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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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Liu Xu’er continued, “Of course, when I say moving to town, we shouldn’t be in an urgent hurry to do so. We should only move when we’ve the ability to do so, not like dashenzi who blindly wanted to move without enough money at home. And another thing, our family is right now renting a counter in Shi Cheng’s store, so we are very dependent on him. In everything, we will need to consider his opinion. If Shi Cheng were to stop doing this, then we would also be in trouble…. Shi Cheng’s family is doing big business. This little store is Shi Cheng’s father’s way of training him. 100 taels of silver of income from the shop is nothing to their family. So if you think about it, how long can we continue to do business like this?”
The instant He shi heard, she panicked, “Then why do you want to agree to Aunt Wu’s request? If Shi Cheng closes the store, then we don’t have any way to run our own business, let alone help others?”
Liu Xu’er smiled, “Mum, why do you only think of retreating and not of advancing? If Shi Cheng stops, why can’t we rent the store ourselves?”
He shi was extremely shocked. “How could we!” After that immediate outburst, she paused for a moment. There didn’t seem to be anything stopping them. After all, when Liu Xu’er first mentioned doing business, she had at first dismissed it as impossible! So she asked, “How much is the shop rental? Other expenses…. We will need to pay taxes! If we do it ourselves, would we need to pay taxes?”
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Nkw Dw’la dseele, “Mbyv’p aktbv, ol oswze elqkdkvlzu dlle vs ryu vymlp. Jlqsal, Fbk Ubldt oyp vss zygu vs nyznwzyvl bso xwnb vym ol dllele vs nsdvakcwvl, ps bl fwpv zwxrle lhlauvbkdt kdvs swa aldvyz qllp. Mbl pbsr aldvyz kp 5 vylzp sq pkzhla rla xsdvb. R yx dsv pwal bso xwnb vymlp oswze nspv, cwv kv oswze yzps dsv cl nblyr. Jwv Fbk Ubldt yde R byhl nyznwzyvle vbyv kq ol nsdvkdwl okvb cwpkdlpp yp kv kp dso, ol pbswze cl yczl vs lyad yv zlypv 80 vylzp sq pkzhla rla ulya…. Xq nswapl, ol nyd’v cl zkjl vblx yde vaydprsav tssep qasx Kkydtdyd – vbyv oswze nspv oyu vss xwnb kd vaydprsavkdt yde rwanbypkdt vbl tssep. El oswze lyad y zsv zlpp vbyv oyu vss….”&dcpr;
Ju vbkp rskdv, Tl pbk nsxrzlvlzu wdelapvsse, “Fs usw oydv wp vs xyjl lhlauvbkdt? Mbyv’p esyczl!” Fbl pyke ekalnvzu, “Gald’v vblal xydu tkazp yde uswdt okhlp kd vbl hkzzytl? El nyd zssj qsa vbspl okvb tsse nbyaynvla, yde tlv vblx vs es kv!”
Nkw Dw’la tkttzle, “Ywx, usw’hl oyu xsal nswaytl vbyd R! Ebld R qkapv blyae, R blpkvyvle y zsv! Jwv usw yal elnkpkhl.”
Tl pbk zywtble, “Ebyv’p vbl ckt elyz ycswv vbkp…. Rd ydu nypl, kq ol nyd’v xydytl, ol okzz fwpv nzspl vbl pvsal yde nsxl cynj. Xwa qyxkzu byp y bsxl yde zyde – ol osd’v pvyahl.”
Nkw Dw’la dseele, “Xj vbld. El okzz zlyhl kv blal qkapv – kv’p dsv psxlvbkdt vbyv kp tskdt vs byrrld kxxlekyvlzu. Fbk Ubldt kp pvkzz yczl vs osaj yv vbl pvsal qsa ydsvbla ulya yv zlypv, ps ol nyd pzsozu rzyd lhlauvbkdt yde zssj qsa vbl rlsrzl ol oydv. Gzps, R qllz vbyv Dkysvkyd fkl kp iwkvl y tsse nbsknl – vbl dlktbcswap byhl blzrle wp y zsv, yde pkdnl vblu nyxl shla vseyu vs ypj, ol nyd zlv bla cakdt bla pbslp shla vs plzz. Gqvlaoyaep, ol nyd tlv vblx vs xyjl psxlvbkdt lzpl…. Yyucl psxl blye pnyahlp – vbl pkxrzl piwyal sdlp nwv qasx nzsvb. Gzz pbl oswze dlle vs es kp blx vbl letlp. Mbyv pbswze cl esyczl, aktbv?”
Tl pbk dseele. “Fwal! R okzz zlv bla jdso.”
Kwpv zkjl vbyv, vbl ekpnwppksd clvolld vbl vos oyp esdl. Gqvla y qlo eyup, Gwdv Ew nyxl cu ytykd. Mbkp vkxl, Tl pbk eked’v vau vs yhske vbl vsrkn, yde kxxlekyvlzu ytalle vs vbl aliwlpv. Gwdv Ew oyp yzz psavp sq vbydjqwz, yde nyzzle Nkw Dw’la shla vs vbydj bla rlapsdyzzu. Nkw Dw’la vsze bla dsv vs xldvksd kv, yde ytykd pvalpple vbyv vblu bye dlhla psze pbslp yv bla nswdvla clqsal, yde esd’v jdso kq vblu oswze plzz olzz. Wwavblaxsal, kq Dkysvkyd fkl oydvle vs nsdvkdwl eskdt vbkp, obu dsv nsdpkela eskdt psxlvbkdt lzpl, qsa lmyxrzl, blye pnyahlp, dlnj pnyahlp yde pwnb? Fbl oswzed’v dlle vs lxcaskela yduvbkdt sd vblx, fwpv cwu psxl nzsvb, nwv vblx kdvs pxyzzla piwyalp yde blx vbl letlp.
Gwdv Ew oyp sq nswapl kxxlekyvlzu ytallyczl. Fbl oldv cynj vs ekpnwpp vbl xyvvla okvb Dkysvkyd.&dcpr;
The first month of the year passed in a whirl, and so did the second month. In the third month, Liu Shu and Liu Lin both returned to help out with spring sowing. With the whole family present, the mother and daughter pair shared their conversation with everyone. Liu Shu and Liu Lin didn’t find anything strange about it – they had already long thought of it. Only Liu Changgeng was a bit surprised, but like He shi, he understood the logic presented by the children. In any case, they didn’t need to decide anything right now, they could wait till the time came to talk about it further.
That day, Liu Changgeng went over to the old residence to discuss spring sowing with his brothers and father. Liu Shu and Liu Lin brought Senzi along for a listen. Liu Xu’er and He shi stayed at home to work on embroidery. As the two of them embroidered, they chatted till a voice suddenly interrupted, “Today’s weather is so nice, why are the two of you hidden away in the house?”
Liu Xu’er immediately recognised Liu Hong’s voice. She quickly put her work down and ran out with a smile, “Xiaogu, why are you here?”
Liu Hong’s face was slightly red, “Why can’t I come?”
Liu Xu’er smiled, while He shi came over to welcome her in. Liu Xu’er went to get three stools for them to sit on, before heading out to the kitchen to fetch some water.
Liu Hong had conceived at the beginning of the year, and had only recently found out. Right now, the pregnancy wasn’t showing at all. She had been married for slightly over a year, and had only recently been able to come out without others teasing her.
He shi asked how she was feeling and Liu Hong assured her that everything felt normal. Then she picked up the scent sachet Liu Xu’er had set down before commenting, “Xu’er’s embroidery skills are getting better and better.”
He shi smiled and said, “She’s had a lot of practice…. But I am a bit worried – if she continues this way, would she damage her eyesight.”
Liu Hong immediately said, “Don’t let her do too much. Has the workload been manageable recently?”
He shi shook her head, “It is for now, but in the future…. I’m not sure yet.”
A giggle escaped Liu Hong, “What? Are there more big plans in the works?”
He shi raised her eyebrows, then she smiled and shook her head. Now that Liu Hong married into a well-off family, the way she saw things had changed. Even her level of insight had improved, and she was much faster to notice subtle clues.
But since they still hadn’t confirmed their plans, He shi didn’t say anything to Liu Hong. Liu Hong had just come by for a visit and after exchanging some idle talk, finally asked He shi “Has erge gone to look for sange?”
He shi nodded, “He did. Last year, he went quite a few times… It seems to be true – he’s at home for half a year, but the next half, he goes to Shandong.”
Liu Hong frowned and said, “It’s really true? I thought he was just lying so that he didn’t have to come home for the New Year…. But that doesn’t seem right. So many people do business, but most of them would be back for the New Year? It’s been two, three years, why does he have to keep working over the New Year?”
He shi shook her head, “Who knows what Third is thinking…. But your ge said that it does seem like he has a lot of money. That’s right, did you know? Your sansao is pregnant. She got pregnant last year. She should have delivered recently.”
Liu Hong nodded, “I heard about that from mum. I came to ask saozi about this matter. Last year, mum went to visit sange and his wife to ask about the birth. She asked if they needed any help with the baby….” Liu Hong shook her head, “Sansao was scared witless! She kept shaking her head and refusing! She said she had nannies, servant girls, midwives and what not. She didn’t need anything else! Mum thought, maybe she wants her own mother to go and help instead? So she didn’t say anything more, but she was thinking that the birth should be right around now. We haven’t received any news, so she wasn’t sure if the child had been born yet or not?”
He shi sighed, “Over the New Year, your erge didn’t visit. Last year, he had asked them if any help was needed with the birth of the child? There are after all quite a few customs that should be followed…. Third just said they needed nothing! The customs are just…. Oh,” He shi spread her hands out helplessly, “The two of them seem to want to become immortal fairies or something?! And us mere mortals should not try to contaminate them by getting too close to them?”
Liu Hong shook her head, “Isn’t that so? They really seem to want to just cut off all ties with us. None of us should go and disturb them.”
Both of them then fell silent, puzzled by the situation.
He shi then said, “Let’s not speak of them, how about your matter? Yesterday, I heard mum say that you should have someone to look after you. Mum cannot go over and stay with you – it’s not appropriate, but she also can’t go over everyday to look after you. Have you and Yuan Hao considered looking for a servant? Like Shi Cheng’s mother’s little servant girls, or maybe an older woman?”
Liu Hong nodded and said, “Yuan Hao said that we need to find one, but that type of person is not easy to find. It’s not like usual short term work where you can broadcast it around, and let anyone who is idle come forward to help. We’ve never done this before, and don’t quite know how this works…. In town, there are those who would just buy their own servants, but it’s not suitable for a villager to buy someone! Everyone would shiver if they heard. But previously I heard Xu’er say that you need to buy someone for this. If you just hire someone, firstly, they might be dishonest and steal from us. There are so many little items in the house – if they were taken, who would even know? And secondly, those people probably wouldn’t put their all into the job. Instead of doing it properly, they might just make us angry!”
He shi shook her head when she heard. “Why don’t you and Yuan Hao just buy a house and move into town! Then you wouldn’t have to worry about buying servants!”
Liu Hong was stunned when she heard. She looked at her and said, “Saozi, why would you suggest that? We…. How can we leave the village? Yuan Hao has probably never even considered doing that.”
He shi replied, “Why can’t you consider it? With your financial situation, you could probably even move to Hanzhong city with no problem! As for the farmland, don’t you already have workers? How can Yuan Hao manage the fields on his own? It’s just that if you move to town, he would really become an idle landlord and not personally go out into the fields.” Saying this, she smiled.
Liu Hong also laughed and shook her head, “It definitely won’t work. Yuan Hao would definitely not agree.”
He shi found that strange. “Why won’t he agree? Moving to town is not some kind of crime. Our family just doesn’t have the means yet, but your erge and I have already discussed it. When we have saved up enough money, our whole family will move to town!”
Liu Hong was astounded. “Really ersao? My erge… has really agreed to go?”
He shi nodded, “Why would I lie to you? Do I get any benefits from lying?”
Liu Hong slowly nodded her head, thinking deeply.
“Why doesn’t Yuan Hao want to move to town?” He shi asked.
Liu Hong shook her head, “It’s not…. I’ve never asked him. It’s just my own impression that he would definitely not agree. We’ve never even thought of it, and since it’s never even crossed his mind, I just took it for granted…. If erge and you really are considering it, I really do need to go back and ask Yuan Hao!”
He shi nodded, “Go and ask! I don’t think it’s a big deal. If you’ve the ability, then moving to town is more convenient. So long as we don’t forget our roots, keep our houses and land and come back often to visit, I think it’s fine.”
Liu Hong nodded.
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