Chapter 57: The Drunken Beauty
“Shuilian jie, you really don’t want to reconsider?” Xicui confirmed for the third time.
“Nm, after completing this mat, I still have to make two thicker inner clothes for A Yao…” Su Shuilian slightly smiled and declined Xicui’s good intention.
The weather had turned cold, yet Lin Si Yao still only wears two layers. She had long finished making his cotton-filled jacket and winter coat, but he would rarely wear it at home, saying he was not cold. However, she herself had long started to wear the thick jacket. Even the river in the early morning had signs of freezing up. It will soon be San-Jiu Day*. Therefore, after she was done with this, she planned to make him a thicker pair of winter jackets.
(三九天 – the twenty seventh day (the 3rd ninth day) after the Winter Solstice, reputed to be the coldest days of the year)
She looked down and continued to sew. Yes, after Lin Si Yao treated the bear skin, it no longer had a foul smell to it.
Taking advantage of the few remaining warm days, they continued to bask the skin under the sun after washing it, over and over again until the smell was completely gone. And with a fine comb, the fur was removed of all kinks, and the pelt was all soft, smooth, and glossy.
After the treatment was done, she cut the bear shaped pelt into a rectangular one. Using her babu bed as reference, she then made it into a furry mattress topper. Though this mattress topper wasn’t big enough to cover the whole bed, to be able to lay on top of a soft furry topper during the winter would be pure bliss.
Ha…. Thinking of this, Su Shuilian could not help but raise the corners of her lips.
“Shuilian jie……” Looking at the Su Shuilian’s current expression, Xicui knew she was daydreaming.
She helplessly added, “It’s a whole six taels too…” trying to persuade her to accept this embroidery job.
The other day, Yue Yun Embroidery Floor’s lady boss had invited Xicui upstairs for a private chat before she handed in her work. The previous patreon who had received the <Paired Phoenixes> was very pleased with it and requested the same person who did that piece to sew another one called <The Drunken Beauty>. Six taels is a basic wage, but if it was done well, there would be an extra reward, just like what happened last time with the <Paired Phoenixes>.
The lady boss had even told her that the <The Drunken Beauty> piece was requested by the city lord of Fan Luo. It was to be made as a New Year’s gift to be given to a government official of Jin Du City.
And so, with some calculations, Xicui estimated that if this was done as well as the <Paired Phoenixes>, they may be able to earn eight taels!
Eight whole taels! Her mother and father, who had been saving for her dowry since her birth had only totaled to twenty taels!
And so, if Su Shuilian were to accept this job, in about two months, she would earn an ordinary farmer’s decade of hard work with a decade of frugal spending.
If she (Xc) had such abilities, with those eight taels she would have been able to buy those luxurious accessories and clothing for her dowry that she had longed for.
Of course, this was only her dreaming. It was just luck for her that the previous piece had already allowed her to earn an amount that she had never dreamt of obtaining. And that was only with the help of Su Shuilian. Otherwise, with her skills, even if she had made it on time, she would not have earned such an amount.
Therefor, Xicui was very confident towards Su Shuilian’s embroidery skills.
The problem was that she (SS) still had yet to accept this job. Xicui was confused, why would Su Shuilian not want to take this opportunity. It was a hefty eight taels, enough for her and Lin Si Yao to live leisurely for three years.
“Xicui, I had promised Lin Si Yao not to accept any embroidery works with a fast approaching deadline…” Su Shuilian smiled and explained.
It was obvious that this piece needed to be finished before the end of this year. It was currently the 5th day of the eleventh lunar month. And after the piece was sewn, the Embroidery Floor also had to to wash, starch, dry, and soften the textile. So in actuality, the embroider only had a month to complete it.
However, from Xicui’s description, the <Drunken Beauty> was to be 5 meters wide and 2 meters tall. With that size, it was assumed that it was going to be made into a folding screen. And with her embroidery speed, other than eating her three meals, if she was to solely focus on sewing, it would take approximately one month to complete.
Hence, if she were to accept this, she would work on it for a full month and would be completely disregarding Lin Si Yao’s opinion.
Although six taels was a tempting amount, but since she had promised A Yao, Su Shuilian would not accept any works that would be very stressful. Not to mention, she had to make Lin Si Yao his two new pair of mid-layer clothing as well as new sets of cotton boots and indoor shoes. Just these would already busy her for ten days. There would be no time for another embroidery project.
“But….. it’s eight taels…” Seeing that Su Shuilian had continued to refuse the request, she could only helplessly slump her shoulders. The truth was that this had nothing to do with her. Even if Su Shuilian were to accept the project, she was not told that she would also get a reward. It was just that she didn’t want to lose the chance to be able to earn eight taels. Even if that money was not going into her pockets, she was still reluctant to give it up.
“Pfft!” When Su Shuilian saw her dejected appearance, she could not help but laugh, “Uh, sorry Xicui… I just thought your current expression was quite cute.” When Xicui turned to stare at her with sadden eyes, Su Shuilian quickly apologized.
“Cute? More like mourning…” Xicui muttered. She mourned that the eight taels will now be in the hands of another person other than Su Shuilian, who she had internally deemed as an exceptional lady embroiderer.
“Xicui, your embroidery isn’t actually bad, if you were to get rid of your rigidity, you can also accept this project.” Su Shuilian did not just say this to console her. From her recent efforts, Su Shuilian could say that her skills were counted to be outstanding even in Fan Lou City. At least in her eyes, if she were to just get rid of her conservative and stiff style, there were no other flaws to pick out.
But then again, the style of Dahui Continent was quiet similar to Su Embroidery. Of course, there were some stitches unique to Su Embroidery, such as the chaotic stitch (luàn-zhēn xiù) or the gold string embroidery. Of course, the continent of Dahui also had their own specialty such as floating cloud stitch (yūn-shā xiù) or the rotating flow embroidery. Though it was similar, the styles were slightly different. It took Su Shuilian about a month to learn the new stitching styles, and this was also another reason as to Xicui’s worship.
“Shuilian jie, are you trying to comfort me?…” Xicui blushed; she then added with a pout “That lady boss never asked if I wanted to accept it, she only wanted me to ask you.” With that, it was already clear that her skills were inferior compared to Su Shuilian.
“Have some more self confidence, Xicui.” Su Shuilian laughed and said.
Soon Xicui will be of marriageable age, watching her make so many cute expressions and gestures, Su Shuilian could only see her as a child.
With that thought, she reasoned that it may be because of her real age.
Half a decade, comparing her current fifteen year old body to her past twenty year old self.
“This has nothing to do with self confidence!” Xicui also learned from Su Shuilian, as she sat down on the bench below the jejebe tree. Laying her back on the bench, she tilted her head up, and squinted at the warm winter sun.
It was a calm sunny day without any wind. As it passed through the few leaves still stuck on the jujube tree, the mottled sunlight on the body induced a warm and comfortable feeling.
Su Shuilian knotted the string and stretched; she was finally done with the bear mattress topper. She then stood up and shook the mattress topper a few times and got rid of any loose strings.
“How pretty!” Xicui heartily praised. She also also very envious of Lin Si Yao who was currently in the kitchen making their lunch.
“Suilian jie, A Yao ge really treats you well…” She stroked the soft bear mattress topper as she said with mixed feelings of envy, “If I could marry such a husband, I wouldn’t let him suffer so much.” She clenched her fist, as if she was helping Lin Si Yao with his grievances.
“Xicui.” Su Shuilian did not know whether to laugh or cry.
“Xicui, things aren’t as simple as it seems between a wife and husband….” Su Shuilian emphatically explained, “Blindly giving does not result in reciprocation. And if your future husband were to truly love you, then he will pamper and protect you. And if he does pamper and protect you, then he would not let you slave away everyday with chores. If he does, then he does not deserve your devotion, do you understand?” Su Shuilian said solemnly.
She thought back to her mother in the Republic of Suzhou. As Su House’s head mistress and daughter-in-law, she had to work endlessly. In order to allow her husband (Su Shuilian’s father) to be proud, and in order to receive the same amount of pampering as the second wife, her mother had sacrificed a lot. But as a result? Su Shuilian had never seen her mother genuinely smile from her heart. Even if she was in a room with just her biological children, she would never smile. It was because father did not care for her, and because he never noticed her hard work and sacrifice.
“Shuilian jie…” Xicui had never seen Shuilian with such an awe-inspiring tone and expression, and was suddenly dumbfounded.
“It’s ok, I just wanted to tell you that between a husband and wife, it is what is inside that counts. After you marry, use your heart to judge, and you will discover….” Su Shuilian smiled and rubbed Xicui’s head.
“Shuilian jie, I’m not a child…” Both of Xicui’s cheeks flushed red, it annoyed her that Su Shuilian had treated her as a child.
From her mother, she had found out that Su Shuilian was currently fifteen years old, meaning she (SS) was a year younger than her. Just because she was married makes her an adult, and an unmarried her a child? Is that so, humph!
Before, because of her mom’s misleading gestures, without knowing, she called her ‘Shuilian jie’. However, when she had found out her age, Xicui was embarrassed to death! However, she had already addressed her as such for several months and saw no meaning to change it. At least following her, she would be able to learn more about embroidery, and her mother did not force her to call Shuilian jie as Shuilian shifu! So ‘jie’ will remain as ‘jie’. Xicui comforted herself.
“Oh, sorry. I forgot…” Su Shuilian laughed and explained. It wasn’t because she forgot Xicui’s age, but she had forgotten her current body’s age.
(This site runs now runs on ads, so please support by clicking on one…. Much thanks! -MissQ)