“It’s great that she cares about you!” Shi Fengju smiled as he glanced over to Liu Ya ruefully, “You little lass, do you only look after your ma’am? Why didn’t you buy a bowl for me as well?”
Not knowing that Shi Fengju was only joking with her, she stuttered,” Sir, please forgive me, I’ll buy another bowl right now! I… I didn’t know that Sir likes street food like these as well…”
“Forget it, forget it!” Shi Fengju saw her flustered face and he hastily reassured, “I wasn’t being serious, there’s no need for you to buy another bowl! “
“This girl is quite simple-minded, she can’t comprehend your joke!” Sang Wan was amused. Seeing how Liu Ya stood awkwardly at the side, she added, “You can head back to eat with the rest, there won’t be a need for you to serve us here!”
Liu Ya remained unassured and did not dare to leave as she casted an uncertain glance at Shi FengJu.
Shi Fengju laughed, “Hasn’t your ma’am asked you to head back? Go on ahead. I was only joking with you so don’t treat it too seriously!”
“Yes, yes, this servant will head back now!” Liu Ya heaved a sigh of relief as she patted on her chest.
‘Does it really taste that good? Let me have a taste too!” Shi Fengju took a look at the silky smooth beancurd and calmly scooped a spoonful into his mouth. Nodding at Sang Wan, he smiled and said, “It’s really good. No wonder you like it so much!”
Blood rushed up Sang Wan’s face and she pursed her lips. Seeing how he did not find his actions out of place, she remained silent to not make things awkward between them.
“I’m glad you like it. Li Ji Beancurd is the town’s long-established shop with many who loves to eat their beancurd!” Sang wan smiled gently.
“Oh, so it is a long-established shop, that explains why it tastes so good! I have to give it another taste!” Upon realizing, Shi Fengju took another spoonful from her bowl without any reserve.
The smile on Sang Wan’s face stiffened, unsure whether she should continue to eat from the bowl or not even though neither options did not seem right.
“What’s wrong? Why aren’t you eating?” Shi Fengju asked on purpose. He was amused by how Sang Wan’s neck turned beef red from embarrassment and found his wife increasingly lovely with each passing day.
“Alright… err … I was going to!” Sang Wan smiled nervously and took an empty bowl before splitting the leftovers into half for Shi Fengju. “If you like it as well, let’s split it into half!”
“Sounds good, thank you!” Shi Fengju grinned and finished his share after a few mouths while looking at her intently.
Sang Wan savoured her’s with her head lowered as if she did not sense his gaze.
“Why don’t we go out for a walk since there’s nothing to do today? On a side note, I haven’t ventured around your town before!” Shi Fengju said tenderly.
Although there were not many places to visit in the town, it was better than doing nothing in the inn. She then nodded in agreement, “Compared to Qingzhou, there isn’t much to see here. If you don’t find mind, I’ll bring you around!”
Shi Fengju smiled, “There is no need for sightseeing. We’ll just wander about the area!”
After finishing their meal, Liu Ya brought in two new outfits. Shi Fengju’s was a sapphire blue hemp robe, with simple cutting; and Sang Wan’s had a red cross-stitched outer robe made with muslin to match with a white long dress. Their attire was simple yet elegant.
Wearing such clothing would not attract unwanted attention. “How thoughtful of you!” Sang Wan smiled and said to Liu Ya before instructing her to help put on the clothes, followed by grooming her hair and sliding an inconspicuous jade hairpin.
Once the two got changed, Shi Fengju smiled and said, “Let’s go! Bring me to places you frequent!”
“I don’t come to the town often and I don’t have any place I frequent in particular so let’s just venture around leisurely!” Sang wan smiled.
“Sure! Let’s go to where our legs will bring us to!” Shi Fengju smiled. Going anywhere with Sang Wan is just fine.
As the two walked on the street, Shi Fengju could feel the vigor burning in him at the thought of how Sang Wan used to walk on this very street. He beamed radiantly as he began flooding her with questions about the various places in town. He was overjoyed simply by asking.
Shi Fengju’s excitement was contagious and Sang Wan could not help but to be influenced by his joyous energy. She started talking more about her past, about the makeup in Hong Hua Tang, the dumpling stall at the far east of the town, and the temple as well as the street performance at the west of town.
As they approached a stall which was roasting a huge pot of chestnuts, Sang Wan glanced at it for a few times. Amused, Shi Fengju went over and bought a bag of hot roasted chestnuts. He held it in his hands and said, “Do you like them? When we return, we can ask a maidservant to peel it for you.”
“The roasted chestnuts only tastes good when it’s hot!” She blurted.
Shi Fengju was taken aback and he laughed, “Oh? I have not had it before myself.” He took one out and peeled the shell off before blowing carefully at the ash on the surface. Thinking that the chestnut was not clean, his brows creased. He was about to throw it away and take another out to peel but was quickly stopped by Sang Wan.
“Roasted chestnuts are eaten that way. Don’t worry, you won’t get stomach ache from it!” Following that, she ate one herself.
“Oh… hehe!” After seeing how Sang Wan ate without hesitation, he subconsciously looked around before putting the peeled chestnut in his mouth.
Once the chestnut was dropped into his mouth, the hot aroma went straight into the mouth and it tasted delicious. The buttery sweet flavour of the chestnut tasted rather good.
Speaking of which, he had never ate while walking on the streets, and it made him feel a little uncomfortable. As for street food such as those roasted chestnuts, it was not common for him, let alone tried it.
Seeing how Sang Wan seemed contented and she found nothing strange, he held back his words. After all, it was a rare opportunity for them to head out.
“It is really quite delicious, but they’re a little heaty. Having a few is enough, you shouldn’t eat too many of them,” Shi Fengju smiled and he peeled one before hovering it in front of her mouth.
That made Sang Wan embarrassed. She took a quick glance at their surroundings before biting at it nervously. However, her teeth almost sank into Shi Fengju’s finger which sent him a considerable amount of pain.
“Is it very painful!” Sang Wan couldn’t care to chew the chestnut in her mouth. She immediately spat it on the floor and held his hand. Seeing how his index finger had two faint teeth marks, her face immediately turned red, “I am so sorry. I…I didn’t do it on purpose……”
As she held onto his finger, he felt warmth seeping into him and numbing the pain. No longer feeling any pain, he smiled at her, “It isn’t painful at all!”
“What a loving couple! Hehe, I feel so envious seeing you two! Young man, how about buying a hairpin or a flower for your wife to wear? My goods are all new, received straight down from Hangzhou and Suzhou! Your wife is so beautiful, she’ll definitely look good with one!” An old woman, who wore a dark red dress and carried a bamboo basket, suddenly approached them with a smile.
“No thank you, it’s fine. Please ask around elsewhere!” Sang Wan blushed and wanted to pull Shi Fengju away.
Feeling entirely happy, Shi Fengju wasn’t going to leave and he asked the woman with a smile, “How do you know that we’re husband and wife? How can you tell?”
The woman caught on quickly and knew what she had said was pleasing to the young man’s ears. This young lady is clearly dressed like a married woman, and there’s no way the two of you can be so intimate on the streets if you aren’t already a couple! What a silly question to ask!
Those words remained as thoughts as she spoke with a smile on her face, “One look and I can tell that the both of you are husband and wife, otherwise, what else can it be? Both of you looked like a heaven match. You’ll definitely be loving to each other and will last even at at old age!”
The smile on Shi Fengju’s face deepened and his eyes brightened while he gazed at Sang Wan lovingly. Coincidentally, Sang Wan was also looking at him. Her face flushed immediately and she quickly avoided his gaze. Shi Fengju’s lips curled even more than before.
“This young man, your wife looks so pretty, why don’t you buy a hairpin for her?” The woman said. She found the couple interesting, getting embarrassed over a statement like that. They must be a newlywed couple. Wonderful! Newlywed husbands treat their wives the best and would buy anything for them.
Shi Fengju looked towards that basket. The hairpins were made by curling silver wires, and the handcrafts were not particularly refined as well. In Shi household, even the maidservants would not wear them. But in the heat of the moment, he was feeling elated over her statements and felt he should at least help her out. In the end, he picked a butterfly hairpin embedded with pieces of agates and turquoise stones before asking, “How about this one? How much is this?”
“Young man, you’ve such refined taste! Among all the things in my basket, this is the best hairpin, likewise for its design! It’s not expensive, not expensive, just three silvers!” the woman smiled and said.
Shi Fengju smiled and fished out some money from his pocket. Although he would always carry money around, he didn’t have any loose change with him. From the notes, he passed the woman a 10 silver note and said, “Take it, no need for change!”
From just her words alone, he felt that the money was well spent!
“Aiyo, thank you, thank you sir! I wish you and your wife a lasting marriage and remain loving to each other!” The woman was so happy that her entire face wrinkled as she smiled.
Shi Fengju smiled and glanced over to Sang Wan. Looking at the silver hairpin in his hand, he suddenly felt a little unsure about what he was to do with the hairpin. The hairpin his wife wears shouldn’t be this cheap in standard.
The woman found it amusing. For such a handsome young man, he seemed so simple and honest at the same time. Hopefully, he doesn’t get bullied by his wife as time flies by them. She reminded him with a laugh, “Aiyo, your wife is waiting for you to put it on for her, what are you waiting for!”
Sang Wan’s face flushed pinkish red. Not knowing what to do or say, she just remained quiet.
Seeing how she stood still, Shi Fengju thought he should help her put it on just for the occasion. Merrily, he slid the hairpin carefully into her hair.
“Aiyo, look at how it suits your lady so much! She looks so beautiful wearing it!” The woman smiled and clapped while she rambled on with more good words.Afraid that Shi Fengju would change his mind, she quickly left.
“That woman is quite interesting!” He rubbed his hand and grinned.
“The people here are trying to sell their goods, of course their words will all be flattery! You are the head of Shi household, yet you were tempted into believing her!” Sang Wan giggled as she glared at him.
Shi Fengju stared at her deeply and said half-jokingly, “Her words sounded pleasant to my ears. I just feel happy from hearing what she said!”
Sang Wan’s face flushed. With her eyes lowered, she carried on to guide him forward.