Chapter 109: One-Month Ceremony
The sixth day of the twelfth lunar month was the twins’ one-month ceremony
The weather was nice. It had stopped snowing since yesterday, and the beautiful sun hung high in the sky. During two days, snow piling on the village’s streets and the main road had melted.
The horse carriages parked in Hang Lai Inn were taken out. Eighteen carriages lined up in front of Fan Hua Town’s gate. At sì-shí (9-11 am), all Fan Hua Town’s villagers had gotten on the carriages. A huge team headed to the best restaurant in Fan Luo City, Wu Qin Restaurant. And, Wangye Jing’s family of five adults and two babies, Long Xi Yue, Chun Lan, and Dong Mei who took care of the twins, were taking the two big eight-horse carriages. The carriages were big and luxurious, and they still had room even though they were carrying many people.
“Oh hey, the Hua family is here too? Didn’t you say you have to celebrate the one-month party for another day?” Aunt Tian was about to climb on the carriage after Aunt Lao before she saw the seven thick-faced members of the Hua family.
“What do you mean? Thanks to Elder Wangye and Elder Wangfei, we want to go to Wu Qin Restaurant to open our knowledge.” The Huas’ housewife replied with a happy face. No kidding, the Lin Family invited all the villagers to have a feast in Wu Qin Restaurant to celebrate the kids’ one-month ceremony. Even if the Huas wanted to hold a three-day party, no one would come to join them. Moreover, the Town Elder had announced that all the land in Fan Hua Town now belonged to Prince Jing’s mansion. Elder Wangye and Elder Wangfei were compassionate for the villagers so they intended to invite them to Wu Qin Restaurant, the biggest and most expensive place in Fan Luo City to join the twins’ one-month ceremony. Of course, they had to come and give face to the other.
“Oh right, after today, you guys aren’t Fan Hua Town’s villagers. Just put it into practice.” Aunty Tian gave a disdainful glance at the Hua family’s wife and climbed into the horse carriage and dropped the curtain right in front of her.
“Psst! What kind of morality is that! We’re not going to eat the Tians’ food!” The Hua family’s wife spat toward the carriage’s curtain. She swayed her fat bottom, turning around and getting on another horse carriage that was designated to the Huas and another family.
“Sigh, why did you quarrel with her? The Town Elder said that Prince Jing’s mansion wanted to treat the villagers so as they took the chance of their grandchildren’s one-month ceremony. Any household, no matter if they are going to stay or leave, they can join.” Aunt Lao felt funny, patting Aunt Tian who looked enraged. Talking about the family with the biggest dispute and resentment toward the Huas in Fan Hua Town, no one could beat the Tian House.
“My eyes feel irritated when I see her face. Previously, they intended to hold the one-month ceremony to interfere with Shuilian’s family. They even said that they would hold a three-day party. Psst, they’re done after just one day.” Aunt Tian’s face was full of disdain. She hated the two-faced Hua family’s wife. Fortunately, they said that they would move tomorrow. At best, their entire family should get lost and give peace to her eyes.
“Alright, no matter what, today’s an auspicious day. Don’t make Shuilian feel annoyed. Just think that the more people come, the more fortunate the kids will be.” Aunt Lao patiently advised Aunt Tian, pulling her to sit by her. She grabbed the chestnuts and water melon seeds, shoving them to her hand.
She also took a handful of seeds for herself, eating and chatting about their domestic matter.
This prince mansion was really different. The horse carriages looked ordinary, but the interior was really comfortable with cushions. Seats were installed on three sides of the carriage with a small table with drawers in the middle. Small pleasantries of watermelon seeds, chestnuts, rice cakes, and dry jujube were placed on the tables as well as a tea set with twelve cups. The drawers held the cards and chess for entertainment. Tsk, tsk. Although they were angry, after they had checked the carriage, the two couldn’t help but smack their tongue in admiration.
“Oh yeah, where’s your Da Bao? Will he not come today?” Aunt Lao asked curiously.
This horse carriage carried the two families. This time, the Laos were all here, except for Xi Cui, the married daughter, the two sons and their wives all came. The youngest daughter-in-law was a newly wedded bride, she was shy so she didn’t talk much. The oldest daughter-in-law always kept silent when Aunt Lao presented. No need to mention the men, they were all silent, engrossed in playing chess.
Thus, Aunt Lao couldn’t help but remember Tian Da Bao, the cute son with some mental problem. Several months ago, he suddenly went away to work with Lin Si Yao’s help. And now, he had opened a wood shop in the neighboring city. People said that he had good sales. When the other mentioned Da Bao, Aunt Tian was so happy.
“He’s coming back. How could he not come back? No matter what, they are brothers.” Aunt Tian smiled happily. “Shuilian said that Da Bao is much better now.” She implied his mentality, which was always a headache to the Tian Family. As Da Bao was getting older, they were more worried.
After Lin Si Yao had accepted him as his disciple, Da Bao’s mind was slowly recovered. Most of the time, he wasn’t different from his peers. Although she hadn’t checked him herself, Shuilian had told her that he could manage the wood shop very well. She thought it was good enough, beyond what she and Da Fu had expected.
Their daughter got married to a good man, and their son had his mentality back, becoming a hard-working, sincere man. Being parents, what more could they ask for?
Tian Da Bao had arrived at Wu Qin Restaurant before that huge formation of horse carriages a long time ago.
He said his name, and the waiter marked his name on the guest list before taking him to a table by the window on the second floor. He seated, watching the main street of Fan Luo City.
Tian Da Bao curled the corners of his lips into a smile.
After Lunar New Year, he would turn fourteen. It was the middle step between his youth and adulthood, the best and vigorous time of his life. He was lucky that he had got his mind back before he entered the team of the adults.
Of course, he knew these things since he had met Situ Yu during the recent two months. To protect him, his family had never told him that, several months ago, he was a kid with a mental illness.
Having a mental illness was just a nice way to say, to be more exact, he was handicapped, a retard…just like Uncle Wen’s Chun Ba. He sighed silently. He used to be a bastard. He had bullied foolish Chun Ba. When his mind came back to him, it didn’t mean that he had lost his memory of that time.
He couldn’t deny that his parents and oldest sister had always protected him well. His Shifu and Shi Niang* had treated him as he was a normal person. Thus, he had never suffered any pain in Fan Hua Town. He was hundreds of times luckier than Chun Ba, who was born a retard.
“Why did you come so early?” Situ Yun’s laughter arose behind him.
“You too, didn’t you?” Tian Da Bao rolled his eyes. He was one year older than Situ Yun, but Situ Yun always treated him as if he was the younger brother. It was okay when his mind was blurry. But now, it was unnatural for him to become the junior brother of a teenager who was younger than him.
“Sigh, you are no longer cute anymore!” Situ Yun shook his head. He also leaned against the window, watching the line of horse carriage coming from afar, deliberately sighing.
“Give me a break! I’ve already given you enough face for not calculating the debt with you!” Tian Da Bao snapped back.
“Let’s go, we should seize the chance to hold our junior brother and junior sister first.” Tian Da Bao said then turned around and descended down the stairs.
Until now, the wood shop, “Guang Jin Cai”, he had opened was also a secret ear and eye for Guangci House. He was always so busy that he didn’t even have time to rest. When his Shiniang gave birth to his junior brother and sister, he didn’t have time to return to Fan Hua Town and visit her. No need to mention visiting his parents. Therefore, he had to manage, one way or another, to come to this one-month ceremony.
“Today is an auspicious day. My grandson and granddaughter celebrate their one-month birthday. Now, we should make a toast!”
All the villagers who came to congratulate them seated themselves at twenty tables. They were ready for the ceremony. And now, Liang Xuan Jing rose his cup.
“Guests, please enjoy to your heart’s content. Today, we aren’t going home until we’re drunk.” Feng Cai Yun stood up, talking frankly and generously, giving a toast to Fan Hua Town’s villagers, Su Shuilian’s and Lin Si Yao’s friends and brothers.
“Mother…” Su Shuilian didn’t know whether to cry or not. The only Madam of Prince Jing’s mansion was as enthusiastic as a heroine in the Jianghu. It was exaggerating!
“Today is a special day. Just let people have fun.” Feng Cai Yun patted her daughter’s hand, comforting her. She wondered whom this daughter resembled. She was even more elegant than the one who had been a Wangfei for dozens of years.
“Right, sister, there’s no wangye and wangfei now. I’m Lin Long and Lin Xiao’s uncle.” Liang En Zai smiled at Su Shuilian. This Fan Luo city was more than one thousand miles away. Even if they were drunk and turning the world upside down, there was nothing coming to the Emperor’s ear. And even if he knew anything, he, the most noble royal in Da Hui Empire, loved liquor even more than his father. He would only feel aggrieved because his father didn’t take him here.
Hearing Liang En Zai, Su Shuilian wasn’t worried anymore. She looked at Lin Si Yao, smiling and raising her cup to their guests.
There were more than one hundred guests joining this one-month celebration, everybody had a red face as they were drinking too much.
At the end of wèi-shí (1-3 pm), everybody had filled themselves happily. The party finally ended.
The host didn’t receive even a bronze as birthday’s gift but giving each guest a small money bag holding ninety-nine silver coins. The villagers were so reluctant to receive the generous gifts.
“Guests, the horse carriages are parked in Heng Lai Inn. If you want, you can walk around the city to shop for Lunar New Year before riding the carriage back home. Of course, two families have to gather their members before leaving for Fan Hua Town.” After the party, Liang-momo arranged properly for everybody to get home. They happily walked around the city. Having a full meal, they wanted to walk to help their digestion and buy some items to prepare for the new year. They even had the horse carriage to carry their goods. It was an advantage. Of course, people would seize the opportunity.
“Son, come, let me see you!” Leaving Wu Qin Restaurant, Aunt Tian finally had a chance to ask her son.
“Mom, I’m fine. But you and dad look much thinner. This is the money I’ve earned after several months. Mom, you should use it to buy some goods for the new year. I’ll be home at Lunar New Year.” Tian Da Bao took out a heavy bag of money, handing it to Aunt Tian.
“Da… Da Bao…” Aunt Tian gazed at Da Bao. He was changed, completely changed. After a while, she glanced at Tian Da Fu, who was also dumbstruck like her. Then, she nodded in thrill. “It’s good that you’re healthy. Oh, Da Bao’s dad, our son… he’s fine now!”
“Yeah, it’s good that you’re healthy now. You can do whatever you want. Your mom and I will always support you.” Tian Da Fu wasn’t a talkative man. In this moment, his eyes reddened. He patted Tian Da Bao, who was now half-a-head taller than him.
“What do you mean? Should we support our son in case he does something evil?” Aunt Tian rubbed her eyes, angrily glancing at Tian Da Fu. Then, she pulled Tian Da Bao’s hand, “Son, you have to put more effort, trying to be like your Shifu.” He should marry a nice and beautiful wife like a deity so as she could have her grandchildren soon. Sigh, grandchildren, she had thought that she would never have that fortune in this life. And now, God had favored them. She had worried for five years. Eventually, her healthy, grown-up son was back.
“Pfft!” Situ Yun didn’t even conceal his laughter, cutting off Aunt Tian’s dream. Like Uncle Si Ling? She wanted Da Bao to become the God of Killing that had frightened the Jianghu? Hilarious!
Su Shuilian knew Lin Si Yao’s identity. She smiled until her eyes narrowed, looking at her husband, who just went stiff. She reached out to hold his hand. “I think Aunty Tian wanted to mention Xiao’er and Long’er.” She comforted him in a low voice.
“I know.” Lin Si Yao answered her with an awkward face. Actually, he was thinking that with Da Bao’s current Kungfu, it was impossible for him to become the number one assassin. Lin Si Yao snorted under his breath. It’s not easy to become an assassin. Afterall, he had to crawl out of piles of dead bodies.
“Da Bao, you’re so kind. Thank you for your gifts. I think Xiao’er and Long’er would love them.” Su Shuilian smiled, thanking Tian Da Bao.
“It’s nothing.” Tian Da Bao turned around shyly. It was only a pair of carved jade qílín*. He happened to come across the jade in a craft shop in Huan Sha City. He had made a pair of realistic jade qílín himself. It seemed that he had inherited his skillful hands from Tian Da Fu.
*(The qilin is a mythical beast that symbolizes good luck and prosperity. According to tradition in China, a qilin would appear to signal the birth or death of a particularly benevolent ruler or sage scholar.)
Although Su Shuilian and her husband had subtly denied all the gifts from the others, it was their disciple’s sincere gift, they would accept them.
“Alright, Da Bao, are you leaving now? I’m going with you!” Situ Yun placed his hand on Tian Da Bao’s left shoulder, pulling him toward the city nearby. “Uncle Tian, Aunty Tian, don’t worry. I will take care of Da Bao well.”
“What does it matter to you!” Tian Da Bao frowned.
“Why it doesn’t matter to me? You’re my junior brother. Don’t deny it. You got enrolled by my Uncle later than when I got my Shifu.”
“You think you could count like that?” Tian Da Bao cast him a sidelong glance. He didn’t want to pay attention to that guy anymore. After a jump, he leaped up on the wall.
Situ Yun didn’t want to lag behind, chasing after him. They were heading toward Huan Sha City.
“A Yao, Shuilian, our Da Bao has troubled you two!” Aunt Tian and Tian Da Fu seeing their son disappear. Then, they turned around to thank the other. If Lin Si Yao hadn’t taken him as his disciple and taught him martial art, they would have dreamed that Da Bao could have his success today. Particularly, they wouldn’t have known when the blood clot in his head would dissolve and he could regain his mind.
“It’s his efforts. Aunty Tian, Uncle Tian, you can ease your mind now.” Su Shuilian smiled, shaking her head, implying that Aunt Tian shouldn’t think much. Sometimes, she thought it was destiny guiding them from the Untold World. After her own experience in the body’s occupying, she understood these things better than in the past.
“We should go home. Although you finished your puerperium, don’t catch a cold.” Lin Si Yao nodded to bid farewell to Tian Da Fu and his wife then took Su Shuilian back to Wu Qin Restaurant. Although his parents-in-law were watching them, he was afraid that Jiang Ying Yun and her sister would play a little too hard.
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