The old woman raised her head and saw Mo Yan, smiling, “Yan’er, are you going to school and listening to the teacher?”

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To school? She could even go to school? Why hadn’t her sister mentioned that?

Then, a taller old woman walked out from the northern room and glared at Mo Yan, “Listening to the teacher? Don’t you mean eavesdropping on the lessons? How could she go to school?”

So she didn’t actually go to school.
That was expected; after all, there was no way Mrs.
Liang would ever foot the bill to send her to school.

The old woman living in the northern room had a large and long face.
She always looked ill-tempered and her words were scathing, so she looked more like the old woman Mo Ling was talking about.

The old woman living in the southern room couldn’t compare to the one living in the north when it came to her clothing or how she carried herself.
However, she was very kind and always had a smile on her face.
She was Mo Yan’s second grandma.

Mo Yan’s second grandma hadn’t given birth, so when Mo Yan’s grandpa was still alive, he made the decision to give his second son Mo Zhelin to her to raise.
He was Mo Yan’s second uncle.
Mo Zhelin inherited his second grandpa’s business, and now ran a small clothing business in Yi City.

He had thought of bringing Mo Yan’s second grandma to Yi City with him, but she refused.
After all, he wasn’t her biological son.

Second uncle would periodically send money to her, but she wouldn’t bear to use it and kept living frugally.

The old woman living in the northern house resented her for ‘stealing’ her son, so she would constantly make trouble for her.
Mo Yan’s second grandma thought she was in the wrong as well, so she did nothing about it.

Mo Yan smiled towards her second grandma and said, “Second grandma, I’m going now.”

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Second grandma waved at Mo Yan while chuckling, “Goodbye! I’ll take you to the pond to make clay birds in the afternoon, the kind you can blow in and make a sound.”

The old woman glared at second grandma viciously, “A girl, playing with clay? What are you trying to teach her?”

She ignored the old woman and returned to her room.

Mo Yan left and followed the main road to Chenzhong Village.

She didn’t know where the school was, but she hoped she could find it by slowly searching along the main road.
On the way, someone called her name, and she nodded and smiled.
Mo Yan didn’t know what they were called, so decided to just do that to be safe.
Thankfully, they were busy working and didn’t notice her.

Soon, she saw a youth with a backpack walking hurriedly.
He was probably going to the school, so Mo Yan followed him.

She didn’t walk far before seeing two buildings with azure roofs, which didn’t look like all the buildings she’d seen so far.
The youth with the backpack walked over there, so that was probably the school.

Just outside the two houses was a large acacia tree, and the leaves covered up half the sky.
The flowers on the tree were blossoming, and they could be smelled from far away.

There was a well-dressed young man standing outside.
The youth with the backpack bowed to him when he approached, calling him “Mr.
So he was the teacher? He looked so young!

Mo Yan nodded at Mr.
Tian from afar, and he returned the gesture.

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When all the students had arrived, Mr.
Tian started teaching.
Mo Yan secretly listened from the window.

Tian said, “Today, we’ll be talking about the importance of agriculture.”

Mo Yan knew everything he was talking about already, so her mind started to wander.

Tian asked, “All of you here are the sons of farmers, and none of you are wealthy.
Can you tell me, what’s the reason you’ve paid the tuition to go study here?”

Two students raised their hands to answer, and he asked a student called Cao Zhang to answer.

A fair-looking thirteen or fourteen-year-old stood up to say, “Out of the four castes, the farmers are the second highest caste.
This showed that all kings had historically put agriculture in high regard.
The reason we’re studying here is twofold; firstly, we want to help our country, and secondly, we want to be educated so farmers can get the respect they deserve.” [3]

Because it was in the middle of summer, the school’s windows were fairly transparent, so Mo Yan could see Cao Zhang’s face.
He was around the same age as Mo Feng, but he had a dignified and elegant temperament, and looked more like what she thought a scholar should be like.

Tian nodded his head, “Cao Zhang’s correct.
However, the important part of education is to both possess knowledge and wisdom.
If you know all the knowledge in the world, but don’t have a lick of common sense, it’s impossible for you to repay the country.”

Mo Yan scanned the classroom, but couldn’t see Mo Feng.
She didn’t know if he had been listening, or if he understood what the teacher was talking about.

It was break time.
The students went outside for a walk, to have a chat or go to the toilet.
Mo Feng also exited the classroom, saw Mo Yan and turned his cheek.

Another person called Mo Yan again, and she smiled and nodded her head again.
The youth called Cao Zhang walked out last.
He didn’t call Mo Yan’s name, and just nodded at her.
Mo Yan nodded back.

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Everyone here was male except for Mo Yan.
As the only female there, Mo Yan was a bit uncomfortable staying there, so she quickly left.

On the road home, she saw a horse dragging a cart filled with wheat passing through.
They had no livestock or carts, so all the harvested wheat must’ve been transported by her mother and sister.

When she thought of her sister, who wasn’t much taller than her, and her mother, who had a persistent cough, had to do that much heavy labour, Mo Yan couldn’t help but feel guilty about the half-bowl of porridge she had every meal.

Right now, the most important thing is to earn money.
If possible, she’d like to buy an animal like an ox, and if they had even more money, extra land.
As farmers, they could only live good lives with enough land.

It was useless even if she went to the school every day; after all, it wouldn’t change anything if she knew a few more words.
Additionally, Mo Yan was probably the most knowledgeable person in the village right now, so there was no need for her to go.

When she arrived back home, neither Mo Ling nor Mrs.
Liang was at home, so she started cooking lunch by copying what they cooked for the previous two meals.
Then, as her home was currently empty, she decided to search the house and learn more about her new family.

Mo Yan opened Mrs.
Liang’s wardrobe.
Inside were a few sets of everyday wear, but they had been cleaned thoroughly and folded neatly.

In the corner of the wardrobe was a small wooden box, and inside it was a contract for the two acres of land they had.
There was also a document, claiming that Mrs.
Liang and to give Mo Zhenian’s mother Mrs.
Ho at least two thousand taels, 50 kg of wheat and 50kg of other foodstuffs every year.

There was also a small cloth bag inside.
Inside was a pair of silver bracelets, a silver pendant and some silver bells.
There were a total of twelve silver bells, and each of them had a different animal of the zodiac engraved on it.
Mo Yan didn’t know what they were used for.

Mo Yan weighed the bag in her hand and guessed it was about a quarter of a kilogram.
She didn’t know how much that was here, and whether or not it’d be enough to buy an ox.

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These were probably the most valuable items in their entire home.
There was no way Mo Yan’s dad gave these to her mum to sell, so this was likely Mrs.
Liang’s dowry.

While eating lunch, Mo Yan asked Mo Ling, “Sis, would you dare to handle an ox?”

Mo Ling nodded and replied, “Of course, but there’s no way we could afford one…”

“How much does one cost?”

“Well, someone in the village just sold an ox for a kilogram of silver.
That price would be costlier for a horse and cheaper for a donkey.”

Mo Yan fell silent.
The difference between a kilogram of silver and a quarter of a kilogram was just too vast.
Not to mention that silver was probably her mum’s dowry, so there was no way she’d be willing to sell it.

After lunch, Mo Yan’s second grandma took her to the pond to make the clay birds she was talking about this morning.
Mo Yan didn’t have much interest in that, but decided to follow her anyway.

Post-edit notes: Mo Yan’s second grandma seems to be a very nice lady.
[1] I’m pretty sure girls couldn’t go to school in Ancient China, period.
[2] There are two of them now?!
[3] Keep an eye on this guy, he might be important in the future.
Or maybe not.
[4] If only the author said the old woman’s name was ‘Mrs.
Ho’ earlier…

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