Chapter 45: The Culinary Tycoon

Buying Land

After the midday rest, Yu Qingze was in the kitchen frying meatballs and preparing tofu puffs, getting the ingredients ready for tomorrow’s Guandong-style hot pot. Chang Hao was tending to the fire for him.

After half an hour of rest, Grandpa Chang had also sobered up. He was making mooncakes to sell at the snack stall the next day. Here, mooncakes were not exclusively associated with the Mid-Autumn Festival, so they could be sold as snacks.

When Yu Qingze finished making the meatballs and the tofu puffs, he noticed that Chang Le was still not awake. He checked the time and realized that it had been three hours since he fell asleep. It seemed like he had drunk quite heavily. Next time, Yu Qingze decided to limit Chang Le’s alcohol intake to a maximum of two small cups. He made a mental note of the alcohol limit for Chang Le.

Was Chang Le still sleeping?

Chang Le had actually woken up earlier but felt too embarrassed to come out. Once he woke up, the dizziness from the alcohol had subsided, and he was clear-headed. Gradually, he began to recall the scenes before he fell asleep.

He remembered that during lunch, he had indulged in drinking too much and was helped back to his room by Big Brother Yu. Then, Big Brother Yu had fed him water, but when Big Brother Yu was about to leave, he had held onto him. And then, had he said something to Big Brother Yu?

“I sleep, and you’ll leave?”

“Wait until I fall asleep before you leave.”

Chang Le covered his face. How could he say such bold words?!

Was he asking Big Brother Yu to accompany him while he slept?!

It was so embarrassing. So shameful.

And then…

He remembered that after he said those words, Big Brother Yu had bitten him, on… his lips?

His lips!

Chang Le widened his eyes and stared at the ceiling, absentmindedly reaching up to touch his lower lip. He faintly remembered the slight swelling sensation when his lips were sucked…

His face turned completely red.

So it wasn’t a bite, it was… a kiss.

Big Brother Yu had kissed him, not like before on his forehead, but on his lips.

His first kiss.

Chang Le’s face felt like it was going to explode. He blushed, covering his face and curling up, wanting to hide himself from the world.

Like a little turtle startled by passersby, he retreated his head back into his shell and didn’t dare to peek out for a long time.

After a while, Chang Le slowly opened his hands, lowered them, and gently touched his lower lip with his index finger. A smile appeared on his face, a silly smile filled with joy.

He kissed Big Brother Yu.

Hehe, hehehe…

In the next moment, he frowned. It was such a pity. He was still dizzy and not fully awake at that time, only remembering bits and pieces.

And then, he suddenly remembered the silly question he had asked.

“Why did you bite me?”

“It wasn’t a bite.”

Ah ah ah, he was going crazy!

Chang Le felt a sense of internal collapse, overwhelmed with embarrassment and anger. He wanted to go back in time and strangle his past self for asking such a foolish question.

How could he face Big Brother Yu again?

He might die of embarrassment!

After much internal struggle, a long time passed, and Chang Le still didn’t have the courage to open that door and step outside. Even though he needed to pee, he held it in and didn’t go out.

Just then, there was a knock on the door, and Chang Hao’s voice came from outside.

“Brother, brother? Are you awake? It’s time to get up. Is your head still dizzy? Big Brother Yu said if you’re still dizzy, get up and have some sobering soup, take a walk.”

Chang Le:… Can I pretend to be asleep?

Chang Hao, seeing that his brother didn’t open the door for a while, knocked again. He had to wake his brother up. “Brother, get up quickly. We’ll go see the lanterns after we eat. Are you feeling unwell? If you don’t open the door soon, I… I’ll come in, okay?”

Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.

Afraid that his brother was feeling unwell and couldn’t get out of bed to open the door, and with no response from his brother, Chang Hao started to get worried.

When he heard his younger brother was about to come in, Chang Le quickly got up, put on his shoes, and went to open the door.

Seeing the door open, Chang Hao breathed a sigh of relief. He glanced at his brother and, aside from a slightly flushed face, everything seemed fine. He asked, “Brother, you’re up. Is your head still dizzy?”

Chang Le gestured, indicating that it was still a little bit.

Chang Hao said, “You drank too much. Look at you, your face is still so red. Big Brother Yu made sobering soup for you. Come and drink it.”

Chang Le nodded, motioning for his younger brother to go ahead. He combed his hair.

After dawdling for a while, Chang Le first went to the restroom to relieve himself, and finally mustered up the courage to go to the kitchen.

In the kitchen, there were only Yu Qingze and Chang Hao. Chang Hao was cooking rice and watching the beef braising on the stove, while Grandpa Chang went to the fields to check.

Yu Qingze was preparing dinner. When he saw Chang Le, he smiled and asked, “Awake now? Is your head still dizzy? There’s seaweed soup in the pot. Have some to help with the hangover.”

Seeing that Yu Qingze didn’t bring up the previous incident, Chang Le felt relieved. He nodded, washed his hands, and then filled a bowl with seaweed soup to drink. However, he still couldn’t meet Yu Qingze’s gaze, so he took the bowl to the entrance and drank it there.

Yu Qingze saw this and his lips curved. Little Brother Le was shy; he must have remembered. But for now, he naturally wouldn’t bring it up. He had some emotional intelligence. If he did mention it, Brother Le would be too embarrassed to let him kiss him anymore. What should he do then?

Despite feeling shy, there were new dishes to learn tonight. After finishing the soup, Chang Le gathered his courage and went to Yu Qingze’s side to learn cooking.

Because they had made a lot of dishes for lunch and still had leftovers, they only made radish stew with beef brisket and stir-fried wild boar meat with vegetables for dinner.

Since the beef brisket needed a long time to stew, Yu Qingze had already started it while Chang Le was in his room struggling. The beef brisket was almost done. He then had Chang Le prepare the stir-fried wild boar meat.

Once he entered the cooking mode, Chang Le’s entire demeanor visibly changed. He became focused, and his previous shyness disappeared.

After dinner, they set off to the city to see the lantern festival.

Because it was the Mid-Autumn Festival, the lanterns on this day were even more lively than the lanterns on the previous festival. People were everywhere.

During the previous lantern festival, it was the time when the two of them confessed their feelings to each other. However, they didn’t enjoy the festival as much afterward. But today, they went to the lantern festival together with Grandpa Chang and Chang Hao. They explored the entire lantern festival, walking along the two main streets, and even went to the riverside to release lanterns. They had a great time.

When they returned home, they sat together in the courtyard, admiring the moon and eating mooncakes, tuan yuan bing, and pomelos.

A cool breeze blew, and the bright moon hung in the sky.

They had a warm and joyful Mid-Autumn Festival.

Yu Qingze looked at Chang Le beside him, then at Grandpa Chang and Chang Hao. He felt very happy. It had been more than ten years since he had such a fulfilling festival since his grandfather passed away. Although the material conditions here were poor compared to the twelve years he lived alone, it clearly brought him a sense of spiritual satisfaction and touched his heart.

The next day, Yu Qingze didn’t go to set up his stall. He asked Brother Chang’s mother for help and sent Brother Chang and his father to go instead.

Today, he planned to find the village chief and ask him to take him to the *Li Zheng’s family to discuss buying land and obtaining residency.

*(T/N: Li Zheng translates to Head of the Administrative Unit. I think he has the higher rank than village chief coz he’s in charge of multiple villages).

After seeing off Brother Chang and his father, he prepared some gifts and went to the village chief’s house. Two days ago, when he came to give holiday gifts, he mentioned to the village chief that he would like him to accompany him for some matters today. Therefore, the village chief had already finished his meal and was waiting for him.

The Li Zheng family lived in a neighboring village, separated by a mountain from Niutou Village.

Li Zheng was a man in his forties. When Yu Qingze and the others arrived, he happened to be at home.

The village chief handed over the gifts brought by Yu Qingze and explained the purpose of the visit.

Li Zheng glanced at the gifts in his hands, smiled, put them aside on the table, and then looked at Yu Qingze, asking, “Where are you originally from? How did you end up here?”

Yu Qingze casually made up a story he had heard from a merchant about a very remote place in the north, and then he repeated the reasons he had previously discussed with Chang Le’s family and the village chief.

Li Zheng frowned when he heard him say that the household registration certificate had been lost along with his luggage. He said, “I see. If your household registration plaque is missing, it will be a bit difficult to handle.”

Yu Qingze asked, “Li Zheng, what should I do in this situation?”

Li Zheng thought for a moment and said, “Originally, if you had the household registration certificate, you could buy a piece of land, record it in the land deed, and I would help you with the registration based on the land deed. Then we would go to the county government to verify and register, and finally handle the tax registration. The county government would then issue you a household registration plaque. But now that your original plaque is lost, you’ll have to go to the county government to handle it.”

Yu Qingze frowned and asked, “If I go to the county government, what are the requirements?”

Li Zheng sighed, glanced at the village chief, and then lowered his voice. He said, “Old Yu is also one of us, a fellow villager. I’ll be straightforward with you. Because you don’t have a household registration plaque, the government officials can arrest you as a vagrant at any time. So, if you go to the county government, you need to make some preparations and establish connections.”

Yu Qingze asked, “How much preparation is needed? Are there any specific requirements? If they do something like this, do they need any particular pretext?”

Li Zheng looked at him with surprise and said, “You are a smart person, so I’ll be honest with you. In our area, besides the land owned by our villagers and some big landowners, there is also a significant amount of land under the control of the government. The government has set the price for the land here at 50 taels of silver for good quality land and 30 taels for slightly inferior land. Old Yu should have told you, right?”

The village chief nodded, and Yu Qingze also nodded, saying, “I know about this. I came to find you, Li Zheng, because I have saved enough money to buy the land.”

Li Zheng sighed and said, “If you have only saved 50 taels, it won’t be enough. Save up a bit more.”

Yu Qingze frowned and asked, “How much would be needed then?”

Li Zheng held up eight fingers.

“80 taels?”

Li Zheng nodded.

Yu Qingze asked, “What if I buy the land from a private landlord?”

Li Zheng shook his head and said, “You can only buy land from the government. Without a household registration plaque, even if someone sells land to you, you still need a household registration plaque to process the official deed at the government. Without an official deed, you won’t be able to obtain residency.”

Yu Qingze: … A vicious cycle.

“What about those who don’t have their own land and can only rent land? How do they obtain household registration?”

“They are originally from here. If they are not from here and have no way to buy land, they are not allowed to obtain residency and are sent back to their original place of residence.”

Yu Qingze: …

Li Zheng sighed and said, “Tongshan City has stricter requirements for obtaining residency compared to other places. Take Niutou Village, for example. You know that there are more than ten households that moved here later, the ten-plus households with the surname Chang. During the time when the chaos of war had just subsided, the court issued special decrees to appease the refugees and settle them here. That’s why they were able to obtain land for free and settle down here. Otherwise, they would have been sent back to their original place of residence.”

At this point, the village chief also sighed and said, “The price of land is getting higher and higher. Five years ago, it was still 35 taels of silver per mu for good quality land. Now, sigh…”

“Hush!” Li Zheng glared at the village chief and said, “Don’t speak recklessly!”

The village chief immediately sat up straight and nodded, saying, “Yes, I’m sorry, I spoke out of turn.”

Yu Qingze glanced at both of them and understood when they mentioned five years ago.

If he remembered correctly, eight years ago, it was still County Magistrate Cai Wendong who was in charge, and at that time, the price was 35 taels of silver per mu of land. Later, it was increased to 50 taels. This issue must be related to the current county magistrate.

However, regardless of the price, he still needed to obtain residency.

Yu Qingze then asked Li Zheng, “Li Zheng, apart from the 80 taels to buy the land, is there anything else I need to prepare to obtain residency? Do I need to prepare anything else?”

Li Zheng glanced at him and said, “If you buy the land from the government, they will handle the land deed for you, and they won’t ask for your original household registration plaque. However, there will be a fee of one tael of silver for processing the official deed and the household registration plaque. As for the rest, if you have it, you can prepare some broken silver to treat the officials who handle the matter. They will naturally take care of it for you.”

Upon hearing this, Yu Qingze asked, “What about the homestead after obtaining residency?”

Li Zheng replied, “Once you obtain residency in our rural area, you can be allocated a homestead based on the number of people in your family. If you settle in the city, you will have to buy your own homestead. In our village, it’s half a mu for households with less than five people, one mu for five to eight people, and one and a half mu for eight to ten people. When the time comes, you can apply to the village and get the consent of the villagers after selecting a suitable location. How many people are there in your family?”

Yu Qingze replied, “One person.”

“That would be half a mu. If you want a larger house, you will need to buy the extra land. One mu of land costs ten taels of silver. You don’t need to go through the government for that. You can handle it with me. Once the house is built, you can go to the government to process the house deed.”

Upon hearing this, Yu Qingze said, “I understand. Li Zheng, Village Chief, please take me to the county office to apply for residency.”


Thandar: Money talks~


  1. Xiaoyu says:

    Thanks for update!

  2. sissilia says:

    Thank you for the update ❤️💯

  3. Aprillen says:


    “Chang Brother Lestured”

    I’ve seen this error in several chapters before this, including the last one. I assume it’s an autorrect error or a find-and-replace error, where “Brother Le gestured” was to be changed to “Chang Le gestured” but the two somehow ended up mixed together instead?

    Thank you for the chapter!

    1. Thingyan says:

      Hi April, thank you so much for letting us know. The author used Le Ge’er for Chang Le and google translate would translate as Le Ge. I use Microsoft word to mass fix such terms to Chang Le and that’s how these kinds of errors happened. So sorry about that. I’m gonna go back to previous chapters and find such errors and fix 😅☺️🥰

      1. ninahan says:

        thank you for the update!

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