Time flew by like a shuttle1Refers to the shuttle on a loom, which carries the thread of the weft yarn (widthwise threads), and quickly goes back and forth between the warp yarns (lengthwise threads).
Before they knew it, the bookstore’s opening day had arrived.
The custom-made clothing and jewelry had been delivered.
Yan Mu was carefully drawing on her eyebrows while looking into a bronze mirror. It was extremely rare for her to want to get all dressed up.
Instead of wearing pink clothes, today she wore bright red.
In order to match the red, the jewelry on her head was mainly made of gold.
After drawing on her eyebrows, Yan Mu picked up a box of lip rouge.
The rouge in this era was kept in a small porcelain plate. To use it, you needed to dab some on your finger, and then evenly smear it on the lips.
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He pursed his lips and tried to suppress the emotions in his heart.
Seeing Yu Yuan stare at her for so long without speaking, Yan Mu couldn’t help but feel a bit apprehensive.
She stood up, walked towards Yu Yuan and turned around.
“Don’t I look good dressed up like this?” Yan Mu’s hand was still holding the small plate of rouge.
The young girl’s apricot eyes are bright. Dressed in red clothing, like a burning flame, she burned all the way deep into Yu Yuan’s heart.
Yu Yuan didn’t dare to look at her again.
He lowered his eyes and hoarsely said, “Pretty.”
But the young girl didn’t seem to want to let him off so easily.
Yan Mu leaned forward, her eyes smiling as she asked, “Then can you help me see if my eyebrows are drawn crooked?”
As she spoke, she leaned closer to Yu Yuan.
Yu Yuan looked up.
The young girl’s pretty face was well within reach, and Yu Yuan didn’t even dare to breathe too hard, for fear of frightening her.
He took a closer look at the young girl and said, “They aren’t crooked, they’re very nice.”
“That’s good, I haven’t drawn my eyebrows on for too long, so I was worried that I’d draw them crooked.” Yan Mu’s tone couldn’t help but contain a hint of coquettishness.
Yu Yuan looked at the rouge in Yan Mu’s hand, and said as if possessed2鬼使神差 (guǐshǐ-shénchāi) – lit. demons and gods at work (idiom); unexplained event crying out for a supernatural explanation; a curious coincidence, “I’ll apply the rouge for you.”
As soon as those words came out, both of them were stunned.
Yu Yuan felt a little helpless inside.
He didn’t know how to interact with women, but he also knew that what he’d said just now was too abrupt.
Slightly regretting it, he was about to change the topic when he saw Yan Mu’s flushed cheeks as she silently handed over the rouge.
“Do you know how to apply it?” Yan Mu’s eyelashes slightly trembled.
“……I don’t.” Yu Yuan pursed his lips.
Yan Mu was about to take the rouge back, but Yu Yuan rushed to say, “I can learn.”
The teenager’s gaze was extremely focused. His red lips were slightly parted and his eyes contained a hint of helplessness.
Yu Yuan’s face was really too handsome, and as a superficial dog, Yan Mu really couldn’t refuse such a face.
So, she helplessly agreed.
In an instant, the teenager’s expression looked as if snow and ice had melted, and spring had come to revive a withered tree3枯木逢春 (kūmù-féngchūn) – lit. the spring comes upon a withered tree (idiom); fig. to get a new lease on life; to be revived; enjoy good fortune after a long spell of bad luck.
After hearing her answer, the teenager became lively.
Yu Yuan carefully took the plate of rouge.
In order to match her clothing, the rouge was also bright red.
He followed Yan Mu’s instructions, and used his finger to dab some rouge, then applied it on the young girl’s lips.
Unlike his naturally gorgeous lip color, Yan Mu’s lips were pink, like spring cherry blossoms in full bloom.
It reminded him of those nights.
Those quiet nights, when Yan Mu used these exact same cherry blossom-like lips to steal kisses from him.
Yu Yuan’s gaze slightly darkened.
The rouge was melted by her lip’s temperature, quickly turning into a glossy liquid.
Yu Yuan carefully rubbed Yan Mu’s lips with his fingertip.
Soon, the young girl’s lips were covered with the pretty color.
Yu Yuan used a handkerchief to wipe the remaining rouge off his finger, then secretly hid it when Yan Mu wasn’t paying attention.
Yu Yuan pretended to be calm and said, “It’s done.”
Yan Mu carefully observed herself in the bronze mirror.
She looked left and right, feeling extremely satisfied.
She turned around and was about to say something to Yu Yuan, when the sound of thumping footsteps came to the door once again.
Then, the door of the room was pushed open and a familiar voice rang out.
“Yan jiejie, Ah Yu is here to see you!” Ah Yu happily walked over with his short little legs, but he hadn’t expected to see Yu Yuan as soon as he entered the room.
His smile froze, and his two chubby little hands were restless.
Yan Mu subconsciously glanced at Yu Yuan.
At some point, Yu Yuan had retracted the smile in his eyes and returned to his usual indifferent appearance.
“I still have some things to take care of, so Ah Mu, you can just finish getting dressed up here first.” After speaking, he turned around and left.
Yan Mu sighed and beckoned to Ah Yu.
“Yan jiejie……” Ah Yu moved to her side somewhat helplessly.
Yan Mu pinched Ah Yu’s chubby face and asked, “How have you been these past two days?”
Ah Yu squirmed for a long time, then said, “I-I’m quite fine……”
After speaking, he was silent for a moment before whispering, “Is Yu Yuan angry with me?”
Yan Mu poked his little head and said, feeling angry and amused, “You were the one who avoided him first, and now you’re afraid he’ll be angry.”
Ah Yu covered his head and aggrievedly said, “That’s because I’m not sure yet……”
Ah Yu raised his head and secretly glanced at Yan Mu and asked, “Yan jiejie, what will you do if Yu Yuan really is related to the Eldest Prince?”
“What will I do?” Yan Mu asked after tidying up her clothes.
“Will you alienate him because of that?” Ah Yu asked, twiddling his thumbs.
“I won’t,” Yan Mu answered him without even thinking.
“Why?” Ah Yu was anxious, “Yan jiejie, you’re now working for my second cousin brother, how can you be biased towards the Eldest Prince?”
“This has nothing to do with the Eldest Prince.” Yan Mu patted his head, “It’s just because he’s Yu Yuan.”
It was the Yu Yuan who was cold on the outside and warm on the inside, expressing his goodness to her in an awkward way.
Yu Yuan was what tied Yan Mu to this other world, and the reason why she stayed here.
“I don’t understand what you mean.” Ah Yu looked a little distressed.
“Alright, don’t worry so much. Let’s talk about it when we have answers,” Yan Mu laughed.
Ah Yu also felt like it was useless to think too much, so he gave up the subject for now.
He took out a hairpin from his clothes and handed it to Yan Mu.
“Yan jiejie, this is for you.” Then Ah Yu picked up a pastry from the table and ate it.
His cheeks were puffed up like a little hamster.
“What a beautiful hairpin, where did you get this from?” Yan Mu carefully took it.
“This was my mother’s hairpin.” Ah Yu looked dejected, but he quickly returned to his normal self. “Although I’m a little prince, things are different from before. I don’t have anything presentable for you, so I’ll give you this hairpin.”
“But this is your mother’s keepsake, you should still keep it as remembrance4睹物思人 (dǔwù-sīrén) – seeing an object makes one miss its owner (idiom); The object reminds one of its owner., how can I take it away?” Yan Mu frowned.
Who knew that Ah Yu would burst out into laughter and say, “Yan jiejie, my mother is Wangfei5wife of a prince/king, how could she have only one hairpin?”
“I have a whole box of jewelry and ornaments!” Ah Yu said.
“Huh?” Yan Mu was stunned.
Good God, this is not quite like that trend of pain and bitterness seen on TV.
The corner of Yan Mu’s mouth twitched slightly.
However, in order to not disappoint Ah Yu for his kind gift, Yan Mu took off the hairpin she was wearing and replaced it with the one he gave her.
This made Ah Yu happy.
Ah Yu was growing, so he got hungry fast. He held onto the plate of pastries and continued eating them in Yan Mu’s side room.
Yan Mu still had a lot of things to do, and after instructing Ah Yu, she left the room by herself.
Who knew that she would see Yu Yuan as soon as she came out of the room.
The teenager’s arms were crossed, and he was leaning against a pillar with one leg bent.
The autumn wind was chilly, and she didn’t know how long Yu Yuan had been standing there by himself.
Seeing Yan Mu arrive, Yu Yuan slightly raised his head.
His eyes were black and bright, like obsidian shining in the sun.
“Have you…… been here this entire time?” Yan Mu asked.
How much did Yu Yuan overhear of the conversation between me and Ah Yu just now?
Yu Yuan just looked at her with a complicated gaze and didn’t speak.
Yan Mu was worried that Yu Yuan would be angry with Ah Yu, so she hurriedly said, “Ah Yu is still young, don’t take what he said to heart.”
Yu Yuan sighed slightly and came over to her.
The teenager was a head taller than her. Yan Mu looked up slightly and met his downcast eyes.
“Ah Mu, after the New Year, you’ll be seventeen, right?” Yu Yuan suddenly asked.
“……Huh?” Yu Yuan had changed the topic so suddenly that Yan Mu was a little confused.
“Do you have any plans?” Yu Yuan’s gaze was fixed on her as he asked.
“Earn lots of money, then raise a cat and dog,” Yan Mu honestly replied.
Yu Yuan was silent for a brief moment.
“Am I not in Ah Mu’s future plans?” Yu Yuan’s gaze seemed a little hurt.
“It’s not like that.” She smiled, somewhat embarrassed and continued, “Because I’ll accompany you every year from now on, so I didn’t think to single it out and mention it.”
“Even if I really do get both a cat and dog in the future, I’ll raise them with you.” The young girl’s eyes flickered and her cheeks were flushed.
The wind blew through the small courtyard.
Yan Mu’s clothes fluttered from the breeze, like a fairy about to ride the wind.
Yu Yuan looked at Yan Mu, silent for a long time.
The wind blew her hair, and Yan Mu tucked her baby hairs behind her ears, but when she looked up, she saw a fallen leaf on the top of the teenager’s head.
She leaned forward and stood on tiptoe to take the leaf off for Yu Yuan.
The young girl’s sweet and charming face was magnified in front of his eyes. Her ebony hair and snowy skin, along with the particularly conspicuous tinge of red on her lips.
And that delicate red was personally applied on Yan Mu by Yu Yuan himself.
The sensation of touching Yan Mu’s lips seemed to still linger on his fingertip.
Yu Yuan stared at the red tint and his Adam’s apple slightly moved.
“Alright, I took it off.” Yan Mu threw the fallen leaf into a basket.
Her sleeves fluttered, revealing the young girl’s snow white wrists.
Yu Yuan subconsciously grasped her white wrist.
His fingertips slightly stroked it, the young girl’s skin was like congealed fat6fig. to define a woman’s skin to be smooth and soft.
“Yu Yuan?” Yan Mu turned her head.
“It’s nothing.” The teenager restrained himself and withdrew his hand, “Go and manage the opening ceremony, everyone is waiting for you.”
“Then you go with me.” Yan Mu smiled at him and gently tugged Yu Yuan’s sleeve.
Because of the string of beads, Chu Cong didn’t want to see him very much.
These words were stuck in Yu Yuan’s throat, unable to be spoken aloud.
He saw that the young girl’s eyes were as brilliant as stars. If he spoke about the matter with Chu Cong, that pair of eyes would dim, right?
So, Yu Yuan didn’t say anything.
He followed behind Yan Mu, like the most devout believer before his god.
He saw everyone looking at Yan Mu with stunned eyes, including the experienced and knowledgeable Chu Cong.
Everyone present sighed over Yan Mu’s beauty.
For a moment, Yan Mu was a little uncomfortable with this kind of gaze. She took a deep breath and smiled somewhat bashfully.
She came to the stage and shyly but firmly cut the red flower that represented the business opening.
Gongs and drums rang out, and the crowd was bustling and jubilant.
Three large characters were written on the Nanmu7楠木 – A type of precious wood plaque—— Green8绿 (lǜ) River9将 (jiāng) – Pavilion.
After a month, the bookstore had finally opened.
Yan Mu was inwardly relieved.
In this era, reading was a pastime for nobles, so Yan Mu had also set up a lounge in the bookstore, which had many modern drinks and snacks.
Some of the noble ladies bought books and weren’t in a hurry to leave, so they ate and read in the lounge.
“This pastry is really delicious,” a noble lady exclaimed.
At her words, the other noble ladies who’d come along also ordered the same kind of pastry.
The pastries were freshly made, and Yan Mu hadn’t thought they would sell that well at first.
The small kitchen was busy for a while.
Worried that the small kitchen would be understaffed, she asked Yu Yuan to help in the kitchen.
Meanwhile, Yan Mu herself went to the store room to take out books to restock.
The noble ladies craved rarity, so they bought several copies in a single purchase and the shopkeepers were busy with restocking.
Yan Mu was run off her feet10脚不沾地 (jiǎobùzhāndì) – lit. feet not touching the ground (idiom); to run like the wind; Used to describe someone who’s very busy until in the end, she couldn’t move anymore.
The clothes she wore today were good-looking, but they were extremely complicated and cumbersome, and she couldn’t even walk in big steps.
Yan Mu tried to wipe the sweat off her forehead, but she couldn’t find her handkerchief.
While she was thinking about whether she should just directly wipe the sweat on her sleeve, a gold embroidered handkerchief suddenly appeared in front of her eyes.
“Just use mine.” Yan Mu raised her head, and it turned out to be Chu Cong.
Edited by: Gaze
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