Chapter: 160 of 216 – Opening a Teahouse (unedited)
Yin Zi enlightened the gloomy Xiang Qing, saying, “You’ve already missed the best time to eat that cat. How about following the rules of animals? When two strong creatures encounter each other, the stronger one will suppress the weaker one and directly just eat them.”
“That’s absurd. Such a shameless thing… How… How could they do that?! That’s rape!” Xiang Qing stammered.
I came out from behind the house and said seriously, “For felines, it’s always the female who selects her mate. A male must display his strength. Mating only occurs after we fight and if the male overpowers the female! So, you’ll have to work hard.”
“But.. right now, we are not animals.” Xiang Qing endeavored to uphold his perspective.
“You used to hold me down to do that! You even bit my neck!” I rubbed the back of my neck and somewhat despondently said, “Having my neck bitten as a human hurts a lot more than as a cat…”
“Wouldn’t it be fine if you just didn’t resist?” Xiang Qing was mulling over possible solutions for this predicament.
“But…” I lowered my head and explained in embarrassment, “I can’t help but want to resist… I can’t control my actions.”’
Yin Zi explained, “The problem is that this is instinctive for a cat. It’s very hard for her to control it.”
“Nonsense!” Xiang Qing rebuked. “Last time, you said you wouldn’t bite me!”
“Yes, I won’t bite you, but it’ll be a struggle…” I looked at his dissatisfied expression and thought of a method to satisfy both of us. “How about I eat you? If you’re on the bottom, you should be able to prevent yourself from resisting, right?
“No!” His face clouded over. “You absolutely must be on the bottom.”
Why? You can’t even do it yourself, yet you demand me to do it… you’re truly too much.
Starting from that day, Xiang Qing would wake up before the sun rose and leave to train in the woods for an hour. Then, he would return to help me with laundry. Afterwards, he’d either go elsewhere to carry out tasks or visit Maoshan to receive tasks. Work in the field. Do housework. Once dinner was finished, he continued to train and would not be back until late at night. Even during his break times, he wouldn’t stop. Diligent. Thus, his skills made great progress.
I couldn’t figure out why he was suddenly exerting so much effort. Yin Zi said that Xiang Qing’s hard work was all for the sake of a successful bridal night. I should be glad to have much a considerate and tender husband.
Therefore, I decided that I should also do something to prepare for the forthcoming bridal night. Xiao Cha was enthusiastic and acted as my sparring[1} partner.
 “陪练”is sparring, but in this case, it’s closer to scuffling.
She found all kinds of ropes and tied me to the bed. Then, she applied pressure to my body, and I tried my very best to restrain my feline instincts of resisting and not break the ropes bound around my wrists. Xiao Cha got injured because of me.
Yin Zi called us both idiots and urged me to be careful, lest I exert too much strength and accidentally kill her.
Just like that, I trained and trained fervently. Another month passed. The rainy season ended, and the weather slowly began to become warmer. The village was located in a north-south clearing near the main path, but next to it was a tremendously vast forest. It was very easy to get lost in there, so the majority of travelers tend to take the long way around.
 “行人” literally means “pedestrian,” but since that takes on too much of a modern vibe, I decided to replace it with “traveler.” The main focus is that these people travel on foot.
The nearest inn or town from either sides of the village was at least 30 miles away, so occasionally, a traveler would stop by at our village to ask for a place to spend the night. Our home also happened to be the first residence in the front of the village. We get requests for water and shelter quite often. The village’s rules prohibited rejection of these passersby, so we perennially kept bucket of water under a large tree in front of our home for the passersby to help themselves. We even placed a long stool for them to rest on.
Xiao Cha would not give up on her aspirations to do business. She once again thought of something and suggested that since we were located in such a convenient place, why don’t we open a teahouse for the travelers? Especially the wealthy ones―we can sell them some snacks and tea, and earn extra money.
Xiang Qing strongly opposed, saying that most of the travelers were poor, so there was no need to earn the little money they had. Yin Zi, however, was very supportive of Xiao Cha’s suggestion. He said that that stupid brat was idle every day, so giving her something to do wouldn’t be too bad of an idea.
After a long discussion, it was decided that the teahouse would be opened next to our own field, so we can farm and do business at the same time. The tea and snacks would be more refined and expensive, mainly for the customers with money, and we’d just earn what we could. It was mainly for the purpose of curing our own boredom and leisure.
The capital that Yin Zi gave was very little. Although the teahouse was nothing more than a plaything, Xiao Cha was still very excited and exhibited unprecedented enthusiasm by personally going with Xiang Qing to build the hut that would later become the teahouse. She used logs to cut out tables and chairs and even added flowers and made things like wind chimes to decorate the entire hut with. Her ability to make the place have a kind of sophisticated and elegant aesthetic roused our approval. Furthermore, she bought a pipa to play some songs to entertain everyone with. I couldn’t discern it, but Xiang Qing said that she played very well. However, Yin Zi didn’t ike listening to it and whenever he heard it, he would immediately leave. Gradually, Xiao Cha also lost interest in playing.
The small business opened very quickly. Xiao Cha had to work extra, since the idea was hers. In this aspect, she was not regretful and had no complaints. Every day, she wholeheartedly brewed tea and also baked sweets. Too bad that the stuff she made was inedible. Subsequently, Yin Zi couldn’t stand seeing her waste money anymore, so he flew to a town that was further away and purchased some cheap breads: baozi, mantou, and shaobing. He boiled a large pot of porridge and allowed Luo Luo to contribute with two jars of pickles and we sold them, just like that.
Xiao Cha was the shopkeeper. Every day, she got up right when the sun started to shine and dragged Yin Zi to the teahouse so he could sit and wait for customers to arrive. Of course, he usually stayed at or laid on a table to sleep. After I finished washing clothes and sleeping again, I would also go and help out, tell them to rest, though I spend most of my time sleeping on a bench too.
Doing business like this was very unprofessional, but people still came. Amidst them were people from our own village and neighboring villages. They came three or four times every day, always stuttering, wanting to make conversation with me or Yin Zi. While eating porridge, their eyes would dart all over the place. When they were done eating, they would refuse to leave and clung to us, saying they wanted to help wash the dishes.
How could we let customers do the work? There was nothing for them to do anyway. The forest in the back of the teahouse accommodated a bunch of small demons who couldn’t pay protection fees and were scared of being beat up by me. The instant they heard that I opened a teahouse, they all rushed in, fighting over who would wash the dirty dishes, and even the cleaning arrangements were already made. They didn’t want wages, instead they only wanted me to recognize them as my followers. I appointed two attendants to help Xiao Cha with her work.
The teahouse’s funnest feature was that the passersby talk about various types of things. For example, a girl from the east was bewitched, a house in the west side was haunted, and a brothel that was going to be rebuilt wasn’t rebuilt because the owner became a better person…
 “中邪” is when a normal person suddenly starts to behave abnormally, as if they were possessed.
The only part we were dissatisfied with was that there were customers who always tried to do weird things, like:
“This great one is Luo Yang county’s magistrate’s brother-in-law. Little beauty, if you follow me and let me take care of you, you won’t have to worry about going hungry or thirsty for the rest of your life.” This was said to Xiao Cha.
 “本大爷” is an arrogant way to address oneself.
 “吃香喝辣” describes a very free, privileged, and spoiled lifestyle with delicious food and good liquor.
Xiao Cha raised her head and said haughtily, “Close the door! Let out the dogs!
 “关门放狗” describes the act of closing an entryway (door) to keep out unwanted individuals, and even going as far as to letting out “dogs” to deal with said individuals.
Two large black dogs immediately flew past her. They were her attendants, and the pair were 200-something year old dog demons, specialized in wagging their tails, flattery, and scaring people.
“Little lady, if you let me touch your beautiful face, I’ll give you twelve strings of silver.” This was said to Yin Zi.
Yin Zi didn’t even look up. “Close the door and let out Xiao Cha.”
Immediately, under Xiao Cha’s command, two large dogs once again rushed forward. Because Yin Zi was Xiao Cha’s creditor, herself and her possessions also belonged to Yin Zi. She needed to repay her debt through labor, so it went without saying that he could use her henchmen too.
However, I always felt that Xiao Cha didn’t actually want to repay all her debt..
“Miss, can you…” This was said to me.
I was half-asleep and said in a drawn-out, drowsy voice, “Close the door, Xiang Qing.”
From the forest in the back, Xiang Qing charged in holding the rod he was training with, and in a menacing manner, grabbed the man angrily.
“At such a young age, how could you already be molesting honest women in broad daylight!”
The man was scared half to death and said tearfully, “Hero, please spare my life.. I.. I was going to ask for directions…”
Embarrassed, Xiang Qing turned around, “Miao Miao…”
“Yes? What happened?” I was still not awake.
Running the teahouse was very fun and everyone was happy, but…. One day, when I was watching the teahouse by myself, a very, very strange customer came.