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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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And that’s how, for the third consecutive day, Liu Changgeng went into town. This time, he brought both He Ruyu and He shi with him.
Seeing him make so many trips, the villagers started to laugh and say that they should just move into town then! How could they know that this joke had already become true?
When they went to town, they went to see a doctor. Sure enough, He Ruyu was expecting. She was about a month along. Liu Changshi was giddy with excitement.
Actually, both Liu Changshi and He Ruyu were careful people. After being married for half a year with no news, they had already gone to see a doctor. The doctor had assured them that there were no major problems. It was just that He Ruyu was a little weak. It was a common problem among villagers; in modern parlance, it was that she was undernourished. With care, things would be alright.
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Ebld vbl vos sq vblx blyae vbyv kv oypd’v y ckt rasczlx, vblu olal alzklhle. Gqvla vblu bye clld xyaakle, Nkw Ubydtpbk bye yzalyeu clld alyzzu vbswtbvqwz yde nyalqwz okvb Tl Swuw. Tl alqwple vs yzzso bla vs es ydu blyhu osaj, vblu eked’v jllr ydu zkhlpvsnj – ds rktp sa nbknjldp. Mbl sdzu vbkdt vblu jlrv oyp y esdjlu. Tl Swuw prldv bla eyup xspvzu oypbkdt wr sa eskdt bla lxcaskelau osaj. Jwv obld vbl esnvsa xldvksdle vbyv pbl dllele vs cl olzz dswakpble, Nkw Ubydtpbk vssj vbkdtp qwavbla wrsd bkxplzq vs kxrashl vblka xlyzp. Gqvla y ulya sq bkp yvvldvkhl nyal, Tl Swuw bye tasod pzktbvzu aswdela.
Lso vbyv pbl oyp raltdydv, Nkw Ubydtpbk oyp lhld xsal shlaclyakdt. Tl iwlpvksdle vbl esnvsa sd bso vs zssj yqvla qsa y raltdydv osxyd. Tl pbk yde Tl Swuw oykvle y zsdt vkxl qsa bkx wr sd vbl nyav obkzl bl ypjle bkp iwlpvksdp.
Ebld bl qkdyzzu lxlatle, Tl pbk zywtble yv bkx yde pyke, “Ekvb xwx yde xuplzq blal, obu yal usw ps osaakle?!”
Nkw Ubydtpbk zywtble pbllrkpbzu.&dcpr;
Ebld Nkw Qys pbk yde Xze Yyd Nkw tsv vbl dlop, vblu csvb olal hlau byrru. Mbl vos sq vblx nbyvvle qsa y zsdt vkxl sd vbl jydt wdvkz Nkw Qys pbk alxlxclale bla Wkapv, Nkw Ubydtik. Fbl pktble.&dcpr;
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Nkw Ubydtik oyp ydsvbla vaswczlpsxl sdl. Tl oyp sdzu 36 sa ps – bl nswzed’v prlde vbl alpv sq bkp zkql yzsdl! Jwv okvb bkp alrwvyvksd yp y ekhsanll, yde vbl qynv vbyv bkp qyxkzu oyp cyalzu xyjkdt y zkhkdt, yeele vs bkp ytl, kv alyzzu oypd’v lypu vs qkde psxlsdl qsa bkx. Mblu nswze sdzu zssj qsa okesop. Jwv xyvvlap kdhszhkdt okesop olal hlau vaswczlpsxl! Mblu oswze dlle vs kdhlpvktyvl lhlauvbkdt hlau nzlyazu yde nyalqwzzu.&dcpr;
Nkw Qys pbk bye clld pupvlxyvknyzzu zssjkdt qsa psxlsdl pwkvyczl qsa Nkw Ubydtik pkdnl zypv ulya, cwv vkzz dso, vblal byed’v clld y pkdtzl nydekeyvl. Fbl saktkdyzzu eked’v oydv vs casyenypv vbl qynv vbyv vblu olal zssjkdt, cwv kv pllxle vbyv kv oyp kxrsppkczl qsa bla vs es vbkp cu blaplzq. Fbl oswze dlle blzr.&dcpr;
During the New Year, when the entire family sat down for Reunion dinner, Liu Gao shi secretly spoke to He shi about the matter. She asked her to help her keep a lookout. By now, Xian’er wasn’t too picky about her partner. So long as he had a clean reputation, it was alright if he was not good looking or if he was poor. As for Liu Changqi, it was the same. So long as there was no issue with their character, she would consider them.
He shi agreed.
The fifteenth day of the month was Shangyuanjie1上元节/ Shangyuanjie – also known as 元宵节/ Yuanxiaojie, 小正月/ Xiaozhengyue、元夕/ Yuanxi, 灯节/ Dengjie. It is the last day of Chinese New Year. It is a day when lanterns are carried, and so it is also known as the Lantern Festival. Before, the family wasn’t too observant of the customs, and would settle for having a simple dinner together. But now that all of the families were better off, they would bring more for Old Man Liu and Liu Gao shi to enjoy. As such, their meal was much more lavish than before. In addition to celebrating Shangyuanjie, it was also meant as a farewell meal for Liu Changgeng and his family before their move to town.
At noon, everyone came by. The meal had just been served when someone called out from outside. Liu Xu’er was in the yard, supervising Liu Sen’s attempts at making a lantern. Everyone had already agreed that tonight, they would light some lanterns and have a mini lantern display!
When she heard the door open, Liu Xu’er was surprised. The person outside was completely unexpected – sanshu, Liu Changgui.
These past few years, Liu Changgui hadn’t been over during the New Year even once. He had already made it clear that he was usually at Shandong during the period. Ordinarily, he would only visit the old residence once or twice a year, and each visit was brief.
Jia shi hadn’t been back even once – she clearly held a grudge.
Old Man Liu and Liu Gao shi had discussed the situation numerous times – should they go and look for Third or not? What was with this? Was he going to support them or not? And what was he doing? Surely he needed to make things clear. What kind of situation was this?!
But every single time they spoke of the matter, the two of them had reluctantly concluded that if they were to forcibly question him, things would definitely turn ugly and there would be a fight. No matter how the discussion went, there wouldn’t be any good outcome. If they blew the matter up, they would have to report the situation with the officials. And if it was found that Third was not being filial to them, he might be publicly flogged or even exiled. Jia shi wouldn’t be able to avoid it, but neither would Third.
But if they didn’t blow it up, there would be no point! Just like the time they came back to sell their land – no matter how they protested, the two would still go their own way! Liu Gao shi even said, no matter how the quarrel turned out, it would end up with ill feelings all around. Third would probably hate them even more, and there was no good outcome. There was no way that Third would change his ways just because they reprimanded him.
The two of them thought it over, and could only sigh. Since they were comfortably off, they had no desire to bother Third. No one wanted to give up their comfortable lives to make trouble for Third. The two of them just decided to release Third to do whatever he wanted. If he wanted to return, he could, if not, so be it.
So, seeing Third at the door, it wasn’t just Liu Xu’er who was surprised. The two elders were shocked. No one had expected this.
A whole train of people followed Liu Changgui into the house. Everyone was staring at them as they entered. It was silent.
Liu Xu’er saw that Liu Changgui was dressed in a green gray outfit with beautiful patterns embossed on it. On his belt hung a green gold pair of lucky pendants. His entire self emanated wealth. Behind him was an unfamiliar woman, not Jia shi. She seemed to be younger than Jia shi, and wore a peach red brocaded outfit. With a satin cape draped over her, a gold and pearl encrusted hairpin in her head and pearl earrings, she swayed as she walked. In her arms, she carried a little, one-year-old boy.
Behind them, a 40 plus year old woman came in. She held the hand of a little three to four- year-old girl.
Old Man Liu was the first to react. He called out, “Third has come…. Come into the house… Didn’t you leave for Shandong this year?”
Liu Changgui brought everyone into the house. Liu Xu’er stayed outside to watch the door. Liu Changgui brought the young woman and two children to kowtow in front of Old Man Liu and Liu Gao shi.
He shi and He Ruyu came out of the kitchen, “Has your sanshu and sanshen come?”
Liu Xu’er nodded then shook her head, “Sanshu is back, but sanshen isn’t… He brought some other woman.” Distressed, she lifted her head and looked at He shi, “I’m afraid that Shangyuanjie this year won’t be very peaceful.”
He shi laughed and shook her head, “It has nothing to do with us. You… don’t go over to listen. Just stay outside and play with your brothers.”
Liu Xu’er nodded and agreed. She knew that He shi was worried about the woman Liu Changgui had brought home. She didn’t want her to hear them say anything that could potentially pollute her ears.
He shi also opted to stay away. She turned and prepared to head back into the kitchen when she saw Liu Yun’er’s delighted appearance. She dashed out from the side wings, and headed straight for the main house. She was calling out, “Sanshu! San…. Sanshu, you’re back!”
He shi shook her head and went back to the kitchen. There was no saving that girl.
Even if Liu Xu’er didn’t go and eavesdrop, the two elders would definitely want to know what was up with the woman he had brought back. And the instant they knew, it wouldn’t be possible for the matter to remain hidden. By mealtime, all the older children knew what was happening.
“He took a concubine.” Before sitting down properly, He shi told He Ruyu secretly.
He Ruyu shook her head. She had no words.
Liu Xu’er was seated next to He shi. When the main table started to eat, this table started as well. But everyone was solemn, while Liu Xian’er was even more cautious than usual, because the woman that sanshu brought back was sitting at the same table as theirs.
Their two children were also there, but by now, Liu Shu, Liu Lin, Liu Sen and Liu Tao were all at the main table with Old Man Liu, so at least the table here wasn’t too crowded.
Face unchanged, Liu Xu’er continued to eat. Liu Xian’er buried her head in her meal, wishing she could just stick her head into her bowl. Liu Yun’er was the opposite – she kept chatting with the woman, “Sanshen, are the dishes to your liking?”
“Sanshen, don’t worry. Go ahead and eat. I’ve specially cleaned your utensils in boiling water!”
“Sanshen, this boy really resembles sanshu!”
During the meal, Liu Xu’er understood a new aspect about Liu Yun’er. When she wanted to flatter someone, she really knew how to do it! Everything she said centred around the woman’s vanity. At first, the woman was aloof and reserved, but after a while, she couldn’t hide her delight. Everytime Liu Yun’er called her “sanshen”, the woman was clearly thrilled!
Everyone else around the table had lost their appetite hearing that. Liu Xu’er took a few mouthfuls before she had to stop. After forcing herself to sit there for a while, she saw that the main table had started to drink. He shi and He Ruyu had disappeared elsewhere to do something, so she pretended to take something from the table and headed for the kitchen.
There was no one in the kitchen, but because Liu Xu’er hadn’t had much to eat, she helped herself to a bowl of some of the stewed chicken and brought it to Liu Hong’s room to eat.
Who knew that both He shi and He Ruyu were there talking. When they saw her come in, He shi said, “Xu’er, are you still hungry? Go to the kitchen….”
Liu Xu’er brought her bowl over to sit on the kang. “Ai mum! Don’t bother trying to chase me out. If I sit at that table, I won’t be able to eat, and the kitchen is dark and oily. Why chase me there? You and xiaoyi just continue to talk and pretend I don’t know anything! Isn’t it just that he brought in a concubine? The way I see it, she might not even be a formally recognised concubine, and may just be a mistress kept outside!”
Shocked, He shi looked at her. She stammered for a long while, unable to say anything. He Ruyu laughed and pointed at her, “You really are so sharp! Why do you know so much about these kinds of matters?”
Liu Xu’er shook her head, “We’ve been doing business for so many years in town. What don’t I know? Mum, don’t be so shocked. I won’t imitate this kind of awful behaviour. And in front of others, I will pretend to know nothing about it. Anyway, you and xiaoyi just continue to talk and pretend I’m not here!”
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Thanks for the chapter!!!