Chapter 20 – Prelude
“None of your business!” Lin Li Er heard Lin Jiao Jiao’s mother said her brother was an odd jobs man and hissed angrily at her.
“I heard that it was a big package. It should be a lot of money, ba.” Lin Jiao Jiao’s mother probed unrelentingly.
“Not telling you,” Lin Li Er retorted forcefully.
Wu shi also did not want to divulge the information to her. She knew that wealth should not be exposed. “Not much. Aunt Lin*, our family still has matters to attend to, and it’s not convenient for me to entertain you. Please return, ba.”
[*T/N: 大娘 da niang – “aunt” used as a polite address, not actual relative]
“Oh my! Are you putting on airs now that you’re the wife of a xiu cai? Even if you don’t say, I know. Just an odd jobs man, nothing more. I bet he sent a big bag of copper coins back. Ha ha ha ha.” Lin Jiao Jiao’s mother saw that neither of them was willing to say, so she speculated maliciously.
Translations are by vmnovels [dot] com, if you’re reading this anywhere else, then it was stolen.
Lin Li Er took out a big broom to drive her away. “Are you leaving or not! Leaving or not!”
Lin Jiao Jiao’s mother left Lin Da Zhuang’s house, cursing and stumbling at the same time. “You damn girl, so spicy. Be careful, you won’t get marry like that.”
It was almost noon when Zhang shi arrived at her in-laws house. Everyone in the Qin family was there. Lin Jin Er was also very happy to see her mother.
“What brings you to visit, Mother?” When Qin Kai Xing saw her, he also came forward to give his mother-in-law a salute.
Zhang shi first gave her regards to the father-in-law and mother-in-law of her daughter, and then she saw her eldest grandson, Cong Ge, and the baby twins.
After that, she told them all about the letter that Lin Jia Bao sent back. When the Qins heard this, they were also happy for their in-laws.
“Mother-in-law, when are father-in-law and Jia Wen preparing to set out?” Qin Kai Xing asked. He had an idea.
“They are preparing to head out mid-August. It will take half a month’s journey.” Zhang shi replied. The family had discussed it. Only Lin Da Zhuang and Lin Jia Wen would be going. She also really wanted to go, but her eldest daughter-in-law was going to give birth in October, and there were three children in the family who all needed looking after.
“Consider if this is possible or not. How about I accompany them to the capital this time? I’ve never been to the capital. It just so happens that I could take this chance to go take a look. There are some goods in the shop. I’ll bring them along with me, and scope out some social connections. These products are all good. It’s just that the decorative designs around here are a little out of date, but maybe it’ll look fresh to the people in the capital. At that time, I will also buy some popular cloth from the capital and bring it back.” Qin Kai Xing was very business savvy, and he has calculated everything.
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Old Master Qin heard this and also agreed very much. His son had already gotten married and started his career, so it’s not bad for him to go out and learn through experience. He said to Zhang shi: “Mother-in-law, ah, Kai Qing said it well. Let him go along. We have a horse carriage and everything else. You don’t need to spend money to rent one. I’ll also send along a few more shop assistants* and servant guards** as escort. This way, the journey will be a bit safer.”
[*T/N: 伙计 huo ji – can mean “partner, buddy, waiter, servant, or shop assistant,” so I chose the meaning that seemed most compatible with the context]
[**T/N: 家丁 jia ding – servant hired to keep guard, run errands, etc]
“That’s a good sentiment. Thank you, in-laws. When I go back, I will talk to them about it.” Zhang shi naturally agreed.
At noon, the Qin family enthusiastically had Zhang shi stay for lunch. In the afternoon, they sent her back via horse carriage.
When Zhang Hui Niang returned home, she told them about the Qin family’s intentions, and everyone felt good about it. After that, Lin Da Zhuang’s family got busy.
Just when Lin Da Zhuang’s family was happily renovating the house and making preparations to go to the capital, Xuan Yuan Han Cheng was also drawing up his plan.
In the blink of an eye, July arrived. Xuan Yuan Han Cheng rejoined morning court. The way he dealt with matters in court was increasingly mature and slick. The court officials all sensed that His Highness, the crown prince, was getting more powerful and intense with each passing day. They had confidence in his abilities, and were also afraid of him.
In the afternoon as usual, Xuan Yuan Han Cheng came to Yong Shou Palace to spend time with his mother, chatting and eating snacks.
The empress was very pleased that the crown prince often came to accompany her. Her second prince, Xuan Yuan Han Qi, preferred physical activities, and didn’t come over as often. In comparison, the crown prince was more considerate, often coming to keep her company. All the married women that paid visits to the empress would praise the crown prince for his filial piety.
Translations by Vanilla Muse.
“Cheng Er, look, in just a few more days it will be the Qi Qiao Festival*. I invited some unwed women of court to enter the palace for dinner. What do you think? How about we take this opportunity to first help you select a side concubine? Right now, you only have three concubines by your side. That’s too few, and they are all old by now. I don’t think you much like them anymore.”
The empress was thinking of getting a concubine first. When affairs with the Xue family were settled, then they could take their time and carefully choose a crown princess. After all, she would become the future mother of the country. She must be a ruling mother to the land. So they could not be sloppy or careless.
[*T/N: Qi Qiao Festival a.k.a. Qixi Festival is the Chinese version of Valentine’s Day. It celebrates the annual meeting of two lovers, the cowherd and the weaver girl, in Chinese mythology. It falls on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month.]