The temperature in the city was much higher than in the village, especially in areas with tall and densely-packed buildings.
Su Mu and her parents decided to visit her aunt’s house first. As soon as they got out of the car, a wave of heat hit them, catching them off guard.
“I really can’t stand the heat.” Mother Su wiped her sweat and couldn’t help but comment.
Su Mu helped carry the boxes to reduce her mother’s burden a bit. With her ability to protect herself, she didn’t find it too bad. However, there were too many impurities in the air, making her nose itch.
“It’s alright, every household has air conditioning now.” Father Su walked ahead, occasionally looking back to make sure the two of them were following. He rarely came to the city, let alone his older sister’s house. However, he remembered the route pretty well.
Mother Su had a brother and a sister. She was closest to her older sister, Li Qiaolan, but they lived far apart and only saw each other a couple of times a year. As they got closer to her sister’s house, her excitement caused her footsteps to become a bit disorderly.
The three of them soon arrived at a door.
Su Mu knocked on the door, took a step back, and patiently waited for it to open.
At that moment, Li Qiaolan was watching TV in the living room. She had retired, and her son and grandchildren didn’t require her care. Her days were quite dull, either spent watching TV or doing square dancing. But what else could she do? Even though she was a middle-aged widow, she had raised her son with great effort, and he was a filial child. Her daughter-in-law was mild-mannered and they had never argued. Her grandchildren respected her. Compared to the ‘lively’ battles between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law that her familiar friends had, her life was considered content.
A not-so-light knock came from the entrance. She subconsciously looked at the wall clock. It wasn’t yet noon, her granddaughter wasn’t out of school yet, which relieved her. It was time to prepare lunch, or else it would delay her granddaughter’s nap time. Without thinking, she called out, “Who is it?”
Mother Su, upon hearing this, excitedly said, “Sis, it’s me, Qiaohong. I’ve come to see you.”
Li Qiaolan opened the door with a swipe. “Why have you come? Brother-in-law, quickly come in.”
After entering, Father Su placed the boxes on the ground and cheerfully said, “Big sister, we’ve brought some homegrown vegetables, as well as prepared poultry and frozen fish.”
“If you’ve come, you’ve come. Why bring stuff?” Li Qiaolan scolded her younger sister with a glare. Both of them were the heads of their households; they should know how to value money.
She took out snacks and fruits from her house. “Su Mu, don’t be shy here at your aunt’s house. Have some fruit.”
Su Mu obediently nodded. In this reunion of sisters, she only needed to play the role of a background character.
Even though she was scolded by her sister, Mother Su wasn’t afraid. She directed her husband to put away the items and then sat down holding her sister’s hand, starting a conversation. “Sis, how have you been recently?”
“I’m fine, everything’s good.”
“I remember you used to be really sensitive to heat. Do you want to come stay with me in the countryside for a while?”
Li Qiaolan sighed and shook her head. “Yao Yao is taking the high school entrance exam in two months. I need to be home to cook for her.”
The high school entrance exam is indeed a big deal. Mother Su felt a bit regretful upon hearing this, but she didn’t insist any further. The two of them chatted animatedly about various family matters, completely engrossed in their conversation.
Feeling bored, Su Mu looked out of the window. The sun was scorching, cicadas were chirping incessantly, and beneath the windowsill was a pot of scallions that looked a bit wilted from the sun. She casually moved her fingers to infuse it with a bit of spiritual energy. Under her manipulation, the spiritual energy transformed unpredictably. Plants had an innate affinity for spiritual energy. The scallion leaves rustled, trying to move closer to the spiritual energy, but it was weak and unable to do so. If it were a child, it would have protested long ago.
After having her fun, Su Mu flicked her finger and the spiritual energy entered the base of the scallion. The stuffiness in the room seemed to dissipate, replaced by a refreshing breeze that caused the curtains to sway.
Ding ding ding, an old-fashioned pendulum clock started chiming.
Li Qiaolan tapped her head, got up apologetically, and said, “Look at me, I forgot about the time. Are you all hungry? I’ll start cooking now.”
Mother Su also stood up, smiling. “Big sister, don’t rush. Just make something simple. You used to like the rice noodles from that place in the county. I bought ten kilograms this morning. Let’s have some noodles. It’s hot, and plain rice might be too dry. Your speciality noodles would be perfect.”
“How can that be? You came all the way to the city to visit me, and you want me to treat you just a bowl of noodles? How could it be.”
“Don’t say that, big sister. According to my mom, the noodle dish you make is extraordinary. She and dad have been craving it whenever they talk about it. Now they’re really looking forward to tasting it. Isn’t that right, dad?”
Father Su responded quickly and gave his daughter an approving look, chuckling, “Yes, big sister.”
Li Qiaolan had no choice but to agree.
Rice noodles were the wet kind, each strand translucent and milk-white. When Mother Su bought them, she had also asked for some ice to keep them from spoiling in the hot weather.
These noodles only needed to be blanched in hot water twice before they could be eaten. Even just a bit of soy sauce would make them delicious.
Li Qiaolan opened the cooler her sister brought and found it packed with ingredients. She wouldn’t need to buy groceries for the next few days. The chicken, duck, and fish her younger sister brought were not suitable for making her noodle specialty. Fortunately, she had bought some pork from the market in the morning, and it came in handy now.
She looked through the cooler’s contents and found two fresh bamboo shoots. She got an idea and decided to make a bamboo shoot version of the dish.
Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.
Making the dish wasn’t difficult, but the challenge lay in balancing the various seasonings.
She minced the pork and blanched the bamboo shoots before chopping them as well. She heated some oil in a pan, then added the ginger, bamboo shoots, and pork. The fire couldn’t be too high, or the minced meat would quickly coagulate and stick together, making it hard to separate and also sticking to the pan.
When the oil turned clear, she added the various seasonings. Mother Su handed her the chopped scallions at the right moment.
As soon as the scallions touched the heat, their fragrance burst forth, indicating that the dish was ready to be taken off the stove.
When Jiang Yao reached the doorstep of her home, she could already smell a strong aroma. She felt delighted, wondering what delicious treat her grandmother had prepared today.
As she pushed the door open, she was surprised to find two strangers sitting inside. Upon seeing their faces, she belatedly greeted them, “Hello, Aunt-in-law, Cousin.”
Hearing the noise, Li Qiaolan brought bowls of rice noodles to the table. “Are you back from school, Yao Yao? Come and have lunch.”
When Jiang Yao was young, every time she came to the countryside, she loved tagging along behind Su Mu and running around. They hadn’t seen each other for half a year, so they were a bit unfamiliar with each other now.
Amused, Su Mu looked at the child who kept stealing glances at her. She took out an exquisite floral hairpin from her pocket, which she had crafted using her abilities. It looked no different from a real flower.
She ruffled Jiang Yao’s hair and said, “It’s for you.”
“Thank you, Cousin!” Jiang Yao held it tightly, as if wanting to put it in her hair right away.
Li Qiaolan was curious as she sat by the dining table. “What are you two up to? If you don’t eat soon, the noodles will get mushy.”
Indeed, Aunt’s cooking skills were impressive. The noodle soup was clear and delicious, and the generous serving of the savory meat mixture almost covered the noodles. The dish was adorned with bright green vegetables and cucumber shreds, presenting a beautiful appearance and a delicious taste. The rice noodles were smooth with a nice chew, and the savory meat mixture had a rich flavor, complemented by the refreshing vegetables and cucumber.
Su Mu ate with great satisfaction and gave Li Qiaolan a thumbs-up, praising, “Aunt, if you opened a restaurant, it would surely be packed every day!”
“You’re right!” Jiang Yao chimed in with a sweet voice, making Li Qiaolan smile even more.
“Young lady, your vegetables taste great!” As a family chef of several decades, she could tell the quality of ingredients with a single glance.
Mother Su had been smiling all day today. “I’ll send you some in a few days.”
“I won’t be polite then.” Li Qiaolan didn’t stand on ceremony. Her granddaughter was about to take the entrance exam, so they needed to keep up with her eating habits as well. Finding good ingredients was not easy. The vegetables available in the market might look fresh, but they tasted bland, and sensitive tongues could detect a faint medicinal flavor.
The Su family of three stayed until around 2 o’clock in the afternoon before taking their leave.
Li Qiaolan walked them downstairs and saw Su Mu’s newly bought car. She couldn’t help but compliment, “Mu Mu is really successful!”
Mother Su smiled and didn’t say much. She only suggested, “Big sister, why don’t you come stay at my place for a few days after Yao Yao’s entrance exam? As we grow older, we value the people around us more. You’re over ten years older than me, and you’re already in your sixties this year.”
“Sure, you take care of yourself too. We’re getting older; it’s not the same as when we were young.”
After setting the next meeting date, Su Mu left in her car and headed to Su Chen’s residential area.
After working for a few years, Su Chen had bought a house in Muyun City. It wasn’t fully paid for, and he was still paying off the mortgage.
The location and environment of the residential area were both good, but the corresponding property prices were high.
Su Mu found a suitable parking spot, and the three of them leisurely walked into the residential area. Fortunately, the security guards remembered them, and after a simple registration of information, they were allowed in.
When Su Chen initially left a spare key for his parents, he was concerned that they might have urgent matters in the city and nowhere to stay.
Father Su put the brought items into the refrigerator, while Mother Su tidied up the cluttered living room.
With nothing to do, Su Mu decided to do some landscaping work. The last time, her brother’s attitude toward having children had clearly softened. To ensure a healthy body for their future niece or nephew, she used her leaked spiritual energy without holding back.
Last time, when their daughter-in-law mentioned craving grilled fish, Mother Su took note of it.
After cleaning every nook and cranny of the house, she swiftly entered the kitchen to prepare.
Chicken soup was simmering, and since she had grilled fish at home before, Mother Su was familiar with the cooking steps, including how to use the oven.
Su Mu picked up her car keys, walked into the busy kitchen, and told her parents, “Mom, Dad, I’m going to pick up my brother. He didn’t bring his car to work today.” Social media truly was a great information source.
“Just be careful while driving.”
As it wasn’t yet rush hour, Su Mu smoothly arrived at the electronics mall. Her current phone and computer had been with her for several years, since she started university. They were rewards from her brother, but now they were running quite slowly.
In just half an hour, she managed to buy both items.
When she arrived at her brother’s workplace, it was around 6:30 PM, at the right time. She wondered if he would be able to leave on time.
Su Mu was about to call him and ask, but before she could dial, she heard her brother’s voice calling out, “Mu Mu, why are you here?”
Hanging up the phone, she smiled and replied, “I came to the city to buy a car today, and Mom and Dad came too. They’re cooking at home now. Brother, shall we go home?”
Before Su Chen could answer, another familiar voice reached her ears, “Mu Mu, long time no see.”
After all, they had a collaborative relationship. Su Mu nodded with a smile, “Brother Wei, how have you been? Is there any issue with the orchids?”
As she turned her head slightly, her gaze collided with a deep and profound spring.
Su Mu felt herself falling into it.