And the Flower of Kaolin, Farming and raising babies to fight the world
And the Flower of Kaolin, Farming and raising babies to fight the world Chapter 2

Chapter 2

“Rika isn’t very smart, but her memory is quite good.

This was her first time entering the city, but luckily she had noted down the route she took in the morning, so she quickly ran towards Great Willow Village after leaving the city.

However, just after leaving the city, she suddenly remembered the purpose of her trip to the city and turned back.

The system exclaimed, ‘What are you doing, running back again? Aren’t you afraid those two will catch up to you?’

‘I can’t. Someone asked me to buy something for them today when I came to the city. I haven’t bought it yet, so I can’t explain myself if I go back without it.'”

“What’s wrong with buying it next time, my aunt?”

“No, I promised her.”

As he said this, he patted himself down, and the small pieces of silver were still there. Luckily, the old woman and those people thought he had no money and didn’t search him, so the silver wasn’t taken.

Rika had no idea that her decision had actually saved her. Those two men never expected this young girl to be so bold, daring to turn back. They chased her all the way out of the city gate, but didn’t see a trace of her and had to return disappointed.

Rika ran to several places before finally buying what she needed, then returned along the old road.

When she came, she rode in a cart with the old woman, Mrs. Xiang, and Mrs. Xiang from the second household of the Xiang family. The journey was rough, making her buttocks sore, and she felt dizzy. Now on the way back, she felt like she had inexhaustible energy, running all the way as if driven by the wind.

After walking for nearly an hour, it was almost evening when she reached Daliushu Village. Just as she arrived at the village entrance, she heard her mother, Mrs. Xiong, calling her name nearby, her voice filled with anxiety.

Several younger brothers and sisters were also calling for her everywhere.

Rika’s nose immediately tingled, and she quickly ran towards the direction her mother was calling from, carrying her belongings.

Mrs. Xiong was calling Pear Blossom’s name everywhere, and when she reached the Qin family, she was pulled into the house by Old Lady Qin. “This morning, I saw your mother-in-law and aunt take Rika on the cart. When they returned in the afternoon, Rika wasn’t with them. She might have been left in the city.”

Mrs. Xiong’s heart tightened instantly, her face turning pale. She had just heard something similar from Aunt Gui earlier and hadn’t believed it much, but now that another person had said it, it was likely true.

Her legs gave way instantly, and she collapsed to the ground, crying loudly with her hands covering her face. She wailed, “Poor my Rika, what have we done wrong in our main house…”

Old Lady Qin also felt uneasy hearing this and said, “Never have I seen such a mother-in-law. They are all their own sons, why do they treat you in the main house like this? Rika’s father has been holding the quota of military service exemption for Grace army for years, seldom at home. You’ve been taking care of the four children at home tirelessly, yet they’ve been pestering you. Now even the second and third rooms don’t look at you. It’s really creating a lot of trouble.”

“Grace army” refers to those who commit crimes and can be exempted from punishment by joining the army. Once someone becomes an “Grace army,” their descendants must serve in the army for generations.

“This is the legendary Eternal Army.

The Xiang family has three sons. Old Xiang Tou injured his leg some years ago, so his eldest son, who is Pear Blossom’s father, took his place and has been a soldier for nineteen years now.

Xiong was spirited before she married, but her in-laws didn’t like her after she came. The second and third families all listen to the in-laws, and with her husband away on duty, only coming back once or twice a year, she has no support behind her. Despite her fiery nature, she had to endure for the sake of her children, gradually becoming resigned.

But now, hearing that Pear Blossom has been sold, she cried bitterly for a long while, then struggled to get up from the ground and said, ‘No, I must go and find out for myself if they’ve really sold my daughter. I will bring my Pear Blossom back.’

With that, she staggered out the door.

Seeing this, Qin’s old lady couldn’t rest easy and quickly shouted to her husband to follow and see what was happening.

Neighbors hurriedly followed suit.

Pear Blossom ran towards her mother but found she wasn’t there, so she headed home first.

The Xiang family’s main house had three rooms. To the right of the main hall was the eastern room, divided into smaller rooms where the second and third sons’ families lived. Old Xiang and his wife lived behind the main hall, while the western room housed the eldest son’s family, right next to the sheep and pig pens, which compared poorly to the recently renovated rooms on the right, looking particularly dilapidated and incongruous.

Xiong usually restrained herself due to her status as a daughter-in-law and avoided conflict with her mother-in-law. But today, for her daughter’s sake, she was unusually firm, even inviting the village head to come to the house and ask her mother-in-law directly if her daughter had been sold.

The villagers followed to watch the commotion, creating a noisy scene in front of the house.

Rika neared home and, hearing her mother’s voice, felt relieved. She had run all the way and had only eaten two pieces of candy today. Later, she was drugged by her mother-in-law and fought with two men, leaving her starving and exhausted. But thinking of the things she bought that hadn’t been delivered to the widow, she sped off to the other end of the village.

When she reached the courtyard, she knocked on the door but heard no response after a long time. She could only leave the things at the door and return home first.

Back near the Xiang family, where the commotion continued, she was too hungry to care. She caught the scent of food in the backyard and, without much thought, cautiously climbed over the earth wall to find something to eat.

The Xiang family’s kitchen was located behind the rooms of the second and third families to the right of the main hall, far from Pear Blossom’s big house. Every time Pear Blossom got close to the kitchen, her mother-in-law would scold her away, fearing that she and her siblings would sneak in to eat. Meals were usually divided, and it was difficult to eat your fill.

Pear Blossom didn’t understand why her mother-in-law was so harsh on their big house. Logically speaking, her father had already taken the military quota and was an indispensable pillar of the family. The Xiang family should treat her and her son better, after all, if her father didn’t go to the army, it would be the turn of the second and third sons.

Not mentioning gratitude, treating everyone equally was fine, but her mother-in-law had always been grumbling and never smiled kindly at their big house.

At this moment, Pear Blossom couldn’t care about all that. She asked the system, ‘Since you have great powers, can you tell me if there’s food in the kitchen?’

The system scanned the surroundings. ‘There’s food in the kitchen. They stewed pork trotters with radishes and fried sour cabbage with pig intestines. It looks like they’re preparing a meal, so someone came in front, and you’d better hide behind.'”

“Rika couldn’t help but swallow saliva. ‘I haven’t had meat in over half a year. My grandmother said we couldn’t afford it. How did they manage to buy pork trotters?’

The system regretted binding with this naive girl. ‘Did you forget? Your grandmother just sold you for ten taels of silver today.’

Pear Blossom had a sudden realization and brightened up. ‘Since it’s money from selling me, these pork trotters should rightfully be mine to eat.’

The system responded with ellipses.

Pear Blossom, crouching, sneaked towards the kitchen, eyes fixed on the bubbling pork trotters in the pot. Her mouth watered instantly. Ignoring everything else, she scooped up a large bowl of rice and started devouring it with the pork trotters.

Meanwhile, the argument outside intensified, but Pear Blossom only had eyes for the pork trotters and intestines, eating voraciously until she couldn’t anymore.

When she finally felt satisfied, a ding sounded in her mind, and an attribute panel appeared before her, showing an additional point.

‘Wow, eating a good meal gives me points?’ she asked.

‘Eating well ensures your health and physique improve to some extent, so yes, you gain points. However, as your health improves, gaining points becomes harder.’

‘If I eat two bowls of rice and three pork trotters now and gain one point, would I get two points if I eat four bowls of rice and six pork trotters?’

‘No, your satisfaction only counts once. Even if you eat the same food next time, you won’t feel as satisfied, and you might not accumulate a point.’

Pear Blossom nodded in a semi-understanding manner. ‘Okay, as long as I can eat well and sleep well and grow, it’s fine.’

The system: …

Pear Blossom had eaten too much too quickly, and her stomach started to ache. She dared not eat more and looked at the meat and rice in the pot, thinking of her three younger siblings who were as thin as bean sprouts. She quickly found a small pot, dumped all the pork trotters and intestines into it, wrapped the rare white rice in a banana leaf, and stealthily slipped away to the back of the house.

Her mother and siblings were still outside. Pear Blossom hid the food in the grass pile in the sheep pen. Despite the strong smell of the sheep pen, the family had long been accustomed to it from living in the western room, and the smell covered the scent of the food, making it less likely to be discovered. She planned to retrieve it after her mother and siblings returned to the house at night.

Outside, people were arguing vehemently.

Xiong questioned her mother-in-law and her second daughter-in-law, Zhou, if they had sold her daughter, but both denied it vehemently.

Xiong’s mother-in-law grumbled, ‘That Pear Blossom, I told her to stay at home and work, but she followed them secretly. Now that she’s gone, who should I ask if not you?’

Xiong cried, ‘You’re lying! Someone saw you and my second sister-in-law coaxing Pear Blossom to buy candy, and that’s why she followed you to the city.’

‘Who said that? Bring them out to confront me. When did I coax her?’

Xiong’s mother-in-law was always causing trouble, and anyone who tangled with her would get into trouble. Now that she shouted, no one dared to step forward, not even Qin’s old lady and Gui’s sister-in-law, who had stepped back.

Seeing this, the village head frowned.

The Xiang family’s bullying of the eldest daughter-in-law and her family was well-known throughout the village. This matter was most likely true, but handling family matters was difficult, especially for him as a minor village official.

He could only turn to Old Xiang and said, ‘Old Xiang, your eldest son has been supporting the family by serving in the army for these years. Normally, you should also take care of his wife and children at home. Now that your child is missing, you should send someone to look for her. It’s already dark, and such a young lady out there, if something happens—’

Old Xiang hurriedly smiled and said, ‘I understand, I understand. It just got dark. This child is always playful, and we didn’t pay much attention at home. I’ll send someone to find her.’

Just then, a voice came from the door, ‘No need to look anymore—’

Everyone looked up and saw a graceful girl at the door. Who else could it be but Pear Blossom?

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