Thursday, 27 December 2018


67. Raising Fund

With the sixty liang, she can use it to buy land. An ordinary one is four liang per mu[mu, a traditional unit of area(1 mu=0.0667 hectare)]. So, they can buy fifteen mu, and all these are just for planting cotton! Although it is a difference from her original plan, she could only make do with this for now.

Next year, the whole family will have to suffer a bit. After that, they will be much better off.

When Lian Fang Zhou said she wants to put all of the money, including the earning that they have yet to receive from charcoal, to buy land to grow cotton, the whole family was shocked.

Third Aunt was the first to object. Full of anger and agitation, she spoke, "Fang Zhou, don't be silly! Everyone has been deliberating over this matter these few days. They wish to avoid it as much as possible, and none would step forward. If it were a worthwhile matter, the government would have already passed it to those big landlords and influential squire. How could us ordinary citizen have a chance? Hmph, I heard those wealthy landlords had already gone to negotiate with the county council. Some already planned to throw away the seeds through selling and pay the tax like usual during harvest, while others didn't even bother with selling. Hmph, the governments are just bullying us, ordinary citizens. Who told us not to have money or connections. Buying lands isn't a bad idea, but you can't plant whatever flower! How could flower possibly turn to clothes to wear! What a joke, are they treating people as a fool!"

"Sister, Third Aunt's words are reasonable. So why do you want to grow cotton?" Lian Ze questioned.

Lian Che and Lian Fang Qing were still young, so they only silently watch at the sideline.

Lian Fang Zhou responded, "I want to give it a try. I have a feeling that the government isn't trying to trick people! This isn't a small matter! Look how many common people have been dragged in, aren't they afraid of causing chaos? As for cotton can make clothes, even if they want to fool people they won't use this kind of lie, no? I believe its the truth. Hemp could be spun into yarn and turned into cloth. If you just look at the field of hemp, you can't connect it to cloth, right? Let's give it a try! Anyway, we need to buy the land and if we been fooled next year, then the year after we won't grow them anymore. The only problem is that we'll be poorly off next year."

As always, Lian Ze complied to his sister, and readily agreed. "I can see the logic in Sister's words. It won't hurt to give it a go. And also next year, when the weather is warm, we can go to Mount Xian Teng to pick mushrooms to sell! I can also go hunt! Big Brother Ah Jian said there's no time now with the charcoal business. When we have more free time, he'll take me to Mount Xian Teng."

"I heard that Mount Xian Teng was a bountiful place and want to go see for myself!" Ah Jian gave a faint laugh and explained. As to the cotton matter, he has no opinion as he isn't part of the family.

"Who's talking about that!" Third Aunt anxiously persuaded Lian Fang Zhou with all her might, but Lian Fang Zhou had settled on this plan and wouldn't change her mind. Lian Ze also supported her. At the end of her wits, Third Aunt pointed out, "Even if you want that many cotton plant, have you thought of the number of seeds? There aren't that many seeds!"

"That's simple! Look for Li Zheng, since there are so many people who don't want to plant them!" Lian Che answered. "Our sister did send charcoal to Li Zheng Uncle, so Li Zheng Uncle will definitely help!"

"Oh, you rugrat!" Third Aunt shot him a pointed glare at his words.

Lian Fang Zhou's eyes flashed and rushed to ask, "How did you know I sent charcoal to Li Zheng's home?"

Although that day she had brought the two little one with her to pack the charcoal, she hasn't told them it was for Mrs. Niu. There was no need to announce it everywhere as she only needed Mrs. Niu to remember her good point.

As well as that, if announced, it would turn bad instead. After all, her family consisted of orphans!

"I know! I know!" Lian Fang Qing snatched to say. "It was Zhang Yan who told someone else!"

Zhang Yan? Li Zheng's daughter? Lian Fang Zhou paused. Then there's nothing she can do about it.

After some contemplation, she instructed, "Qing-er, Che-er, in a bit pick a basketful of charcoal to send over to Uncle and Aunt!"

"Why? I don't want to!" Lian Fang Qing pouted. Lian Che also disagreed.

"It's okay. Our family had collected that many charcoal pieces back. It's more than enough for this winter. So it doesn't matter if we send down some to them! Be good! Lian Fang Zhou gently coaxed.

"I understand, Sister! In a while, I'll pack some with fourth sis!" Lian Che yielded.

Lian Fang Qing kept pouting and no longer spoke.

"You being so generous!" Third Aunt glowered at Lian Fang Zhou. As she was about to follow up with more, it came to her. Is Lian Fang Zou purposely changing the topic by giving this order? Third Aunt then threw away her currents stream of thoughts and continued moaning. "Fang Zhou ah, you really can't step up on the cotton matter! What if it failed? You'll waste the field and the money and also get laughed at by others! How about just trying with the amount requested and if it succeeds, then you can plant more the year after!"

Her words sounded practical. Lian Ze enquiringly turned to Lian Fang Zhou. If Lian Fang Zhou insist on doing that, he would also support her.

"Third Aunt, the matter is settled like this!" Lian Fang Zhou sighed. "What do you think I have been doing the last few days? I wanted to borrow money to buy more land to plant more. But sadly wasn't able to! So for now, we can only plant ten mu!"

Once her words were out, everyone was surprised.

"You really are-" Suddenly an idea came to Third Aunt. "You really want to borrow money?"

"Yes!" Lian Fang Zhou nodded, answering her last question.

Third Aunt continued. "Look, others aren't willing to lend. That means this matter isn't reliable! But you refuse to come to your sense! There is one person you can try asking. If that person is willing as well, then that clearly means this project isn't doable. Then how about getting rid of that idea?"

"Who do you have in mind, Third Aunt?" Lian Fang Zhou blocked out her persuasion, grabbed onto the part before it and urgently asked. Maybe she can really give it a try! As long as there's hope, she would fight for it.

Confound, Third Aunt replied, "You don't remember? You have a cousin called Fang Qing. Four years ago, she married into neighboring Shuang Liu county town's Su Family! That Su Family is very wealthy. In that family, there's one son, your cousin-in-law and one daughter. They have numerous amount of farmland and a countless number of shops! Completely overspilling with wealthy. Her mother and your mother were cousins. Your maternal grandmother and hers are blood-related!"

Lian Ze's expression shown sudden realization. "I kinda recall Mother telling us about it. She said that Aunt lived with her at Grandma's place for some time when they were young. Aunt and Mother were pretty close! However, she had already died from sickness a few years ago. Aunt only has one daughter, cousin Fang Qing. Mother had helped her out, but later on, her family has moved. Hear she supposedly married into Shuang Liu's rich family. Because they're quite a distance from us, we couldn't stay in contact."

Lian Fang Zhou was slightly confused from listening, but she did understand a part of it. One, the two households have a family connection but haven't got together for a long time. Two, this family connection is quite far away...

To borrow from a relative that they haven't connect with for a long time is quite tricky, even if there's some relationship with the previous generation.

Lian Fang Zhou's mind turned. She decided to give it a try--Maybe, by some tiny chance, it will work out?

Tuesday, 25 December 2018


Merry Xmas dear Readers!

66. Li Zheng has a big announcement (3)

 "Waste of saliva!" Zhang Li Zheng gave a pointed look at the direction of the voice. In reproaching manner, he spoke. "The seeds didn't just drop from the sky. So how could it not cost money? It's already at a low price! And also, when the harvest season arrives, these harvest tax would be half equal to half of the crop harvest tax. This also counts as the imperial court being generous."

When hearing that it cost money, everyone burst into a discussion. Now understanding the tax was halved, instead of being delighted, they became even more distressed. Distress is no small matter.

Think about it. Why would the imperial court collect less tax?

"Zhang Li Zheng, if there's someone who is willing to help others grow the plants, is it allowed?" Lian Fang Zhou raised her voice to shout out her question.

In the midst of the crowd, someone made a mocking sound which was then followed by laughter as he looked at Lian Fang Zhou with full of ridicule. In his mind, he wondered if the Lian Family's eldest has lost her mind. Who would actually be willing to help others grow these things? It's more likely that they would wish to throw all this onto someone else's shoulder!

Zhang Li Zheng was also taken by surprise. After a moment of consideration, he nodded. "There's no problem as long as both parties are willing!"

"Ok!" Lian Fang Zhou acknowledged. And continued questioning. "Then did the imperial court send anyone down to give guidance on how to grow these?"

"None!" Zhang Li Zheng replied. " It's just growing plants. Which farmer doesn't know how to? So there's no need for the imperial court to do something as troublesome as sending someone down to give pointers!"

 Lian Fang Zhou showed an expression as if it just dawned on her and no longer spoke.

 Actually, the truth is that the imperial court did plan to send someone to give pointers since these plants are rare and not many know how to grow them. However, the Southwest Governor took the initiative to handle this project to curry favor with the Crown Prince. And to show off his citizen's talents, he refused to let the imperial court send someone over. Isn't it just farming? The new plants are also plants. Just scatter it on the ground, give some care, and water and it'll be grand!

 And on top of that, it's just a trial project. If it didn't succeed, then he would have reasons to justify like unsuitable environment, inappropriate weather and the likes.

So rewording it, when unsuccessful, show a positive and sincere attitude. And if it's successful, then he would gain great merit!

"Alright! Alright! This matter is settled then! Later, don't forget to come over to my place to collect the seeds! Don't forget okay!" Zhang Li Zheng finished up and waved his hand toward below. "You can disperse now!"

Everyone started left while discussing.

"Only she could possibly do it. To ask such stupid questions; complete utter nonsense! Can't believe she's not afraid of being mocked!" Lian Fang Zhou heard Mrs. Qiao prattled on nearby in a disgruntled tone.

She and Lian Ze exchanged a glance and directed a faint smile at Lian Ze. They left together without bothering with Mrs. Qiao.

Gradually they have gone far, and nobody else was around, Aunt Zhang reassuringly told Lian Fang Zhou, "You don't have to worry about this matter yet. In a few days, we'll watch how the other guys handle it first, then we'll follow!"

Lian Fang Zhou halted for a second. She wasn't able to catch on her meaning, but she did understand Aunt Zhang would never harm them, so she obediently nodded for now. Then they parted way.

Only then did Lian Ze spoke up. "Sister, Aunt Zhang is right. Though Zhang Li Zheng explained it very serious just now, he also has his own headache. Not many people would willingly take the initiative to go collect the seeds! So we'll just sit and watch for now. If everyone doesn't collect it, then we'll do the same!"

This is can't hold everyone responsible [1]

After a short contemplation, Lian Fang Zhou was at ease. It's not like other matters. This matter means taking up everyone's field! It's a matter that is close to taking their life, so who wouldn't go against it if they can.

However, this also clearly says her opportunity has come! After all, she didn't ask those few questions for no reason.

Others might not know what potatoes and cotton are, but she knows. These are useful stuff!

Leaving potato aside, as long as they have grown one batch, they can make high-quality cotton cloth and cotton gauze. Just using these to make clothes and quilt, they can earn a fortune!

There's more to sowing the cotton into the soil and looking after it diligently. The most critical part is handling the topsoil. If they didn't know about it, most farmers wouldn't think about doing this.

Apart from this, it is also very particular on how to care for it during the planting period, when is the best time to pick the cotton and the handling of it after it was plucked.

Lian Fang Zhou returned home in high spirit. But it gradually died down and became somewhat disheartened.

The reason for this is lack of money.

Such a hard to come by opportunity. And she was confident that that next year everyone will find out about cotton's benefit. And at that time what can she use to contest those rich people? She must grab the first-mover opportunity!

With just first-mover opportunity, seeds and skills, it's still not enough. The most essential components are land and human resources.

And money is needed to buy land and hire labor force.

In her opinion, hiring people isn't very safe. The best method is to buy few honest and capable ones from the slave trader. This way she can prevent the skills from being stolen away.

However, this means there's more mouth to feed and need more space to shelter...

Without adding up the expenses, she wouldn't have known how shocking the cost is.

Anyway, Lian Fang Zhou understood that no matter how much they diligently sell charcoal, they won't be able to gather enough fund.

Lian Fang Zhou gave a long gentle sigh. Should she give up? But she was unwilling as once she passes this point, she can't turn back!

There's only one opportunity!

Initially, she wanted to try borrowing money. But now thinking about, she can only cast aside this idea.

Nobody would be willing to lend over hundred thousand silver to her. As for mortgaging... Her family condition is like this, so there's nothing to put on the stake.

What about trying to partner with someone? Within this region, only Shang village's landlord, Zhu Manor's Official (Yuan Wai [2]) Zhu, Shi Wan's wealthy Mr. Li, and our village's Official[2] Wang.

Lian Fang Zhou knows her hopes are uncertain, but she definitely doesn't want to lose this once in a million chance. So even with the slightest possibility, she wants to give it a try.

The outcome was terrible. When these officials and the rich man are polite, they tactfully refuse. If not, they had outright shooed away before she even get a chance to speak and some didn't meet her.

All of them without exception, looked at her like she was some fool and wondered if the Lian Family's eldest has gone mad.

Lian Fang Zhou had also gone to the town's Zhao Family to seek for Zhao Ru Jun. In her opinion, Zhao Ru Jun must be a genius to be able to handle the family business without breaking a sweat. Chances are she could be different from the others!

Unfortunately, she wasn't able to meet Zhao Ru Jun. At the time, Xi Que caught a glimpse of her when she arrived. Xi Que halted the gatekeeper who was going to report to Young Miss and ordered the gatekeeper to send her out. She also spat toward the retreating figure. "What do you think you are? She should take a look at a mirror. With just her, she dares to come here to seek Young Miss boldly! Our Young Miss isn't someone she wants to meet just because she wants to. Utterly without shame!"

Without any other ideas, Lian Fang Zhou could only use what money at hand for this matter.
She briefly calculated. This winter's charcoal earned sixty-seventy liang, the leftover of Yang Family's dissolving engagement compensation was around ten liang and from selling mushrooms came up to ten liang. Meaning it adds up to around ninety liang.

Leaving thirty liang aside for all of next year's expenses and Lian Che's study use, only sixty liang could be used.

 [1]- because everyone is doing it, you can't punish everyone. refer to
[2]Yuan Wai- an official position second only to the Assistant Minister


Thursday, 29 November 2018


65. Li Zheng has a big announcement

 Whenever there’s a huge issue, each village's Li Zheng would gather everyone at a particular place for a discussion. In Da Fang village, the appointed spot was under the camphor tree in the middle of the village. For example, in the spring planting time, he would give a reminder to quickly sow the seed in order not to miss the period. In autumn, a caution against fire hazard in the dry season; or announce when to hand in tax after harvest season. Also when the imperial court is in need of soldiers and other corvee matters like that. It’s all announced by the Li Zheng.

However, matters like recruiting soldiers and corvee rarely happen. Usually, it’s about the spring planting or harvest matters. To have an announcement at this time and an urgent one as well, one can't help but worry. No wonder that Third Aunt is sighing here and there.

Lian Fang Zhou declared. “Let it be! When the time comes, we’ll know. Our family consists of half-grown children so we might not get affected.”

Third Aunt pondered about it and felt that her words make sense. So she didn’t bother with it anymore. 

 As soon as evening came, Lian Fang Zhou, Lian Ze and the Li couple returned first. They have done a simple clean up, and as prearranged, they headed the giant camphor tree together.

When they arrived, there were already villagers scattered around the camphor tree. Everyone was in a group of two or three, discussing something.
It was clear, that Li Zheng’s lip was tight. Even till the last second, nobody knew what was happening. These discussion and guessing were just to pass the time.

More and more people gathered. It had already become tightly packed in the area. Lian Li and Mrs. Qiao had also arrived. When they saw that the Lian siblings had come with the Li couple, one remained silent, and the other spat on the ground as she criticized them. Afterward, she didn’t bother looking at them anymore.

Not long later, Zhang Li Zheng had arrived and stood on the high stone platform under the camphor tree. He swept a gaze around, on the top of his vocal cord, he asked a few times, “Is everyone here?”
Everyone answered over each other, “We're all here! Quickly tell us!”

Zhang Li Zheng cleared his throat, loudly called out, “Everyone, quiet down. Quiet down for a bit and listen to me!”

After a few rounds of yelling did everyone become silent and they all focus their eyes on Zhang Li Zheng.

Then Zhang Li Zheng slowly announced, “ The county hall had just passed down a notice. The state has two new seedlings to pass out that everyone is required to try growing next year--”
He had yet to finish before below broke out into chaos.

“What! New seedlings? Are they reliable?”

“Try growing? Using our own land?”

“Waste of saliva! If not using your own land, then where are you going to plant them?”

“That can't do! What will happen to the crops? If we don’t plant crops, we going to starve next year!”

“I agree. Now they are forcing us to grow some unknown thing and when the time comes, will the officials care about us being starved?”

“You must be dreaming. Which officials ever care about us common people’s life or death!”

 “Oh, please don’t argue yet! Quiet down the noise first. We haven't heard what Zhang Li Zheng have to say.” 

Zhang Li Zheng wasn’t anxious when the crowd broke into chaos. As if he knew everyone would react like this. He stood there and watched silently with steady composure.   

"Oh, why did this happen out of nowhere!? This unknown seed, can it be better than grain? Oh my!" Aunt Zhang deeply sighed.

 "What else can we do? The official has passed down the words, we can't disobey, right?" Uncle Li is an honest man.  Giving it some more thoughts, he continued, "At most, we'll just make a few more charcoal and save some more money. So when the time comes, we can buy grains. We won't starve."

At his reasonable words, Aunt Zhang nodded and let go of her anxiety and dilemma.

But she did feel a bit depressed because she initially thought this year they can have a prosperous New Year and get a lot more stuff. But now, they'll have to come up with a new plan.

Lian Fang Zhou gave a slight encouraging smile, "Uncle Li, Aunt Zhang, let's listen so more first. There's a chance it might be a good matter!"

Uncle Li and Aunt Zhang gave a grim laugh. They both have the same thought. Is there ever a good matter from the official? If there is, it would have already snatched by someone else and not become like this!

Seeing everyone chattered enough, Zhang Li Zheng loudly called for everyone to quiet down again. He continued on, "Well, these two things, one is called potato, and the other is called cotton. Potato can be eaten like grains. As for cotton, it can be used to made clothes..."

Reaching to this part, below exploded into chaos again.

 Lian Fang Zhou's mind also exploded. She immediately shot her head toward Zhang Li Zheng and tried to control her agitation.

Potato! Cotton! These are stuff with great value!

But, no matter how good things are, people need to know its benefits for it to become good things! To those who never seen it, they have other thoughts about it.

For instance, the crowd of country folks here is reacting extremely angrily.

"I have farmed my whole and have never heard of a bean[2] growing in the soil! Who are you trying to hoodwink? Why not just call it peanut!"

"It definitely can't compare to peanut. So it can't even match up to that name!"

"That cotton[3]  thing is even worst. Flowers can be turned into clothes! Why not just wear leaves then!"

The crowd burst into a wave of mocking laughter. After the laughter died, they were even moodier and furious.
They all have the same thought: the officials are going too far! They clearly want the farmers' life.

"Sister, don't worry! We can make some more charcoal with Uncle Li. And also next year, I can enter the mountain to hunt!" Lian Ze assumed Lian Fang Zhou was drowning in worry and hurried to comfort her in a small voice.

"Sister is fine! You don't have to worry!" Lian Fang Zhou gave him a faint smile.

The amount of rejection and rage from everyone was well over Zhang Li Zheng's expectation. Zhang Li Zheng was also losing his patience and loudly yelled. "Quiet down everyone! Listen to me!  What use is there to your ruckus? You think after complaining you don't have to get the seed?"

His words were undoubtedly the truth. So at his words and Zhang Li Zheng's wrath, they all depressingly closed their mouth.

"Zhang Li Zheng, you must think of a solution for everyone! It can't be this way! Next year, my family of old and young would starve!" Someone pleaded with a bitter face. This obtained everyone else's support.

"How could I not know your difficulties!" Zhang Li Zheng then let out a long sigh. "But this is the imperial court's decision.  The three southwest provinces had to choose three counties each to experiment the new seeds. Our Yu He County is one of them. What else can we say? You come to me for an idea, then who do I turn to? Aren't I still in the same position as you? I must also grow them! No one can avoid planting them. Alright then, when you get pressed charged against and get sent to the Yamen[1], don't say I didn't warn you!"

Once Zhang Li Zheng declared this, they all became so quiet that a pin drop could be heard and drooped down their head with a frown locked in place.

"Zhang Li Zheng, It can't be that every household must plant all their field with these things?" Someone questioned.

Everyone's mood surged up as their head all swoop up toward Zhang Li Zheng at the same time. Since we can't escape from it, then we'll plant them. But at least let us plant grains in the leftover field!

Zhang Li Zheng's expression loosened when he saw everyone firmly within grasp. "The official did have everyone in their mind, so how could they possibly do that? Each household only needs to plant one half of the field with potato and cotton. The rest, you can plant whatever you want! The potato seed is two wen per one jin, and cottonseed is five wen per one jin!"

"What! We need to give money!" Someone cried out in surprise.

[1] [local bureaucrat - handle local finance, capital works, judging of civil and criminal cases, and issuing decrees and policies.]
[2] [in Chinese potato literally mean soil bean]
[3][in Chinese cotton literally mean fibre flower]


Friday, 9 November 2018


64. Li Zheng has a big announcement (1)

The weather wasn’t cold yet. This time all the freshly made charcoal were placed in Li Family’s storage shed. They plan to sell them after a while. While the weather is good, everyone used the time they had to make more.

One day, Lian Fang Zhou bumped into Zhang Li Zheng (-junior village official)’s wife, Mrs. Niu on the road. Lian Fang Zhou warmly greeted her. Mrs. Niu returned with a smile, and as passing, she mentioned about her and Li Family’s charcoal business. Her words were underlined with absolute envy and also carried a bit of hidden tartness.

This Mrs. Niu considered herself mighty, and what's more, she got a trait of loving small gain. Relying on her status as the village official's wife, she benefited a lot from others. At most, it's just some garlic and scallion or a trivial matter snatching to receive gains first. Because of Li Zheng's face, everyone just grumbled a bit behind her back. No one would hold a grudge against her.

In response to her words, Lian Fang Zhou's mind began turning. Somewhat sheepishly, she confessed. “To tell you the truth, Uncle Li and Aunt Zhang saw that we're pitiful, so they supported us out a bit. How much strength could we have? We can't call it a partnership! However, we did bring home a good bit of broken charcoal chunks that aren't worth much. If  Aunt Niu doesn’t mind, I'll send some down to you later on. It's still good charcoal, and you can use it for the stove in the winter time.”

Mrs. Niu’s face blossomed into a giant grin straight away. Her eyes shone as her mouth joyously uttered, “Oh my, how could I possibly take it? Charcoal chunks are still charcoal. You can still use it as normal.  ”

“There’s a lot! We can't use it all anyway. In any case, we still need to give it away, so giving it to anyone is still giving away.” Lian Fang Zhou decided. “Later in the afternoon, I’ll send some down to your home!”

“Hoho, look at you lass, you're becoming smooth-spoken! Since you said it like this, what else can I say!” Mrs. Niu eyes twinkled but then contemplated.  “I’m afraid there's nobody home in the afternoon. How about this, send them over after dinner.”

Mrs. Niu grandson just turned six months, so how could there be no one home? The nogs in Lian Fang Zhou head turned. Then she understood Mrs. Niu's misgiving. Her family is parentless, so Mrs. Niu is afraid of others speaking poorly of her for taking their stuff. This is a roundabout way of hinting her to go over in the dark.

Currently,  the weather isn't like summer, so people don't out much in the evening.

“Alright,” she outright agreed. "After dinner, I still need to wash some dish and tidy up the house. So I might be much later.”

“That’s fine! We head to bed pretty late! Our little grandson is very colicky.” Mrs. Niu became even more delighted hearing the words that match her desire.

Lian Fang Zhou followed up her words with praises for her grandson. This made Mrs. Niu so overjoyed that flowers bloomed around her.

Li Zheng is neither small or big position, but it is the one in control at the moment. So there’s no disadvantage in having a better relationship with them.

Just like Aunt Zhang said, Lian Li and Mrs. Qiao are elders after all. With that kind of personality, who knows what they would do in the future.

When the time comes, they might need to ask for justice from Li Zheng.

She doesn’t hope for him to be partial, but at least being reasonable is enough for her.

These matters, she must plan while she can.

When she returned home, she brought Lian Fang Qing and Lian Che with her to the attic. They pack some good charcoal chunks that were piled there into a sack, so it was ready to be taken over to Mrs. Niu's.

Even though it was called broken charcoal chunks, it wasn't broken pieces. Compare to the one-meter long charcoal; they were obviously bits and bobs. Some were two fingers long, some were around one finger long, and some were also split into halves. It's unavoidable to have broken chunks like these in each patch of charcoal. Those that can't be sold were brought home to use.

When Mrs. Niu saw that Lian Fang Zhou actually came, she felt completely satisfied on the inside and received it with a beaming grin.  She also lamented how it wasn't easy for the siblings. And also mentioned if they ever need help, ask!

These were courtesy words. But with Mrs. Niu, it's most likely that she was afraid that she got request and decided to test the water. Without saying, Lian Fang Zhou just politely gave thanks and didn't make any demand. After some small talks, she left.

Zhang Li Zheng observed his wife glowing with joy as she carried a sack of something into the house and questioned. "Who was it just now? Why did they leave before even coming in? What is that? Did you ask for something from others again?"

"What are you saying!" Mrs. Niu glared at Zhang Li Zheng. Full of displeasure, she rebutted. "What with 'I ask for something from others again'? Oh, take a look! It's just some worthless charcoal pieces! I have to say; it's so sweet of that child, Fang  Zhou. She knew that our family needs to dry our grandson's nappies every day, so she sent over some charcoal chunks.  Anyway, this thing doesn't cost her anything, so why can't I accept them?"

With this, Zhang Li Zheng didn't say anything. He also dotes on their grandson.

Right now, it's the beginning of winter. Every day the sun rises as usual however despite it being brighter than summer, it doesn't have the warmth.

And Li Zheng's grandson needed to change at least around a dozen of nappies each day.  They can only use charcoal fire to dry them.

Last winter, they had some charcoal left over. But they became damp since they had left it at a random corner. Now when they use it, it would make a horrid, choking smell and fill the house with that scent.

It's a stroke of good luck that Lian Fang Zhou sent some charcoal chunk now.  This act makes one's heart feel moved.

"Oh fine then, since she seldom shows her consideration. But if it was other things, you can't just take!  After all, " Zhang Li Zheng paused a moment. " they are different from other families!"

Their family consisted of orphans. Accepting their things is asking to be spoken poorly.

"I know! I still have a sense of moderation, no?" Mrs. Niu rolled her eyes. "They are working with Li Da Mu's family in making charcoal. I don't know how much profit they get, but they have access to an endless amount of these charcoal pieces! While ours here isn't that much!"

With an approving tone, she commented as she sighed. "Oh, I had never noticed before, that lass, Fang Zhou is so warm-hearted and so agreeable. She and her siblings are quite pitiful. In the future, if we can speak a few words for them, then let's help them! It can count as accumulating blessing for our grandson!"

Zhang Li Zheng gave her a withering glance and stated. "That goes without saying, do you even need to say it? I didn't become the Li Zheng for no reason!"

Early one day, Zhang Li Zheng's youngest daughter, Zhang Yan came over to Lian Fang Zhou's home. In a benevolent smile, she passed on a message. "Sister Fang Zhou, you must come back from work early today. Best to be back when the sun is starting to set. My father said that every household must have a decision-maker go to the big camphor tree for a discussion! There's an urgent matter to be announced!"

Lian Fang Zhou quickly acknowledged.

Zhang Yan also mentioned that she still need to notify other families and left.

Lian Ze shot a glance at Zhang Yan who was leaving. And remarked, " It's strange. Usually, when there's an announcement in the village, Li Zheng would only tell Uncle and not us. This year we had nearly missing tax payment. Thank god Aunt Zhang reminded us. Can't believe Zhang Yan would come knocking today!"

Lian Fang Zhou's mind turned and then realized it was most likely the perk of that big sack of charcoal. And cheerful spoke, "Isn't this a good thing? This means they aren't treating us as nothing!"

“Sister is right!” Lian Ze chuckled.

“Discussion? This is so sudden, what matter is there? oh”Third Aunt sighed at the side.

Monday, 22 October 2018


Gonna leave more chinese phrase inside the future chappies, causing I really can't find the english word for it.
63. Want to have a share(3)

Hearing Lian Li's words, Mrs. Zhao was in agony, as if someone had dug out her flesh. How could she not speak out when the opportunity was right in front of her?

At once, Lian Li felt guilty. He wanted to pressurize the Lian siblings with his demeanor. With a cruel glare, he warned. “Fang Zhou, we're in an outsider home, so you should have the sense on what you can say and what you can't! Think carefully on who you will be relying on in future!”

Lian Fang Zhou openly declared. “Uncle, I had always thought it through! In the future, I won't rely on anyone else, but ourselves. Is what Zhao Sao-zi said just now true? Why is it that I don’t remember ever I said those words to Uncle ?”

Lian Li’s old face immediately flushed. “Although you didn't exactly say it like that, I did hear it was this meaning.”

Mrs. Qiao quickly nodded, “That's right! You can't possibly be thinking of denying you ever said that!”

Lian Fang Zhou countered, "Then it was you who misinterpreted my words. That was never my meaning! That is Uncle Li's trade, how could I simply let someone join? Within this region, you won't find anyone else do this. If Uncle Li hadn't had the heart to take care of us and consider how we’re still so young, he wouldn't have let us join in. It couldn’t be that Uncle came running over here in hope to steal their trade?”

“What nonsense are you saying! I had no such thoughts!” Being exposed in front of other out of nowhere by Lian Fang Zhou, immediately Lian Li was enraged from the embarrassment.

“Oh, then I might have misinterpreted your meaning. I knew Uncle wouldn't have this intention.”Lian Fang Zhou gave a cold smile. And slightly bent down. “ I must apologize Uncle.”
Mrs. Qiao criticized. “The Li hadn’t said anything yet, so why are jumping in and making a racket? I have never seen anyone as brazen as you.”
Mrs. Zhao quickly intervened “Your Uncle said when the time comes, they can take good care of you.”

Lian Fang Zhou ignored Mrs. Qiao, turned to say to Uncle Li politely. “ Uncle Li, we don’t need looking after, we’re not that fragile. You obtained this skill, so how it should be is how it should be. You and Aunt Zhang had always taken care of us. And we know that very well deep down. If you felt like you can't look at us in the eye because of this, then we’re at fault!”

How could Uncle Li not understand now. To Lian Li, he graciously expressed. “So it was all a misunderstanding! This, haha, it's great that it's clear up. Rest assured; we’ll watch over Lian Fang Zhou and the others. I won't overwork them! After all, we’re from the same neighborhood...”

With Uncle Li’s words, it gave the Lian couple a stage to step off. They can't let their relationship become extremely strain since the couple is the siblings' elders after all.
However, Mrs. Qiao wasn’t appreciative. Instead, she agitatedly mentioned. “Just now we had agreed. Brother Li, how could you do this? This isn't moral!”

Mrs. Zhao was infuriated and couldn’t resist rebutting. “Aunt Qiao, when did my father ever promise anything? It was you who done all the talking! With much difficulty, we finally learn this trade, how could we simply let anyone watch?”

“Mei-zi!” Aunt Zhang lightly admonished Mrs. Zhao a bit. Turning to Mrs. Qiao, she gave an apologetic smile. “This daughter-in-law of mine has a loose tongue. So what she says isn't pleasing to hear. Don’t be mad, her Aunt!"
Even though it's unpleasing to the ear, it wasn’t incorrect.

“Since they aren't appreciative, then treat it as us worry over nothing. Let's go and not seek more hatred by staying here. Younger generation not acting like one. Oh, my pitiful brother gone so early. And perfectly fine children became like this!” Lian Li heavily sighed as he grumbled. Before he left he didn’t forget to step on Lian Fang Zhou as well as dragging Uncle Li and Aunt Zhang in.

“In the future, don’t ask me to stand up for you when you suffer! Even if you beg on your knees, I won't help!” Mrs. Qiao shot the two siblings a venomous glare and also left.

Uncle Li, Aunt Zhang and Li San Ge looked at each other. Mrs. Zhao lightly spat and muttered. “What kind of person is that!”

Seeing Aunt Zhang shooting a warning gaze over, she unyieldingly uttered: “Mother, even if you look at me like that, I'll still say it!”

These words made Lian Fang Zhou amused, and the atmosphere lighten up.

“It's my fault. I never thought they would stir up trouble to this extent and didn’t give uncle and aunt a head up.”Lian Fang Zhou apologetically smile.
“No need to say this kind of words!” Aunt Zhang grasped her hand with a reassuring smile. She lightly sighed, “Oh, this really is...”

In the end, Uncle Li felt terrible, and suggested, “All in all, they are your elders. How about… we count them in in this matter?”

“Uncle Li! You mustn't say that!” Lian Fang Zhou shook her head. She firmly stated “You guys know it very well, so I'm not afraid to talk about my family's messy situation. What kind of person are my Uncle and Aunt? They had never helped us a single bit. If we must say, they are the ones who participated the most in bullying us orphans. If we endure and give way this time, they would only become more arrogant, and in future, they might demand more and more. And also, their life isn't so terrible that need money to avert a crisis.”

Aunt Zhang lightly sighed again, “It's been difficult on you.”

Lian Fang Zhou faintly smiled, “Difficult? Not relying on them, we can still have a good life. There's a limit to their seeking trouble tendency. When forced too much to a corner, it'll spread out, and  see how shameless they are as elders.”

“Anyhow you're all one family! If you can, then don't take that step unless there's no other choice!” Aunt Zhang swiftly advised.

Lian Ze reasoned, “Aunt Zhang, when did they ever treat us their family! Before when my parents were still alive, they took out an older brother attitude and made my parents help with their work from time to time. Now it's just us, if they could take advantage of us, they won't be polite about it.”

Aunt Zhang then replied. “On normal matters, you should endure. If you can't, then you need a justified reason. Or else when it spread out, it won't be good since they are your elders after all! Then, in the end, you'll suffer a loss. Other matters is fine, but it'll be terrible when someone ruins your reputation. Your younger siblings’ marriage will be affected in the future. And also Che-er, didn’t you say you plan to send him to school?”

At once Lian Fang Zhou felt a moment of helplessness. Ancient time is really troublesome. At the same time, she secretly became more vigilant: she not from here, what if she slipped up when she wasn't paying attention?

She the obediently nodded, “I'll remember! Thank you for the reminder, Aunt Zhang!”

Lian Ze also agreed and gave thanks.

Uncle Li solemnly asserted. “Alright, this matter count as settled! I understood your meaning in this matter, and won't budge on it anymore.”

“I have troubled you a lot!”Lian Fang Zhou gratefully smiled

Uncle Li dismissively waved his hand. “It's nothing! If you weren’t thinking of us, we wouldn’t have been able to earn this money! In future, if you ever need something, freely ask. No need to be shy.”

Lian Fang Zhou and Lian Ze promised and spoke a bit more small talks before they left.

Once the two of them, Third Aunt came forward to probe for information. Lian Fang Zhou just answered ‘It's fine now’ and nothing more. She also informed them all to stay away from the couple if possible. So they can avoid getting schemed by them.

Lian Fang Qing is mischievous, while Lian Che who was the same age, was completely steady and full of self-control. Lian Fang Zhou instructed Lian Che, “Keep a good eye on your fourth sister!”

“Yes,” Lian Che promised. Lian Fang Qing eyes innocently blinked as she pulled a face.

Monday, 15 October 2018


62. Want to have a share (2)

Lian Fang Zhou's eyes darken as she looked at Mrs. Qiao. "Aunt misspoke. We were willing to help in this matter. Each bit we earn is a bit more, as we siblings have to eat and buy clothes. And also next year in early spring, we need to buy seedlings and farming tools. All this require money, right? How about Uncle and Aunt lend us?"

"We have no money!" immediately Mrs. Qiao responded in agitation when she wanted to borrow from them.

Lian Li interrupted her, "That's not how it goes! You helped them with that much work, then you should get that much worth of money. You can't just let them brush you off with few coppers!  You got thin faces, and feel that they have helped you a lot, so find it embarrassing to mention about it. They're thrilled to have someone to order around for nothing! And even if you mention it, it's useless. You don't know how much the product is sold and how the accounts are done. Don't let them cheated you later on and you guys still feel greatly indebted to them. "

"That's right!" Mrs. Qiao then followed up. "You need an adult with you to keep an eye out! We are one family after all! As elders, how could we not side with you? This matter, you must count us in!"

"This isn't about who gaining from who. It's about doing the task much better, more appropriately and prevent you guys from suffering a loss without knowing. Secondly, the old Li couple won't look good when it spread around the village that they are deceiving the younger generation! What do you think, isn't what Uncle say very reasonable?" Lian Li glimpsed Lian Fang Zhou.

"Isn't that the logic! This way it's just and honorable, and very fair to everyone!" Mrs. Qiao added on. Then continued. "Let's go! Come with us, and we'll go reason with Li family now!"

Lian Fang Zhou finally understood, this pair wanted to get a share!

Afraid there's more to it.
This Uncle is an intelligent man. The chances are learning how to make charcoal is his final aim.

Right now being able to get a share of profit isn't bad, but once they can learn how to make charcoal, the can do it for the rest of their life. Otherwise, why would those who know the skill wouldn't pass it an outsider and not let outsider watch at the side during the process?

"Uncle! Aunt!" Lian Fang Zhou apathetically remarked, "Just now, I had already explained clearly. Uncle Li and Aunt Zhang aren't that kind of crooked people. And we also don't find it arduous! As to whatever go reason with them, there's need for it at all! Uncle, Aunt, please return!"

"Look at this! What foolish word she is speaking?" Lian Li turned to Mrs. Qiao. Using a tone that was laced with pity, he lamented. "It's clear they are ordered around by Li Family for nothing, and she still speaks up for them! Sigh, how old are you guys? How much experience do you have? Aren't you deceived so much that you can't tell between black and white? If we don't stand up for you, who will?"

"That's right! Husband, what you said is so right!" Mrs. Qiao firmly agreed.

Lian Fang Zhou laughed in exasperation. She had seen shameless but never so blatantly like this before! They're really treating her like a child!

"Oh?" Lian Fang Zhou raised one brow. Asked. "Could it be that Uncle thinks I'm a fool? Think that us siblings are all fools?"

"What are you saying!" Lian Li frowned and stated. "Of course you aren't fools!"

"But what you said just now is treating us as fools!" Lian Fang Zhou sneered. "We aren't stupid. We know deep down who treat us well! If Aunt Zhang and Uncle Li didn't want to look after us sincerely, they wouldn't have let us join in the charcoal making, right? Have you ever seen anyone else does this? How about we take it outside and pick a bone with fellow villagers?

"We are your elders! You dare talk to your elder like this!" Mrs. Qiao screeched. "Now you're calling for everyone to pick a bone!"

"Aunt, "  Lian Fang Zhou said in an upright tone. "Which part have I said is wrong, please point them out! If you can point one out, I'll pour tea and apologize!"

At once, Mrs. Qiao was silent. She dare not say those bad words about Li Family in front of everyone.

Lian Li coldly snorted. "There's nothing to point out. Well, it's a waste of our good intention! Fine then! In any case, they won't appreciate it, then there's not else to say! They are willing to work for them for free, why bother ourselves with it? Good intention was treated as ill intent!"

Lian Li stood up, gave Mrs. Qiao a glare and shouted. "We're leaving! Let's not lower ourselves to the younger generation's level!"

Mrs. Qiao was displeased but knew that if they can't make Lian Fang Zhou change her mind, this matter had no way of continuing. She fiercely glared at her and spitted out, "You'll meet with retribution for disrespecting elder!"

Only then did she follow after Lian Li.

After they left, Lian Fang Zhou called in Lian Fang Qing and gave her few instructions. Lian Fang Qing nodded and turned around and went.

Not long later, Lian Fang Qing came back breathing hard. Once she entered the house, she yelled, "Sister! Sister! You guessed right! I saw them head toward Aunt Zhang's home!"

"They really have the gut to do it!" Lian Ze was overcome with anger. Without needing to guess, he knew what they plan to do.

"Let's go and check it out!" Lian Fang Zhou wasn't surprised.  She hurried over there with Lian Ze.

You can't use ordinary people's line of thought to assess brazen people. The things they do create a new record every time!

When the two siblings reached Li's home entrance, they can hear Lian Li speaking in a courteous tone: "... those few kids are timid. They couldn't bring up the courage to say it, so they let us do it! Tomorrow when you head up to the mountain, call us as well! This way we can watch out for them. At such a young age, it makes people worry for them!"

Lian Fang Zhou's and Lian Ze's face was colored with rage. They both full-throat called out ' Uncle! Aunt!' and stepped in.

By sheer coincidence, all of the Li Family breathed out in relief.

Needless to say, they were aware of the relationship between the two branches of Lian Family. But no matter, Lian Li and Mrs. Qiao still have the identity of their elders. And also, this charcoal-making skill was learned from Ah Jian, and he also lives at Lian Fang Zhou's place. If Lian Li and Mrs. Qiao insist on tagging along, as honest peasants, they have no standing to say no.

"Why did you come! Shoo, shoo.  there's no place for you kids to talk when adults are discussing!" Mrs. Qiao immediately pulled a long face when she saw Lian Fang Zhou and Lian Ze and bawled with real elder bearing.

On the other hand, Lian Li took the chance to bring the topic to an end. "Then that's settled! We'll be leaving first!"

With this, the matter count as set in stone!  Lian Li gratefully praised the Lian siblings' perfect timing in his mind, 'Wonderful!'

Lian Fang Zhou didn't let them have their way. She walked over and stopped them with her arms wide. With a sardonic smile, she questioned "Uncle, Aunt, we haven't finished talking about this matter, so how could you leave?"

Lian Li never expected Lian Fang Zhou to speak to him like this in someone else's home. His expression turned unpleasant.  In a disgruntled tone, he berated, "What are you doing! No sense of decorum at all!"

"Still not making way! You child have no elders in your eye! Our Lian Family's face lost all it glow because of you!" Mrs. Qiao scolded

As they spoke, they planned to barge through, but Lian Ze had taken one step ahead to shut the door firmly and guarded it.

Lian Fang Zhou gave Mrs. Qiao a glance first, declaring. "Aunt, my parents are gone, and I'm the head of the second branch. So I'm not just some kid. Don't use that kind of tone talking to me. It strangely uncomfortable to my ear!"

Then turning to Lian Li, "Why is Uncle so anxious to leave? Is it because you're feeling afraid or conscience-stricken?"

Mrs. Zhao lit up at the sound of this. She rushed to input. "Fang Zhou, your Uncle just said he wants to join in on making charcoal tomorrow and that it was your intention! It's perfect that you're here. I can ask for your thoughts."

Monday, 8 October 2018


61. Want to have a share (1)

Third Aunt saw that Ah Jian left, she couldn’t resist grumbling to Lian Fang Zhou. Saying what if he went and never came back?

Not waiting for her sister to answer, Lian Fang Qing snatched to say, “Brother Ah Jian isn’t that kind of person! He’ll definitely come back. ”

Third Aunt continued. “Oh, what if it's possible? This isn't his home after all!. That hounding Zhao Family mostly likely will give him more salary than us.”

Then Lian Fang Zhou blandly pointed out. “If he wanted to leave like this, could we make him stay?”

Immediately, Third Aunt turned silent. She mumbled a bit then declared, “If it's like that, don’t give him a penny from the profit of selling the charcoal.”

Lian Fang Zhou secretly rolled her eyes and didn't say anything.

Then Lian Che mentioned: “We’ll be fine but what about Second Brother? He’s learning martial arts from Brother Ah Jian!”

“I’m with Qing-er. I believe Brother Ah Jian will definitely come back!” Lian Ze rushed to proclaim. After a pause, he continued. “If he doesn’t come back, what Sister said is reasonable…”

Lian Fang Zhou gave him a reassuring smile. “If you still want to learn martial arts, there’s nothing to it. We’ll go discuss it with him and let him teach like usual. I believe he won't refuse.”

Lian Ze wrinkled his brow. “If it's like that, then I won't learn from him!”

Lian Fang Zhou questioned him with a serious face, “Why?”

Lian Ze remained quiet.

Lian Fang Zhou continued on speaking. “I understand your meaning. Firmly believe if he’s not a genuine person, then you don’t want to learn from him, right?”

Lian Ze froze then lightly nodded.

Lian Fang Zhou then said, “When looking at people, use your heart! Don’t just look at the matter on the outside. What kind of person is Ah Jian, we can already see from this period of time, right?  If he wanted to stay in Zhao Family, then he must have his reason. We can't paint him black or white just based on one matter. Isn't that right?”

 The matter in this world, isn’t completely white or black? Usually, Lian Ze's disposition is too upright. Lian Fang Zhou had long wanted to find a chance to educate him.

 Seeing him not respond, she then explained about how it’s more convenient for Ah Jian to stay in the city to search for news on missing people. Only then Lian Ze was surprised and said. “If it’s really like that…then … then we can't blame him.”

“It's great that you understand!” Lian Fang Zhou beamed.

After breakfast, the four siblings entered the mountain. Lian Ze and Lian Fang Zhou chopped wood for charring. Lian Fang Qing and Lian Che were also occupied. They helped to transport. In the beginning, Lian Fang Zhou didn’t want those two to come, but they persist in following them to the mountain to play. Lian Fang Zhou could only let them be. In any case, it’s up to them whether they help or play.

Not long after it passed noon, Ah Jian arrived.

The three of them gave a giant sigh of relief. Lian Fang Qing flew over to Ah Jian and pulled his hand as she happily cried out. “Brother Ah Jian, you finally came back!”

Ah Jian rubbed her little head with a grin and glanced at Lian Fang Zhou.

Lian Fang Zhou's heart subconsciously relaxed. She nodded to him, grinning, “The matter is settled?”

Ah Jian simply answered with ‘mm’ and nothing else was spoken.

Lian Fang Zhou also didn’t ask anymore. “That’s great. Leaving the matter unclear, is asking for trouble after all. ”

The second round of charcoal was soon out of the stove. With the previous experience, they had a more accurate grasp of time this round. Not only was the yield much higher, but two days were saved.

The two families were like groundhogs storing food as they chopped firewood and wood for charring non-stop. The flat spot beside the kilns was piled into a little mountain. After the charcoal in the kilns was taken out, it (i think it's referring to the kiln) was cooled for half a day then it can be refilled. The process was even quicker.

This time around, the four kilns made a total of over five thousand jin of charcoal. That means eleven-twelve silver and one family can get a share of five-six silver.

One haul after another, the dark gleaming charcoal was moved to the home. On everyone face was rippled with joy.

Mrs. Zhao was smiling till her teeth overshadow her eyes. Her thought was on the discussion about to get two sets of clothes, buying a silver hairpin and a pair of earring for New Year...

That day they just came back from the mountain, Lian Li and Mrs. Qiao were at the door, calling out “Anyone there?” and barged right in.

Lian Fang Zhou swept a glance over, it seems that they have prepared. Deep down she understood the couple was definitely waiting near the entrance so that once she was back, they’ll come over.

She raised her hand to comb the loose hair and stepped up to welcome with a smile pasted on. “Uncle and Aunt, you must have nothing to do! Please take a seat.”

Lian Fang Zhou could guess the reason for them coming here. Since her family and Aunt Zhang’s didn’t hide the matter about them making charcoal—actually, there's no way of hiding it.

Lian Li harrumphed and sat down. Mrs. Qiao cast her a glance and also sat down. Mrs. Qiao said with displeasure. “Do you place any importance to your Elder? We have come, and you didn’t even give us tea!”

Her words had yet to finish, and Lian Che and Lian Fang Qing could be seen carrying the tea over.

Lian Fang Qing pouted and rebutted. “Aunt, it also takes time to brew tea, no? We had no idea you were coming over otherwise it would already be prepared. What are you being so anxious that your face is fuming red for?.”

Mrs. Qiao was now putout and sneered without speaking anymore.

How was she to know that the second branch’s kids would take the initiative to pour tea? She couldn't wait to point out fault, so she can grasp their shortcoming and take the opportunity to give them good teaching. And they would also have a stronger position in later discussion.

Who knew it was them who revealed their shortcoming instead.

“You're too problematic,” obviously Lian Li recognize this fact. He threw a fierce glare at Mrs. Qiao before turning to Lian Fang Zhou with a pleasant face. “Your Aunt is just frank and outspoken. You don’t have to mind her.”

Lian Fang Zhou just smiled and glanced at Mrs. Qiao. She leisurely answered with 'oh.'

Mrs. Qiao angerly gave her a fierce stare.

Lian Li lifted up the teacup without any intention to drink it. He was waiting for Lian Fang Zhou to open her mouth. Waiting for Lian Fang Zhou to ask why they had come, so he can conveniently get into the topic.

But Lian Fang Zhou’s eyelids were slightly lowered. Don't know what she was thinking about but it was clear she had no intention to speak at all. The three younger Lian siblings and Ah Jian had already left. Third Aunt was still in the kitchen.

Just sitting there won't do. Without any other choice, Lian Li lightly coughed. “Fang Zhou, I heard that you're working with Li Family on the charcoal business.”

“Mhmm,” Lian Fang Zhou lifted her head, gave Lian Li a nod and then nothing else.

Lian Li started to feel a bit angry. Irritated he said, “Previously Li Family didn’t know how to make charcoal. So where could they have learned this?”

“I also don’t know!”Lian Fang Zhou smiled. There's no adult in their home, and Ah Jian isn't from here, so he had no footing. They could only explain to others, it was Uncle Li who learned to make charcoal from somewhere. Incidentally, he also called on the Lian siblings to help out and share the benefits. Naturally, they tell others, the profit they get also isn't a lot.

Aunt Zhang often helped Lian Fang Zhou and the rest, so this time around wasn’t any surprise.

Seeing Lian Li getting rebuffed repeatedly, discontent emerge within Mrs. Qiao.  She snorted, “How much wage does the Li family give? I say, their family is too much. They cheat you into working for them! And you siblings are stupidly working yourself to death. I'm afraid you can't even earn enough to match their loose change. They are simply bullying you cause your young and not placing any importance to us Uncle and Aunt.” 

Completely acting as if they were standing up for them and with a stance of wanting to head to Li family to create a large scene.

Sunday, 7 October 2018


60. The harassing Xi Que (2)

Ah Jian hurriedly spoke out. “Coming over is her matter, I didn’t say I would go with her.”

When hearing this, Lian Fang Zhou burst into chuckles. Lian Fang Qing was in the midst of washing her face when she lifted her head and daintily called out. “Big Brother Ah Jian, even if want to leave, I won't allow you to. Our family can't bear for you to leave.”

Ah Jian grinned happily as his heart settled down. Then he turned to go out.

“Ah Jian,” Xi Que saw Ah Jian as if she found a giant gold nugget that had fallen down from heaven. That intense friendliness made Ah Jian step back. With a frown, “Didn’t I express it clearly? I’m not going to Zhao family!”

Xi Que came to a halt. She hadn’t said it yet and already got rejected by him. She mentally called him a fool,  blockhead and the likes. Today she had especially dressed up, did he not see that? If he saw, then how he could bear to reject her?

“It's like this, “Xi Que stood her ground, as she softly spoke. ”That xx day you saved our Miss, and since our Miss is a person who would repay her gratitude, she insisted that I must invite you to our household! Isn’t the city better than here? There are so many people want to enter our household but can't. This is a great opportunity! Don’t worry,  Zhao Family won't mistreat you. Our Miss said how much salary you want, is up to you to choose. Once you enter our household, you’ll also get two sets of new clothes. So don ’t be foolish anymore! You are our Miss’s savior, once you arrive in Zhao Family, who wouldn’t place important to you?”

Not waiting for her to finish, Ah Jian interrupted. “Are you done speaking? Now it is my turn to speak. I’m not going! Please return!”

Then he turned to leave.

“Hold on a moment! “Xi Que became anxious. She rushed over to block Ah Jian from the front, and with a sheepish smile, “I believe you didn’t hear me. Our Miss said the salary is up to you to choose!”

“Please return!” Without batting an eye, Ah Jian still repeated.  Xi Que became anxious. She mentally cursed him non stop. She carefully inspected Ah  Jian once. And immediately stomped her feet and reached out to grasp Ah Jian’s sleeve. Her cheeks flushed as she quietly and coyly said: “I’m Miss’s first class maid. If you’re willing to go, how about I… I marry you-”

As if he was burnt, Ah Jian hurried to fling her hands off him. He retreated backward, and with a frown, he bellowed: “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

Since he came to Lian Household, Ah Jian always had a smile when he spoke with anyone. The Lian Family had never heard him shout like this before, especially when it carries anger.

Inside the house, the Lian siblings, as well as Third Aunt, was shocked. They all looked blankly at each other.

“What’s, what’s going on? “Third Aunt murmured.

“I'll go out check it out!” Lian Fang Zhou rushed out.

Xi Que thought that she, a real and gorgeous girl, taking the initiative to say this, Ah Jian would become speechless from joy. Who would have known that he would yell at her instead. She became embarrassed as well as enraged. Instantly tears welled up in her eye.

“Ah Jian, what has happened?”Lian Fang Zhou asked.

Xi Que immediately became unsettled. If Ah Jian spoke out the truth, would she still have the face to see people?

Ignoring her own embarrassed anger, she stepped up, and her knees softened and kneeled in front of Lian Fang Zhou. She pulled on Lian Fang Zhou's sleeves and begged. “Miss Lian, I beg you. Let Ah Jian go with me. I beg of you. No matter how much charcoal you make, I'll buy them all, alright?”

Immediately, Lian Fang Zhou felt a burst of disdain. This counts as negotiating condition right? If she agreed, what kind of person would she become? What's more, she never thought of accepting from the start -- And what does this matter has to do with her?

If Ah Jian wanted to go, although it's regretful that they’ll lose their main working force, she still wouldn't say anything.

“I say, Miss Xi Que, didn’t I already tell you? The decision is up to Ah Jian. Don’t ask me. He is temporarily staying at our house. He’s not our hired hand!”

Lian Fang Zhou politely spoke and tried to pull off Xi Que hand. But Xi Que’s hand was like it grew on her sleeve. No matter how she couldn’t get it off. Lian Fang Zhou’s face flashed a hint of annoyance. She might as well stand there unmoving. 'If you want to kneel, then kneel. Want to grab then grab!'

How is this begging someone? This is simply acting shamelessly!

Xi Que, who had Miss Lian rolling off her tongue long and short as she continuously pleads, abruptly found that she was putting on a one-person show. She halted before her voice gradually turned quieter and no longer cause a scene.

Lian Fang Zhou unexpectedly pull back her sleeve with great force from her grasp and said, “Miss Xi Que, we still need to head up to the mountain to work. So do as you please!”

Ah Jian was already run out of patience. So without any more thoughts, he turned to walk away.

“Miss Lian!” Xi Que became frantic. She rushed forward to reach out two arms to stop Lian Fang Zhou. With reddened eyes, she sobbed. “I'll be honest with you! Our Miss has already spoken out, if I cant invite Ah Jian back, she, she won’t want me anymore. sob sob... Miss Lian, I beg of you to be kind. Let Ah Jian make a trip over, please. Staying or not, let him tell our Miss. This way I can report to our Miss!”

Xi Que continuously begged Lian Fang Zhou. Ah Jian made her lose face, so she was too humiliated to ask him.

 Lian Fang Zhou wrinkled her brow and looked over to Ah Jian. After some consideration, Ah Jian spoke. “I make a trip over to explain things clearly and come back.”

“The sooner you go, the sooner you come back,” Lian Fang Zhou nodded. Although they haven’t known each other long, she still understands Ah Jian’s personality. It's impossible for Zhao Family to make him stay.

“That’s wonderful! Thank you, Miss Lian! Many thanks, Miss Lian!”Xi Que was overjoyed. She quickly asked. “Ah Jian, shall we go now?”

Xi Que felt proud of her pity-seeking act on the inside. In her opinion, the reason for Ah Jian not willing to work for Zhao Family is because he never been to Zhao Family place or seen Zhao Family's ostentation. As long as he witnesses it, he will definitely change his mind.

Ah Jian glanced at Xi Que, with full of cautiousness. “You go back first. I'll go by myself.”

“Why go to such trouble? I happen to have a carriage here! ”Xi Que courteously grinned. Ah Jian gave her an apathetic gaze with inexplicable thoughts that need not be brought to open. If Xi Que could paw him in public, then who knows what she would do when nobody is around. Ah Jian doesn’t want to gain some messy reputation.

Xi Que understood Ah Jian ‘s expression, her face immediately redden. Ashamed she said, “Then, then I’ll leave first. Don’t make our Miss wait long.”

And she finished without bidding Lian Fang Zhou goodbye. She speeded into the carriage as if she was escaping.

Lian Fang Zhou wasn't bothered by her attitude. Instead, she swept up and down at Ah Jian with a strange gaze. This made Ah Jian feel uneasy. He forced a smile, “Why, why are you looking at me like that?”

Initially, Lian Fang Zhou wanted to ask, but when she thought about Xi Que behavior, afraid it was very likely something terrible. And she replied with, “Oh, its nothing much. Since you promised her, then you should quickly go.”

 “Ok, I'll come back earlier and make it in time to chop more wood to char!" Seeing that she wasn’t going to grill him, Ah Jian sighed in relief and hurriedly nodded with a grin.

Lian Fang Zhou chuckled and said. “I didn’t say you need to rush to work for half day. You don’t need to be hasty. Just rest in the afternoon!”

Ah Jian just smiled, didn't respond. Not long later, he went out.