BLL Chapter 9 Ox Cart

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

The nearby county town was still a distance away from Jade Creek Village. One had to pass one or two mountains to reach it. It takes over an hour to walk there. Liu Shu’s family at the entrance of the village raised oxen. They frequently went to the county town. The villagers would also ride their cart to the county town sometimes. Liu Shu didn’t give rides to the county town for free. It cost three wen for a ride. Some people were reluctant to pay the three wen, so they got up early instead and walked while carrying a basket.

The morning fog hadn’t dissipated yet. Inside the white fog, one can faintly see the surrounding mountains and fields. Once one walked into the fog, dampness clung in the air, making it a bit heavy. Their clothes would also become stained with the wetness and become heavy.

When Lin Lixuan went out, Zhao Liniang gave him 500 wen and told him to buy what he liked in the county town. 500 wen wasn’t a small amount of money. Zhao Liniang was really good to his son. Their family didn’t have much money, yet she was willing to take out 500 wen for him to spend in the county town.

The copper coins were strung together. They were a bit heavy in his hands, probably weighing about two to three catties.

“You can buy some paper, brushes, and ink… Remember to come back early.” Zhao Liniang held the water ladle and watered the vegetable patch in the front of the house. When she saw them carrying their baskets and were about to go out, she didn’t forget to remind them. Lin Lixuan nodded in response.

“Is it cold?” Autumn was approaching. The sun shone during the day, but it was inevitable for it to be a bit cold in the morning and evening.

Ji Yan smiled and shook his head. “It’s not cold.” Ger Yan was wearing an old blue outfit that was slightly washed out. It was made from Lin Lixuan’s old clothes. Ger Yan was much shorter than him, so the clothes from Lin Lixuan’s youth fit him. Although the clothes were a bit old, they at least looked a lot better than his previously patched up ones.

Lin Lixuan moved the basket he was carrying on his shoulders. He and Ger Yan both carried a basket of vegetables on their backs. He had never carried something like this before, so he wasn’t used to it.

Ger Yan was used to carrying baskets like this. They walked side by side toward the entrance of the village. Before they reached the entrance, they heard a loud “moo”. Uncle Liu was sitting on the cart smoking a cigarette. When he saw them, he waved in greeting.

There weren’t many villagers going to the county town today. It was just the two of them plus another Shuang’er. The Shuang’er wasn’t a stranger. It was Liu Tiao’Er from the village. He was also heading to the co today to sell vegetables and buy some supplies for the family as well. When Liu Tiao’Er arrived, Uncle Liu placed the cart shaft on the ox. He saw on the plank of the cart and patted the ox’s back to get it moving.

It was the first time Lin Lixuan had seen an adult Shuang’er beside Ger Yan up close. He couldn’t help but be speechless. It felt like looking at a…fake woman? It wasn’t that Liu Tiao’Er looked feminine. In Lin Lixuan’s eyes, Liu Tiao’Er still looked masculine, but there was a sense of pretentiousness and effeminateness in his every move.

It gave people goosebumps when they looked at him…

Ger Yan was the best. He was beautiful and looked delicate. His eyes were pure. He didn’t look too fierce or too weak. He looked refreshing like a pool of spring water flowing in the mountains and forests.

Lin Lixuan saw that Ji Yan’s clothes were stained with some sawdust and vegetable leaves. He reached out and gently helped him pat it away. Ger Yan, who was watching the trees and leaves on the side of the road, was startled by the action, but then smiled at him.

Sensing Lin Lixuan’s gaze, Liu Tiao’Er’s heart skipped a beat. He thought the other party was interested in him. He looked down and shyly pinched the edge of his clothes, but when he looked up at Lin Lixuan, the other party had long stopped looking at him and was only focused on the beautiful Shuang’er beside him.

In the past, Xiucai Lin was the favorite topic for many women and Shuang’ers in Jade Creek Village. Liu Tiao’Er also secretly liked him for a while. After Xiucai Lin became a fool, he got married and this thought completely disappeared. When he heard Ji Yan married the foolish Xiucai, he also gloated. But he saw him today, and Lin Lixuan’s handsome appearance reflected in his eyes. A feeling inexplicably rose again.

Liu Tiao’Er softened his voice and asked sharply, “Xiucai Lin, Ger Yan, are you two also going to the county town to sell vegetables?”

Ger Yan nodded. “That’s right.”

Liu Tiao’Er started chatting with Ger Yan about unimportant things. He wanted to bring Lin Lixuan into the conversation many times, but Lin Lixuan didn’t answer him and didn’t try to join in the conversation either. Ji Yan was even more frustrating. He would only answer what he was asked and not anything more.

Lin Lixuan finally directly asked Lin Lixuan, “Xiucai Lin, are you going to visit the county town’s academy? I heard others say the academy moved…” He gave him a gentle gaze as he spoke.

“I’m not going to the academy. I’m just going to sell vegetables in the county town with Ger Yan,” Lin Lixuan replied, indifferent. He was a bit disgusted by the heated gazes Liu Tiao’Er threw his way. He didn’t want to look at that gaze anymore or watch this man act so girlish. An outsider like him couldn’t accept it.

“Ger Yan, do you remember the poem I taught you yesterday?”

“I remember.” During this period of time, Lin Lixuan had been teaching Ji Yan how to read and write. Compared to the past Ji Yan, who had only known two words, he now  knew a lot of words, but he still had low self-esteem. He thought he knew a lot of words, but when he saw Lin Lixuan sitting at the desk writing his novel he became frustrated. He could only recognize, at most, half of the neat and beautiful lines of words on the paper.

Reading was not an easy task.

“Recite it for me.”

Ger Yan tilted his head and recalled it in his mind before slowly reciting it for Lin Lixuan. Lin Lixuan then had him recite The Book of Family Names and Thousand Character Classic. Ji Yan stumbled over the words. Ji Yan was only seventeen or eighteen years old. It already wasn’t easy to learn how to read and write at this age. Lin Lixuan didn’t have high requirements for him and only told him to take his time to learn and remember as much as he could.

“You did well.” Lin Lixuan encouraged Ger Yan without any hesitation. The young man was praised until the dimples appeared on his cheeks.

Liu Tiao’Er looked at Ji Yan with burning eyes. He didn’t expect Xiucai Lin to actually teach him how to read and write. Moreover, just now, Xiucai Lin said himself that he was accompanying Ji Yan to sell vegetables… He thought of his vulgar husband who only knew how to work in the fields and his mother-in-law who disliked him because of his identity as a Shuang’er. Sourness and resentment rose in his heart and he would even think in his heart: If I had married Xiucai Lin…

Taking an ox cart to the city took about the same time as walking. The ox cart wasn’t fast, after all. On the way there, dense forests covered the sky and sun. The overly long branches would sometimes catch on them. Uncle Liu grabbed a pole and pushed the branches back. The leaves fell off and fluttered to the ground.

Lin Lixuan asked Uncle Liu about the recent situation in the county town. Uncle Liu often visited the county town from the village and was familiar with the things Lin Lixuan asked about. He had the gift of gib and chatted nonstop. He talked about the large ship that set anchor in the dock a few days ago as well as gossip regarding the largest restaurant where a waiter got into a fight with a guest.

Uncle Liu often chatted with passersby. His stories were lively and very interesting. The people who listened were full of interest. Slowly, they arrived at the county town.

Once the ox cart stopped, Lin Lixuan and the others got off the ox cart with their items. Compared to the desolated Jade Creek Village, All Water County could be regarded as crowded. People from other villages came to the county town market with their fruits, vegetables, and livestock.

They followed the crowd. Uncle Liu said he wouldn’t go in with them and would wait there for them. Ji Yan led Lin Lixuan to the vegetable market in the west of the county town first. Many people already set up their stalls there, including those selling fish, pork, clay pots, wooden carvings… crooks mixed with the honest hawkers.

Ji Yan spread an old cloth on the ground, pulled out the things from the basket, and placed them on the ground. Lin Lixuan also helped him arrange the items. What surprised Lin Lixuan the most was that the usually quiet and shy youth actually shouted loudly at the passersby. “The radish was just picked from the ground. It’s fresh and tender. Come take a look.”

A middle aged woman with a bamboo basket squatted down, picked up the radish, and looked at it. She asked for two. After paying five wen, she asked for a small gift and left with spring onion.

Ger Yan strung the copper coins he received onto a spring. Lin Lixuan saw that Ger Yan was familiar with the tasks, so he told him he was going to walk around the county town alone. Ji Yan nodded in agreement. The two said they would meet at the entrance of the vegetable market later.

All Water County wasn’t large, but it was very diverse. It had everything one needed. Lin Lixuan went around the town and browsed through all sorts of shops. He first walked into a rice grain shop and found that a catty of rice cost 18 to 25 wen. The better the quality, the more expensive it was. Brown rice was only eight wen a catty. He also went to a pork shop. A large pig head hung outside the shop. The butcher held the butcher knife and asked what kind of meat he wanted. Fatty meat was 28 wen a catty, lean meat was 23 wen a catty, pork ribs cost 25 wen a catty, and pork belly was 27 wen a catty.

Lin Lixuan calculated the price in his heart. Although the 500 wen in his pocket was heavy, he actually couldn’t buy much with it.

“Selling tanghulu. Three wen each. Buy one to try!” The uncle selling tanghulu shouted loudly as he walked the streets. The children who were led by their parents were attracted to the bright red tanghulu and pestered their parents to buy them one.

Lin Lixuan wasn’t interested in tanghulu. He walked across the stone bridge. A person set up a stall on the other side of the stone bridge and sold characters. After seeing Lin Lixuan, the poor scholar’s eyes lit up and he called to him from afar.

Lin Lixuan glanced at him, searching for information about this poor scholar in his mind. It seemed…this person knew the original owner.

Huang Yuan didn’t expect to see Lin Lixuan, who he’d met at the academy. “I haven’t seen you in years. I almost didn’t recognize you.”

First visit to the county town! I’m ready for the making money part of the novel!!

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