The valley, south bank.
As a result of Long Qiu's industrious work, Phoenix Mountain now had six mu of rice paddies. It was September at the moment and just the season for harvesting the early-sowed rice, which was the topmost priority. The family of four stood in a line by the field, watching the rice undulating in the wind in golden waves. It was a pleasure to both body and mind.
Xiaojin washed four fresh peaches with pink tips and handed one each. The four started chewing off the fruits right away. Needless to say, the peaches were from the peach trees in the valley—that's right, instead of a poisonous miasma, the peach trees they planted had given them fruit.
The first dozen they planted all fared well, their branches heavy with peaches the size of an adult fist. They were tender, juicy, and even contained a tiny amount of spiritual essence.
The four fellows immediately discovered their new snack and started their full-on attack. It seemed the peaches would not last much longer.
Peach in on hand, Long Qiu waved her other hand forward, sending the little Silkworm to cut the crops.
Golden Silkworm darted her a look of utter frustration, flew out in resignation, then dived down into the field.
A gust of wind blew on the field and Gu Yu witnessed the wonder for the second time. Rice crops fell down one row after another. As if a spell had been cast upon them, the rice were harvested in no time.
The neatly arranged piles of crops covered the entire field, making it a golden treasure land.
"Oh my, I feel so fulfilled every time I see this." Gu Yu sighed with emotion.
"Yeah, and a sense of achievement after a hard day's work," Xiaozhai chimed in.
Damn you all!
Fortunately the Golden Silkworm could not speak, or it would bury the two with its spit. 'Be original, will you?'
After the harvest, the following procedures were the same as before. The rice was basked, shelled, and processed. It was Xiaojin's first time participating in the activity and she enthusiastically volunteered to multiple tasks. The rice was weighed in the end: the six mu had given them around 1600 kg early rice in total.
The figure was enough to make them rejoice. The yield of the late rice could be estimated from last years, which should be around 1100 kg this year, making the total annual yield of 2700 kg.
The four foodies consumed around 1400 kg a year, which was about half of the yield.
'When one has grains to spare, all minds are at rest'—such a saying was the universal truth. However, the consequent problem was: too much unused chaff.
For that, Gu Yu assembled everyone for a special family meeting, discussing their future development plan.
"Be serious now. Let me brief you all first." Under the old tree, the four sat around the table and Gu Yu went on in a formal tone, "Phoenix Mountain currently has 1600 kg of spiritual rice, of which chaff usually takes up about 7-11%. That, plus the existing stock, adds up to 335 kg of chaff in total.
Apart from those, we also have three mu of herb garden where 204 rare and valuable medicinal materials grow. Ordinary materials are planted all over the valley and too numerous to count.
We also have two mu of gourds, including 42 large gourds, 103 medium ones, and 256 small ones.
Of the 210 peach trees, ten have ripened and the rest 200 will have to wait until next year.
Five red fruit plants are growing extremely slowly and there isn't any noticeable change so far.
Other than those, there is also one mu of vegetable garden. No need to go into details on that."
He listed the numbers and asked, " What do you think?"
Xiaozhai was playing with the snake and Xiaojin watched her playing. Long Qiu was the only good student, who raised her hand like a kindergartener. "Brother, hire someone, please. You two are always off somewhere for half a year and I can't take care of all this all by myself."
"Hey, I'm still around, aren't I?" Xiaojin interjected.
"You're the reason I can't take care of everything." Long Qiu was merciless.
The girl waved her right hand and a thread of lightning materialized in her palm, which she smashed at Long Qiu's shoulder in a whoosh. Long Qiu exerted a third of her strength and charged towards the hand with a faster move, trying to gain an upper hand despite being the later one to attack.
As it turned out, the hand took a sudden turn in mid-air and sneakily reached out to grab her breasts.
Long Qiu bolted up and jumped back in fright, her beautiful, arched brows raised and cheeks flushed. "Fight fair and square, I dare you! No dirty tricks!"
"I wouldn't be using tricks if I could fight fair and square. Such a rookie!" Xiaojin sneered.
"You!" Long Qiu chewed on her lips and rolled her eyes. Suddenly, she found the right tease. "You little soap!"
Xiaojin might have a skin thicker than a rhinoceros, but even she went red-faced in embarrassment at the nickname. Grinding her teeth, she jumped at Long Qiu.
"Enough, enough. Both of you, sit down!" Gu Yu was having a headache as he broke the fight. "We do need some extra hands, but as you know, we're not the conventional type of employer. I need to think it through. Little soap, I mean, Xiaojin, any suggestions?"
"DON'T CALL ME LITTLE SOAP!"
The girl glared at him, all teeth and claws like a little leopard. She almost looked frightening.
"Yeah, sure, no more that. So give me some idea." He cajoled her half-heartedly.
The namesake event took place about three days ago when Gu Yu and Xiaozhai were having a private conversation (or foreplay, if you like) in the room. Tempted by an unhealthy curiosity, Xiaojin snuck up onto the roof—thanks to the very limited amount of skill she had learned—and was hoping for a 3D reality show of the two in action.
It was there she heard the name.
As a seasoned northeastern girl, she instantly realized what they meant by "soap"—they were talking about her 1 ! The thought of being called after a lubricant was giving her goosebumps.
So, she jumped.
As it turned out, her older sister was not happy about her intimate moment being ruined and Xiaojin earned herself a good spanking. After that, Long Qiu had picked up that nickname...
Xiaojin glared at him some more, expressing vividly what was going on in her head: I might be no match to you physically, but my imposing manner was enough to crush you. She then replied, "There're too many unnecessary trees here on the mountain. We should differentiate between those with value and those without. The latter we cut down and use it to build houses; the valuable ones we should plant more."
"Well…" Gu Yu gave it a thought and said, "The concept of 'value' means little to us here. Cotton, sisal plants, and rubber trees are commercially valuable, but not practical to have here. I think things like tea trees and fruit trees are more suitable."
Slouching on her side and holding the green snake in her arms, Xiaozhai finally gave a lazy two-word comment.
"I have the entire inner mountain in my head and I'll draw a map later. It's time to have the place planned into sections. The messiness is even starting to bother me."
After confirming the suggestion, he turned to his girlfriend. "And your instruction?"
"We have enough gourds now, but I still feel something's lacking…" Xiaozhai took off the little gourd hanging on her waist and shook it. Gu Yu understood the gesture right away. "Chaff can be used to make liquor and so can the peach flowers. I just happen to have collected some sun-dried peach flowers. It'll definitely work."
Just like so, they had swiftly set up the short- to mid-term goals.
The spiritual rice was the fundamental resource to be kept for their own use and would not be traded. Byproducts such as tea, liquor, fruit, and Essence-gathering Incense would be mainly used for trading, exchange, and socializing.
Farm work was only going to become heavier from now on and they needed to free themselves from the burden. Therefore, a functional building complex was going to be established centering around Phoenix Mountain and some technicians were to be recruited in the process.
In two to three years, Phoenix Mountain would truly become a cultivation force that could market its own products and have its own affiliated relationships across the social strata...
Gu Yu was full of spirit and tempted to give a passionate speech. However, one look across the table and he decided it would be better if he kept it to himself.
Well, life wasn't easy for the only male resident living among three divas.TL/N: Younger-sister-in-law is "Xiao Yi Zi" (小姨子) in Chinese (or at least goes by that term in northeastern China and yes, we use a different term for an older-sister-in-law) and the slang for soap in the northeast is "Yi Zi"(胰子). "Xiao" is "little/small", hence the name.