Xiaoguo ran to the door and looked into the distance. Sure enough, she saw a carriage approaching.
Xiaoguo narrowed her eyes to see if it was the same carriage that Qin Anming had driven back the last time. When it got closer, Xiaoguo was overjoyed. It was indeed the same burgundy-hair horse. Qin Anming and Uncle Xu were steering the carriage.
Xiaoguo quickly opened the front door and let them in.
She brought Zhuang Zhuang further away so that he wouldn’t block their way.
Although Qin Anming looked a little anxious, he also seemed very happy. He got out of the carriage and walked towards Xiaoguo.
Xiaoguo went over happily, and Zhuang Zhuang pounced on Qin Anming.
Qin Anming picked up Zhuang Zhuang and weighed him in his arms skillfully. Yes, he had indeed grown bigger.
Xiaoguo called out to Qin Anming and walked to the carriage. She greeted Uncle Xu, Ruyi, Ling Long, Fu’er and Xiao Cui.
Everyone said their greetings. When Ruyi got out of the car, she couldn’t stop looking around the courtyard. From time to time, she would exclaim in surprise.
“Sister Xiaoguo, your house is amazing!”
Ruyi looked at the spacious courtyard, the well-organized vegetable plot, and the newly-built livestock shed.
Although there were many animals, the courtyard was very clean. There weren’t any strange smells.
Ruyi took a deep breath. She wasn’t sure if it was her imagination, but not only were there no strange smells, there was a herbaceous fragrance in the air.
Uncle Xu got out of the car and looked around. He looked up at the sky and nodded in agreement when he heard Ruyi’s words. The scenery here was pleasant, the air was fresh, and the courtyard was very well-kept. It was really a nice living environment. When he retires in the future, he hopes to live in a place like this.
Ling Long and Fu’er were young. As soon as they got off the bus, they could not help but explore the surroundings. They were especially interested in the two cows and the puppies that had been barking at everyone from the moment they entered the house.
Xiao Cui was a little older. Although she didn’t utter a word, her eyes were filled with love and yearning for this place. It would be great if she could have such a courtyard in the future.
Xiaoguo led the group into the house. Qin Anming was already seated in the hall with Zhuang Zhuang in his arms. Ling Long and Fu’er brought out some food and snacks from the carriage. They had bought them from the county.
“Since it’s my first time here, this is just a token of my gratitude.”
Ruyi took the packages from the girls with a smile and placed the items on the table.
“You just had to bring yourself. Why did you still bring these?”
Those cliche words came out of Xiaoguo’s mouth.
“They are for Zhuang Zhuang. These snacks for kids don’t cost much.”
Smiling, Xiaoguo took the packages and put them away in the house.
“By the way, why are you so late today?”
Xiaoguo put away everything and returned to the hall. She looked at the group and asked.
“Don’t mention it. We set off before noon today. Who knew that we would be stopped at the county gate!”
Ruyi said with exasperation. They had set off happily but when they reached the entrance of the county, they were stopped from going forward.
There was a big group gathered at the entrance and they were protesting. A large group of soldiers was guarding the entrance of the county. Those who resisted would be beaten up.
Everyone was forced to get out of their carts to go through checks and registration. It took them almost two hours to get out of the county gate.
When Xiaoguo heard this, she was a little curious. What was the commotion about?
“On the way, there were several groups of soldiers and horses traveling on the road. They didn’t stop even when they bumped into people. They looked very hostile. It seemed like something big had happened.”
Ling Long continued the conversation with a look of fear on her face.
“That’s right. It’s Mid-Autumn. I wonder what they’re up to.”
Xiao Cui spoke hesitantly on the side.
“In any case, whatever happens at the top won’t affect us commoners. As long as we get to eat and drink to our content.”
Uncle Xu said casually.
The others nodded in agreement. It was fine as long as the commoners could eat, drink, and have fun. Anything beyond that had nothing to do with them.
After chatting for a while, Ruyi’s stomach started to growl.
Before she could blush, the others’ stomachs began to rumble too.
Even Qin Anming felt hungry. He looked at Xiaoguo with a glimmer of hope in his eyes.
In order to set off earlier, they had started preparing the ingredients early in the morning without having any breakfast. Then they ran into delays at the county gate during noon. After much difficulty, they finally managed to leave the county and arrived at Xiaoguo’s place. By now, they could no longer bear the hunger. Thinking about it, they had not eaten anything all day. It was quite a feat for them to last till now.
Xiaoguo felt a little amused by the anticipation of everyone in the room. She got ready to serve the food. Anyway they have to eat sooner or later!
“Let’s get ready to eat!”
Xiaoguo waved her hand and everyone cheered. It was time to eat!
Ruyi led the way and followed Xiaoguo to the kitchen. Qin Anming put Zhuang Zhuang down and let him play with Uncle Xu while he tried to start the fire.
Within a short time, Qin Anming had managed to get the fire going. Xiaoguo handed a handful of lamb skewers to Qin Anming.
With Qin Anming grilling the skewers outside and Ruyi helping out in the kitchen with the other girls, Xiaoguo didn’t have much to do.
She took out eight bowls and poured some cold plum soup into the bowls.
Since the plum soup was freshly poured, it was still nice and cold. Ruyi entered the house from the kitchen and took one sip from a bowl.
Ruyi’s eyes lit up. She loved sweet and sour drinks.
Xiaoguo put down the jar and suddenly thought of the osmanthus wine. It had been more than 20 days. It was just the right time to open it.
Xiaoguo returned to the house and brought out the pastries she had bought and the mooncakes she had made. She placed everything on the table and went outside again. She took out ten century eggs and went to the kitchen to place them on a plate. The eggs were then brought to the dining table.
She also picked some tomatoes and tossed them with white sugar.
When the dishes were served, Qin Anming had just finished grilling half of the lamb skewers. Ruyi was busy bringing out more skewers from the kitchen. Ling Long and Fu’er were also helping out in and around the house. Xiaocui and Uncle Xu helped to grill the skewers and brush on the marinade.
As the stove was quite long, there was enough space for three people to sit around it.
Xiaoguo finally understood what strength in numbers meant.
Half of all the kebabs were served on the table. Xiaoguo called out to everyone to start eating. Qin Anming told her to wait till all the skewers were done.
Xiaoguo nodded in agreement. Once all the skewers are done, they can all eat together. There was no need for anyone to keep watch over the skewers thereafter.
If the food got cold, they could heat them up again.
Xiaoguo joined the grilling team and in no time, they finished grilling all the kebabs. The sky had turned dark and the courtyard was lit up by the flames. Inside the house, the candlelight provided a warm cozy glow to the interior.
The group gathered around the table. The mooncakes, snacks and cold dishes were placed in the middle of the table. The skewers were arranged around them.
Xiaoguo took out the osmanthus wine. “Please pay attention! The osmanthus wine will be served soon!”
Upon uttering those words, Xiaoguo exerted force with her hand and opened the lid of the jar. A refreshing floral fragrance escaped into the air.
Everyone could not help but squint and take a deep whiff.
The fragrance of the flowers was mixed with the fragrance of wine. The scent was intoxicating enough without having to drink the wine.
Xiaoguo poured a cup for everyone except Zhuang Zhuang. He was very curious about the taste. When Xiaoguo wasn’t paying attention, he reached out to her bowl with a skewer and tried to reach for a taste.
In the end, Xiaoguo saw through his little trick and fed him a bowl of sour plum soup.
The group chatted and laughed. When the skewers turned cold, they were heated up. The meal lasted late into the night. Halfway through, in order to admire the moon, the group helped to move the tables to the courtyard.
They drank wine and admired the moon.
The moon, round and big, hung desolately in the sky.
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