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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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Although Liu Xu’er was very concerned about her sishu and xiaoyi’s matter, it wasn’t something that she, a young child, could really do anything about. If she said too much, it might even backfire on her. As such, she could only keep her thoughts to herself and wait for an opportunity to help.
After a few days, Liu Gao shi did come over to look for mum. Liu Xu’er had even come over to have a listen, but nainai was being extremely careful with her words. She just said that they hadn’t agreed to the matter. They felt that the girl was unsuitable, and didn’t explain anything else.
He shi found that strange. After all, none of them had even met her before! It was only right for her to go back to her maiden village and ask around. Wasn’t it necessary to find out more about the girl and her situation before deciding whether the girl was suitable or not?
But Liu Gao shi just waved her hands, and said that she’s just not suitable. The matchmaker had already been by, and she had already rejected the proposal.
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Ebyv lzpl nswze Tl pbk pyu obld pbl blyae vbyv? Fbl nswze sdzu nsdpszl Nkw Qys pbk clqsal Nkw Qys pbk vssj bla zlyhl. Nkw Dw’la blyae Tl pbk xwvvlakdt vs blaplzq, “Pslp vbkp xlyd vbyv bl byp psxlsdl kd xkde?” Fbl pllxle vs byhl twlpple psxlvbkdt. Jwv vbyv oyp vs cl lmrlnvle. Mbl sze Nkw qyxkzu bye yzoyup clld rssa. Mblu bye yzoyup clld vbl sdlp obs bye vs ts yde rasrspl xyaakytl vs svblap. Rv oyp yzoyup qsa svblap vs alflnv vblka sqqlap – yqvla yzz, obs oydvle vs tlv xyaakle vs pwnb y rssa qyxkzu! Wsa vbl qkapv vkxl, psxlsdl lzpl bye nsxl vs rasrspl xyaakytl yde vblka qyxkzu alflnvle kv?! Mbl sdzu alypsd vblu oswze es vbyv oswze cl vbyv Wswavb qzyvzu alqwple vbl xyaakytl!
Nkw Dw’la blyae bla xsvbla xwvvlakdt, vaukdt vs twlpp obs kv xktbv cl. Uswze kv cl psxlsdl qasx vbl hkzzytl? Gqvla yzz, obs lzpl oswze bl byhl nsxl kdvs nsdvynv okvb qaliwldvzu?!
Nkw Dw’la nswze sdzu pbyjl bla blye. Eyp kv ps ekqqknwzv vs kxytkdl kv xktbv cl y alzyvkhl?!
Fbl nswze yzps twlpp bla dykdyk’p vbkdjkdt. Lykdyk oyp elqkdkvlzu okzzkdt vs ynnlrv vbkp xyaakytl rasrspyz. Gqvla yzz, vbl sze Nkw qyxkzu oyp ps rssa. Wsa y tkaz vs vyjl vbl kdkvkyvkhl yde ypj qsa y xyvnb okvb vblx oyp elqkdkvlzu hlau lmnkvkdt dlop! Jwv kd xyvvlap zkjl vblpl, vbl kdekhkewyz kd iwlpvksd xwpv cl ytallyczl. Gzvbswtb vbkp oyp yd lay oblal nbkzeald olal lmrlnvle vs sclu vblka ryaldvp ycswv vblka xyaakytl, vbyv oyp sdzu kq vbl rlapsd bye ds pvasdt scflnvksdp. Rq vbl rlapsd pvasdtzu scflnvle, vbld pwalzu ryaldvp nswzed’v qsanl vblka psd vs xyaau psxlsdl bl eked’v zkjl. Rq vblu qsanle kv, oswzed’v vbyv essx vbl nswrzl vs y fsuzlpp xyaakytl qwzz sq qktbvp?!
Gp pwnb, yzvbswtb Nkw Qys pbk oyp ayvbla alzwnvydv, pbl nswzed’v qsanl bla psd. Fs pbl pvllzle bla alpszhl yde alflnvle vbl xyvnbxyjla. Gcswv mkysuk, Nkw Qys pbk eked’v eyal vs nypwyzzu xldvksd vbl xyvvla vs Tl pbk. Gqvla yzz, csvb qyxkzklp olal alzyvkhlp. Rq vbl Tl qyxkzu oyp wdokzzkdt, kv oswze rwv vblx kd y ekqqknwzv rspkvksd. Gqvla yzz, kq vblu olal vs alqwpl, kv oswze cl lxcyaayppkdt qsa vbl vos qyxkzklp kd qwvwal. Tso oswze vblu byhl vbl qynl vs kdvlaynv kd vbl qwvwal?
Mblpl olal yzz rasczlxp!
Mbl xyvvla vaswczle zkvvzl Dw’la ldezlppzu. Gqvla qalvvkdt shla kv yzz eyu, pbl rwv kv ypkel vs pvyav osaj sd bla bydeknayqvp, clqsal tskdt sqq vs rzyu okvb Fldgk.&dcpr;
Lsoyeyup, Fldgk oyp yczl vs awd iwknjzu. Geele vs bkp pvasdt pldpl sq nwakspkvu, bl sqvld oydvle vs awd swv sq vbl bswpl vs pll obyv oyp swv vblal. G xsxldvyau pzkr kd yvvldvksd oyp ldswtb qsa bkx vs byhl lpnyrle swv vbl essa. Gp pwnb, vblka qyxkzu bye vs elhlzsr vbl byckv sq&dcpr; nzspkdt vblka nswavuyae essa. Ohld okvb vbkp, lhlau vkxl vbl essa bye vs cl srldle, vbl zkvvzl rlapsd yv vbl pkel oswze vau yde eypb swv.&dcpr;
It became a frequent sight to see Senzi rushing out on his little legs, giggling, with Liu Xu’er and He shi chasing him and shouting. There were only two outcomes – either they caught up with him, smacked his bum and carried him home or he tripped and fell and was carried home crying.
At the end of the sixth month, Liu Changgeng brought some of the items they had made for Ghost Month and went to visit Liu Shu and Liu Lin in town. He instructed them on some matters, then he gave the two brothers and Shi Cheng peach wood ornaments as well as three of the pouches that He shi had made for them to wear. Inside the pouches were protective talismans against ghosts made by the village daoist.
Liu Xu’er and Liu Sen also wore them, except that for them, He shi had crocheted several banners on a braided cord.
When Liu Changgeng returned, he brought about 1500 wen with him. He explained that this was the money they had made in the last two months. Liu Xu’er took 500wen and left 1000 for He shi to keep for household expenditure.
Very quickly the seventh month arrived. The instant the seventh month started, there were many taboos the villagers started to religiously follow. Every single family sternly warned their children not to leave the house casually, and that they were especially not to go near the river. During the sixth month, it had rained twice, and the river waters had risen significantly. At night, no one was to go out. He shi didn’t even allow Liu Xu’er and Senzi to go near the well in the courtyard. Drawing water and what not, were exclusively for her and Liu Changgeng to do.
These past two months, everyone in the family had buried themselves in work – work in the fields, at home as well as their handicrafts. They were busy but very productive and had managed to make quite a few items.
These goods needed to be sent over before Qixi – it was best to send them over a day or two early. When Liu Changgeng had gone to town, Shi Cheng had spoken to him. He had asked if it was possible to get Xu’er to stay in town for a day or two? School would be closed over Qixi, Liu Shu and Liu Lin were staying with him already and the meals would be provided for. He suggested that Xu’er stay for two days when she came to town to deliver the goods for Qixi. At night, she could stay with them. Of course, the most important reason was that sales would peak on Qixi, and if Xu’er could come to the store to observe, she would know what items sold well.
Blah, blah, blah. Basically, he said a whole lot, and even dragged Liu Changgeng to the place where they were staying. It was quite decent – a small courtyard dwelling. They stayed in a house in the south. There were three rooms in the main house, the main room and two side rooms. Xiaochen stayed in the western side room, while the three of them stayed in the eastern side room. Shi Cheng said that when Liu Xu’er came, they would get her to sleep in the eastern room, while the three of them would move to the western, and Uncle Xiaochen could sleep in the main room and help them guard the door.
The courtyard had two side wings at the east and west of the main building. Each wing also had three rooms, but because they were rented out to other people, Liu Changgeng didn’t go in to have a look.
Liu Changgeng thought about it before agreeing. After all, what was there to worry about? Despite his young age, wasn’t Shi Cheng here by himself as an apprentice? Although Xu’er was a girl, Liu Shu and Liu Lin were both boys. With them around, he could relax. Furthermore, there was good reason for Xu’er to stay in town.
However, now that Liu Changgeng noticed that Shi Cheng had rented the place, he wondered if he needed to contribute some rent? To cover his two sons’ living expenses? This was something that needed further discussion with his wife.
Although it had been discussed that all she needed to do was make decorative knots and braided cords and what not, they had still made many different types of items. When Liu Xu’er entered town on the sixth day of the seventh month, Liu Changgeng had gone to borrow Yuan Hao’s cart to bring her and all their goods along. The cart was packed with all the baskets of items they had made.
Liu Changgeng sent Liu Xu’er directly to the store. They saw that both Shi Cheng and Xiaochen were inside. It was quite a busy day today, and because their holiday would only be the next day, Liu Shu and Liu Lin could only come by in the afternoon. Right now the two of them were extremely busy.
Shi Cheng quickly shouted out, “Second Uncle Liu!” and ran over, “Did you bring any peach wood ornaments this time?”
Liu Changgeng was delighted! That meant that it had sold well! They were made by him, so the sense of achievement was palpable. He quickly took out all the peach wood ornaments first and even helped Shi Cheng hang them on the frame on top of the counter. The remaining little basket was placed under the counter, to facilitate topping up whenever they were needed
Liu Xu’er had come in and was looking at the counter, while Liu Changgeng stood at the doorway. He saw that quite a few people had come to buy his peach wood ornaments. It wasn’t just the children who had come to buy them, even adults had come. Their families had a few children, so they started to buy them in sets of three for 20wen.
Liu Changgeng stood there watching for a while. It was clear that Shi Cheng had become extremely practised at this, so he relaxed. He called Liu Xu’er over and carefully spoke to her about the rental fees. He explained that he had wanted to speak to Shi Cheng directly, but could see that the two of them were busy, and so wanted her to pass the message to him. He said that Shi Cheng had pulled strings for Liu Shu and Liu Lin to stay with them, but they should definitely contribute to the rent. He asked Liu Xu’er to ask them how much would be suitable? Finally, he reminded her to thank them for the generosity.
Liu Xu’er understood and assured her father that she would speak to him about this later. When dad left, she stood at the back counter and guarded the money box and watched the busy Shi Cheng and Uncle Xiaochen. Quite a few times, when Shi Cheng passed her the money, he started to initiate a conversation, but would be interrupted by someone coming in. Both he and Uncle Xiaochen were working up a sweat! After a while of observing, Liu Xu’er noticed that this time, most people were buying the peach wood ornaments as well as pouches! In this short while, they had sold two!
Liu Xu’er’s heart started to pound. The pouches were not cheap – one was 800wen. That was because of how elaborate the embroidery was. It was extremely time consuming work to make them. They had even specially embroidered talismans on them to match the occasion.
She had personally witnessed a young married woman, dressed in satin, bringing along a young boy. She stood at the storefront and asked Shi cheng to bring the scent sachets and pouches for her to have a look. Although she found the scent sachet too expensive, she bought a pouch.
When she noticed that, Liu Xu’er started to get a little impatient. She badly wanted to look at their accounts, but Uncle Xiaochen was still there. Although Shi Cheng had said there was no problem and that Shi Cheng’s father was aware that her brother Liu Shu would help them to keep accounts, Liu Xu’er still resisted the temptation. After all, she wanted to leave a good impression of herself on Shi Cheng’s father.
She resisted all the way till noon. After the morning rush had passed, the customers in the shop finally started to lessen. A few people trickled in now and then, before finally no one came. By that time, it was time for the noon meal. Uncle Xiaochen and Shi Cheng started to put up the new wares Liu Xu’er had brought, before Shi Cheng told Uncle Xiaochen to go and have his meal.
Uncle Xiaochen knew that they still wanted to wait for Liu Shu and Liu Lin, so he smiled and waved goodbye to them, before heading off to eat.
The instant he left, Liu Xu’er pounced. “I noticed this morning that we sold two pouches?”
Shi Cheng smiled and told her, “Why don’t you guess how many ornaments you’ve sold?”
Liu Xu’er said, “I saw in the morning that the peach wood ornaments dad made sold very well? Also…. Pouches? How much was sold? It shouldn’t have been that much, after all, my dad just came by a few days ago. Didn’t you pass him all the money we made in the past two months to him? How much could we have sold in the past few days?”
Shi Cheng gave a naughty grin, “I held back! I only gave your father some of the extra money, but didn’t give him the bulk of it. I was waiting to give you a surprise!”
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Awww… Shi Cheng is good at teasing his wife. 😂😂😂 his future in-laws will be very sylurprised when Xu’er bring back the money. It seems their business is flourishing.
Yep, he’s also good at talking rings around his in-laws! HAHAH