The temperature had been very hot in the capital for many days. There was finally a drizzle yesterday. Although it wasn't a heavy rain, the temperature was finally a bit cooler. When Wei Luo woke up the next morning and stood next the window stretching her waist, there was a cool breeze. She accepted the colorful cup with a chrysanthemum pattern from Jin Lu, rinsed her mouth, and in high spirits, she said, "I haven't gone out in a long time. Let's go outside and walk around."
Because of the recent hot weather, she had been lazy and didn't leave the residence. If she wasn't spending the day sleeping in her inner room, she was sitting underneath the trees to enjoy the relatively cooler air. Other than having to go to classes or visiting her elders to pay respect, she didn't want to move at all. As soon as she moved, her body would be covered in sweat.
It was precisely because of this quality that her cheeks remained so fair and delicate that it seemed as if water could be pinched out of her cheeks while other people became tanned during summer.
Soon, it would their birthday. Chang Hong had already prepared her gift a long time ago, but she didn't even have a clue for his gift. Since she would be going out today, she would look around. If she saw anything that would be suitable for Chang Hong, she would buy it as his gift.
Jin Lu ordered people to prepare a carriage. After Wei Luo finished breakfast and mentioned her plan to Wei Kun, and received his agreement, she left the residence.
The weather was good today. There were many pedestrians with different clothing going back and forth between the various street vendors. There were also teenage girls like Wei Luo outside. Some were wearing veils and some were ridding in their carriages. People came and went. The streets were at their bustling peak with noise and excitement.
A vermillion-lacquered eight treasure-style carriage stopped at jade shop's entrance. A teenage girl wearing a honey-colored top and a brightly colored, gauzy skirt embroidered with flowers and birds stepped down from the carriage. Her skin was better than white snow and her countenance was as fair as flowers and the moon.
It cause the people passing by to cast sidelong glances. Wei Luo was only thinking about going into the store to look around, so she wasn't wearing a veil. She held her skirt as she walked inside the store. There weren't many people inside the store. It could be considered peaceful. There were two young women looking at the items. One was wearing a pink robe and the other was wearing a blue robe.
Seeing her out of ordinary presence, the shopkeeper hurriedly came forward to personally welcome her, "May I ask what this miss is looking for?"
Wei Luo looked around the store, then she tilted her head and asked, "It'll be my younger brother's birthday soon. Is there anything suitable for a young man?"
The shopkeeper repeatedly nodded and led her to the left side towards a black display case outlined in gold, "These are all accessories for men. Miss, please look."
Wei Luo stopped at the gold outlined display case. On the top, there was a dazzling line-up of jade accessories that was a feast for the eyes. In the center of the jade accessories, there was purple tray outlined in gold and decorated with good fortune symbols.
On the tray, there was a white jade hairpin with a carved hornless dragon and an ivory pendant with a carved hornless dragon. Both of these items were very well made. Wei Luo liked them at first sight. She held both of them in her hands to look. Which one would Chang Hong like? When she thought about it, Chang Hong didn't have his capping ceremony yet and couldn’t wear his hair in a cap, so he wouldn’t be able to use the hairpin. She could only give him the ivory pendant.
(T/N: Capping ceremony is the male version of the female adulthood hairpin ceremony except men have it when they’re twenty-years-old instead of fifteen.)
She asked the shopkeeper for the price. The shopkeeper raised his palm and swayed it. "If this miss truly wants to buy it, I'll sell it to you for five hundred silver."
It wasn't too expensive. Just as Wei Luo was going to have Jin Lu pay, she couldn't resist pointing at the other accessory and asking, "And this one?"
The shopkeeper said, "This one is slightly more expensive. It's seven hundred silver."
Wei Luo really liked it. The white jade was exquisite. When she touched it, it was slippery and smooth. She thought of the words "Modest, cautious, and noble character that's as gentle as jade". Her heart thought of a person and she involuntarily thought of him wearing this jade. She hesitantly offered, "Would you be willing to sell them both for a thousand silver? If yes, I'll buy both."
The storekeeper's face showed his hesitation. He finally had a large business transaction and this young woman was liberal with her money. Her offer wasn't too low. No matter how he calculated, he wouldn't be suffering a financial loss. And so, he pretended to be pained as he said, "Since this miss really likes these two pieces, then I'll give it to you at that price!”
Jin Lu came forward to pay. The shopkeeper personally put the two items inside a rosewood box carved with lotuses and brought it to Wei Luo, "Miss, take care."
Wei Luo personally held the box instead of handing it over to Bai Lan. She left the store perfectly satisfied.
Just as Wei Luo was about to enter the carriage and return home, Jin Lu pointed at someone and called out, "Miss, isn't that Yin Lou?"
Wei Luo stopped in front of the carriage and turned around to look. Indeed, it was Wei Zheng's personal servant girl, Yin Lou, and she was wearing an autumn-colored outer robe. She had just come out of a pharmacy and was stuffing something into her sleeve. Perhaps, she was too nervous. When she looked around, she didn't notice them, then she hurriedly left the area.
Jin Lu asked, "Why did she go to a pharmacy? Could Fifth Miss be sick?"
Wei Luo stepped onto the carriage pedal and entered the carriage, "Let's ask after we go back."
After they returned to Pine Courtyard, Jin Lu asked around. Wei Zheng had caught a cold and was in her room resting.
Wei Luo didn’t think anymore about what they had seen.
On the other side, Wei Zheng wasn't actually sick. She was only pretending, so she could have an excuse to send Yin Lou outside to complete a task for her.
Seeing that Yin Lou had returned, she sat up from her couch and asked, "Were you able to buy it? Did anyone see you?"
Yin Lou walked past the divider screen, took out a small white enamel bottle, brought it to Wei Zheng, and whispered, "No one saw me. This is the item that Miss asked for. Miss, please look."
Wei Zheng took the bottle. She didn't have much understanding about this type of item and only read the bottle's label, "Loveable". This was the aphrodisiac she wanted.
Yin Lou secretly knew an old woman in the red light district. Through her contact with the old woman, she was able to obtain this item. This aphrodisiac didn't need to be drunk. It could be used like incense. As long as people smelled this for a while, they would be filled with lust. Their minds and bodies wouldn't be under their control. The feeling would only stop after a man and woman coupled.
Wei Zheng had recently received Song Ru Wei's invitation. Next month, they would be going to Zi Yu Villa.
She heard from Song Ru Wei that Song Hui would also be going.