Chapter 146: Intercepting Midway
The young Zhang Miao did not understand all these things her mother was thinking about. She felt so aggrieved and said to Zhang Wei, “Elder brother! That person pushed me! She even ate all the steamed buns that mom worked so hard to make!”
When Zhang Wei heard this, he then understood why Li Gui was so sad. However, he was young and did not know how to handle this matter.
Zhang Wei thought to himself, “Elder sister Qiao Mei said that I’m the eldest brother among my siblings and I must be their role model. Mom is taking care of us now and I’m the man of the family. I can’t let them be bullied.”
Zhang Wei was about to head out when Li Gui stopped him.
“Xiao Wei, she… she’s mom’s younger sister. She’s just here to have a meal because she’s hungry. It’s not a big thing,” Li Gui said hesitantly.
After all, Zhang Wei and the other three children were all children that she had with Zhang Qian. Qiao Yu was Qiao Yue’s younger cousin and so could be considered to be like a younger sister to her. It was only right for her to help out.
Zhang Wei looked at his mother’s troubled expression and nodded. He decided not to do anything about it. Although he was still young, he was the leader of the group of local children in the village. Everyone listened to him and played with him. It was not a big deal for a few children to play pranks and throw stones at people. The adults would usually turn a blind eye and not raise the issue to the brigade.
Li Gui took out all the food left in the house so that the children would have something to eat tonight. She let the children eat first and only ate when they were done. Her sacrifice did not go unnoticed by the children.
The next morning, the children went up the mountains again to see if there were any new crops to pick. This time, they also brought Zhang Miao along. Li Gui laid out the wild vegetables to dry at home and went to work after finishing the housework. When she was on the way home later, she ran into Qiao Yu at the crossroads.
When Li Gui saw Qiao Yu, she quickly lowered her head and prepared to walk away. However, Qiao Yu was shameless enough to go over and greet Li Gui warmly, as if she was afraid that Li Gui could not see her.
“Aye, sister-in-law! You’re back from work too!” Qiao Yu said enthusiastically.
“Ah… What a coincidence… What do you need?” Li Gui said awkwardly.
“Oh, I was just thinking about you taking care of four children at home on your own. I was worried that you would be too tired, so I came to help you.” Qiao Yu did not give Li Gui a chance to even take a breath before grabbing onto her and pulling her towards her house.
As soon as Qiao Yu arrived at Li Gui’s house, she behaved like she had entered her own house and went straight to the storeroom to take a look. All the houses in the village had similar layouts, with two rooms on the east and west sides. The kitchen and dining area were located in the middle part, also known as the central room. People with money usually made the central room bigger, so that it was an area which was specially used for dining and entertaining guests, and moved the kitchen outdoors by building a stove outside.
There was also usually a storeroom at the side of the house. The basement of the storeroom would be used to store tools and food that could be kept well. The room on the ground floor would be used to store stuff like corn and other similar items. However, most of the families had no excess food now, so in order to save money, some people would decide not to build the part of the storeroom that was above ground.
“Sister-in-law! You have so much food at home!” Qiao Yu reached out and took a lot of cabbages and potatoes and intended to get Li Gui to cook them.
Li Gui did not know how to chase Qiao Yu away. If Li Gui tried to chase her away, she would scare Li Gui by acting like she would starve to death or get beaten to death at home. She would kneel down and beg for mercy at every turn, causing Li Gui to be at her wits’ end.
A person like Qiao Yu needed someone with Qiao Mei’s harsh temper to discipline her. Otherwise, she would never listen obediently.
The four children managed to find a lot of vegetables today. Each of them came back with a full basket. They even saw new vegetables today that they could not recognize, so they brought them back for Li Gui to see if they were edible. This way, the children would be able to apply the new knowledge in the future.
Zhang Miao carried her small little full basket and shouted excitedly at Li Gui, “Mom! Mom! Look, I picked so much today! There’s also vegetables that we don’t know! Mom, take a look…”
Zhang Miao, who was hopping happily, had just made her way halfway into the house when she saw that the bad woman from yesterday had come to the house again. She immediately fell silent and did not dare to move.
Zhang Wei, Zhang Chao and Zhang Qin, who were walking behind, wondered why their youngest sister, Zhang Miao, had suddenly stopped moving.
“Miao Miao, why did you stop? You… Hmm? Who are you, why are you here again?” Zhang Wei was in the midst of asking Zhang Miao a question when he saw the unfamiliar Qiao Yu.