Under The Power 锦衣之下 Chapter 6

Chapter 6

Ever since Jin Xia was young, she already had made herself famous for the things she did. When her name was mentioned, she was often nicknamed with names like yaksha and big bugs. She was very uncomfortable when she first heard it. Later, she accidentally read a book on yaksha, and learnt that it is a creature that everyone is afraid of. It went up the mountain and became a gatekeeper for spirits, drinking and eating ferociously. She was fascinated by it and treated that the nickname is a compliment.

After she became a constable in Department Six, her nicknames are gradually forgotten in the neighborhood. Everyone would know her upon mentioning the fierce girl with a pretty face in the Yuan family. Madam Yuan Chen couldn't hold back her daughter, and Jin Xia got older and older every day but no one came to them to propose and this made Madam Yuan Chen very upset. She will think with gritted teeth: Wait for me to prepare a big dowry, and I will not worry even if you don't come to me begging!
In order to save up for the dowry, Madam Yuan Chen sold beancurd every morning and dried tofu every night, which was difficult. Jin Xia was burdened by her nicknames. And because no one has come to her for a marriage proposal, she couldn’t speak for herself and only tried to catch thieves desperately.

When Jin Xia heard that Madam Yuan actually wanted to matchmake her and Mr. Yi's third son, her first reaction Jin Xia had was to wonder how much dowry her mother had offered to Mr Yi to make this matchmaking possible. 

She turned her thought around, if she is married to the Yi family, it would also save a lot of trouble: Yuan Yi’s private schooling fees would be saved up for the next few years, as well as the charcoal gifts they had to give to the Teacher Yi to show appreciation could also be saved. Those costs will actually sum up to a great amount.

Those expenses can eventually be saved up to the price of the dowry.

She knocked on her forehead, anxiously looking at the crackling wood sticks burning in the stove, and stuffed a few more wood sticks in.

The lantern was lit. The water in the Jinshui River flowed slowly, reflecting the countless bright lights from the shores of both sides of the river.

On the river, there were musical boats where one can enjoy music and paintings and other boat performers. Shirtless man with flowers on their head will immediately smile and acknowledge, as they climb up the bamboo pole on the boat, then dive down into the river. Before they hit the water, they would do flips and spins as a performance to entertain the viewers on the shore.

There are taller and shorter restaurant buildings on the shore across each other, and the small bridge that connected the two shores next to the river had small stores on them, selling different items.

Jin Xia leaned against the small stone lion statue on the bridge railing, guarded the small stall selling dried bean curds, listening to the sound of bamboo flute and pipa coming from the restaurant next door, and her eyes looked down on the river. She was here to help her mother tonight, but her mother probably caught a cold last night, and was having a headache. Jin Xia persuaded her to go home to rest, but Madam Yuan Chen felt uneasy to let Jin Xia take care of the stall alone. Jin Xia made promises to safeguard the store properly and would behave. Madam Yuan Chen repeatedly reiterated her instructions before going home to rest

"Two strings of dried tofu with spicy oil!" said a voice with a happy tone.

Jin Xia was startled and looked up. It was Yang Yue and Jin Xia asked: "How did you know I was here?"

"I just delivered two pickled fish to your house, and I met your mother. So I gave her your business trip subsidy to her. She told me that you are here." Yang Yue prinkled the dried tofu sticks with spicy oil, "My dad wants us to go with him to the military headquarters tomorrow morning."

"Oh," responded Jin Xia, "anything went missing there?"

"Who knows." Yang Yue followed her gaze and looked at the river, curiously, "what are you looking at?"

"Did you see that diver juggling?" Jin Xia pointed.

As she says, the shirtless man jumped off from the tall pole with a beautiful backflip in the air, before plopping into the water... It was springtime and the weather was cold. Though the river surface was yet to be frozen, the coldness of the water in the river would still bite the skin.Yang Yue could not help feeling a shiver down his spine looking at the performers diving into the cold river. 

"I sold three bowls of dried bean curd, he jumped eight times." Jin Xia looked at the shirtless man who climbed back onto the boat with envy. "The money he earns a night equals our monthly salary, why are we even working as constables?"

"Aren't you scared of the cold if you work like them?"

"Isn’t the silver worth the coldness?"

Jin Xia looked down at her bucket of dried bean curds. She didn't know when she would finish selling them. She sighed.

"Are you short of money again?" Yang Yue knew her well.

Before Jin Xia could answer, someone appeared before the stall—
"I want four bowls of dried beans, two of them with spicy sauce, two with plum powder, the sourer, the better. My wife craves something sour now." It was Sun Jixing, the eldest son of Sun's family, who came to visit the night market with his wife.

Although she was very reluctant to look at them, for the sake of money, she quickly prepared the dried bean curds and handed it over, without expressions. "Four copper plates, thank you."