# 21. Since Ancient Times, how Arrogant Have the Bullies Been
The temperature at the Capital at the end of November should normally be sub-zero at its coldest. Xu Qi'an got up in the morning and saw the thin layer of ice in the water tank in the yard.
Great Feng ruled over the Central Plains of Jiuzhou[^1] and claimed itself as orthodox in the world. The climate of the capital should be an average temperate continental climate.
In this climate zone, It would be difficult to endure the winter without heating.
"Naturally, frozen skeletons appear in the winters of this era." Xu Qi'an sighed.
He regretted that he wasn't learned enough in mathematics, physics, and chemistry to farm in this era of underdeveloped infrastructure and material shortage.
If he could, It would have been a great benefit to the people.
The sun in the sky was emitting warmth from high above, the beautiful girl holding her five-year-old sister strolled through the busy street with high spirits. Her limpid eyes looked left and right, and the corners of her exquisite mouth were curled in a smile.
Today, his little sister was wearing a light blue silk dress, and flower vines were in bloom in her cuffs and skirts. Her loose cuffs wafted, making her look like a fairy.
Xu Qi'an inevitably thought of the beauties wearing ancient costumes in his previous life and compared them silently. *Women in this era tended to dress conservatively, not as coquettishly as the beauties in ancient costumes in his previous life.*
"I have an idea to make money. I could improve clothes to make women's clothes more attractive..." Xu Qi'an had an idea.
In a moment, many epoch-making women's clothes flashed in his mind: Hollow, Black Silk, Garters, Aprons...
Stop, Stop... I'll be dragged to Meridian Gate and beheaded if I think more about it.
The horse-drawn carriages, the peddlers carrying goods, the hurrying passers-by, and the rows of shops... made up a vivid picture of a market in ancient times.
Xu Lingyue's impression of her cousin had changed a lot due to their interactions over the previous month. She wasn't as estranged from her cousin as before.
Due to auntie's animosity with the original Xu Qi'an, only Little Pea among the siblings was liked by the original Xu Qi'an due to her being closer to Second Uncle Xu.
In the beginning, Xu Lingyue used to call him elder brother. After being left hanging many times, she began only to nod when meeting him.
The relationship had improved a lot compared to the earlier situation, but they were still a little estranged. The beautiful young girl in her flowery years took the little girl and walked to the side, separate from Xu Qi'an by a couple of steps.
Little Pea was attracted by the novelties in the street and tried to move ahead of her sister, but she was firmly held.
"Candied haws, Candied Haws..." Little Pea pointed to a shopkeeper in the street and shouted.
"Do you want to rot your teeth?" Her sister rebuked and dragged her forward.
Due to being involved in a disaster, the Xu family was short of money, which made their lives in the previous month difficult. Xu Lingyue didn't have any copper to buy candied haws for her sister.
Xu Qi'an walked behind them, observing his younger sisters, particularly the eldest sister, who was tall and showed the youthfulness and figure of a young girl.
Her back was like a new-born willow, Although it wasn't as plump as a mature woman, it had the youthful and lively charm unique to girls her age.
"Big Brother, Big brother..." Little Pea was anxious and pushed her butt out while dragging her feet to resist her sister's pull.
Xu Lingyue bit her lip, clearly anxious and annoyed.
"Big brother doesn't have any silver, but he'll get it soon..." Xu Qi'an motioned his younger sister to be still. While speaking, he felt a hard object under the sole of his foot. When he looked down, he saw a nugget of silver, glinting dully.
He leaned over and picked up the silver. Weighting it, it was like before one cash of silver.
He had picked up silver too frequently over the last month.
Xu Lingyue's eyes widened.
He stumbled into silver!
*I have got money to listen to music in the Goulan today...* Counting up, He hadn't listened to music for two days now, having not found any money.
Xu Qi'an was pleased and held the broken silver to beckon to the shopkeeper, "Give me three bunches of candied haws."
"Okay!" The dark-skinned shopkeeper removed three strings with a smile, "Six copper coins."
The shopkeeper couldn't find the change for the piece of silver. So, he took it to a nearby shop to get it exchanged for copper. He kept six of them and tied the remaining 94 coins belonging to Xu Qi'an with a string.
The monetary system of Feng: 1 tael of silver = 8 cash = 100 copper.[^3] Gold was a luxury and wasn't normally used as currency. Some poor people wouldn't touch a single ingot of gold in their lifetime.
Xu Qi'an took the copper coin and the candied haws, bit into one skewer, and handed over the remaining two to his two sisters.
Xu Lingyue accepted it gracefully and said softly, "Thank you, big brother."
Xu Qi'an nodded and looked at Little Pea, who was already chewing on her candied haws.
"Big brother big brother, Are your candied haws sweet?" Xu Lingyin asked vaguely with her bulging cheeks.
"You want to eat it." Xu Qi'an revealed the little girl's conspiracy.
"Ah! How did big brother know?" Xu Lingyin was taken aback. She didn't know that her big brother could read her thoughts. Her big brother was indeed awesome.
Xu Qi'an said, "If you eat too many candied haws, bugs will drill holes in your mouth."
"What kind of bug?", Little pea's small face looked scared.
Xu Qi'an thought for a while, and described, "It's a type of white and long slimy bug."
He had just finished speaking when his younger sister started drooling.
*Haiya…* Xu Qi’an stretched out and offered his candied haws with both hands.
Xu Qi'an led his two younger sisters across the road while observing the hustle and bustle of the capital, but his heart wasn't at peace.
*I found silver again.*
*How is this possible?*
As a graduate of a police school, he was very sensitive to such details.
"Is this inexplicable luck related to my crossing?"
Xu Qi'an clearly remembers that he hadn't touched an antique or been guided by an old Taoist before crossing.
“This is my cheat? What's the matter of giving me a single cash of silver daily? It's exactly the rate of the Goulan. Does Heaven want me to listen to music at the Goulan every day?
“It's better to think about breaking through to Refining Qi. It's good to pick up money regularly even if there's a problem within my body.
"I'll break through first, and then check for any changes due to it. Moreover, I don't know about the pinnacle powers in this world. I may be able to figure out the reason for this luck in the future if I am sufficiently strong."
Xu Qi'an was very wary of his luck. He would rather be accepting of a system since it would be within his scope of understanding.
There was a brothel in the street called "Guiyue Building", a third-class brothel.
Thanks to the instruction of Constable Wang and the others, Xu Qi'an learned a lot of knowledge about brothels, which enriched his cultural heritage.
The suffix of a brothel could be used to determine its qualifications. The suffixes of first-class and second-class brothels were mainly "Courtyard", "Pavilion" or "Hall".
Third-class and fourth-class brothels mainly used "Company", "Building" or "Shop" as their suffix.
Before noon, the brothel workers opened their doors for business ahead of time. A few pretty women in red and green leaned against the railing of the second floor and smiled at the passers-by.
Upon seeing a man they liked (Robed in Silk or Satin), They waved a coloured handkerchief and said softly, "Master, Come up for a drink."
Even for a third-class brothel, You'd have to pay two cash silver as the wine fee (entry fee)... If you wanted to sleep with a girl, Depending on the quality of the girl, about 5-6 cash could be enough, and the expensive ones would have nearly double rates... Xu Qi'an calculated and confirmed that he couldn't afford the price.
*There’s no point, and all his belongings only summed to a few taels of silver...* He looked at the sparrows and warblers lazily sitting on top of the railing of the second floor, and recited with emotion,
“*That time when I was young, my blue cloak billowing,
Riding a horse over the small bridge's side,
A building of young women beckoning at my sight!*”
That was the dream of men.
"Big brother, poems are to be recited in proper locations.", Xu Lingyue lightly said.
She thought for some time and sighed. *Perhaps Father was right, Elder brother is suited for reading.*
"Brother, the ladies upstairs are quite beautiful.", Little Pea crisply said.
"People need to dress decently for their business." Xu Qi'an replied.
"What kind of business?"
"Abalone?" Little Pea's eyes shined, and she became unwilling to leave the brothel.
"Big brother!" Xu Lingyue stomped and shouted, ashamed, and blamed Xu Qi'an for discussing such a topic with their younger sister.
Xu Qi'an turned his head and glanced at the girl. *Why are you angry, Do you even know the meme?*
After leaving the brothel, They passed by a fish meatball shop, whose fragrance made Little Pea stop in her tracks.
Xu Lingyue glanced over and swallowed silently. After being released from prison, the Xu family was struggling, and sometimes it took 3 days to eat a meat dish.
As she was still growing, she had great need for food, especially meat.
"Wait, brother will buy it for you."
The shop was small and many people were waiting in line to buy the meatballs. Xu Qi'an asked his sisters to stay on the roadside and squeezed in by himself.
"Big brother is very nice." Little Pea crisply said while drooling. And looked at her sister.
Xu Lingyue held her sister's small hand and looked at Xu Qi'an's back, her mouth curling up unconsciously.
Soon, Xu Qi'an bought 3 fish meatballs and packed them in butter paper bags. When he returned, He saw four or five rough looking men, dressed like bodyguards surrounding Xu Lingyue and teasing her without touching her.
The sixteen-year-old girl was like a trapped deer and was trying to rush out of the encirclement while protecting herself. But was forced back by them.
She was crying, and her face was fearful.
The bodyguards laughed at her predicament.
At the edge of the encirclement, a young man in gold robes was riding on the back of a horse and watching the scene as a spectator at a theatre would.
Xu Lingyin saw her sister being bullied and ran towards the young master with her short legs. She then put her hands behind her and cried out "Waaah" loudly to launch a sonic attack.
"What racket." The young master subconsciously raised his whip but suddenly stopped. His eyes flashed with cruelty and he pulled his horse's rein so that it would trample on Xu Lingyin with its hooves.
Xu Lingyue let out a loud scream.
[^1]: Jiuzhou, lit. “Nine Provinces”, is the name of the continent, and an ancient name for the region where China is.
[^2]: Abalone is a type of fish.
[^3]: This is what the author wrote. Of course he does mean that 1 tael is 8 cash, and 1 cash is 100 copper, making 800 copper a tael of silver.