The Strongest Fox-Demon (50)
It was the first time Bai Yi saw such a lively scene, and she was all smiles throughout her stay by Chu Xiang’s side. She excitedly said, “Sister, it must be this lively when my shop opens.”
Chu Xiang replied with a smile, “Okay. Now that you’re opening a shop, you have to do it well. Don’t just bluff your way through it.”
“Of course, I will definitely do it well. What’s more, Bai You is there to help me. I won’t make mistakes.” Bai Yi was quite confident. Formidable demons seldom lacked confidence. If worse came to worst, they would just redo things from the start. Without this conviction, how could she have attained such a high level of cultivation?
Zhuang Liu and Zhuang Yulang were on the second floor of the tea house, standing by the window and watching the bustle outside. However, they felt a little cramped. They endured a kind of embarrassment for being green and inexperienced. Zhuang Liu stared at Bai Yi, who was laughing with Chu Xiang, and whispered, “That Bai Yi…She must be from a wealthy family. Look at her, I haven’t seen her being disconcerted since she arrived at the capital, as if she was meant to be in such a prosperous place. There are so many guests outside, and a bunch of them must be dignitaries, right? She shows no fear, not a trace of it. Instead, she looks happy. Do you think…”
“Mother, no matter what her background is, we are a family now, so stop talking about her anymore. She’s an orphan, so her origin doesn’t matter anymore. Yiyi is a lucky star and also our noble person. You should treat her better.” Zhuang Yulang has always been aware of the estrangement between the two women, wearing him down. He could only persuade both sides to yield.
Zhuang Liu nodded reluctantly. Reminded that Bai Yi’s shop was about to open, she again smiled happily, “Our family will also have a shop. Aiyo, I really never dreamed about it. You are right. Bai Yi is a blessing, a member of our family.”
Rich and influential families were particular about not touching the dowry of their womenfolk. However, a low-born person like Zhuang Liu had no such knowledge. The family’s money should be in the hands of the head of the family, and she was the head of their family! What kind of young daughter-in-law would do this and that with her dowry? Everything was their Zhuang family’s money!
Zhuang Liu was daydreaming, but Zhuang Yulang didn’t find anything wrong with her thoughts. After all, all the people he came in contact with lived by this code, and no one taught him otherwise.
The best location in the capital city was already in the spotlight. When non-natives suddenly came and opened a teahouse in such a high-profile manner, it naturally attracted people from all walks of life to investigate. Chu Xiang’s tea house business was booming, and the quality of her tea was indeed enough. There were also storytellers and comedians in the teahouse, bringing unprecedented enjoyment to the people. Naturally, the shop also retained repeat customers.
Gradually, high officials and noble lords fancied going to the shop. They regarded it as a place for leisure and relaxation. They could also go to the rooms on the third floor to discuss business. The privacy provided to them was excellent and highly satisfying.
On Bai Yi’s side, she opened a pharmacy and offered medical consultations. This was Bai You’s expertise, and Bai Yi could also heal people. This job wasn’t difficult to do. It was a good thing to save patients, so Chu Xiang did not bother herself about it and left them to do as they pleased.
Zhuang Liu, on the other hand, was not very satisfied because she knew nothing about medicinal materials. She couldn’t understand calculations either, so she couldn’t get involved at all. The problem was that Bai Yi said her aristocratic family was involved in medicine, so she could only do such a business. Since she was earning money, what else could Zhuang Liu say? She could only suppress her discontent, but nobody cared.
In any case, their lives were obviously getting better. Their clothes were newer and brighter, and they had the confidence to go out. Zhuang Yulang has started to participate in the poem and tea parties of the scholars in the capital. Sometimes the tea party would be held in Chu Xiang’s teahouse. After going in and out of the shop, he was no longer as cramped as before, but rather proud and elated.
Every time Chu Xiang saw this, she found it ridiculous. The money was earned by Bai Yi. Where did Zhuang Yulang get his confidence? This era was set in the ancient times when occupation was classified into scholars, farmers, artisans and merchants. Even if Zhuang Yulang didn’t know how to make money, he felt superior to others after he passed the provincial imperial exam. He was indeed superior, but his literary talents were not up to par. Every time he attended a tea party, he was inferior to others, and Li Yufeng performed much better than him.
Chu Xiang also teased Li Yufeng, “Why exactly didn’t you participate in the preliminary round of imperial exams? You probably have performed much better than him.”
Li Yufeng smiled complacently. “Of course I did better than him in the exam. In fact, I almost became the champion of all three levels of imperial examinations.”
Chu Xiang was surprised. “Huh? Did you really pass the exam?”
Li Yufeng raised his eyebrows at her. “Of course, don’t I look like it? I was really a candidate. I just didn’t attend the exam because I was preoccupied with something. This time, I also got qualified due to a reference.”
“Then go and take the exam. It’s best if you come back as the champion, then we can open another Zhangyuan1 Tower, which is worthy of the name.”
“Okay. If you like it, I’ll take the test and bring something back for your entertainment.”
1 Zhangyuan – meaning top scorer in the imperial exams