The windows in the countryside were very big, making it actually very easy to climb, but Zhao Jinge was probably doing such a thing for the first time, so his climbing was very unskilled. 

Jiang Zhen wanted to go up to help, for example by holding on to his small waist, pinching his buttocks and so on, but he was afraid that Zhao Jinge would get back at him and ignore him, so he could only endure it for now.

When Zhao Jinge climbed out of the window, Jiang Zhen took him to his home. 

The fire he had made before had not completely died out, so Jiang Zhen added straw and mulberry strips to the fire. When the fire became stronger, he also took a few pieces of mulberry strips and put them in the mud stove, intending to heat up the porridge in the pot.

While Jiang Zhen was working beside him  Zhao Jinge looked at him and felt guilty again. After Jiang Zhen started to live alone, he not only couldn’t help him but also let Jiang Zhen cook for him . . .

Zhao Jinge wanted to get up to help, but Jiang Zhen had finished all the work by himself.

“Here, have a bowl of porridge.” Jiang Zhen handed Zhao Jinge some porridge with pig liver and bone soup.

Zhao Jinge looked at it and found out that there were a lot of pig liver pieces in this porridge. “You don’t have to keep feeding me . . .” 

“I like to give it to you,” said Jiang Zhen. It had been two hours since he had dinner and he was hungry again, so he filled two small bowls and ate together with Zhao Jinge, looking at Zhao Jinge from time to time.

The room was quiet. There was only the sound of the two of them drinking porridge that could be heard, but Jiang Zhen felt very happy. 

He has been living on his own since he retired from the army, and now he finally had company.

Zhao Jinge, seeing Jiang Zhen looking at him, felt uncomfortable and couldn’t tell the taste of the porridge in his hand.

“I brought you something,” Zhao Jinge said when Jiang Zhen looked over again, breaking the atmosphere in the room that didn’t seem quite right in his eyes.

“What is it?” asked Jiang Zhen.

Zhao Jinge took out several small bamboo tubes from his arms and gave them to Jiang Zhen. He pointed to one of them and said, “Here is green rapeseed. Now is not the time to plant it, but if you sow it, it can sprout and then you can eat it.”

After that, he pointed to the remaining bamboo tubes and explained them one by one; they were full of vegetable seeds.

“Why did you suddenly think of sending this to me?” Jiang Zhen asked. 

“This . . .” Zhao Jinge hesitated but didn’t speak. In fact, his mother saw Jiang Zhen stealing their lettuce, so he remembered that Jiang Zhen didn’t have any vegetables to eat now.

They could eat a lot of food here, and there was no shortage of vegetables all year round. However, people prefered to grow long-lasting food. They usually planted seeds in the front and in the back of their houses to grow vegetables, which was enough for their own families to eat.

However, even if other people were not short of vegetables to eat, Jiang Zhen was different. He had no seeds to plant, so he had no vegetables to eat.

“Plant these seeds first, and soon, there will be vegetables to eat. As for these days . . . I’ll bring you some food every day, “Zhao Jinge said again.

“Did your mother see me stealing the lettuce?” Jiang Zhen looked at Zhao Jinge and laughed.

“It’s not stealing, if you eat a lettuce,” Zhao Jinge said. In fact, no one would say anything when the neighbors took some vegetables to eat. After all, it didn’t cost money to grow them in their own land. But Jiang Zhen recently took on the title of jinx and startled his mother, when he went to pluck out a lettuce. 

He didn’t care that Jiang Zhen went to his home to get some vegetables, but it’s not good for him to let his mother have a problem with Jiang Zhen.

“OK. I’ll wait for you to bring me some food in the future,” Jiang Zhen said with a smile, holding Zhao Jinge and kissing him on the cheek again.

He has been kissed before. This time he was only kissed on his cheek, so it didn’t scare Zhao Jinge. But even so, Zhao Jinge felt very uncomfortable, unconsciously clenching hard the bowl in his hand.

Jiang Zhen also let go of him. “Drink the porridge. Eating pig liver is good for your health.”

Jiang Zhen took out all the porridge left in the pot and shared it with Zhao Jinge. Then he sent Zhao Jinge back to the Zhao family’s house. When Zhao Jinge climbed into his room through the window and said goodbye to him, Jiang Zhen held his head and kissed him on the mouth. 

Jiang Zhen stayed up a little late that night, so he got up late the next day.

He cooked a pot of rice with the rice he had shelled hard last night and steamed a small piece of bacon and a piece of pig liver he had left on the steaming rack all night.

Ancient pigs didn’t eat feed. They were natural and pollution-free, but in fact, they didn’t taste better than those pigs of later generations.

If you think about it, these days, pigs can only eat some grass and don’t gain weight easily.

I think it’s also true that pigs in these years usually only eat some pig grass and don’t grow fat.

If you wanted to raise a pig, you couldn’t raise it for more than ten months. The pigs raised this way . . . the lean meat was a bit old, the fat was too little, and the skin was too thick.

Its fragrance was rich, but this kind of meat was better for a man like him, who was short of oil and water. 

Of course, it might also be that pig breeding was not good enough. Nowadays, one didn’t have a place to buy a good pig. He had seen the chicken and ducks raised by the villagers before, which were generally smaller than what he had seen in his first live.

However, even if the meat didn’t taste perfect, it was still meat! Jiang Zhen ate two bowls of rice with pork in one breath, then filled a bamboo tube with rice and a piece of pork the size of two fingers, wanting to deliver it to Zhao Jinge on the way to the county town later.

Thinking about going to the county town, Jiang Zhen especially changed his clothes and combed his hair with his fingers, only then did he pack some silver. Before going out, he also went to check his chicken. Perhaps because of the change of place, the chicken was a little scared and didn’t lay any eggs, which made him feel very pitiful.

Jiang Zhen went to find Zhao Jinge, but he didn’t talk to him. He just looked at him and put the bamboo tube in the grass nearby, so that Zhao Jinge could easily find it and eat it.

For the time being, he and Zhao Jinge might have to “cheat” and behave like they were not close to each other.

Eldest Jiang seldom went to the county town, but he still knew the way. After all, there was only one way to the county town from the village.

Hexi Village was not far from the county town. Jiang Zhen walked to the town in less than half an hour. Then he saw the county town that Eldest Jiang thought was very prosperous.

To be honest, Jiang Zhen was disappointed when he saw the county town. He used to travel to those small waterside towns, so he always thought that Hecheng county town should be as prosperous and beautiful as those small waterside towns, but in fact . . .

From time to time, people would paint and rebuild tourist attractions, but reality was completely different.

The roads in Hecheng county were very narrow. Except for the main road in the middle of the town that was relatively wide, the other roads were very narrow. The houses on the street also looked very dilapidated . . . Of course, the most important thing was that there was no busy shopping street with shops on both sides. 

Although there were shops on this street, they were really a little shabby in Jiang Zhen’s view.

Of course, it’s not a good idea to look at this era with the eyes of future generations. Jiang Zhen soon adjusted his state of mind and walked towards the dock not far away.

It was said that Hecheng county town was the richest among several nearby county towns because there was a dock here, and the most prosperous places in town were near the dock. 

After arriving here, Jiang Zhen finally saw the ancient city he imagined. At the same time, he also saw his two acquaintances, Yang Jing and Jiang Chengxiang.

When Jiang Zhen saw them, these two men also saw Jiang Zhen.

After a night’s rest, Yang Jing reported to the yamen today and went on patrol.

Now he was so afraid of Jiang Zhen, he didn’t dare to make trouble for him at all. The crimes he suffered in those few days were all blamed on Jiang Chengxiang. Not only that, after he came out on patrol, he came to make trouble for Jiang Chengxiang. 

As a result, before he could teach Jiang Chengxiang a lesson, he looked up and saw Jiang Zhen standing not far away.

Yang Jing’s movements became subconsciously stiff and he had the impulse to turn around and run. But Jiang Zhen had already seen him. If he ran away . . . Yang Jing took a deep breath, and his arrogance disappeared without a trace. 

Walking towards Jiang Zhen, Yang Jing, dressed in a yamen officer’s uniform, subconsciously revealed the expression he usually used when he saw his immediate superior. With a flattering look on his face he said, “Eldest Jiang? What are you doing in the county town?”

Jiang Zhen glanced up and down Yang Jing. “I’ll be doing some shopping. Besides, don’t call me Eldest Jiang. Why don’t you . . . just call me boss.”

In the past, Jiang Chengxiang and Jiang Chengwen didn’t call him eldest brother but followed Butcher Jiang in calling him Eldest Jiang. He was not happy to hear that, because they didn’t respect him at all when they called him this way, but now, he made Yang Jing call him boss with a different meaning, and Yang Jiang did not dare to be disrespectful to him.

Jiang Zhen’s eyes narrowed slightly. 

Yang Jiang was very good, not only did he change his address, but he also became very enthusiastic. “What do you want to buy, boss? I’ll go with you. The price will be cheaper.” In fact, he didn’t know what  “boss” really meant, but he didn’t dare to offend Jiang Zhen, so he did what Jiang Zhen said.

“Alright.” Jiang Zhen nodded in agreement. 

Yang Jing was relieved to find that this man had no ill feelings towards him and had no intention of beating him up again. Yang Jiang breathed a sigh of relief and then left the dock with Jiang Zhen. 

Jiang Zhen wanted to buy a lot of things, and the first store he went to was the place where seasoning was sold. 

“Give me five kilos of salt . . . How much is the salt?” When Jiang Zhen was about to buy salt, he suddenly remembered that the price of salt did not seem to be cheap. 

Old lady Jiang didn’t allow Eldest Jiang to touch money, so there was no specific price in his memory, but even so, from her words, he could see that the salt price was not cheap.

“Forty copper pennies a kilo,” the shopkeeper said. 

Forty? The price of salt is twice that of pork? Jiang Zhen was a little surprised and immediately changed his order. “Just give me two kilos of salt.”

The shopkeeper had already begun to take out salt. When he heard Jiang Zhen change his mind, he could not help frowning, but when he looked up and saw Yang Jiang standing next to Jiang Zhen, he immediately smiled and became more enthusiastic about Jiang Zhen.

It was easy even for children to see a death flag. People who do business in this county town were not willing to offend a yamen officer.

“Shopkeeper Zhang, we are all acquaintances. Make it cheaper!” Yang Jing said carelessly, and then Jiang Zhen’s two kilo of salt only costed 70 copper pennies.

After buying salt, Jiang Zhen wanted to buy vinegar and soy sauce. As it turned out, the vinegar and soy sauce in this shop were all in jars. When the clients came to buy them, they scooped out some of it and put it in their own containers. But Jiang Zhen didn’t bring any containers with him.

Fortunately, Yang Jing was here and the shopkeeper of this shop was very talkative. He asked his son to buy two clay pots with wooden corks and filled them for Jiang Zhen with vinegar and soy sauce. Of course, the cost of the clay pots was paid by Jiang Zhen.

Jiang Zhen had already spent two hundred copper pennies when he came out of this shop. This was only because he didn’t really care much about food and drink, so he didn’t buy spices or sugar.

It’s not easy for ancient people to earn money, but because of their low productivity, the prices of goods are very high . . .

“I didn’t expect salt to be so expensive.” Leaving the shop, Jiang Zhen frowned slightly. This was still the coastal area and salt was already so expensive. What about the inland then?

“Boss, in fact, if you didn’t buy it here, there are cheaper places . . . ” Yang Jing said and suddenly shut his mouth again. 

After some reflection, Jiang Zhen already guessed what Yang Jiang meant. Was Yang Jing talking about private salt?

Jiang Zhen didn’t ask again but said, “I’m going to buy some cloth.”

“The cloth shop is there!” Yang Jiang hurriedly showed the way. 

Jiang Zhen was led by Yang Jing to the cloth shop, and behind them, Jiang Chengxiang’s expression was particularly ugly.

When Yang Jing saw Jiang Zhen and ran after him, he followed them. At first, he thought that Yang Jing would make trouble for Jiang Zhen, but what was the result? Yang Jing not only didn’t try to find trouble with Jiang Zhen but also bowed to him!

What’s going on here?

Jiang Chengxiang didn’t understand how all of this happened. Why did everything suddenly change in the twinkling of an eye, just when he married a satisfactory wife and was about to have a beautiful life?

He thought of his return home in the county town last night. As Zhu Shufen didn’t come back and he couldn’t cook, he could only go to sleep hungry. Today, he came to work with his injured leg and was troubled by Yang Jing. Jiang Chengxiang felt unlucky. 

Forget it. What is with this big brother of mine? How can Yang Jiang be so flattering towards him? 

Jiang Chengxiang was very angry, but he didn’t dare to make trouble for Jiang Zhen when he thought of what happened the other day. Finally, he decided he could only go back to the dock.


Edited by : Faro

Proofreader: Taalia

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