Please update your browser: Your browser is obsolete, you need to update or switch! Missing var() support! Missing grid support! Missing (flex-) gap support! Missing aspect-ratio support! Missing container query support! Missing clamp() support! Missing -webkit-line-clamp support!
    Header Background Image


    The world's first crowdsourcing-driven asian bl novel translation community

    Chapter 253: Naming

    This time, Sang Luo hadn't expected that after considering dozens of names for half a year without satisfaction since he learned she was pregnant, Shen Lie would actually find one he truly liked.

    "Kindness is represented by 'yao,' and elegance by 'tiao.' If it's a daughter, I've always been fond of the character 'yao.' The only issue is that it doesn't flow smoothly when combined with 'Shen.' How about using 'A Yao' as a nickname? What do you think?"

    It was clear that he had been holding onto this preference for 'yao' due to this one regret.

    Sang Luo couldn't help but smile. The character 'yao' from 'yǎo tiǎo' (lit. slender and graceful) indeed held a beautiful meaning. However, both 'Shen' and 'yao' were third tones in Chinese pinyin, making the pronunciation awkward. 'A Yao,' on the other hand, sounded much better. After repeating it a few times, she found it even more appealing and nodded in approval.

    A smile appeared in Shen Lie's eyes. "Take a look at these other options for a formal name then."

    Taking the paper he offered, she saw that they were names he had recently considered. After pondering over them, she shook her head.

    Not only Shen Lie was picky; she was just as selective. With an estimated seven months of pregnancy, they still hadn't settled on a name. There must be a reason, and it certainly wasn't solely Shen Lie's fault.

    Understanding that they couldn't delay any further, Sang Luo thought carefully and suggested, "How about Chang Le? I once wished for a prosperous age called Chang'an. His Majesty named the capital city after it. Chang'an represents my hope for this world. But if we have a daughter, I'd wish for her to be like a fish in water, always joyful and content—Chang Le, enjoying happiness."

    "Like a fish in water, always joyful and content." Shen Lie repeated the phrase and said, "There couldn't be a better blessing than that. Let's call her Chang Le, Shen Chang Le."

    The daughter's name was settled, but the gender of the child in the mother's womb remained a mystery to the couple. Thus, they had to choose another name for a potential son.

    In comparison, the options for boys were much easier to choose from. Without much hesitation, Shen Lie took another paper with a boy's name and handed it to Sang Luo. "Take a look and see if there's anyone you like."

    Most of them were familiar from before, but among the new additions, Sang Luo pointed at one with the character "Qian": "Shen Qian will do."

    "What's your nickname?"

    This truly perplexed Sangluo, considering how she and Shen Lie addressed each other affectionately as "treasure" all day long. She thus ventured, "Is it Qian Bao?"

    Both laughed, knowing that names like Dog Egg or Stone were certainly not feasible. Dog Egg was self-explanatory, while if one were to call out "Stone" on the street, at least seven out of a hundred people would respond.

    "Sang Luo suggested 'Qianbao'," she shared with a chuckle, supporting her belly as she spoke to Shen Lie. "I feel that our child is likely a girl, quite active and lively. When I sew clothes, I unconsciously lean towards softer, pastel colors, pink in particular. It's not my personal preference."

    Shen Lie chuckled, having already noticed that most of the outfits Sang Luo had made for their unborn child were indeed pink.

    "A daughter would be wonderful, especially if she resembles you. At this time, she'll be born into a life of comfort. Not only is the world at peace, but our standard of living has improved significantly compared to before. Just speaking of clothing, the Emperor has granted us dozens of bolts of silk, and Minister Chu and several classmates from the academy contributed fine fabrics and silk cotton during our move. Qianbao truly knows how to pick the right moment."

    In the midst of his sentence, he didn't forget to praise the child, but the one in Sang Luo's womb couldn't take too much praise. The moment Shen Lie finished speaking, Sang Luo felt her belly stir. Following her gaze, Shen Lie saw a small bulge on her abdomen. "Did Treasure hear that?"

    Playful spirits rising, he crouched down and gently touched her belly, continuing their conversation through the air. "Treasure, your father and mother have chosen a name for you. Would you let us know if you like any of them? How about Yaoyao?"

    A tiny fist emerged from her belly.

    "For your formal name, it's Changle, Shen Changle."

    Again, a tiny fist pushed against her skin.

    The responses were perfectly timed, making Shen Lie even more fond of the interaction. He asked, "What about Qianbao?"

    Right on cue, the little fist appeared once more.

    Sang Luo supported herself with one hand on the bed and the other on her belly, laughing so much that she trembled. "Do you really expect her to understand everything? She just recognizes your voice and happens to be in the mood to play."

    Seeing her laugh so heartily that she needed to steady her belly, Shen Lie refrained from teasing the child further. He stood up and asked Sang Luo, "Is your bigger belly making you more tired than before?"

    Before, Sang Luo's pregnancy was barely noticeable. Compared to Zhou Ge, her figure had changed very little, and one wouldn't even guess she was pregnant from behind. But in the last month, her belly had grown significantly, and Shen Lie could see how much harder it must be for her.

    San Luo shook her head. "I'm fine for now, just a bit sensitive to the heat. The fields and livestock are taken care of, and Ah Ning handles most of the household chores. Plus, you and your siblings usually make the cakes and jerky. I don't have much to do. Baoyu is also very considerate; besides those few days of morning sickness when she first found out about the pregnancy, she's been eating and sleeping well."

    Jin Lie kissed her cheek. "Rest for a while. I'll fetch some water to wash your feet."

    Since San Luo became pregnant, the family had been extra cautious about assigning her any tasks. They were meticulous in the early stages, and even more so now that her belly had grown. Simple tasks like brushing her teeth and washing her face were manageable, but Jin Lie wouldn't dare let her bend down to wash her feet. He fetched warm water, helped her wash them, dried them, and even wiped the floor with an old cloth before he was satisfied.


    During his day off, Jin Lie crafted two desks. When people in the village saw him working on them, they learned that San Luo wanted to establish a small classroom for the children to read and study. They could read at home or gather together, and if Jin Lie and his friends had free time during their breaks, they could teach the kids. Everyone was enthusiastic, and those with children began making desks of their own. In no time, the mini classroom was up and running.

    Of course, it wasn't time for the next break yet, so Jin Ning and Xu Wenying took turns teaching. San Luo had initially planned to instruct the children herself, but with the construction of the house, which turned out to be larger than expected, half a year had passed, and her belly was now sizable. Jin Ning and Xu Wenying had also studied diligently and were capable of teaching. Thus, San Luo decided not to interfere.

    Gu Wu and Friday, who previously studied diligently at home between farm work, attended a lesson and immediately realized its value – it was different from simply reciting texts! It was also distinct from Wei Qinghe's teachings in the mountains; completely different!

    Indeed, the books were originally from the Zeng family. For the likes of Wei Qinghe, Wang Yunzheng, and the Xu brothers, who had shared their books with the Jin family, and since all of them attended the provincial school, San Luo copied the texts for them. However, she didn't feel right copying them for others. Nevertheless, for those like Jin Ning and Xu Wenying, who had books at home and studied diligently, they could share what they had learned with the children as long as the children were willing to listen.

    The more talented students absorbed the lessons easily. As for those who found the Confucian phrases confusing, they still joined in during less busy farming periods, mainly for the social aspect. With Jin Ning and Xu Wenying's ability to adjust the content, occasionally presenting simpler lessons or arithmetic problems, even someone like Jin Jin found the classes engaging, given their practical nature.

    Within just two days, Shen Ning informed Sang Luo that there were new faces around the pavilion where they read.

    They weren't entirely unfamiliar, as they were the children of several hired laborers working for their family, four from the Zhao family and three from two other households.

    Shen Ning said, "Three or four of them often come to deliver meals. Perhaps they overheard our reading while bringing breakfast and decided to take a peek once or twice. Eventually, they brought along their younger siblings who didn't need to work in the fields, and they quietly leaned against the pavilion to listen. They stayed for almost an hour before leaving."

    Sang Luo raised her eyebrows. "What were you teaching at the time?"

    Shen Ning chuckled. "I started with 'The Book of Documents.' When I saw that they lingered for quite some time, I thought it was a good opportunity since Xiaotie and San Niu were also there, so I had them read 'Thousand-Character Classic.'"

    Jin Xiaotie and San Niu were poor students; they still struggled with 'Thousand-Character Classic' and could only recognize about half of the characters, with many more remaining unknown to them.

    Sang Luo smiled and asked Shen Ning, "Would you teach more students?"

    Without hesitation, Shen Ning agreed with a smile. "Of course!"

    She had already considered this when she mentioned the matter to her eldest sister-in-law. The hired laborers worked tirelessly, and Shen Ning wished to offer some assistance in return.

    "Though, will their families allow them to learn?"

    Among the children, the eldest were around nine or ten years old, capable of lending a hand at home.

    San Luo replied, "I'll inquire about it tomorrow."

    The following morning, while reading in an outdoor pavilion, San Luo stepped out to take a look and spotted the seven children that Shen Ning had mentioned. Among them, she was more familiar with Zhao Da's daughter and Zhao Si's son. The siblings felt somewhat shy upon seeing San Luo.

    San Luo waved to Zhao Da's daughter and asked the young girl, "Would you like to join us in our studies?"

    The little girl was rather bashful, unsure whether to nod or not. After some thought, she replied, "I enjoy listening to Young Master read, but I don't understand most of it."

    "Little Master" referred to Shen Ning.

    San Luo smiled. "If you're interested, you can come into the pavilion and listen. Sometimes they read simpler texts. If you can memorize a few passages, ask your father to prepare bamboo scrolls. Then, bring them to your A'Ning sister or me, and we'll copy some sections from 'The Thousand Character Classic' for you to learn basic literacy. With that, you can start recognizing characters. If you pick it up well, you can continue learning, and we'll help copy more for you."

    Zhao's child didn't fully grasp the significance of learning to read. Still, San Luo held an almost mythical status in her family, inspiring natural admiration and slight idolization. Upon hearing San Luo speak to her and offer the chance to study with the Little Master on the estate, the little girl became incredibly excited.

    "Is that really possible?"

    San Luo chuckled. "If you're able to learn, yes. But first, you must ask your parents and grandparents if they permit it. You don't have to study all day; half an hour a day would be great."

    Without returning home, the young girl thanked Sang Luo and, accompanied by her siblings, skipped towards the mountains to ask their father and Uncle Four. Two other children from the hired help followed behind.

    In no time, Zhao Da, Zhao Si, and the two other hired workers with children arrived. Among them, Zhao Si was the most excited. "Madam, can you really let our kids learn to read?"

    Sang Luo nodded. "If the children want to learn and have the aptitude for it, and it doesn't disturb others, and your families are willing, then yes."

    "Of course, of course," Zhao Si replied eagerly, at a loss on how to express his gratitude. "I don't know how to thank Master."

    Sang Luo smiled. "I should be thanking you all. You've always taken good care of our fields and mountain land in exchange for your wages."

    The group, including Zhao Si, rubbed their hands together. "It's our duty, Madam. You pay us well."

    That same afternoon, several families brought eggs to the Shen residence. Shen Ning and Xu Wen Yin now had seven new pupils. Without desks, the pavilion itself provided seating areas. Initially, they only needed to follow along and recite the texts.

    Sang Luo asked Xu Wen Yin to carry half of the eggs back home. The two girls were busy with their pen-making every day, while Shen Ning managed the accounts of a few shops and cooked for the family on the fifth and tenth days of each month. However, she remained highly enthusiastic about teaching, and after a few days of classes, she noticed that the progress of her pupils varied. Together with Xu Wen Yin, they sat down and officially divided the students into beginner, junior, and senior classes, and set up a schedule.

    Of course, there weren't many lessons, and they took turns teaching. Even the beginner class was taught by Chen Er Shan, Shen Jin, Shen Yin, Xiao Ya, and Qiao'er. For arithmetic, they directly assigned Shen Jin as the teacher.

    Xiao Ya and Qiao'er were fine, but the two boys, Chen Er Shan and the Shen twins, were a bit stunned. They pointed at themselves, "We're teaching others?"

    "Can't you recite the Thousand-Character Classic?" Shen Ning asked.

    Chen Ershan and Shen Jin: "Actually, we can."

    Shen Yin: "I'm not very familiar with it, but I have to pretend I am. Let me lead the reading with the scroll."

    They arranged who would teach on which day, and after everyone dispersed, Shen Ning went back to boast to her eldest sister-in-law, "Little Yin isn't incapable; he's just lazy. It's perfect for him to be the teacher. He'll have to learn carefully the parts he doesn't know."


    During the first break of the mini-class, Shen Ning scheduled a large class open to all, whether they aspired to attend the state academy or simply wished to broaden their knowledge.

    The first teacher was Wang Yunzheng. When she inquired about the time schedules from the Xu family, Wang Yunzheng offered to take charge of the first session during the break.

    While Wang Yunzheng taught the village children, Shen Lie was summoned alone to the governor's mansion during his break.

    He was still a bit confused when Cheng An invited him, not knowing what the matter was. In the end, he spent half a day there and only returned at the beginning of noon.

    Sang Luo found it odd. "Governor Zeng had something to discuss with you?"

    Shen Lie's expression was somewhat peculiar. Only when Sang Luo and both Shen An and Shen Ning looked at him did he say, "He examined my studies, gave me lessons, and even shared a few scrolls of his own annotations on the texts."

    The whole family was a bit bewildered.

    Looking at Sang Luo, Shen Lie's lips moved several times before he said, "I suppose I've benefited from your presence."

    Zeng Ziqian hadn't explicitly said anything. Just like last time, when Shen Lie inquired, he admitted that there was someone by Sang Luo's side, someone who ensured her safety. He didn't add any more details and advised Shen Lie not to probe further.

    Shen Lie had a vague suspicion about who might be protecting Sang Luo. Of course, it was just a speculation up until now. But today, with Zeng Ziqian taking an interest in his studies, the answer that had been hovering in Shen Lie's mind was becoming increasingly evident.


    Enter your details or log in with:
    Heads up! Your comment will be invisible to other guests and subscribers (except for replies), including you after a grace period. But if you submit an email address and toggle the bell icon, you will be sent replies until you cancel.