Chapter 7 Old Story

The next day, we went to our property and divided the old lady’s land into several plots, which we dealt with one by one.

The first one was the farmhouse plot. The signboard was ready and the seats had already been delivered, so it felt like everything was ready. With me acting as the customer, we did a simulation. From the time I started from the door, ordered food and wine, was served, went to the toilet, and paid the bill, everything was done in a very serious manner.

It took six hours, and by the time we were done, it was determined that Fatty couldn’t do it alone in the kitchen. So, he had to find a helper, but that meant that Poker-Face wouldn’t have much to do. I decided to make him help me with the cashier work. His job was to point to the QR payment code when customers came up to pay the bill.

My stone pot chicken idea wasn’t as delicious as it should’ve been since we didn’t have any ginseng, but the express delivery would arrive tomorrow. When the three of us sat down to finish off the food, Fatty said that he thought we’d be ready for a trial run tomorrow. It was only when we started the business that we would know where the real problems were, so I agreed.

After that, we dealt with the plot of land that had the bamboo groves. Half of them had been artificially planted more than three years ago, and now was the season for bamboo shoots. It was said that bamboo shoots would come up when wood chips were laid out.

There was also a pond that was connected to a part of the river, where geese and ducks lived freely. Fatty went down to the river, turned a few stones over, and instantly knew that the poultry grew well because there were a bunch of freshwater snails and shrimp here.

All of the vegetables were planted near the graveyard. Fatty wanted some wheat and corn, along with some Chinese cabbage, sponge gourds, cucumbers, tomatoes, and potatoes. With all of these things, it would basically be enough to live on. Even if there was a war, we didn’t need to fear not having enough food to eat. Our agricultural foundation was very poor, so I could only start off by planting onions, ginger, and garlic off to the side.

After that, I began to clean up the bamboo groves. As I cleared out the withered bamboo, I broke them into small pieces and carried them back to the house to be burned in the stove later. The goose and duck manure was used as fertilizer for our vegetable field next to the graveyard. The village head also sent us some corn and wheat seeds and taught us how to plant them.

We had sowed about forty of each type of plant in this field. When I looked at them, I felt that it wasn’t enough to live off of, but it would do for now.

As we were working, I discovered that Fatty was actually very skilled. He said that he used to help Yun Cai’s family do farm work, but he had actually done this kind of thing before that. The most surprising thing was that Poker-Face’s farming skills were very good.

When the villagers looked at what he had done, they all said, “This is an ancient technique. He’s a real expert.”

I didn’t know which traveler had taught him, or if he had just learned everything after living for so long.

We soon became sweaty and took off our outermost layers. Fatty and I were wearing thermal underwear, but Poker-Face was in a short sleeve shirt. He was plowing the land so diligently that even I started to feel a great attraction towards this land.

We cleared out all the central plots of land. I used my feet to mark a large area for the foundation of the house and courtyard, but found that it wasn’t big enough. I looked at the outer edge of the bamboo grove that was about ten steps wide and told Fatty that we’d have to cut down this section and use the bamboo as a fence to enclose the land.

The weaving method—or even direct arrangement—of bamboo walls could be very simple and elegant. After enclosing the area, we could mess around to our hearts’ content without worrying about anyone reporting us.

When we were tilling the soil, we found something very interesting. We dug up a tightly sealed plastic bottle with a piece of paper in it. Fatty thought it was fun and opened it. The piece of paper had a short story written on it in ballpoint pen. I didn’t know who had buried it here.

As we went and sat on the nearby ridge to rest, I massaged my tired back and read the paper.

It started with: “To those who are destined to see this story, know that it really happened.

“I have no one to say this to, so I can only bury the story here. I know that most people who see this bottle will probably just kick it away. In fact, I’m assuming no one will ever see this piece of paper. But if someone does, please remember this story.

“This mountain used to be full of bamboo. There’s a legend in our hometown that some bamboo nodes have human bones in them. In fact, it’s said that there are human corpses buried where bamboo grows, and the bamboo absorbs the bones’ nutrients. But if the deceased can’t move on, their bones will grow out of the bamboo.

“If you cut bamboo and find bones in it, you should dig them out, keep them, and continue searching until you find a whole set of bones in the bamboo forest.

“There are ribs in curved bamboo, spines in dense bamboo, and hand and leg bones in straight bamboo. Only the skull is the most amazing one. The skull grows in the bamboo roots. When you find the place where the bamboo trees are the densest, there are bones inside of them.

“Once you’ve found all of the bones, put them together and burn the bamboo you found them in. Mix the bamboo ashes with mud and then wrap it all up with the bones. After thirty years, dig them up again and you’ll see that the bones are gone. That’s when you know that the deceased has finally moved on.

“At that time, you’ll see a green stone where the bones had been placed. This stone is called Bamboo Green Stone. It’s an extremely rare gem that’s been given to you in thanks.

“I’m a bamboo cutter who has received one of these Bamboo Green Stones, but the matter isn’t as simple as you would think.

“The rest of the story is also in the soil here. Let’s see what fate has in store….”

<Chapter 6><Table of Contents><Chapter 8>



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