When Liu Yuanyuan heard her father's words, she ran out of the room anxiously. "Father, what are you saying?"
"Mother, did you hear what Father said?"
Chen Da Kun was handsome and spoke in a refined and pleasant manner. He was also a student.
Ever since she was engaged to him, the sisters in the village had been envious of her. She did not want to break off the engagement at all.
Lin Xiujuan patted Liu Yuanyuan. "Don't worry. With Mother around, your father won't be able to cancel this marriage."
"Yes, yes." Liu Yuanyuan instantly smiled. She held Lin Xiujuan's arm and acted coquettishly. "Mother, you dote on me the most."
Liu Liangcai frowned and did not say anything else. He picked up the hoe and left.
Zheng Heping sent the land deed to Zhou Xiaoli and Wei Chiyu.
As for the foreman, he recommended Foreman Cao, who had a prestigious reputation in Dazhuang Village. "He's in charge of building the houses in our area. He's very skilled and reliable."
"As for the salary, it's 30 copper coins a day which is in line with the standard rates in our village. Is it okay to include lunch for the workers?"
"Sure, I trust Uncle Zheng."
Zheng Heping said, "Alright, that's settled then. When you're free on another day, go to Dazhuang Village and look for Foreman Cao to discuss how many houses to build. He would be able to help you calculate the building materials that you would need."
Zhou Xiaoli nodded and thanked the village chief before sending him off.
The next day.
Zhou Xiaoli and Wei Chiyu went to Dazhuang Village to look for Foreman Cao.
Foreman Cao's house was beside the well in the middle of the village. It was very easy to find.
It was a woman who opened the door for them. After hearing their intentions, she led them in.
Upon hearing footsteps, Foreman Cao looked up at Zhou Xiaoli and the other man who had just walked in. "Are you the ones who want to build a house?"
"Yes." Zhou Xiaoli nodded.
Foreman Cao: "What do you want to build? A wooden house, a straw hut, or…"
Zhou Xiaoli shook her head. "Neither. We wanted to build brick houses."
Foreman Cao was stunned. He looked at Zhou Xiaoli in surprise. "A brick house?"
"What about you? Building a brick house too?"
He looked at Wei Chiyu as he spoke.
Wei Chiyu nodded. "Yes, the same."
Foreman Cao nodded. "Alright, how many rooms do you want to build?"
"I'll help you calculate how many bricks and tiles you need in advance so that you don't have to waste time and money in buying more or selling the excess away at the end of it."
Just as Zheng Heping had said, Foreman Cao could calculate how many bricks and tiles were needed for their houses.
Zhou Xiaoli asked, "Uncle Cao, do you have a pen here?"
"Okay, wait a moment," Foreman Cao said as he took out a charcoal strip from a pile of tools. "Is this okay? We workers use this."
Zhou Xiaoli picked up the charcoal strip. Since there was no paper, she drew it on the wooden board.
"I want to build a house with two bedrooms here, and two more rooms on the left and right. One is specially for bathing, and the other as a warehouse."
"Let's put the kitchen on the east side. We'll build just one. I want to use the empty space to grow vegetables. We'll also build two rooms on the west side. The window has to be bigger on this side as it would be used as a study room."
"Yes, let's put the toilet in the southwest corner. We'll build a straw shed and a pigpen next to the toilet."
Foreman Cao could not help but be shocked. "You want to build so many rooms? And a study room?"
Zhou Xiaoli nodded. "I have a younger brother at home. When he's old enough, he will be sent to a private school to study."
Foreman Cao nodded. "Yes, studying is good."
"However, it won't be cheap to build this house!"
Zhou Xiaoli was mentally prepared. "How much would it cost?"
"Just the bricks and tiles alone will cost at least a dozen hundreds of coins. I'll have to calculate the details first," Foreman Cao said.
Then, he asked Wei Chiyu how many rooms he wanted to build.
Wei Chiyu's request was much simpler. "The same as hers," he said.
Foreman Cao turned silent for a moment before he took out his old abacus and started to calculate.
"According to my calculation, just the bricks and tiles alone will cost 16,000 copper coins, and that's not including the workers' salary and furniture."
Zhou Xiaoli nodded and asked, "What if we lay tiles on the floor?"
Engineer Cao was even more surprised. "You want to pave the floor with tiles?"
One must know that in the countryside, the floor is usually made of mud even for houses built with bricks.
Even if the family is slightly richer, they would use mortar or concrete. Almost none used floor tiles.
Zhou Xiaoli explained, "I want to lay tiles in the room for bathing. As for the rest, I'll just use concrete."
The reason for doing so was because the floor would turn into mud when water was spilled on the ground, making it damp and uncomfortable.
Foreman Cao looked at Wei Chiyu. "And it is the same for you?"
Seeing that the other party nodded his head, he did a few more calculations. "In that case, I'll have to add at least 2,000 copper coins."
Seeing that neither of them had any special reaction, Foreman Cao did not say anything else. He thought that they must have had enough money.
Only then did he ask, "In that case, when do you plan to start building the house?"
"The sooner the better. We want to build the house before winter," Zhou Xiaoli said.
"Then let's do it in the middle of next month. It's going to be the autumn harvest soon so it would not be easy to find workers to build houses now." Foreman Cao suggested.
Neither of them had any objections.
Foreman Cao asked again, "We need to buy bricks and tiles in advance. Have you thought of where to buy them?"
Seeing Zhou Xiaoli shake her head, he continued. "I do know a good brick kiln factory. The price is reasonable and the quality is good. I just don't know if you trust me on it."
Zhou Xiaoli immediately smiled and nodded. "Uncle Cao, your reputation precedes you in building houses. Since you said that they are good, there's definitely no problem for us."
After being complimented by Zhou Xiaoli, Foreman Cao was full of smiles. "Haha, that's fine. Since you trust me, I'll bring you guys there tomorrow."
After agreeing on a time to purchase the bricks, the two of them thanked him and left.
"You're the only one in your house. Do you have to build so many rooms? Won't they be left empty?" Zhou Xiaoli asked Wei Chiyu curiously as soon as they left Foreman Cao's house.
Wei Chiyu said meaningfully, "It will be useful in the future."
"Hmm, that's true. You'll get married sooner or later." Zhou Xiaoli couldn't help but tease Wei Chiyu.
However, this time, Wei Chiyu was not as embarrassed as he was the last time. Instead, he looked at Zhou Xiaoli and smiled calmly. "Yes."
In fact, Wei Chiyu did not smile often even though the two of them had known each other for quite some time.
With this sudden smile, Zhou Xiaoli realized that he was not bad looking after all.
His skin was tanned, and his facial features were well-defined as he hunted in the mountains all year round. He had an unruly wildness to him.
His facial features were completely different from the Lu family who had flat noses and small triangular eyes.
Zhou Xiaoli could not help but ask, "Are you really a relative of the Lu family?"
Wei Chiyu frowned subconsciously, and his eyes became indifferent, but he quickly returned to normal.
He then replied in an indifferent manner. "No."