Crossing the Crowd to Chase Love

Chapter 22: Returning to the Residence
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Chapter 22: Returning to the Residence

The reason why she was able to clearly understand and define the values of gold and silver was due to both of them having market value. If they were exchanged with porcelain or jade, then it would become difficult to bargain. Porcelain was divided into two types–Guan ware[a] and private commercial ware or commoner ware. These two were not the same product thus the price was also not the same. As for jade, that was even more complicated. It was not something she, a female proletariat that had crossed over, would know about.

The woman became gloomy. Spreading her hands, she persuaded: “Then Little Sister also has to let me profit some. It’s not easy to earn capital. Look, I’m just a poor woman with a large household to provide for. That small amount of silver is not enough for my family to eat a few meals with.”

Ruan Zhu faintly smiled: “Older Sister really knows how to tell a joke. My country of Tian Chu is populous and affluent and Lan Zhou is also famous for being the land of fish and rice[b]. While it is not likely that many of the common people are well-off, if one saves well, ten taels of silver is sufficient to pay the expenses of an ordinary family with ten mouths for one whole year. Not to mention, this one terribly admires Older Sister. With one wag of your tongue, Older Sister is able to earn a year’s worth of living expenses. This Little Sister is still worried about surviving in the future!”

Relying on a man to live was not dignified. Wanting to start a business that hasn’t even taken shape yet, one must properly take care of all the checkpoints necessary to start that business. When eating, use some food as an offering to the god of wealth. If one doesn’t pray at the temple properly, unnecessary trouble may come knocking. Being a transmigrator was also not easy, ah!

The woman wailed as she covered her face: “Little Sister, you’ve also seen it. My little shop doesn’t resemble anything. I was planning on using the hard-earned capital from these three chastity belts to improve my storefront. In any case, Little Sister has to leave a way open for me, ah.”

Ruan Zhu deadpanned: “How you want to change the store’s design seems to have nothing to do with me, correct? If I am to buy something, the price must be reasonable and fair. No cheating, no stealing. We are conducting a monetary transaction. If you agree, I’ll buy it. If you don’t, we can forget about this.”

Saying how pitiful you were was useless. I’m not here to be charitable. If you really were starving on the side of the road, then I might be hospitable and help you a bit. But it was extremely obvious that your current situation was much more well-off than how I was in the previous world. Let’s not talk about a gold chastity belt. The previous me would not even have had the chance to see a stainless steel one.

The woman placed her hand on the table and knocked on it, repeatedly howling in grief: “Little Sister, just add five more taels for a total of eighty-five taels of silver. No matter what you do, I won’t sell any lower.”

She still wanted to bargain! Ruan Zhu couldn’t help but to smile.

No matter how good a product was, one still had to look at where it was being sold. If these belts were being sold at Ming Xiang Cui Yu, then they would have a different price tag. A modern product sold in a third-rate store was bound to have third-rate prices–it was the same concept.

This woman described herself as pathetic but Ruan Zhu knew this was simply a trick merchants liked to use. She laughed: “At most, I’ll add two taels of silver. Don’t underestimate these two taels! They’re enough to buy a few hundred catties of rice, more than enough to last a small family for a long time~”

Ruan Zhu took out a silver banknote worth one hundred taels and placed it on top of the table while she gazed at the other party. The meaning was: the price was exactly what we had discussed so do as you saw fit and stop trying to waste time.

The woman foolishly stared at the banknote, her eyes filled with envy and desire. A little while later, she finally wiped away the drool spilling from her mouth and mumbled: “I......I can’t break this.”

No way, wasn’t she in the business of selling gold and silver? She didn’t even have change? Ruan Zhu said to Xiao Feng: “You’re familiar with Lan Zhou. Go find somewhere we can exchange this banknote.”

Doing business but being poor to this extent, this was truly what was called ‘useless’. There were no problems with their merchandise so the problem must lie within how they operate. Xiao Feng disdainfully curled his lip and left with the banknote.

The following period where they waited for Xiao Feng to return was mindlessly boring and idle so they began speaking of their daily family lives. The woman was clearly one that loved to chit-chat and asked Ruan Zhu for her familial name, conveniently introducing herself: “Little Sister Ruan, I’m called Yu Lian Hua. Sister, don’t think of me as a poor one. Actually, my father is Manager Yu of Ming Xiang Cui Yu, who is in charge of selling their precious jeweled ornaments as well as managing their custom orders. In the future if Little Sister wants to buy jewelry, just come find me. With your connection to me, I can give you a 5% discount.”

Ruan Zhu nodded her head. In any case, having a little discount to make things cheaper was always a good thing. But the two servants by her side became disdainful, and opening his mouth, Nuan Qing snorted before saying: “My family’s Miss is not so low as to be unable to even afford that remaining 5%. It’s not as if we’re poor to this extreme.”

The woman called Yu Lian Hua looked at the clothes Ruan Zhu was wearing as well as what was on her head. She then lowered her gaze to glance at her own old and wrinkled attire. This was even her best set that she was only willing to wear when she had to appear in front of others. If she was at home, she would most definitely not wear this. Yu Lian Hua was crestfallen and too embarrassed to continue speaking. Every person lived their own life. Who told her to wed a poor man and for even her secondary husbands to be without future prospects? On the contrary, her maternal family had some wealth, but it wasn’t enough for her large group of brothers to find themselves a wife.

“Impudent! You still haven’t given Elder Sister Yu your sincerest apology?” Ruan Zhu reprimanded Nuan Qing with one sentence.

“My deepest apologies to Lady Yu. This one has misspoke.” Nuan Qing faced Yu Lian Hua and slightly bowed with a cupped fist. With a tiny tilt of his head, he saw the corner of his Master’s mouth was quirked up in a smile as if she wasn’t angry at all, causing him to become pleased with himself in his heart.

“Ha ha, it’s fine, it’s fine.” Yu Lian Hua forcibly laughed twice.

Ruan Zhu did not believe Nuan Qing’s ridicule was false. At the very least, it gave her, his Master, face. She tried to lighten the mood: “So it turns out Manager Yu of Ming Xiang Cui Yu was Older Sister’s father. That’s too much of a coincidence as I had just custom-ordered a set of jewelry. I didn’t know about Older Sister’s connections. If I had known, I would have come here first to buy the chastity belts before going to Ming Xiang Cui Yu to place my order. Maybe I could have even saved some change.”

Thinking of how Mister Peacock was willing to give her 50% off, she inwardly shook her head. Even if that guy was willing to give her the pieces free of charge, his offer was not necessarily one out of kindness, thus it was not one she dared to accept.

Yu Lian Hua was in high spirits again and patting her chest, said: “Don’t worry, Little Sister Ruan. You can just leave this matter to me. In the future when you want to purchase jewelry, how about you just look for me? I can guarantee it will be cheaper.”

As she was saying that, Xiao Feng returned with the exchanged banknote. Ruan Zhu took out eighty-two taels and handed them over to Yu Lian Hua. Instructing her servants to tightly hold onto the cases containing the chastity belts, they left the shop.

In high spirits, Yu Lian Hua waited until her customers had walked far away before lifting up the shiny silver coins and fiercely kissing them.

Her small shop was both dirty and small so wealthy personages disdained to even enter.

They relied on the copper coins earned from selling ordinary trash goods to the common people but this solution wasn’t enough and she still worried about whether there would be food to eat. Not long ago, she had spent their hard-earned capital on manufacturing a few chastity belts solely to improve their situation. Luckily, her principal husband was knowledgeable about handicrafts so for every expenditure, they were able to reduce costs and even unexpectedly made around seventeen to eighteen taels. But that amount was not enough to fix their storefront, so it had seemed as if she needed to borrow money from her maternal home. It was still the wealthy that let others be really envious, ah. In the future if there was an opportunity, she had to somehow worm her way into being friends with that female customer. It would be best if she could still gain some small advantages from this connection.

Yu Lian Hua safely put away the silver and raised her head to see some of her husbands clearing away the tea and cups. Her cheerful expression immediately turned into a scowl and she opened her mouth to abuse them roundly: “A whole group of useless trash that don’t even know how do to business. It’s been a few days yet none of you have managed to bring a meal’s worth of coin for this lady. If it wasn’t for this old lady being so good at persuasion to capture such a large transaction, all of you would have been sacked and made to scram!”

All of the secondary husbands kneeled on the ground in silence as they endured their wife’s raging. Only the principal husband faintly smiled as he carried the leftover tea and cups into the kitchen, not paying attention to his wife’s anger.

............

Thus, by the time Ruan Zhu and her followers returned home, it was already past noon. After walking for over half the day, her legs were limp and painful so she did not even object when Nuan Qing came over with steaming water for her to soak her feet in. Her two husbands had yet to return. If they had, this would have been their job. She had become accustomed to being served so very naturally accepted Nuan Qing’s offer of a massage.

Nuan Qing had served his Master for many years now and was especially skilled in foot massages. As Ruan Zhu experienced his dual-hand method of massaging, her entire body loosened and her exhaustion vanished. She reclined on the chaise lounge and failed to notice that as Nuan Qing was massaging her pair of small and white feet, a very satisfied expression had emerged on her face. His fingers attentively kneaded all the acupuncture points in her feet. The strength was perfect, causing the blood vessels in her feet to circulate throughout her entire body.

Nuan Chun carried a basin of ice cubes inside. Seeing Nuan Qing’s current position, a trace of envy appeared in his eyes. The ice cubes were meant to relieve the summer heat so he placed them on the table next to Ruan Zhu. He started tidying up the clothes she had changed out of, planning to leave to wash them.

But just at this moment, a sound came from the door. Yun Shi Wei had entered the living room and leapt through the moon gate leading to the bedroom just to see Nuan Qing holding his wife’s pure white small feet, continuously massaging. Eyes blazing with anger, he shouted: “Dog slaves, this is what you both ought to do to live–scram outside for this father!”

Nuan Qing had been in a trance and immediately became frightened, his face losing color. Carrying the water basin, he hurriedly followed behind Nuan Chun in leaving the room.

“What’s with you? For you to return like this, how many catties of gunpowder did you inhale while you were out for half a day?” Ruan Zhu had been seen ‘committing adultery’ by Yun Shi Wei and felt rather embarrassed. If this was her previous world, this would have been cause for divorce. “Isn’t it just washing feet? That’s also worth raising such a temper for?”

“Then you should wait for me to return to personally wash them for you. How would it be regarded as if others did it?” Yun Shi Wei wanted to quibble as he had been rebuked as if he was in the wrong.

“They’ve washed me for quite a lot of years now and previously have always served me in bathing. How come I never saw your shadow, hmm?” Ruan Zhu faintly responded to him and returned to reclining on the chaise lounge. But she had actually been frightened by the words she just spoke. The leftover memories in her brain confirmed it was true that Nuan Qing and Nuan Chun had served the original owner for multiple years now. The relationship between the master and her servants had depth, so saying there were no feelings between them was false. Fortunately, they have been wearing a chastity belt for all of these years. Otherwise, wouldn’t something have occurred between master and servant?

Ah, the chastity belt truly was an invention worthy of the greatest admiration.

On the topic of chastity belts, Ruan Zhu’s curiosity was ignited and she moved to get up from the lounge chair. But at that moment, Yun Shi Wei stretched out his two wolf claws towards her tiny white feet, each hand grasping onto a foot and kneading. Lifting a small foot near his mouth, he opened his mouth and sucked on two of her toes. His lips moving, the sound of lips smacking could be heard almost as if he was sampling something.

Ruan Zhu playfully threw a glance at him: “Second Cousin, you’ve become foolish. How could you eat my toes?”

Her toes were continuously being sucked into his mouth and from her insides came a trace of a shiver that was like an electric current moving from her leg up to the rest of her body. From her underbelly, a nice and warm flame invaded her intellect and reason......

It turns out having even her toes kissed and sucked was enough to captivate her.

“Spouse, your toes are very delicious.” Yun Shi Wei responded huskily.

Ever since the day he had bruised her during intercourse, his eldest brother had banned him from touching her for half a month. He had just had a taste of love after so long, so how could he endure it? These few days when she was absent at night had truly been difficult to get through. Every night, he would flop around in bed, unable to sleep, before finally running outside to soak in cold water.

Ruan Zhu looked towards the space between his hips. There was already a small tent pitched and at the top of the tent, there was a wet patch about the size of a fingernail. This guy was way too enthusiastic, right?

He continued to plant kisses near her ankle and moved upwards. Pushing up the hem of her trousers, the sight of her bare, delicate white calf appeared. His pupils darkened and he extended his tongue to lick at her leg, opening his mouth to take hold of a lump of her white flesh.

He was acting like this again?

After this, her skin would once more be bruised. Was he not worried of being punished by his eldest brother?

[a] 官窑 (Guan ware), one of the Five Famous Kilns of Song dynasty China, famous for their trademark random cracked lines as decoration (Wikipedia)

[b] 鱼米之乡, idiom meaning fertile region

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