The next day at dawn, Shao Yunan, who was still asleep, was woken up by Wang Shijing. He got up from the bed and rubbed his sore back, this bed was really to hard.
Wang Shijing got up at some point and boiled hot water and cooked breakfast. Breakfast was very simple, corn flour paste with large cakes and pickles. The cakes and pickles were sent by the kind-hearted villagers yesterday. After washing, Shao Yunan sat down to eat. Yesterday he made rules with the other three members of the family, to wash hands before and after meals, brush their teeth in the morning and evening, wash their faces before going to bed, wash their feet at night, and take a bath at least once every three days. The three did not object to this, but it was true that the two children were a little afraid of their ‘stepmother.’
While eating, Shao Yunan said to Wang Shijing: “Do you remember who sent things yesterday? We need to have a chance to repay them later. They were sending charcoal in the snow. Well, these pickles are quite fragrant, I wonder whose family it is from.”
Wang Shijing spoke. “I remember that these pickles were sent by aunt Wang Liu. She is the mother of Wang Xing. Wang Xing was the man who asked me if I wanted help yesterday. The people surnamed Wang in the village are all related. Wang Xing’s family and my family are one of five siblings. Uncle was fourth, so you can directly call him fourth uncle in the future, as well as fourth aunt when you see them. Wang Xing is one year younger than me. When we meet someone else later, I will tell you.”
Shao Yunan nodded. He had an impression of that young man. As long as you were married here, both men and women would take the surname of the husband’s family. Sometimes, in order to facilitate the difference, the original surname would be added during the introduction, especially in the countryside where there were many people of the same clan.
Shao Yunan was a little depressed. “So, I am changing my name to Wang Shao now?”
Wang Shijing said, “You have not yet entered the family tree, so there is no need to change it. If you don’t like it, I’ll write your name in the genealogy, but you will have to take my last name. Neither Qing nor Ni have been listed in the genealogy, so when I finish my work at home I will go to see the patriarch.”
With the traditional and old-fashioned way of thinking of ancient people, Wang Shijing’s words were rather open-minded and Shao Yunan knew that he couldn’t ask for too much. Thinking about it, if he really ‘married’ Wang Zhisong’ he was afraid that the next day he would use a knife to force Wang Zhisong to write him a letter of divorce. Although he hadn’t seen Wang Zhisong yet, he could already see that his family and him were not very good. Otherwise, when his family was in such a mess he would show up. In this era, 15 years old was old enough to be a father.
Wang Shijing then spoke to his two children. “From now on, you will call him little father.”
Wang Qing and Wang Nizi immediately called in a disciplined manner. “Little father.”
Well, Shao Yunan was quite satisfied with this address, then the other Immediately continued. “From now on, you can call me brother Shijing. Can I call you Yunan?”
This body was ten years younger than Wang Shijing, so it was reasonable to call him brother. Shao Yunan’s actual age was 26, the same as Wang Shijing, but he looked very ‘fresh and tender’ in comparison with Wang Shijing. Wang Shijing not only has some changes on his face due to age, but also some scattering of gray hair on both temples. In terms of experience, Wang Shijing also should be considered a tough one. Two years of forced labor, plus three years of military service, coupled with living in ancient times made him age prematurely. For example, old lady Wang was only in her forties, but looked like a person in her sixties. The average life expectancy of people here was only 50 or 60 years old and only the rich could live longer. In modern times, Wang Shijing’s face definitely looked 35 or more.
Faced with this old face, Shao Yunan did not feel awkward at all and just said, “Alright, but I think that Xiao Ni’s name should be changed. In the future, Ni’s name is good for a small girl but she should also get a grown up one.”
Wang Ni’s eyes lit up brightly. Wang Shijing saw his daughter’s thoughts and said, “We can name her Nizi, I don’t know many words, but I learned it from others after I joined the army.” Shao Yunan said. “Then let me think about it.”
Wang Ni lowered her head, her heart pounding. She was very afraid that her ‘mother’ would abuse her. Everyone in the village said so. Second aunt, sister-in-law, and cousin also said so, but now it seems that her little father wasn’t so terrible.
The four people quickly finished eating. Wang Shijing went out first to borrow a cart. It took less than half an hour to travel to the country town by ox cart. Shao Yunan dug up two pieces of cotton cloth from his dowry box. His dowry seems to be big, but in fact it was very little in value. None of the five boxes were full, there were only two bedding, two quilts, two pieces of cotton cloth, three pieces of coarse cloth, two lacquer boxes, and some loose items such as dishes and combs. As for the money at the bottom of the box, it was only one thousand copper coins, or 1 or 2 silver. The fact that the Shao family was willing to give Shao Yunan silver or two was already unexpected.
Wang Shijing came back soon and Shao Yunan came out with two pieces of cotton cloth in his arms. “Are there any clothes makers in the city? To make these into two clothes.”
Wang Shijing said, “It’s expensive to make clothes in the county town. Let’s ask the aunt in the village to do it. It’s cheaper and a good way to add some money to people’s income.”
Although he had the memories of the original owner, Shao Yunan was still very unfamiliar with this world. Since Wang Shijing said so, he turned around and went back to put up the cloth.
The village has ox carts and donkey carts that take people to the county town every day, which can also be regarded as a way to make a living. Wang Shijing didn’t want to hitch a ride with other villagers, so he went to Wang Xing’s house to borrow an ox cart. People in the village usually paid one coin for a one way ride and a person could travel both ways with two coins. Wang Shijing gave Wang Xing’s family ten coins to rent a cart. Wang Xing’s family refused to take it, but Wang Shijing still stuffed it in their hands.
Wang Shijing drove the cart, while Shao Yunan sat in the ‘open cart’ protecting the two children with his right and left hands. The two children always gave the impression of being very formal and didn’t have the innocence that children their age should have. It was not difficult for Shao Yunan to guess that the character of the two children was caused by their family environment, but he did not know what the two children have experienced to make them squeamish even in front of their own father.
The ox cart was easy to ride in and the weather was also a bit cold, while the road was not very smooth. Shao Yunan vowed in his heart that he must buy a comfortable carriage in the future, otherwise a trip to the ‘city’ would simply kill him.
After jolting for almost half an hour, they finally saw the gate of the county town. Shao Yunan could not help but feel some inside currents, his buttocks had already lost consciousness. For non-residents of the county, one penny per person was enough to enter the city, but children were not counted. Wang Shijing gave two pennies and rode the ox cart into the city. Once in the city, lively sounds come from all sides. Shao Yunan already had a mental imagination of the city, but even if it was not as dilapidated as he thought, it was not much better. From time to time, you could also see livestock coming in and out of the city, so the ground naturally was not very clean. The highest houses on both sides of the street were also only two stories high. There were also many vendors with stalls and shops open for business, with a variety of shop flags fluttering in the wind.
Once in the city, Shao Yunan got down first, letting the two children sit in the cart while he followed Wang Shijing to the place where the livestock and carts were stored. The two children came to the city for the first time, left behind their timidity and restraint as they looked around at new and strange things. After Wang Shijing deposited the ox cart, Shao Yunan carried the red-faced Wang Nizi out of the cart, while Wang Qing jumped out of the cart by himself.
Shao Yunan said: “Brother Shijing, I want to stroll around the county town first, then we can eat here at noon. If you want to buy anything, you can buy it along the way.”
“What do you want to buy?” Wang Shijing asked.
Shao Yunan looked around and said, “I don’t know yet. I want to see the shops first.” After thinking about it, he asked, “How’s the security here?”
“It is whether it is safe or not, whether there will be local hooligans and bullies or something.”
Wang Shijing answered after a while. “It should not be too bad. Yongxiu County town is a big town, with many people coming from the south to the north. Now that the world is not so chaotic, there aren’t too many bad people, so you just need to pay attention to some of them.”
It was still good, so Shao Yunan immediately said, “Then take care of Qing and Xiao Nizi while I go shopping. I will go around first and come back here. After I finish, if you come back first, wait for me here. If I finish shopping first, I will also wait for you to come back here.”
Wang Shijing disagreed. “I’ll accompany you. What do you want to see? It’s too late today, so I will come back with you tomorrow.”
Shao Yunan said. “No need. I’ll talk to you when I get back. It’s settled. You and I will split up.”
Shao Yunan was very persistent, so Wang Shijing did not force him. He took a purse out from his arms and was ready to give Shao Yunan some money, but Shao Yunan patted the cloth pocket in front of him and said: “I have money on me, but I probably won’t buy anything. If it’s not enough, I’ll come back and ask you.”
Wang Shijing nodded and put away the money bag.
“I’ll go buy food first.”
“Okay, then I’m leaving.”
“Avoid people who are not good.”
Waving his hand to the three of them, Shao Yunan went first. Wang Shijing put on his back basket and looked at his back for a moment before looking down and saying to the two children: “Let’s go.” Then he bent down and picked up Wang Nizi, who hurriedly said: “Father, I’ll walk by myself.”
“If dad can’t hold you anymore, then you can walk by yourself. Qing, you hold on to your father’s clothes.”
Edited by: Jaisland