Chapter 274 - Drought

Although Old Yu didn’t want to rip apart the family, this last event had left a deep scar within him. Today truly was the last straw. Madam Zhang was too malicious. If he continued to live with her, he was afraid that one day he would end up losing his life to one of her unknown schemes.

However, if he steeled himself and forcefully divorced Madam Zhang, his two youngest children, Yu Bo and Yu Caidie, would also be affected. They were both of his flesh and blood. His son’s scholarly career would be negatively influenced and his daughter would have no status with her in-laws anymore.

When the current emperor ascended the throne, he revamped the laws and established peaceful separation as an option. The main idea was to protect women’s rights and raise their status in society. It encouraged women, who were being abused in their husband’s family, to raise the possibility of separating peacefully from the marriage. Peaceful separation was something that was protected by the law. 

For the sake of his two youngest children, Old Yu decided to choose to peacefully separate. However, he didn’t expect Madam Zhang’s greed to have no end. She wanted to take all of the Yu Family’s assets with her. He knew what type of person the old woman was. Asking her to take out the money that had already reached her hands was something that even the gods couldn’t do. 

Old Yu had lost his will to fight and didn’t want to strive for anything. He weakly shook his head and said, “I only have one request. All of the Yu Family’s assets can only be inherited by the Yu Family’s bloodline.”

The reason why Madam Zhang was shamelessly demanding the assets, other than trying to guarantee her own income in the future, was mostly for her precious youngest son. She had a cold heart. Although Yu Dashan was also blood-related to her, he was nothing compared to Yu Bo. Her youngest son, who had been guided since childhood by her, was the most important person to her.

The paperwork for the peaceful separation was very quickly written out. Old Yu and Madam Zhang both placed their handprints on the document to seal the deal. By the time the two siblings, Yu Hai and Yu Caifeng, heard the news, everything was already done. The two siblings took their father back to the old residence and moved him into the West Courtyard, where Yu Caifeng was currently living. They then invited Doctor Sun from town over to treat him. Sure enough, as Yu Xiaocao previously said, Old Yu had inflammation in his lungs that led to him coughing up blood. 

While Doctor Sun was treating the patient, Yu Lichun and some other villagers who had good relationships with Yu Family were all waiting in the West Courtyard. All of them heard Doctor Sun say that Old Yu’s illness wouldn’t have gotten so bad if he had been treated promptly. Old Yu’s body was now weak. If they waited for another two days, he likely would have lost his life and died. Lung inflammation was quite a serious condition and eating medicine alone may not be enough. He also had to lie in bed and recuperate while eating highly nutritious foods. Doctor Sun had also said that Old Yu was getting old, so he might not be able to do much physical labor even if he became well. 

Yu Lichun and the other villagers all sighed in sorrow. Everyone cursed Madam Zhang for being ruthless and having a venomous heart. A perfectly healthy man had been turned into an invalid just from delaying his care. Yu Lichun said a few comforting words to Old Yu as he wanted him to heal at ease and not have any other pressures.

Old Yu, who was now at Yu Hai’s place to heal, was quite upset inside. Ever since his previous wife had passed away, this son of his had been neglected. Before they separated from the family, Yu Hai had always done the most work yet received the least. At that time, Old Yu thought that the most capable people were the ones who did the most work. It was right and just for someone to work so much for the sake of the whole family. After they split from the family, Old Yu believed Madam Zhang’s words and focused all of his efforts on his son, who was studying, and his youngest daughter, who had not yet married. He almost didn’t give any assets to Yu Hai. 

As a father, for these years, he had truly owed his son too much. However, in the end, the son he neglected the most was the son who came through for him. Old Yu had tried to excel his entire life and now he felt he had no face left.

His mood directly influenced his recovery. Although he ate medicine and nourishing foods every day, Old Yu’s illness continued to stay and he never healed.

Yu Xiaocao would always add some mystic-stone water to her grandfather’s medicine when she decocted it. She was even able to save her oldest uncle from the brink of death, so how come her grandfather never seemed to get better? Yu Xiaocao noticed that Old Yu looked depressed and dead inside. As someone who had lived two lives, she concluded that her grandfather’s mood was influencing his recovery.

She brought the problem up with her father and Oldest Paternal Aunt. The two siblings started to talk to their father. Yu Caifeng supported Old Yu to sit upright on the bed and covered him halfway with a blanket. As she fed him chicken noodle soup, she softly said, “Father, eat some noodles. Xiaocao made this especially for you.”

“There’s no point in eating anything for this body, leave the rest for the children.” Old Yu had heard Doctor Sun say that even if he got better, he wouldn’t be able to do work anymore. Whenever he thought of becoming a dead weight for his son and daughter, anxiety bubbled up in his heart and he couldn’t keep anything down.

Yu Hai said, “Father, the children all have some. Xiaocao stewed a whole old hen and cooked enough noodles for the whole family to eat. Father, you need to recuperate at ease and don’t worry about matters regarding money. Our family has planted vegetables and melons these past two years, so do you think we lack the money to feed you?”

Old Yu moaned, “Even if I get better from this illness, I’ll still be a dead weight. It’s better for me to die....”

“Father, why are you saying this? Are you trying to cut open my and Xiaohai’s heart right now?” Yu Caifeng felt a wave of sorrow hit her after hearing her father’s words. Her eye sockets slowly turned red.

Yu Hai hurriedly patted his older sister’s shoulder and spoke to Old Yu, “Father, the doctor isn’t necessarily completely right. It’s just like my leg; didn’t the doctor also say that it was hopeless ah? But aren’t I perfectly fine now? This son remembers when you were young, you were not only an expert at fishing but you were also one of the best at farming in this village. Cao’er’s corn and potatoes should be ready to harvest in about a month. When that happens, we’re counting on you to help us ah! This is an assignment given to us by the imperial court and we can’t have any mishaps happen.”

Old Yu looked at his son’s right leg, which had completely recovered. His gray complexion slowly brightened up with hope. That was right! At the time, the doctor had said that Dahai’s leg needed to be amputated or else he would die. Now, not only was the man perfectly fine but his leg was also completely preserved. A doctor’s diagnosis was not always completely accurate ah! The doctor had said that his illness wasn’t anything serious at first, only that they had waited too long to treat it. If he healed completely, perhaps he’d be able to help his son for another few years then!

“What Dahai says makes sense! Feng ah, give the bowl to me, I’ll eat it myself!” Old Yu, who had recovered his will to fight, wheezed as he devoured the bowl of noodles.

The next few days, Old Yu energetically complied with his treatment and took his medicine. Yu Xiaocao also continued to provide medicinal cuisine to him as if it didn’t cost any money. Old Yu ended up recovering very quickly from his illness. His body was also being slowly nourished, so it regained its strength. About half a month later, people could see the figure of Old Yu strolling along the corn fields with his hands clasped behind his back.

“Uncle Yu, you’ve recovered quite quickly ah!” Recently, more than a month had gone by without much rain, so the soil was quite dry. Many families who had farmland all carried poles of water along their fields to water their plants. Dongshan Village’s terrain was decent, so they always had a supply of spring water from the West Mountain all year round. As long as they didn’t have a drought that lasted years, they wouldn’t feel the effects too much.

Old Yu grinned until his face folded like an accordion. He nodded his head, “That’s right ah! My son feeds me eggs, meat, and fish every day, so how can I not recover quickly ah?”

Wang Ergou had lent his fields to Yu Hai to plant watermelons in the spring. At this time, there were newly planted sweet potatoes in the fields. After he made a lot of money with Yu Hai, Wang Ergou had become more steady and no longer needed his wife to push him. He had gone out to water the sweet potato plants on his own. 

Wang Ergou smiled, “Uncle Yu, in the future, you’ll be with Older Brother Dahai and you’ll definitely be able to live comfortably!”

Old Yu nodded his head in approval, “Dahai and the rest of the children are all filial!”

Wang Ergou stepped forward a few steps with the buckets of water on his back as he said, “Uncle Yu, when I’m done watering all the sweet potatoes here, I’ll help Brother Dahai water the corn. Your body just got better, so don’t walk for too long. If you get tired, then go sit in the melon shed over there to rest.”

“Okay! Go do what you need to do then! I’m going to stroll around a bit!” Ever since he was able to get out of bed, Old Yu followed the doctor’s directions and exercised a bit every day. At first, he only walked around the courtyard. Afterwards, once he got more strength back, he would go into the fields to stroll around. He was able to strengthen his body as well as help his son watch over the corn fields to prevent malicious people from spoiling the crops.

Right now was the most important time for the corn growing season. The beginning of summer had been on the dryer side. In order to prevent the corn from losing output, Yu Hai, his wife, and Yu Hai’s sister and brother-in-law had all been watering the corn by hand for the past couple of days.

Dongshan Village’s condition during the drought was actually considered not bad. The people who had traveled from the southern parts of the country had said that the situation there was much more serious. Many brooks and streams had stopped flowing and the level of water in the lakes had gotten to an all time low. If any of the farms were able to make any harvest, it would be considered a miracle from the gods! 

Yu Caifeng and Liu Hu, who had just experienced drought conditions in the northeast, were especially energetic as they irrigated the crops. Even Liu Junping worked like an adult. All of them had personally experienced the bitter conditions of a drought, so they prayed every day to the gods to bring some rain to relieve the dryness.

However, the gods didn’t answer their prayers. Several days of scorching hot weather came next that intensely heated the environment. The Yu Family’s corn and potatoes were doing fine as Yu Xiaocao had secretly used some mystic-stone water to irrigate them. Thus, they had above-average drought-resistant abilities and still grew vigorously. However, the families nearby, who had planted sweet potatoes, all saw the leaves on their plants slowly withering. Any water that was given to the plants evaporated almost instantaneously. The sweet potato plants still needed another month of growth before they could be harvested. With the drought raging on, the output would definitely be less than before.

That evening, Yu Hai and the entire family sat around the stone table to eat dinner. Old Yu heavily sighed and said, “These past two years have had constant disasters. There was that disastrous blizzard the year before last. Last year was slightly better, so us commoners were just about to see better days but now we have the drought this year. I don’t know how many people there are that won’t be able to fill their stomachs…”

Xiaocao served a bowl of nourishing ginseng astragalus pork bone soup to Old Yu. This medicinal cuisine required stewing together astragalus root, ginseng, and pork bones together to make a soup. Astragalus root strengthened the spleen and lung by making them stronger and more efficacious. This type of food was very nourishing to Old Yu’s body.   

Old Yu ate three meals a day with this type of medicinal cuisine. Because medicinal cuisine required both food and medicinal ingredients, Old Yu’s meals alone was enough to bankrupt an ordinary family. The old man noticed the ginseng within his food and said to Yu Hai, “I don’t know how long the drought this year will last for, but the price for food will definitely go up. My body is already much better, so I don’t need to eat any more medicinal cuisine ah! Save some money and buy more grain for us to store here. Us commoners, as long as we have a good storage of grain, there’s nothing to be worried about ah!”

Yu Xiaocao smiled as she explained on her father’s behalf, “Grandfather, don’t worry about money. The most important thing for you to do right now is to strengthen your body until it is hale and healthy. The herbs I use for the medicinal cuisine are mostly obtained from the mountains, so they’re not worth much money. You, ah, should just relax and nourish your body. There’s no need to worry about money. I can’t say this for anything else, but I am positive that we are more than able to afford to eat meat, fish, and eggs every day!”

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Myst's Thoughts

Food pic

Sanguine’s Thoughts: Mmmm, still think Old Yu is too weak in personality sometimes.

Translator: Sanguine