This chapter is dedicated to Sandikay and the returning supporter Lenette. Thank you so much for your Ko-fi supports (づ๑•ᴗ•๑)づ♡
Xia Yu had been infatuated with Lin Fangliang for a long time, even though Lin Fangliang had already married Xie Yu. Xia Yu couldn’t forget him and his growing love became unbearable, especially after hearing that Xie Yu had given birth to two children for Lin Fangliang. He felt heartbroken that his beloved man had children with someone else.
At home, Xia Yu often couldn’t control his emotions, and his mother noticed it. Xia Yu was afraid of causing trouble, so he would go out for a walk whenever he felt sad. When he met Li Changfeng that day, he was having one of those days.
Xia Yu wanted to see Lin Fangliang, and this idea took root in his heart and slowly sprouted.
Since Xia Yu’s older brother, Xia Feng, was a scholar, Xia Yu had heard many stories about *Jianghu from him. He knew that some gers would disguise themselves as men to wander around, so Xia Yu followed suit and disguised himself as a boy who fled from home. He got a job as a server in a teahouse in the town, and only passed by Lin’s clinic every day to see Lin Fangliang.
*(T/N: Jianghu is a Chinese slang term that generally refers to the milieu, social dynamics and/or political paradigm in which many Chinese wuxia, outlaw fiction and romantic fantasy stories are set. Source: Wikipedia)
Every time Xia Yu saw him, he found it harder to extricate himself from his love, so he didn’t go home and didn’t tell anyone of his whereabouts. However, Xia Yu eventually returned to the village.
On the third day after Li Xiao’er visited Xu Qing and Li Changfeng, a villager who came to the Xu grocery store told Xu Qing that Xia Feng had brought Xia Yu back, but the village head’s family only said that Xia Yu went to his uncle’s house, and didn’t say much else. The case was also closed in the yamen.
Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.
And on the day before Xu Qing’s pregnancy reached two months and Tuan Tuan turned one year old, Xia Yu married someone from Anle Village. The villagers more or less understood the reason why Xia Yu got married so quickly, but they didn’t gossip about it.
When the child was one year old, the most lively moment was *Zhuazhou.
*(T/N: Zhuazhou literally means “pick” and “anniversary”, meaning “one-year-old catch”)
Xu Qing set up a large table in the middle of the courtyard, covered with a layer of red cloth. On the table, there were seals, scriptures of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism, brushes, ink, paper, inkstone, abacus, coins, account books, jewelry, flowers, rouge, food, and toys.
If the child grabbed the seal first, it meant that he would be studious and become a successful scholar. If the child grabbed the abacus first, it meant that he would be good at managing finances and have a successful career.
On the other hand, if the child first grabbed food or toys, he would not be labeled as “gluttonous” or “playful”. Instead, he would be described as “a child who would enjoy good fortune and know how to ‘seize the moment’ in the future.” Overall, the one-year-old birthday ceremony was a time when elders held high hopes for the child’s future. At this occasion, the attendees would offer their blessings and good wishes.
Now, little Tuan Tuan could take a few wobbly steps on his own. He was wearing a cute *Fuxi clothing. Li Changfeng lifted him onto the big table. Xie Yu, Lin Fangliang, Uncle Xie, Xie Ama, Li Xiao’er, Wang Lei, Eldest Li, Eldest Li’s wife, and even old man Li and Li Ama all came. The group gathered around the table, looking at Tuan Tuan.
After standing for a while, Tuan Tuan took a few steps with his short legs. He wrinkled his little brow, and then lay down on the table in front of everyone. He even smiled and looked up at Xu Qing and Li Changfeng.
“Quick, Tuan Tuan, crawl forward.” Xu Qing pointed to something on the table and asked Tuan Tuan to go over there. Tuan Tuan pouted his lips, and his little butt arched and crawled towards those things.
“Flowers! Flowers! Ama! Flowers!”
Tuan Tuan saw the flowers on the table and immediately turned his head to shout in his cute baby voice towards Xu Qing. He even pointed at the flowers with his hand, as if afraid that Xu Qing might not see them.
“This child is so adorable!”
“Absolutely, and quite filial too. Ah Qing, you really like flowers, don’t you?”
Listening to the laughter and conversation of the relatives and friends around him, Xu Qing felt a little embarrassed but not angry. He spoke softly to Tuan Tuan, who had been looking at him the whole time, “My dear, Ama doesn’t want flowers now. Why don’t you pick something you like?”
Tuan Tuan could not understand what Ama was saying, but he understood that Xu Qing did not want flowers. He turned his head and looked at the things on the table. Under the expectant and enthusiastic gaze of everyone, he reached out his chubby little hand towards the inkstone and abacus!
“Good, good, good! Our little Tuan Tuan will be amazing in the future, becoming a rich man!” Uncle Xie was the first to shout out loudly.
“Good son!” Lin Fangliang followed suit, but Li Changfeng glanced at him as soon as he finished speaking. Lin Fangliang corrected himself immediately, “Godfather’s good son!”
After everyone finished watching Tuan Tuan’s Zhuazhou and enjoying dinner, people started to leave. Li Xiao’er was the first to leave because he did not want to stay and see Li Ama. Lin Fangliang and Xie Yu also went back to Xie’s house with their two children. In the end, only people from the old Li family were left in the house.
Eldest Li’s family wanted to leave since they left the two children at home by themselves. However, old man Li had a look of “I have something to say,” so they couldn’t leave even if they wanted to.
Ever since the incident at Chen Qi’s wedding, the old Li couple had been waiting for Li Changfeng and Xu Qing to come and apologize in person. Since they had not done so yet, they took advantage of Tuan Tuan’s birthday to visit Xu’s family.
“Second son, you come back home tomorrow,” Old man Li said directly to Li Changfeng.
“I’m not going back.”
Li Changfeng spoke with a slightly firm tone.
“I’m not dead yet! You have to go back for me!” Old man Li was furious.
Li Changfeng raised his eyelids and looked at his father, who was about to explode. “Going back won’t help, it will only make Third Brother more determined to split up. So why bother?”
Li Ama immediately pulled old man Li away. “What he said was not wrong. Laosan might get even angrier when he saw him. Let’s go,” he said.
“Hmph!” Old man Li thought for a moment and decided to listen to Li Ama’s advice. He left in a rage.
“Second brother, second brother-in-law, we’ll leave first. Don’t take it to heart,” Eldest Li said dryly and left as well.
Xu Qing and Li Changfeng didn’t go out to see them off. After they had left the courtyard gate, Li Changfeng suddenly spoke up, “Wife, I’m sorry. And sorry to Tuan Tuan too.”
Xu Qing held Li Changfeng’s slightly cold hand. “It’s okay. Tuan Tuan picked the abacus today, and we should be happy for his future.”
Li Changfeng closed his eyes. “Okay.”
The next day, Xu Qing and Li Changfeng didn’t go back to the old Li family’s house. They didn’t go back until it was the New Year.
Xu Qing woke up and blinked his slightly sour eyes. He was on night watch duty and wanted to stay awake, but he fell asleep in the end.
Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.
There was no one beside him, and he could only hear Tuan Tuan’s voice outside.
Xu Qing got up, put on his cotton coat, and went outside, shaking his dizzy head.
Tuan Tuan was eating the little meatballs that Li Changfeng had made for him. His mouth was full of grease, and his cheeks were constantly moving. His face, which was already round, became even rounder.
As soon as he saw Xu Qing with his messy hair, Tuan Tuan started shouting.
“Good kids don’t talk with their mouths full.” Xu Qing touched Tuan Tuan’s round head and said softly.
Tuan Tuan ate the meatball that Li Changfeng had fed him in one bite, his round eyes still looking at Xu Qing.
Li Changfeng wiped Tuan Tuan’s mouth and gave the soup to Xu Qing. “It’s still warm, drink it quickly or it will get cold.”
“Wait a moment, I’ll freshen up first,” Xu Qing didn’t take the soup and instead went to clean up with a slight drowsiness.
As soon as he left the room, he saw a white snowy landscape. It was snowing, and the snow was thick.
Xu Qing exhaled a breath of cold air and sneezed, rubbing his hands together. He quickly washed up and then went back to the breakfast table.
“Huhu! Ama, give Huhu!” Tuan Tuan looked at Xu Qing’s cold appearance and immediately spoke.
“Don’t hug, Ama is cold.” Huhu is a term of endearment that means “kiss.”
Since Tuan Tuan heard Xu Qing say he was cold, he didn’t ask for a hug and obediently played with his toys. He didn’t understand the meaning of “cold” before, so Li Changfeng stretched out his icy hand and touched Tuan Tuan’s face, leaving a big shadow in Tuan Tuan’s heart.
Xu Qing finished drinking the soup, ate some breakfast made by Li Changfeng, and stopped eating when he was 80% full. He still left some in the stomach to other things.
Before the New Year, Li Changfeng brought back a lot of goods from town, and not only did the villagers came to buy them, but also people from other villages who thought it was closer than going to town. This allowed Xu Qing and Li Changfeng to earn some money.
“What did Xiao’er say?”
Sitting beside Tuan Tuan, Xu Qing asked Li Changfeng.
“He’s not going back,” Li Changfeng went to town yesterday to buy some New Year goods and happened to meet Li Xiao’er. They chatted for a while, and Li Xiao’er didn’t want to go back to the Li family until he got pregnant.
“We don’t need to go back either. It’s probably going to be a mess with the third brother. Yesterday, Eldest brother also came to buy some New Year goods. I gave him the stuff Xiao’er and I bought and had him take them back. Let’s just consider it as a New Year’s greeting from us.” Although Li Changfeng didn’t want to be too involved with the old Li family, there were still some formalities to be observed.
“That’s good. We can stay at home and do whatever we want.”
Xu Qing stood up and was about to go back to bed for a nap, Li Changfeng stopped him. “Don’t sleep too much; it’s not good for you. Let’s go to Xie Ama’s house.”
“Okay, let’s go.”
Xu Qing knew this reasoning and took two umbrellas with him. The family of three headed out. The snow was heavy, so Li Changfeng carried Tuan Tuan while Xu Qing held the umbrella for him. Li Changfeng saw that there was a lot of snow on the ground and took the umbrella Xu Qing was holding for him and let Xu Qing hold onto his arm to prevent him from slipping.
When Xu Qing and his family arrived, Xie Yu’s two children were sleeping. However, upon hearing Tuan Tuan’s arrival, they woke up and Xie Yu brought them out to play with Tuan Tuan.
“It’s cold today. Why didn’t you wear more clothes?” Xie Yu asked when he saw that Xu Qing was dressed a bit thin.
“It’s not that cold. If I wear too much, I won’t be able to move.” Xu Qing deliberately moved his arms to show Xie Yu his flexibility.
“It’s my carelessness, I won’t make the same mistake next time,” Li Changfeng also felt that Xu Qing was wearing a little less and frowned. He had been in a hurry when they left earlier and didn’t pay attention.
Thingyan: OK, is it just me or Li Changfeng had been a little too rigid with his parents? I mean they even lowered themselves first and came to their grandchild’s birthday, probably without being invited too, knowing Li Changfeng’s personality. I remember he didn’t dislike them that much before.