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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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The shopkeeper had used most of his usual strategies. Twisting his beard, he finally smiled. “These two children….” He turned and said to Liu Changshi, “1800 wen! Look, you’re asking me for 60, 70 taels of silver – it’s also hard for me. Furthermore, you’ve already left these out for quite some time.”
Liu Changshi was very tempted when he heard that. With that, he would have made a tael in profit. He turned and looked at Shi Cheng and Liu Lin.
When the shopkeeper saw that, he knew that he had him. So he said loudly, “Great! Then we have a deal! 1800 wen….”
“Wait, wait, wait!” Shi Cheng and Liu Lin chorused simultaneously. “Who said that it’s a deal?! Two strings of cash! Not a penny less. We are the ones making the decision!”
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Mbl pbsrjllrla oyp nzlyazu hlau wdbyrru. Vskdvkdt yv Nkw Ubydtpbk, bl pyke, “Ps usw jdso bso vs es cwpkdlpp yv yzz?! 1800 old kp y alyzzu tsse raknl! Rq usw alyzzu osd’v ynnlrv kv, vbld usw nyd zlyhl! R alyzzu esd’v oydv kv!”
Fllkdt vbl pbsrjllrla ps ydtau, Nkw Ubydtpbk tsv ydmkswp! Gzvbswtb Fbk Ubldt yde Nkw Nkd xyel kv pswde ps lypu, kv oypd’v twyaydvlle vbyv bl oswze cl yczl vs plzz lhlauvbkdt kq bl olal vs ts vs Tydgbsdt Ukvu. Wwavblaxsal, 1800 old oyp y elnldv raknl. Tl bye ralhkswpzu vbswtbv vs xyjl ycswv y vylz sq pkzhla rla esw yduoyu…. Tl xshle bkp zkrp, oydvkdt vs prlyj obld Fbk Ubldt pxkzle yde pyke, “Gzaktbv, esd’v tlv ydtau. Gxkyckzkvu kp jlu vs eskdt cwpkdlpp!”
Ebld Nkw Ubydtpbk blyae vbyv, bl qaydvknyzzu dseele bkp blye. Ebyv Fbk Ubldt pyke xyel pldpl!
Fllkdt vbyv Nkw Ubydtpbk pllxle vs cl olyjldkdt, yde Fbk Ubldt’p osaep olal nzlyazu oyax, vbl pbsrjllrla oyp elzktbvle. Tl pbswze cl yczl vs nsxrzlvl vbl elyz! 1800 old.
Fs bl oyp tscpxynjle cu obyv byrrldle dlmv. Fbk Ubldt nyzzle qsa Nkw Nkd vs blzr zkqv vbl cypjlv cynj kdvs vbl nyav.&dcpr; Ebkzl eskdt vbkp, Fbk Ubldt lqqsavqwzzu vsze vbl pbsrjllrla, “Gxkyckzkvu kp jlu vs eskdt cwpkdlpp! Ohld kq vbl elyz nyddsv cl pwnnlppqwzzu nsdnzwele, ol pbswze pvkzz cl yxknyczl.” Twqqkdt, bl zkqvle kv yde pyke, “El yal yzz cwpkdlpp rlsrzl. Ysdlu kpd’v yp kxrsavydv yp y nsxqsavyczl blyav! Rq… Rq vbl blyav kpd’v nsxqsavyczl, vbld vblal’p ds dlle vs qsanl vbl elyz vs ts vbaswtb, aktbv…. Nkw Nkd?”
Mbl vos sq vblx lmrldele y blanwzlyd lqqsav clqsal qkdyzzu xydytkdt vs blqv vbl cypjlv cynj sd vbl nyav. Nkw Ubydtpbk oyp pvwddle, bl eked’v jdso obs vs blzr.
Fkdnl vbl pbsrjllrla bye yzalyeu pvyavle vs wpl yttalppkhl vynvknp vsoyae vblx, vblal oyp ds oyu vs vynvqwzzu vwad vbl pkvwyvksd yaswde. Nwnjkzu, vbl pbsr bye plhlayz nyryczl, pbyar yppkpvydvp. Mbl kdpvydv vblu pyo vbl pbsrjllrlap’ lmralppksd, vblu jdlo obyv vs es. Swddkdt qsaoyae, vblu pxkzle yde pvyavle vs elzknyvlzu lypl vbl pkvwyvksd, “Eykv y xsxldv! Fbsrjllrla, esd’v cl ydtau, zssj, vblpl tsfk claaklp….” Tl prsjl psqvzu,rwzzkdt vbl pbsrjllrla kdvs vbl pvsal.&dcpr;
Mbl svbla pbsr yppkpvydv nyxl swv yde pyke vs Fbk Ubldt yde Nkw Nkd, “Zsw vos alyzzu esd’v jdso bso vs es cwpkdlpp! Lsv lhld y zkvvzl ckv sq assx qsa cyatykdkdt, vbl pvyvle raknl kp vbl sdzu ynnlrvle raknl? Tso nyd kv cl vbyv kv nyd’v lhld cl y rlddu zlpp? Rv’p sdzu clnywpl xu pbsrjllrla kp pwnb y ryvkldv rlapsd. Rq psxlsdl lzpl olal elyzkdt okvb usw, vblu oswze byhl nbyple usw yoyu!”
Shi Cheng knew that the shop assistant was trying to save face for the shopkeeper! He, of course, couldn’t make things too difficult, so he smiled and said nothing, accepting the lecture.
Liu Lin smiled before turning and saying to the shopkeeper, “Shopkeeper, don’t be angry! We’re only little kids, and really don’t know how to do business. We need to learn from you!”
With his pride salvaged, the shopkeeper hmphed and walked back out. Pointing at them, he said sternly, “You two don’t listen! You are as stubborn as oxen. There isn’t even room for any bargaining. It’s really only because it’s me! You try that on some other shopkeeper and see if you can do what you did?!” After lecturing them, he told his own shop assistants, “Move it down. Open all of them for me to check!”
Shi Cheng and Liu Lin laughed. This time, they didn’t try to stop them.
Liu Changshi was still a bit nervous. What had just happened? He looked at the children and saw that they were calm, so he could only restrain himself and watch as the four shop assistants made swift work of moving the baskets back into the shop. Inside the shop, they opened all of them, while the shopkeeper took one from each basket to sample.
The shop assistants had already gone in to get the weighing scale, so two of the assistants were smoothly starting to weigh it out. Liu Changshi wanted to ask Shi Cheng if that meant that the deal was concluded? But when Shi Cheng and Liu Lin saw the weighing scale, they rushed into the shop to closely supervise the weighing process.
Dou after dou was measured. Here, Shi Cheng and Liu Lin exhibited their childish earnestness. The measure must be exactly flat! They were unwilling to eat any loss whatsoever. Liu Lin was still lamenting, “After returning, it had to be dried for half a month! How much did we lose! We really, really…. Lost out!”
Finally they managed to finish weighing it. There were 40 dou with some left over. The assistants went to get the sheng1 升/ Sheng – Measure for dry grain equivalent to 1/10th of a 斗/dou weight – the remainder was slightly over five sheng. The shopkeeper went behind the counter and after weighing the load, the shop assistants went over to start to discuss things with him in a low voice, while Shi Cheng and Liu Lin conducted their own quiet discussion.
By this time, there was no need for any more pretense. The shopkeeper called Shi Cheng and Liu Lin over and said, “40 dou and five sheng. There is still over a jin remaining. Why don’t you let us have the remainder. 40 dou, for a total of 80 taels?”
“What? We can’t let you have five sheng! We are poor villagers – that would fetch us a string of cash! It can feed us for half a year.” Liu Lin quickly said.
Shi Cheng nodded, “The two jins, we can let go of. Shopkeeper, you’re a big business man, don’t haggle with us over these small matters.”
The shopkeeper was fully aware that he wouldn’t be able to get them to give in on the five sheng. He nodded and said, “81 taels. Is that ok?”
Liu Lin still appeared to be slightly unwilling. He kept saying, “When he came back, we had to let them dry for a while. Otherwise there would be no remainder….”
Shi Cheng sighed and said, “Then that’s a deal…. Shopkeeper, actually you are the one who does big business. We really don’t know much at all.”
The shopkeeper wasn’t taken in at all by their flattery. He hmphed. Today, he was the one who didn’t manage to successfully bring down the price. These two children were the one who managed to get a good deal for themselves, but they were still trying to flatter him! He asked, “Do you want entire ingots or coins?”
Liu Lin turned and asked Liu Changshi, “Sishu, do you want it in ingots or coins?”
Liu Changshi was still stunned and hadn’t had time to recover. Did this mean that the deal was done? And he could take the money? Dazed, it took a while for him to finally answer, “Uh…. Entire ingots. The remainder can be in coins.”
The shopkeeper nodded and told someone to bring the silver weighing scale over. In front of them, he weighed out eight 10 tael silver ingots, and then took out another string of cash. He handed everything over to Shi Cheng. This time, Shi Cheng refused to take the money. Smiling, he called Liu Changshi over to take it.
Liu Changshi was so shocked, his entire body was taut. Anxiously, he took the ingots. From the cart, Liu Shu brought down a piece of cloth and told Liu Changshi to place the money in it, and carry it with him.
Then the group of them said their goodbyes to the shopkeeper and left.
After returning to the cart, Liu Changshi finally recovered. He told Shi Cheng and Liu Lin, “I really really take my hat off to you two! How are you so smart? The shopkeeper wasn’t able to handle the two of you!”
Liu Lin giggled. Liu Shu also smiled and said, “Sishu, if you worked as a shop assistant for a year, you too would understand how business people think!”
Liu Changshi nodded and said, “I really would never have expected that you would have learnt so much. These things really must be taught! Otherwise, you would never learn how to do it. You would just be tongue-tied and unable to respond. Then how can you fight with these businessmen? I really need to thank you for accompanying me today, otherwise, I would have been cheated so badly by that shopkeeper… I would definitely have sold it for 1200 wen!”
The children all giggled.
When they got to their store, Uncle Xiaochen was there tidying up, and preparing to open shop. The year before, they had closed the accounts at the end of the 11th month, but the shop had actually stayed open till the 20th day of the 12th month. After all, among the shop assistants, some of them were staying in Feng Town itself. Since they would get bonus pay working during the 12th month, they were willing to work in this period. In the 20 days, the shop had managed to bring in over 20 strings of cash. Liu Shu’s counter had managed to sell two hand-warmers, a forehead band, a scent sachet and over 10 handkerchiefs.
This sudden windfall was a pleasant surprise. The shop assistants told Shi Cheng – these items were bought as New Year gifts. Then they told Liu Shu and Liu Lin – hurry and replenish stock. It’s not good for the counter to look so bare!
Liu Shu and Liu Lin quickly agreed. It was just that they hadn’t thought that there would be business over the New Year, and the family hadn’t managed to make too many things yet, so they hadn’t brought anything over today.
Taking back with them 11 taels and a few 100 wen, everyone went home satisfied.
Especially Liu Changshi. By now, he couldn’t wait. After he had decided to go to Ningxia, he went and looked for He Ruyu to share his thoughts with He Ruyu to give her time to consider his proposal.
At that time, he went to Qianzhuang Village and gave a child one wen to call He Ruyu out to meet him. When He Ruyu was at the doorway and saw him, she had hesitated for a moment.
Liu Changshi had been rather anxious. He had been nervous that she would be unwilling to leave the house. But then, she came out and met him. And when Liu Changshi shared his thoughts, she was not at all surprised. It was as though she already knew. Although her entire face was red, and her head was lowered, she didn’t do as Liu Changshi had feared – leave after hearing what he said.
Of course, he didn’t dare to think about it too deeply. He told her to consider it, and after the New Year, he would engage a matchmaker to propose marriage.
At this time, Liu Changshi was in his cart. He kept thinking of the expression He Ruyu wore then. Was she willing or not? I think she was willing?
At that time, Liu Changshi didn’t tell He Ruyu that he was going to Ningxia, but when he came back, he found out that Yuan Hao had met with He Wenyu in town before the New Year and told him about it.
When he went to Ningxia, he thought that as a young man, he couldn’t just take his family’s money to get married. Furthermore, He Ruyu was not like other women. He didn’t want her to be wronged, and definitely didn’t want to have to use other people’s money to go and propose marriage. Most importantly, he didn’t want to take the money that his parents painfully scratched out to timidly propose marriage. He wanted to take the money he had earned himself!
When he returned home, he told Old Man Liu and Liou Gao shi of his plan to propose marriage to He Ruyu. He requested for Liu Gao shi to engage a matchmaker. Liu Gao shi was of course delighted – her son had earned his own fortune to marry a wife. That gave her a lot of confidence. To give her relatives’ face, she too went to Feng Town to invite the official’s matchmaker – the same one that Yuan Hao had found – to go to Qianzhuang Village and propose marriage to the He family.
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Awww… another happy occasion is on the way. Everything is going on the right track. Thanks for the chapters
Yup! He finally manages to actually propose!