Chapter 227: Appearing Inexperienced (Part One)

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[TL Note: This is a sharp transition from the ending of the last chapter. This is the correct order.]

It was January in the Lunar Calendar, and Chang’an’s night view was still pretty.

The big red lanterns in front of every home were bright, and they were hung on two sides of the street; it looked like there were two giant red dragons.

It wasn’t completely dark yet, so children were all in their new clothes and playing on the street.

According to the traditions of Great Sui, children wouldn’t be reprimanded regardless of how they played.

When walking on the street, it was frequent to see women putting candies into the pockets of children who they didn’t know, and they didn’t need to worry about arousing suspicion.

Although there were cases of child trafficking, it was extremely rare in Chang’an.

If one family had too many children, they would offer a few of them for adoption. If two families had an agreement, one family could get a child from the other by offering money, but they must register with the government. The government would frequently check on these children, making sure that they weren’t abused.

Those who abused children would be punished. The simple punishment was getting whipped and locked up for a few days, and the hard punishment was getting exiled to the border.

There was only one punishment for child traffickers, and that was execution.

The children had candies and firecrackers in their hands, and they were running on the street. They would light a firecracker from time to time, and those adults who were startled wouldn’t get angry; January was the time for children to play, and they would need to go back to school after February 2nd.

February 2nd was known as the day when the dragon god would raise its head, and people would see this day as the departure of winter and the arrival of spring.

The Dragon God of Rain who slept for the entire winter would wake up on that day and offer the land a precious rain.

Of course, this was only folklore.

According to the documentation in the Weather Department of the Constellation Terrace of Great Sui, it only rained once on February 2nd in the last 50 years.

All the shops were open, and the aroma of delicious food flowed out of the restaurants and into the noses of the pedestrians.

The waiters dressed in new clothes stood at the door and tried to get new customers. The better that their businesses were doing, the more money they would get.

On the opposite side of the street from one big restaurant, there was one of the most famous pleasure quarters in Chang’an – New Moon Pavilion. It was ranked below the two pleasure quarters that Wu Yidao owned, but it was still one of the best.

Although Beckon of the Red Sleeve took away a lot of traffic, New Moon Pavilion was still doing well right now since even the stingiest man in Chang’an would spend money in January.

Beckon of the Red Sleeve had its uniqueness, and pleasure quarters had their charm.

In Chang’an, men didn’t see going to pleasure quarters as something shameful, unless their wives were too brutal.

Four young servants in cyan clothes and boots stood by the gate of New Moon Pavilion, and they were all handsome. Some aristocrats were into men, so these young men weren’t cheaper than beautiful girls.

Fang Jie who changed into a fancy robe got to the door and paid attention to these four young men. From their stance, Fang Jie assumed that they learned some martial arts.

Before coming here, Fang Jie already studied the terrain and found an escape path; this was his habit.

Fang Jie wasn’t afraid of running into an acquaintance here. Those big figures wouldn’t want to be seen in public, and they would hurry in and find the girls they liked. After all, they were at a high status, and they would be ashamed if some rigid old scholars reported them to the Emperor in front of other officials or the Emperor reprimanded them for not working hard.

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