Chapter 52 - Chapter 52: Introspection

Chapter 52: Introspection

Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios

Madam Liu-Zhao stared at her husband in shock. “Are you crazy?”

Wasn’t this akin to cutting off one’s own nose to spite one’s face? Wouldn’t they be the ones to suffer in the end?

Yet, Liu Ting insisted on doing so. He got Liu Lang to call all the children below the age of 15 in the village over. This way, there would be a lot of children. With there being more than 50 of them in the village, two tables were simply not enough.

However, Liu Ting said, “When the time comes, let the children stand. Put the dishes on the table and let them snatch them themselves. Anyway, there’s a lot of meat today. There’s no need to worry about them not being able to snatch any.”

Looking at her stubborn husband, Madam Liu-Zhao stomped her feet. “In the past, you even said that Liu Zhuang was mischievous. I think you’re even more so than him.”

Madam Liu-Zhao hesitated for a moment. In the end, she did not tell her father-in-law and mother-in-law. If her husband wanted to vent his frustration, so be it. It was better than holding that anger in his heart.

Madam Liu-Zhao comforted herself as she went into the kitchen to cook.

Seeing that her sister-in-law had cut all the meat, Madam Liu-Zhang couldn’t help but whisper, “Sister-in-law, there are only two tables of people. One rabbit is enough. Why did you cut all of them?”

“This is your brother’s idea. We just have to obey.”

While Madam Liu-Zhao cooked in the kitchen, Liu Lang brought his brothers and sisters to set up the tables. He ran out and said to his companions, who were gradually surrounding them, “All of you, go home and get the cutlery. We don’t have much rice at home, but there’s certainly enough meat. Anyone below the age of 15 who can eat meat may come over. Liu Shui, remember to call your three sisters over, do you hear me? And you, bring your brother over too. Since he’s already three years old, he knows not to swallow the bones, right…”

There were more than 50 children. The older ones carried the younger ones, and the younger ones held the older ones’ hands; boys in one group, girls in another. Soon, they filled the Liu family’s courtyard.

Shocked, Grandma Liu pulled Liu Lang over and asked, “Why did you bring them here?”

“Father said to treat them to a meal.”

“…” Grandma Liu took a deep breath. “That’s no way to do it.”

When Mu Yangling treated children below the age of ten to meat, those children went voluntarily. Since some children were thin-skinned and did not dare to go, only about ten to 20 of them showed up each time. Now, her grandson had invited all the children in the village over.

Considering their appetite was not inferior to an adult’s, and there being so many of them, Grandma Liu wondered if they were going to go broke feeding them.

Liu Ting led his younger brothers to set up two tables in the central room and personally went to the kitchen to serve the dishes. There were six dishes on the table, all vegetarian.

Food was also served to the children’s tables outside. There were five pots of dishes on each table. Other than one pot of vegetables, the rest were all meat dishes.

As soon as the dishes were served, the courtyard was filled with the sound of children swallowing their saliva, but no one dared to make the first move.

Knowing what his eldest cousin was up to, Liu Xuan strode over and clapped. “Eat as much as you can today. There’s enough meat, but take care of the younger ones when you eat. Do you hear me?!”

“Yes!” Everyone roared. Liu Xuan waved his hand and said, “Alright, everyone, eat.”

With Liu Xuan’s order, the children rushed forward and aimed straight at the meat and vegetables. Those with younger siblings had to take care of them after stuffing their own mouths. For a moment, the courtyard was extremely lively.

The adults in the central room looked at the vegetables on the table then looked at each other. In the end, Liu He picked up his chopsticks before saying calmly, “Eat.”

Seeing this, the others picked up their chopsticks. However, the fragrance of meat kept wafting in from outside and the children kept cheering. The few of them felt like they were chewing wax throughout the entire meal. Liu Ting was too ruthless.

The people of the same generation as Liu Daqian secretly glared at him. Liu Daqian ate without any change in expression while pretending not to notice their gazes.

Seeing their aggrieved expressions, Liu Ting’s anger dissipated a little.

In the kitchen, Madam Fang-Liu looked at the solely vegetarian dishes on the adult’s table and then at the meat dishes on the table outside. She felt as if her heart was on fire.

Second Grandma Liu snorted and said slowly, “Ting’er is so kind to leave all the meat dishes to the children, leaving only vegetarian dishes in the central room. Sister-in-law taught him well.”

Grandma Liu glanced at Madam Fang-Liu and lowered her eyes. “How can we old farts have the cheek to snatch this bit of food from the pitiful children when they haven’t eaten a good meal all year round?”

Madam Fang-Liu had originally wanted to take a step out, but suddenly she could not. Although she was thick-skinned, she was not that thick-skinned.

Today, she had really gone for wool and came home shorn. Fortunately, her grandchildren were also inside. Otherwise, it would have been an even greater loss.

When Mu Yangling came over holding her brother’s hand, the ferocious scene of the children snatching food made her widen her eyes. Little Bowen’s mouth also fell open.

The Mu Family had never lacked meat, so they had never seen such a brutal scene. However, after Mu Yangling’s shock subsided, it was replaced by heartache.

She could not help but tighten her grip on her brother’s hand.

She had never lived such a bitter life. The worst hardship she had suffered was being unable to afford to eat medium-grade rice and having to make do with low-grade rice, due to not having spare money. That said, their family had never lacked meat. Even when the mountains were sealed, they dared to sneak into the mountains to hunt one or two rabbits and pheasants to fill their stomachs. Therefore, she could not imagine only eating meat on Chinese New Year every year.

That was why her heart ached for those children.

Alas, her ability was limited. Best she could do was help the children under the age of ten every now and then. Even so, only a portion of them were willing to shamelessly run to the cave to accept the treat.

So, was that really the best she could do?

Guilt caused Mu Yangling’s eyes to sting. She recalled what her mentor had asked them in the military academy. “How much do you think you have to do to be deserving of this military uniform?”

The students replied in unison, “Protect the country!”

Laughing, the instructor said, “This is your responsibility in the first place.” He looked at them solemnly and continued in a serious tone, “Do your best to help the people you encounter who need help. Live up to your conscience, and therefore, your military uniforms.”

At this moment, Mu Yangling asked herself, “Did you do your best? Is your conscience clear?”

After nine years of living as a child, she had already treated herself as a child. But, was she really a child?

She had worn a military uniform for six years. Could it be that her ideals had disappeared just because she had reincarnated?

Then why did she still possess memories, knowledge, and abilities from her previous life?

Mu Yangling was extremely ashamed.

Little Bowen felt that his sister’s grip on his hand was a little painful, so he looked at her with tears in his eyes and whispered, “Sister, you’re holding on too tightly.”

Immersed in self-reflection, Mu Yangling did not hear him.

It was Liu Lang who turned around and saw Mu Yangling. He scooped out a bowl of meat and shouted, “Cousin, you’re here.”

His voice exploded in Mu Yangling’s ears. Only then did Mu Yangling come back to her senses. She quickly let go of her brother’s hand, before grabbing his fair hand again to blow upon it. “Does it hurt? Let me blow on it for you.”

“It doesn’t hurt anymore. Sister, what were you thinking about? Why didn’t you hear me?”

Mu Yangling stroked his head. “I was thinking about something important.”

Liu Lang handed the bowl to them and said, “Do you want to eat? I’ll snatch some food for you.”

Mu Yangling shook her head. “You guys eat. We’re not eating.” She looked around the courtyard and asked, “Who’s in the central room?”

“The elders are all here.” Liu Lang said unhappily, “They’re probably still eating.” He also knew that his father and second uncle were no longer allowed to follow his cousin into the mountains in the future.

Mu Yangling looked at him. “Are you full?”

Liu Lang thought about it before replying, “There’s room for a bit more.”

“Stop eating. Help me look after Bowen for a while. I need to look for Great-uncle and the others.” Mu Yangling handed Bowen to him. “Do keep an eye on him. There are too many people here.”

Although most of the children were on friendly terms with Little Bowen, there were also people who didn’t like him and bullied him. And now, all the children in the village were here..