Friday, 29 September 2017


AKA. Chapter 33 on QI - The Stranger

After Lian Ze hearing what Lian Xiao Man said, he couldn't help agree. And said to Lian Fang Zhou: "Sister, how about letting Third Aunt come with us? It's better to have her with us."
    The way Lian Ze think is simple. Since he and Sister are still young and it's the first time heading to town, what could be done when they get tricked? Third Aunt is an adult and when the other party sees an adult is present, they might reconsider, right?
    The more important thing is, he suddenly finds out that Third Aunt isn't as loathsome as before. However, he still doesn't like her.
    "That's right! What Ah Ze said is right! With me, you won't be on the losing end!" Lian Xiao Man was delighted. She slapped her thigh and not allowing any more room for discussion, said: "It's decided like this. Now let's sleep earlier, so we can go earlier tomorrow."
    Without any choice, Lian Fang Zhou nodded: "Alright then. However, Third Aunt, I must say this beforehand. In front of others, you cannot interrupt me when I'm talking. Wait until I finish, then you can speak. Also not allowed to undermine me and the family head is still me!"
    "I know, I know! Why would I undermine you? We're all one family..." Third Aunt chattered as she returns to her room.
    The next day, early in the morning, the three of them left. Lian Fang Qing and Lian Che also woke up to send them off. Despite being half awake, Lian Fang Qing didn't forget to remind Sister and Brother to bring back yummy snacks.
    Yesterday, Uncle Wang gave them some simple pointers on driving the donkey cart. The donkey was also docile. So Lian Fang Zhou sat at the front driving the cart and Lian Ze and Third Aunt sat at the back.
    Third Aunt talked non-stop during the whole journey. She excitedly jibbered jabber, while Lian Ze answered occasionally. Lian Fang Zhou also found her to be too noisy, so might as well concentrate on driving and pretend to not hear anything--- isn't it just going to town? Look how excited she is!
    Everything went very smoothly. With just the two big and perfect Reishi Mushroom, they earned ten silver liang. But Third Aunt and Lian Ze don't know about this matter. Lian Fang Zhou had hidden it in a cloth when carrying it and then found some excuse to go to the medicinal shop to sell it.
    She needed to leave some money for emergencies. It's fine with Lian Ze, but definitely can't let Third Aunt know.
    Three full bags and a half of mushrooms were sold to a restaurant for nearly four liang. Third Aunt was ecstatic as if that money were hers. Her face was smiling like a blooming flower. While her hands were rubbing non-stop and she laughed happily: "Can't believe this! Really can't believe this!"
    Although Lian Ze's reaction wasn't as exaggerated as Third Aunt, he was also extremely overjoyed. Eyes lighting up as he smiled at Lian Fang Zhou.
    "Fang Zhou, it's better to let me hold the money, in case you lose it!" Third Aunt's heart was itching as she couldn't suppress saying.
    It'll be strange if Lian Fang Zhou agree. So with an indifference smile, she said: "No need to trouble Third Aunt. It'll be more convenient for me to hold it, as there are lots of things I need to buy in a while."
    Third Aunt still had something to say, but Lian Ze spoke out first: "Third Aunt, Sister, we should quickly go buy things, that way we return earlier! The winter sun sets earlier and it'll be cold on the way back if we're late."
    "Indeed, we better hurry then!" Lian Fang Zhou grinned.
    Without any choice, Third Aunt could only let it go.
    The three of them soon bought everything like bolts of cloth, needles, threads, rugs, blankets, quilts, seasonings, flour as well as other small bits and pieces.
    Lian Fang Zhou also went to few blacksmiths to look around the cost of making farming tools. It's about time to change the farm tools at home. She also checked out the prices of the Four Treasures of Study [1]. Afterwards, she enquired about the prices of the vegetables, fruits, and meats in the market-- things that she didn't know but needed to know.
    When passing by the makeup and hair accessories stall, she bought 2 hair scarves and 3 silky velvet flower pins. The hair scarves are for herself, while one of the flower pins are for Lian Fang Qing and other two are for Mrs. Zhao and Li Juan.
    But Third Aunt thought it was for her and the Lian sisters, so her heart was bursting with delight. Even put out her hand and said: "I keep my own one, so it doesn't get ruined."
    Lian Fang Zhou stared blankly: Aren't widows not allowed to wear red and green? And also bright flower hair accessories?
    And also, when did I ever say there's her share? And already so old...
    Seeing Lian Fang Zhou staring at her blankly, Third Aunt look at the flower and started laughing. And said: "Look at you. I'm already at this age and you bought such bright color. How could I wear it! I'll change it to something simple!"
    After saying that, she started to look at the stall and selected a willow green one. She placed it on her hair bun to size it up. Then asked the stall owner does it look good?
    Of course, he would grin and say it look good. 
    Third Aunt then turned toward Lian Fang Zhou: "I'll take this one then! So return that one!"
    Lian Fang Zhou smiled but did return the one in her hand. And also didn't say another word to Third Aunt. Just pay for another one and left.
    However Third Aunt was immersed in her inner happiness, so she didn't notice.
    "Let's eat something now. In a while, we're going back!" Lian Fang Zhou said after seeing a kinda of clean noodle shop by the roadside.
    "Alright, alright! I'm already starving!" said Third Aunt. She entered the shop first.
    "Sister, actually we could just buy few mantou nearby. We each get a bowl of soup is enough..." Lian Ze spoke out.
    Such understanding words made people heartache. Lian Fang Zhou gave a slight smile. As she pulled Lian Ze in, she said: "Having one bowl of noodle doesn't cost much, Sister know what to do!"
    The siblings just sat down, when Third Aunt said: "I just ordered a braised pork noodle. What do you guys want?"
    Lian Ze wanted to get a vegetarian noodle but Lian Fang Zhou stopped him and ordered two bowls of braised pork noodle as well.
    Today was Market day, so the streets were crowded and very chaotic. This little shop was also packed with people, which comes with problems. It was really lively.
    A horse carriage just passed by the entrance. But because there were so many people, the horse carriage moved really slow. The driver would keep yelling out "Make way! Please make way!" His tone was very polite, not one bit irritated or overbearing. So Lian Fang Zhou couldn't help but watch some more.
    Right about then, the waiter brought over the noodles. He saw the situation and grinned: "That's Grand Tutor Ding Family carriage. Have to say that Grand Tutor Ding is really a good person. He was the king's teacher but doesn't put on air. Also the manor's servants are very polite, never domineering.
    "Grand Tutor Ding?" Lian Fang Zhou grinned: "Our County Yu actually produced such a big official!"
    "That's right!" the waiter nodded and continued: " Sadly, he's retired!"
    Then he hurried back to work.
    Third Aunt stretched her head toward the horse carriage to catch a look. But immediately took back her gaze with disinterest, mouth twitching: "Afraid there's not much to that tutor's home. Their horse looks so old. It's worst than our villager Li Yuan's maternal family one! What are you looking at brat? Hurry out eat or else it'll be cold!"
    Seeing Lian Ze's eyes fixed on the outside, Third Aunt grinned as she patted his shoulder.
    "I wasn't looking..." Lian Ze took back his gaze and continued eating.
    Lian Fang Zhou followed his line of gaze and paused. Lian Ze certainly wasn't looking at Grand Tutor Ding's family carriage, but instead a man sitting at an angle on the opposite street.

[1] writing brush, an ink stick, an ink stone and paper.

Friday, 15 September 2017


It's 32 on QI.
First chap after a long while, so apologies to you guys for being sooo late. Had some family situations and a tiny tiny bit of procrastination.
I just threw this chap to Grammarly and probably the future chaps too. So I'll apologize to grammar frantic now for my lack of editing talent. Sorry, guys.

33.Who enter the town. who stay at home.

 Lian Fang Zhou didn't move. Lian Ze lowered his head with an indifferent face, pretending he didn't hear anything. He couldn't help lift his complaining eyes to look at his sister: Sister is really muddled-headed, why did you take the initiative to bring back this trouble.
 Lian Fang Zhou sneered inwardly, but not one bit was obvious on her face, treating as if Lian Xiao Man didn't say anything at all. She picked up her chopsticks without a care, then grinned toward her siblings: "It'll be cold in a moment, so quickly eat it while it's hot."
 Only then did she smiled toward Lian Xiao Man. In a steady tone, she said: "Third Aunt, this is what our family has always been eating, so made Third Aunt suffer. Anyhow Third Aunt you could endure today, then tomorrow, how about Lian Ze and I send you back?"
    Lian Xiao Man's expression changed, face slightly sunk: "What are you saying? Driving me away?"
 Her eyes turned, mouth just opened to start crying "Aiya---", when Lian Fang Zhou coldly called out "Third Aunt!" Making her(Xiao Man) stop suddenly.
 Lian Xiao Man was never someone with little courage/guts. But don't know why, Lian Fang Zhou at this time, make her a bit scared for some reason.
 "I am an elder!" Lian Xiao Man strengthened herself and she bolstered her courage as she coldly harrumphed.
 "I didn't say you weren't," Lian Fang Zhou blandly said: "I also didn't say driving you out, but you are a married off aunt, your husband's family is your home. You won't deny this, right? Since you aren't used to my house's food, so is there something to pick at when I say sending you back? You, an elder, need us, younger generations to take care of you, hmph, still have the heart to be picky! I will ask your husband's family, can it be that they the Tian Family doesn't feed their own daughter-in-law, forcing the daughter-in-law to return to the maternal family to rely on still kids nephew and nieces to be taken care of?"   
 "You--" Lian Xiao Man's face paled, didn't dare say anything anymore.
 If she was staying at Lian Li's home, taking care of her for a while is reasonable, since Lian Li is her brother. Even if taking her over to in-law family to talk, it's both side's arguments, just seeing whose mouth is better at talking.
 But now she's staying at Lian Fang Zhou's, then everything's different.
 If Tian Family let their own daughter-in-law return to maternal home to eat parentless nephew's and niece's, then Tian Family's back(reputation) will definitely be broken by someone! This reputation would be ruined.
 In order to avoid getting back breaking, Tian Family will force her to return, and after returning--
 Lian Xiao Man was startled as well as afraid, for a while her anger dissipated
 "Fang Zhou, Great Aunt said the wrong thing, don't be angry!" Lian Xiao Man hurriedly put on a smiling face, apologetically smiled: "I won't say it anymore! I'll stay together with you, and can help with managing the household!" 
 Help them manage the household? Lian Fang Zhou nearly laughed!
 She doesn't what kind of person her own deceased father was like, would it be like Big Uncle and Third Aunt? Considering these two were deserved to be called siblings.
 "If Third Aunt wants to stay, then stay. As to managing the household, no need to trouble Third Aunt! Our family has me as the family head!" Lian Fang Zhou bluntly refused.
 "You're a child, what would you know! Unless you don't trust Third Aunt?" Lian Xiao Man was the kind that wouldn't turn around after hitting a wall unless she lost half her life then she'll turn around.
 Lian Fang Zhou thought can I even trust you?
 Of course, she can't say this out loud, she glossed over it: "In the end, Third Aunt doesn't count as our family member anymore, sooner or later will have to return! So don't need to be this problematic! If Third Aunt doesn't feel satisfied or unhappy, you could leave tomorrow!"
 "No, no!" Lian Xiao Man's face changed when leaving was mentioned. She quickly begged: "Fang Zhou, everyone in that house hate me to death and torment me. I can't go back there! You also saw how your Uncle and Aunt treat me like a foe. They won't give me justice and say some fair words. I have no husband or maternal family to count on. Going back means sending myself to death! I, I won't mention about the matter of being the family head, alright? Fang Zhou, you can't drive me out!" 
 Hearing her say it that tragically, Lian Fang Zhou couldn't help have some pity. She(Xiao Man) as a person is really detestable, can see that her mouth is fierce, and have some presumptuous cleverness(smart in petty tricks), deep down she's not a bad person--- also need what it takes to be bad.
 Just like she said, driving her out is sending her to death. Thinking about it, her days weren't good, even though it wasn't as severe as she said it was. And there's nothing bad having one elder in the house.
 Another thing, one sentence Mrs. Qiao said right, there's enough food to eat now. And having her (Xiao Man) look after the two little ones, she herself can free up more effort to focus on other matters.
 Lian Fang Zhou has already made up her mind, but still with an expressionless face, said: "As long as you don't cause trouble, you can stay Third Aunt. What we eat, is what you eat, anyway, we won't treat you bad. But you also have to do some housework. If you're willing, then stay. If not, tomorrow, we'll send you back!"
 Lian Xiao Man felt a burst of vexation, and thought, aren't you telling me to stay as an old maid? She wanted to disagree in a fit of pique, but also afraid that Lian Fang Zhou would really send her back tomorrow. When thinking about her husband's family situation, she weighed up the two side and she finally reluctantly nodded in agreement.
The two smaller ones were young and ingenuous, didn't understand what's going on, however, Lian Ze was relieved.
 "Then that's fine!" Lain Fang Zhou also slightly smiled, and said: "Quickly eat, if not it'll be cold!"
 Lian Xiao Man didn't dare be picky again and started eating with them.
 At night, when going to bed, the sisters and Lian Xiao Man shared one room. Luckily the original partition wasn't taken down, so Lian Xiao Man slept in the inner one and the two sisters slept in the outer.
 Lian Xiao Man quietly mumbled: "This house is a bit small. It would be better to build a bigger one!"
 Just finished speaking, Lian Fang Zhou glanced over. She then shut up.
 The second day, starting from the morning, Lian Fang Zhou didn't let Lian Xiao Man be idle. Made her help with meals, washing the clothes, tidy up the room and rest. Lian Xiao Man dare not butt head with her (Fang Zhou), so could only stomach her anger.
 From time to time, she deeply sighed and sulkily hammered her waist, pretending to be tired. Lian Fang Zhou just act as if she didn't see and ignore her. Lian Xiao Man was pissed, however, couldn't do anything to Lian Fang Zhou and only honestly endure.
 The mushrooms were already sun-dried, so Lian Fang Zhou planned to go to the market the next day. Since the road is really long and there's  a lot that needed to be brought, Lian Fang Zhou spent 15 coppers to rent a donkey cart from Uncle Wang in the village.
 Hearing about going into county town tomorrow, Lian Fang Qing was so excited and wanted to go. However Lian Che sensibly held her back: "Fourth Sister, it's better that we wait for Sister and Second Brother at home. Don't go with them. Sister and Second Brother is going to work!"
 How would Lian Fang Qing be willing to listen? She shook her head: "Don't want to! I want to go, I could also help Sister and Second Brother with work!"
 Lian Xiao Man gasped and said: "We're working, so where would we have time to take care of you! Third Aunt is telling you, in town, there are loads of kidnappers who purposely kidnap children. Being kidnapped by thorough kidnappers, you'll be sold to a wealthy family as a maid and never see your brothers and sister again!"
 Lian Fang Qing was frightened, she was really somewhat afraid. She looked toward Lian Fang Zhou.
 She was skeptical of Third Aunt's words, but she believed her own sister's.
 Lian Fang Zhou wasn't willing to lie to her-- the younger siblings trust her that much, so she doesn't want to lose their trust.
 She gently rubbed Lian Fang Qing's head, softly said: "Although it's not as terrible as Third Aunt said, there are kidnappers. You be good and stay at home, I'll buy yummy food to bring back for you to eat, alright? Wait until when we're free, I'll take you there!"
 "Sister, you and Second Brother come back soon, we'll stay at home, don't worry!" Not waiting for Lian Fang Qing to speak, Lian Che quickly spoke out.
 Lian Fang Qing pouted, but didn't continue to pester, only reminded Lian Fang Zhou: "Sister don't forget to buy us yummy food!"
 "Alright, I remembered!" Lian Fang Zhou smiled, then grinned toward Lian Xiao Man: "Third Aunt, tomorrow I'll trouble to watch over Qing er and Che er at home!"
 "What?" Lian Xiao Man paused, then quickly said: "I stay back? Naturally, I should go with you to town! Since I'm an adult and a lot of matters you children won't understand ah. Like when buying things, get tricked! Is there any need to watch over Qing er and  Che er? They grew up here and no longer little toddlers!"

 Author Note- Cough, a new character is about to appear.