Chapter 8: Preparation of Supplies
Grandpa Shen lowered his eyelids and said, “Maybe it’s really a way out that heaven has given our Shen family.”
Mrs. Shen also clasped her hands and bowed in the direction outside, “Our daughter is indeed blessed. When she was born, there were magpies announcing the good news on the roof.”
“What do you think we should do next, you go ahead and do it, we all believe in you,” Shen Rong said to Shen Yu’an.
The others didn’t have any objections. In the Shen family, besides Mr. and Mrs. Shen, Shen Rong’s words carried the most weight.
Shen Yu’an felt that the greatest advantage of the Shen family was their unity.
After gaining the trust of the Shen family members, Shen Yu’an began to assign tasks according to her plan.
She decided to start preparing from early tomorrow morning.
Shen Rong, Shen Dalang, and Shen Erlang would still go to the town school as usual.
Shen Ming and Shen Yun were arranged by Shen Yu’an to go to several places to inquire about grain prices and purchase grains. The rest of the people would dig a cellar at home first, so that there would be a place to store the grain after it was purchased.
Shen Yu’an planned to buy some fabric or clothes in town and prepare some clothes in advance.
In addition, Shen Yu’an also planned to teach them some self-defense skills. She had prepared an excuse already, she will say that it was taught to her by the old man in her dream.
The next morning, the members of the Shen family started their assigned tasks.
Since Shen Yu’an woke up late, she missed the opportunity to go to town with Shen Ming and Shen Yun.
When the two brothers returned around noon, Zhao Shi was surprised to hear that the price of coarse rice had risen from twelve to fifteen wen per catty, and the prices of yellow rice, millet, and flour had also gone up. Shen Ming and Shen Yun looked worried and said that they were not sure what to do.
Shen Yu’an, who had just returned from the mountain, heard what Shen Ming said as soon as she entered the courtyard. Everyone turned to look at her when they saw her.
“Corn is now fifteen wen per catty? Isn’t it usually twelve wen per catty?” Zhao Shi asked in surprise.
“Not only that, the prices of yellow rice, millet, and flour have also gone up. Although it’s only a few more wen per catty, we’ll have to spend a lot more if we want to stock up. We’re not sure what to do, so we came back to ask,” Shen Ming replied with a worried expression.
Shen Yu’an heard what Shen Ming said and pondered for a moment before saying, “This is probably just the beginning. The sudden increase in prices at the grain store means that the people behind it have received some news, so we need to stock up even more and the prices may continue to rise.”
Shen Ming and Shen Yun thought it made sense. Otherwise, if they waited for the prices to go up again, they would be even more at a loss. They immediately decided to go to town and purchase the grain, afraid that the prices would rise even further if they waited any longer.
Shen Yu’an also decided to go to town with them, but the three of them still had lunch at home.
In Xing’an Town, the scorching sun hung high in the sky. Due to the hot weather, there were fewer people walking on the streets.
“Shen Yu’an, let’s go to the grain store on West Street first. I looked at it today, and their grain seems to be fresher,” Shen Yun said.
Upon hearing his words, Shen Yu’an gave him a thumbs up. Originally, she wanted them to inquire about several grain shops to find the best deal. But she didn’t expect that they not only inquired about the prices but also the quality of the grain. Shen Yu’an couldn’t help but admire them.
However, she still shook her head and said, “Let’s first go and buy a cart at the horse market.”
Due to the fact that Shen Yu’an had a small box that could be taken and put away, apart from some copper coins, all the silver was on her. Grandma Shen said that it would be safer this way. Otherwise, having so much silver hidden in the house would make her uneasy.
Shen Yu’an didn’t refuse, but she planned to keep accounts every day. Otherwise, even the closest relatives couldn’t dispel the doubts in her heart.
At noon, there were very few people at the horse market, and the shop assistant inside was dozing off while leaning on the door railing.
“Hey, shopkeeper, hey!” Shen Yun went forward to call him, but when there was no response, he pushed the door a couple of times.
The clerk was abruptly awakened and hastily apologized even before opening his eyes, “Boss, I wasn’t slacking off, I wasn’t slacking off.”
“Come to your senses, we want to buy livestock,” Shen Yu’an reminded from behind Shen Yun.
The clerk was awakened by the clear voice, and finally realized that they were not the boss. It scared him a lot.
The embarrassed clerk smiled and asked, “How may I assist you, gentlemen? Are you here to buy a cow or a mule?”
In the horse market, they sell horses, cows, and mules, but those who come to buy horse are mostly wealthy families in the town. The clothes worn by the three in front of him were patched, indicating that they were not among the group that would buy horses, which is why the clerk asked them in that way.
And Shen Yu’an also had no intention of buying a horse. Horses were much more expensive than cows, and too conspicuous. It was better to keep a low profile.
Sen Yun turned his head and looked at Shen Yu’an to ask for her opinion.
“We’ll buy a cow. Can you show us some options?” Shen Yu’an replied.
“Alright, please follow me, customers,” the shopkeeper said. He led the three of them to the backyard where many livestock were grazing.
Shen Yu’an wasn’t familiar with choosing cows, so she let Shen Ming and Shen Yun handle it.
Shen Ming examined and observed each cow, and soon selected one that looked particularly spirited.
Shen Yu’an also asked him to pick out a cow cart and help put it on. After Shen Yun finished negotiating the price with the shopkeeper, they paid seventeen taels of silver.
Shen Ming knew how to drive a cattle cart, so Shen Yu’an and Shen Yun sat on the edge of the cart while Shen Ming drove them to the grain store.
“The grain store Shen Yun mentioned is not far from here. We’ll be there in the time it takes to drink a cup of tea,” Shen Ming said.
While Shen Ming stayed outside to watch the cattle cart, Shen Yu’an and Shen Yun went inside the grain store to buy grain.
Shen Yun had already inquired about the prices, so they started buying right away.
They bought 200 catties of rough rice, millet, polished rice, and flour each. Shen Yu’an saw that the bags in this store could hold about 100 catties of grain, and they had ordered a total of eight bags.
The store clerk helped carry the grain out to the cattle cart.
After buying the grain, Shen Yu’an and the others went to a ready-made clothes shop.
The shop had ready-made clothes and fabric. Ready-made clothes were relatively expensive, and originally, Shen Ming and Shen Yun planned to buy fabric and have their family members make clothes for them when they returned home. Shen Yu’an thought it would be a waste of time and particularly hard on the eyes to make clothes, so they each bought two sets of ready-made clothes directly.
In addition, five pieces of cloth and some soft fabrics were bought, intending to give them to Xiao Zhang after returning, so that she can make small clothes for her unborn baby.
Shen Yun was touched to see that Shen Yu’an was thinking about his unborn child.
Shen Yun exclaimed, “Yu’an, your third uncle will definitely cherish you like his own daughter from now on!”
Shen Yu’an pushed away his handsome face and looked at Shen Yun with a sinister smile, “So, you mean the love you showed me before was all fake, Third Uncle?”
“How could that be? Your third uncle’s love for you is as clear as day and night. Yu’an, you can’t misunderstand me, or else your grandma will skin me alive when we get back,” Shen Yun explained hastily.
The two of them laughed and hugged the clothes on the cart, with the grain placed in the middle and back of the cart, and the clothes and fabric in the front. Shen Yu’an and Shen Yun sat comfortably on top.
After a round of shopping, it had gotten dark outside. The young men in the town had already finished school, and the shops had closed their doors.
Shen Ming drove the cart slowly towards the direction of Shen’s village.