Chapter 125 - Scratch

“Of course we have to think of all possible ways to earn money! We need money to build a fence and repair the house. Moreover, we also have a lot of debt! It might seem like my father’s leg has recovered, but he’ll feel unbearable when he uses too much strength. It’s alright during the day, but it would be so painful at night that he can’t even sleep. He has been able to endure thanks to the painkillers that Doctor Sun prescribed. He can’t be the main labor force in our family, and my older brother still owes dozens of taels of medical fees… If we don’t think of more ways to earn money to repay the debt, will Grandmother and Eldest Aunt help us pay off our debts?”

Yu Xiaocao had long seen through their intentions, so she persistently complained about her family’s suffering. In the backyard, Xiaolian blocked her parents and refused to let the two kind and uncontentious people go out to be bullied. She also asked Qian Wu, who was tending the ducks by the pond, to go find her grandfather that the village entrance. Old Yu was the only one who could somewhat keep Madam Zhang in check.     

“Alright, alright! What’s the point in saying all this rubbish? Hurry up and gather the vegetables for your grandmother. Did you want the old lady to personally get them herself? You tactless person!” Madam Li noticed that her mother in-law’s face was becoming more and more unsightly, so she hastily interjected.

Yu Xiaocao didn’t change her expression and kept a fake smile on her face, “Eldest Aunt is right! Grandmother, what vegetables do you want to eat? I’ll go gather them for you.”

“Let’s do this. Give me a basket of each kind!” Madam Zhang was also a good money-maker. She could make out the values of the lush green vegetables just by looking at them. There were four or five different kinds of greens here. If she got a basket of each, it would be at least four or five catties, which should cost several taels.

In the past, when Yu Hai was around and the family hadn’t split, she hadn’t noticed his importance. Without the skilled fisherman Yu Hai, not only did they catch less than half the amount of fish compared to last year, but there also wasn’t much variety. Several regular customers gradually stopped ordering from the Yu Family because they couldn’t meet their needs.

Now, Yu Dashan not only goes fishing in the sea with Old Yu, but he also sells fish at the fish market with other fishermen. When business was bad, half of the fish would be leftover. Their family had been eating fish for more than a week already. They used to be reluctant to eat it, but now they were sick of eating it. The weather was gradually warming up, so if they didn’t eat the fish, it would go bad very quickly.

Old Yu and his son were bringing back less and less money, so Madam Zhang’s heart was becoming more and more anxious. Her youngest son had sent a letter saying that he wanted to study at Rongxuan Academy and needed money for brushes, ink, and books. Also, the rent for the residence they rented in town had expired and her youngest grandson, Little Doudou, had gotten sick at the beginning of spring… All these matters that required money had piled one on top of another, one after another.

Seeing that there was less and less money in her hands, Madam Zhang felt as if a fire was burning her heart. She couldn’t eat nor sleep well, and had a few mouth ulcers. When she heard from Madam Li that the second branch was beginning to sell their vegetables, she briefly pondered and thought of an idea.  

However, Yu Xiaocao wasn’t like her parents, who were easily bullied by Madam Zhang. She sneered and said, “Grandmother! Aren’t you going to eat the vegetables to prevent hunger? With four or five baskets of vegetables, even if you guys eat a lot, wouldn’t it take at least twenty days to finish everything? Aren’t you afraid that the greens will rot in the baskets and be wasted?!”

“It’s none of your business! You grandmother told you to pick the vegetables, so just do as you’re told! What’s with all your nonsense!!” Madam Li had already impatiently started gathering the vegetables herself. After eating boiled cabbage and radish and mixed grain flatbread for the entire winter, her eyes were already green with greed when she saw all the green vegetables. She had never been so eager to eat stir-fried vegetables!!

“Eldest Aunt!! Be careful not to trample on the vegetables…” Before Yu Xiaocao even finished speaking, Li Guihua had already stepped on the lettuce under her feet. ‘Every green vegetable was a shiny piece of silver ah.’ Xiaocao’s heart ached incessantly.

Right at this moment, a golden light, like lightning, launched towards Li Guihua. With a loud scream, Li Guihua covered her face and sat down in the vegetable field. Her huge butt had slammed into the vegetable garden. If the vegetables were alive, they would surely scream before dying.   

“Who… whose cat is this? How can you let it out to scratch people?” Madam Li looked and saw a tiny kitten that wasn’t even the size of a fist. It was covered in golden fur and was staring fiercely at Li Guihua with its golden eyes. It showed a fierceness that was disproportionate with its size.

‘Little Glutinous Dumpling, good job!!’ Yu Xiacao praised the little divine ceaselessly within her heart.

[She just keeps blabbering and her voice sounds as bad as a pig being slaughtered. She’s so freaking noisy!!] The little divine stone licked its claw with dissatisfaction. It glared at Madam Li with hostility as if was about to jump up the next second and rush towards its ‘prey’.

“My face!!” Li Guihua took off the hand she used to cover her face, but was startled by the blood on her hand. That damned cat actually dared to scratch her face. What should she do if it scarred?

If Xiaocao could read her mind, she would definitely roast her relentlessly: ‘Eldest Aunt, even if your face isn’t disfigured, you don’t look that good either. You have a face that affects the appearance of the city!’ 

Madam Zhang bent down to pick up a lump of dirt and was about to throw it at the little golden kitten, but noticed that the kitten had already turned its attention towards her. The little one exuded a terrifying force that made her feel as if she wasn’t facing a little kitten but a majestic-looking giant tiger.

Madam Zhang’s legs began to tremble. She dropped the chuck of soil in her hand and stammered, “Wicked girl, is this your cat? Quickly take it away!!”

Yu Xiaocao had helpless expression on her face and said, “Grandmother, I picked up this kitten from the mountain forest. It hasn’t been long since I brought it home, so it hasn’t been domesticated yet and is still very wild! It doesn’t listen to anybody. Xiaolian and I have both been scratched by it. So I don’t dare to provoke it.”

Madam Li, who was triggered by the blood on her hand, suddenly lunged at the little golden kitten like a crazy woman. As a result, all the vegetables around her suffered a tragic death. 

“My vegetables!!” Yu Xiaocao cried pitifully.

The little golden kitten seemed to have sense its master’s mood and hastily rushed to the part of the garden that had already been harvested. Its movement was light and nimble. Madam Li’s fat figure suddenly plunged into the vegetable garden. Her big face landed first, and she was unable to immediately get up. After struggling for a long time, she finally sat up and noticed that her mouth was full of mud. She spat for a long time in order to get the mud out of her mouth.

[Useless thing! Trying to compete with me, this Divine Stone!! Humph! Humph! Anticipate having a nightmare tonight!!] Yu Xiaocao was the only one who could hear the little divine stone’s grim voice. From a place that no one could see, a wisp of smoke-like spiritual power entered Madam Li’s nostrils. But she was completely unaware of it!

“Mother, quickly help me catch that damned cat. I’m going to throw it into the firepit and eat it after its cooked!!” Madam Li refused to give up and was hell-bent on catching the kitten.

Thus, Madam Li’s plump, ball-like body could be seen jumping, fumbling, rolling, and crawling around the yard. It was a very comedic scene. By the time she was tired and gasping for her breath, she still didn’t touch a single hair on the cat.

During a rather chilly evening in early spring, Madam Li’s entire body was covered in sweat. With the mix of sweat and mud on her face, she didn’t even need to wear makeup to perform in a Chinese opera. She couldn’t get up from sitting on the ground, so she smacked her leg and wailed, “Aren’t you bullying me right now? I don’t care. Your family’s cat scratched and scarred my face, so your family must compensate me! Just… pay me five taels…”

“Who would compensate five taels to you? Your face isn’t even worth five copper coins, yet you want five taels. Why don’t you go rob someone?!” This awesome response came from Old Yu, who had quickly rushed over. He must be infuriated, otherwise, he wouldn’t have made such a harsh remark to his daughter-in-law.

Madam Li wasn’t afraid of anything, except when her father-in-law pulled a long face. When she saw Old Yu coming in, she immediately jumped up from the ground. Her agile movement didn’t seem like something that a fatty like her could do.

“It was the cat that scratched you, so go get the money from the cat! You can’t even handle a kitten that hasn’t been weaned, yet you still have the face to ask others for money? Our Old Yu’s family doesn’t extort money from others. If you want to cause trouble for Second Son’s family, I’ll go talk with Li Laoshuan about it!” Madam Li’s father, Li Laoshuan, was also a very capable man when he was younger. He had earned some properties, so the living conditions of the Li Family was a lot better than the Yu Family.

Madam Li didn’t dare to say another word. Although her father doted on her, he was also an old-fashioned and traditional man, who considered a married daughter to be the same as spilled water. He believed that she should listen to everything her in-laws say. If her father found out that she was extorting money from her younger brother-in-law’s family, he would definitely disown her. She still needed to rely on her maternal family to support her, so she absolutely couldn’t let her father know about this!

Madam Zhang spoke up in her defense, “What’s there to talk about? Guihua just said that out of anger. Do you really think that she would take the second branch’s money?! Second Son’s family’s cat scratched someone, but you won’t even allow her to say something about it?”

“I haven’t even said anything about you yet! What are you doing here? Did you come to ask Second Son for vegetables? Are you really that shameless to ask?” Old Yu looked at Madam Zhang with eyes that were full of disappointment, anger and sadness!

When the second branch were in their most difficult times, she had forced them out of their home. His second son had risked half his life in exchange for the money they got from selling a bear. After they hid the three hundred taels that his second son had risked his life for, he could hardly sleep at night and was full of torment in his heart. On the other hand, as if she had thrown away a huge stone that was on her body, Madam Zhang talked and acted in a much more relaxed manner!

Why didn’t she ever think about how Second Son was his flesh and blood! He believed that he had never been biased toward Dashan and always treated him like his own son. When they divided the family, they had even given the new ship that Second Son bought to their eldest son. Why couldn’t she feel for others and treat his children as her own?

Look at what happened! Look at what Madam Zhang did!! She married his eldest daughter hundreds of kilometers away and sold her to a widower as his second wife. His eldest daughter must be completely disappointed in him. After being married for so many years, other than visiting Second Son several times, she was almost unwilling to see him, her father.

His second son was a capable man, so he had thought that Madam Zhang would treat the second branch better for the sake of money. But what happened? When his second son was seriously injured and on the verge of death, Madam Zhang had forced him to propose to separate from the family. She only gave them the rundown old residence and a measly two taels…

Old Yu felt that his tolerance was reaching the limit. He couldn’t let Madam Zhang continue to do whatever she wanted. He had to show his authority as the head of the household!!

When faced with her husband’s furious gaze, Madam Zhang felt somewhat afraid in her heart. However, she still insisted, “Isn’t Caidie’s fiancé’s family going to send the betrothal gifts over soon? I was thinking about how we don’t have anything to serve them at home, and then I heard that Second Son’s family has planted vegetables… As a son, what’s wrong with paying filial respects to his parents by giving them some vegetables?”

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Myst's Thoughts

Almighty Little Glutinous Dumpling!!

Translator: Myst