The morning sun had dyed the pond pink, and the ducklings jumped into the water, swimming happily and thrashed around occasionally to catch fish to eat.

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“Sis, when will the ducks lay their eggs?”

“It’ll take three to four months, and the eggs will probably be laid by autumn.”

They couldn’t just wait for them to lay eggs and sell them for money if it took that long for the ducks to lay eggs.

On the banks of the ponds, there were a variety of weeds and herbs.
They were very common, but people didn’t know they had medicinal properties.

Mo Yan pointed each herb out to her sister.
Aside from dandelions, there were chinese foxgloves, which children often sniffed because of its sweet scent.
While muskrat root often grew on the banks of the pond.

“These can actually be sold for money?” Mo Ling still couldn’t quite believe that these commonplace weeds could actually be sold for money.

The two of them searched along the banks of the pond and filled their containers in no time.
They’d sort the herbs when they got home.

Mo Ling carried the herbs home and put them in the courtyard so Mrs.
Liang could sort and dry them while they continued foraging.

It was noon, and Mo Ling was worried that her sister would get a heat stroke again, so she asked her to go and rest under the willow tree.
But Mo Yan wiped the beads of sweat from her forehead with her sleeve and said, “I sweated today, so I won’t get a heat stroke.
Cao also said that I should exercise more and my body will get better, so I’ll run around the pond every morning from now on.”

“If you can become healthier just by exercising, that’s a good thing.”

The two of them kept their heads down and looked for herbs, and before they knew it they were on the other side of the pond.
As she heard something, Mo Yan straightened up and ran towards the shore to check it out.
Immediately beside the pond was a home with three rooms and no outer wall.

A young man in a white silk robes was practising in the courtyard.
He was holding a wooden stave instead of a weapon, and it wasn’t clear what weapon he was training to use.
As the young man turned around, Mo Yan saw that it was none other than Lu Junming.

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“Lu Junming!” she called out.

Lu Junming stopped.
When he saw Mo Yan standing by the pond, he ran over with a smile, “Yan’er, sister Mo Ling, what are you doing here?”

Mo Ling started to berate her sister, “Yan’er, why are you calling him by his first name? That’s impolite! You should call him young Mr.

Lu Junming waved his hand, “It’s fine.
Aren’t names meant to be used? In any case, I’m being impolite for calling you ‘sister’.”

Mo Yan held up her herb basket, “We’re gathering medicinal herbs!”

Mo Ling tugged at her sleeve, and Mo Yan lowered her voice before repeating her words to Lu Junming, “We’re gathering medicinal herbs.”

“That’s not a crime, so why are you being so secretive?” He was in an unusually good mood today.

An unfamiliar voice spoke, “Ms.
Mo Ling, Yan’er, it’s very hot today.
Why don’t you come over and sit for a while? I’ve just made tea.”

Only then did Mo Yan see an old man in a black robe standing under the tree in the courtyard.
The old man wasn’t very tall, and had a lean body and a foot-long white beard.

Seeing the old man’s face, Mo Yan’s heart shook.
He was healthy and energetic, but one of his eyes was milky and unseeing.

Lu Junming said, “Look at how hot it is! Why not come over to cool off?”

Mo Yan looked at her sister pleadingly as her sister nodded.
She put away the herbs and the sickle in her hands into her backpack, “Let’s go.
I’ve never been to Sir Lu’s courtyard!”

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The courtyard was clean, and there were neither poultry nor farming implements in sight.
It seemed like they weren’t farmers.

Lu Junming ran into the house and brought out two small stools and placed them under the tree, which they sat on.
Under the tree was also a tea table and a reclining chair.
Sir Lu sat down on it and poured tea for them.

When she sat down, she heard birds chirping overhead and looked up to see a bird cage with a barley bird inside hanging from the tree.

If they could afford to keep a bird, the Lu family must be well-off.

Mo Yan took a sip of the tea.
She couldn’t name it, but it tasted really good.

Her eyes glanced at the hand she was holding the teacup with.
It was covered in dirt and grime, and her flesh couldn’t even be seen.

Lu Junming also noticed and hurriedly went to bring a basin of water and clean towels so the two could wash their hands.

As she drank her tea, Mo Yan couldn’t help but secretly glance at Sir Lu.
Her intuition told her that this old man must’ve experienced a lot in his life.

Sir Lu noticed she kept looking at him and said with a smile, “Does my blind eye scare you?”

Mo Yan shook her head repeatedly, “No, I was just thinking that you must have a lot of stories to tell!”

Sir Lu laughed, “I’ve heard Ming’er say that you’re a good storyteller before.”

“I love listening to stories too!” Mo Yan smiled sweetly.

Sir Lu sighed softly, “But what happened to me wasn’t a story.
It was a disaster, and it was bone-deep pain.
I had three sons, but now only Ming’er’s father is left.
The other two died on the battlefield, and not even their corpses were recovered.”

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Mu Yan looked at Lu Junming, “Will you have to go to war too?”

Lu Junming nodded, “It’s possible! If a military decree arrives, I’ll have to go to war.” [3]

Military families are households where family members have joined the army every generation for a long time.
If a military decree arrived, they had no choice but to go.

When he said that, the smile on Sir Lu’s face disappeared.
The thought that his grandson would have to go to war in the future made his heart ache.

Lu Junming picked up the teapot and poured tea for his grandpa, “Grandpa, the world is currently at peace and there are no wars to fight.
I’ll stay with you here and pass my days without any stress.”

Sir Lu regained his smile, “That’s good.
Us soldiers live life day by day.
There’s no need to think so far ahead.”

After resting for a while, Mo Ling called for Mo Yan to leave, and while Sir Lu stood up to see them off, Lu Junming followed them to the pond.

“Yan’er, tell me which ones you need.
I’ll help you gather them.”

“There’s no need.
I’m afraid of sullying your hands, young Mr.

Lu Junming spread out his hands for her to see, “Do you think I’m as weak as Cao Zhang? I’m a martial artist.”

Mo Yan looked at his hands, which had large palms and calluses from practising martial arts.
She could clearly see that he exerted himself a lot.

“What weapon do you train with?”

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“A spear, the king of weapons.
It’s a pity that I left in a hurry and didn’t bring it with me, otherwise I would’ve shown you.”

In her head, Mo Yan imagined a young general wearing armour, riding a warhorse and wielding a spear.
But when she thought of the carnage of war, her heart was inexplicably sour.

Lu Junming had never done this before.
He plucked handfuls of grass haphazardly and put them into Mo Yan’s basket, while continuously asking if it was enough.

The white silk robe he was wearing was already incredibly dirty.

“That’s enough, you should go back! Your clothes are all dirty.”

Lu Junming dusted his clothes with his dirty hands as he said, “Don’t worry, Aunt Zhang will wash them for me.”

The Lu family was held in high esteem, which was why the people in the village called Lu Junming’s grandfather Sir.
They had to refer to who he called ‘Aunt Zhang’ as Mrs.
Mu Ling asked, “Mrs.
Zhang? You mean the one who lives directly across from us?”

“Yes, she comes over daily to cook for us and wash our clothes, and only charges us five taels a month.”

Five taels a month was enough for their entire family’s household expenses.

Even though Mrs.
Zhang lived across the street, Mo Ling had never heard Mrs.
Liang talk about this! She was outclassed by Mrs.
Liang when it came to cooking, cleaning and washing! So why would Sir Lu hire her for this kind of work?

Post-edit notes: If you really like the story, please click on one of the icons below or leave a comment? I’d really appreciate it.
Also, there’s a new…person working on the chappies sporadically, called Wimpy! That’s short for ‘Wimpy, Unreliable and Whimsical’, and that’s actually their discord username so I’m not making things up.
[1] This must be a really large pond then I guess.
[2] Of course they aren’t, they’re a military family remember?
[3] A military decree is a decree that orders someone to join the military.
That’s it.

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