It was noon, and smoke rose from every household in the village, resembling a string of clouds floating in the air.
Xu Qing finished his lunch at Uncle Xie’s house and headed home with his newly made bride’s attire in hand.
As he walked out of the village’s outskirts, he could already see his home, a solitary dwelling in the mountains. Opening the courtyard gate, he heard the squeals of the piglet coming from the pigsty. “Alright, I’ll need to gather some pig feed in the afternoon. Can’t let it go hungry and thin!”
He neatly placed the wedding dress in the wardrobe and gently touched it. In a few days, he would have to wear it. Closing the wardrobe door, he changed into patched clothes and washed his discarded garments by the well, hanging them to dry in the courtyard. “The sun is getting hotter. It seems like the days of spring plowing are approaching.”
Xu Qing put on a backpack, grabbed a knife, locked the courtyard gate, and headed to the vegetable field to gather pig feed. In a few days, he would have to start digging the land, so he needed to tidy up the surface quickly for convenience.
“The Zeng family is here for a chat!”
Under a large pagoda tree in the village, several middle-aged gers were sitting together, engaged in a lively conversation. One of them, dressed in gray, spotted another middle-aged ger approaching from the opposite side and quickly greeted him.
“Hey there, come here! It’s none other than you!” The ger called Zeng, responding with a cheerful smile, remembered that he had encountered something significant today. He wanted to have a good chat with them about it!
This Zeng Ama was none other than the one Xu Qing had met at the pharmacy earlier today!
Zeng Ama sat down beside the gray-clad ger, looking at the others across and casually asked, “Have you all eaten?”
The gers nodded politely, feeling somewhat uneasy. The man from the Zeng family was skilled in carpentry and often sought after for various festive or other tasks in the village. So, Zeng Ama led a more comfortable life compared to them. However, Zeng Ama had a sharp tongue and was known to exaggerate things.
The gray-clad ger, who was also close to Sun Ama and Zeng Ama, enjoyed prying into other people’s affairs to enrich himself and entertain others.
“Tsk tsk, is that hairpin on your head made of silver?!” As soon as Sun Ama saw Zeng Ama sit next to him, he noticed the silver hairpin on his head and felt a twinge of sourness in his heart. His own husband was just a farmer with no special skills, and their life was merely getting by, unlike the prosperous Zeng family.
Seeing that everyone else was also looking at his head with envy, Zeng Ama proudly twisted his waist and deliberately touched the silver hairpin on his head with great care.
“Well, of course! Lately, my husband has been getting a lot of dowry-related carpentry work, so we’ve had some extra silver coins. Today, he insisted that I go buy something to dress myself up!”
The others present felt a pang in their hearts.
“I mean, I’m already in my forties, and our son has been married for several years. Why bother with dressing up? But my husband just won’t listen! He keeps saying I’m still young and should take care of myself!”
Sun Ama forced himself to shift his gaze away from Zeng Ama’s head. “Weren’t you planning to go to the market to see a doctor yesterday?” So what if they have money? People still get sick!
“Oh, don’t even mention it! Guess who I ran into at the pharmacy today? Come on, guess!” Zeng Ama’s face turned red with excitement. He stopped fidgeting with the things on his head and stared at the people in front of him, wishing they would all surround him and ask eagerly.
However, the others, whose hearts were aching from the sight of the silver hairpin on Zeng Ama’s head, showed little interest.
“Who was it?”
“Who else could it be at the pharmacy, except the doctor!”
“No, there were other patients who paid to see the doctor!” Sun Ama deliberately emphasized the words “paid,” “see the doctor,” and “patients,” making the others chuckle and cover their mouths.
“No, it’s not them! None of them! Listen carefully! Today, at the pharmacy, I ran into that ‘ugly ger’ from the Xu family!” Zeng Ama completely ignored Sun Ama’s words and loudly announced whom he had actually encountered!
Upon hearing this, everyone started discussing it animatedly.
Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.
“It must be that child from the Xu family.”
“Yeah, it’s him. I haven’t seen him up close in years.”
“Ah, it’s really pitiful. Both his mother and father passed away, leaving behind this poor soul.”
“Yeah, that’s true…”
“Ahem, I haven’t finished yet!” Zeng Ama saw that everyone was ignoring him and quickly coughed a few times to regain their attention.
“The ugly ger’s face, tsk tsk, has improved a lot compared to before. Now it’s just a few small marks!”
As he spoke, Zeng Ama even used his hand to gesture the size of the “marks.” He often went with his own husband to the outskirts of the mountain to cut wood, so he would occasionally catch a glimpse of Xu Qing. Today was the clearest of his face he had seen.
“Is he finally better?”
One of the gers asked with concern. That child was pitiful, and he was a ger. If he were a man, he wouldn’t have suffered so much.
Zeng Ama slapped his thigh. “Yes, he’s getting better! The doctor prescribed him some Chinese medicine to take, and it won’t be long before he’s fine!”
“But why didn’t the Xu couple take the ugly ger to see a doctor earlier? It would have been good if he recovered sooner!”
“You came to our village relatively late, so you don’t know! That child refused to leave the house and see anyone! And I remember, several quack doctors couldn’t find the cause of his illness. So, things just settled down.” This incident caused quite a stir back then.
Zeng Ama waved his hand in a grand manner. “Those things don’t matter. Do you know that the ugly ger has reached the age of marriage this year?!”
Sun Ama felt a stir in his heart. The ugly ger has no elders left in his family! That house, that land! It’s something anyone can acquire just by marrying the ugly ger!
“Oh, I suddenly remembered that I have something to take care of! I’ll go back first. You guys chat! You guys chat!”
Sun Ama quickly bid farewell to Zeng Ama and the others and hurried back home. He had to make good use of his time!
The other gers also realized this and hastily bid farewell to Zeng Ama, who was still unaware of the situation.
“Hey, why is everyone leaving? I haven’t finished yet! And you didn’t even gossip with me about who the ugly ger will be married to!”
Just after Liu Ama’s family finished dinner, Uncle Xie arrived, handing Liu Ama the groom’s wedding attire. He also explained the specific wedding date that had been arranged. Then, he borrowed a donkey cart and returned to Happiness Village.
Because Liu Ama was the one who went to report the good news at Li Changfeng’s house in the first place, he decided to deliver the groom’s clothes this time too. He would then pass the wedding date on to Li Changfeng, signifying the continuation of blessings.
“The 28th is a good day!” Butcher Liu heard that several people in the village had chosen the 28th for their wedding day!
“If it’s not a good day, why would they choose it? Don’t say anything, you’ll only make people angry!”
Liu Ama packed up the items and went to Li’s house to find Li Changfeng.
“Hey, anyone home?”
Opening the door for Liu Ama was none other than Li Changfeng himself. He was afraid of missing any message brought by Xu Qing, so he had decided to stay home a little longer, even after everyone else had left after dinner.
“Come in quickly, Liu Ama. Is this…?” Li Changfeng looked at the things Liu Ama was carrying and asked excitedly. The wedding attire for the couple had to be made by the same person, otherwise it would signify separation! That would be inauspicious!
“That’s right! Remember, on the 28th of this month, you should get everything ready and get married! I’ll come by and have a cup of wedding wine then!”
Liu Ama was also delighted. He exchanged a few more words with Li Changfeng before heading home.
“Definitely! Definitely! Thanks for your efforts, Liu Ama! Take care!”
Li Changfeng carried the wedding attire back to his room, tried it on, and found it fitting perfectly! It felt comfortable! He carefully took it off and put it away, being cautious not to damage it.
He felt like he was floating with excitement! In just a few more days, he would see Xu Qing again, and when they met, they would be a couple!
Li Changfeng opened the cabinet once again, took the seven taels of silver that Li Ama had given him, locked the courtyard gate, and hurriedly left the house.
Chen Qi was repairing a hoe in the courtyard of his home. The hoe had been used for a long time and had become loose, making it difficult for him to dig the ground with force! He had to start planting crops soon, and he couldn’t afford any delays due to this!
Chen Hong carried a wooden stool and sat not far from Chen Qi, holding a basket of embroidery work.
Chen Hong lowered his head, holding a piece of embroidered cloth in his hand. “I want to ask you something.”
“Go ahead! Although I’ve been doing odd jobs in the military camp these years, I’ve also gained some knowledge! Ask away!”
“It’s not about you.”
Chen Hong continued embroidering the unfinished pattern with nimble fingers, his words hurting Chen Qi’s inflated heart.
“Alright, alright, go ahead and ask!” Chen Qi, who had wanted to show off, reluctantly swallowed the words that were about to come out of his mouth.
“Do you know who Brother Changfeng is going to marry?” Chen Hong asked Chen Qi, trying to keep his tone calm. Chen Qi forcefully tapped the hoe on the ground a few times, causing Chen Hong’s heart to tremble along with it.
“I don’t know. That kid keeps his mouth shut tight!” Why is it still a bit loose even after all this tapping?
Chen Hong bit his red lips slightly, feeling a mess inside.
“Let’s not talk about him. When the day comes for him to visit, even if he tries to hide it from me, I’ll know whose son he is marrying!”
Chen Hong bitterly pulled at the corners of his mouth. By the time that day comes, it will be too late, too late.
“You should also start preparing. Zhang’s son, who is the same age as you, is getting married on the 28th of this month!” Chen Hong had a good appearance, excelled in embroidery, and had many suitors, but he simply didn’t fancy any of them.
“What’s wrong? Big brother afraid I won’t be able to get married?!”