Madam Zhang looked at the situation and silently cursed Yu Xiaocao for causing trouble. If that little brat wasn’t here, how could the royal prince not allow her to get on the carriage? One had to admire Madam Zhang for her self-confidence!
Madam Zhang was about to say something but Zhu Junyang had long lost his patience, “You have two choices. The first is that he takes the carriage alone. The second is that neither of you are allowed to sit in the carriage!!”
Yu Bo noticed that the royal prince had already become angry and hurriedly spoke to his mother, “Mother, I’m not a child anymore so I don’t need you to escort me! I’m already familiar with the prefectural city and I have an old schoolmate there. We’ve already come to an agreement that I’ll lodge at his house. Don’t worry! Just wait at home for the good news.”
Madam Zhang hatefully glared at the carriage as if she could see through the exterior and look straight at that brat, Xiaocao.
Fury rose up in Zhu Junyang’s heart, so he snapped the whip in his hands towards Madam Zhang with a loud and crisp snap. Madam Zhang retreated a few steps out of alarm and her legs softened beneath her. She sat on the ground stupidly and the cruel expression on her face immediately changed to frightened.
“Let’s go!” Zhu Junyang commanded the driver. ‘This prince was helping your son out of the merciful kindness of my own heart because Yu Bo is Xiaocao’s younger uncle, but this old woman still dares to glare at Xiaocao. Are you trying to court death here?’
Although Madam Zhang wasn’t sure why Royal Prince Yang suddenly became angry, she knew that if the carriage left now, her son would need to spend an entire day to get to the prefectural city. Furthermore, he would have to spend money to do so. She didn’t know where she got the courage and strength from, but she flung herself at the carriage and grabbed the wheel with her two hands. She shouted loudly, “Royal Prince, it was this old woman who was greedy. We’ll do as you say and only my son will go along…”
“I’ve changed my mind. Neither of you two are allowed to sit on my carriage! Unless…” Zhu Junyang looked at Madam Zhang with disdain as he waited for her to react.
“Unless what?” When Madam Zhang saw that there was still leeway, she hurriedly asked.
“Unless you apologize to Xiaocao!” Zhu Junyang remembered her previous poisonous glare and felt hate bubble up.
Madam Zhang wanted to refuse and asked, “Why?”
“We can set aside what you were thinking about earlier, but don’t tell me you don’t remember how you treated her whole family in the past? Do you truly believe you don’t owe her an apology?” Although Zhu Junyang really didn’t want to talk to this old woman, he had a ball of resentment in his heart towards her.
Madam Zhang opened her mouth to reply when her youngest son pulled on the corner of her jacket. Yu Bo was speechless in front of his mother, who had no idea of the gravity of the situation. Royal Prince Yang could just lift one finger and destroy their family. They should be doing all they could to follow his wishes, yet his mother kept wanting to press her luck. Was there any benefit to be had if they offended Royal Prince Yang?
Only now did Madam Zhang recall that she was asking for a favor from the other person. People needed to learn when to bow and submit and when to stand tall. For the sake of her son, she was willing to back down, “Xiaocao ah, in the past, it was Grandmother’s fault. However, our family was poor, so we didn’t have a lot of food. We had many mouths to feed, so we couldn’t just do things for the sake of you and let everyone else starve ah! After all of these years, now your family is doing very well, so please just let bygones be bygones ah!”
Was this an apology? From the words that she used and the odd intonation in her voice that sounded vaguely of jealousy, this was words of dissention disguised as an apology, right? Yu Xiaocao wasn’t someone to take a loss for nothing, “Old Lady Zhang, we don’t have such a malicious grandmother in our family. Don’t forget, my grandfather has already peacefully separated from you!”
“In addition, don’t try to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes as if we’re all stupid, okay? When I was ill, you were able to use the excuse that the family was poor so you couldn’t take out any money for me to see the doctor. That was somewhat acceptable. However, when my father’s leg was savaged by a bear, the three hundred taels that Uncle Zhao gave us after selling the bear had all been given to you. We didn’t hold back a single copper. But what did you do? You were so miserly that you couldn’t bear to spend a single tael to let the doctor treat my father’s leg. When we split from the family, you were even more cruel. We were thrown out of the house as if we were a bunch of beggars and were given next to nothing. If it wasn’t for my grandfather insisting on it, I reckon that we wouldn’t have even gotten the few taels that we did! That was three hundred taels ah! At the time, we had the injured, the sick, the weak, and underage children with us! Anyone with a speck of morality within them wouldn’t have hogged all of the three hundred taels without giving us even a little bit!!”
‘Weren’t you trying to use your connection with us to gain an advantage ah? I’ll broadcast it loud and clear to everyone around us, so they can discuss who is right and wrong.’ Popular opinion was turning as people’s hearts generally knew what was fairness and justice. At this moment, there were quite a number of people surrounding the Royal Prince’s luxurious carriage to send the Yu Family’s brother-sister pair off. All of them were giving Madam Zhang dirty looks.
Yu Bo felt his face heat up in embarrassment as shame settled into his heart after hearing what his mother had done.
Yu Xiaocao continued, “The horrible things you’ve done to us can be somewhat explained as my father isn’t your biological son. After all, people will always be selfish. However, a married couple is a different story. My grandfather had spent over twenty years with you and helped you raise your oldest son, who’s not blood related to him. In his old age, for the sake of supporting your family, he went out to sea every day, in rain or shine, to fish without rest. But how did you end up treating him? You couldn’t bear to spend some money to treat a minor illness and let it become a serious infection. Then you threw him into a cramped, damaged room to let him die. You didn’t even give him any water to drink. If I didn’t come by to visit in time, my grandfather wouldn’t have died from his illness but would have perished of thirst or starved to death!”
“If the heavens didn’t pity us, my whole family along with my grandfather would have all been bankrupt and perished from your actions! But you just easily say that we should ‘let bygones be bygones’ to forgive your sins. But isn’t that covering everything you have done?” Everything that Yu Xiaocao mentioned was giving Madam Zhang a giant slap on her face. Her dirty deeds had finally been let out into the open.
Madam Zhang’s face turned bright red as she saw her fellow villagers all pointing and whispering. If there was a crack in the ground right now, she would have jumped into it already!
Yu Bo’s face became painfully flushed. With such a mother pulling him down, what could he do? His head hung down as if it had a thousand catties hanging from it. His voice was as quiet as the buzzing of a mosquito as he said, “Xiaocao, let me apologize on the behalf of my mother. I’ve spent most of the years studying outside and didn’t know my mother had done so many horrible things. I’m truly sorry…”
Even after hearing his apology, Yu Xiaocao didn’t have much of a good opinion of her younger uncle. Everything that Madam Zhang did was for the sake of money. Wasn’t the old woman so stingy for the sake of one person? Obviously, Madam Zhang did everything for Yu Bo’s studies and future. Now, Yu Bo pushed all of the blame onto his mother as if he was oh-so-innocent and pitiful as well. These two people were definitely truly mother and son. Their selfish personalities were exactly the same.
However, in the end, Yu Bo was still her younger uncle, and he had never done anything to harm them directly. For the sake of her grandfather, she wouldn’t make it too ugly, “It’s getting late. If Younger Uncle plans on taking the carriage with us to the prefectural city, then come up ah! The carriage is too small and seating four people is already pretty crowded. As for everyone else, we’ll have to say no!”
Qian Wen was only fourteen years old and could go by himself to the prefectural city for the examinations. Was Yu Bo like a five to six year old child and still needed his mother to come along?
Although Yu Bo wanted to resolutely refuse for the sake of his face, it would take him almost an extra day to transfer from the town to the prefectural city. Time was money and having extra time could be the difference between a good or bad result. Therefore, time was of utmost importance! He had no choice but to lower himself! Yu Bo took the luggage from Madam Zhang’s hands and silently climbed up the carriage. After he got on, he didn’t enter the inner area and instead sat next to the driver outside.
Zhu Junyang gave him a look full of disgust, ‘If you resolutely refused to sit on my carriage, then I would have seen you in a different light! However, you ride my carriage yet sit on the outside. Are you trying to throw a temper tantrum? Who cares about you?!’
Yu Xiaocao was also thinking the same thing as she sat on the inside. it was better that he didn’t come in! Less room to waste!
The inside of the carriage was quite spacious and could actually hold a fold-down table in the middle. There were also nooks that could hold some extra snacks and other items. The three of them had just eaten breakfast, so they weren’t interested in snacking at the moment. However, it would take them many hours to get to the prefectural city. If they just sat there the entire time, wouldn’t it be too boring?
Qian Wen took out a book and prepared to silently read aloud. However, Little Shitou got his attention, “Older Brother Xiaowen, the carriage will be swaying a lot, so it will injure your eyes to read here. Second Sister, think of a fun game for us to pass the time ah!”
Yu Xiaocao took out a deck of cards that she had made herself and smiled, “I’ve already made preparations! Come, let’s play ‘three peasants against the landlord’ !”
“Oh, so ‘fight the landlord’ can also be done with three people ah!! Older Brother Xiaowen, ‘fight the landlord’ is a lot of fun and really easy to learn. I’ll teach you!” As Yu Xiaocao dealt the cards, Little Shitou explained the rules of the game to Qian Wen.
Since Qian Wen was a good student, he naturally wasn’t stupid, so he figured out how to play the game very quickly. Within moments, the three of them played excitedly in the carriage. Peals of laughter and delighted shrieks could be heard from time to time from the inner carriage.
Zhu Junyang was also quite young and was at the stage in his life when he was interested in everything. From time to time, he would lift the curtain in the carriage and look around. Luckily, he had good horsemanship, so even when he was crouching down, his horse was still obedient. Otherwise, he would have been thrown off long ago.
Head Steward Liu felt as if he was on tenterhooks as he watched his master repeatedly raise the curtain in the carriage. Finally, he spoke up, “Master, there’s quite a bit to travel before we get to the prefectural city. How about you go inside to rest a bit?”
The road from Tanggu Town to the prefectural city could be finished in four hours if Zhu Junyang spurred his horse at top speed. On a military mission, he could sit on a horse all day without getting tired, so why would he need to rest now? However, this gave him the excuse to enter the carriage. He had the driver stop the carriage while he swiftly entered inside.
With another large body inside, Xiaocao naturally couldn’t just leave him out to dry as the three of them played. Thus, the four of them started playing ‘fight the landlord’. Zhu Junyang’s luck was quite bad and he always pulled the landlord card without ever winning once. Before long, his handsome face had been stuck completely with scraps of paper. If you agreed to bet, you must accept the possibility of losing as that was part of the rules of the game. Although Zhu Junyang was a noble and respected royal prince, he still played by the rules.
Head Steward Liu stayed outside and could hear his master’s cheerful laughter from time to time. His spirits also rose. Miss Yu was truly incredible to be able to find ways to make his master happy. Many years had gone by and this was the first time in a long while since his master was able to laugh with such delight. His master was currently like a simple and happy child, similar to how he was more than ten years ago. It brought him back to when he first came to serve his master. At first glance, he saw his tiny master, running around the garden with delight and laughter…
With an entertaining card game, the usually long and monotonous journey became merry and short. Before they knew it, the carriage had already passed through the large gates of the prefectural city.
 three peasants against the landlord (三人斗恶霸) - one of the most popular card games played in China; aka 'Fight the Landlord'Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Sanguine’s Thoughts: I’m glad Xiaocao gave Madam Zhang a piece of her mind. Unfortunately, I don’t think Yu Hai or Old Yu ever would even if they had the chance to. Part of me wishes I could see Xiaocao just punishing Madam Zhang horribly for her deeds but ‘as a junior’ Xiaocao can’t do much in the confines of society. Old Yu could but he’s too weak-willed to do it. In the case of the Yu Family, their best form of revenge now is living well. Also, I’m still not impressed with Yu Bo. He claims to feel ashamed and actually does apologize, but where was he when all of this was actually happening? I suspect that if things hadn’t turned out the way things were, he would have been sad for a moment when Yu Hai and co died but he would forget them real quick as long as he had his cushy scholar lifestyle.