Xu Qing and Aunty Xie came early, but others were earlier. Farmers didn’t have the habit of sleeping in, and there were shoppers who would visit the market early in the morning to get their share of freshest produce. Thanks to them, Aunty Xie’s eggs were all sold out in a matter of time. Anyone with discerning eyes can see that the eggs were fresh: round, large, and clean. The eggs were all bought by an old ger who paid 30 coppers. It was a very reasonable price. Aunty Xie made a good sale; he was in a great mood and said: “Brother Qing, let’s go shopping. What do you wanna buy?”
Xu Qing was also affected by the happy atmosphere, and he became excited. “I want to buy piglets, chickens, and …”
Aunty Xie: “Ok, ok, let’s take it slow. Follow me.”
With gentleness in his eyes, Aunty Xie glanced at Xu Qing, whose eyes were sparkling, and brought him to the place where piglets were sold. “It’s the end of winter, and there are only few piglets for sale. Let’s try our luck and look for spirited ones. If you don’t see anything you like, we can come back later. Don’t worry about money; I’ll help you out. You are young and have no experience in these things; it’s easy to lose money if not careful,” Aunty Xie talked while they were on the way. He looked at Xu Qing next to him, who was nodding his head like a chicken pecking at rice, and Aunty Xie felt more satisfied. He thought Xu Qing was really a good guy. Thank you for reading on hololonovels.com
Aunty Xie was thinking about which single man in the village would be a good match for Xu Qing. 20 was already past the age for marriage. Some people this age already had two or more kids. Aunty Xie was worried for Xu Qing because if a ger wasn’t married by the age 21, and for men, it’s 24, the government officials would choose the match for them. It would not be a good ending if the match isn’t suitable for Xu Qing. Those men who are waiting to be matched by the officials are not good ones; they are either lazy or someone with disability.
Aunty Xie looked at Xu Qing who was curiously looking around the market with his neck stretched out. His heart softened. Even though this person is in his twenties, he still acts like a child. They could talk about marriage issues the next day. If not careful, it might become the talk of the town.
Xu Qing, who was dazzled by various ancient products at the market, didn’t know what was going on inside Aunty Xie’s head. He didn’t even know that there were such things as official match. If he’d know he’d be shocked and wouldn’t want to be curiously looking around at the “antiques.” He wouldn’t even be able to fall asleep at night.
Xu Qing was lucky. There were some lively piglets to his liking. As long as he took care of them properly, they would surely become big and fat. The piglets were just at the right size and age. The sellers were also from the same village, and they had some friendship with Aunty Xie’s family so, the original 3 pounds something weighed piglet was sold at a discount.
Aunty Xie took advantage of Xu Qing busy paying, and pulled the pig seller’s wife Liu Mo, “Hey, help me pay attention to see if there is any down-to-earth young man in Jixiang village who is not married yet. I’m asking for my nephew.” Liu Mo followed Aunty Xie’s eyes just in time to see Xu Qing’s profile with his head down counting money. Although his skin is fair, there are obvious red bumps on his face.
Liu Mo: “This one is from Xu family?”
Aunty Xie gave Liu Mo a glance: “Why, are you just like those people with shallow eyes?”
Liu Mo: “Hey, what are you talking about? Am I like that? Anyway, there are many soldiers who just came back from serving in the military. Many of them are single.”
Aunty Xie hurriedly said: “But they have to be the good ones. I’ll check them out and see what happens.”
Liu Mo: “Don’t worry, don’t worry. Leave it to me.”
After the transaction, Xu Qing told Butcher Liu that he would come back to pick up the piglet after he finish shopping for other things.
He saw Liu Mo and Aunty Xie talking. He said “What are you guys talking about?”
Aunty Xie was caught off guard: “Ah no, it’s just that I haven’t been to my parents’ house for a long time so, I asked Liu Mo to bring a message to them. Isn’t that right, Liu Mo?”
Liu Mo immediately replied: “Yes, yes, it is like that. Go! You guys go shopping first. I’ll keep this piglet and watch it for you. Come pick up whenever you’re done shopping.”
Xu Qing was grateful for his help. He thanked Liu Mo and the boss again, and he felt more at ease.
The Liu family man looked at his wife staring dazedly at Xu Qing’s figure that was walking away: “Why are you staring at someone’s back? Although that ger is a bit ugly, he is still a good person.”
Liu Mo yelled at her husband: “YOU! What ugly bah? He is not ugly. Stop lingering around me. Go away. So annoying.” He drove the husband away and began to think about which man in the village, who just came back from the military, has a solid character.
Under the leadership of Aunty Xie, Xu Qing quickly bought salt and some seasoning similar to pepper. When buying clothes, Xu Qing grabbed Aunty Xie and asked what to buy. Aunty Xie was taken aback. He didn’t know Xu Qing would ask for his opinion. Seeing Xu Qing’s flustered face looking at the fabrics, Aunty Xie thought it looked a little silly and felt amused: “Pick whatever you want, aunty will make the clothes for you.”
Xu Qing waved his hands hurriedly: “How could it be? It’s too much trouble.”
“What’s the problem? There’s no problem,” Aunty Xie took Xu Qing into the fabric shop and picked the ones that suit Xu Qing. Thank you for reading on hololonovels.com
Xu Qing thought for a while and pulled the sleeves of Aunty Xie, “Then, thank you aunty. You help me make clothes and I would feel bad to accept your kindness without paying you the wages. I don’t want you wasting your time for free.” Aunty Xie didn’t agree at first of course, but he eventually gave in. He decided to not mention this matter when Xu Qing picks up the clothes later and let him forget about it. Xu Qing felt more at ease; he went to look at the fabrics and talked to the boss about the prices and whatnot.
The fabrics Aunty Xie picked were one dark blue, one light purple, and one light green. Xu Qing touched the fabrics: “Well, although they are linen, they feel soft.” He didn’t know how to buy textiles. Not to mention his previous life in the apocalypse when things were not convenient and full of hardship, forget about picking and choosing what to wear. Three pieces of clothes were sixty coppers in total. If you buy ready-made ones, it’d be fifty coppers for one; not worth it.
Xu Qing looked at Aunty Xie with a look of rejoice and said, “I think the difference in price between the finished product and the fabric is too much. More importantly, I also want to buy some chickens.” Aunty Xie sighed and replied anxiously, “The sun is already up. It’s almost noon. I don’t think there are any chicken sellers anymore. So, let’s do it this way. My family also owns chickens. Come to my house and pick some.”
Xu Qing was grateful; he looked at Aunty Xie with a grin, “Then you have to let me pay the market price. Otherwise, I don’t want it.” Aunty Xie had to agree. Xu Qing then made his request, “I want fifteen chickens.”
Aunty Xie was surprised, “So many? Would it be OK for you alone to raise them?” Xu Qing patted his thin chest proudly, “Of course I can. I’ll cook some for you when they get big and fat.”
Aunty Xie, who was amused by the young ger’s action, smiled and said, “Thank you, aunty can’t wait.” Xu Qing heard this and felt his mood lifted immediately. He looked very content. Those who passed by were a bit stunned, “This little ger is quite ugly, but his smile is so sweet.” Afterwards, the two gers bought a pound of pork belly, picked up the piglet, and hurried to the place Uncle Li said to meet up.
“Here! Here!” Uncle Li who saw the pair from the distance, looked at the piglet Xu Qing was holding, and drove the donkey cart over. “Uncle Li, why are you the only one here?” Xu Qing was puzzled; when they came here this morning, there were a lot of donkey carts parked here.
“Oh, brother Qing, you must not know. Today is the day the men who served in the military return to their home villages,” said Aunty Xie. He thought Xu Qing might have forgotten and explained the reason. He didn’t know Xu Qing had no knowledge of it in the first place. Uncle Li said in a good mood, “Yes, yes, today the donkey carts have run several times. I also had a few runs before I got here and saw you guys.” He made a few trips today and earned some money to buy delicious food for his wife and the children to make them happy.
After putting the piglet on the donkey cart, Xu Qing guiltily replied to the two older people, “You know, I don’t go out often and don’t know much about our dynasty or the one above.” Xu Qing pointed his finger towards the sky. Aunty Xie didn’t doubt Xu Qing. He just thought the child became livelier after interacting for a while. He patiently explained to Xu Qing, “We’re in the Great Qin Dynasty. The emperor is in his prime, and the taxes are not too high for us common people.” Xu Qing figured this “Qin Dynasty” was not the Qin Dynasty from ancient China.
“Why would there be military service then? Isn’t the nation peaceful?” Xu Qing was a little worried; he didn’t want to be troubled by bloody wars.
“This is not the case. It’s a government policy. It’s been like that for generations.” Aunty Xie didn’t know why it was this way, but it didn’t matter for common people like them.
This dynasty recruited soldiers every five years, and every family had to send a man. Those who already served did not have to join the military again for fifteen years. If a family only had one man, the husband who already served, and all the children were gers, they could pay the taxes instead. When the original body was born, father Xu went to serve in the military and couldn’t come back for five years. When the original Xu Qing was fifteen, his parents died, and the family had to pay taxes every five years because there was no man to go join the military. Xu Qing is now 20. Two months later, he would be 21. All the men who served then came back this year. Xu Qing was relieved. He was a ger and didn’t have to join the military. It seems he has to make money for future taxes though.
Uncle Li dropped the two off at the fork he picked them up this morning. After helping Xu Qing unload the piglet and other stuff, he took the donkey cart and left. The pair went to Aunty Xie’s house first, and set off to Xu Qing’s place to settle the piglet in the pen. Aunty Xie only left after everything was taken care of. Today, there were men who returned home after five years of military serve. Many already had children aged five. The men were overjoyed. At noon, several houses in the village had smoke coming out. Xu Qing watched for a while, closed the gate, and went on to prepare his own lunch.