Chapter 73: Dumbfounded

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

----- THIS TRANSLATION BELONGS TO konila.com -----

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

They didn't talk about it any further and soon got busy again. They quickly took the prepared gifts and went back to Li's house. On the first day of the first lunar month, it was a custom for the married daughter to go back to her parent's house for lunch. When they arrived, Zhao Wanwan and Mrs. Qian were cooking in the kitchen.

Zhou Chengkang went to talk to Li Fu. After the New Year, when the weather turned better, it was time for spring plowing. The father-in-law and sons-in-law were talking among themselves.

In fact, Li Fu was more fond of Zhou Chengkang, the son-in-law from a farmer's family, than the son-in-law who would be a scholar in the future. The Zhou couple had sincere feelings for him. Throughout the year, Li Qinghe and Zhou Chengkang brought him a lot of meat and vegetables, helped him with his work, and took him to live with them. There was no shortage of gifts for the New Year and festivals from them. The shirt he was wearing today was also from the fabric they sent him. It was said if the daughter was still filial after marriage, it was because they found a good son-in-law, who was also filial.

As for Hu Yanxi, he lived with Li Fu for half a year last year, and no matter what festival it was, he never gifted Li Fu anything. He only started to work during the autumn harvest after Li Fu forced him to do it. The little work he did, was not something Li Fu appreciated. In fact, after getting along for a long time, scholars were just like ordinary people; nothing special. Especially today, on the first day of the new year, the two of them went back yesterday morning to Hu's, and they came back this morning empty-handed.

Although Li Fu didn't want their gifts, it would still be disappointing if he didn't receive anything.

Secondly, no matter how Li Fu treated Zhao Wanwan as his biological daughter, in terms of blood relationships, there was some difference. There was also the fact that he and Zhou Chengkang shared a great deal in common, so they had something in common to discuss. Whatever the subject was, they could talk together about it, whether it was about the crops in the fields, feeding pigs and chickens, or climbing mountains to chop wood. While with Hu Yanxi, he usually had cold conversations. Even after living together for nearly a year, the amount of time they talked was less when even compared to occasional talks with Zhou Chengkang.

Li Qinghe went to the kitchen and helped with the cooking. Mrs. Qian had changed a lot recently; her hands were much rougher, and her face was darker. Seeing her come in, she smiled and said, "The meal will be ready soon."

The mother and daughter were talking happily, but as soon as Li Qinghe entered, the atmosphere was obviously colder, "Sister, I heard Sister Yu is going to build a house behind yours and will be your neighbor?"

Li Qinghe nodded, "That's true."

"Before, I used to think Yu Yan was cheap and what kind of a person would she want to marry into her family, but I didn't expect her to actually… " Looking very displeased, Mrs. Qian shook her head and said, "What's wrong with Laixing? Okay? Why does she think he isn't good for her? She shouldn't bully poor young people, else will regret it in the future."

Li Qinghe doesn't like to hear this. It was true that studying was the best way out to have a better future, but the investment was too big. He must go to the county to study, and moving there will take him a full day and night. At least the county wasn't so far from their village. Unlike the capital, going there for an examination would have taken at least a month to get back and forth, and would be extremely expensive.

And traveling on the road was not necessarily safe. If they wanted to live in a safe and quiet environment, it was best to live in the village.

Yu Yan's origin was a mystery. At first glance, one could tell that she was from a county and her embroidery skills weren't something girls from ordinary families could learn. How could she marry a man who was not even a scholar? Not to mention that this man's heart was not insincere to her, so it was even more impossible.

Li Qinghe didn't speak, so Mrs. Qian could not continue to talk about it anymore, "Both of you are good at choosing nice places and will be neighbors in the future. Is the land on the west side of the village blessed, how come the people who move there are all rich?"

Zhao Wanwan smiled, "Mother, it's because an ordinary person can't afford to buy that land. They don't have the money to clean it up."

The atmosphere turned quite awkward, but fortunately, the meal was quickly served. The family sat at the table, and the room had a warm and welcoming ambiance. Li Fu was very happy and even had a drink with his two sons-in-law.

As the men were drinking, it was impossible to clean the table for a while. Li Qinghe went to the kitchen to help with cleaning. Zhao Wanwan peeked at her a few times, "Sister, I heard that you and your brother-in-law earned a lot last year."

"Not much." Li Qinghe casually said, "It may seem that we are making a lot of money, but, after earning back the initial investment, the rest of the money was little for the work done."

Zhao Wanwan thought for a long time and then sighed in a low voice, "New Year's Day is supposed to be a happy occasion, but I am concerned that soon, it will be time for students to take exams in the capital city. We will have to depart soon but still don't know from where we should get some allowance. I wonder if father has some money to lend us?"

Isn't living here all year round not enough, do you still want to ask father to lend you silver? If Hu Yanxi's father is still around, I'm afraid it's not so good.

Or else ... She said this in front of me so she could borrow money from me, "Your mother-in-law is working in town, so she should have something some silver, right? Besides, the two of you don't have to spend a penny on food and drinks, so it's not your turn to worry about it."

After hearing her words, Zhao Wanwan was stunned for a moment, then she smiled bitterly, "If he passes the exam, he will be a scholar. If I don't make any effort, how can I feel good?"

The two lived in the countryside all year round, and although they did help the family with work, Li Fu also did not want to give them money for their work. No matter how embarrassing it was, they could only suffer by themselves. They earned the money, but it was not as simple as talking about it.

Li Qinghe did not take the initiative to say that she would lend them the silver. Not to mention to take the initiative to ask even if Zhao Wanwan had asked, she would refuse to lend.

Hu Yanxi had been taking the annual exam for many years, but he didn't pass once and continued to study. He wasn't earning money. Who knows when this will end? Even close relatives, let alone a sister-in-law, would not support them blindly.

When the men finished drinking wine, Li Qinghe excused herself and left. In the end, Zhao Wanwan didn't ask her to lend them money.

It was late in the evening when they left Li's house. When they passed by the Zhou's house, they couldn't help but go in and take a look at Mei Hua and the child.

The baby was born two months early, and Mei Hua got injured during labour, which left her with no milk to feed the baby and she was quite haggard. The child's face was not even as big as her hand and she cried from hunger. Li Qinghe wasn't happy and couldn't help but say, "There is a lot of fish in my pond. Let the eldest brother catch some and make soup for you."

Mei Hua smiled weakly, "Thank you, I think so too. I will buy it from you when the time comes."

She was so weak and yet still thought about giving money. Li Qinghe waved her hand, "You sleep a little longer. We'll talk about the money later."

After that day, eldest brother Zhou came over every day to catch a catty or so of fish and go back to make soup. Within two days, Li Qinghe heard that Mei Hua was able to breastfeed the child.

Now that she has started nursing, the child will be able to feed.

The first month of the year, there were heavy rains, and they continued till the end of the first month. Everyone who wanted to plow in the spring had to go in the rain to remove the weeds, which made the work a lot slower. Li Fu was not in a hurry. He took his family to the field to remove weeds last year and after the winter there weren't many weeds, so after some cleaning, he would be able to plant the crops.

Li Qinghe and Zhou Chengaknd had eight acres of land, and it was all wasteland that had just been planted with crops for a year or two. Weeds grow wildly and in their own words, they had to work day and night for many days to remove them completely. They hired people for the past two years, but if they want to hire people this year, they were afraid they would not be able to. Even if the villagers wanted to earn wages, the premise was that they would have been able to complete their work before. For farmers, the most important thing was the harvest in the field. If the seeds were not planted, how would they be able to survive with just the two days' wages?

Moreover, Li Qinghe was afraid that she would not be able to work if even she wanted to. By the end of the month, she always felt nauseated, and went to the town to a doctor and found that she was pregnant.

At that time, Zhou Chengkang's expression changed rapidly from surprise to shock, and then he asked tentatively, "Doctor, if she has an abortion, will it hurt her body?"

On weekdays, Zhou Chengkang would occasionally help the villagers to pick up the doctor. The day Mei Shi gave birth to her child on New Year's Day, he was the one who came to pick her up. They knew each other well.

Doctor Huang looked inexplicable at the time, "Why do you want to abort the baby? As far as I know, you don't have any children yet?"

After remembering that Zhou Chengkang also asked about Li Qinghe's injury, combining it with Mei Hua's situation, where she also got injured during labour, he immediately realized what was going on, "Abortion is also very hurtful. It's more difficult than having a child, so take good care of the mother and child."

It was dangerous to give birth to a child, and it was also dangerous to give birth. There were in a dilemma. On their way back home, the horses were not running and were just walking slowly. Zhou Chenkang also didn't let Li Qinghe sit in the front as he was afraid of her falling.

At this time, Zhou Chenkang couldn't be bothered to take care of the field anymore. Anyway, they could live by raising the fish this year. Many people thought that Li Qinghe's wasteland would be barren this year, including Zhou Chengkang, but then the guards from the magistrate who visited them last year visited again.

Originally, Zhou Chengkang didn't plan to continue farming. But the county magistrate came to their house himself so he had to agree. Therefore, he moved out the sweet potatoes that were planted in the cellar last year and buried them in the ground as last year.

Magistrate Lin looked at the eight acres of land full of weeds and asked, "I heard that you barely planted crops last year and deliberately dug out wide and narrow rows to make space for planting sweet potatoes?"

"Yes." Zhou Chengkang nodded, "I'm afraid it won't work this year. The villagers haven't finished planting crops in their fields yet, so we can't hire anyone. My wife is pregnant and can't work in the field, and I also have to take care of her..."

Lin Zhixian looked solemn, "I want people to follow your example and plant for a year. How can I convince people if you don't plant them?"

Then he turned to look at Li Qinghe at the side, who was being guarded carefully by Zhou Chengkang. Indeed, it was embarrassing for these two people to plant sweet potatoes on the eight acres of land. He thought about it and said, "I will find someone to help you plant it, and you can just supervise them."

Li Qinghe and Zhou Chengkang were stunned. If it was possible, of course, it could be better.

So, two days later, in rare good weather, a group of people entered the village in a mighty way early in the morning and went straight to the wasteland. With dozen people working, within one day, the field was cleared of weeds and was planted with barley. The space in the middle was left empty and, the workers said that would come back to plant sweet potatoes again.

They would definitely come again. There was nothing special about planting the wheat. What was special was the method of planting the sweet potatoes.

After the group left, it was time for the villagers to return home in the evening. They couldn't help but go over to the wasteland. Seeing that the couple's field was planted with seeds and they didn't have to do it themselves made people jealous.

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----- This translation belongs to konila.com -----

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