1. This is an unofficial translation and no permission has been obtained from the author/ official publisher. It may be taken down if the author/official publisher requests.
2. This is a fan work and the interpretation represents only the translator’s personal views without any input from the author.
3. No permission has been granted to use, publish, upload and/or copy this translation to any other site except for Second Life Translations.
Exhaustion overtook Liu Xu’er the instant she lay down. As the adults spoke, their voices got softer and softer until she finally dropped off to sleep.
Concentrated bursts of speech was what finally woke her. The instant Liu Xu’er opened her eyes, she saw a man, around 40, dressed in satin, sitting at the side of the kang.
This was the doctor. Liu Xu’er clambered to sit up before seeing Shi Cheng who was standing at her side. The instant he saw her open her eyes, he immediately said, “Xu’er, you’ve woken? The doctor is here.”
“Ah.” Liu Xu’er was still a bit dazed from sleep. “How is Senzi?”
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Mbl esnvsa aykple bkp blye vs pxkzl yv bla obld bl blyae vbl iwlpvksd.&dcpr;
“Mblal’p dsvbkdt oasdt. Mbl esnvsa byp tkhld bkx psxl xleknkdl. Rv fwpv dllep vs cl yrrzkle vs bkp kdfwau. Gqvla y qlo eyup, obld kv eslpd’v bwav yduxsal, usw nyd pvsr yrrzukdt kv. Mbl aledlpp yde polzzkdt pbswze pzsozu ts yoyu yp olzz.” Fbk Ubldt lmrzykdle nyalqwzzu.&dcpr;
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Gqvla vbl esnvsa bye qkdkpble prlyjkdt, bl oldv vs tkhl Nkw Ubydttldt yde Tl pbk y nblnj wr yp vblka kdfwaklp olal saktkdyzzu valyvle cu bkx.&dcpr;
Tl pbk’p kdfwau oyp xspvzu blyzle. Mbl esnvsa pyke vbyv pbl nswze dso vau yde tlv sqq vbl jydt yde xshl ycswv. Xq nswapl kv oswze bwav, cwv pbl xwpv clya okvb kv. Fbl pbswze yzps dsv shlaes vbl lmlankpl. Gp qsa Nkw Ubydttldt’p kdfwau , vbl esnvsa alxshle vbl przkdv, cwv vsze bkx vs nsdvkdwl vs alpv sd vbl jydt. Gqvla vbl Llo Zlya, bl nswze yzps pvyav vs pzsozu xshl ycswv.&dcpr;
Mbl vos kxxlekyvlzu ytalle. Mbl esnvsa aspl yde jlrv bkp xleknkdl nblpv. Oxcyaaypple, Nkw Ubydttldt yde Tl pbk pyv pvayktbv wr. Mblu olal ypbyxle vbyv vblu nswze dsv rlapsdyzzu plde bkx sqq. Tl pbk ypjle iwklvzu, “Wllp…. Tso xwnb pkzhla….”
She didn’t know how much it cost for a doctor to make a housecall, and she didn’t know how much the prescribed ointment cost. So she didn’t dare ask how much it would cost in terms of copper coins, choosing instead asking how much silver.
Shi Cheng looked at Uncle Quan who had accompanied the doctor over. Uncle Quan smiled and said, “Doctor, this way please.”
The doctor nodded his head.
Liu Changgeng and He shi were embarrassed and didn’t know what to do. The two of them looked at each other before Liu Changgeng stammered something out.
As the doctor was leaving, he turned and paused. Looking at the still sleeping Liu Sen, he smiled and pointed, “This little lad’s hand-warmers look quite unique. Is it something you made?”
Both Liu Changgeng and He shi were caught off guard. He shi quickly responded, “His sister made it.” She pointed toward Liu Xu’er.
Liu Xu’er smiled and looked at the doctor. “I made it. There’s rabbit fur inside it from the rabbits I raise. Do you have a grandchild and would you like the same? I can make another pair and give it to you when I go to town again!”
The doctor laughed and nodded, “I do have a grandson. He too keeps pulling his hands out from under the covers when he sleeps! That would be nice of you! I will just put in an order for a pair then!”
“Sure! I will definitely send it to you before the New Year!”
“Good, good!” The doctor smilingly left with Uncle Quan.
Liu Changgeng quickly asked Shi Cheng, “Then how much does this all cost?”
Shi Cheng replied, “I’ll go out and have a listen!” Saying this, he hurried out after them.
Liu Xu’er didn’t care. She opened the small box and saw that inside was a white ointment. She smeared some on the back of her hand and noted that there was a comfortable, cooling sensation from it. Assured, she started to apply some on Liu Sen’s face.
Liu Sen was sweetly asleep. When she first started to apply it, there was a slight movement from him. But after that, probably because it felt nice, he stopped moving.
Liu Changgeng and He shi were both still worried about the medical fees, so they kept waiting. After a long while, Shi Cheng came back in and smilingly explained, “Uncle Quan said, the doctor also treats my grandparents, and our family would settle the bill with him every month. So, right now, he doesn’t know how much today’s session cost.”
This was the first time that Liu Changgeng and He shi had come across such a situation. Their faces both went blank. They gave an “Oh”, before looking at each other bewildered.
After some time, Shi Cheng left, while Liu Shu returned. When he returned, he didn’t say anything. Instead, he looked hard at Liu Xu’er.
Liu Xu’er had finished applying the ointment for Liu Sen, so she said, “Mum, dad, I’m heading back to sleep.”
“Ok, sleep well.”
From the house, Liu Xu’er dragged Liu Shu back to her own room and asked, “What’s wrong? Dage, why have you been staring at me? Did something happen?”
Liu Shu nodded before saying softly, “Shi Cheng just lied. The doctor doesn’t see his grandparents, and it’s not that the medical fees are settled monthly. I just saw Uncle Quan give the doctor some silver…. Looked like…” He paused before scratching his head, “I don’t often see silver, so I couldn’t tell how much it was, but it looked to be similar in size to the middle ingot that nai previously gave to mum.”
Liu Xu’er suddenly understood. Nodding, she said, “Understood. When I can, I will ask Shi Cheng. Shi Cheng probably didn’t want to worry our parents, which is why he didn’t say anything.”
Liu Shu nodded, “Ok, but we must definitely return that silver to him.”
“That’s for sure!” Liu Xu’er nodded.
For the next few days, Liu Sen was of course everyone’s most precious treasure. This time, He shi didn’t mention anything about the food supplies being insufficient, or make any fuss about saving their eggs to sell. Everyday, she got Liu Xu’er to steam an egg custard for Liu Sen. After all, money was definitely not nearly as important as her baby boy!
The chickens that Liu Changqi left, on the other hand, were untouched. They were left outside and had frozen solid.
When the family was separating, Old Man Liu and Liu Gao shi had gotten two pigs. They had originally planned to sell both of them to help with their expenses. After all, their own grain supplies would also not be enough to last till the summer harvest. But because little Liu Sen had experienced such a traumatic incident, Liu Gao shi along with Old Man Liu, decided to slaughter one, and sell the other.
The day after they had slaughtered a pig, Liu Changshi delightely invited them over to have a meal. Because they had already separated, to avoid any appearance of bias, Liu Changgeng and He shi stayed at home, while their four children went.
Liu Changshi carried Liu Sen, while Liu Shu and Liu Lin both grabbed one of Liu Xu’er’s hands. Happily they all trotted off to the old residence for a meal.
The ointment for Liu Sen’s face was extremely effective. After a few days, it wasn’t all that red. Although it was still a little swollen, from a distance, it looked like the normal chubby cheeks of a child.
They hadn’t even entered when they could smell the fragrance of stewed meat. Greedy, Liu Sen kept salivating. The instant he got into the house, he dashed straight for the kitchen.
Liu Gao shi emerged from within the kitchen. Smiling, she scooped him up, “Senzi, be good. You can’t go in there. It’s all sooty and there’s a fire there.”
“Meat! There’s meat in there!” Senzi said frantically pointing at the kitchen,
Liu Gao shi laughed, “There’s meat here too! Xiaogu has cut some for Senzi.” Saying this, she carried him into the main house before calling out, “Shu, the rest of you, come in too!”
The children all came along. When they entered, they saw Old Man Liu sitting at the head of the table atop the kang. Seeing that Senzi had entered, he smiled at him and said, “Senzi, come here and have a drink with yeye!”
Liu Gao shi choked, while Liu Changshi laughed at that. Liu Sen blinked and said, “I’m too little. I can’t drink. Dage will accompany you instead.”
Liu Shu started laughing, while Old Man Liu laughed so hard, his mustache started bouncing.
Liu Changshi laughed as he carried the children atop the kang. Although Liu Xu’er was a girl, because of Liu Sen, she got to sit at the main table as well.
After a while, Liu Hong brought a very large wooden tray out. On it was a very large plate with a huge bowl filled to the brim with braised meat. Everything was cut neatly into small cubes. The children’s eyes all lit up!
Liu Xu’er was well aware of village custom. Nainai was still standing at the side! So she quickly scooted down and headed to the kitchen to help her xiaogu serve the dishes.
Both she and her xiaogu carried a large serving tray each. On xiaogu’s were quite a few dishes, including a bowl of meat soup, while Liu Xu’er carried out a pot of wine and two cups.
Liu Xu’er was watching her step as she followed behind Liu Hong, careful to avoid a stumble when she suddenly noticed that her xiaogu had suddenly turned back? Raising her head, she saw that Liu Hong had indeed taken the tray and gone back to the kitchen!
Liu Xu’er was stunned. Standing there, she twisted around and asked, “Xiaogu, what happened?”
Then she heard a voice from the doorway, laughingly saying, “What is so fragrant?! I really came at the right time today!”
Liu Xu’er dazedly turned to look before seeing that it was again that matchmaker. She carried with her a rectangular box. She again turned toward the main house and called out, “Nai! A guest has come!”
Liu Gao shi emerged, looking puzzled. The instant she saw the matchmaker, her face broke out in smiles as she warmly welcomed her into the next room.
Liu Xu’er carried the serving tray into the house. Placing the cups and wine down carefully, she ran back and forth to the kitchen, bringing out the dishes that xiaogu had originally been carrying. Liu Hong refused to allow her to carry the soup though, insisting that she call Liu Changshi out to help her.
By herself, Liu Hong hid in the kitchen.
When Liu Xu’er returned to the main room, Liu Changshi carried her up the kang, while he himself sat at the side. Their table of children and two adults started to eat.
At the beginning, both Liu Shu and Liu Lin were still rather reserved. Although Liu Lin often presented a very greedy side, when he was actually presented with a full table of meat, he didn’t quite dare to start. He wasn’t as uninhibited as Senzi, happily eating all the pieces of meat that were given to him, mouth all covered in oil.
Old Man Liu and Liu Changshi both encouraged the two to just eat! Placing meat into the children’s bowls, they eventually started to eat their fill.
Even as she was eating, Liu Xu’er was still wondering what the matchmaker had come to say. She naturally really hoped that her xiaogu would have a good marriage partner. In her heart, she wondered, what was the matchmaker here for?