The Ninth Aunt heard this and glanced at the siblings. The mules had been brought back to Jimin Pharmacy. “Buy your necessary items and as for the others, wait for your grandfather to come back home. You guys can find an opportunity to enter the city again. Let’s go get some meat. We won’t be able to get the good ones if we’re late. Do you guys want to come along?”
Gu Ye and Gu Ming were rather confused about what to buy so they followed the Ninth Aunt and Ninth Uncle. They bought whatever the couple got.
The group arrived at the butcher’s shop in the center of the supermarket. There was a crowd there and many came from the mountains to buy items for the New Years as well. A few of them were villagers from Qingshan Village.
The Ninth Aunt held her daughter in one hand and Gu Ye in the other, forcing her way through the crowd. She shouted at the top of her lungs towards the robust butcher, “Brother Li, give me five pounds of fatty meat and two pounds of lean meat!”
“Alright! Sister Juhua, you came just in time. This is the second pig that just came. I haven’t even touched it yet. Take a look. Do you like this one?” Butcher Li and the Ninth Aunt’s maiden family had some connections. He skillfully cut off pure fatty meat for her and weighted it on the scale. It was a good five pounds. Then he weighed another two pounds of lean meat. He wrapped them up with oiled paper before delivering them to the Ninth Aunt.
She paid for the meat before pulling Gu Ye to the side. In a loud voice, “Little Ye’er, quickly tell your Uncle Li what you want to buy!”
Gu Ye had made up her mind already. She pointed at the pork belly in between a fat and lean meat, saying, “Uncle Li, please weigh this one for me. I want the entire thing! Also, for this one, please cut it from here for me up until here. I also want four pig’s trotters…”
The Ninth Aunt saw that the pork belly itself was at least ten pounds and the lean meat she wanted was five or six pounds too. Including the pig’s trotters, it had to be at least twenty pounds. Yet, Gu Ye wasn’t even done. She pointed at other things.
“Little Ye’er, will you guys be able to finish all of this?” She was afraid the young lady was ignorant to the costs of all this meat.
Gu Ye nodded genuinely however. “I can. My grandfather and my master both enjoy eating meat.” Most importantly, she liked it too!
“What a filial child. You can have this pig’s trotter for free!” Butcher Li happily weighed the meat and randomly picked a pig’s trotter from the stall and placed it with the meat already weighed.
Gu Ye’s eyes brightened. She pointed at the leftover pig’s trotters on the stand and asked, “Uncle, how much do pig’s trotters cost? As well as this pig head, pig’s tail…”
The Ninth Aunt silently tugged her clothes and whispered, “It’s not like you’re offering sacrifices to your ancestors. Why do you need a pig head? After skinning the pig trotters and pig’s tails, there are only bones left. What’s there to eat?”
Butcher Li smiled. “Young lady, if you really want the pig’s head, pig’s trotters, and pig’s tail, you can have it for twenty coins!”
“Brother Li, you’re being unscrupulous here. You usually gift these pieces to people, yet you’re making my niece pay twenty coins for them. I think...ten coins would be enough!” The Ninth Aunt knew that besides the pig’s head which was worth a bit, the others barely cost anything.
Butcher Li was easily negotiable. “Since you’ve spoken, ten coins it is. Young lady, the total is fifteen pounds of pork belly, eight pounds of lean meat, and five pounds of pig’s trotters which sums up to 1020 coins.”
Gu Ye took out a silver taels worth in fragmented silvers and then counted about twenty bronze coins. She carried her bag of harvest and squeezed her way through the crowd. The prices were pretty cheap. Only about a silver tael or so for thirty pounds of meat.
Only a silver tael? Villagers in the mountains had to meticulously plan out their annual income to ensure they had two to three silver taels left over after spending it on food. Gu Ye had money in her pocket so she had forgotten about the difficult times when she was poor.
The Ninth Aunt grumbled to Gu Ye seeing her putting the pig’s head and pig’s trotters in her basket happily, “Child, you may have spare money but you can’t just spend them however you like. You bought too much lean meat. Look at the pig’s trotters and tails. There is barely any meat on them. You’re being too wasteful.”
“Ninth Aunt, this lean meat is a loin, the most tender piece of meat on the pig. It’s best for stir-frying. The pig head, pig trotters, and pig’s tail can be stewed in special soy sauce and other spices. It tastes extremely delicious. Once I’m done stewing it, I’ll bring some over for you to taste. You won’t be saying I’m wasteful afterwards.” Gu Ye had a special fondness for stewed pig head, pig trotters, and pig’s tail. With Aunt Yan who could also cook in the family now, she’d get to taste all these delicious foods soon!
The Ninth Uncle also mediated, “She already got it. Let’s say no more. Let’s check out the grains store there.”
When they arrived, after meticulous planning, the Ninth Aunt only bought five pounds of flour, yet she bought twenty pounds of sorghum noodles and corn noodles each. She had planted millets at home so she didn’t buy them. She got some red beans and kidney beans, totalling less than three hundred coins.
The family barely ate coarse grains as they went through them quickly. They had bought fifty pounds of flour and rice each half a month ago and they were almost done already. Gu Ye made another bulk purchase within the grains store. Fifty pounds of rice, a hundred pounds of flour, and barely any red beans and kidney beans. It was because she never had bean paste buns so she didn’t know if she would like it or not. She spent another silver tael and six coins.
At the fabrics store, Gu Ye got her grandfather, master, and brother each two outfits. Seeing a fresh green cotton cloth in the store, she bought it for herself. The red-based cotton-padded clothes she was wearing made her seem like a country bumpkin. The sooner she changed them, the better. She didn’t know what to say regarding her grandfather’s taste.
Gu Ye had snatched a lot of processed flawed fabrics from the store which could be used for bed sheets and curtains. Gu Ming smiled and indulged Gu Ye as he watched her spend money carelessly. The Ninth Uncle and Ninth Aunt both shook their heads. Thankfully their Fifth Uncle had been a soldier for so many years and had some savings. Otherwise, they probably couldn’t deal with the girl’s reckless spending. This damned Fifth Uncle. How could he let Little Ye’zi be in charge of the money? They wondered who cultivated Little Ye’zi’s wasteful personality. It must be Nee Liu!
They had no idea that Gu Ye earned the money by herself. Not only did she obtain her master’s a thousand silver worth of banknotes, she also obtained an extra eighty silver.
She spent her money recklessly, yet she barely spent over five silver taels. Gu Ye still wasn’t done spending though. Seeing a jewelry store ahead, she dragged Gu Li’er inside. Afraid that she might spend money carelessly, the Ninth Aunt placed the items bought outside the store and had the Ninth Uncle look after them while she also walked inside fearfully.
There was a woman wearing glamorous clothes with hair pins all over her head picking out accessories inside the store. There was a young lady about eleven or twelve wearing a red dress which had flower designs sewn. She wore an arctic-fox colored cloak edged with lace. She appeared adorable and delicate. If it weren’t for the impatience and disdain on her face, she would appear pleasing to the eyes.
“Auntie! What good accessories could come from this cheap place? I must be crazy to go home and visit our relatives with you. Look at these people. They’re all country bumpkins who are ignorant. We’re actually choosing accessories with these lowly people. My sisters will laugh at me if they find out!”
The young lady clad in red swept her gaze over the group, her disdainful expression even more distinct. She quickly shifted her gaze as if looking at them any longer would make her unsophisticated.
Anger flicked through the shopkeeper’s eyes but he said calmly, “This is the best silver bracelet in our store. Gems are embedded there and I brought this back from coastally. Madam, if you like it, I can sell it to you for fifty silver taels instead of fifty-two silver taels.”
“What? This broken bracelet costs fifty silver taels? The best silver bracelet in Yan City is only twenty to thirty silver taels. What? Are there golds embedded?” The young lady’s sharp voice rang again. The woman beside her hesitated before placing the bracelet down.
The shopkeeper sucked in a breath silently before saying, “No golds are embedded on the bracelet but there’s a ruby embedded which is more worthy than golds. These are all brought over from abroad. If the bracelet was sold in Yna City, it would’ve been sold for a hundred silver taels at the very least. Young miss, if you believe it’s too expensive, you can take a look at the other styles.”
“What do you mean? You’re looking down on me huh? The cheap accessories in this store are only worthy of being sold to poor villagers! Gems from abroad? It looks like a cheap stone that has been dyed red. You’re just trying to scam us because we have money! Ten silver taels! That’s it. Are you going to sell it or not?” The young lady acted high and mighty as if saying, “be glad I’m even paying ten silver taels.”
“Sorry,” the shopkeeper placed the silver bracelet with gems embedded away. In a calm voice, “Ten silver taels isn’t even enough for one gem. Since this store is too simple and crude for your tastes, please check out another store.”
“What? You’re kicking me out? Do you know who I am? Believe it or not but I can shut your store down!” The young lady was furious. Because she was an illegitimate daughter within Yan City, she was looked down upon by her sisters. This was also why she wanted to go with her auntie to visit her maiden home.
Who knew that not only didn’t anything go her way after coming to this worn-down location, even a small jewelry store’s shopkeeper dared to give her attitude. She had to endure her urge to smash this store.
“Qing’er, what did your father tell you before leaving? Don’t bully others just because of your background. What? You forgot?” The woman pretended to reprimand. Wearing a small smile, she said, “Shopkeeper, let’s not talk about the authenticity of the gems but just the manufacturing is indeed worse than the jewelry stores in Yan City. How about this? I’ll buy the bracelet for thirty silver taels.”
“Sorry! Madam, fifty silver taels is the lowest price.” The shopkeeper didn’t want to talk anymore. He placed the bracelet away.
He looked up and greeted the group of people who were waiting for him. “What types of jewelry do you guys want to buy? I can help recommend…”
“Hmph! Look at their shabby looks. These country bumpkins can’t even afford food. You think they could buy jewelry?” The young lady was furious and had no place to vent. She pursed her lips as she observed the Ninth Aunt’s pale and old cotton-padded clothes.