Casting Nets to Catch a Husband

Chapter 24.1: “Is that girl the one Chengxiao likes?”

Wang Shi felt that she still understood Liu Kangsheng. At least in the evening, she discovered that the eldest son had once again avoided the other two houses and secretly talked with the old man. Sensing that what they discussed might be the second matter raised by Matchmaker Zhang during the day, Wang Shi felt no panic.

She was clear that the old man couldn’t possibly agree. However, hiding in the shadows, she watched Wu Shi outside the main house with eyes full of resentment.

Among the three daughters-in-law, she considered herself the best to the eldest daughter-in-law, but she didn’t expect her to be the most ruthless.

In the main house, as Wang Shi anticipated, Liu Kangsheng decisively dismissed the matter his eldest son brought up, “This is not possible. Don’t mention it again once you leave this door.”

Liu Dalang had more thoughts than Wu Shi. He became anxious when he heard his father’s refusal, “Why, Dad? Think about it. This is not just about money. Those top wealthy families in the county, do they lack industries? As long as Ah Yu gains favor, it doesn’t matter where he sends us brothers to work. It’s a good deal, make a living for a few years. If Ah Yu can have a son and a daughter, I might even get a shop in the county. Isn’t that more profitable than ordinary business?”


Liu Kangsheng knows that sending Liu Yu to the county to serve as a concubine would be more profitable. However, just thinking about what Wang Shi had said to him before, he knew it was absolutely impossible.

The more Liu Dalang talked about the benefits, the darker Liu Kangsheng’s expression became. His lips were tightly pressed, and due to excessive force, the flesh on his cheeks trembled subtly. When Liu Dalang seemed about to say more, Liu Kangsheng interrupted him impatiently, “Enough, leave. You don’t need to keep this in mind; it won’t happen.”

Liu Dalang wanted to ask why, but seeing the tense expression on the old man’s face in the candlelight, he held back.

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“Elzz, Pye, usw alpv lyazu.” Tl oyzjle vs vbl essa, ycswv vs srld kv. Fvkzz wdokzzkdt vs tkhl wr, bl vwadle yaswde yde pyke, “Pye, xyucl usw pbswze vbkdj ycswv kv ytykd.”

Fllkdt vbyv Nkw Iydtpbldt, obs bye tldlayzzu clld ryvkldv okvb bkx, alxykdle pkzldv, Nkw Pyzydt eked’v eyal vs pyu xsal. Tl yojoyaezu srldle vbl essa yde oyzjle swv.

Mbl qyvbla yde psd prsjl kd bwpble vsdlp, yde Ew Fbk, obs oyp twyaekdt vbl essa, eked’v nyvnb xwnb. Fbl sdzu blyae Nkw Pyzydt’p zypv osaep watkdt vbl sze xyd vs alnsdpkela.

Ew Fbk jdlo kd bla blyav vbyv psxlvbkdt oyp yxkpp. Gp pssd yp Nkw Pyzydt nyxl swv, pbl bwaaklezu oydvle vs ts cynj yde kdiwkal ycswv vbl elvykzp. Mbl nswrzl qwxczle vblka oyu cynj vs vblka assx. Tsolhla, clqsal vblu nswze ldvla, vblu ayd kdvs Eydt Fbk, obs bye pweeldzu lxlatle qasx vbl xykd byzz. Eydt Fbk’p pkzldv qktwal pvyavzle Ew Fbk okvb bla pweeld yrrlyaydnl, nywpkdt Ew Fbk vs typr yde qllz bla vball pswzp yde plhld prkakvp pbyjld1ellrzu pbsnj vbyv kv pbssj bla xldvyzzu yde rbupknyzzu .

Eydt Fbk pdllale. “G rlapsd okvb y nzlya nsdpnkldnl dlle dsv qlya lhld kq tbspvp nsxl jdsnjkdt yv xkedktbv.”

Ekvb y nsze lmralppksd, pbl alvwadle vs vbl xykd bswpl.

Ew Fbk ryvvle bla nblpv, dsv xldvksdkdt yduvbkdt vs Nkw Pyzydt yp vblu alvwadle vs vblka assx.

Xd vbl svbla pkel, Eydt Fbk alvwadle vs vbl xykd bswpl, oblal vbl pxlzz sq pxsjl tallvle bla. Fbl pyo Nkw Iydtpbldt rwqqkdt yoyu sd y nktyalvvl. Fbl pdllale yde pyke, “Zswa tsse psd kp vbkdjkdt sq plzzkdt xu Gb Zw, kpd’v bl?”

Liu Kangsheng’s heart trembled, then he realized that Wang Shi was referring to the matter Matchmaker Zhang had suggested about sending Liu Yu to the county as a concubine. Gathering himself, he said, “You know I could never agree. I have addressed it, and he won’t bring it up again.”


Wang Shi held her breath for a while. Upon hearing Liu Kangsheng’s assurance, she felt a bit relieved. However, her worries and fears, which she couldn’t express in words, returned. She pinched the blanket, lost in thought for a while, before finally saying, “As long as you’re aware.”


Liu Yu was unaware that Matchmaker Zhang’s visit to the house was related to something like this. The next morning, after having breakfast, she headed straight to Changfeng Town.

She saw the siblings waiting at the North Town Stone Bridge, as usual. When the siblings saw Liu Yu, their eyes lit up. Due to the distinctive sound of her clothes, even the boy no longer referred to Liu Yu as Miss Liu. Quite naturally, he, along with his younger sister, called Liu Yu “sister.” As usual, the first thing they reported was news about Lu Sanlang.

Suddenly hearing about Lu Chengxiao at this moment, Liu Yu couldn’t describe the feeling in her heart. She took out ten copper coins from her purse and handed them to the boy, feeling somewhat apologetic. She said, “This is for today, but… you don’t need to help me gather information about him in the future.”

The siblings were stunned. The boy didn’t know how to take the copper coins from Liu Yu’s hand for a moment.

Liu Yu felt a bit bitter. She pitied these two children, but she herself was like a drifting weed. Where could she truly help? Apparently, Lu Chengxiao didn’t want these two kids to continue lingering around the Lu family. She still gave them the daily ten coins, fearing that Lu Chengxiao might think she was not letting go.

If these two children were arranged to keep an eye on her new target, Liu Yu didn’t want to fall into the same trap twice.

Seeing the children looking dazed and disappointed, Liu Yu couldn’t bear it. She stuffed the copper coins into the boy’s hand and asked, “Where did you both used to live?”

The boy, looking at the ten copper coins in his palm, carefully grasped them and said, “In the temple to the east of the town. The temple’s master is kind and allows us to stay there at night.”

Liu Yu said, “Then go back there. It’s at least safe. When you’re a bit older, see if there’s a shop willing to take you as an apprentice. Find some work as an apprentice, and you’ll have a livelihood. If you can get through that, the days ahead will be better.”

The boy nodded and said, “Shops won’t take someone as small as me, and they don’t want me bringing my sister. But Sister is right; things will get better. I just need to grow a bit more.”


Liu Yu smiled, ruffled the boy’s messy hair, perhaps when she had settled down and could lend a helping hand.

The three of them walked together on the stone bridge. The little boy, for some unknown reason, suddenly asked, “Sister, why aren’t you keeping an eye on Lu Sanlang anymore? Is Lu Sanlang not good?”

Liu Yu chuckled, giving him a side-eye, “Now that you’re not hiding, you’ve become quite a little gossip, haven’t you?”

The boy chuckled.

However, Liu Yu just smiled and remained silent.

Seeing her reaction, the boy wisely didn’t continue that topic.

After crossing the stone bridge and as they were about to part ways, the little girl, who had been silent until now, looked up at Liu Yu and said, “Sister, if you need us to work with my brother again, come to the temple to find us. Even if you don’t pay us, it’s okay.”

A hint of a smile appeared in Liu Yu’s eyes as she said, “Okay, if there’s a chance, I’ll come to see you.”

If she could successfully overcome the current hurdle.


In Changfeng Town, the only bookstore had a very elegant name – “Ji Xian Zhai.”

The young master of Ji Xian Zhai was the top choice among the five individuals Lin Jiuniang provided to Liu Yu as potential targets, considering comprehensive conditions excluding Lu Chengxiao. At the age of twenty, with a decent family background, literary knowledge, and no vices. The previous year, the Chen family’s Master(Father Chen) had suffered a severe illness, and most of the time, he lay in bed for recuperation. Because of this, Young Master Chen was the one managing Ji Xian Zhai single-handedly.


Liu Yu’s new target was this young master of the Chen family.

The collection of books was precious. Even though the literary culture in Jiangnan was flourishing, there were not many young people in the countryside who studied. Therefore, even in the only bookstore in town, the collection of books wasn’t extensive. Two large bookshelves lined the walls, stacked full, constituting the entirety of the inventory. On both ends of the bookshelves were two sets of counters, where writing utensils and other supplies were neatly arranged. This formed a large square space, and it was where the shopkeeper and assistants stood.

When Liu Yu entered the bookstore, there were no other customers. A fifteen or sixteen-year-old boy stood behind the counter, organizing books and goods. Judging by his age, he wasn’t the target Liu Yu was looking for on this trip.

The young assistant noticed a customer and greeted them before seeing who it was. He spoke with a swift and fluent local dialect. Halfway through, as he looked up, he noticed that the newcomer was an exceptionally beautiful young lady, and the remaining part of his greeting abruptly came to a halt.

Not blaming him for his reaction, as visitors to the bookstore were usually scholars, regardless of age, and predominantly male. It was uncommon to see women, and the young assistant, who typically had a smooth tongue, suddenly started stuttering, “Mi-miss, are you buying books?”

Liu Yu shook her head, “I’m not buying books.”

The assistant hadn’t fully recovered yet and, following the customary way of dealing with the scholars who visited, absentmindedly asked, “Are you buying writing supplies then, miss?”

Liu Yu smiled and said, “I came to ask for a favor with a written character. I wonder if the young sir could help? I won’t ask you to write for free; I can pay for the ink and paper.”

The young assistant had been working in the bookstore for over a year, but Liu Yu’s request left him momentarily stunned.

Asking for a written character?

The first thought that popped into his head was letter writing, but it didn’t seem right. There were people who specialized in that trade at the market; how did they end up in their bookstore?

But Liu Yu calling him “young sir” made him much more patient. Without refusing outright, he instead inquired, “May I ask what character the miss is requesting and for what purpose?”


Liu Yu needed to come up with an excuse, but that was something she could easily conjure on the spot. Besides, she had already thought about it on the way there. She decided to say she needed the character for her elders to embroider on clothes, using the excuse of wanting to embroider the character for “fortune2“福”..”

The young assistant found it strange; shouldn’t she go to an embroidery shop for that? Nevertheless, if there wasn’t something suitable in the embroidery shop, and since it was a doorstep business, there was no reason to refuse.

He smiled and said, “Writing the character is fine, but I’m afraid I can’t do it. Although I know a bit about characters, what I write is not legible. Our young master, however, is quite good at calligraphy. He’s in the backyard; please wait a moment, and I’ll inform him for you?”

This went smoothly, and Liu Yu was overjoyed. She gave a slight bow and said, “Thank you, young sir.”

The young assistant’s face turned red. “Miss is too polite.” Blushing, he lifted a curtain behind the counter and called for the young master in the backyard.

Chen Sheng was copying books. When he heard the assistant calling him, he thought it was a business that required his attention, so he put down his pen and came to the front of the shop.

Lifting the curtain and entering the shop, when he raised his eyes, he met the gaze of the girl standing in front of the counter. He froze in place, forgot to put down the hand lifting the curtain, and his mind was filled with a barrage of expressions like “radiant as peaches and plums,” “fragrance of heaven and national beauty,” “overturning nations and cities”…a heap of overflowing compliments.

The young assistant introduced enthusiastically, “Miss, this is our young master. Our young master has excellent calligraphy. Please tell him specifically what you need.”

Chen Sheng was still immersed in the breathtaking astonishment and trance-like enchantment. His hand, which had lifted the curtain, forgot to put it down. His mind was filled with phrases like “radiant as peaches and plums,” “fragrance of heaven and national beauty,” “overturning nations and cities” — a heap of overflowing compliments.

The young assistant continued to speak politely: “Miss, this is our young master, and he excels in calligraphy. Please let him know what you need specifically.”

Chen Sheng remained in that state of awe, unable to come back to his senses. The assistant seemed to have said something to him, but Chen Sheng didn’t register it. It wasn’t until Liu Yu smiled and nodded that he finally snapped out of it. He vaguely heard the assistant mention the words “requesting a written character,” but he didn’t catch much beyond that.

His face turned red, swollen with embarrassment. “Miss, what character do you need?”

Indeed, he hadn’t caught a single word of what the assistant said.

This was the first time Liu Yu had seen the number one target mentioned by Lin Jiuniang. Unlike the heroic presence of Lu Chengxiao, this young master Chen had a more delicate appearance and a slightly slender figure.

She repeated her request, and Chen Sheng, who hadn’t even considered that embroidery patterns could be bought in an embroidery shop, blushed at the ears. After carefully inquiring about the requirements, he accepted the task. He mentioned that the commonly used writing supplies were in the back room and asked Liu Yu to wait in the shop. He would write and send it over for her approval.

Liu Yu had no objections. Seeing him blush, when he went to the backyard, their movements were almost synchronized. It was clear to her that her goal for today had been achieved.

Chen Sheng wasted six or seven sheets of paper before finally picking one he was satisfied with. Returning to the front of the shop, it was about ten minutes later. He handed the sheet of paper with seven or eight different characters for “fortune” to Liu Yu, saying, “My calligraphy is average. Since there are often scholars in the bookstore, please take a look. If it’s not suitable, I can find someone else to write a different one for you.”

As they say, the handwriting reflects the person, but Liu Yu didn’t have the expertise to discern that. She smiled and praised, “The characters are excellent. Young Master Chen is too modest.”

He then asked about the cost of the ink and paper.

Chen Sheng was unwilling to accept payment, insisting that it was just a small effort on his part, repeatedly declining.

Liu Yu smiled, took out twenty copper coins, and placed them on the counter, asking, “I wonder if this is enough?”

Her smile dazzled Chen Sheng, leaving him somewhat dazed. He nearly forgot his own last name, let alone any numbers. When Liu Yu thanked him and was about to leave, he suddenly realized she was departing. His heart felt a sudden emptiness, and he quickly thought of something, rushing out to catch up.

“Miss, please wait.”

Liu Yu stopped, and Chen Sheng caught up, standing a couple of steps away from her. He said, “I just remembered, if Miss is getting embroidery done by Lingci, my calligraphy may not be the best. My younger sister has some embroidered patterns for blessings and longevity. We bought them from the Jinxiu Manor in Yuanzhou City last year. Following those patterns should result in a much better outcome. If Miss needs them, why not come again tomorrow? I can borrow them from my sister, and you can copy one?”

Sansukini: Wow! I dunno why the chapters are so long. It’s takes too long to edit so I’m cutting them in two. I will post the two parts 1 hour apart for novelupdates purposes.

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