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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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The next day, just as dawn was breaking, Shi Cheng and the rest got up, washed up and finished packing. Then they prepared to return home.
Liu Lin took Liu Sen back to the carriage, while Liu Xu’er stayed in the room to check and make sure they hadn’t missed anything. Shi Cheng was waiting at the courtyard door for her.
From the side came a few young girls. Because this family was a household of merchants, their women didn’t have the habit of hiding away from outsiders. When they saw Shi Cheng standing there, they instead came over.
The one leading all of them was a 12 or 13-year-old girl. She was dressed in an ivory coloured blouse with white fox fur lining and a jade green skirt. Behind her were two little servant girls.
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Mbl tkaz oyp iwkvl uswdt, cwv pbl oyp ealpple ayvbla rzykdzu. Mbl obkvl vsr nsdvaypvle olzz okvb bla qynl, caktbvldkdt bla vllvb yde zkrp. Ebld pbl oyp kd qasdv sq Fbk Ubldt, pbl ypjle, “Gal usw vbl Fbk qyxkzu hkpkvsap vbyv olal pvyukdt okvb xu qyxkzu?”
Fbk Ubldt oyp xldvyzzu alhklokdt obs pbl xktbv cl. Ebld bl bye zlqv, bkp qyvbla bye vsze bkx vbyv vbl bswplbsze bye vos psdp yde y eywtbvla. Mblal oyp yd szela yde uswdtla psd. Mbl eywtbvla oyp pydeoknble clvolld vblx yde oyp szela vbyd bkx cu y ulya. Nssjkdt yv vbkp tkazp’ ytl, pbl pbswze cl vbl qyxkzu’p Flnsde Zswdt Ykpp. Fs bl dseele yde pyke, “Mbyv’p aktbv, R’x qasx vbl Fbk qyxkzu. Zsw pbswze cl Flnsde Zswdt Ykpp?”
Flnsde Zswdt Ykpp dseele bla blye yde pyke, “Mbl Nws’la’ukd1 Mbkp kp vbl dyxl sq y aswtl vblu caswtbv vs xl ulpvlaeyu, oyp cswtbv cu usw? R’hl sdzu lhla wple Mkydtsdtikys2 Lyxl sq ydsvbla aswtl clqsal. R esd’v wpl ydu svbla vurl. Jwv vbl Nws’la’ukd kp ayvbla rzlypydv. Rv’p nszswa kp wdkiwl yde vbl pxlzz kp hlau prlnkyz. Eblal eke usw cwu kv qasx?”
Fbk Ubldt oyp rwggzle. Tl bye ds kely obyv pbl oyp sd ycswv.&dcpr;
Mbydjqwzzu, fwpv vbld, Nkw Dw’la nyxl swv. Fbl bye shlablyae y tkazp’ hsknl yde dso, pllkdt Fbk Ubldt pvydekdt pvkzz, pkzldv, pbl xldvyzzu pvyavle vs zywtb. Fbl iwknjzu bwaakle shla clqsal pyukdt, “Rv’p qasx y pbsr vs vbl lypv sq vbl nkvu nyzzle Dkydtjswuwyd.”
Ebld vbl tkaz blyae psxlsdl clbkde Fbk Ubldt prlyjkdt, pbl zssjle shla. Fllkdt Nkw Dw’la, pbl pnyddle bla yzz shla vs pkgl bla wr. Jlnywpl vblu olal rzyddkdt vs vayhlz vseyu, Nkw Dw’la bye nbydtle kdvs y eyaj talld swvqkv vbyv oyp nsdhldkldv qsa vayhlz.&dcpr;
Mbl tkaz pyo vbyv Nkw Dw’la eked’v pllx vs cl ealpple wr, cwv bla lmralppksd oyp qall qasx ydu pktd sq elakpksd. Fbl sdzu zssjle yv bla yde ypjle, “Gal usw wpkdt gkxszk3 紫茉莉/ gkxszk. Gdsvbla aswtl. Mbl dyxl nyd cl zkvlayzzu vaydpzyvle vs cl rwarzl fypxkdl? Mbl nszswa kp iwkvl dknl.”
Nkw Dw’la oyp pvwddle clqsal vswnbkdt bla qynl. Fbl pxkzle yde pyke, “Xb, ds. R yx dsv wpkdt ydu xyjlwr.”
It was only now that Shi Cheng finally understood what she was talking about. This girl was asking about rouge!
The girl pursed her lips, “If you’ve used it, you’ve used it. Why won’t you admit it? Your body is covered with the smell of jasmine, so why are you trying to hide it? There’s no reason not to admit to using makeup. But zimoli isn’t all that good.” The way the girl spoke was rather definite, and her tone was light and fluting. It was clear that she was a young girl who didn’t have to worry about anything. Added to the fact that her family obviously sheltered her, she had a naive confidence about her.
Liu Xu’er smiled and said, “It’s probably because I’ve used your soap? The soap seemed to have a jasmine fragrance…. We’ve troubled you with our stay. Thank you so much for you hospitality, we will be off.”
Shi Cheng then said, “Thank you for your care. We will take our leave.”
That girl then asked, “Aren’t you going to say goodbye to my dad and brother?”
Shi Cheng answered, “We’ve already said our goodbyes last night and explained that we would be leaving early, and don’t want to disturb them in the morning.” Saying that, he waved at her and pulled Liu Xu’er out with him.
As they left, Second Young Miss said, “It’s so clear that she was using zimoli… I don’t like it. Although it is quite fragrant, it’s so vulgar!”
Shi Cheng pulled Liu Xu’er outside before smiling and asking, “So she was basically asking about rouge? When she suddenly said something about Tiangongqiao, I completely didn’t understand. That’s right, how did you know? You’ve never used any.”
Liu Xu’er stuck her tongue out at him and smiled, “Isn’t it because we’ve been going around these past few days. I looked at some makeup shops…. Cough, it’s just an innate skill of mine!”
Shi Cheng laughed, “A woman’s innate skill.” He twisted his head and looked at her before suddenly stroking his hand on her face. “This little face doesn’t need any makeup. It’s already very beautiful.”
His sudden action caused Liu Xu’er to jump. Thunderstruck, she looked at him, “You, you, you….”
Shi Cheng smiled, “What? Have you forgotten I’m your husband? Aren’t I allowed to touch you?”
Liu Xu’er was exasperated. Her eyes wide, she glared at him and said, “You aren’t right now! What kind of place is this? If anyone were to find out… I wouldn’t be able to marry anyone!”
Shi Cheng rubbed his nose, “Why wouldn’t you be able to marry anyone? Just marry me….” When he saw her fierce reaction, he smiled and quickly cupped his hands together to beg for mercy. “Alright, alright, alright. Don’t be so worked up! I really didn’t think too much about it. My hand just moved instinctively…. When we go back, I will tell my mother to help me propose marriage to your family!”
Liu Xu’er had just started to calm down, but when she heard what he just said, all her hackles rose again! Glaring at him, she said, “What is with you today?! Why are you suddenly thinking of all this?”
“No reason. I just suddenly thought of it. I think it’s best that we get engaged soon. Once we’re engaged, I can rest easy!” Shi Cheng said.
Liu Xu’er was shocked, “But we’re still too little… If you talk to your mother, wouldn’t she think that you are some kind of monster? After all, at your age, why should you be thinking of marriage?”
Shi Cheng laughed, “In this era, many people are engaged at 12.”
“That’s because their elders are in a hurry. Which 12-year-old is so anxious about their marriage, they would spontaneously speak to their elders about it? Aren’t you… too thick skinned about it? Your parents would definitely think that something is weird about you!”
Shi Cheng then paused. “Is it really that strange?”
“Yes!” Liu Xu’er was definite in her reply.
Liu Lin was getting impatient waiting for them, so he came back in to look for them, “I was wondering why the two of you are being so slow? What are you talking about? If we don’t leave soon, we would have wasted our effort in getting up so early!”
Shi Cheng and Liu Xu’er quickly agreed and ran out. They got up the carriage and headed back to Feng town.
Because they had gotten up so early, Liu Sen spent the entire trip back sleeping. Liu Xu’er was also so tired, her eyelids kept drooping. Finally, she was unable to withstand it – she could only relax and go to sleep.
When they got back to Feng town, they all started to busy themselves with their respective work. Liu Xu’er had bought a few different designs of braided cords from Hanzhong city. She brought them for He Ruyu to have a look. When He Ruyu saw them, she nodded and began to copy their design.
After the trip to Hanzhong city, Liu Xu’er had quite a few ideas. She wanted to have a new store that would specialize in a single item, just like that store which sold hand-warmers in the city.
Of course, given Feng town’s general situation, items that were too expensive would not sell well. So if they were to set up a store that specialized only in hand-warmers here, it definitely wouldn’t do very well.
But that was not the case for other items, for example, pouches and scent sachets. These two items could be considered everyday wear and they sold decently well in the little store. Liu Xu’er thought that she might open a store that would exclusively sell pouches and scent sachets.
Because the family now had two servants who managed most of the work around the house, her mother and her basically didn’t have to do too much, so they could continue to work on the handicrafts. With one working on hand-warmers and the other focusing on scent sachets and forehead bands, as well as her xiaoyi and jiuma working on the pouches, she should be able to keep up the supply of goods.
The main reason that Liu Xu’er was pushing for this was that she wasn’t keen for her family members to have to keep making such a large variety of goods. After careful consideration, she started to look for a shop in Feng County town. Based on their experience, they didn’t need to look for one that was too big. In fact, they were hoping to find a smaller store that was well positioned. It needed to be part of a busy street with plenty of footfall.
When she shared her plan with Shi Cheng, Shi Cheng agreed. They would slowly look for a new store.
In the fifth month, they finally saw one that was suitable. It was slightly larger than their current store, and was on another street. Liu Xu’er was very satisfied with it. Again, under Shi Cheng’s supervision, they rented it and moved all of their pouches and scent sachets over here.
He shi had also stopped making forehead bands any longer. She concentrated solely on making scent sachets. He Ruyu was also only working on pouches. Liu Xu’er had handed over making of braided cords and decorative knots over to her dajiuma, while xiaojiuma concentrated on making handkerchiefs and forehead bands. If they could handle it, they would also make the cheaper types of pouches. If they couldn’t handle it, they could stop. After all, the cheaper pouches were sold in her old store. Liu Xu’er wanted her new store to only carry the more expensive, luxury items.
The pricing on each of the goods was rather high, anywhere from one to three taels of silver each.
She busied herself with the new store, while the rest of the family was busy with their own matters. Liu Gao shi saw that He shi was busy, and knowing that she wasn’t too concerned about Liu Xian’er’s matter – who could blame her, it wasn’t as though the girl was that likeable – so Liu Gao shi gave up on asking He shi to help.
Liu Gao shi had herself asked others about the peddler, and everything they said was rather normal. She didn’t hear any word of him behaving badly or poorly. Liu Changqi came over quite a few times to discuss the matter with his parents and Liu Gao shi felt that the matter couldn’t be delayed any longer. This year, they needed to confirm the marriage! And since there really isn’t anyone more suitable, then… this one was it!
Liu Changqi was also rather troubled by the matter. When he heard Liu Gao shi’s words, he agreed. He went back and agreed to the matchmaker’s proposal. And after matching their bazi and fulfilling all other customs, they finally confirmed the wedding date to be on the 29th day of the eighth month.
Although time was a bit tight, both parties were getting on in age, and really couldn’t afford to wait. Liu Changqi nodded his agreement.
After resting for a few days, Liu Tao came back to look for Liu Shu. Liu Shu told him to stay in the shop to learn the ropes, while Liu Shu and Liu Lin watched him closely. They wanted to know more about his character.
When Liu Xu’er had rented the new store and stocked it up, Liu Shu and Liu Lin went over to manage it first. This was because they had arranged for some activities during their opening – a buy one, get one free handkerchief promotion, so there were quite a lot of customers to handle. After those first few days, Liu Shu returned to the old store and got Liu Sen to help Liu Lin at the new. Again, they would take turns, alternating between going to school and the store.
Because Liu Tao didn’t need to go to school, he could stay the full day at the store. Liu Shu was freed up to manage the new store’s accounts. By now, he was very experienced at the job.
After the new store had been open for a month, it ushered in the busy period for the year. Of course, this was all according to plan.
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Thank you for the chapter!!
Their business is right on track. Thanks for the chapter.
Yep it is!😊😊
I … I caught up 😭☠️⚰️
Me too 😭
🤣🤣🤣 It was bound to happen. The good news is the next chapter is up!
Glad you’re enjoying the story!! 🥰🥰