The Green Lotus Peasant GirlChapters List
Chapter 103: Dealing
Zhou Chengkang helped him apply the medicine. Eldest brother Zhou was still talking about what happened. He grimaced in pain as he spoke, tugging at the wound at the corner of his mouth. He said that by dawn the thieves took the silver and jewelry and ran away. Mrs. Zhou couldn't bear it any longer and asked, "How is Xili? What about Mei Hua? Was she also beaten?"
Eldest brother Zhou waved his hand, "The two of them are alright. It's just the silver… sigh.."
When she heard him say that Xili and Mei Hua were alright, Mrs. Zhou was slightly relieved. But when he mentioned the silver, she asked with a distressed look, "How much did they steal?"
"Fifty taels of silver and all the jewelry that Mei Hua owned. It should be around 60 or 70 taels in total." With a sullen look, Eldest brother Zhou said, "It's all gone now."
There was silence in the room. Eldest brother Zhou continued, "The situation was so bad that we couldn't refuse them. They told us that they would beat me if we didn't give them money. Mei Hua was then forced to bring the money. She gave them 30 taels but they still beat me up. Then they also caught Xili and told us that if we don't give everything they would beat Xili too. She is so small. How could she withstand their beatings?
"So we had no choice but to give them the silver and money."
Zhou Chengkang finished applying medicine to his face and asked, "Did you go to the magistrate's house?"
Eldest brother Zhou shook his head, "No, I'm not familiar with him. I came here to ask you to accompany me to the magistrate's house."
Zhou Chengkang got up, "How many of them were there? Did you see what they looked like?"
"They all had their faces covered." Eldest brother Zhou thought for a while and said, "I couldn't see them." Then he added, "But they were all men."
Zhou Chengkang was dumbfounded. Just based on the fact that the thieves were men, can they find them? There were hundreds of men in the town. "Think again."
"There was one person in the group who was fair-skinned. Mei Hua scratched his neck when he tried to take off her bracelet." Eldest brother Zhou pointed towards his hand and said, "The bleeding probably occurred here. He grimaced in pain as if he had never done this before."
In fact, eldest brother Zhou was not stupid at all. He knew that identifying them was important. As long as they can find the person whose neck was scratched, they can force him to confess about the other people.
Zhou Chengkang got up and said, "Let's go to the town now so that we can catch the thief quickly."
Mrs. Zhou thought for a while and said, "I'll also come with you. I'll go to take a look at the child."
Such an incident happened, it would be inappropriate for Li Qinghe to not go to the eldest brother Zhou's house. But Xiyu was still sleeping at that time, so Zhou Chengkang said, "You should stay back or come later in the afternoon."
Li Qinghe then carried Xiyu back to the bed and slept beside him.
When she woke up again it was already early in the morning. She took Xiyu to the kitchen and started preparing breakfast. Mrs. Chen entered the kitchen and said in a low voice, "Madam, there's something strange going on."
Like most of the women in the village, Mrs. Chen liked to gossip about other families' affairs the most. Li Qinghe casually asked her, "What's the matter?"
"You know about the Yang family situation right?" Mrs. Chen pointed in the direction of the Yang house, "The Yang family just announced that they will be paying off their debts and urged the people to hurry up to collect their wages… Why would they urge people to hurry to pay debts? The news had spread fast and I made a trip to eldest uncle's house to tell them about it. They also went there quickly."
The uncle she was referring to was Li Xingwang. She followed the Zhou couple and addressed him with the same name.
Li Qinghe suddenly remembered eldest brother Zhou's words about the fair-skinned man who was afraid of pain. Yang Lanhong from next door matched his description.
The scene next door was indeed very lively. To catch an adulterer, one must catch the couple, and to catch a thief, one must catch the stolen items. She wasn't sure if the money did belong to eldest brother Zhou. Besides, she was the only one at home, so it was not a good idea to run to their house rashly and prevent others from paying off their debts.
When she was thinking about this situation, someone knocked on the door outside. Mrs. Chen went to open the door. It was Li Xingwang and his wife who just received their wages.
He looked excited as he said, "I didn't expect the Yang family to actually have money."
Mrs. Liu said, "I told you earlier to lend them money but you wouldn't let me. If we had lent them then, we could have earned a great interest on it."
"Earn what?" Li Xingwang glared at her, "Did you not see that they only paid back our wages and didn't give us the interest at all? We should consider ourselves too lucky to get our money, so don't think about the interest."
Mrs. Liu didn't care, "The Yang family has a great career, sooner or later they will pay back."
Just as they were talking, they heard a loud noise from the next door. It seemed like it was something about the silver not being theirs and would have to return it or something like that.
Li Xingwang's face changed slightly when he heard it and said, "Why are they asking to return it?"
He quickly took out his money pouch and stuffed it in Mrs. Liu's hands, "Don't think about watching the fun now. Quickly take the money back home and hide it."
In fact, Li Xingwang didn't get much money. It was just a few hundred copper coins. They didn't lend money to the Yang family. They only helped them with work at the beginning. So they got half of their wages.
Mrs. Liu took the pouch and went home quickly.
Li Xingwang went out with his hands behind his back, "Qinghe, let's go and take a look."
When they walked out, Mrs. Chen closed the door and walked along the wasteland road to the Yang family house. Li Qinghe said in a low voice, "My eldest brother-in-law came back early this morning. He told us that their house was robbed last night. When he woke up from the noise and shouted, they tied him up and robbed the house."
Li Xingwang was full of surprise, "How much has been robbed?"
"A few dozen taels of silver." Li Qinghe sighed. Old lady Liu sold the tofu recipe for 30 taels each. After she got the money, she bought a house in the town. She was usually frugal with money and didn't spend much. In the end, all the money went to the eldest brother Zhou and Mei Hua. They bought the carriage with the money and the rest… should all be gone now.
The two reached the corner, Li Xingwang looked at the wall and frowned, "According to you, the money the Yang family paid today to everyone likely belongs to your elder brother-in-law's family. Their family's son also stole your fish. There are a lot of chickens running in your field. You should lock them inside so that they won't get the idea to come to steal chicken one day."
Li Qinghe nodded. It was not easy to lock the wall. This was not a simple task if they needed to build a circle around it.
When they reached the Yang family’s house, they heard the magistrate's voice, "This silver is the stolen money. It was stolen by the Yang family last night. It's stolen money, so if you want to get it back, you need to take it to the county magistrate, who will decide what will happen next."
The villagers were simple but they weren't stupid. The Yang family repaid their debts today, everyone thought that the Yang family had a solid foundation and could take out a dozen taels to pay off the debts. They had already suppressed any suspicions they had about it.
The Yang family was so poor that they had to rob. If they returned this silver, then they would never be able to get their money back. Receiving their wages only mattered to them and those who lent them the money would not agree to give it back anyways. No villager's money fell off the tree. They earned it through sweat and hard work. If it weren't for their greed to get 20 percent interest, they would have never lent it to Mr. Yang.
Hearing the words, many people immediately ran out of the courtyard. In fact, some people were very smart. Some had left the place as soon as they received money and some asked their family members to take and hide the money.
"The Yang family committed theft and it is indeed the stolen money. But it is also true that he owes the money. We took back what he owed us and our families are still waiting for the money to marry a daughter-in-law."
"You are the magistrate, you can't be unreasonable. If you take this silver back, you are forcing us to die."
Li Qinghe and Li Xingwang entered the courtyard and this was what they saw. The villagers were holding knives and hoes and this time it was not Mr. Yang who was targeted, but it was the magistrate standing under the eaves.
The magistrate Mr. Yang was at this time in a difficult situation since the villagers kept forcing him to get their money back. Standing on his side was, eldest brother Zhou with a wounded face who was explaining to the villagers that the money belonged to him. Mei Hua was carrying their daughter and crying beside him.
Some people came from the town to watch the fun. Someone had entered the house to steal and the people in the town were concerned about this matter. They would not have slept with peace of mind until the thief was caught. Mrs. Zhou crossed her arms and stood with the people from the town. Seeing Li Qinghe arriving holding the child, she went to carry Xiyu and sighed, "Let's go back. There's nothing to see."
There was indeed nothing to see. Li Qinghe came over mainly because she was curious about the source of the Yang family's silver. Then there was the unusual noise she heard just now so she wanted to take a look to see who it was.
The mother-in-law and daughter-in-law pair took Xiyu and walked out of the Yang family house. And as for Mrs. Chen, unless she was asked to return, she would definitely stay there to watch the fun.
When they walked to their courtyard, Mrs. Zhou looked at it and said, "It's better to build."
In fact, the courtyard wall was made by the Yang family, and the rest of this place was specifically left for walking. It would look weird to directly seal it off. The courtyard wall Li Qinghe made was covered with thorns and was mainly built to stop the chicken from running away. If someone wanted to enter, they could only do so by cutting the thorns.
"If we want to build a circular wall, then we will have to spend a lot of money." Li Qinghe thought about it and said, "The chickens are different and are not easy to catch. They live in the coop at night and only wander around the field during the day."
If they were really caught by someone, then they would definitely find out about it.
"Yes! To build a wall around such a large area, you don't know how many years you would have to raise chickens." Mrs. Zhou sighed, "You two would have to pinch every penny for that to make it work. As for the eldest child…" She shook her head, "They would never get the money back. If the villagers are forced to return, the villagers would really dare to die. Don't you also believe it?"
"It is possible for the magistrate to be sued if someone dies." Therefore, the magistrate and the village chief would choose to appease the eldest brother Zhou.
"He's also so amazing and powerful. He let his wife wear jewelry worth dozens of taels of silver. Were they afraid that people would not know they were rich?" Her tone was hateful. "Seeing it would definitely attract thieves."
The more she said, the angrier she became. Li Qinghe comforted, "Big brother-in-law and sister-in-law couldn't have imagined that someone would dare to rob them openly, and if they knew, they certainly wouldn't have done so."
Mrs. Zhou's expression was indescribable, "Stupid."
"Stupid." Xiyu echoed behind her correctly.
No matter how Li Qinghe comforted her, Mrs. Zhou didn't soften up. But when she heard a word from Xiyu, she laughed, "Xiyu also knows that they are stupid. Don't learn from your uncle in the future and let your parents worry."
By the evening, the magistrate took the Yang family, the village chief, and eldest brother Zhou's family to the town. As Mrs. Zhou had said, the money could not be recovered.
The money was originally supposed to be the wages that the villagers lent money to the Yang family and helped their family with work. Besides, they just got their money back and didn't see the promised 20 percent interest at all. The magistrate and the village chief said everything they could, but the villagers just refused to return. It was not like they could go to their homes to search for it.
The Yang family locked the door and left, but the villagers didn't leave. They stood in front of the Yang family and discussed that they would not return the money!
If they were forced to return it they would die!
They were determined and after giving some instructions to a few timid people, they dispersed.
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