Casting Nets to Catch a Husband

Chapter 103: Water Bandit

T/N: The names are so confusing because the author kept using the same surnames and interchanging them with the maiden names. So, I changed them to make it clearer. Chen Shi is Mrs. Lu while Liu Shi is Madam Chen (Chen Sheng’s mom).

In Changfeng Town, it was already the twentieth day since Lu Chengxiao left home for business. Chen Shi was worried day and night, so Lu Shuang suggested that her mother should distract herself and proposed to go to Mrs. Cui’s embroidery shop to see the clothes consigned by Liu Yu. It was also a way to take care of Liu Yu’s business.

When she mentioned this to Chen Shi, her attention was indeed diverted. The reason was that when she returned from Anyi County, she had already intended to take care of Liu Yu’s business. She had gone twice but didn’t buy any clothes. When Lu Shuang mentioned it, it reminded her of this, and the mother and daughter calculated the time and set off together for Mrs. Cui’s embroidery shop.

From early May until now, a month and a half had passed. Mrs. Cui’s embroidery shop had gradually gained some reputation. Wealthier families in the town who used to buy clothes in the county now, through word of mouth among friends, mostly knew that there was such a embroidery shop in town. The high-quality clothes it sold were no worse than those in the county’s embroidery shops, and even better, yet the prices were only equivalent to those in the county, or even slightly cheaper.

However, the selection of clothes was limited, often only a few pieces, and one had to be lucky to buy them. With nothing else to do, the women in the town developed the habit of occasionally visiting Mrs. Cui’s embroidery shop, which was also nearby.

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Regular customers knew the approximate arrival time of the valuable clothes in Mrs. Cui’s embroidery shop. They calculated when the new goods would be available, and the two of them, the mother and daughter of the Lu family, also went at this time. This was quite a coincidence, as two pairs of mother and daughter, all wanting to buy a nice outfit, collided.

These mother and daughter were none other than Madam Chen, who was known for her elegance in town, accompanied by her daughter Chen Xiaomei.

In recent years, if there was anyone Liu Shi envied the most, it was Mrs. Lu from the Lu family.

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Mbl Ubld yde Nkw pwadyxlp olal nsxxsd kd Ubydtqldt Msod, yde Yap. Nw, obspl xykeld dyxl oyp yzps Ubld, bye ds alzyvksdpbkr okvb vbl Ubld qyxkzu vs obknb Nkw Fbk’p bwpcyde clzsdtle. Fbl oyp saktkdyzzu fwpv y hkzzytl tkaz obs xyaakle y pxyzz hldesa plzzkdt nzsvb. Ohld obld vblu zyvla srldle y nzsvb pbsr, Nkw Fbk dlhla ryke yvvldvksd vs qyxkzklp zkjl vbl Nw qyxkzu. Tsolhla, kd alnldv ulyap, kv pllxle vbyv vbl Nw qyxkzu bye pweeldzu clnsxl hlau rasprlaswp, yde kd vbl czkdj sq yd lul, vblu bye vwadle vblka nzsvb pbsr kdvs vbl dwxcla sdl pbsr kd Gduk Uswdvu. Kwpv y qlo eyup yts, vbl Nw qyxkzu srldle vblka vbkae nzsvb pbsr kd Dkqldt Msod, obknb oyp pyke vs cl xydytle cu vbl Nw’p plnsde psd.

Ekvb vball pbsrp, nswdvzlpp olyzvbu kdekhkewyzp kd Ubydtqldt Msod jdlo ycswv kv, yde psxl ldhkle vblx. Lyvwayzzu, vblal olal yzps rlsrzl zkjl Nkw Fbk, obs qlzv kdnalypkdtzu alpldvqwz. Nkw Fbk wple vs cl vbl sdl yexkale oblalhla pbl oldv, cwv zyvlzu, pbl nswze blya rlsrzl raykpkdt vbl Nw qyxkzu oblalhla pbl oldv. Ohld vbswtb Yap. Nw, obs bye dsvbkdt vs es okvb vblka psnkyz nkanzl, eked’v xkm okvb vblka taswr, y taswr sq rlsrzl pvkzz raykple bla okvbswv alplahyvksd. Nkw Fbk qlzv lmvalxlzu qawpvayvle yde pvkqzle cu vbkp ekpryakvu.

Mseyu, pbl blyae qasx bla qaklde vbyv Yap. Uwk’p lxcaskelau pbsr bye psxl tsse kvlxp, ps pbl nyxl okvb bla eywtbvla vs byhl y zssj. Tsolhla, kv vwadle swv vbyv Ubld Fbk, ynnsxrydkle cu Nw Fbwydt, bye yzps nsxl swv. Mbkp oyp vawzu… ldlxklp sd y dyaaso asye.

Nkw Fbk bye clld qllzkdt ryavknwzyazu pvkqzle kd alnldv eyup, yde yzz vbyv rldv-wr qawpvayvksd pweeldzu pwatle wr. Tsolhla, pbl oyp tsse yv rwvvkdt sd y qasdv kd qasdv sq svblap. Fllkdt Ubld Fbk yde bla eywtbvla, pbl nswze pvkzz pxkzl yde nyzz swv, “Xb, Yap. Nw.”

Ubld Fbk dlhla zkjle Nkw Fbk. Mbkp osxyd oyp fwpv vss qyjl, yde pbl eked’v oydv vs oypvl bla ldlatu elyzkdt okvb psxlsdl ps kdpkdnlal. Fbl dlhla zkjle vs yppsnkyvl okvb bla clqsal, dsa eke pbl xkm kd vbl psnkyz nkanzl sq okhlp. Nyvla, clnywpl sq bla uswdtlpv psd yde Nkw Zw’p yqqyka, pbl jdlo vbyv Yap. Nkw bye wple ps xydu vaknjp. Fbl oyp lhld zlpp rzlyple okvb bla. Tsolhla, pbl nswze yzps rwv sd y pbso sq xyddlap. Fbl pxkzle yde alrzkle, “Yap. Ubld1Nkw Fbk kp yzps blal vs cwu nzsvblp? Ebyv y nskdnkeldnl.”

Gp pbl prsjl, bla lulp vwadle vs vbl pbsr.

Yap. Uwk wpwyzzu ekprzyule vbl nzsvblp pldv cu Nkw Zw yp y pvsalqasdv. Ubld Fbk nswze pll vbyv vbl vos plvp sq nzsvblp olal ekqqlaldv. Xdl plv oyp pwkvyczl qsa bla ytl, yde vbl svbla oyp pwkvyczl qsa y tkaz zkjl Nw Fbwydt. Tla lulp zkv wr, yde pbl alynble swv vs vyjl vblx.

“Ob~” G byde pvalvnble swv qasx yd sczkiwl ydtzl.

Chen Shi looked up and saw Mrs. Liu smilingly: “Sorry, Mrs. Lu, I already picked this one before you arrived.”

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Mrs. Cui: “…”

They had clearly entered the shop one after the other and hadn’t even looked at the clothes. So how could it be that the clothes had already been chosen by her?

Madam Cui knew about Liu Yu’s relationship with the Lu family and was at a loss as to how to handle this situation.

Chen Shi was also aware of Madam Cui’s connection to Liu Yu. Judging by Madam Cui’s reaction, she guessed what was going on. Raising an eyebrow, she was quite curious about what Madam Liu’s reaction would be when she found out the clothes were made by Liu Yu and placed here for consignment. Therefore, she didn’t insist on the first set of clothes but reached for another one instead.

“Oh, I’m sorry. We’ve also taken a liking to this set.”

Even Chen Xiaomei felt embarrassed. She thought that the seamstresses in Madam Cui’s shop were all watching the drama unfold. Besides, they didn’t even know if those two sets of clothes would fit. She quietly tugged at Madam Liu.

Madam Liu didn’t care about the seamstresses watching. She was pleased to oppose Chen Shi. Pointing to the two sets of clothes, she said to Madam Cui, “Wrap them up.”

Madam Cui instinctively looked at Chen Shi. Chen Shi smiled and said, “When buying things, it’s first come, first served. I’ll wait for the next time.”

Understanding Madam Chen’s meaning, Madam Cui hurriedly wrapped the two sets of clothes for Madam Liu and her daughter. “Madam Chen, the total is three taels and two coins.”

Madam Liu handed the clothes to Chen Xiaomei, paid the money, and, feeling triumphant, bid farewell to Madam Chen before leaving with Chen Xiaomei. Outside the shop, Chen Xiaomei complained, “Mother, why did you do that? We don’t even know if the clothes will fit. Why did you insist on buying them?”

“If they don’t fit, I’ll give them away. Money can’t buy the satisfaction I feel.”

In the shop, Mrs. Cui and Chen Shi couldn’t help but laugh softly. Mrs. Cui didn’t insist on doing business either. She greeted Chen Shi and Lu Shuang, “Mrs. Lu, Miss Lu, it’s rare for you to come. Have a cup of tea inside.”

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Being a businesswoman herself, Chen Shi didn’t want to trouble others during business hours and smiled, “No need, you go ahead with your business. I just came out for a casual stroll.”

She then asked Mrs. Cui, “Are these clothes made by Yu’er selling well?”

Mrs. Cui smiled, “Very well. She has spent a lot of effort on the styles and embroidery recently. Although the styles she sent are not many, each set is very beautiful. As you can see, it has gained some reputation. The more difficult they are to buy, the more sought after they become.”

By “seen,” she naturally meant people like Mrs. Liu, who always went to the county to buy clothes but couldn’t resist coming here after seeing other wives wearing them.

Chen Shi was delighted to hear this, even more so than when she received praise herself. Her youngest son was smart, and even his prospective daughter-in-law, who hadn’t entered the family yet, was extremely clever. Even if they lived separately, Chen Shi was no longer worried. The young couple would manage their lives very well in the future.

Since Yu’er’s clothes weren’t enough to sell, there was no need for auxiliary businesses. Chen Shi took her leave, and Mrs. Cui naturally saw her off. As she turned to leave the embroidery shop, she ran into a young daughter-in-law coming in. Chen Shi glanced at her and felt a sense of familiarity. She stopped in her tracks and took another look. Finally, she remembered who it was.

She had seen this young daughter-in-law in Liujiacun, in the original house of Liu Yu. On that day, when she heard that Liu Yu had been sold, she and her husband followed their youngest son to the village of Liu’s family. They had seen this woman from afar outside the courtyard. Although they didn’t know who she was in the Liu family, Chen Shi had no good feelings for the Liu family. She was about to leave immediately.

Wen Shi didn’t expect to meet Mrs. Lu in the embroidery shop. Seeing that the other party seemed to recognize her, but then left directly, she felt a little embarrassed. However, she still greeted, “Mrs. Lu.”

Chen Shi just nodded slightly and didn’t respond. She left with Lu Shuang.

It wasn’t until they were far away from the embroidery shop that Lu Shuang couldn’t help but ask, “Mother, who was that person just now?”

Chen Shi said, “She’s originally from your third sister-in-law’s family. I’ve only seen her once, and I don’t know who she is.”

There are no good ones on the left and right side so Chen Shi naturally wouldn’t mention it to her daughter. But thinking about it, Chen Shi suddenly remembered that it wasn’t that they’re all bad. It seemed to be the third room had quietly sent a letter to their home before, giving clues about Liu Yu’s whereabouts. Chen Shi stopped and turned her head to look in the direction of the embroidery shop. Which room was she from?

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But it was just a passing thought. Liu Yu was living very well in Yangshan Village now. There was no need to think about her relationship with the Liu family anymore.

Lu Shuang didn’t have a good impression of the Liu family either, so she didn’t ask anymore and changed the subject, saying to her mother, “The two sets of clothes that Mrs. Chen bought just now were so beautiful. Mother, Sister Yu is so skillful. I miss her a bit. When will our family go to propose?”

Chen Shi’s mood instantly improved, and she smiled, “It will be soon. I think it will be almost time when your third brother returns.”

As soon as she mentioned Lu Chengxiao, Chen Shi’s worries resurfaced, “I wonder where he is. Did he sell the goods? It’s best for him to return safely.”

Chen Shi’s only cognition of traveling for business was the scene of Li Cunyi being carried back bloodied by her fourteen-year-old son. Thinking of this, she pulled Lu Shuang and said, “Let’s go to the Goddess Yushui Temple to pray for your brother’s safety.”

~

Equally worried were Wei Shi and Liu Yu. Liu Yu didn’t have much spirit for embroidery recently. When she should have been asleep at night, she couldn’t sleep, either because of the heat or worry. She couldn’t settle her mind and couldn’t sleep. Thinking about it, she lit a lamp and started making scented sachets for Lu Chengxiao. They were originally cut during the day, so she just needed to embroider them directly on the embroidery frame.

Before leaving, Lu Chengxiao asked Liu Yu to make a sachet for him. In the past twenty days, Liu Yu had already made two sachets for him, but Lu Chengxiao hadn’t returned yet. Liu Yu was absent-minded with the needle and thread and accidentally pricked her fingertip.

The sudden pain caused her to jerk her hand back, and she looked at her fingertip under the candlelight, seeing beads of blood appearing.

Looking at the blood, Liu Yu became even more flustered.

~

The boat carrying Lu Chengxiao and his party had already left the scope of Zhejiang but hadn’t entered the main river yet, still in a tributary near the surrounding states and counties.

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When traveling by boat, they would restock whenever they encountered a dock. In the evening, they arrived at a small town dock nearby, and the boatmen had to disembark to buy some meat and vegetables for food.

There were many merchant ships similar to theirs along the dock. Some passengers came ashore to eat, while others came ashore to stay overnight. Lu Chengxiao and his party were only interested in the cargo on this boat and didn’t want to get involved in any disputes, so they stayed on the boat.

They only let Yanan and Babao accompany the boatmen to go ashore, saying they were helping with the payment, but in fact, they also meant to keep an eye on things. Yanan and Babao would also buy some dry rations and fruits to bring back to the boat.

The six of them did not dare to eat outside meals at any time. The same was true for the meals cooked by the boatman. Not only did they take turns sleeping at night, but they also took extra care when eating and drinking.

The boatman was not unaccustomed to cautious merchants and understood their concerns. He was content to cook fewer meals for a peaceful day and night of sailing. Once they reached a town and restocked, they would set sail again.

River navigation was less dangerous than at sea, and the boatmen knew the routes well. As long as the passengers agreed, they could sail at night with a few lights on the boat. The fare was based on the journey’s length, so arriving earlier meant more business for the boatman, which naturally meant more income.

While Liu Yu was restless, Lu Chengxiao and his crew’s boat had already reached a deserted area. When Lu Chengxiao and his servant, along with Liu Yanan, were on watch, they seemed to hear some strange noises in the dark night.

Lu Chengxiao at the bow was the first to notice, followed by Liu Yanan at the stern. While Lu Chengxiao was still observing the movements, Liu Yanan had already rushed over and whispered, “Did you hear something?”

Realizing it wasn’t his imagination, Lu Chengxiao nodded, “It sounds like a fight.”

They quickly went to find the boatman. Upon hearing this, the boatman’s expression changed, “It could be water bandits.”

There were too many merchants passing through the two Zhejiang provinces, and merchant ships were frequently robbed by thieves. Even the navy’s intensified patrols couldn’t fully control the situation due to the numerous river branches and limited troops.

The boatman, familiar with this waterway, immediately said, “We must turn around immediately. We can’t confront them head-on, otherwise…”

He didn’t finish his sentence and hurriedly went to instruct the crew to change direction.

However, it was too late. The sounds were getting closer and closer, heading their way.


Sansukini: Imagine the face slap when Mrs. Chen/Liu Shi finally realized she’s patronizing Liu Yu’s clothes.

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