The Green Lotus Peasant Girl

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Chapter 38: Hire

Li Qinghe was stunned.

Her surprise was evident on her face. Zhao Wanwan looked at the kitchen and whispered, "I have asked, if I leave, this work will be gone. The manager agreed to have someone work on my behalf. But there are also requirements. Person replacing cannot be a novice, they should have experience working in restaurants. Sister, can you help me this time?"

The heat in the kitchen really made Li Qinghe want to stay away. Then, she shook her head and said, "I'm very busy over there. There will be dozens of chicks in two days. We have to take care of the pond or we will lose the money. I can spare a day or two, but two months...I'm raising fish... I can't leave for that long."

Zhao Wanwan looked sad and said, "Isn't there Brother Chengkang? He can help you. Sister ever since I was a child, I never asked you for anything. If you can help me this time, I will definitely help you in the future!"

Seeing her eyes full of expectation, Li Qinghe replied, "I really can't do that for you. You should know how busy I am at home, and I have also cleared out the field, and in a few days I will be doing spring planting, so I have to hire someone."

Zhao Wanwan sighed, "If I can't find someone, I can't go."

In case I cannot go then, a group full of scholars could visit a brothel, in case something happens...

As she thought of that, Zhao Wanwan sighed, "I'm afraid my husband will forget me after he leaves me. Because scholars like to drink wine in brothels and watch shows."

Evidently, she had a clear head.

"You should find someone to work for you. In this town, you can certainly find someone, but you must offer some benefits to them." Li Qinghe advised her.

Zhao Wanwan seemed a little impatient, "But if I find someone, what if they don't take me back after I return, or if she does better than me and the restaurant doesn't want to hire me?"

Her tone was not very good at the end of the sentence.

She was upset, and Li Qinghe wasn't happy either, "Your fourth brother is still waiting for me. I'll leave now."

Zhao Wanwan grabbed her sleeve just as she was about to leave, and asked, "Sister, you seem to know the chef very well, don't you?"

Li Qinghe said calmly, "We just know each other. I wanted to ask him for help to sell the fish. If I have to ask for your help, I'm afraid it won't work."

After that, she shook her sleeve from her grasp, turned around, and walked off.

When Zhao Wanwan wanted to chase her, someone in the kitchen shouted, "Where is the person who has been burning firewood gone? Where did you go lazing around?"

She had no choice but to turn back and go inside, "Coming."

Li Qinghe shook her head and no longer thought about Zhao Wanwan after leaving the restaurant.

There were still some chickens in her house, but they all were hatching at home and some might even die before hatching, so raising chickens was more difficult than raising fish.

She and Zhou Chengkang went to the seed shop. In their village, barley and rice are usually grown. She doesn't own a paddy field. Naturally, she cannot grow rice, so she has to buy barley instead.

It was still early when the two returned home. Mrs. Qian came from the opposite side, dragging her feet. She wore a shirt patched with old clothes. She must have come home from the fields to prepare dinner at this hour.

"You went to town, why didn't you bring some buns and meat bones back?" Mrs. Qian frowned.

Li Qinghe casually said, "It was too late, so they were sold out."

"You go back," Li Qinghe urged Zhou Chengkang, who was not looking well, "I'll go back and cook."

Zhou Chengkang looked at her and wanted to comfort her by touching her hair. But when he saw Mrs. Qian, he canceled out the idea, "Don't think too much, just look ahead."

Li Qinghe went inside the house after he left. As Mrs. Qian poked her head out of the kitchen, she said, "Come quickly to help. Don't you want to eat?"

She sounded like she was lecturing her. Li Qinghe intended to help, but had no desire to be taken for granted based on the attitude that Mrs. Qian was showing it to her.

"I'm not hungry." She said as she turned around and entered her room.

If you don't want to eat it, you don't have to cook it, right?

She was right. Mrs. Qian didn't talk any further and backed off sneering.

After the meal was ready, Mrs. Qian took everything to the field, not leaving any behind. Li Qinghe did not get angry and went to the kitchen to cook for herself.

In spring, the weather gradually warmed, and every family began planting. Li Qinghe and Zhou Chengkang were sowing seeds together in Li Qinghe's field. The work was done slowly since there were only two of them, but she wasn't in a hurry either. After Li Xingwang had finished planting with theirs, she invited her family to help, and they soon completed the work.

The planting was finished on Li Qinghe's side, but not on Li Fu's. Since Mrs. Qian was feeling ill and resting at home, Li Qinghe helped Li Fu for the day.

A freezing pot and stove awaited the father and daughter when they returned at night, and the food had not yet been prepared. Li Fu was incapable of cooking, as it was natural for him not to be able to do so. Li Qinghe went into the kitchen to cook by herself. She was very hungry.

However, Li Fu told her, "You don't have to cook. You need to rest first. Your Aunt Qian will take care of it."

After looking around the house twice, it was clear that nobody was there. Following a glance between father and daughter, Li Qinghe went to the kitchen, and Li Fu ran to help her start the fire.

It was already dark outside when they had just set their food on the table. After looking out several times, Li Fu's complexion did not look good. Following their meal, Li Fu was going to find Mrs. Qian, when she had returned on her own.

"Where have you been? Can't you see it's so late? Where would I find you if something happened?"

When Li Fu returned, he was tired and hungry. He was too angry. His anger lessened a little after he ate, but his tone did not improve much.

Mr. Qian's good mood was dampened by his words, "Yanxi was going to the county today. I sent him off."

"You went to town, who did you visit? Couldn't you come back earlier." Li Fu grunted coldly.

"It's so close. What could possibly go wrong?" Mrs. Qian did not take it seriously.

When Li Qinghe noticed that the two were going to argue again, she went back to her room by herself to avoid it, but she was still under the eaves when she heard Mrs. Qian's dissatisfactions, "What did Qinghe say to you about me again, when I came back you have a nose that's not a nose, a face that's not a face, who are you showing your face to¹?"

Li Qinghe, with the conscience of heaven and earth², sometimes says that Mrs. Qian was not good, but what she says was the truth, never made up. She didn't say much today.

It doesn't matter who encounters things like this today, they will get angry. The moment she came back, she was so hungry that she almost gave up. She was furious upon hearing Mrs. Qian's words, and instantly entered the main room and said, "I will let the Zhou family set the wedding date and I will get married as soon as possible."

Li Fu was taken aback. Before he could speak, Li Qinghe had turned and walked away.

Li Qinghe and Mrs. Qian were both disgusted with each other, but Li Fu could not let go of either. Li Qinghe would also leave sooner or later, so she thought it was wiser to get married. Besides, Zhou Chengkang was a pretty decent guy.

The latter was more important.

The next morning, when she arrived at the pond, Zhou Chengkang had already fed the fish. They talked about the fish and chickens, and then he said, "Qinghe, let's get married. I will cook for you in the future."

It seems that he still cared about how Mrs. Qian seemed to be taking her for granted. Taking a look into his eyes, Li Qinghe replied, "Good."

"You agree?" Zhou Chengkang was delighted. As he held her hand, he said, "I will immediately contact someone to confirm the wedding date."

After they made this decision, they were both happy. Zhou Cheng Kang was anxious and Li Qinghe watched him run to find a matchmaker with a smile on her face.

As soon as the afternoon came, news spread that the wedding of the Zhou family's fourth child was about to take place on April 5th. There were still two months left.

The news was not surprising. As of last year, Zhou Chengkang had been helping her feed the fish and sell fish; after the new year, he was helping her plant seeds in the field and would even watch them at night. There was no doubt that sooner or later the two would have gotten married since they were so close.

Besides, if the two hadn't gotten close, someone would have actually come to talk to Li Qinghe about marriage. What made her very eye-catching to the people was really what she possessed in her hands. Any person who marries her would be rewarded with a dozen tonnes of silver when entering the house. And also with the fish pond, the pond was like a hen that lays golden eggs and earns income every year.

Even though the wedding date was set, the way the two got along hasn't changed. Maybe there was something different. They were more intimate. It should be that Zhou Chengkang was more confident and often held her hand. It can be seen that he was looking forward to getting married.

Now that the wedding was set, it was time to prepare the dowry. While they have been engaged for a long time, Yu Yan still congratulated Li Qinghe. "Would you like me to embroider your wedding dress?" she asked.

It is common for a girl from a farming family to wear only a little embroidery on her wedding gown. It was probably because she didn't want to be married into a farmer's family.

Mother Xu prepared a wedding gown specifically for her out of fabric she brought from the local merchant. It was a rare piece of cloth with a bright red color. Li Qinghe has only been able to embroider a few simple items, "I will make my own wedding dress. I already have another job for you. Please help me embroider the wedding quilt."

Yu Yan was not upset when she heard this and even made fun of her. "Shall I embroider pomegranates on your wedding quilt? The implication is good, and you will have a son soon."

Li Qinghe glared at her, "Embroiders something better."

Yu Yan laughed out loud and then said, "I'll go with you to the cloth shop to pick out embroidery thread, it'll look great."   

Getting married was a very tedious task. It was not convenient for Mother Xu to help and she couldn't count on Mrs. Qian. Hence, everything had to be done by Li Qinghe herself. The next day, she picked out the quilt and fabric. She also bought embroidery thread and took Zhou Chengkang's measurements to the town's carpenter to make the furniture.

At this time, Zhou Chengkang and his mother sent the matchmaker to the Li family, along with the betrothal gift.

The Zhou family's betrothal gift was quite satisfactory. Their gift included clothes for her parents and also for the bride. It was important to mention that they spent five taels of silver to purchase Li Qinghe's cloth.

One silver tael was regarded as a great sign of sincerity in Wang village, and no one had ever sent such a generous betrothal gift. Either that or like Hu's and Zhao Wanwan's dowry, which was not settled right away. In fact, the conditions of the betrothal gift were negotiated. As an example, the Hu family was able to save the Li family food taxes.

Li Qinghe was also quite surprised because there were no conditions at all, and she glanced at Zhou Chengkang several times because she did not understand what was going on.

It didn't take much thought for her to realize that the silver wasn't from Mrs. Zhou.

Then did he save the money? When did he start saving?

No matter what she thought, the wedding was set.

The day after that, she inquired privately with Zhou Chengkang. He replied reluctantly, "It's not mine. It's borrowed."

Li Qinghe was suspicious because she did not request five taels of silver, so why would they give that much?

Zhou Chengkang explained in a low voice, "Mother borrowed it, and I promised to return it. My third brother's betrothal gift was five taels, so naturally, yours can't be less than that."

1. It can be used in a variety of situations when describing someone who is extremely angry or frustrated.

2. With the conscience of heaven and earth- With a clear conscience.

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