Chapter 52 – Dealing with Second Aunt
The previously smiling stall owner revealed a troubled expression after hearing Yan Xiaosi’s bargaining.
“Young master, it’s not that I don’t want to give you a discount, but this beaded flower is well-made and has a beautiful design, making it more expensive to obtain…”
Yan Xiaosi interrupted the stall owner, “Boss, I’m not just buying one beaded flower from you. I plan to buy three of them, and also three embroidered silk handkerchiefs. Since I’m buying so many things at once, can you give me a discount?” Considering that he hadn’t sold anything after setting up the stall for half a day, he thought for a moment and finally gritted his teeth, saying to Yan Xiaosi, “My embroidered silk handkerchiefs are 500 wen each. Young master, if you really buy three beaded flowers and three embroidered silk handkerchiefs from me, I’ll give you a discount and charge you four taels of silver.”
Having already experienced the high prices in Xize County, Yan Xiaosi quickly took out four taels of silver and handed them over.
“I want red, yellow, and purple beaded flowers in this style. Please wrap them up for me, boss.”
The stall owner happily took the silver, grabbed a piece of scrap cloth, and wrapped up the three beaded flowers Yan Xiaosi had selected.
After choosing three embroidered silk handkerchiefs, Yan Xiaosi took the beaded flowers handed to her by the stall owner and left, heading towards Ms. Zhong, Yan Shuqin, and the others who were selling firewood.
“Firewood for sale! Come and take a look at our dry and easily flammable firewood!”
In ancient times, every household depended on firewood, so the firewood market was bustling. From a distance, Yan Xiaosi could hear the hawkers’ cries.
At the very back of the firewood market, Ms. Zhong, Yan Shuqin, Yan Shuxue, and Yan Shuyun were also shouting energetically. However, their voices couldn’t compete with the men’s. Despite their efforts, no one showed interest in the bundles of firewood in front of them.
Just as Ms. Zhong, Yan Shuqin, Yan Shuxue, and Yan Shuyun were at a loss, Yan Xiaosi walked over with her bundle.
“Mother, eldest sister, second sister, third sister, I’m back.”
Seeing that Yan Xiaosi had returned unharmed, Ms. Zhong, Yan Shuqin, Yan Shuxue, and Yan Shuyun all breathed a sigh of relief.
Ms. Zhong glanced at the bundle in her hand and asked, “Xiaosi, is that the clothes you bought for Young Master Long?”
Yan Xiaosi nodded and replied, “Yes, the prices in Daxing Town are really high. The most ordinary silk garment costs five taels of silver.”
Mentioning the high prices, the faces of Ms. Zhong, Yan Shuqin, Yan Shuxue, and Yan Shuyun all turned serious, especially Ms. Zhong, who looked at the firewood piled in front of her with a worried frown.
Winter was approaching. If they couldn’t sell the firewood, they would be in trouble, especially since the prices in Xize County were higher than in other places.
Hearing the sighs of Ms. Zhong and Yan Shuqin, Yan Xiaosi looked down and counted the bundles of firewood on the ground: one, two, three, four, five – still five bundles.
“Mom, it’s been so long, and we haven’t even sold a single bundle of firewood!”
Yan Shuqin’s gaze swept across the market. She answered Yan Xiaosi before Ms. Zhong could, “Winter is approaching and many woodcutters are busy earning money for the season. There are more people selling firewood in the market, so it’s harder to sell.”
Yan Shuyun anxiously bit her lip, “Mom, elder sister, second sister, what can we do if we can’t sell our firewood?”
Ms. Zhong thought for a moment and said, “There’s nothing we can do, other than selling the firewood at a low price.”
It wasn’t easy to bring the firewood to the market in Daxing Town. Selling it cheaply would at least earn them a few coins, which was much better than bringing it back home.
“Oh, isn’t this our third sister-in-law, Shuqin, Shuxue, Shuyun, and Xiaosi?”
As Ms. Zhong was discussing their situation with Yan Shuqin, Yan Shuxue, Yan Shuyun, and Yan Xiaosi, a somewhat mocking voice interrupted her.
Yan Xiaosi looked in the direction of the voice and saw a woman in her thirties, dressed in red and green, accompanied by two young men, walking towards them.
Although Yan Xiaosi was a time-traveler, she recognized the woman at first glance.
The woman was none other than Hu Chunni, the wife of Yan Xiaosi’s cheap second uncle, Yan Boshu.
In the original host’s memory, this second aunt was not a good person. She liked to gossip and stir up trouble in front of the Yan family’s elders.
Seeing Ms. Hu, Ms. Zhong’s face turned a bit tense. As Ms. Hu approached, Ms. Zhong hurriedly bent slightly and respectfully called out, “Second sister-in-law.”
“Second sister-in-law, did you come to the firewood market yourself to buy firewood for Xiangmanlou?”
The Yan family had three sons. The eldest son, Yan Bozhang, was somewhat scholarly and worked as a clerk in the county office of Xize County. The second son, Yan Boshu, was a shrewd businessman and had opened a restaurant in Daxing Town. Xiangmanlou was the name of Yan Boshu’s restaurant. The third son, Yan Bowen, was the most knowledgeable but died young. After Yan Bowen’s death, the clerk Yan Bozhang and the restaurant owner Yan Boshu naturally gained their father’s favor.
Mentioning her own restaurant, Ms. Hu’s face showed even more pride. Her gaze swept over Ms. Zhong and her children After seeing their thin faces and shabby clothes, her mocking expression intensified.
“Yes, we have no choice. Our restaurant is doing well, and we use a lot of firewood. We have to buy some every time the market is open.”
“Third sister-in-law, it seems you can’t sell the bundles of firewood in front of you.” Ms. Hu’s gaze shifted to the few bundles of firewood in front of Ms. Zhong. Without waiting for Ms. Zhong to say anything, she put on a compassionate face and said, “Well, considering our family ties, I’ll buy these bundles of firewood from you. One, two, three, four, five, a total of five bundles of firewood, I’ll give you twenty-five wen(coins).”
According to the market price in Daxing Town, a bundle of firewood is worth ten wen, so five bundles should be worth at least forty wen. It was clear that Hu was certain that Ms. Zhong’s firewood would be difficult to sell and wanted to take advantage of their vulnerability. Yet, she still acted like she was showing compassion toward them.
Ms. Zhong’s face showed a troubled expression.
“Second sister-in-law, this…”
She didn’t want to sell the firewood that she and her children had worked so hard to chop at such a low price, but it was difficult for her to refuse Hu directly. Her troubled expression became even more intense. Seeing Ms. Zhong’s troubled face, Ms. Hu’s smile faded and her tone became harsher, “Third sister-in-law, look at your face. I’m trying to help you out of kindness. If it weren’t for the sake of your deceased husband, I wouldn’t bother buying your firewood.”
“Second aunt, should my father crawl out of his grave to thank you for your kindness?”
Yan Xiaosi pulled Ms. Zhong behind her, stood in front with her head held high and chest out, facing Ms. Hu. Ms. Hu spoke harshly, but Yan Xiaosi’s words were even harsher. Ms. Hu’s face changed, and her gaze turned to Yan Xiaosi.