RERC Chapter 57 Sprouts

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Xu Zhao was immediately embarrassed. These kinds of gossip that were about him would be said in the village ever so often. When he was still living in the thatched hut, Xu Zuocheng would even slander him to the neighbors, so he was already immune. But it had never affected others before.

And this time, Cui Dingchen was the one who got dragged into it. Cui Dingchen was clearly kind enough to deliver the specialty books to him. And in the end, he was gossiped about—

“Youngest uncle,” Xu Zhao apologetically called out.

“Hmm? what’s wrong?” Cui Dingchen calmly replied.

Xu Zhao’s voice became even softer, “I’m sorry.”

“What’s wrong?” Cui Dingchen asked back.

Xu Zhao had a very apologetically look on his face as he said, “They people were originally talking about me, and this time they even say that you—”

“Said that I what?” Cui Dingchen continued to ask.

Xu Zhao opened his mouth with embarrassment, “S-said that I-I’m hooking up with you.”

“So, are you hooking up with me then?” Cui Dingchen immediately asked.

“No! Of course not!” Xu Zhao quickly denied. Something like that never happened! He didn’t know how to hook up with others, and even if he did, he wouldn’t hook up with Cui Dingchen!

A flash of disappointment flashed through Cui Dingchen’s face. He wanted to say something, but then looked at Xu Fan who was in Xu Zhao’s arms and turned the topic instead. “Then what are you saying sorry for?” he asked.

Xu Zhao didn’t speak, his eyes drooping slightly as he thought of what to say to Cui Dingchen.

Cui Dingchen stood still, his black eyes were as calm as water as they looked at Xu Zhao. “You try to control everything, but can you control what others say?”

“I can’t,” Xu Zhao softly replied.

“Then let them say what they want. Do your own thing and use your own strength to prove yourself.

“Mn.”

Cui Dingchen paused for a moment, a strange look flashed through his eyes as he glanced at Xu Zhao. “Just because they say you’re not decent, does that mean you’re not decent? What right do they have?” he said.

“…” He suddenly felt like his handsomeness was a bit unrestrained.

Xu Zhao actually didn’t care. He had never cared, but when he heard Cui Dingchen’s unconventional words of comfort, he felt a lot more relieved in his heart. He wasn’t going to pay attention to their words any longer. He held Xu Fan and walked with Cui Dingchen back toward his compact car, and that was when he finally remembered about needing to give Cui Dingchen the money for the books.

However, Cui Dingchen insisted that he didn’t need any money since they were second hand books. His payment would be the bowl of noodles from earlier. If he truly felt bad, then once the vegetables were harvested, he could send some to the Cui residence.

Xu Zhao currently didn’t have any money, and it wasn’t his style to shamelessly take advantage of others. So when he heard Cui Dingchen’s words, he smiled and said, “Alright. I’ll pack up your winter vegetables for you guys.”

Cui Dingchen nodded. “Mn. Good luck on planting the vegetables. Call me if you have any problems.”

“Okay, Youngest uncle. Once the vegetables grow, I’ll definitely treat you to a big meal!”

Cui Dingchen’s mouth raised in a rare smile. Even the darkness of the night couldn’t hide the sudden softness in his eyes as he said, “I’m waiting. I’ll take my leave now.”

“Be careful on the road.”

Cui Dingchen got into the driver’s seat and started the car. He suddenly thought of something and rolled down the car window, turning to Xu Zhao. Xu Zhao automatically picked up Xu Fan and leaned his body a bit toward the window. A handsome face appeared in Cui Dingchen’s line of sight. It wasn’t obvious on Cui Dingchen’s face, but his heart tightened. He had wanted to say something, but he had seen Xu Fan’s small plump face in the corner of his eyes, so he paused before speaking up again, “I’ll be in the city or outside for a bit. Call me if you need anything.”

Xu Zhao smiled and said, “Alright.”

After a while, Cui Dingchen continued, “You can also call even if you don’t need anything.”

“…”

Call even if he didn’t need anything? What did that mean? Without waiting for Xu Zhao to analyze it, Cui Dingchen had already started the car and drove onto South Bay Village’s large dirt road.

Xu Zhao stood in the open area in front of the courtyard entrance watching the two headlights break through the darkness of the night and slowly leave. A strange longing passed through his heart. It wasn’t until the compact car was completely enveloped in the dark that he turned his head to look at Xu Fan who was in his arms.

Xu Fan immediately shouted, “Daddy! ”

Xu Zhao: “…”

Xu Fan looked back to Xu Zhao and said, “Daddy, the big car left.”

“Mn, it left.” Xu Fan was very obedient today, so Xu Zhao couldn’t help but ask, “Why didn’t you want to ride the big car today?”

“It’s dark, so I can’t ride the big car,” Xu Fan seriously said.

“Why not?”

“Because I’m going to sleep.”

That actually made sense!

Xu Zhao reached out to pinch Xu Fan’s small lips. He walked inside the courtyard and locked up the courtyard door. Entering the kitchen and scooping some hot water, the father and son bathed. Afterward, they went to the east wing first to greet Mother and Father Xu before carrying the kerosene lamp back to the west wing.

Speaking of which, this was the first time the family lived in the new house. The novelty they felt during the day had passed and a new freshness in the night had come.

“Wow, it’s so big!”

Xu Fan followed the kerosene lamp to the west wing and exclaimed with excitement before running all around the west wing. Afterward, he climbed on the bed and happily played with his toy car on the bed. His small mouth kept moving nonstop, saying that the house was big and tall. He excitedly rolled around on top of the bed when a “thud” was heard and he had fallen off the bed. Xu Zhao thought that he would cry and didn’t expect him to confidently say, “Oh, I rolled off,” before climbing back on the bed.

He really was… very sturdy. But also since their family was poor, the bed was low and the ground was soft. Falling down wasn’t a big deal, but Xu Zhao still felt distressed and he saw and specially instructed Xu Fan, “Be careful and don’t fall off again.”

Xu Fan answered, “Falling doesn’t hurt.” Falling didn’t hurt.

“If it doesn’t hurt, then why don’t you try falling again?” Xu Zhao teased.

“I won’t fall.”

“Why don’t you want to fall again?”

“Because… Because if I fall, the God of the Earth will be in pain.”

“…”

He really was addicted to listening to <Journey to the West>!

Xu Zhao instructed Xu Fan again a few more times to not be naughty and play obediently or else he should just go to sleep. He then sat in front of the kerosene lamp and flipped through the books Cui Dingchen gave him. They were all related to crop growth. Happiness bloomed in his heart, and he immediately read them late into the night before Xu Zhao finally rested for a bit. He turned his head to look at the bed to see Xu Fan hugging his toy car, already asleep.

It would be winter soon, and the days were gradually getting colder. Xu Zhao quickly walked up and took the toy car from Xu Fan’s embrace before stuffing the plump little guy under the quilt. He also got inside the little nest and wrapped his arms around Xu Fan. He blew out the kerosene lamp, and in the dark, he went over the theory, knowledge, and the experiences of the farmers in his head as he envisioned planting vegetables tomorrow.

He fell asleep thinking of this. When he woke again, it was already brought out and the temperature had dropped again. It was a bit cold. Following the rule of “covering up in spring and freezing in fall,” Xu Zhao didn’t put more clothes on Xu Fan or himself.

After quickly eating breakfast, Xu Zhao called Da Zhuang’s father to head to the greenhouse together to plant the vegetable. Once they arrived inside the greenhouse, Da Zhuang’s father said, “Xu Zhao, it’s so warm inside the greenhouse! It feels like spring.”

Xu Zhao smiled and said, “It has to be warm or else how will the vegetables grow?”

DA Zhuang’s father picked up the hoe and said, “Then let’s start.”

“Okay, we’ll start planting chili peppers from the innermost area.”

“We’ll plant Chinese cabbage on the outside.”

“Okay.”

After they finished speaking, Xu Zhao and Da Zhuang’s father started digging the soil, planting the seeds, and covering them up with soil. They began work and were busy all morning and afternoon. Everyone else inside the village were currently in their rest period. It was only Xu Zhao and Da Zhuang’s father who were extremely busy. Not only were they busy during the day, they were also busy at night causing villagers to be curious as they doubtfully discussed:

“They really are planting vegetables inside the greenhouse?”

“It’s so cold, so how will the vegetables grow?”

“That’s right. The seeds probably won’t sprout. They’ll definitely freeze inside the soil. Having a greenhouse is pointless. Since these plants aren’t in season, how will they grow?”

“Oh, dear. Do you see how busy Xu Zhao and the others are everyday? I feel distressed just seeing it. If it fails, how much money will they lose?”

“…”

Under the doubts from the villagers, Xu Zhao and Da Zhuang’s father finished planting all the vegetables. After they finished, the next step was to water them a bit. After watering, they just had to wait. The process of waiting was the most difficult.

Xu Zhao’s mentality was good. He read everyday, and when he had time, he would sometimes go to Fan’s Little Shop to take a look. However, Mother Xu and Da Zhuang’s father were very anxious. The two knew that Xu Zhao had spent a lot of money on the vegetable greenhouse, and they had also paid a lot. Moreover, everyone in the village kept saying that the vegetable greenhouse wouldn’t work and that nothing would grow from it. Saying that can’t they see what kind of weather it was and things like that.

The more the villagers said this, the more anxious Mother Xu and Da Zhuang’s father became. The two would run over to the greenhouse every so often to check on the situation.

Especially since Da Zhuang’s father was a very excitable person, he went to check even more often than Mother Xu and seemed as if he worried about the vegetables even more than Xu Zhao. He ran to the greenhouse to take a look and saw a flat expanse of dirt. He started to worry about when the vegetables would grow.

Another day passed like this and he had come inside the greenhouse to take yet another look. He couldn’t help but crouch down to examine the dirt and in the middle of the soil, a green sprout appeared. Da Zhuang’s father’s heart shook.

It sprouted?

It sprouted!

Da Zhuang’s father quickly reached out his hand and pulled at the small sprout. A little young bud that was full of vitality came into view. Da Zhuang’s father was instantly startled and broke into a run toward Xu Zhao’s house. Before even arriving at Xu Zhao’s house, he happily called out, “Xu Zhao! Xu Zhao!”

Xu Zhao was currently reading a book inside the courtyard, two small chubby children were sitting beside him. One was Xu Fan and the other was Da Zhuang. The two were sitting around the radio, listening intently to a story. When they heard Da Zhuang’s father’s call, they turned their heads with Xu Zhao to take a look.

Even Mother and Father Xu, who had been in the courtyard sun-dying salted vegetables, also turned toward Da Zhuang’s father.

Da Zhuang’s father’s face was full of happiness and he rushed through the back door and said, “Xu Zhao! It sprouted! It sprouted! It really sprouted!”

Xu Zhao stood and doubtfully asked, “What sprouted?”

Mother and Father Xu followed.

Da Zhuang’s father opened his hands, and a small bud suddenly appeared in front of everyone’s eyes.

It sprouted!

Xu Zhao instantly breathed out a breath of relief. He had experimented beforehand by planting Chinese cabbage and other vegetables, but he had done the experiment inside the foam boxes where the space was small and the temperature high. Therefore there weren’t really any problems. But that changed with the greenhouse. He was faintly worried that the seeds wouldn’t sprout or that they would grow too slowly. However, everything had now exceeded his imagination.

Mother and Father Xu were extremely pleased.

Especially Father Xu. He leaned on the crutches and wobbled to the back door.

“Honey, what are you doing?” Mother Xu asked.

“I’m going to take a look at the greenhouse,” Father Xu said.

“I’ll go too,” Mother Xu said.

And so, the whole family went to the greenhouse. Previously, it was still a field of flat soil, and now the soil was dotted with green. Like they had come to fulfill all their hopes, making them very happy.


Yay! So excited for him to build his little vegetable empire!


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