Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Li Du felt that the Bryan family was out of place in modern America. They did not understand even commonsense knowledge that did not require any special education.
This was what things were like in Riverdale. It was an isolated town that had shut itself off from the mainstream.
The Bryan brothers were like the old western Arizonans, stubborn, tough, bigoted, and firm.
However, they were not unreasonable or ungrateful people, and now that Li Du saved the child, and Bryans treated them much better.
Victor Bryan was not very talkative. He just sat there and didn’t speak much. He spent most of his time watching Li Du and his friends, his eyes sharp as knives.
Ken Bryan talked to Li Du and learned that they were treasure hunters. Ken Bryan laughed and said he used to be in this business when he was young.
“Then we lost money and we were hard-pressed to survive in the city. We were picking on each other, so I went back to the farm to help,” he said, shaking his head.
Victor Bryan interrupted him and said, “City people are such jerks. They only care about money. They will do anything for it.”
Li Du thought he was a bit of a backward rustic. When he mentioned the city life and work outside the farm, he would complain about it. He had no good impression of the city.
Ken Bryan laughed and said, “Like me, my brother went to the city to work, but he got ripped off, too. He set up an engineering team, but it was ruined by someone’s trick.”
Victor Bryan snorted, puffed away at his pipe. Even the smoke tendrils it emitted showed that he was angry.
At noon, the Bryan family entertained Li Du and the others, and the farm-produced meal was brought to the table.
They served veal stewed with potatoes, grilled lamb chops, vegetable salad, fruit salad, fried chicken nuggets, black pepper beef fillets, and a few tortillas, wheat cakes, and other food.
Sophie took a deep breath and said with delight, “It looks delicious. Whose cooking is this? I haven’t smelled such a delicious meat fragrance in a long time.”
Victor Bryan said with a proud expression, “This has nothing to do with the cooking. The food here comes from our farm. There’s no fertilizer, no commercial feed, and no chemicals. That’s what makes it so good.”
The blond ponytail girl ran out with a basket, put on a cowboy hat, and said cheerfully, “Hey, Daddy, I’m going to take some food to Hans and big brother.”
When Li Du heard this, he stood up and said, “Mr. Bryan, may I go with your daughter?”
Victor Bryan nodded silently. The girl smiled. “I’ll have to bring more food. It won’t be enough for three men.”
She was always smiling brightly, Li Du’s mood could not help getting better while looking at her smile. He understood what Hans found so attractive about her.
After going out, she mounted a horse as usual. She asked Li Du with a smile, “Can you ride a horse?”
Li Du hesitated, then shook his head. He had learned to ride, but he was a poor rider and definitely preferred cars.
“Then I’ll ride double with you. I am a pretty experienced rider. I’ve been riding and herding sheep since I was ten,” said the blond girl casually.
Li Du did not protest. When she changed to the double saddle, he clambered up, sat behind her, and asked, “You started riding and herding sheep when you were ten years old? Didn’t you go to school?”
She shrugged. “I’ve been to school, but I can’t read books. It’s like I’m too stupid. Someone told me that there is something wrong with my brain, and I didn’t like school anyway. Go, huh!”
The black horse took off and ran across the farm.
Li Du noticed, too, that there was something unusual about the blond girl. She was mostly a normal girl, but in some ways, she was not.
He could not pinpoint exactly what was wrong. It was like she was a little too honest, too simple.
The horse galloped, and Hans, the big dog, followed along merrily, wagging its tail. Li Du looked back at the dog and observed that it was very much like its owner. It was also strangely naive.
After a run of more than ten kilometers in the meadows, the blond girl turned the black horse and rounded the edge of the woods, and a herd of strong Angus cattle appeared in the grass.
In the shade of a tree, two men were leaning against the trunk, talking and laughing. Li Du’s seat was taller, so he saw Hans first.
Hans looked different. He wore thin jeans and a cowboy hat hanging askew on his head. His skin was rougher than before, and a little red after being in the sun.
Hearing the sound of hooves, the two men stood up lazily. Li Du winced and tried to hide behind the girl, but he was too big to hide completely.
When Hans saw him, he laughed and said, “Aha, Li, my brother! so you’ve come to find me!”
The young man next to him asked curiously, “Is this Li? Do you mean the treasure hunter tycoon?”
“Yes, he’s a treasure hunter tycoon,” Hans laughed. “A real tough character. He’s so famous in Arizona, he is the best in the state!”
The young man exclaimed, “Wow, cool!”
The blond girl easily dismounted, took the basket from the horse’s back, and said, “Guess what’s for lunch today.”
“I can’t guess, but my mouth is watering because I smell the meat. There must be beef stew, right?” said Hans with a smile.
The blond girl, Barbara smiled more broadly. “Stewed beef and potatoes. I sprinkled some rosemary on it, the same rosemary we picked from Aunt Hill’s garden the other day.”
Li Du was very clumsy when he got down from the horse. The black horse did not stand quietly. It was still walking, so he was almost thrown off.
The dog ran up to Hans, its tongue lolling out. Hans poured some cold water from the canteen, and the dog drank happily.
Li Du said, “Looks like you two have a good relationship.”
Hans laughed. “Of course, I love Barbara, and she knows I love her…”
“I meant you and the dog,” added Li Du.
Hans laughed again. “Go to hell!”
Li Du was relieved to see that he could smile like this, and Hans laughed very happily and easily, not as if he were a prisoner, but as if he were right at home.
The young man beckoned to Barbara and said, “Those two must have a lot to talk about. Let’s give them some time alone.”
Barbara did not want to leave and said, “I’ll listen to what they have to say.”
“You must give him privacy, Barb,” said the young man with a smile.
“Hans says there can be no secrets between the two of us. We can be completely honest with each other,” Barbara retorted.
Hans smiled and said, “Yes, that’s right. Don’t leave, Barbara. Let’s talk.”