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Chapter 14: Fan Hua Town’s Tough Peasant Woman
Fan Hua Town was no more than a village despite its name, as it only consisted of a few dozen small houses. The villagers had gotten used to calling it that because there were no other towns near Fan Lou City. As for the name Fan Hua (Blossoming Flowers), it dated back a couple dozen years, when the first wave of famers arrived and planted dozens of peach blossom seeds. The peach blossom trees that had grown from them would all bloom in the springtime, creating an exquisite sight. It was extremely beautiful.
Fan Hua Town was home to 28 separate families in total. Although that wasn’t much, the settlement was considered quite lively when compared to the other neighboring ‘towns’, Qing Tian Town and Luo Shui Town.
“I really did not expect the scenery to be this good!” Su Shuilian couldn’t help but praise when she saw the dozens of peach blossoms planted every two meters. There was even a willow tree leaning over a small pond in the center of the village.
“You are not a local, right?” A farmer carrying a plow on his shoulder overheard Su Shuilian as he was passing by the pond on his way to the fields. He asked her smiling.
“Yes, Mister, are you going to work?” Su Shuilian said as she smiled back.
“Yes, since it’s still early and quite cool, I can take my time walking there. Later in the day it will be too hot to do so.” The farmer nodded at Su Shuilian and Lin Si Yao as he continued on his way to the western side of Fan Hua Town, where the farmland and paddies were located.
“Oh yes, Mister, do you know if there are any houses for sale here?” When Su Shulian remembered her purpose for coming to this town, she smiled again and queried the farmer. And considering Lin Si Yao’s style of questioning, she was sure that they would be unable to get any more information about the house. Oh well, she would do it herself.
“Girl, you want to buy a house?” The farmer was surprised as he took a closer look at the two people in front of him. The man, although stiff-looking, was much more handsome compared to the men of this town. The girl was as beautiful as blossoming flowers, so affable and graceful. Looking at the aura and temperaments of these two, there seemed to be no need for them to settle in such a poor village.
“It is the truth, Mister. We really do plan on settling here.” Said Su Shuilian with a smile.
“N, I’m not sure…” The farmer thought for a moment, then shook his head. He heard from others that old man Dong Tou and his Hua family were planning to move to the city but they had yet to move. And well, as they were still living in that house, it was hard to say if they were really going to move. Moreover, that Hua family was renowned in the village as the fussiest of them all. If he were to bring them there and the situation was not handled correctly, the old madam of Hua House would raise hell.
“Mister, we sincerely want to live here, if you know of any houses that are for sale, please point the way. We can go by ourselves if you are busy.” From this man’s tone of voice Su Shuilian knew there was a household that had the intention to sell, so she asked quickly.
“It is not that this old man doesn’t want to tell you…. Ai, how about you two come to my house for a while? I will have my wife go and ask, would that be alright?” Seeing that they were indeed serious about their decision to settle here, he was willing to help. He would ask his wife to go and inquire about the house. If there were to be any news, then he could lead these two to the sellers.
“Yes, of course, by all means. Forgive me for troubling the elderly.” Su Shuilian naturally agreed, apologizing to the old man. She pulled Lin Si Yao and they followed the farmer to his house.
The farmer’s house was at the north-western corner of Fan Hua Town. It had a small yard and the mud walls were as high as a man was tall. Just by taking a step inside, one could see the layout of the entire building. The house consisted of three main rooms and two small side rooms. Su Shuilian guessed the side rooms were either the kitchen or storage rooms. There was a small pond for ducks in one corner of the yard and a persimmon tree grew in the other. Behind the house was a patch of land surrounded by a short fence which was covered in vegetation. Looking at it really brought a smile to people’s faces.
“Mister, your house is really nice and clean.” Su Shuilian said as she followed the old man into the yard and took a glance at the organized layout.
“Haha. These words would bring joy to my wife’s heart. This is all her work.” The farmer replied as he scratched his head.
“What are you saying? Such nonsense. Didn’t you say you were leaving? Why are you back so early?” A hearty voice sounded and in walked a 50-year old or so peasant woman lifting the curtain from of a side door on the left. She saw that behind the old man was a couple with an extraordinary temperament. From their looks, she assumed that the girl was not at all older than her daughter.
“Yo, which family does this girl belong to? She’s more beautiful than an angel! Tsktsk! ” The peasant woman said as she pulled Su Shuilian closer. She carefully examined and marveled at the girl’s face.
Both of Su Shuilian cheeks blushed rose pink from embarrassment upon hearing the compliment.
“Enough, go get them some water, don’t you see you have embarrassed the girl.” The farmer quickly pulled his wife away and lead the two to the main room to sit.
“Thank you” Su Shuilian said when the wife poured her a cup of boiled water. She took a small sip. After placing down the cup, she noticed the woman’s gaze and smile. Su Shuilian blushed red up to her ears.
“Tsk, tsk, old man, look at how pretty this girl is! Almost like a fairy! Oh yeah, girl, how old are you this year?” The wife spoke with the old man briefly and soon after he left in a hurry. She then sat next to Su Shuilian, pulled her hands and held them on her lap. As she gently patted them, her mind had an idea.
“….” Su Shuilian was surprised and blinked a few times. She did not know why the woman broached the topic of her age, but she was also unclear about this. Was it 13, 14, or maybe 15 years old?
Su Shuilian mentally shook her head. It was fine, she could just make it up.
“15.” An older age wouldn’t do any harm… thought Su Shuilian as she replied.
“Just perfect ya! Haha!” The woman laughed happily. She shouted towards her husband in the other room, “Old man, say, don’t you think that our second son will make a perfect pair with her?”
After Su Shulian heard what the woman had said, she blanked out and thought: she was finished! This woman looked so neat and capable, yet she was saying such words?! To even want her to wed the woman’s second son? Oh heavens, had she walked into a wolf’s cave without noticing?
Prompted by that thought, her body moved to the left where Lin Si Yao was sitting. She turned her head to look and met his gaze. Looking into his cold eyes, Su Shuilian felt a bit of relief. Yes, with him by her side, what did she need to worry about?
And in the other room, the farmer choked on his tea. He coughed many times before he was able to calm himself.
“What? Do you not find this appropriate? I disagree. My son is calm and doesn’t look too bad, I guarantee the baby will not look ugly. And most importantly, your ages match really well ah! Our second son is 18, you are 15. A three year gap, it’s perfect. Haha!” Seeing that her husband did not answer, she thought the old man did not like the girl, so she continued to compliment Su Shuilian.
Hearing all of this, Su Shuilian could not help but be embarrassed. She was rendered speechless and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. When the farmer finally came back, he quickly tried to stop his wife’s attempt at matchmaking. If he didn’t stop his wife’s nonsense, the gentleman beside the girl was certain to explode. The chill he exuded was unbearable. Although the farmer was not very educated, he was still quite sharp.
“Do not make such a big fuss about this. You have to first ask whether the girl agrees to all of that.” The farmer hinted at his wife to look at the ‘guardian knight’ at the girl’s side.
“Oh, blame me for being careless. When I saw you, I lost track of my surroundings. This gongzi is?” The woman, awakened from her rant, finally noticed Lin Si Yao, who she first thought was a pillar. Embarrassed, she coughed and laughed awkwardly.
“Aunty, my name is Su Shuilian and he is Lin Si Yao. We are here to ask if any houses in Fan Hua are for sale.” After noticing that the woman had abandoned her previous topic, Su Shuilian quickly took the opportunity to reroute the conversation.
“You, you guys want to live here?” When the wife heard them, she was stunned. She had originally thought that they were here to visit relatives and did not expect that they came to settle here. This was good too though, when they settle down, the topic of marriage would be much easier to bring up. And as for this gongzi, ah yes, their daughter was almost 16. The topic of marriage was also suitable for her situation.
With this though, the wife’s mind focused on Lin Si Yao. And as for Su Shuilian’s question, it was already pushed out of her thoughts.
“Lin gongzi, was it? Does Lin gongzi already have an (marriage) arrangement?” The wife thought a bit before asking. After all, from the looks of it, this man was about twenty years of age and he may already have been arranged to marry.
Hearing that remark, Su Shuilian and the farmer made a shocked face. And the expression on Lin Si Yao’s face became even more ugly.
“You old hag, how can you talk about such topics?! Don’t you think you’re shaming your face?” The old farmer’s face was flushed as he angrily reprimanded his wife.
“What’s so shameful about this? The man is unmarried and the girl has yet to wed, what’s wrong with setting our son with her? With you as his father, he’ll never be able to find a wife!” When the farmer’s wife saw the old man was shaming her in front of these two, she immediately stood up in a huff.
Su Shuilian raised her head and stealthily moved her gaze to the man at her side. She tugged at his clothes and when he turned to face her, she smiled and silently mouthed the words, “let’s go.”
Su Shuilian pulled on Lin Si Yao after they both got up from their seats. They made their way to the quarrelling couple. Smiling, Su Shuilian slightly bent her waist and said, “Thank you Mister and Aunty for your kind intentions…. However, we are really keen on finding a home here. So sorry to trouble you but if you two know which of the houses here are for sale, please show us the way.”
“Huh?” This time, the wife had finally processed her words and looked at the two of them. She saw the graceful and slightly smiling Su Shuilian. She then looked at Lin Si Yao, who had never spoke a single word from beginning to end. Her muddled thoughts had finally cleared; she understood their current situation.