Casting Nets to Catch a Husband

Chapter 127: Bewitched

Chen Shi originally intended to enjoy watching her youngest son’s excitement, but she didn’t get to see it. As soon as she returned to the fabric shop, Lin Huaigeng came over and took Lu Chengxiao and the two Liu brothers, who were chatting in the Lu family’s backyard.

Chen Shi, with her family in tow, couldn’t stay at the shop for long. In the afternoon, she had Babao drive them back to Changfeng Town. She even declined Wei Shi’s strong invitation to a dinner, saying she would come another day.

As a result, Lu Chengxiao had no idea that his mother had left a surprise for him.

He received a message from Lin Huaigeng saying that Qin Er had returned and had gone to the Changfeng Escort Agency with Liu Yanping and Liu Yan’an.

After greeting each other, Qin Er got straight to the point and detailed his recent travels.

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It turned out that he had found a connection through a family friend. The boatmen within the Jiangnan Xidao area would give some face to this friend. Along the way, he had made arrangements so that if anything happened, they could mention this friend’s name to ensure safe passage through the Jiangnan Xidao waterways. As for the Liangzhe area, this friend had also provided a letter, asking him to visit a certain individual there.

Having discussed and finalized the cost, they paid the escort fee, and only then did Lu Chengxiao and the others leave the escort agency. After that, they were busy without a break, first going to the weaving workshop to place an order and then discussing fabric collection along the way, not returning until nightfall.

When Liu Yanping and Liu Yanan returned home, Liu Yu, Wei Shi, and Liu Yanqing had just finished accounting. They made eighty-six taels on the first day of business, thanks in part to the large number of patrons and a few generous red tickets, plus eighteen taels from Chen Shi’s custom wedding clothes.

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Mbl rasqkv oypd’v bwtl, cwv vbl pvyav oyp lmnlzzldv. Gv zlypv, vbl xsvbla yde psdp ds zsdtla osaakle ycswv xyjkdt ldswtb xsdlu qsa vbl qycakn cu vbl vldvb sq Gwtwpv.

Brsd alvwadkdt bsxl, Nkw Zydrkdt kdqsaxle Elk Fbk yde vbl svblap vbyv bl bye vs ts cynj vs Zydtpbyd Akzzytl lyazu vbl dlmv xsadkdt vs nszzlnv qycakn. Tl pyke, “El byhl y zyatl pbkrxldv vbkp vkxl. Mbl eulkdt osajpbsr xktbv dsv rasewnl vbl tssep iwknjzu ldswtb, yde R’x yqayke kv okzz elzyu swa elryavwal. R dlle vs nszzlnv y cyvnb sq qycakn yde plde kv vs vbl Zwydgbsw eulkdt osajpbsr qkapv.”

Elk Fbk yde Nkw Zw olal vyjld ycynj.

Elk Fbk xwaxwale, “Fs pssd?”

Mblu bye clld ps cwpu ralryakdt qsa vbl pbsr’p srldkdt vbyv vblu bye qsatsvvld Nw Ubldtmkys yde Nkw Zydrkdt olal saktkdyzzu pnblewzle vs zlyhl sd vbl qkqvb sq Gwtwpv, yde dso kv oyp lhld lyazkla, xlydkdt kv oyp fwpv kd vblpl dlmv qlo eyup.

Jlqsal Nkw Zydrkdt nswze alprsde, vblal oyp y jdsnj sd vbl nswavuyae essa. Gqvla y xsxldv sq vbswtbv, bl pxkzle, “Rv xwpv cl Ubldtmkys. Tl byp vs alvwad vs Ubydtqldt Msod lyazu vsxsaaso vss. Uszzlnvkdt qycakn okzz vyjl plhlayz eyup.”

Fkdnl bl oyp zlyhkdt, dyvwayzzu, bl bye vs pll Nkw Zw. Nw Ubldtmkys yzps bye yd kxrsavydv xyvvla qsa obknb bl dllele Nkw Zw’p blzr. Ebld bl pyo Nkw Zw, bl pyke, “Gqvla alnlkhkdt vbl qycakn, ol okzz ekalnvzu zsye kv sdvs vbl pbkr yde blye vs Zwydgbsw. El dlle vs elnkel sd vbl qkapv cyvnb sq rakdvle ryvvladp, ps R oydvle vs tlv uswa srkdksd sd vbkp.”

Mbkp oyp kxrsavydv, ps Elk Fbk pwttlpvle vblu ekpnwpp kv yv vbl pbsr, pyukdt, “Mblal’p y zsv sq qycakn vblal vss. Zsw nyd nwv psxl pyxrzlp vs pll obknb nszsap yal pwkvyczl.”

Liu Yu had already visited the dyeing workshop before, so she had a good idea of the colors and patterns that could be dyed there. She took a lamp and led Lu Chengxiao and Liu Yanping over.

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As for Liu Yanan, he was responsible for continuing to collect the second batch of fabric in Yangshan Village. He didn’t need to deal with the dyeing workshop and had no interest in fabric patterns. Having not slept well for several days, he went to wash up and rest.

The colors for autumn clothing differ from those for summer, and there are differences between early and late autumn. Lu Chengxiao knew a bit about this, but Liu Yanping was entirely clueless. Liu Yu had been making a lot of autumn clothes recently and knew which color combinations and patterns would stand out. She pointed out some ready-made garments in the shop to explain.

Of course, there was a difference between the ramie fabric and the fabric in Liu Yu’s shop, but it served as a reference.

Once they had made their selections, they didn’t need to touch the fabric in the shop. They had made over a hundred sets of ready-made clothes, and there were countless scraps of fabric in the cutting room, so the three of them went there.

Inside were three large baskets full of fabric scraps. Liu Yu needed to find sample fabrics from these scraps to take to Yuanzhou with Lu Chengxiao and Liu Yanping.

Seeing the three large baskets, Liu Yanping knew it would take a long time to sift through them. He should have helped, but being a bit mischievous, he looked at Lu Chengxiao and Liu Yu and said, “I can’t help with this. Yu, why don’t you find the samples?”

This obvious attempt to give them space made Lu Chengxiao almost want to thank Liu Yanping with a bow. He quickly responded, “Alright, you go rest. I’ll help Yu’er find the samples.”

His quick reply amused Liu Yanping. The couple was soon to be married, and both were respectful and proper. Liu Datian and Liu Chunshan’s wife, who lived across the street, had gone home like the other female workers after lunch. They were told to come back the next day, so there were no outsiders around. It was just a chance to chat.

Liu Yanping left with a smile before Liu Yu could say anything.

Wei Shi and Liu Yanqing apparently had the same idea. The whole family was intent on helping the couple. The courtyard was empty, and there was no one around the cutting room.

Once Liu Yanping left, the room fell into silence. However, Liu Yu didn’t feel awkward; she was more concerned. While searching through the scraps, she asked Lu Chengxiao, “Did you finalize the arrangement with the escort agency you mentioned before?”

“Yes, it’s settled. Brother Qin Er is reliable. He went to Yuanzhou and found a family friend who helped us secure safe passage along the waterways. If we encounter any trouble, we can mention this friend’s name, and no one will give us any problems.”

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Liu Yu was curious, “Who is this influential person?”

Lu Chengxiao smiled, “Officials have their ways, soldiers have theirs, and those in the Jianghu have theirs.”

Liu Yu understood. It was a gang. In her previous life, Wei Lianxing had been associated with someone like this. These people could be ruthless but also valued loyalty. If you could navigate their paths, it indeed reduced a lot of trouble. However, these figures often socialized in places of entertainment, which worried her, though she didn’t express it. She only asked, “What about when we reach Liangzhe?”

“He took a letter from his family friend and went to seek support for the waterway in Liangzhe.”

“That sounds quite reliable,” Liu Yu said, but she seemed somewhat distracted.

Lu Chengxiao assumed she was still worried and said, “Don’t worry. Brother Qin Er will bring five skilled men, making six of them in total. There will be over ten skilled hands on the boat, along with ten to twenty crew members. There will be no trouble.”

Liu Yu nodded and continued searching through the sample fabrics.

She pulled out one piece after another, neatly arranging them on the table. While Lu Chengxiao helped look for samples, his gaze was mostly fixed on Liu Yu’s face. After a while, noticing she was still seriously searching for fabrics, he felt a bit disappointed. He stopped what he was doing, tilted his head slightly, and looked at Liu Yu until she noticed and paused, asking, “What’s wrong?”

Lu Chengxiao moved closer to her. “Are the fabrics more important than me? Why don’t you ask when I’m leaving and when I’ll be back?”

His slight grievance made Liu Yu let go of her earlier inexplicable mood, and she smiled softly. “Then when are you leaving and when will you be back?”

Lu Chengxiao couldn’t resist when Liu Yu looked at him and smiled. Being close to her made his heart race, and although he knew moving back a little would help, he couldn’t bring himself to do it.

“You look better when you smile. What were you thinking about earlier?”

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She had caught him daydreaming. Liu Yu didn’t answer but instead asked, “Am I not good-looking when I don’t smile?”

Lu Chengxiao couldn’t suppress his emotions, which was quite overwhelming.

“Of course, you’re always good-looking,” he said. To him, Liu Yu was always beautiful and effortlessly captured all his attention. In his eyes, she was unique and irreplaceable.

Though he couldn’t say these words aloud, the deep affection was evident in his gaze.

Liu Yu’s face warmed, feeling embarrassed about her earlier thoughts. She then asked him seriously, “You’re collecting fabric tomorrow, but when are you going to Yuanzhou?”

Lu Chengxiao smiled, “Yanan and I will stay here to collect the fabric. Your second brother will go ahead to Yuanzhou.”

So it was her second brother who needed to see the sample fabrics, not Lu Chengxiao. Yet, he stayed here seriously, making Liu Yu find it amusing and unable to hold back a smile, her eyes bending into crescents.

Under the lamp’s light in this quiet night, Lu Chengxiao’s heart raced, and he watched her intently, openly and without looking away.

Who could resist such a gaze? Liu Yu’s smile faded, replaced by a mix of joy, shyness, and uncertainty. She stepped back slightly and reminded Lu Chengxiao, “Hurry and find the fabric samples. Weren’t you here to help?”

Lu Chengxiao laughed, “Alright.”

He moved back a bit and began to seriously help her find the samples.

Liu Yu felt a huge sense of relief but then noticed Lu Chengxiao’s broad smile. As he searched for samples, he kept glancing at her, his dimples showing, which made her heart race again.

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Liu Yu really wanted to ask Lu Chengxiao where he learned this skill of bewitching people; just staring at someone could make them feel flustered and short of breath.

At this moment, she remembered the business of making wedding clothes she had taken on. Was it time to measure now?

Lu Chengxiao’s gaze made her blush and her heart race, leaving her unable to say a word. Just thinking about the scene made her heart beat even faster, especially knowing that Chen Shi and Wei Shi were aware. The mix of shyness and heart palpitations made her feel flustered and indescribable.

Liu Yu tried to focus all her attention on the basket of fabric. The two of them were originally searching through the same basket. As they continued to sift through, their hands touched. Liu Yu’s hand trembled, and she instinctively tried to pull it back, but Lu Chengxiao turned his hand and held hers.

Their eyes met, and Lu Chengxiao’s throat moved slightly. He couldn’t help but lean forward towards Liu Yu. Her eyelashes fluttered, and she didn’t dare look at him. She was sitting facing the door, and as her gaze shifted, she saw their shadows cast on the paper window by the candlelight. Startled, she couldn’t let him get any closer. She pulled her hand away and stood up, saying, “I’ll go pick from another basket.”

Lu Chengxiao was caught off guard and, sure enough, she pulled her hand away and turned to leave. Seeing Liu Yu’s embarrassed cheeks flushed red, he clenched his empty hand.

He didn’t realize their shadows were projected onto the paper window, where Wei Shi and others could see them at a glance. He only thought Liu Yu didn’t want to cross any boundaries before marriage, and now he didn’t dare act recklessly.

Liu Yu’s heart pounded, and she didn’t know if her aunt or any of her brothers had seen that scene. Thinking back, the shadows seemed normal enough, except for her abrupt turn and walk away, which might have looked suspicious.

Her face burned, and afraid that Wei Shi would hear, she didn’t dare remind Lu Chengxiao that their shadows were visible on the paper window. She feared he might do something more, and she couldn’t stay in the cutting room for another moment, let alone take measurements.


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