Chapter 154: Letters From Home (2)
At the northern border in Liangzhou, the weather grew colder, as it had been since the start of August. While the nobles of the capital were still donning summer garments, the people of Liangzhou had to put on a thick coat in order to step outside.
In the simple city of Liangzhou, there was an unassuming little courtyard with only three rooms and an open air kitchen that had a stack of freshly cut firewood next to it.
There was still a small fire sitting on the range inside the kitchen. White smoke drifted up from it, and a strange smell was coming from the pot on the stove. A person stood up from behind the range with a face full of soot.
The entrance to the courtyard was pushed open with a creak, and a young man with a full beard stepped in. He was dressed in black with a sword at his waist.
Although he seemed a little dusty and worn from his travels, there was a resolute light in his eyes.
The soot-faced man quickly ran over to welcome his master. “Third Young Master, you’re finally back! Quick, come in and rest. The meal will be done soon.”
Laiyue took the package off He Changdi’s back and the long sword at his waist before leading his master into the main room.
This was He Changdi’s tenth day in Liangzhou.
This courtyard that he was staying in had been bought just ten days ago. He Changdi was now darker than when he first entered Liangzhou. The elegant line of his chin had been completely obscured by a dense beard, but his originally deep eyes had become even more spirited and determined.
He had been running all over the city these few days and slimmed down quite a bit. In return, his body had become more toned with muscle. If He Sanlang the Fair could be compared to a handsome, tall bamboo tree previously, then the current He Sanlang was now a straight, tall pine standing by a cliff.
When Laiyue saw the dust covering his master, his heart ached for his master’s plight. He served up some tea and water before saying, “Young Master, rest here in this room for now. This servant will get you some good food to eat.”
He Sanlang was indeed a little tired by now. He washed his face and hands before resting on a bamboo chair with his eyes closed. It wasn’t until a strange smell seeped into the room that He Changdi opened his narrow eyes and looked towards the table.
“What is this?”
Laiyue cast a guilty glance at the food on the table and said, “Young Master, it’s porridge.”
The corner of He Sanlang’s eyes twitched. Could that white and yellow slop with pieces of wheat bran mixed in be called porridge? It was bad enough that the appearance was so strange. However, there was also a weird smell accompanying this ‘porridge’.
Laiyue’s face showed an expression full of suffering as he said, “Young Master, you know that this servant doesn’t know how to cook. However, there’s also a limit to the food available here in Liangzhou, so this is the best this servant could do…”
What Laiyue didn’t say was that they didn’t have much money left on them and it wasn’t enough to buy any good ingredients.
Polished rice cost 1000 coins per kilogram back at the capital. Out here at the border, polished rice cost ten taels of silver per kilogram!
It was bad enough that it was so expensive, but commoners weren’t allowed to buy polished rice even if they had the money to do so. Liangzhou had been embroiled in tussles over the border for years and wasn’t well maintained. How could the quality of life here be any good?