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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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Because the period before New Year was a slack season for farming folk, after Shi Cheng confirmed that he would pass the shop over to her in the third month of next year, Liu Xu’er immediately started to look for people.
Since she had already spent some time monitoring the situation, she knew just who to approach. Because Liu Lian had already built quite a stockpile of silk flowers, she first went to book Liu Lian’s silk flowers. Then of course, she went to book Aunt Wu and Xiaotian jie’s different scarves.
The situation today was not the same as before. Both sides needed to have open, frank discussions in order to avoid any future troubles. They were all fellow villagers; it was not good for them to quarrel over these matters.
So, it was clearly laid out that everyone would sell their handiwork to Liu Xu’er. The price they sold their goods at would be fixed and would have nothing to do with how much the Liu family sold it at the store for. They could not sell it to Xu’er for 10 wen, but make a fuss when they saw her sell it at 50 wen in the shop.
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This daughter-in-law of hers just loved to make a big fuss over nothing, and she was tired of it. Liu Gao shi was well aware of Ma shi’s petty and calculating nature. She just knew that Ma shi would try to pry gossip about everything and so Liu Gao shi was unwilling to say too much to her.
Sure enough, as Ma shi ladled the oil out, she said in a voice filled with envy, “Mum, nowadays you really are able to enjoy life more and more. Ever since xiaoguzi married well, our family has also managed….”
Liu Gao shi unhappily interrupted her, “What are you saying! My days are getting better because of my sons, not because of Liu Hong! Liu Hong has never tried to support me, so you’d better watch your words!”
It was taboo for a married daughter to bring items over to help their maiden family. Liu Gao shi was absolutely not going to tolerate anyone sullying her Liu Hong’s reputation.
Ma shi quickly smiled and said, “Yes, yes, yes, you’re right! It’s not Liu Hong, it’s their ershu…. Oh? That’s right mum, I heard that Xu’er was looking for people. They would make all kinds of different things, even sew shoes! And she would buy those items! Do you think those items can make money? There are so many women in the village who make shoes! And many of them would even go to town and set up a stall, but no one has ever heard that they managed to sell so well? What exactly is happening with Second’s family?”
Liu Gao shi slanted a look at her – why was it that this daughter-in-law’s words were always so unpleasant! She coldly said, “What do you mean? Do you suspect that Second is doing dishonest business?!”
“Ohhh!” Ma shi exclaimed, “Mum! How could you say that! I definitely didn’t mean that, I was just…. Too surprised. Second’s Xu’er is just too capable. Do you think that she is the reincarnation of some child prodigy…..”
Liu Gao shi was both angry and frustrated. She pushed her away and said, “Enough, enough. Why don’t you go out? I can’t take you anymore. I think I will die of anger if you stay here and talk! Now that the New Year is coming, I don’t want to have a bellyfull of anger! Get out, out….”
Ma shi quickly started to “peh” a few times. “Oh, it’s not good to say that word over the New Year….. It’s alright, it’s alright, I’ve already helped you to reject the bad luck. So long as you touch some wood, everything should be fine…. Oh, my Xian’er and Yun’er are both free. Do you think…..”
The instant Ma shi said that, Liu Gao shi immediately knew what she was up to! Honestly, Liu Changqi was also her son and Liu Gao shi definitely hoped for her eldest to also be able to live well! It’s just that Ma shi’s character was so unpleasant, and she had already managed to offend Second’s entire family badly! Everyone in Second’s family hated both her and Liu Yun’er to the bone! How would they be willing to help her? Only Ma shi would have skin thick enough to ask.
Liu Gao shi deliberately started to look busy. She walked back and forth, taking bowls, and other dishes. She scooped out water and flour. As she walked around, she bumped into Ma shi, so she quickly said, “Oh, hurry up and leave! You’re just in the way here!”
Ma shi was embarrassed and could only leave. She saw Liu Xian’er at the doorway, so she quickly scolded, “Why aren’t you heading in to help your nai!”
Liu Xian’er went in, head lowered. Liu Gao shi had no ill feelings toward her, so she allowed her to stay in the kitchen to help.
He shi felt that she had come rather early – She had brought Liu Xu’er over at quite the early hour! But when she entered the courtyard, she saw Ma shi standing at the kitchen doorway holding a large basin and preparing to wash the vegetables while Liu Yun’er was playing with the water. He shi was stunned. Why was Ma shi so early!
Seeing the mother daughter pair come in, Ma shi warmly rushed forward and greeted them. “Oh my! Erdimei and Xu’er are here! Look at Xu’er – these past two years, you’ve really grown and become so pretty!” Saying this, she stretched out her hand to stroke Liu Xu’er’s face.
Of course, Liu Xu’er immediately ducked and headed straight for the kitchen. He shi also plastered on a fake smile and nodded, “Dasao, you’re here early.” Then she too headed to the kitchen,
Today, Ma shi had expended a tremendous amount of effort. Capitalizing on the fact that the entire family would be present today, she was determined to force Liu Xu’er to help her Liu Xian’er and Liu Yun’er! How could she help random villagers – even a distant cousin was involved – but ignore her own family members? How could she?!
Of course, she was well aware that she was here to ask a favor, and so she knew that she would have to put on a good face. She again went forward to try and block Liu Xu’er’s path. He shi saw what was happening, so she edged in around her.
Since Ma shi was only able to block one, she chose to block Liu Xu’er. She even stretched her arms wide to prevent her from moving in. Although her actions were aggressive, there was still a smile on her face, creating a rather strange atmosphere. “Xu’er, today, dashenzi was looking for you….”
How could Liu Xu’er not know what was up? It was not as though the topic hadn’t been brought up before, but Liu Xu’er had always pushed it off. It was likely that Ma shi had heard about her finding other people to help out and was starting to get anxious. Liu Xu’er thought about it, before deciding that it was better to deal with this matter once and for all, rather than be pestered relentlessly about it.
So she stood still. She directed a cold glance at Liu Yun’er who was still playing with water, before saying, “Dashenzi, what do you want to say?”
Ma shi smiled and said, “I heard from Liu Lian’s mother that you’re looking for people to help you? And that you would accept anything? My Xian’er is really good at making handkerchiefs, and Yun’er, can sew shoes.”
“What else can they do? I have quite a few people making handkerchiefs. Furthermore, the handkerchiefs I sell at the store are those with embroidered patterns. It’s not enough just to hem the edges. As for shoes, that won’t work. Aunt Wu’s Xiaotian brought a whole stack of them last year to try and sell. A few days ago, she just brought them back. She didn’t manage to sell a single pair! Shoes just won’t sell.”
Originally, seeing that Xu’er was willing to speak to her, Ma shi was thrilled. But hearing what she said, it was clear that she was still trying to evade her. So she thought about it and asked, “Then what does your store sell? My Xian’er and Yun’er can do anything.”
Liu Xu’er coldly smiled.
He shi had earlier entered the kitchen. She had seen Liu Xu’er get stopped, but had assumed that like before, she would get rid of Ma shi within a sentence or two. Who knew that after a while, she would still be stuck there, so she went to the doorway and called, “Xu’er, why aren’t you done talking? Quickly come in, there’s a lot of work waiting!”
Liu Xu’er agreed. She tried to go back in, but Ma shi immediately blocked her way! She was determined that today, Liu Xu’er would definitely find some work for her two girls! She wouldn’t let her get away that easily!
When He shi saw her block Liu Xu’er, she was shocked, “Dasao, what are you doing?” Then she came over.
By now, Ma shi was already pestering Liu Xu’er, “Xu’er, just say the word. Your store would definitely need goods. Whatever is lacking – my Xian’er and Yun’er can do them at home!”
Liu Xu’er’s brow wrinkled and she said, “Most of the things I need for the store are already settled. We’re not lacking anything. Furthermore, the people I look for never ask me what I lack. Instead, I usually would ask them what they can make! I ask to look at the things that they’ve done, and if I feel they are suitable, and my shop needs it, I will accept it! What can Liu Xian’er and Liu Yun’er do?! Show me what they’ve done.”
Ma shi was stumped. Liu Yun’er had long ago started to eavesdrop on their conversation and was full of dissatisfaction toward Liu Xu’er. She felt that her attitude toward her mother was not right! She stood, and threw a bunch of vegetables into the basin of water before fiercely saying to Liu Xu’er, “How are you speaking to my mother?! What is with your attitude?! If you are dare, say it again!” Then she rushed on over!
Liu Xu’er coldly sneered, “What a joke! Just because you tell me to, I must repeat myself?”
He shi had already grabbed hold of Liu Yun’er, “Why is your temper so bad? What are you shouting about? What is wrong with how Xu’er spoke to your mother? I thought it was alright. What’s wrong with you? Why are you always looking to fight others?!”
With her arms grabbed, Liu Yun’er suddenly exploded. She shrieked, “Let go of me! How dare you grab me!” She viciously shook her arms off! After she got out of her grasp, she rushed over to Liu Xu’er!
“Crazy! Is your girl crazy?” Again, He shi grasped hold of her and dragged her back. “Go, go, go. Let’s go and speak to your nai and ye. Look at your crazy behaviour!”
Liu Gao shi was already standing at the doorway and watching. She frowned and said, “First’s wife, if you’re going to wash the vegetables, then properly wash them with Yun’er! Don’t block Xu’er. It’s the New Year, so what do you think you’re doing?”
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