On the official road outside the city, a young boy was holding an oiled paper umbrella and carrying a basket, hurrying along with an old man.
Today’s weather was exceptionally hot, with the scorching sun threatening to sear the ground. The blinding sunlight pierced through people’s eyes, making it difficult to keep them open. It was intensely fierce.
“Hey, this weather is scorching hot,” the old man said, wiping the sweat off his face with a cloth. He sighed, “That Boss Yu’s place is really far away.”
A small snake basking in the grass by the roadside heard their voices and quickly slithered away.
“Yeah, Uncle Fu, are you tired? Shall we take a break?” Mi Ge’ger’s forehead was covered in sweat, and his cheeks were flushed. Despite shielding himself with an umbrella from the direct sunlight, the heat radiating from the ground was suffocating, to say the least.
Uncle Fu glanced up into the distance and replied, “No need to rest. It’s getting late, and we should arrive early. It wouldn’t be right to trouble them if we arrive too late for their meal.”
Mi Ge’ger nodded in agreement.
Earlier that morning, they had gone to Beida Street to find Yu Qingze, but they couldn’t find him at his usual food stall. They searched the entire street, but that familiar snack stand was nowhere to be found. Later, they asked the seller of tea eggs next to Yu Qingze’s stall and learned that Boss Yu had been injured during a robbery and was resting at home. They weren’t sure when he would come back, if he would come back at all.
Hearing this, both of them were taken aback. How could they encounter such a situation? Then it dawned on them, “Oh no! If Boss Yu doesn’t come back, what will the young master eat? And where will we find someone who knows such a wide range of delicious foods?”
Uncle Fu had also been eager to discuss cooking techniques with Yu Qingze. After learning from him about making seafood congee, he had tried it a few times at home, and the results had been much better. Even their young master enjoyed it.
They hurriedly returned to the master’s residence, reported the situation, and obtained permission. They then went to the kitchen to pack some food and prepared some gifts before setting off to visit Yu Qingze and inquire about his health.
However, Niu Tou Village was quite far away!
It was not an easy task for Yu Qingze and the others to travel such a long distance every day to set up their food stall in the city.
Mi Ge’ger and Uncle Fu made their way, occasionally asking for directions from passersby. After walking for over half an hour, they finally arrived at the home of Chang Le, where Yu Qingze was temporarily staying.
To their surprise, they discovered that Yu Qingze was just renting a place from Chang Le’s family.
“Whom are you two looking for?” Grandpa Chang asked as he walked out of the courtyard gate.
Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.
Mi Ge’ger stepped forward and asked, “Excuse me, sir, is this the home of Boss Yu Qingze?”
Grandpa Chang nodded and replied, “Yes, it is. And who might you two be?”
Mi Ge’ger smiled and said, “Grandpa, I am Mi Ge’ger, a servant from the Cai family in the southern part of the city. This is Uncle Fu. We were fortunate to learn a few congee recipes from Boss Yu, and our young master enjoyed them very much. Today, we heard that Boss Yu was injured, and our master instructed us to come and visit him.”
Grandpa Chang hadn’t met Mi Ge’ger and Uncle Fu before, but he had heard about them from Chang Hao and the others. Upon recognizing them, he quickly invited them inside and said, “They went to the mountains, but they should be back soon. Please come in and have a seat. It’s a hot day, and you’ve gone through the trouble of coming all the way here.”
Mi Ge’ger and Uncle Fu entered the house.
Mi Ge’ger smiled and replied, “Grandpa, you’re too kind. Boss Yu is injured, and it’s only right for us to visit. This is a small token of appreciation from our master. Please accept it.” As he spoke, Mi Ge’ger handed over the basket containing the gifts and some fish-based food they had brought.
“Oh, you coming here is already enough. Why bring gifts?” Grandpa Chang said warmly. “Please have a seat. Let me pour some water for you to drink.” He placed the basket on a nearby stool and went to the kitchen to pour two glasses of cold water for them. After they had their drink, he served them two bowls of chilled jelly.
“Come on, have a bowl of chilled jelly. It’ll cool you down,” Grandpa Chang urged.
“What is this?” Mi Ge’ger looked at the crystal-clear chilled jelly in the bowl, amazed. Another new and refreshing food!
Uncle Fu’s eyes also lit up when he saw it.
“This is chilled jelly. Give it a try; it helps beat the heat,” Grandpa Chang explained.
Curiously, both of them took spoons and tasted it. The cool sensation instantly spread from their mouths to their brains, providing a refreshing feeling. After finishing a whole bowl, they felt refreshed, their overheated minds became clear, and the fatigue from the long journey was alleviated.
“Delicious! Old Chang, what is this chilled jelly made of?” Uncle Fu couldn’t help but ask, driven by his professional curiosity.
Grandpa Chang smiled and said, “It’s made from some things in the mountains, prepared by Aze. You can ask him about it when he comes back.”
Whether this could be taken to the streets for sale or not was a decision solely in the hands of Yu Qingze. Grandpa Chang was well aware of that.
Although he didn’t get a direct answer, Uncle Fu wasn’t disappointed. With such a special food, it’s possible that Boss Yu was planning to sell it, and the recipe naturally needed to be kept secret and not disclosed casually. However, his curiosity grew even stronger.
He replied with a smile, “Alright.”
Grandpa Chang chatted with the two for a while and then started to rinse the rice and prepare the meal. Uncle Fu initially wanted to help with the cooking, but Grandpa Chang quickly stopped him, saying, “How can I let you do that? Just sit and wait for them to come back and taste different flavors.”
Uncle Fu’s mind stirred, “But what about Boss Yu’s culinary skills?”
Grandpa Chang laughed heartily, “We’ll find out when the time comes. Just wait patiently, my friend.”
In the mountains, Chang Le watched anxiously as Yu Qingze plucked the pale yellow white fungus resembling chrysanthemums from the withered tree. He gestured urgently.
Chang Hao translated, “Brother Yu, my brother says this thing is inedible. Some people tried it before, and they ended up with a whole-body rash, itching, and blisters. It’s poisonous.”
Yu Qingze smiled and asked, “Did he pick them and eat them directly?”
Chang Le nodded.
Yu Qingze said, “This thing is called silver ear fungus (Tremella mushroom). It needs to be dried before consumption. If you eat it directly, you need to soak it in water for at least thirty minutes; otherwise, exposure to sunlight after consumption can cause itching. But trust me, it’s a good thing. It nourishes the yin and moistens the lungs, very nutritious. It’s even better than matsutake mushrooms and black fungus.”
The two brothers were astonished.
Chang Hao widened his eyes and asked, “Is it really that good?”
Yu Qingze nodded, “It’s that good. So, hurry up and help me pick these, so we can go back earlier.”
Upon hearing this, they quickly started picking. Whether it was poisonous or not didn’t matter anymore. Since Brother Yu said it was good, it must truly be good.
“Pick the bigger ones, leave the smaller ones for later when they grow bigger,” Yu Qingze instructed.
Chang Hao asked again while picking, “Can we sell this too?”
Yu Qingze nodded, “We can. But we won’t sell these. We’ll keep them for ourselves.”
Although there seemed to be plenty of silver ear fungus in this forest, it couldn’t be sold in large quantities continuously. It was better to keep them for personal consumption. Moreover, the locals didn’t know how to eat it, and its value was still unknown. It probably wouldn’t fetch a good price yet. The eating method needed to be spread for it to have an effect.
However, once they finished picking from this mountain, they could consider mobilizing the villagers to search for it. They could come to purchase it since the locals believed it was inedible, and there shouldn’t be much competition.
Yu Qingze silently contemplated his plans for the future. He couldn’t help but feel grateful that he came to the mountains today. Not only did he dig up two bamboo shoots, but he also discovered the immortal leaves. Chang Le even found a small basket of mushrooms, and they also picked a handful of black fungus. But the biggest surprise was undoubtedly finding this silver ear fungus!
This area of the forest was near a stream, with many dead trees and damp conditions, making it an ideal environment for various fungi to grow.
He stumbled upon the silver ear fungus while picking black fungus. He was overjoyed and asked Chang Le if there was more. Chang Le then led them deeper into this part of the forest.
Here, there is a large patch of silver ear fungus growing!
Yu Qingze felt as if he had suddenly won five million yuan, a tremendous surprise.
In his previous life, silver ear fungus was mostly cultivated, and wild silver ear fungus like this was extremely rare. If any wild ones were found, they would be sold at exorbitant prices.
The group picked all the larger silver ear fungus in this small forest. Seeing that it was getting late, they headed back. Chang Le’s large basket was already filled with forest delicacies.
Upon returning home, they were surprised to find Mi Ge’er and Uncle Fu there.
Upon learning their purpose, Yu Qingze expressed his gratitude, saying, “Mi Ge’er, Uncle Fu, thank you, and please convey my gratitude to Elder Tai for his thoughtfulness.”
Mi Ge’er responded and asked, “How did you get robbed?”
Yu Qingze replied, “We encountered a few hooligans on the official road, and they started a fight.”
Mi Ge’er frowned.
Chang Hao exclaimed angrily, “Mi Ge’er, Uncle Fu, you have no idea how unlucky we’ve been lately.”
Mi Ge’er asked, “Why? Isn’t your business doing well?”
Chang Hao began counting on his fingers and said, “Let me tell you, ever since we opened our snack stall, first, there were thieves who came to our house and stole our liangpi. Then a few days ago, we had troublemakers who put insects in our noodles and claimed our cold noodles were unclean. Isn’t that despicable? And then the next day, when we returned home, we were robbed. Yu Big Brother got injured while protecting us. He was beaten with many sticks, his back is covered in bruises, and his shoulder was slashed. It’s such a long wound that he can’t even lift his arm.”
As he spoke, Chang Hao gestured with his hand, indicating its length.
Yu Qingze was washing his face and, upon hearing Chang Hao’s words, a faint smile appeared on his lips. Chang Hao, this little rascal, had his own advantages. During critical moments, he always managed to bring some unexpected surprises.
Just like now.
The various news on the street were well-informed. After chatting with Mi Ge’er and Uncle Fu for a while and hearing information from customers and neighboring vendors while doing business, Yu Qingze had a basic understanding of the Cai family in Chengnan. It was an unexpected character for him.
However, if he could establish a good relationship with them, it would bring unexpected help for future business endeavors.
Upon hearing this, Mi Ge’er and Uncle Fu exchanged glances. Mi Ge’er said, “You’ve only been open for about ten days, right?”
Chang Hao nodded and said with frustration and seriousness, “Exactly! We encounter strange things every few days. It’s so difficult to run a small business properly!”
At that moment, Yu Qingze walked over and lightly slapped a wet towel on Chang Hao’s face, laughing, “Go wash your face. You look like a mud monkey.”
The three of them had been crawling around in the mountains, indeed resembling mud monkeys.
Chang Hao chuckled and walked off with the towel. Yu Qingze said to the two of them, “Uncle Fu, Mi Ge’er, you came at the right time. You’re in for a treat.”
Uncle Fu was most concerned about culinary skills and immediately asked, “What fresh dishes are you going to make?”
Yu Qingze replied, “I’ll let you taste my cooking skills.”
Translator has something to say: This chapter is twice as long as a regular chapter (over 4,000 words) so, I split it into two ^__^