The next day, Ji Wei set up the booth without bringing Liu Yimian with him. One reason was that the pancake shop’s business is on the right track. Even if Liu Yimian is not around, it will not be too chaotic to maintain. In addition, Liu Yimian was still young, and in Ji Wei’s opinion, it was the age to study. In order not to delay his study, he decided to leave him at home, assigned corresponding tasks, and went out with the cart himself.
Liu Yimian was rarely this free and suddenly didn’t know what to do. He first boiled water and took a bath, then took the clothes that Ji Wei changed yesterday and brought them to the river to wash. After drying them on the clothesline in the backyard, he consciously sat back in the house and took the ten papers that Ji Wei left for him. He took out the first page, prepared the ink, picked up the brush, and wrote the characters.
He wrote very slowly, his mind was full of Ji Wei’s movements when he held his wrist last night. The brush dipped in ink, moving horizontally and vertically, full of energy. A world of difference compared to the ways he wrote.
After Liu Yimian wrote a few words, he stopped to think. He then changed his posture slightly. It took more than half an hour to finish the first Analects of Confucius.
He was not in a hurry to write a second one, but stood by the window, letting the breeze dry the ink. When he looked up, he saw a familiar figure walking toward here.
Liu Yimian frowned, raised his hand, and called, “A Qiu, it’s been a while—”
He thought that the boy was passing by, but he never thought that he had come to see him specifically. When A Qiu stood in front of him, the surprise on Liu Yimian’s face did not subside for a long time.
“Why do you have time to come see me? Your husband is willing to let you come?”
Because the people in the town value their sons, “brothers” are not very popular here. Unless the person has a physical illness, or the family is really poor, and it is difficult to marry a daughter from a good family, everyone is reluctant to find a “brother” who has problems bearing children.
A Qiu is one of the few “brothers” in Changliu Town. Unlike Liu Yimian, who was sold here, he was originally a native of Changliu Town. He was sold by his family to a fisherman living by the river for a tael of silver.
The fisherman was over 30 years old and had been married a few years ago. However, he has a bad temper and often beats his wife. His wife was weak and did not seek medical attention in time from all the beating, so she died not long after. After many years, he couldn’t find anyone willing to marry him again, so he bought A Qiu.
In the first half-year, his temper was relatively mild, and Aqiu often came to see him at home while the original owner was away. In the past year, the fisherman’s temper has become more and more irritable, and it was difficult for Aqiu to come anymore.
Seeing him, Liu Yimian was very happy. He took Aqiu’s hand and brought him to the stool, and said lightly, “Aqiu, I’m so glad you can come.”
A Qiu haven’t seen Liu Yimian for more than a month, he held Liu Yimian’s cheek and looked left and right, and said in surprise, “Mianmian, you look well, you seem to have gained weight too?”
He remembered that Liu Yimian had said that Ji Wei is a ruthless man. When he feels unhappy, he will hit people. He is seldom at home and did not give enough money. So Liu Yimian often went hungry without food. Although he is already fifteen years old, but he looks thin and small, a head shorter than him.
A Qiu has compassion in his heart. Whenever he comes to Ji’s house, he will always bring along some food from the house, and today was no exception.
“I brought you two steamed buns!” A Qiu then remembered that in order to steal the steamed buns from the house without letting the husband know, he wrapped them in oil paper and stuffed them in the neckline. By the time he took it out, the bun was already crushed and deformed.
“It’s a bit crushed, but it’s okay, you can eat it.” He took it for granted that Liu Yimian hadn’t had breakfast, so he excitedly raised the vegetable buns to his mouth, waiting for him to take the buns and devour them as usual.
Liu Yimian took the bun and placed it on the opened oiled paper, but didn’t eat it. He said softly: “A Qiu, I have already eaten breakfast, you should take this bun home. If your husband finds out, you will be scolded again.”
“What did you eat? You never have anything to eat.?” A Qiu was puzzled, thinking that Liu Yimian was being polite to him, “Why are you being polite to me? We are both brothers, how can I not help you?”
“Aqiu, Brother Ji treats me very well lately. For the past two weeks, I have had proper meals every day. Don’t take the risk of stealing from your home to give it to me in the future.” Liu Yimian held Aqiu’s wrist and sincerely looked at him.
“You—” A Qiu withdrew his hand, and after thinking about it, he still couldn’t believe it, “You lied to me.”
He did hear what others say about this, but he just listened to it but didn’t believe it. Ji Wei, whom he learned from Liu Yimian,is not the kind of person who could change for the better.
Now, the person who had been complaining told him that Ji Wei had really changed?
No, it’s not possible.
A Qiu thought to himself, since you don’t want the buns, I’ll take them back.
As he grab the buns from the table, he saw the brush and paper on the table. With a bit of amusement, he asked “He can write? I thought he could only fight.”
Liu Yimian looked back and felt that what A Qiu said was a bit harsh. He opened his eyes wide and looked at him in dissatisfaction, “This is my handwriting, brother Ji’s handwriting is very good-looking. How can you say that, A Qiu? He is really good now!”
In the last few words, Liu Yimian increased his tone.
But A Qiu just chuckled and didn’t take it to heart at all, “Even if you can write, he won’t buy a brush and paper for you to write. Just tell me, where did you get this brush and paper from? Why don’t you tell me the truth?”
Liu Yimian has a warm and soft temperament and has never been angry. But today, after hearing A Qiu’s words, there was a surge of anger in his heart that made his eyes redden.
He said loudly, “Aqiu, you don’t have to believe me, but you can’t slender Brother Ji! He not only gave me meat to eat but also bought me books and taught me to write. He is the best person in the world!”
A Qiu was stunned. He didn’t expect Liu Yimian to be so serious, and was a little embarrassed for a while, “I have said something wrong, don’t take it to heart. This word is so well written…”
But Liu Yimian’s mood did not improve after hearing this.
A Qiuming is illiterate, why is he still perfunctory——
Liu Yimian fell silent, pursed his lips, turned his face away, and refused to look at A Qiu.
“Mianmian, are you really ignoring me?” A Qiu was a little aggrieved and tugged at the corner of Liu Yimian’s clothes.
He knew that Liu Yi was a soft-hearted person.
Sure enough, it didn’t take long for Liu Yimian to relax, “Aqiu, it doesn’t matter what you say so long you don’t say anything bad about Brother Ji, or I’ll ignore you in the future.”
A Qiu nodded and answered sincerely.
Then he sat on the edge, quietly watching Liu Yimian practice calligraphy, and praised him from time to time, the atmosphere was very harmonious.
Seeing that it was almost noon, Liu Yimian hadn’t raised his head from the Book of Poetry, A Qiu was a little worried for him, as he pushed him, he accidentally knocked the book from his hand to the ground.
“I’m sorry, Mianmian, I didn’t mean to.”
Estimated the time, it was almost noon.
Liu Yimian closed the Book, tidy up all the brush, ink, paper, and inkstone, and put them in the cabinet, without occupying the table.
He walked over to A Qiu and said with a bit of alienation: “A Qiu, stay for lunch.”
If it was before, Liu Yimian would hold A Qiu’s arm and invite him with a cheerful smile on his face. But today he was more polite than friendly, but the two of them didn’t care much.
A Qiu didn’t take it seriously and reached out to hold his arm as usual. But Liu Yimian had already walked out of the door, and said as he walked, “Brother Ji will be back in a while, you can meet him.”
Liu Yimian thought to himself, if Aqiu saw Brother Ji, he would believe what he said.
It’s okay to misunderstand him, but it’s not good to misunderstand Brother Ji.
Liu Yimian walked as he thought about it, and his steps became faster and faster.
A Qiu followed behind, beckoning to stop him: “Mianmian, I can’t stay here to eat. If I’m back too late, I’m afraid the husband will get angry—”
“Brother Ji will definitely buy pork today. There is still a rib at home. Or else, I will stew it first.”
Liu Yimian was talking to himself with A Qiu following behind him. A surprised A Qiu asked, “You have such good food at home? It seems that Ji Wei’s business is doing well.”
His food at home can’t even compare to Liu Yimians’, A Qiu couldn’t help but start to feel envious.
A Qiu followed behind Liu Yimian, he originally wanting to say that he would not stay for lunch. But after thinking about it, he changed his mind, wanting to see if what Liu Yimian said was true.
The two walked through the yard, the bread kiln was easy to see as it was on the side of the house. The big structure was square and covered a large area. It was only a few steps away from the well.
“Mianmian, what is that?”
Liu Yimian didn’t look back, “That’s the bread kiln that Brother Ji built yesterday, and the roasted pork belly from it was crispy and fragrant.”
A Qiu was dubious.
Liu Yimian went to the well and took out the rib that was in the well. Walked up to A Qiu and explained the bread kiln to him. Pointing to the hole in the middle of the dome-shaped earthen bag, he said, “Put your food in from here, set the fire below, and you can eat it in just two-quarters of an hour.”
A bread kiln was not something that will normally appear in this era and A Qiu has naturally never seen it. He held on to Liu Yimian and asked many strange questions, but Liu Yimian wasn’t able to answer them, so he asked him to wait for Ji Wei to come back.
When he washed the ribs and cut them into pieces, and marinated them in the pot with the sliced green onions and ginger slices, Ji Wei, who had sold all the pancakes, came back from West Street with a cart.
As soon as he arrived at the door, he habitually shouted: “Mianmian, I’m back!”
Liu Yimian, who was in the room, immediately dropped the rag, poured out a bowl of cold water from the crock, and brought it to Ji Wei, “Brother Ji, your water.”
Ji Weiyi finished the drink, handed the empty bowl to Liu Yimian, reached out, and rubbed his head, “Did you read and write well in the morning?”
“I recited a poem “Zijin” and came across two pages of words.”
“Okay,” Ji Wei took out a jar from the cart, “this is a reward for you.”
“What is this?”
Liu Yimian took the jar, it was heavy, he shook it gently, there was a feeling of something flowing inside it.
“You can open it.” Ji Wei pushed the cart to a recess on the side of the house, it fitted nicely in it. He then bent down and took out another two identical jars from below.
By this time, Liu Yimian had unfastened the lid, and when he saw the milky white liquid inside, he immediately shouted.
“Milk!” Liu Yimian raised the pot excitedly, “Brother Ji, where did you get it?”
“Do you know Zhao lame?”
Liu Yimian nodded, of course, he had heard of Zhao Lame, everybody in town knows him. A bachelor who is over 30 years old, his legs and feet were broken when he fell into a trap when he went up the mountain. He also has a stubborn temper. He raised a large number of sheep, most of them were sold to the city, and the money was definitely good. But he preferred to live in a broken house and refused to move. It’s puzzling.
“I went to him today to buy some goat milk. When I was there, I thought that he would not sell it. As soon as I opened my mouth, guess what he said?”
Liu Yimian shook her head in confusion.
Ji Wei laughed, “He said that I am famous now for selling the pancakes. Since I am here at his place, he asked me to make a few for him to try. If he is satisfied, I can take as much milk as I want.”
“Why would I lie to you? The jar in your hand is for you. Only by drinking milk every day can you grow taller. Look how thin you are now.”
Liu Yimian was stunned, “Every day?”
“Yes, I will do what I say.”
Ji Wei whistled proudly, holding a crockpot in one hand, and just as he turned around, he was startled by A Qiu, who had been at the door for a long time,