The next day’s breakfast Yan Yue and Lu Lingxi ate at Uncle Li’s house.
The two of them were still asleep when Uncle Li came to the plant nursery to start watering the plants. Lu Lingxi was a little embarrassed to get up and see that the time was only six o’clock. Uncle Li had a smile on his face, “Go back to sleep. I don’t get much sleep in my old age, but you’re still growing up.”
Lu Lingxi was still sleepy after going to bed late last night. But in front of Uncle Li, he was too embarrassed to go back to sleep. Yan Yue followed closely, and the two of them simply helped Uncle Li with the work.
When it was seven o’clock, Auntie Li came over to call them to eat. Yesterday, knowing that Lu Lingxi and Yan Yue were coming over, she had purposely prepared oat flour. The first thing she did when she got up early in the morning was to pour water and make oat noodles, rolling them into rolls to steam. Next Auntie Li soaked some sun-dried mushrooms, chopped them and fried them with diced meat, and made a portion of diced mushroom braised meat. When she steamed the oat noodles, she also steamed some potatoes, peeled and mashed them, and mixed them with chilli, oil, salt, soy sauce and vinegar to make a cold dish. Now all this was ready, just waiting for them to eat.
Yan Yue and Lu Lingxi didn’t refuse and followed Uncle Li back home. As soon as they sat down at the dining table, Auntie Li brought up the hot noodles. As Auntie Li uncovered the pot, a strange aroma filled their noses. Lu Lingxi had never heard of oat noodles before, so he looked inside the pot with some curiosity and saw rows and rows of small rolls packed side by side, a bit like the honeycombs he had seen in a book.
The oat noodle rolls that Auntie Li made were very beautiful, each one a finger’s length long and as thin as a willow leaf, light yellow in colour. Pour a spoonful of diced mushroom meat and mix it together and a bite will be simply unforgettable. Lu Lingxi couldn’t resist eating two bowls, and almost couldn’t put the chopsticks down.
Uncle Li was very happy to see him eat and was still persuading him, “Eat more, child. Your Auntie has been in good health lately, her arms are strong, and the noodles she makes are finer than her usual ones.”
Lu Lingxi smiled and nodded, but didn’t move his chopsticks; he really couldn’t eat any more. But Lu Lingxi listened to what Uncle Li said and asked with concern, “Auntie’s legs haven’t been hurting lately, have they?”
“No.” Uncle Li was even happier to talk about it. “It’s been almost a month, right? Your Auntie hasn’t had any pain once. Even the last time it rained it was fine, nothing hurt at all.”
Auntie Li interjected when she heard this, “It’s all because of the blessings of the tree god.”
Uncle Li looked at her helplessly, “What does this have to do with that big willow tree?”
“Of course it has something to do with it.” The old couple tussled in front of the guests. Lu Lingxi and Yan Yue looked at each other and laughed at the same time. Even if Uncle Li and Auntie Li were tussling, Lu Lingxi could still feel that strong bond between the two. Would he and Big Brother Yan be like that when they got old?
When Uncle Li couldn’t better Auntie Li in the argument, he could only give in helplessly and smoothly changed the subject, mentioning the matter of yesterday’s village meeting. It had to do with the big willow tree at the entrance of the village. For some time now, as the news of the death and resurrection of the big willow tree spread around the village, more and more old men and women came to burn some paper and kowtow under the big willow tree or whatever. Who knows what was in the village head’s heart, but outwardly he had to say that this was a feudal superstition and that people in his village should not go out and spread it. After talking about the big willow tree, the village head focused on the river behind the village.
There was a river behind Lingshui Village, and it was called the Lingshui River. Speaking of which, the name of Lingshui Village came from the river here. Upstream of the river was a reservoir, where the waterworks of Fengcheng were built. Because of this, the water quality of the river used to be quite good, and you could often find shrimps or fish in the river. However, since a plastic processing factory was built in Songjia Village, upstream of Lingshui Village, the water quality of the river had been getting worse and worse. Now the water flowing was dark brown and stank badly.
The village head saw some children playing in the river last time and after lecturing them, he made it a priority to raise the issue at the meeting, forbidding children from playing in the river and asking all adults at home to keep an eye on them. The children were ignorant; what would happen in case they drank the river water and had an accident?
Uncle Li sighed after saying that, a little sentimental. “The water in the river used to be so clear that my mother went to the river to wash her clothes, and after she washed them, they would be dry in half an hour when they were laid on the rocks by the river. Nowadays, I can’t even stand to be near it, not to mention washing clothes.”
Previously, the villagers didn’t feel it so obviously, but with the increasing improvement of the village environment, the air here was really refreshing. In contrast, the villagers couldn’t stand the smell of the Lingshui River anymore. As far as Uncle Li knew, the village head had already gone to Songjia Village twice to talk, to no avail.
“It’s all a blackened conscience making money.” Uncle Li said angrily.
Lu Lingxi had never seen what the old Lingshui River was like, but when he thought about what he had seen the last time he went there, he seemed to empathise with Uncle Li’s anger.
On the way back, Lu Lingxi clicked on the white panel, and the entire Lingshui Village was displayed on the panel. His attention was focused on the Lingshui River side, and sure enough, the expansion of the purified soil was hindered by the Lingshui River. There seemed to be an invisible barrier in front of it, and the expansion of the purified soil came to a halt. Lu Lingxi could see clearly that the expansion of the soil didn’t really stop, but the Lingshui River flowed day by day, and toxic substances were settling at the bottom of the river. The purification speed of the soil was not as fast as the pollution speed. Under the tug of war between the two, it seemed as if the purification had stopped.
Lu Lingxi frowned and told Yan Yue about this phenomenon. The happy mood of yesterday’s visit to the village had also disappeared with the sight of the pollution of the Lingshui River. Yan Yue saw it in Lu Lingxi’s eyes and rubbed his hair, saying nothing. A day later Yan Yue took the initiative for the two of them to go back to the plant nursery in the evening.
“Back to the plant nursery? Didn’t we already go back the day before yesterday?” Lu Lingxi was puzzled, packing up his things and preparing to close the shop while thinking about the victoria that was raised at home. The seeds of the victoria usually had to be heated at a room temperature of 25-28 degrees to germinate, and they would basically germinate in a week. Lu Lingxi had already managed to germinate the victoria seeds given to him by Xue Yongtong, and the second young leaf had now grown. At this point, clear water was not enough for the victoria and it needed to be transferred to a tank with silt. He planned to go back and transplant it in the evening.
Yan Yue saw that he was distracted and didn’t care, but said mysteriously, “Xiao Xi will know when he goes there.”
Lu Lingxi tried to read something on Yan Yue’s face, but after a long time, he helplessly chose to give up. He spoke to Wang Shuxiu, entrusted her to help him change the water for the victoria in the evening, and followed Yan Yue to the plant nursery.
When the two arrived, Uncle Li and Yu Xiaojuan were still in the plant nursery. Seeing Lu Lingxi coming over, Uncle Li smiled. “The child is going to the pond, right? It’s the first time the old man has seen such a big leaf in his old age. I heard it’s called victoria, but it’s really rare.”
Victoria… Lu Lingxi looked over at Yan Yue with surprise in his eyes. Yan Yue looked at him dotingly, smiling and not saying anything.
Lu Lingxi couldn’t help but say, “Big Brother Yan, you asked Uncle Xue for that victoria?”
Yan Yue nodded and deliberately spread his hands, pretending to be regretful, “I wanted to give Xiao Xi a surprise, but Uncle Li said it all, so there is no more surprise.”
Uncle Li laughed loudly as he listened on the sidelines.
Lu Lingxi curved his eyes as he looked at Yan Yue, unable to stop the smile on his face. He thought of something else and asked in a flurry, “What did you say to Uncle Xue, Big Brother Yan? Is it that victoria? But how did you recognise which victoria it was?”
Yan Yue looked at Lu Lingxi’s joy and was in an unusually happy mood. As he pulled the young man to the pond, he avoided explaining the circumstances of the matter. “Xue Yongtong owes me a favour, and this victoria is a favour he returned. As for whether it is that victoria or not, it is up to you, Xiao Xi, to see for yourself. But didn’t you say something about vitality last time? The victoria that I picked is the best of all the victorias, so there shouldn’t be any problems.” Provided of course that Xue Yongtong hadn’t lost his eyesight or deliberately lied to him.
Lu Lingxi nodded and hurriedly said, “It doesn’t matter if it’s not that first-level peak victoria, as long as we raise it with care, it will definitely evolve.” He was very confident about this; with the aid of the panel, evolution was not a problem at all.
Because he was so excited, Lu Lingxi ran all the way, the ten-minute journey taking just a few minutes. Yan Yue saw him gasping for breath and was a bit distressed, “Victoria is in the pond and can’t run away, what’s the hurry!”
Lu Lingxi couldn’t pay attention to Yan Yue; his attention was on the huge turquoise jade plate in the middle of the pond. The state of the victoria appeared in his mind as his mental scan spread out. The name of the first-class victoria made Lu Lingxi’s eyes light up and he turned on his tiptoes to give Yan Yue a quick kiss on the lips, excitedly saying, “Big Brother Yan, thank you.”
His rare initiative caused Yan Yue’s eyes to darken. He pulled Lu Lingxi closer to say something in a low voice. Lu Lingxi immediately thought of what had happened the afternoon before yesterday. His eyes wandered and he hesitantly and embarrassedly nodded. Yan Yue saw that he agreed, and the corners of his mouth curled up in satisfaction. From Lu Lingxi’s reaction, he could tell that this victoria should be the one that was at the first-level peak. “Want to choose to evolve?”
Lu Lingxi forced his attention back from what he had promised Yan Yue and nodded. “Let’s come over at night to evolve.”
With this matter on his mind, Lu Lingxi couldn’t even eat dinner calmly and stopped eating after two bites. Yan Yue pinched his face and said sternly, “Too skinny, you must finish two buns before you can go.” On their way to the plant nursery, Yan Yue deliberately went to a famous bun shop in Fengcheng and packed two boxes of buns of various flavours, enough for two people and a dog to eat until tomorrow morning.
With Yan Yue’s stern face like this, he felt like a strict parent. Lu Lingxi’s upbringing was actually lacking in this kind of parental image. He subconsciously sat up straighter, stole a glance at Yan Yue, and obediently squeezed the bun and ate it. Yan Yue eased his expression and turned to warm up a packet of milk for Lu Lingxi. Lu Lingxi blinked, and when Yan Yue wasn’t looking, he quickly broke off a smaller half of the bun and threw it to Dahei. Dahei reacted extremely quickly and swallowed it in one gulp, tacitly destroying the corpse for Lu Lingxi and eliminating the evidence.
Yan Yue listened to the commotion behind him and swept a suspicious glance at Lu Lingxi and Dahei. Lu Lingxi curved his eyes and smiled at him flatteringly. Yan Yue had no choice but to turn a blind eye to the situation.
It was not until it was dark that Yan Yue led Lu Lingxi to the pond. Dahei trotted beside them, burping every now and then. At lunchtime, Grandma Wang sent four chicken legs to the shop, and Dahei ate three of them by himself, which was a bit too much. As a result, in the evening, on top of his normal meal, he helped Lu Lingxi solve the bun, obviously filling himself to the bursting point.
Yan Yue coolly swept a glance at him. Deserve it for helping Xiao Xi fool around!
Dahei gave a low whimper and halfway through the whimper he hurriedly burped, immediately running aside in shame, embarrassed to follow the two.
Lu Lingxi: “……”