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Chapter 17: Buying a House
Hua House was east of Lao House and the path led them through half of Fan Hua Town. With their steady pace, it only took them about fifteen minutes to make the trip.
Ever since she had drank the <Heart of Jade Fairy Essence>, Su Shuilian had a stronger body. If it weren’t for that, she would have already been long out of breath.
“You, girl look so frail that I never would have expected you to be faster than our house’s daughter. You surely will be able to birth many healthy babies in the future.” Madam Lao looked in befuddlement at Su Shuilian who had been quietly following behind her. The girl did not seem to be out of breath nor did she ask for a break. Madam Lao gave her a thumbs up and praised her from her heart.
At those words, Su Shuilian immediately turned red; she was speechless. Even the usually expressionless Lin Si Yao had stiffened. He awkwardly turned his head to the side and pretended to cover his mouth to cough.
Madam Lao did not pay any attention to their embarrassed reactions as she continued on talking. She told them about her daughter, Lao Xicui, who had been very busy at home embroidering before going to Fan Lou City with Lao Yongqiang (the second son). They had rented a small booth in the city to sell their wares for the Seventh of the Seventh Month festivities. The two had planned to return this afternoon and should be home soon. While she didn’t know how well they did or how much of the embroidery they had sold, Madam Lao already started to calculate their profits.
When Su Shuilian heard Aunt Lao talk about her daughter selling embroidery, her eyes lit up and the corners of her lips curved into a smile. So her skills were not a waste! With her talent in embroidery, at the very least, feeding themselves would not be a problem.
Lin Si Yao swept a puzzled glance at Su Shuilian. He was confused about her sudden change in mood. Just a second ago she had been staring in embarrassment at the ground, but now he could feel her joy and relief. Did the woman said something that made her happy? He carefully recalled the previous words of Madam Lao…
“Speaking of our yard, if you sit facing the south, there is bright light (feng shui). If you walk out the door and turn left, our paddy fields are no more than a hundred meters away. Turn right and that’s the Fan Hua Town’s ancestral hall. During the festive season, it is quite lively! There is even a river at the back of the house, convenient for laundry! You don’t have to go that far to get to the publicly shared river.
When the Madam of Hua House, Liu Shi, saw the couple standing behind Madam Lao, she finally realized that the people interested in buying her house were this good-looking couple. The girl didn’t seem any older than sixteen, but with those noble ladylike manners and gestures, Madam Hua was sure that she was not some random peasant.
And so Madam Hua’s wrinkled face smiled brightly as she pulled Su Shuilian along to enthusiastically show them around the house.
As Madam Lao listened to Madam Hua praise her house to no end, she rolled her eyes in response.
Su Shuilian followed behind Liu Shi. As she walked through the Hua residence, she rejoiced quietly in her heart. Other than the fact that the main building was a little bit worn-down, the overall condition was actually quite good. The front and back yards of the house were also quite sizable, and when the time came, she would have the space to grow the plants she liked, install a reclining chair under the shade of the big tree, and relaxedly embroider. It would almost be as if she could travel back to those quiet days she spent in the Su Household.
Thinking about it, Su Shuilian interrupted Liu Shi, who had been espousing the house’s merits in a continuous stream. With a smile, she softly asked, “Madam Hua, do the forty taels cover the furniture as well?”
Liu Shi started at the comment. She hadn’t actually thought about it, but as she was about to open her mouth, she heard her eldest daughter-in-law respond. “Miss, we intend to bring the majority of the furniture with us. After all, the residence in the city is twice this size, and we need to place much of the furniture into it. You know as well that the price of furniture has been inflating terribly.” The Hua daughter-in-law stole a glance at Lin Si Yao while saying all this. She somewhat wistfully thought: Dang, this man is handsome. If my own man was only eight-tenths as handsome, I’d be so happy.
Su Shuilian frowned a little at those words. If the furniture in this residence were all left behind, then forty taels was reasonable. But after listening to the Hua daughter-in-law’s comments, she knew that the forty taels would only be buying an empty house. At that point, she’d need to buy all the necessary furniture, and she was unsure if the remaining ten taels would be enough. If that were the case, then before those embroidery days, how were they going to live?
“Aiya, my daughter-in-law doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Tell you what, Miss, I, Madam Hua, won’t treat you like an outsider anymore. I’ll leave a portion of the furniture here to you. I know that for a first-timer like Miss, you wouldn’t have made the necessary preparations. Relax, we won’t move everything –we’ll definitely leave some of the essential furniture for you. I still have that much consideration, at least.”
Liu Shi had seen Su Shuilian’s eyebrows crinkled in a frown and knew that her own daughter-in-law’s words had raised doubts in the buyer’s mind. In fear of losing this golden goose, she had immediately tugged on the hem of her daughter-in-law’s clothes, signalling for her to be quiet, and moved hastily to Su Shuilian’s side. She spoke quickly, hoping to reassure Su Shuilian in order to get the deed signed and the silver exchanged as soon as possible.
Su Shuilian listened to her reassurances, but didn’t feel comfortable haggling anymore. Instead, she turned back to look at Lin Si Yao and walked to his side to ask for his opinion. “Do you think this is alright?”
Lin Si Yao lowered his head, and his gentle gaze swept across her hopeful little face. To him, anywhere was fine. The only things that mattered were that he could see her graceful figure, that he could hear her soft and warm voice.
Lin Si Yao nodded his head. Forty taels? In that case, her purse would be left with ten taels. Even with that amount, it shouldn’t be a problem dealing with a few days’ worth of housing needs.
Lin Si Yao’s heart was filled with a wave of white. He had been a highly-sought after assassin for many years and yet he had never felt as stretched. As it was, he had already left Feng Yao Court and had promised that he’d never take up his old profession. Since he had discarded his old identity, it was also be better to avoid using the savings he had hidden away for several years. But, other than lifting his sword to kill and seal the throats of witnesses, what else was he good for?
“This is forty teals. Aunt Hua, please receive it.” Su Shuilian took out four silver ingots from her purse and handed it to the happily grinning Lui Shi. In exchange, she received the house deed and the paddy deed from Hua Liu Shi. After she had signed her name on the transfer deeds that had long since been prepared by Liu Shi and her daughter-in-law, each party took a copy.
“Tsk tsk, look at this girl’s manners, so ladylike ah.” Holding the transfer deeds, Liu Shi praised Su Shuilian’s handwriting profusely. When she looked at the left column that held her son’s crooked, earth-worm-like scribbles, her face could not help but heat up. Looking towards Madam Lao who was staring in envy at her fast-earned forty taels, Liu Shi quickly recovered some face and loosened her shoulders. Speaking of literacy, her sons were much more adept than the sons of Lao House!
“It’s settled then! Let us start packing up. We’ll move now.” Liu Shi said coolly as she carefully put away her contract and forty taels. She turned around and indicated to her daughter-in-law to go to their paddy fields to find her husband. He would be tasked with rushing to the city to notify their eldest son of the sale. Their son should still be at his stall selling their goods. It would be best to organize and prepare the new house as quickly as possible. This way, their whole family could all move to the city tomorrow and enjoy the city life.