Back To The Beginning Of Ming To Do Charity CH 014 Foodstuff

Old father Lin and the rest did not arrive with any money or valaubles as they were either lost or used to buy food when passing by villages. The only things remaining were some pieces of Yang shi‘s dowry jewelry which she carried on her person, the rest being lost. 

Their group was quite large but they had to avoid the bandits as well as refugees in their travel south. It was impossible to bring too many things. It was old father Lin who bit his teeth and decided to throw the rest away. After all, life was more important than money. 

Si Niang went to make dough drop soup in the kitchen. The dish was quite easy to make, just add water to white noodles, stir it for awhile before pouring it into boiling water slowly. Put some soy sauce and vinegar in a bowl, add some sesame oil and the dough lumps, and then a spoonful of the white noodle soup. Si Niang also added some vegetable leaves into the broth, in all it could be considered rather savory. 

Old father Lin in the past would never eat this kind of food. But now just seeing the white noodles, he would unconciously start salivating. 

Lin Yuan also dared not speak with him at this time, afraid that he would bite his tongue the way he ate so fast and fiercely. 

Yang shi however, ate in small bites. On the way south she came down with an ailment from starving for too long. Now even if she saw food she would still not have much of an appetite. 

The little girl was called Guo’er. She was born in the autumn when the trees were hanging fruits so she was given this nickname. It had quite a good meaning. 

Other than the three of them, the servants ate out in the yard. They did not have white dough drops and noodles instead they had mixed grain buns made in large sizes with a bowl of porridge. Though the porridge was slightly thin but at least there was white rice which was very filling. 

“We have finally made it alive.” The servants could finally feel they had left the gates of hell intact, feeling more relaxed. After eating two big buns they finally began to smile and chat with each other. 

“I thought I would die on the way here.” Another person said, “I’ve never seen so many dead people before.” 

“Thank goodness master has the foresight.” A servant said, “predicting what will happen, fortunately, having young master go south, otherwise…..we would be like the refugees outside Wu City.” 

“This winter will definitely see the death of many people.” 

“I just looked at the rooms, the bed has a hay mattress and cotton blanket.” A servant said excitedly. 

Their treatment back at the Lin family farmstead was similar. They had thought taking shelter with young master the conditions would become inferior. 

Old father Lin was currently complaining to Lin Yuan, exaggerating the hardships they went through. It was already quite terrible but with old father Lin’s exaggeration it became even worse. The death of his two daughters had been a blow to him. In total he had four children but the current times believed in the more children the more fortune one had. Old father Lin also spoiled his daughters, but now he lost two of them. Only he knew how painful it was. 

Er Liang carried hot water in. Seeing him, old father Lin called him over. 

“Where is Niu Dan?” Old father Lin asked about the driver that left with Lin Yuan and Er Liang.

Er Liang sniffed, answering honestly: “On the way here, we encountered refugees and they stole our carriage and the things in them. Brother Chen had us run first while he stayed behind. We haven’t seen him again.” 

Old father Lin paused, after awhile he let out a sigh. 

“Then where do you have the money to buy property?” Old father Lin asked suddenly. 

Lin Yuan responded: “Mama hid 200 taels underneath the soles of my shoes.” 

Yang shi takes a sip of soup, expression indifferent: “Preparedness averts peril.” 

Old father Lin took a white bun to chew on. On the side there were pickled vegetables made from soaking cowpeas and white radish in saltwater, very appropriate as a side dish. 

Yang shi lost quite a lot of weight. She originally was not as plump as old father Lin so once she lost weight she appeared as skinny as a skeleton. Her neck was especially thin and made people worry that it could not hold the weight of her head, maybe breaking in the next moment. 

Lin Yuan recalled how original owner treated Yang shi then said to her: “Mama, rest well, leave everything else to me.” 

Hearing this, Yang shi‘s eyes reddened and moistened. She immediately closed them, saying softly: “Yuan’er, set up a headstone for your sisters so on holidays they can also eat some incense.”

Old father Lin: “That’s not possible, their ages are too young, considered to be dying prematurely. They cannot have a headstone or a memorial tablet.” 

Yang shi sat there without saying anything. 

This couple would never understand each other their whole lives. 

Old father Lin was an uneducated person, a roughneck of the landowning class. As a result he didn’t mind Yang shi‘s age and insisted on marrying her due to her scholarly family background. 

But after marriage, old father Lin discovered that he could not understand anything Yang shi said. 

As for Yang shi, she discovered that she married a man she could not even have a decent conversation with. 

The early days of marriage still had a bit of newlywed honeymoon feel. 

But once that phase passed, the both of them discovered the other to not be suitable. 

But what could they do? In the end they just had to make do and spend the rest of their lives together. Yang shi no longer desired to share the same room with old father Lin and was indifferent towards old father Lin sleeping with servant girls. Although the children would be living with her but she did not stop their birth mothers from coming to see them. 

These days, although masters could not beat and kill servants according to the law, but selling them away was very simple. Just one word and they could be sold far away to never come back. 

Yang shi was an extremely kind female master, otherwise she would not have treated Lin Yuan that well. 

The three daughters all had birth mothers still living, only Lin Yuan’s birth mother died at childbirth. It could be said that Lin Yuan and Yang shi, though they were not blood related, were truly mother and son.

Lin Yuan agreed immediately: “Fine, I will set up a memorial tablet.” 

Yang shi nodded: “I am tired.” 

Er Liang immediately moved forward: “Lady, the servant girls are still setting things up, I will serve you in cleaning up.” 

Er Liang was still young so it was still acceptable that he served in place of servant girls. 

Yang shi nodded and walked into the inner chamber. 

Old father Lin, seeing that Yang shi had left, said quietly: “Dad also brought some money with me, most are ample weight.” 

Lin Yuan: “……Where do you hide them?” 

Old father Lin: “In the undetgarments. I had the servant girls sew a pouch, when leaving I filled it with quite a lot, now only 300 taels remain.” 

“Take them all.” Old father Lin dug the money out and put it on the table.

Lin Yuan said: “Dad, you keep it.” 

Old father Lin shook his head however: “I only just arrived, even if I have money there is no place for me to spend it. You use this money to buy some more food, just buy old grain is fine, it’s cheap and cannot kill people.”

Lin Yuan did not refuse: “Alright.” 

It was not that he wanted to be a blackhearted master but because when the food was not enough, the larger amount of old grains will be more useful than the fewer amount of new grains. Between staying alive and taste, no one would choose taste. 

This year’s early harvest was not bad but that was only when compared to other farm fields. But if compared with modern rice paddies it would definitely look meager. But crops that had high output was too little. Lin Yuan even especially asked Yang Zi’an who said soy beans were easy to plant and the harveat was not bad either. 

As a result, Lin Yuan had them open up all the surrounding lands that could be opened and used it to plant soy beans. 

In any case, Wu City would not send anyone to come and check. 

Lin Yuan thought, if by the time the first cannon of rebellion sounded and his foodstuffs had not been stocked up enough, then that was basically game over. 

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Back To The Beginning Of Ming To Do Charity CH 013 Family Reunited

The melting of the snow revealed the shambles that had once been the Lin family farmstead. The deep winter froze to death many people. The ones still living gathered together and relied on breaking into homes and committing robberies to make a living. Lin family, the region’s well-known wealthy family, obviously became a target, regarded as a piece of fat meat. The once busy and lively Lin family farmstead had become an abandoned residence, not a person to be seen inside. 

Old father Lin lay down in the bushes, ears to the ground, hearing the footsteps moving farther away. Only then did he sigh in relief and returned into the forest. 

“Master.” An old family servant came running from another direction. 

“They have left.” Old father Lin said to the old servant, who also said, “that side has gone too.”

The both of them went deeper into the forest, the women and children were all hiding in comparably safe places. Mother Lin’s hand held onto Buddhist prayer beads as she sat on the ground and prayed. At her side sat a couple of young girls. They were still at the zong jiao age (TN: a period of time in ancient China to refer to girls from the ages 8-14 and had their hair tied into two knots on the head that look like sheep horns, therefore known as zong jiao), looking at old father Lin, still unknowing of what had occurred. 

They only remembered being awakened on one night by servants and running with the adults, their home going up in flames as they looked back. 

After leaving home, they kept walking. The food they took with them was not enough so they must rely on wild herbs and berries to stave off hunger. But wild herbs and berries were also not enough, there were too many refugees who did not bring enough food with them either. 

The servants were also at a loss of what to do, they had stayed at Lin family this many years and had never seen such situations. 

Old father Lin sat to the side and said to his wife: “The snow has melted, we will continue walking to the south and find Yuan’er (TN: Adding ‘er’ to the end of names is an expression of familiarity and affection, same as adding ‘xiao’ in the front of names).”

Yang shi‘s (TN: Adding ‘shi’ to end of surnames is used to refer to women’s maiden names. In ancient times women do not change their last names to their husband’s but add their husbands names to the front of their own like ‘Lin Yang shi’. But mostly it is shorten to just ‘Yang shi’.) tone was cold, always had been, treating her husband indifferently: “En.” 

Last year Lin Yuan already sent a message telling his family he was at Wu city. Old father Lin was glad his son still remembered to send the family a letter, and also glad the messenger came in time. 

“Mama.” The young girl moved closer, she was afraid, only feeling safe at the side of her parents. Yang shi did not have any children of her own. Including Lin Yuan, all the children were born from servant girls. Village people did not practice taking concubines. Even if servant girls gave birth to the master’s children they were still servants and must still work. Only their food and clothes would be better. 

The young girl’s birth mother was Yang shi’s personal servant girl and was currently boiling water. 

Old father Lin still had the mood to tell a joke: “It’s a good thing I have the foresight to have Yuan’er leave for the north. Otherwise we would be one of the refugees and have no place to settle down once we are there.” 

Yang shi spared him a glance: “Yuan’er was only 14 when he left.”

Because of this, she had yet to give old father Lin a good attitude.

Old father Lin: “The children of farming families can start their own families at 12. Besides, the message says our Yuan’er has land and a farmstead. That’s my boy!” 

His voice was filled with pride. 

He only had one son, but this son was worth ten of other people’s sons. 

At that time the Zhang family also had their son go south but they had yet to receive any messages. Up until the bandits came they could only flee and most likely became one of the refugees now. Only knowing to go south, but with no specific place in mind. 

Yang shi continued to chant her Buddhist scriptures and didn’t bother anymore with old father Lin.

She was born in a scholarly family, her father a literati, their home filled with books. Her mother died early but her father hadn’t married again. 

As a result, it was not until 24 before she married, and only because they no longer had any rice left to eat. 

In these times, an 18 year old girl who had not married was considered a spinster let alone a 24 year old woman. 

But Yang shi did not feel ashamed. She did not love her husband, neither did she love her husband’s home. She rather practice calligraphy the whole day then speak one word to her husband. 

Old father Lin: “We will sleep during the day and travel at night so that others will not discover us.” 

The servants all nod. 

Although having just experienced a frightening nightmare, the servants were still quite obedient and did not take the chance to run away,  instead staying by the Lin family’s side. They were very clear that once they left they would also become refugees. At that time they would be worse off than now. 

But following after the master and lady, they could take shelter with young master. 

It would be like before, there would be food to eat as long as they worked. 

They did not know how long they have walked, sleeping in hidden places during the day and walking by the moonlight at night. Sometimes they would stunble across the corpses of people who starved to death, mangled and ripped apart by wild animals. 

Extreme fear had them being even more careful and alert. 

Everyone only dared to dress in rags, the woman even rubbing mud and dirt onto their faces and putting hay in their hair. They wore rough and ragged clothes that they had never worn before and walked barefoot on the road. 

They looked more and more like one of the refugees. 

When they arrived at Wu City it was aleady autumn. 

They spent half a year on the road in order to come here. 

Old father Lin lost two daughters on the way, both from eating the wrong things which caused them to fall into fever. They could only bury them on the side of the road.  

A total of three daughters but only one was left. The last one Yang shi took by her side. When gathering wild herbs and berries, Yang shi always tried them first and seeing no problem after awhile had passed before giving it to the child. Although the child was practically a bag of bones, but at least she survived. 

Some of the servants also died while some became separated. 

Looking at the city gates, old father Lin could no longer hold it in. His knees weakened and he kneeled on the ground, tears and snot covering his face.

Behind him the servants were no better, following his lead as they broke into sobs. 

“Move away!” The soldiers that guard the gates shooed at the refugee arrivals, they would not let them into the city, “Move along!” 

Old father Lin quickly said: “Soldier ye, we are not refugees, my son is in Wu City, I am here to take shelter with him.” 

Saying so he even took out a gold hairpin which originally belonged to Yang shi. On the way here only some jewelry remained, anything else of value was lost or used. He smiled ingratiatingly: “Soldier ye, please accomodate us.” 

The soldier examined the hairpin and even bit at it, only when making sure it was real gold did he ask: “What is your son’s name?” 

Old father Lin: “Lin Yuan! My son is named Lin Yuan!” 

The soldier paused, then smiled: “What a coincidence.” 

Saying so he hollered in the direction behind him: “Brother Jiang! Your brother’s father has arrived!” 

Old father Lin listened in bewilderment and saw a man coming out from the gates, in his twenties and wearing a thin cotton shirt. His hand was holding a white bun that he was currently eating. Old father Lin swallowed profusely when he saw the white bun. In his whole life he had never craved this much for a plain white bun then he did at that moment. 

Jiang Gui looked at the refugees in front of him, all wearing rags. It was a good thing that the autumn weather had yet to cool. He recognized none of them. 

“This uncle?” Jiang Gui only just started to say something. 

Old father Lin quickly said: “Big nephew, I am Lin Yuan’s dad!” 

Jiang Gui: “Do you have any proof?” 

Old father Lin said immediately: “Yes, yes, my son has a beauty mark behind his ear.” 

Jiang Gui: “…..” I never looked behind Lin Yuan’s ear, how would I know? 

“Do you have anything else as proof?” Jiang Gui asked again.

Old father Lin then gabe the address of his hometown and described clearly the situation of all Lin family members. 

This Jiang Gui knew so he said quietly: “At night I will drive an ox cart out. How many of you in total?” 

Old father Lin was confused: “My son is not in the city?” 

Jiang Gui: “He is in the farmsetad outside the city, I will bring you to him tonight.” 

Old father Lin was not afraid of being lied to after all, the only valuables they had left are just some jewelry. It wouldn’t be a big deal to give all of it away. So long as he could find his son everything would be worth it. 

Therefore, the next day at noon, Lin Yuan who was standing in the fields looking at the harvest, saw his third brother bringing over a group of refugees. 

Even Er Liang did not recognize the Lin family members. 

Could it be that Jiang Gui felt they still lacked people so he sent another group over? 

“Third brother.” Lin Yuan went over. Dressed in a tight sleeve shirt so as to move easier because the past half-year he often walked around the fields. His physique also improved due to being more active. In fact, when the harvest came earlier he even helped for a few days. 

The crop planted was rice, and because the soil was fertile the tenant farmers all said that the output was more than they had been seeing in the past.

But before Jiang Gui responded, a figure threw themself on Lin Yuan. The person looked rather plump but Lin Yuan did not feel the weight to be too heavy. He was about to push him away when the person started crying: “Son ah! My son ah! Dad has come!” 

Old father Lin? 

Old father Lin! 

Lin Yuan was slightly shocked, after all in the original owner’s memory old father Lin was an extremely obese middle aged man who was always wearing silk and practically the epitome of a rich landlord. But the man in front of him was dressed in rags with a face covered in dirt. 

Er Liang also came over, he examined carefully before yelling out: “Master!” 

“Er Liang!” Old father Lin also yelled out in reply. 

Er Liang sobbed: “Master, master, you have suffered! Lady! Lady!” 

Er Liang ran towards Yang shi, his parents were also at Yang shi’s side. Seeing Er Liang their eyes also filled with tears. 

Lin Yuan was after all not the original owner. He might have the memory but he did not inherit the feelings as well. He couldn’t cry real tears but only lower his head pretending to cry.

The small group was full of crying and sobbing. It took a while before everyone calmed down. 

Lin Yuan lead them over to the house. Old father Lin did not despise it for being simple or crude, instead thinking his son rather smart. This way it wouldn’t stand out and besides, it was big enough for this many people to live in without feeling cramped. 

“Dad and mama’s room is here.” Lin Yuan lead them to the largest and best room. 

Old father Lin looked at Lin Yuan with gratification. 

His son matured faster than he imagined. He felt that the most correct thing he ever did in his life was to have his son travel south.

“Si Niang!” Lin Yuan hollered: “Make some dough drop soup!”

Si Niang responded and went in the direction of the stove. 

Er Liang dug through the clothes chest looking for clean clothing that old father Lin and Yang shi could change into.

“Big brother!” A small and skinny young girl threw herself into Lin Yuan’s embrace. She hugged Lin Yuan tightly, not letting go no matter what. 

Old father Lin quietly said: “Your oldest and second little sister passed away on the way here.” 

Lin Yuan’s body was a bit stiff. 

Old father Lin said: “Just buried on the spot, did not set up a headstone.” 

Children who died young or prematurely could not have a headstone. 

The little girl tightly held onto Lin Yuan, she knew that as long as she found big brother then she would be able to eat her fill.

Lin Yuan patted the little girl’s head, his voice gentler than he thought: “Quickly wash your hands, it will soon be time to eat.” 

Only then did the little girl reluctantly follow the servant to wash up. 

Lin Yuan thought, the family was all together now. His ability had limits so he didn’t know whether he could protect them all. 

He hoped original owner would guide them from heaven.

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Back To The Beginning Of Ming To Do Charity CH 012 Refugees

They bumped and swayed all the way to the farmstead. Lin Yuan threw up twice. Finally, before he could throw up a third time, they arrived. The once unfarmed land was already opened and sowed with seeds. Although Lin Yuan didn’t know what kind of seeds——based on his friend’s words while at college he was a typical city guy who couldn’t distinguish the five crops (TN: millet, soybeans, sesame, barley, rice or other types – basically a phrase that encompasses all grains) from each other, if left in a farm field he would not even recognize what was rice and what was wheat. 

This was a bit of an exaggeration, after all Lin Yuan felt he could definitely tell the difference between rice and wheat, but his friend’s words could be considered a straightforward portrayal. 

“Boss.” The driver jumpex down and placed a mounting stool for Lin Yuan. Lin Yuan stepped down using the mounting stool and stood on the land he owned ——from now on he could be considered a small-time landowner. 

If in the future he had a son, he could say to his son: “Son, look, this is the empire dad conquered.” (TN: LOL can’t even describe how ironic this is. ML: what am I, chopped liver? Even the author thinks so.) 

This was obviously not possible. 

The sky had already darkened now, only by the moonlight could the grass huts not too far away could be seen. Outside the settlement of grass huts was a firepit. Here there was plenty of wood, being next to the mountain and all. At this time, most have already slept. The people wake at sunrise and sleep at sunset. Without the worry of starvation life seemed much simpler. 

Lin Yuan did not want to wake them when they had already rested just to inform them their boss had arrived. So, their small group arrived silently to where Lin Yuan would be living. 

The house did not have a complex design but it was very large, fit for living quite a few people. 

This was likely the least luxurious house of a landowner, but very practical. Lin Yuan was very satisfied. 

Si Niang and the rest began to unpack but the time was limited so they only cleaned up the bedrooms and set up the beds. 

“This bed is constructed well.” Si Niang touched the wood. Although she was not an artisan but life gave her experience. 

Lin Yuan couldn’t tell whether it was good or bad so he pretended by nodding. 

When walking over he did not see a well, the front had a river but river water was turbid. In order to use river water you have to wait until the sand settled before cooking it to a boil. That was too troublesome, so that night Lin Yuan gave up on washing his face and brushing his teeth. Without washing his feet either he climbed onto the bed for sleep. 

The others were of similar situations. 

After a day riding in an ox cart, his whole person felt sore. Lin Yuan lay on the bed and asked Er Liang: “Er Liang, before at home did I have a time where I went to sleep without washing my feet?” 

Er Liang said quietly: “Yes, when young master was tired you just took off your shoes before crawling into bed.” 

Lin sniffed at the air: “It’s a good thing my feet don’t smell.” 

Er Liang: “Of course, young master doesn’t need to farm so your feet doesn’t sweat. Of course there would be no smell.” 

Lin Yuan looked at him with disdain: “As if you farm.” 

Er Liang said, pleased with himself: “My dad said being able to serve young master is the fortune accumulated in my past life.” 

“Sleep quickly.” Lin Yuan had Er Liang blow out the light.  

The next morning, Lin Yuan was awoken by Er Liang. He slept too deeply that he didn’t even notice it began to rain in the middle of the night. Waking up in the morning it was quite chilly. He rubbed his arms and had Er Liang bring out a cotton coat to wear. 

Er Liang: “Earlier I went to find Li da ye and Yang er ye (TN: ye is a term of respect for older men and here Er Liang calls them based on their sworn brotherhood order). They are waiting outside.” 

Lin Yuan thought as he put on his socks, who was “your da ye“? The original owner’s da ye (TN: da ye is also a term to address an older uncle. And used colloquially as a curse word btw) arrived? Over such a long distance and only being a step later than them, was this person a fortune teller who could calculate that he would build a farmstead here? 

“What do you mean your da ye, Yang da ye.” Lin Yuan, “say their names.” 

Er Liang: “Ai, it’s brother Dao and Yang Zi’an.” 

Lin Yuan: “…..Then call them as I would, big brother Li and second brother Yang. Don’t da ye er ye, it’s weird.” 

Er Liang rubbed the back of his head, not understanding what was weird. 

Lin Yuan walked out his room and seessaw brother Dao and Yang Zi’an sitting on the chairs. These two looked more weather-beaten than before, after all they must go out into the fields everyday to supervise. Lin Yuan first cupped his hand in greeting, before saying: “Third brother said that the people in the north are beginning to flee elsewhere and that we should prepare early.” 

Brother Dao: “That fast?” 

Yang Zi’an: “Nothing to be afraid of, here we are surrounded by mountains. If there are truly refugees coming in they wouldn’t flee in our direction.” 

Brother Dao obviously did not feel the same, he rubbed at his chin and said: “We can’t be sure, refugees may not come here but what about mountain bandits?” 

Mountain bandits, as the name implied, were bandits that wondered the mountains. Mostly made up of young or middle-aged men with nimble bodies that would not be too tall or bulky so that they could move through the forest easily. 

These bandits had long been a source of trouble for this area’s landowners. 

Nobody wanted to be robbed. Although giving them their food supply would gain them peace, but handing over their food would cause their heart to be in pain. 

“We are here.” Yang Zi’an squat down onto the floor. Dipping his finger in water he casually drew a map that showed their location, “On this side is the official road. Only a small path leads here and there is no merchant road either.” 

“Mountain bandits rob passing merchants and wealthy landowners, but they never stay in one place too long. Our location resembles a valley, moreover there is no important road or any well-known wealthy landowners around. Mountain bandits will not come here even if they have nothing better to do.” 

“Refugees will also not flee towards the mountains. They head to places where there are people such as cities. If refugees truly come over here then that means Wu City…..” 

Yang Zi’an sighed: “Take them in, Wu City will be finished, don’t take them in, Wu City will also be finished.” 

His meaning both Lin Yuan and brother Dao understood. 

By taking in refugees, Wu City’s food supply would not be enough to support the increase in population. The city’s residents themselves did not have enough to eat let alone share with outsiders. When the time came, the conflict in Wu City would escalate. They didn’t believe that Wu City could still maintain order in such a conflict. 

But if the city didn’t take in the refugees, eventually once refugee numbers increased in crowds, they would have the guts to commit desperate acts in order to survive. 

So long as refugees arrived, no matter what Wu City did it would always be wrong. 

Lin Yuan sighed: “I will have the driver go to Wu City in three days to bring a message to third brother to warn him once he discovers refugees to immediately come over.” 

 Yang Zi’an nodded: “Fine.” 

Brother Dao sat on the side not saying anything. He looked out the window and sighed lightly. He had a heroic spirit and a sense of justice but this kind of situation was not something they could take part of as heroes. 

In the face of famine and suffering, it was difficult to resist, everyone could only go with the flow.

“Also have third brother spread rumors, so that others can be more aware.” Lin Yuan said, “and call the guys at the oil plant to come over as well with their weapons.” 

Once the refugees moved south, they must hide themselves and pass a duration of time of being self sufficient. 

Until the refugees spread elsewhere, or……

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Back To The Beginning Of Ming To Do Charity CH 011 To Be Alive

The arrival of spring meant the warming of the earth, dead trees sprouting new leaves and the land thriving. 

The corpses of beggars frozen to death had already been moved and vendors began to show up on the streets. It was as if the tragedies of the winter did not exist, now was still peaceful and prosperous times. 

But there were fewer temporary laborers on the streets, instead there were more beggars. 

Er Liang was currently packing their things as they must move to the farmstead. Although the dormitories for the workers had yet to be finished building, Lin Yuan’s private dwelling with a yard was already finished. Lin Yuan had thought it would still require some more time but the speed of the artisans was much faster than expected. 

The oil plant business was already stabilized and on the right track. Basically, it was enough for Lin Yuan to check the accounts only once a month. Jiang Gui could also help in supervising. 

Since the income coming from the oil plant increased and Jiang Gui’s dividend along with it, Jiang Gui began to regard the oil plant as a hen that could lay eggs. Everyday after work he would visit the place and afterwards happily go have a drink or two. He was often seen in a good mood the past few days. 

Si Niang and Gou zi was also packing up, after all they had lived there for several months and accumulated quite a lot of things. 

Jiang Gui showed up to speak with Lin Yuan. “You are leaving, us three, ah no, four brothers, the three of you are on that side leaving me here by myself.” Jiang Gui sighed, slightly depressed, “if not for my job at the government office, I will also come along.” 

Lin Yuan: “Third brother don’t say that, the oil plant still requires gege’s care.” 

Jiang Gui promised: “Of course, I won’t have fourth brother lose out even one bit, or else my name shall be written backwards.” 

Jiang Gui was a clever person with a clear view of things. He was able to adapt to all kinds of situations and put on the right attitude when facing different types of people. 

“You should find more people to be on hand.” Jiang Gui said quietly, “I can see that the world will fall into complete upheaval soon. With more people you can protect yourselves better. Later, I will have people bring more hoes over, when needed it can be used as weapons.” 

Lin Yuan paused, that the world would fall into upheaval was something everyone could sense, but most people still clung to the thought that maybe it wouldn’t and continued living their days. So long as the fire didn’t burn to their doors they wouldn’t be able to truly feel afraid. 

“Third brother, don’t worry.” Lin Yuan patted Jiang Gui’s shoulder, “by the end of next year, the granary will be full and third brother can also come over.” 

Jiang Gui sighed: “We’ll see.” 

Staying in Wu City, at least there was protection in the form of a city wall. Even if it was short and crumbling apart, but a broken down wall was still a wall. Besides, Wu City also had soldiers guarding it. If outside you were to encounter bandits or refugees who were just a bit more ruthless, then normal people wouldn’t be able to provide much of a fight. 

But Jiang Gui also understood Lin Yuan’s thinking, his property was in a remote and desolate place without any people around. It was also surrounded by a river in the front and a mountain in the back. If anything did happen all they had to do to save their lives was to hide in the mountains. 

But this was only as a last resort because Jiang Gui was unwilling to live that kind of life. 

No one wanted to live the life of a vagrant. 

Lin Yuan did not try to convince him, after all Jiang Gui was no fool. If that day truly came, Jiang Gui would seek shelter at his farmstead. 

“Third brother, no need to send me off.” Lin Yuan climbed onto the ox cart as Wu City could not buy any horses. Ox was still an alright choice, slow but better than walking. Lin Yuan even hired a driver for his cart. 

Jiang Gui stood just to the side of the city walls, watching as Lin Yuan’s cart left farther and farther.   

A soldier that guarded the city gates recognized him and laughed: “You are like a wife sending her husband off. They have already gone and you are still watching.” 

Jiang Gui swatted at the soldier: “Don’t talk nonsense! I will go complain to your superior so that you will spend the rest of your life guarding gates!” 

The soldier was not intimidated, still smiling mischievously: “Brother Jiang, I’ve heard you became rich recently?” 

Jiang Gui: “What rich, where did you hear such nonsense. If I was rich would I still be here talking to you? I would already be at a restaurant eating the best.” 

The soldier thought about it and agreed. Sitting down he drank water from a bowl: “I heard that the north already has disturbances.”  

Jiang Gui widened his eyes: “What?” 

Soldier: “I heard from my cousin that a lot of people died and lead to a plague.” 

Jiang Gui shocked: “A plague?” 

Soldier: “It’s said that some cities already sealed themselves. A lot of people are fleeing south. Don’t know how many are going to arrive this time.” 

Jiang Gui felt a bit scared. When leaving he muttered to himself, “We’ll see, we’ll see.” 

If truly there were refugees coming in from the north, even if he didn’t want to seek shelter with Lin Yuan he would still have no choice but to. 

Although an ox cart was not as fast as horse carriages but it was more stable. Lin Yuan sat in the cart and felt as if his organs would be thrown up. The ox cart might be stable but the road was rocky. These days there was no such thing as paved roads, no cement just plain dirt. If you don’t travel on official roads then the road would be even worse. 

At noon the carriage stopped to rest. Lin Yuan ate a flat cake which was made by Si Niang and was both plentiful and tasty, not the least bit dry with the amount of oil used. Only one was enough to fill the stomach but the driver ate two. He was a middle-aged man, tall and skinny but not lacking in strength. Chewing on the savory flat cake he said: “Four more hours until we are there.” 

Eight hours in total, Lin Yuan’s heart was full of despair. 

The driver took a bite of the cake with a side of pickled vegetables and a drink of water, saying in contentment: “Boss, I have yet to meet a more generous person than you.” He had been a driver for many years but it was the first time a boss had given him two oil cakes to eat. 

Driving a cart was hard work and also not many people could afford it. Most just relied on their legs to get anywhere. 

Wealthy families had their own carriages and would not need to hire him. 

Only merchants from other regions would rent a carriage. They migjt not treat him unwell but the most they would give him were two buns made of mixed grains. But today he not only got two oil cakes but also pickled vegetables. He decided, he would save the oil cakes given to him in the evening for his wife and children. 

Lin Yuan sat resting under a tree while Er Liang and Gou zi went to pick wild berries. “These are snake berries, tastes good.” Gou zi picked some berries that were small and dark red, though some were already rotten. 

Er Liang picked one up, after rubbing it he put it in his mouth but soon stuck his tongue out: “A bit sour.” 

Gou zi laughed: “You have yet to get used to eating it.” 

Si Niang watched with a smile. Compared to when Lin Yuan first met her she appeared much younger now. 

It was on a whim that Lin Yuan asked her age and found out she was only 28. She married at 13 and gave birth at 15. If just by appearance, to say she was 48 Lin Yuan would believe it. 

Si Niang was this time period’s microcosm of all farmer girls. Marry at an early age and have children early. If lucky they would survive childbirth, if unlucky both mother and child could lose their life. Their dream was to have plentiful harvest so that their families would not starve. If there were to be surplus then that would be the best thing ever. The landowner taking 10% less of the harvest was something to be content about.

Lin Yuan said to Si Niang: “Si Niang, once we arrive, if you like, find someone suitable and remarry.” 

Si Niang paused, after awhile she said in a bitter tone: “Who will want me? Besides, I have Gou zi.” 

For her, being alive was already a fortunate thing.

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Back To The Beginning Of Ming To Do Charity CH 010 The Ways of the World

It was late winter but Lin Yuan still wore a cotton coat as the weather had yet to warm. He sneezed and rubbed his hands together. Si Niang was on the side burning the charcoal, it would take awhile before the room warmed. 

The price of charcoal was not cheap so Lin Yuan did not buy much. Once the last few pieces were burned then the only choice left was burning firewood. 

Poor families even had to save on the burning of firewood. 

There’s no help for it, the people going up the mountains to cut wood had decreased because if one was not careful one could come down with a cold very easily. 

A fever in the winter, death would not be far along. 

People would obviously choose their life over being comfortable. 

Before winter ended, Lin Yuan practically never left the house. Even with a cotton coat it was still not warm enough. Walking outside in this weather, before long one would not be able to take it. Er Liang was in a similar situation as Lin Yuan. The north might also be cold but the south was wet and cold. No matter how much one wore the cold wet air still seeped in. 

Lin Yuan hugged a tangpozi in his hands as he asked Er Liang: “Where are Si Niang and the others?” 

Er Liang rubbed his hands: “Si Niang is kneading dough, we will have noodles tonight.” 

No fresh vegetables, only some pickled vegetables. 

Although there were greenhouses, but Wu City had none, the entire winter was only pickled vegetables. 

Er Liang looked out the window, sighing: “Wonder where brother Chen is.” 

This topic was something Lin Yuan never spoke about with Er Liang. The two words brother Chen was like taboo words. 

That loyal and upright young man, perhaps had already lost his life. Only, Lin Yuan and Er Liang hoped he had survived instead. 

“Young master.” Er Liang said, “brother Chen knows we will come here. If next year he still doesn’t show up we should set up a cenotaph.” 

Lin Yuan did not refuse, nodding: “Alright.” 

Winter for people like Lin Yuan who had modest wealth could be considered comfortable. He didn’t have to go out and could stay indoors curled up in the warmth. Every three days he visited the oil plant, every week he checked the accounts but normally he hibernated. But for the common people, it was a bitter experience. During this winter a lot of beggars froze to death on the streets. Most of the beggars had long term ailments or illness, living day by day. Once winter came very few could make it pass. 

During the past few years the circumstances had not been good, even the city’s wealthy families no longer provided charity by setting up free porridge. The streets were empty and vendors also no longer showed up. 

Lin Yuan also did not dare to go out in the streets. He might not be a good person but he did have sympathy. He was afraid that once he went out he would not be able to resist in bringing those people who were close to freezing to death back to his home. 

But he currently had no money left, all of it used to hire people. 

Er Liang didn’t dare to go out either. Last time he went to buy meat he came back crying. 

Only Si Niang and Gou zi went out. These two fled here from famine back home and had seen all kinds of tragedies. They had already become numb. 

But they still had lingering fears because they knew, if not for Lin Yuan they would be no different from the people who froze to death. 

Gou zi was still young so Lin Yuan did not give him any heavy work. There’s actually not any heavy work to be done so Gou zi did some random chores such as sweeping the yard and watching the house. 

Er Liang did all the delicate work such as taking care of Lin Yuan’s needs. He never slacked in his work, a habit raised while living with the Lin family. 

His parents were family servants and had taught him from young to be diligent. 

Er Liang still remembered his dad’s words: “You must be capable! Otherwise, old Liu’s son will take your place. That you are able to serve young master, it is your good fortune accumulated over many lifetimes!” 

After serving at young master’s side, Er Liang finally understood his dad’s meaning. 

Serving young master meant he didn’t need to farm or do hard manual labor. He could even learn to read and write. 

Young master was also a good person and never hit or scolded the servants. He had a very good temperament. 

Even now that he had followed young master in his travel away from their hometown, Er Liang did not need to worry about anything. Young master was too capable, could take care of everything. He just needed to stay at young master’s side and look after his needs. 

Er Liang chatted with Gou zi. 

“Gou zi, when you were on your way here, did a lot of people die?” Er Liang asked. 

Gou zi chewed on a fried breadstick with an expression of contentment and says: “A lot. From starvation, their stomach bloated high but their arms and legs were like sticks. They said it was from being too hungry, only drinking water, drinking themselves to death.” 

Er Liang was both surprised and scared: “Then how did you two survive?” 

Gou zi swallowed the breadstick: “My mama had me eat the tree bark.” 

Er Liang asked curiously: “Does tree bark taste good?” 

Gou zi nodded: “It’s alright. I don’t know what kind of tree it was, it’s dry but still chewable. Taste better than dry tree bark.” 

“There was also a kind of grass root.” Gou zi said excitedly, “I haven’t seen it before in my hometown, once you pull it up on the bottom of the roots there is a tumor (TN: that is the literal translation. I didn’t know there are tumors on grass roots??? Can someone explain???) which is also edible. Roasting it makes it soft but not much flavor.” 

Er Liang listened seriously, but he knew that if he switched places with Gou zi he would have died long ago. He could not endure the hardship, so Er Liang pretended to be mature and patted Gou zi’s shoulder: “Gou zi, you don’t have it easy.” 

Gou zi smiled: “It’s all in the past. Now I have food and drink, a bed to sleep and a cotton blanket! I have never used a cotton blanket before!” 

Gou zi said quietly: “Young master also gave me eggs to eat. I haven’t eaten eggs this many times my whole life.” 

Er Liang looked shocked: “You didn’t raise chickens in your old home?” 

Gou zi: “We did but mama took them all to sell on market days. Then we can buy salt and other things home. How can we eat it ourselves.” 

Gou zi said excitedly: “When I grow older and have children, it would be great if young master can give my son eggs to eat as well.” 

Er Liang: “……” Young man, you might be getting a little ahead of yourself. 

Gou zi rubbed his nose, chuckling: “My mama no longer have cold hands and feet. Mama says this is because we are eating well.” 

Gou zi asked Er Liang: “Brother Er Liang, you have always served at young master’s side?” 

Er Liang proudly puffed up his chest: “My parents are both Lin family servants, I followed young master when I was eight.” 

Gou zi was a bit envious: “Then you must often eat eggs?” 

Er Liang said: “Young master always had me eat with him, whatever young master eats I will also eat. Everyday there is meat to eat!” 

Eat meat everyday, that was practically the life of gods and immortals. Gou zi was envious to the point he could only swallow profusely. 

“Brother Er Liang, you have such a good life.” Gou zi said, “I must work harder, then young master will also give me meat to eat.” 

Er Liang encouraged: “You can do it!” 

Gou zi grinned at Er Liang. 

Their chat was completely overheard by Lin Yuan who was sitting next to the window. 

The ways of the world currently was worse than he had thought. 

Then a few years later, when war broke out, what would the world turn into? 

Right now he had only started establishing his property. Once the field was ready to harvest next year and the farmstead was built, he will have someone send a message to original owner’s family to have them come over. He had received original owner’s body, even if it was after original owner’s death, but he was still in debt to the original owner. Moreover, it was thanks to the original owner’s legal mother’s money that he was able to survive. 

His consicence had yet to feed the dogs so he could not disregard original owner’s family. 

Lin Yuan took a sip of tea, letting out a soundless sigh.

TN1: Not much happening in this chapter but it does foreshadow how the situation will worsen in Yuan dynasty China and Lin Yuan is forced to finally make a decision.

*TN2 (edited b/c of the b*tching about spoilers): Reading some NU reviews and was kind of surprised that they thought this is a dark and serious story. It is definitely serious with a lot of characters and world building and plot but I wouldn’t consider it dark. The MC is also pretty relatable even if he comes into his role of leader. But isn’t it more satisfying this way where everything was bad before MC comes along and makes changes? Everyone must have had a hero dream before right? And this hero doesn’t need to self-sacrifice in order to save the world. It’s quite interesting reading about the backgrounds of side characters and how they have been victims of the times and how they face the ‘radical’ changes Lin Yuan brings. 

But it’s true that this is not a fluffy brainless story. If not for its BL characteristics I think guys would enjoy reading it more than gals who are looking for some romantic fluff. There’s a lot of wars and kingdom building and world dominating going on here. Just curious, are there any guy readers of this story?

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Back To The Beginning Of Ming To Do Charity CH 009 There’s Chicken To Eat

Cheng Huang temple was covered with spider webs and dust. Originally, it was not a very popular temple, now it was even worse with the current turbulent times. Lin Yuan used a rag to wipe at the table then set up the offerings. The offerings were made by Si Niang, a few white buns and a plate of cabbages, nothing else. Normally there would be roasted chicken but Lin Yuan was even unwilling to spend on it for himself, let alone as offerings. 

 “Ai.” Brother Dao let out a sigh: “In the past Cheng Huang temple was not this bleak.” 

Jiang Gui used a wooden stick to sweep up the spider webs, hearing brother Dao he chuckled: “Actually it is about the same, only you didn’t come the years before.” 

After saying so Jiang Gui took a scroll of painting and hung it up next to Lord Cheng Huang (TN: Shing Wong, deity in Chinese mythology). 

Lin Yuan examined it for awhile but still could not recognize the abstract looking person in the painting. 

Jiang Gui: “How can you not recognize, this is second lord Guan Yu (TN: military general under warlord Liu Bei).” 

Lin Yuan nodded, expressing his understanding. 

Just as Lin Yuan thought everything was ready, the voice of one of brother Dao’s guys came from outside: “Brother Dao! I caught a chicken!” 

Brother Dao went outside and brought the chicken in by its wings. 

Jiang Gui sighed: “It’s a pity the times are not good, otherwise we must prepare san sheng (TN: literally translates to three sacrificial animals).” 

Lin Yuan asked: “What is the san sheng?” Although he liked to read historical novels but in relation to swearing brotherhood he was not too clear. 

Jiang Gui: “Pig meat, fish, and eggs are the san sheng.” 

Lin Yuan: “……” 

If swearing brotherhood must require this many offerings, then forget it, after all in the ancient times the offerings were not taken back and eaten after they cooled down instead it remained there until it spoiled then it was thrown away. 

They remained busy for another while. Brother Dao poured the wine in the bowl, made a cut on the chicken’s neck and let the blood into the wine. Then he took out the knife he always carried on him and gave his finger a cut, dripping a few drops into the wine bowl.  

“Here.” He handed the knife to Jiang Gui. 

Jiang Gui looked a bit timid at the prospect, trying several times before making the cut, looking as his blood dripped into the bowl with heartache. 

Using a knife on yourself did require courage. 

Lin Yuan tried when he was young, if not careful even a piece of metal strip could cut your finger but if intentionally then it was more difficult as your brain would control your body to not harm yourself. 

As a result Lin Yuan decided decisively: “Brother Jiang, I have never used a knife on myself before, help me out.” 

Saying so he stretched a finger forward. 

Jiang Gui while saying: “How can I possibly”, gave Lin Yuan a cut in the finger without hesitation. 

Lin Yuan: “……” Why do I see that particular expression of joy at other’s misfortune on Jiang Gui’s face. 

The three of them then separated the bowl of wine and blood concoction into three separate bowls, one person holding one bowl and knelt in front of Lord Guan’s painting. 

Brother Dao, with a solemn expression, announced: “Let us begin.” 

“The skies above, I, Li Congrong with Jiang Gui and Lin Yuan from this day forth will be friends as close as brothers.” 

“The skies above, I, Jiang Gui with Li Congrong and Lin Yuan from this day forth will be friends as close as brothers.” 

It was only now that Lin Yuan finally knew brother Dao’s true name. 

So he was a pause late before speaking: “The skies above, I, Lin Yuan with Li Congrong and Jiang Gui from this day forth will be friends as close as brothers.” 

“Henceforth, we shall enjoy the same blessings and withstand the same difficulties. Do not beseech to be born on the same year, same month, and same day, but we beseech to die on the same year, same month, and same day. If I violate this vow then let the heavens rain thunder upon me.” 

Saying so, the three of them drank the wine and blood concoction in one gulp. 

As he was drinking, Lin Yuan thought, drinking blood is truly not hygienic, what if someone had harmful bacteria? Then wouldn’t that mean misfortune for three? 

“Third brother, fourth brother.” Brother Dao was in a good mood, grasping Lin Yuan’s and Jiang Gui’s hands. 

Lin Yuan asked in a quiet voice: “And the second brother?” 

Your order starts with the third number? 

Brother Dao patted Lin Yuan’s shoulder intimately: “Yang Zi’an is also my sworn brother.” 

Lin Yuan said sincerely: “Big brother, you have quite a few brothers.” 

Brother Dao laughed loudly: “Just giving me some face (TN: to give respect/appreciation). That second brother is also a straightforward fellow and is also working with us, you guys calling him second brother will not lose out.” 

Lin Yuan/Jiang Gui: “……” 

“We should find a day to drink together.” Brother Dao said with a smile. In these times, sworn brothers were even closer than blood brothers. 

“Big brother.” Lin Yuan said to brother Dao, “second brother Yang is still on my land.” 

Brother Dao rubbed at his nose: “Then we can wait until he comes back.” 

Yang Zi’an was an honest fellow. He took his guys to Lin Yuan’s land which was completely new fertile land. As the land would become thinner the more you farm it since farming families didn’t have enough fertilizer so they must sow in cycles. 

Sow for a year then leave it for half a year to let the earth recover itself. 

They found a flat land to build grass huts, using mud and hay to reinforce the walls which could be dried in one to two days. At night they slept on hay, 40 men squeezing in together. In this way the cold would not be felt. 

Food was prepared by Lin Yuan and was carried with them when they left for his land. 

There were coarse grains and fine grains but they usually ate the coarse grains. The fine grains were eaten every three days. If one was still hungry then it was combined with coarse grains. 

“Compared to before it is much better.” A man held a bowl of porridge which was rather thin but at leaat there was white rice. He drank it carefully, sighing in satisfaction, “before there was no white porridge, only bran.” 

The person next to him was eating a bun: “Drink it quickly, my bowl is already finished.” 

The man ignor6es him, patting the earth: “Tomorrow is the beginning of harvesting. Boss truly said 50% of harvest?” 

Yang Zi’an came out from the grass hut, blowing warm air into his palms: “Boss said it, I expext he also dare not lie to us.” 

The man nodded: “Right, we have so many of us, even if he were to lie then he must think it over.” 

There was also a youngster eating buns with their porridge nearby, saying with hope: “I don’t have excessive hope for receiving that many grains, just looking forward to eating my fill everyday. Being tired is nothing, in the past at my old home the boss only gives 20% to us and we must farm on an empty stomach.” 

“My mama saved her portion for me and my brothers, she then starved to death.” 

“After mama died, dad fell and broke his leg in the mountains, with no money to buy medicine, he also died.” 

The man sighed: “Who doesn’t have a similar past.” 

Everyone had a painful past, saying it aloud, were they competing on who was more miserable? 

The youngster smiled at the man: “As long as everyday I can eat fully.” 

Yang Zi’an took up a hoe and farmed along with his men. He was born in a family that worked the land and also undertook academic studies so he recognized some words as well as farming. He never spoke of his past to anyone though. 

His family in his old hometown was a wealthy family but they didn’t have tenant farmers. The land was farmed by his family’s servants instead. 

Later, a group of bandits passed by. Yang Zi’an at the time was at his friend’s place in the neighboring town. When he came back he found himself to be orphaned and his home destroyed. 

His whole family had been massacred, even his two year old baby brother did not escape. 

Even now he wanted revenge, but what could he use for revenge? Have these guys go fight for their lives with those bandits? 

He could ignore his own life and death but what rigjt did he have to request the same of his men who were like friends to him? 

Over time, the idea of revenge buried itself deep in his heart. He never said anything nor did he bring it up. 

Just as they finished breakfast and prepared to work, a group of people could be seen heading towards their direction. 

Yang Zi’an: “Don’t be anxious! Take your hoes! Pick up anything heavy!” 

If these were bandits, then they must prepare to fight, at least they should have weapons on hand. 

The crowd moved in closer. Only then did Yang Zi’an discover Li Congrong at the head of the crowd. 

“All of you put down the weapons, it is brother Dao.” Yang Zi’an shouted out. 

 Hearing this the people at his side then put down the heavy objects they planned to use as weapons. 

Brother Dao arrived first, behind him followed a group of artisans in tight sleeved shirts. And behind the artisans were refugees barely covered qith rags for clothes, all of them malnourished and shivering in the cold. Their faces showed their uncertainty and loss of what to do. 

Yesterday morning, a tall muscular man arrived suddenly, saying that he had work for them, a meal for a day’s work. Hearing this, they arrived since they had nothing else to lose. The most was wealthy families tricking them to become family servants with a slave contract. But being a servant was better than the days they were currently living. 

So long as they didn’t starve then doing anything was fine.  

“These people are here to build a house.” Brother Dao said, “both farming and building will not be affected.” 

Yang Zi’an looked at the refugees: “And you are here to supervise them?” 

Brother Dao grinned, showing white teeth: “Can’t leave them alone. With no strength they’ll listen, with strength and food in their bellies who knows.” 

Yang Zi’an: “That is the truth.” 

Brother Dao suddenly shifted closer, whispering: “I brought a roasted chicken and some wine. We can enjoy a cuppa later.” 

Yang Zi’an heard roasted chicken and couldn’t help swallowing profusely. He was already craving it, he couldn’t remember the last time he tasted roasted chicken. 

These years, don’t even mention meat, he ate whatever was at hand, even tree bark and grass roots. 

When fleeing, a lot of people ate the wrong thing and slowly their bodies became unwell. That he had lived till now was fortunate. 

At the moment, the artisans had the refugees first build grass huts, next to the ones already built by Yang Zi’an’s men. Although artisans did not have high status but they were still respected for having true skills. Even the grass huts they built were better than the huts Yang Zi’an and his men built. 

Yang Zi’an was pulled away by brother Dao to eat roast chicken. 

With a cup of wine and a chicken leg, brother Dao ssid with a wide smile: “Gege found you two younger brothers.” 

Yang Zi’an: “…..” 

Back then, he was tricked into swearing brotherhood with brother Dao. He guessed those two unlucky fellows had a similar experience as he did. 

Brother Dao: “You know them as well, one is Jiang Gui and the other is Lin Yuan. Later when you see them, you must call them third brother and fourth brother, don’t forget.” 

Yang Zi’an took a bite of chicken leg, thinking privately, based on Li Congrong’s hobby, he estimated that he would have a fifth brother, sixth brother, seventh brother, eigth brother before long. Maybe even a eightieth brother. 

Forget it, there was roast chicken to eat, it was better not to think of worrisome thoughts. 

If everytime brother Dao swore brotherhood there was chicken to eat, then this business was still acceptable. 

AN: Yang Zi’an: “This fellow just likes to swear brotherhood all over the place, I, Yang Zi’an will rather starve to death, or jump to my death than admit that I have N numbers of little brothers.” 

Li Congrong: “Come, have a piece of chicken.” 

Yang Zi’an: “Zhen xiang.” (TN: literally translates to ‘truly savory’. It is a popular phrase used in Chinese internet language that is used to describe slapping your own face, or going back on your own words. It came from a movie where the MC goes to the countryside but all he wants is to go back to the city and claims he will rather die and jump to death than eat the food there. Several hours later he eats the food and says “Zhen xiang.” LOL)

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