Jianwen Emperor, Zhu Junfan, spent five days in Tanggu Town, and he went to Dongshan Village with his younger cousin every day. The villagers of Dongshan Village were burning with curiosity, and they kept talking about the Yu Family being so lucky. First, they became adoptive relatives with a general. After that, they received special treatment from Royal Prince Yang. Now, they had also become acquainted with the heir of Prince Jing’s Household.
Madam Zhang curled her lips and sourly said, “So what if they’re acquainted with Prince Jing’s heir? Can they be rewarded with a position of an official? When the lord returns to the capital, will he still remember who the heck Yu Hai is? The villagers are so snobby. Seeing that Yu Hai’s family has become rich, they’re all fawning over them. So shameless!”
Madam Li, who she was talking to, wrinkled her big face and groaned, “Mother, if we didn’t divide the family, wouldn’t these benefits apply to our entire Yu Family? Perhaps Younger Brother-in-law can also benefit from this. As the saying goes, ‘the gatekeeper of the Prime Minister’s Estate is considered a seventh-rank official’. If one can be liked by the heir of Prince Jing’s Household and become the gatekeeper of the Prince Jing’s Estate, then that would be even more honorable than being a county magistrate.”
Madam Zhang was especially concerned about everything related to her youngest son. When she heard Madam Li’s words, Madam Zhang’s heart somewhat swayed. Her triangular eyes darted around as she considered the possibilities! It was impossible with Yu Hai since he had a grudge against her for the murder of his mother. That grateful Yu Hai probably wanted to devour her, let alone help her. However, she could try talking with Old Yu. Even if they were no longer a married couple, Yu Bo was still their son. If their son became well-off, wouldn’t the father also benefit from it?
As a result, one evening after dinner, Madam Zhang blocked Old Yu’s path when she saw him coming out for a stroll.
Looking at Madam Zhang’s wrinkled old face, Old Yu couldn’t help but turn his head and say, “We’re already divorced, why are you looking for me? With how you treated me, I have already left you off easily by not reporting you to the yamen and suing you for attempted murder! Stay away from me so that no one will gossip about us!”
Madam Zhang’s mouth twitched, but she forced out a smile and said, “Xiaobo’s father, no matter what, we were once husband and wife. I used to be muddleheaded and made irreparable mistakes. For the sake of the children…”
“Don’t mention the children! Over all these years, it’s not like you don’t know how I treated the child who you brought over from your previous marriage. But, what about you? How did you treat my children? You married Caifeng off to a remote village far away, moreover, he was a widower. Dahai is such a capable and kind child ah, yet you treated his family so harshly for so long! Ay… I won’t settle these old grudges with you. We’re people who have gotten divorced, so if we meet in the future, it’s better to pretend that we don’t know each other!” With his hands clasped between his back, Old Yu didn’t even look at Madam Zhang.
Since he came to Dahai’s house, he had been drinking extremely expensive tonics and eating lavish meals. Moreover, they didn’t let him do any work at all. Caifeng and Dahai were both very filial, and their children also lived happily together with their parents. He didn’t have to listen to Madam Zhang’s shrill and sour complaints, as well as the sound of Madam Li indirectly scolding Dashan. With the exception of being somewhat worried about his youngest son, who was studying away from home, Old Yu felt very content with his life.
Madam Zhang must have regretted her decision, and thus stopped him in order to talk to him. She wanted to trick him to go back to do laborious work for her, and then kick him to the side when he couldn’t work anymore. Did she think he was stupid! Why would he go back to be tortured by her when he could enjoy a good and leisurely life?
Madam Zhang stepped forward and blocked in front of Old Yu, saying, “Child’s father, I don’t blame you for not thinking of our past relationship as a married couple. However, Xiaobo is a descendant of your Yu Family. You can’t disregard him ah!”
Old Yu stopped in his tracks. His expression changed as he said, “What’s wrong with Third Son? What happened now? Didn’t I tell him to focus on studying and don’t try to advance through crooked methods? If he can’t continue to stay in the prefectural city, then tell him to come back to farm!”
Madam Zhang couldn’t bear others saying bad things about her younger son. She raised her sparse eyebrows and hollered, “My Xiaobo is doing very well in the prefectural city! How can you curse your son like that? He said that he will definitely pass the county level examination next year, so you can just wait to have a county official as a son!”
Old Yu finally felt relieved. He glared at the old woman and said, “You said he’s doing fine, so what do I need to worry about? I barely know how to read, so what can I help him with? Just tell him to study steadfastly. That’s better than anything!”
Seeing that Old Yu still cared about their son, Madam Zhang immediately felt slightly more relieved. She looked around and said, “In the plays, they say ‘it’s easier to be an official, if one knows someone in court’. Our Xiaobo will certainly become an official in the future, but if he doesn’t have any connections, he will definitely have to work a difficult path.”
“What do you mean? Just say it!” Old Yu frowned as he looked at the old face that moved closer to him.
Madam Zhang suppressed the displeasure in her heart and said, “Didn’t that good son of yours become acquainted with some heir in the imperial court? The heir will inherit the prince’s position in the future, so how can he not have some assistants beside him? Our Xiaobo is a capable and fine-looking man. If someone can help him out, the heir will definitely recognize his abilities. He will surely have a bright future. As his father, won’t you also feel honored?”
Old Yu’s heart slightly swayed, but as if he thought of something, he scolded Madam Zhang, “You’re thinking of crooked methods again. Don’t you think that you have harmed your son enough already? Did you already forget the lesson from last time? As long as he has the capability, why would he need to worry about not having opportunities in the future? Is this your idea, or Third Son’s idea?”
Madam Zhang shrunk her neck and said unwillingly, “It’s my idea—if it wasn’t for that stupid girl, Yu Xiaocao, would Xiaobo’s incident become so big? Xiaobo was implicated by Yu Xiaocao…”
Upon hearing this, Old Yu’s temper immediately flared up. This stupid woman was deliberately distorting the truth. Had it not been for Dahai’s family’s Xiaocao, the family’s money would have all been cheated by that swindler. How would they still have money to send their son to study in the prefectural city?
“Shut up! If you and Third Son weren’t harboring improper intentions and trying to enter Rongxuan Academy through the backdoor, would you have been deceived? Had it not been for our Xiaocao, you two would be helping them count the money after being sold! Yet you still have the face to complain about Xiaocao? At that time, we shouldn’t have helped you guys. What an ungrateful and vicious person ah!” Old Yu was so angry that he lost his temper. He ignored Madam Zhang’s shouts and left with great strides.
Old Yu had recuperated at Yu Hai’s house for over a month, so his body had become stronger than before. His waist wasn’t bent, and his back wasn’t hunched. There were less wrinkles on his face, and thus he looked several years younger than Madam Zhang.
Madam Zhang’s life wasn’t very happy right now. Her eldest son, who was encouraged by his wife, had actually started to keep a private purse. She was receiving less and less of the money that he earned from selling fish every day. From time to time, her younger son, who was in the prefectural city, would send messages back asking for this and that. Her savings were getting smaller and smaller. Madam Zhang couldn’t eat or sleep well. She was already so old, but she still had to go dig for spoon worms like those young people.
Before Yu Hai separated from the family, she only needed to collect the money and didn’t have to personally do the housework. It was such a leisurely life ah! Now, she couldn’t depend on that lazy woman, Madam Li, at all. She had to worry about every aspect of their household. As a result, she had aged considerably over the past two years.
Meanwhile, when Old Yu got home, he kept tossing and turning on the bed and couldn’t fall asleep. After all, Yu Bo was also his flesh and blood, and they had spent over ten years nurturing him to be a scholar. There wasn’t any father who didn’t want their child to be successful. But, he couldn’t open his mouth ah. Yu Hai was just helping Royal Prince Yang plant some corn because he was a good farmer. The royal prince was just giving them some face because they were helping him. Disregarding whether the royal prince would agree, if he asked Dahai to help him ask for a favor, he was afraid that the prince would blame Dahai for being insatiable.
This night, Old Yu hardly closed his eyes. When he got up the next day, the dark circles under his eyes were particularly apparent. Yu Xiaocao looked at her grandfather’s depressed appearance in surprise and asked, “Grandfather, are you not feeling well? Do you need to see a doctor?”
Old Yu waved his hands and said, “I’m in good health. There’s nothing wrong. It’s not easy to earn money, so don’t spend them so easily.”
Yu Xiaocao advised, “Is money more important, or people? The money spent can be earned again. If you’re ill, then you must treat it quickly. If it’s delayed and becomes more serious, then we’ll have to spend more money!”
Old Yu sighed and said, “I’m really fine. It’s just that there’s something bothering me, so I couldn’t sleep the entire night.”
“If something is bothering you, just tell the family and we’ll think of a solution together. No matter how difficult it is, as long as the whole family works together, it can be solved.” He was fine yesterday, but Grandfather suddenly had something on his mind after taking a stroll last night. Could it be that Madam Zhang’s side caused trouble again? Yu Xiaocao had inadvertently stumbled on the truth.
Although this granddaughter of his was young, she had a lot of ideas. After coming here, he had seen very clearly that even Yu Hai, the head of the household, would first ask for the lass’s opinion before making any decisions. This lass was indeed very capable. With just one trip to town, she was able to create a pesticide to kill the locusts and plant vegetables. These vegetables were sold at the price of meat, and they could make several taels of income daily. Perhaps, she could come up with a solution?
Old Yu briefly hesitated, and then told her what Madam Zhang said to him yesterday. He looked at Yu Xiaocao and slightly anxiously said, “Cao’er, what do you think?”
Sure enough, it was Madam Zhang again! This Madam Zhang was such a troublemaker. Everyone related to her would be unlucky. However, seeing Old Yu’s anticipating gaze, she really couldn’t outright reject him. She thought about it and decided to stall for some time.
“Grandfather, I’m not really sure either. Why don’t I ask the young royal prince later?” Yu Xiaocao replied.
Old Yu repeatedly nodded his head and seemed to have breathed a sigh of relief as he said, “Yes, that’s right! Ask the royal prince first. He’s closer to our family. Even if we say something wrong, he won’t punish us!”
Not long later, ‘the heir of Prince Jing’ came with his imperial bodyguards, and Royal Prince Yang naturally also came along. Zhu Junfan was apparently in high spirits. Displaying the bow and arrow in his hands, he said to Yu Hai, “This prince heard that you’re good at hunting. Come! Let’s compete to see who catches game first. We can add something for lunch!”
Yu Hai was still frightened by the incident with the bear last time. These two noblemen in front of him, one was the heir of Prince Jing’s Household, while the other was someone favored by the emperor. If there were any mishaps, he wouldn’t be able to bear the responsibility ah!
“My Lord, we’re in the midst of famine. The wild animals in the mountain lack food, so they’re very ferocious now! Even if we catch game, they are probably just skin and bones. If you want to eat pork, this commoner can go buy some in the neighboring village…”Previous Chapter Next Chapter