New Activities and Treasure of the Family
With Brother Le, Yu Qingze prepared a table full of delicious dishes. While in the kitchen, he noticed a new chef introduced by Fu Bo. He was told that the chef came from the Cai Family in Yunzhou and was specially brought over by Cai Chenxi to learn.
During the meal, Cai Yunwei and Chang Hao arrived late. They had been playing all morning and were covered in sweat. They quickly freshened up before joining the others, their faces still flushed.
“Xiao Hao, what did you do with Second Young Master? Why are you sweating so much? Second Young Master hasn’t fully recovered yet, so you shouldn’t play too vigorously, understand?” Yu Qingze asked Chang Hao. Chang Hao had plenty of stamina, but he was concerned that Cai Yunwei might not be as physically strong and didn’t want him to overexert himself and end up catching a cold.
Chang Hao glanced at Cai Yunwei and nodded, “I understand, Brother Yu. We were just catching grasshoppers in the backyard.”
Cai Yunwei added, “Brother Yu, it’s okay. I’m feeling much better now.”
Madam Cai also chimed in with a smile, “It’s fine, let them play. Usually, no one plays with Wei’er, and he gets bored.”
Cai Chenxi also said, “Yes, Wei’er should be more active. Physical stamina needs to be trained.”
Madam Cai reassured, “Indeed, Xiao Hao, don’t listen to your Brother Yu. Wei’er knows his own body, and if he’s uncomfortable, he will let us know. Don’t worry, Xiao Yu. Wei’er has improved a lot since his appetite got better. His energy is increasing day by day, so let him play, it’s fine.”
Hearing their words, Yu Qingze felt relieved and asked, “What activities does Second Young Master usually engage in at home?”
Cai Yunwei replied, “I read books, write, and take walks.”
Yu Qingze thought for a moment and said, “I know something that can be both entertaining and help you exercise. You can play it alone or with a group of people. It can be a fun activity for you to stay active.”
“Oh? What is it?” Cai Yunwei asked curiously, followed by Chang Hao echoing the same question.
Yu Qingze smiled and said, “It’s called a shuttlecock. If you’re interested, I can teach you when you wake up from your nap. We’ll need to make some preparations as well.”
“Great!” Both boys exclaimed in unison, and the others looked at Yu Qingze with curiosity.
Old Master Cai chuckled and said, “Alright, let’s eat first. The dishes will get cold if we wait.”
“Yes, let’s eat! I can’t wait!” Cai Chenxi immediately agreed.
Everyone sat at the table and enjoyed a delicious and satisfying lunch.
Cai Chenxi finally tasted the delicious food and sighed, “I envy Brother Le and Xiao Hao. They get to eat such delicious meals every day.”
Chang Lei pursed his lips and smiled, feeling pleased as if he was being praised.
Chang Hao also grinned and replied, “Young Master, Uncle Fu and the others have learned well. The food they cook for you is almost as good as what we eat. These days, Brother Yu rarely cooks by himself at home. He gives the opportunity to my brother to learn cooking.”
“Oh, really?” Cai Chenxi asked.
“Yes, Brother Yu gives instructions, but he only uses his mouth. It’s my brother who does the hands-on work,” Chang Hao nodded and added, “But my brother’s cooking is also delicious!”
Everyone burst into laughter upon hearing this.
After finishing their lunch contentedly, Yu Qingze called for Mi Ge’er and asked him to bring some needles and thread. He also borrowed tools and some small pieces of wood from the carpenters in the mansion. Then he went to the kitchen and took the rooster feathers he had plucked in the morning.
Chang Hao and Cai Yunwei were curious and wanted to follow, but Yu Qingze sent them back with a remark.
“This will take some time. You should take a nap so that you’ll have energy to play in the afternoon.”
The two boys obediently went to take their nap. Otherwise, considering Cai Yunwei’s current stamina, he might not have enough energy to continue playing in the afternoon.
Old Master Cai, being of old age, sat for a while before going to rest as well. Cai Chenxi had been studying for so many days and hadn’t rested enough, so he also went to take a rest.
Thus, Yu Qingze, accompanied by Brother Le, stood at the kitchen door and selected clean chicken feathers. He saw Mi Ge’er bringing the carpenter’s tools with him.
Yu Qingze picked a relatively thick piece of wood and told the carpenter to shape it into a round shape the size of a copper coin, with a small hole in the middle without piercing the bottom. The skilled carpenter quickly completed the task.
Then Yu Qingze inserted the chicken tail feathers into the wood, with three feathers pointing in different directions. He used fine pieces of feathers to fill the empty space in the hole at the bottom, securing them tightly to prevent the feathers from falling out. A simple shuttlecock was made.
He kicked it a few times, adjusted the direction of the feathers, and said to Brother Le and Mi Ge’er, “Watch closely, this is how you kick it.”
Saying that, Yu Qingze skillfully started kicking. His shuttlecock skills were quite good. Sometimes he kicked it high, sometimes he performed tricks, alternating between his left and right foot. He even showed off some soccer-style moves, leaving the two ancient gers astonished.
Brother Le and Mi Ge’er: Wow, that’s amazing!
“I want to try, I want to try!” Mi Ge’er eagerly volunteered.
Yu Qingze taught him some basic postures, and Mi Ge’er started learning on the side.
Meanwhile, Yu Qingze asked the carpenter to continue making more wooden blocks so they could have multiple shuttlecocks to share. Unfortunately, they ran out of rooster feathers, so they could only make two good ones. The feathers of the other shuttlecocks were not long enough, making them harder to kick. Mi Ge’er sent someone to the market to find more rooster feathers, and eventually they made five or six shuttlecocks.
Directly inserting the feathers made them easy to kick out, so Mi Ge’er and Brother Le wrapped the entire wooden block with cloth, sewing and securing the bottom part to prevent the feathers from slipping.
By the time Cai Yunwei and Chang Hao woke up from their nap, Mi Ge’er and Brother Le could kick the shuttlecock continuously.
Cai Yunwei and Chang Hao were both interested and started practicing, but at first, they couldn’t kick the shuttlecock and ended up in many funny situations.
In the afternoon, the entire Cai mansion immersed themselves in shuttlecock kicking activities. Even Old Master Cai, the elderly patriarch, enthusiastically watched and sometimes joined in with a few kicks.
Yu Qingze taught them different kicking techniques—individual kicks, kicks by pairs, dividing into two teams with a rope in the middle—and when their legs got tired, they could even play a feathered ball game using two wooden boards.
He even had the carpenter make two wooden racket-style paddles, wrapping the handle part with cloth, and demonstrated the game to them.
From then on, shuttlecock kicking became a new form of entertainment in the Cai mansion. It not only provided amusement but also improved the physical well-being of Cai Yunwei and the elderly Old Master Cai, making them feel more energized and revitalized.
Then, through the Cai mansion, shuttlecock kicking quietly became popular among some wealthy households in Tongshan City. It gradually spread to the common people and became a popular recreational and fitness activity. But that’s another story.
In the evening, Yu Qingze and his family happily returned home. They had been kicking shuttlecocks all afternoon, and though their bodies were a bit tired, their spirits were still high. They chatted and laughed all the way home.
When they reached the middle section of West Street, they suddenly noticed a crowd gathered in front of a medical clinic, curious about what was happening.
Curiosity piqued, they went over to take a look.
They saw a young boy, about twelve or thirteen years old, kneeling at the entrance of the clinic, holding onto the leg of an elderly man in his sixties. The boy was crying and pleading for the doctor to come and check on his mother.
“Doctor, please, I beg you, go and see my mother. I have money, look, I earned some!” The boy spoke while tightly gripping the doctor’s leg. With his other hand, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small cloth bag. Opening it, there were possibly ten to twenty coins inside. He held it up and offered it to the doctor.
The doctor sighed and said, “Child, I’ve told you before, there’s nothing more I can do for your mother’s illness. It’s incurable, and even if I go, it won’t make a difference. He might only have one or two days left. You, instead, should go back and take good care of him, see if there’s any unfulfilled wish he has and help him achieve it.”
The boy didn’t know if he understood the doctor’s words or not, he just cried, “Doctor, please come and see, I’m begging you, I’m begging you. I’ll kowtow to you, I’ll kowtow to you…”
Saying that, the boy started kowtowing, his head banging on the ground, making loud thumping sounds. Before long, his forehead turned red.
“Oh, you child, get up quickly, stop kowtowing like this.” The doctor hurriedly bent down to pull him up.
Someone nearby couldn’t bear to see it and said, “Doctor, just go and take a look. This child is pitiful; his forehead is already red.”
The doctor sighed and said, “Ah, going won’t make a difference. There’s no cure, it’s just a matter of one or two days. It’s better to take the money and use it to prepare for his mother’s funeral.”
Upon hearing this, everyone shook their heads and sighed.
Chang Hao, seeing this, held onto his brother tightly, reaching out to grab his brother’s arm. Chang Le patted his younger brother’s hand and wrapped his arm around his shoulder.
Yu Qingze noticed the actions of the two brothers and extended his hand to hold Chang Le’s shoulder, comforting him.
Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.
Finally, the doctor had no choice but to say, “Alright, alright, child, I’ll go and take a look.”
Upon hearing this, the boy who had been kowtowing on the ground immediately stood up, wiped his tears, and grabbed the doctor’s hand, ready to go.
“Oh, wait, let me grab my medical kit.” The doctor went into the clinic to fetch his medical kit and then followed the boy.
Gradually, the crowd dispersed.
The three of them walked slowly towards the city gate. The excitement they had before quickly faded, and they were still thinking about what they had witnessed.
Life is unpredictable, with aging, illness, and death that cannot be prevented. All they can do is cherish their lives while they are still alive.
The next morning, they set up their stall. The steward of the Zhao mansion came over and informed them that the master of the house had agreed to Yu Qingze’s offer and instructed them to do a good job.
They were all thrilled as it was another big order. Yu Qingze was already thinking about how to arrange things afterward.
Not long after, Chang Le came out carrying water and noticed someone standing not far from their stall, continuously staring at their food but not coming over.
Chang Le took a closer look and realized it was the same boy he had seen yesterday evening at the entrance of the clinic.
He walked up to the boy and asked if he wanted to buy something.
The boy seemed startled and didn’t understand Chang Le’s gesture. He turned around and ran away.
He sighed and went back to his work, but he couldn’t help but worry. He occasionally glanced in that direction, feeling that the boy probably hadn’t gone far and might come over eventually.
Sure enough, after a while, he saw the boy again, gazing at their snack stall with one hand in his pocket, seeming hesitant.
Chang Le set down the bowl in his hand, wiped his hands, and walked over to Yu Qingze, gesturing to explain the situation.
Yu Qingze understood and looked in that direction, indeed seeing the boy.
He waved at the boy, and the boy seemed to have finally made up his mind and walked up to the snack stall.
Yu Qingze asked softly, “Do you want to buy something to eat?”
The boy glanced at their stall, where there were liangpi, cold noodles, and Guandong style hot pot. He lowered his head and thought for a moment, then raised his head, looked at Yu Qingze, and said, “Boss, I want to buy a bowl of this.”
The boy pointed at liangpi.
Yu Qingze nodded and said, “Sure, just wait a moment.” He was about to serve liangpi.
“Wait, boss,” the boy called out to Yu Qingze again, feeling embarrassed as he reached into his pocket and took out three coins, saying, “I, I only have three coins. Just give me an amount worth three coins.”
Yu Qingze smiled and nodded, saying, “Okay.” With that, he still served the usual portion worth five coins. If he served too little, he was afraid the boy would notice and feel embarrassed.
The boy looked at liangpi cooking in the hot water, blushing, and said to Yu Qingze, “Boss, um, can I take it home to eat? I forgot to bring a bowl, but I promise I’ll bring it to you by this afternoon, at the latest tomorrow morning.”
As he spoke, the boy raised his right hand and made a three-fingered oath gesture.
Yu Qingze nodded and said, “That’s fine.”
“Thank you, boss.” Upon hearing Yu Qingze’s agreement, the boy smiled, looking forward to eating the liangpi made by Yu Qingze.
Once the bowl of liangpi was ready, the boy handed over three coins happily and prepared to leave.
At that moment, the boy was stopped by the person who sold tea eggs next to Yu Qingze’s snack stall.
“Jiabao, come here. Have you eaten yet?” the stall owner called.
Jiabao, the boy, carefully held liangpi and replied, “Grandpa Huang, I haven’t eaten yet.”
“Here, take these two tea eggs and eat them,” the stall owner picked out two tea eggs from the pot and gave them to the boy.
Tears welled up in the boy’s eyes as he took them and thanked, “Thank you, Grandpa.”
“You’re a good child, now go ahead.”
The boy put the tea eggs in his pocket and carefully held liangpi as he walked away.