Accompany by a Fool to do Farming
Chapter 2 : 遇见 ( Meeting)
Edited by AyangJie
When he opened his eyes again, Zhong Ziqi was feeling better, he no longer had that heavy feeling as if he was carrying a lot of loads. It was already dark outside, his stomach rumbled so he took a look around the room. There were two large boxes in the corner, a square table and two chairs in the middle of the room, but nothing to eat.
He propped himself up, went to the dressing table and picked up a bronze mirror. His reflection looked like a madman with a pallid face and scattered hair. Unconcerned by it, he put the mirror back. He then took an oil lamp and walked to the kitchen according to his memory.
It was very late into the night, the moon was high up in the sky and the chirping of frogs and crickets could be heard. After arriving at the kitchen, he searched it carefully but only found a steamed corn bread. The texture of it was very hard. But, Zhong Ziqi was so hungry that he opened his mouth and ate it. However, it really was quite dry and he choked on it, he then went to the water jar and drank some water.
wowotou /Wotou, also called Chinese cornbread, is a type of steamed bread made from cornmeal in Northern China.]
This wowotou was made from coarse flour, which was hard to swallow and scraped down the throat. Zhong Ziqi couldn’t help but disdainfully mock this family in his heart; this family was indeed good enough (he means sarcastically), the nephew was sick yet they did not find a doctor for him, they cooked meals but didn’t leave any food for him. Every account of these, he would remember it!!! It is possible that he was influenced by the memories of the original owner; he also particularly disliked this family. But it wasn’t that easy to leave this place. He was a ger and a newcomer to this world, and it wasn’t safe to go anywhere, so he might as well stay in this village where at least his safety was guaranteed.
The next day, at dawn, Zhong Ziqi who was shaken awake, immediately saw the annoying face of his uncle who looked at him without saying a word.
Li Xiujuan, with his hand on his waist, said in a loud voice: ” You still have time to lie in here, look how bright the sky is! Hurry up and go out to work!” After saying that, he gave him a cold glare.
Zhong Ziqi was silent. He was going to move out in a few days anyway, so it is better to avoid unnecessary trouble. It would be troublesome to talk back to Li Xiujuan, so he would just endure it for a few days until he is free.
[多一事不如少一事: it is better to avoid unnecessary trouble (idiom) / the less complications the better]
Outside the house, the sun was still just peeking out. The side house he lives in was built by his own father, Zhong Zhenhang. And the tall brick house in the middle was also funded by his father, but was occupied by his eldest uncle’s family and grandparents.
His father had found a good job in town and the money he brought back everyday made his eldest uncle’s family greedy. They were so lazy that they couldn’t be bothered to do any work in their lands.
As they had a money machine, they couldn’t possibly let go of it. On one occasion, when Zhong Zhenhang proposed to move out, they refused to let him do so no matter what the reason was. Later, Zhong Zhenhang, who was a man of great affection*, did not mention that matter again.
*[Editor additional thought : I guess this could mean that he is a man who greatly respects the affection between a family. Or, he has great affections towards his family. Or, he is a sentimental and soft-hearted person in general]
[Translator’s answer to this : Both, he loved his family and also a soft hearted person in general]
Early in the morning, Zhong Ziqi looked around and did not know where to start. Seeing his uncle who came into the kitchen, he hesitated to go in. With a light voice, he asked: “What do you want me to do?”
“What? There’s plenty of work, chopping wood, picking water, watering the vegetable patch, and those old hens out there that haven’t been fed yet. You say, which one isn’t work……”
Zhong Ziqi left without waiting to hear until the end, it’s really so fucking noisy!
Li Xiujuan was halfway through his speech when he realized that the person in question was no longer there. A flash of doubt appeared in his mind. He felt that this boy was different from his usual self today,but what exactly was different? He didn’t seem to be as submissive and easy to bully as he used to be. Well, at least he wouldn’t be looking for death anymore, so the silver could be kept.
Zhong Ziqi went out of the kitchen to look around the courtyard and realised that there was not much he could do as a ger. He remembered that picking water and chopping firewood were usually the work of a man, so he did not bother to be stupid and do all the work.
Pushing open the courtyard gate, a slope road with many tall trees on the sides came into view. Zhong Ziqi found that all the houses in this village were built without any pattern. Further away, behind the village stood a big mountain with lush greenery and wildflowers in full bloom, it was a very breathtaking scenery, nothing more beautiful could be imagined.
Zhong Ziqi went back into the courtyard to get a knife and told Li Xiujuan that he was going out to cut some grass to feed the chickens. He then left, regardless of whether he would say yes or not. With a knife and a basket in his hands, Zhong Ziqi walked leisurely towards the foot of the hill, intending to cut some grass there.
By the time the sun was high in the sky, Zhong Ziqi had almost finished cutting the grass, so he was going to go back before it got too late. According to the character of that family, they would never leave him any food to eat had he missed the meal time.
“Ziqi!” A clear voice rang out from behind.
Zhong Ziqi stopped in his tracks and looked back at the person who had called out to him. He was a Ger a little shorter than him, dressed in light blue, good looking with a red mole between his eyebrows. He searched his memory to find out who this was. He was the original body’s closest friend, Zhao Ning, he was sixteen years old like him and was at the age of marriage.
Zhong Ziqi adjusted his expression and smiled, “Xiao Ning.”
Zhao Ning took three or two steps to Zhong Ziqi’s side, sized him up and said angrily, “You’ve lost weight again, why have you lost so much weight when we haven’t seen each other for only a few days?”
As soon as Zhong Ziqi heard this, he knew that the original body’s suicide had been concealed, so he glossed it over, “It’s fine, I just don’t feel well these few days.”
“Is everything alright? Did you see a doctor?” Zhao Ning immediately asked worriedly.
“It’s fine, I’m much better now.”
Only then did Zhao Ning sigh with relief. He then glanced around and saw that no one was in the vicinity so he came up to Zhong Ziqi and whispered, “Ziqi, I heard from my Amu* that after you marry that fool Zhao Zheng’an, their family will immediately make you two move out.”
*[Amu here could mean a mother, an aunt, or a married woman who is older than your mom]
Zhong Ziqi was very uncomfortable with Zhao Ning’s sudden approach, but his attention was quickly grabbed by his words. Wasn’t that what he wanted? It would be better to live alone, having peace and freedom, even living with a fool was better than living with such a big family that had nothing good about it.
Zhong Ziqi hooked the corners of his mouth, he said with a smile, “That’s good, it’s not so bad to live alone.”
“But… I’ve heard from those rotten gossipers in the village that his family will give you guys two or three acres of land at most and probably even less money if you move out. This… how are you going to make a living then?” Zhao Ning said hurriedly.
The foot of the hill was not far from the Zhong family, as they spoke, they were already there. Zhong Ziqi patted Zhao Ning’s shoulder comfortingly. “Don’t worry, I have my own plans*. Go back now! I’m going back for dinner too.”
*[心里有数: to know the score (idiom) / to be well aware of the situation]
“Oh, okay!” Zhao Ning reluctantly left, wondering in his heart, wasn’t Ziqi always very reluctant to marry Zhao Zheng’an?
Zhong Ziqi went into the yard, threw the grass into the chicken nest, then washed his hands and got into the hall where the family was eating. When they saw him coming back, his uncle rolled his eyes and said,”It’s taken you so long to just cut some grass, you must have been lazing around, yet you still know to come back at dinner time.”
Zhong Zhenping pulled Li Xiujuan and frowned: “Cut the crap! Ziqi, come and eat!” He looked like a good old man.
Sitting at the middle of the table, the old grandfather Zhong Wansheng and Wu, the grandmother watched the scene before them without a nibble. Zhong Ziheng and Zhong Zijun gave Zhong Ziqi a disdainful glance and turned to scoop food into their own bowls.
Zhong Ziqi sat on a stool in silence as if he didn’t see or hear anything. The food on the table was of a very bad quality, the dishes were just radish and cabbage and there was no meat at all. Zhong Ziqi took a bite of the food and found that there was not even much oil either. It was really too stingy!
In fact, Zhong Ziqi really misunderstood Li Xiujuan this time. Except for the big and wealthy families, all ordinary people do not use much oil in their meals. Since oil is not cheap, and vegetable oil is delicious but expensive, why not buy two wen of fatty meat and fry it in lard, which could be used for a long time. Also the remaining few wens can be used to buy a few more pieces of fabric.
After eating, Zhong Ziqi didn’t care about anything else and left immediately. He really didn’t want to stay here for another minute, so he rushed back to his own room.