Chapter 163 The life outside of the residence
Du Qiu went back before dark. Before, he went away, he taught Liangchen some self-defense. She didn’t have to use much force. It was all about the timing. Naturally, it was useless when fighting with someone. It was just barely enough to protect people when caught off guard. However, it was inconvenient for a man to teach a woman. He couldn’t personally try it with her. Fortunately, Liangchen was smart. She understood more than half from only words. Taking advantage that there was no one, she practiced it once. When Shu Huan and the others returned, she stopped.
When Shu Huan was on the way back, she brought some oil, salt, vinegar, fruits and vegetables back. The first meal they had in their new home was made by Shang Xin. That wasn’t strange. Even if Liangchen and Meijing were maids, they were maids that lived like a prince. They only do things like making tea, bringing water and passing a message. They didn’t know much about cooking. They could only make simple soups and congee. Only Shang Xin was used to doing domestic affairs ever since young and was quite proficient in cooking.
However, the meal that Shang Xin made only smelled delicious when being put on the table. Shu Huan eagerly picked up a dish with her chopsticks. After trying, her whole expression was bitter.
Shang Xin was watching nervously at a side, “How is it? Not delicious?”
“No, no,” Shu Huan immediately straightened her face and shook her head. “It’s quite good. You all also sit down and eat. There aren’t so many rules after we left the residence. If there are no outsiders around, we can eat together. Otherwise, the meal had to be served two times which is very troublesome.”
The maids knew that she always had a good temper and didn’t have the habit of speaking insincere things. Since she made them sit, they sat. However, when they tasted the dishes, they cried out in their hearts that they had been deceived!
Meijing turned her head and spit the dish out. “Why…why is it so salty…?”
Lianchen swallowed the dish and then ate a few mouthfuls of rice.
Shu Huan succeeded in deceiving them and smirked.
Shang Xin was in disbelief. She picked up a dish and tasted it. “It’s not salty, ah. It’s just right to go with rice. And, I thought that the meal of the residence was too light!”
She was definitely a local person. The difference in taste shouldn’t be so big!
In the end, after they analyzed for half a day, they got to know that although Shang Xin’s family was poor and that salt was expensive in this era, it was more economically than vegetables. One dish was enough for the whole family to eat for the whole day. Therefore, she developed the heavy taste of putting much salt in dishes.
“This…,” Shu Huan’s whole expression was sullen. She said tactfully, “It’s not good to eat too much salt. In the future, use less when cooking.”
“Alright,” Shang Xin wasn’t too picky. Someone like her who had lived in the mountains and who knew what suffering hunger felt like was truly not picky about food. No matter if it was salty or not, as long as she could eat it, it was fine to her.
They put up with this meal and finished it. Shang Xin went to do the dishes. Liangchen and Meijing brought water to clean the house.
There had been people who lived in this house, but that servant had obviously been very lazy. Many of the furniture were covered with a thick layer of dust. It was necessary to wipe it a few times, before it was clean. After Shu Huan left the residence, she couldn’t stay idle. She felt that it was boring to sit. Seeing that they were busy, she went to help. After they cleaned the whole house did she discover that she hadn’t exercised for a long time. She felt a bit tired and sweated slightly.
It would be troublesome to boil water for a bath now. Moreover, the time also didn’t permit it. Shu Huan decided to put up with it and called the maids to go sleep. She only let Shang Xin stay to accompany her because she was a bit scared to sleep alone the first night in this empty and unfamiliar place.
The two went to the inner room. When Shang Xin wanted to go make the bed, she discovered the problem…
They had forgotten a very important matter. They didn’t buy beddings!
“This…,” Shang Xin was still at loss about what to do when Meijing and Liangchen came in from the outside. One after another, they said, “Well! We were muddle-headed and forgot to buy beddings. How will miss sleep tonight?”
Shu Huan looked at the sky outside. It was too late.
Ancient times were different from modern times. One had to light lanterns and candles. When it was dark, it was inconvenient to go out. Moreover, their current place was surrounded by people who were a bit well-off. However, they were only a bit well-off. Not many would hang a lantern in front of their door to waste wax. It was very unsafe to go out and pass through a dark street to buy things.
“Let’s put up with it tonight and sleep on the bed board.”
“How can that be done?!” Meijing exclaimed. “It’s already autumn and still very cold at night.”
Shu Huan laughed, “If the windows and door are closed, it wouldn’t be too cold when two people share a bed. Tomorrow, don’t forget to go buy beddings. We also need to buy some ink, paper, needles, threads, bowls and tea…”
Calculating like this, there were many trivial things that ordinary people used at home. The money would be spent unconsciously. It seemed that she should make an accounting book and record every daily expense to see how much money she and three maids needed to spend to be able to support themselves in a month.
After blowing off the candle and when she was lying in bed, Shu Huan was still thinking about this matter. She felt that she could use the two shops that she had bought first. She got the idea to rent out the one on the good location. The other one is a bit far and could be used to sell the painted stones and carved things. It was just that she didn’t know how the taxes worked here and whether it was heavy. Otherwise, the money earned wouldn’t even be enough to pay the taxes.
Besides, opening a shop wasn’t an easy matter. It would probably not be convenient for her and the three maids to show their faces in public and be at the front desk. She had to hire a shop assistant. How much was the right amount to pay? Moreover, they didn’t have a male servant at home. It wasn’t scary during the day, but when it was night and had become quiet, they would get a chilly feeling. They couldn’t help but think that the alley was so dark, the walls of the courtyard was so low and whether a thief would creep in…
For the sake of safety, she better gets a dog!
Just when Shu Huan got this good idea, Shang Xin cautiously turned around. She (SX) was obviously not asleep. Shu Huan couldn’t help but ask, “Why? Can’t you fall asleep? Is the bed board too hard?”
“No, no. I’m someone who even slept in a mountain cave. It was already very good that I have a bed board to sleep on,” Shang Xin said quickly. “I don’t know why, but I just can’t fall asleep.”
In fact, it was because the bed wasn’t big enough. She was afraid that she would squeeze Shu Huan and tried to be as far as possible to the outer side of the bed. She was also worried that her sleeping position wasn’t good and would unconsciously disturb Shu Huan’s sleep.
“Miss also can’t sleep?” She laughed, “Now that I think about it, there are benefits in staying at Gu residence. At least, you don’t have to sleep on a bed board.”
This couldn’t be considered a benefit. The only benefit was probably that she (SH) didn’t have to manage the household herself and didn’t have so many things to worry about, but she didn’t have freedom.
Shu Huan laughed, “Don’t mention the bed board anymore. In fact, I’ve even slept on a pile of straws at Gu residence!”
This wasn’t a lie. She had slept on a pile of straws when she had just time-traveled.
Thinking about this, she missed Gu Xiran again. She didn’t know if he was well and what reaction he would have if he knew that she had been divorced…
No, no. She couldn’t let her thoughts wander anymore, otherwise, she will truly not sleep for the whole night.
In order to relax herself, Shu Huan asked, “How come you stayed alone in the mountains for so many months?”
When mentioning this, Shang Xin was silent for a while before she said, “When I first went to the mountain, I took all the food that was at home. I was afraid. I found an abandoned cave and stayed there without daring to take a step out. I tried to eat those food sparsely and had supported myself with them for a whole. Afterwards, I dug wild vegetable and simmer mountain fruits. When I couldn’t find anything to eat, I also cooked grass root bark. Fortunately, I was lucky and didn’t encounter ferocious animals. Even that injury on my leg was because…”
She talked half-way when she heard that Shu Huan’s breathing became heavier. She turned and looked with the help of the moonlight from the window. She (SH) was already asleep from tiredness. She (SX) couldn’t help but smile. She also closed her eyes and slept.