All the radishes and apples were strangely even in size and they seemed to give off a faint fragrance. Su Nuo looked over at Su Tang and said. “Sister, look, the River God has given us a reward.”
Su Tang nodded. “In a while we’ll go up the mountain together. When we come back, we can tell people that they are all things that we picked from the mountain, and then we’ll go into town to sell them.”
Right now, the space’s farm was only level three. She had taken a look at a few things that could be planted and saw that they basically could all be sold directly, even by poor children. That was to say, radishes or apples were both relatively common things. Though they wouldn’t sell too high, at least it was easy to make an excuse explaining where they came from.
Su Tang wanted to sell these first to make some money and then wait a few days for the space’s farm to reach level five, then unlock the processing plant and see what the processing plant had so she could see what the best next step was to make money.
She knew she couldn’t always take things out from the space’s farm like this. The things from the space were all generally the same size and shape. It was okay to take them out once in a while but if she kept taking them out she knew she would end up attracting people’s attention. She needed to be very careful.
Sujia Village was close to the Qing River, but it was also close to a mountain. Near Sujia Village was the steep Black Bear Mountain*. Because the Qing River flowed down the Black Bear Mountain it’s current was particularly fast near the village, so even the old veteran fisherman would sometimes fall into danger on the river.
The Black Bear Mountain was rich in resources so there were many people in Sujia Village who lived on the game and other things they gathered from the mountain. The mountain had no owner so the villagers nearby were free to harvest what they could.
But the Black Bear Mountain was steep and craggy so most of the villagers did not dare to go very deep into the mountain. Because of the danger many villagers simply did not know what was or wasn’t on the mountain. So, using the mountain as an excuse, Su Tang could explain away almost anything she brought out from her space, even though they looked as if they had been copied and pasted, which was a little strange.
In the past, Su Nuo and his two friends would sometimes go up the mountain and occasionally they would find the eggs of wild birds or pick some wild fruits. One time they even hunted back a duck. So when Su Nuo heard his sister say that, he immediately understood her intentions and said, “OK.”
The River God would never tell anyone else that the food had really come from him so no one would have any reason to doubt. Su Tang patted his head and gave him a gentle smile. Then the sister and brother pair washed their faces and then brushed their teeth using the spring water from the space.
After that, the siblings went out together carrying bamboo baskets. On the path outside, they happened to see Su Yongshun walking toward them with his wife Madam Qin. They were both carrying bamboo baskets and also some small bags of grain. The two seemed to be surprised to see the two siblings on the path. “Are Tang’er and Little Brother Nuo** going out?”
When Su Tang had held the funeral for Su Laochuan yesterday they had gotten to know some of the other members of the Su family. So now, when she saw Su Yongshun and Madam Qin, she smiled and said, “Why did Elder Brother Yongshun and sister-in-law come here? As you know, now that Xiao Nuo and I live alone we can’t just do nothing all the time so right now we are planning to go up the mountain and see if we can pick some fruits or something. Maybe we can make some money selling whatever we find in town.”
Su Yongshun and Madam Qin had received a lot of help from Su Laochuan when he was still alive, so their family felt very grateful to Su Laochaun’s family. That was why Su Fu’an and Su Fuhua had worked so hard to get the siblings adopted into Su Laochuan’s household in the first place. But they also knew that the sister and brother pair were still young, which was why they had come over this morning to bring them something to eat.
Both Su Yongqiang and Su Yongshun thought that the siblings would be coming to their respective families for help while they got settled in. They didn’t expect at all that, on the very first day after they seperated, Su Tang was already planning to take her brother to find a way to make a living.
Su Yongshun and Madam Qin looked the siblings, who had been on their own for one night, up and down. The clothes Su Tang and her brother were wearing had been washed in the spring water yesterday so now they looked very clean and Su Nuo’s hair was tied into a neat bun behind his head.
On the other hand, Su Tang’s hair had been braided on both sides and then wrapped into two buns. She had a pair of small white mourning flowers in her hair to show her filial piety and overall she looked very neat and clean. She seemed completely different from the time when she was living in Su Yonggui’s family. Instead of a ragged beggar, she now looked like the child of a poor family who was careful to keep herself clean.
When they saw the siblings looking like this, they both felt very comforted in their hearts. After all, these two were children from their village so they had some fondness for them just because of that. But who would have expected the relatives of these small children were so cruel? Now, it seemed that if these two were willing to work hard, they would be able to start living better lives.
“Yesterday we had no free time so we didn’t come over. But today, your sister-in-law and I wanted to come and see you. This is for the both of you.” Su Yongshun and Madam Qin tried to give Su Tang what they were carrying.
“Brother Yongshun and sister-in-law also have their own children to raise, we can’t accept this. Brother Yongqiang already gave us a lot yesterday, enough for us to eat for a few days. By then we will find a way to make money on our own. We are representing our parents now, so how can we always live on charity?”
Su Tang knew that Su Yongshun and Madam Qin were doing this out of the kindness of their hearts but she didn’t want to take advantage of them. She had the ability to make money and did not need to rely on others to make her living so, ultimately, she really did not need their help.
Su Yongshun and Madam Qin looked unhappy at her refusal. “You don’t need to be so polite with your brother and your sister-in-law. My family received a lot of help back when your parents still were around, and our two families will keep getting along in the future.”
As he spoke, he pushed everything in his hands to Su Tang.
When she saw that they were so determined, Su Tang was too embarrassed to refuse any further. She just thought secretly to herself that she would return the favor in the future. Moreover, even if she and her brother were considered to be their own family now, they would still have to live in Sujia Village and interact with the other villagers in the future.
After she sent Su Yongshun and Madam Qin away, Su Tang took her brother up the mountain. The two of them didn’t go too deep, and after walking around for a while, they hurried down the mountain and rushed to Qinghe Town, which was the closest town to Sujia Village.
While Su Tang was on the road she put the radishes and apples into the space to temporarily lighten their burden. After walking with the empty baskets for more than half an hour, they could finally see Qinghe Town.
Originally, Su Tang had thought that maybe they wouldn’t be able to walk all the way to town because, after all, Su Nuo was still so young. But what she didn’t realize was that Su Dani and Su Dalang often did hard labor all day when they were living with Su Yonggui’s family. Back then Su Nuo had the strength to run up the mountain all day with his friends even when he wasn’t getting enough to eat. So now that he had a full stomach, it was nothing much for him to walk to Qinghe Town.
Qinghe Town was not very big, there were only a total of two intersecting streets. Today the siblings had arrived too late to beat the crowd. When they arrived, all the farmers from nearby had already set up their stalls selling various things like eggs, common vegetables, and so on.
As soon as Su Tang saw the situation she pulled Su Nuo to an empty space and set the bamboo basket on her shoulder on the ground in front of them. At the same time she secretly put the things back into the baskets so they when they pulled off the cover, apples and radishes were revealed inside.
“Selling apples, sweet and delicious apples, and crispy radishes. Go back to make them into dumplings and stew! They’re all delicious!”
*‘黑瞎子山’ I’m not sure whether to leave this as Heixiazi Mountain or call it Black Bear Mountain. I think I like the latter better…
**they call him ‘糯哥儿’ aka Nuo ge er – which is like nuo brother [diminutive honorific] and I don’t really know how to properly translate it