Liu Zhang looked confused. He had been speaking so well, so why did the expression change? He glanced at Lin Huaigeng and asked, “What’s wrong with Chengxiao?”
Lin Huaigeng also didn’t enter the tea room. He said, “Come, let’s go and see.”
On the North Town Street, Lu Chengxiao finally caught up with Liu Yu.
With a heart full of hope, he called out to her, but when he stood in front of her, he was afraid to be rude to the beautiful lady, and he couldn’t bring himself to ask any questions.
He was at a loss for words.
Then, he remembered something, and he extended his right hand in front of Liu Yu, opening his palm to reveal the purse that Liu Yu had tried to retrieve earlier but couldn’t.
Both of them seemed to be transported back to the previous scene, and simultaneously, they lowered their gaze, avoiding each other’s eyes. One blushed, and the other’s ears turned warm.
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Nkw Zw’p qkdtla valxczle cwv pbl eked’v xshl.
Gqvla ycswv qkhl sa pkm calyvbp, bla qyka byde alynble swv vsoyaep Nw Ubldtmkys’p ryzx, elzknyvlzu rknjkdt wr vbyv ryzl rkdj rwapl qasx bkp byde.
Mbkp vkxl pbl oyp hlau nyalqwz. Ohld vbswtb pbl byed’v vswnble kv yv yzz, Nw Ubldtmkys’p blyav oyp aynkdt kdvldplzu. Mbl ryzrkvyvksdp olal vbakzzkdt, yp kq vbl psqvlpv ryav sq bkp blyav bye clld hkszldvzu pvawnj.
Tl oyp psxlobyv vyjld ycynj yde pwcnsdpnkswpzu alynble swv vs nshla bkp nblpv.
Jwv vbl rwapl bye dsv clld nsxrzlvlzu rwzzle yoyu qasx bkp byde, yde bl alpvaykdle bkxplzq. Gzz vbyv pbsole oyp y pzktbv valxczkdt sq bkp qkdtlavkrp.
Mbkp pzktbv valxsa oyp cyalzu dsvknlyczl sd vbl swvpkel, cwv Nkw Zw, obs oyp vyjkdt vbl rwapl qasx bkp byde, qlzv kv. Tla qynl talo oyax, yde pbl vssj y pxyzz pvlr cynj, bszekdt vbl rwapl, yde psqvzu pyke, “Mbydj usw.”
Brsd blyakdt bla vbydjp, Nw Ubldtmkys oyp yqayke pbl xktbv zlyhl ytykd, yde kd y rydkn, bl nyzzle swv vs bla sdnl xsal.
Liu Yu raised her eyes to look at him.
Those eyes were stunningly beautiful, and in their clear pupils, his reflection was clearly visible. They held an unmistakable expression of curiosity.
Under the gaze of such captivating eyes, Lu Chengxiao’s heart began to beat irregularly again, and his brain even had a momentary blank.
He heard himself asking, “May I inquire if you are from Changfeng Town?”
Liu Yu hesitated for a moment, then smiled. The smile began in her eyes, spread to her lips, and finally converged into a captivating smile on her lips.
Her already incredibly beautiful face was illuminated by this radiant smile, making her exceptionally charming and breathtaking.
Liu Yu nodded, “Yes, I am from Changfeng Town.”
Lu Chengxiao was left speechless, and Liu Yu raised an eyebrow and asked him, “Is there anything else you’d like to ask?”
He hesitated for a moment and then shook his head.
Liu Yu arched her eyebrows, “Well, then I’ll be on my way.”
She lightly raised the purse in her hand, “This, thank you.”
“No need,” he replied.
Lin Huaigeng and Liu Zhang, who had been following from a distance, watched in amazement. They only approached Lu Chengxiao with large strides after Liu Yu had walked a considerable distance, and they were still somewhat dazed.
Liu Zhang gazed at Liu Yu’s retreating figure and asked, “Chengxiao, do you know that young lady?”
Lu Chengxiao replied with a “Hmm.”
Did he know her? Well, you could say that he did. His lips curled up involuntarily, and there was a hint of a concealed smile in the corners of his eyes and eyebrows.
Liu Zhang still couldn’t believe it, “You’ve only been back for a few days this year, and this is the kind of unbelievable luck you have!”
On the other hand, Lin Huaigeng, who had someone dear to his heart, understood the feeling of love. He discerned some clues from Lu Chengxiao’s expression and said with a smile, “It’s not luck, it’s destiny.”
At the age of eighteen, Lu Chengxiao was no longer a young boy and easily understood the lingering sentiments in Lin Huaigeng’s words.
However, when it came to the word “destiny,” it resonated with him in a way that was deeply stirring.
It was the kind of desire one couldn’t help but yearn for, despite knowing it might be seen as forward or against social norms.
When Liu Yu returned home, Liu Yan was busy pigweed.
As soon as she saw Liu Yu, all the frustration she had accumulated throughout the day due to having to do extra chores in the absence of Liu Kangsheng came pouring out.
“You’re willing to come back now, why didn’t you come home just a little later during mealtime? Our family doesn’t have anyone older than you. Your father let you off chores to take care of your skin, but it seems like you’re always running around outside, trying not to get tanned, huh?”
As she spoke, she couldn’t help but notice Liu Yu’s skin, which was so fair it looked like it might glow, and she indeed didn’t seem tanned at all. She almost vomited out a mouthful of blood.
Liu Yu pursed her lips and didn’t respond to her. What she truly worried about was Liu Kangsheng, who was sitting at the entrance to the main room, smoking a pipe.
Liu Yu was well aware of what kind of her appearance Liu Kangsheng would like to see. She walked over to Wen Shi, who was washing vegetables, and said, “Sister-in-law, you’re in the later stages of your pregnancy, take a rest. I’ll help with the vegetables.”
Wen Shi was considerate and said with a smile, “It’s not a heavy task. Let’s do it together.”
She also glanced over at Liu Yan and asked Liu Yu, “How is it? It must not be easy to sneakily learn embroidery at the workshop, right?”
Liu Yu knew that Wen Shi was discreetly speaking up for her in front of Liu Kangsheng, so she appreciated her goodwill and smiled, “It’s not easy at all. The skilled embroiderers are cautious. I alternate between two clothing shops and can’t stay too long during each visit. Most of the time is spent on the road. I primarily focus on observing their stitching techniques. I’ve learned a couple of them in these past few days. If Sister-in-law is interested, I can teach you what I’ve learned first, or you can learn after you’re out of confinement.”
It was a way to return the favor, and it was also a way to use teaching embroidery to Wen Shi as a carrot dangling in front of a donkey.
Sure enough, Liu Kangsheng cast a sidelong glance in their direction.
Wen Shi had always been keen on acquiring a practical skill, and she was helping Liu Yu for this very reason. Now, she was delighted to hear Liu Yu’s offer.
Liu Yu was delighted that Wen Shi was eager to learn, “That’s great! Let’s do it in the afternoon. It’s not strenuous work, so there’s no need to wait until after childbirth.”
“Alright, Sister-in-law, just take a nap after lunch and come to my room to find me. We’ll start with practicing stitches.”
One intended to use their embroidery skills to secure their chances to go to the town while the other one was determined to acquire a valuable skill, and they grew closer as a result.
On Liu Kangsheng’s side, his expression also seemed to have cleared up a bit.
Previously, he didn’t care whether Liu Yu learned embroidery or not. However, in the past few days, her frequent trips to town had become quite annoying. But if he were to sell Liu Yu before she learned embroidery, there was a chance that she could gradually teach the skill to Wen Shi. He calculated the time and realized that, with Liu Yu’s intelligence, it was indeed possible for her to teach embroidery to Wen Shi quite well before being sold.
This new idea opened up for Liu Kangsheng. With his daughter-in-law having this skill, it meant that the Liu family would possess the knowledge. In the future, all their granddaughters would be able to learn, and this would bring in a significant additional income for the family.
Liu Kangsheng remained poker-faced, but in his mind, the more he thought about it, the more beautiful the idea seemed. The low-pressure feeling of annoyance caused by Liu Yu’s frequent trips to town vanished into thin air.
Liu Yan couldn’t stand to see Liu Yu’s pride, and her face twisted with anger. Meanwhile, Lin Shi, who was looking out of the kitchen window, couldn’t believe that Liu Yu was actually going to start teaching Wen Shi embroidery. She seethed inwardly at Wen Shi’s cunning and shamelessness for resorting to any means to learn something.
She couldn’t bear to let this pass. She made up her mind that if Liu Yu indeed learned embroidery thoroughly, she would make their father-in-law intervene and have Daya sent over to learn from Liu Yu.
Wang Shi, who was also in the kitchen, had no idea that her second daughter-in-law was cursing Liu Yu as a hanger-on and was making all sorts of calculations. She was solely focused on observing Liu Kangsheng’s demeanor. When she saw that his mood had improved slightly, she breathed a quiet sigh of relief.
Proud of her eldest daughter’s progress, Wang Shi also took note of Wen Shi’s good deeds.
Even so, Wang Shi couldn’t completely let her guard down. After lunch, she tidied up the main room and the kitchen, and when she saw Liu Yu returning to her room, she quietly followed her in.
Liu Yu had originally planned to take a nap after some activities, and when she saw her mother coming at this time, she called out, “Mother,” with a slightly puzzled look.
Wang Shi took Liu Yu aside and whispered, “Yu’er, maybe you should avoid going to town too often from now on. I’ve noticed that your father isn’t very happy with your frequent trips.”
Liu Yu’s eyelids drooped, and it confirmed her suspicions.
Wang Shi’s deference and fear of Liu Kangsheng were deeply ingrained. She had to amplify every nuance of his expression many times over to understand what he was thinking. She didn’t even need him to speak up; she took the initiative.
Liu Yu didn’t understand if this was how all couples were.
She gathered all the emotions that shouldn’t be there and looked up at Wang Shi. Her voice was soft, extremely obedient, and she asked, “So, Mother, are you suggesting that I should stop learning embroidery?”
Wang Shi choked a bit. How could she not learn? Her old man had even instructed her to learn and teach the third daughter-in-law.
“You still need to learn, but what I mean is, don’t go to town every day.” She thought for a moment and asked, “Is it not possible to visit every three to five days? In the past, you learned the embroidery techniques from just one visit to observe, and you came back to figure it out yourself, right?”
Liu Yu gently shook her head, “It’s not the same. Making a hair accessory is easy, and anyone who observes for a few days can pick it up. Whether it looks good and can be sold depends on color coordination and patterns. But embroidery is much more challenging. Just the basic stitching techniques alone have countless variations. Plus, don’t be deceived by my frequent trips outside these past few days. Most of the time is spent on the road, and I can’t stay for long when I go to the workshops. The embroiderers are also wary. In such a short time, it’s not guaranteed that I’ll see different techniques every time. It also requires some luck.”
“Is that so?”
Liu Yu had always been obedient, and Wang Shi had no reason to doubt the truth in her words. She hesitated for a moment, then changed the subject, “You haven’t made any hair accessories lately, have you? That’s something you shouldn’t neglect.”
Liu Yu’s eyebrows twitched slightly, “I can’t find time in the mornings. In the afternoons, I need to practice split stitching and the new stitching techniques I’ve learned. And my father doesn’t allow me to light a lamp in the evenings. My mother has advised me not to rest at noon but to make hair accessories.”
As she asked this, her watery eyes were fixed on Wang Shi.
Wang Shi felt uneasy under her gaze for some reason. She couldn’t bring herself to meet her eldest daughter’s eyes. It was as if she was afraid that something she had always subconsciously known but didn’t dare to acknowledge would come to light.
Liu Yu was right. If she genuinely couldn’t find any other time, Wang Shi’s intention was indeed for her to set aside the noon hour to make hair accessories, so she could offer an explanation to Liu Kangsheng.
But despite her eldest daughter’s clear and pure eyes, Wang Shi couldn’t bring herself to state this directly. She instinctively lowered her gaze, avoiding her daughter’s eyes, and used a softly worded approach, saying, “In your situation… you are different from Yan’er. You need to have a sense of it yourself. Enduring a bit of hardship when you’re young doesn’t really count as suffering. It’s a way to build a good reputation.”
Liu Yu smiled, but her nose suddenly tingled with pain. The sudden sharp sensation made her tear up, and it caught her off guard. In a fleeting moment, her eyes welled up with tears. She didn’t even know what had pricked her long-cold heart, but it led her to blurt out a question she had wanted to ask in her past life but had never actually asked.
“Mother, tell me, how am I different from Yan’er? I don’t have a biological father, right? So, Mother, I want to ask, where is my father? Yan’er has a biological father, so I can’t be born from a stone. Where is my biological father?”
Sansukini: The title of this chapter is “牵绊” which directly translates to “Tie Down”. But another meaning is Entanglement or the complex relationship that ties people together.
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