Chapter 98: Relocate
Honestly, the big house that Si Ling had built for them was pretty nice.
However, it didn’t turn out as they’d planned for each of them to have their own private courtyard. Now, the three of them share the Orchid Garden (courtyard) since Si Ling and his wife were temporarily staying in the Bamboo Garden (courtyard). The imperial bodyguards, maids and servants from Prince Jing’s mansion stayed in Pine Garden (courtyard).
This kind of life though, was still unexpectedly pleasant. They were treated and catered to as if they were royals by the servants. Moreover, they were served three meals with various dishes everyday.
Si Chong and co. discreetly hoped that Si Ling and his wife would settle down here and not move out. Sadly, the neighboring house was being quickly constructed day and night and would be completed soon.
Half a month ago, as soon as his wound was stable, Si Tuo had returned to Feng Yao Court to manage the matters there.
Of course, accompanying him was the Token of the Master they took from Feng Qing Ya – the Blood Jade Thumb Ring*.
(*扳指: Ornamental thumb ring, often made from jade, worn by archers in ancient time to protect the thumb when drawing the bowstring.)
Si Tuo secretly swore that after he finished settling the new Master at Feng Yao Court, he would immediately throw this unlucky token into the big lake by Feng Yao Court.
From now on, Feng Yao Court would only acknowledge the wearers of the thumb ring as the Master.
Of course, it was because each of the four Si brothers had a similar Jade Thumb Ring – the old Court Master had gifted them that year. As for the thumb ring that Si Ling had sold to a random peddler*, he (Si Tou) had already bought it back. Eventually, he would give it to Si Ling’s child. He had decided to pull Si Ling’s kid “into the waters.” What can that ice-block blame but his unsightly luck.
(TLN: In case you guys don’t remember, that was at chapter 12)
Si Chong and Si Luo tacitly decided not to go back for the time being.
According to them, it was a rarity for them to enjoy the freedom of a normal person. Why would they return to that blood-reeking base? It was better if they let Si Tuo manage everything and then they would pay it a visit later.
Moreover, as the “Guangci House” had just opened, Si Chong needed to stay there to direct the work.
Not long after that, Si Luo decided that he will head out West once more. He wasn’t the kind of person who let others bully him. Thus, he regularly left the house early and returned late. There were even nights when he didn’t come back to rest, but stayed and practiced deep in Mount Dashi. And because of this, he had broken through the tenth level of Dà Yuánmǎn.
Ever since the day they had accompanied Xiao Xue to find Lin Si Yao, the wolf pack decided to ignore and allow the ruthless assassins to freely enter Mount Dashi. Of course, with the premise that he doesn’t disturb their lives.
The fifth day of the eleventh lunar month was an auspicious date and everything had been completed.
Lin Si Yao picked this day to move into the new house.
At first, they moved the big objects, next was the smaller things, and finally, they picked… people.
No doubt that Liang-momo and Chun Lan would go with them. In addition, after persuading their Guye, Liang-momo had picked two more maids, who were nimble and tight lipped. The reason was because the new house was twice the size of the old one so they needed more people.
The new house was built with two entrances. The front five bright and imposing rooms were the main rooms. The middle row contained the dining room and main hall (for receiving guests). The West wing and the East wing had a bedroom and a study room each. Lin Si Yao and his wife stayed in the East Wing. When the kids grew up, they would live in the West wing. The back row also consisted of five rooms. They were built to be a little shorter than the main rooms in the front. There was a kitchen, a storage room, and three servant rooms, each room could host two people.
And of course, the cellar to store wine and other perishable food was underground. Stairs were dug into the earth by a corner of the small courtyard. Clay tiles laid on the ground lead to that tiny courtyard. The entrance was mysterious as it was set behind a big and many decades old camphor, which was moved here from Mount Dashi. If something bad happened, they could hide from the enemy’s eyes in the cellar. Of course, except for the deaf, all of the villagers of Fan Hua Town knew that the Lin family had an underground chamber that could store wine and grains.
In fact, this construction was massive. If Lin Si Yao didn’t hire more workers from the city, how could they finish before the new year? Needless to mention the amount of silver that had “flowed” out.
The courtyard in the South was adjacent to the river. A small pond was dug up along with a half-a-meter canal to allow for water flow. The perimeter was lined with stone slates. Lotus seeds were planted in the pond, but it was too late this year for them to bloom. However, it was prepared for the next year to have a fragrant summer over the pond.
Around the lotus pond was barren land. They had planted grass seeds but there wasn’t a blade of grass yet. The grass seeds were the new-house-gift by the Wang family’s madam – Lin-shi. It was the right time to plant the seeds. By next spring, the land would be filled with green grass, and when the children learned to crawl and walk, it would be fun for them to roll around.
Clay tiles lead the path from the river back to the central house. Two rows of green bushes were planted alongside the path, which was around half an adult’s height. According to an old expert in the town, these sort of bushes could expel the insects pretty well, not less effective than the cranesbills.
The pheasant nests, the goat pen, and the rabbit cages in the old house were also damaged by Feng Qing Ya. Thus, new enclosures were built.
The seriously injured pheasants, rabbits, and goats, ended up in the kitchen that night of the disaster. The others that could be saved were kept and injuries were tended to. The three servants took turns caring for them. However, Lin Si Yao didn’t intend to move them to their new house. First, he was afraid they would destroy the beautiful grass; and second, they could affect the children’s playing ground.
Moreover, according to Lin Si Yao there was another benefit of leaving those high-maintenance animals at the old house… Later on, when the kids went to school, they would learn hands-on on how to tend to these live stocks, this was killing two birds with one stone.
Besides the small clay tiled path connecting to the main house, the North courtyard had rows of neat but short bushes. And the East side was a mini orchard. Various kinds of fruits were grown there, including wild pomegranate, peach, loquat, cherry, pear, jujube, apple, and even plum trees Lin Si Yao had picked and moved from Mount Da Shi. All the trees were neither too old or too big so they had all survived the transfer. And, they planted a garden of different plum blossoms in the West Side. On an occasion that Lin Si Yao had went to the market, he found them, and he recalled that Su Shuilian loved to have them displayed in a vase. Cherry blossoms in the spring, lotus for the summer, chrysanthemum during the autumn, and plum blossom for the winter. Thus, he bought more than a dozen of two-year old plum blossoms from the merchant.
Besides this small plum blossom garden, Lin Si Yao had picked up many different wild flowers to be planted by the walls of their home. These included orchids, chrysanthemums, daisies, camellias, roses… He had picked them altogether when he went to take the wild fruits trees from Mount Da Shi.
The high walls around their new house was similar to the walls of the four-acre house of Si Tuo and the others. It was built with clay bricks instead of the wooden fence that was used in the previous abode.
The high walls were around a man’s height which was solid and stable. Openwork rhombus bricks topped the walls. They could prevent people from peeping in the house, but still allow for proper ventilation.
This huge amount of clay bricks couldn’t be bought in Fan Luo City. Tian Da Fu had to ask one of his distant relatives in QingTian Town nearby to buy from Shi An City, a city famous for producing bricks and stones several hundred miles away. They had to use five big ships to carry all those bricks, and it had taken them several days to finish the walls. The remaining bricks, which were around half a ship, were half heartedly sold to the workers who needed them for their houses for a very low price. Everybody was happy with this great deal.
From that day, the Lin family had really set up their foundation as a rich family who came from the outside and settled down in Fan Hua Town. They got high walls, maids, and servants in their houses. Whenever they went out, they used horse-drawn carriages, and they even have bodyguards. Other than envy, the villagers could not remark anything else.
When the distance between them was too vast, people know to stop comparing themselves, because there is nothing to compare about.
As Lin Si Yao had ordered, Liang-momo didn’t arrange any (male) servants or guards to the new house. Their Guye’s possessiveness toward their Young Lady was obvious. However, since their Guye’s competence was really extraordinary, Liang-momo had a good sense not to persuade him.
It was easy with the servants as they lived in the big house next door. If there was any work needed done, a maid could be sent over to call for them. But the bodyguards? They were sent here to protect the Young Lady. However, they didn’t have anything to do but stay in the big house all day long. Those guards could have a grudge because they were carefully selected from the Prince’s mansion to do their duty wholeheartedly here. But they were actually arranged to stay in the house, doing nothing. If the Elder Wangye knew about this, Liang-momo suddenly felt something churn in her heart.
“I have my own plans for the guards.” Lin Si Yao replied when Liang-momo “carelessly” slipped out the subject about the free bodyguards.
He actually had a plan. Sometimes, they needed men to watch the house in case he wasn’t home.
However, only the chief guard, Xiao Heng, of that troop of guards was enough. Lin Si Yao shook his head, thinking about the other guards. It would be better if they followed Si Chong to Guangci House and learned some other techniques.
As Liang-momo said, those men were sent here by Prince Jing’s mansion, they were Su Shuilian’s people. Thus, he hoped he could train them to become more useful so they wouldn’t just stand by the door or be obstacles in others’ way.
To make it more convenient, when they began to build the new house, Lin Si Yao had made a wooden gate between the new house and the four-acre house. After they had moved into the new house, Xiao Heng and the guards were arranged to stay in the Bamboo Garden, which was nearest to that wooden gate. It was his gesture to acknowledge their favor of protecting Shuilian.
Another function of that gate was that when Si Tuo and the other two wanted to take the shortcut to enter Lin Si Yao’s new house, they had to pass the eyes of the guards from Prince Jing’s Mansion.
Although this wooden gate was nothing in the other three’s eyes, as they wanted to visit Lin Si Yao, he didn’t think that it was a respectful act to jump over the wall. So the word “respectful” was difficult to use on those three!
Thus, after everything was settled, around you-shi (5-7 pm) in the ancestral hall of Fan Hua Town, another new-house party was held, which was lively and bustling. This time, Lin Si Yao determinedly invited the Town Elder to drink with the others on his behalf.
There were nine tables, which implied a long, fortunate future. Anyway, he didn’t care if there weren’t enough seats.
His family occupied three tables. Besides Lin Si Yao, Shuilian, and the three from Si Tuo’s team, his table seated the Inn House’s owner, his wife, and his two children, as well as Jiang Ying Yue and Jiang Ying Yun, the owners of the Yue Yun Embroidery Floor.
The other two tables were for the guards, servants, and maids from Prince Jing’s mansion. At first, Ling-momo, Chun Lan, and the others didn’t dare to take a seat. Begrudgingly, Lin Si Yao and Shuilian had to show their face of “it’s up to you, they are empty seats whether you want to take them or not.” Finally, they gingerly seated themselves and toasted, trying to tell themselves that: This was a big, happy event. They couldn’t go against their Master’s and Madam’s wishes.
Lin Si Yao had directly hired chefs from “Wu Qin” restaurant with a salary of one big silver per night. What chef wouldn’t come? Not only did they come to cook, they also brought tables and chairs, and maids to clean vegetables and serve the tables. They all wanted to make a good impression for future occasions.
Lin Si Yao and Shuilian had discussed the menu. They had added more dishes than their previous new-house party to thank the neighbors for helping them.
During this new-house party, everybody ate and drank until their faces turned red. Half of it was because of the wine and the other half was that they felt embarrassed by Lins’ generosity. The Lin House didn’t hold a grudge when they had gossiped about them buying the waste land to build houses with. Some had even followed the Hua family’s daughter in law to come to the Town Elder and made a ruckus. And now, the Lins invited them to join their new-house party… How could they not feel ashamed?
The Town Elder counted the number of people they invited. Except for the Lao family, the Tian family, and his family, whom Lin Si Yao had invited all the family members of, and the Hua family who wasn’t invited because they didn’t get along well with the Lins, he had invited the head of all of the rest of the families in the village. The children who came with their parents didn’t take seats, they were just here to enjoy and have fun.
The truth was that Lin Si Yao didn’t know who had come to their party together with the Town Elder, and he didn’t care either. He just cared about Su Shuilian. As long as she was happy and forgot the anticipation and worries she had as she was close to her due date, it wasn’t a big deal if he had to spend more to invite more people.
Subconsciously, he looked forward to this party with the hope that it could reduce the danger that could happen during her delivery. What did the doctor say? His wife was too thin and because she is carrying twins, it may be a difficult labor.
He didn’t deny that those words affected him a lot. If he had known it earlier, they should have had an abortion before Shuilian was three-months pregnant.
If having the children would mean losing her in exchange, he would rather not have any children in this life.
However, he couldn’t tell her these things. He also asked Liang-momo and the maids to close their mouths in front of her. They shouldn’t babble anything.
He would never allow this mishap to happen. Thus, after the doctor had implied this possibility, he had ordered Liang-momo to send a message to Prince Jing’s Mansion in the imperial city, requesting them to send an imperial doctor. However, Shuilian’s due date was closing in and the imperial doctor had yet to arrive. This caused his anxious heart to stagnate.
He couldn’t just sit and wait for her death. After talking to Si Chong, he asked Situ Yun to rush to the imperial city. However, both Situ Yun and the imperial doctor hadn’t come back yet. Was the Prince’s reputation not enough to invite the imperial doctor or was there something else that has happened to prevent them from arriving?
Lin Si Yao had thought about it many times, but he didn’t have a clue. He had thoughts of going to the imperial palace to kidnap one himself. However, he worried that Shuilian was about to deliver the babies soon. Although he was so tense and agitated, his face showed nothing. He was afraid she will pick up on the clues.
And recently, from her strange behaviors, he could guess that she had thought about the difficulties and dangers she might face during her labor. Otherwise, she would now toll her days away, making his clothes for all four seasons. It looked as if she thought that he didn’t have enough clothes to wear.
Since she didn’t say anything, he didn’t ask. Just thinking about this possibility made his heart ached, making him breathless.
Sigh, did they want to complicate things? What was Prince Jing’s Mansion’s plans?
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