The Green Lotus Peasant Girl

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Chapter 120: Return

Why won't she return?

It wasn't that she disliked her mother, but there was a child between her and Mr. Zhang. Their relationship could not be broken so easily.

"They promised to return this time," Mrs. Xu said with a smile. "I told them that I would come first and stay with you for a while, but who knew that a few days ago... my master took in a concubine who is now pregnant."

He took a concubine again?

"When did this happen?" Li Qinghe couldn't help but ask, "I didn't hear about it from my third sister-in-law."

If the concubine was there when she went to visit her parents, it made no sense for Zhang Haiyao not to tell her.

"He took the concubine in after she left. At that time, I wrote him a letter saying that I will come to live with him for a while. Part of the reason was that I was angry with him, but mostly I missed you," Mrs. Xu explained calmly. "But things changed quickly. After they found out she was pregnant, the master told me to stay longer with you. Maybe he won't think of taking me back. I asked for some money from him. It's enough for Bin'er to study. After two years, I'll send him to take the county exam."

Li Qinghe was at a loss for words. Just then, the meal was ready, so she asked Mrs. Chen to bring it to the dining table. They didn't discuss the matter during the meal, and it was already getting late, so let them stay there first.

Mrs. Xu had been in Zhang for many years. Even if she was used at the beginning, Mr. Zhang should have developed feelings for her after being together for so long. However, she didn't expect that he would have a change of heart. It was true that some men run after lust. As he was having a child in his old age, he would likely care more for his young concubine and their child.

Mrs. Xu felt sad because of Mr. Zhang's suspicion of her. Even though he made it seem like he wanted her to stay longer with her daughter, it was possible that he was afraid she would harm the concubine.

It was now autumn, and the next morning, as usual, Zhou Chengkang took Xiyu up the mountain to hunt. This time, he also took Bin'er with him. Watching them leave, Mrs. Xu smiled and said, "Bin'er has been studying hard for the past two years, and he always sits in the room. I'm afraid he might hurt himself, so I might as well go out for a walk."

Mrs. Xu changed into comfortable clothing instead of her usual silk and satin attire and helped to feed the chickens and fish. It had been a long time since she had done such tasks, so her daughter had to teach her.

During autumn, every family was busy cutting firewood. Since the incident happened because of the people invited by the Xu family, everyone was cautious about unfamiliar visitors. As it had already gotten dark, some people were enjoying the cool air at the entrance of the village when they saw a carriage approaching from afar. Upon closer inspection, they recognized that it was Mrs. Xu. Many people were now aware of Mrs. Xu's visit. After moving to the county, she had returned to see her daughter.

Unexpectedly, Mrs. Xu had been staying for a while and it seemed like she wasn't planning to leave anytime soon.

However, upon further consideration, it made sense as the journey to and from the county took five days, so staying longer was reasonable.

With not much to do, Mrs. Xu relied on the help of the old woman she brought along and Bin'er's book boy to assist with the household tasks. Li Qinghe found herself with little to occupy her time. One chilly morning, as she was getting dressed and planning what to cook for the day, she suddenly felt nauseous.

Li Qinghe was taken aback by the sudden onset of nausea, and her gaze turned towards Zhou Chengkang, who was already dressed and in the room, and saw surprise in the other's eyes: No way!

He immediately took her into a carriage and went to the town to find Dr. Huang. After checking her pulse Dr. Huang confirmed that she was indeed pregnant.

In truth, neither of them had been considering having another child, as they felt that Xiyu was enough. However, with the new life growing inside her, Li Qinghe found herself unwilling to consider sending the child away.

On their way, the two had already had a premonition about it, so Zhou Chengkang didn't drive the carriage fast, and it was even slower on the way back. She had given birth to a child already and Zhou Chengkang did not want her to go through it again. Having a baby meant a lot of danger for the mother, and he didn't want her to be in danger. He was silent along the way, and when they got home he helped her get off the carriage, and said in a low voice, "Qinghe, you must be fine."

"I will be fine." Li Qinghe laughed, "I can't bear to leave you and Xiyu."

Mrs. Xu was overjoyed when she found out about Li Qinghe's pregnancy, "A single child would be too lonely. It just so happens that Xiyu is old enough to be an older brother."

While they were talking, Mrs. Zhou arrived, "I heard that you went to the town today. I also wanted to go to the town, but you didn't ask me."

Whenever Zhou Chengkang would go to town, he would usually ask his mother if she wanted to come along. However, this time he was so preoccupied with his worries for Li Qinghe that he forgot to ask her. He was so nervous and distracted when he left the village that he didn't even realize he had forgotten to invite her until it was too late.

Zhou Chengkang said casually, "I'll take you there some other day."

Seeing his perfunctory tone, Mrs. Zhou asked, "What's the matter? Did something happen? You don't seem happy."

Mrs. Xu stepped forward with a smile, "Indeed something has happened, but it's a good thing. Qinghe is pregnant!"

"Ah!" Mrs. Zhou was surprised. Clapping her hands, she said, "It's really good news, I'll go back and catch a chicken, so I can feed Qinghe well." Excitedly, she turned around and went away.

A quarter of an hour later, Mrs. Zhou returned with a chicken and went to the kitchen to get a knife, preparing to butcher it, "You should eat more nutritious food so that you can have a smooth pregnancy and can have a healthy child. Or else the child will be like Xili, who would be sick from a young age. She caught a cold again two days ago, and she is still taking medicine now."

"That’s right." Mrs. Xu answered, "The child can only grow well if the mother eats well."

Mrs. Zhou nodded with a smile, “In the future, I have to trouble in-law to help me keep an eye on her."

Mrs. Xu smiled and said, "There's no need to ask for it. Qinghe is my daughter, she has my grandchild in her belly, I will definitely take care of her."

Li Qinghe stood on the side, inexplicably feeling that there seemed to be something wrong with the conversation between the two.

After finishing cooking the chicken soup, Mrs. Zhou really kept a watchful eye on Li Qinghe and made sure she drank two bowls before leaving.

Mrs. Xu sat across from her and looked at her with a smile, "When I gave birth to you, your grandma was like this too, but she was a little disappointed after you were born and we found out that you were a girl. But later she told people that you would bloom first and then bear fruit. It's not bad for you. She also told me to have another one..."

She looked out of the window and with a dazed look she said, "In fact, I've never regretted having days like this, with you and Bin'er."

Li Qinghe was pregnant and did not work at all. It was Zhou Chengkang who was occasionally absent because of work, and the work outside the house was done by Mrs. Chen and Granny Zhang whom Mrs. Xu had brought back.

Mrs. Zhou would come back every three days, sometimes to feed something or just to sit and chat. It was getting colder and Li Qinghe had started to make clothes for the little one.

The weather today was a bit colder than usual. Mrs. Xu took Bin'er to the town, and Zhou Chengkang sent them there. Mrs. Zhou came to the house that day.

She visited often recently, and Li Qinghe was not surprised. Seeing her enter the door, she smiled and said, "It's just about time to have lunch. Mother should eat lunch here before returning."

Mrs. Zhou agreed with a smile and sat opposite her. She then looked around and then got up again, and went to close the door. Her attitude seemed like she wanted to talk about something in secret.

Li Qinghe looked at her series of actions, "Mother, just speak directly if you have something to say. No one will listen to it on purpose."

She was not lying. Neither Mrs. Chen nor Granny Zhang had the habit of standing outside the window to listen to gossip. There was so much work outside the house, which was enough for them to be busy.

Mrs. Zhou looked at her, "Qinghe, tell me the truth, how long will your mother stay?"

"I don't know." Li Qinghe said casually. She then earnestly continued sewing the shoes in her hand.

"You don't know?" Mrs. Zhou frowned, "She won't live here forever, right?" Her voice was quite loud.

Li Qinghe raised her eyebrows and asked, "Even if she were to live here forever, what about it?"

"You are a married couple. How can you let your mother live with you." Mrs. Zhou said with a bitter look on her face, "If a third person stays with the married couple, it would definitely create problems. Look what happened with your eldest brother-in-law, when old lady Liu lived with him. She made their lives…"

Li Qinghe put down the shoes in her hand, "My mother is different from her."

Being interrupted, Mrs. Zhou was a little displeased, "What's the difference?"

Old Lady Liu was squeezing eldest brother Zhou and Mei Hua to help her earn money, and Mrs. Xu on the other hand only gave her things and never asked for anything in return. "Mother, there are some things you don't know. When my mother left, she gave us more than twenty taels of silver."

Li Qinghe's tone was a bit colder, "Twenty taels, is it enough for her retirement?"

Mrs. Zhou was dumbfounded, "She got that money easily..."

Hearing this, Li Qinghe was really angry, and her face sank, "No matter how much money my mother has, it's all hers. If she is willing to give it to me, I have to remember this kind of affection. One can't be without a conscience."

The majority of Mrs. Xu's silver was given to her by the Zhang family. But that was also in exchange for her relationship with Mr. Zhang, who would have given her money, purely for Bin'er's sake, and not because of her.

Seeing her angry, Mrs. Zhou couldn't say anything else. After a few seconds, she said, "Don't be angry, if you want her to stay, just let her stay. I won't say anything. You have a child in your stomach now, don't think about just yourself, you also have to think about the child. Being angry is not good for the child."

Li Qinghe did not look at her and picked up the shoes again, "If you have nothing to do, make clothes for yourself, or the children. Don't think about these matters. Chengkang and I will live our lives well, it's not your turn to worry about it."

Her words were serious, and Mrs. Zhou's face paled slightly, "I’m doing it for your good too."

Li Qinghe immediately answered, "Without your worrying, we can have a good life."

If Mrs. Xu would really affect their relationship, Li Qinghe would not keep her here forever. If a person was sincere, he or she would have sense.

Mrs. Zhou left in a daze, but Li Qinghe didn't care about it. She had some bottom lines that couldn't be compromised.

Previously when they used to have Dr. Huang's grandson over, Mrs. Zhou at that time would also come over there and say such things. She said that if they were really serious about hiring a tutor, how much money would it cost? They were just giving him some food and drinks, while he taught them, so it was them taking advantage of him, right?

Besides, the husband and wife didn't want to read well, they just needed to be able to learn how to read. And the most important thing was to understand some common medical principles.

This was probably a difference in thinking between different generations, which cannot be changed.

When Mrs. Xu and Bin'er came back in the afternoon, they entered the house with a smile, "Qinghe, I bought you some snacks." She carried in some snacks, opened them for her to eat, and said, "I bought the empty yard next door. I'll let someone go over and clean it up. I'll try to move in before the end of the year."

Hearing this, Li Qinghe was stunned for a moment. If she wasn't aware that Mrs. Xu had been in the town and just came back, she would have suspected that she had heard Mrs. Zhou's words and thought too much and decided to move out.

Seeing her stunned, Mrs. Xu laughed, "I've been here for a month, and there's no news from the county seat. I think it might be true this time. I'll have to live for a year, or he won't ever come to pick me up... I still want to give myself a way out. The courtyard over there will be only in my own name, and it will be my root in the future. It's also good to be close to you."

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