Chapter 50: A Drunk’s Honest Confession
When they both got home, under Lin Si Yao’s insistence, Su Shuilian reluctantly went to bed. She had thought that she wasn’t sleepy, but when Su Shuilian woke up the sun’s head was already half way down on the west side.
Sitting at the edge of the bed, Su Shuilian patted her forehead and said, “Really, I’ve been becoming more lethargic.”
“You’re up?” Lin Si Yao who was in the main room heard the movement from the room and came in to check.
“Yes. A Yao, are you occupied?” Su Shuilian noticed that he had taken off his outer coat and rolled up his sleeves as if he was in the middle of something.
“Nhm.” Lin Si Yao nodded his head. His lips curved upwards, but he did not disclose any information to her.
Su Shuilian saw this but she did not inquire any further. After knowing him for a month and accompanying him as a wife for a few days, she had gotten to know his temperament. Whenever he answered with a “nhm”, it meant he no longer wanted to talk about the subject.
Su Shuilian got up and put on her outerwear when she suddenly thought of the upcoming winter season, “A Yao, for our winter coats, what kind of embroidery would you like them to have?”
She was unsure of his pattern preference; she had previously sewn on his clothing her brother’s favorites. However, now that they were a couple, it would be best if they knew each other’s preferences.
“Anything’s fine.” Lin Si Yao led her to the dresser and helped her comb her bedridden hair.
“Anything? You don’t have anything you like in particular?” Su Shuilian looked at Lin Si Yao’s blurry reflection in the copper mirror.
“None.” It was more like, he had never cared what design was on his robes. When he was an assassin, the outfit of choice was a black attire. Even Feng Yao Court’s official uniform, it was nothing more than an extra badge on the right sleeve: a golden embroidered vulture.
“A Yao…” Su Shuilian quickly turned around and tightly grasped Lin Si Yao’s hands. The cold air that sudden exuded from his body put her in a fluster.
“I’m ok.” Lin Si Yao hugged her while gently patting her back, trying to calm her panicked mood caused by his memories.
All of that, was in the past. The him now was Lin Si Yao, who she called A Yao. He was no longer the once feared assassin in all of jianghu, Si Ling.
However, he would never forget Feng Yao Court.
Afterall, the place where he had spent more than a decade of his life could be considered his previous home. The life-saving gratitude of the previous master of Fang Yao, he would never forget. And for the new owner’s attempted assassination, of course he would not forget either.
With the debts evened out, he and Feng Yao Court were no longer associated. He will not go back, but if that Feng Qingya continues to dream and refused to let him live, he will not tolerate.
Life, almost losing it once was enough. Moreover, his current life was hers.
“A Yao, this is…” Su Shuilian was surprised to see a new round table set under the cherry tree. The table top was made of limestone and had a chess game board carved on it. Around the table were four round seats made of the same material.
“This was what you were making this afternoon?” She glanced at Lin Si Yao and pouted. He still did not want to say it…
“I just wanted to give you a surprise.” Lin Si Yao raised his brow. Why was she mad instead of being happy with a surprise.
“Yeah, but look at yourself, you hands have so many blisters from working so hard.” She had discovered this when they held hands in the room. However, because of his sudden change in his mood and her fluster, she had forgotten about it. Now that she was in front of the table set, she finally remembered.
“It doesn’t hurt.” Lin Si Yao withdrew his hand and placed it on her shoulder before leading her to the straw-cushioned stone seat. “We can enjoy drinking under the moon here tonight.”
“Just because of this, you had to rush to make this.” Su Shuilian said with heartfelt gratitude as she pulled his hands into hers.
“Of course not. I have already planned to make this, but I just couldn’t find the right materials.” Lin Si Yao smiled at her with an inadvertent display of pity.
“You just made it here?” She sighed with annoyance. Did she fall into a coma or something? He was busy building this stone table which would make so much noise, yet she heard none of it.
“No.” Lin Si Yao shook his head. He could tell what she was thinking from her expression, so he explained: “The previous morning, I found this at the groove of Xiufeng hill and shaped it there. I only had to place it together when i brought it back.” Just two mornings and an afternoon were enough for him to complete a full set of limestone table and chairs.
“Don’t do this next time. There’s nothing to rush, but you’re… doing this again…” Su Shuilian gently stroked the blisters on his hands, her eyes clouded with tears of distress.
Lin Si Yao sighed and pulled her into his embrace. This silly woman, shedding tears for some insignificant blisters. It seemed that in the future, before he returned from work, he would have to check his body for any signs of injuries or else she would cry about it.
He could not help but lean forward, kiss her tear filled eyes and softly say, “It’s only a small matter, Su Shuilian, I really am alright.” He had already suffered more serious blows, these really were just small matters.
“This can not do.” She was angry at his self neglect, “That was before, it’s different from now.” He was her husband now, he was the sun that she relied on, so she could not let him be so indifferent towards his own body.
“How is it different?” Lin Si Yao let out a low chuckle by her ears, wanting her to explain from her own mouth.
“Of course it’s different…” Su Shuilian had wanted to say the words she had just thought of. However, when she looked up at his face and eyes full of laughter, her unfinished sentence was replaced with a heavy fist to his chest.
“Shuilian…” Lin Si Yao grabbed her hand and then left a fleeting kiss on her lips before he softly proposed, “be obedient, we should start to prepare for tonight.”
Only after he had said that did Su Shuilian realise that the sun had already set under the west horizon and it was dusk. There was a faint moonlight that had peaked through the opening of the intertwining clouds on the east side. The opaque clouds passing the moon created a flickering of light and darkness.
On the newly built stone table, candles, incense burner, mooncakes, and fruits were placed one by one.
After lighting the candles and incense, the quiet night became even more peaceful.
From Su Shuilain’s embroidery room, Lin Si Yao took a couple of Urn Bamboo Lanterns and placed candles inside them. This helped ease the wind blowing at the flames and also made it warmer.
“A Yao, the dumplings are ready, where do you want to eat them?” Su Shuilian, dressed in a high-waisted maroon dress, placed her hand on the kitchen door and calmly asked.
The round jujube paste soup dumplings were what Su Shuilian had bought from the city to make for him to try.
At first she had wanted to make sesame paste dumplings, but because she could not find any sesames she could only use the ripe dates from her backyard and crush them into paste. Mixed with red bean paste given from Aunt Lao, sprinkled with sugar, and the sweet-scented jujube paste is completed. As for the wrapping, water was added to the rice flour to make the dough. It was then cut into small pieces and flattened to be filled with the paste. Su Shuilian had never made it before, but she had seen it done by her maids in the past.
From her description, Lin Si Yao was able to grasp the hints. And within an hour’s time, he had been able to make fifty eight soup dumplings from the raw ingredients. Each was perfect without any leak, perfect in shape, and also perfect in size.
What could this mean? He was gifted? Su Shuilian retracted her awe and annoyance before calmly giving half of the batch to Aunt Lao as thanks for the red bean paste. Afterwards, in a corner where Lin Si Yao could not see, Su Shuilian silently laughed: it seemed there was no problem for a killer to change his occupation to a cook.
“It’s not good to consume too much alcohol, (you should) drink less.” Lin Si Yao helplessly supported the somewhat drunk Su Shuilian while he led her to the wooden bench to sit.
After the couple finished their soup dumplings, they sat by the stone table and toasted while facing the moon. Sure enough, after three cups of the osmanthus scented wine, Su Shuilian was visibly intoxicated.
“A Yao, do you believe that there is such a thing called a spirit in this world?” Su Shuilian looked up at the round moon hanging in the sky before she quietly asked.
“Spirits? Maybe.” Lin Si Yao leaned back on the wooden bench and with his hand, he brought her head onto his shoulder.
“Haha… so you do believe in it…. That’s good…” Su Shuilian hiccupped. She sniffed the osmanthus wine from her breath and could not help but mutter, “The osmanthus scented wine here taste really bad.”
“You drank osmanthus scented wine before?” Lin Si Yao looked down at Su Shuilian; she did not seem to be the kind of person to drink much alcohol.
“Nm… Big brother loved to drink wine…. Big brother, he… visited new places would bring local wine specialities back… If in a good mood… he would share some with us…. ” Su Shuilian squinted her eyes; she could not help but reminisce about the time when she and her brother would try and compare different wines. She was drunk, but not completely senseless. However, the alcohol in her system made her more talkative and thus she blurted out her inner thoughts.
“Shuilian…. Your previous family…” Lin Si Yao rested his chin on her head and asked. He did not want to know more of her family, but he was worried. Worried that one day she would return there, a place where he once scoffed at, but could not reach.
“Family? I was more like a caged bird or a frog in a well… If not for my elder brother and mother… I doubt I would even reminisce about them…” Su Shuilian said in a bitter voice.
She questioned her existence, to have given her stepmother and Shuiyan so much resentment. They hated her enough to take her embroidery and to even take her life.
“Shuiyan… I have a sister named Shuiyan… She was born from a different mother… I always thought she was just a little spoiled and short-tempered, but I never thought that…” She could not finish her sentence.
Thinking back to the helplessness she felt when trapped in the wilderness… If there had been no fight to the death between the white tiger and large wolf, if there hadn’t been Xiao Xue and Xiao Chun, if she hadn’t encountered Lin Si Yao, then the times she could have died would be more than a hundred.
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