With a long road and the only means of transportation being an ox cart, traveling between the nearest county town and Datong village proved to be no short trip.
The team captain, Lin Yaoben, had tried to teach his foolish younger nephew, Lin JianJun, how to chauffeur the educated youth back to the village.
This was Datong village’s first batch of educated youths after all, and city youths were known to be spoiled beyond measure, incapable of lifting or lugging anything, unlike those who were born in the mud and were built for toil and hardship.
But at the same time, Lin Jianjun tested Lin Yaoben’s patience by looking completely incapable of catching on to anything!
After spending half a day repeating his instructions, Lin Yaobei remained doubtful that a single sentence had registered. When asked if he understood, Lin Jianjun’s only reply was by vigorously nodding his head. If Dan Jingqiu had not previously gifted him an entire pig’s belly, with the request to take care of her brother-in-law, who was also his second brother’s child, he would have never offered to help.
Lin Yaobei stood by the village entrance along with a few of his subordinates after work and waited anxiously. But to no avail.
Did Lin Jianjun lose their guests? Doesn’t he frequently take that route to send care packages to his younger brother, Jian Dang? How could he possibly get lost?
But if they weren’t lost, where did this large group of people disappear to?
Unable to conjure up more possibilities, Lin Yaobei reached over and touched the few precious cigarettes he had in his pockets. But after some thought, he could not bring himself to smoke one. With a look of helplessness, he looked towards his subordinates who had begun chatting idly.
“Say, where do you think they went?”
His doubt turned into worry,
“Should we go look for him?”
Deputy Li Tongzhi could not be bothered with Lin Yaobei’s worried pretenses. Though Lin Yaobei could be considered a veteran that had the village under his beck and call, he was too fussy and overbearing for Li Tongzhi’s liking;
“Nah! No need!”
Lin Jianjun was not some foolish teenager, and besides, what kind of mischief is a poor and honest farmer capable of?!
“I say, could he have already brought those youths back?” The old and sophisticated accountant, Sun Junxiong, asked calmly.
Lin Yaobei is seriously clueless. Lin Jianjun’s mother, Sun Jinhua, is the accountant’s niece, and who doesn’t know how much she loves money? Tsk tsk. If she were to walk past a bird, she would have taken the opportunity to steal a few feathers, much less let off her useless second son.
Only a clueless person who is ignorant of Sun Jinhua’s viciousness would mistake her for a kind person. She won’t even spare change for her own children! They had absolutely no control over their household’s finances nor freedom.
The stunned Lin Yaobei finally deduced the meaning behind Sun Junxiong’s words. Shoot, he never paid much attention to the businesses of the womenfolk but even he caught on to the occasional rumor. They say that within the Lin family, money was controlled by their oldest daughter-in-law with beastly strength, Dan Jingqiu! It couldn’t have been easy being her brother-in-law!
And so Lin Yaobei gathered his crew to finish up the farm work. After all, if old meddlers like them don’t supervise things around here, many villagers would sneak off and play hookey!
Dan Jingqiu, who had suddenly gained the title of “the vicious sister-in-law, holder of The Stone Fists” in Lin Yaobei’s heart, was hunting for wild game in the mountains to supplement food for her family. It was impossible for her to fathom that Lin Yaobei had bestowed her with this new label.
Now that she’s in charge of the household finances and hunted wild game in her free time, she found that there are resources worth mining deep in the woods.
Most people were afraid of wild beasts that lurked deep in the mountains, such as predatory wolves.
But not her!
And so she was welcomed to the bountiful and unspoiled natural resources. Even on her unluckiest of days, she would be able to obtain a few wild chicken eggs or a bundle of wild greens.
And since the household income was in her possession, she redistributed the wealth so that her brother-in-law’s family had their own personal income, and the children would occasionally receive pocket money. Having felt the weight of her own hard-earned wages, even Xinghua could not maintain a strong dislike for her sister-in-law.
The only unhappy soul was Sun Jinhua, who had nearly passed out from all that anger stifling in her chest.
To Sun Jinhua, every cent that was divided out felt like flesh being sliced from her own body! They say that death through a thousand cuts was the most painful capital punishment. If Sun Jinhua were aware of such punishment, she would definitely believe that was how Dan Jingqiu was tormenting her, making her toss and turn every night. It was hell!
And even her own husband, daughter, and son have all turned their backs on her and praised Dan Jingqiu!
Their money was being used to buy cigarettes and to fund some personal savings! All unnecessary! They are going to ruin this family!
She spent every waking moment begging the gods that her youngest son would hurry back home, and fight for her! But her youngest son is busy studying in the city and rarely returns, so all Sun Jinhua could do was wait.
Unbeknownst that his sister-in-law was made a scapegoat for his mother’s woes, Lin Jianjun had remained blissfully ignorant of what was going on around him.
In reality, his little family had accumulated quite a large amount of savings. Though it was a measly 10 dollars, compared to their previous lives where they needed to beg his mother for money to see a doctor, it was a world of difference!
Ever since his sister-in-law gave them the money, guarding it became Wu Qiuyun and Lin Jianjun’s main worry.
Even if they were to find someone who would trade them some rags and make a pocket for their pants to hide the money, what if the pocket gets wet? Or tore? Or if they forgot to take out the money if they changed pants?
They feared that rats would tear into the money if they were to hide it in the cabinets. After all, even rats knew just how precious 10 dollars was.
These two even crept out of bed in the middle of the night to search for a box for it, but were still too afraid that it might be founded or damaged by rats or other natural disasters! For two days, those two could be seen running around the house hunting for rodents like madmen!
Finally, having run out of ideas and completely sleep-deprived, the pair returned the money back to Dan Jingqiu and confessed to their sister-in-law dejectedly.
“Sis, I can’t sleep when this money is left with us! I’m afraid I’ll lose it! Can you safe keep this for us?!” As someone who was more outgoing in front of their sister-in-law than her husband, Wu Qiuyun was the first to speak up.
This was not an easy task for her, for she held her sister-in-law in high regard. She had always thought of herself as a traded daughter-in-law, with lower status, and a husband that cowered to Sun Jinhua’s whims! Especially since birthing a daughter for the Lin family, she had always felt like she could not look Sun Jinhua in the eye.
But watching her sister-in-law, she finally realized that women can live differently.
Not all women need to rely on men to survive, and women are not inferior to men.
Of course, Dan Jingqiu did not respond to their request as she helplessly nudged at the silly Wu Qiuyun. Worried that the pair might be stressed to death over 10 dollars, she made the decision to help them sew a pocket under a pillow on their bed to hide the cash.
After that, Dan Jingqiu did not question what the couple did with the money.
Still feeling uneasy, the pair tore off a piece of their quilt and removed a part of the mattress to sew a secret compartment that no rat on earth could ever sink their teeth into.
Qiuyun exhibited her best sewing skills and stitched the mattress back seamlessly.
As for the patch that was missing from the quilt that had exposed Lin Jianjun’s feet to the cold?
Aiyo, like that’s an issue! Just tuck yourself in! Nothing compares to the joyful feeling of sleeping on top of money!
From that day onward, these two lived a dreamlike life, as if they were “sleeping on top a hill of money.”
You want Lin Jianjun to carry money around on his body? He much preferred to be beaten to a pulp.
His burdens were light as air, so what if these youngsters were tired? As a born and bred villager, Lin Jianjun would never understand that city-folk are not accustomed to walking.
To him, who had to make the trip two ways while the other group had only walked one while carrying all their luggage, why would they be tired?
And if they were tired, why didn’t they say anything?
He would have…
Taken a short break and then continued the walk!
At last, he could make out the structures of his village. The teenagers who were only accustomed to this “old farmer” persona suddenly found him perk up and yell out enthusiastically, “Sis! I’ve brought them back!”
From afar, a woman carrying a large basket on her back casually walked over. Despite the same farming attire, her skin was scorched to a yellowish-black but otherwise physically healthy and hearty.
Dan Jingqiu watched ruefully as the young teenagers that lugged behind Li Jianjun were drenched in sweat. Their pale expression showed silent relief having finally made it to their destination.
Yup, the single-minded Lin Jianjun would be the kind of person to overlook someone else’s children like that…
Rubbing her temples helplessly, she watched as Lin Jianjun continued his way towards the warehouse with their luggage in tow, she was seriously worried that youths might faint from heatstroke before they get to see Lin Yaobei.
Dan Jingqiu immediately issued an order: “Jianjun, bring the team captain and the others over here. Look at how tired they are, you…”
Having received a sacred edict from his sister-in-law, Lin Jianjun did not feel the least bit chastised, and with a hum, carried the luggage towards the warehouse as quickly as his feet could take him.
Watching Lin Jianjun’s figure disappear into the distance, the group that almost fainted from the heat had finally let out a sigh of relief. Especially the pampered Mengmeng, whose eyes were brimming with tears. Had it not been for the group pressing forward without complaint, she would have quit a long time ago!
And now, everyone silently worshipped their host Dan Jinqiu, for granting them their first break.
“Whoa! It’s The Stone Fist!!” A child’s cry could be heard from a distance.
Dog Egg, leader of the brats, had just emerged out from the riverside with half the villagers’ children. They were happily playing around when they saw “The Stone Fist” from a distance and the mood had instantly flipped. With tears and snot flowing from their faces, they ran away and screamed Stone Fist without holding anything back.
The teenagers who were watching this unfold looked around the empty village in suspicion, eventually laying their eyes on Dan Jingqiu, who was innocently standing by. Their feelings of gratefulness suddenly turned into fear.
What is this “Four directional aim”? (T/L Note: Shi Quan Tou can sound like “Stone Fist” or “Four Directional Aim” in mandarin.)
What’s going on here?
Dan Jingqiu could hardly maintain the smile on her face.
Wait till she finds out which family was using her to scare their children. She would definitely not let them off!