At this moment, the sun was already in the west. Coupled with the shade of the trees, not only was it not hot on the road, but it was also rather cool.
Liu Rong held Mu Yangling’s hand in fear and smiled shyly. “Cousin, let’s hold hands.”
“Sure.” Mu Yangling reached out to pluck a flower by the roadside and adorned her hair with it. “It looks really good on you.”
Liu Rong lowered her head shyly.
Liu Lang and Liu Lun ran forward, playing with each other. Suddenly, a flash of white flashed past their eyes, causing Liu Lang to shout, “Rabbit!”
Liu Lun shouted, “Catch it, catch it!”
Mu Yangling rolled her eyes. “Stop shouting. How are you going to catch it when you’ve already scared the rabbit away?”
Unexpectedly, just as Mu Yangling finished speaking, the rabbit was so frightened by Liu Lang and Liu Lun’s shouts that it turned around and hit a tree. Everyone was stunned.
Liu Lang immediately jumped up and ran over to grab it. The rabbit was stunned for a moment before quickly jumping away. Surprised, Liu Lang fell to the ground. Liu Lun also rushed over, but he tripped over the stone under his feet and fell on Liu Lang. The rabbit looked at the two of them in confusion and was about to hop away.
Liu Lang screamed. “Cousin, catch it quickly. Otherwise, I’ll have fallen in vain.”
Mu Yangling stared at the rabbit and jumped towards it. Shocked, the rabbit jumped to the side, but Mu Yangling did not stop. Traces of the rabbit flashed across the corner of her eyes and she jumped over as well. She pressed her hand forward and pinned the rabbit under the grass. Holding it tightly with one hand, she used her other hand to pinch its ear and lift it up.
Liu Lang and his brother ran over and watched eagerly while exclaiming, “How impressive!”
Liu Ting could not help but exclaim to Mu Shi, “Cousin, Ah Ling is so agile.”
Meanwhile, Liu Zhuang drooled at the rabbit. “This rabbit is so fat. It must be five to six catties.”
Liu Ting immediately felt a little embarrassed, for his brother was already in his twenties.
Unexpectedly, Second Uncle Liu Erqian immediately nodded and agreed, “Fat rabbits taste delicious braised.”
Now, it was Liu Erqian’s sons, Liu Yuan and Liu Xuan’s turn to feel embarrassed.
Liu Ting was instantly satisfied. Since the first and second branches had already lost face, the eldest brother couldn’t very well berate the second brother.
However, Liu Daqian’s face turned red. One was his son, and the other was his younger brother. Both were embarrassing. If not for the fact that Liu Zhuang and Liu Xuan were born in different months, he would really suspect that he and his younger brother accidentally carried the wrong baby home.
Mu Yangling waved her hand generously and said, “Here, take it.”
Liu Lang immediately revealed a broad grin and said, “I’ll take it back and raise it. I’ll get the big rabbit to give birth to a small rabbit.”
Mu Yangling doused his enthusiasm. “This is a male. It can’t give birth to a little rabbit.”
“Then catch another female for me.” Liu Lang pestered her.
Mu Yangling said, “Let’s wait and see. If we bump into one, I’ll catch it for you.”
The few of them looked around as they walked down. Just as they were about to leave the mountain, they vaguely saw a grayish-white rabbit. Liu Lun pestered her to catch it. Feeling that catching a rabbit was not difficult, Mu Yangling went. Mu Shi did not stop her.
Liu Daqian glared at his grandson.
After a while, Mu Yangling returned with an even fatter gray rabbit and said, “The one just now ran away.”
Satisfied, Liu Erqian took the rabbit from her hand and nodded. “Not bad. We’ll braise it and eat it with wine tomorrow night.”
Mu Yangling looked at him in a daze. Wasn’t it for Liu Lang?
Liu Lang was also stunned. Liu Erqian glared at him and said, “Why? Can’t you let Second Grandpa have this rabbit?”
“Alright, you’re already in your fifties or sixties. Aren’t you embarrassed?” Liu Daqian flicked his sleeves and left.
Liu Erqian snorted and grabbed the rabbit’s ear before following. Liu Yuan and Liu Xuan wished they could cover their faces. To think their father was still snatching things from his grandnephew at his age. How embarrassing.
Not daring to show his dissatisfaction, Liu Lang could only leave regretfully. After today, it was impossible for them to ask Mu Yangling to catch rabbits for them. In the past, they would secretly look for her to get some meat. Grandpa did not allow them to go to Uncle’s house to freeload, nor did he allow them to take the prey Uncle gave them. However, Uncle did not seem to have given them any…
While Mu Yangling and her father were on their way home, she said, “Father, when I was chasing after rabbits just now, I saw three or four of them along the way.”
Mu Shi frowned. “There are so many more?”
“That’s right. Considering that was only the periphery, wouldn’t there be even more rabbits inside? If our mountain is already like this, what about the grassland?”
There was a large grassland to the north of Xingzhou Prefecture, which had already been occupied by the Jin soldiers. It was not far from Chef Mountain, and there were more rabbits on the grassland than in the forest.
Mu Shi pondered for a moment. “Let’s catch more rabbits and sell them at the market later.”
However, Mu Yangling was not optimistic. “How many can we sell? Selling more than 10 rabbits a day is already the limit.” Although the Great Zhou Dynasty’s economy was relatively developed, there were still very few people who were willing to spend money to buy rabbit meat in a low-class town like Seven Mile Village.
It was not that they did not work hard, but the customers were not rich.
“If not, we’ll make it into jerky and sell it in winter. By then, the mountain will have been closed, and the meat will be easier to sell.”
“Forget it. Mother is pregnant. If we leave it in the courtyard to dry, Mother will vomit all night.”
“Then forget it.” His wife could not stand that kind of smell. It would be fine if there weren’t many, for he could place it in one corner of the courtyard, and the smell would disperse when the wind blew. If there were many rabbits, the smell would enter the house when the wind blew.
After entering the house, Mu Yangling thought hard for a while. Little Bowen sat obediently beside his sister and looked at her with his face propped up. After a long time, seeing that she did not react, he pouted and said, “Sister, you haven’t given me candy.”
“Oh.” Mu Yangling took out the candy packet for him and continued to sit there in a daze. Staring at the remaining candy, Little Bowen was very melancholic. He sighed like a little adult and said, “Soon, I won’t have any candy to eat.”
Mu Yangling subconsciously replied, “I’ll buy it for you when the time comes.”
“But we have to save our family’s money to buy clothes and goat’s milk for our baby brother. I’d better not buy candy.” Little Bowen took out a candy and hid it on his body.
Mu Yangling frowned. “You ate two today. Why are you still hiding one?”
“This is for Goudan. I told him that I would exchange candy for his bamboo dragonfly.”
Eyes lighting up, Mu Yangling clapped her hands and said, “That’s right. Though we can’t sell it for money, we can exchange it for something else.”
Bartering had existed for a long time. Even in this day and age, it still existed. It was just that she was used to exchanging goods for money, and it hadn’t occurred to Mu Shi that they could do this. Therefore, the Mu family had always been exchanging goods for money and had never thought of bartering.
There were too many rabbits in the mountains, so many that they were worthless. However, selling them at a lower price would undoubtedly cheapen the value of the rabbits, and their labor would not be rewarded. This problem could be solved by bartering.
Delighted, Mu Yangling hugged Little Bowen’s head and kissed him. “I’ll exchange for something delicious for you tomorrow.”
Mu Yangling was as good as her word. Early the next morning, she tied a knot with a rope and entered the mountain with her father. Mu Shi said, “I’ll go deeper and take a look. It’ll be great if I can hit a big-sized prey. You can walk around nearby.”
Mu Yangling agreed. She first chose a good place to set up the trap before taking out her bow and arrow to hunt rabbits.
Today, she didn’t want a single pheasant, and she didn’t even care when she saw a roe deer running past her. She just aimed at the rabbits and shot.
The rabbits in the forest had yet to become a disaster, but it was about time. The sharp-eyed Mu Yangling soon found a nest of rabbits. After covering the entrance of the cave with a sack, she found two other rabbit nests. She slowly lit a fire and used smoke to force them to crawl into the cave. Then, Mu Yangling ran back quickly and guarded there.
Shortly after, a few gray rabbits rushed out and landed in the sack. Mu Yangling counted. “… Five… seven, eight, nine!”
Seeing that there was no more movement, Mu Yangling picked up the sack and said with a smile, “So the whole family is here. With so many offspring, no wonder it’s becoming a disaster.”