Zhao Jinge has been waiting in the woods for a while and has even cut some firewood.

When he saw Jiang Zhen coming, he coughed softly and looked down uneasily at his patched clothes. 

Zhao Jinge didn’t think he was attired worse than Jiang Zhen, but now . . . Jiang Zhen did not know why but he felt that he was not worthy of the other person.

“You haven’t eaten yet, have you? I brought you something to eat.” Jiang Zhen laughed. In modern times, at the beginning of date, he would have treated him to a big meal, but now, he could only bring brown rice and eggs to Zhao Jinge. When he earned money in the future, he must let Zhao Jinge eat and drink well. 

“No, I’m not used to eating at this time of day.” Zhao Jinge gave a refusal quickly. Even if Jiang Zhen was relatively rich, still, he was not used to eating other people’s food. Not to mention, most of the food Jiang Zhen had saved for him came from his own mouth. 

“I’ve brought it all. You can’t not eat it.” Jiang Zhen was very persistent, and after experiencing holding hands last night, as soon as he reached him, he took Brother Zhao Jinge’s hand and then refused to let it go. 

It was a dark last night. Zhao Jinge had become used to being held, but not in broad daylight. 

People who became husband and wife also did not held hands in broad day . . . Zhao Jinge wanted to struggle, but he could not get rid of the hand holding him. He could only look left and right in fear of discovery. 

Jiang Zhen thought it was very interesting to see him like that but could not bear to let him worry too much. “Don’t worry. No one will come. Even if someone comes, I’m sure I would know in advance.” The vigilance he developed in the army had not disappeared. Even though he has lost a lot in all aspects because he had swapped bodies, but it was enough that he could keep an eye on the situation around him while he was having an affair. 

No, it’s not an affair. He’s dating someone openly and honestly.

In the end, Zhao Jinge was still a little uneasy. He simply took Jiang Zhen to a large clump of bamboo by the canal and sat down. 

Ruo is a local kind of bamboo that had very thin stems and large leaves. People on this side of the Yangtze River wrapped zongzi with its leaves. Ruo grows in clumps and can reach to an adult’s chest level in height. Because the leaves were very dense, the two could hide their figures very well. The children in the village liked to drill into the bamboo bushes and set up a hideout within, so they could never be seen from outside. 

This large clump of ruo bamboo beside the canal did not belong to anyone, so nobody took care of it. The leaves were not as big as those planted by the people of Hexi Village in front and behind their houses. They were not suitable for making zongzi, so no one would come to pick ruo leaves. The children were not allowed to play on this side of the canal, so it was very quiet here. 

Surrounded by ruo bamboo, Jiang Zhen took out the bamboo tubes he brought with him.

One bamboo tube was filled with rice, another bamboo tube with hot water and an egg. These things were absolutely extravagant for Zhao Jinge. He didn’t want to eat, but how could he refuse Jiang Zhen?

“If you don’t eat it by yourself, should I feed you like I did last night?” Jiang Zhen, who was eager to try, looked forward to feeding Zhao Jinge.

“I will eat!” Zhao Jinge hurriedly said. He didn’t know how he had eaten the loach that Jiang Zhen fed him last night, but now, in broad daylight, he would absolutely allow that again. 

Remembering what happened last night, he actually wanted to run away, yet he was reluctant to do so.

Zhao Jinge treasured food very much. Obviously, he could not even eat a mouthful of vegetables, but now, eating that mouthful of brown rice, he seemed to be eating some sort of delicacy. His face was full of satisfaction.

With Zhao Jinge eating, Jiang Zhen was even happier than him. Jiang Zhen had been staring at Zhao Jinge, making him unable to hold his chopsticks properly.

In the end, Zhao Jinge still refused to eat all the rice in the bamboo tube. Jiang Zhen did not persuade him anymore. Looking at him with a smile, he ate up the rest of the rice with the chopsticks Jinge had previously used, which made Zhao Jinge’s face feel hot again. 

Then Jiang Zhen began to peel the egg.

“You fell into the river before, and you’re still not well yet. Don’t give me that egg. Eat it yourself,”  said Zhao Jinge. 

“I ate one at home,” said Jiang Zhen. He somewhat regretted that he had eaten half of the food at home. He should have known better and brought it all here to eat with Zhao Jinge instead. 

“You can have another one too.” Zhao Jinge was very persistent. 

“Why not half for each of us?” Jiang Zhen divided the egg in half. Seeing that Zhao Jinge was still unwilling to eat it, he simply threatened him again, “If you won’t eat it, I will kiss you right here.”

“What are you talking about?” Zhao Jinge was so frightened that he trembled. Kissing! As a result, before he could recover from the shock, his mouth was stuffed with half of the egg. 

Zhao Jinge hastily took out the halved egg from his mouth.

“Come on. Let’s exchange again and then eat? I want to eat what you’ve stuffed in your mouth.” Jiang Zhen handed over his half of the egg and wanted to exchange it with Zhao Jinge’s half. 

Zhao Jinge’s face turned black, and even though he tried to restrain himself, the embarrassment shown on his face could not be hidden in the end. 

Is Jiang Zhen flirting with me? How can he flirt with such a tall ger as me, who is bigger than those skinny men?

Zhao Jinge was too embarrassed to return his half of the egg. In the end, he had to slowly eat it, but when he finished eating it, he still said, “Jiang Zhen, don’t bring me food in the future.” 

“No,” Jiang Zhen refused directly. He knew that food was very precious in these days. Zhao Jinge did not want to accept the food he sent him, but he could not watch his future wife starve all day. 

What’s more, in fact, he did not treat himself harshly. Even though he had split some of his food with Zhao Jinge, he himself still ate enough. After all . . . he also wanted to quickly improve his health and prove his pride on his wedding night.

“Jinge, I really have no shortage of food. If you don’t believe me, go to the village to inquire about it. Now Jiang family does not dare to starve me,” said Jiang Zhen. “What’s more, you saved my life. What kind of food do you want to eat? You should tell me clearly. I must take care of you for you’re my own.” 

When did Jiang Zhen become one of his own? Zhao Jinge wanted to refute this, but after thinking about it, he didn’t say anything in the end.

If he said that, Jiang Zhen would misunderstand, and then he wouldn’t like to live with him. What if he went to find someone else?

“I’ll bring you food in the future, and if you don’t eat it, I’ll be angry,” said Jiang Zhen. And he also added, “Also, if you don’t eat my food and think about returning it . . . If you really want to do that, when I see you outside, even if you really want to repay me, I will return it to you again.”

Jiang Zhen and Zhao Jinge said a lot of words to each other before Zhao Jinge went back to work. When Zhao Jinge left, he began wandering around the field.

He thought of catching small fish and shrimp to supplement his health. Yesterday, after Zhao Jinge gave him loaches, this idea became even stronger.

He’s not going to do farmwork these days, so he might as well find a way to get some meat. 

Just as he was thinking about it, a frog jumped in front of Jiang Zhen.

There were many frogs in Hexi Village. In Eldest Jiang’s memory, frogs sang constantly at night in the summer. However, while the people here did not forbid children from catching fish and shrimp, they were not allowed to catch frogs. Even the adults themselves would not go and catch them. 

It was not because frogs were not delicious. In fact, people here call frogs pheasants, which meant frog meat was as delicious as chicken.

There were two reasons why adults didn’t catch frogs. One was that, when they killed frogs, frogs acted like they were holding their heads with their forelimbs. That made the ordinary people feel like killing frogs was very cruel, and the other reason was that frogs eat bugs.

From Eldest Jiang’s memories, people already knew that frogs could catch pests. Because there were no pesticides and they depended on frogs to catch worms on the fields, people became particularly friendly to frogs. 

Jiang Zhen saw the frog, and although he felt greedy, after thinking about it, he still decided not to catch it in the end.

In the south of the Yangtze River, the climate was humid and hot. There were so many worms, and children were often made to catch bugs. Under such circumstances, he should not harm the frogs that could remove insects. 

But if frogs couldn’t be caught and eaten, anything else was fine.

Jiang Zhen’s ability to survive in the wild was very strong. When they first trained, they had been thrown into the mountains with a mouthful of food. Later, when they went out on a mission, they encountered all kinds of difficult conditions. 

Jiang Zhen had eaten worms, earthworms, and everything that could be eaten. Of course, if conditions permitted, he would never eat them again.

After walking around all afternoon, Jiang Zhen caught a snake as thick as a baby’s arm.

He actually saw other snakes, but they were too small to have any meat after winter, so he let them go and finally grabbed the biggest one and killed it with the sharp butcher’s knife.

With the sharp knife hanging on his waist, the bamboo pole in one hand, and the snake in the other, Jiang Zhen went to the river.

“Eldest Jiang, did you catch a snake? What a big snake it is!” Some people were washing rice and vegetables by the river. They saw Jiang Zhen coming. One of them was a thin white man.

The man was thin and small but very good-looking with big eyes under his curved willow eyebrows, pink cherry lips under his small nose, and his skin was not as dark and rough as the others in the village. It was, instead, white and tender.

He looked just like a woman, and he’s wearing flowing clothes that looked similar to a skirt . . . Jiang Zhen felt strange when he saw him, but when he saw the red cinnabar between his eyebrows, he realized that this man was a ger.

He knew that there were ger children in this place and that Zhao Jinge was a ger, but Zhao Jinge looked no different from a man, so he gradually forgot about it. Now, seeing such a girly man, he realized it again.

“Eldest Jiang, I’ve got acne on my face recently. I need to eat a snake to clear it. Give me your snake.” The ger stared at the snake in Jiang Zhen’s hand and smiled at him.

Hexi Village people did not eat frogs but ate snakes, and they even believed that if you have skin problems and so on, just eat snake meat to cure it.

Of course, the snake that the ger in front of Jiang Zhen wanted was not really for the sake of curing a pimple. He was only gluttonous for meat.

The snake that Jiang Zhen caught was very long. When cleaned and deboned, it could give around three or four kilograms of snake meat. So anyone able to eat it would be absolutely satisfied.

With this in mind, the voice of the ger softened a little further. “Eldest Jiang, give me your snake.” 

. . .

Zhao Jinge ate the meal delivered by Jiang Zhen that noon. He had something in his stomach and was in a good mood. He worked very quickly in the afternoon, and just then, he had finished his work and was ready to go home. 

On his way there, he planned to go to the river for a moment to wash his hands and feet before returning home. But he didn’t want to see the best-looking ger in the village asking Jiang Zhen for something. 

Jiang Zhen was very generous; he was willing to give him eggs and chicken legs to eat. Now he was asked by this ger to give the snake, most villagers would give it to him.

Although he had been working all day, because at noon he had eaten, Zhao Jinge did not feel tired at all and was full of spirit. But at the moment, after hearing the voice of that ger, he suddenly became depressed, only feeling that his whole person had become very tired. 

After retreating a few steps, he stood behind a few trees and waited in frustration for the next development.


Edited by : Faro

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