Now that he suddenly met Li Xiu, Zhao Jinge was quite surprised while Li Xiu was purely happy.

“Jinge, I specially came to see you. I am telling you that the Li family have suffered retribution!” Li Xiu said to Zhao Jinge.

She came to see Zhao Jinge because of the misfortune that happened to Li Zugen’s family. Her heart felt so happy that she wanted to share her happiness with Zhao Jinge.

“At that time Li Zugen wanted to marry that bitch surnamed Xu . . . but now . . . Ha ha!” Li Xiu kept talking.

It turned out that after Li Zugen annulled his engagement to Zhao Jinge, he got immediately engaged to the Xu girl from his village. At the age of 17, the two of them got married. 

They had a good life at first, and the Xu girl gave birth to four sons to Li Zugen, so the Li family was very kind to her and didn’t let her do any work.

But nowadays, four sons were not easy to feed.

The Li family didn’t have much money. Li Zugen and his father were still very skinny. They couldn’t work for others to make money, but could only plant their own land. So the life of the family was getting poorer and poorer, and they even had to borrow money for living expenses.

Later, they couldn’t help it and asked the Xu girl to go to their landlord’s house and help him with some work.

In addition to having land, the landlord’s family also engaged in the cocoon business. Several villages around them had silkworms and cocoons, which were all sold to their house. They were very rich and their house was built of green bricks and tiles, which were magnificent, but they had no children.

The Xu girl was very capable of giving birth to a son. Who would not have noticed? The landlord’s wife was still very young and powerful. She didn’t want to have a young and beautiful girl to come home and seduce her husband. So she agreed to bring Xu, who was around her age, and established how much money she would pay for her to have a son for the landlord.

Xu agreed as Li Zugen’s family already owed a lot of money at that time.

In the countryside, this behavior was called concubinage – spending some money to rent a woman to give birth to their own children. When the time limit was up, the woman would be sent back, and the child would stay.

For a very poor family, it was nothing to ask a wife to become a concubine for several years. Anyway, she would come back to live with them in the end. When you didn’t have enough to eat, no one cared about chastity at all.

It was also thanks to Xu’s ability that during those three years, she already gave birth to a son. And when the three years were almost over, she had another one in her stomach.

Since she became a concubine, she had enough to eat and drink. After getting pregnant with a baby, she was even able to eat meat every day. Later, when the baby was born, she would feed the baby herself, so she ate and drank even better.

She never had so good a life in the Li family.

Xu didn’t want to leave, so she went to ask the wife of the landlord to stay.

Although the wife was not very beautiful, she was much more beautiful than Xu. She was even one or two years younger than Xu. Xu was no threat to her. After thinking about it, she agreed. 

In any case, Xu’s children would be calling her mother in the future, and Xu’s position in the family would only be a bit better than her servants’. Leaving such a village woman who didn’t know big words would not only not hinder her but would also show her magnanimity.

In the future, when those children grow up, they will see who they should be close to, that is when they look at Xu, who was married a long time ago and had four sons outside.

“Then Xu took fifty silver to the Li family and broke off her relationship with them. Now Li Zugen is being ridiculed! He let his wife become a concubine, and as a result, his wife is gone.”  Li Xiu laughed at Li Zugen.

Originally, Li Zugen’s wife could make money for her own children, and some people even envied her. Now that Xu ran away, the situation was different.

Even when Xu had brought back one hundred silver before, they could only buy three or four mu of land after deducting what they had already spent. Li Zugen was now dragging along with him his four sons . . . Unless he didn’t buy land but spent this money to buy a women or a ger, there would be no wife to warm his bed in the future.

And if there was no wife in the family, could it still be called home?

“If he buys the land, he wouldn’t be able to plant so much. If he uses the money to marry a new wife . . . His family is so poor. What is the use of marrying someone else? And those four sons, now they are fine, but when they grow up, wouldn’t they want to get their own wives? . . . Tut-tut*! (*onomatopoeia for tongue clicking)!” Li Xiuer said while gloating. 

Back then, if Li Zugen had married Zhao Jinge, with his ability to work, his family would have gotten better and better and there would have been no need to worry about Zhao Jinge running away. 

Li Xiu came to talk to Zhao Jinge about this, hoping that Zhao Jinge would be happy, but in fact, Zhao Jinge was not very happy.

What did Li Zugen look like? He had already forgotten. How could he have time to mind his affairs now? But this Li Xiu had been talking by his side all the time, and he didn’t know whether Jiang Zhen would come or not.

Zhao Jinge listened carelessly and kept searing around with his eyes. Because he hadn’t seen Jiang Zhen, his heart felt empty and he hoped that Li Xiu would leave early.

Fortunately, Li Xiu finally finished her news and said, “Jinge, I will go to your house, so you can continue working.”

Li Xiu finally let Zhao Jinge go. Zhao Jinge let out a sigh of relief as he looked at the sun above his head and went to the tree forest at the edge of the canal.

Usually when Jiang Zhen went there, he would give him a wink outside first, but today, he didn’t, and he didn’t know if Jiang Zhen would come or not.

Of course, Jiang Zhen came. Just as Zhao Jinge walked to the forest, he called Zhao Jinge, “Jinge!”

The corners of Zhao Jinge’s mouth immediately hooked up.

Jiang Zhen had been there for a long time. He hid when he saw someone pulling Zhao Jinge for a talk. He didn’t know the woman who spoke to Zhao Jinge, but he thought that she was mostly gossiping, so he didn’t ask any more questions, but took out the food for Zhao Jinge to eat.

The dish he cooked at noon today was fried cabbage with sliced bacon. 

It was not convenient to eat from a bamboo tube, so he brought a basket with a sea bowl filled with rice, and the cabbage fried with sliced meat covered the rice.

Compared to the fish soup this morning, the fried cabbage with sliced bacon was really delicious. Zhao Jinge ate a large bowl of rice clean in a short time and thought he could eat another two bowls.

But food must be saved. Zhao Jinge thought that it was already good to have such an extra bowl of rice at noon.

When he had enough to eat and drink, Zhao Jinge remembered what had just happened, but he thought it had nothing to do with him. He didn’t want to talk about Li Zugen in front of Jiang Zhen, so he didn’t mention it to Jiang Zhen. 

Zhao Jinge didn’t take Li Zugen seriously at all, but he didn’t know that the Li family had gathered and thought about him. 

Li Zugen was still thinking about Xu, but Xu certainly wouldn’t come back. 

Their family consisted of old and small people, and he was supposed to be the family pillar, but he was still thin and powerless. It was because of the silver sent by Xu that they had paid off a part of their debts, but they still needed to pay back seventy-eight silver in the future.

He had worked hard for a year, but he couldn’t even grow enough food for his family. In the future, he would either need to buy more land or food!

They preferred the former, but who would plant the land after they buy it? Who would take care of the food and clothing of his four sons? 

“I heard that Zhao Jinge still hasn’t married . . . Ugly as he is, he has a lot of strength.”

“As long as he doesn’t take his parents with him, our family’s life would be easier after you marry him.”

Edited by : Faro

Proofreader: Taalia

Support translation:

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