Chapter 5 – Fu Gui flower (1) opened on road to the Capital
Early the next morning, when they woke up. When Mother Chu told her decision to Old Woman Li, Old Woman Li’s pair of eyes lit up. She continuously praised Mother Chu for being sensible. No matter what, the smiling expression at the corner of her mouth couldn’t be concealed.
Mother Chu and Chu Qing-Yan exchanged a glance, each seeing the worry in the other’s eyes.
Only, at this moment, Daddy Chu suddenly jumped out. He asked deadly earnestly, “Mother Dan, why must we leave here?”
“This….” Mother Chu, for a moment, did not know how to explain this matter to him.
“Dad, we are going to return to the Capital. Because the Capital is where we have a home.” Chu Qing-Yan placated him.
“No, I’m not going. Our home is here.” Daddy Chu was very astute at this moment and remained unmoved.
Chu Qing-Yan continued to speak while smiling, “Dad, didn’t you say you want to eat Tanghulu(2) and Gui Hua Cake (3). Here, we can’t find it to eat, but they have it in the capital ah! Daugher will bring you there to eat it!”
“There is Tanghulu?” Daddy Chu’s pair of eyes immediately lit up.
Chu Qing-Yan nodded her head.
“There is Gui Hua Cake?”
She continued to nodded her head.
“There is roasted duck, there are little radishes…”
Nodded head, nodded head, nodded head.
Chu Qing-Yan thought Daddy was almost persuaded by her. When she was just about to heave a sigh of relief, she saw Daddy’s happy face once again droop down.
“Daddy, what’s wrong?” She asked with misgivings.
“But the inserted in backwards scallion isn’t here. I want to wait for him and then go together.” Daddy Chu squatted in the doorway, appearing very pitiful.
Chu Qing-Yan blushed with shame. Last night, when Daddy entered the room and didn’t see the purple-faced person, he immediately created a fuss. Don’t know how a person who Daddy had seen once entered his eyes. Didn’t expect that even now, he hadn’t forgotten. That person said that he would go, and just like that, he left. He didn’t even leave behind a message. However, she couldn’t just tell Daddy that that person abandoned them and left. As a result, she pondered for a short time, then she squatted in front of Daddy and smilingly said, “Because the inserted in backwards scallion knew we had to return to the Capital, so he already left a step before us to the Capital to wait for us.”
“Then what are we waiting for, we must also hurry up and leave. Otherwise, we won’t catch up to him! I’m still waiting for him to weave a fishnet for me!” Daddy Chu jumped up and excitedly turned around to urge Mother Dan to quickly tidy up the luggage. He wished he could immediately fly to the Capital.
For a split second, Chu Qing-Yan was speechless. A person he had only met once, why would Daddy care so much about him? However, as long as she was able to persuade Daddy to set out on this journey, whether he was an inserted in backwards scallion or an inserted in backwards garlic didn’t matter to her.
And the purple-faced person that Chu family’s father and daughter had on their minds, now sat on the back of a horse. He was waiting for his subordinate to give their report. And his entire face was covered by a mask, giving off a silvery light.
“Master, just now, I received a secret report from the Capital.” The subordinate took a glance at him, his manner seeming somewhat hesitant.
Having heard what was said, the person who was now gazing into the distance turned his gaze to the subordinate, signaling with his deep eyes, “If you have something to say, say it directly. Don’t mumble and hold things back.”
“Master, A month ago, the Retired Emperor(4) returned to the Capital.” The subordinate thought for a bit before picking a relatively safe topic starter.
“Oh?” He lifted an eyebrow, Grandpa, the emperor, had already left the Capital for more than five years. For him to return now was somewhat outside of his expectations. However, he felt his subordinate’s gaze was somewhat odd and couldn’t help but to say. “Is there anything else?”
The subordinate took a glance at his master, and he immediately lowered his head and made the report with lightning speed, “A few days ago, Retired Emperor had set up a marriage for you.”
“What did you say?” His mysterious ink-colored eyes immediately sank down, every time Grandpa Emperor returned, he always catch him off guard with something that horrified him.
The subordinate couldn’t lift his head from being pressured by Master’s gloomy glaze. Master seemed to be slightly angry already, his heart wanted to cry but lacked the tears. This wasn’t the part of the news that could take his life. The news that could take his life was if Master knew that woman’s age and identity, maybe he would be even more scary from getting angry. Just when he was thinking of how to word it to clearly report this news, that stallion in front of him had already scattered the dust and left.
The setting returned to Mao village.
Chu Qing-Yan, Daddy Chu and Mother Chu tidied up a few valuables in a simple manner and climbed into the horse carriage the Chu family had prepared. And Old Woman Li and the rest of the servants sat in the other horse carriage.
Old Woman Li and Wang Ting exchanged a meaningful glance, as a result, the two of them, one sat on the horse carriage, the other sat on the horse, leaned close to have a conversation.
“Seems like this family could still be considered tactful!” Wang Ting gave a knowing glance to Old Woman Li and looked back at the horse carriage behind them.
Now, Old Woman Li no longer had on the false respect she put on in front of Chu Qing-Yan’s family. She tapped her finger with a face full of smugness, “Able to enjoy high status and wealth in Chu family, is their good fortune. What reason would they have to push this chance outside? Even if they didn’t agree, we have plenty of methods to bring them back.”
What Chu Qing-Yan didn’t know was, if her family didn’t obediently act according to their wishes, what awaited them was the treatement of being trussed up like a chicken.
Wang Ting laughed mischievously, “Indeed, but returning to the main topic. The matter that Master asked us to do, we had accomplished it perfectly. After we return, Master will definitely greatly reward us!”
Having heard what was said, a greedy light flashed through Old Woman Li’s eyes, “Isn’t that right? As long as this little girl goes back, this will solve Chu family’s crisis. We will be considered Master’s capable and trusted aides!”
Recalling that time, how Master told them to do whatever it took to bring Eldest Master’s entire family back. If she completed the task, she would be heavily rewarded. This thought made Old Woman Li’s smile ooze out even more.
Wang Ting stole a glance at the horse carriage behind them, his mood was very cheerful. It was as if great prospects were spread out in front of him.
At this moment, Daddy Chu was nestled in a corner, playing with the bamboo dragonfly Chu Qing-Yan had made from dry grass, whereas Chu Qing-Yan sat, facing Mother Chu. Their faces had expectation and apprehension when facing the unknown.
“Mother, just now, I felt that Old Woman Li and Wang Ting’s expressions were somewhat strange. But I can’t say where it was strange.” Chu Qing-Yan pursed her lips and said.
Mother Chu sighed, “Mother also felt it. If we are unable to continue living in Chu family after returning, we will just leave. It’s not like we haven’t left before.”
Chu Qing-Yan heard the sorrow in Mother’s words, and her heart couldn’t help but seize up. Mother, as a female alone, having just married, and was faced with the difficulty of a foolish husband and weak daughter. To persevere so many years, was already not easy. How could she have the heart to see Mom and Dad once again live a difficult and meager existence.
She reached out to grasp both of Mother’s hands that were no longer refined. Her voice carried an appeasing tone, “Mother, you don’t need to be worried. Now, daugher has already grown up and will protect you and Daddy. Also, we have silver currently to depend on, I’m not afraid that we can’t establish a footing in the Capital.”
Mother looked at daughter’s yellow and emaciated little face because of years of not having enough to eat. She endlessly blamed herself in her heart. She reached out to draw her daughter into a hug. Her voice was choked with emotion, “Cai Cai, mother’s good daughter——”
At this time, when Daddy Chu saw this scene, also gathered over to hug mother and daughter. His mouth imitated Mother Chu to say, “Cai Cai, mother’s good daughter——”
Having heard what was said, Mother Chu and Chu Qing-Yan couldn’t help but laugh with a ‘pfft’ sound. The sorrow that filled the air was immediately diluted by Daddy Chu’s buffoonery.
Chu Qing-Yan turned her head, and just at this moment ,the wind blew and lifted up the carriage curtain. The scenery outside the window was clearly visible.
Pink and white-colored Fu Gui flowers fluttered in the wind. The petals folded over layer after layer, delicate and bright-colored, attracting people’s pity.
Chu Qing-Yan’s lips bent slightly, no matter how the road in front turned out, since she had selected it, then she must firmly continue walking down this path.
1) Fu Gui flower: This is a kind of flower but the two Chinese characters for Fu and Gui means riches and honor. So the flower alludes to their journey to the Capital for riches and honor.
2) Tanghulu – my favorite treat to buy on the street as a kid. It’s a wooden skewer of sour red Chinese hawthorn fruit. The fruit is dipped in clear sugar caramel so it looks like a layer of clear yellowish glass.
3) Gui Hua Cake – Gui Hua is osmanthus flowers. So this cake is made with osmanthus flowers. I’m assuming this is either the crumbly cake type or the sticky rice cake type because agar or jelly cake is more of a modern ingredient. Admire the page I found of all kind of cakes made from this flower only the two type I mentioned could be made in ancient time.
4) The Chinese is 太上皇. I translated it as Retired Emperor because that’s what a 太上皇 is. 太上皇 is the father of the current emperor who abdicated the position to his son. The Chinese character 皇 means emperor and the other characters mean the sun above. So literally the title for the retired emperor is the sun above the emperor.