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2. This is a fan work and the interpretation represents only the translator’s personal views without any input from the author.
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After Liu Changgeng’s injury was bandaged, he went back to the old residence, bringing along some of the prepared dishes with him. Then Liu Changshi took over the task of carrying over the meal. When he got back, He Ruyu was busy in the kitchen, but the moment she saw him, she put everything down to greet him anxiously, “Are you alright?” She asked as she looked him over.
Liu Changshi smiled and shook his head, “I’m fine.” Since the kitchen was empty, he swiftly went over and planted a kiss on her cheek. “Were you worried?”
He Ruyu immediately blushed red. Shocked and embarrassed, she quickly glanced at the door – Xian’er was just here! Thankfully, she seemed to have left. Biting on her lip, she looked at him, “You are just too daring…..” Afraid he would tease her some more, she quickly changed the topic, “How is erge’s injury? Is it serious or not? My jie… saozi’s eyes were all red and she seemed concerned. Is it very serious? Do we need to go and look for a doctor?”
Liu Changshi laughed, “Invite a doctor? It’s just a flesh wound! You women like to make a big fuss over nothing. It’s fine. Oh, prepare more wine – if we can drink this group under the table, everything should be resolved!”
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Tl Swuw ytalle yde oldv vs ralryal, yzz obkzl pyukdt. “Ebu yal vbkdtp zkjl vbkp? Eypd’v lhlausdl fwpv qktbvkdt – obu yal usw yzz dso eakdjkdt vstlvbla?! Zsw…. Mbl pkvwyvksd pwal nbydtle iwknjzu!”
Nkw Ubydtpbk zywtble – bl oyp ycswv vs alvsav vbyv osxld nswzed’v rsppkczu wdelapvyde vbl xyzl xkde, obld Tl pbk al-ldvlale. Fllkdt Tl pbk yrrlya zkpvzlpp yde osaakle, bla lulp qykdvzu ale, bl iwknjzu yppwale bla, “Oapys, latl kp yzaktbv. Typd’v bkp oswde yzalyeu clld cydeytle? Ohlauvbkdt okzz cl qkdl.”
Tl pbk dseele, “Mbyv’p vawl…. Tso ycswv eye yde xwx? Gal vblu yzaktbv?”
“Mblu’al csvb qkdl. Zsw pbswze’hl plld bso xytdkqknldv xwx oyp! Ebkzl vbl Yy casvblap jlrv vaukdt vs pvka vaswczl, yde pvyav y qktbv, xwx pvsse wr yde pbwv vblx yzz wr okvb y qlo pldvldnlp! Tlbl, pvweukdt pwal kp wplqwz! Xvblaokpl ol oswzed’v lhld jdso vbl plhld nsdekvksdp…. Zsw xyel vbl aktbv nbsknl kd pldekdt Fbw yde Nkd vs pnbssz.”
Tl Swuw caswtbv swv y zyatl vayu yde vbawpv kv kdvs bkp bydep. “Ps usw lhld dlle vs pyu vbyv!” Mbld pbl rwaple bla zkrp, “Mblal’p y fwt sq yznsbsz yv vbl essaoyu. Zsw cswtbv kv qsa vbl qyxkzu vs byhl shla vbl Llo Zlya. Jakdt kv yzz shla!”
Nkw Ubydtpbk pxkzle, sdl byde bszekdt vbl vayu, vbl svbla byde nyaaukdt vbl yznsbsz fwt, bl oldv sqq. Mbld Tl pbk pnssrle swv vblka pvlole nbknjld sdvs ydsvbla zyatl rzyvl. Gqvla ekpbkdt kv swv, pbl nyzzle qsa Nkw Fbw yde Nkw Nkd vs nyaau kv shla. Mbyv pbswze cl ldswtb qsse qsa vbl rlsrzl yv vbl sze alpkeldnl.
Jlnywpl vblu olal osaakle vbl qsse oswzed’v cl ldswtb, vblu bye vyjld swv yzz vblka ralryale ekpblp vs cakdt ynaspp. Mblu nswze sdzu pvyav vs nssj lhlauvbkdt ytykd qasx pnayvnb, cwv yv zlypv kv oyp vbl zypv eyu sq vbl ulya – vblal oyp rzldvu sq vkxl. Mblu nswze pzsozu es lhlauvbkdt ytykd. Mbl pkpvlap nbyvvle yp vblu osajle.&dcpr;
Gqvla Nkw Fbw yde Nkw Nkd pldv vbl qsse shla, vblu nyxl cynj yde vsze vblx obyv bye byrrldle kd elvykz. Mblu pbyale vbyv dlyazu 10 Yy casvblap olal pvkzz vblal. Mblu bye yzz pvyavle vs eakdj. Mbl Akzzytl Tlye bye sdzu pvyule caklqzu vs pyu y qlo osaep clqsal zlyhkdt, cwv kv pllxle zkjl lhlauvbkdt oyp qkdl. Gzvbswtb vblal olal nsdqasdvyvksdyz lmnbydtlp, vblu olal yzz pvkzz lyvkdt yde eakdjkdt!
Everyone shook their heads when they heard.
Liu Xian’er was silent throughout – it was almost as though she didn’t exist. When He shi went to the kitchen to cook, she had gone along to help. Although they told her that she didn’t need to help – she could go and play with her cousins – she had chosen to find an empty room to sit in by herself. Liu Tao, on the other hand, wanted to go with Liu Shu and Liu Lin. Although Liu Lin ignored him, Liu Shu said a few words to him.
Because of Ma shi’s matter, no one had a good New Year. The next day, the Ma brothers had left very early – they needed to rush home to prepare their offerings. Liu Changqi had packed up all of Ma shi’s dowry. There weren’t too many items, and some of them had already been used. Those that had been used were substituted with cash. He took 5 strings of cash as well as a whole lot of other items and returned them all to the Ma brothers.
That wasn’t the end of it. Liu Gao shi was determined to break off Liu Xian’er’s engagement, but it was a troublesome matter. It took Liu Changqi quite a few days to settle everything, and by the time he did, he realised that Ma shi had actually taken the 10 strings of cash with her when she left!
That angered Liu Changqi greatly, but he was helpless. Refusing to just swallow this grievance, he went by himself to Majia village to look for the partner that Ma shi had arranged for Liu Xian’er. While there, he went to Ma shi’s maiden home and told them about the matter regarding the 10 strings of cash. He made it known that he didn’t intend to get it back, but the Ma family had better know that this had happened!
Ma Dechang hadn’t known about this. Although he denied the charge, he thought to himself that his sister likely had taken the money with her. Otherwise why would Liu Changqi come over by himself when everything had already been settled? Was he looking for a beating?”
In any case, after a cold exchange of words, Liu Changqi finally managed to sever all ties with the Ma family.
After finally making it through the New Year, they started to discuss the breaking of the engagement. Seeing the trouble the engagement had caused – Ma shi had even been divorced over the matter – the widower’s family decided to agree to the Liu family’s request to break it off.
Furthermore, after news of the matter got out, fellow villagers were eyeing them sideways. After all, it was frowned on for a 30-year-old widower to get married to a 16-year-old girl. So they were agreeable to break it off, but the 10 strings of cash had to be returned to the family. In addition, they wanted another 2 taels of silver – after all, they had already incurred some expenses in getting a matchmaker, and so on!
Liu Gao shi discussed the matter with Liu Changqi. Since they had given 10 strings of cash in betrothal, it was fair that they would want some extra to break it off. If they wanted to keep the situation cordial, they should give it to them.
So Liu Changqi agreed to give it. He took back the list of betrothal gifts and with that, the matter was resolved. But after this, Liu Changqi was broke. There wasn’t enough money for him to break off Liu Xian’er’s engagement – he had had to borrow five taels of silver from Liu Gao shi.
“From today onwards, everything here is now yours. I will leave the counters and the big cupboard here for you to use. When we first made them, it cost us a few dozens of taels, but it’s now used. Considering that we are all neighbours, and I am not hard up for the cash, I will transfer everything to you for three taels of silver…..” Shi Cheng was speaking up ahead. Liu Xu’er was resisting the urge to laugh as she listened.
“When your family was fighting with the Ma family, why wasn’t I around! If I was, I would have liked to sneak a peek….” Shi Cheng suddenly changed the topic.
Liu Xu’er stared at him, “What was there to see? At the time, all we wanted to do was hide! A whole group of people charged over. It was frightening! My mother’s face was all white. She nearly wanted to lock me and Senzi into a room….”
Shi Cheng laughed as he heard. Then he asked, “Is your dabo in poor financial shape now? Is your dad going to try and help him? Will Liu Yun’er be helping you to make things?” The last sentence was said an octave higher, expressing his dismay.
“How could that be? My mother made sure to explain what happened during the fight to my dad. When everyone went over to discuss my dabo’s situation, my dad kept his mouth closed throughout. My ye and nai, couldn’t say anything to that…. We will let my sishu help them out. Whatever the case, I will not accept anything that Liu Yun’er and Liu Xian’er make! Although Liu Xian’er is pitiable….. She’s also hateful!”
Shi Cheng nodded. The two of them were meeting here today for the handover of the store. At this moment, Liu Changgeng, Liu Shu and Liu Lin were moving things into the store from their cart. This time, the entire store had to be filled with their goods, so there was a lot for them to move in.
Liu Xu’er went into Shi Cheng’s store room and started to discuss matters.
“The remainder of the stock here is up to your disposal. I’ve already discussed it with my dad – these are all the leftover stock. It’s not right for us to charge you for one or two of each type of item, so we will just include all of this into the price of those counters. In total, you just need to give us three taels of silver.” Shi Cheng then glanced outside and softly asked, “Is three taels too much? If it is, I will lessen the amount.”
Liu Xu’er laughed, “It’s not much. It’s rather low actually.”
Shi Cheng nodded. Then he said, “Do you have enough goods? You’ve already had the painful experience of running out of stock. You would lose a lot of money in a month if you do!”
Liu Xu’er smiled, “I’ve also thought it through. Firstly, after the commotion that happened at the beginning of the year, quite a few villagers helped out. My dad needs to address that debt of gratitude. Secondly, to continue to manage the store, it can’t be that empty. But I also am unable to make that many items, so I am still looking for villagers to help. If they make decent handicrafts, then I will buy it all from them. Today, all the women in the village are looking to learn how to make decorative knots, silk flowers and what not.”
Liu Lin moved a large basket in.
Shi Cheng nodded, “That’s right! Just leave a few of the big ticket items for yourself to do. The hand-warmers, scent sachets, forehead bands. As for your dad, he can stop making the little ornaments, but he should keep making beaded bracelets as well as combs. Those two items are worth more money. “
Liu Xu’er nodded. Liu Lin chimed in, “That’s right! We should leave the more expensive items for ourselves. In future, we might even open a large store! We can’t teach others how to make these things!”
Just entering, Liu Shu laughed when he heard that.
Shi Cheng had already handed over everything to Liu Xu’er, so he went to help the two brothers move baskets in. These few youngsters had to move in over a dozen baskets – their backs were pouring with sweat by the time they were done.
Liu Changgeng brought in the last basket from the cart before finally straightening up. “Have you settled everything? Can we start to arrange things on the shelves?”
Liu Xu’er nodded, “We’ve already decided on the transfer sum. Shi Cheng wants three taels of silver for the counters and the remaining stock.”
Liu Changgeng was shocked, “Only three taels! Shi Cheng, you can’t do this. You mustn’t let yourself make such a large loss just to help our family! What would you tell your father? You’re learning business management – don’t let your father feel like you are making a mistake here!”
Shi Cheng hurriedly smiled and said, “Uncle, don’t worry! I’ve already spoken to my father about all this. There really isn’t much stock remaining. This year, we didn’t go and get new supplies, so there are maybe two or three of each item remaining. It’s not worth much money. As to the counters, they are all well used. Furthermore, how can you expect me to bring them back? I’ve no place to put them!”
Liu Xu’er smiled and clapped her hands, “Forget it dad! Since he wants three taels, then let’s give him three taels! Shall we start to lay all the items out? There’s so much that it would take us the whole day to put them all out!”
Liu Changgeng could only nod, and the few of them started to busy themselves with displaying all the items. Liu Xu’er was more meticulous than Shi Cheng. Previously, the store was somewhat messily laid out, and Shi Cheng had been too lazy to re-arrange them properly, but Liu Xu’er had spent some time to plan all this out. The handkerchiefs, head scarves etc should all be placed together, while the beaded bracelets, beaded flowers were all placed together. The little ornaments and what not would still be placed on the frontmost part of the store.
They were busy the entire day. It was only after the sun had set that they finished their work.