Mo Yan’s ducks had grown their flight feathers and could be released into the pond now.
She took the ducks there; the combined weight of twenty ducklings and their duck cages were a bit too much for her, so she dragged them there.

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“Yan’er, be careful not to break the duck cages.”

That was Mo Yan’s second grandma.
She was holding a clay pot to fill pond water into.

She held the clay pot with one hand and helped Mo Yan carry the duck cages with the other, walking to the side of the duck cage.

They put down the duck cages in an area that wasn’t too slippery.
At first, the ducklings were scared to enter the water and quacked loudly, refusing to swim.
They kept flapping their wings and trying to return to the shore.
Mo Yan kept pushing them back into the water, “Swim quick! There’s fish in the water, go and eat them!”

After this back and forth happened several times, the ducks finally took a liking to the water and started playing around in the pond.
After all, nothing can stand before a natural affinity with something!

Mo Yan was worried about the ducklings, so she didn’t take a break under the shade of the willow trees.
Instead, she looked at them from the shore and encouraged them from the shore.
She even clapped her hands while doing so.

“Ducklings, you can do it!”

“Ducks have a natural affinity for swimming.
Do they need to be encouraged?”

Second grandma went back home after getting the pond water, so who’s speaking? Mo Yan looked to the side.
The person speaking was a youth.
He looked familiar, but she couldn’t figure out where she saw him.

The youth spoke, “My name’s Lu Junming.”

No wonder he looked familiar.
So he was the one who was standing on the other side of the pond that day, the one who Mo Yan’s second grandma said was Mr.
Lu’s grandson.

Lu Junming didn’t look bad, but Mo Yan thought his eyes were dull and lacking in spirit, unlike Cao Zhang and his shining eyes.

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She had previously heard her second grandma say he only arrived at Chenzhong Village recently, so the people in the village probably didn’t know him well.
So Mo Yan became braver and she wasn’t afraid of speaking the wrong things and letting something slip.

“Where are you from?” Mo Yan asked.

“Upper Valley.
It’s around a hundred kilometres from here.”

“That’s really far away.
How did you get here?”


Mo Yan’s second grandma had also previously said his dad was a famous general, so he probably had a good upbringing.
You could already tell by his clothes.
Instead of wearing linen clothes, he wore cotton brocade, which was tough and more practical than silk brocade.
Aside from that, the piece of jade on his waist was high-quality and finely carved.
It definitely cost a lot.

On the other hand, she was wearing coarse linen clothes.
Not only did they not look good, they were also incredibly wrinkled.
His family’s servants might actually wear better clothes than her.

“Why are you always around this lake?” Mo Yan asked.

“It’s peaceful here.”

“So does that mean I’m disturbing your peace?”

“This pond isn’t mine.”

Looking at the big-eyed and sharp-tongued girl called Mo Yan, Lu Junming softened a little and a faint smile appeared on his face.

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She continued, “If you come here so often, why don’t you grab a fishing rod and go fishing? It’s a pretty good way to spend time.”

His eyes brightened, “I never thought of that.
There are fish in this pond?”

She nodded.
“Yeah, I’ve seen them before.
But they aren’t very large.”

The next day, Mo Yan came over to check on the ducks and saw Lu Junming again.

He had found a fishing rod and started fishing under the shade.
It might be because he didn’t know how to fish, or maybe there weren’t any big fish in the pond, but he never caught a single fish.

He didn’t speak and just stared at the surface of the water, like something was troubling him.

He was from the city, so he’d probably seen more than most people from the village.
Mon Yan thought, Why don’t I ask him how to make money? [1]

“Lu Junming, do you know any good money-making methods?”

Mo Yan hated calling anyone and everyone Mister, which made a perfectly good honorific become akin to a joke.
Since they weren’t familiar, why not just call him by his name? After all, she wasn’t afraid of him going to the village and telling people she had no manners.

Lu Junming didn’t object to her calling him that either, and later on called her by her name directly as well.

When hearing her question, he couldn’t help but scrunch up his brow, “It’s not going to be easy to use any good money-making methods without any start-up money.
You’d be better off learning a trade.”

A trade? Aside from sewing and embroidery, what trades can girls in this era learn?

“So what should I do?”

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“In the Upper Valley, there are seamstresses who sew and embroider.
There are waitresses in restaurants, who know how to make and serve tea.
There are female workers in all walks of life.
Even if your family has a business, the women can also help manage it.

“What does your family do?”

Lu Junming froze for a second before replying, “My dad’s a minor official in an administrative office.”

Who would believe that! You could tell from his clothes alone.
They weren’t something normal people could afford.
It was obvious his family was well-off, but if he didn’t want to tell her, Mo Yan would pretend she didn’t know.

“If I go to the Upper Valley one day, can I come find you?”

After all, we’re friends,” Lu Junming said warmly.

Mo Yan could see there was something on his mind, but she didn’t want to ask him directly.

“I’ve heard a saying that there is no question in the world that can’t be solved.”

Knowing that she wanted to understand him more, he replied, “So why don’t you tell me a joke and see if you can make me laugh.”

So Mo Yan told him a few jokes.

Lu Junming smiled so much his eyes became slits and his teeth showed.
Looking at his much brighter expression, Mo Yan felt happier as well.
She doesn’t have many friends here and she was afraid to speak to anyone freely.
The only person she could speak her mind to was him.

The days following, she told him more jokes and stories, none of which he had heard of.
They talked and laughed by the shores of the beach.

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Lu Junming didn’t seem like he had as much on his mind anymore, and he joked, “Mo Yan, why not be a storyteller? You’re good at telling stories and you can make money from it.”

Telling stories? Well, if telling a few stories could earn them some money, Mo Ling wouldn’t have to work so hard.
With how weak my body is, it’s not like I can do anything else.

During dinner, Mo Feng said excitedly, “A storyteller’s arrived.
Eat quickly so I can go see him!”

Every year after the harvest, Chenzhong Village would invite a storyteller to tell stories as a way to celebrate.
Everyone sat down on the threshing field and listened to stories.
It was a great way to rest and relax.

Mo Yan turned to look at her sister, who hastily shovelled the food into her mouth while saying, “Yan’er, I’ll go with you.”

After eating dinner, Mo Ling didn’t even clean up and pulled Mo Yan to the threshing field, with little straw mats in her hand.

Mo Yan asked, “Will mum yell at you for just leaving like that?”

Mo Ling smiled, “She can yell all she wants, I can’t hear her at all.”

The threshing field was at the south of the village and wasn’t far away from the Mo family.
By the time they arrived, there were already children finding good spots to listen to the storyteller’s tales.

There were many straw mats on the field.
The two found a good spot and laid their straw mats on the ground.

It was the new moon, but the sky was clear and full of stars.
It made anyone who saw it marvel at its beauty.

Post-edit notes: Sorry for the late update, I was sick with Covid.
I’m recovered now and there will be more updates, don’t worry.
[1] Also, I just realised the italics might’ve looked weird, but they’re just used to denote Mo Yan’s thoughts without writing something like ‘Mo Yan thought’.

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