Chapter 50 – Return Trip
The clothes that Lin Jia Bao wore yesterday could be said to be very top-quality, and the embroidery craftsmanship was even more outstanding. It must have been from a top garment workshop. The accessories on Lin Jia Bao’s body were all excellent, and one could tell at a glance that they were very valuable pieces.
Lin Jia Wen also thought of his brother’s current way of speaking and mannerisms, and his graceful movements during the meal. He also knew that his younger brother was really no longer the same as before…
If you said his younger brother was previously a lump of unpolished rough jade, then the younger brother now was like a beautiful jade that has been carefully carved. He hoped his younger brother would be able to attract the love and care of His Royal Highness for the rest of his life.
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“I hope that His Royal Highness will always be good to our family’s Jia Bao…” Lin Da Zhuang voiced everyone’s inner thoughts.
Lin Jia Bao, this child, knew how to be grateful, as long as you show him just a bit of kindness, he would remember it forever. If His Royal Highness got tired of him in the future, then Jia Bao… Lin Da Zhuang dared not think about it.
At this time, Qin Kai Xing’s shop assistants came to report that someone wanted to see the three of them.
Qin Kai Xing and the others were very puzzled. They didn’t know anyone in Beijing, so they had a servant welcome that person into the main hall*.
[*T/N: 堂屋 tang wu – the central room of a traditional Chinese house]
When Lin Da Zhuang and the other two came to the main hall, thye only saw a young man sitting there. When the young man saw the three of them, he stood up and said to them: “Lin-laoye, Lin-gongzi, Qin-gongzi, I am shaozhanshi* Zuo Jing Xian of the East Palace. I ask that you excuse me for presumptuously paying you a visit.”
[T/N: 老爷 lao ye – calling someone lord respectfully. Direct translation is “old father.” Seniority is a big thing in Chinese culture, so depending on context it’s actually respectful to call someone old.]
[T/N: 公子 gong zi – strictly speaking, it refers to the son of an official or the son of some nobility, but I often see it used as an honorific for young men in historical stories, regardless of their status]
[*T/N: 少詹事 shao zhan shi – the title of a government position in ancient China. There is no translation of this in English, so I left it in pinyin.]
Lin Jia Wen hurriedly saluted after hearing the young man introduce himself as the shaozhanshi of the East Palace. “Zuo-daren is too polite, please take a seat.” Shaozhanshi was a fourth-rank government official.
[T/N: 大人 da ren – title of respect toward superiors, literal translation is “big person”]
Qin Kai Xing also took the tea set from the servant and personally brought it over. “Zuo-daren, please have tea. Does Zuo-daren have some matter of importance for his visit here?”
Zuo Jing Xian said mildly: “There isn’t anything particularly important. I heard that Lin-xiaozhu’s family is here, so I came to visit. If the three of you have any needs when you’re in the capital, you can come find me at my house.”
Translations by Vanilla Muse.
“Thanks to Zuo-daren for your kindness. We are ready to return tomorrow morning. There is nothing to trouble daren with.” Lin Jia Wen replied.
“You’re returning tomorrow already?” Zuo Jing Xian thought for a while. “Then is everything properly ready [to go]?”
“Everything has been properly arranged.” Qin Kai Xing replied.
Zuo Jin Xian looked at Qin Kai Xing, “Qin-gongzi is really young and promising. I heard that you bought goods from Beijing to bring back. Have you purchased everything [that you want]?”
“Thank you for your concern, daren, everything is done.” Qin Kai Xing replied.
“Qin-gongzi’s family is in the cloth business. Have you ever thought about coming to Beijing to expand your business and opening a branch in Beijing?” Zuo Jing Xian asked.
“My family’s ancestral business is in Pei County. It is a business that has been passed down from generation to generation. I also have the intention to expand the business, but the capital is too far away, and I only want to expand in Xu Province first.” Qin Kai Xing replied to Zuo Jing Xian.
“Qin-gongzi is humble, knowing to expand steadily and surely in Xu Province is very good, but that does not conflict with opening a branch in the capital. His Royal Highness has many people, including the Qi family who has a large number of businesses. The Qi family also has some fabric shops and clothing manufacturing stores. When the time comes, you can cooperate a bit.” Zuo Jing Xian said and handed a business card* to Qin Kai Xing.
[*T/N: 名贴 ming tie – “name strip” or “name sticker(?)”]
Qin Kai Xing excitedly took the business card with both hands. “This is really… really thank you so much.”
Qin Kai Xing actually already knew about the Qi family that Zuo Jing Xian spoke of. The Qi family was very famous in the Xuan Yuan Empire. The Qi family had many businesses and was a genuinely very rich merchant. To be able to get the business card of the Qi family was something that he didn’t even dare to dream of.
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“This is His Royal Highness’s idea. Hope that you can stay in the capital or come to the capital frequently so that you will have the opportunity to meet the little master. Lin-xiaozhu often misses his family.” Zuo Jin Xian said to Lin Jia Wen. “Lin-gongzi is going to take the triennial provincial imperial exam next year. Hope that Lin-gongzi can prepare well. After becoming juren* you can come to the Imperial Academy in Beijing to study. If the whole family can come that would be even better. I will arrange everything for all of you.”
[*T/N: 举人 ju ren – graduate / successful candidate in the imperial provincial examination]
After hearing this, Lin Jia Wen said to Zuo Jing Xian: “I must live up to His Royal Highness’s expectations. I will review my homework and prepare for the coming year.”
The Imperial Academy was the most holy place for scholars to study. He would definitely work hard.
“Lin-gongzi is Lin-xiaozhu’s maternal relative. If you have a bright future, then it will be of help to Lin-xiaozhu in the future.” Zuo Jing Xian said to them, “Lin-laoye, please rest assured, Lin-xiaozhu is the crown prince’s closely treasured person. His days are comfortable and happy. In the future, if you miss the little master, you can also write a letter and send it to my house, and I will convey it for you.”