Saturday, 28 July 2018

VGAFH 49

49. Charcoal plan

How else could it go? Just by looking at their tidy clothes and not a single hair out of place, you'll know it went smoothly.

Lian Fang Zhou laughed. "No problem at all! Let's eat now! After tormenting so long, I'm starving!"

"Alright! Let's eat first!" Right now, Third Aunt was at ease. Then her heart couldn't help start itching. She wanted to know how Lian Fang Zhou took care that old witch, Mrs. Qiao.

However, she knew now wasn't the time to talk about this because Lian Fang Zhou won't speak of this matter in front of the two little ones. It could only wait until after dinner.

At this time, the sky has already darkened. Not just Lian Fang Zhou, even the whole family was hungry. Hearing Lian Fang Zhou said that it was okay, they all sat down and happily ate their dinner. Only Third Aunt was itching with curiosity. She can't wait to hear about unfortunate Mrs. Qiao.

Lian Fang Zhou saw it. She mentally laughed and kept on pretending she didn't know.

After dinner, Third Aunt couldn't hold it anymore. "Fang Zhou, did Mrs. Qiao make it difficult for you?"

Lian Fang Zhou looked up and saw Third Aunt's shining eyes stared at her unblinkingly. 

Lian Fang Zhou didn't follow her direction of the conversation and just smiled. "She didn't. How could it be easy for her to bully me? I need to discuss something with Ah Jian. So, Third Aunt, we'll talk about it in detail next time."

Third Aunt had no way to stop her, so she could only hold back her curiosity. "Ok!"

Hearing Lian Fang Zhou was looking for him, Ah Jian has already tagged behind her. 

Lian Fang Zhou spoke to him for a while at the entrance. At first, Ah Jian was stunned, but afterward, he kept on nodding his head in agreement.  Immediately Lian Fang became reassured and told him. "You go inside first. I'm going to make a trip to Aunt Zhang's for some matters."

Ah Jian didn't speak anymore. He nodded and entered inside.

Third Aunt didn't dare to interrupt Lian Fang Zhou's conversation with Ah Jian. So when she heard movement, she lifted her head to see only Ah Jian coming in and rushed forward to ask, "Where Fang Zhou?"

How could Ah Jian understand Third Aunt's anxious for gossip mind? He just felt that her anxiety was a little odd. He answered, "She said she has something to do at Aunt Zhang's."

"What!?" Instantly, Third Aunt became dejected and started to mutter quietly. "Going over their house every few days, what is she doing?"

Of course, Lian Fang Zhou wasn't going over there to play. She had some matters that she needs to discuss with them.

It was already in the middle of October so that it couldn't count as cold. But deep in the mountain, the temperature was even lower. So basically, there's no mushroom to pick.

Lian Fang Zhou had no plans to sell the mushrooms they just collected over the last few days. She wanted to wait until November-December. As at that time the price would be higher. 

Since it's a dry good, it'll be light, easy to store and won't go off.

So, she'll need to do other stuff earlier.

Aunt Zhang's family would warmly welcome Lian Fang Zhou anytime she comes. So when she arrived, Aunt Zhang, Uncle Li, and Mrs. Zhao enthusiastically called her to sit. Wholly filled intimacy and affectionate.

Mrs. Zhao's eyes flashed when she saw Lian Fang Zhou and quickly asked, " Are we going to the town tomorrow to sell the mushrooms? I have everything prepared."

Mrs. was already itching to sell the mushrooms right away. She was looking forward to the feeling of counting money for a long time now. Just the thought of the few sacks of mushrooms turning to chunky coins, her heart would fly with joy.

"Saozi, no need to be hasty. Wait a little longer! Today I came for a different matter!" Lian Fang Zhou responded.

Then Aunt Zhang criticized her daughter-in-law. "You're such an impatient brat! Didn't we already agree on waiting til November-December to sell them? And you still ask?"

"I saw Fang Zhou came over and thought there was a change in plan!" Mrs. Zhao laughed it off.

Lian Fang Zhou then revealed, "Although it isn't about mushrooms, I want to talk about another matter that could earn money. Just that I don't know if Uncle and Aunt are willing to do it together."

Hearing Lian Fang Zhou say it like this, Uncle Li exchange glance with his wife. "Oh? If you have anything to say, voice it out, Fang Zhou!"

Uncle Li knew it wasn't a matter as simple as collecting mushrooms when he heard it.

Lian Fang Zhou then brought it out into the open. "It'll soon be winter, so I thought if we make some charcoal, then we'll have a limitless market! I--"

"WHAT!?" Lian Fang Zhou had yet to finish when the Li father and son cried out in shock at the same time. Aunt Zhang and Mrs. Zhao were also stunned.

"What are you saying? Making Charcoal?" Uncle Li couldn't believe it.

"That's right..." The whole family's reaction made Lian Fang Zhou scared. So when she nodded, she felt a bit... guilt-ridden?

"Fang Zhou ah," Uncle Li burst out laughing. "Making charcoal is labor that requires technique. Not everyone can do it! Within this ten mile radius, not many families can do. Those who can are passed down from generation to generation to earn a living. None of them would teach other!"

"That's right. In our village, no one can do it! If they know, then with one winter they can earn nearly one year of expense. They would have already been worry-free!" Li San Ge also laughed.

The Li Family treated Lian Fang Zhou as a little kid suddenly thinking of a strange idea and doesn't know the in-depth difficulties. So she could say it so lightly. They laughed as they explained it to her.

Mrs. Zhao lightly sighed out and felt disappointed. She thought Lian Fang Zhou had some good idea to earn money.

Li Juan cast a glance at her sister-in-law and secretly curled her lips.

However, they really did underestimate Lian Fang Zhou.

In her previous life, Lian Fang Zhou often went to the farming village because of work reason.  She has seen the process of making charcoal before, and at that time she was curious and purposely went over to help. She had intensely questioned the fellow villager.

In the modern time, heating technologies are plentiful in winter. And there's also factory-made charcoal sold. So the villager's traditional way of earth kiln's charcoal is troublesome, as it wastes energy, time and resources. It's an old method that can't keep up with time, so not many people would make charcoal.

So that's why filled with curiosity, Lian Fang Zhou ask about it with the fellow villager. Instead of keeping it a secret, the fellow villager felt proud of teaching a city person something they don't understand. He kept on explaining to her nonstop, including a lot of problems that need to be watched out for.

She was a bright and quick mind person with a good memory. Who could have known that she could use the knowledge now.

And because of that day's conversation, allowed her to know this age's high-end technique labor. But at this age, not just anyone can do it, especially women. Without any exception a young girl like her.

So that's why even if she had the idea of making charcoal, she had no way to explain it to other. And also, doing this task can't rely on just her and Lian Ze. It's strenuous work.

Today, she finally got an inspiration and thought of a good idea. And that was Ah Jian. She can't know it but Ah Jian could.

That's why just now she had talked it through with Ah Jian. She had pushed this matter onto Ah Jian's shoulder. So when the time comes, she can let Ah Jian listen to her explanation and then let him repeat it them to hear. With her advising at the side, Ah Jian couldn't possibly do anything wrong.

In an instant, Lian Fang Zhou's heart became free from anxiety. It was right to let Ah Jian stay. This way in future she could use Ah Jian as an excuse whenever she wanted to do something.

As to why she trust Ah Jian that much, Lian Fang Zhou never gave it any thoughts.

"Uncle and Aunt, I understand what you said. However, I wasn't joking. I'm serious!" Lian Fang Zhou declared. "Naturally I don't know how. It's Ah Jian who does!"

"Ah Jian?" Everyone froze at the same time. They half believed her.

They don't know that about Ah Jian's amnesiac. Even if they know, it's nothing. Being amnesiac doesn't mean he has no memory at all. Ah Jian remembering or subconsciously understand something was possible.

"Yes! Ah Jian!" Lian Fang Zhou clearly stated and nodded with a bright smile.

"You... Are you telling the truth? Aiya, that's wonderful! What are we waiting for, let's go make charcoal!" Her parent-in-law had yet to recover when Mrs. Zhao excitedly cried out.





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