Chapter 42: Extra Quincuncial Piles?
At Mao-time (5am-7am), Xicui knocked on the door of their house. The person who had opened the door was the refreshed looking Lin Si Yao. As for Su Shuilian, the Eldest Miss Su, she laid limply on the bed, unable to take a single step.
Lin Si Yao begin first he led Xicui to the embroidery room first to let her begin sewing. He then made his way to the kitchen and brought warm water to their bedroom and helped Su Shuilian clean herself.
“Did you do this deliberately?” Su Shuilian’s whole body blushed as she helplessly let him help her up. She could not help but mutter as she stared at his refreshed look.
Lin Si Yao chuckled but didn’t reply. After tidying up her clothing, he wrung a wet towel and gently wiped her face with it. With a toothbrush and cup of water in his hands, he waited for her to finish cleaning.
“I can do it myself.” Su Shuilian took the wet towel and plastered it on her face hoping it would help hide her blushing face.
Lin Si Yao found this scene comical. He took the wet towel off her face and handed her a toothbrush as he smiled and explained in a low voice, “Shuilian, we are newlyweds, other people will naturally understand.”
Su Shuilian’s face burned even more when she heard his explanation. She quickly gave him a sharp look as she brushed her teeth under his smiling gaze then rushed to the embroidery room.
Su Shuilian stood by Xicui’s side and quietly watched her finish embroidering a branch before she smiled and complimented: “Xicui, you’re doing good on the coiling branches. Later, for the lake, use a double chain stitch (交叉绣), that will make the ripples on the water more prominent.”
“Ok.” Xicui happily nodded her head. She never expected she was able to complete a branch with such a difficult stitch. This really boosted her confidence.
What her mother said was correct, in the aspect of embroidery, Su Shuilian’s skills would take her many years of devotion to develop. Previously she had only really used the straight stitches (直针), and the rest of her needleworks were also flat, Xicui decided to use this opportunity to learn all sorts of needlework techniques from Su Shuilian. When she married into her husband’s family, she would be at least be well versed in a single skill. And in addition, such exquisite embroidery can be sold for money.
And so, Xicui looked up and gave Su Shuilian a grateful nod before she looked down and continued on her work.
Su Shuilian was relieved when she saw that Xicui did not refute her proposal and instead agreed wholeheartedly to it.
She could not help but think back to her own younger (half) sister, Shuiyan. From time to time she would also ask her for critiques, but her honest reply would make her unhappy. Sometimes, Shuiyan would aim her temper at her as if it was her who had purposely done it. Therefore, even the perfectionist her, learned to gradually accept Shuiyan’s lacking embroidery skills and focused on her own work. It must have been from that point on that she and Shuiyan’s relationship turned for the worse, right?
Secretly shaking her head, Su Shuilian bent her neck down as she started to focus on embroidering the phoenixes.
At noon, Aunt Lao came into the courtyard with another food basket: “A Yao, are they still not going to come out today for lunch?” She lightly asked when she quietly made her way to Lin Si Yao who had just finished drying the clothing and was currently weeding the front lawn.
Lin Si Yao pondered a bit before replying: “They will come out and eat today to loosen their muscles.”
When Aunt Lao heard Lin Si Yao’s reply, she quickly nodded her head and agreed: “Right right right, then I’ll just put the food in the kitchen and you’ll remind them to eat later, right?” It was fine for her daughter, but if something were to happen to Shuilian, she would not be able to withstand a causal hit from this powerful man in front of her.
Lin Si Yao laughed and shook his head as he watched Aunt Lao quickly rush in and out of the kitchen before running out of their house. He then crouched down and continue to clear out the weeds.
Lin Si Yao had read through some of the agricultural books yesterday, with thoughts of taking advantage now to learn how to grow/plant sweet potatoes. So when winter comes, there would be a wider variety of food that they could eat. And so after he watched Su Shuilian finish a bowl of porridge and half a steamed mandarin roll, Lin Si Yao went to the city. When he got there, he bought a bunch of sweet potato seeds to plant individually once he got back. As for the rest of the open space, he divided it into three field ridges and planned to use the seeds that Fang poniang had given Shuilian. He plant the ones that would be suitable for winter.
After weeding and loosening the soil, Lin Si Yao went outside the fence, to the river pier, to wash his hands and face.
He swept a glance at the Quincuncial Piles, his eyes flashed with mirth. His woman would have never guessed the reason for him to set up/request Quincuncial Piles (to be built). With his martial arts skills, he had no need for these stiff practice fields. He was prompted by a sudden impulse as he thought about the child he will have with Su Shuilian in the future.
As he stood by the river and bathed in the sun’s warmth, Lin Si Yao pictured the peaceful and blissful life ahead of him before he headed into the kitchen: he intended to call the two for lunch.
The two wolf pups, who had already smelled the red braised pork in the basket, could not help but circle around the rectangular table where the food was placed. If they hadn’t known about the severe consequences that followed, they would have long stolen the meat from the table.
The two wolf puppies coveted the food basket. However, when they saw Lin Si Yao come in, they tilted their heads and wagged their tails. They continue to act coquettishly and hoped that like yesterday, he would drop a few pieces of meat for them to eat to their hearts’ content.
Yes, it was the braised pork from yesterday. However, because Su Shuilian refused to come out to eat, Lin Si Yao had to pick out two thin, fatless pieces and sandwiched it each into a bun and brought it into the embroidery room. As for remaining three pieces, he ate one and gave the rest to the wolves as they become weak without meat in their meals.
And with that thought, Lin Si Yao decided to go into the mountain and hunt for more animals for the wolves to eat. And with that, he could also collect more fur for the winter to make Su Shuilian things such as fur cuffs, fur knee pads, and a furry waistcoat. Since he had his inner force, the cold weather did not bother him, but Su Shuilian was different. It was only early autumn and she already had to put on two layers of clothing. When winter comes, wouldn’t she freeze to death?
He could tell that she was from a prestigious family. Then for her, during the winter seasons, she would stay indoors in her well-heated house. But now, even though they had a Kang, it could not compete with the rich familys’ heated houses.
With that thought in mind, Lin Si Yao placed the plates from the basket individually onto the table. He then took out two thin pieces of meat and placed it inside the wolves’ large soup bowl before adding two steamed buns in it. He glanced at the wolves as he brought the bowls to the front of the dog house, as if telling them not to be too greedy.
The wolf cubs devoured the meat and gnawed on the bun as they pitifully stared up at Lin Si Yao. However, they quickly changed their expressions after they heard him say: “we’ll go hunting later this afternoon.”
Lin Si Yao laughed as he shook his head before he turned and made his way to the embroidery room to call Su Shuilian and Xicui for lunch.
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