Chapter 35: Xia Qinglian Could Only Arrange a Carriage and Allow Her to Go (3)
After the two got off, they saw many vendors on the streets, all selling fruits, oil, meat, clothing, candy, and whatnot. There were a total of 120 stalls on both sides, and while it was bustling, everything was neat and orderly.
A variety of trade was happening on this street, from selling their crafts to skills like fortune-telling, all sorts of things were on display.
Only a single alley could be found on that street, and a small clinic could be found there. A plaque was present on both sides, one wrote “Cuts”, while the other wrote “Bruises”. They both looked really old.
Though the doors were open, nobody could be seen inside. Passing by the shop, they arrived at the Wu family home. Stacks of firewood could be seen on both sides of the stone path in front of the door, while a man aged fifty or so could be seen seated by it.
The man was slouched over, smoking a bag of tobacco. This person had clearly been working hard for many years, as his skin could be seen as tanned, and his body thin. His face was covered in deep wrinkles, causing him to appear quite old. When he saw the two, he knocked the ashes from his pipe under his soles and stood up. This man was Wu Daoquan, Aunt Wu’s husband.
Aunt Wu stepped forward and introduced, “Man of the house, meet Miss Zhou.”
Zhou Xiaoxiao greeted him and said, “Uncle Wu.”
Wu Daoquan merely nodded and did not answer. Then, he turned around and went inside.
Aunt Wu apologized to Zhou Xiaoxiao with a smile. “Please do not mind him, he has never been one who enjoyed talking. In truth, when he heard that you were coming, he did not even head to the shop today. He spent the whole day waiting for you to arrive.”
While speaking, he took Zhou Xiaoxiao inside.
The Wu family residence was a small house with small rooms on each side of the house. There lived the old veteran Chen who was there as the doorkeeper. Besides him, they had no other servants. Aunt and Uncle Wu were responsible for all the daily chores around the house.
After entering the door, they were greeted by a large courtyard with some bamboo growing at the corners. There were no other plants grown there, and the entire area was leveled with loess with eighteen types of weapons displayed on both sides, pans for drying herbs, tools, and other sundries. Clearly, the owner of this house was a man fond of sword dances and displays, but it was not very elegant, and the courtyard practically seemed like a school.
A small path could be found after passing the courtyard that was paved with stone slabs. There should have been a door there, but it had long been broken, leaving behind only two dirt walls. Large water jars were placed on both sides while three or four wing-rooms could be found on both sides that were filled with miscellaneous items.
At the end of the road was a large hall. Both the wooden beams and the walls had seen some years, and they were now colored a deep brown. At the very center of it was a shrine dedicated to several deities. A shared table was placed in front of them, and it was decorated with items such as incense, candles, and so on.
There were two small doors to the left and right of the hall. Once you go through them, you would be greeted with a small yard. On its right were three rooms, and where Aunt Wu and her husband stayed.
On the left was a small archway that could fit only one person. Passing through that, you would see a small lane with high walls on both sides. After passing through that, you would come to another small yard, and that would be the west lateral court It was surrounded by several small rooms as well as a two-storied building. A door could be found below, and it exited to the lively Qingshi street. At the left of the door were two shopfronts arranged side by side.
The west lateral court and the two lots were rented together. The room could be converted into a workshop, while the two suites on the upper floor of the small building could be used to take in guests. In the future, she could purchase a few servant girls and have them stay downstairs. Even though it wasn’t big, it was big enough. There was access through the side door, it was both private and convenient. Zhou Xiaoxiao was very satisfied with this place and signed the lease contract with Aunt Wu immediately.
Aunt Wu was a very thoughtful person, so she cleaned the place inside out long ago. Not long after, the Yu residence also sent some people over with bedding and clothing, as well as a variety of fine silks Zhou Xiaoxiao had not taken with her. Having been sent over by the maidservants, Zhou Xiaoxiao did not have to intervene and it was already packed neatly into her new residence.