How did this little girl’s brain develop into someone so smart? She had many great money-making ideas! It was impossible for him to not admire her! She was such a capable and gifted young lady. He needed to label her as his quickly, otherwise, someone was going to steal her away from him once they realized what an amazing girl she was.
It seemed like he had to do something to cheer the little lass up and put her in a good mood. He needed to see if he could shorten the so-called probation period. Hm...didn’t the little lass want to buy a residence? He had many readily available houses in his hands, but she was not willing to accept his offers! As a result, he could only accompany her to help her find a suitable residence!
Most of the good houses in the capital had already been bought, so there were only a few suitable houses left. However, who would be willing to sell their home two months before the New Year? Ugh! This problem was causing him quite a headache…
Oh, that was right! Zhu Junyang wondered if the hidden guards he had sent out had any luck finding evidence. If he was able to find some evidence and information that could be used to blackmail Official Li family, then…
Not long after Yu Xiaocao was bestowed a reward, news came out that the right assistant minister of the Ministry of Appointments had taken many bribes. In return for those bribes, he helped them find jobs. In addition to that, his wife’s younger brother had relied on the minister’s backing to commit many crimes in the local areas. For example, he kidnapped women from ordinary families, killed people, and suppressed the people who tried to report him. He was not afraid of the consequences. Once, he even disguised himself as a thief and robbed another family. Furthermore, he burned their house after robbing them...A pile of well-documented evidence of all the deeds the minister’s wife’s younger brother had done was all gathered together. Along with the evidence, there seemed to be an invisible hand that was pushing the evidence forward, exposing all his evil deeds to the world.
Although Official Li had borrowed other people’s powers to further his own interests, he had never killed anyone. Even so, his wife’s younger brother’s crimes had implicated him negatively. He was stripped of his position as an assistant minister and became a regular citizen. His family gloomily packed their things and entrusted a middleman to help them sell off their house quickly. He planned on using the money he earned from selling the house to buy some acres of land to live the remainder of his life as a wealthy man in his hometown.
His house was only one alley away from Count Zhongqin’s Estate. It would be very convenient to communicate and commute between the two places. Furthermore, Official Li was known to be a culture snob, so his inner courtyards were decorated elegantly. After Zhu Junyang saw the inside of this residence, he was certain that this house should satisfy all the little lass’s requirements.
There were many wealthy people living in the capital that wished to have an estate with a beautiful interior. However, Royal Prince Yang had already spread the news: he had already set his eyes on the courtyard. Those who were willing to compete with him for the house should prepare to bid with him for the house!
There were many in the capital who had the wealth and power to buy the house; however, they all fell short when they were compared to Royal Prince Yang who owned shops that gave birth to golden eggs. The wealthy merchants who had their eyes on the house also gave up the idea of competing against him when they heard the news that Zhu Junyang was also interested in the house. Even though the merchants were wealthy, they were afraid of his identity and power.
Since Royal Prince Yang had no competitors, he was able to buy the house at a very low price. The strange thing was that the deed of the house after the sale had Yu Hai’s name written on it.
Who was Yu Hai? How was he able to make Royal Prince Yang personally buy a house for him? Since his surname was Yu, then could he be related to the newly appointed official, Official Yu? Didn’t Official Yu have some kind of relationship to the royal prince? It seemed like the rumors were not groundless gossip! Royal Prince Yang had really fallen in love with Little Official Yu, who was still not an adult yet.
Soon, all kinds of gossip seemed to arise. Some envied Yu Xiaocao’s luck because she was able to hold onto Royal Prince Yang’s thick thighs; others sympathized with her because she was still a young and ignorant girl, yet she had already caught the eye of a cold and indifferent devil. It was such a pity!
Among the rumors, there was a rumor that Official Yu had a prescription that could recover a person’s youth. The rumour was spread around by Official Li’s wife and daughter. It had alarmed many people and many high ranking people were moved by this news. There were even public figures from jianghu  that came knocking at Official Yu’s door after hearing about the rumors. Those people were all pushed away by the people Royal Prince Yang and Official Yu had left behind.
Royal Prince Yang was angry at the injustice that Official Yu had faced, so he had dug out all the bad deeds that Official Li had done and caused him to lose his officialdom. As if it was not enough, he forcefully suppressed the price of Official Li’s estate and managed to buy the house for less than half of its original value…
It didn’t matter how far the rumors had spread because a month before the New Year, Official Li’s original house was renovated and its plaque was replaced with the plague titled “Yu’s Estate”. It was rumored that the words on the plaque were written by the emperor emeritus himself! The people who were envious of this began to speculate: What was the Yu Family’s origin? How were they able to form a relationship with the emperor emeritus? Who was it that had said that the Yu Family was a mere peasant household that had no backings? Perhaps the Yu Family’s ancestors had once fought with the emperor emeritus to form this country. Then, they retired after the war was over and settled down in a small fishing village!
Alright ah! After the emperor emeritus came to the estate to freeload some food from them and ate his fill, he heard that Yu Xiaocao’s family had purchased an estate. He had a sudden impulse to write and wrote these two characters for her on a whim. However, the emperor emeritus’s sudden impulse caused people to believe that the Yu Family came from a strong background. The people in the capital, who had originally looked down on the Yu Family because of their poor background, suddenly all shut their mouths! After all, a loose tongue may cause them a lot of trouble. They didn’t dare to insult the Yu Family anymore after they saw how Official Li was stripped of his title.
As soon as the twelfth month came, the Ministry of Revenue, who was in charge of the agricultural department, went on a leisurely holiday. The people working in the other departments were red with envy! Every time winter came, they would go on holiday. While people worked busily in the cold weather, the people in charge of the farming tasks would have their sleeves tucked up while they drank tea and chatted over a warm fire. In the previous years, while many of the other departments were busily working, they simply took a long vacation!
Now, nobody made fun of people who chatted with or came into contact with the peasant farmers. Some people even began to think that it was actually more comfortable to work in the agricultural department. This was because Official Yu had achieved a large feat and the people working in the agricultural department were able to appear before the emperor because of that. They even registered themselves and were bestowed a considerable amount of rewards. The people working the Qingshui yamen farming task would sigh as they walked. They kept wondering if it was too late to transfer themselves to work under Official Yu.
After she bought an estate and was on vacation, Yu Xiaocao decided to take advantage of the good weather to return to Dongshan Village. She planned on taking her family to the capital to celebrate the New Years!
After Zhu Junyan returned from the border, he handed his military power over and returned to being an idle royal prince. He didn’t take up an important official position, so unless the emperor summoned him specifically, he did not need to attend the royal court every morning.
As soon as he heard that Yu Xiaocao was returning to Dongshan Village, he immediately sent up an account to the emperor asking the emperor for permission to take a short leave so he could inspect his fiefs. Zhu Junyang followed Yu Xiaocao’s carriage as soon as she exited the capital. He only brought along a few close guards and servants.
“Ah! What a coincidence! Are you returning to Dongshan Village? I’m on my way to my fiefdom in Tanggu Town. Since we happened to be going the same way, let’s stay together. What do you think?” He pretended to be surprised that they were going the same way, but his acting skills weren’t good enough to pull it off.
Yu Xiaocao rolled her eyes at him. She was too lazy to pay attention to this fool! It was nice to have someone to accompany her along the way. They would be able to chat and joke around so she wouldn't feel lonely.
Zhu Junyang never had the intention of entering Tanggu Town. When they reached the crossroad where they were supposed to go on separate paths, Zhu Junyang directly followed after Xiaocao’s carriage to Dongshan Village.
“Aren’t you going to inspect your fiefs? Why did you head on this path instead?” Yu Xiaocao tried to embarrass him.
Zhu Junyang’s phoenix eyes twitched slightly as he smiled and said, “Isn’t Dongshan Village a part of my fiefdom? Besides, my estate is located in the West Mountains. I’m planning on resting there for a few days and then take a tour of my fiefdom. After all, my land won’t suddenly grow legs and run away from me!”
“You’re always so reasonable!” Yu Xiaocao ignored him and lifted the curtain of the carriage. She looked attentively at the passing scenery. She calculated the time and she realized that it had been half a year since she returned to Dongshan Village. During that half a year, she had returned to Tanggu Town once. However, during that visit, she had poured all her time on cultivating the profitable vegetables in the greenhouse pavilions. Even though she had seen her father, mother, brothers, and sister, she didn’t have time to return to the village. It had been five years since she transmigrated here. She gradually felt a sense of belonging among the honest and kindhearted villagers and the mountains and seas in the small village.
When she entered Dongshan Village, it was during the time that the elders had finished breakfast and had come out for a walk. Although Dongshan Village had just recently been invaded by Wokou pirates, it was doing quite well thanks to their savings and the financial support given to them by Royal Prince Yang. Dongshan Village was relatively wealthy compared to the nearby villages.
However, peasant families were still relatively frugal. This was especially true during the winter when the farm was idle. This was true for most peasant families except for the Yu Family, who had a stable income year-round. The peasant families ate two meals a day. They ate their breakfast at 9 o’clock in the morning and their dinner was around 4 to 5 o’clock in the afternoon.
The weather was great today; it was bright and sunny. The old people liked to sit in sunny areas to play chess and gossip after they finished eating.
“Old Yu! A few horse carriages arrived outside the village. Could those carriages be headed for your house?” An old man asked with a smile on his face as he raised his chin in the direction of the carriages. The old man who was playing chess with Old Yu was around sixty years old. He squatted in the direction where the horse carriages were heading. He squinted his eyes to see the vehicles better.
Only the Yu Family could afford to use a horse carriage in the village! Old Yu was really blessed. His children and grandchildren were all hardworking. His son’s farming skill earned him the title of a seven-ranked official. Therefore, his son was on an equal footing with the county magistrate. Old Yu’s grandson was talented at studying and was able to pass the county-level exams and become a county official despite his young age!
What was even more unexpected was the fact that his youngest granddaughter had become the first female official of the Great Ming Dynasty. She managed the Imperial Plantation for the emperor! A few days ago, the emperor had bestowed an imperial edict that praised Yu Xiaocao for her hard work. The emperor even gave her the title of a feudal princess!
Did you know what a feudal princess was? According to the operas he had listened to, the title of a feudal princess was only conferred to a marquis’s daughter. Xiaocao sure received a great blessing after her near-death experience. Now, she was on equal footings with a marquis's daughter!
Tsk tsk! The Yu Family was amazing! Green smoke was coming from their ancestral graves! How much virtue did Old Yu accumulate in his previous life for him to have such amazing grandchildren that brought honor to their ancestors?
Old Yu looked back and squinted at the oncoming carriages for a while. He was uncertain as he said, “Who knows? Madam Liu and Xiaolian are at home right now. Dahai and his son are at the farmstead. If nothing unexpected happened, then they wouldn’t have returned so early! Plus, the carriage doesn’t look like it belongs to my family…”
“Could it be that Xiaocao has returned? Didn’t you receive a letter from her two days ago stating that she had set up an estate in the capital? She said that it’s not good for the estate to be vacant for the first year, so she is planning to bring you guys to the capital to celebrate the New Years?” Xiaocao’s granduncle, Yu Lichun felt that the carriage was headed in the direction of his third brother’s house. It couldn’t be anyone else from the Yu Family, so it had to be Xiaocao!
“Grandfather——” Xiaocao stuck her head outside the window of the carriage. Even though she was still far away, Xiaocao couldn’t help but wave her hands and shout at her grandfather when she saw his familiar figure.
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