Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Because of that minor episode with Madam Fang-Liu, the few of them were not in a good mood. However, when they arrived at the place where the traps were set up and saw that most of the traps had been destroyed and there were injured rabbits lying inside, a smile appeared on their faces.
Liu Ting carefully untied the ropes, took out the rabbits, tied them up, and placed them in the basket on his back. He reassured Mu Yangling, “Ah Ling, don’t worry. With your great-uncle and the rest in the village, your mother and brother won’t be bullied.”
Since Madam Fang-Liu was his aunt after all, Liu Ting couldn’t be too straightforward.
However, Mu Yangling said, “If she’s not afraid that my father will tear down her house, she can go ahead and bully them. Hmph.”
One had to know that her father doted on her mother very much. Even if it was her great-uncle, who Mu Shi had a lot of respect for, who bullied her mother, her father would still tear down the Liu family. Much less this third great-aunt who often bullied them. Mu Yangling knew just how much her father doted on his wife.
Liu Xuan also chimed in, “Auntie bullies the weak and fears the strong. When Shi Tou comes back at noon, I think she won’t even dare to show her face.”
Liu Yuan punched him and glared at him. “What nonsense are you talking about? That’s your aunt. Hurry up and pick up all the prey in the trap before restoring the trap. We still have to go elsewhere to set up the trap.”
Mu Yangling pursed her lips and smiled.
When the few of them left the mountain, they were stopped by Liu Lang, who was waiting at the foot of the mountain. “Father, Grandpa told you to go home first and not go to town when you’re back.”
Mu Yangling snorted and stopped in her tracks. “Let’s split the prey first. Since 1 still have to deliver goods to town, I won’t be going to Great-uncle’s place.”
Since this matter had happened because of them, Liu Ting did not want Mu Yangling, a child, to go back with them either, lest others say unpleasant things about her. Putting down the basket on his back, he said, “Alright, we’ll split the prey here.”
Mu Yangling packed a large basket and thought for a moment. Then, she took out two seriously injured rabbits and said, “Alright, I’ll take these. Uncles, split the rest.” Then, she waved at the envious Liu Lang and went straight to town without returning home.
Liu Ting sighed and said to his three brothers, “I’m afraid we won’t be able to follow Ah Ling into the mountain tomorrow.”
Liu Yuan felt that his breath was stuck in his chest. “Without All Ling to lead us, what if we encounter wild boars and jackals when we enter the mountain? Moreover, if we go deeper into the dense forest, we won’t even know the way…” “Alright, let’s go back and take a look first.” Liu Ting stood up with the basket on his back, then held his son’s hand and left.
Liu Lang complained in a low voice, “Father, Third Great-aunt came to look for Grandpa and accused our family of being unjust, secretly taking advantage of the Mu family while excluding them. Grandma flared up and quarreled with her, so Third Great-aunt ran out to look for the village chief to ask the elders to judge.”
Liu Ting and his brothers looked at each other with ugly expressions.
When they returned to the Liu residence, the courtyard was noisy. There were more than ten heads of households sitting inside, while some children were running around. Madam Fang-Liu was sitting on a small stool wiping her tears and complaining, while Grandma Liu glared at her sister-in-law furiously.
When everyone saw that only the four Liu brothers had returned, they couldn’t help but frown. The village chief, Liu He, asked, “Where’s the young lady of the Mu family?”
Liu Ting lowered his eyes and bowed. “All Ling went to town to deliver the prey. Why are you looking for her, Village Chief?”
Liu He took a puff of his cigarette and thought for a moment before shaking his head. “It’s nothing.”
Madam Fang-Liu jumped up. “How can it be nothing? Aren’t we going to find Ah Ling and ask her to bring our kids into the mountains?”
Liu He snorted coldly. “When did I say that? Madam Fang-Liu, don’t misunderstand our intentions.” He looked at Madam Fang-Liu and said, “1 think you’ve forgotten the rules of our Nearhill Village.”
Madam Fang-Liu’s face turned pale.
Liu He said, “Out of the 68 families in Nearhill Village, 67 of them are indebted to the Mu Family. Back then, Shi Tou was kind enough to bring the younger generation into the mountains to find food. The younger generation was insensible and didn’t leave a way out for him. From then on, we made a three-point agreement. Regardless of the surname, no one in Nearhill Village is allowed to take advantage of the Mu Family. It’s only been a few years since that incident. How dare you ask Ah Ling to bring your two sons into the mountains? Madam Fang-Liu, have you forgotten the rules because life has been too easy these past few years?”
Liu He’s words were a little harsh. He glanced sternly at the ten-odd heads of households sitting below and snorted. “It’s good that All Ling didn’t come. After all, since it’s our side that broke the rules, it has nothing to do with the Mu family. From today onwards, if anyone dares to make such a request to the Mu family again, don’t blame us elders for being ruthless.”
“This started with Daqian’s family, right?” Someone shouted. “If Liu Ting and the others hadn’t followed the Mu family’s young lady into the mountains, how could so much trouble have happened?”
Frowning, Liu He looked at Liu Daqian.
Liu Daqian said, “They won’t follow Ah Ling into the mountain tomorrow.”
“Uncle,” Liu Xuan called out indignantly, “Ah Ling was the one who wanted to bring us into the mountain. She saw that the children were living a hard life, so she brought us in just to give the children a good meal.”
“I know about that, but I don’t believe she did it for the children.” Someone shouted, “Previously, Ah Ling would treat the children to barbequed meat in the cave, but ever since she started bringing you into the mountain, 1 haven’t seen you people feed any meat to the children.”
Liu Xuan retorted angrily, “How do you know that we don’t feed the children? Ah Ling just fed them. Didn’t we just come down from the mountain today?” “Alright, alright, stop arguing.” Liu Daqian said, “Ah Ling is kind enough to give the children a little treat. It’s her business whether she does it or not. In any case, you’re not allowed to follow All Ling into the mountains anymore. It’s settled. Put down the things in the basket and pack them up for the children in the village to try.”
In spite of his reddened eyes, Liu Xuan placed the things on the ground, not daring to disobey his uncle.
It wasn’t that Liu Daqian couldn’t think of a way to distribute the prey, but this way, it was inevitable that they would have to trouble the Mu family, and that was the last thing they wanted. If they implicated All Ling, it would be contrary to their original intention.
The atmosphere in the courtyard was a little gloomy. Madam Fang-Liu muttered,”
Since All Ling is so capable, what’s wrong with bringing us along?”
Under Liu Daqian’s cold glare, Madam Fang-Liu shivered and lowered her head. Liu Daqian opened his mouth slightly but ultimately did not say anything overboard. Yet, he was bitterly disappointed in this younger sister of his.
Madam Fang-Liu was even more vexed. She had blown up the matter to force Mu Yangling to bring her two sons into the mountains so that the family could have some income. Who knew that she would end up worse off? Not only did her plan not succeed, but now, even her nephews could not enter the mountains anymore.
In that case, wouldn’t Liu Ting and his brothers resent her deeply?
Madam Fang-Liu felt that she was about to catch fire under the fiery gazes from her two sisters-in-law.
Ignoring his sister, Liu Daqian said to his son, “Sort out the prey and treat your elders to the meat.”
“Forget it, these things were painstakingly obtained by the brothers. Keep them for Liu Lang and the children to eat.” With that, Liu He stood up and was about to leave.
Liu Daqian quickly pressed him down and said with a cold expression, “Brother, do you despise my family’s food? Let’s eat first.”
Liu He could only stay, and the others could only follow suit.
Gritting his teeth, Liu Ting pulled his son over. “Go, call all the children in the village over. I’ll set up two separate tables for you later.”
Madam Liu-Zhao pulled him back and whispered, “You’re crazy. Not to mention these meat and vegetables, we’re already going to use up so much rice. Aren’t you afraid that Mother will beat you up tonight?”
However, Liu Ting said, “Didn’t they say that if we don’t follow Ah Ling into the mountains, the children will have meat to eat? And the converse? 1 deliberately want them to watch the children eat meat. When you enter the kitchen later, stir-fry two pots of vegetables for them and cook all the prey we caught today for the children to eat..”