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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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He shi was speechless. “Are you sure? Ruyu, please be honest with us. Are the things that Xu’er made…. Really things that people in wealthy households would use?”
He Ruyu shook her head, “Jie, don’t underestimate these things. I can tell that the thread Xu’er bought to make these necklaces are of high quality. This silk too is of good quality and the handicrafts are exquisitely done. It is quite clear that Shi Cheng’s mother has come from a wealthy family – even the handicrafts she teaches are not ordinary. These really are comparable to the things that people in the Gu family would use!”
He shi started to touch the scent sachets and pouches. She said, “It’s just, who knows if these things will sell? That girl actually said that she wants to charge two taels of silver for one scent sachet!”
Unsurprised, He Ruyu nodded, “The thread and silk fabric are all expensive. Furthermore, there is a lot of handwork involved…. However, the servant girls in big families all know how to make these things, so they don’t have a need to specially come out and buy them. But even so, you should be able to sell them.” She too couldn’t be absolutely certain.
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Nkw Dw’la pbssj bla blye, “Sycckvp esd’v lyv vbkp vurl sq taypp.”
“Then what type of grass do they eat?”
Liu Xu’er was about to explain that they ate the grass that grew along the ditch in front of their house, when she abruptly thought better of it. She feared he would slip out when no one was watching to go and gather grass, potentially even falling into the ravine! She quickly substituted, “The type of grass rabbits eat grows very very very far away. You won’t be able to find it.”
Liu Sen was rather dismayed to hear that. Toddling behind his siblings, they finally returned to the front yard.
Liu Xu’er headed back to her own room where she found her mother and xiaoyi. Smiling, she climbed up the kang and asked, “Xiaoyi, have you seen the things we’ve made? What do you think?”
He Ruyu smiled and nodded, “I was just talking to your mother about them. They are all very well made! The embroidery on the handkerchiefs are also quite well done. I originally thought that some of the patterns I left you were too complex and you would need some more support to learn it. Who knew that you would already be able to embroider them. Even the colour selection was very well done.”
Liu Xu’er smiled, “Since you’ve said that, I can relax. At least I can be sure that the quality is of decent standard. Otherwise, I really wouldn’t know.”
He Ruyu smiled. She asked, “But are you able to cope with making these?”
Liu Xu’er nodded. Sticking her tongue out at He shi, she smiled and said, “When I was making the handkerchiefs, I kept thinking that it would be good to have an embroidery frame like yours….. But that’s so expensive! For now, I’m not considering it. If these things sell, then I can consider buying an embroidery frame. That way, I can embroider a few handkerchiefs at a time too.”
He shi shook her head. This child had too many plans. She didn’t know what to say.
However, He Ruyu nodded in agreement. “If these sell well, then I am afraid that you won’t be able to manage.”
He shi frowned and wanted to ask more.
Liu Xu’er obviously understood. Thinking about it, she smiled, “There’s no need to think about that now. We will just slowly make them.” She couldn’t forget that right now she was just six. She couldn’t reveal too much of her thoughts.
They were just talking in the room when they spotted Liu Changshi return. Picking Liu Sen up, he tossed him in the air and smiled, “Senzi has gotten fatter.”
Liu Xu’er hurried off the kang and called out, “Sishu.”
Smiling, Liu Changshi went over to pat her on the head, “Xu’er…. Are your jiujiu still here?”
Liu Xu’er nodded. “They are!” She pointed at the main house. Liu Changshi nodded and carried Senzi in. Liu Xu’er gazed at his back. She kept feeling that something was strange about sishu. Blinking, she finally realised what – Sishu had washed his head on such a cold day! She had just seen that his hair was wet. Even tied back, it was clearly still dripping with water!
How could she know that Liu Changshi had flown back to the house to take a bath in the shortest possible time! It was fortunate that they had some warm water still on the stove, otherwise, he would probably have just used cold water to bathe!
He Ruyu helped to make the noon meal. He shi’s foot was still not completely healed, so she served as a kitchen assistant. Together, they prepared a few dishes. The two chickens had already been consumed over the New Year as had most of the meat. They could only use what remained of the meat to fry up two meat dishes. Liu Shu was dispatched to bring back some wine.
Liu Changshi had never had a meal at his erge’s place. Today was the first time. He was the same age as the He family’s Third, He Wenyu, so the two of them naturally were close.
He shi brought the children and He Ruyu to Liu Xu’er’s room to have the meal. All of the dishes were split evenly between the two sides. There was also an additional fried egg for the few children to eat.
Hearing that Liu Hong’s marriage had been settled, He Ruyu was delighted. However, she was still more concerned about Liu Xu’er’s business plans. During the meal, she kept asking about the matter – He shi explained that Liu Shu would be the one keeping the accounts, and explaining all the other roles assigned. Surprised, He Ruyu said, “It really sounds as though you guys are planning a proper business!”
He shi actually was quite conscious about the plans, but she also felt that these were just small items. Furthermore, this was being handled by her little daughter and she didn’t want to give her too much pressure, so she smiled and waved it off, “These are just some blind attempts from the children! We will just let them give it a go. After all, neither your jiefu nor I can move, so there’s no harm entertaining her. When nothing gets sold, she will learn that this is just a waste of time and concentrate on actual productive work.”
Liu Xu’er smiled. Taking some fried egg, she fed it to Liu Sen.
That evening, Liu Changshi went to borrow the ox-cart from Yuan Hao’s family to send the He siblings home. When the siblings had come by in the morning, they had also hitched a ride from someone. After all, they had to be quite mindful of their meimei.
With the New Year over, the family buried their heads to try and rush out as many items as they could in the short few days.
After quite a few days had passed, Liu Shu and Liu Xu’er were finally able to count the number of baby rabbits in that first brood. They had managed to give birth to nine. Because of the meticulous care from the family, all of them survived. They had already started to grow out some soft fur. Tiny and round, they were extremely cute.
After these past two months, the little chicks had also grown. They were nearly their full size and the instant they were released from their cages, they flapped around wildly in the courtyard. Senzi spent many a joyous day chasing and teasing them.
Before the 15th, Shi Cheng would drop by every other day to visit and see what they had made. He would spend his visits chatting with Liu Xu’er and teaching Liu Shu how to read and write. But after the 15th, he didn’t come by any more.
The end of the first month.
Liu Changgeng’s leg had slowly started to get better. These past few days, he no longer needed to rest on the kang and had slowly started to limp about, doing work. He shi’s injury was lighter than his, so by now, she moved about without a visible limp.
This morning, Liu Changgeng went to borrow a cart. Their family was going to town today.
Everything was packed high on the cart. Because they didn’t want the other villagers to know of their plans, they had deliberately packed things into baskets and covered them. Before the matter was successful, they didn’t want to make a big deal of it.
As they went along the road, Liu Xu’er kept nodding off. Finally, she just lay down on He shi’s lap and went to sleep.
Last night, she and Liu Shu were busy making detailed records of the number of products they had. By the time they were done, it was after midnight.
It was only when Liu Xu’er wanted to write words that she discovered how limited her ability was! Although her level of education was not lower than Shi Cheng in their past life – she even outperformed him – she realised when she wanted to record down all these matters that she really didn’t know enough words! She couldn’t possibly use modern characters after all!
So she went to Shi Cheng and asked for a character book. Thankfully Shi Cheng’s mother was just like all mothers. All study supplies were kept well stocked, so Shi Cheng had quite a few copies of Shuowenjiezi1说文解字/ Shuowenjiezi – The original Han dynasty Chinese character dictionary, one of which was passed to her.
When they entered town, they first went to visit the doctor. The doctor was pleased to see the family, sharing that the hand-warmers Liu Xu’er had made were excellent! His grandson had been wearing them all winter, alternating between the two pairs!
He checked over Liu Changgeng and He shi’s injury. He shi had made a full recovery – she only had to be mindful not to twist her ankle or otherwise injure herself at the same spot again. Liu Changgeng too – as long as there were no further injuries, he would make a full recovery eventually.
The family expressed their heartfelt gratitude before leaving. It was only then that they made their way to Shi Cheng’s little store.
When they saw it, neither He shi nor Liu Changgeng felt it was too small. They were adults and knew instinctively that it wasn’t easy even to have a store like this. It probably cost a lot each month to run this.
The shutters on the store were closed, so Liu Lin ran forward to knock. From inside, Shi Cheng’s voice rang out, “Who’s there?”
Liu Lin quickly replied, “Shi Cheng, it’s me, Liu Lin! My parents and Xu’er have all come to take a look!”
“Oh, oh, oh! Wait, wait! I’m coming!” They could hear Shi Cheng’s agreement from inside. After a while, they saw him trying to shift a plank away. Liu Shu and Liu Lin went forward to help before they finally managed to open the door.
In this time period, doors on shops were not so easy to open. Doors were closed off with individual planks. A groove was cut into the door posts for these individual planks to be slotted in. It was an excellent way to maintain safety in the shop, but to open the door was extremely difficult, especially for a child like Shi Cheng. It took a lot of effort for him to move these heavy planks away.
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Thanks for the chapter. It seems everything started to go as plan. Let’s see how smoothly it goes for their business.