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The Green Lotus Peasant Girl

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Chapter 117: Turmoil

Upon hearing this, the village chief's face turned serious as he said, "There's one more thing. Yang's pond, land, and even the hillside in the village are all going to be sold. Anyone who's interested can come find me at my house."

Sold?

The crowd became curious, with those who had a good relationship with the village chief asking directly.

The village chief didn't try to hide anything from them and explained, "They borrowed money with interest from the town's gambling house to buy the hillside, promising to double it in a year. Now that something has happened to their family, the people over there have gone to the mayor and are demanding they pay back the money now. If not, they'll have to go to the county government to sort it out."

"I asked Mrs. Yang and she said they're selling the pond and land to pay it back. They're only asking for twenty taels of silver."

Ten taels for ten acres of hillside, plus the five-acre wasteland and the pond. If someone really wanted it, it could work.

But for those who weren't too interested, it seemed a bit expensive and not worth it.

Immediately someone said, "If they add the house, it will be worth it."

If they added the house, then it would be a good deal. Just one house alone would cost more than ten taels of silver.

The village chief glared at the person who spoke and said, "You're the only clever one here. There are some things you don't know. The Xu family committed a crime and all the houses and land belonging to them will be taken by the government. So anyone who wants to buy their property can go to the mayor in town."

In other words, the house where the Yang's mother and daughter currently lived was already owned by Xu Changjie and they couldn't continue living there.

"That's too expensive," someone shook their head.

Actually, it wasn't expensive. The five acres of land next to the house were already poor land with a bad harvest, but it couldn't be compared to wasteland. If someone wanted to buy the land, it was still possible.

But apart from Li Qinghe, no one in the village wanted to buy the wasteland.

So it was very likely that the land of the Yang family would end up in their hands.

After the matter was discussed, Li Qinghe took Xiyu home. Passing by Li's house, she saw that Zhao Wanwan was already there, holding a child in her arms. It was Zhao Tianfu's child, her half-brother.

Upon seeing her, Li Qinghe pushed open the door and heard her say, "Father, we just need you to help us with some work, and we'll pay you for it. We'll pay you after the autumn harvest. Based on our years of love, if you don't help us, no one in the village will. You can't just watch me and my mother go hungry, can you?"

"Pay after the autumn harvest." Li Qinghe interjected. "Doesn't that mean anyone can do it? Why do you have to ask my dad specifically?"

Hearing the voice, Zhao Wanwan turned her head and frowned slightly. "Sister, I've lived here for several years. Are you really ignoring our relationship?"

Relationship?

Li Qinghe sneered. "When you were living the good life, we couldn't even get a shred of your prosperity. Now that you've fallen on hard times and come back, must our Li family be entangled with you mother and daughter? My father has remarried and you still remain oblivious as if struck blind?"

"Our Li family has no relation with you and your mother!"

As soon as she finished speaking, she looked at the silent Liu Shi. "Aunt Liu, you should have released the dogs when you saw her. Why waste time talking to her?"

Mrs. Liu awkwardly smiled and glanced at Li Fu.

Li Qinghe instantly understood her meaning. This was to avoid Li Fu's attitude.

Li Fu had already reached out to hold Xiyu, and with his peripheral vision, he saw Zhao Wanwan's tearful face. He said, "You can leave now. I have fulfilled my duty of raising a daughter for Zhao Tianfu, and I cannot raise his son for him. I don't owe him anything. Not that there was ever a debt to begin with. From now on, you don't need to come to my doorstep. I'm doing just fine."

It would be false to say that Li Fu wasn't disappointed when Zhao Wanwan, his stepdaughter, didn't visit him after she became a scholar's wife. But now that she had finally come, he didn't feel particularly happy. Instead, he felt somewhat let down.

Because it proved that the mother and daughter duo truly regarded him as a fool who would tolerate their behavior without limit.

Zhao Wanwan cried for a long time but still refused to leave.

Li Qinghe was annoyed and said directly, "Aunt Liu, I'll send the dog back later."

Zhao Wanwan couldn't take it any longer and shouted, "You're just laughing at me, aren't you? I caught a cold because I did too much work at your house, and I didn't even ask you to compensate me. And now you're blaming me because I couldn't become a scholar's wife? It's all because of you."

It was true that a woman catching a cold was related to frequently coming into contact with cold water, especially during her menstrual period in winter.

But how could Li Fu be blamed for that?

Li Qinghe was about to speak, but her father spoke up, his voice deep and stern. "When your mother brought you to my house, I treated you well and never mistreated you. You shouldn't blame me for catching a cold. Did I ever order you to do anything?"

It was all ordered by Mrs. Qian. Even because she was lazy, Zhao Wanwan was the one who took care of everything inside and outside the family.

Zhao Wanwan's tears were about to fall, and Li Qinghe sneered, "Your own mother doesn't even protect you, but you blame your stepfather? Who in this village doesn't know that my father raised you, and then you became a scholar's wife and turned your back on us?"

"My family has done all we can for you and your mother, but from now on, you are not allowed to come to our door again!"

With that, Li Qinghe grabbed her collar and dragged the siblings out of the Li family's courtyard, pushing them hard and slamming the door shut with a loud bang. "Get out."

It was pure face-ripping at this point, and anyone with a shred of dignity would not show up again in the future.

If Li Fu wouldn't help himself, no matter how many times they come knocking on the door, it would be useless. Moreover, people's hearts are made of flesh. He had felt the warmth and concern from Aunt Liu's care and attention inside and outside the house.

He used to treat Zhao Wanwan kindly, but it was only because he cared about Mrs. Qian. Now that Mrs. Qian had broken that bond, he refused to see her and was unmoved by Zhao Wanwan's pleas.

After returning home, Li Qinghe really did send a dog over. Every time it saw that mother and daughter duo, it would howl from afar.

Back on this side, after Zhou Chengkang returned, Li Qinghe asked about the argument between eldest brother Zhou and his wife.

"I'm not sure what it was about," Zhou Chengkang shook his head. "Big brother said someone kept coming to the house to buy tofu, and the sister-in-law was a bit too hospitable..."

He didn't say any more, but Li Qinghe already understood.

Eldest brother Zhou appeared generous on the surface, but was actually petty. However, in this Luoyue town, few couples would divorce over such matters. Many people would argue behind closed doors, and even if they did have that kind of relationship, they wouldn't make a scene.

After their argument, within two days, eldest brother Zhou sold their house in town and moved back to the Zhou's house.

Li Qinghe didn't expect this outcome!

People always aspire to climb higher. Not to mention the fact that the family businesses were growing and moving towards the county seat. How could they move back to the village?

Li Qinghe didn't ask for the reason, but two days after moving back, Zhang Haiyao came to talk to her with her child.

"Big sister-in-law wanted to buy servants. She said the reason why they were robbed was because their family didn't have any servants to serve them," Zhang Haiyao smiled and shook her head. "Big brother refused, thinking it was unnecessary and they could save their money. But big sister-in-law wanted to buy a couple and said your family already had servants to serve you..." She lowered her voice, "You don't know, big sister-in-law secretly bought some gold bracelets again."

Li Qinghe was speechless.

It seemed that Mei Hua really liked these things and was willing to buy servants to wear them. Perhaps she didn't want to do housework anymore.

Housework was tedious, and no one was willing to do it. It could be seen from their daily lives that Mei Hua didn't like it either. Although Zhang Haiyao's family was wealthier than theirs, they couldn't stand dirtiness when they were rich. One could tell from Xi Wei's clothes, which were always clean.

Anyway, outsiders didn't know why the couple was quarreling for a divorce. Perhaps it was because of these small things, they accused each other and argued every day.

Now that they had moved back, it was like they had just gotten married. They went to town to sell tofu every day. After they sold the house in town, many people came to borrow money from them.

Eldest brother Zhou was much more generous than his younger brother. Whenever someone came to him, he could lend them money. However, there was one thing: they had to write an IOU and pay interest. Although it wasn't as harsh as the gambling house, they still charged one percent.

Due to the interest charge, many people came to borrow money, but there were not many willing to pay the interest and take the loan.

In the blink of an eye, May arrived, and the weather became warmer and warmer. One day, a yamen messenger suddenly appeared at the village entrance.

Many people were cooling off at the entrance and were quite surprised. The yamen servants carried big knives, as if they were there to arrest someone. People followed them from a distance and watched as they headed straight for Zhou's house.

Eldest brother Zhou and his wife were taken away.

The villagers were all talking about it, not knowing what they had done. When Mrs. Zhou came over with Xili, she said, "Fourth child, quickly help me ask what happened to the eldest child?"

Li Qinghe and Zhou Chengkang did not know anything, but it would be good to find out while taking Mrs. Zhou to the town. They were not worried about him, but afraid that they might be implicated. They had to know the reason, right?

Zhou Chengkang and his mother returned in the middle of the night. They learned from the mayor the ins and outs of the matter. It turned out that eldest brother Zhou had found several bags of silver when he went out to sell tofu early in the morning. The total was dozens of taels, so the couple decided to move back.

All the quarrels about separation, fear of being robbed and wanting to buy servants and the fact that Mei Hua's hospitality made eldest brother Zhou unhappy were all lies, all to cover up the most basic reason for the couple's move back home.

Holding a bowl, Zhou Chengkang said, "Big brother said he found it, but those two people don't admit it on the other side and insist that he was involved."

It turned out that these were the people who ran away from the Yang family last time. Fugitives were caught if they headed towards the county town. However, two of them went to the mountains and hid for so long that they couldn't stand it anymore. After coming down from the mountain, they robbed a wealthy household in the town, hoping to make a fortune and then flee.

However, unfortunately, the family put up a desperate resistance, and they accidentally killed the couple. After thinking about it on the street, they became more and more scared. They had only been sentenced to ten or eight years for robbing together before, but killing someone was punishable by death. In the end, they divided the money and threw away half of it. The more people who found it, the more they could share the blame.

Coincidentally, eldest brother Zhou, who got up early in the morning to sell tofu, found it, and he even picked up the three bags of silver that the robbers dropped. He insisted that he found it himself, but the two on the other side insisted that he was involved and that he had killed someone.

The only person who could testify for eldest brother Zhou was Mei Hua. She could prove that he didn't go out that night, but her testimony wasn't conclusive. The couple who were killed didn't have any witnesses either.

Eldest brother Zhou said he found the silver, but no one saw him pick it up. So it's unclear. He was taken to the county prison that day.

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