Chapter 71.2 – Honorarium (Gift as Thanks)
When Liu Fei Hong died, his seat as the prefectural magistrate of Hong Province was left empty. This was a very lucrative and cushy job. Every year, many subordinates would present gifts to him as a sign of respect. The combined wealth of the gifts was too high to count. When Liu Fei Hong was still the prefectural magistrate, he once took some of this wealth to honor Zhang Sun Cheng De. Because they* found out in time, they were able to destroy the evidence in advance.
[*T/N: the prime minister’s group]
Now that the position of prefectural magistrate was empty, there were at least eight or ten people with their eyes on the seat.
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The vast majority of Fu Wu Tian’s subordinates were military officials, only a few were civil servants. The remaining foundation was not strong enough. They were not qualified to take up the position of prefectural magistrate. He really had to stand his ground against the masses’ opinion and put someone up in that post. At that time, there would be a lot of accusations of misconduct, so he could only choose someone from Jun Zi City.
Fu Wu Tian originally wanted to have An Zi Ran come with him to the county office, but An Zi Ran refused on account of his own busy schedule.
He had no choice but to take Ge Qian An with him, and leave Shao Fei with An Zi Ran.
The An family’s construction project had only just begun.
But there were a dozen workers working together, so their speed was not slow.
When it was lunchtime, the workers all very conscientiously queued up for food. The meal provided by the An family was very sufficient. Everyone received two big steamed buns. They also got fragrant rice and two side dishes – a non-vegetarian dish paired with a vegetable soup. Although there wasn’t much variety, compared to the rest of the families in An Yuan County, this was already considered very plentiful.
Some of the workers were reluctant to eat. Furthermore, at 3 p.m. there was another bowl of soup for them to drink. So many of the workers would save the steamed buns for the children at home to eat. Just eating the rice was enough to fill them up.
In regard to this, An Zi Ran had no input.
Originally, the food was given to them for lunch. If they choose to save some of the food and not eat it, then that was their business. As long as they worked diligently and didn’t make any mishaps due to hunger, then he would not interfere.
Translations by Vanilla Muse
After patrolling the construction area, An Zi Ran went to the fields again.
Two days ago, the farmers had begun to harvest a portion of the matured rice from the fields. Because this year the men all went to work for the An family and only left the womenfolk at home, the harvest time was extended a bit.
Despite this, everyone was still in a good mood.
The amount of rice harvested was the same as before, but this year they got a bit of extra salary from the An family, so their days were getting better. There was even extra money for them to sell meat and buy new clothes.
A woman who was harvesting rice in the field looked up and saw them. She recognized An Zi Ran when he walked in front of her. Her expression of uncertainty suddenly became happy and she quickly came up from the field.
An Zi Ran looked at the woman. It took him a moment to recall that this was the young wife of Zhou Laohan. This eighteen-year-old woman married the thirty-year-old Zhou Laohan. She wasn’t very pretty, but she was very resilient to hardships. Some people said that their marriage was like sticking a fresh flower in a pile of cow dung*, but this woman had a very good reputation in An Yuan County, and she never felt wronged by her husband.
[*T/N: figurative speech for “a terrible shame (as when a lovely woman marries an odious man)”]
After she married Zhou Laohan, she soon gave birth to three children, two sons and one daughter. The sons were twins and just turned two years old this year. A family of five, the children didn’t have enough to eat, but other aspects of life also required quite a lot of money.
Zhou Laohan was working at the construction site that An Zi Ran had just visited. He worked eight hours a day and at noon took an hour off for lunch, giving him enough time to bring the steamed buns back for his children to eat.
His wife was very grateful to An Zi Ran.
If it weren’t for him, this year her children would have to go hungry.
The wife called to An Zi Ran. She asked him to wait as she had something she wanted to give him. Then she turned and ran home. She didn’t make them wait too long. After a short while, she brought back a big bag of things.
“Young Landlord, if it weren’t for you last time, our family’s baby would have to suffer this year. In order to repay you, this is my homemade rice noodles, please accept it. Our family doesn’t have anything good, only this, but all the neighbors say that it is delicious, so I hope the young landlord won’t mind.”
The woman held up the bag of rice noodles with hands rough from work. Her face, weathered by the wind and sun, held a sincere expression of expectation.
An Zi Ran was silent for a while. Then he reached for the bag of rice noodles. “Thank you.”
The woman beamed.
Then the two of them bid farewell to her.
Shao Fei took over the burden of carrying the bag. He hefted it in his hand. It was not light. When he opened the bag to take a look he saw that the rice noodles looked fresh and delicious. His mouth flooded with saliva. He quickly closed up the bag and asked, “Wang fei, just now, why didn’t you refuse?”
“Why should I refuse?” An Zi Ran asked.
Shao Fei went mute.
“All right, let’s go back and eat rice*.”
Shao Fei immediately followed.
[*T/N: AZR did indeed say “rice” 米饭 mi fan and not “rice noodles” 米粉 mi fen in the raw text, but I think it might be a typo.]
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