BLL Chapter 25 Sincere

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As soon as he heard Lin Lixuan’s words, Huang Yuan’s eyes widened. He clapped his hands together. “What a coincidence. My Third Aunt’s family has a shop they’re renting out.”

Huang Yuan’s Third Aunt wasn’t his real Third Aunt. He didn’t actually know if they were related or not. She knew his mother, and his mother told him to call her Third Aunt, so that was what he did.

Third Aunt’s surname was Zhu. She was a widow. According to her, her husband passed away early. She now lived alone with her thirteen year old daughter. She was a thirty or forty year old woman with a sickly body and pain all over. It was either she couldn’t lift her right hand or her left foot couldn’t move. The house was full of all kinds of medicinal herbs. The shop was in her name, and it was rumored to have been left by her deceased husband. She was an orphan and widow, and usually relied on doing needlework to make ends meet.

As soon as she heard Lin Lixuan wanted to rent the shop, and this person was introduced by Huang Yuan, Auntie Zhu smiled happily. She agreed to rent to them without asking anything. “My husband passed early, and the relatives from that side of the family have long stopped visiting. This shop had been left to our daughter by him. I’m not in good health and my hands are swollen. I can’t pick up anything heavy. Yuan, your mother asked me to make clothes with her some time ago. I also brought some fabric home with me… It’s not that I don’t want to do it, but I really can’t. I can’t handle it. Look, my left hand has become swollen to this point. If I get even a little tired, I start feeling a lot of pain. You have to clear it up with your mother. It’s really not because I don’t want to. I’m really thankful that she taught me how to make clothes…”

Huang Yuan smiled and nodded with agreement. “Okay, Third Aunt. I’ll definitely clear it up with my mother.”

Auntie Zhu’s teeth weren’t visible as she smiled. “You definitely have to clear it up.”

“Are you going to rent my shop? Oh my. You look like a serious person. Did you know that kid Huang Yuan from studying? I’m relieved to see that you’re like this. My husband left this shop for us… I really cherish it. If it weren’t for that boy Huang introducing you, I wouldn’t rent it out to anyone.”

Auntie Zhu chatted with them while leading them through the building. Her shop was at the intersection of two streets. It was a place where travelers often passed through. The location was good, and the shop was also spacious. Auntie Zhu took out the key to open the door lock. As soon as she pushed the door open, a stuffy smell came out from inside. After entering, the wooden board separated them from the wind. They felt warmer. Lin Lixuan released Ger Yan’s hand.

It was estimated that this shop hadn’t been in use for about a year and a half. Places that hadn’t been used for a long time would more or less have this kind of musty smell.

“The room is very big,” Ger Yan exclaimed. He had taken a look at many shops in the county town, and Auntie Zhu’s shop was of a medium size. The tables, chairs, benches, and counters in the shop were all clean and tidy. There wasn’t a trance of dust on the surfaces. According to Auntie Zhu, she would come to clean up from time to time.

Lin Lixuan took a look over the entire shop. The place really was suitable for selling food. The location was ideal, the shop was large, and there were also tables, chairs, and benches that could be used. There was even a room connected to the back of the store. And with a gutter in the back, they could grind soybeans when the time came…

“As for the rent, since you are friends with Huang Yuan, I won’t take a deposit. It’s not easy for us poor families to live. Everyone has to help each other out. The rent for the shop isn’t high. Just four taels a month is enough.” Auntie Zhu, who had a kind face, said sincerely.

Huang Yuan winked at Lin Lixuan and nudged him with his elbow. “What do you think? This place is good, and the price is appropriate as well. You can’t rent a good shop like this for four taels a month anywhere else.”

Lin Lixuan nodded. “It’s very good.” He had inquired about the price of street shops in the county town, and for a shop of this size and location, four taels of silver really was low.

“Right, right? If it wasn’t for our boy Huang for bringing you here, I wouldn’t give you such a deal. If it was anyone else, I wouldn’t rent it out even for six or seven taels of silver!”

It just so happened to be four taels of silver exactly. Ger Yan was very excited. He kept thinking in his heart that he and Lin-dage were very lucky. Auntie Zhu really was a good person. On the donkey ride to the county town, Ger Yan was still worried that they wouldn’t be able to rent a shop. What he was most afraid of was Lin-dage being sad.

“If you’re sure you want to rent the place, you can move in in a few days. The shop is a bit messy, so you’ll have to spend some time tidying it up.” This shop must have sold food in the past as well. There were several stacks of dishes and chopsticks in the cabinet beside the wall. A lot of dust had accumulated on the porcelain bowls and wooden chopsticks. It smelled a bit bad when they opened the cabinet. Auntie Zhu sneezed.

“You can use these dishes, chopsticks, tables, and chairs in the store as you like…”

Huang Yuan wobbled and fell into a chair. “That’s good. You can open it as soon as you move everything over.”

“Your surname is Lin so I’ll call you Youngster Lin. I really cherish this shop. As you can see, there isn’t a speck of dust on the counters. You must be careful. I heard my late husband say that it’s made of top quality wood. You can’t ruin it. Every morning and evening, you have to gently wipe it again with a rag dipped in water…”

“And here, this wooden board can’t get wet. This kind of wood can easily rot if it’s wet. You can’t get it wet at all, even a droplet is not okay. If you accidentally get water on it, you have to wipe it up immediately…”

“By the way, there’s one more matter. It’s not that I don’t trust you, after all, you were brought here by Huang Yuan, so how can I not trust you? Huang Yuan’s mother has helped me out many times… I was just thinking, can I come by and take a look at the shop for the first few months? Of course, I won’t do anything to disturb your business. I’ll just stop by and see if there’s anything else that needs paying attention to…”

“Oh, I just remembered. There’s something I need to clear up about the neighbor…”

“…” Lin Lixuan became more speechless as he listened. He even wanted to laugh a bit. There really was no such thing as a free lunch. There were so many rules and regulations. Even if she was letting them use it all for free, he wouldn’t want it. He could see that this auntie was troublesome as soon as he met her. Renting her shop would be very problematic.

Ger Yan was also startled after listening. He was concerned as he thought, “We can’t use this or that. Was the four taels of silver basically being offered to Buddha?”

Auntie Zhu was still speaking, “…No, if you want to rent the shop, we need to write a contract. If anything in the shop is damaged…”

At this point, Huang Yuan couldn’t listen any longer. He had lost the smile that was originally on his face. With his face turned, he gave Lin Lixuan a look.

Lin Lixuan smiled and said, “Thank you, Auntie. I have to go back and discuss with my mother about whether we will rent or not.”

The three of them left Auntie Zhu’s shop. It wasn’t until they walked off the street that Huang Yuan breathed a sigh of relief. “My god. I’m really sorry, Brother Lin. I never thought Auntie Zhu was this kind of person… How is that renting a shop? She’s basically asking us to treat it like Buddha and offer incense to it everyday. Fortunately, you didn’t rent it. It almost scared me to death.”

Huang Yuan patted his chest. His voice was loud, as if he’d suffered a great stimulus. Passersby couldn’t help but glance back at him, looking at him like he was a fool.

After this encounter, Lin Lixuan expressed that he’d experienced something new. The world really was big and full of strange things.

If you treasured it so much, then why rent it out? It would be better to defend over it yourself.

However… “It’s one thing if Ger Yan and I were startled, but why do you look so scared?”

“Of course I’m scared.” Huang Yuan’s expression was indescribable. “She once told my mom that she would let me use the store…” He was such a lazy person. If he had to religiously wipe the tables every day, that was no life to live. They couldn’t put anything heavy on the counters nor anything sharp either…



The three exchanged glances. They all had indescribable expressions.

In order to apologize, Huang Yuan said that he would accompany them to find a suitable store. Unfortunately, they searched the entire county town. Either the location wasn’t good or the price wasn’t suitable. “The boss just now was too stingy. He had the face to say that he wouldn’t allow a coin less for a shop like that! Sigh, it would be nice if you had a bit more silver…”

Ger Yan was worried. “What if we can’t find a place to rent?”

Lin Lixuan pinched his face, “Don’t worry. There will always be a way.” If they couldn’t find a suitable place today, they could just go back and earn a bit more money first.

As the saying went, the sky was the limit. In the end, they did find a suitable shop. The owner of the shop was an old man who was over sixty years old and was still very healthy. The old man’s surname was Zhong. Coincidentally, he had a good relationship with Ger Yan. The old man had bad teeth and couldn’t bite anything, so he often went to their stall to buy tofu pudding. Ger Yan recognized him as a regular customer. He was on the older side, so he always gave him a bit more.

Good people had good things going to them. It was a curious coincidence.

Old Man Zhong’s shop wasn’t big. Compared to Auntie Zhu’s shop, it was probably only half the size. The shop was as old as Old Man Zhong. On both sides of the wooden door were old and new couplets that had been pasted and torn on top of each other. The room wasn’t spacious either. Ger Yan spread both of his hands out in front of him as he stood in front of the wooden door. His hand was able to cover the entire front of the building.

It was enough. Lin Lixuan nodded at the shop.

Old Man Zhong said that he didn’t need their deposit. The rent was three taels of silver a month. Lin Lixuan signed the contract right there, handed over the first month’s rent, and the shop was theirs to use. The shop was well ventilated and there wasn’t a chance to gather any dust. After borrowing Old Man Zhong’s broom, Lin Lixuan and the three of them cleaned the store inside and out.

After cleaning for a long time, it was about noon. Lin Lixuan invited Huang Yuan to lunch. After lunch, the three of them rested in the store. Huang Yuan secretly asked Lin Lixuan to write a few characters for him so that he could use it as an example. He also specially wrote down a few characters and told him how to write it.

Huang Yuan had helped them for most of the day. This was just some calligraphy. Of course Lin Lixuan agreed with a smile. He said that he could write as much as Huang Yuan wanted. Ger Yan also followed along with his brush. As Lin Lixuan wrote the character, he ground the ink beside him. The ink was black and thick, and the fragrance of ink lingered around them.

In the afternoon, Huang Yuan left satisfied with his brush and paper in hand. Lin Lixuan and Ger Yan cleaned their newly rented shop for a while longer before closing the door and preparing to head back to tell Zhao Liniang about the shop they rented.

Ger Yan thought they would head directly home, but instead, he was pulled to the cloth store by Lin Lixuan on the way back.

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