The first call with the homeowner carried on harmoniously. They exchanged friendly chatter for twenty minutes before ending the call. During that time, Su Xing’s favorability for the homeowner increased at a speed visible to the naked eye.
Of course, Su Xing had his own plans in mind in regards to looking for a job. He felt he should not solely rely on the homeowner to arrange work. The initially sleepy youth felt invigorated thinking about future life arrangements. He read his books for more than half an hour before laying down to rest.
As every night, the dogs nested at the stairwell waiting for their owner. Seeing the door open, they wagged their tails while yawning and stretching. Then they approached Su Xing’s feet for hugs while barking.
Su Xing loved them, so he put down the books and pet the dog’s heads. Once they were happy, he went downstairs. First, he went to check on the chicks, who were sleeping nestled together.
“Shhh…” Su Xing looked at his dogs and told them to stay quiet. “Let’s go back to sleep.”
The master and two pets walked through the moonlit yard, back to the bedroom. They slept peacefully in the room filled with mosquito repellent. Nights in the countryside were peaceful yet noisy.
Peaceful because there were no other humans within a few miles, and noisy due to the nearby forest with the sounds of snakes, birds and animals from time to time. Treat that like noise and one would almost certainly sleep poorly. Instead, think of them as the sounds of nature to sleep well.
Early the next morning, Su Xing spiritedly picked up two buckets of well water to irrigate the vegetable garden.
He happily discovered that the mustard plants were as tall as his palm. He grabbed a basket to pick out some plants from the dense patch of mustard.
So this morning, there was boiled mustard at the president’s dining table. Soy sauce and shredded ginger were available as condiments. Biting down on the mustard greens revealed sweetness and bitterness. The taste was refreshing and unique, something he had not eaten before.
He took a bite and glanced at his friend’s message: [Mr. Feng, this is my homegrown mustard.]
This was more satisfactory than receiving an expensive gift. In this time, other than one’s mother, who else would provide homegrown vegetables to eat?
Yu Feng did not need to think about it, even with his position as the president of a company, people would likely not be willing to plant vegetables for him! Yu Feng was being blindfolded, he liked his new friend and felt everything about them was good. No doubts.
Su Xing, his new friend, carried the mustard collected from his garden and rode his tricycle into the village. He happily smiled and showed his produce to uncle Niu. “Here you are uncle! This is my homegrown mustard plants!”
Uncle Niu also smiled. “That sounds nice.” He carefully examined the vegetables in Su Xing’s hands and then asked, “How are your baby chickens?” It was a cautious tone, afraid of poking at the child’s heart.
“They’re okay!” Su Xing replied. “They are still alive and jumping, but annoying. Have to let them out everyday.”
Uncle Niu laughed and imagined Su Xing in the yard chasing his dogs and chickens and comfortingly smiled. He thought to himself, this child is so good, too bad he’s not his own.
Uncle Niu looked at the sky. “Are you still going into town today?”
Su Xing also looked at the sky. “Going.” But he was not in a hurry, so he asked uncle Niu, “What have you been doing lately?”
Uncle Niu smoked a cigarette and pointed at the semi-finished bamboo products at the door. “Baskets in the morning, clothes in the afternoon and nothing at night since I can’t see.”
“Uh-huh…” Su Xing nodded.
Uncle Niu was in his seventies this year, and rural people looked older than they really were. It was rare to maintain a healthy body at his age. Su Xing felt a bit sad about the topic and did not speak further.
“What good thing happened today? Laughing so happily?” Uncle Niu suddenly asked.
The first time uncle Niu saw Su Xing, he always felt the child was young but with a heavy smile. His sad expression is not in line with his appearance. Previously, Su Xing gave off a gentle feeling, just not very sunny.
“Eh?” Su Xing touched his face in embarrassment and then exhaled. “I recently made a new friend.” His smile revealed a small white tooth. Picture perfect.
“Cough, girlfriend?” After hearing that, uncle Niu felt it made sense.
“No, no, no, no, no.” Su Xing waved his hands with a red-face and quickly explained. “It’s a boyfriend.” When he finished, it felt like something was off.
Su Xing thought about it, then re-emphasized, “A friend that is male.” That was what he meant.
“Oh.” Uncle Niu nodded.
After idling around for a while, Su Xing still had things to do so he waved goodbye while wearing a straw hat. He hummed while cycling away to the largest town within thirty miles.
At this moment, Su Xing drove his tricycle thinking about living in a spacious house, keeping a pair of dogs, and making close friends. Everything was so beautiful.
He arrived in town and ended up spending some money. Su Xing could not help feeling anxious. His income was zero these past few days in order to care for the chickens and repair the kitchen.
After returning in the afternoon, between the two options of making money and studying, Su Xing felt that the knowledge gained could not be converted into money in the short term. So it was more practical to forage in the mountains.
The dogs had not gone out for days. When they saw Su Xing carrying a hoe over his shoulder, they knew that their master was heading out.
“Woof, woof.” Little Yellow barrelled forward, little White at his heels. The two dogs rolled out of the house like bombs and straight up the mountain road.
While they seemed so happy, Su Xing could not help but feel distressed. If he went back to Beijing for study, what would happen to them? It was not suitable to bring them to Beijing since the environment was not suitable for dogs.
“Hey, wait for me!” Su Xing shook his head, locked the yard door and increased his pace to catch up. Su Xing soon worked up a sweat under the fierce afternoon sun.
“It’s so hot.” Su Xing refused to give up looking for wild yams.
He did not rush to the previous hillside and looked everywhere without any trace of wild yams. They were vine plants with triangular leaves in the shape of a heart. They liked to grow on hillsides, under bushes and near ditches.
Su Xing searched potential locations, after checking several times, he finally found the right shaped leaves. But he was not sure if they were yams.
He could only put down his things and carefully hoe the earth underneath the leaves for yams. Once the hoe went down, Su Xing felt like he hit something!
Su Xing felt a premonition and moved the dirt aside with a solemn expression. He sadly saw an incision revealing something white. “Ah..” Su Xing was not a perfectionist but still felt pain in his chest.
Fans saw that the young farmer brother started a live broadcast and went in to say hello to the host. As a result, the audience arrived and all saw the host kneeling in the ground holding a broken yam in his hands while saying, “One hit and it turned like this, such a pity!”
Audience: [Oh my God, what a pity!]
Su Xing saw the message and collapsed. “Ahhhh…..”
The viewers knew they should not have said that, or the host would feel even worse.
Lime: [Host brother, a broken yam isn’t a big deal, there are many in the ground.]
French Fries Mood: [Hey, there’s yams today?]
Follow your Heart: [Bring it back to eat at night!]
This comment comforted Su Xing to continue. The netizen was right, he could bring this one back to stew and share the dish with the homeowner.
“Yeah, today I found yams. Look, they’re not small at all and one look can tell they are delicious. Authentic wild yams can relax muscles, promote blood circulation, relieve coughs, phlegm and pain, invigorate the spleen/stomach, strengthen the kidney and nourish the body. In short, it was a beneficial and tasty delicacy.” Su Xing spared no effort to introduce and share good things to sell. “I don’t know how many can be dug out. If there’s enough, I will sell them twenty dollars for a pound, buy more to have shipping included.”
The audience was very accepting of the twenty dollar price. Besides, everyone knew that yams were good things and eating them were good for your health. Buying the host brother’s wild yams for twenty dollars a pound would not be a loss and would be a pity to miss.
Su Xing buried his head into digging yams. The messages were clamoring to buy and scrambling to order, usually around five pounds.
Others discussed the kudzu root they bought last time. The soup was delicious.
Buyer Share: [The taste and texture was sweet, can you believe the soup made from it? Has a thick consistency! Anyways, I bought some in the supermarket and was not the same.]
A bunch of the people listened and crazily messaged the host: [When are you digging more kudzu root? Really want to buy the kudzu near your home!]
Su Xing was busy and had no time to reply to the audience’s messages. At this moment, he was hoeing the earth with a sweaty back and pulling out yams.
After around forty minutes, Su Xing sighed and started to take inventory of the results. He stuffed them into his sack and estimated there was about twenty pounds.
Considering the time cost, Su Xing picked up the yams and wiped his sweat while walking. “Let’s go dig some kudzu roots, a bit and then go back.”
Otherwise, only digging out twenty pounds of yam for this trip would be a waste.
Viewers who wanted to buy kudzu in the live room: [Fortune comes calling!]
But they forgot that they’ll have to snap up an order later. Because Su Xing’s mountain goods were very popular so people needed to be quick on the draw. That said, Su Xing estimated it would be dark when he finished digging up kudzu roots. Even if he rushed back, he would not be able to return in time to make dinner.
So he took advantage of some free time and sent a text message to the homeowner to explain the situation: [Mr. Feng, I am not finished and may get back late. I probably won’t get back in time for dinner, are you eating outside?]
After sitting for a while, the homeowner replied: [Work? What are you doing?]
Su Xing did not have time to wait before getting another message: [What time is late?]
Su Xing happily answered: [Went up the mountain to dig kudzu roots and yams, forgot the time. I’ll get back soon and stew some yam for you. Haha..]
He remembered the hapless yam that should be quickly eaten.
In S-city, the boss was sitting in an air-conditioned chair and his expression shifted. Go up the mountain and dig up yams? He frowned at those words.
That was to say, his mysterious friend’s situation was to the point he had to rely on foraging mountain yams to make a living? Yu Feng was surprised at learning this, followed by subtle heartache.
It had to be said, Yu Feng always believed that giving a person a fish was better than teaching a person to fish, in the context of his friends. He would never be a good person in front of his friends, let alone feel sorry for others.
He would simply and rudely help a friend when they were in a difficult situation. So when a new friend was in such a situation, Yu Feng felt more heartache.