Chang Le froze for a moment, quickly lowered his head, and turned towards the kitchen. Yu Qingze also touched his nose and quickly averted his gaze.
At that moment, the courtyard gate swung open, and an old man rushed in with a burden basket on his back. He immediately asked, “Has Wen Li come again?!”
Upon hearing the old man’s voice, Chang Le stopped and turned around.
Seeing the old man, Chang Hao’s previously suppressed tears started flowing. He wiped his eyes forcefully and rushed over to hug the old man’s waist, complaining, “Grandfather, Uncle Wen was here earlier, talking about that widower from Majia Village again. He said his family is so good and wealthy, and they can even provide a dowry of ten taels of silver. That man is so old, if he’s really that good, why doesn’t Uncle Wen let him marry his own son? I heard that man can’t even see with his eyes anymore, and he just wants someone to take care of him and be his servant!”
Upon hearing this, the old man became angry as well. However, since Wen Li had already left and they couldn’t scold him anymore, and he didn’t want his two grandsons to be upset, he could only hold them and console them, saying, “Don’t pay attention to him! Xiao Le, don’t worry. With Grandfather here, he won’t even dare to think about it!”
Chang Le smiled at the assurance and nodded before entering the kitchen.
Chang Hao, the young boy, heard his grandfather’s promise, and after venting a bit and complaining, his emotions gradually calmed down. He secretly wiped away his tears on his grandfather’s clothes and then sheepishly let go of his grandfather, running back to continue harvesting the grain.
After comforting their two grandsons, the old man turned to Yu Qingze, who was standing at the door. Seeing that he had awakened, the old man immediately greeted him, “Hey, young man, you’re awake? How’s your body feeling?”
Witnessing the previous scene, Yu Qingze initially felt a bit embarrassed, but seeing the old man’s relaxed attitude, he smiled and said, “Grandfather, I’m fine. Thank you for your concern and for taking care of me.”
The old man put down his burden basket under the eaves and waved his hand cheerfully, saying, “No need to thank me. Who goes out and doesn’t encounter some minor difficulties?”
The life-saving favor was casually regarded as a minor difficulty encountered while being away from home. Yu Qingze admired the old man’s nonchalant attitude, but he couldn’t possibly think of it that way himself. So, he expressed his gratitude sincerely.
The old man waved his hand again and then bent down to take a look at Yu Qingze’s left foot, which had improved quite a bit. He casually said, “Speaking of which, you were lucky. We generally don’t go into the mountains after heavy rain due to slippery paths. It just so happened that day, Chang Le wanted to go up the mountain to pick mushrooms for some reason and discovered you.”
Pausing for a moment, the old man asked, “Why did you go up the mountain during such heavy rain?”
Yu Qingze knew that the old man was asking about his background, and he couldn’t reveal his true origins. So he recited the prepared explanation.
In essence, he was alone, originally from the northern region where the environment was harsh and life was difficult. Hearing from traders that the south was prosperous, he followed them to the south, hoping to settle down there. As soon as he arrived, his luggage was stolen, leaving him penniless. He then planned to hunt for some wild game in the mountains to sell for silver coins. However, he got trapped on the mountain by the heavy rain and accidentally got buried.
Upon hearing this, Grandfather Chang sighed with sympathy, understanding that Yu Qingze had nowhere to go at the moment. He kindly said, “You can rest and recuperate here. Once your injuries have healed, you can make proper plans. You’re still young, and there’s a long future ahead of you.”
Yu Qingze nodded repeatedly in agreement.
By the time Grandfather Chang and Chang Hao finished harvesting the grain, dinner was also ready.
Chang Hao seemed very excited. He washed his hands and eagerly pulled Yu Qingze to sit on a stool, then grabbed an empty bowl from the table and ran to serve the rice.
Freshly harvested rice!
Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.
“This little rascal has been looking forward to this day since the grain started ripening!” Grandfather Chang said, smiling at his grandson and Yu Qingze.
Yu Qingze also smiled and said, “I can understand.”
For dinner, they had stir-fried eggplant and fish. When Chang Le brought the dishes to the table, Chang Hao had already quickly scooped four bowls of rice. The translucent and plump grains of rice filled the room with a delightful fragrance. Chang Hao sniffed incessantly, his mouth watering uncontrollably.
But they couldn’t eat just yet.
Yu Qingze was still a bit confused, but then he saw Chang Le take another set of chopsticks, scoop a bowl of rice, topped it with the dishes, and placed it on the offering table. He also poured some wine into a small cup and placed it there. Chang Hao went to the kitchen, lit three incense sticks, paid respects to his parents, and then inserted them into the incense burner.
The two brothers silently finished paying their respects and returned to the dining table.
Chang Hao looked at his grandfather with sparkling eyes.
Grandfather Chang smiled and announced, “Let’s eat.” With that, he picked up his chopsticks and first served a generous portion of fish to Yu Qingze, then to Chang Le and Chang Hao. Only then did he start eating himself.
Once Grandfather Chang started eating, Chang Le and Chang Hao picked up their bowls and began to eat.
The four of them sat on their respective stools, enjoying the newly harvested rice with a joyful atmosphere, savoring the joy of the harvest.
For Yu Qingze, it was his first meal in this foreign world.
The rice was fragrant, but the taste of the dishes… well, let’s just say it was quite ordinary. The eggplant was boiled in water, and as for the fish, the fishy smell was still present. With Yu Qingze’s professional chef standards, he was certain that no seasoning had been added to remove the fishy smell.
It seemed that during his time here, while recovering from his injuries, he could take good care of their taste buds and stomachs. Yu Qingze silently thought in his heart that he would make repaying the kindness of Chang Le’s family his top priority.
After dinner, Yu Qingze chatted with Grandfather Chang and Chang Hao, finally clarifying his previous doubts.
In this world, there are no women, only men. Men are divided into “汉子” (hànzi) and “哥儿” (gēr), with the main distinguishing mark being a red birthmark on the brow. Men are usually tall and robust in physique, while gers are also men but comparatively weaker in terms of body size and strength. However, gers possess a special ability—they can give birth!
Chang Hao is a little man, while his brother Chang Le is a ger.
Yu Qingze finally understands what the middle-aged man meant when he said Chang Le was getting older. If we consider the role of “gers” equivalent to women on Earth, and calculate based on the normal marriage age range of 14-18 for ancient women, then at 22, Chang Le is considered a late bloomer.
However, in Yu Qingze’s view, 22 is just the age when one graduates from university, still young.
He deeply feels the magic of this world, especially for a gay man like him, it truly is a friendly and beautiful world.
Author’s note: Yu Qingze: To capture someone’s heart, you must first capture their stomach! Operation Wife Hunt begins!
Chang Hao: Go, go, throwing flowers~~