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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.
3. No permission has been granted to use, publish, upload and/or copy this translation to any other site except for Second Life Translations.
Shi Cheng and Liu Xu’er entered the store. Liu Xu’er watched as Shi Cheng sauntered in and helped himself to a drink of water at the back counter. “Aren’t you going to get involved?”
“Why should I? Xiaochen can handle it. After all, it’s his store.” Shi Cheng was still able to smile about the matter.
Liu Xu’er could only sit on the chair and watch the spectacle outside.
Uncle Xiaochen was still talking, “What do I care about another person’s child. If someone has forced your family into poverty, you should take it up with that family. Why are you here, blocking my shop? Aren’t you making things difficult for me? Quickly leave! If you keep making a fuss, I am going to the government office to complain!”
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“Rv’p vbyv nbkze! Mbyv oyp elqkdkvlzu xu lxrzsula’p nbkze!”
“Mbyv nbkze kp osajkdt blal yp yd yppkpvydv! Eblvbla bl’p uswa lxrzsula’p nbkze sa dsv, kp dsdl sq xu cwpkdlpp. Twaau yde zlyhl! Xvblaokpl, R’x tskdt vs nsxrzykd!”
“R’x dsv tskdt! R alqwpl vs zlyhl! Mblu qsanle xu qyxkzu vs pwnb ekal pvaykvp; R yx tskdt vs jknj wr y qwpp blal lhlaueyu!” Eydt Vkd’p xsvbla pyke alnjzlppzu.&dcpr;
Nkw Dw’la pyo vbyv xsal yde xsal rlsrzl olal tyvblakdt. Gdmkswpzu, pbl ypjle Fbk Ubldt, “Ebyv pbswze cl esdl? Fwalzu psxlvbkdt dllep vs cl esdl vs tlv ake sq bla – svblaokpl, bso yal usw tskdt vs es cwpkdlpp? Eydt Vkd’p qyvbla…. Pke usw vlzz uswa qyvbla dsv vs wpl bkx clnywpl bl vakle vs clyv wp wr zypv vkxl?”
Fbk Ubldt dseele, “Mbyv’p aktbv, kq dscseu tkhlp vbyv cwzzu y tsse zlppsd, bl oswze clnsxl y ekpypvla qsa vbspl yaswde bkx… Ls, bl yzalyeu kp y ekpypvla!” Tl zssjle yv Nkw Dw’la yde pyke, “Zsw pyo Yys Mbkae, kq Eydt Vkd kpd’v tkhld y tsse zlppsd, bl oswze taso wr vs cl fwpv zkjl bkx! Ebld bl’p szela, yde bkp qyvbla kpd’v yczl vs nsdvasz bkx, ds sdl oswze cl yczl vs xydytl bkx. Tl oswze clnsxl y vbsad kd Mysbwy Akzzytl! Fs, kv’p clpv vs eakhl bkx iwknjzu qasx vbl hkzzytl!”
Nkw Dw’la eked’v byhl yd swdnl sq puxryvbu qsa Eydt Vkd. Fbl oyp sdzu osaakle ycswv cwpkdlpp, osaakle vbyv swvpkelap oswze byhl y rssa kxralppksd sq vbl pvsal.
Fbk Ubldt yzps jdlo obyv pbl oyp nsdnladle ycswv, ps bl pyke, “Psd’v osaau. Mblal’p yzoyup psxlvbkdt dlo sd vbl pvallvp. Msodprlsrzl fwpv zkjl vs oyvnb, cwv yqvla y eyu sa vos, vblu oswze’hl qsatsvvld yzz ycswv kv. Mbspl obs dlle vs cwu vbkdtp, okzz pvkzz nsxl yde cwu vblx blal. Mblal osd’v cl ydu kxrynv qasx vbkp.”
“El nyd’v qkde rlsrzl qasx vbl tshladxldv sqqknl vs nbypl vblx yoyu?”
“Please don’t even try! Those people are always trying to think of ways to skin us of money! They would love for you to go to them to report issues. The instant we go to them, we would definitely have to bleed some money before getting out.” Shi Cheng shook his head, “There’s no need to worry about it. Uncle Xiaochen is able to handle it. If he can’t even manage this, he’s really wasted the 10 years he’s been an apprentice!”
When Liu Xu’er heard what he said, she could only quiet her thoughts and watch the situation. Wang Pin’s mother was still crying vigorously outside, while Uncle Xiaochen kept rebutting her. He didn’t try to quarrel with her, it’s just that he refused to allow her the upper hand. Everything that Wang Pin’s mother said would be smartly returned.
After quarreling endlessly, even the most enthusiastic watcher had long since lost interest and a few had started to walk away. There were still those watching, but they had stopped trying to intervene in the matter.
As Liu Xu’er watched, she slowly started to understand the strategies employed. Although all of them were nuisances, there were different ways to handle different types of nuisances. For the nuisances that came yesterday, one had to be more impressive than them to scare them off! Exactly like that old adage, the ones who are simple fear the ones who are fierce, the ones who are fierce fear the ones who are desperate.
But when confronting a shrew like Wang Pin’s mother, then you had to have a softer touch. Otherwise, there really might be onlookers who would go for the officials! It was best to ignore her, the way Shi Cheng is doing now, and find an unrelated person, like Uncle Xiaochen to go and answer her. The important thing was to not allow her to slander them.
When Liu Changgeng arrived, he saw this scene. The instant Liu Changgeng recognised Wang Pin’s mother, he was shocked! He was doubly startled when Liu Xu’er and Shi Cheng appeared so calm, as if they hadn’t even noticed the confrontation!
Liu Changgeng was terribly panicked by the situation. He wanted to approach and ask what had happened, but Shi Cheng and Liu Xu’er held him back. Shi Cheng even said, “There’s nothing big. It’s probably that they saw business was doing well, so they came forward to make some trouble for us. Uncle, there’s no need to concern yourself with this. It’ll be fine!”
Liu Changgeng saw that they both looked unconcerned, and Uncle Xiaochen even waved them goodbye from the doorstep, so Liu Changgeng started to calm down.
Shi Cheng had also followed them out. He needed to head to his teacher’s place. Liu Changgeng and Liu Xu’er sent him there, before Liu Xu’er dragged her father off to start buying materials.
The two of them by now were extremely familiar with the shop. Liu Changgeng held the cloth bag his daughter had casually given him. He had no idea what was in it and had assumed that it was just some cloth his daughter had bought. Without giving it further thought, he slung it over his shoulder as father and daughter started to walk along the streets.
Thread, silk, cotton etc, everything they had bought made a giant heap. This time, Liu Xu’er was preparing to buy materials for winter products as well as for the materials needed for pouches, decorative knots etc for the Mid Autumn festival.
As usual, a lot of thread was bought. This time, she had even bought some woolen thread. She was also quite particular about the cloth; she had bought two different types of brocade as well as some calico and patterned cloth. She bought 10 chi of each type.
After buying sufficient quantities of raw materials, Liu Xu’er started to buy bright red, jewel blue, reddish purple and deep green fabrics. These were to make clothes for the people in her family, including ye, nai, sishu and xiaogu.
However, Liu Changgeng thought that everything was for handicrafts, and so didn’t say anything. When it came time to pay, Liu Changgeng was shocked to see her reach for the cloth bag, and anxiously moved to close it tight afterwards.
Liu Xu’er took out an ingot of silver worth two taels as well as three strings of cash. After counting out the money, she paid the storekeeper very naturally. Liu Changgeng had accompanied her before to buy things, but he had never seen her spend money this way! Shocked, he glanced into the cloth bag. It was fine when he hadn’t known, but now that he had a quick look, he seemed to have seen entire ingots of silver inside! Terrified, he held onto the bag tightly, wanting nothing so much as to hug it to himself!
They had spent over 4800 wen on the materials. After buying everything they needed, there were only over 100 wen remaining. Liu Xu’er smiled and asked Liu Changgeng, “Dad, with the remaining money, can we buy food for ourselves?”
Liu Changgeng quickly responded, “There’s enough grain at home. Your mum and I bought enough when we last came.”
Liu Xu’er smiled and said, “There’s still over 100 wen, can we buy some meat? Now that we’ve money, can’t we eat meat occasionally….”
Liu Changgeng smiled. Rubbing her head, he was reminded that his daughter was still a little girl! Nodding, he said, “Ok, let’s buy some then!”
They went off to buy a few jins of pork belly as well as some wine. Seeing that it was getting late, the father and daughter pair went to Liu Shu and Liu Lin’s teachers place and called the two brothers out for the noon meal at the minced noodle stall. Then Liu Shu and Liu Lin continued back to school, while Liu Changgeng and Liu Xu’er returned home.
On the way back, Liu Xu’er explained what happened to Liu Changgeng. She told him that they had made over 10 taels of silver, and after they returned nai’s three taels, there should still be four taels that could be saved.
Liu Changgeng was delighted and kept nodding his agreement.
When they returned, they shared what had happened with He shi. He shi was over the moon. Seeing that Liu Xu’er had brought back so much cloth, she was full of battle spirit. “Are all these for pouches? Good! We will start today!”
Liu Xu’er giggled and divided up the piles of cloth. She explained which were to be given to ye,nai and added three taels of silver to their pile. Then she shared which were intended to make clothes for their family, before finally pointing out the pile for handicrafts.
“Because winter handicrafts are things like hand-warmers, forehead bands, scent sachets and what not, and the Mid Autumn Festival coming in the eighth month needs more pouches and scent sachets, I bought a lot of cloth this time. But there’s still plenty of thread.” Liu Xu’er smiled and said, “Mum, we can experiment and make other things that can be worn in winter. We should see how we can use the rabbit fur as well.”
He shi kept nodding. That afternoon, He shi visited the old residence and returned the money and gifted the cloth Liu Xu’er bought for them. Stunned Liu Gao shi insisted on following her back. It was only when she personally saw the silver ingots that she started to believe Liu Xu’er’s little trinkets had really started to earn them good money.
That evening, He shi was still feeling happy. Seeing that they had bought wine and meat, she slaughtered a rooster and stewed the meat. Then she minced up the chicken innards and fried it with wild vegetables, before also cutting up some pork belly and frying it with some cabbage. After frying several eggs and whipping up a cold dish of loofa, she got Liu Xu’er to go to the old residence and invite everyone back for a meal.
Liu Xu’er took Liu Sen’s hand and walked with him over to the old residence. Old Man Liu, Liu Gao shi and Liu Changshi were delighted to come. At first Liu Hong was unwilling to leave, so Liu Xu’er said, “Then are you never coming out of your room again?”
Liu Gao shi joined in, “Your saozi has whipped up a feast and got Xu’er to come and get us. Come along with us!”
Since she would be escorted by her family, Liu Hong finally agreed. After locking the door, the entire family made their way to Liu Changgeng’s place.
That evening, everyone enjoyed a lovely dinner. Senzi’s mouth was covered with oil as he ran about the house happily. Old Man Liu and Liu Gao shi were so happy, they never stopped smiling. They kept praising Liu Xu’er.
After that, Liu Xu’er found a day to tidy up the rabbit fur before knuckling down to start preparing hand-warmers etc.
This time, they had bought all the raw materials they needed till the end of the year. Hence, from next month onwards, their only expense was rental. Liu Xu’er and He shi were both filled with confidence. He shi went to learn from Liu Xu’er how to make the decorative knots, necklaces all while continuing her work crocheting the little ornaments, embroidering pouches and scent sachets. Everyday was busy.
On Ghost Festival, as expected, Liu Xu’er was not allowed to leave the house. Liu Xu’er still remembered that she wanted to share the incident sishu had with Mao Third with her xiaoyi, so she asked, when would they be visiting laolao? He shi said that before the Mid Autumn Festival, they would make a trip back. They would also be bringing them some gifts then.
Although she was anxious, Liu Xu’er had no other choice. She could only wait.
They kept up the hectic pace till the Mid Autumn Festival. On the 12th day of the eighth month, they had finally finished making the products for the festival. The next day, Liu Changgeng and He shi entered town to deliver the goods. While there, they checked if Liu Shu and Liu Lin would be returning for the Mid Autumn Festival, or if they were needed at the store to help? Now that Liu Shu and Liu Lin were staying with Shi Cheng, Liu Changgeng felt rather indebted to Shi Cheng’s family and felt the need check in with them if before bringing his sons home.
He shi entered town to buy supplies. Now that she had some money in hand, she was willing to spend some for these festivals. Also, she started to have plans to visit her maiden home for the festive season and needed to buy gifts for her visit.
Liu Xu’er stayed at home to watch over Senzi. Again, she roasted some meat for Senzi for the noon meal. That afternoon, Liu Changgeng and He shi returned with good news. Because the Mid Autumn Festival was different from other festivals, Liu Shu and Liu Lin would be returning home, along with Shi Cheng. The store would be watched by Uncle Xiaochen and some assistants.
This time, they brought back over 2000 wen. Combined with the amount they earned previously, this was the total earnings they had made over the entire Ghost Month. Liu Xu’er was extremely clear that the seventh and eighth months were likely to be their most profitable months of the year. Other months were highly unlikely to earn as much.
He shi had also spent about 1000 wen. Amongst other things, she had bought He Wenqing’s son a silver longevity locket, spending 500 wen.