Published at 24th of December 2020 02:48:01 PM
Because Xiaocao had spent most of her time in the capital these past few years and was often at the General’s Residence to keep her godfather and godmother company, her relationship with Little Linlin was better than most relationships that biological siblings had with each other . If the little fellow didn’t see his ‘older sister’ for two days, he would immediately become unhappy and would even refuse his loving mother as he scampered away on his two little legs to find his older sister at the Yu Residence .
When they got to the General’s Residence, Su Ran said his farewells as he had to go see the emperor . After all, the emperor was still waiting for him to report on all of the matters that had occurred at the stud farm! Zhu Junyang, on the other hand, was quite happy to see this brazen faced fellow leave and drank a cup of tea . Unfortunately, Fang Zizhen only received him in the study at the outer residence, so the prince could only blankly watch as the little lass turned around and headed through the Drooping Flower gate with a crowd of maidservants waiting for her in the inner residence .
Xiaocao, who had just entered the inner residence, had her legs immediately hugged by the little fellow, Fang Haolin . She bent over and hoisted the little fellow up and enthusiastically kissed the little boy a few times on his pudgy cheeks .
“Be careful! This fellow is not light! Lin’er, your older sister is very tired after spending the whole day traveling in the carriage . Don’t make your older sister overtired!” Lady Fang helped Xiaocao prop the little boy up from the side . Her son had been so slight and weak when he was first born but after being treated by her daughter, he had a ravenous appetite and continued to gain weight . In addition, he was wrapped up from head to toe in winter clothes and currently resembled a plump little meatball .
“Mother, Linlin is not fat . Linlin got taller!” The little fellow hated people calling him fat the most . Thus, he often claimed that he didn’t gain weight and instead grew in height, which was why he was heavier!
Xiaocao let out a peal of laughter after being amused by the little fellow . When the little fellow began to pout out of anger, she hurriedly agreed with his previous statement, “That’s right! Linlin is now a couple centimeters taller than he was before I left . In a few more years, you’ll be taller than Older Sister!”
When Fang Haolin heard this, he revealed a brilliant and angelic looking smile as he vigorously nodded his head, “I absolutely have to be taller than Older Sister! A shorty would not be able to marry a wife!”
“Haha! You’re so young but you already want to marry a wife? Do you have a particular young maiden in mind?” Yu Xiaocao grinned as she made fun of him .
Lady Fang suppressed a laugh and smiled, “A few days ago, I brought him to the Imperial Tutor’s residence to admire the plum blossoms . Lady Feng’s youngest son had just added a daughter to his family . That little girl baby was adorable and pretty with a pair of luminous inky black eyes and long, lush eyelashes . Her entire body was soft and sweet with a hint of a milky smell . This little guy insisted on hugging her, so Lady Feng made a joke that she should become his wife . This little guy shamelessly nodded his head in agreement!”
Lady Fang didn’t know whether she should laugh or cry as she recalled what had happened, “When we were about to leave, this guy even threw a tantrum stating that he wanted to bring his ‘little wife’ back! Lady Feng and I tried to calm him down but, in the end, only Lady Feng’s youngest daughter-in-law managed to placate him by stating that he could only marry a wife once he reached his father’s height . This is the reason why he now states that shorties are not able to find wives!”
“Our Little Linlin really wants to marry a wife? If you want to grow taller, then you can’t be as picky as you were before . You need to eat less meat . Otherwise, you’ll only grow horizontally and not vertically . Furthermore, you need to eat more vegetables and exercise more . Every day you should run laps in the practice arena and you shouldn’t slack off on practicing martial arts…” Fang Haolin wrinkled his nose after hearing Yu Xiaocao’s opinions . Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore and blurted out that he didn’t want to find a wife anymore!
Fang Haolin loved to eat meat the most . If the meal didn’t have any meat, then he refused to eat . Furthermore, he hated eating vegetables the most, especially the leafy green ones . Since he was already three years old, General Fang had already started to instruct him in the basics of strengthening his body and martial arts . However, Fang Zizhen often had to leave the capital to head to Tanggu Town and Lady Fang really doted on her son, so the little boy only lazily practiced these skills every few days or so . Making him change his eating habits as well as increasing his exercise regime was something the little fellow was deathly against!
When she saw that the little fellow was starting to pout again, Xiaocao hurriedly asked, “Don’t you want to become a big hero like your father, who’s a great general?”
When she saw that he responded immediately by nodding his head in agreement, she pressed forward with her advantage, “The reason why Father’s martial arts are so good is because he worked very hard in training his skills when he was young . Just think about it . If you go on the battlefield without even the strength to hold onto a sword, then you can only get beaten down when the enemy appears because you are weak! Just look, I can easily push you down with just a tiny bit of force . If I, a weak little maiden, can even push you over, then how could you possibly become a big hero? Instead, you’re just a weakling!”
“Linlin is not a big weakling, Linlin will become a great hero when I get older and help Older Sister beat away the bad guys!!” Tears had come to Fang Haolin’s eyes after being pushed around by his older sister . However, he had an obstinate expression on his face as he stated, “Tomorrow, Linlin will start to practice martial arts and I won’t slack off anymore!!”
Lady Fang looked incredibly gratified after hearing this and smiled, “Lin’er still listens the most to you, his older sister . Every day I nag him over and over and use all sorts of methods, but he’s never agreed so readily like this! Even when his father shows him a stern face and reprimands him, he still stubbornly holds onto his convictions . The fact that you were able to make him agree so readily to agree to train is something that your father would be incredibly happy to hear!”
“What would make me happy to hear?” At this moment, Fang Zizhen had just entered the inner courtyard . He had noticed his wife and daughter were both in the main hall having a conversation, so he came over and picked up his fat son from his daughter’s hands, throwing him up into the air a few times . Fang Haolin giggled happily as flying up in the air was his favorite game that he played with his father .
“Your precious son has made the decision that he’s going to train hard! Are you happy or not by this?” Lady Fang leveled a glare at her husband and snatched her son back, placing him on the warm couch .
Fang Zizhen looked appreciatively at his son and spoke to Xiaocao, “Daughter, it must be you who managed to convince him, right? This little fellow will only listen to you when he has a stubborn streak going on! He’s so little yet I don’t know where he learned this from . He has such a temper!”
“Are there other fathers who speak about their sons in this way? Wasn’t Lin’er still young in the past ah? After the New Years, our Lin’er will be older by a year again so he’ll be more mature and will improve more!” Lady Fang only bore her precious son after reaching the age of forty . Thus, she normally spoiled him to no end and couldn’t bear to say a single harsh word to him .
Fang Zizhen glanced at his wife and earnestly persuaded, “Wife, please remember the saying that ‘a doting mother often ruins a son’ . In my opinion, we should hire a strict boxing tutor for our son so that he’ll learn the basics well . What do you think? Otherwise, it’s likely that with our soft hearts that we won’t be able to let him truly learn what he needs to learn . ”
Although Lady Fang was still a bit reluctant in her heart, she also knew that her husband was right in this situation . She gently stroked her son’s soft hair and managed to eke out a nod in reply, “Okay! Go see if there’s anyone among the people below you who has a good handle of the foundations . . . the best would be to find someone who has a bit more patience and doesn’t have a bad temper . . . after all, Lin’er is still small…”
“Alright then! I will handle everything for this matter! I know what needs to be done!” Although Fang Zizhen verbally agreed with his wife’s request, in his heart, he became even more convinced that he needed to find a strict tutor for his son .
Yu Xiaocao pinched the cheeks of Fang Haolin, who had scrambled up onto her lap and was nestled against her chest, and then said, “I have a recipe for medicinal baths on my hands . When the time comes, I’ll make sure to alter it appropriately to suit my younger brother’s needs . This bath can strengthen his bones and muscles and relieve exhaustion and fatigue . That way, he won’t have to endure too much aches and pains after exercising hard!”
“Thank you, Older Sister! Older Sister, you’re the best!” Fang Haolin wasn’t someone who was stubborn beyond means and didn’t know how to think . After all, he was still young and had never experienced the cruelties of life before . Every time his father made him practice martial arts, his whole body would ache from head to toe the next day as if someone had given him a beating . This was the reason he did everything within his power, such as acting cute, to get away from having to do more . Once he heard that his body wouldn't ache after practicing martial arts, the little fellow immediately became much more enthused . As for his older sister, who seemed to know everything, the little fellow now liked and worshiped her even more .
Lady Fang watched fondly as the two siblings revealed their harmonious relationship with each other and revealed a gratified smile . Suddenly, she remembered something and hurriedly had Linglong take out a large red wedding invitation from her grooming case, placing it into Xiaocao’s hands, “This is the wedding invitation from the Zhou Family’s heir . He first sent it to your residence but when he found out that you had left to handle some affairs, he personally came over to our residence to have us tell you instead . ”
The Zhou Family’s heir? Who was that? Yu Xiaocao looked puzzled for a bit and only after she opened the invitation did she realize that Zhenxiu Restaurant’s Third Young Master Zhou had now become the acknowledged heir of the Zhou Family . Oh ho! This fellow had wordlessly even found his future wife and was going to get married on the sixteenth of this month!!
After thinking about it, she realized that this fellow Zhou Zixu was older than her by six years and would be twenty-two after the New Years . It truly was the right time for him to marry a wife and beget children now! Time really passed too quickly . At that time, when her family was still incredibly poor and in hard times, she had coincidentally come across Third Young Master Zhou, who was fourteen at the time . He had been a youthful and handsome young teenager then!
In the blink of an eye, seven to eight years had already passed . She herself had grown from a small little cabbage in a rural village to become a royal princess who helped the emperor with his affairs . Furthermore, the many businesses under her hands were all roaring and doing quite well . As for Third Young Master Zhou, he had already become a successful businessman . Not only did he expand Zhenxiu Restaurant throughout the country, but his condiments, vermicelli and century eggs factory had also expanded such that its goods were now shipped everywhere . He had expanded the Zhou Family’s business by a large degree and helped them firmly keep their imperial merchant status . This status naturally made it easier for him to conduct more business…
Yu Xiaocao held onto the invitation and signed reminiscently . She and Third Young Master Zhou had started off in a mutually beneficial relationship . Third Young Master Zhou needed her abilities to help forge a way within his complicated family and create a stable position for himself . As for herself, she needed a fast way to make money to change her family’s poor and embarrassing state . At that time, the two of them were like two weak little creatures who relied on each other for warmth and strength as they slowly grew up in this world .
Before she knew it, that tough and stubborn youth had already reached the age where he was going to marry a wife . How come she suddenly had a feeling that she was suddenly going to lose a son after he became an adult?
Fang Zizhen had noticed that his daughter had been sighing repeatedly over this and couldn’t help but start thinking down the rabbit hole . He carefully probed, “Daughter, despite the Zhou Family’s wealth, this heir of the Zhou Family is still a merchant when all is said and done . When considering a marriage, one must remember that it is best of people of similar statuses to be matched with each other . The person he’s going to marry is the daughter of the Huang Family, who are also imperial merchants . Thus, it looks like they are well matched in this aspect . ”
“Oh, he’s going to marry the daughter from the Huang Family, one of the four great merchant families of the empire? Is this a marriage of convenience for the two families ah?” Yu Xiaocao frowned even more deeply as she was afraid that this fellow was trying to sacrifice his own future happiness for the sake of his family .
“Uh . . . a marriage that benefits the family isn’t necessarily one that leads to unhappiness for the individual . That fellow surnamed Zhou doesn’t really have a lot of relationship with us and is mostly just considered a business partner for you . He’s already an adult man so I’m sure he can make his own decisions . Let’s not worry too much about him!” Previously, Fang Zizhen had once considered this fellow as a match for his goddaughter as he had seen how well he had treated Xiaocao .