BLL Chapter 13 Grindstone

If you aren’t reading on then these translations were stolen!

Just as he read about the thrilling battle, Chu Zihang lifted the page in his hand. Hey, why weren’t there anymore…The story came to an abrupt end at the most critical point. Could it be that there were pages missing? He carefully flipped through pages but couldn’t find a continuation of the story. Did Lin Lixuan only bring half of the manuscript?

Chu Zihang folded the manuscript and sighed depressingly. A sense of emptiness welled up in his heart. After feeling this empty sadness, what followed was an irritating itchiness like a feather was stroking the deepest part of his heart.

He really wanted to know what would happen next in the story!

He wondered if that person had it written down? Or did he only write this part?

Chu Zihang rubbed the edge of the faintly yellowed pages with his calloused thumb. He decided to help Lin Lixuan. It was a pity to not have this book published for everyone to read…

“Xiao Si, I’m heading to Mr. Shen’s house.” Mr. Shen was the behind-the-scenes boss of Songyun Bookstore. Chu Zihang was going to deliver a couple of  newly delivered standalone books to his house, as well as bring Lin Lixuan’s manuscript over for him to read. It would be great if Mr. Shen could appreciate it as well.

“Okay.” The shop assistant nodded. Chu Zihang packed up his things and walked out of Songyun Bookstore with the manuscript.

When he arrived at Mr. Shen’s house, it was unfortunate that Mrs. Shen said he wasn’t home. He went out to drink tea and play chess with his friends. Chu Zihang handed over the books he brought to Mrs. Shen. Mrs. Shen took the books and said in surprise, “Bitterwood Tales? You were even able to find this book? My husband will be happy for days when he comes home and sees this.”

Chu Zihang smiled when he heard this. Mrs. Shen was also from a scholarly family and was unlike ordinary people who believed women are only virtuous if they are talentless. She hasn’t taken the imperial exam, her knowledge was recognized by Mr. Shen. She also loved books and didn’t want to put down the books Chu Zihang gave her. Chu Zihang saw the perfect timing and told Mrs. Shen about his friend’s manuscript. She asked for Mr. Shen’s help  reading it when he came back.

Mrs. Shen nodded but didn’t take his words seriously. She thought Chu Zihang’s friend wanted her husband to review his work. Her husband hated doing these kinds of things the most ever since he retired. He would only read those things if he was in a good mood.

Chu Zihang respectfully left the Shen residence. Mrs. Shen sat around the table with the book in her arms. The maids made tea and brought over a plate of fruit. Mrs. Shen took a sip of the fragrant tea. Her eyes kept returning to the book. It was getting late. She asked the maid, Liu Xiang, “My husband isn’t back yet?”

“He’s not, madam.”

“Has the kitchen finished dinner?”

“It’s ready, madam.”

Mrs. Shen had a plump figure, elegant temperament, and a full face. Although she was over forty, she didn’t look old. She merely became more dignified and graceful as she aged. She took out a silk handkerchief from her sleeve and patted the corner of her forehead. She put down the book and was about to get up and leave when she noticed the manuscript Chu Zihang mentioned earlier from the corner of her eye. She lazily flipped open the manuscript with her finger that was adorned with jade rings…

Shen Changwen had just returned from his friend’s house. Before he even entered the main fall, he was bumped into by Mrs. Shen, who had hurried over when she heard the news. Shen Changwen was surprised. He had never seen his wife so anxious before…

Mrs. Shen walked in a hurry and spoke. Her voice wasn’t very steady. “Husband, you’ve come just in time. I’ll show you something.”

“You said this was written by Chu Zihang’s friend?” Mr. Shen stroked his beard in thought before boasting, “This story is well written.”

“That’s right, husband. Tell Zihang to bring the next part tomorrow. The story cuts off here. It’s really frustrating…”

Mr. Shen nodded to Mrs. Shen.

Lin Lixuan followed Huang Yuan’s directions and found the place he was looking for. Before he entered, the sound of ringing came from inside. The sound was sharp in the silent courtyard. Lin Lixuan walked in. By the entrance stood a bare-chested, middle-aged, burly man with a white towel around his neck. The burly man held a hammer in one hand and an awl in the other. The ringing continued as he carved something onto the rock.

The burly man was a bit surprised when he saw Lin Lixuan. He patted the dust off his hand and used the towel to wipe his sweat. “Young man, are you here to buy a grindstone?”

Lin Lixuan nodded. He looked around at the several millstone discs scattered around the yard. The surface of the millstone stone was uneven and the vein lines were colorful. The workmanship of the millstone was simple and rough. It seemed to be something taken straight out of the history books. He came to purchase a grindstone to make tofu.

After coming to the county town twice and from the original owner’s memories, Lin Lixuan had confirmed that they hadn’t created tofu yet in this world. He found soybeans at home, but the method of eating soybeans here was to mix the beans with rice, boil it and eat it together. Very few people ground it up into soymilk. Even if they had ground it up into soymilk, nobody had made tofu yet.

That was because this world lacked the alchemist fanatic—King of Huainan, Liu An1!

Tofu was originally invented as a byproduct of the ancient cultivators’ alchemy. The world Lin Lixuan currently lived in didn’t worship Daoism. He also hasn’t heard of anyone practicing alchemy…Therefore, tofu hasn’t appeared in this world yet.

To the current Lin Lixuan, it was a good thing. It was worthy of celebration.

This was the so-called cause and effect, like breeds like.

As long as he grasped this trick, making tofu would be a snatch for him. Moreover, it was cheap to make and eaten fresh. It wouldn’t catch some people’s attention. They could work a bit harder and make a bit of money to improve the life of the members of the Lin family.

“Boss, how much is this grindstone?” Lin Lixuan didn’t have a lot of money on him. There was only 465 wen from what Zhao Liniang gave him last time, plus the 93 wen from selling vegetables. Zhao Liniang didn’t ask for this money back. Ji Yan gave the money to Lin Lixuan. There was also the 170 wen he earned from Huang Yuan’s stall by writing letters, for a total of 728 wen.

The price the burly man stated disappointed Lin Lixuan. There were many grindstones of different sizes and diameters. The smallest and cheapest one cost one tael of silver or more. Even if it was sold at the cheapest price, there was still a difference of 272 wen.

Seeing the disappointed expression, the burly man chuckled and said, “What? You didn’t bring enough money?”

Lin Lixuan calmly nodded.

“How much did you bring?”

“…About 700 wen.”

When the burly man heard his reply, he lowered his head in thought before making a suggestion. He pointed to a clumsy made grindstone in the corner. “There are a couple cracks on the stone plate because my apprentice made a mistake, but it won’t affect its use. I was planning on selling it for one tael of silver, but if you don’t mind, you can have it for 700 wen. However, you have to promise me something.”

Lin Lixuan didn’t expect this kind of situation. He blinked. “What promise?”

The burly man had a shy smile. “I saw you writing for others at that boy Huang Yuan’s stall earlier. It just so happened that I wanted to send a letter to my daughter who moved away after getting married, so I wanted to ask you to help me write a letter in exchange for discounting the grindstone…”

“Sure. Thank you, Uncle…”

The burly man thought about writing a letter to his daughter at the last minute. One one hand, his daughter married and moved far away. He did indeed miss him. On the other hand, Lin Lixuan was a poor scholar. He really wanted to help him out. Plus, it wasn’t like the grindstone could be sold…

When he received Lin Lixuan’s handwritten letter, he felt that it was really worth it.

“Uncle, I’ll have to trouble you to deliver it to Jade Creek Village…”

“Sure…” There was a donkey cart inside the shop used for deliveries. It wasn’t troublesome to help Lin Lixuan make a trip to deliver it.

Lin Lixuan also sat in the uncle’s donkey cart on the way back to Jade Creek Village. Sitting in the rickety cart and looking at the long gray-brown ears of the donkey, Lin Lixuan couldn’t help but sigh in his heart: In ancient times, riding a horse was a luxury. Ordinary people like us can only touch the shadow of ox carts and donkey carts…

It is said that oxen couldn’t be randomly slaughtered for meat. Ox that could cultivate fields were sacred. Randomly killing oxen was a crime. Those who were caught by the government would be imprisoned.

Liu Shu and Uncle Liu were a bit surprised when they heard Lin Lixuan rode an ox cart back to the village. “Xiucai Lin, why did you buy a grinding stone?”

Lin Lixuan smiled and made up an excuse that Zhao Liniang wanted to buy a grindstone to grind beans.

When they reached the Lin residence, Zhao Liniang and Ger Yan were at home. They heard rattling in the courtyard and came out to take a look. Although Zhao Liniang didn’t understand why her son purchased a grindstone, since the uncle who sold the grindstone was still there, she couldn’t demand an answer from Lin Lixuan.

“Xuan’Er? Why did you suddenly buy a grindstone? If you want to grind beans or something, the Li family from the village has one. We can just borrow theirs. Why should our family spend money on one…”

“Mother, I bought it because I have a use for it. Don’t worry.”

Ger Yan, who stood to the side, wasn’t interested in the grindstone Lin Lixuan brought back. His focus was on the donkey that sent Lin Lixuan back. The people in their village who had ox, donkeys, or other livestock weren’t many. Their family didn’t have a donkey. So wasn’t this his first time being so close to a little donkey?

Ger Yan enthusiastically picked a handful of grass and fed it to the little donkey.

The slightly arrogant donkey stretched out his neck and sniffed the grass in Ger Yan’s hand. It shouted in a low voice and obediently ate the grass. After eating it, it rubbed itself against Ger Yan’s hand.

Lin Lixuan couldn’t help but smile when he saw the interaction between the person and donkey.

The uncle helped move the grindstone to the Lin residence’s courtyard. Zhao’s Village invited him in for a drink of water. After resting for a bit, he drove the donkey out of Jade Creek Village.

Ger Yan looked reluctant as he watched the little donkey leave.

Table of Contents

  1. Person credited for discovering tofu ↩︎

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