On the last day of the market, there were fewer people than the previous two days.
Zhang Wensheng finally had some free time and came to Qiao Yuan’s side to wander around.
He was dressed in a scholar’s robe, with his hair tied up and a crown on his head, looking quite dignified.
There weren’t many people pursuing official careers in the county town, and he was good at currying favor.
He spent some silver to invite the secretary sent by the county office for a drink, and then he got the job of collecting land taxes.
He saw that Qiao Yuan followed Yu Dameng, that stinky blacksmith, and brazenly showing his face doing business.
He originally wanted to show off his authority in front of him and make him regret it.
But he was so busy with this damn job that he couldn’t spare any time, and Qiao Yuan’s stall was also surrounded by people, blocking his view, so he couldn’t even see him.
Finally having some free time, he naturally wanted to come over and wander around a few times, and he also shouted at the people waiting in line to show off his official power.
Lin Cuifen wondered, “Why does that Scholar Zhang keep hanging around us?”
Qiao Yuan naturally knew what he was up to, and was happy to go see Yu Dameng.
He had to make him jealous for a while.
Sure enough, Yu Dameng clenched his fists, and was about to go forward and beat him up.
Qiao Yuan tried hard to suppress the smile on his lips, stepped forward and grabbed Yu Dameng’s hand, turned his head and said to Lin Cuifen: “Mom, I’m going to take a walk around the street with Dameng.”
“Go ahead, go ahead.” Lin Cuifen looked at the hands of the young couple, and was overjoyed.
This marriage was really too good.
Look, her son-in-law gets along so affectionately with her son!
Liu Ge’er, who didn’t know any better, also wanted to follow them to stroll around, but was coaxed and stopped by Yu Shanwen, “What are you doing following them? I’ll take you later.”
Once they were some distance away, Qiao Yuan deliberately cleared his throat and lamented, “That Scholar Zhang really looks good.
He’s dressed in all white and truly elegant.
I never paid close attention to him before.”
Yu Dameng turned to look at him resentfully and grumbled, “I can wear clothes like that too.”
“Pfft!” Qiao Yuan imagined it and couldn’t help bursting into laughter.
Seeing that Yu Dameng’s face became worse, he quickly restrained his smile, pulled Yu Dameng’s arm, and coaxed him, “What are you competing with him for!”
Qiao Yuan looked at the people around him, lowered his voice, tiptoed to Yu Dameng’s ear and said, “I’ve already done that with you, I’m yours.”
His breath hit against Yu Dameng’s ear, very teasing, as if it had also touched Yu Dameng’s ear.
Yu Dameng was so stirred up by him that by the time he regained his senses, Qiao Yuan had already let go of his hand and run off.
Yu Dameng caught up with Qiao Yuan at the stall selling rouge and powder.
He wished he could grab Qiao Yuan into his arms and teach him a lesson.
Therefore, wherever Qiao Yuan went to pick something, he followed closely behind like a little tail, very clingy.
Seeing their interaction, even the stall owner couldn’t help teasing, “Your man is so clingy with you!”
Qiao Yuan pursed his lips and smiled without saying anything.
He was still very reserved in front of outsiders!
It was late autumn and the winds were strong.
The climate here was similar to northern China, extremely dry.
If they didn’t start using snowflake cream to moisturize their hands and face now, they’d definitely start chapping badly in half a month, which would look terrible!
Qiao Yuan picked two jars for himself, one with camellia fragrance and one with jasmine fragrance.
The scents were very light.
He also picked a jar of peony-scented snowflake cream and a box of rouge and powder for Lin Cuifen, and a jar of sweet milky snowflake cream for Liu Ge’er, which was very suitable for children.
Qiao Yuan looked around and remembered the heavy rain a few days ago.
He also bought two more oiled paper umbrellas for home, one painted with landscape paintings and one with plum blossoms.
They were very beautiful.
He saw that there were straw hats and raincoats for sale and wanted to buy them, but was stopped by Yu Dameng, “The straw hats are cheaper in the village, and mother can make the raincoats.
I’ve already told her.”
Yu Dameng’s accent was not as heavy as before, and when he spoke about serious matters, he looked like a capable man in charge.
Qiao Yuan smiled and leaned in closer to him.
He now had more than thirty taels of silver in his hand, and he could finally afford to buy toothbrushes.
He didn’t need to use those annoying willow twigs anymore.
He bought a good toothbrush for himself and Yu Dameng, and also bought two boxes of medium-priced tooth powder.
This cost him another tael of silver.
With fewer and fewer people coming to pay taxes, some vendors started packing up.
The Yu family discussed and decided to head back too.
Yu Shanwu said: “Then we can pave the path with pebbles.”
Qiao Yuan thought this made sense.
With the rare free time, the family worked together to move the stall back to the iron shop, then prepared to take the ox cart home after tidying up.
They had already eaten pancakes for lunch, so they could start working after a little tidying up when they got home.
Old Man Yu took Yu Dameng and the twin brothers to dig fine stones and soil at the foot of the mountain, while Lin Cuifen and Qiao Yuan cooked glutinous rice paste together.
This paste for sticking pebbles was made by mixing glutinous rice paste with cooked lime and limestone, and it was said to have excellent adhesion.
Right then, Zhao Gensheng came over to tell Yu Dameng about going drinking at his place tomorrow night.
Seeing this, he immediately called Wu Erping and the others to follow him up the mountain to help.
The progress sped up, one group mixed the paste, and another group poured and leveled the fine stones and soil layer by layer with the paste in the yard, paving a small path from the bedroom to the kitchen and the toilet.
Qiao Yuan took a few kids to lay pebbles.
Liu Ge’er especially loved this task.
He worked all afternoon without feeling tired.
However, Brother Yuan just said that these two beautiful paths had to wait for three days to dry before they could walk on them.
He hoped that it would be three days later soon.
Zhao Gensheng, Wu Erping and others also couldn’t wait to try walking on the dried paths.
If it was good, they would also pave one at their own homes.
Their wives would definitely like it.
With everyone working so hard these days, they considerately declined dinner at the Yu’s tonight, only asking Qiao Yuan to go over tomorrow to cook for them instead, which he gladly agreed to.
At night, after washing up, Yu Dameng helped comb Qiao Yuan’s hair as usual.
“We have hair dryers there, and it only takes a while to dry our hair.” Qiao Yuan felt washing long hair here was too troublesome, and they couldn’t casually cut it either.
So, he chatted with Yu Dameng about his life in modern times.
After listening, Yu Dameng pursed his lips and gently embraced Qiao Yuan, saying, “You have been wronged.”
Qiao Yuan hooked his lips, pushed Yu Dameng down with one hand, “Then you have to pamper me well!”
His body wasn’t fully recovered yet, but what’s wrong with a little indulgence?
The next day, they worked as usual in the shop in the morning, and in the afternoon the twin brothers took Qiao Yuan back home to help prepare dishes at the village chief’s place.
Lin Cuifen and a few members of Wu Erping’s family were also helping there.
They were all the same ones who had eaten at the old Yu house last time.
Aunt Zhao brought up the topic, “There’s no reason for this! He’s just a greedy old drunk who wants to eat the food Yuan Ge’er makes.
That’s why he invited you guys to have some fun.”
Everyone laughed, though they did somewhat miss it too.
Qian Caiwang’s wife picked up Liu Ge’er and bit him hard, loving him so much, “Xiao Liu’er1Adding the -er suffix is an informal way to address someone, typically used between friends or as a playful form of address, which can convey a sense of familiarity, affection, or light teasing.
smells so good!”
Liu Ge’er exclaimed happily, “I applied the snowflake ointment that Brother Yuan bought for me!”
Lin Cuifen exposed his secret, “He’s so vain that he won’t even leave the house without it putting on.”
Everyone laughed again, and it became even more lively.
Aunt Wu regretted in her heart.
Her family was right next to Qiao’s family.
Why didn’t she let her sons Siping and Wuping marry Yuan Ge’er back then? Wouldn’t it be her family who would be living a good life now? She blamed everything on Xu Xiuhua, that rotten person, and thought that she would make her unhappy sooner or later.
When the food was almost ready, Zhao Shuisheng came back driving his ox cart.
He and his wife usually stayed at the shop in the county town, but his father had told him to come home for dinner when he paid the land tax the other day, so he also picked up Old Man Yu and his son Yu Dameng on the way.
There were many people, and Yu Dameng and Qiao Yuan couldn’t talk privately.
They just smiled at each other from a distance.
Zhao Laifu hadn’t seen his parents for several days, and he was very clingy.
Zhao Shuisheng picked him up and said he had gotten fatter again.
Lin Cuifen thought of her eldest son who was the same age as Shuisheng.
He had been married for more than two years, but there was no news of pregnancy.
She couldn’t help feeling a bit sad.
Qiao Yuan saw this and quickly changed the topic to distract her attention.
During the meal, Yu Dameng remembered Qiao Yuan’s instructions and asked the village chief and Zhao Shuisheng about Qiao Guangzhi’s job.
“He works as a small clerk at the Yunshui Lake dock.
Your father-in-law used to work there too!” The village chief sighed and said, “What a pity!”
Zhao Shuisheng hurriedly livened up the atmosphere and said: “The clerks there earn three taels of silver a month.
I wanted to get a job there too, but they didn’t even look at me!”
Yunshui County was named after Yunshui Lake, which was very convenient to go to the prefectural city by water.
This dock was an important hub for water transportation, and there were endless ships coming and going every day.
For Qiao Guangzhi to get a clerk job there despite lacking wealth and connections, there was likely something shady going on.
Zhao Shuisheng and the village chief didn’t know more, so Qiao Yuan figured they’d need to find someone from the dock for details.
The premise was that he had to have silver in his hand.
Right now, he still had to work hard to make money.
A few nights ago, Qiao Yuan had asked Yu Dameng what he was like when he was drunk.
He seemed to want to see Yu Dameng drunk very much.
So, Yu Dameng deliberately drank a little more today.
At this moment, he was already drunk and muddled.
He didn’t let anyone help him, he just followed Qiao Yuan obediently like a shadow.
Everyone teased them, and even Qiao Yuan, who had a thick skin, couldn’t help blushing.
Aunt Zhao: “Yuan Ge’er, you’d better take Dameng home quickly.
You don’t need to clean up here.”
Zhao Shuisheng also asked if they needed someone to go with them, but Qiao Yuan refused when he saw Yu Dameng’s bright and sparkling eyes.
He was afraid that Yu Dameng would fall, so he supported him all the way.
Yu Dameng was quite obedient and didn’t cause any trouble.
“You’re becoming bolder now, even daring to get drunk.” Qiao Yuan helped Yu Dameng take off his outer shirt while scolding him.
Yu Dameng just looked at him and smiled foolishly.
Qiao Yuan was both annoyed and amused by his appearance.
He reached out and pinched his cheeks.
He couldn’t reach them normally, but now Yu Dameng was sitting and he was standing, which suited his wishes.
Yu Dameng took the opportunity to hug Qiao Yuan’s waist and they looked at each other.
In an instant, Qiao Yuan was carried to the bed by a burst of brute force.
I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
If you want to show your support, you can buy me a coffee.
It would make my day! For every five coffees I get, I will release a bonus chapter.
1Adding the -er suffix is an informal way to address someone, typically used between friends or as a playful form of address, which can convey a sense of familiarity, affection, or light teasing.
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