The program team piled 500 kg of sweet potatoes onto the embankment and told the guests the bad news. The program team wouldn’t help them transport the sweet potatoes to the city. Everything needed to be done by themselves.
“Most of the villagers here go to the city to sell things. Most go to the county town by themselves. The county town is closer than where you came from and it is only 10 kilometres away.” The host smiled with understanding. “Of course, if you can think of a solution yourself then you don’t have to carry it yourself. By the way, I’d like to remind you that you can’t use your own money to call a car.”
“500 kilograms of sweet potatoes spread between each of us is around 83 kilograms each…” Xiang Zhen shook his head violently on the spot. “No, I’m a middle-aged uncle. I can’t walk for 10 kilometres with so many things.”
Among the guests, the youngest ones were Zhang Kui and Li Zhao. The two people tacitly exchanged a look and didn’t open their mouths to be killed.
“Brothers, let’s find a way.” Xiang Zhen glanced at Li Zhao. Li Zhao was wearing worn clothing borrowed from the villagers and he looked like a delicate child who had been abducted and sold to a mountain village. Xiang Zhen patted him gravely on the shoulder. “Xiao Li, as the face value of our team, your time has come.”
Having said that, he took off the coat that Li Zhao had borrowed. “Brothers, take him to the road. If a female truck driver sees his face…”
“No no no, I sell art, I don’t sell myself!” Li Zhao turned and hugged the stone next to him, screaming, “I’m not going!”
The other guests came to help Xiang Zhen lift this person and as a result… he couldn’t be lifted.
The program group, “…”
How many kindergarten children were they looking after?
The director whispered from behind the monitor, “It seems that Teacher Xiang Zhen really likes Li Zhao, this little friend.”
Li Zhao joined the show’s recording halfway and was a newcomer in the circle. He wasn’t familiar with the other guests so Xiang Zhen not only helped him grab some scenes but he also helped Li Zhao quickly integrate with the guests.
“The child is too sincere and when he does things, he is very energetic.” The director’s assistant came over with a rice bowl. “Director, I think there are a lot of wonderful materials in this episode.”
The director sighed. “It is just that our scenario-director group was almost killed by him.”
The director’s assistant took a mouthful of the food. “When did we have a scenario-director group?”
The director, “…”
Was his assistant a traitor sent by the guests?
After the laughter, the six guests sat cross-legged on the concrete ground without any burden of being a celebrity and scratched their heads to find a method.
“Why don’t I go and inquire if anyone in the village has a truck?”
“It is 8:30 and it will be too late by the time we find out anything. The show must’ve told the villagers in advance and they definitely won’t tell us this information casually.”
“What to do?” One guest was so anxious that his dialect came out.
“I have a way.” Li Zhao hit his thighs. “Adults can’t casually tell us but children can help.”
Having seen Li Zhao’s means with children, Zhang Kui felt a bit of expectation. “Are you trying that?”
They soon found a few children playing in the fields. Before the other guests could speak, Li Zhao took the lead. “Two heroes, we meet again.”
The two children saw Li Zhao and immediately gathered around. “Hero, why did you come?”
For children of this age, their parents were working outside and had no time to accompany them. Thus, they tended to feel good about young people who were willing to play with them.
“Recently, I have been embarrassingly short of money. I want to sell some goods in the city but unfortunately, I don’t have a car to transport them. Two heroes, do you know anyone with a truck?”
“What does it mean to be embarrassingly short of money?”
“Heroes, did you sneak away from class?” Li Zhao squatted in front of the two children and took out two lollipops from his pocket with a smile. This was what he bought at the store at the entrance of the village. Embarrassingly short of money means to have no money. I can’t go home without money. Am I pathetic?”
“It is really pathetic.” One of the children looked at Li Zhao sympathetically. “Do you live far away?”
“It is far away.” He used to live alone and didn’t know what it meant to be homesick. Now he had Yan Ting, a buddy he had to worry over this person’s eating meals, and he started to have the habit of a strong attachment to home.
“My father and mother are working far, far away and only come back for the New Year.” The child was a bit sad. “Your family must be waiting for you to go back.”
Li Zhao smile and unwrapped the lollipops for the two children. “After eating, remember to go home and rinse your mouth with mouthwash or your teeth will become ugly.”
“We know, the teacher told us.” The children ate the sugar and were happy. “Come with us, we know who has a truck.”
Li Zhao held hands with one with his left hand and the other with his right hand and walked with them while chatting.
“Strong man, when you were young, did your parents also go out to work?”
“They were very busy,” Li Zhao replied.
“They didn’t go home for the New Year?”
“Yes, They didn’t return for the New Year.”
“You are so pitiful.” A child reached into his pocket and took out a small red flower sticker, sticking it to the back of Li Zhao’s hand. “This is for you.”
“A little red flower!” Li Zhao looked at the child with surprise. “It’s beautiful.”
“I got double 100 points and the teacher rewarded me.” The child boasted a bit with a blush.
“It turns out that you are a hero who is both strong and smart.” Li Zhao lamented. “You are really great.”
“I also took double 100 points in the last exam.” The other child wasn’t convinced.
“It turns out that you are all deeply hidden masters. I was really disrespectful.” They passed through a somewhat muddy side road beside a field and Li Zhao bent down to hug the two children. The two children lay on Li Zhao’s shoulders and smiled in an innocent and content manner.
The cameraman captured this scene and couldn’t help smiling at the two children as he zoomed in. A child’s world was always easy to meet. Many houses in the village were built next to each other but most of them had been abandoned for a long time and there were no traces of life. Seeing how happy the two children were, Li Zhao didn’t put them down. Instead, he started to teach that about how to deal with scammers and bad guys as well as not talking to strangers.
“They are still a stranger’s things and can’t be eaten.’ Li Zhao said with a smile. “The next time you meet a handsome brother like me, you can’t casually eat what he gives you.”
“We’ve only met you who looks so good.”
“The two great heroes have good eyes!”
With the help of the two children, Li Zhao finally found a family with a pickup truck.
The owner was a middle-aged man in his 40s. He usually made money by acting as a short-distance freight. After hearing Li Zhao’s explanation, the uncle was very happy and agreed without much hesitation. However, the uncle pulled his whole family to take a photo with Li Zhao. He cheerfully said he wanted to hang this photo in his living room.
Having solved the transportation problem, the six people cheekily got in the program group’s car and rushed to the county. After arriving at the county town, they found the vegetable market with the highest number of people and each one of them occupied a stall. Li Zhao also pulled out his secret card.
Once the program group saw the words on the sign, they felt that they were hurt again. The guests were ground down by the program group so even in the vegetable market, they could hawk their wares loudly.
Li Zhao held the sign that he made early in the morning. “Don’t walk past and miss out on the delicious sweet potatoes. 8 jiao, as long as you have 8 jiao, you can eat them all. Authentic sweet potatoes. Young men eating them will become more handsome and young girls eating them will become more beautiful. Old people eating them will have a long life and little kids will become strong and smart after eating them.”
“Young man, this is a false advertisement, We can go to the Market Supervision Administration Bureau to report you.” An aunt saw a young man who looked handsome and tender was actually wearing old-fashioned blue clothes and was amused by his appearance. She came over and asked. “Sweet potatoes aren’t a rarity for us. How can you sell this?”
“Big sister, you don’t know but I’m an actor.” Li Zhao sighed. Unfortunately, I was tricked by the bad guys who recorded the show. If I don’t finish selling these sweet potatoes then I won’t be paid.”
The program group, “…”
“Who was this guest they invited? In broad daylight, how could he say something so baseless with such an innocent face?
“Child, I’m older than your mother. Who is your sister?” The auntie was coaxed by the ‘big sister’ and smiled. She started to bend down to pick the sweet potatoes.
“The beauty of women lies in the soul, not in the skin.” Li Zhao diligently took a plastic bag and helped hold it open for the aunt. “You are young so you are a big sister.”
“Really?” The aunt laughed happily. “As a person, you need to have a good mentality to look young.”
The aunt was coaxed to smile and bought 5 kilograms worth of sweet potatoes on the spot. She also said that she would introduce her friend to come buy some. It was 5 kg worth of sweet potatoes but the aunt carried it with no effort. She smiled happily and still seemed to have some of the beauty of her youth.
The other guests hadn’t sold anything while Li Zhao sold 5 kg. Xiang Zhen touched his face with shock and spoke emotionally, “10 years ago, I was also a handsome young man in the hearts of older sisters and aunts.”
He had just finished when he saw Li Zhao already receiving a second guest. The person buying sweet potatoes was an old man.
“Uncle, you really know how to keep healthy. It is good for your health to eat some grains. Looking at your appearance, you are probably in your early 50s?”
“What? You’re 65 years old? It seems that I should learn from you and pay attention to my health.”
Li Zhao’s side was selling in a hot manner while the other guests were criticized by those buying vegetables.
What was too small, too big, too round, too flat…
“Sister, why are you buying here?” An aunt who bought sweet potatoes from Li Zhao’ came to Zhang Kui stall and spoke to the only buyer in what she thought was a whisper. “These sweet potatoes are good. There is a guy in front whose sweet potatoes are selling particularly well. The weight is enough.”
“Really?” The buyer ruthlessly threw the sweet potatoes back to the stall and turned to go with the aunt to find the reliable person.
Zhang Kui watched the two aunts walk through the crowd and finally stop in front of Li Zhao’s stall.
They were all sweet potatoes from the same car. Why not buy from him? Aunt, speak with your conscience! Don’t think that his things are the best just because he is a young man who speaks a few sweet words. Take a good look. How are my sweet potatoes bad?
At the headquarters of Cang Huan, the staff of the assistant department were very serious today.
Wei Tian put down a bag and whispered to her colleague, “What’s going on today? Everyone seems to be very serious.”
“Shh,” her colleague said. “Today is the quarterly report meeting and the general manager of the branches will come for a meeting. You haven’t passed the internship period so don’t go to the president’s office today. You can’t afford any trouble.”
Wei Tian hurriedly nodded.
After a while, once everyone began to speak, she carefully asked, “The other day, I read a news report. I didn’t expect the senior members of our company to like an actor.’
“Are you talking about Li Zhao?” Her colleague smiled. “He looks good, his acting skills are great and I really like him. Even Special Assistant Qin is secretly watching the dramas shot by Li Zhao. This is our department’s open secret.”
Wei Tian nodded and gave snacks to her colleagues.
At the end of the quarterly report, Yan Ting sat in place without moving. Qin Xiao saw that he didn’t seem to be in a bad mood and whispered, “Sir, is there a problem with the contents of the meeting?”
Yan Ting shook his head. “The child at home wants to sell things and is in very high spirits. How can I let him have a fun time?”
“Arrange buyers for him?” Qin Xiao suggested. “Children who are half-grown have a freshness for things they haven’t done before. If you are worried that he isn’t having fun, you can hire someone to act as a buyer to let Mr Li have some fun.”
Yan Ting nodded. “Make the arrangements now.”
Not long after, Qin Xiao returned with a strange expression. “Sir, there was an accident after things were arranged.”
“By the time the person I arranged arrived at the market, Mr Li had sold out of items and two aunts are arguing over who will buy the last few kilograms of sweet potatoes. The scene was full of people watching and we couldn’t squeeze in.” In order to comfort Yan Ting, QIn Xiao especially added, “Mr Li is quite talented in doing business. He can even conquer fussy aunts.”
“He did a great job.” Yan Ting adjusted his sitting posture and inexplicably felt a bit… proud.
Li Zhao himself didn’t expect the two aunts to quarrel. He wanted to persuade them but the two aunts roared, “Adults are arguing. Young people should go to the side!”
He was yelled at and crouched back in place, hand holding his chin as he listened to the two aunts quarrelling.
“I saw it first!”
“I grabbed them first. If looking at something first makes them yours, I see that this guy is so handsome. Can he be my grandson?”
Li Zhao’s hand on his chin moved to cover his face.
Seeing that the two aunts were becoming noisier, Li Zhao was worried about any physical problems. He went to the next store to borrow two plastic stools and had them speak slowly while bringing them bottles of water.
“Aunties, please speak slowly. You look so good but you can’t affect your appearance because you are angry.” Once the two aunts took a few sips of water and their anger wasn’t so heavy, Li Zhao dared to come up to them and smiled. “There are so many stalls in the market selling sweet potatoes yet you are willing to come here to buy from me. It must be because you sympathize with my story, right?”
The two aunts didn’t speak. They just saw such a good-looking young man smiling and talking to them and felt good. They weren’t kind. They just came to see the fun once they saw others buying.
“You look good and you’re compassionate. You shouldn’t be upset about this trivial matter.” Li Zhao folded his hands together like the mediator on a village committee. “It is the blessings of these sweet potatoes that they are valued by them. Otherwise, how about I give these sweet potatoes to you for free?”
“Young man, I’m not so cheap as to take advantage of a young man.”
“Oh, so I am?”
Seeing that the two of them were going to argue again, Li Zhao quickly interrupted them. “I’m giving them to you because of your kindness, not because you’re taking advantage of me. At a glance, I can tell that you are from good families. How could you be greedy about me?”
The two aunts looked a bit better.
Li Zhao took two plastic bags and separately packed the sweet potatoes. “The two of you rest a bit. I have a cousin who is also selling sweet potatoes here. I will help him with his stall.”
“Where is your cousin? I’ll buy it!”
“I’ll buy it too! I’ll buy 10 kilograms!”
“I’ll also buy 10 kilograms!”
“Aunt, it isn’t good to take so many sweet potatoes. You should buy a little bit to take back to eat.” Li Zhao took the two aunts and the watching people to Xiang Zhen’s stall. Many people in the market had run to Li Zhao’s stall to watch the excitement. In front of Xiang Zhen’s stall, there wasn’t even an old lady willing to look at him.
Xiang Zhen, the self-proclaimed strength actor and killer of mature married women, finally felt the ruthless abandonment of these mature married women. Once he saw Li Zhao come over with two aunts, he was shocked. Li Zhao had provoked the most unavailable people in the market?
After the two aunts bought more than 10 kg of sweet potatoes from him in one go, other people watching from the crowd also bought sweet potatoes and Xiang Zhen was busy collecting money.
Xiang Zhen sighed with relief after finally sending away the last customer and he squatted on the ground to start making money. Previously, he never felt that 5 jiao was expensive. On this day, he felt it wasn’t easy to earn 1 jiao.
“Xiao Li, how did you persuade those aunts and uncles to buy your things and bring the guests to my side?” He just saw it. An uncle had been suspecting that his sweet potatoes were authentic just an hour ago. After Li Zhao came over, this uncle cheerfully bought 2.5 kg.
The uncles and aunts are very cute. As long as you warmly greet them, they are generous.” Li Zhao counted the money in a good mood. “I wonder how Brother Zhang and the others are doing?”
He was teammates with Xiang Zhen and both of them sold out before the task time ended.
Xiang Zhen doubted his ears. Buying two of his big sweet potatoes and also giving him a small one could be considered generous and cute? He felt that Li Zhao might’ve misunderstood these words.
“Zhao Zhao, Teacher Xiang, this is your next task.”
The staff handed the task card to the two men.
“Under the premise of not using the sales of the sweet potatoes or personal money, take care of the problem of food and clothing.” Xiang Zhen finished reading the contents. “Is this not letting us eat?” The program is doing this and not giving us food expenses. It would be a joke for others.”
“The director said that we are a black-hearted program and don’t need to prepare lunch for the guests.” The staff member smiled wickedly. “Please refuel and find a place to eat. The program’s crew has ordered a whole roast lamb and I want to rush back to eat.”
Xiang Zhen gulped. If he had known then he wouldn’t have sold all the sweet potatoes just now. Then he could eat some when he was hungry.
“I have money.” Li Zhao reached into his pocket and pulled out 35 yuan.
Seeing these 35 yuan, the staff member seemed to think of some unpleasant memories and his face turned green.
“Where did that come from?” Xiang Zhen’s eyes lit up.
“The program group gave me money for the journey yesterday and I didn’t use it all.”
Behind the monitor, the director hit his thighs with regret. Why did he forget about this? Since the other five guests used up all the money, they forgot that Li Zhao had 35 yuan left. If they knew then they would’ve taken it back.
“In the morning, I saw a noodle store next to the market. The largest-sized vegetarian noodle soup is only 8 yuan.” Li Zhao put the money in his inner coat pocket and buttoned up his coat. “Go Brother Xiang, I invite you to eat noodles.”
Xiang Zhen was moved to tears. It was noodles, hot noodles. It was great that he didn’t have to beg for food.
Noon was the time when the noodle store was full of villagers wanting to catch up. Li Zhao and Xiang Zhen didn’t want to abandon the small store and looked for two empty seats to sit down.
“Apart from us, are there any other show guests that are so miserable?” Xiang Zhen wiped his face in a sour manner. “How good were the crew’s words in the beginning? They would bring me to experience the rural scenery and enjoy nature. I didn’t expect their routine to be so deep.”
“The program group didn’t lie to you. There are many places in the countryside that look like this.” Li Zhao pushed a bowl in front of Xiang Zhen and helped him open the disposable chopsticks. “Now it isn’t the busy season. If it was the busy season then the villagers would get up at dawn and go home at night.”
“You know so much about rural life. Have you stayed in the countryside?” After drinking the broth, Xiang Zhen finally felt alive.
“I spent 10 years in the countryside when I was a kid.” Li Zhao didn’t elaborate. He just bowed his head and started to eat the noodles.
Li Zhao wasn’t full with a bowl of noodles but he thought about how there were four guests waiting to be fed by him and he bought a bag of vegetable buns with bread and four bags of soy milk. Then he went back to feed them.
Once they found Zhang Kui, he was crouching on the ground with a lifeless expression. A child walked by and hesitated for a moment before taking out a bag of cookies and placed them in front of him. Zhang Kui looked at the biscuits and then the child, thinking that this kind child might’ve misunderstood something.
“Hahahahaha.” Li Zhao and Xiang Zhen saw this scene and callously mocked him.
“You…” Before Zhang Kui could speak words of condemnation, he saw the food in Li Zhao’s hands and suddenly changed his face. “You must be good people who came to help me.”
Zhang Kui thought about how he was a member of the opera society and could eat whatever he wanted…until he came on this show. For a few mouthfuls of buns, his face could be thrown away.
Soon, the other guests came over and squatted contentedly at a corner of the market, eating vegetarian buns worth a few jiao and drinking a bag of watered soy milk.
“See this, if you don’t read well then you can only be like them, squatting in the vegetable market and eating buns and bread. They can’t even afford meat.” A mother led her child past and whispered about children who didn’t go to lessons.
The guests eating buns, “……”
They also wanted to eat meat but they had no money!
The crew behind the monitor gave a happy and nasty laugh. The entire place was filled with a pleasant atmosphere.
The author has something to say:
Baby Ting Ting is very worried. Baby Zhao Zhao went to the kindergarten to sell and he is worried that Zhao Zhao’s small toys and picture books won’t be sold.
Thinking about it, he smashed his savings piggy bank, put all the coins in his pocket and decided to support Baby Zhao Zhao’s cause.