The Green Lotus Peasant GirlChapters List
Chapter 69: Bringing People
Li Qinghe noticed Hu Yanxi's hands trembling while he was drinking water, and felt that his patched clothing was out of place with his persona. When he took the tea bowl, he thanked her and smiled as politely as before.
Mrs. Qian came over to drink tea. Recently, she had been forced by Li Fu to work every day. Working in the fields was very tiring but she persisted and was now used to it. "I heard that fish soup is good for the body, why don't you buy a fish from Qinghe to stew?"
Although she said to buy fish, how could Li Qinghe accept her father's money if she really sent them the fish?
Before she could speak, Li Fu had already said, "No need. What's the point of fish soup when you've been told to eat the bitterness?"
Zhao Wanwan's eyes lit up when she heard the fish soup. She loved eating meat. But no matter whether it was before or after her marriage, she couldn't eat meat as she wished. She regretted now that she didn't insist on the pond when the Hu family wanted it.
If it were changed now, she would definitely fight for it. She would own the pond and be able to fish whenever she wanted. She couldn't do anything about it now. Li Fu's refusal immediately wilted her heart, which had not yet been excited.
Seeing Hu Yanxi's ragged shirt and his stained-red hands, she couldn't help but ask, "Father, do you not want us to return to live here? If not, why do you keep forcing us to work? Even if you let me do it, why does Yanxi still have to work?"
"He's a scholar and has no strength. It's only been a while since he started working but his hands are already worn out like this. These…"
She took Hu Yanxi's hand. "These… are the wounds left from last time when Hu Yanxi worked in the fields. His hands are used to write. What can be done if his hand is injured?"
Li Fu glanced at her and said disapprovingly, "No way, his master in the town was also from Wang village at the beginning. He worked hard plowing and harvesting in autumn every day. When was the last time he did not work?"
"Now that you're back, why don't you help me?" He pointed at Li Qinghe. "Since they got engaged, Zhou Chengkang has come every time to help me. Considering this, I wish I could purchase some meat and vegetables to express my gratitude. Unfortunately, I don't have any extra silver to buy meat since you've been eating at home for half a year. If you want meat, you'll have to buy it yourself."
Zhao Wanwan was speechless.
If they could buy it themselves, the couple would not have to return home and rely on Li Fu.
"No, this is just fine." Hu Yanxi finally spoke, smiled gently, and also thanked Li Qinghe, before saying, "Father-in-law's words are still very reasonable and thought-provoking. It makes me feel different here."
As he looked at Li Qinghe, he smiled. "I heard that a magistrate visited my sister-in-law's house with his guards. I wonder what division the leader belongs to…"
Li Qinghe answered, "He is the county official."
Li Qinghe could tell that Hu Yanxi was disappointed when he heard this answer, but he continued. "In this kind of farming, anyone who has done a great deed must be reported to the imperial court at every level, and perhaps there will be a reward at that time. I wonder what that leader had said? Has my sister told him the method?"
It was true that Magistrate Lin had said that, that day, but the reward was still unknown. Anyway, the farming method hadn’t been a secret to begin with. The old farmers who had farmed for many years would find that sweet potato vines would grow roots no matter what part of the soil they touched.
However, what she didn't know was that sweet potatoes couldn't survive the growing period. Since the vines were all entangled with branches and could not touch the ground at all, they worried that they were not growing them correctly. They have not been able to plant anything for the past two years.
She casually said, "I've already told them how to do it. As for the reward, I've never considered it."
Hu Yanxi's face was filled with hatred, but Li Fu looked impatient. "Don't stop working. The lazier you are, the more you won't want to work…"
They began working, and Li Qinghe turned around and went home.
Li Qinghe thought the situation was strange. Originally, she had thought Li Fu had been forcing them to work, and that the couple would be unable to survive after a few days. The couple did not leave, though, and they helped Li Fu cut the weeds in the field and begin digging again.
As for Li Qinghe and Zhou Chengkang, they really didn't help this time. Instead, they went to chop wood by themselves. When she got pregnant, Zhou Chengkang would be the only one working at home, so there wouldn’t be time to chop wood then.
The weather gradually cooled down and it started to rain outside. This year, they had raised more than 100 chickens in the backyard and could collect 70 to 80 eggs a day. Li Qinghe had been hatching eggs one after another, and now at the chicken pen, there were all kinds of small and large chickens there.
The two of them were not short of meat and fish, and eggs were available at all times. Each time they went to the town market, they would catch a few chickens to sell, as well as some eggs. Sometimes they would also send some to Mrs. Xu.
In the blink of an eye, it was October. The weather turned cold after several autumn showers of rain, and the rain had been mixed with snow, so it felt like winter. The people who weren't so busy with work didn't go out anymore. Li Qinghe was no exception. When she no longer went out, she picked up the needle and thread to embroider. Yu Yan often ran to find her to embroider with when she felt lonely.
She would be seventeen after Chinese New Year, and she hadn't yet discussed marriage with anyone, so she was late. Fifth Sister Zhou would also turn sixteen and she would be old enough to consider marriage.
She heard that Mrs. Zhou was trying to find a match for Fifth Sister Zhou recently. Maybe it was because she lived far away that Fifth Sister didn't come to speak to her. Anyway, since then she had never mentioned Zhao Dashan to anyone.
Zhao Dashan was also present at the Yang family's housewarming, but she didn't see Fifth Sister Zhou approaching him alone to talk.
Last year, when Mrs. Zhou had said that she wanted to discuss marriage for her, Fifth Sister Zhou had come to find her. This year, she hadn't mentioned marriage yet. Perhaps she’d had a change of heart and agreed to follow Mrs. Zhou's wishes.
On Yu Yan's side, it was not that no one had proposed marriage, but she was unwilling. Everyone in the village told her that she had a high vision. It was normal for her to have a high vision, as her parents were good to her and she was skilled in her work. Even though she often rejected people, others still kept asking her to marry them due to her craftsmanship. When she was forced to hurry up and marry, Yu Yan put out the word that she wanted to marry a son-in-law into her family. Since her godmother had saved her life, Yu Yan promised to take care of her elderly parents in the future.
When these words spread, most people stopped proposing marriage.
The brazier in the house was lit, causing the room to be as warm as spring. As Yu Yan embroidered, she sighed. "I can't find a good-looking one in this village. It doesn't matter if he doesn't look good, as long as he is good to my family."
Li Qinghe laughed. "Coming from a big family, you've probably seen your share of handsome young men, so rough people can’t enter your view."
It wasn't what she said, but many people from the village said so.
Yu Yan glared at her. "Even you are making fun of me."
They looked at each other and couldn't help but laugh. They were just talking happily when Zhou Chengkang came in and laughed. "Just now I heard that someone came again to the village entrance, just like when Miss Yu was brought there."
Hearing this, Li Qinghe was surprised. "He came back here again?"
Yu Yan was so excited that she dropped the needle and thread in her hand and reached out to pull at her. "Let's take a look too. Let's see if it's the same person who brought me here. I still don't know how I’d got here."
Even if he was the same person, he probably wouldn't know about her origins.
Based on her appearance, it was evident that Yu Yan hadn’t originated from their county, but rather from one of the faraway counties. It took five or six days to reach the nearest county. She must’ve had to go through a lot of people with such a long distance…
However, it was still possible to go and see what was happening. The two of them went all the way to the village. At this time, many people were heading to the village entrance. Two years earlier, the woman who was bought had given birth to a child.
With the good weather in the past two years, three taels of silver could still be taken out if they gritted their teeth*.
There were many people gathered in three rows of circles at the entrance of the village. Yu Yan pulled her into the front, and then the both of them frowned.
The person who had returned this time was not the same as last time. Last time, a man had come back with all kinds of women, including fat and thin women. It was both men and women this time. All of them were dressed in ragged clothes, and their faces and bodies were covered in dirt. The man showed his yellow teeth as he said, "These people have good backgrounds and are cheap regardless of gender. For two taels of silver, a woman can be bought to give birth to a child, and a man can be bought to work as a laborer. They’re very good…"
The village chief shouted, "It's not allowed to do this kind of thing in our village. We don't promote the sale of people."
The man spat, "You don't like it, but some people do. Damn old man, don't stop me from doing business!"
This could be perceived as poking a hornet's nest. Even if someone had wanted to buy people, he would be viewed as rude after the village chief had called it out. At once everyone's face changed. "Go away, go away, we don't want to buy them, you want to harm us."
Except for a few who wanted a woman as a daughter-in-law, no one was inclined to buy a woman for their own house. Men could be bought, but they would also have to feed them, so it was better to work hard themselves.
Also, there were no girls here at all. The youngest was a thirty-something woman with a withered face and covered in dirt. Why would anyone want them?
Seeing how things were developing, the man had a few harsh words to say, until the village chief told him already, "If you don't leave, we’ll report you."
Upon hearing this, the man cursed and rushed out with the people, quickly leaving.
At the entrance of the village, everyone noticed that they had left. They couldn't stand outside for very long since it was so cold, so they dispersed. Li Qinghe was no exception. "Let's go back, it's so cold."
After tugging on Yu Yan's arm, she saw that she didn't move, and was looking in the direction where people at the entrance of the village were leaving. Li QInghe couldn't help but ask, "What's wrong? Get back to your senses!"
Yu Yan returned to herself and sighed. "He's so beautiful!"
"Who is it?" Li Qinghe looked blank. Yu Yan knew everyone in the village, but Li Qinghe had never heard her praise anyone. There was Xu Changjie who had met her aesthetics a little, but that was all in the past.
Yu Yan looked left and right and lowered her voice. "Just now the last one over there. If he was nice, I might have bought him."
Li Qinghe was dumbfounded.
"Would you like to go to the town?" Yu Yan thought about it, and asked excitedly, "What if he sells them in the town?"
"It's better not to." Li Qinghe looked at the sky. "It's so cold. Tomorrow there’ll be a big market. We can go early to sell chickens."
Every time she went to the town, Yu Yan preferred to take her time rather than walk alone. At dawn, the following day, Li Qinghe's carriage left for the town, and Yu Yan also got up and join them.
Early in the morning, no one was on the road, and the carriage left the village. When they passed the intersection where Li Qinghe and Zhao Wanwan had seen Xu Changjie injured, they saw another person lying there, dressed in ragged clothes, with dirt all over his face. His appearance was quite similar to that of the people from yesterday.
After hearing Zhou Chengkang's words, Yu Yan quickly jumped off the carriage, turned the man over, and said joyously, "It's him!"
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