The Green Lotus Peasant GirlChapters List
Chapter 77: Came Back
Li Qinghe was woken up by a series of fierce barks. After waking up, she found out that even fifth sister Zhou was startled awake and asked her in confusion, "What's happening?"
Li Qinghe got up and put on an outer robe, and the fifth sister Zhou was also dressing appropriately, to see what was happening, "Fourth sister-in-law, what if a thief broke in?? You stay here, I’ll go check instead."
Li Qinghe was reluctant to stay alone, so the two of them went to open the door together. Under the moonlight, they found the entire courtyard empty while Little Rhubarb was howling from the outside of the courtyard gate. Li Qinghe vaguely saw someone’s silhouette near the pond, situated on the outside of her courtyard wall. This was the person Little Rhubarb was barking at. Afraid that this person would steal the fish from her pond , Li Qinghe picked up a metal pole from the side. Fifth sister Zhou quickly stopped her and gave her a firewood stick instead, "This is lighter."
As the door opened, the person standing next to the pond heard the sound and quickly ran away; while Little Rhubarb ran out of the door and chased after him.
Li Qinghe decided not to chase after him. She was pregnant now so she couldn’t run too fast. Not to mention, even if the person really stole something, she would not stop him.. Nothing was more important than her body right now.
When she reached the pond, she found a fish net soaked in water and the surroundings a little wet from the pond’s water. The net also had more than a dozen fishes!
While Li Qinghe picked up the fishing net, fifth sister Zhou had already inspected the area around the pond and didn't find anything useful . Li Qinghe disposed of the fishing net and turned to enter the house.
The two girls couldn't sleep for the next half of the night. The next day, after having breakfast, fifth sister Zhou hurriedly went to the Zhou house to fetch Mrs. Zhou with her.
Mrs. Zhou asked worriedly , "Did a thief break-in last night?"
Looking at her sincere concern, Li Qinghe's heart warmed slightly. She smiled and answered , "There is no need to worry though. Once Little Rhubarb starts barking, the thief will run away. "
"How can it be okay? You are pregnant!" Mrs. Zhou turned around and said, "Go back to Zhou house to sleep tonight, ."
Li Qinghe didn't wish to go back to the Zhou house to sleep, and said, "I'm used to sleeping in my bed, I can't sleep in a different bed."
Mrs. Zhou was dumbfounded by her reply and suggested, "Then I'll stay here tonight."
That was okay, as there were many rooms in the house.
After that day, Mrs. Zhou and fifth sister Zhou stayed over at Li Qinghe's house for the night time. The water in the pond right now was much less than it was in the previous years. During the day, Mrs. Zhou looked at the pond and sighed, "Yesterday, I heard the eldest child say that from all the wells in our village only one has water still remaining and the rest have all dried."
"Our village is still considered to be in good condition; at least there is water left to drink! I heard that in other villages, there is no water to drink, nor do the laundry.. Because of the drought this year , the price of the beans has risen and so has the price of tofu. Since people in the town are not purchasing tofu, he can't sell them. So I told him not to go tomorrow."
Living in the small village, they usually didn't know what was going on in the outside world, but they didn't know it had become so worse.
It took five days for Zhou Chengkang to travel and come back. After hearing that his home was burgled on the first night he went on the trip, he became more alert. He sent Mrs. Zhou and fifth sister Zhou home and after returning from the trip, he hugged her in his arms, "i shouldn’t have left you all alone. If something were to happen to you, I…"
Li Qinghe didn't think anything negative would happen to her. She let out a reassuring laugh and said, "There's little Rhubarb to protect me, and the courtyard wall is very high,people can’t easily climb in."
"In the future, i will never leave you alone again. We will not stay away from each other. "Zhou Chengkang said seriously, "Next year, I’ll either take you and the baby with me, or we would stop the fish farming business.” "
Li Qinghe recalled and asked, "How much did you sell the fish for?" Nowadays, the price for everything has risen. The price of fish should also rise..
"Forty cents a catty." Zhou Chengkang sighed slightly, "We did not go to the town to check. The uncle who sells fish in town has long stopped selling. The fish market is currently down. The water in the pond where the fish were raised has dried up a lot and they stopped raising fish. The price is bound to rise. Even if it is forty cents a catty, and there was not much fish in the county market either."
Is it this difficult?
"Also, on my way back, I met Wanwan and my brother-in-law and asked me for a lift. They said that there was no water in the town, so they had to come back to live here." After stating the incidents, he suddenly realized he reeked of fishes,, so he went into the kitchen to boil water to wash up.
He carried a bucket to the pond and said, " There were two wells in one street in the county. We had to get up in the middle of the night to wait in the queue to get water."
Li Qinghe followed him, while supporting her waist with her hand.
"You bought good land back then." Zhou Chengkang fetched water and looked at the steady flow of water emerging from the ground and joked, "I took advantage of your pregnancy, otherwise I would still have to wait in the queue to fetch water to drink."
The Zhou family's well had dried up and the Li family's well was also running out of water. So they had to go to the village entrance and wait in line to fetch the water from the well.
Such a situation was brought about by this year's drought.
Many people didn’t have much food in their homes. During this time of the year, there was no harvest in the harvest season.. In previous years, people could still look forward to the harvest in the field, and the most said words were: it will be good when the autumn harvest is over.
But this year, the decrease in grain production was inevitable. Fortunately, the sweet potatoes were still there in the field. Although the seedlings in the field were half-dead, the sweet potatoes in the field were growing luscious day by day.
While Li Qinghe was walking in the courtyard,Zhou Chengkang came out of the bathroom. He was still wet from the bath and as he wiped his body, he suggested, "Should we secure the pond’s edges with a brick wall?"
People fought for water to enter their own fields from the small river in the village. The burglar incident had collected a lot of attention and reminded people that water was still available here. Li Qinghe gave it a little thought and said, "Let's do it after some time."
The two cooked a meal and ate it together, and talked for a while. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. Li Qinghe thought it was Mrs. Zhou. She had been coming here to fetch water these days. Even though their house was far away from Zhou house, she didn't need to go to the village entrance to line up.
When she opened the door, she was surprised to see the village head standing at the entrance .
Li Qinghe invited him in while asking, "Village head, why are you here?"
The village chief entered the courtyard, turned around with his hands behind his back, scanned the courtyard, and stopped his gaze on the pond, "There are too many people lining up for the water at the village entrance, do you have a more efficient supply of water on your land perhaps??"
There were too many people using water and the water that usually flows into the river was now diverted to flow into the fields, which caused the river to not collect water for other uses.
After a pause, he continued, "The weather is too hot right now. When the autumn passes, it will definitely rain. In the time of such a natural disaster, can you please…”" He stretched out his finger and pointed it at the ditch under the courtyard wall, "allow the people from the village to come to fetch water?"
Li Qinghe and Zhou Chengkang looked at each other and nodded together, "Okay."
Their pond was divided into two parts, one large and the other was smaller than the other; the larger part was used for watering the fields and the other was used for household purposes. If they allowed the villagers to use the water from the larger part, then the water for fields would be all spent up, however this didn’t bother them.. Why would they care about the fields right now if people didn't even have enough water to drink?
After the village chief got the positive word answer, he departed happily. The two also closed the door and went to see Li Fu. Every time they went to the county town, they would bring something for him back along the way. This time they bought fabric useful for making clothes. Since Li Qinghe was pregnant, she was busy making clothes and swaddles for her child so she asked Mrs. Qian make clothes for Li Fu.
Li Qinghe opened the courtyard door and went in. Before entering the house, she heard a scream, "You are forcing them to die!"
It was Mrs.Qian's cry.
Then she heard Li Fu's voice, "How did I force them to die? If they stay here now, that would be forcing me to die!"
Then, in a blink of an eye, he saw two people at the door. Zhou Chengkang was holding a piece of cloth in one hand, and supporting Li Qinghe with the other.
"Look, second daughter, you haven't come back for so long, what did you bring for me?" Li Fu sighed in disappointment, "There is no water in the town. I don’t mean to unwelcome you,, but I don't have any food to eat either. Is two taels of silver a lot?"
Zhao Wanwan and Hu Yanxi were standing in the same room, and there was a big bag on the side. They were not the outsiders to be asked for payment, but according to what Li Fu said there were two more people to be fed. Both of them were at loss, especially Hu Yanxi, who was pinching his shirt at the side uncomfortably with his head bowed, but still, he couldn’t utter a word about leaving.
When Zhao Wanwan saw him in such a state, she felt that he was extremely aggrieved, and tears streamed down her face, "Dad, what should I do?"
Li Fu raised his hand to stop her words, "I'll only ask you one thing, do you have two taels of silver with you?"
Both of them were silent, and Li Fu was even more annoyed with that silence, "Leave. I can see clearly that you are here to take advantage of me. Wanwan, you know it in your heart how I have treated you all these years. Forcing me like this, you ...... even Qinghe doesn't take me for granted as much as you do."
The hidden meaning behind his words were that his daughter would never ask him for support as confidently as Zhao Wanwan would..
Just then, Hu Yanxi interrupted, "Father, don't be angry, we will give you the money."
"Those are the savings for your studies and road expenses for next year!" Zhao Wanwan asked worriedly, "What about next year?"
"People are starving to death, and you still care about road expenses." Li Qinghe entered the door and said nonchalantly, "Why don't you go to your father to ask for help? Let's see if he is willing to support the two of you."
Her words were not polite at all; and for so many years their family rarely mentioned Zhao Tianfu. It was taboo to mention him especially since Wanwan has been in the family for so many years, no one would deliberately say the word "real father".
Zhao Wanwan's face suddenly turned pale, "Sister, you... I only have one father, and this is my only home." She said as tears streamed down her face, "It turns out that I am always treated differently in this family."
"You have no conscience." Li Qinghe entered the door, "Last year..."
Hu Yanxi interrupted her, "We'll give you the money!" Looking at Li Fu, he said seriously, "You are my father-in-law, and I will remember you helping us for the rest of my life."
He took out a dime and put it on the table, "This money is for two months' meals. As for the future payment, I will find a way soon."
Li Fu took the money in front of everyone and said, "It's not that I like to make things difficult for you two, but if I don't take this silver, you’ll only make things difficult for me."
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