Jiang Zhen didn’t deliberately avoid people when he went to deliver food to Zhao Jinge this time. However, Zhao Dahu’s house was close to the canal, and the land there all belonged to him, so there were generally no other villagers.
Zhao Jinge had been working all morning and was already a bit tired, but when he saw Jiang Zhen, he felt refreshed again, and the corners of his mouth pulled up unconsciously. He used to secretly eat the rice brought by Jiang Zhen in the woods, but this time, he sat on the ridge of the field and ate it, hoping that others could see them and know that Jiang Zhen was kind to him. However, even if someone saw them, they soon learned that Jiang Zhen had eaten at the Zhao family’s house just then. He did deliver food to Zhao Jinge, but this food was from the Zhao family . . . wasn’t it generosity at the expense of others? Nobody envied Zhao Jinge at all.
Zhao Jinge was just as upset as Zhao Liu, but Jiang Zhen didn’t take it seriously. He never cared about other people’s gazes. If he had time to care about what the other villagers were thinking, he might as well use this time to make more money. This was not the modern and peaceful society. In modern times, even if one was poor, they could seek out one of those shelters for food. Here, if you didn’t have money on your hands, you might starve to death. With so little money on hand, he couldn’t feel at ease.
“I’m going to the county town this afternoon,” seeing that Zhao Jinge had almost finished eating, Jiang Zhen said to him.
“To do what?” Zhao Jinge was a bit confused.
“To sell things. Don’t worry. I will be back in the evening.” Jiang Zhen smiled at Zhao Jinge.
What Jiang Zhen wanted to sell in the county town was his remaining salted fish and kelp, as well as the fish he had just caught this morning. He had this plan for a long time. The kelp was soaked yesterday and the goods were ready. After greeting Zhao Jinge, he took Wang Haisheng with him.
When they arrived at the county town, they were just in time for the evening market in the afternoon. At this time, many people had dinner at four or five o’clock in the afternoon, but before that, some of them would go to the street to buy food.
Jiang Zhen stopped the boat near the dock and started selling a bowl of kelp for a penny, just as he had done in Fucheng before.
There were fewer people in the county town than in Fucheng, but there were still people who came to buy a bowl of kelp. After all, one penny was really a small amount. Once there were more people who came to buy, others naturally would come to have a look, even if they didn’t actually plan to buy. Now that they had come to see, some of them had to buy the prepared kelp.
Most people came to buy kelp, but some people bought the more expensive salted fish and fresh fish sold as well …
In modern times, sea fish was sold frozen, but freshwater fish was sold alive. After all, the taste of dead fish was not good for it would be very fishy, but it was different in the ancient times.
At present, people basically sold freshly killed fish. They caught the fish and sold it on the street. Even if the fishes were still alive at the beginning, they would die soon, and there was nothing they could do about it. At present, it was not like in the modern society, where water came out when you turned on a faucet. There were no oxygen pumps, that could pump oxygen into the water to keep the fish alive, or big buckets . . .
If you got a big bucket to sell live fish these days, it would be very troublesome to move it around. As a result, except for some rich people, who paid more attention to it, most people bought and sold dead fish.
But Jiang Zhen still sold live fish. The live fish that he and Wang Haisheng had caught this morning wasn’t piled on their boat but kept in a fishing net. It ensured that the fish wouldn’t die. When they arrived in the county town, they took the fishes out and sold them in buckets one by one. At that time, the fishes were still alive. Wang Haisheng dealt with the sales of kelp, and Jiang Zhen was in charge of selling salted fish and fresh fish, the prices of which were more troublesome to calculate.
There were many people interested in fresh live fish. After a while, it sold very well.
Jiang Zhen and Wang Haisheng were the first people to sell live fish and kelp this way in the country town, so there were many people who bought from them. After selling all afternoon, they ended with a profit of three silver, which meant they had earned another three silver.
Although kelp sold more, the money was mainly made by the sale of fish since the price of kelp was lower, and the price of salted fish was higher. If they really wanted to make money, kelp was presumably better for business.
“Is it you?” When a voice asked this question, Jiang Zhen raised his head and found out that a sea merchant, who had gone with them to purchase goods, was standing in front of them.
“That’s a good way to sell it.” The seafood merchant looked at the kelp in front of Wang Haisheng with a thoughtful look. There was no doubt that when he got back, he would follow suit and sell it like this. This method was too simple and could be learned easily. Jiang Zhen knew that he had better find a way to do some other business in the future. Of course, he had to have the capital first.
“How are your goods doing?” the seafood merchant asked again.
“Sold out,” Jiang Zhen finally answered.
Hearing this, the merchant looked at Jiang Zhen with surprise. The profits from sea goods were OK, but they didn’t make much money because they couldn’t sell too much at once. But the goods bought by these two people had been sold out?
This sea merchant was a bit jealous, but he couldn’t do anything else except for feeling jealous. He didn’t want to row his boat to sell somewhere else. Jiang Zhen had been selling all afternoon in the county town. The rest of the sea goods were almost sold out. If we sell them again tomorrow, he estimated, we will probably sell them all. He packed his things and went back to Hexi before it got completely dark.
When Jiang Zhen arrived at the Zhao family’s house, it was past the time when the Zhao family used to have dinner, but the Zhao family still hadn’t moved their chopsticks. When they saw Jiang Zhen come back, Zhao Liu brought out all the dishes that were put on the steaming rack to keep warm, and then called Jiang Zhen to have dinner.
Zhao Liu was an introverted and careful person and was also willing to devote herself to cooking. Now was a good time to eat garlic. Of course, this garlic didn’t refer to cloves, but to the green garlic.
Zhao Liu pulled out some garlic, cut off the roots, steamed it with the salted fish, cut the garlic leaves into small pieces, and made a bowl of bean curd with garlic leaves. In addition, she also mixed kelp with cold sauce, fried a plate of cabbage, and even . . .
“What is this?” Jiang Zhen looked curiously at the dish on the table, which was a plate of fried wild vegetables, but there seemed to be something else in it.
“I picked some snails and took off their shells to fry them with wild vegetables,” Zhao Liu said. She saw that there were many snails, and cooked some of them, picking out all the snail meat, piece by piece, with a needle. She fed the tails of the snails to the ducklings, but the heads of the snails were gathered for cooking, which could be regarded as adding some meat to their dishes.
Jiang Zhen used to eat snails with his comrades as a night snack, but they all cut the tail of the whole snail and sucked the meat out themselves. He had never eaten snail heads cooked like this. This was definitely a time consuming project.
“The snails were relatively small. If there were field snails, there would be more meat.” Zhao Liu also said that the snails in the river here were only the size of a nail, but the snails in the paddy field could get as big as chicken eggs, so there was more meat.
Jiang Zhen was particularly satisfied with this meal. After he traveled to the ancient times, he had been eating pretty well in general. But until then, he had not eaten delicious food. He immediately felt that it was a correct decision to come to the Zhaos’ house for dinner. When he makes more money in the future, he must buy more seasonings for Zhao Liu.
After dinner, it was already completely dark, so the Zhao family lit a small oil lamp. But they still couldn’t see clearly, and this being the case, it became difficult to chat, so Jiang Zhen soon said his goodbyes.
That night, Jiang Zhen slipped into Zhao Jinge’s room once again.
“The bed board hasn’t been changed yet?” touching the bed, Jiang Zhen asked.
Zhao Jinge was stunned and then felt a bit embarrassed. “I forgot . . .”
“If you don’t want to change it, don’t. In a few days, I’ll get some wood and make a sturdier bed. Otherwise, it will be too inconvenient,” Jiang Zhen said.
Zhao Jinge was not completely unaware of this matter. But after hearing Jiang Zhen’s words, he immediately blushed. When he came back from work the next day, he took down the broken bed board from his house and checked the rest of the bed boards again.
“The bed board was so good. Why did it break so suddenly? There are no termites.” Zhao Liu looked at the bed board a little puzzled.
Zhao Jinge looked down and said awkwardly, “I accidentally used too much force . . .”
“Yes, this bed board has been used for a long time after all,” Zhao Liu said. “By the way, Jinge, your father and I already had dinner. When Jiang Zhen comes back, you two can have a good meal together. You don’t have to wait for us or leave us food.”
“Mom, what are you doing?” Zhao Jinge asked.
Zhao Liu said happily, “We are going to the next village to find the blind man to ask for a suitable day for your marriage.” When choosing a date for an auspicious day of the zodiac, they had to ask a person who could count these days, and they were generally all blind. The master was blind, and the disciples he took in were blind as well. In fact, this was also a way for those who were blind to live.
“Hmmm,” Zhao Jinge answered.
“We may not come back tonight. Your father has a friend over there, so we may stay there for one night,” Zhao Liu said again. Apart from asking the blind man for an auspicious day of the zodiac, she and Zhao Fugui also would go there to order two quilts and several pieces of furniture. Zhao Fugui’s friend was a carpenter, and if they were delayed for too long, they would not come back but rest at his house for a night.
Zhao Jinge answered again, and Zhao Liu and Zhao Fugui went out together.
The people in the village they went to didn’t know much about Hexi. At most, they heard a few rumors about Eldest Jiang. So when Zhao Liu and Zhao Fugui went to ask for an auspicious day, the blind man was very calm and gave them three dates. Generally, when people came to ask about a date for marriage, they would all choose an auspicious day in several months, but the Zhao family had already stressed out that sooner was better, so the blind man had given them three dates, one was twelve days later, one was a month later, and the last one was two months later.
Zhao Liu wrote down these three dates, but she had already made up her mind to marry Zhao Jinge and Jiang Zhen in twelve days. It was better to get married as soon as possible. What if Jiang Zhen runs away?
Zhao Liu and Zhao Fugui asking for dates went very smoothly, and ordering the two quilts also went very smoothly, but when it was time to finally order some furniture, they encountered a bit of trouble. It was already dark, and it was hard to walk during the night as they might encounter snakes. However, Zhao Liu and Zhao Fugui still went back.
“What happened to that friend of yours? He thinks of us as being too poor? Unexpectedly, he drove us out without even saying a few words . . .” Zhao Liu looked at Zhao Fugui with dissatisfaction.
She and Zhao Fugui felt that they could not wrong Jiang Zhen, so they went to find friends to make two kinds of furniture. As soon as they entered the door, they told them that their Jinge was going to marry. The wife of Zhao Fugui’s friend couldn’t wait to drive them out, and Zhao Fugui’s friend didn’t stop them either. Zhao Liu felt extremely depressed. Zhao Fugui was also silent.
“Aren’t they just afraid that we will borrow money from them? We’ve never thought about it. We sold the land a long time ago, and we still didn’t bother them . . . “ Zhao Liu said again.
She and Zhao Fugui didn’t want to trouble people. In fact, they could borrow money at the beginning, but later, after they sold the land, they felt it was not good to borrow money from people, who were not relatives, without reason.
For so many years, they never bothered them. This time, they also brought money for new furniture but were unexpectedly kicked out. Zhao Fugui was also upset. His friend had a distant family relationship with him. When he was young, they had a very good relationship. They helped each other a lot, but now, the man turned his head and didn’t give him any face. It was just that Zhao Fugui was not very good at talking, so he could only remain silent.
“I’ll find another carpenter tomorrow. The bed board in Jinge’s room was broken by him carelessly. Everything else can wait, but the bed must be bought quickly,” Zhao Liu said, suddenly frowning again. She looked in the distance. “Fugui, why is there light in Jinge’s room?”
Zhao Fugui looked from afar and found out that there was light in his son’s room, and the window was still open.
“This child is not afraid of using up the lamp oil,” Zhao Liu said with some heartache.
Zhao Fugui was vaguely aware that something was wrong. His family’s Jinge was not one of those who would keep the lights on at night. He pulled Zhao Liu with him and didn’t go any further. He was thinking about something when suddenly, he saw a figure climbing in through the window and then the window closed.
This . . . This . . . Zhao Fugui was shocked. Zhao Liu was also startled. How could someone get into Jinge’s room?
“Let’s walk lightly.” Zhao Fugui’s face was black. He was almost sure he knew who had climbed in through the window, and it made him particularly uncomfortable! They were not married yet!
Edited by : Faro