“Who’s crying?” Xiang Qing asked.
I shook my head to express that I didn’t know anything.
He frowned. He took the oil lamp and walked in the direction of the pigpen.
I quickly confessed, “Today, Yin Zi and I brought back a girl who had fainted on the side of a road. We said she could stay here tonight. Tomorrow morning, she will leave. She absolutely won’t cause any trouble for anyone.”
Xiang Qing’s footsteps didn’t stop. Xiao Mao had also followed him out of curiosity. And so, the three people walked to the pigpen to look.
Xiao Cha suddenly realized there were people coming. She jumped up. She shrunk into a ball and picked up a nearby stick.
Trembling, she asked, “Who… who’s there?”
Xiang Qing put down the oil lamp. He didn’t walk closer.
Instead, from a distance, he said, “Are you the girl that Miao Miao brought home today? Why did you faint by the roadside?”
Xiao Cha looked at me for a moment and calmed down. She quickly walked closer to us and repeated the words she had said to Yin Zi and me. Then, she miserably said that she was homeless and requested that we temporarily let her stay here.
I quickly pulled on Xiang Qing’s clothes and whispered, “Yin Zi said she’s a person of unknown origins. It would be best to not keep her and we don’t have a place for her to stay.”
“She doesn’t seem like a bad person.” Xiang Qing was somewhat hesitant and said, “Also, why does she look similar to you? Could she be your sister? But she doesn’t have a demon’s aura.”
“I don’t have any sisters.” I quickly denied any relations with this girl, but when I looked at Xiao Cha’s appearance, my heart softened a bit. And so, I asked Xiang Qing, “What do you think we should do?”
By our side, Xiao Mao licked his lips and nefariously interrupted, “Dress her with sauce and eat her.”
“You’re not allowed to cause trouble.” Xiang Qing firmly knocked Xiao Mao’s head. Then, he asked Xiao Cha where her relatives or parents lived. But, she replied that she wasn’t sure for either.
He pulled Xiao Mao and me outside to discuss. He said we couldn’t send her to Mao Mountain. This girl looked like she didn’t have any money. Shifu has been troubled and vexed over the numerous buildings that were damaged. He definitely won’t be willing to offer her shelter. We don’t have any empty rooms here. She doesn’t look like she knows how to do any farm work, so we would just be feeding her for free. But if we drive her out, with her limited knowledge of the world and skills, within a few days, she would either be killed or sold off somewhere by bandits.
It wouldn’t be kind to send someone off to die. After discussing back and forth, Xiang Qing decided that he would bring us to buy a house soon. For now, we would clean up the room used to store firewood so that Xiao Cha would have a place to stay. We would wait until after Mu Yun Lan and Seventh Senior Brother’s wedding to ask if their residence needed any servant girls. Then send Xiao Cha over and be done with this.
After Xiang Qing decided, I immediately went to support his decision with both hands and feet and without any additional words.
Xiao Mao said some veiled words of criticism. He thought this person’s origins were too strange.
After I thought about this again, even if there would be future problems and she was strange, she was still an ordinary mortal. Even if she dared to cause trouble, I could secretly give her to a tiger to eat after chopping her up. It would be okay, as long Xiang Qing didn’t see.
After Xiao Cha heard that we would let her stay, her eyes finally stopped crying. With all of her energy, she guaranteed that she would work hard to earn money for everyone.
She also quietly asked me, “What about elder sister Yin Zi? She won’t be happy.”
“I don’t know.” I haven’t even established a good relationship with my mother-in-law. Where would I have the time to worry about their relationship? And so, just like that, I left.
On the next day’s morning, Yin Zi heard the news. He wasn’t particularly unhappy.
He only lightly said, “Got it.”
Elder brother Huang was Xiang Qing’s fellow villager. The price that he gave for the residence was very favorable. But, he kept nagging Xiang Qing for being recklessly extravagant (T/N: for not saving money by continuing to live at home) and causing Xiang family to lose face.
Xiang Qing didn’t refute. He quickly finished the paperwork for buying the residence. Then he brought us to see the new residence
The residence was pretty good. There were orange trees planted in the small courtyard and morning glories climbing on the walls. The courtyard patio was paved with limestone. The small house had black tiles on the roof. There were also straw and farming tools that elder brother Huang had said he left behind for us to use. At the back, there was a small kitchen.
Everything was nicely arranged. The only inconvenience was that the residence was located outside the village, so the well and river were both far. But other than Xiao Cha, everyone’s strength was good, so this wouldn’t be a big problem.
This translation belongs to FuyuNeko. Meow.
On the north side, there was the main room. This was the place I would live with Xiang Qing in the future. Before we formally married, I would live with Xiao Mao. On the west and east side, there was one small room on each side. One would be for Yin Zi and other one would be for Xiao Mao.
Xiao Cha really wanted to live with Yin Zi, but Yin Zi said he didn’t like living with other people, so he requested that she leave his room. Fortunately, there was a smaller room next to Yin Zi’s. It seemed as if it was used to store various junk items. After we cleaned up that room for Xiao Cha to stay, she agreeably accepted this arrangement without any complaints.
Every day, mother-in-law would ask Xiao Mao to visit her in the village. After keeping her company for a bit, Xiao Mao would use the excuse of having to study to escape.
Xiang Qing bought various farming implements to prepare for spring tilling. He also built some furniture. There were cats carved onto all of the furniture. It was very cute. Just for me, he built a dressing table. From the village, he bought a bronze mirror. He was very content with our life.
As for me, my plan was to learn how to do housework and manage a household. Both Wawa and Luo Luo came over because they wanted to help me, but we didn’t have any room for them to stay. It wouldn’t be okay to send one of them to the vegetable field and the other one to a rabbit cage. And so, we could only refuse their good intentions.
(T/N: Just in case it was too long ago, Wawa is a flower demon and Luo Luo is a rabbit demon.)
Yin Zi became my teacher. He began the process of teaching me by using his own hands to demonstrate how to do each task. In addition, to this disciple, there was also Xiao Cha who also didn’t know how to do anything… this let me feel very gratified.
The first lesson was how to wash clothes.
I intentionally woke up earlier than usual, and then I woke up the still sleeping Xiao Cha. I dragged Xiao Cha and Yin Zi to the endless road leading to the river.
There were many women who had come earlier than us to take the best laundry spots. I looked left and right. Finally, there was a kindly granny who let me share her spot. She curiously inquired which family’s daughter-in-law I was.
At the mention of this, I was proud. I said it was Xiang Qing and praised him without delay. After I had praised Xiang Qing for almost half an hour, an exasperated Yin Zi pulled me to the riverside to teach me how to wash clothes.
Yin Zi handed me a wooden club and said, “Soak the clothes. Then, use this wooden club to thump the clothes… Let me finish explaining first!”
Before he could finish, the impatient me immediately firmly pounded the wet clothing that was placed on a stone. The club broke… A flying piece of the club hit Xiao Cha’s head. She fell into the water without making a single sound… There were traces of fresh blood seeping out of her head.
I was stunned. I hurriedly took her out of the water. She was still breathing, so she seemed still alive. I let out a sigh in relief and handed her to Yin Zi to bandage her wound.
The nearby people were dumbstruck.
The curious granny asked, “How did that club break? And the stone too…”
I decisively replied, “It was an accident because this stone was made of soybean dregs and the club wasn’t good.”
The curious granny looked at the solid granite stone, nodded, and continued to wash her clothes.
Xiao Cha slowly awakened. She fervently looked at Yin Zi and said, “That Miao Miao girl looked so quiet. But, it turned out she was so violent and ferocious. Is she Xiang Qing’s main wife?
“En.” Yin Zi replied without thinking as he continued to bandage her injury.
Xiao Cha looked at Yin Zi.
She thoughtfully said, “You’re so thin. Its unfortunate that your days probably aren’t very good…”
“It isn’t very good. That person is too troublesome.” Yin Zi turned his head to fiercely glare at me.
Since I was eavesdropping on their conversation, I felt somewhat guilty and I quickly lowered my head.
“Aiya, women in ancient times had such miserable lives.”
I didn’t know why Xiao Cha sighed with sorrow.
“Being a wife isn’t bad, but being a concubine must be difficult. In what period, will all people be equal? A woman status isn’t high to begin with in human society.”
Yin Zi finally finished bandaging her. He put everything away and wanted to tell her to leave.
“Yin Zi so pitiful.” Xiao Cha looked at him in pity. As if she was outraged by an injustice, she said, “You’re so clever and competent. But, you have to allow yourself to be bullied!”
When have I bullied Yin Zi? What was wrong with her eyes? Clearly, Yin Zi was the one that usually scolded me. She was too outrageous!
Yin Zi didn’t feel liking talking to her.
He simply commanded her, “Never mind. Go home by yourself. I still need to wash clothes.”
Xiao Cha nodded and obediently stood up to walk back. After she had walked a few steps, she looked back at Yin Zi and me to the point that my heart felt uncomfortable.
Yin Zi continued teaching me how to wash clothes. After a long time, he thought of something and his face turned ugly.
He pulled me closer and whispered, “Xiao Cha… she… she wouldn’t think I’m Xiang Qing’s concubine?”
(T/N: I’m curious why or how Yin Zi would even know how to do household work.)