When Yu Laohu received the news, he could hardly sit still. The moment the teacher dismissed class, he dashed out like a whirlwind, followed by the barking Meiqiu and a group of his “soldiers.”
He was sturdily built and ran powerfully like a tiger cub. The workers harvesting lotus roots in the pond laughed fondly, “Huzi, did you skip school again?”
“No!” Yu Laohu replied as he took off his shoes and socks. “Uncle, I’m done with school for the day!”
He had been doubly punished by his fathers many times when he skipped school before, so he didn’t dare do it anymore.
The water where Yu Laohu waded in just passed his knees. He bent down and fumbled for a bit before pulling out a three-sectioned lotus root.
Before he could even feel happy, with a “smack,” a lump of river mud splattered onto his back.
Turning around, he saw it was Zhao Tiezhu from Uncle Gensheng’s family.
“Alright, Zhao Tiezhu!” Yu Laohu refused to be outdone and picked up a clump of mud and threw it back.
And so, the lotus root harvesting gradually turned into a mud fight.
Caught up in the excitement, Yu Laohu exerted too much force and heard a ripping sound—the cloth under his armpit tore. Worried, he immediately hugged his arm.
This was the new shirt that his daddy had just made for him!
Carrying the lotus roots he had dug up, he thought about what to do when he got home. If his dad was there, he’d run to seek refuge with his grandmother and little uncle. If not, he’d hurriedly change his clothes and ask Aunt Qing to mend the “battle wound” neatly.
He cautiously peered through the doorway first to see if anyone was home. Not noticing anyone, he relaxed a little. He tentatively took a few steps inside and called out for his daddy. Hearing no reply, he let out a big sigh of relief.
Hehe, Daddy’s not home!
Yu Laohu swaggered into the courtyard, feeling proud of himself, when he heard his father’s stern voice behind him, “Yu Hu.”
Yu Laohu shuddered and touched the back of his head before turning around and calling out to someone in a pleasing manner, “Dad.”
Yu Dameng saw that he was covered in mud like an eel and couldn’t help but frown, “How did you get like this?”
“Dad!” Yu Laohu held up the lotus roots he had worked hard to dig and showed them to Yu Dameng, saying, “Look, I dug all these for Daddy!”
Since the time Qiao Yuan was pregnant with Yu Laohu, he developed a fondness for lotus root sweetened with osmanthus honey, and it remained his favorite dish to this day.
Upon hearing this, Yu Dameng’s face softened, but he remembered his husband’s strict instructions to be a stern father and quickly regained his composure. He grabbed Yu Laohu and gave him a slap on the butt, saying, “That doesn’t mean you can play in the pond. Your daddy has told you countless times not to play in the water!”
The past failures have taught Yu Laohu to bow his head when necessary. He clutched his buttocks and begged for mercy, “Dad, Dad, I know I was wrong.”
“I am just trying to show filial piety! I just want Daddy to enjoy fresh lotus roots!”
Yu Dameng stopped his hand and looked at his son covered in dirt and mud. His heart softened, and the slap never fell again.
Yu Laohu rushed over and hugged his father’s leg, deeply moved. Despite his father’s imposing and strong appearance, he knew that his father had the softest heart!
To prevent his daddy from blaming him, he decided to drag his dad into the water, “Dad, why don’t you also go and harvest some lotus roots? When Daddy hears that you specially picked them for him, he will definitely be happy!”
“No need for you to say it!” Yu Dameng slapped Yu Laohu.
In past years, he had always been the first to offer freshly harvested lotus roots to his husband, but this stinky kid took the lead this year.
The father and son went out carrying baskets on their backs.
So, when Qiao Yuan returned from the old house, he saw the father and son who seemed to have crawled out of a mud pit, and he was instantly furious.
He had just made matching outfits for their family of three!
“If you can deceive your father, can you deceive me too? You snuck off to play in the pond again, didn’t you?” Qiao Yuan chased Yu Laohu around the yard with a rattan stick.
Yu Dameng followed behind and advised him to calm down, but Qiao Yuan pushed him away in anger and pointed the stick at him, saying, “You’re still begging for mercy? I haven’t settled the score with you yet!”
“You didn’t stop him from going into the water, and you still follow him to fool around!” Qiao Yuan grumbled and ordered Yu Dameng to stand by the south wall, “Go, stand there for me!”
Yu Dameng awkwardly retreated.
With his only hope of rescue gone, Yu Laohu received a hearty beating and cried out that he would never dare to go into the water again.
“If you can change, then a mother pig can climb a tree!” Qiao Yuan threw down the stick, stripped Yu Laohu, and tossed him into the washbasin, scrubbing him roughly.
Yu Laohu begged for mercy, “Daddy, daddy, it hurts!”
“Do you still know what pain feels like?” Qiao Yuan got angry and slapped him again but then finally softened his tone. “The pond has both shallow and deep areas. You’re still young. What if you step into a deep area and get stuck? And who knows what kind of creatures might be in there that could bite you!”
Seeing Qiao Yuan’s expression soften, Yu Laohu quickly hugged his father’s arm and pleaded, “Daddy, Daddy, I know I was wrong.”
The little rascal before him was a miniature version of Yu Dameng, with a fierce and cute appearance. When he acted coquettishly, he was very adorable. Qiao Yuan no longer had a stern expression and poked him on the forehead with his hand, saying impatiently, “You’re only good at sweet talking!”
“Hehe, Daddy.” Yu Laohu hugged his fragrant daddy, completely forgetting that his other father was still standing at the south wall for punishment!
After cleaning himself up and lecturing his ungrateful son, Yu Dameng returned inside.
Qiao Yuan glanced at him and turned away, ignoring him.
Yu Damao cautiously climbed onto the kang, attempting to embrace Qiao Yuan.
“Get away!” Qiao Yuan pushed him angrily, “You are now only thinking about your son and have forgotten about me!”
“How can that be?” Dameng felt terribly wronged as he turned Qiao Yuan to face him. “You’re always first in my heart.”
Qiao Yuan huffed, “You only know how to say nice things!”
“I’m telling the truth,” Yu Dameng said as he drew Qiao Yuan into his embrace.
Qiao Yuan leaned against his chest, still feeling angry about what had just happened. “How did we end up with such a bear son?”
He never missed a chance to climb trees or catch fish in the river. He was so good that even cats and dogs are jealous!
Yu Dameng had no retort for this. He looked at the angry husband and said, “I’ll beat him up in the future.”
“You.” Qiao Yuan looked at his powerful, muscular hands and said disdainfully, “With your strength, you might injure our son!”
Yu Dameng chuckled, “Although our son is a bit mischievous, he’s clever and smart like you.”
“Of course!” Qiao Yuan said arrogantly, “Whose son do you think he is?”
“He takes after you, sturdy and strong.”
“And he is filial, always bringing home anything he gets, making sure both of us get a share.”
The two comforted each other and talked about many of Yu Laohu’s strengths, completely dispelling Qiao Yuan’s frustration. At this moment, they wished they could call their obedient son over and shower him with kisses.
Just then, there suddenly came the sound of chickens flapping their wings and Meiqiu barking outside.
Yu Laohu drew his sword and shouted, “Men, charge!”
The sound of Yu Dameng and Qiao Yuan whispering abruptly stopped, and the two looked at each other in silence.
After a while, Qiao Yuan collapsed on Yu Dameng and cried without tears, “Let’s have another one! I refuse to believe a little ger could be as mischievous as him!”
Little did Qiao Yuan realize at that moment that the little ger he would have would turn out to be even more mischievous than his elder brother!
That’s the end of it. My first ever translation project is finally completed. Thank you everyone for loving and supporting Qiao Yuan and Yu Dameng.
See you in my next projects.