BLL Chapter 4 Learning to Read

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

Ji Yan held the egg in his hand, only to feel that his hand was hot. Lin Lixuan pulled him to sit at the table. Ji Yan’s complexion was much better than this morning. His dark eyes held a fantastic tint as he looked at Lin Lixuan.

Lin Lixuan was writing a novel. The pieces of paper filled with black lacquer brush pen characters were the masterpiece chapters he’d written today. He had always been someone who did what he said, and he would act immediately if he decided on something. The novel he wanted to write was an adaptation of Investiture of the Gods1. Writing about spirits and gods in feudal society was the only way to not cause any mishaps. Although he hadn’t heard of any literary inquisition in this era, but he still had to be careful.

Of course, he wouldn’t copy the contents of Investiture of the Gods directly. After all, the history and cultures of the two worlds were different. Besides, there was another gender here: Shuang’ers. He had to keep this point in mind and make the plot more reasonable to this world.

It was fine that there were Shuang’ers. All he had to do was change the gender of some points. Daji2 or whoever, can be changed into a bewitching Shuang’er… Should he also change Nezha3 into a Shuang’er? …He better not. He was too rough.

Compared to other kinds of laborious work, this method was most suitable for Lin Lixuan right now.

Lin Lixuan couldn’t act like those transmigrators in the novels. He couldn’t make soap, he couldn’t make bicycles by hand, and he couldn’t make machine cannon balls… The protagonists in those stories always did these things, making it a quick and easy cheat code. But if something like this happened to a real person, who would master those kinds of skills in the modern world for no reason at all?

Not to mention Lin Lixuan, who was a president of a company in modern times. He was a young master from a rich family. He could analyze the stock mark, grasp the direction and development of companies, but the most basic methods of making a livelihood? He really couldn’t…

Even if he was drastically ahead of the technology in this era, if he didn’t have a certain social status, he would definitely be burned to death for being a monster.

Ji Yan held his chin with both hands. His eyes fluttered around as he watched Lin Lixuan write. He was illiterate, but he felt that Lin Lixuan’s movements were particularly sacred and attractive. In the eyes of the villagers, reading and writing was a sacred thing.

Ji Yan’s older brother and several of his cousins also studied in the academy in the county. His biological older brother studied for a few years and after learning those few basic words, he didn’t continue studying. Boys in the villages were generally like this. It was enough to be able to write a few words. Very few people went to take the Xiucai test, since sending a child to study was very expensive. It took several taels of silver each year, and from time to time, they needed studying tools. If a family had no background, they really couldn’t afford to keep sending their child off to study.

His fourth cousin was still studying in the academy. Some people in the village said that he might be the second person in the village to become a Xiucai after Lin Lixuan.

When Ji Yan was young, he would observe with envy while his brothers were reading and writing. However, his brothers excluded him and laughed at him by saying that a Shuang’er wasn’t qualified to read and write. There was a single time when his older brother was in a good mood and specially taught him how to write the two words “white day”. The teacher was casual, but the student was earnest. Ji Yan firmly remembered the lesson. Even till now, he only recognized the two words.

Lin Lixuan placed the brush in the brush rack, looked up at Ji Yan’s sparkling eyes, and asked, “Can you read?”

Ji Yan shook his head, “I can’t.”

Lin Lixuan smiled and asked, “Do you want to learn?”

Ji Yan’s eyes sparkled as he madly nodded. “Mn!”

Lin Lixuan rubbed his head and lightly laughed. “Then I’ll teach you.”

If he could teach an illiterate, then he would. Not to mention the other party was a youth who was eager to learn.

Ji Yan wanted to learn how to write. Lin Lixuan saw how excited he was, but he didn’t act immediately. He instructed him to eat the egg in his hand first. After leaving it outside for a long time, the egg was almost cold. The eggshell of the boiled egg was easy to peel, and Lin Lixuan lifted the round egg to Ji Yan’s lips. Ji Yan hesitated, but finally opened his mouth to eat it.

Lin Lixuan was satisfied.

“I’ll teach you how to write your name first.”

He picked up the pen and wrote the words “Ji Yan” on the piece of paper. Ji Yan’s eyes widened, and he stared at the two words on the paper curious. This was his name. The name that he’d been called for over ten years. Lin Lixuan taught him how to hold the brush, held his hand, and guided him to copy his name repeatedly beside the two words.

“Have you learned? Try it yourself.” Lin Lixuan let go and encouraged him to write his own name.

Ji Yan was a bit shy. He picked up the pen and copied Lin Lixuan’s actions to write… It was so ugly, crooked, and looked like a caterpillar crawling on the ground. The words he wrote were really miserable compared to what Lin Lixuan wrote. Ji Yan lowered his head and felt annoyed. His writing was so ugly. It was a waste of paper. Paper was…expensive.

Lin Lixuan understood his thoughts and encouraged, “Write more and you’ll master these words.”

Lin Lixuan helped him retrieve another brush.Both brushes were fished out from the original Lin Lixuan’s old items. After boiling in hot water, they were barely usable. He dipped the brush in ink, but Ji Yan didn’t accept it. “I can just practice with a tree branch on the ground.”

His characters were too ugly, it was better not to waste paper.

“Do you want to write beautifully?”

“Yes.” He looked down at Lin Lixuan’s writing and also thought that he might be able to write just as well one day.

“Then use a brush and paper.” Lin Lixuan found a few pieces of scrap paper. It was the wasted paper he’d thrown away when he wrote the novel. Although the characters in this world were similar to traditional Chinese, there were still some differences. Although he had the original owner’s memories, he would still occasionally make mistakes when writing.

Lin Lixuan wrote a few commonly used words on the back of the scrap paper and asked Ji Yan to copy it to the side. Ji Yan felt a bit distressed. He didn’t know why, but he felt that Lin Lixuan had become very powerful after recovering from being a fool. He didn’t dare to refuse him. In the past, before Lin Lixuan had become a fool, Ji Yan also heard people in the village talk about him. They said that he was an inflexible, proud, and nagging Xiucai. He would patter all day long but nobody understood what he was saying.

But after interacting with Lin Lixuan for a day, he felt that the other party was very good. He would give eggs to eat and teach him how to write. So far, his panicked heart finally settled down.

Ancient people usually slept early at around eight or nine o’clock. Although the body was still the original owner’s, the soul was not. Lin Lixuan, who was used to staying up late, couldn’t sleep at this time. The body couldn’t withstand it as he yawned several times, but his soul tried to teach it not to sleep.

In ancient times, people went to bed early and had little nightlife. There was nothing to do, so they went to sleep. There was also a curfew in the city. If they didn’t go home, they would be arrested by the government.

Lin Lixuan didn’t sleep. Ji Yan hugged the blanket but also didn’t dare sleep. They got married yesterday, and he was now his wife. Ji Yan lay in bed restlessly, tossing and turning. Would Lin Lixuan treat him the way he had last night? The delicate and pretty face had a blush of red. Before he married, his mother taught him about husbands making love. Last night, Zhao Liniang had also reminded him before he’d entered the room…

But it really hurts!

Moreover, Lin Lixuan really was a fool then. When they did that before, Ji Yan didn’t really think anything of it. But to do that with the educated and talented Lin Lixuan, he felt a bit shy just looking at his handsome face.

Lin Lixuan didn’t know what Ji Yan was struggling over. He looked at Ji Yan and saw that he didn’t sleep. He thought Ji Yan was bored like he was. Under the dim light, the youth’s delicate facial features looked better than it did during the day. His palm-sized face made his eyes look big, and with the very red cinnabar mole in the center of his eyebrows,he looked like a newborn puppy. He looked very pitiful.

Lin Lixuan lay in bed and threaded his hands behind his head. “You’re not going to sleep either?”

“Mn.” Ji Yan turned to his side to look at the man beside him.

“Then I’ll tell you a story.”

Ji Yan’s eyes glimmered. “Okay.” No one had told a story just for himself before.

Lin Lixuan told him the story of the Investiture of the Gods. This could be regarded as a trial run to see how Ji Yan, a native, reacted to this story. Lin Lixuan’s storytelling was excellent. Even if it was a flat and straightforward story, he was able to tell it in a way that made it vivid and engaging. Ji Yan was fascinated by it. He didn’t want to sleep, and he became even more energetic. Lin Lixuan told him the plot he’d thought of today, and Ji Yan asked curiously, “And then?”

Lin Lixuan laughed. “Then…I haven’t figured it out, so I’ll tell you tomorrow when I’m ready.”

Ji Yan looked at him with admiration. It turned out Lin Lixuan had come up with these stories all by himself. How amazing.

Lin Lixuan lightly coughed, then taught Ji Yan some primer poems before the two of them fell asleep.

The next day, the two woke up late. For Lin Lixuan, it didn’t matter when he woke up, but Ji Yan received eye rolls from Zhao Liniang. Zhao Liniang had already gone to water the vegetable field, and when she came back, she saw that Ji Yan had only just woken up. She felt unhappy, but understanding that the husbands just married, it was natural they were intimate. So she could forgive him for waking up late and didn’t blame him much. This was a beautiful misunderstanding.

Ji Yan went to the field to catch insects and weed after breakfast. Zhao Liniang made clothes at home. Lin Lixuan was ordered to rest as usual, but he picked up a brush and paper and began writing in his room. When Zhao Liniang went into his room to take a look, she saw him hard at work writing. She thought he was studying, so the dream of being the mother of a top scholar rose again in her heart.

Zhao Liniang lowered her head in thought. Their family now didn’t have any money to send Lin Lixuan to study. Thinking of this, she couldn’t help but regret it a bit. If she had known earlier, she wouldn’t have spent so much money to marry Ji Yan in. That wretched old lady actually asked her for the sky-high price of thirteen taels of silver. In the countryside, who would spend so much money to marry a wife? A woman might not be worth this much, much less a Shuang’er. The price for marrying a Shuang’er was usually seven to eight taels of silver…

Hmm, it seems the author switches between using wife and husband to refer to Ji Yan. I’m going to translate it as it. We’re on the first phase of making money! Woot!

Table of Contents

  1. A 16th-century Chinese novel and one of the major vernacular Chinese works in the gods and demons genre written during the Ming dynasty ↩︎
  2. Favorite concubine of the last dynasty king Zhou Xin ↩︎
  3. Nezha is a protection deity in Chinese folk religion. There are many recent films and movie adaptations about his story. They’re pretty good if you want to check them out. ↩︎

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