Jiang Chengxiang lived in the county town and had enough income to support himself, so instead of giving him money, old man Jiang often sent him grain, vegetables, eggs, and various other things, so that Jiang Chengxiang did not have to spend money on rice and vegetables at all. However, recently, there had been a lot of things going on in the Jiang family. Jiang Zhen behaved like a master at home every day and scared them so much, they forgot to send things to Jiang Chengxiang.

Now that a decision had been made, Butcher Jiang began to pack the things he wanted to give to Jiang Chengxiang.

He needed to give more grain now, after all, his third son had now gotten a wife, so he needed to take enough for two people to eat. He should also take more vegetables. It’s not worth it to spend money to buy them from others except for these two things. In the past, every time Butcher Jiang went to the city, he would bring some fish, shrimps, and eggs, but this time, it was all gone.

There were only two chickens left in the house. Jiang Zhen killed one and said he had to eat two eggs every day. From where would they have any extra eggs left for Jiang Chengxiang?

There were also fish and shrimps. In the past, it was Eldest Jiang who had done all the work in the field. Butcher Jiang was free to look for fish and shrimps. Now that Jiang Zhen is unwilling to do any work, old Butcher Jiang had become exhausted. How could he still have time to catch fish?

Finally, only vegetables and grain were packed, and Butcher Jiang set out.

After carrying the load for half an hour, Butcher Jiang arrived in Hecheng County.

The canal ran through Hecheng County. There was also a big dock, making the whole country town very lively. Butcher Jiang came here from time to time, but he was still a little embarrassed when he looked at the people busily coming and going.

The houses in the county town were all made of wood, built closely together by the river, but there were also walkable roads on the river bank. Butcher Jiang walked along the road paved with blue stone, and it was not long before he came to a small wooden hut.

Hexi Village was not far from Hecheng County, so Butcher Jiang arrived at Jiang Chengxiang’s in time for lunch.

Jiang Chengxiang was responsible for keeping records of the passage to and from the dock. Because the coolies on the dock would take a break at noon to eat something, he could also go home for lunch. He was at home at the moment. Seeing Butcher Jiang, he immediately welcomed him in. “Dad, you’re here.”

“Dad, come in and have some water to drink.” Zhu Shufen took out her black tea, made a large cup of tea and greeted Butcher Jiang.

Butcher Jiang often came here. He put down his load to sit down, then he said, “Chengxiang, Father brought you some food.”

“Dad, did you come again with cargo? Come by boat next time or you’ll be too tired,” Jiang Chengxiang said in concern.

“Yes, Dad. Aren’t you exhausted when you come all this way?” As she spoke, Zhu Shufen went to see what Butcher Jiang had brought.

After checking it, Zhu Shufen’s expression could not help but change. At the beginning, she was willing to marry Jiang Chengxiang for many reasons. One of them was that Jiang Chengxiang lived alone in the county town and did not have to send money home, but the family would send him food from time to time. There was never a shortage of eggs and fish.

But now what? Where did the eggs go? What about the fish? Only worthless vegetables were sent!

The Jiang family even had a big uncle behaving like a madman.

Zhu Shufen had a feeling that she had been deceived, and she was suddenly unhappy.

However, although she felt unhappy, Zhu Shufen did not say anything and did not show it, and Butcher Jiang naturally did not know his daughter-in-law’s little thoughts. 

Seeing his most promising youngest son, Butcher Jiang could not help but complain about the family’s disgusting eldest son.

“Son, your big brother is really abominable. Is there any way you can make him more obedient?” Butcher Jiang had talked about every “evil deed” that Eldest Jiang had done and finally asked this.

After Jiang Chengxiang got married, he returned to the county town. These days that he finally lived with his wife, he didn’t want to return home.

However, although he did not go home, he was still thinking about his family; and in his opinion, even if Eldest Jiang had nearly died once, he would still be weak in the future.

As a result . . . he had been causing trouble all these days and had not stopped yet?

Eldest Jiang, when did he get so daring?

After hearing what Butcher Jiang had to say, Jiang Chengxiang was full of disbelief and asked for more details. And when he heard the whole story clearly, he finally relaxed and said, “Dad, don’t worry. This matter is easy to solve.”

“Is it really so easy to solve?” Butcher Jiang frowned. “Your eldest brother has become fierce. If things go on like this, we won’t be able to live at home!”

“Dad, I think he’s just bluffing. None of you got hurt from the beginning to the end, right?” Jiang Chengxiang said. “He was probably angry in his heart, so he became domineering and threatening at home, but he will still not dare to really do anything.”

“Even if he is just bluffing, we have to find a way to deal with him, and we can’t beat him . . .” Butcher Jiang sighed.

“We can scare him too,” said Jiang Chengxiang with a confident look on his face. His eldest brother was just a crude farmhand who couldn’t read or write. In his opinion, it was too easy to deal with such a person.

At present, there were two ways to deal with his eldest brother. One is to threaten him to leave and drive him out of the house . . . But that was definitely not possible. What if his eldest brother really agrees in a fit of anger?

Although Jiang Chengxiang was not old, he could see things very clearly and naturally knew that it was good for him to leave Eldest Jiang at home.

Eldest Jiang was not married and would not have children in the future. Staying at home was for him to help his two brothers and work for a lifetime for free . . . Although this was unfair to his big brother, it was good for him, and people . . . were selfish.

Because of this, Jiang Chengxiang did not want to talk about a separation from the family, so he had to use another method, which was definitely easier to use than threatening Eldest Jiang to leave.

“How do you want to scare him?” asked Butcher Jiang.

“Dad, I know a government officer in the county town,” Jiang Chengxiang began to speak slowly. What ordinary people fear most these days? Wasn’t it the government? Many people obviously had never done anything bad but still did not dare to pass through the gate of the government and prefer to take a long detour.

Bringing a government officer back home will certainly frighten his eldest brother.

“Would the officer be willing?” When Butcher Jiang heard the words “government officer,” he could not help trembling in his heart.

“I’m on good terms with him, and I’m sure he’ll be willing,” Jiang Chengxiang said. The officer he was referring to was the one in charge of the dock. They had drank wine together several times and their friendship was quite good. He was sure the man would agree to do him a favor.

What’s more, it’s also a way to get along with others by asking for a little  help and giving a red envelope afterwards.

Jiang Chengxiang said a few more words to Butcher Jiang and then left with him for lunch.

Although Zhu Shufen’s father was a scholar, she was not from a very rich family, so she would do all the work at home. Before Butcher Jiang arrived, she had already prepared lunch.

A plate of garlic leaf tofu, a bowl of egg and vegetable soup, and a bowl of fried vegetables looked simple, but because she put more oil than old lady Jiang, the taste of the vegetables was far better than that of old lady Jiang’s.

Butcher Jiang was happy and ate three bowls of rice in one breath.

It’s a good thing I prepared the evening meal as well while I was cooking lunch today, otherwise I might not have enough to eat,  Zhu Shufen thought to herself and became a little unhappier again.

When a guest was present, she had to serve the guest first, so she only served herself half a bowl of rice. She thought Butcher Jiang would leave something to eat anyway,  but as a result, he was not polite at all and ate everything.

Looking at the cleanly scraped out pot, Zhu Shufen, who had not had enough to eat, got mad.

How could Jiang Chengxiang not know what his wife was thinking? Instead, he smiled and said, “Those who do manual labor in the countryside eat a lot. My mother can drink four bowls of porridge.”

Zhu Shufen glared at Jiang Chengxiang and said, “Didn’t you say your father would bring you eggs every time? Why not this time? I’ve ran out of eggs at home. I need to buy them tomorrow.”

“Something has happened at home recently, but it will be alright in the future . . . Shufen, when you go out to buy meat, buy  roast chicken today. I’ll invite someone to a meal in the evening,” said Jiang Chengxiang. He planned on inviting the officer to his house for dinner this evening and go back home tomorrow.

His big brother, he had to take care of him. 

. . .

Jiang Zhen did not know that Butcher Jiang had gone to the county town to discuss with Jiang Chengxiang about how to deal with him.

He was quite satisfied with his recent life. The mood of the original owner basically did not affect him these days. He had already gained enough understanding of the world, and his relationship with Zhao Jinge was being cultivated well . . . In a few days, he will be completely separated from the Jiang family and would be able to live his own life.

Jiang Zhen was in a good mood and had good luck.

This morning, he caught a hedgehog while wandering around. This animal was quite common in Hexi Village, but because there was no further process needed in order to be eaten, he planned to take it back to Zhao Jinge and ask him if he wanted it.

As a result, halfway there, someone stopped him and wanted to trade fish for the hedgehog.

In the south of the Yangtze River, there was a kind of people who had no land of their own, no house of their own, and only had one boat. They lived on boats and earned their living by fish or ferrying. They are called boat people.

Jiang Zhen preferred to call them fishermen.

Although ordinary people in Hexi Village could catch fish, they did not make a living by catching fish. These fishermen lived entirely by catching fish. Of course, they would also use fishing boats to help people transport goods in order to make money. 

In the river on this side of Hexi Village, there was such a family of fishermen living on fishing boats. They were a family of a man and a ger in their thirties and two children. They usually caught fish with nets and by putting some earthworms in their special bamboo baskets. They then put the bamboo basket into the river to lead the fish to these bamboo baskets; after the fish went in, they pulled it up.

Jiang Zhen had no work to do these days and occasionally went to watch them catching fish, trying to learn how to catch it himself, but he had not spoken to them, so he was somewhat surprised when he was asked to stop.

“I’ll give you fish for the hedgehog. Will you trade it for fish?” asked the man on the fishing boat who was in his thirties.

“Trade,” Jiang Zhen agreed without hesitation and was a little curious. “What do you want to do with the hedgehog?”

“A hedgehog is good for the stomach,” the man said. “My wife has been having a stomach ache a lot lately.”

Jiang Zhen had seen the man’s wife once, but he only remembered that he was a very thin man and he hadn’t seen his face clearly. Now he knew that this man was going to give the fish to his wife, so he gave the hedgehog to the other person. The man gave him a heavy silver carp weighing several kilos.

These days, Jiang Zhen only caught small fish and shrimps, he had never caught such a big fish, so he immediately decided to give the fish to Zhao Jinge to show off.

As a result, after a few steps, Jiang Zhen saw a boat stopping by the river. At that time, the Jiang family’s third son and a man dressed like a public servant jumped off the boat.  

Edited by : Faro

Proofreader: Taalia

Translator Lajna

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