Chapter 8: New Home

The steward ordered the servants to bring the items in. In an instant, the long deserted North Court became very lively. 


Xiao Ju ordered everyone to get to work, while Lin Haihai wandered around by herself. 

North Court was a simple refined courtyard with a front and a back part to it. The front courtyard had a huge garden filled with flowers and trees. They set each other off nicely. Someone had been keeping the garden neat and tidy. 


On the left side of the garden was a lotus pond. On top of the pond was a hexagon pavilion. Attached to the hexagon pavilion and the garden was a winding bridge covered with cobblestones. From a traditional Chinese medicine perspective, this had a positive health benefit. Walking barefoot on the bridge would stimulate certain acupoints of the feet. This would correspond to various organs within the body, which could treat a lot of dubious cases. 


Lin Haihai walked over to the bridge. It was not yet spring, so the lotus flowers had not bloomed yet, but a gentle breeze carried the sweet scent over and helped relax her spirit. 


Lin Haihai gazed into the pond. The water was so clear that she could see little fishes swimming by now and then. She smiled. What else would I be unsatisfied about? Lin Haihai recalled a line from Zhou Dunyi, a poet from the Song Dynasty. In his poem “Ode to the Lotus”, there were a few lines she specifically loved.   


How I love the lotus. It grows from grime and mud, yet is bathed by the ripples of clear water. It is pure. Hollow within and straight without, its fragrance far and strong, neither forking nor clambering. It stands clear and tall, to be admired from afar, not to be profaned anigh. 


Both she and Zhou Dunyi had similar perspectives. Lin Haihai grumbled on the inside. Why wasn’t I sent to the Song Dynasty instead? It would have been great if I could have met a fellow like-minded individual. 


The old woman had mentioned that she could freely travel between any time and space aside from the 21st century. However, she still hadn't learned how to unleash the power of the spirit pearl. Lin Haihai could feel the energy within her, but it didn’t feel like it was equivalent to a thousand years’ worth of cultivation. 


Was Big Hero Jin [1] correct? Do I need to clear my meridians governing qi to access my power?


While she was letting her imagination go wild, Xiao Ju simultaneously ran and called for her. Lin Haihai snapped back to reality and turned. “Why are you in such a rush?”

Xiao Ju’s face was covered in sweat. Her clothes were also a bit filthy, but it didn’t mask her excitement. “We’re done moving. The steward wants you to take a look to see if there’s anything else you need.” 


Lin Haihai smiled at her maid and took out her handkerchief for Xiao Ju’s sweaty face. However, Xiao Ju fervently grabbed the handkerchief from her and carelessly rubbed it over her face. Then, she dragged and ran with Lin Haihai.  



The steward and the rest of the servants were waiting for Lin Haihai’s further instructions. Lin Haihai scanned her eyes around the exquisite polished room and was very pleased by the result. She turned to Xiao Ju. “This is wonderful. I’m very satisfied. I want to tip everyone.” Then, she lowered her voice. “What is the usual amount to tip?” 

Xiao Ju replied, “Two silver taels is already very generous.” 


Lin Haihai nodded and smiled at the steward. She took out a stash of banknotes and randomly selected one. Without looking at it, she handed it to him. “Thank you so much for all your hard work. Use this money and share it among yourselves. You may all excuse yourself and return to your original tasks. If you have time, feel free to come by and pay me a visit.” 


The steward and the servants exchanged looks with each other. Then, they all got down on their knees and bowed. “Thank you for Consort Lin’s generous reward.” 


Lin Haihai was dumbfounded and a bit overwhelmed. The ancient people constantly got down on their knees. This was bad for their self-esteem. Back in the 21st century, she had saved countless patients from the edge of death, but none had ever gotten down on their knees to thank her. Now, she was merely tipping them, yet the servants were reacting as if she were their almighty savior. 


Lin Haihai shook her head. Once I have more influence and power, I must definitely do something about their etiquette. 


Lin Haihai’s face turned solemn. She kindly spoke without losing her prestige. “All of you get up. No one is permitted to get down on their knees here. To kneel is to kneel on your dignity. I don’t care what you all do in other places, but you’re not allowed to kneel in front of me. When you’re on your knees, I feel like I’m about to die. All of you, get up!”  

The servants looked at each other, completely flabbergasted. They had never seen such a considerate master. As a result, they weren’t sure how to react. 


The steward took the lead and stood up first. Then, he instructed the rest to stand. 

“Consort Lin, your consideration to us will be forever engraved in our hearts. In the future, please do not hesitate to ask us for help. As long as it’s something within our abilities, we will do our best to manage it well for you.” 


Lin Haihai humorously replied, “You guys don’t have to be so punctilious. I’m a newcomer and there’s still a lot I don’t know. Please take good care of me.” Then, Lin Haihai imitated the cupped fist gesture ancient people do. The servants assumed she meant she was a newlywed. 


The steward quickly denied, “We do not dare! We do not dare!” 


Now that everything was running according to plan, the next step was to retrieve her brother. So, Lin Haihai turned to the steward. “All of you may go now. I need to rest.”


After all the servants were excused, Lin Haihai turned to Xiao Ju. “Let’s return to my family home and bring my brother here.” 


Xiao Ju was hurting from Lin Haihai’s generosity. “Young Miss, did you know how much you gave the steward? You gave him a hundred silver taels! Maids in my position only make around one or two silver taels a month!  Yet you handed out a hundred silver taels just like that. How many years would it take us to work before we could earn that much?” she winced.


What’s the currency exchange rate of a hundred silver taels to the Chinese Renminbi (RMB)? Lin Haihai had no concept. 


But money was mere worldly possessions. The most important thing was to make sure she didn’t invite trouble. It was best to make connections and develop good relationships. Perhaps she might need their help in the future. 


So, Lin Haihai waved her hand dismissively. “There’s a reason why I did it. You’ll find out in the future.” 

1. Big Hero Jin is a Jin Yong reference. He is the author of many popular wuxia novels that have been adapted to drama series.

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