The Green Lotus Peasant GirlChapters List
Chapter 104: Separation
Once everyone had left, Zhou Chengkang finally went home. It seemed as if nobody was trying to avoid him when discussing matters around the village. Some people were even deliberately speaking in front of him.
In other words, the villagers made it clear to him that they had no intention of returning the silver.
Mother Zhou sighed, "I always felt they might not return it. Unless the people from the Yang family can find some money."
This was impossible, the Yang family was truly poor with no resources except for selling their house and land to save about 10 taels of silver. Even if they could save some money up, Xu's mother still had 15 taels of IOUs on her side.
"It doesn't matter," Li Qinghe remembered something and asked, "Did you see Yang Lanhong today?"
The group of people exchanged glances and shook their heads. She asked, "If the thief can’t be caught, will the Yang family still admit it?"
Zhou Chengkang frowned and said after a while, "I saw a bruise on Old Master Yang's neck."
Li Qinghe asked in surprise, "Does he want to take the blame for his son?"
Zhou Chengkang thought for a moment and said, "It's possible. I'll ask tomorrow."
The next morning, Zhou Chengkang took the whole family with him in a carriage to the town. At the town mayor's house, they specially found a room and locked up the Yang family.
When they arrived, Eldest brother Zhou was already there. "So now we can't find out who the thief is?"
The mayor sighed, "Yes, he still doesn't open his mouth and tell us where Yang Lanhong has gone. We can't even catch the person, let alone find the rest of them."
"No matter what I say, he still won't open his mouth."
Li Qinghe said as she walked to Father Yang’s room and opened the door. She saw him sitting on the chair. He squinted his eyes because the sunlight was too strong. After seeing her clearly, he was somewhat surprised, "It's you?"
She sat down opposite him and said, "Yes, it's me. I'm here to ask you where your son has gone?"
Father Yang shook his head, "I don't know, he hasn't been living at home for a long time, you don't need to look for him. The things in your elder brother's house were taken by me, but I didn't beat him up. I didn't lay a hand on him, I was only responsible for taking the silver."
"Then tell me who the rest of the people are."
“I don't know them. Someone put a note in my courtyard before, asking me to go steal things. If I didn't do it, I was supposed to pretend that I didn’t see it. I owed so much money to the villagers that I felt uneasy, so I went to the pre-arranged place in town late at night. They all had their faces covered and gave me a cloth to cover mine. I didn’t know that it was your elder brother’s house before. Later, your elder brother discovered us, so we had no choice but to tie him up, beat him, then ask his wife to get the money… To be honest, I did help out. Someone in the group saw that your elder sister-in-law is beautiful and wanted to spoil her, but I stopped them. If you don't believe me, you can ask your elder brother.”
Li Qinghe was sitting opposite him, listening to him say that after going out, several people split the silver and left, and he returned home when it was dawn. He knew that the silver couldn't be kept, so he hurriedly asked the mother-in-law to find people in the village to pay off the debt. "I really want to pay back the villagers' money, as soon as I have it I will pay it back immediately…"
Li Qinghe was impatient listening to this and thought that the Yang family had been able to eat deliciously and live grandly even though they owed so much money. If it was really embarrassing, they should have repaid the debt earlier. She interrupted him and asked, "So, apart from you getting the silver, you don't know who the others were, or how much silver they had, nor do you know who took away my elder sister-in-law's jewelry, right?"
Father Yang nodded.
After going out, she entered the room next door, where the mayor was sitting at the top, with a bruised face Eldest brother Zhou beside him. The somewhat uncomfortable Mei was sitting underneath, followed by Mother Zhou and Zhou Chengkang, even Zhou Laosan and Zhou Laoer had also rushed over.
The mayor held his teacup and pondered for a while, saying, "He said it so carefully, all he wanted to do was to prove that he was the one who robbed." He looked at Eldest brother Zhou, "Are you sure that the injured person had fair skin?"
After several such inquiries, Eldest brother Zhou was also uncertain, and hesitatingly said, "It should be, candles were lit at night, and it did look white, like a woman."
Li Qinghe thought for a while and said, "He spoke so carefully. If it was him, he had no reason to help others conceal the crime of stealing 70 taels of silver. One person is obviously different from four people. But if it wasn't him, he could still speak so carefully and start repaying the debt so quickly. It must be that the person had been to the Yang family and had time to talk about the details with him. Who knows if the person is in the Yang family now!"
The mayor was stunned, and he stood up and commanded, "Immediately find someone to come with me to the Yang's house."
The gate of Yang's courtyard was tightly closed. The mayor asked the old woman to come forward to open the door. The courtyard was quiet. After searching all the rooms, no one was found. He stood in the courtyard with his hands behind his back, looking at the walls of Yang's courtyard. Suddenly he heard a scream from the backyard. A group of people rushed over and saw a ladder on the wall with a moan coming from outside the wall.
Going around to the outside, they saw Yang Lanhong, wearing only underwear, lying on the ground, clutching his legs and screaming in pain. There was indeed a trace of blood scratched out by a woman on his neck.
The mayor took the person back and the whole family of Yang's finally moved into his house.
Yang Lanhong's experience was the same as the ones mentioned by Father Yang, but he didn't know much more than that. However, the town mayor asked him to recall it over and over again, from morning to night. When it was late at night, he could no longer bear it, "Even though I didn't see what the few of them looked like, one of them was quite similar to Zhao Tianfu."
Zhao Tianfu had been at home these two days, and even went to see the drama at Yang's house for half a day. There was no sign of him having any problem.
However, since Yang Lanhong said so, Zhao Tianfu was also taken away. Because of this, the two Liu brothers were called in for questioning as well. However, they just happened to have gone to the county town to buy fish that night. There were several people at the county town fish pond who testified. They were let go because they were busy.
Zhao Tianfu was hard-mouthed and refused to admit it, but soon it was found that he had paid off a loan he had borrowed in the gambling house, with exactly 18 taels of principal and interest, which happened to be the silver he had been allocated.
When they heard the news, Eldest brother Zhou and Mei's faces were so painful that Li Qinghe could not bear to look at them, their faces distorted as if they wanted to cry but could not. It was so heartbreaking!
After the two people spent all the silver, Zhou Laoda was even more anxious for the remaining two people. Fortunately, the town mayor quickly got the news that someone went to the only gold shop in the town and wanted to melt a pile of gold.
The gold was smashed into a lump of gold cake, and it was impossible to see its original appearance. An old woman who came to melt the gold claimed that it was her ancestral inheritance.
The imprint of the gold smashing was incredibly fresh and it was impossible to say that the gold was passed through generations. But it was also impossible to find any trace that it was related to Mei. Unless they can find the person who smashed the gold.
Luoyue Town was neither big nor small. When the town mayor had arrived here, he could no longer delay the investigation. The other wealthy households in the town refused to let him continue his investigation, which showed their lack of trust in his ability. Maybe they were afraid that, like last year, he would let people go easily instead of punishing them.
Zhao Tianfu and Yang Lanhong had previously been stealing fish, but the town's mayor wanted to let them go.
They even said that the heavy compensation imposed by the mayor was a hidden danger. If people don't have money to pay back their debts, they will naturally have bad thoughts. If they don't get it this time, they will go to the county seat to sue the mayor for hiding the guilty, or of taking bribes to deliberately let the criminals go free.
The last one was a bit heart-wrenching, so the mayor had people take the confession and the entire Yang family, as well as Zhao Tianfu and a few others, to the county seat. Including the flattened gold piece.
After people had left, Li Qinghe and her husband felt at ease. They didn't need to run around every day anymore; however, not running around would not be good either, and it would appear as though the brothers were not very close with each other.
She even noticed that Eldest brother Zhou and his wife had a grudge against the couple, and on the day they returned, Mrs. Mei said, "If you hadn’t been greedy for the dozens of taels of silver they offered as compensation, we wouldn't be in this mess today."
It's unreasonable, isn't it? If those two wanted to file a lawsuit, the town mayor was obviously trying to hide it from his superiors. They couldn't sing a different tune from the mayor, could they?
Besides this issue of growing herbs, they would still need help in the future. What if they needed to buy land later? On top of that, why waste her energy sending them to the Yamen since they are willing to compensate her? It takes five days to make a round trip to the county!
It turned out that this time, the real mastermind was not Zhao Tianfu nor Yang Lanhong; the two gave virtually identical testimony that somebody secretly slipped a note into the courtyard. If it weren't for Zhao Tianfu reading for a few years in his youth, he might not have been able to read it. So if the real mastermind wasn't Zhao Tianfu or Yang Lanhong, then someone else must have come knocking at night!
At that moment, Zhou Cheng was so angry that he wanted to take his wife and leave.
Li Qinghe was not accustomed to her flaws, and directly said, "If it weren't for the fact that the elder sister-in-law was wearing twenty taels of silver, no one would have paid attention to you." If it were a wealthy family with many people at home, they would not dare to come to their door. Fortunately, they were just a married couple with a weak child, who had money and wore jewelry that could be seen. Although Mrs. Mei didn't go out, many people in the town went to her house to buy tofu. People came and went, and they were noticed by those who were attentive.
Then, the two returned to the village, and regardless of their affairs, it was heard that the family of three had gone to the county seat in a carriage to wait for the results.
After running for five or six days, when she came home she had a good sleep. She then gave Xiyu to Mother Zhou to take care of, and went up the mountain with Zhou Chengkang for hunting and cutting some firewood.
This year they went to their own forest.
As soon as Li Qinghe entered the forest, she was delighted, "Who is like us, buying their own forest to hunt?"
Zhou Chengkang deeply agreed and said proudly, "My wife spoils me!"
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