A Good Omen
“Since this is considered the first year I am in Jin, and everyone has usually worked hard, I prepared some small toys for everyone, add some good omens.”
Xiao Zuo took out pouches he prepared some time already, and handed one to everyone in the room.
Other than Zi Wan and De Qing staying, it was late from the looks of it, so he urged the others to return to their own homes.
On the day of the new year, one must always stay up with family.
“This is for you guys.” Xiao Zuo took out the final two, inside were wrapped silver ingots when celebrating the new year in Nan Liang, with the surface still stamped with the previous emperor’s reigning title.
“Your Majesty……” Zi Wan looked at those few silver ingots with reddened eyes, and shook her hand while receiving it, and unbearably started quietly sobbing first, “Your Majesty…… next year……” She paused, then said, “It will get better in the next year.”
“Silly girl, the new year is a joyous occasion, what are you crying for.” De Qing happily put the pouch into his bag, Zi Wan nodded her head in agreement, and lifted her hand and used her sleeves to wipe away the tears.
She stopped crying and smiled, “It’s this servant’s fault, there isn’t anything to be crying about, everyone is still here, this servant is just happy.”
Xiao Zuo forcefully held the aching in his eyes, and squeezed out a smile like he was about to cry, “We haven’t eaten the dumplings, have we Go see if the kitchen has prepared the dumplings yet, alright”
“Aye.” Zi Wan nodded her head, and not long after, brought in a plate of dumplings, and placed it on the table with a smile, “The chef said the inside has two good omens as is custom, if one eats the dumpling with a good omen, then the next year would be smooth sailing and peaceful.”
As Zi Wan said this, she lightly touched Xiao Zuo’s elbow, and said, “Choose first, Duke.”
“Mm.” Xiao Zuo randomly took three from the side, then placed it in his bowl, “You guys choose too.”
When Xiao Zuo finished eating one, he saw Zi Wan and De Qing not have any reaction, and could not help but smile, “No good omens at all”
“There are still two left.” Zi Wan picked another one up and said, “This one just might have it.”
Xiao Zuo ate a lot during dinner, and was full at this time too.
He simply placed his chopsticks down, and lifted his eyes and waited for her.
Seeing her finish eating the remaining two, it was still normal white cabbage and pork filling, not even mixed with a single salted vegetable, he then blinked and joked, “Looks like next year, De Qing’s going to strike it rich.”
“Duke must be joking, this old servant does not have it either.” De Qing drooped his eyes and shook his head.
Xiao Zuo froze, then Zi Wan took the chance to make a commotion, “Looks like the duke is going to hit two jackpots this year”
Xiao Zuo smiled, and picked one dumpling and placed it into the mouth, and as expected, bit into a hard piece, a copper coin the chef put in.
He also ate the last one as well, and was was a copper coin again.
“It really is! Congratulations, Duke, great fortunes at the start of the year, the next year must have two joyous things coming!” Zi Wan looked to be even happier than if she herself ate the copper coin, and her face was filled with smiles.
“Then, we’ll hope you’re right.”
Xiao Zuo’s features were shrouded in the warm-yellow candlelight, gentle like water about to melt into the silver river.
Tonight, the reception hall’s candles were lit brightly, and the outside had continuous and unceasing thousands of stars and flowing colours.
The hazy and lonely night moon seemed to burn up for this annual human realm bustle, and held up the tens of thousands of households into the surge of heat made from their blessings.
No matter how many disasters and hardships there were in the past year, hope was eternally in the front, like the Morning Star that did not change since the ancient times- even if the long nights were slow, daybreak would always come.
Zi Wan got up and cleaned up the plates and chopsticks, Xiao Zuo fiddled with the pan of charcoal for a while, poured some hot water into a cup, then sat back to the couch on the side, covered with a blanket, and watched the night while roasting by the fire along with Zi Wan and De Qing.
“Duke.” The page knocked on the door, and poked his head in, “The crown prince residence has sent some items.”
“Quickly send it in.” Xiao Zuo lifted the blanket up, then put on his shoes and walked to the side of the door.
It was a familiar face often seen in the crown prince residence, that small servant boy was holding up a box, and when he saw him, he bowed, and very respectfully said, “Duke, his Highness especially instructed this servant to deliver it to the duke’s hands.”
“You’ve worked hard.” Xiao Zuo gave that small servant boy a pouch, the small servant boy went away very thankfully, then he brought the box into the hall, and carefully opened it.
The inside was a red paper, written with a character for fortune, with the handwriting vigorous and sharp.
Xiao Zuo looked at that word, and could imagine that sharp-featured profile of He Xuan tightly pursing his lips when using that top-rate rabbit hair brush of his to dip it in ink.
Xiao Zuo could not help but smile, and immediately felt the heart was very snug, and immediately had the servants prepare some glue, and was going to stick that character outside his own bedchambers.
As though it gave Xiao Zuo a kind of meaning of [He Xuan] protecting him secretly.