The Green Lotus Peasant Girl

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Chapter 97: Borrow

When they were about to get into the carriage, they saw Zhao Wanwan standing near the courtyard gate.

She was wearing a pink dress and a wooden hairpin on her head which looked so familiar that it made Li Qinghe take a second look at it.

Zhao Wanwan reached out to touch her hairpin and smiled, "Sister, do you still remember this hairpin? When you bought it for me, I was so happy at that time that I couldn't bear to not wear it for all these years. I always felt that it was not an ordinary hairpin, but a rare token of my sister's affection for me."

Zhou Chengkang had already gotten on the carriage and reached out to help her get in, "Come up."

Li Qinghe nodded, put her hand in his hand, and with a slight effort, she was pulled onto the carriage.

Seeing that the carriage was about to leave, Zhao Wanwan became anxious and took a few steps forward to the carriage, "Sister, I want to go back to the village, can I come along with you?"

It was possible to take her. Not just her, as long as he encountered anyone from the village who needed a ride back, Zhou Chengkang was happy to take them.

When Zhao Wanwan saw that they didn't refuse, she climbed into the carriage by herself, and as soon as she entered the carriage, the horse trotted up.

Zhao Wanwan almost hit the carriage wall because she couldn't hold the wooden handle properly. After stabilizing herself, she realized that Li Qinghe was still sitting outside, so she asked, "Sister, aren't you coming in?"

"I feel stuffy inside, so I prefer to sit on the outside." Li Qinghe said casually.

Her attitude made it clear that she didn't just want to take a ride to the village with her. Li Qinghe was not stupid to go sit inside and get entangled with her.

The town was not far from the village and during that time. Zhao Wanwan tried to talk with her several times, but she ignored her.

Zhao Wanwan wanted to sit in front of them but it was not possible. Although two to three people can sit in front, they would have to squeeze together to sit. And also, since the carriage was going on the bumpy road’ it was better to sit behind than fall off from sitting in the front. So she didn't dare to sit in the front.

Soon they arrived at the entrance of the village. Except for what we said at the beginning before she got on the carriage, Zhao Wanwan couldn’t find another opportunity to talk to her.

There were a lot of people standing under the big tree near the entrance of the village. When they saw their carriage coming, they went up and surrounded it. The road was already narrow and with all these people surrounding the carriage, the carriage could not pass through. So Zhou Changkang had to stop the carriage.

"Qinghe, we have something to ask you." A familiar woman stepped forward and asked, “Can you come down so we can discuss it together?"

It was quite a rare sight that so many people were looking for them at the same time, so Li Qinghe was surprised and asked, "Auntie, what is it that you want?"

"We are all here to borrow silver from you." The woman was a bit embarrassed, "I just need three taels of silver. Seeing as it's going to be winter soon, I need to make or buy new coats and quilts."

Hearing that, Li Qinghe was really surprised. This kind of thing should be bought when the family had a surplus of silver to buy it. Borrowing silver to make new clothes and quilts was not something an average person would do.

What was even more surprising was that everybody agreed with her statement, "Yes, I also want to buy new clothes this year. My son is eighteen years old and I'm going to Tang Village next month to find a bride. We can't just pack up and go there…"

"I've also been looking for a bride for a year now. If all goes well, then I can also get married; and if I'm lucky I could be blessed with a child."

Listening to the discussions of the people around, Li Qinghe and Zhou Chengkang understood the situation. Each of them lent money to the Yang family at an interest rate of 20%. Mr. Yang told them that he needed the money to pay Li Qinghe and Zhou Chengkang and suggested to them that they could borrow the money back from them when they would return home. In such a way, the people would not only get their money back quickly, but Mr. Yang also would not have to pay them back with 20% interest.

Zhao Wanwan also stuck her head out of the carriage and whispered in her ear, "Sister, the reason I came to you was because I also wanted to borrow some money from you. My father sold the house hastily for 20 taels to pay back the money. He knows that what he did was wrong. Could you please lend us some money? I'll tell him to find a way to pay you back quickly. My father also said that if you let us borrow then he'll give you 5 taels more when he pays back. If you don't believe him, you can ask the village chief to write an IOU."

Amidst their chatter, Zhou Chengkang said in a calm voice, "I'm sorry everyone, we don't have any money on us right now."

The crowd suddenly turned quiet and they looked at each other. Someone didn't believe his words and exclaimed, "How can you not have any money? Didn't your family just receive compensation for forty taels of silver? The Zhao family sold their house to pay you, we all have heard about this."

In fact, this was the exact reason why Zhou Chengkang bought the land immediately. Heknew people would come to his house to borrow money. If people gave the reason that they wanted to use the money as a bride price, then it would have become really difficult for the couple to reject the request.

If they lent them the money then they would be anxious and uncomfortable in their hearts all the time, since there was no guarantee for when the money would come back to them again. And if they didn't lend them money, then people would taunt them in the future by saying: "Why do you think my family doesn't have a daughter-in-law? It's because fourth brother Zhou didn't lend me money to use as a betrothal gift." Not to mention if they want to borrow money for medical reasons, and if they don't lend them money that might lead to the person passing away then… it would make their lives difficult.

"Yes, you have forty taels. We only need a few taels. Anyway, we will work hard and return it to you after the New Year for sure…"

"We really don't have money." Li Qinghe said this both to the crowd and to Zhao Wanwan who was talking in her ear, "We bought land with the money." She reached out and pointed to the hill over there, "On that hill, we bought forty acres of the land. We already have the deed in our hands and tomorrow the magistrate will come to measure it."

Everyone was stunned.

They never imagined that someone would buy land on the barren mountain. What else could there be found apart from weeds and small or large trees that could be used for firewood?

This reasoning was not important right now. The important thing at the moment was that the money was gone. Where can they find the money that they need so urgently?

Everyone was silent. Zhou Chengkang asked in a low voice, "Can you guys move over? It's getting late and we're in a hurry to get home."

They didn't have money so there was no point in stopping them, hence everyone gave them way. When the carriage arrived at the spacious area at the entrance of the village, Li Qinghe turned around and asked, "Are you going to get off the carriage?"

Zhao Wanwan was in a dazed state. She returned to her senses only when she heard her question and reacted, "No, sister, how can you use forty taels of silver to buy barren hills? You can buy two or three small yards in the town! You can also buy a small courtyard in the county..."

"The money has already been spent. We can't do anything about it now." Li Qinghe asked again, "Do you want to get down now? I have Xiyu and his grandmother living in our house, so it's not really convenient for you to come there and live with us as well."

In reality, there was no inconvenience. She just didn't want to get entangled with her. She didn't want to take her to her own home and invite her for a meal.

Speaking of which, Zhao Wanwan lived in Li's house for several years before she got married. Even after she got married, she lived at Li's house with Hu Yanxi for a year. She ate so many meals at her father's house, but despite this, she and her father never had a meal at her house.

Thinking about this, she became even more determined that she couldn't take her to her house. It was getting dark now, so she might have to stay in her house for a night if they brought her.

It was too much trouble!

Li Qinghe said to her, "You, get down right now!"

The seriousness in her tone couldn’t be ignored as she said the words with a straight face. Zhao Wanwan unconsciously jumped out of the carriage and watched the carriage head towards the village. The house belonging to the Zhao family will soon be taken away and will be sold off. By then her father would not have a place to live.

Li Qinghe had already bought the land, and even if she had money she would have never lent her twenty taels any way. She felt that the matter was too much for her to handle. She turned around and hurried to Mrs. Qian's house.

When Li Qinghe and Zhou Chengkang arrived home, they found that Mr. Yang was already waiting for them at their doorstep. He rubbed his hands together and said, "Can you lend me some silver first? To pay back your silver, I borrowed money from a few people who need the money back urgently. I can not delay other people's business, and I am willing to pay more......"

Li Qinghe didn't even wait for him to finish speaking, she already cut his words and said, "We have already bought land with the money. We have spent all forty taels of silver."

Mr. Yang was one more addition to the list of people this couple had dumbfounded.

It was already getting dark when they returned to the village. And by the night, everyone in Wang village knew that they bought the land on the hill and used all the money to pay for it. Other than the extra land, they had no more money left.

Everyone who had secretly wanted to ask them to borrow money all gave up their thoughts.

Early in the morning the next day, Zhou Chengkang went to the town to pick up the magistrate and started to measure from the back of Yu Yan's house to the mountain. He also considered Yu Yan's words and left her two acres behind her house. She took out the money and bought it from the magistrate.

Forty acres of land was a very large area, even if it was on the mountain. The entire area around Li Qinghe's house to the Yang family's house and up the mountain was very large.

Mrs. Zhou held Xiyu in her arms. She was frowning. A serious expression graced her face, "Why did you buy so much of the wasteland? Forget about farming, it would be hard for both of you to even turn the soil around."

Well, it would indeed be very hard to work on this land.

Li Qinghe did not give her any explanation though. She thanked the magistrate and sent him off. Yu Yan also followed him to go to the town to get the deed for her two acres of land that she asked the couple to spare for her.

In the afternoon, they could again hear some chaos spouting from the Yang family's house. Like the previous two times, everyone had come to the Yang family along with their hoes and knives to demand explanations and to make them return their money.

Before, the Yang family had not paid wages to many people. So when those people heard about this meet-up, they also went along and surrounded the Yang house. They were afraid that if Mr. Yang gave away all the money to others, they wouldn't be able to get back their pending wages. What if they lost their money in this ruckus?

The truth was that Mr. Yang did not borrow money from many people, but had many people help him out to build his house in the past.

All of the people were crowded up in the yard, and there was no more space left.

The crowd huddled together and threatened to take refuge there if he didn't pay the money back! They said that even if the magistrate was called, they would not leave.

After accounting all the money that was on loan, the Yang family owed more than ten taels of silver to the villagers. They continued to stir up trouble until the middle of the night, and only left when Mr. Yang agreed to pay back everyone by the next afternoon.

On Zhao Tianfu's side, the day when the person who had promised to redeem their house for the money had finally arrived, and there were talks spreading around the village about this already. Perhaps in the upcoming days, someone was going to buy Zhao Tianfu's house.

What was surprising was that Zhao Tianfu had no place to go after he came back from jail, so he went to live in Mrs. Qian's house along with his wife and child.

It was as if the feng shui had turned around, no one knew what life would be like, in the approaching future. In the past, the Zhao family was the richest in the village, when Zhao Tianfu married Mrs. Qian. And the reason he separated from Mrs. Qian was that she was secretly in alliance with the Qian family.

Now, it was actually Zhao Tianfu who was wheeled down to the point of homelessness and had to be helped out by the Qian family.

The Yang family still failed to repay the money the next day, so everyone went to make trouble again and this time, they actually invited the magistrate. Mr. Yang didn't realize his promise that he so not confidently made the night before, and just meant to say that he would pay up according to the IOU. According to the IOU, he had to pay them back the money after the autumn harvest next year. As for his suggestion that everyone could borrow money from Li Qinghe, he flatly rejected it. He insisted that there was no such thing.

Everyone felt helpless. Them going to the Yang family house to collect the debt was indeed not following this agreement.

Several days later, people like Li Xingwang, who thought they couldn't get their wages back till the very end, finally went back home to work, and there were not many people left behind in the protest, so the Yang family became less afraid. The Yang family didn't take out money this time to repay their debt, so in the end, the villagers had to give up.

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