Crossing the Crowd to Chase Love

Chapter 3: Road Crash
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Chapter 3: Road Crash


[1] 里 | li | unit of measurement that has varied over time but has now been standardized to 500 meters; Wikipedia

[2] 时辰 | sichen | time system comprising of 12w to-hour periods of the day; one sichen is the equivalent of two modern hours

Now that she is being treated so carefully by an ultra-handsome guy that was most definitely considered eye candy, her vanity was truly satisfied.

While she was getting dressed, Yun Shi Wei, who was still asleep on the bed, sleepily muttered: “Zhu Zhu, wait a bit. Second Cousin is here to help you change.”

Ruan Zhu was frightened by the sudden noise, but couldn’t help but smile after seeing that Yun Shi Wei turned and went back to sleep after he finished speaking. Yun Shi Yi also smiled: “This guy is simple-minded, if he’s not eating then he’s sleeping. We don’t have to mind him, let’s get dressed first. Oh, I should be referring to myself as ‘husband’. In a bit, this husband will style your hair in a zhuimaji and dress you up beautifully to go out.”

坠马髻 | Zhuimaji Hairstyle

坠马髻 | Zhuimaji Hairstyle

It’s undeniable that Yun Shi Yi is an extremely outstanding man with a handsome appearance and a gentle and warm temperament. Though it’s currently unknown how many assets he holds, but just from looking at the room’s decorations, he should be very well-off. If they were in a later generational period, who knows how many women would chase after him.

A pity that the memories in her head regarding this world aren’t complete. The majority of them were in fragments and she had no way to search for the remaining parts.

After she finished dressing, a servant boy brewed tea and carried a bowl of water for her to wash her face.

Ruan Zhu’s two personal servants are both pretty boys that came from her dowry. One of them is called Nuan Chun, the other is Nuan Qing.[a] Listening to these names, one can tell these servants have a special status. They aren’t normal servants because not only do they do the usual work and handicrafts, but at required times, they can also function as bed warmers.

Truly a comprehensive triple service.

Nuan Chun held the comb, preparing to brush his lady’s hair. Before she married, this was his duty but it’s since been stolen from him by Yun Shi Yi.

Starting from yesterday, Nuan Chun had been deprived of the privilege he’s held for many years and it was the same today, too. Nuan Chun’s eyes flashed with disappointment but he didn’t dare go against Yun Shi Yi’s directive and could only wear a respectful expression while carefully exiting the room.

Once everything was ready, a gold buyao was inserted sideways into her brushed hair...She closely examined her features in the copper mirror. What entered her eyes was the appearance of a fourteen or fifteen year old girl. The complexion was very white, coupled with an oval face; small, exquisite nose and delicate mouth; her pair of eyes resembled the bright luster of clear blue water. It was an appearance that caused others to secretly feel deep affection for her.

Multiple gold buyao (步摇 ) as worn by Fan BingBing

It wasn’t the type of appearance that would be described as a ‘calamitous beauty’ but her looks were like a white lily–pure and natural, revealing the clear elegance and cheerfulness of her body and mind.

百合 | White lilies in Okinawa

Not bad. If this was the past life, I could have probably used this face to become a celebrity!

Having slept enough, Yun Shi Wei finally woke up and casually dressed before leaping towards Ruan Zhu to hold her. He placed a kiss on her tender, white face: “Our family’s Zhu Zhu is truly adorable and her scent is amazing too.”

He had great strength and had carelessly hugged her but it caused Ruan Zhu to feel discomfort. She could only pleadingly look at Yun Shi Yi: “Eldest Cousin...“

Yun Shi Yi came over and pushed his brother away: “Go over there. Hurry and see if the carriage is fixed yet. After we eat we still have to return for the first parental visit.”

Contrary to expectations, Yun Shi Wei was also happy and hollered out the window: “Xiao Feng, Xiao Shan, is the carriage ready yet? If not, you better hurry.”

Ruan Zhu couldn’t help but to cover her mouth and laugh while Yun Shi Yi bitterly smiled: “This simpleton.”[b]

Breakfast was relatively simple–one plate of dried bamboo stir fried with meat; one plate of tossed white fungus; one plate of braised pork; one plate of braised lion’s head; six types of small desserts; and one beef and pumpkin soup.

笋干炒肉 | Dried bamboo stir fried with meat

清拌银耳 | Tossed white fungus

红烧肉 | Braised pork

红烧狮子头 | Braised lion’s head

Various types of buns and pastries

牛肉南瓜汤 | Beef and pumpkin soup

Yun Shi Wei was the type of guy that must have meat at every meal, hence the braised pork and the braised lion’s head were all cleaned by him alone. Ruan Zhu and Yun Shi Yi preferred lighter foods, but Ruan Zhu didn’t have an appetite after waking. After only having a bowl of soup and half a piece of dessert, she put down her chopsticks.

Regarding the young married couple’s so-called return to the bride’s parental home, it is done on the third day. The day of marriage is referred to as ‘day one’, and the day after marriage is considered ‘day two’. On the morning of ‘day three’, they must return to visit the bride’s parents. In preparation for this day, relatives had long been prepared for their return with piles of delicious food and drinks and were waiting with hearts full of joy.

In this world, the visit to the parental home was not to the bride’s family but to the husband’s family. A woman’s status at home is high so she can return to her parental home whenever she likes; therefore, there’s no need to ask for her husband’s approval. On the contrary, a husband wanting to visit his parental home with his wife had difficulties among even more difficulties. A wife had so many husbands, there will inevitably be bias towards one or a few males thus there’s a large gap between those that had favor and those that didn’t.

Ever since the female population started diminishing hundreds of years ago and the polyandry system was enacted, many social customs also changed. Women could reside near or in their paternal homes and accept courtship offers as they came or could go to their husbands home. Generally speaking, they could go wherever they wanted.

If a man has the ability and assets, he can leave his family’s home to establish himself. This type of man usually had the prospect of becoming a principal husband. Men without ability or with few assets could only become a lowly secondary husbands. If a man was worse than this, he could only wait to be sold as a servant. Perhaps by relying on their good looks or their ability to run small errands, they could become bed warmers. Then, if they received favor, they might even be able to have the wife give birth to their children.

To increase the population size, even the most average and lowest of servants will be sold or sent to some destitute women to be their lowly concubine. Of course, these impoverished women were more than pleased to accept cheap men to help with the arduous domestic labor and to earn money to support the family.

The laws of Tian Chu only helped the upper echelons of society that had ability. It wasn’t considered a great injustice if people with no talent were hacked to death in the middle of the street by the nobility. However, this was only true if the one being hacked was a man. If it was a woman, it would of course be a different matter.

So many laws and regulations have been changed but the one unshaken rule is that all children born must inherit the father’s family name–this was in order to pass on the household register.

Ruan Zhu only knew that the two Yun brothers are involved in business, but the specifics were still unclear. Looking at the Yun residence, she found their house was in a style not commonly seen. There were three buildings with side courtyards on either side. The entire estate was covered with engraved blue brick and tile, depicting a multitude of birds in various aspects of flight. Overall, the residence was very grand and imposing, and the number of servants currently in use also numbered above ten.

The place she crossed over to is called Lan Zhou which is one thousand li[1] away from the capital, and happens to be the second largest city after the Imperial Capital. The Yun brothers’ parents are the landlords of a certain village outside the city. Using a horse-drawn carriage, it would take the greater half of one sichen[2] to arrive.

Yun Shi Yi carried Ruan Zhu into the carriage. Yun Shi Wei was about to enter as well but was pushed out by Yun Shi Yi, who scolded him: “Go to the front to drive the carriage, there is no need for you here.”

“Having Xiao Feng and Xiao Shan drive is enough. Besides, there’s no room to sit up front.”

“Go be their guide. It’s so crowded in the carriage that it can’t fit three people.” The inside of the carriage was filled with presents to give to relatives, but it was an exaggeration to say that it was crowded. Don’t talk about just seating three people, it was possible to fit even three more.

“It’s not like they don’t know the road. The hell you mean I should be a guide?” Yun Shi Wei was so angry he glared at Ruan Zhu. This was the difficulty of being a secondary husband, but who told him to not have any ability? Using his eyes to show grievance to Ruan Zhu, he hoped that she’d say a few words in his favor.

Ruan Zhu received his distress signal but pretending not to see it, turned her head to glance at the scenery outside the window.

Stamping his feet, Yun Shi Wei could only squeeze in with the servants.

The carriage slowly traveled atop the the limestone pavement. Lan Zhou was worthy of being called Tian Chu’s second largest city. On both sides of the road were multi-storied buildings featuring businesses of all kinds. Each shop owner stood at their storefronts, enthusiastically calling potential customers inside to shop around.

There was heavy traffic and pedestrians walked to and fro, causing the streets to be bustling with activity. There were so many things that Ruan Zhu had never seen before–a shadow puppet show being performed by the side of the road; a performing troupe popular among the general citizens; various people trying to sell their skills; vendors shouting loudly in an attempt to sell their sham products; someone pulling a donkey along the street; a man using a shoulder pole to deliver goods; there was even a unicycle cart...That kind of cart she had only ever seen in picture books when she was young. She never expected to be able to see the actual thing.

Probably something like this

This is such a good version of the Along the River During the Qingming Festival painting!

A famous painting depicting commoners’ every day life during a festival. Wikipedia

Feeling that everything in the ancient world was so novel, Ruan Zhu supported herself by holding onto the window frame while continuing to look outside with interest. Seeing that she liked the view, Yun Shi Yi opened the window completely to let her freely observe her surroundings while explaining the sights to her: “You’ve never been to this state city since your mother’s family is far away from here, so let me be your guide. This is Yuping Restaurant, which is the largest restaurant in Lan Zhou. Their buns, commonly called Hibiscus buns, are the best with their unique flavor and their neat appearance. I’ll take you to eat some one day. Ah, that nearby house is Mingyue Restaurant. They’re most famous for their duck dish. Even the emperor’s relatives[c] will travel thousands of li to have a full duck feast. This following place is Lan Zhou’s most luxurious inn, called Tianyi Pavilion[d] . This inn’s owner is no one else but me, this husband. Tianyi Pavilion is currently making a profit but because it’s only been open for less than two years, its reputation has yet to spread. But after some time, I believe profits will advance to where we’ll be swimming in gold.”

‘Inn’, that should be something like my past world’s ‘hotel’, right?

Her hubby was so rich. When you want to go out, there’s a car. All right, it’s a horse-pulled car[e], but it conserves resources and doesn’t pollute the air. And he also has a house. Even though it’s not a skyscraper with extensive rooms and it doesn’t have a flushable toilet, there’s still a garden that can be considered villa-level. As for the inn...not sure if it offers karaoke, pop groups, and other various performance acts there?

A little while later, the carriage arrived at the city gates. Perhaps due to the city’s archways being too narrow, but it only possible for two carriages to safely cross at one time. If there was a third carriage, the probability of a collision occurring would be high.

The Yun carriage advanced along with another carriage and steadily entered the archway. However, from the other direction came yet another carriage rapidly charging headfirst into the other two carriages, seemingly aiming for the gap between them.

With a loud “bang!” the incoming wagon collided into their carriage, and the violent impact caused Ruan Zhu to slam against the wall. Yun Shi Yi had also staggered but seeing Ruan Zhu on the floor, hurriedly stretched out his hand to pull her close. However, he was late by a step. “Ah...,” Ruan Zhu stifled her groan, one hand covering her head, in too much pain to speak.

“Zhu Zhu.” Yun Shi Yi held her and removing her hand that was covering her head, uncovered the originally bright and clean forehead that was now red and swollen. In a blink of an eye, a big bruise half the length of a thumb took form. His heart hurt and the feeling was more uncomfortable than if he himself was the one injured. Using his hand to gently massage the bruise, he asked: “How is it, Zhu Zhu? Does it hurt?”

Ruan Zhu head hurt so badly, she thought it was going to crack open. Her eyes were filled with teardrops but she strove to not let them fall. Hearing Yun Shi Yi’s questions, she shook her head back and forth.

Yun Shi Yi kicked the carriage door open, and bellowed at Yun Shi Wei, who was sitting in the driver’s seat: “You despicable guy, what are you doing?! Something so simple as driving a carriage can even result in an accident. What did you dare to eat that gave you such nerve? If you don’t know how to drive, then just get out. No one will force you to stay.”

Yun Shi Wei stammered: “Eldest Brother, it wasn’t my fault. It’s their carriage that came from the other side and crashed into us.”

Hearing this, Yun Shi Yi became angrier, his eyes stormy. “Then you don’t know how to dodge? Are you waiting for death?”

Fortunately, the collision between the two carriages was just that their cart shafts had gotten stuck. For the most part, both humans and horses were unhurt though the latter was frightened. If it wasn’t for the two carriages being truly stuck together, one would fear that the horses would long have run wild.

车辕 Cart shaft = wooden “poles” sticking out on left where the horses would be hooked to

This was the first time that Ruan Zhu had seen him become angry so she used her hand to pull at his clothes: “Eldest Cousin, don’t be angry.”

Seeing her pale face and that her eyes held a trace of fear, Yun Shi Yi’s face slowly relaxed and he used his hand to slowly stroke her back: “Don’t be afraid, Zhu Zhu. This husband isn’t angry at you. It’s just that he shouldn’t have let you get hurt.”

“I’m fine. It’s just a small bruise that will heal in a few days. It’s also not Second Cousin’s fault.”

A young female descended from the opposite carriage, and her skirt swayed with each step as she walked over. While she was not the most beautiful, her appearance was full of a fox’s charm. Coming near them, she pulled on Yun Shi Wei’s arm and smiled: “I was just thinking who this was. Isn’t this Yun family’s second oldest son? Sweetheart, I didn’t think I’d see you here of all places. I haven’t seen you scoundrel for a while, but you still really exceeded my expectations. How could you have become someone’s secondary husband? Elder Sister feels so distressed. How about you come with this Elder Sister somewhere to chat and reminisce?”

There was only two meters between the carriage interior and the outside, thus from the open door, Ruan Zhu was able to see everything clearly. Feeling confused that this ancient woman dared to solicit males in the middle of the street, she asked: “Eldest Cousin, who is she? She dares to scold Second Cousin while spewing those words?”

Regarding the relationship between the two of them, if it was matters of love, it wasn’t good to be the one standing between them. But once she thought of Yun Shi Wei potentially having a foot in both camps[f], she truly became indignant. Both eyes blazing, she internally made a sound of anger. Hmph! She, Ruan Zhu, is not that easy to bully. If he wants to leave, that’s fine, but he better be prepared to pay the price.

The author has something to say: She’s only transmigrated for one day, but this little girl is getting better and better and is planning to eat the two brothers.

[a] 暖春 Nuan Chun Warm Spring; 暖情 Nuan Qing Warm Feelings

[b] I’m not fond of this translation. 劣货 was used and it means ‘poor quality goods’/’inferior goods’

[c] 皇亲国戚 literal meaning is ’emperor’s relatives’ but idiom meaning is ‘people with powerful connections’. Both meanings work here.

[d] There’s actually a library with the same name in China but I’m not sure of the relevancy (Wikipedia)

[e] She makes a pun here. 车 is car and by adding a horse (马) in front, it becomes carriage (马车).

[f] aka have an affair

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