Casting Nets to Catch a Husband

Chapter 119: Resentment

Upon returning to the fabric shop, Babao brought back news and mentioned the approximate price range, saying, “There aren’t many houses for sale in the county. The brokers need to go and search. I’ve left the fabric shop’s address. If there’s any news, they’ll send it here.”

“Alright, that sounds good.”

Lu Chengxiao, knowing that he would soon be traveling to Zhejiang and fearing he might miss the news, informed Lu Xun and Lu Chengzong to keep an eye out for any messages from the brokers in his absence.

When Lu Chengzong heard about his intention to buy a house, he anxiously said, “Third brother, even though our family is split, your rooms are still the same. You can stay as long as you like; there’s no need to rush to buy a house.”

Unlike the countryside, the county town had limited land and many people, making houses expensive. A decently spacious and well-built two-courtyard house would cost nearly 300 taels of silver. After the family split, Lu Chengxiao had only received about 400 taels.

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However, Lu Xun thought it was good to buy a house, saying, “It’s fine to start looking. Eventually, you’ll need to buy one. Do you have confidence in this trip to Zhejiang?”

Lu Chengxiao wouldn’t dare to think about buying a house if he wasn’t confident. The Lu family’s fabric shop had been in the county for more than two years, and even Lu Xun hadn’t managed to buy a house in the county. Though the main reason was that the house in town was only built less than six years ago and the back residence of the county shop was spacious enough, making it seem unnecessary to buy another house.

Another reason was the cost. For a large family, a three-courtyard house was necessary, costing at least 500 taels. Although their shop appeared prosperous, the money was constantly reinvested into stock, leaving only a little on hand for turnover. Even if they could spare 500 taels, they wouldn’t dare to spend it all on a house.

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Nw Ubldtmkys dseele yde pyke, “Rv pbswze ts pxssvbzu.”

Tl pbyale vbl pkvwyvksd sq bkp xyvladyz qyxkzu’p okzzkdtdlpp vs lmvlde nalekv vs Nw Dwd yde Nw Ubldtgsdt, pyukdt, “Rq vbkp vakr tslp olzz, R pbswze cl yczl vs lyad ldswtb vs cwu vbl bswpl.”

Nw Dwd oyp hlau rzlyple yde ryvvle Nw Ubldtmkys’p pbswzela, pyukdt, “Ps olzz. Zsw’al xwnb clvvla vbyd uswa qyvbla.”

Tkp osaep olal qkzzle okvb rakel yde nsxqsav.

Nw Ubldtmkys pxkzle yde pyke, “Rv’p vbydjp vs Wyvbla tkhkdt xl vbl nyrkvyz vbyv R oyp yczl vs yhske vbl xspv ekqqknwzv lyazu pvytlp.”

Mbkp pvyvlxldv esodrzyule bkp sod yckzkvklp cwv oyp rzlypydv vs blya, xyjkdt Nw Dwd pxkzl.

Nw Ubldtmkys yeele, “Rq y pwkvyczl bswpl kp qswde cu vbl casjlap obkzl R’x kd Hblfkydt, rzlypl vyjl Zw’la vs pll kv. Rq pbl zkjlp kv, nswze usw blzr xl rwv esod vbl elrspkv? R’zz alryu usw obld R alvwad.”

Nw Ubldtgsdt kxxlekyvlzu zywtble. Nw Ubldtmkys jdlo obu bkp lzela casvbla oyp zywtbkdt okvbswv ypjkdt. Gqvla qkdkpbkdt bkp cwpkdlpp, bl iwknjzu oldv vs vbl lxcaskelau pbsr ynaspp vbl pvallv vs qkde Nkw Zydrkdt.

Lu Chengzong was still smiling and said to Lu Xun, “Third brother and his wife will surely be very loving in the future.”

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Not only in the future, but even now.

Lu Xun’s face was full of smiles.

While the Lu and Liu families were enjoying harmony, at the same time in Yuanzhou City, the Li family received news. As soon as Li Zhongjue returned home, the porter informed him of a letter from Anyi County. He paused, thinking it was a letter from Lu Chengxiao, but seeing the envelope, he realized it was from Lu Xun to his father, so he didn’t open it and headed to the main hall.

In the main hall, he saw his sister, Li Yunbi, there as well. He quickly hid the envelope behind his back.

Qian Shi was teaching Li Yunbi how to manage accounts. Hearing footsteps, she looked up and noticed Li Zhongjue’s small action of hiding the letter. Letters delivered to the main hall were obviously not to be hidden from her. Qian Shi glanced at her daughter and said, “Yunbi, that’s enough for today. Take the account book back and review it.”

Li Yunbi was momentarily confused but didn’t say much. She smiled, agreed, and gracefully collected the account book before greeting her brother and leaving.

Once her footsteps faded, Qian Shi asked, “Where is the letter from? Is it from the Lu family?”

Li Zhongjue, feeling uneasy, brought the letter from behind his back and said, “It’s from Uncle Lu to Father.”

Indeed, it was a letter from the Lu family. Only a letter from the Lu family would make the second son avoid his sister like this. Qian Shi felt a sudden surge of repressed frustration, a mix of unspoken anger and distress. She knew this frustration had been building up for a long time, but she also understood the reasoning and had been suppressing it all along.

Talking about the Lu family would bring all the accumulated frustrations to the surface, especially the incident at the end of May that felt like a thorn in her side, something she tried to forget but was vividly brought back to memory.

Her mood soured. She didn’t bother to feign a smile in front of her son and, with a weary expression, said, “What does the letter say? Your father is not home, so read it on his behalf.”

Li Zhongjue, understanding his mother’s mood, read the letter silently first and then said, “Uncle Lu wrote to say that Chengxiao got engaged to the Liu family’s daughter on July 18th, and the wedding is set for September 26th. He wrote to inform us and will send a formal invitation later.”

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The words were ordinary, but to Qian Shi, each one felt uncomfortable. She didn’t know if Lu Chengxiao had mentioned the incident in Yuanzhou to Lu Xun and his wife. Just thinking about it made her feel bitter.

Qian Shi knew this bitterness was unreasonable, but thinking about how her daughter had embarrassed herself over her feelings for Lu Chengxiao, she couldn’t suppress the discomfort.

She sighed deeply, trying to calm herself, and said, “Keep the letter and put it in your father’s study.”

She was done with dealing with anything related to the Lu family.

Li Zhongjue felt somewhat helpless. He thought that their once harmonious family friendship had now become strained. Whose fault was it? Naturally, it was their own family’s issues, but he couldn’t say anything to upset his mother. He took the letter to his father’s study and then returned to his own courtyard.

Not long after he left, Li Yunbi, who had been waiting, quietly entered the study. There weren’t many items on the desk, so the letter quickly caught her eye.

Looking at the envelope, Li Yunbi saw that it was indeed a letter from the Lu family. Her fingers trembled slightly as she stood by the desk for a long time, not daring to touch it, but she couldn’t convince herself to leave the study either.

After a short while, she couldn’t resist any longer and reached for the letter.

The letter had already been opened, so it was simple to take out the letter paper. She quickly read through its contents and then slumped into the chair by the desk. Only when tears fell onto the paper did she realize she was crying. Hastily, she wiped away her tears and carefully dried the spots on the letter. She read the parts about the engagement and wedding date five or six times before shakily folding the letter back into the envelope.

Li Yunbi knew that her actions had already made her mother very displeased with the Lu family. After drying her tears and calming her emotions, she cautiously checked to see that no one was around before sneaking out, carrying her account book back to her own courtyard.

She thought she had hidden her distress well, avoiding others when she was sad. However, it’s hard to completely conceal one’s true feelings, especially with new maids who had been selected from the manor. These maids not only followed her orders but were also loyal to the head of the household, having been instructed by Qian Shi: “If anything unusual happens with the young lady, report it to me immediately.”

Naturally, this was to be done discreetly.

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When Li Yunbi returned from the main courtyard, her eyes seemed as if she had been crying. The maid, upon seeing her, quietly observed for a moment and then promptly reported to Qian Shi in the main hall.

After hearing the maid’s report, Qian Shi remained silent for a long time before saying, “Continue to watch the young lady’s mood but don’t let her notice. Pretend you haven’t seen anything.”

The maid received her instructions and left. Qian Shi rubbed her temples silently for a while before eventually heading to Li Cunyi’s study.

The letter was still neatly placed on the desk. She picked it up, unfolded the letter, and saw the traces of tears on the paper.

Those tear stains fueled her resentment and anger towards Lu Chengxiao and the Lu family. No matter her daughter’s flaws, she could criticize, scold, and teach her. But she couldn’t bear to see her daughter heartbroken and in tears over someone who didn’t care for her.

Qian Shi knew her resentment was misdirected, but she clenched her teeth, thinking, “So what if it is? I’m still going to be resentful!”

This feeling intensified the next day when she saw Li Yunbi again. Her daughter came to the main hall to greet her as usual, to learn household management and accounting. The maid quietly reported that after returning to her room, Li Yunbi had been lost in thought, and there were tears on her pillow after her afternoon rest.

That pain felt like a knife to the heart.

Qian Shi endured the pain. Both mother and daughter pretended everything was normal, each maintaining the facade that nothing had changed. Qian Shi didn’t expose the truth or confront the issue, preserving her daughter’s dignity in the only way she knew how.

That afternoon, Qian Shi suggested it was time to make autumn clothes and, claiming the sun was too harsh, told Li Yunbi to stay home while she went alone to Longxing Fabric Shop.

When the shop clerk saw her, he quickly greeted her, “Madam, what brings you here?”

Qian Shi smiled and asked, “Is the owner here?”

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“The owner is in the back warehouse. Please come in; I’ll go get him.”

After leading Qian Shi to the sitting room behind the shop and serving her tea, the clerk went to fetch the owner, Qian Hong.

Qian Hong was surprised to see his sister at this hour, especially since it was quite hot, and asked, “Why are you here at this time? It’s not the right season for autumn clothes yet. The new autumn fabrics won’t arrive until early or mid-August, depending on the weather.”

Qian Shi usually didn’t leave home unless it was to buy fabric, and even then, she would rarely come to his shop. If she had business, she would usually send for him at home. Hence, Qian Hong’s curiosity.

“I have something to ask of you, brother. It’s inconvenient to discuss it at home.”

Knowing she wanted to avoid the prying eyes of her sisters-in-law, Qian Hong nodded, “What is it? Go ahead.”

Qian Shi glanced around. Seeing this, Qian Hong said, “There’s no one in the back courtyard.”

This reassured her somewhat. She leaned closer and whispered her request.

Qian Hong was taken aback, “What? Didn’t you ask me to take care of this before?”

Qian Shi’s eyes flashed with coldness, “That was to repay a favor. But now, I don’t want to. Brother, you used to partner with your friend for purchases. Just continue doing that. It shouldn’t be a problem, right?”

“Of course, it’s not a problem,” Qian Hong agreed, still puzzled. “But why the change? There must be a reason.”

Qian Shi gritted her teeth, “Don’t ask, just do as I say.”

Qian Hong didn’t know what had happened, but he had always doted on his sister. Since she insisted, he decided not to question her further, “What should I say when Lu Xun comes looking for me next month?”

“No need to explain directly. Just find an excuse to put him off. If it doesn’t work once, he’ll get the message.”

Qian Hong nodded, then asked, “Does brother-in-law know about this? He should be back soon. What will you tell him?”

Qian Shi’s expression remained unchanged, “I’m not harming anyone, just choosing not to help anymore. Who says we have to help forever? Don’t worry, I’ll explain to him if he asks.”

Satisfied, Qian Hong said, “I know brother-in-law thinks highly of the Lu family. As long as you know what you’re doing.”

Qian Shi felt more at ease with his assurance.


Sansukini: Qian Shi was such a petty person.

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sansukini [Translator]

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2 Comments

  1. Fa RiDa
    Fa RiDa

    Wow!! How low for you to stoop madam!! Your daughter is the one who is wrong. Now you are severing a relationship because of her unrequited love, I mean who’s problem is that(⁠ノ⁠ಠ⁠益⁠ಠ⁠)⁠ノ⁠彡⁠┻⁠━⁠┻(⁠ノ⁠`⁠Д⁠´⁠)⁠ノ⁠彡⁠┻⁠━⁠┻

    1. sansukini
      sansukini [Translator]

      She’s unreasonable. But also, I think her action was also because she’s been dissatisfied with the Lu family and looks down on them.