Aerial Rain
Translating Web Novel

TGCF Ch 17 Part 5 – Trying to Steal the Chicken but Losing the Rice (V)

Xia Mian covered the child with a small cotton blanket. Already feeling tired, she wasn’t planning to cook anything too complicated today and started steaming a bowl of egg custard for Xiao Feng. Recalling that Zhuangzhuang liked it yesterday, she made an extra bowl. She also stir-fried some greens, took out the freshly bought leavened flatbread from the market, and made a seaweed egg soup to complete the meal.

In less than an hour, dinner was ready to serve. After returning from delivering the egg custard to the Liu family, Xia Mian hesitated whether to wake Xiao Feng. The kid was clearly exhausted. He was sleeping deeply, his small belly rose up and down with his breath, along with soft snores. Although she didn’t want to disturb his sleep, she worried he might get hungry later.

Xia Mian decided to try waking him; if he could get up, he’d eat, if not, she would just let him sleep. Thinking this, she gently poked the child’s little belly. She had seen her sister-in-law do the same thing with her young nephew. According to the mother, if a child is suddenly woken up from a deep sleep, you will have to put a lot of effort into stopping their cries.

To her surprise, just a gentle touch was enough for the previously soundly sleeping child to wake up suddenly, scramble up, and dive toward a corner. During his startled jump, his legs crashed into the sofa, but he still scampered as if fleeing for his life, until he pressed tightly against a corner of the sofa, looking over fearfully.

His practiced reaction made Xia Mian’s heart feel like it was being pricked by a thousand needles. How much suffering a child this small must have experienced to be this uneasy all the time, even in sleep?

“Baby,” she opened her arms and approached, “Baby, it’s Auntie, don’t be afraid. With Auntie’s here, no one will hit you again.”

Xiao Feng came to his senses. Right, the stepmother and Xuanxuan who liked to hit him were not home, only him and his auntie!

The child plunged into Xia Mian’s embrace, “Auntie.” His tiny voice carried a relieved, innocent joy.

Xia Mian’s heart ached, and her eyes reddened. She hugged the child tightly, constantly stroking his back to provide him enough sense of security, “Yes, Auntie is here, Auntie will protect Xiao Feng, no one can bully Auntie’s baby again.”

Xiao Feng tightly hugged Xia Mian’s neck and nodded happily, “Yeah.”

Afterward, the child sat happily at the dining table, slowly enjoying the bowl of egg custard. His cheeks puffed with each cherished bite. Occasionally, he looked up at Xia Mian with a smile, and his eyes twinkled with joy whenever she patted his head.

But Xia Mian couldn’t be happy. After dinner, she took Xiao Feng for a bath. Once undressed, the bruises scattered across his small body were evident, covering his originally fair skin with shades of green and yellow. Xia Mian clenched her fists and felt the violent impulse to hit someone again.

Xiao Feng was too young and innocent to notice Xia Mian’s distress. The drowsiness interrupted during the dinner was now returning as he sat in the tub, his head bobbing sleepily. Occasionally, he would open his eyes and gave Xia Mian a smile, so cute it melted her heart into a puddle.

After the bath, Xia Mian wrapped the child in a big towel and carried him back to the bed. In a few steps it took from the bathroom to the guest bedroom, the child had fallen asleep on her shoulder again.

Xia Mian didn’t let go this time and held Xiao Feng in her arms as they both slept. In the darkness, she listened to the steady breathing of the child in her arms and felt his belly rise and fall. This was a living child, innocent and lovely, sensible and obedient. Such a small, soft, yet vulnerable life. He wasn’t just a character for Xia Mian to feel sympathy or injustice for. Even though it had just been one short day, she could no longer let go. She… had to take care of this child to the end.

With this thought, Xia Mian began to seriously consider her next steps. The most important thing now was to provide this child with a healthy environment for growth. To leave this den of wolves, she first needed to move Xiao Feng’s household registration…

The next morning, Xia Mian opened her eyes and was greeted by a pair of innocent, smiling eyes, “Auntie, no one’s home!”

“Right, no one, just us two.” Xia Mian tickled the child’s belly, flipped him over her knees, and playfully swung him in the air, “Flying, flying~”

Xiao Feng’s joyous laughter echoed in the Huagang residential compound for the first time that morning.

After playing for a while, Xia Mian took the child to the bathroom to wash up. When she looked in the mirror, she was startled by her reflection; her newly cut hairstyle from the day before seemed to seek its old form, sticking out in all directions. She tried to tame it with a comb and water, yet a stubborn tuft refused to lie flat.

Xiao Feng, looking up at her repeatedly failing attempts to flatten her hair, giggled, “Just like Xiao Feng’s.”

Xia Mian glanced, then lifted the child to join her in front of the mirror. Indeed, the reflection showed two faces, one big and one small, with some resemblance, especially the stubborn tuft on top of their heads, which was identical.

This seemed to hit Xiao Feng’s funny bone, as he couldn’t stop giggling. Xia Mian was also amused by his laughter, rubbing her head against his chest, making the child even more delighted.

Breakfast was vegetable porridge and scallion pancakes, with an extra egg for Xiao Feng. Two bottles of milk were delivered to the door this morning because Xia Mian had ordered an extra bottle just yesterday. With Xuanxuan gone with Huang Xiaojuan, Xiao Feng couldn’t finish it all.

Xia Mian planned to make double-skin milk, a perfect treat for the hot summer days without air conditioning, especially since Xiao Feng couldn’t eat popsicles or ice cream yet. Besides, it was a treat suitable for all ages, making it a great gift to the neighbors who had been so helpful yesterday.

Making double-skin milk wasn’t difficult, and Xia Mian managed to make eight small bowls in less than an hour. Made from pure fresh milk, the double-skin milk turned out smooth, tender, and richly fragrant.

Xia Mian nodded with satisfaction. Ideally, she would have paired the treat with some red bean paste, but making it was quite laborious, requiring soaking the beans overnight. It was definitely not possible to make it today, so Xia Mian took out the grapes, strawberries, and other fruits she bought yesterday, cut them into small pieces to mix with the double-skin milk, and then put everything together in the fridge.

Just as she finished, there was a knock at the door. Xiao Feng, who had been playing with jigsaw puzzles on the sofa, quickly slid down and ran towards Xia Mian, his worried little voice bouncing as he trotted, “Auntie~” Even his tuft stood up in fright.

“It’s okay, it’s okay,” Xia Mian, filled with pity yet charmed by his cuteness, scooped him up, “It should be the uncles who come to buy the color TV.”

An hour before, Xia Mian had contacted a pawnshop for a home service, and they should be here by now.

She went to open the door and saw two men in suits. The pawning process went smoothly, as Xia Mian had clearly explained beforehand via the phone. The color TV, complete with the box, was bought just over two months ago for two thousand five hundred and was appraised at one thousand three hundred yuan.

The Butterfly brand sewing machine was originally bought for over two hundred. The owner had maintained it well over the years, keeping the machine in excellent condition, but the appraisal only priced it at eighty. But Xia Mian didn’t mind — it was enough to cover the pawnshop’s home service fee.

Both items were quite large and caused a stir among the neighbors when taken away. Aunt Liu and Teacher Mi were surprised. “Xia Mian, you pawned the color TV? Where did you find the buyer?” Teacher Mi asked incredulously.

“I went to a pawnshop,” Xia Mian smiled, “I thought about it yesterday. Since I’m not familiar with anyone here and couldn’t ask for a guarantor, I might as well use the pawnshop.”

“It’s state-approved and trustworthy. They’re not interested in small items, just the bigger ones like TVs and fridges, so I pawned it first.”

“I’ve asked, and they said I just have to pay a little over ten yuan in interest if I redeem it in a month.”

That indeed sounded safer than pawning items to an individual, but Aunt Liu was still surprised, “I’ve been here for so many years and didn’t even know there was a pawnshop around. How did you find it?”

Coming from the era of information overload, Xia Mian didn’t find this task challenging. Although there was no internet, other ways were available, “I called 114 for information. It’s no wonder Aunt didn’t know; there’s only one pawnshop in the entire city, and it’s quite far, on the south side of the city.” That’s why the service fee was quite expensive.

Aunt Liu exclaimed in admiration, “You are so smart, Xia Mian! You will definitely achieve great things in the future.”

Zhang Qiming was likely going to bleed money this time. Aunt Liu was already picturing the Zhang family’s faces upon their return — well, serves them right! Who asked them to do such vile things?

Perhaps they were indeed too vile, as Xia Mian made an even more significant discovery at home!

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2 thoughts on “TGCF Ch 17 Part 5 – Trying to Steal the Chicken but Losing the Rice (V)”

  1. I feel so sorry for Xiao Feng’s instinctual reaction to Xia Mian’s action of poking his belly in his sleep. He needs some serious therapy, but before that he needs a very strong sense of security from Xia Mian and a safe environment to grow up. Hopefully Xia Mian will be able to get custody of him with the reasoning that Huang Xiaojuan has “postpartum depression” and is hence not qualified to take of him while Zhang Qiming is at work.

    Thanks for the chapter! 😀

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