The Green Lotus Peasant GirlChapters List
Chapter 44: Dispute
Zhang Haiyao snorted and pulled Zhou Chengcai back to eat after hearing this. Li Qinghe also went back to the kitchen to cook, and the part of the meat dish was given to Mrs. Zhou.
After making some food, she went back to the backyard with a hoe and dug on the well-divided ground in the side yard, and then asked Mrs. Zhou for some vegetable seeds.
It was already afternoon when she finished planting. She went to the pond to feed the fish again and then looked at the chickens. When she returned home, it was too late. She then went to the kitchen, fried the meat, and brought it back to her room.
While carrying the meat back to her room, Zhang Haiyao came out to clean up the dishes. Zhang Haiyao looked at the plate and said with a smile, "I heard my sister-in-law worked in the restaurant for two years. Would her skills be better than those from ordinary families? Why don't I try some?"
Li Qinghe said as she held the plate, "In fact, it's not as good as yours." Avoiding her body, Li Qinghe went back into the room.
Zhang Haiyao was the only person she resented the most in this family, and there was no one else.
Giving Zhang Haiyao food was still a means of showing her filial piety to Mrs. Zhou. It would make her angry and have to hold back half a day after eating it, and she would be stupid to find out what her sin was.
As the night grew darker, she couldn't resist the urge to go to the foot of the western mountain to look for Zhou Chengkang, when she saw him returning carrying a load of firewood.
Li Qinghe offered to fetch water for him, but he took the bucket and said, "I'll do it myself."
The two of them sat face to face in the evening and discussed what had happened during the day. After hearing about the money from the sale, Zhou Chengkang was quite pleased, and said, "At this rate, we could build a house soon, and we could eat whatever we want."
In the family, everyone took turns using the kitchen and bathroom, and it was very inconvenient.
Zhou Chengkan and Li Qinghe decided that the next day, Zhou Chengkan would go up the mountain as usual, and Li Qinghe would go to town to send the chickens. They blew out the candlelight and soon fell asleep. The next morning, both of them were just going to get up when they heard a noise outside.
The elder sister-in-law's voice was not loud, but filled with anger: "Every morning we need to use the kitchen, this long-eyed person knows that, right? Why don't you get up earlier, or make it last night like the fourth sister?"
"Please be polite." Zhang Haiyao did not show weakness, "This kitchen belongs to all. How can I not use it? It's OK to make it last night, but it'll be cold in the morning when we eat it. If it's not hot, does my sister-in-law want us to get sick?"
Neither of them backed down.
Mrs. Zhou became impatient and left, " Why are you making noise early in the morning? I told you to make your kitchen if you don't like the inconvenience."
Zhang Haiyao snorted, turned around, and entered the kitchen. The elder sister-in-law became so furious that she pinched the elder brother Zhou several times.
The elder sister-in-law's trip to town on that day had been postponed by half an hour, and the amount of tofu sold had decreased from before. Li Qinghe did not accompany them to town, and when the three of them returned in the late afternoon, the tofu had not been sold. Their faces didn't look very good.
The elder brother entered the house, drank water, then went out again with his stall. He looked as if he wanted to sell it to all the families in the village.
After Mrs. Zhou returned, Mrs. Liu and her daughter-in-law went into the house. The elder brother Zhou looked ugly and knocked on the door to let Li Qinghe go to the main room.
Upon their arrival, Old Lady Liu coughed twice and said, "Sister Zhou, I know that I've bothered you with staying at your house these days, but this was agreed beforehand."
Mrs. Zhou appeared to be carefully listening as she looked at the plate on the table. As Old Lady Liu looked at everyone, she said, "I think we should discuss when we can use the kitchen. The three of us make tofu every day before the sun rises. You can't come and delay us. Honestly, sister, if we do a good job, it's good for the eldest child and saves your heart, right?"
"It's not like your family owns the kitchen."
As soon as Old lady Liu opened her mouth, Zhang Haiyao knew it was because of their argument this morning. She knew that if she didn't speak up, the kitchen would become theirs in the morning, and if she wanted to use it again, she would be subject to their wrath. So, she didn't agree and fought back.
"As I don't have to work now, you can use it however you like. Today, it was because my husband had to go up the mountain to cut firewood. I'm sure we'll be up at dawn when things get really busy. The sun will be out by the time we finish eating. So since the sun is at its peak at this time, how can we do this? I can't go to the fields without eating, ah? Isn't your request totally unreasonable, don't you think? Everyone agrees, correct?"
According to her, everyone was primarily Li Qinghe.
For the past few days, the fifth sister has been cooking since they were separated, and she waits until everyone has left before she starts cooking. When Mrs. Zhou was particularly late for dinner, she didn't say anything. In her opinion, since the time for making tofu in the morning has been decided, she won't have any opinions.
Li Qinghe remained silent. Yes, it was slightly inconvenient, but it was easy to get used to it. The weather has been nice recently. She usually used the kitchen more the night before, so she didn't join in the fun in the morning.
It was not impossible to accommodate so many people.
As Zhang Haiyao noticed Li Qinghe was not speaking, she looked at her with disdain, seemingly thinking she was too timid to speak, and said, "You don't have to stop me from going to the kitchen in the morning. You just need to compensate for my loss. Making tofu everyday has many benefits. Leave me a piece and I'll definitely cook in an hour."
She then looked at everyone, saying, "As for others, have a discussion yourselves!"
The blackmail was obvious, but at the same time, it seemed inexplicably reasonable.
The elder sister-in-law makes the tofu, and the family was willing to move here due to their familial affection. Seeing as they weren't willing to be modest, it makes sense to take advantage of that.
These words cut deep into Old Lady Liu's heart. She jumped up without speaking with Zhang Haiyao, and only looked at Mrs. Zhou, "Sister, this is unreasonable, right? What did we say about this marriage? The eldest child wanted to take me over to give me a pension, but now your family is planning to kill me early?"
"I don't dare to stay here anymore." Old Lady Liu was furious, "I'm afraid that I would die of anger. Since you do not speak, I will take them back to the Liu family village, where I have a house, a large kitchen specializing in making tofu. The village is still a quarter of an hour closer to town. Do you think it is easy to travel an extra quarter of an hour every day? I don't want to stay in this house!"
"No." Mrs. Zhou finally said, looking at the angry lady Liu," Sister, now that the marriage is over, the elder daughter-in-law is already my Zhou family’s daughter-in-law, so she has to abide by my rules. I won't stop you from going home, but she and the oldest child can't leave. As far as using the kitchen is concerned, I still say the same - I suggest you discuss it between yourselves. If you are not satisfied with the negotiation, you can build one yourself.
"Tomorrow I will measure the courtyard and divide the land equally among the families so that you can build a kitchen if you want." She looked at the dark courtyard as she spoke.
Old Lady Liu's face was filled with astonishment. The elder sister-in-law's head was bowed and tears rolled down her cheeks.
Zhang Haiyao then folded arms and a triumphant smile crossed her face, "I asked you for tofu, but you refused. As long as you leave one piece every day, I won't be so ignorant."
The elder sister-in-law cried more fiercely, and Mrs. Zhou stared at her and sternly said, "Eldest daughter-in-law, don't feel offended either. I have nothing against you. For me, everyone is equal."
The elder sister-in-law wiped a tear from her eye, "It is said the eldest son lives with his mother. I am not asking you to take sides, but can you be a little fair?"
Li Qinghe raised her eyebrows. Elder sister-in-law said that she should be fair. In fact, she is fair now. She meant Mrs. Zhou had to rely on them to provide for her in the future. Her idea of fairness was that Mrs. Zhou should be partial to them.
"The family of the third younger sister lives in this town. From what I've heard these days, not only did the Zhang family not ask us to give the clothes set and betrothal gift but also gave her a lot of dowry. Also, there's the fourth younger brother who has a lot of land and a pond, although it's harder, life is definitely better, and we are left..."
She tears down further, "Just that we go out early and come home late every day to earn some money. Why would you want to persecute me like this? Where is your heart? If my family can't accommodate me, as my mother said, we will go back to Liujia Village.."
Talking about returning to Liu's Village again, Mrs. Zhou's complexion looked difficult to look at, "That said, since you married into Zhou's family, I don't care about your mother-in-law."
In an instant, the complexion of the elder sister-in-law turned pale.
Mrs. Zhou looked at the elder brother Zhou and raised her hand to interrupt him from speaking, saying solemnly, "If you think that going to Liujia Village is temporary, then leave and do not return. I have more than one son. They will not let me die without burying me properly. Though I am old and will earn less, I can live and eat. If I can't earn it, I will die by myself, and someone will collect my body after I die, with or without you."
The elder brother Zhou, who wanted to persuade his mother, suddenly felt his throat tighten and his eyes become redder. "Don't worry, your son won't ever leave Zhou's house forever."
The elder sister-in-law's pale complexion turned paler. Tears streamed down her face as she closed her eyes.
Following this dispute, the eldest couple stopped making tofu and hired people to build a kitchen.
However, Zhou Chengkang still went to help, and the kitchen was quickly constructed. Two days later, the kitchen, along with the stove, was complete.
After finishing the kitchen, the Elder sister-in-law invited the two over for a meal. Rather than inviting Mrs. Zhou, she picked up and delivered every dish.
Five or four people were invited. It was a mess after they finished eating. Li Qinghe helped clean up. Elder sister-in-law looked at the yard while washing the dishes and said in a low voice, "Fourth sister-in-law, don't you think Haiyao is too much? As expected, she does business at home. She's too good at calculating. I thought of it bitterly for the past two days, but I can’t bear a piece of tofu every day..."
"If you want me to say, this family cannot be peaceful as long as she is in. According to the servants of the Zhang family, she really has seven or eight silver, enough to build a house, as long as she is in. What do you think, should we find a way to let her go and find a foundation to build a house?"
At the last suggestion, she lowered her voice.
Li Qinghe was washing the dishes. She asked, "What can we do?" when she saw her excited.
"While I haven't thought about it yet, I know that you will be moving away sooner or later and that you are physically distanced from her. But if she stays at home like that, can you rest assured? You can't see how your mother was bullied by her."
This statement made sense, and it must be discussed in the long term.
Li Qinghe didn't refute her claim that she was going out to build a house. She intended to have the house built when the weather was perfect in June, to put it in the sun for a few months, and then move in during the winter.
The pond over there, as well as the chickens, need to be carefully managed. She still wants to buy more chickens after moving over, but there was such a large wasteland there, so she had to do something else.
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