Grandpa! Anything will do!” Tang Hao said urgently.
They entered the house and Tang Hao helped his maternal grandmother to prepare the meal. They sat happily around the table and enjoyed a simple lunch.
“How are you lately, Lil Hao? Everything fine at work?” Grandpa asked.
“I’ve recently quit my job, Grandpa. I was introduced to a few rich bosses and we’re now preparing to go into the Chinese medicine business. Actually, I’m here to survey a location.”
Grandpa looked surprised, then he said happily, “That’s great news! These rich bosses are important people, you’ll have to treasure these connections, Lil Hao. Right, what kind of location are you looking for?”
“I’m looking for a plot of land for a medicinal herb plantation.”
“Plantation?” Grandpa had an idea. “What do you think of our Dragonrock Village, Lil Hao?”
“Well… I haven’t surveyed the place yet. I should go take a better look later.”
After lunch, Tang Hao gave Grandpa and Grandma several bottles of health-care potions from his backpack. The potions were exceptional nutritional supplements for elderly folk.
“This must be very expensive, right, Lil Hao? You don’t have to buy these for us the next time,” Grandma said endearingly.
“It’s not expensive at all, Grandma. I made these myself. I’ve picked up some herbalist skills recently and learned how to concoct potions. I sell these to the big bosses. They’re really effective.”
“Really?” Grandpa was doubtful.
“You can give it a try if you don’t believe me.”
Grandpa doubtfully twisted open the bottle cap and gulped one mouthful. Then, his entire body trembled and his eyes opened round and wide. His face displayed an expression of incredulity.
The potion was cool in his mouth but became boiling hot when it reached his stomach. It turned into warm currents of energy that spread throughout his body. His whole body felt like melting and it was incredibly comfortable.
He closed his eyes and exhaled a contented sigh. He was enjoying the moment.
When he opened his eyes, his emotions were spirited. “That’s incredible, Lil Hao, your potion is amazing. I haven’t felt so energetic for years, and my body is filled with strength.”
After that, he stood up and stretched his limbs.
“Haha! I feel like I’m a few years younger already. This is really good stuff, Lil Hao! You’ll never worry about money anymore with this talent.”
Grandma smiled warmly. “Lil Hao, I’m so happy for your talents.”
After chatting with Grandpa and Grandma for a while more, Tang Hao left the house and surveyed the surroundings of the village.
Dragonrock Village was situated deep in the mountains and on a largely untouched plot of land. The flow of qi in this area was much stronger than Tang Village or in town, and was quite suitable for his purposes of planting medicinal herbs.
“It’s decided then! If I can set up a plantation here, it’s also good news for the people of Dragonrock Village.” Tang Hao made up his mind as he stood on top of a hill and looked at the surroundings.
“After this, I’ll have to discuss the issue with the village elder and the council.”
He turned around and got off the hill, back toward the village.
At the crossroads toward the village, he saw a beautiful silhouette coming toward him.
She was a girl of seventeen or eighteen. She was dressed very plainly, though that did not conceal her natural beauty. Her body was slim, and her ink-black hair was like a waterfall. It danced gently when the mountain wind blew.
Under the sun, her face was beautiful and pure like a lily, or as enchanting as a fairy that had descended from the heavens to the mortal world.
Tang Hao was stunned. He stopped in his tracks.
“Yan’er!” His mouth opened automatically.
The young girl had also noticed Tang Hao by then. She furrowed her brows and looked at him, then displayed a look of surprise. “You’re… Brother Hao!”
She quickly walked toward him. Her innocent face smiled.
Her smile was charming and her voice was sweet, like a gust of spring breeze that touched one’s heart.
“You’re really Brother Hao? I almost couldn’t recognize you!”
“You too. You’ve changed from a small girl to such a beautiful woman.” Tang Hao smiled.
As he looked at her, he offered silent praises in his heart.
This was not the girl who had caught crayfish and dug sweet potatoes with him when they were a lot younger. In the blink of an eye, she had grown to be a magnificent young woman.
Her beauty did not belong to this little village in the mountains.