Chapter 2 - Evil Step-Grandmother

“You… you’re my mother?” Lin Xiaowan didn’t retain any memories from the original host of this body. However, she had coincidently hit her head, so that gave her a good opportunity to pretend to have amnesia. Weren’t all transmigration novels just like this?

That weak-looking woman already had a pale face, but her face became even more ashen. She wobbled and asked in disbelief, “Cao’er, what’s wrong? Why can’t you even remember your own mother? Doctor You, what’s exactly wrong with my daughter?”

Doctor You was an old man in his fifties. He stroked his beard and frowned. After a moment of deliberation, he said, “When I was younger, I had read a medical book that mentioned a similar case. There was a man who stumbled down a mountain and injured his head, losing all his memories. Little girl, try thinking a little harder, can you remember anything?”

Lin Xiaowan, who was now Yu Xiaocao, scrunched up her face and pretended to think harder. After a long moment, she shook her head firmly and said, “My mind is completely blank. I can’t remember anything at all.”

“My poor daughter… Doctor You, can Cao’er’s illness be cured? Is there any danger to her life?” Yu Xiaocao’s new mother in this lifetime held her hand and wept silently.

The villagers surrounding them clicked their tongues, shook their heads, and sighed. Madam Liu’s life had been rather tough. Her mother-in-law was vicious and harsh, while her sister-in-law was lazy and selfish. After she gave birth to her youngest son, she didn’t get to properly recuperate. Thus, she became prone to illness. However, her mother-in-law still ordered her around without letting her rest. Even after all that, her mother-in-law was still unsatisfied with her and constantly picked on her.

Although her husband was capable to earning money, Madam Liu had never received a single cent before her mother-in-law, Madam Zhang, pocketed all the money. Her younger daughter was born sickly and wasn’t expected to live very long. Now she even injured her head, ah…

Doctor You consoled her, “Don’t worry. As long as there aren’t any other symptoms, her health wouldn’t be affected. Maybe she will start recovering her memories after a few more days. Bring her home first so that she doesn’t catch a cold.”

“Thank you so much, Doctor You! We’ve troubled you again!” Yu Xiaocao’s mother, Madam Liu, wiped her tears with the corner of her clothes and bent down to pick up her daughter.

However, a young man in his twenties had already picked Yu Xiaocao up before she could do so and said, “Second Sister-in-law, let me carry her!”

Yu Xiaocao blinked and stared at this tall and thin man with curiosity. He was a young man with a refined aura. As someone with the mentality of a twenty-six years old, it felt somewhat weird to be carried by a young man like this.

The young man flashed a smile at her and asked, “Xiaocao, do you still remember Third Uncle?

“I don’t remember you!” Yu Xiaocao shook her head honestly. Her movement pulled on her wound and made her grimace in pain.

The young man hastened his pace and carried her towards a room inside a courtyard. Yu Xiaocao wanted to walk by herself, but she had lost too much blood. She was still too dizzy and weak, so she could only stay in her third uncle’s arms. She just kept reminding herself: I’m a child, I’m just a child right now…

Her eyes weren’t idle as she carefully looked around and got a general idea about her surroundings. This was a small fishing village that was close to the sea. There were mostly old straw houses in the village. Their family had a five-room residence with a courtyard, so they can be considered a family with above-average living conditions in the village.   

However… if her family had decent living conditions, why had the original host of this body died because of a small and dirty piece of steamed bun?

“What happened?!” A white-haired old woman with deep wrinkles around her mouth came out from the main room. When she saw her daughter-in-law carrying a blood covered Yu Xiaocao in her arms, she frowned and grumbled, “You went out so early this morning. Where did you go? Wouldn’t her head injury cost a lot of money to be treated? A family full of sick and useless people. Even a rich family will be ruined by all the medical fees! Second Daughter-in-law, is this how you look after your daughter?”

“Second Sister didn’t fall by herself! Eldest Aunt pushed her!” The little boy, Shitou, swiftly replied. He straightened his back, trying to protect his sick and weak sister.  

The wrinkles on the old woman’s face deepened as she furrowed her brows. Her fierce gaze shot towards the plump figure hidden behind them. She coldly shouted, “Eldest Daughter-in-law, what exactly happened?”

Her eldest daughter-in-law, Madam Li’s, eyes darted around before she answered evasively, “Heizi told me that Xiaocao stole a steamed bun from my room. I just didn’t manage to hold back my anger.”

Xiaocao’s older twin sister, Yu Xiaolian, wasn’t as amicable as her mother. She shouted at the fat Heizi, who was hiding behind his mother, “Brother Heizi always lies, so how can we still believe in his words?”

Li Guihua’s imposing manner had slightly deflated, but, when she saw her precious son being criticized, she immediately bounced back like a rubber ball, “You little brat, who are you calling a liar? You’re still refusing to admit that you stole something! Who would still throw a whole steamed bun on the ground when the harvest had been so bad recently? Heizi, come over here! Quickly come and tell everyone how that damned girl, Xiaocao, stole our steamed bun?!”

Yu Ge, whose nickname was Heizi, was tanned and fat. He was the eldest child among the younger generation of the family and was spoiled by his mother. Although he was usually a bully in front of his younger siblings, he was actually a complete coward. Xiaocao had been battered until she was bloody and nearly died because of his careless words. It was impossible for him to not feel guilty at all.

He kept muttering without actually saying anything relevant until Madam Li smacked him several times. When he finally summoned up the courage to continue lying, he was interrupted by Xiaocao’s older brother, Yu Hang.

“Brother Heizi, do you still remember the story of ‘the wronged souls coming back for justice’? Also, the myths about the eighteen levels of hell? Eldest Aunt had also said this earlier, liars will have their tongues cut off in hell!” The ten year old Yu Hang was usually very quiet, but he had clearly seen through the current situation.

Heizi guiltily looked at Xiaocao, who was being carried by her mother. The sickly and pale Yu Xiaocao silently stared at him with her empty eyes. She barely had any flesh on her small face, which made her eyes look frighteningly big. Her dark pupil nearly filled up her entire eyeball. Her face was also stained with streaks of blood. Wasn’t this exactly the same as the wronged ghosts mention in the story?

Heizi was so scared that he almost wet his pants. He didn’t dare to look at her again and buried his head into his mother’s embrace. He screeched like a dying pig, “I wasn’t the one who had hurt you, so don’t come looking for me! What I said earlier doesn’t count! I dropped the steamed bun on the ground and didn’t want it anymore because it was dirty! Waaahhh… Don’t take my soul away! I don’t want to go to hell and have my tongue be cut off!…”

The truth has been revealed, so Madam Li can’t even argue anymore. She was so angry that she smacked her son’s back several times. Under the onlookers scrutinizing eyes, she could only give in, “Darned brat, why did you lie? Second Sister-in-law, I’ve already scolded him, so don’t take a child’s action to heart.”

Yu Lichun, who had followed behind them, spoke up at this time, “Why are you still fighting over a steamed bun when the child was already injured like this? Sister-in-law, you should hurry up and give Doctor You the medical fees!”

Yu Lichun was the eldest brother of Xiaocao’s grandfather, Old Yu. The two families didn’t have a close relationship due to Xiaocao’s grandmother, Madam Zhang. 

When Madam Zhang heard that she needed to pay for that useless brat’s medical fees, she widened her eyes and spoke through gritted teeth, “Brother-in-law, that’s easy for you to say. Pay for her medical fees? All the money that we had wasted on that brat and her mother every year is enough to feed an entire family. Where am I going to find the money to pay for them? Money doesn’t just fall from the sky for our family, so we can’t just spend it carelessly! It’s a small wound, so just cover it with some plant ash and it’ll be fine. She doesn’t need any medicine!”

“She’s not her real granddaughter, so of course she doesn’t want to pay!” The villagers, who had followed along, shook their heads and sighed.

Madam Zhang was actually Yu Hai’s step-mother, who married Old Yu after Yu Hai’s mother died. After they got married, she gave birth to their third son, Yu Bo, and a daughter, Yu Caidie. The eldest son, Yu Dashan, was a child Madam Zhang had from her previous marriage. He had changed his surname after his mother married into the Yu Family.

Yu Lichun cried out against the injustice for his nephew, “Third Sister-in-law! Dahai goes out to the sea to fish every day before dawn. He would also frequently go up the mountain to hunt for pheasants and wild rabbits, then sell them in town. Moreover, all the money he makes goes to the family. We, the villagers, aren’t blind. If Dahai wasn’t in your family, would your family be able to build this five-room house? Can your family afford the new ship? His daughter is badly injured right now, yet you can’t even bear to spend some money? How can he not be disappointed?”

Madam Zhang was upset when she heard Yu Lichun’s words, “Brother-in-law, according to your words, Dahai is the only reason our family is doing well? Let me tell you right now! I’m not going to pay the medical fees! Whoever caused this mess and injured her should be responsible for paying!” After she finished speaking, she turned around and went back into the room, slamming the door loudly.

Madam Li’s fleshy body trembled slightly and she muttered in a low voice, “All our money is in Mother’s hands. I don’t have any money…” Then, she pulled her son back to their own room.

Madam Liu gave Doctor You a bitter smile and said, “Doctor You, I’ll have my husband send over the medical fees when he comes back… My apologies!”

Under everyone’s sympathetic gazes, Madam Liu sent away Doctor You and the villagers…

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Myst's Thoughts

Translator: Myst