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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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What Shi Cheng said made a lot of sense, so Liu Xu’er kept the more expensive items for her family to make, while letting others handle the smaller items. Apart from the hand-warmers, scent sachets and forehead warmers, she got He Ruyu to take over making the decorative knots and braided cords.
When He Ruyu was still unmarried, she had tried to teach her two saozi to embroider, but they were really unable to make them up to standard. It was only after Liu Xu’er’s jiuma came to town with her jiujiu to look at her store, saw that there were many things sold there, and that the items the two of them made were the cheapest, that they steeled their resolve and went back to look for He Ruyu to properly learn. They even took scraps of cloth to practise till He Ruyu gave the green light for them to go ahead and make the handkerchiefs.
Following her experience, Liu Xu’er told her two jiuma to make simple pouches, with just a flower or two embroidered on them. She carefully explained to them that those types were sold for 300wen each, and were not the same as the ones her xiaoyi made.
Of course both of her jiuma were happy to agree. After being with Liu Xu’er these past two years, they had made quite a sum. When He Wenqing and He Wenhui’s little ornaments were added to the picture, they were making a dozen taels or so a year.
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Nwnjkzu, Fbk Ubldt oswze snnypksdyzzu plde rlsrzl shla vs vbl pvsal vs twyae kv yde oyad svblap vbyv kv oypd’v fwpv vbl vball sq vblx vblal! Mbspl obs oydvle vs vau psxlvbkdt dyvwayzzu bye vs alvbkdj vblka rzydp.
As such, it was imperative that they buy a house in town this year.
After a unanimous discussion at home, they went into town to buy a house. The matter of relocating to town had long ago been discussed with Old Man Liu and Liu Gao shi. Since Second’s family had the money, and their business was in town, the two elders would definitely not say anything against the decision.
These past two years, Liu Changgeng had come up with a roundabout way of helping Liu Changqi. He bought six mu of fertile land. Added to his previous 1.5mu, he was definitely unable to manage all the farmwork by himself. So he would invite Liu Changqi every year to help him with it, and insist on paying Liu Changqi for his help.
Although Liu Xu’er hated Liu Yun’er, Liu Changqi was after all, her dabo. She couldn’t watch him struggle to make a living without trying to help. Furthermore, in these past two years, Liu Changqi had dragged Liu Tao out to help him work. Liu Tao joined him in working night and day – the tough experience helped him to mature and Liu Tao no longer had his bad habits from childhood.
As such, when Liu Tao brought his handmade rouge boxes to her and asked, “Mei, what do you think of my handiwork?” Liu Xu’er agreed to take them. She told him to make as many as he could in his spare time. He could put it in her store to sell.
Liu Changshi had bought another four mu of land in the past two years himself, and planted goji berries in all of his fields. These past two years, they hadn’t yet started to bear fruit, but luckily, xiaoyi’s handiwork brought in a tidy income, and the two of them were living quite comfortably.
Liu Xu’er and her family had already started to look for a place in town long ago. The moment he had heard that her family was moving into town, Shi Cheng had jumped for joy and leaped at the task of finding them a place.
Shi Cheng’s home was a five entry courtyard located in the east of town. That was the district where the wealthy stayed. In the vicinity were restaurants and tea shops – his own family’s restaurant and jewelry store were there.
In the street behind his family’s jewelry store, a house was put up for sale. It was a bit expensive though – 180 taels of silver. It was a three entry courtyard, with a main courtyard and two side courtyards. In total, there were three livable courtyards and a very spacious backyard.
All of the courtyards had three main rooms – the central room, a bedroom and a side room, along with two side wings. The side wings also had three rooms each. The backyard was divided into two. Along the side closer to the courtyard wall was a well in the middle. Next to the well were a row of rooms. The kitchen and firewood stores were all there. The rooms to the side of those could accommodate servants. The other side of the backyard was a large empty space that they could play in.
In total, there were 26 rooms in the house. Shi Cheng had looked it over thoroughly and found it to be a good deal.
“The most important thing is that it’s close to my place! It’s just two streets over. If I had any urgent matters, it would be quick for me to pop on over. It would also be easier for us to look out for each other this way!” Shi Cheng was even more enthusiastic about the house than the seller. He pulled Liu Xu’er through the entire house. When he got to the backyard, he said, “I’ll bring some of my family’s grape seedlings over. You can plant them in your backyard. When summer hits, it would give some shade, and you can enjoy some grapes.”
Watching Shi Cheng very naturally pull Liu Xu’er along, He shi stood in the main courtyard, lost in thought. Liu Changgeng was just looking up to check the main house’s roof when He shi grabbed him and softly exclaimed, “Look!”
Liu Changgeng thought that something was amiss! He quickly followed her gaze, but only saw the door to the backyard. He asked, “What are you looking at?”
He shi turned to face him and softly said, “Xu’er is already 11 this year. She’s a young lady, but ….. Why is Shi Cheng still being so forward? Look, he’s still holding her hand…..”
Liu Changgeng sighed in exasperation! He laughed and looked at her, “You must be too bored… Is looking at the house not enough to occupy you? The two of them grew up together. Shi Cheng, Liu Shu and Liu Lin are like blood brothers. For a brother to hold a sister’s hand – what of it?”
He shi immediately replied, “But they aren’t blood related siblings! So of course it’s not acceptable! After all, men and women should avoid contact. They are both already grown, how can they not be mindful of such things….”
“Mum!” Liu Sen smiled and ran over. He pointed at the side courtyard and said, “I want to stay there! Gege will be there, so I also want to stay there!”
He shi was stunned. She said, “If all of you stay in the side courtyard, then who is going to stay in this main courtyard?”
“You and dad?” Liu Sen answered, puzzled.
He shi loudly exclaimed, “Such a large courtyard just for me and your father? How many rooms are there here anyway?!” She started to count, “Nine! Then there are those rooms that are on the opposite side….
Liu Sen smiled and ran off, “Then let my jie stay in the side rooms! Whatever the case, I am going to stay with gege in the side courtyard!”
Liu Xu’er ran over with Shi Cheng. Liu Xu’er smiled and said, “Mum! The backyard is enormous! Dad, when you’ve the time, we can dig a pond and grow some lotus flowers there! What do you think?!”
He shi smiled, “Dig a pond? A pool of stagnant water would only attract mosquitoes. You would be bitten all over!” Then she said, “Xu’er, Senzi wants to stay in the side courtyard, what do you think about staying in the main courtyard?”
Liu Xu’er very quickly nodded her head, “Sure.” Then she smiled and asked, “Mum, if you’re saying that, are you planning to buy the place?”
He shi went blank before quickly shaking her head. “No, no, no! We need to look some more! It’s too expensive, and how many people do we have anyway? There’s no need to buy such a large house. What would we do with all those empty rooms?”
Liu Changgeng smiled.
Shi Cheng just smiled. He knew that Liu Xu’er had a lot of say in the family. So long as Liu Xu’er wanted it, she could persuade Liu Changgeng and He shi.
Furthermore, Liu Changgeng looked quite satisfied with the place. Sure enough, after hearing He shi’s words, Liu Changgeng said, “I think it’s quite good…. Since we need to buy a place, then we should buy a good place, and not one that is too small. Even if it would be enough for our current family, in a couple of years, Shu and Lin would be getting married. Then wouldn’t the place be too small again? Do we really want to go through the hassle of buying another place? This place looks to be just right – with two side courtyards. When Shu and Lin get married, they can each stay in a courtyard, while Xu’er and Senzi move to the side wings of the main courtyard. They would still get a large room each.”
Liu Changgeng had already planned everything out. He smiled and pointed at Liu Xu’er, “You don’t need to come and stay in the main courtyard with us. If you want, go ahead and stay in one of the side courtyard. The other three can stay in the other one! With so many rooms, you’re spoilt for choice!”
He shi clicked her tongue, “But… this one is too big. I feel that a house half the size would be enough….”
“When Shu and Lin get married, and have children…. At that time, would it still be too big?” Liu Changgeng asked.
He shi was stumped. Liu Xu’er smiled and said, “Mum, dad’s right. Rather than buying a small one now, and then needing to move again in two or three years, why don’t we just buy this house now…. We can get Shi Cheng to bargain the price down. It isn’t as though we can’t afford it. Why should we insist on getting a house that is just big enough for us, and then in another couple of years, is too small? Isn’t it the same principle as making larger clothes, so that we can wear them for longer? You’re willing to make clothes larger than needed, then why can’t you buy a larger house?”
He shi mumbled “How is that remotely the same? This is a 180 taels, 180 taels of silver! When did I ever imagine that I would stay in a mansion that cost 180 taels of silver?!”
Liu Changgeng smiled, “Then start! There’s still time for you to start imagining it now!”