When the brother and sister pair entered the courtyard, Zhang Cuilan and her daughter had just finished eating breakfast and cleaning up. Zhang Cuilan was busily making clothes for her daughter when she saw Su Tang and her brother coming, so she stood up and went over to salute. “This servant greets the young miss, the young master.”
Although the little guy seemed a little uncomfortable when suddenly someone acted so respectful to him, after a moment he deliberately put on a serious face and said, “En, my sister works very hard every day. You two should help my sister well so she doesn’t have to work so hard anymore. If you do, I’ll give you a reward.”
On the side, Su Tang wanted to laugh. Ever since she had started making money, she had been giving the little guy 20 copper coins a month as pocket money. She had told him he could spend the money on whatever he wanted and she wouldn’t care about it but, until now, he had never spent any of it. Instead, he just slowly stockpiled the money, not even buying simple things kids would usually like, like snacks.
Eventually, Su Tang had asked the little guy why he just saved all of his money instead of spending it, and he had told her that by saving his money, if anything came up in the future, he would be able to help the family. When she heard that answer Su Tang could only lament that the children of poor families really did grow up very fast.
However, she also didn’t go out of her way to try teach him that he ‘should’ spend his money. After all, whether he saved or spent his money it would be a sort of learning experience in managing funds for Su Nuo either way. As long as he wasn’t committing any crimes, there wasn’t really a right or wrong for this sort of thing, so Su Tang was content to just let him do as he pleased. She only wanted to grasp the general direction of his education, not try to micromanage him.
Although Su Nuo still couldn’t have meat every day, he was at least getting enough food to eat. He wasn’t as skinny as he used to be, and his face had rounded out to the point that he looked particularly cute when he spoke ‘seriously’ by trying to imitate the way adults spoke.
Zhang Cuilan was also a mother, so when she heard the cute little guy’s serious words, she was briefly stunned, before quickly replying with equal seriousness, “This servant has heard the young master’s instructions. I will definitely help the young miss in the future.”
“This servant understands as well. This servant can also work. I’m sure I will also be able to help the young miss.” Zhang Cuilan’s daughter quickly echoed her mother.
When he saw them both agree, Su Nuo nodded seriously like a small adult. “En, then, in the future, I’ll reward you if you do good work. I’m a man of my word.”
“Understood!” Zhang Cuilan smiled and nodded along.
Once their little exchange was finished, Su Tang introduced the two to the little guy, “These two are the servants your sister bought. This is Ms. Lan, and this is her daughter…”
At this point, Su Tang remembered Zhang Cuilan’s daughter’s name and said, “Dani’s name is no good. Let’s change it to Baohe!”
Generally speaking, when a person sold themselves and became a slave, their master had the right to change their name. When the little girl heard the name Su Tang bestowed, she was very happy and said, “Thank you, young miss. In the future, this servant will be called Baohe.”
When Zhang Cuilan heard Su Tang change her daughter’s name, her eyes flashed with a trace of sadness, but she firmly pressed it down. Even though she had been sold as a slave, she was still alive and had something to eat every day, which was much better than being beaten and scolded by her husband like in the past.
Also, her new master had bought them new cloth to make into clothes for her and her daughter and also given them plenty of food to eat. Zhang Cuilan had come from a poor family, so this much was already a blessing. Most importantly, she hadn’t ended up separated from her daughter, so she felt satisfied no matter what.
After that, Su Tang took Su Nuo into the main room and Zhang Cuilan hurriedly instructed her daughter to boil water for the brother and sister pair before following the two of them through the door. “Young Miss, yesterday this servant bought went and bought the things you instructed. The rapeseed oil was ten copper coins per jin, peanut oil and sesame oil were eleven copper coins per jin, the pig fat was twelve copper coins per jin, and this servant bought six jin of pig fat that was refined into five jin of lard.
“I went to the carpenter and the buckets cost thirty copper coins each, and this servant bought two as instructed. After that, I bought two pieces of coarse cloth to be made into clothes, which cost twenty-five copper coins.”
“Because there was no needle and thread at home, this servant took the liberty of buying some for five copper coins, and then spent another twenty copper coins on grain and vegetables.”
“Actually, buying food from town isn’t cheap. This servant looked around the courtyard and found that there is an untended garden. I think that we could save money if I were allowed to plant some of our own food for next spring.”
Zhang Cuilan neatly and concisely reported on the completion of the task she had been assigned the day before.