Chapter 34: Happiness Fills the House (2)
Since she and Lin Si Yao had decided to have a banquet, they had purposely taken out three silver taels to thank the families that had helped them and invited them all to a Housewarming Banquet and a Wedding Banquet.
So when the feast began, all kinds of hot and cold dishes* were presented. This caused Su Shuilian, who was familiar to many dishes, to be surprised.
*(Pertaining to yin [cold] and yang [hot])
She and Lin Si Yao had only ordered 18 dishes. Nine hot and nine cold dishes. Out of the 18 hot and cold dish half were either meat dish or plain vegetables.
Including was on the table, the veggie dishes, and the six meat plates, were all very extravagant: Braised pork shoulders, roasted duck with scallion, steamed fish, house special sauteed pork, fried bean curd skin, and invigorating silkie chicken soup.
With just three silver taels, every table had two entrees, but were the entrees always this extravagant? Su Shuilian turned to Lin Si Yao in bewilderment.
“The innkeeper’s wife said that this is her gift to us.” Lin Si Yao obviously saw through her gaze and replied while adding more sides to her bowl.
Su Shuilian looked over at the innkeeper’s wife feeding her two sons at the other table. She had coincidentally looked up as well, so she expressed a ‘thanks’ though a smile.
“No need to be courteous! This is only a given. All we did was just add a couple of dishes.” The innkeeper’s wife waved her hands as she smiled back, assuring Su Shuilian not to worry.
Seeing her like this, Su Shuilian generously accepted her gift. She knew that even though it was just two extra dishes, they were not cheap. But since she had previously told her to treat each other like sisters, then she’ll be sure to sew some nice embroidery to gift her in return in the future.
After three rounds of drinks, the banquet became more lively. There were drinking competitions, performances, idly chatter, and even tender feelings expressed.
Lin Si Yao knew that Su Shuilian prefered light dishes, so he picked the ones that were more plain and less oily for her. For example, the steamed fish, only after picking out every fine bone did he place it into the bowl that was in front of her.
Aunt Lao who was sitting across from Su Shuilian could not help but laugh, saying, “Look at them, they are so close. ”
When the innkeeper’s wife heard this, she laughed and could not help adding, “But of course, everyday A Yao could leave early and come back late, his first words were always, ‘Did Shuilian eat today?’ Hahaha!” She could not help but laugh loudly, causing Su Shuilian to turn red.
Yes, since the day she had stayed in her room sewing and forgot to eat lunch, Lin Si Yao took on the habit of asking the innkeeper and his wife everyday if she had eaten. So much so that they had realised his temperament, and if Su Shuilian did not call for lunch that day, they would take the initiative to send someone up with food, or else they would face ice cold pressure from Lin Si Yao. If this scared away their incoming customers; in the end, they would be the ones at a disadvantage.
“Don’t say anything else, in Fan Hua Town, Lin Si Yao is the most doting spouse.” Aunt Tian who was with her daughter, sitting on the same table could not help but add while eating.
“But of course, look at this Shui girl, her skin is especially tender, how could he let her do any work.” Aunt Lao continued after she had added a few more sides into her daughter’s bowl. The first time she had met Su Shuilian, she was attracted to her elegant and pure temperament, and could not help but want her as her daughter-in-law. She had made a fool of herself then. Just look at her now, she was already taken and about to wed. As for her second son, Lao Yongqiang… sigh, it seems he was not as blessed. Thinking of this, she swept her eyes to him who was sitting next to his father. She could not help but continuously sigh internally.
“What Lao sis said is correct. When I first met Shui girl, I was stunned. Really pretty and quiet girl, kinda like those fairies that descended from heaven.” Aunt Tian continued to talk as she laughed and thought back.
She had been to every festival in Fan Lou City, but she had never met a girl as delicate and feminine as Su Shuilian. Fortunately, she had heard from her husband that Lin Si Yao knew martial arts, and was quite adept at it too. She would not have to worry for Shui girl being bullied by people with ill-intent.
To say, for a peasant, it really depends on the family if they can raise a daughter. For a loving family to birth a beautiful daughter, that is a good thing. For a family with a poor financial situation or family circumstances, well the outcome really depends. One bad move would turn into a large disaster.
The in-house banquet was eaten wholeheartedly and did not end until the end of Wei time (1pm to 3pm). Every house’s poniang, daughter-in-law, and daughters quickly helped clean up the dishes, rendering Su Shuilian clueless and speechless.
“It may be because Feng Laoliu had mentioned that everyone would be paid if they helped.” Lin Si Yao said while helping Su Shuilian who was staggering a bit after two cups of wine. Worried, he asked, “Can you walk?”
Su Shuilian nodded her head. This liquor was quite strong, just two cups and the ground looked very shaky. If she was already like this, then what will happen tonight? Aunt Lao said, noon was just the tip of the iceberg, the real big party was tonight.
Oh… Su Shuilian became gloomy, in the future, she would have to learn to brew some alcohol that is not as strong, like previously, when her brother brought back that grape wine from France.
In the end, Su Shuilian was brought back to their house with the help of Lin Si Yao, holding her waist. Fortunately, because of the intense sun, everyone stayed at home. The ones who had witnessed this scene were the families invited to their banquet, so the only reactions were further teasing, but none with ill-intent.
“Don’t worry and take a short nap, I’ll be outside.” Lin Si Yao said as he let Su Shuilian down onto the bed and pulled the blanket to her chest. Then, he walked to the backyard, seeing that the wolves had finished their bowl of meat soup and rice and had gone to sleep in their dog house, he picked up the empty bowl and rinsed them at the water tank. He filled them with water and placed the bowls in front of the doghouse, so that the wolves could drink after waking up.
With this, he went back into the main room to prepare for their wedding event.
Following the instructions that Aunt Lao had said, he collected the previous food offerings and put them onto two large plates and refilled the previous six plates with new desserts and fruits. He then changed the tea and wine cups as well. He took the used candles and incense and put them in the miscellaneous cabinet in the kitchen to be used for future nights. He placed new candles and incense into the candle holders and censer.
When everything was completed, he walked back into the bedroom and saw Su shuilian was still sleeping soundly. Maybe it was because of the multiple cups of sorghum wine he had drank, Lin Si Yao fell asleep on the other side of the bed…
Su Shuilian had dreamt again back to her previous Su House. In this dream, she had told everyone about her wedding, resulting in various reactions from everyone, anger, sadness, disappointment, gloat, but only her mother, Li Ruxi, smiled and nodded at her: who cares if he was a killer, as long as he loves you, that’s all that matters.
Her mother must be comparing it to her life. Father… favored second wife over her. But because of her First Madam position, she was forced to smile and endure. It must have been because of this, that since she was young, she had rarely seen her mother truly laugh from the heart.
Su Shuilian watched reluctantly as she saw Li Ruoxi who had maintained a strong front all her life slowly start to disappear in front of her. She could not help but reach out to grab her, shouting, “Mother……mother…”
Who? Calling out her name so gently, yet anxiously. Su Shuilian wiped her tearful eyes. Mother, you have to take care of yourself.
“Shuilian…” Someone was calling out her maiden name again and again. She curiously opened her eyes. Where is this?
Oh yes, this was the her bedroom that she would soon share with Lin Si Yao. And today was their happy marriage day.
Ah! Realising this, Su Shuilian sat up. With two cups of sorghum wine, she had passed out instead of taking a short nap. There was still so much to do.
“Don’t worry, we still have some time until the event.” Lin Si Yao’s low voice sounded by her ear, scaring Su Shuilian. She turned her head and saw Lin Si Yao sitting on the bed beside her looking at her with bright eyes, wearing only his inner clothes.
“You…” Su Shuilian turned bright red before covering her eyes, “Shouldn’t you quickly put some clothes on!”
“Don’t overthink.” Seeing her reaction, Lin Si Yao was between laughter and tears. “Your tears had soaked my clothes, and since we will soon change into our wedding gowns, I just took off my outer clothes.”
When Su Shuilian heard his explanation, she thought back to her dream and dazed off a bit.
“What happened?” Lin Si Yao helped her sit by the bedside, seeing her sad expression, he could not help but frown and ask. Before, he was awoken by her cry, he had thought she was having a nightmare. But how could a nightmare be saddening? His mind flashed with uneasiness, could it be that she had regret her decision of wanting to marrying him? Lin Si Yao subconsciously clenched his fist, causing a few of his finger knuckles to crack from the force.
“I… dreamt of my mother.” When Su Shuilian came back from her daze, she remember her mother’s words: For a husband and wife to be together, mutual understanding is precious. She could not help but become shy. When she turned and saw Lin Si Yao’s whitened face, she reached out to feel his face before asking, “A Yao, are you alright?”
Lin Si Yao shook his head, taking her hands into his, he brought them to his cheeks, “I thought…”
“I dreamt about my mother and the rest of the Su family and told them I was about to marry…” Su Shuilian took the courage to continue, as some words must be said, or else there will be regret, “A Yao, from now on, you are my future…”
“Shuilian… my wife…” Lin Si Yao said with a sigh.
From that sound by her ear, Su Shuilian could not help but feel distress, “A Yao, from now on, if anything happens, let’s not keep it in, and always tell each other.” She will remember her mother’s words, and would try to keep her and Lin Si Yao from taking the same path as her mother and father.
Lin Si Yao solemnly nodded his head, he then took her into his embrace and hugged her for a long time…
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