(This site runs now runs on ads, so please support by clicking on one…. Much thanks!)
Chapter 29: Acacia Wood
“A Yao, are you sure we don’t need to go together?” Su Shuilian asked expectantly as she stopped Lin Si Yao who was about to depart for Fan Hua Town.
They heard that the furniture for the house had all been completed, the only thing yet to be done was the brick path leading to the front of the house. Moreover, she had heard from Lin Si Yao that he intended to remove that redundant wall currently surrounding the house and replace it with a man-tall fence with a large double gate.
He had never let her touch any of these kinds of jobs and had her stay at the inn to either accompany the two wolves or to sew. But even after she had already finished sewing all the bolts of cloth that they’d bought into clothing, he still did not allow her to go with him. Did he think that she was useless?
Lin Si Yao, seeing that her eyes were overflowing with her desire to follow along, sighed and said lightly, “Fine, but be careful when we get there. Don’t hurt yourself.”
Su Shuilian naturally promised to do so. She quickly ran back to grab the bag of finished curtains she intended to install.
“No rush. The house is still dirty.” Lin Si Yao received the large bag and placed it into the dresser. He did not want the curtains, which she had spent a whole day labouring over without rest to complete, to be dirtied after being hung up for a few days while the work was still ongoing.
“Oh, yes.” Su Shuilian obediently nodded her head. She had yet to see any of the renovations and was very excited for the new changes!
“Look, look! It’s this particular household’s…”
“Oh, I really wouldn’t be able to tell. He looks so young, where did this merchant come from?”
“I don’t know. But from what the daughter-in-law of the Hua Family said, their house’s furniture were all built from an unknown type of wood. She was able to take a piece and brought it home to use as a cutting board. She said it was really useful and wouldn’t chip at all.”
“Tsk tsk. The skin of the Hua Family’s poniang is really thick, to even have the gall to come and collect the scraps.”
“Ai… I heard from the Tian Household’s daughter-in-law, that when her husband worked twelve days on this project and earned 600 coppers, he was also given a lot of wood. She has been bugging her husband for a new table ever since.”
“Really? Tsk, tsk! I heard from Wang Gengfa, that Cripple Wang also went to help this time. Not only was he not rejected, he was also rewarded with a bunch of that wood. His wife had him make a bathtub out of it. Ai, why didn’t the rascal from our family learn some woodworking!?”
When Su Shuilian passed the large pond at the center of Fan Hua Town, several housewives who were embroidering under the willow tree began to gossip quietly. However, her keen hearing allowed her to pick up bits and pieces of their conversation.
“Are you to blame for this?” Su Shuilian smiled as she looked at Lin Si Yao. Now all the wives in Fan Hua Town would want their husbands to learn woodworking and she found it funny.
Lin Si Yao raised his brows but remained silent. What did this have to do with him? All he had done was to reward the four carpenters for completing their work .
“But in that case… is there enough wood left for the fence?” She remembered his idea for the new fence but how was he going to make one with all of the leftover wood given away?
“I have my ways, naturally.” Lin Si Yao comforted her with a smile.
What he did not tell her was that, four nights ago, he had entered the Dashi Mountain again to get more wood. This time, his target was the ten thick-trunked phoebe trees specially well-suited for fence-making. He did not call for a wagon to transport them back either but carried them home on his back. Aside from Feng Laoliu, who was summoned to help with making the fence, no one knew about this.
Feng Laoliu was a tight lipped man by nature. Having earned a few months worth of salary from the completion of the contract four days ago and receiving enough wood to make his son a small table on top of that, he was naturally willing to listen to Lin Si Yao. Moreover, he was promised the leftover wood after this project as well. With such a deal on the table, Feng Laoliu would come to their house every day after an early breakfast and would go home carrying a lantern. It had taken him four consecutive nights to finally complete the circle around the house. He had waited until the work at his store was over for today to come install the fence and collect the promised wood.
“What is it?” asked Lin Si Yao, confused by Su Shuilian’s motionless body and stunned expression after they entered the house. Did she not like the color of wood that he had chosen?
“A Yao, these… were really brought from that forest?” Su Shuilian asked as she looked around the room full of furniture made from deep-purple wood.
She gently felt the small, delicately carved round table standing in the center of the bedroom. The grain of the tabletop was shaped like a chicken wing (雞翅 Jichi). Ai, with that faint fragrance of balsam, it really must have been Jichi wood! Su Shuilian sighed secretly recalling the time when the old patriarch had ordered someone to get him a handrail chair made from Jichi wood. He had cherished it to the point of not even allowing her and her siblings to touch it.
But now, Su Shuilian looked around at a room full of furniture made from Jichi wood… How could she not be shocked?
“Is… is there a problem with the wood?” Lin Si Yao questioned with brows knitted.
“This is Jichi wood sometimes known as hongdou, or even as Acacia wood. This wood is very sturdy, has a delicate fragrance, and bugs rarely live in it. In short, it’s very precious.” Su Shuilian turned around and told him everything she knew about Jichi wood.
“Acacia wood*?” Lin Si Yao repeated the words as he looked at Su Shuilian with a smile. He had definitely made a good choice. Judging by her prior stunned look and the delight after she recovered, it seemed she really liked this material.
(Acacia 相思 = can also be translated as to yearn or to long for)
“The Blood Beech wood is also precious but does not compare to this.” Su Shuilian was put in a daze by the sight of the furniture of the matching color in the other rooms.
Heavens, didn’t they say the furniture here was not cheap anymore? Yet they used these rarely seen types of wood to make a full set for their house… Yes, all of this was thanks to him adventuring to the dangerous Dashi Mountain to get it.
Su Shuilian’s heart trembled. Although he was a man of few words and she always had to guess the underlying meaning of what he said, it was because of this that she had grown attracted to him. She also now realized that her feelings toward Xi Yi were just an attachment similar to sibling love, completely unlike what she felt now for Lin Si Yao, for whom she would long as though three autumns had passed just from not seeing him for a day.
“What’s the matter?” When Lin Si Yao came back from checking out how Feng Laoliu was doing with the fence, he frowned when he saw that Su Shuilian had stood where she was before he left, next to the kang* with both hands resting on it.
*(Kang 炕 = an elevated flooring that can be heated with fire. Can also be used as a bed.)
The sound of his voice, jolted Su Shulian awake from her daze. She looked at him, blinking, “A Yao…”
“N?” Lin Si Yao led her to sit on the kang. He looked at her with a question in his eyes.
“Nothing.” When Su Shuilian realized what she was thinking about, she shyly pulled on her skirt. She said to change the topic, “Oh, yes, didn’t you say that you were going to make a small brick path and erect the fence today?”
“Yes, Feng Laoliu is already working on the fence. We will not be able to make the path today, though.” Seeing that there was nothing wrong with her, Lin Si Yao stood up. He grabbed a gourd filled with water and handed it to her.
Su Shuilian took a small sip. Thinking for a bit on how to make herself useful, she said, “Then I’ll go clean a bit. The interior of the house should be ready by now, right?”
Lin Si Yao nodded, took the gourd and drank a mouthful of water. Su Shuilian blushed at the sight but seeing that Lin Si Yao did not care, she could only look down and pretend she didn’t notice. Only her rapid heart rate reminded her that this was a very intimate act.
Lin Si Yao’s eyes flashed with a concealed mirth. He was well aware of what two people sharing a gourd of water meant but he was in a good mood and curious to see her reaction. He didn’t expect her to look down, red to the ears, without any intention of stopping him. What did this mean? It meant that she had accepted their open acts of intimacy. Lin Si Yao’s eyes darkened. They had to wed before moving into this house. Otherwise… he glanced at the two-meter-wide bed in the bedroom… was he to sleep on this cold stone floor?
(This site runs now runs on ads, so please support by clicking on one…. Much thanks!)