"Are my worries unfounded? She and Dafu only had a few days to consummate their marriage before she was whisked away to Tatar. Do you know what kind of people those Tatars are? I don’t believe someone with née Qin's looks is able to preserve her chastity there! How am I wrong for worrying that someone is enjoying my son’s woman!"
"Don't talk back to me, you heartless brat!" An agitated née Ma grabbed a shoe sole she’d just placed inside her sewing basket and began beating née Yao with it. The latter scrambled about frantically to dodge the blows.
Née Ma, however, was well versed in martial arts—she wouldn’t let née Yao off the hook so easily. She cornered her daughter against the stove and beat her vigorously on the buttocks.
"M-mom, stop! Stop hitting me! Stop!" Née Yao began to cry from the pain, despite the adult that she was.
Née Ma angrily tossed the shoe sole aside, suddenly overcome with grief.
"I shouldn't have let you experience the world! You gained experience and knowledge after joining a rich family, but you lost even the most basic of morals! We agreed on working for two years before returning home, and understanding how the world is would make it easier to find a proper match for you. But you climbed into your lord’s bed and came back with a child in your belly!
“Fine, so parents can’t control the lives of their children, and thankfully Dafu is indeed a good child. We accepted responsibility that we failed to teach you properly, but just look at you now—is there even a shred of virtue left in you?! What have you learned in the Pang household?
"You don't even care if your daughter-in-law is alive! All you care about is whether her chastity remains intact! You lack even the most basic of kindness—you’re just selfish! You worry only about yourself! How are you any different from that Madame Pang you speak of, huh? How is it that I’ve acted right and proper my entire life, only to raise such a damn crooked wench like you?!"
Née Yao scrambled to her feet, her hair in disarray. Hairpins askew, her makeup was now a mottled mess from her tears. The way her mother dredged up the past stabbed into her heart and tears of sorrow trickled down her face.
Yao Chenggu smacked his lips in between pulls on the pipe and watched as mother and daughter bickered and bawled. He gave a resigned sigh. "Yuping, you’re in the wrong here. You mustn’t let others know your true thoughts. If Sirs Xu and Xie were to pass them on to Dafu's ears, do you think you’d have any chance at getting closer to your son then?"
That statement touched upon née Yao's deepest fear. Her previous conflicts with Qin Yining had already caused a rift between her and Pang Xiao. The past period of suffering her son had undergone only further deepened her resentment of Qin Yining. She knew how devoted he was to his wife—if he knew what née Yao truly thought of her, the distance between mother and son would only grow.
Yao Chenggu tapped his pipe against the ashtray on the stove. "Your concerns aren’t without reason. If you worry that the grandchildren will be tainted, you only need to bring in two untouched maidens from prestigious families as concubines. Why this ugly squabbling?"
Enraged, née Ma flipped the stove-side table and jabbed a finger at Yao Chenggu.
"You Yaos are born rotten when it comes to relationships!" she yelled. "Are your grandchildren the only ones who matter? Do the children of other families not count as people?"
Yao Chenggu blinked, exasperated. "Do calm down. I didn't say that Dafu should divorce née Qin. Whether Dafu takes concubines or not is his decision. There were once so many women under our roof, but not once was he interested in any of them."
"Is that so?!" Née Ma stuck her hands on her hips, absolutely livid. "Then I ask you this, Yao: what if you had a daughter whose husband dragged her to suffer in a disaster zone a few days after their wedding? An area with plague running through it? And she uses her own dowry to support your son-in-law? And doesn’t even come back because that son-in-law lost her?? How would you feel then?!"
Tongue-tied, Yao Chenggu had to admit that the Qins had truly behaved with greatest magnanimity in this regard. Not once did they give Pang Xiao a hard time regarding née Qin.
"That’s not even the worst of it!" née Ma continued. "Let’s assume it’s your daughter who went missing because of your son-in-law. But not only does his family show no guilt, they’re only concerned if anyone else has slept with her, if she’s clean, and if she’s still worthy of bearing children for their family. How would you react if you were the lass’s father? Don't fucking run your mouths with that high and mighty bullshit! You Yaos and your double standards! You’re all fucking selfish, that’s what all of you are!"
With a hand on her hip and the other angrily punctuating her words, née Ma warned, "In all my time traveling the world, what I could never stand were those with no moral standards to speak of—in other words, the two of you. If you weren’t my own husband and daughter, I’d beat the two of you to death! I don't want to hear either of you say these things ever again. Otherwise, you can get the hell out of this house and stop calling me your wife or mom!"
"Mom, please don't be like this. Dad and I don’t mean to divorce née Qin or cut her off. We’re just talking about the matter at hand, aren’t we? Nothing’s been done. It’s only natural for people to consider such things out of self interest, no? There is nothing hard to understand about that, right? Don’t you feel sorry for your grandson?" Née Yao's expression filled with helplessness and indignity.
Née Ma sniffed coldly. "I do. But I also know Dafu is a right and proper man who understands the ways of this world. He knows what can and cannot be done. I may not be as educated as the two of you, nor do I have the same ability for mind games, but I’m well aware that people should do no evil and have a clear conscience.
“Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before you face karma for your actions. I have nothing more to say if you can’t accept this. I know you think I’m crude and unrefined, so if you don't change your repulsive ways and continue to meddle in Dafu's household, don't blame me if I beat you to death!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter
...okay, I hereby destroy all of my good feelings for nee Yao. She can burn.