Early the next morning, Yun Shi Yi took Ruan Zhu to Tian Yi Pavilion to play. Since the day they wed, he hadn’t yet had the chance to take her to see his business that was in actuality, hers. Everything that he owned was hers, including his very person. There was nothing for him to selfishly conceal.
A magnificent three-storied building grandly stood on the most prosperous commercial street in Lan Zhou. There was a plaque above the entryway bearing the three words ‘Tian Yi Pavilion’ in gold lettering against the black background.
Ruan Zhu followed Yun Shi Yi inside and broadly surveyed her surroundings/the inside. They were in a lounge with an area of several hundred square meters and greeted with a floor completely paved with celadon brick tiles.
On both sides of the entrance stood two rows of neatly dressed, beautiful young men that offered amiable smiles as they bowed in greeting to each guest. With the arrival of each patron, one of the men would immediately step forward and lead the way.
Under Yun Shi Yi’s guidance, Ruan Zhu went on a tour around the place.
Right beside the main reception hall was a banquet area used to conduct dinner parties or feasts. There were also several private rooms that offered guests the option of having a quiet meal or to leisurely relax. The second and third floors provided accommodations. All of the articles in use were tastefully selected, from the large decorations such as paintings and furniture, to the smaller items such as cups, dishes, and other utensils. Everything was luxurious and chic but did not lose their elegance.
Yun Shi Yi led Ruan Zhu into his office and had her sit on a red sandalwood couch engraved with the scene of the Eight Immortals crossing the sea.[a] She contentedly kicked her legs back and forth. Her hubby was so wealthy. Using terms from her past life, he should be someone with a net worth of several hundred million dollars, right? Just this red sandalwood couch bed alone would be considered a top-grade treasured antique in the future. She didn’t know how many collectors would be green with envy, hmm?
She couldn’t help but to think of the frame bed in his Wutong Courtyard in the Yun manor. That one was also made of red sandalwood. If that bed could be relocated to their Yun residence in the city, it would be amazing. Lying down next to her hubby on that priceless bed every night was also a kind of spiritual pleasure.
Red sandalwood had been eradicated in China as early as the Ming dynasty. The emperor had then greedily set his sights on Southeast Asia and assigned people to cross the ocean to purchase some. Not long after, the supply of red sandalwood trees there had also basically been exhausted.
As one can imagine, red sandalwood is extremely precious.
Ruan Zhu originally did not know about red sandalwood. But in college, one of her classmate’s families and she had gone to their house as a guest. Her friend had wanted to flaunt the item and had said that the box had been passed down in her family over a dozen generations and was more precious than one could ever imagine.
Yun Shi Yi came over with an elaborate case that was one chi long and half a chi wide. The box was delicately engraved, the knife-work as fine as hair. It obviously had not been dyed but there were beautiful green stripes spread throughout the case. With one touch, one’s hand would slide against the glossy exterior, and a wisp of a serene aroma wafted into her nose. In a glance, it was obvious that this was a rare curio.
“This is green sandalwood.”
“Green sandalwood?” Ruan Zhu was startled. She hadn’t known that this sort of tree could also be found in China as she had always thought it only grew in the Americas.
Yun Shi Yi held a gold key and inserted it into the gold lock on top. Opening the lid, he took out a hefty stack of documents and offered it to her. Taking the documents, she realized they were house deeds, land deeds, and silver banknotes worth an exorbitant amount. Looking at these things that flaunted such a large amount of assets caused her to become dizzy.
“Hubby......no......Husband Lord.” Ruan Zhu stuttered. “You indeed are wealthy.”
“All of those things are now yours.”
“Ah?” Ruan Zhu staggered. No way, right? Eldest Cousin, you can’t scare me like this. My weak heart can’t take it. “What are you doing?”
Despite knowing this era had the custom of the wife managing all of her husbands’ assets and property, she had still been frightened. This wasn’t several hundred taels where she might as well accept just because one told her accept. What he was offering was priceless and something that she would not be able to completely use up even over a dozen lifetimes. This person had a problem with his brain.
“Everything that I own is yours, including my own person. How can these few assets compare?”
“No......no, absolutely out of the question.” Ruan Zhu groaned. The other was clearly working hard to make money. For her to take control of everything without lifting a single muscle, that was completely unfair.
“You don’t like it?” Disappointment shone in Yun Shi Yi’s eyes. “Wife, this husband thought you would have been happy.”
“That’s not it, that’s not it.” Ruan Zhu didn’t know what she should say in this situation and impatiently got up from the couch, throwing herself into his arms. “Giving me your entire foundation that you had so painstakingly earned is not fair to you. Don’t talk–I know what you want to say. I completely understand, but you have to let me finish. You’ve already said that you yourself as mine, so you don’t have to insist on giving me all of your property as well.” Seeing him remain taciturn, she switched to another tactic: “How about this, I’ll safeguard the key but you’ll keep the case. This would prove that these assets are both of ours. If you don’t agree, I refuse to take even the key.”
“All right then!” Yun Shi Yi re-locked the green sandalwood box and handed the key over to his wife before putting the case back in its spot. This time, she carefully observed him. It turns out there was a dark space in the wall and with one press of the hidden mechanism, it would open. With the case once again inside, he pressed the button again and the dark hole was hidden from sight. It completely resembled an ordinary wall. If she hadn’t seen him operate it, she would never have guessed there was a strongbox hidden here.
After that, there weren’t really any matters. Ruan Zhu felt weary and laid down on the couch for a nap,
Yun Shi Yi took off his outer robe and covered her with it. Thinking that tomorrow he would have to leave her, he felt stifled in his heart. He lowered his head to press a soft kiss to her lips and gently licked her moist red mouth, careful not to wake her up. Yet when he lifted his head, he discovered her long eyelashes slightly trembling as if they’d lift up at any moment. Sighing, he turned around to focus on his work. He had to settle all the important matters before his departure.
Ruan Zhu napped for a long while. By the time she woke up, it was already afternoon, but she felt refreshed with all of her previous exhaustion swept away.
Yun Shi Yi had finished his work and had long been keeping watch by his wife’s side. Seeing her awake, he called for a manservant of Tian Yi Pavilion to carry in water for her to wash her face with. He personally groomed her. Undoing her messy hair, he re-combed it before twisting it back into a coil. Adorning it with a beaded flower, he also inserted a gold buyao embellished with a sapphire.
“These clothes are what I had some servants buy from an embroidery workshop. Try them on to see if they fit?”
Yun Shi Yi picked up a package from the table and opened it. One glance at the delicate material and she knew its price was not low.
“How much was this?”
Nowadays, all of her clothes were all extremely high-quality goods.
But her husband chose his outfits as he wished. He sought convenience and was indifferent as to whether the material was expensive or not and the colors he usually chose were pale or light ones. Although he was very wealthy, he rarely accessorized himself with rare jewels or jade ornaments. However, this did not mean that he was not someone who did not know how to carefully select for quality. All of those small objects exhibited in his study room were all worthy of being collected. The ‘Four Treasures of the Study’[b] were all high-quality goods–a brush from Huzhou, ink from Huizhou, paper from Xuanzhou, ink stone from Duanzhou. Not only were these materials good and reliable, they were also all created under a famous hand.
“Don’t think about the price.” She wears it well and he’s happy.
Ruan Zhu finished putting it on and let him see. On her upper body was a pale pink garment embroidered with delicate butterflies that flowed like smoke, on her lower body was a streamline pleated skirt in the color of fresh grass. A thin moon-white muslin robe was draped across her back. Her long skirt dragged along the ground, and a cloud belt tied around her waist restricted her movements, accenting how slim her waist was.
She looked like a young daffodil that had just flown down from the Heavens, quiet and delicate beyond compare; a pure person. Yun Shi Yi was looking straight at her and looped his hands around her slender waist. The measurement of her waist just so happened to fit exactly within the confines of his hands.
“Wife, your waist is truly slender.”
“That’s because I haven’t eaten yet.” After she had something to eat, she feared it wouldn’t be like this.
“Hungry?” Yun Shi Yi faintly smiled. “This husband will take you to Yu Ping Restaurant to eat their furong buns[c]. There are over a dozen varieties so you can eat your fill.”
“Then wouldn’t my stomach be bursting with buns?”
Ruan Zhu’s entire heart felt sweet and full of honey. Linking arms with her hubby, they walked out of the study.
The men of Tian Chu were much more outstanding compared to the men of the future. Not only could they earn money outside, the way they treated their wives at home was so good that there were no words to say. Perhaps it was because there were few women so females were more popular, but she had indeed fallen in love with this era. Even though there was no Internet, no flush toilets, and this period also lacked a string of other modern facilities, there was a beautiful romance. Being loved, protected, and taken cared of by the world’s most handsome and elegant man–even if her place was taken by another transmigrated woman, there was no one who would be able to say they regretted transmigrating, right?
She wasn’t sure if it was because the world was too small, but after they had just walked through the entrance of Yu Ping Restaurant, they came face-to-face with Lu Piao Xiang, who had a guqin tucked under his arm. Seeing her, he suddenly came to a stop and stared at her, unconsciously rooted to the spot.
Ruan Zhu also felt surprised. Because they were not familiar, she lightly nodded her head at him before following Yun Shi Yi in walking around him as they entered the restaurant.
Lu Piao Xiang’s eyes followed the beautiful figure as she walked away, all the way until she disappeared after turning a corner on the staircase. Even then, his eyes did not move for a while. It was as if her voice from that day was right by his ear, clearly reciting, “The bright Moon shines in between the pine tree; Over the rocks, the clear spring water runs free......” He had actually become momentarily dazed. (Translation by Alan Ma and Frank Yue)[d]
[a] 八仙过海, the Eight Immortals in Chinese mythology all have a divine power. In one story, they head to a conference and decide to go by boat, relying on their powers, rather than just flying across the sea. (Wikipedia)
[b] 文房四宝, literally translated above, but is also idiom meaning essentials of calligraphy and scholarship. Four items are: brush, ink, paper, ink stone.
[c] I translated these buns as ‘Hibiscus buns’ earlier but I’m changing it to the pinyin because I’ve done some more research and I’m still not sure what exact style of buns they are.
[d] Translation taken from (here).
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