Chapter 184: Having Meat in the Army (4)
Captain Guo used his chopsticks to pick some up, and took an experimental bite. After savouring the taste, his eyes lit up and he praised, “It’s good. Sister-in-Law must be a really good cook.” After saying so, he used his chopsticks to point at He Changdi. “You lucky brat, you married a good wife! You were crazy enough to come all the way out here to the northern border, but not only did your wife not blame you, she even sent you something good to eat. I heard that you came out here just a few days after getting married, too!”
Xiao Hongyu hadn’t heard of this news. He had been intently listening to this juicy piece of gossip while shoveling the shredded beef into his mouth, and didn’t even bother to swallow before noisily asking, “Brother He, what’s wrong? Is Sister-in-Law not pretty enough for you?”
Captain Guo harrumphed. “Not pretty? So what if she’s not pretty? As long as she can manage the household and give birth to a few sons, she’s a good wife! Besides, I heard that he married a legitimate daughter from House Ying!”
When Xiao Hongyu received a sudden warning glare from Zhang Mai, he abruptly came to a realisation.
The captain’s wife was an ugly woman, but was deeply respected by the captain. She had also given birth to a fair amount of good sons and daughters for him. Xiao Hongyu came from a common family, but he still knew this much from listening to his mother and sisters’ gossip sessions from before. That was also why he knew that, although House Ying was on the decline, their ladies had the reputation of being exceptionally fertile. Furthermore, their looks were all top notch. His wife was most likely not the reason that Brother He had left his home in such a hurry.
Xiao Hongyu knew that he had stepped on a landmine with his careless words, so he stopped talking and buried his head in his bowl of meat.
From the side, Zhang Mai tried to smooth the dispute over. “Captain’s right. In the future when we return to the capital, we definitely have to go to the captain’s estate and visit Sister-in-Law.”
It was only then that Captain Guo was satisfied. He continued pointing at He Changdi as he lectured him. “Since you’ve come out already and you can’t disobey army orders, you won’t be able to return home for quite some time. Still, you can’t keep your head in the sand! You left a young wife back at home, you heartless bastard! She’s living like a widow, but she hasn’t forgotten to send you packages even with how you’ve treated her. If you have time, make sure you send more letters back home. And when you have the money, don’t forget to buy some local specialties and send them back to your wife and family.”
Compared to how he usually addressed his brothers on the training grounds, there was an additional trace of sincerity in Captain Guo’s tone. The way he was pointing out He Changdi’s wrongs seemed more like an older brother earnestly lecturing a younger family member for their own good.
Zhang Mai’s smile widened a little upon hearing this. He Changdi also stopped being a block of wood and immediately stood up to bow deeply towards Captain Guo in thanks for his teachings.
He could also feel that he had become much closer to Captain Guo thanks to this small jar of translucent shredded beef.
He Changdi stared at the empty jar with mixed feelings in his heart.
In the middle of this brotherly atmosphere, Xiao Hongyu, who had been acting like a backdrop up till now, pointed at the bowl of shredded beef and mumbled, “Brothers, if you’re not going to eat, this little brother is going to eat it all!”
Right after he finished speaking, everyone’s chopsticks shot towards the bowl. Now that everyone had joined the fray, the bowl was quickly emptied. When there was only a thin layer of beef left, Captain Guo glared at He Changdi and said, “What are you still eating for? Your wife made this, so you must have eaten tons of this before. And yet you still have the face to keep fighting with us?”
This time, He Changdi was much more thick-skinned. He scooped up another piece with his chopsticks and, with nary a change in his expression, he said in a low voice, “I left my home just a few days after getting married. This is my first time eating my wife’s cooking, so why can’t I eat more of it?”
Zhang Mai patted He Changdi’s shoulder and burst out into loud laughter. “Well, look who’s become a miser now!”
That small bowl of shredded beef wasn’t enough when shared between four people. When the bowl was finally empty, none of them was satisfied. In the end, Xiao Hongyu poured the remaining scraps and oil into his own bowl to mix in with the porridge and fill his stomach.
After that meal, Xiao Hongyu stuck close to He Changdi. “Brother He, when is Sister-in-Law going to send more things over?”
He Changdi’s gaze was solidly stuck to the ground. He was truly beginning to regret giving them that taste of beef! Since the beef was so precious to him, he had only eaten small bits of it each time he had taken it out. If he had known that this day would come, he would have definitely eaten his fill and saved himself from heartbreak.
However, he hadn’t revealed all his cards. He hadn’t taken out the beef and pork jerky that Chu Lian had sent him along with the shredded beef.
When he heard this brat Xiao Hongyu asking for more, He Changdi looked up and stared coldly at him, thinking in his heart, ‘My wife didn’t cook this for a stinky man like you! Dream on!’
Xiao Hongyu awkwardly rubbed his nose. He was inwardly bubbling with frustration. Brother He seemed easy to get along with normally, so why was he being so stingy now? Xiao Hongyu was determined; in the future, he definitely had to marry a wife from House Ying who could cook well!
When they finished their meal, the group began to idly chat. Due to this sudden event, they had become much closer when compared to before.
As they were speaking, there was a sudden burst of commotion from the outside of their small tent.