Fields Of Gold / Fields of Gold Chapter 495

Although celebrating the New Years in the capital was a novel and joyous event, Yu Hai still worried about the greenhouse pavilions on their farmstead back in Tanggu Town. Madam Liu also felt anxious about their home, so as soon as the first month passed, they started to pack up in preparation to go back to Tanggu.

On the eighteenth of the first month, Little Shitou had packed his bags and was taken away by Headmaster Yuan to travel to Jiangnan. The most famous academy in the south, Yuelu Academy, had invited Great Scholar Yuan to go and lecture there. He naturally had to bring along his last disciple with him to travel and gain some experience. Yu Xiaocao thought that their trip would be long and exhausting, so she made quite a few shelf-stable pastries and biscuits for them to bring along. Headmaster Yuan even brought along a few roasted ducks and chickens for their journey. He stated that he wanted to eat some while they were on the road.

Originally, Yu Xiaocao wanted to keep Yu Hang and Xiaolian around in the capital for a bit longer. However, Yu Hang was able to take on more than half of the work at the farmstead in Tanggu now. Yu Hai had noticed that his son had gradually matured and that he had a steady and responsible temperament. Thus, he had the desire to start cultivating him to inherit the farmland. In the future, both of Yu Hai’s daughters were going to get married and his youngest son was talented at studying so his future was already set. The family had a farmstead nearing a thousand mu. Although the vast majority of land was given to them by Royal Prince Yang, they would likely obtain more and more land in the future. As the eldest son, Yu Hang needed to be able to manage all of this. Currently, the greenhouse vegetable business was going to be popular until the start of spring. Yu Hang was afraid his father would have more work than one person could deal with so he tactfully declined his younger sister’s invitation.

Xiaolian also wasn’t an idle person. Yingtao was currently in the capital, managing the building and establishment of a new pharmaceutical workshop. Thus, the workshop back in Dongshan Village was now under her hands. The little lass was in charge of all of the manufacturing recipes, ingredients, and supervising the workers. Most of the workers in the workshop were hired from her home village or the surrounding villages, so they all had faith in the Yu Family. Thus, none of them looked down upon her, a preteen girl, as their manager, so everything she said was done. The workers’ vacation for the New Years was set to end on the last third of the first month. Although there was a steward keeping an eye on things, Xiaolian still wanted to go back.

Like this, Yu Xiaocao was once again left in the capital all alone. In fact, she also wanted to take this chance to go back to Dongshan Village and spend some time with her family. However, her new cosmetic and spa business for women was currently making all of its preparations to have a grand opening. Although the vast majority of work had been delegated to a female shopkeeper that Royal Prince Yang recommended and her maidservant Hechun, as the owner of the business, she couldn’t just stand aside and do nothing, right?

That being said, the heir of Marquis Anping and his wife still required her to help nourish their bodies. In actuality, these two people had healthy bodies just like all of the imperial physicians and other doctors had said. They didn’t have any big problems to deal with. The heir’s sperm count was low because he had been eating and drinking the wrong things. As long as he stopped eating those offending foods and continued to eat her medicinal cuisine with the mystic-stone water added into it, she was sure that good news would soon be on its way.

Yu Xiaocao, who had been left in the capital, spent a few days in her own residence, a few days in her godmother’s residence, and would sometimes rest at the Imperial Plantation when she had work to do there. When Royal Prince Yang was in the capital, he always spent time with her, so it wasn’t too lonely. However, once the first month passed, Zhu Junyang, who was regarded highly by the emperor, sometimes had tasks that took him out of the capital. Sometimes, he would be out for ten days to half a month and it made Yu Xiaocao feel at a loss whenever he was gone.

There were times when Yu Xiaocao thought that she was being a bit ridiculous. When she first transmigrated over into this society where men were seen dominant over women, she had originally planned on being single for the rest of her life. In the past, when she was working hard with her family to alter their circumstances, she was in charge of everything and had to rely on herself. As a girl who hadn’t even reached the age of ten, she had to support the whole family, so naturally she didn’t have much leisure time to think of much else. Now, with someone pampering and taking care of her at every turn, she was at a loss when he was gone. The problem was that she had too much time now! It looked like she needed to make herself busy again. Otherwise, she would turn into those other women and become someone who relied on a man for everything in life!

Fortunately, as the weather warmed, the season of flowers blooming had arrived. The mountains and hills behind the Imperial Plantation and Royal Prince Yang’s farmstead were now covered in brilliant flourishing flowers and it made the scenery look multi-colored. From a distance, the scene resembled clouds that were colored like the rainbow.

Zhu Junyang’s farmstead was especially gorgeous. The back mountains were planted full of a variety of plants and flowers. There were more common flora such as peonies, jasmine, Indian azaleas, magnolias, Chinese roses, etc. There were also less commonly seen varieties such as Chinese enkianthus, Buddha’s hand, bitter orange flowers, globe amaranth, etc. Naturally, there were also varieties that were brought over from the western hemisphere, such as roses, forget-me-nots, lilies, tulips, etc…

Every type of flower was planted in neat rows and each section was under the care of an experienced flower gardener. When the entire hill bloomed in sequence, the gorgeous scenery was a sight to behold. It resembled an ocean of flowers and looked as if they were in an immortal land.

She wasn’t sure how word came out but a stream of elegant literary scholars and talented women started coming to the ‘flower mountain’ to enjoy the sights. Royal Prince Yang’s stewards at the farmstead also built a few pavilions on the hills. There were rustic and interesting thatched pavilions, delicate and elegant eight-sided pavilions, simple and small round pavilions, and lively and grand layered-roof pavilions.

If they had more time, Steward Sun would have liked to build a ‘flowing cup pavilion’. The most famous flowing cup pavilion had to be the ‘Melodious Flowing Water Goblet’. Watching a wine cup float down the water was one of the most favorite pastimes of literary scholars. This type of pavilion was the best for scholars to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the flowers and all of the scholars loved to congregate in these areas. In fact, some of the more famous and talented scholars even took the initiative to volunteer in creating a few couplets for these buildings!

As the warm spring caused the flowers to bloom, Yu Xiaocao’s flower tea business had also started its production. The nearby village girls and matrons were all attracted by the offered wage of twenty copper coins a day. These hired workers picked the flowers in the fields and also helped process the flowers under a strict set of protocols to create a variety of flower teas. Every type of flower tea that was made all had to undergo the secretive last step that was controlled entirely by Yu Xiaocao. In other people’s eyes, this was a mysterious process. In actuality, Yu Xiaocao just had the little divine stone morph into its golden kitten form and have it run around the flower teas. It imbued the flower teas with a tiny bit of its spiritual energy by doing so. Thus, the signature flower teas of ‘Blossoming Beauty’ couldn’t be made by anyone else. 

As for the fruit trees at the Imperial Plantation, the peach blossoms bloomed and then the pear flowers followed. Peach blossoms had the ability to enrich the blood and improve a person’s complexion, whereas pear flowers could help fade hyperpigmentation from a person’s skin. In addition, these were the two types of fruit trees that they had planted the most of at the Imperial Plantations. Consequently, when these two flowers bloomed, Yu Xiaocao took her personal maidservants along with some daughters of the tenant farmers to pick the male flowers from the trees.

With raw ingredients on hand, the manufacturing of flower blossom tea was on its way. Furthermore, Hechun had also begun producing cosmetics and health supplements and a supply had slowly built up. Thus, the ‘Blossoming Beauty’ cosmetics and spa facility had its grand opening at the start of April!

The estate that the emperor had given them had long finished the renovations needed. On the outside, there was a building that had been changed to fit the store front. Three rooms were earmarked for the selling of flower blossom teas, another three rooms were reserved to sell cosmetics, and the last three rooms were to be used to sell health supplements. Inside the estate, the beautiful and elegant residence was kept the same as before.  

Yu Xiaocao was too lazy to come up with original names for each courtyard at the estate, so she willfully pilfered names from the buildings in Prospect Garden from the ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’. There was ‘Enjoyment Red Hall’, ‘Bamboo Lodge’, ‘Alpinia Garden, ‘Violet Caltrop Island’…when the names came out, the famous talented girl of the capital, Yuan Xueyan, unanimously approved of them. She stated that Xiaocao must be refined inwardly in order to choose such suitable names for the courtyards.

The inscribed board at the front gates of the cosmetic and spa facility was crafted by the most famous artisan from the Ministry of Works who faithfully copied the empress’s handwriting and her personal plum blossom seal. On the day that it opened, Zhu Junyang somehow managed to get a dragon and lion dance team from who knew where to noisily celebrate on the streets. The empress had sent her personal palace maids out to the store and, surprisingly enough, even the wife of the heir to Marquis Anning was also present. Other than these people, there were also the ‘Two Beauties’ of the capital at the scene. In short, the noblest and highest ranking women in the capital were present for the grand opening of this new business.

Since the effects of the peach blossom tea were now legendary in the capital, all of the noble young misses and ladies in the capital paid close attention to ‘Blossoming Beauty’, the new cosmetics and spa facility, before it even opened. They were waiting for it to open so they could rush to buy flower tea! As for the business’s skin care facilities and the health supplements, these women were also very interested. Lady Fang had only relied on drinking flower tea to restore the health of her skin and body. If they added on the other treatments, it would definitely be even more efficacious!

As for the efficacy of the flower blossom teas and the cosmeceuticals, the noblewomen and maidens completely believed in their effects. After all, the empress herself was involved in this endeavor. If the effects weren’t good, wouldn’t that be slapping the mother of the country in the face? It was unlikely the Yu Family’s lass would dare to do something underhanded! 

On the day of opening, there were sedans and carriages parked outside ‘Blossoming Beauty’ cosmetics and spa resort long before it was time. There were women from the imperial clan, noble ladies from high-ranked officials’ families, sweet and cute daughters of officials, and also the wives and favored concubines from rich merchant families…all of them had one common trait: none of them lacked money!  

These upper class women and young maidens were all invited to elegant rooms based on their family backgrounds and likes. The items displayed in these rooms were not only void of any nouveau-riche sentiments but they also seemed to be full of things that each person liked as if they had been personally tailored to them.

For example, the wife of the imperial tutor was a famous talented maiden in her youth. Her daughter was also proficient in poetry and verses. The room they were escorted to was full of scholarly items, such as famous paintings and calligraphy. It was extremely elegant and refined.

As for the wife of the Grand Secretary of the Pavillion of the Imperial Library, she loved flora and adored famous and valuable flowers. The room that she was in had valuable orchids, top-notch quality peonies, precious Chinese peonies…there were even some varieties she had never seen before. As soon as she entered the room, she almost forgot what she was there for. Instead, she hungrily appreciated these beautiful flowers.

……   

These examples could be found everywhere. Each room that a person went into was extremely well tailored to their personal likes. Naturally, this was the skill of the female shopkeeper in charge of the business. She had gathered information on the likes and dislikes of almost all of the potential customers in the capital. Thus, she used that information to create more than thirty types of rooms to fit those styles. These rooms were perfectly crafted to receive the guests at ‘Blossoming Beauty’. When Yu Xiaocao found out, she was impressed with this woman and trusted her even more implicitly. She also raised the salary of this shopkeeper by a lot more.

Every guest in the rooms was given a small booklet describing the skincare items, health supplements, and flower blossom teas at the spa. Furthermore, each room had its own maid who was perfectly trained. They were there to answer any questions or explain anything the customers weren’t sure about. 

If the guests were interested in the spa resort’s other services, they would be given another pamphlet that introduced the benefits of getting skin care treatments, lymphatic massages, gua sha treatments   , and healing foot baths. All of these maids could also describe these treatments in full detail. They had sweet and gentle voices and were able to really speak to the customers about the business’s offerings and treatments. 

Many customers became very interested in obtaining a membership card to the cosmetics and spa resort. After spending a certain amount of money at the spa, they could apply for different levels of membership cards. Membership cards not only could give them a discount on their future visits but they also served as a status symbol among the women.

[1] gua sha treatments – A type traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in which a tool is used to scrape people’s skin in order to produce light petechiae. Practitioners believe that gua sha releases unhealthy bodily matter from blood stasis within sore, tired, stiff or injured muscle areas to stimulate new oxygenated blood flow to the areas, thus promoting metabolic cell repair, regeneration, healing and recovery.

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