Chapter 58: Wasteland

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

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

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

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

Everyone was hungry at this point, and couldn't stop swallowing when they saw the table full of delicious dishes. Li Qinghe had worked at a restaurant for two years and occasionally, Chef Chen had taught her how to cook. Since she saw him cooking every day, she naturally learned how to cook delicious food.

Mrs. Zhou had also prepared wine, and everyone poured themselves a bowl. Since she hadn’t gotten chopsticks, everyone had to endure it if they wanted to eat.

Mrs. Zhou coughed slightly. "It’s rare for a family to sit together during Chinese New Year nowadays. Before we eat, I have a few words to say."

Everyone turned to look at her.

The Zhou siblings and the three new daughters-in-law who had entered the house didn’t dare be rude to Mrs. Zhou. There was a serious look on their faces, no matter how they felt inwardly.

"I am sure you've all heard about what happened to the Qian family last week, so I hope you don't grow up to be such assholes."

Everyone looked solemn and said, "No."

Mrs. Zhou nodded. "I see you are doing well in these six months, so you must each send me fifty catties of grain every year after this autumn's harvest."

The house was already quiet, but after hearing this, it was so quiet one could hear a pin drop. Zhang Haiyao and Mei Shi looked at each other, while Old Lady Liu frowned. "Sister, I'll be fair. You're still young, and it's too soon to begin making your children filial……"

Mrs. Zhou raised her hand to stop her. "This is the matter of the Zhou family. If the members are dissatisfied, they must tell me so. It is not an outsider's place to address them."

The old lady's expression darkened when she heard this. "I thought you would treat me as if I were part of the family. Instead, I can’t even speak a word. If that's the case, then I must…" She stood up haughtily, turned around, and was about to leave, looking angry.

Just as she was about to step past the threshold, Mrs. Zhou said, "You are my guest and my eldest child provides for you, or you do what I did and let my eldest give you fifty catties of grain every year."

How could fifty catties of grain be enough for her?

Old Lady Liu thought that Mrs. Zhou was going to ask her to stay, but she hadn’t expected her to say such hard-hearted words. She had no choice but to leave.

Seeing this, Mei Shi shouted, "Mother." She got up and was about to go after her.

As she approached the door, Mrs. Zhou said, in a deep voice, "Sister-in-law Liu can leave because she is not a member of my family. If you leave, take her away and get out of my house."

Elder Brother Zhou got up and patted his mother's back. "Mother, don't be angry on this New Year's Eve."

Mrs. Zhou waved her hand and said solemnly, "I raised you from a young age, so can't you raise me when I'm old? Fifty catties of grain a year isn't much. You’re making trouble for me, thinking you can get away with it. Do you really think that you can get away with it? I would never have asked you for this if you had gone to live with the Liu family. Just as with the second child, you can leave me your land and not need to give me your grain either."

"I’ll hand it in," Zhang Haiyao suddenly said. "Mother, we are willing to give grains. It is right to give it to you in your old age, and my sister-in-law must also be willing to pay."

Li Qinghe nodded. "We are willing to give."

Therefore, Mei Shi, who was running out, seemed to be particularly frugal. Her face turned ugly and she said, "Since it is Mother's old age, we can talk about all the things she needs. We have no reason to disagree. It's just that my mother…"

Old Lady Liu had asked for it!

After a long time, Mrs. Zhou said, "You will give her some of the food on this table."

The atmosphere at the dinner table was a little dull following this incident. Thankfully, the food was extremely good and everyone concentrated on eating.

Mrs. Zhou, observing the food on the table gradually decreasing, suddenly said, "It's not that I want to bully her, but she's such a mess that it's difficult for the eldest child to live."

Mei Shi lowered her head, and Mrs. Zhou looked at her. "You have to make up your mind; it's your own life. Is my eldest child not as good as the man you married before?"

Mei Shi's face initially turned red, before gradually paling. Her first husband had been sick and lay on the bed all day long, leaving after a few years. She had served him long enough. Elder Brother Zhou was very generous with her and treated her well, and he gave her all the silver he earned, which in Wang Village was very rare. She bowed her head, as she seemed to be contemplating something.

Li Qinghe then helped clean up the dishes and chopsticks before going home after the meal.

It was getting late, and there wasn’t much fish in the pond, so the two went home after feeding the fish. The chicken next door had been fed a long time ago, so they didn’t need to worry about it today.

Zhou Chengkang lit the brazier first when he entered the house, and the house gradually warmed up. The night of New Year's Eve, Li Qinghe took out the soles of her shoes and asked him for help with the embroidery thread. The atmosphere was peaceful, serene, and warm.

As the night outside grew darker, Li Qinghe heard him ask, "Are you hungry?"

There were many dishes today, but there were also many people eating, so Li Qinghe hadn’t eaten much. At first, she wasn't very hungry, but when he asked, she was really hungry.

Zhou Chengkang smiled and said, "I'll cook the noodles for you."

"Okay." Li Qinghe put down the needle and thread. "Let's cook together."

The two worked in the kitchen, kneading and cooking noodles, while they also prepared two small dishes. They returned half an hour later with the prepared meal and sat opposite each other in the warm house.

As Li Qinghe ate the noodles, she stared at the person across the table, somewhat hypnotized. "That afternoon meal was New Year's meal, but this moment seems to have more of a New Year's Eve atmosphere."

Zhou Chengkang grabbed her hand and said, "That's because we are the two who have been with each other the longest."

Li Qinghe returned to her senses, and smiled. "You're right."

A year has passed since the couple had gotten married. The two of them did not wake up until noon on the first day of the lunar month. They were going to the Li house today.

With the New Year’s gift they had prepared, Li Qinghe and Zhou Chengkang went to the Li house in the afternoon. With Mrs. Qian lying in bed, Li Fu had probably had a bad New Year this year. He didn't know how to cook, and so Li Qinghe didn't know what he had eaten yesterday.

Hu Yanxi and Zhao Wanwan had already arrived when Li Qinghe arrived.

Li Fu did not know how to cook and his two daughters returned with his son-in-law, making him feel a little embarrassed. He ran in to see Mrs. Qian several times, probably urging her to get up and cook. But Mrs. Qian refused. In the end, Zhao Wanwan went into the kitchen and started cooking. She prepared meat and vegetable dishes. Li Qinghe also assisted.

Before they got married, the sisters were very often found in the kitchen cooking together. Zhao Wanwan secretly glanced at her several times. "Sister, Mother hasn't gotten up yet?"

"I don't know," Li Qinghe said calmly. "Don't look at me. I haven't come home much lately."

Li Qinghe asked, "Are you still going to the county after the New Year?".

Zhao Wanwan nodded. "Yes. After the New Year, there will be a county examination. I will quit my job at the inn and go to take care of Yanxi."

Li Qinghe asked in a low voice, "Is he really taking a concubine?" She was extremely curious.

Zhao Wanwan smiled and shook her head. "No, it's just that the girl is pleased with him and often sends him things that he can't refuse. When I go there next year, it should be okay."

Li Qinghe was dumbfounded. If a man insisted on rejecting a girl, it was not impossible. Girls were thin-skinned. If he said a few harsh words or ignored them, they would back off. Was she really so shameless?

She glanced at Hu Yanxi who was talking to Zhou Chengkang in the yard, not expecting that he was still this kind of person.

That had been just curiosity; Li Qinghe still had to discuss business. "Your mother gave your father money and told him to give it to you. When your father came back, he said that he found you and that you were living a good life. He said that he would help you bring money in the future. Did you know?"

Zhao Wanwan was surprised and shook her head. "I didn’t know, so did you ask me if I saw my father for this reason?"

Li Qinghe said this because she didn't want the mother and daughter to continue being deceived. The main reason was that Li Fu had raised Zhao Wanwan and he had still done his best. In the future, if she went to her father instead of Li Fu to show filial piety, he would be saddened.

Both sisters prepared the meal and returned to their homes after eating.

During the first month, the two went to buy fish and put them in the pond. After that, they went to the fields. They were about to plow in the spring. Li Qinghe had originally planned to cut two more acres out of the barren land until next year, leaving one acre for chicken feeding, and the rest would be cleared to make way for farming.

But last year, winter came too early, and it rained for too long. Besides them, many people in the village did not clean up their fields. A few days before the tenth day of the first month, they could see people with sickles and hoes going to the ground.

The two of them were no exception, mainly because no one helped them. Li Fu's wife, Mrs. Qian, was still lying down, and it was estimated that she would remain in bed until spring. Since she couldn’t clean up her land, let alone help, it would be best if they didn't help. Not to mention, in the Zhou family, Mrs. Zhou would need many days to plant alone on your land. Except for the second elder brother, the rest of the brothers could not be counted on.

After chopping for a day, Li Qinghe had blisters on her hands. In the end, gritting her teeth, she hired someone to do the job for her!

When the news was released, many people found Li Kui. Li Qinghe asked Li Kui to help him find people for all work in the field. From a wasteland to a man-made home, their family was very happy to give money, and many people flocked to their door.

Li Kui invited Li Xingwang's family and seven or eight others. Not only did they clean up the land from last year, but they also cut two acres of weeds on the side. As a result, Li Qinghe did not want to leave the other land and cleaned it all up.

Before and after Li Qinghe spent the money, it took nearly half a month, but the results were rewarding. From the ten acres she purchased, only one acre was used for chicken farming, and eight acres became clean land.

Whether good or bad, the next two years should be fine.

People thought she was a fool for buying this barren mountain in the past, even if most of them hadn’t said anything. But now that the land had been cut, so much of it belonged to her, and others looked at it with excitement.

Nobody's land had ever been so neat. Even though it was thinner now, after being planted for ten or eight years, it would be almost the same as others.

So some people came up with the idea of investing their money into the wasteland around the village, to clean it up, and then harvest it each year.

In the past two days, many people went quietly to the village chief's house.

When Li Qinghe had measured this land for the first time, she had measured the flattest part of the wasteland. To the left was the path up the mountain, and to the right was the path to another village.

The village chief brought the magistrate over to measure the five acres on the right side a few days later.

The person who bought that piece of land was surprisingly the Yang family. They had remained the same since their previous life. Many of the stores and houses in town were shut down after the business declined. They kept a low profile after settling in the village, so nobody expected them to have money to buy land.

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

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