Chapter 196 - Bailiffs

In Yu Xiaocao’s consciousness, the little divine stone could communicate with the woman, [Saving a person’s life is more meritorious than building a seven-floor pagoda. Don’t worry, I will help you. Do you want to leave tonight, or…]

“Cui… Cuiyun!” The little divine stone’s words were interrupted by an aged and trembling voice. The three people and one ghost all looked towards the sound of the voice and saw the figure of Old Yu appear under the moonlight. After tonight, Old Yu seemed to have suddenly gotten a lot older.

The woman in white looked at Old Yu with a gaze that no longer had any warmth inside. With a faint gaze, she said, “Yu Liqiu, our marital affection had already been completely wiped out when you remained silent about Madam Zhang’s actions. To tell you the truth, I’m really disappointed in you! People often say: ‘With a stepmother, one will also have a stepfather.’ It turned out to be true ah!”

It was uncertain whether it was due to nostalgia or guilt, but Old Yu’s face was covered with tears. He said in a trembling voice, “I’m sorry that I didn’t take good care of our children. I have let you down ah!”

There wasn’t any emotion within the woman’s voice as she said, “There’s no need to say these unnecessary words. I don’t feel like listening to them anymore. I don’t need your repentance and atonement. The best way to atone for your wrongdoings is to stop causing so much trouble for Hai’er’s family in the future.”

After that, she looked at Yu Hai with reluctance and said in a soft voice, “Hai’er, I need to go! Reincarnation is the best ending for me. Don’t be sad. You have to stay well…”

She looked at the kitten in Xiaocao’s arms. The little divine stone understood her meaning. A golden light burst out of the woman’s body, and her figure gradually faded away…

“Mother——” Yu Hai cried out, which sounded even more tragic and mournful in the quiet mountain forest. However, he also knew that reincarnation was the best option for his mother. Although he was reluctant to let her go, it was impossible to let her stay.

Old Yu burst into tears, crying bitterly as he muttered, “She still blames me ah, still blames me… She’s unwilling to forgive me! Cuiyun, Cuiyun…I have let you down ah!!”

One knelt on the mountain road, while the other stood with his back bent. Yu Hai and Old Yu both looked in the direction of the scattered figure for a long time. A cool mountain breeze blew, and Yu Xiaocao sneezed loudly.

This sneeze released Yu Hai from his feelings of sorrow. Yu Hai rubbed the corner of his eyes and stood up. He took off his outer jacket and wrapped it around his daughter’s body, and then said with a slightly hoarse voice, “Cao’er, quickly wear this. Don’t catch a cold—Father, you should also go back.”

“She still blames me. She still blames me ah…” As if he had gotten possessed, Old Yu kept repeating this sentence.

Yu Hai sighed and gently said, “Father, I don’t blame you, and Mother wouldn’t either!! Madam Zhang is right about something: Younger Brother and Youngest Sister are also descendants of the Yu Family. There is flesh on both the palm of one’s hand and the back of one’s hand. They’re young, so there’s nothing wrong with you being partial towards them. Don’t think too much and quickly go back!”

Old Yu raised his head and looked at his son, who was the one that he was the least worried about since childhood, with eyes blurred by tears. If he had paid more attention to his son, would Madam Zhang have second thoughts about her actions? Would his son have suffered less? Would Cuiyun not blame him? There weren’t so many ‘what-ifs’ in life. People must take responsibility for their own actions!

“Dahai! You have already separated from family, so you don’t have to worry about the matters in the family. In the future… just live a good life!!” Old Yu turned around and walked back along the rugged mountain road. His footsteps appeared very heavy!

Yu Hai looked at his father’s back, which was no longer tall and straight. He opened his mouth and finally shouted, “Even if I left the family, you’re still my father! I will not give you any less of the filial respect that I shall provide you…” But, for the things that he didn’t need to give, he wouldn’t even take out a single copper coin!

The father and daughter returned to the old residence while supporting each other. Looking at the three tottering mudbrick buildings, Yu Hai suddenly said, “After the autumn harvest, let’s rebuild our house! Let’s knock down the old building and buy the land next to us, so we can build a spacious five-room, tile-roofed house. We can expand both the front and rear yards! We have to live a prosperous life so that your grandmother can reincarnate without any concern…”

Although Yu Xiaocao preferred to buy a house and land in town, she had to nod her head in support of him after hearing his words, “Mhm! If we’re going to build a house, then we’ll have to build the best house in the village. We should also get glass windows like the ones in Brother Han’s house. This can brighten up the house as well as keep warm.”

“Okay! Let’s get glass windows!” Yu Hai deeply exhaled, releasing the stuffiness in his chest. Anyone who found out that their mother was murdered by someone would feel uncomfortable within their hearts. Fortunately, his mother had appeared today and told him that she didn’t blame him. She also told him to live a good life… ‘Mother, you can rest assured. I will definitely live a prosperous life!’

The next day, Yu Xiaocao stayed at home and had some rare leisure time. The watermelon shop’s business was already on track, so Eldest Maternal Aunt could handle the store by herself. Thus, she didn’t need to help out and could have a good rest.

Around noon, Xiaocao’s younger uncle, Yu Bo, returned in a dazed state with several bailiffs behind him.

As soon as the bailiffs entered the Yu Family’s main gates, Madam Zhang, who hadn’t slept all night, acted like a mouse that saw a cat and immediately hid on her kang bed, afraid to go out. Madam Li had also timidly shrunk into a ball and said in a low voice, “Dahai is seriously being too unreasonable. Didn’t he say that he wasn’t going to report it? Mother, you should quickly hide. A life for a life. If you get caught, you will get beheaded!”

After what happened last night, there wasn’t anyone in the Yu Family who didn’t know what Madam Zhang had done. Madam Li felt ashamed of her mother-in-law within her heart, but she didn’t have even the slightest impression of her father-in-law’s first wife and Madam Zhang was her husband’s birth mother, so she naturally wouldn’t do anything out of the line.

Madam Zhang had been harassed by the ‘ghost’ for an entire night, so she was on the verge of having a mental breakdown. When she heard Madam Li’s words, she walked around in the room and didn’t know where to hide…

“Mother! We have been deceived! We were deceived ah!!” As soon as Yu Bo entered the door, he saw Madam Zhang with disheveled hair and a pale complexion. He was stunned at first, and then he continued to cry.

Hearing her younger son’s crying voice, Madam Zhang was stunned for a moment and then she stood up with a loud cry, “Xiaobo, what did you say? That person who said that he would help you enter Rongxuan Academy is a swindler? Then… the three hundred taels that I gave you? Did you give them to him?”

Without even a shred of scholarly aura, Yu Bo had a sullen face as he crouched on the ground and held his head, “That person came to me the day before yesterday and asked me for some money to pull some social connection, so I gave him all of the three hundred taels. This morning, the bailiffs came over and said that he was a swindler, and that they had already caught him. Tomorrow, we will need to confront him in court.”

“Then… the bailiffs didn’t come to arrest me?” Madam Zhang looked out into the courtyard and asked in a low voice.

Yu Bo looked at her strangely and asked, “Arrest you? For what? They’re just going through the regular procedure and coming to summon you to be questioned in court tomorrow. We just got scammed. It’s not like we did anything illegal.”

‘You didn’t, but I did ah!!’ Madam Zhang couldn’t express her distressed feelings. Last night, after Yu Hai left, the family had a family meeting and decided to take her disgraceful past to their graves. In particular, they couldn’t let Yu Bo know so as to not affect his mood for studying.

Seeing that his mother was still dazed, Yu Bo hastily reminded her, “Mother, the bailiffs have traveled so far, so we should give them something to drink first. We can’t let them work on an empty stomach, so we must take care of their lunch! Second Sister-in-law and Xiaocao are good cooks, should we ask them to come help us prepare a table of dishes?”

Madam Zhang’s heart was even more bitter than a Chinese goldthread ah! Last night, she had just signed a contract and promised that she would never disturb the second branch again. If she went to ask them to help cook today, wouldn’t she be slapping herself in the face? Yu Hai had evidence of her crime in his hands. With how much that fellow loved his wife, if he found out that she went to order his wife to work right after vowing to leave them alone, he would definitely report her crime to the county magistrate.

Madam Zhang hesitated for a moment, and then said, “Your second brother’s family is so busy that they wish that each person can work like two people. So, how can we bother them right now? Zhang Quan’s wife is also a good cook, so let’s just ask for her help!”

Yu Bo felt even more surprised in his heart, ‘When did Mother learn to be so considerate of Second Brother’s family? Did the sun rise from the west today?’ But, he had also heard in town that Second Brother’s watermelon shop was really busy. His mother was right, did it really matter who they asked to help cook?

Madam Zhang sent Madam Li to invite Zhang Quan’s wife over, and then she went to the courtyard and politely greeted the bailiffs. After that, she went to the chicken pen, caught a big chicken, and killed it. She really treasured the few chickens that they raised at home. She wasn’t even willing to kill one for the New Year, so she had really gone all out today!

She took out several eggs, but put them back after thinking about it. She waved her hands to call over her younger son, “Xiaobo, do you think that we can get the money that was scammed back?”

Yu Bo had a troubled expression as he said, “Logically speaking, I just give him the money the day before yesterday, so it has only been a day. Thus, that guy surely wouldn’t have enough time to spend them all. But…”

He looked outside and whispered, “People often say: ‘The entrance of the yamen is shaped like the character eight. Even if one has reason, they should not go inside without money.’ I reckon that even if the three hundred taels are found, they will most likely be confiscated…”

Madam Zhang’s heart was dripping with blood ah! Three hundred taels wasn’t a small sum of money ah! It was more than half of the family savings. Without the money that Yu Hai got from catching the bear, there was no way that their family would be able to get three hundred taels in this lifetime. She covered her heart as her legs turned limp and she sat down on the ground.

“Mother! Mother, what’s wrong? Don’t scare me ah!!” Yu Bo watched as Madam Zhang clutched her chest and looked as if she had trouble breathing, and he was immediately at a loss.

Madam Zhang deeply inhaled several times, and then sat on the ground, crying silently. She recalled the words that Xiaocao said that day. What kind of place was Rongxuan Academy? It was a place that all those high-ranking officials and wealthy businessmen fought to send their sons into!! Not to mention five hundred taels, even if five thousand taels or fifty thousand taels was what they needed to get into the school, there would still be people vying for that chance. Such a good thing, how could commoner like them be able to get this chance? Why was she foolish and actually believed that fraudster’s wheedling words?

“Mother, do you feel a little better now? It’s all my fault! If it wasn’t for me, our family wouldn’t have lost such a large sum of money. You also wouldn’t have to be so worried!” Yu Bo also deeply regretted it at this time. Had it not been for the fact that he was so eager to attend the school, how could he be targeted and scammed?

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Myst's Thoughts

Ah! My heart breaks for Yu Hai, but this was inevitable.  

Translator: Myst