Wednesday, 19 September 2018

VGAFH 57

57.No matter what, you must get him.

"Miss!" With a plop, Xiao had kneed down.  In a trembling voice, she owned up. " That Ah Jian... he... he's really ungrateful, to actually not come! And that master of his was also saying bad things and instigating him at the side! I should not have lied to Miss, your servant deserve death!"

Zhao Ru Jun glance at her said indifferently, "Death is too severe, beating is more like it! As you have attended me for so many years, you should know my personality? What I hate the most is people lying to me! In a while, go accept your punishment, ten slaps! And also."

Zhao Ru Jun roughly ponder for a moment, then continued, "That person called Ah Jian or something, his abilities are superb. With one glance, you can tell he had practiced! Since you run your mouth with wild boasts at the beginning, then this will still be handled by you. No matter what, you have to bring him to our household!"

Although that person was dressed in a brown course cloth that was nearly washed white, the imposing air and composure embedded within him and those lustre like varnish and deep as the ocean eyes weren't ordinary.

At that time, when he grasped the reins to control the frenzied horse, his movement was done in one smooth motion like flowing water. What was impossible matter in others' eyes, was a simple task that didn't need to be mentioned to him. With just his oblivious calmness, he outmatched countless people.

Zhao Ru Jun had a feeling, that if she could recruit him for her own use, she'll definitely won't have anything to lose.

"Listen carefully, for the wages, let him choose." Zhao Ru Jun came back from her thoughts and added on.

Xi Que quickly acceded. But when the words registered in her mind, she was so surprised that she let out a cry and looked at Zhao Ru Jun. Seeing Zhao Ru Jun was coldly stared at her, she knew she had lost her composure and hurriedly hung her head down. "Yes, your servant understand!"

Xi Que couldn't understand Zhao Ru Jun's line of thoughts, wondered if Miss wanted to repay her savior this way? Even if you wish to compensate your savior, you shouldn't use this method! No matter who it is, with this chance, they'll definitely open their mouth like a lion- excessively demand...

What she didn't know was that Zhao Ru Jun deduce that Ah Jian wasn't that kind of person. With that kind of skills and that kind of aura, he's definitely not that type of person.

Lian Fang Zhou and Ah Jian had returned home. Those at home saw that the bought a lot of things again and also earned of money, became delighted and rejoice as they busied.

Lian Fang Zhou announced with a grin. "Today, we bought a lot of flour and also some diced meat, so let's have dumpling for dinner! In a moment I'll go to the vegetable patch and cut some chive, pull some celery and pick some cabbage, so we can use them with the meat as filling!"

In the rural areas, it's a rare treat to be able to have to dumplings once or twice in a year, even more so for the meat filling ones. So, Lian Fang Qing and Lian Che are delighted. Third Aunt was also happy, she rushed to suggest, "Get more vegetables, so we can make more! The days are getting colder so it can be kept for longer. We can also have it for breakfast tomorrow! Ah, it's better that I go to the veggie patch!"

"Alright then, Third Aunt, you go!" Lian Fang Zhou chuckled and did not stop her.

Lian Fang Zhou called Ah Jian over. Se then counted six hundred wen and gave it to him. Not waiting for her to speak, he had already pushed it back to her. "Why are you giving it to me? I have no use for it even I have it!"

"If I don't give you, how can my conscious be at ease? You contributed a lot to making charcoal!" Lian Fang Zhou pointed out with a smile.

Ah Jian replied. "I live here and also eat, wear and use your stuff. If I also take the money, I would be the one with a troubled conscious! So keep it! In future, if one day, when I remember who I am and decided to leave, you can prepare some traveling fund for me then.

Lian Fang Zhou couldn't change his mind, could she complied. She treated it as saving the money on his behalf. In her mind, she pondered about later in the evening, if she should give twenty-thirty wen to Third Aunt, so she has some money at hand. During this period of time, it's a blessing that Third Aunt was helping out with some housework at home and watching over the two little ones.

Third Aunt returned from picking vegetables. When Lian Fang Zhou saw the big bundle of cabbage, chives, and celery, she was speechless. With a laugh, she spoke. "Third Aunt, we won't be able to use that much vegetables! It's a rare chance to have dumpling, honestly, less veggie and uses more meat.

"You said the reverse!" Third Aunt replied straight away. "The true way of doing it is to add lots and lots of vegetable! This way we can have two meals!"

If it were before, Lian Fang Zhou would rather have all vegetable filling. But after living a period of time without oil, she felt like her eyes would light up whenever meat is mentioned.

She had wanted to eat one meal of meat filled dumpling for a long while now, so would she be willing to listen to Third Aunt? Just the thought of those stocky dumplings filled entirely with meat, mmm, with one bite, spilled with meaty juice and the delicious taste of flour, mouthwatering pork and tasty vegetables merged together, it's a bottomless pit of deliciousness making the whole body comfortable!

Lian Fang Zhou persuade with all her might; saying the next meal, they can have dumpling filled with egg and cabbage if they want and these days they're exhausted from work so must have one good meal; only then, did Third Aunt reluctantly agreed.

Immediately, the whole family became busy. Third Aunt made the dough, Lian Fang Zhou washed the two jin cut of pork and cut it to pieces before mincing it, the other three Lian siblings washed the vegetables. Only Ah Jian got no task, so he went to the courtyard to chop firewood.

After finishing chopping the pork, it was placed in a giant basin-like bowl. Then the chives and celery were finely cut into tiny pieces and added together to the bowl. Afterward, some chopped up scallion was sprinkled on top. A layer of salt was evenly distributed on top of all that, and with a bamboo chopstick, everything was mixed well. Soon the meat and vegetable were well combined.

Third Aunt had already set aside the kneaded dough to rise and ordered Lian Ze to get water from well. She carefully cleaned the square table and pan, so it's ready for rolling out the dough. The pan is for holding the made dumplings.

At this side, the entire preparation was done, Lian Fang Zhou had just brought over the bowl of filling over and asked "The dough is ready? We can make a lot of dumpling with these filling!"

Third Aunt began to whine when she saw the assembled filling. "Aiya! Why is there just this much vegetable? Such wasteful usage of meat!"

Lian Fang Zhou grinned. "More than enough veg is added in. It's fine like this!  It'll taste more scrumptious!"

"That goes without saying! With this much meat, how could it not be tasty..." Seeing that Lian Fang Zhou wasn't yielding, Third Aunt could only suffer a toothache for a while.

After the dough raised enough, Third Aunt then scattered two handfuls of flour around evenly on the table. The dough was rolled into a few long sticks, and she squeezed out tangyuan-size lumps. Then Lian Fang Zhou rolled them out with the rolling pin.

Lian Ze and the twins sat on one side, wanting to help but don't know how. Just from watching, Lian Fang Qing was itching for doing something. She eagerly asked: "Sister, Sister, what can we do? What can we do?"

"You guys?" Third Aunt chortled. "Just wait to eat!"

"Don't want to! We also want to help!" Lian Fang Qing was unwilling. She kept staring at Lian Fang Zhou with longing.

Lian Fang Zhou chuckled. "In a while, Sister will teach you how to fill and fold the dumpling. Sister needs to roll out more dough."

"Sis, I'll roll them! Um, how about letting Big Brother Ah Jian do? Big Brother AH Jian got lots of strength!" Then Lian Ze suggested and swiftly ran out to call for Ah Jian.

Lian Fang Zhou wrily smiles and thought, 'this isn't a task about strength or not.'

Monday, 10 September 2018

VGAFH 56

56. Zhao Family's Miss

The person that wanted to buy heard her words and laughed. He inspected the charcoal again and found it undoubtedly high quality. He jollily remarked. "Miss, the way you talk is very polished, it sounds very reasonable. Alright then, I'll buy some!"

Another jokingly said, "If it really as great as Miss, then I'll buy from you guys next time!"

Making everyone else laughed.

Lian Fang Zhou candidly agreed.  Not long later, those charcoal were all sold out.

The four of them gathered together and counted the money. With a  two thousand six hundred wen earnt, they were overwhelmed with joy.

Li San Ge rubbed his hands together, and merrily voiced out, "It hasn't even been three days, and earned this much. When we get back, dig more kilns and make more charcoal, so we can sell more!"

"I also had the same thoughts!" Lian Fang Zhou grinned. "Next time, we'll come back when it's a bit colder. Then we can increase another ten wen for each jin!"

"Ah, that much!? Aiya, this year we'll have a pretty comfortable new year!" They all burst out laughing as chatted.

Since it was a rare chance to enter the city, it goes without saying that they would buy some stuff before they return. Lian Fang Zhou and Ah Jian separated from the Li father and son, each buying their own stuff and it was still Ah Jian drive the cart.

"Let's go the four city entrance and entrust someone to look into your matter," Lian Fang Zhou told Ah Jian.

"Alright!" Ah Jian acceded agreeably. After a pause, he continued speaking. "No matter what happens, I'm very grateful to you!"

"Don't say these aloof words!" Lian Fang Zhou chuckled.

This was initially a matter to do in passing and with the additional twenty coins and Lian Fang Zhou's and Ah Jian's extremely courteous attitude, those old men, who watched the tea sheds, agreed very straightforwardly with a delighted grin.

After they instructed clearly, they returned back, and Lian Fang Zhou hastily brought some things; few dozens of jin of flour,  few bolts of dense and fine cambric, two relatively thick felt blankets, as well as two jin of pork butchered, two pig's bone and a packet of sesame candy for the two little ones.

Once they bought everything, they went to the arranged meeting spot and Uncle Li and Li San Ge was already there waiting.

Lian Fang Zhou felt somewhat embarrassed and hurried to say, "Was delayed for some time, made Uncle Li and Brother San Ge wait!"

Uncle Li waved his hand, "It's nothing! Since it's a rare chance to come to the city, it's not strange to look around for something interesting."

Making everyone laughed. They chatted as they moved the things they bought onto the cart. Ah Jian jumped up to the driver seat and used the whip and drove them out of the city to return home.


Let's not talk about Lian Fang Zhou and the others exiting the city to return back. In another place, in front of Zhao Family's Miss, Zhao Ru Jun was Xi Que, in the midst of reporting.

"Your servant has already investigated properly. That person is called Ah Jian, an outsider who came here to work. Your servant had explained it clearly to him. He said he'll go back and think it over. After two days, he'll give us an answer..."

'With two days efforts, she'll persuade him to work for Zhao Family, no matter what.' Xi Que secretly vowed in mind.

Before when she went to invite him, she had unreservedly boosted in front of  Young Miss. Now she couldn't bring him back, what will Young Miss think of her? Will she (Young Miss)  still be able to trust her from now from?

Zhao Ru Jun is Master Zhao's only daughter. This year, she's nineteen. Not only is she an alluring beauty, but she also got the brains that many sharp-witted men can't beat!

Currently, more than half of Zhao Family's business is managed by her. Not only did it not suffer any loss, instead it became more and more prosperous.

In the beginning, those relatives of Zhao Family saw that Master Zhao had no son, they covetously eyed on Zhao Family's assets. Master Zhao's cousins tried different methods one after another to place their own sons at Master Zhao's side.

Phrasing it nicely, they're there to help. But in reality, they're aiming for those properties.

Everyone had the same plan: Master Zhao had no son to continue the line, then he'll have no choice but to choose one of the nephews to adopt, right?

Toward this matter, Master Zhao was vexed as well as helpless.

Of course, he was clear about their little scheme, but he had a total of seven concubines, and not one son was born, so besides adopting a nephew, there are no other solutions! He can't just let the incense fire extinguish (means end the family line) and selfishly throw all those assets into the water! At most, he could pick a good one out of them.

But Zhao Ru Jun had other thoughts.

From young, Zhao Ru Jun was raised like a boy. At the age when one can grab things, she was already playing with an abacus; when kids start learning words, she was looking at accounts. Also, Master Zhao dotes her, so for several years, he took her with him when doing business.

Taught through personal examples, Zhao Ru Jun has become an expert in business, despite her young age. Her formidable decision-making skills and intelligence is even more superior than her father.

With this kind of person, it's only natural that she won't be willing to give her own family's asset to her cousins.

When the cousins entered the Zhao Family's stores, Zhao Ru Jun didn't say anything and showed them all a warm, friendly smile.

Everyone knew that she was the apple of Master Zhao's eye, so it goes without saying to compete in flattering her. As long as she praises a few words in front of Master Zhao, it'll be more effective than working with their life on the line to perform excellently.

So, Zhao Ru Jun very easily sow discord and exacerbate everywhere without batting an eyelid.

Then, without any notice, she placed everyone in a situation she planned. This made those cousins' selfishness clear before everyone's eyes.

Beside dejectedly leaving Zhao Ru Jun's home, they have no other alternative.

What's really impressive, was that no one held a single speck of grudge against Zhao Ru Jun and her father after such anticlimax ending. Instead, the connection between a lot of people turned into death; hating the other for undermining them and exposing their weakness.

Afterward, in this situation with no other alternatives, Zhao Ru Jun and her father invited the clan elders to make a decision- Zhao Ru Jun taking a son-law to marry into their family and in future, the inheritances will go to her descendants. Naturally, the clan elders didn't put in their efforts for nothing.

All the uncles and cousins calmly and peacefully accepted this ending, and no longer aim for Zhao Family's assets.

They all had the same thought: 'In any case, I don't have a chance, but also I can't let any of you get it so easily!"

When this matter was settled, Zhao Ru Jun was only fifteen.

If she suggested recruiting a son-in-law at the beginning, the clansmen would definitely not agree. They had already thought of Zhao Family's assets as if it's entirely natural for them to own, so how could they be willing to let an outsider profit? But after experiencing this period of hardship, no one would disapprove. It can be seen how deep her thoughts are.

Not waiting for others to hatch a plan on Zhao Ru Jun's recruiting husband matter, Master Zhao and his daughter had already publicly announced the criteria for the husband selection. This way they can reject those uncles' evil intentions.

Want to marry in? Sure, just follow the rules! Failed to pass? Well, that's because your qualification isn't sufficient; can't blame anyone else!

Of course, if she found someone she fancied, she will have a plan to make that person fit the criteria.

But the problem is that after so many years, she still hasn't found anyone that can enter her eyes.

However, she wasn't anxious. As long as she nods her head, would she still not be able to find a husband?

Hearing Xi Que's words, Zhao Ru Jun remained silent and her slender white hand held a teacup, while her other hand used the lid to lightly dabble with the tea foam and hanging by the side of her face were seed-beaded tassel, which slightly shook. It shows a completely leisurely demeanor. The imposing aura exuding from within her made people unable to stare at her.

A strand of pressure that can make one nervous flowed into the atmosphere.

Subconsciously, Xi Que licked her lips, and her breath became blocked as if her throat was gripped by an invisible hand.

"Tell the truth!" After a pause, Zhao Ru Jun spoke lightly. Her tone carried a hint of laziness, and within that laziness laced with power that allows no defiance.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

VGAFH 55

The last one of my happy mood translating. Two and a half chapter is enough for one night. 

55. Not knowing how to advance and retreat

"That's perfect then. I found the right person!" The servant girl clapped in joy. "I'm called Xi Que, Zhao Family's Young Miss's personal maid! Just now, our Miss's carriage was startled, and only did this man took action, that nothing terrible happened. Our Miss saw that he got excellent skills and wanted to hire him as a driver. State a price and give him to Zhao Family!"

Xi Que fervently declared it with an expression saying 'state any price, what miss has is money.' The corners of her eyes proudly slanted at Lian Fang Zhou.

Lian Fang Zhou found her hauteur attitude maddening as well as funny. A slave, without any freedom and her life and death the grip of someone else's hand, actually dare act high and mighty in front of her!

If it were other matters, she would reject straight away. But Ah Jian is different. Ah Jian had lost his memory, and if he lived in the city,  it would be much easier for him to ask around and also search for by other. So Lian Fang Zhou pulled him to the side and softly counseled. "Ah Jian, whether you want to go with her or not, you consider it carefully and decide for yourself. Perhaps it's more convenient to investigate for information if you live in the city..."

"I don't want to go to whatever Zhao Household. I'll return to Da Fang Village with you!" Ah Jian shooked his head.

Needless to say, Lian Fang Zhou was overjoyed that her eyes shone, but she was still hesitant. "You, you don't need to consider for a bit? After all--"

"No need. Didn't you say we can rely on someone to ask around?" Ah Jian firmly rejected with his head shaking.

He had lost his memory, not his brain. What that Zhao Family's Miss saw in him were his strength and skills. Only in Lian Family's eyes, he could see equality and respect. For some unknown reason, he cared about that.

If not, on the journey, he would have already had a place to stay and wouldn't be here in Yu He County, right?

It's because the people he met, all had shining eyes when seeing his strength and enthusiastically pressed him to stay with the thoughts of treating him as a servant to order around. So without exception, he rejected them all.

This Zhao Family's Miss is no different from them.

Hearing his remark, Lian Fang Zhou subconsciously relaxed and nodded. "Oh, that's also fine!"

Finally, she turned to speak to Xi Que. "Sorry, Miss Xi Que, Ah Jian isn't willing. So, please return!"

Instantly, Xi Que was shocked still. She couldn't believe it and doubtfully looked at Ah Jian.

Ah Jian affirmed, "What Fang Zhou said is correct. Many thanks for Miss's good intention!"

Xi Que became troubled. She couldn't handle such a small matter, what would Young Miss think of her? At that moment she couldn't care about anything else and walked a few steps over.  She stared unwaveringly at Ah Jian and questioned, "Don't you know which Zhao Family's Miss is our Miss?  Half of Yu He County's silk and satin workshop, embroidery workshop, pawn shop and restaurant are part of our Zhao Family's business! Countless people would kill to work for our Zhao Family but can't since our Miss is extremely picky. If you didn't save our Miss, you could only dream of entering Zhao Household's door. Young Miss said, as long as you come, the wage is at least double!"

She gritted her teeth before continuing, "At least two silver per month!"

Ah Jian's eyelid didn't even flutter, his gaze remained calm. He turned down with a headshake. "Miss, please go back!"

Xi Que stomped her feet and glanced at Lian Fang Zhou with suspicion. "Did someone threaten you? Someone not willing to let you go?  No need to be afraid! You can tell me, our Zhao Family is one of the most eminent households in Yu He County. Even in front of the County lord, our Master can have a seat!"

Lian Fang Zhou bit her lips to stop herself from laughing. At the same time, she steadily gazed at Xi Que. 'The world still has such conceited person, that's really rare.'

Ah Jian became somewhat impatient and asserted. "I said I won't go means I won't go!  Do you hear?"
 
Xi Que was reduced to silence. However, she didn't give up, she turned to Lian Fang Zhou. "Miss, I want all of your charcoal. Whenever you make charcoal, just send it all to Zhao Manor! No matter how much you give, we'll take it all! This person, you have to give him to our Zhao Family, how about it?

This time Lian Fang Zhou flared up and aloofly replied. "Miss Xi Que, your Zhao Family is very wealthy and ostentatious. You can have anyone you want, so why must it be Ah Jian? And also I had said that it's all up to Ah Jian to decide for himself. He's not willing to go, then there's nothing I can do!"

"Fang Zhou, Ah Jian, what happened?" In the midst of talking, Uncle Li and Li San Ge returned and were giving a curious glance at Xi Que.

Seeing more people coming over, Xi Que didn't want to drag it any longer. Her eyes spun around before softly spoke with a smile. "Brother Ah Jian, my words counts anytime, so give it some more thoughts. When you decided, just come straight to the Zhao Family. Our Zhao mansion is in this city, just ask anyone, and you'll know!"

She shot him a sweet smile and fluttered her eyes coquettishly as she spoke before swaying her hips as she left.

Seeing this kind of acting, Uncle Li and Li San Ge got goosebumps instantly. You can't blame them, they're an honest farmer, so where could they see this before?

Lian Fang Zhou also got chills all over her body, and internally she nearly rolled with laughter. Huh, even the beauty trap is used. Beauty trap is very picky, not just anyone can use it...

Some people would have the reverse effect if they used it.

Lian Fang Zhou sneaked a glance at Ah Jian. Ah Jian's eyes were filled with disgust, and his brows pinched very high.

"Zhao Family? Everyone in the city knows there's only one Zhao Family. How did you get mixed up with them?" Uncle Li was surprised.

"Cause I was too meddlesome," Ah Jian then gave a run down version of what happened.

Uncle Li and Li San Ge exchanged a glance and was secretly sighed in relief. They agreed with his decision. "It was the right choice to not go with her. That kind of wealthy families only knows how to bully people! If you have a family here, it is a bit better, since you'll have someone to rely on if you ever suffer grievance. But since you aren't from here, with no root or support, you could only suffer bullying from everyone. It's better not to go!"
 
They just started the charcoal business, and if they lost Ah Jian, it can't help make people feel lost.

"I won't go,"  Ah Jian assured.

"Let's not talk about them anymore. Uncle Li and Li San Ge, what have you found about the price?" Lian Fang Zhou drew their attention back to the matters at hand.

Uncle Li and Li San Ge voiced their findings, then Lian Fang Zhou. The four of them discussed for a while before settling on two hundred and twenty-five wen per one hundred jin. Last year it was two hundred and thirty wen for each hundred jin.

Finally, they drove the cart to check the area of inns, restaurant, and shops first. If any of them need some, they would buy a more substantial amount.

There were a good few wanted to order but weren't content with the price. They wanted to drop it by five to six wen, even ten wen. Who knows if, after some time, the cost of charcoal were cheaper.  Buy it now was a bit early, but as long as they don't suffer a loss.

Lian Fang Zhou smiled. "Now it's just entered October and the early morning frost almost didn't freeze people to death. It can be seen that this winter will definitely be cold. It goes without saying, charcoal need to be bought. I don't know whether it'll become more expensive if this keeps on but it'll definitely won't be cheap. And also, wasn't it also this price last year? If it could get cheaper, it won't be cheaper than last year, right? And what's more, take a good look. Our charcoal wasn't impaired at all, it's one hundred percent made from burning hardwood. No smoke, resist burning and less ash residue. Those with discerning eyes can tell! We're testing the kiln, this trip, so that's why it's at this price. Next time it won't be at this price!"

VGAFH 54

54.Zhao Family's horrible maid.

Li San Ge's face immediately darkened. He simply asked, "Then let me ask you. If it weren't for Ah Jian, would we be able to make charcoal? We just learned it, and now you want to cast them aside. Can your conscience be at ease? They didn't ask for any money when teaching us. You also know that those who know how to make charcoal wouldn't be this generous. If you do this kind of thing, would you have any face to meet them in the future? Now pack away those thoughts as soon as possible. If dad and mum hear it hear it, you'll get a good scolding for a while!"

Mrs. Zhao felt embarrassed or anger hearing these word, and discerningly pointed out with flushing cheeks, "Ah Jian isn't part of Lian Family, so how did I go against my conscience? I'm doing this for our family. Look at what you're saying as if I was doing it for myself. From what I see, you're the one who's heartless, to accuse me like this!"

She spoke with reddened eyes and nearly teared up.

From the start, Li San Ge wasn't a fine talker like Mrs. Zhao, so hearing those words, he couldn't refute. In a fit of anger, he stomped his feet and bellowed. "You better say less! No matter what, this matter not going to happen!"

Aunt Zhang saw her son and his wife were whispering in the courtyard. When her son suddenly raised his voice, it nearly scared the hell out of her. With a frown she chided. "Why are being so fierce to your wife? What? Is it because you feel more superior now that you know how to make charcoal? We still have yet to sell the charcoal for money, and you're already causing a scene! Now stop talking!"

"Mmm." Li San Ge didn't say anything, just sulked out a faint response to let this matter vaguely pass and walked away. He knew if he explained, his wife would definitely be scolded.

Mrs. Zhao saw that he didn't say anything, her tense heart relaxed.  She stood there alone, staring blankly into space. Then let out an aggrieved sigh and also went back into the house.

Early the next day, Li father and son, Ah Jian and Lian Fang Zhou entered town together.

Since he got free time, Lian Ze went to the backyard and practiced the basics again.

Now is the middle of October, still have not become winter yet. Charcoal has yet to be sold on the street.  In a moment, the four of them was immediately troubled.

They stood out a lot when their cart entered the town. Many people that passed by thought how once winter comes, they'll need charcoal and if they buy it now, maybe they'll get it a cheaper. So they then went up to bargain the price.

How would Lian Fang Zhou and the others know the price? The four of them stared at each other. Uncle Li and Li San Ge were so nervous that they started to sweat.

No matter what, they had already come here and ended up pulling back everything. Anyway, the woods in the mountain isn't worth much.

Just when Uncle Li gritted his teeth and planned to give a random price, Lian Fang Zhou had already spoken out. "We're not selling the charcoal yet, need to wait a moment.

Those who heard this answered with an 'oh' or mumbled and left. There were some who was extremely curious and stuck around to find out the reason and also wanted to get a price no matter what. "Why aren't you selling it now?"

Lian Fang Zhou was somewhat mad on the inside and indifferently said, "If you want to know, come back later!"

Seeing the situation, some people just let it go, while others became a little angry. One of them said, "You're so unreasonable, little girl. You already brought it town and if you're not selling it, are you planning on pulling it back like this? The adults in your family have yet to speak. What can a little girl like you understand!"

Although Uncle Li doesn't know why Lian Fang Zhou said it like this but seeing her being snapped at, obviously he would help her. "What my niece said counts.  Come back later!"

Only then did those people unwillingly left. When they walked away, a good few criticised with words like 'don't know how to do business!'

Lian Fang Zhou didn't let it get to her.

"Fang Zhou, for what reason? We can't bring the charcoal back like this!" Li San Ge was also a bit agitated.

Lian Fang Zhou giggled. "Brother San Ge, don't be anxious! Of course, we'll sell the charcoal. It's just that we don't know the price, so how do we sell it?  Won't it be unfortunate, when we sell it at a loss? I was thinking like this.  We should leave one here to keep watch, and the other three goes off on their own and investigate last year's price of charcoal. This way we have something to base on, right?

"Ah!" Li San Ge slapped his own head. He laughed, "What you said is reasonable. Why did I not think of it!"

Uncle Li dipped his head in agreement. "Since it's like that, Fang Zhou, you stay here and keep watch. We'll go ask around."

"It's better to let Ah Jian stay here." Lian Fang Zhou vigilantly glanced at their surrounding. And jokingly said, "I can't suppress it if someone one comes looking for trouble!"

This made the four of them burst out laughing.

Uncle Li grinned. "Lian Fang Zhou really thought of everything! Might as well let you two wait here then."

Lian Fang Zhou is a girl, after all, so Uncle Li said this out with a kind heart.

However, Lian Fang Zhou had wanted to look around personally and urged, "It's enough with Ah Jian here. I also go. With the three of us asking around separately. We'll find out more about the situation with one more person.

Uncle Li and Li San Ge couldn't persuade Lian Fang Zhou, could only agree. The three of them discussed for a while and then moved out in three different directions.

The street that Lian Fang Zhou took happened to be the farmer's market.  She pretended to examine the wares on the stalls and asked when casually chatting around and imprinted into her mind.  Afterward, she went to sit at a tea spot for resting. In passing, Lian Fang Zhou asked a person who was drinking tea like her on their view of whether it was expensive or not.

After talking, she got the general gist of it.

When Lian Fang Zhou returned to where the cart stopped, Uncle Li and Li San Ge weren't back yet. But instead, she saw a young girl wearing a white damask long dress, claret vest scattered with floral design and a dark green belt hanging on her waist, like a servant attire, talking to Ah Jian.

She thought it was just a wealthy family wanting to buy charcoal, so didn't pay much heed to it. But when she got closer, she could hear the servant girl's words. Lian Fang Zhou's expression couldn't help change.

She heard the servant arrogantly told him, "I say, from your accent, you're not from here. So you must have come here to earn a living! This is easy to settle then! You follow me back. I promise you, our Master and Young Miss won't mistreat you! How much do you earn a month in your current place? Our Young Miss said we'll give you double that..."

What is the meaning of this?

Immediately Lian Fang Zhou became furious. She loudly yelled 'Ah Jian' and walked over in long strides.

Ah Jian was already impatient with the servant's pestering. When seeing Lian Fang Zhou return, he was overjoyed, and his face became a bit more high spirited as he called out. "Fang Zhou!"

The servant girl turned around to scrutinize Lian Fang Zhou upon hearing this. Subconsciously pouted her lips and stood there in a reserved manner.

"This miss, are you here to buy charcoal?" Lian Fang Zhou monotonously asked.

The servant girl harrumphed in disdain and steadily stared at her. "You can say that! Since our household use at least three to four thousands jins of charcoal in one winter. Although buying at this time is a bit early, but it's no matter. This bit of charcoal, I'll take it all doesn't make many differences!"

She continued with a smile. "Miss, these charcoal are yours?"

Lian Fang Zhou assented with a 'yes'.

The servant girl then pointed at Ah Jian and questioned, "So then this guy work for you?"

Lian Fang Zhou's brows subconsciously tightened. She doesn't like the tone of this servant and the way she spoke. She replied, "Ah Jian is temporarily staying at our place."

I guess the clothing would be something like this... credit to Google Image sensei. This is from a chinese drama. Can't remember the name. I think it was something about competition between different departments in the palace, e.g. jewelry, clothing, etc. But it's been nearly several years, so may have mixed it up

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

VGAFH 53

53.Mrs. Zhao's scheme

After a pause, she gave a slight nod. "That's right. While I'm at it, I must tell you something. You can rest at ease as you help us do work now. When the time comes for you to leave, I will definitely prepare sufficient traveling fund for you!"

His own family? His relatives?

Hearing these words, he looked up to the sky, which was filled with numerous dotted stars. As if his memory was deep within the starry sky. But he couldn't find it no matter how much he searches.

"Actually, since I lost my memory, there hasn't been one day without thinking of this problem. But no matter how much I think, even til my head hurts, I still can't make anything out. So I already gave up thinking. When I can remember, then I will remember. It's useless to think about it anymore!" Ah Jian sighed with melancholy.

It would be a lie to say he doesn't think of his past.

Lian Fang Zhou nodded with a smile. "Think like is right! Take things as they come. I believe Heaven favor the good! One day you'll remember everything!"

"Then I'll take your word for it!" Ah Jian smiled. Suddenly he frowned again and exhaled out. "Even though I can't remember anything, but when I have time to calm down, my heart feels empty and unsettle, as if there's an urgent matter waiting for me to do...But no matter how much I try, I can't remember what it is. I could only feel more and more uneasy."

Lian Fang Zhou rushed to comfort him. "Can't remember who you are, what's your past was like or whether you have any worried family member. Of course, you'll feel uneasy! For the time being, you can rest at ease. Wait till we go to the county, spend some money and rely on a few out of town roadside tea shed to keep an eye out. Maybe there's a chance that one your family come here to search!"

Ah Jian's eyes lit up and ecstatically exclaimed. "Great! It's a wonderful idea. It's just that... you'll have to spend money!

Lian Fang Zhou chuckled. "You're too honest and down to earth. Just with your strength alone, we already benefit a lot from you staying at our place."

They became merrier as they chatted.

Not long later, it gradually became brighter. In the early morning in the autumn mountains, everywhere was covered in thick fog accompanied with gusts of wind. If there weren't any burning kiln, who knows how cold it can be.

Lian Ze has already woke up for a while. The three of them kept on burning as they talked, waiting for Aunt Zhang and her daughter-in-law to switch shift.

The sun gradually rose up, and the thick fog cleared up. Aunt Zhang and her daughter-in-law rushed over after they had breakfast.

Mrs. Zhao had a bamboo basket hanging from her elbow. Inside were a pot of soup and three set of tableware.

Because Aunt Zhang was worried about the cold weather, she especially had it brought over for the three of them to warm up their body before they left the mountain.

Lian Fang Zhou and the other two gave their thanks and drank the soup. They gave some simple instructions to the Aunt Zhang and Mrs. Zhao before carrying the empty basket down the mountain.

After drinking a hot soup and walked down the mountain road, they passed sleepy-ness and no longer felt tired when they reached home.

After they washed up and had breakfast, Lian Fang Zhou went to look around the vegetable patch.

Winter in the southwest, the lowest temperature was at most four to five degree. Usually, it's around eight to nine degree. Winter is the perfect growth time for every type of green leafy vegetable and cabbage. At this time, you can already see big, glossy green leaves.

She then pulled some weeds in the vegetable patch and transplant some seedlings. In the afternoon, only when she felt drowsy did she go nap.

Lian Ze couldn't wait for anymore. That very afternoon, under Ah Jian's teaching he practiced horse stance and strengthened the basic skills. Lian Fang Qing found it fun, so she also giggled as she learned at the side. When Lian Che saw his brother frowned a bit, he then pulled her away.

Lian Fang Zhou understood his intention and seeing that he doesn't feel tired, she let him be.

After two more days, they can finally seal the kiln.

The charcoal kiln would be weighed down by the soil when the fire is extinguished. Everyone looked at each other. Their heart was apprehensive.
 
Because when burning the kiln, you can at least see what's happening. But now it's sealed, whatever changes inside can't be seen!

Since they can't see, naturally they would be more anxious.

"This, can it succeed right?"Li San Ge couldn't help nervously asked Ah Jian.

"There should be no problem! Just waiting for the charcoal to char. Three to four days should be enough." Lian Fang Zhou calmly answered, even though she felt a bit worried at heart.

"Ok!" Li San Ge felt at ease after she laid out the plan. He treated it as Lian Fang Zhou had asked Ah Jian before, and did not overthink of it when she answered his question.

"This, do we still need to guard it?" Uncle Li meticulously asked

Guard it? There's no fire, and there's also no place for shelter. What if they got sick from keeping watch deep in the mountain during the night?

Let's not mention that they can't afford to become sick; there's also the fact that medical treatment standards at this age are very doubtful.

Lian Fang Zhou rushed to say, "This matter, only we know and here is deep in the mountain. I think we don't need to? It was cold here. Wouldn't it be troublesome if we caught a cold?"

"You're right! If we caught the chill, then we'll have to spend money on medicine!" Mrs. Zhao quickly followed up. She left her unspoken words to stay in her stomach. 'By chance, we weren't successful in making charcoal, not only would we not earn money but also make a loss from grabbing the medicine.  It wouldn't be worth it!'

Uncle Li, Aunt Zhang and the others felt what Lian Fang Zhou said was reasonable, so they agreed. They settled on waiting four days and then come back here to look.

In angst, they passed four days. That day in the afternoon, they came together to open the kiln.

When Ah Jian and Li San Ge carefully dug out the top of the kiln, many pairs of eye swept over at the same time to look, both worried as well as hopeful.

Finally, they dug out an opening and afterheat come pouring out. At that moment, everyone's heart stopped a beat. Then they happened to cheer at the same time.

They have never felt that black could look so great. Those upright pieces in the middle of the kiln are successfully made charcoal!

"Success! Success! Aiya, mother, it succeeded!" Mrs. Zhao was so delighted that her eyes glowed and her mouth nearly reached her ears.

In her eyes, those dark charcoal are shiny white silver.

"That's right! That's right! Haha, this is wonderful!" Aunt Zhang was also a little bit excited.

Lian Fang Zhou was overjoyed as well, and at the same time, her heart relaxed. This winter, they should be pretty well off.

"Tomorrow we should make a trip to town and check out the market information. " Uncle Li suggested to Lian Fang Zhou.

Naturally, Lian Fang Zhou agreed. If the market condition is right, then they'll dig out another three-four kiln and burn all in one go.

At the side, she examined the freshly made charcoal and pointed out. "The time it took us to open the kiln is a bit long. A lot of this side's charcoal is burnt. Hm, seems like sealing for three days is enough for next time."

Naturally, it's great being able to save one day. Uncle Li felt uncertain and asked Ah Jian is it like that.

Needless to say, Ah Jian nodded and said. "That's right."

The amount of charcoal made is estimated to be over a thousand jin. The whole Li family and Ah Jian carried it all back in one go. All of it was piled in Uncle Li's courtyard, waiting to sold in town the next day after they borrowed Wang family's cart.

Seeing the charcoal piled into a mini mountain in their own courtyard, Mrs. Zhao felt content like a blooming flower. The more she looked, the more delighted she is.

Suddenly she was struck by an idea. She pulled Li San Ge to the side to quietly discuss. "Making charcoal isn't that hard! Didn't we learn it in one go? It's fine this time. How about next time each family makes their own? That way when doing the account, it wouldn't be troublesome to split. What do you think?"

Once Li San Ge heard these words, he knew what Mrs. Zhao was thinking. 'She dislikes the fact that Lian Fang Zhou and Lian Ze are children and felt they were at a disadvantage!'



jin= 500g
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