Chapter 54 – Showing Talents Again
Yan Shuqin showed her appreciation for Yan Xiaosi’s gifts and both Yan Shuxue and Yan Shuyun looked at Yan Xiaosi with touched expressions.
Seeing her three older sisters so happy, Yan Xiaosi felt that the money she had just spent on the beaded flowers and embroidered silk handkerchiefs was worth it.
After leaving the firewood market, Ms. Zhong quickly drove the ox-cart into the busiest part of Daxing Town.
On both sides of the bluestone-paved street, there were big and small shops, including restaurants, teahouses, and inns.
“Oh, sister-in-law, you haven’t sold your five bundles of firewood yet, yet you’ve left the firewood market?”
Yan Boshu’s Xiangmanlou, owned by Yan’s second family, was right on this street. Ms. Hu, standing at the door managing the business, saw Ms. Zhong and the others passing by with the ox-cart, and the five neatly stacked bundles of firewood on it. She was delighted.
Earlier, she had offered twenty-five coins for the five bundles of firewood, but Zhong Suyun refused to sell. They deserved leaving empty-handed.
Seeing Ms. Hu standing at the entrance of Xiangmanlou showing delight at another’s misfortune, Ms. Zhong felt dissatisfied but still stopped the ox-cart.
“Xiangmanlou is doing so well, congratulations, second sister-in-law.”
Yan Boshu was settling accounts at the counter. He looked up and saw Ms. Zhong and the others sitting on the ox-cart at the entrance. He quickly came out after putting down the account book.
“What are you doing out here?”
Seeing Yan Boshu’s eyes wandering over Ms. Zhong, Ms. Hu immediately stopped him, blocking his view of Ms. Zhong.
Yan Boshu peeked half of his head out from behind Ms. Hu and smiled at Ms. Zhong, “Sister-in-law, Shuqin, Shuxue, Shuyun, and Xiaosi, why don’t you come in and sit for a while?”
Seeing Yan Boshu, Ms. Zhong’s expression became tense. She dodged Yan Boshu’s gaze anxiously.
“Second brother, Shuqin, Shuxue, Shuyun, Xiaosi, aren’t you going to greet your uncle?”
Yan Shuqin, Yan Shuxue, and Yan Shuyun greeted Yan Boshu one after another, while Yan Xiaosi remained silent, her eyes discreetly observing Yan Boshu.
She didn’t know if it was her illusion, but she always felt that her uncle’s gaze at her mother was somewhat ill-intentioned.
Yan Boshu was fiercely glared at by Ms. Hu.
“Dear, sister-in-law still has to sell firewood, and she doesn’t have time to sit in our Xiangmanlou.” Yan Boshu ignored Hu’s warning gaze, looked at the bundles of firewood on the ox-cart, and then said to Ms. Hu, “Chunni, since sister-in-law is in town to sell firewood, why don’t we buy it from them?”
Ms. Hu, afraid that Yan Boshu would invite Ms. Zhong and the others into Xiangmanlou, hurriedly said to Yan Boshu with a forced smile, “Dear, I just went to the firewood market and saw sister-in-law and her daughters working hard to sell firewood. I had planned to buy their firewood, but sister-in-law refused to sell.”
Yan Xiaosi listened to Ms. Hu’s words and rolled her eyes in annoyance.
How was it that she wouldn’t sell it? It was clearly Ms. Hu trying to take advantage.
Yan Xiaosi knew Ms. Zhong’s intentions. She didn’t want to have too much involvement with this second brother.
“Second Brother, the five bundles of firewood today are not very good, so I didn’t want to sell them to your wife. If there’s nothing more, we have to get on our way to sell the firewood.”
Seeing Yan Boshu looking at Ms. Zhong with a lecherous gaze, Ms. Hu couldn’t wait for Ms. Zhong to disappear sooner.
“It’s fine, it’s fine. Third Sister-in-law, Shuqin, Shuxue, Shuyun, Xiaosi, you can go about your business. Come to Xiang Man Lou when you have time.”
When Ms. Zhong drove the ox cart away, Ms. Hu turned around and fiercely pinched Yan Boshu’s arm.
Yan Boshu cried out in pain, “You crazy woman, what are you trying to do?”
Ms. Hu gritted her teeth and reminded him, “Yan Boshu, don’t forget that Zhong Suxin, that vixen, is your sister-in-law. Even if your third brother, Yan Bowen, is dead, that vixen is still your sister-in-law, and that will never change.” Ms. Zhong was originally the daughter of an official family, but she fell on hard times and ended up in Shaoyao Village. When Ms. Zhong first arrived in Shaoyao Village, she was in the prime of her youth and beautiful as a flower. Compared to Ms. Hu in her youth, the difference was like night and day. Yan Boshu had his eyes on Ms. Zhong back then, but she only had eyes for Yan Bowen. It was precisely because Yan Boshu had ulterior motives towards Ms. Zhong that, after Yan Bowen’s death, Ms. Hu made life difficult for Ms. Zhong and her family. She often stirred up trouble in front of the Yan family elders, causing Ms. Zhong and her family to have their property confiscated by the Yan patriarch and expelled from the Yan mansion.
As Ms. Zhong continued down the street with the ox cart, she could no longer hear the quarrel between Ms. Hu and Yan Boshu.
Yan Xiaosi looked back at Xiangmanlou and thought about Yan Boshu’s ill-intentioned gaze at Ms. Zhong, feeling a bit uncomfortable.
“Mother, I think Second Uncle is not a good person. You should talk to him less in the future to avoid being taken advantage of.”
Ms. Zhong didn’t expect Yan Xiaosi to be so sensitive, fearing that he would discover Yan Boshu’s ulterior motives.
She worried about the negative impact if Yan Xiaosi knew about such an unspeakable matter.
“Your Second Uncle and his wife are not easy to deal with. I will avoid them in the future.”
With that, Yan Xiaosi didn’t dwell on it any further.
“Steamed meat for sale! Fragrant steamed meat, 20 wen per bowl. Would you like to come in and have a seat?”
As the ox cart passed by a small restaurant, the aroma of steamed meat wafted out, enticing Yan Xiaosi to salivate.
A middle-aged man in a plain blue silk robe stood at the entrance of the restaurant, calling out to customers. Judging by his attire, he appeared to be the owner of the restaurant and had a friendly face.
The scale of this small restaurant wasn’t large, just one floor, with only the owner couple and two workers running the place.
Sitting on the ox cart, Yan Xiaosi looked at the restaurant owner for a moment before asking Ms. Zhong to stop the ox cart at the entrance of the small restaurant.
Ms. Zhong stopped the ox cart, and Yan Shuqin, Yan Shuxue, and Yan Shuyun all turned their puzzled gazes to Yan Xiaosi.
Yan Shuqin couldn’t help but ask, “Xiaosi, why did you ask Mother to stop the ox cart?”
A small restaurant like this was unlikely to buy their firewood. They would definitely need to go to a large restaurant like Xiangmanlou to ask.
Before Yan Xiaosi could answer, Yan Shuqin continued, “Are you craving meat?”
She thought that the aroma of the meat wafting out of the restaurant had enticed Yan Xiaosi.
As the aroma of the steamed meat drifted out in waves, Yan Shuqin’s question made Yan Shuxue and Yan Shuyun swallow their saliva. Even Yan Shuqin couldn’t help but do the same.
Seeing the reactions of the four children, Ms. Zhong’s face was filled with guilt, her eyes turning red for a moment before she quickly lowered her head, not wanting Yan Shuqin and Yan Xiaosi to see.
“The firewood hasn’t been sold yet. Let’s hurry and go. When mom sells the firewood, we’ll buy some meat to take back and cook for you children.”
Before Ms. Zhong had a chance to drive the ox cart away, the restaurant owner suddenly came over. “Miss, are you looking to sell the firewood on your cart?”