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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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When Shi Cheng came out from the main house, he headed straight for his own room. It was only then that he sat down and let out the angry breath he had been holding. He knew that his mother had a streak of vanity, but he never thought that she would allow it to influence his own marriage partner! She was really really muddleheaded!
After stewing for a while, he stood up and took a few gulps of water before feeling somewhat better. No matter what, he would make sure that he got his way in this. He could tell that his father was already seriously considering it and although his mother was haughty, she was a rather obedient wife who would listen to his father. It was praiseworthy of her.
Shi Cheng fell asleep.
Shi Cheng’s father and mother spent the rest of the afternoon talking the matter through. Then they heard from the servants that the Eldest Young Master hadn’t had anything for dinner! Shi Cheng’s father shook his head when he heard, “Why is this child being so petty?”
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Fbk Ubldt’p xsvbla pvyavle vs qllz y ckv wdnsxqsavyczl yde y zkvvzl ydmkswp. Eyp kv alyzzu clnywpl vblu byed’v kxxlekyvlzu pwrrsavle bkp elnkpksd? Mbld kq vblu alyzzu olal vs alqwpl bkx, oswze… psxlvbkdt osapl byrrld?
Fbl eked’v pyu yduvbkdt, cwv bla blyav pbweelale yv vbl vbswtbv.&dcpr;
Gqvla ydsvbla vos eyup, kv oyp Qkazp’ Wlpvkhyz.
Fbk Ubldt tsv wr hlau lyazu kd vbl xsadkdt. Tl prle vbaswtb bkp xsadkdt aswvkdl yde awpble swv vbl essa vsoyae Nkw Dw’la’p pvsal.&dcpr;
Mblu bye yzalyeu xyel rzydp – bl, Nkw Dw’la yde Nkw Fld oswze oyvnb vbl dlo pvsal obkzl Nkw Fbw, Nkw Nkd yde Nkw Mys oswze pvyu yv vbl saktkdyz. Mbl xykd alypsd oyp vbyv vblal olal xydu pxyzz kvlxp kd vbl sze pvsal vbyv dllele vs cl nyalqwzzu bydezle. Jlnywpl sq vbyv, vblu dllele vbl lmvay xydrsola.&dcpr;
Tl ayd shla vs vbl dlo pvsal, cwv pyo vbyv vbl essa oyp pvkzz nzsple. Rv oyp nzlya vbyv bl bye nsxl vss lyazu. Fbk Ubldt nswze sdzu oykv yaswde vbl essa. Tl oyp vblal qsa iwkvl y obkzl clqsal prsvvkdt Nkw Dw’la yde Nkw Fld blyekdt shla. Wasx y ekpvydnl, Nkw Fld pyo bkx. Tl pxkzle yde nyzzle swv, “Fbk Ubldt tl!”
Fbk Ubldt ayd qsaoyae vs tallv vblx. “Ebu yal usw ps zyvl?”
Nkw Dw’la pxkzle, “Ebu yal usw ps lyazu?”
“I got up, so I thought I would hurry on over.”
As they spoke, the few of them started to open the door. This new store was larger than the old store, but the items were displayed in a similar fashion. It was just that this new store was more finely decorated. They had fresh clean walls and glass display counters. The entire store had a very delicate feel. On top of the counters were beautifully embroidered scent sachets and pouches. Just looking at them was pleasing and the way they were laid out was particularly enticing to customers.
This new store’s business was going pretty decently.
Shi Cheng asked if the siblings had had their breakfast. Both of them nodded and assured them they had. Liu Sen even asked smilingly, “Shi Cheng ge, are you thinking of buying me something nice to eat?”
Shi Cheng smiled and scratched his head. Liu Xu’er smiled and gave Liu Sen a gentle smack. “All your thoughts revolve around food.”
Liu Sen retorted, “It’s not that all of my thoughts revolve around food, it’s that Shi Cheng ge always buys me nice food whenever he sees me! I’ve been conditioned!”
Liu Xu’er tried to scare him, “Then I will tell Shi Cheng not to ever buy you any nice treats!”
Liu Sen however, was unafraid. Smiling unconcerned, he said, “Sure! I just won’t eat it in front of you!”
Liu Xu’er was both exasperated and amused.
Right that moment, customers entered and Liu Sen went to greet them. Shi Cheng smiled and lay over the counter, “Senzi is getting smarter and smarter! I think soon he will surpass all of us!”
Liu Xu’er deliberately raised her chin, “Of course! Don’t you know who taught him!”
Shi Cheng smiled before sighing.
“What’s wrong?” Liu Xu’er found it strange.
Shi Cheng shook his head, “It’s nothing major. I will tell you in the evening…. That’s right, do I need to head over to the old store? Are they able to manage by themselves?”
Reassured, Liu Xu’er let the matter go. She nodded and said, “They should be able to manage. If you want to head over, that’s fine as well… But is it really alright for you to spend the day helping us?”
Shi Cheng shook his head, “It’s fine!” Then he jumped forward and began greeting customers.
Business that day was brisk. Although it was nowhere near as busy as the old store, because the items sold here were all luxury goods, their takings were greater than the other.
Shi Cheng helped them out the entire day. When the sky had turned dark, they closed the store and the two of them sent Liu Sen back. Liu Sen himself was experienced at how business would suddenly boom on festival days, and so didn’t find this anything special or unusual. He wasn’t overly excited and his words were few.
“Senzi, are you tired? Do you want me to carry you?” Shi Cheng saw that the little fellow wasn’t speaking much, and thought it was because he was too tired.
Liu Sen shook his head, “No need. We are nearly there… Jie, are you tired?”
Liu Xu’er smiled and asked, “No, what’s wrong Senzi? Why do you look so listless?”
“I’m not, I just feel that the new store isn’t as busy as the old…. If I were at the old store, I would definitely be so exhausted I could drop, but my thoughts would still be racing and I would definitely want to talk!”
Liu Xu’er laughed, “Are you missing the old store? In a while, you can talk to your erge when we get home!”
Liu Sen grinned.
To amuse him, Shi Cheng went to buy a large helping of mutton soup. Because the store was next to their home, the store keeper allowed them to borrow their dishes. When they were done with the meal, they could return them.
“On such a hot day, why did you buy mutton soup?” Liu Xu’er grumbled at him.
Shi Cheng smiled and said, “Don’t you know? Mutton soup is very nutritious. Whether or not the weather is cold, you should eat some every month or two.”
His words were met with approval from the stall owner. He nodded and said, “That’s right. But you don’t need to wait every month or two. That’s too long between each meal. Every few days or so, you should have a helping!”
Everyone started to laugh. When they left, Liu Sen smiled and said, “He definitely really wanted to say that we should have some every other day!”
Shi Cheng laughed heartily. “Senzi is so smart! And so shrewd!”
When they got home, Liu Changgeng went out to help them open the door. Liu Xu’er told him that she was going out with Shi Cheng. Unlike He shi, Liu Changgeng didn’t think too much about their relationship. So he very naturally nodded and agreed. Then he told them not to come back too late.
The two of them agreed and turned to go. Liu Changgeng was just closing the door when He shi emerged from the backyard. Liu Sen hurriedly passed the mutton soup over to her. “Here, mum!”
“Oh, what’s this?”
“Mutton soup. Shi Cheng ge bought it.” Liu Sen said as he walked toward his own room.
He shi quickly asked, “Where’s your jie?”
Liu Sen pointed out, “She went for a walk with Shi Cheng ge.”
He shi immediately exclaimed, “What!” Then she hurried toward the entrance. By now, Liu Changgeng had already closed the door. He shi quickly asked, “Xu’er…. Went out to with Shi Cheng?”
“That’s right.” Liu Changgeng nodded. Then he too headed toward the house.
Anxiously, He shi opened the door to have a look, but the two of them were long gone. She closed the door and went in with Liu Changgeng, grumbling, “Didn’t I already say it? Xu’er cannot keep behaving this way with Shi Cheng? Why aren’t you concerned? It’s already this late, the sky is dark. Why did you tell Xu’er go out with Shi Cheng for a walk?”
Liu Changgeng laughed when he heard. He turned and said, “I didn’t tell them anything? They were the ones who wanted to go…. Anyway, what’s wrong? I’ve told you not to overthink the matter? Haven’t the two of them always behaved this way?” His nose twitched as he said that. He looked at He shi’s arms and said, “Why do I smell mutton soup? Where did it come from?”
That exasperated He shi. She turned and headed for the kitchen. “Shi Cheng brought it! What are you thinking about all day?! You don’t care about anything, so you might as well not have any meals!”
Liu Changgeng scratched his head as he headed back to the main house. Liu Gao shi had just overheard the two of them talking, so she headed out and asked, “What’s wrong? Why does it sound like you are fighting? Is she not letting you have meals?”
“No, it’s nothing mum. It’s just their mother…. Is being a bit naggy.”
Liu Xu’er followed Shi Cheng out. Shi Cheng brought her to have a bowl of wontons, and the two of them started to walk toward the riverside. Shi Cheng then shared what had happened a few days ago. Since he had already made the marriage request to his parents, he needed to let Liu Xu’er know what had happened.
Liu Xu’er was shocked when she heard. She stared at him for a long while before saying. “Your mother liked that girl from Hanzhong city?”
Shi Cheng said scornfully, “I’ve already cut off all possibility of that happening! I really don’t know what kind of taste my mother…. I’ve told you all this, so that you can be mentally prepared. Our betrothal should be sorted out soon. My father is agreeable, and he is the main decision maker in the household…. Possibly in the next few days, my family will send out a matchmaker to your home.” He smiled.
Liu Xu’er was stunned. It took her a long time before she finally responded, “It’s all happening so quickly. Have you realised that if we really are engaged to be married, we can’t be seen together like this. Have you seen any betrothed couples walking about hand in hand? They are all careful to avoid each other.”
Shi Cheng laughed. “Isn’t there no other way…. Thankfully I was alert, and felt that my mother was hiding something. If I hadn’t tested her then, she might have just arranged my marriage without telling me anything! Life really is dictated by one’s parents!”
Liu Xu’er also shook her head. Shi Cheng’s mother’s taste was really…. She silently criticised.
The two of them again walked along the river side. Shi Cheng again went to buy a lotus lantern. Liu Xu’er walked behind him and watched him. She had initially felt that they were still too young – and they really were rather young, they were only 12…. But now that he had spoken about it, she was actually rather nervous. If Shi Cheng’s mother was really unwilling, what would they do? She didn’t want to marry anyone else….
Shi Cheng waved at her, and she ran over. The two of them released the lantern and made a wish before heading back up the river bank. They turned a corner along the river and started to head back home.
“Don’t worry. She will definitely listen to my father. Although my mother looks very strong willed ordinarily, in major matters, she would listen to my father. My father is very good at reasoning with her, and in a few sentences, he can get her nodding in agreement.” Shi Cheng said.
Liu Xu’er nodded. “Un, I know…”
Shi Cheng turned to look at her and smiled, “What. Are you still very worried?”
Liu Xu’er looked at him and suddenly felt her face flush. This was the first time she had felt this way since coming to this era. It was as though…. She had gone back to those innocent years, with budding feelings… She lowered her head and said softly, “It’s nothing. I thought of something else… How is your family’s restaurant in Hanzhong city doing? Do you need to head over soon?”
The night was no longer young. They again walked to the opposite bank of the river, the same place that Liu Changshi had beaten Mao Third up. The two of them softly spoke with each other. All the while, Shi Cheng kept his hand in hers. It seemed as though time was held in their hands – from a very very long time ago, they had walked just like this, hand in hand…..