The freshly cooked steamed cake was even more fragrant than the ones that the twins brought out.
The second batch was sold out completely, and it was wrapped in leaves that Yu Shanwen had found.  

Qiao Yuan gave one wen each to Yu Shanwen and Yu Shanwu who had done a good job, and Liu Ge’er who had taken care of the chickens today.
Yu Shanwu and Liu Ge’er happily accepted the money, but Yu Shanwen refused to take it.
Qiao Yuan had to say, “This is your wages.
You will bring more leaves to me tomorrow.” 

Yu Shanwen nodded shyly and accepted the money.  

After being busy all morning, Qiao Yuan realized that his “husband” Yu Dameng hadn’t eaten yet, so he prepared some batter and said, “Mom, I’ll make some more and steam it when Dameng and Dad come back!”  

Lin Cuifen saw that Qiao Yuan cared about Yu Dameng, so she had no objections, “Just make whatever you want to eat in the future, you don’t need to ask me.”  

Qiao Yuan obtained the right to use the kitchen, which allowed him to be more relaxed.
He made lunch for a few of them and Lin Cuifen continued to help him in the kitchen.  

“Mom, how do Dad and Dameng eat lunch in the city?”  

“Probably bought some buns or had a bowl of noodles.
They’ll manage.”  

When Qiao Yuan heard this, he immediately thought of Yu Dameng’s astonishing appetite in the morning.
He was probably unable to eat enough even with a rice bucket.
“What does Dameng usually like to eat?”  

Lin Cuifen suddenly laughed, “Among my children, Dameng is the easiest to take care of.
He never picks on his food and is the easiest to feed.
But if you ask what he likes the most, it’s definitely meat!” 

As she spoke, Lin Cuifen let out a long sigh, “But he is also the one we let down the most…”  

Qiao Yuan knew that she was probably referring to the time when Yu Dameng, who was only fourteen years old at the time, was asked to serve in the military.
Although people in ancient times could get married at the age of fifteen or sixteen, Qiao Yuan still thought that fourteen was too young to be serving at the border, especially in such difficult conditions. He didn’t know how Yu Dameng managed to survive for six years.  

He didn’t want to say much about this matter, so he tried to cheer up Lin Cuifen, “Mom, let’s have meat for dinner tonight!” He even showed off the eighteen wen he had just earned and said boldly, “I’ll treat you!”  

Lin Cuifen giggled at his enthusiasm, “You haven’t even warmed up this money yet, how can I let you spend it! Tomorrow I’ll go to Butcher Zhang’s house early and take a look.”  

Butcher Zhang lived in Xianhe Village.
He would kill pigs before dawn and sell them in the town.
However, the weather was too hot, and it was difficult to preserve meat, so he might not kill pigs every day. 

Xianhe Village is a village relatively close to the Yunshui County, which can be reached by walking for half an hour.
However, there is a curfew in the town during the evening1戌时 (xū shí) – dog hour (7-9pm in ancient China), so when Old Man Yu and Yu Dameng were not busy, they usually return home during early evening2酉时 (yǒu shí) – rooster hour (5-7pm in ancient China) and did not need to rush to prepare dinner.  

Qiao Yuan sat under the shed, enjoying the coolness and feeling very relaxed.
There was no modern fast-paced and stressful life pressure.
Before falling asleep, he thought it would be great to have a lounge chair.

On the other side, inside the iron workshop.  

Because Yu Dameng got married, the shop had been closed for several days.
Uncle Li from East Street needed to repair his axe, and Aunt Wang from West Street needed to provide iron pots as dowry for her daughter’s marriage.
They had accumulated a lot of work, and both Old Man Yu and Yu Dameng have been busy all morning.  

At first, these uncles and aunts were intimidated by Yu Dameng’s large size, but after dealing with him for a while, they figured out his temperament.
They found out that he had just married a husband and started teasing him about it. 

“Hey Dameng, how’s your new husband doing?” one of the uncles teased.

“Bring him over to show us next time!” another aunt chimed in. 

“I was planning to introduce my nephew to you, but you got married so quickly!” a third uncle quipped.

Whenever they mentioned his husband, Yu Dameng stuttered, “H-he’s…he’s doing pretty well.” 

‘He just doesn’t like me!’ Yu Dameng thought to himself, feeling wronged.

Dinner was white cabbage vermicelli stewed with lard and soy sauce, which was fragrant even without meat. 

As soon as Old Man Yu and Yu Dameng arrived at the village entrance, they smelled a delicious aroma and wondered which household was stewing such fragrant meat.
However, as they walked towards their own home, the aroma became stronger, and their footsteps unconsciously quickened.  

“Mom, Brother Yuan, Dad and Third Brother are back!”  

The dish was simmering so there was no need to keep watching it at the stove.
When Qiao Yuan heard that Yu Dameng had returned, he immediately brought the newly made steamed cake to him and said, “Quickly taste it!”  

Yu Dameng finished washing his hands, picked up a steamed cake and stuffed it into his mouth, exclaiming, “Delicious!” 

“I even made money with it today!” Qiao Yuan said excitedly, suddenly noticing Old Man Yu behind Yu Dameng.
He awkwardly brought the basket over to him and said, “Dad, you should also eat.”  

Old Man Yu ate a piece of steamed cake and sincerely commented, “It tastes really good.”  

Over there, Liu Ge’er has already started to chatter on and on about how Fourth Brother and Fifth Brother bullied Brother Yuan today, not even letting him see the pigs, and how Brother Yuan showed him love by making him delicious snacks, and finally how they sold everything for money.
Qiao Yuan was in awe of Liu Ge’er’s expressive ability. 

Upon hearing this, Yu Dameng glared fiercely at his twin brothers and slapped both of them.
“Don’t you dare treat my husband like that!”  

Qiao Yuan laughed and enjoyed the show.
It was really nice to have someone to back him up. 

As they chatted, Yu Dameng reached his hand into the basket again.
But Qiao Yuan lightly tapped him and said, “Don’t eat anymore, we’ll be having dinner soon.”  

“Oh.” Yu Dameng awkwardly withdrew his hand.  

Neither of them spoke again.
Qiao Yuan looked up at the sky, which was only slightly blue and scattered with a few clouds.
He could hear the sound of chickens pecking and flapping their wings, mixed with the laughter of children playing.
Sitting beside him was his nominal husband, and Qiao Yuan felt a sense of unreality, as if everything was like a dream.  

“Yuan Ge’er, can this dish be taken off the stove now?”  

Lin Cuifen’s voice brought Qiao Yuan back to reality.
He hurriedly stuffed the basket into Yu Dameng’s hands and went into the kitchen. 

Yu Dameng looked at Qiao Yuan’s busy figure, and then glanced at the steamed cake in his arms that he couldn’t eat anymore, muttering, “It’s really nice to have a husband.

It was still early in the day, but dinner was served in the yard, and the whole family was happy and relaxed.
It was really enjoyable! 

After dinner, Old Man Yu and Lin Cuifen went to the foot of the mountain to gather firewood, while Yu Dameng was busy fetching water back and forth.
Yu Shanwen, Yu Shanwu, and Liu Ge’er went somewhere to play.

In the large courtyard, Qiao Yuan was the only one left.
He had been busy all day and was covered in sweat and grime.
He decided to go to the two suitcases that came with the original body and find some clothes to change. 

But he didn’t expect that the box contained two huge stones.  

In this era, it was important to have a substantial dowry.
When a girl or a ger gets married, they usually have to bring along ironware, kitchen utensils, bedding, shoes, socks, clothes, and other items as part of the dowry.
The more items in the dowry, the more confident they would be in their husband’s family.
Although Qiao Yuan knew that the original body’s aunt would not bring anything valuable as part of the dowry, it was still too cheap to put stones in the box so blatantly.  

Qiao Yuan tried to move the other suitcase to see if it also contained stones, but they were too heavy.
He couldn’t move them alone and had to wait for Yu Dameng to come back and help him. 

The second box was also full of stones stuffed under old clothes, all of which were clothes worn by the original body.
Qiao Yuan picked them up.
All of them were washed until they faded, and were sewn and patched repeatedly.  

It was obvious that the original owner had been living a difficult life for many years.
Qiao Yuan felt a little sad and thought about when to go to the temple to burn incense and pray for the original owner to have a better life in the next reincarnation.  

Yu Dameng just realized what’s going on and quickly said, “I’ll buy you a new one.” 

Qiao Yuan smiled lightly, not doing what he had thought, “Why waste money? I can still wear these.”  

Qiao Yuan was momentarily caught up with confusion as he could not match these individual pieces3 “谁跟谁配一套的” literally means “who goes with whom as a set”, referring to the clothes.  


Yu Dameng stood guard outside the bedroom door.
As soon as he thought of his husband taking a shower inside, his face turned red with embarrassment.
He could hear some noise from the room, and his heart skipped a beat. 

Old Man Yu was at home, and Qiao Yuan couldn’t go out again after taking a shower, so all the clean-up work was done by Yu Dameng.
He was a rough man who considered it done after a quick rinse in the outhouse.  

When Yu Dameng returned to the room, Qiao Yuan was lazily lying on the bed in his undershirt, drying his hair.
His pants and sleeves were rolled up high, and he wished he could just not wear anything.
Yu Dameng’s face turned red, and he looked away and obediently went to make his own bed.  

Qiao Yuan heard some movement, but this time he didn’t invite him to bed again.
He silently pulled down his pants and became reserved.  

It was still early, and Qiao Yuan began chatting with Yu Dameng.  

“I’ve noticed that everyone else in my family speaks without an accent, why do you always like to use ‘an’?”4The word “俺” (ǎn) is a colloquial pronoun commonly used in northern Chinese dialects, particularly in the Shandong and Henan provinces.
It is often translated as “I” or “me,” but it carries a sense of familiarity and informality that is difficult to convey in English.  

Yu Dameng chuckled and said, “Because there’s a person from Zhongzhou in our team, and he talks like this.
So, after spending a long time with him, I started talking like this too.” 

“Where is the border? What does it look like?”  

“It’s in the northwest.
It’s very cold in the winter and windy in the spring and fall ”  

Qiao Yuan continued to ask, “So what did you do at the border?”  

“At first, I helped build city walls and clear land for farming.
Later, when war broke out, I went to the battlefield.
Then, a general noticed that I was skilled at repairing iron tools and let me work exclusively in the weapons workshop.”  

“War?” Qiao Yuan sat up from the bed in one roll.
Based on the information he obtained from his original memories, he speculated that the villagers near Xianhe Village should have enough food and clothing, and occasionally seeing meat and fish should not be a problem.
He naturally assumed that the dynasty should be stable, but he did not expect that there would still be wars.
Even more unexpectedly, he never thought that he would be in the presence of someone who had experienced war firsthand.

Yu Dameng nodded, recalling his anger and dissatisfaction, “The barbarians on the northwest border have been invading for years.
Every year during the harvest season, they would ride their horses to rob us of silver, food, and even women and children.
They are no better than animals!”  

In the era of cold weapons, fighting relied entirely on hand-to-hand combat.
Qiao Yuan felt a chill from the bottom of his heart, and also felt scared for Yu Dameng.  

Yu Dameng saw his expression change and felt regretful for saying something that made Yuan Ge’er afraid.
He quickly reassured, “Two years ago, we already signed a ceasefire treaty with the barbarians.
Now, the world is peaceful, so don’t be afraid.”  

Qiao Yuan continued to ask Yu Dameng some questions and gradually calmed down.
Fortunately, apart from the barbarians on the border, the world was still unified.
If he was to live in the era of the Sixteen Kingdoms5十六国 (shíliù guó) refers to a period in Chinese history (304-439 AD) when the country was divided into sixteen smaller states., where there were constant wars and dynasties frequently changed hands, he would really be in trouble.  

The two chatted for a while longer, gradually their voices faded away, and they entered dreamland. 

Posted a new chapter because I tested positive and I feel bored during isolation.
I will still post a new chapter on Monday.
Let me know if you find any error.

If you like my translation, a cup of coffee is very much appreciated.
I will post a bonus chapter for every five kofis received.
Thank you!


1戌时 (xū shí) – dog hour (7-9pm in ancient China)2酉时 (yǒu shí) – rooster hour (5-7pm in ancient China)3 “谁跟谁配一套的” literally means “who goes with whom as a set”, referring to the clothes4The word “俺” (ǎn) is a colloquial pronoun commonly used in northern Chinese dialects, particularly in the Shandong and Henan provinces.
It is often translated as “I” or “me,” but it carries a sense of familiarity and informality that is difficult to convey in English.5十六国 (shíliù guó) refers to a period in Chinese history (304-439 AD) when the country was divided into sixteen smaller states.

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