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Chapter 18 – The Token of Love

The Token of Love

Cui Xingzhou practiced with soldiers in the military camp all day. He didn’t have the same appetite as the young ladies and princes who lived leisurely in the government.

 

In addition to the plate of crab roe dumplings, Lian Binglan also prepared a small cup of bird’s nest soup and a plate of preserved meat in honey sauce.

 

Although these exquisite snacks are delicious, after a few bites, his stomach and intestines are not as satisfied as to the big steamed stuffed bun that is made with leaven dough and added the radish filling by Servant Li.

 

However, Cui Xingzhou politely left one on the plate, indicating that he was satisfied, and warmly praised his cousin’s ability to cook snacks.

 

Lian Binglan’s cheeks were flushed. She only said that he would make some exquisite ones for her cousin again if she had a chance in the future.

 

She didn’t mention her father’s recommendation letter to her cousin. Instead, she talked about the daily life of the Old Princess Consort in detail. Seeing her cousin had some sincere smiles, she tactfully got up and say goodbye.

 

However, before leaving, she looked at Cui Xingzhou’s half-used purse with incense hanging around his waist. She felt slight happiness in her heart, smiled sweetly, and said, “This purse is not embroidered well. It’s been tough for you to wear it all the time. Tomorrow, I will embroider a new one for you…”

 

Cui Xingzhou hooked up the corner of his mouth and said slightly, “I don’t like new ones. I have used to using this and don’t need to change it. Thank you for your intentions.”

 

The purse around his waist was indeed the object of his engagement sent by his cousin from the matchmaker when he was engaged.

 

Actually, the embroidery work is really good. According to the matchmaker, it was embroidered by Miss Lian herself. The unique style of the secluded orchid in a deserted valley is very suitable for men. So to express his gratitude to his cousin, he always wore it on his waist.

 

As Cui Xingzhou said, he is a man who doesn’t like to pursue new things. As long as things are used smoothly, they can be used forever.

 

So is the purse and so are the people too. For his future wife, he didn’t expect much, and he didn’t expect the idea in the boudoir to have any great effect. His wife only needs to have a gentle and virtuous disposition. The other jobs have their own servant girl to work on them.

 

However, he always believed that what was on the purse was the tenderness of Lian Binglan’s hand-sewn needle and thread, until he saved Liu Miantang.

 

Liu Miantang identifies that Cui Xingzhou was her fiance by the virtue of his purse.

 

However, Liu Miantang didn’t have the vanity of the lady of the boudoir. When he asked about the purse implicitly, she honestly explained that although the purse was her dowry, it wasn’t sewed by her, and it was when she was sorting out her dowry list halfway with her servant girl, she suddenly found that she had brought a purse less, so she bought it from a foreign embroiderer in the post station.

 

It is said that the embroiderer was asked by an official in the State of Zhen to make dowry as a “substitutionary needlework”. Such businesses are the tacit secrets of the Great Yan Dynasty of the wealthy family mansion.

 

Although the young ladies of the wealthy family claim to be omnipotent in music, chess, calligraphy, and painting, they sometimes have shortcomings. Many embroidering women take over their place in needlework. Most of them have traveled to foreign lands to make dowries for the girls who cannot sew properly, and they don’t fish for fame. Each family has its embroidery style, which makes the customers who are the ladies of the wealthy family keep their good reputation for being quick-witted and nimble-fingered.

 

It’s a coincidence that the embroiderer is probably helping the Lian family with substitutionary needlework. She might be also feeling tired and lazy, and trying to save trouble. She felt that one was a bride to be married into the capital, and the other was a noblewoman from the State of Zhen. They probably won’t get in contact with each other.

 

So the purse was sold to Liu Miantang at a high price. When the embroiderer arrived at Lian’s mansion in the State of Zhen and asked the owner to choose the design, the same pattern of a secluded orchid in a deserted valley was selected, and the embroiderer simply imitate the design and sewed according to the pattern, which became a token for Lian’s engagement.

 

It was such a mistake that made Liu Miantang identified that the man wearing a half-used purse was her husband Cui Jiu.

 

Cui Jiu was surprised to see that Miantang had deemed the purse Miss Lian gave him as her own. When he asked the reason more in-depth, Miantang honestly answered him.

 

This lets Cui Jiu see through the secret vanity of his Cousin Lian.

 

However, he would not have cared about such details. It is human nature for a lady of boudoir to pursue fame.

 

But today, when Lian Binglan mentioned this, he couldn’t help thinking, is it his cousin who is good at needlework, or has she hired a “substitute needlework” embroiderer?

 

He was originally upset. After being instructed by his future brother-in-law, he was even more bored.

 

After seeing off the Lian siblings, Cui Xingzhou asked Mo Ru to prepare casual clothes for him. After putting them on, he dressed lightly and walked along the dirt road outside the military camp to dissipate his mood in the countryside.

 

Under his administration, the State of Zhen has opened up a lot of new farmland, which is planted with two crops of rice a year. The crops in the field have grown tall.

 

A lot of crabs that are the same as the crab roe bun that Lian Binglan made, such as lotus root stuffed with crab roe, are raised in the ponds that regulate the water volume in many paddy fields, the delicious taste of “June Hairy Crab” can not be maintained for a long time. When the shell hardens, the taste also changes.

 

The young servant, Mo Ru, saw that his master was so absorbed in looking at the farmland that he immediately understood the meaning and ran to ask the farmer the price.

 

After a while, he bought two large caged crabs and asked excitedly, “Your Royal Highness, do you want the chef in the Military Camp to steam the crabs for you this noon?”

 

Cui Jiu thought about the rough cooking style of the camp chef. He felt that he would not live up to the delicious crab, so he said: “Go back to call a carriage and eat in Lingquan town at noon…”

 

When he arrives at Lingquan Town, he can find a restaurant at random and let a proper chef clean it up for him. It will be more delicious.

 

He thought so and did not intend to go to the mansion on the North Street.

 

But The Prince’s plan could not keep up with the change. He found a remote restaurant in Lingquan town. As soon as he got off the carriage, he heard someone call in surprise: “Husband!”

 

Cui Xingzhou looked back and saw a woman in a light smoke pleated skirt trotting over with a surprised look on her face. The old servant, Servant Li, was out of breath and followed behind her.

 

“I went to deliver dinner to Mr. Chen earlier on. From a distance, I recognized that it was… It was your carriage. But Servant Li insisted that it was not. She also… Didn’t let me follow up. I almost missed your carriage!” Miantang was a little panting because she had just run a few steps. His cheeks were scarlet and his pink neck was even whiter.

 

It was because she had not moved her muscles and bones for a long time that her ankle was aching. Only when she came to the carriage and held onto the carriage subconsciously could she ease the pain.

 

Cui Xingzhou guessed that her old wound had started to show effect again when she suddenly stopped talking.

 

He didn’t know what had happened to her. Her hamstring was broken. Although Zhao Quan had fixed it back for her, it was certainly impossible to recover as before.

 

Such an injury is most afraid of violent activities. Now that he thinks about it, she should be in great pain.

 

Thinking so, Cui Xingzhou reached out to stabilize her arm so that she wouldn’t stumble and fall.

 

The jade arm that he was holding onto had become very soft during this year of her recovery. Cui Xingzhou unconsciously tightened his hand…

 

At this moment, Servant Li also came after her breathlessly. Out of breath, she knelt to The Prince and said, “Prin… Master, I can’t stop Madam. I beg for you…”

 

Liu Miantang came to recognize him on the street in the daytime. She really shouldn’t have! Servant Li was trying to let The Prince punish her. But in the middle of her sentence, she saw the meaningful eyes of Prince Huaiyang and immediately shut up in a hurry to avoid revealing flaws.

 

Miantang has relieved her pain at this time and because she was distracted by the pain earlier on, he didn’t pay attention to what Servant Li had said but asked her husband in a weak voice: “Husband, why don’t you come back to town? Do you want to eat in this restaurant?”

 

With that, she caught a glimpse of the two cages of crabs in the hands of Mo Ru.

 

Mo Ru, who was always alert, lied on behalf of his master: Master knew that Madam likes to eat crab, so he went to the countryside to buy two cages in person, and prepared to let the restaurant make crab dumplings, and then take them back to the mansion to eat…”

 

Liu Miantang likes eating crabs. When she was not well, she make a fuss that she would eat crabs in autumn. As a result, she was severely reprimanded by Servant Li. She said that Her Master was short of money. It’s been good enough to have some food and drink at home. How can she afford to buy crabs?

 

Since then, she has never asked Servant Li for any food. She didn’t expect that her husband was thinking about herself and rushed to buy so many crabs.

 

She was feeling so happy deep in her heart that she looked at Cui Xingzhou’s handsome face and said softly, “Why make it into crab dumplings? The crab shells of the June Hairy Crab are soft thus, it will be delicious to spicy stir-fry them! I bought the fermented soya bean hot sauce made by the neighborhood in the street yesterday. It’s just nice that it can be fried with the crabs. It also can save tons of money and let the restaurant earn money for nothing.”

 

Cui Xingzhou originally wanted to have a drink by himself and silently ponder while eating. But his plan was turned into bubbles.

 

He look at Liu Miantang who couldn’t stop being happy with her eyes. The corners of his mouth slightly stirred up. It seemed that he had made up his mind and slowly said, “Since you like spicy crab, we can fry it…”

 

So Cui Xingzhou helped Liu Miantang into the carriage and returned to the North Street Mansion.

 

But this time Cui Xingzhou was no longer secretive, after getting off the carriage, he returned to hold onto Miantang, and then, under the eyes of a bunch of neighbors stretching their necks, helped Miantang off the carriage.

 

There have been different sayings regarding what kind of person is Liu Miantang’s husband like. But they are generally a dandy or a dissolute man of the wealthy.

 

With the sun shining brightly at noon now, people can see the appearance of Merchant Cui, who doesn’t work hard.

 

Oh my! No wonder such a charming lady is willing to run the business for him! Such a tall and handsome man!

 

Merchant Cui was wearing a moonlight gown, with wide shoulders and narrow waist, dark sword eyebrows, deep eyes, and a quiet temperament. He didn’t look like a businessman. If he was an official, someone would have believed him!

 

In other words, such a man and Lady Liu are a pair of the perfect matches made in heaven!

 

Mrs. Yin was a warm-hearted woman. She took the lead in saying to Liu Miantang, “Madam Cui, Is that your Husband who’s back? Do you want to come and have a seat? My newly fried melon seeds taste delicious!”

 

Standing beside Cui Xingzhou, Liu Miantang raised her voice and boasted: “No, I will visit another time. My husband went to the countryside to buy me crabs. Our meal is delayed and we haven’t eaten yet!”

 

With these words, she took her husband’s hand and went back to the mansion with a smile.

 

The neighborhood always gossiped that her husband was a libertine. Today, her husband finally came back in the daytime. Also letting them look at her husband’s noble and dignified appearance. He was by no means an unbearable person in their mouth.

 

Cui Xingzhou has his thinking.

 

Liu Miantang stayed here for so long that no one contacted her. Maybe… She was deliberately left behind by Lu Wen. It is likely that the thief was tired of playing with the beauty and abandoned her maliciously.

 

In that case, he might as well go all out to reveal his trace, and just accept Liu Miantang as his mistress. Lu Wen has been trying to find out whether his news is real or fake. If he finds that the person who sleeps beside him every day has become the new favorite of Prince Huaiyang, even if his love is no longer there, he must be afraid and suspect that Liu Miantang will reveal his secret to him. Once he has scruples, he will tend to take action…

 

Cui Xingzhou sneered at Lu Wen’s intention to get in contact with Shi Yikuan and follow the good path of getting an offer of amnesty and enlistment to rebels. The thieves wanted to be an official? See if he agrees to it!

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