The Green Lotus Peasant Girl

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Chapter 68: Returned

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While everyone was scratching their heads, Zhang Haiyao casually found an excuse to dismiss them, and went up to the door where Li Qinghe and Zhou Chengkang stood at the entrance, watching the carriage leave.

"Qinghe, who was he? What does he want?" Zhang Haiyao was holding her child and showed no sign of hiding her curiosity.

"Nothing much," Li Qinghe said casually. "He heard that my sweet potatoes were well grown, so he just wanted to know how to plant them."

Zhang Haiyao was stunned, not expecting this result. "So the magistrate came to ask? The magistrate is still in charge of this?"

"Hmm." Li Qinghe looked up at the sky. It was autumn, but the sun was shining today, so she couldn't help but say, "It's best not to expose the child to the sun right now; it may cause sunburn."

Zhang Haiyao hummed, looking curiously into the courtyard and seeming to want to enter the door.

Zhou Chengkang nodded as a greeting and turned around to enter the door. Li Qinghe smiled. "I still have things to do on my side. Third Sister-In-Law, go back quickly!"

Zhang Haiyao, no matter how thick-skinned she was, couldn't squeeze through the door at this point.

As soon as she turned around, she saw Mrs. Zhou and Mei Hua hurrying over. Li Qinghe naturally also saw them and stood in the same place waiting for them to come over.

"Who were those people?" Mrs. Zhou was full of worry. "I heard there were also people with swords. Did you do anything?"

"No." Li Qinghe remained patient with Mrs. Zhou. "They came to see the sweet potatoes I planted."

Mrs. Zhou said, "It's good that everything is okay."

"Are those sweet potatoes really tasty?" Mei Shi asked curiously. "I heard that they taste good when cooked, and they can also be eaten dry."

She was now pregnant and no longer went to town early in the morning. Li Qinghe nodded. "Sister-In-Law, take some back to eat."

Mei Hua was delighted by her words and pulled Mrs. Zhou into the courtyard. Zhang Haiyao followed her in order not to be outdone.

Li Qinghe gave each of them a sweet potato packed inside a piece of clothing before sending them off.

Sweet potatoes could be left out for a while after the bad ones had been removed, and they would last longer if separated.

Once they had cleaned up inside and outside the house, they headed up the mountain to chop firewood and hunt along the way.

In the beginning, the harvest from hunting was good. They harvested three rabbits and a chicken. Unfortunately, all of them were injured, so they were sent to town right away.

As a result of coming down from the mountains and going to the town, it was dark when they got there. Initially, the carriage could not enter the town due to a large number of people, and they had to walk. However, at this hour, the streets were basically empty, so Li Qinghe drove straight to a restaurant in the carriage without much delay.

The road was familiar to them, and as the carriage emerged from the back door of the restaurant, she saw an acquaintance.

—Old Lady Liu.

It was true that she was doing well as rumor had it. She was wearing a satin shirt and her hair was smooth, with a silver hairpin on her head, much like an old lady from a rich family in the town. Two little girls followed behind her as they entered the small courtyard unhurriedly.

When she worked in this restaurant, where people come and go, no matter the time of day, it was very safe.

The two of them hadn’t been back to the Zhou house very much lately, but they heard that the Zhou’s tofu business was no longer what it once was.

It was all because there were only five families selling tofu in the town. The other three families were all found by Old Lady Liu.

While the business wasn't as good as that of Elder Brother Zhou, they stole the majority of it.

Li Qinghe was surprised to see that it was her and didn't try to go up to greet her. The carriage turned around, preparing to go home.

Old Lady Liu over there had already seen the two of them and waved at them. "Fourth Zhou."

Zhou Chengkang didn't move and waited for her to come in front of the carriage, asking, "Is there something wrong Auntie?"

Old Lady Liu laughed. "Nothing, I just want you to tell your sister-in-law that I'm doing fine, tell her not to worry. I'll send a congratulatory gift to her when her baby is born. Thanks to this child, I can have a comfortable life now."

"Also, you should also have a conscience, since your sister-in-law gave away her ancestral recipe for the sake of your big brother. Your big brother must be good to her."

What does this mean?

Li Qinghe frowned. "As they say, a tree lives by its skin, and a man by his face1. The older you get, the more you will recall the past. You don't even want your face anymore? Aren’t you afraid that my sister-in-law's parents will look for you at night?!"

There were a lot of superstitious old folks in the village, so Old Lady Liu's smile stiffened as she said, "This is what she agreed to give me. I didn't ask for it."

Zhou Chengkang drew the reins of the horse and said, "In the end, Auntie knows clearly what is going on in her heart. As long as you don't feel bad, don't feel guilty.”

He turned the carriage out the back door and headed for the town gate after he finished speaking.

After leaving the town, Li Qinghe went to the front of the carriage to sit by his side. Propping up her chin, she said, “She's too shameless!"

Not only did she take advantage of others, but she also ran up to them to show off her wealth.

If Mei Hua actually heard those words, she would certainly be angry.

"Don't be angry, we won't see each other often anyway. Elder Brother…" He smiled. "…will certainly not just let her go."

By the time the two reached the village, it was quite late, and it had begun to get dark. On the way to the village entrance, they saw Zhao Wanwan and Hu Yanxi again.

As soon as the carriage stopped, Li Qinghe asked, "It's already so late at this hour, and you're still coming to the village, aren’t you?"

Zhao Wanwan looked at Hu Yanxi, a little embarrassed. "Now that everything in town has been settled, we are moving back in."

Li Qinghe was dumbfounded. These two, their skin must be thick to a certain extent.

It was impossible for a married woman, even if she was a biological child, to live for so long in her mother's house. Even though Li Fu treated her like a biological daughter, she had to also know that in her heart, right?

Two days after Li Fu asked them to work, the two ran away. Were they thinking that since harvest time had ended, they could come back to live here now and that they didn’t have to work?

Zhao Wanwan looked quite happy over there. She waved her hand and said, "Sister, you may go. I'll be there soon, I don't need you guys to take us there."

Li Qinghe didn't want to bring them with her anyway. The carriage quickly entered the village. She jumped out of the carriage and found her father in the vegetable field in the backyard after entering the courtyard door. As he was digging the soil, Mrs. Qian was helping sow the seeds. "Father, just now I saw Wanwan and Brother-In-Law at the village entrance and they said they were moving back home."

Li Fu paused. "I know."

The fact was that she had no control over what Li Fu wanted to do with Zhao Wanwan. But this was not the way to allow the couple to live a long time with them. Li Fu worked alone to support Mrs. Qian. After all, she was his wife. It made sense to support Zhao Wanwan, but why support Hu Yanxi?

According to this, she could also bring Zhou Chengkang back to live at the Li house. This would mean that they would live together and tighten their belts.

After that, Li Qinghe returned home. They went back to cook and then boiled water to wash. By the time they went to bed, it was very late. After waking up late the next day, they heard someone knocking on the door.

Zhou Chengkang got up, dressed, and went to wash his face in the yard before opening the door.

It was Mei Hua who came. She supported her waist with her hand and smiled as she walked in. "Those sweet potatoes are delicious; I want to take some more," she said, and added, "I can buy them."

It was still better to buy from Li Qinghe. When calculated, the price was lower than when they were sold in town.

It was not as if she lacked the coins, but if she didn't accept them, Zhang Haiyao would definitely come over at noon to get them. She could not allow this to happen, could she?

She was not unhappy either. In a low voice, Mei Hua said, "I saw something unusual this morning, and I think youl be interested in hearing about it."

"What's the matter?" Li Qinghe was not yet awake and yawned.

Mei Hua's tone was full of schadenfreude. "I saw your father take your sister and brother-in-law to the field."

After hearing this, Li Qinghe awoke from drowsiness and said, "Take them to the field?"

Autumn harvest had passed, but that did not mean the farmers had nothing to do. There was still work to be done, such as clearing away the weeds. The best way was to till the ground.

Seeing that she was interested, Mei Hua said in a low voice, "Well, when I was coming, I deliberately looked over there and saw them cleaning up the weeds. The whole family was there."

Li Qinghe couldn't help lifting the corners of her mouth and said with a smile, "I'll help you send them back."

Hearing that, Mei Hua did not refuse. They carried the bag of sweet potatoes to the village together. On her return, Li Qinghe deliberately looked over there, and sure enough, the entire family was there. A lot of weeds had been cut. Following some thought, she went home, made tea for them, and sent it specially.

Lest someone would go home to fetch tea and never return.

When she arrived, she heard Li Fu's voice from far away. "People need to move because otherwise, they will get worse and worse if they do not move. You can get sick easily and then spend a lot of money on treating yourself. However, doing this work can be considered exercise and you’ll not become sick.”

“In the future, you should come back more often. Now it's time to clean up the field. If you have cleaned up the field, you can chop wood up on the mountain. If the firewood is stacked full, you can clean the yard and the house. When it's all cleaned up, you can take out the clothes and quilts and wash them up until the winter. You can weave baskets, repair a hoe…"

Hu Yanxi was standing in the middle of the field wearing a patched shirt and his face was disheveled, and he was walking away to the side. He discovered a basket on the side, and when he got closer he saw steamed buns and pickles inside.

Seeing his expression, Zhao Wanwan couldn't help but say, "Father, Yanxi is a scholar. He will take the county exam next year. He must study."

"He has been stufying for over ten years and failed the exam each time, proving that it is not a matter of learning. He just has to do some work. I also heard that last year many students had to be carried out of the exam hall because they were too weak!" Li Fu was serious. "If you work hard, your health will improve. You will succeed when the time comes!"

The moment he saw Li Qinghe coming with a tea kettle, he put down his hoe and smiled. "I just said I wanted to drink water, and you're here."

Obviously, after blabbing away for so long, he would be thirsty.

Li Qinghe held back her laughter and poured him a bowl. "Father, drink water." You can continue talking after you drink.

1. A tree lives by its skin and a man by his face - It means people cannot live without face, just like trees cannot live without skin/bark."

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