Chapter 74: Qing Yu Temple
The rest of the first lunar month, Su Shuilian and Lin Si Yao just stayed home and did not leave.
In addition to the children visiting previously, Tian Dabao would occasionally stop by to eat, drink, and play around at their house. Aunt Tian, Aunt Lao, Xicui, Tian Niu had also visited too, bringing along some other housewives for the new year exchange. Other than that, the times were peaceful.
Speaking of Tian Niu, Su Shuilian had heard from Aunt Tian, that her marriage, in the end, did not fall through.
That day when Tian Dafu went to their town, he did not receive any sort of news. However, what did happen was that Lai Youming had brought a large pig thigh over to their house earlier this month as a new years greeting.
Tian House had him stay for dinner, and steadily lead the conversation to the only widow in Qingtian Town. Lai Youming kept a straight face, without any guilty expression. He had even calmly explained that she was a cousin from his mother side of his family. Although she was not related to anyone in his current family, she still moved here from the city of Jindu to marry. And now that she had lost her husband last year, she was left to care for her 3 and a half year old son, and her now sixty years old mother in law.
After she listened to him, Tian Niu believed about 80%, and decided not to back down. If after she were to marry and find out that he really was having an affair with this widow, then she would admit defeat and it was her who was not lucky.
And so, Aunt Tian was able to finally relax as she accepted his gift and then gave him some dried fruits and vegetables for him to bring back home.
After the passing of 10 days, it coincided with the 15th of the first lunar month(Lantern Festival). Qing Tian town once again had invited an entertainment troupe. All of the villagers who knew about this brought their benches and pockets full of peanuts, happily talking and laughing at each other as they walked to Qing Tian town to watch the show. Su Shuilian and Lin Si Yao were brought along by Tian Dabao, Tian Niu and a few others who were drunk with happiness.
The group of them walked and talked, until the halfway mark where they got onto the Villager chief’s Ox drawn Cart and just made it for the last show. After the end credits, when Su Shuilian and Lin Si Yao were about to search for Tian Niu who had disappeared the moment she entered the theatre, they saw Tian Niu with reddish eyes returning back to them.
“Liu Xiaofang is really a bitch!” Tian Niu spat out hatefully.
It turns out that Liu Xiaofang had been holding a torch (a crush) for Lai Youming for some time. Right after her coming of age, she had persuaded her family to prepare a matchmaker to formally propose. However, she caught wind that the Lai Family had already proposed to the Tian Family. Upon hearing of the news, Liu Xiaofang felt indignant, as though Tian Niu had stolen Lai Youming from her. That was why she had hatched a plot to break them up so she would have an opening to strike. Little did she know that Tian Niu was still willing to be wedded to Lai Youming. This was the reason for Liu Xiaofang’s frustrated outburst, which was coincidentally overheard by Tian Niu who happened to eavesdrop on her. Not only was Liu Xiaofang unable to be betrothed to Lai Youming, even her childhood friendship with Tian Niu was completely ruined.
Since the truth has been revealed, Tian Niu graciously explained the series of events to Lai Youming whilst apologizing with a reddened face.
Lai Youming was not as emotional as Tian Niu. For starters, he did not like Liu Xiaofang after interacting with her, she seemed to be harbouring some ulterior motive behind her actions. Secondly, there wasn’t anything between the Wang Family widow and himself, the matter would be easily resolved since it was just a misunderstanding. Because of this incident, Lai Youming was able to see Tian Niu’s character: Logical and straightforward. This incident also caused Lai Youming to feel more attracted to Tian Niu.
This could be called a fortune in disguise for Tian Niu: Not only did she see through her childhood friend’s true character, she also gained the attention of her future spouse at the same time.
Upon hearing the trigger for this incident, Su Shuilian couldn’t help but sigh in wonder.
Why are there girls in this world like Lu Wan’er or Liu Xiaofang? Don’t they know that there are some things in the world, such as marriage, that are predestined and are not to be forced?
Recently, once he was done with his daily chores, Lin Si Yao would accompany Su Shuilian in the study, his hands flipping through books related to agriculture whilst she embroidered.
Credit has to be given to the old abbot who had adopted him for nine years and taught him quite a number of words. Having spent three years in Xuanwu Mountain memorizing numerous martial art doctrines, Lin Si Yao had also taken the opportunity to learn a number of difficult words.
At present, amongst the shelved books in the house, a portion of them were bought by him. Shuilian loved to read about interesting, worldly matters while Lin Siyao preferred practicality. Be it agriculture or culinary cooking… Each time he took a book and sat down at the table with a hot, steaming cup of wheat tea, a sense of dissonance would arise from within him: That the past twenty three years of his life was merely just a dream and that the peaceful life that he was currently in right now was the irrefutable reality.
Lin Si Yao shook his head, mocking the silver of thought that flashed past his mind. If Sikuo and the others found out that he was currently living a relaxed and laid-back life in a secluded village like this, what kind of expression would they be having on their faces? Expressions of shock on their cold, stoic faces perhaps? Lin Si Yao was unable to imagine it.
If someone had told him a year ago that he would be rescued by a harmless, gentle girl from a wealthy family, he would have snorted in disbelief. If another prediction was made about him tying the knot with the aforementioned maiden and living the contented life of a simple peasant, he would find it even more inconceivable.
During this period of time, aside from sewing two cotton shirts for spring, Su Shuilian would create several new embroideries whenever she was idle; there were strawberries that coexisted with flowers and fruit, there were kittens toying with balls of yarn, piglets that laid on their bellies whilst basking under the sun…In a nutshell, these embroideries all had one thing in common: Flowers blooming, heralding the arrival of spring.
Xi Cui, who came along with Auntie Lao to deliver the wedding invitations, fell in love with them as soon as she laid her eyes on them. She begged Su Shuilian to make two for her: one was a tree full of pear blossoms after a rainy day while the other was a puppy that was pouncing after butterflies. Xi Cui left happily with the embroideries in her arms, intending to sew them onto the shirts in her dowry.
That’s right, Xi Cui’s big day was nearing. The 18th day of the third lunar month was an auspicious day for weddings.
Su Shuilian pondered on what gift she should give Xi Cui for her dowry. What should I give? Embroidery? Xi Cui’s handiwork is not bad too. Silver Ingots? Would that be too plain?
Su Shuilian knit her brows in worry…
Time flew by quickly and the second lunar month soon arrived.
On the fifth day of the month, Xiao Xue gave birth to three wolf pups, all of them had pure white fur. They looked whiter than Xiao Xue, possibly due to the wolf king being their father. After all, the white wolves ranked top amongst the wolf hierarchy. Since Xiao Xue’s wolf pups had white pelts, it was pretty evident that they would be candidates to be the next wolf king.
After Xiao Xue’s childbirth, the wolf king had snuck in to pay her a visit, in the middle of the night of course. He tenderly licked the pelts of his children for a very long time before reluctantly leaving.
Lin Si Yao understood that the three pups will have to leave with the wolf king once they reach independence. As such, he did not make a move to stop the wolf king from visiting his children. He merely indicated with his eyes: Don’t overstay your welcome or damage anything.
The wolf king shook his head and tail in apparent understanding before starting to intimately lick Xiao Xue and their three pups.
It was only till chǒu-shí (1pm-3pm), that the wolf king reluctantly returned to Dashi Mountain.
It was rumored that the goddess Guan Yin was born into this world on 19th of the second lunar month. Fanluo City’s only temple that was located twenty li near the outskirts, Qing Yu Temple had spirals of incense smoke billowing out.
The day before, Xi Cui had invited Su Shuilian to accompany her to visit Qing Yu Temple to offer incense. Su Shuilian knew that this visit was to pray for a blissful marriage. Although she was already married, it would also be a good way to while away some time. Since she would be busy sowing the seeds in a few more days.
“Sis Shuilian, is Big Brother Yao going with us?” Xi Cui whispered to Su Shuilian as she glanced at Lin Si Yao who stayed right by Shuilian’s side.
It wasn’t that she wouldn’t let Lin Si Yao accompany them. To be honest, Qing Yu Temple, the one that they were going to visit, worships Bodhisattvas and the Goddess Guan Yin. With Lin Si Yao’s stern expression, the chilly air that he gives off might scare off any divine presence that might reside in the temple.
Furthermore, Xi Cui wanted to take the opportunity to consult Su Shuilian regarding some things about the marriage ceremony. Although her mother had been incessantly telling her, but there were still some minor questions that she wanted to find someone to ease her worries. Xi Cui thought that Su Shuilian was the best person to go to since she married only a year ago. However, how was she going to ask about certain matters if Lin Si Yao was going to be here!
Su Shuilian looked at Xi Cui scrunch up her face in worry and humorously glanced at the wordless and innocent Lin Si Yao, before gently comforting her, “He will be waiting outside the temple for us.” It’s impossible to not let him join. From Lin Si Yao’s point of view, a crowded place like the temple was a perfect place for incidents to appear. How could he allow two girls to venture there alone?
Xi Cui had no choice but to nod in agreement.
They were a loving couple after all. One that was unwilling to part for even a single day.
Ai, how lucky would she be if the man she was going to marry was as accommodating and caring as him. However, her mother had said that a man who overly pampers his wife like Lin Si Yao was a rarity in itself. If not, the very thought would cause feelings of unfairness to rise up in Xi Cui’s heart. Therefore, her motivations for going Qing Yu Temple was undoubtedly to wish for a peaceful marriage, with the contents of her wish being a simple, but common one of having a happy and blissful marriage.
The three of them called for a carriage at the village entrance and within an hour, they arrived at the foot of Qing Mountain that was enveloped with incense. Su Shuilian mused and wondered if everyone in Fanluo City were gathered here, for that would explain the neverending sea of people that snaked and wound their way up the mountain.
“Let’s find a place to rest first. We won’t be able to enter the temple for at least an hour and a half.” Lin Si Yao suggested to Xi Cui before leading Su Shuilian towards the slightly less populated outer perimeter of the temple.
“Heavens! Why do I suddenly feel like passing out. Were there this many people in Fanluo City?!” Xi Cui hastily hurried after the couple, arriving before a large boulder with the words “Qingluo Temple” inscribed onto it, her eyes still swimming with confusion.
“I think it must be a special day today.” Su Shuilian faintly smiled. The 19th of the second lunar month was Guan Yin’s birthday, it was also a festive event back in Suzhou, China. Leaving the large monasteries, even the streets and were teeming with items that had themes of the goddess on them.
“My mother brought me here in the past but I’ve never seen so many people before.” Xi Cui shook her head mystified, looking about in curiosity while trying to spot the reason for the crowd of worshippers.
“What’s with today? There’s so many people! I think we should just return home!”
“That’s right, we don’t even know when will it be our turn. I’d rather go back and cook. I think the Buddhavistas would not blame us for doing that.”
“That’s right, they should blame the person who booked the temple. Who knows which bigshot official or noble it is, occupying the entire temple like that and not letting us enter…”
“Haven’t you heard? It seems like a noble has came from Feng City in the capital.”
“Tch, coming to such a faraway place like this to offer incense? You’ve got to be joking!”
“It’s the truth…I heard it yesterday from Big Head Li who was guarding the city gates…Trust me, it was Big Head Li’s security detail that escorted them into the city.”
“Oh my, it’s not our business whether you believe it or not. Forget it, I have to go back and cook. If not, the old man will begin nagging again. Ah Yu, what about you?”
“Naturally, I will be accompanying you.”
“Then let me join in the returning group. With this many people, it looks like it’s impossible to enter the temple today.”
“Then, let’s go back.”
“So that’s how it is.” Xi Cui could roughly hazard a guess based on what she had picked up.
A bigshot official from Feng City must have booked Qing Yu Temple for the day, which led to the locals from Fanluo City waiting outside for them to be done. That explains why the winding mountainous roads towards the temple were full of followers who were waiting to enter and offer their prayers.
I understand now. Su Shuilian nodded in understanding.
She just didn’t expect it, that a faraway place like Fan Luo City would actually be able to attract followers with such a large backing to pray and offer incense.
With that, Qing Yu Temple’s reputation should be better than before. Su Shuilian couldn’t help but raise her eyebrows in happiness.
“Xi Cui, are we still going to wait?” Su Shuilian looked towards Xi Cui, who was glancing about. Shuilian was actually suggesting that they should forget it and return home. It was going to be almost noon soon and yet they still do not know when would it be their turn to enter.
Furthermore, Goddess Guan Yin would probably be tired as well right? After attending to the bigshot official who booked out her temple for half a day, she’d also have to attend to the wishes of the females who came to her with offerings and prayers. I doubt think she’ll have the energy to remember the small wishes of two insignificant mortals right? Su Shuilian thought to herself whilst making a funny face.
“Forget it, let’s wait till tomorrow, when there are lesser people coming. I feel terrified just by looking at the crowd like this.” Xi Cui stuck out her tongue and shook her head. You must be joking, even if the noble left, it would be extremely difficult for Xi Cui and Shuilian to squeeze through the throngs of worshippers that were trying to enter the temple due to their small stature.
“Alright, then let us go back. I’ll accompany you here on another day.” Su Shuilian agreed with Xi Cui’s suggestion and nodded, tilting her head to meet her eyes with Lin Si Yao before leaving together.
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