Chapter 233 - Settling Down

The horse carriage passed through the bustling streets and drove towards the house that the Yu Family had bought in town. The streets of Tanggu Town was simple but prosperous. At this time, the street vendors were like clouds, and there were streams of people weaving their through the streets. There were deep fried fruits, chowder soup, steamed stuffed buns, and steamed buns, etc. The voices of vendors crying out their goods for sale could be heard by the ears from time to time.

The majority of the people passing through the streets were ordinary people dressed in plain cotton clothing and signs of the hardships they had faced could be seen on their face. There were also scholars dressed in long gowns with an aura of elegance and grace. Of course, there were also wealthy people dressed in splendid embroidered clothes. Occasionally, there was a young lady wearing a veil followed by senior servants and servant girls passing by their horse carriage while laughing softly…

It seemed as if Liu Yaner and her younger brother’s face were embedded in the carriage window as they looked at the bustling and stable street. Their wandering minds from their long journey here seemed to be comforted by this scene. This was the first time they were able to enjoy the exquisiteness of the streets in such a leisurely way. They didn’t have to worry about being berated, driven out, or even think about how they should smile and what they should do to receive charity from others...

The experience in the past few months could be said to be a nightmare for everyone in the Liu Family. Yu Caifeng looked down at the man who was sound asleep. As long as he was here, no matter how much hardship she had to face, she was not afraid. In the future, no matter how difficult their lives became, it wouldn’t be more difficult than being a refugee and begging others for charity!

“Older Sister! We’re here! Let’s get off!” The horse carriage arrived in front of a courtyard. Yu Hai jumped out of the horse carriage, pulled the curtains to the side, and smiled brightly at the people inside.

Liu Junping tactfully decline his uncle’s goodwill to help him down. He jumped off the horse carriage by himself and stretched out his hand again to help his brother and sister down the carriage. However, he found that his uncle had already skillfully helped his siblings down the carriage. Liu Fangping was giggling and laughing happily.

Their next door neighbor had just returned from buying vegetables, and saw Yu Hai leading a group of refugees in ragged clothing emitting a strange odor. She couldn’t help but frown and say, “Brother Yu, there was a kind family who had taken in a family of refugees before, but their money was stolen! You have to be careful!”

When Yu Hai bought this house, he had visited both his right and left neighbors. Therefore, even though he didn’t often come here, his neighbors still knew that he was the owner of this house.

Yu Hai nodded towards her and indifferently said, “Thank you for your kind reminder. This is my older sister. She was just affected by a disaster on her journey here; she’s not a refugee!”

The married woman looked up and down at Yu Caifeng and her family. She curled her lips and asked, “Are you going to let them live here for a while? It seems like I need to change my family’s door lock!”

When Yu Caifeng heard those words, she stared at the woman in humiliation, and her fingernails sank deeply into the palm of her hand. Yu Xiaocao looked at the rotten vegetables in the woman’s basket and snorted coldly, “Just based on your house? Would there be a difference whether you lock your door or not?”

The married woman’s complexion immediately changed and shouted, “What do you mean?!”

“What do I mean? Do you still need me to explain it? It means that——since your family is so poor, even if you leave your door wide open, thieves wouldn’t even care to come in!” Since the other party doesn’t want to save face, then why should Yu Xiaocao give her face?

“You…” The married woman wanted to say something, but she was interrupted by a drunk voice from inside her house.

“Damned woman! Do you want to starve me to death by shopping for so long? Why are you still dawdling over there? Aren’t you going to hurry it up and prepare a meal for me?!”

All of the married woman’s arrogance and rudeness disappeared in an instant. She trembled for a moment before she entered the courtyard compliantly. Soon, a painful scream could be heard followed by a man’s screaming voice, “Where’s the wine? Where’s the wine that you went to buy for me? If you can’t do such a simple thing, what do I need you as a wife for?” Soon, the sound of disjointed punching and kicking could be heard.

Yu Xiaocao grabbed her father who was about to go and persuade the man and whispered, “Father, we’re not familiar with them. It’s best not to interfere with other people’s business otherwise people will say we’re too nosy. Father, I will take aunt and uncle into the house first. You should go buy some ready-made clothes from the clothing store!”

Yu Caifeng hurriedly stopped them, “No… there’s no need! Our clothes can still be worn after they are washed and re-sewn. There’s no need to waste money.”

Yu Hai hurriedly nodded his head and said, “It’s not a waste, it’s not a waste! Older Sister, you should go in and rest for a while. When I return, let’s go out to eat together!” After he finished speaking, he hastily left, leaving no room for Yu Caifeng to say anything.

Xiaocao knocked on the door, and the person who opened the door was a gray haired old man. The old man’s surname was Tang, and his only son was swallowed up by the storm while fishing. The married couple didn’t have anyone to rely on. Yu Hai found them pitiful, so he lent them the side room to reside in. The Yu Family would occasionally stay in this house in town or they would use the kitchen here to make a meal and send it to Little Shitou. So it was similar to letting the couple watch over their house in exchange for free rent!

The old man recognized Xiaocao because Xiaocao would come here when she was free to cook for her younger brother who was studying in town. The food the little girl cooked was so fragrant that he couldn’t help but drool whenever he smelled it.

“Miss Yu, these people are…” The old man looked at the five members of the Liu Family without any contempt in his gaze.

“This is my oldest aunt’s family. They had just arrived at Tanggu Town.” Yu Xiaocao explained lightly. She invited Yu Caifeng and her family into the courtyard. The courtyard wasn’t big and was divided into two courtyards; the front courtyard and the back courtyard. There were three main rooms, two side rooms, a kitchen, and a junk room in the back courtyard.

For the Liu Family, who had been living in the northeast countryside, the view of the brick houses and the neat and orderly courtyard was beyond their imagination. Liu Caifeng secretly wondered, when did her brother became so rich for him to afford a house in town?

After restraining herself, she still couldn’t help but ask, “Xiaocao, does your grandmother know that you have bought this house in town?”

“Why would I let her know?” Xiaocao blinked her eyes puzzledly at first and then she asked suddenly, “Oldest Aunt, you don’t know yet? We have separated our households, so buying a house here was our idea!”

They separated households! No wonder! She was wondering how the stingy Madam Zhang would be willing to allow her younger brother and niece to dress so nicely and even allow them to buy a house in town. It turned out that they separated their households! The last worry Yu Caifeng had in her heart vanished like smoke in thin air.

Originally, she was worried that she would be shut out by the cruel and ruthless Madam Zhang when she returned to her maiden home, leaving her brother in a difficult position of being stuck in the middle of them. She thought that if Madam Zhang didn’t let them in, she would first live in the old Yu residence and let her man go to the mountain to learn hunting with her brother. There were a lot of edible wild vegetables in the West Mountains. As long as one was diligent, it was impossible to starve to death.

Since her younger brother had split households, there wouldn’t be so many misgivings! It seemed like her younger brother’s family was doing well. Her younger brother had always been capable, without Madam Zhang, that blood sucking leech, it wouldn’t take long for her brother to live a better life! According to her younger brother’s nature, he definitely won’t turn a blind eye to her.

However, as an older sister, she couldn’t completely rely on her younger brother. She believed that this difficult time was only going to be temporary. Once her husband recovered from his illness, he could work some temporary jobs in town. In the spring of next year, they could rent a few acres of land to farm. There weren’t many people remaining in her man’s family, nor was it necessary to return to the bitter cold place in northeast countryside.

“Oldest Aunt, you should take a break. I’ll go to heat up a pot of water so you will be able to wash yourselves in a short while!” Yu Xiaocao’s crisp and melodious voice had interrupted her thoughts.

Yu Caifeng helped her husband to sit on a chair in the room, when she heard what Xiaocao had said, she quickly said, “Let me do it!”

Xiaocao laughed and said, “Oldest Aunt, why are you being so modest with me? Uncle’s body isn’t  well, and you should help him onto the kang bed to rest for a bit.”

“Mother, watch after Father. I’ll go help Younger Cousin boil water!” Liu Yaner sensibly took Xiaocao’s hand and headed towards the kitchen.

When the water turned hot, Yu Hai was carrying a bundle as he entered the house. He moved to the side as he let Doctor Sun from Tongren Medicinal Hall in. Following behind them was a young apprentice who was holding a medicine box.

When the two entered the room, they found Yu Caifeng sitting at the edge of the kang bed, and her husband was leaning against her shoulders with his eyes closed. Yu Hai said, “Sister, why didn’t you let Brother-in-law lie down?”

Yu Caifeng appeared somewhat embarrassed as she whispered, “Your Brother-in-law said that his body was dirty, and he was afraid that he’ll dirty your bed!”

Yu Hai revealed an unhappy expression as he said in displeasure, “If it becomes dirty, I can just wash it! Help him lie down and let Doctor Sun to look at him!”

After Doctor Sun took his pulse, he pondered for a moment before he said, “The patient developed a lung disease because his common cold wasn’t treated in time. However, his illness isn’t serious! Since the patient’s body has a good foundation, he should fully recover after taking some medicine!”

What Doctor Sun had diagnosed was the patient’s condition after Xiaocao had given him mystic-stone water. Had it not been for the mystic-stone water, Liu Hu would’ve been seriously ill and died. It would’ve been impossible for him to be able to wait for Doctor Sun to arrive.

Doctor Sun mixed two batches from his medicine box and told them to let the patient take this medicine first before taking the prescription to the medicine hall to get more. After taking the medicine for three to five days, the patient should be able to recover without any accident.

After Doctor Sun was sent away, with the help of his nephew Liu Junping, Yu Hai helped Liu Hu took a hot bath, changed him into clean clothes, and then let him lie on the kang bed. Yu Caifeng was brewing medicine for her husband in the courtyard. All the money Yu Hai had given her for the journey was nearly all used up for medicine. Yu Caifeng had become skilled at brewing medicine from this.

After Liu Hu drank the medicine and fell asleep, Yu Caifeng and her children had taken a bath and changed into clean cotton clothing. The clothes were made of average material with average style and patterns because it was bought from a ready-made store, yet the three children were so delighted that it seemed like it was New Years.

Before the disaster, Liu Hu’s family rarely had any surplus food around. They weren’t considered to be well-off, so they might not even get a set of new clothes a year. On their journey, their remaining clothes were used to exchange for medicine for their father. The clothes they had left would be sewn again and again with patches here and there. It was so shabby that they were unable to look at it. Now, they felt very satisfied being able to wear new clothes.

“Father! There is nothing left at home besides rice. Let’s go out to eat at noon!” Because the house in town was rarely occupied, except for some rice and noodles, there were hardly any other ingredients. Xiaocao thought of going out to eat because there was a restaurant in town where the food tasted quite good. 

Yu Caifeng hastily said, “We already drank a bowl of porridge when we were outside the city gates. We can make do with whatever we have at home. We’ll have to spend money if we go out to eat!”

Yu Xiaocao said, “The rice at home is only enough to make a bowl of porridge for Uncle! My father and I had left the house early this morning and by now, we’re hungry. We will need to go out to buy ingredients and then come back to cook, I don’t think I will be able to wait that long! Let’s go out to eat, it won’t cost a lot of money!”

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Translator: Vi