Chapter 48: Disciple Tuition Fee
Early morning of the fifteenth of the eighth lunar month, Su Shuilian had just finished tidying up the bedroom, and was about to step into the kitchen to help Lin Si Yao make breakfast.
She intended to help but all she could do was set up the plates and deliver items. Lin Si Yao doesn’t allow her to cook. Ever since they have moved in, she had only cooked once.
In other words…
The previous three days, because she was helping Xicui with the paired phoenixes embroidery, she had dumped all of the house chores to Lin Si Yao. But now that she was done with that, she was completely idle. Lin Si Yao did not let her easily touch water (not allow her to do chores). Whether it’s to wash clothes, vegetables, bedding, and any other objects, it was all left for Lin Si Yao to do.
She had wanted to help multiple times, but she quieted down under his gaze.
Hm, ok then, if she can’t do it in the daytime then she will try it again at night. As the two people intertwined side by side, blushing all the way to her neck, Su Shuilian continued to insist that he agree to her request. As a result… she was completely eaten. And even after she had been completely devoured, he continued to joke, “You want to try again tomorrow?”
Oh… And just like that, after four nights, Su Shuilian, Eldest Miss Su, had completely abandoned this tactic.
But of course, how could the delicate her beat the strong him? Moreover, the current split of house chores… wasn’t it too lenient on her? After all, she only have to tidy the bed and choose what they should wear in the morning. The rest of the chores were completed by Lin Si Yao single handedly.
She was just distressed for him to do so much. She wanted to bear part of the burden for him but… since he was so impolite as to manipulate her and devour her whole, then she won’t be polite either. Humph humph, do not think that just because she was from a noble family, she wouldn’t throw her temper. Since she was his wife now, she was naturally qualified to do so.
“Shi Niang*——” With a sudden call from the outside, Su Shuilian was abruptly halted from making her way to the kitchen.
(Shi Niang 师娘 – wife of the Shifu)
“Dabao?” When she saw who had came in, she was relieved.
To unperturbedly call her Shi Niang in the broad daylight, other than Aunt Tian’s cheerful son, Tian Dabao, who else could it be?
“Dabao? Have you had breakfast?” Su Shuilian softly asked while waving to Dabao who had stood near the gates, not daring to come in.
“I’ve already eaten. Shi Niang… my Shifu, he….” Tian Dabao pulled on his clothes as he peered into the courtyard, looking around for a bit. When he could not find Lin Si Yao anywhere, his eyes shown the contradicting feelings of both relief and disappointment.
“Come in first.” Su Shuilian had naturally understood his feelings as she burst out in laughter and waved for him to come in.
The gates of their house were unlocked from the time Lin Si Yao left for the mountains, bringing either Xiao Chun or Xiao Xue, till their return at sunset. It was as though they did not expect any malicious people to enter with ill-intentions at all.
Since it was Lin Si Yao’s decision, Su Shuilian was not worried. With him at home, she was never afraid for her own safety. Furthermore, she took a sweeping glance towards the two wolf cubs that were comfortably lying out in the central courtyard basking in the warm autumn sun. After being alternatively trained by Ah Yao every day, they are looking more like ferocious adult wolves.
Tian Dabao bashfully entered with small steps, following behind Su Shuilian into the kitchen.
“Shi……Shifu……” Upon catching sight of the man in front of the stove who was steaming mantous with his sleeves rolled up, Tian Dabao’s eyes widened. Isn’t this my Shifu? Shifu……he? Why is he cooking in front of the stove like a woman?
He peeked at his Shi Niang, who had done nothing except for placing two chopsticks at the table and smile cheerily at his Shifu. Tian Dabao’s mind was in utter confusion.
“Has your knee recovered?” Lin Si Yao asked without looking up, as he downed his bowl of porridge in a few gulps.
Su Shuilian raised her head and was just about to ask him what he meant when Lin Si Yao stuffed her mouth up with a small corn mantou that prevented her from asking questions.
“All better, Shifu.” Tian Dabao who was sitting by the kitchen door naturally understood the meaning behind Lin Si Yao’s words. The scene of his Shifu feeding his ShiNiang afterwards nearly caused his jaw to drop in shock. Eh? Shifu……Isn’t Shi Niang an adult? Does she still need to be fed? Even his own mother has never fed him before.
Su Shuilian subconsciously looked up and caught sight of the stupefied expression on Tian Dabao’s face. Recalling Lin Si Yao’s feeding actions a few seconds ago, her cheeks couldn’t help but heat up, “Don’t do that again……”
“Do what?” Lin Si Yao was clearly playing dumb. He asked nonchalantly while his hands continued to feed.
“Open up.” His low calming voice had a tinge of joy mixed in. Taken off guard, she subconsciously did as he said, successfully feeding her once more.
“Lin Si Yao.” Coming to her senses, she puffed out her cheeks and growled frustratedly.
“Hehe……” A smile floated on Lin Si Yao’s face as he stroked her meticulously done Lingyun Bun. A few strands of hair that carried a lingering fragrance fell out of place and were put gently behind her ear.
“I’ll bring Dabao to the riverbank, I’ll clean up this place after you’re done eating. Don’t do anything, understand? If not……” Trailing off, Lin Si Yao gave her a enigmatic glance.
Of course, she knew full well what came after “If not……” In an instant, not only did her cheeks flush crimson, even the tips of her ears and neck were dyed red. This man, when did he become so frivolous, daring to do such a thing in the day……does this count? Oh
heavens, he even said it in the presence of a third party.
Seeing off the smiling Lin Si Yao and a dumbstruck Tian Dabao, Su Shuilian clasped her cheeks embarrassedly and was unable to calm down. Yet, this feeling was not bad at all. She even felt……blessed? Oh heavens, did she become strange as well?
Su Shuilian finished eating her breakfast, placing the dishes into the washbasin, she proceeded to wipe the table and wash her hands clean. She had just entered the study, with the intention to do some embroidery and make some clothing for winter when Aunt Tian arrived.
“Aunt Tian? You’re here to see Dabao? Ah Yao is training him in the horse stance right now.” Su Shuilian pointed towards the study’s southern window. From there, one could clearly see the two figures of Lin Si Yao and Tian Dabao at the field by the riverbank, one had his hands behind his back and the other was currently in practising his horse stance.
“Hehe, that brat of mine, after he met your A Yao, his usual stubbornness is nowhere to be found.” Aunt Tian peered out of the window for a while before taking out a few silver taels, roughly amounting up to five hundred coppers.
“Here, girl. Aunt Tian shall do away with the formalities. This here, can be said to be payment for accepting Dabao as a disciple. Please accept them.” Aunt Tian took Su Shuilian’s hand and gave her the silver taels as she spoke.
“No no no, Aunt Tian, what are you doing? A Yao did not accept Dabao as his disciple because he wanted money.” Su Shuilian shook her head and refused to accept the money. It wasn’t because it wasn’t enough, but these taels of silver had to be a significant amount in the Tian family and she could not accept that. She believed that Lin Si Yao too had never intended to earn money by accepting disciples.
“Girl, listen to me, I’ve already spoken to Dabao’s father, these here is Dabao’s ‘disciple fee’ for a year. I know that this is not as much as what the others pay. But……”
“Aunt Tian, I will not accept the money. If you insist on giving, then give it to A Yao.” But, I think A Yao will not accept the money either. Su Shuilian shook her head, adamantly refusing to accept the silver taels.
Aunt Tian hesitantly kept the silver taels that were pushed back into her hands by Su Shuilian, heaving a sigh of relief in her heart. Su Shuilian refusing meant that Lin Si Yao would most likely do the same. These silver taels can be saved up for Dabao’s future.
That mentally stunted son of hers, god knows if he would make a full recovery like the physician said. If he were to remain at the mental age of a nine year-old, which maiden would be willing to be his wife? She could only rely on the fact that Dafu and her were still able to work and save more money so that he would be able to use that when they were no longer around.
It’s just that, she felt bad for not handing over the registration fee despite Dabao acknowledging a master.
With that thought in mind, Aunt Tian spoke a few words with Su Shuilian before walking through the house, walking down the tiled road towards the field by the riverbank. No matter how much is she unwilling to part with these taels of silver, the matter of Dabao acknowledging a martial arts master is an important one and should not be delayed.
Just as she predicted……As Su Shuilian leaned on the southern window, she saw the scene where Aunt Tian was asked to return by Lin Si Yao with a sour expression. She lightly shook her head and laughed.
“Girl……” A reddish hue floated across Aunt Tian’s tanned face. Re-entering the main room, Aunt Tian smiled at Su Shuilian in embarrassment : ”Girl, since the both of you refused to keep it, then I won’t insist anymore. How about this, since today is the Mid-Autumn, if you don’t mind, why don’t you two join us for lunch? We can also treat it as a celebration for Dabao being officially accepted by a master. You don’t have to fire up the stove, alright?”
“That won’t be necessary, Aunt Tian, we’ve already prepared dishes……” Su Shuilian pointed at the snacks that were on the stove, “Look, we’ve even prepared offerings as well.”
“Those can be done at night. Then it’s settled, alright? You and A Yao have to come with Dabao in the afternoon, if not it means that you’re looking down on this Aunt Tian. I’ll go back first to clean up the place. You don’t have to send me off, do what you need to do.” Aunt Tian spoke as she shuffled towards the courtyard door.
Her heart was filled with guilt. Looking at Su Shuilian and her husband refusing to collect any money despite taking in Dabao as a disciple, even instructing him so seriously on the first day while her mind was still thinking of ways to cut costs. She had thoroughly embarrassed herself.
Aunt Tian decided that she must make some presentable dishes when she goes home. That’s right, since Dafu is not working today, she should make him go into the river and catch two fishes to add to the meal.
Su Shuilian saw Aunt Tian’s disappearing figure and didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. However, since Aunt Tian insisted on inviting A Yao and her to the Tian family to spend the Mid-Autumn, she couldn’t just reject her good intentions like that. Pondering whilst leaning against the door of the main room, she went into the kitchen to prepare some gifts to bring to the Tian family as thanks.
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