The bigger boy frowned. He suddenly turned around saying: “I’ll go get rid of this woman!”
“Wait!” Zou Mei held him back and continued to listen.
The more she listened; the more her brows wrinkled up.
No wonder that girl died of rage. Those words that Mrs. Liu said were really ugly to listen too. Words dripping with venom, mean, vicious, a whole devilish rant.
Facing this not just that girl, but even Zou Mei listening for a while couldn’t help feeling a surge of anger and became fed up.
She suddenly got up, picked the basin from the table and quickly rushed out with a “Crash!” to drench Mrs. Liu with its contents. The woman had her hands on her hips and facing the Lian family home was yelling loudly scattering spit everywhere. Suddenly a basin worth of cold water fell on her out of the blue startling her to a scream “AAAAHH”. That, in turn, made all the water get into her eyes, mouth and nose resulting in lots of squinting and choking.
This was also weather at the end of September, chilly, making it very easy to catch a cold.
“Who, who, is that wicked—-achoo! Achoo!” Mrs. Liu was shocked as well as angry. She wiped the remainder of the water from her face.
“Your family’s aunt!” Zou Mei placed the basin on the ground. She pointed at Mrs. Liu and yelled: “ Dead bitch, you dare run wild at my threshold. Next time it won’t be cold water but manure! And even that won’t stink as much as your mouth does!”
“You, you, you—” Mrs. Liu was so surprised that her eyes opened wide. Not daring to believe the existence of the arrogant little girl in front of her.
Was this the timid eldest daughter of the Lian family? Could it be that her eyes had seen wrongly?
A round of cheering arrived from the distant group of watching villagers, that naturally gathered to spectate the exciting confrontation. Laughter and several words of ridicule were directed at Mrs. Liu who found herself in a difficult situation. Some people though were whispering while stealing glances at Zou Mei.
Clearly, they, like Mrs. Liu were also shocked.
This Lian girl, today her temperament changed completely!
However, even a clay figurine is also three parts soil! If one wanted to assign blame, then it would be on Mrs. Liu’s mouth for being too wicked…
“You dare drench me!” Regaining her wits the woman screamed and charged Zou Mei.
But she was already prepared and sidestepped smiling coldly.
Who would have thought that at the same time the big brother, fearing his sister would be at a disadvantage, collared the younger two to pick wooden sticks and holding a broom rushed out of the house. Yelling “Do not bully my sister!” they rushed at Mrs. Liu together.
Mrs. Liu, in shock, subconsciously took a step back. Caught off guard she slipped and with an “Ouch” fell heavily into the puddle made of water which was just used to splash her. Her whole body got covered in mud.
“Bwahaha,” That embarrassing appearance set the people off into laughter again.
Zou Mei and the siblings couldn’t help but start laughing as well. Particularly Fang Qing, who laughed with the most joy. Her laugh was like a tinkling clear sound.
Mrs. Liu felt shamed and angry. Her flat like a pancake face turned purple. When she was about to get up, she saw Zou Mei standing in front of her. The girl, voice cold and full of condescension, said : “Stop dirtying my doorstep and bug off! Breaking the engagement is no big deal, right? Just bring money! Now scram!”
Mrs. Liu’s face went through various shades of red then back to purple. She choked and choked, and while she really wanted to be like her usual self, hurling vicious, ferocious words at that damn Lian Fang Zhou, her tongue was numb. She couldn’t even spit out a single abusive word. Eventually, after much difficulty, she picked herself up and threw out a “You just wait!” and ran away.
Lian Fang Zhou faced the excited onlookers and bowed to everyone present: “All the uncles, aunties, brothers and sisters, that Mrs. Liu was a beastly bully. Us siblings had no other way than to fight back. If the Hua family comes to look for trouble, please help by being a witness.”
All the people nodded. Everyone agreed and many said the siblings didn’t have it easy.
“Fang Zhou, don’t worry! Bullying a few parentless orphans, justice won’t allow it! If that kind of rumor spreads out, our Dafang village’s reputation will be ruined! If they dare come and make trouble again, everyone will definitely help speak up for you!”
Said a middle-aged woman wearing somewhat old dark red dress stepping out. Other people chimed in and said that she was right. Hearing that the lady dismissed the gathered crowd saying “It’s alright now, it’s alright. Everyone go busy yourself!”
“Aunt Zhang, thank you!” Lian Ze bowed deeply towards the woman.
“Aah, this child, why so polite!” she quickly stopped him from bowing and exclaimed:”Alright, you guys quickly go back! Do what you’re supposed to do, if you need any help, just come to our house and say so. Do not need to hesitate!”
“Aunt Zhang, you have already helped us out so much. In the future, we will definitely repay you and uncle Li.” Lian Ze said gratefully.
Aunt Zhang sighed. She said softly: “Silly child, saying silly things! When your parents were alive, didn’t they also help us many times? We’re all one village, no need to see yourself as an outsider!
As she talked, she turned to Zou Mei— who is supposed to be called Lian Fang Zhou. Embracing Fang Zhou’s hands, she continued: “Good girl, don’t be depressed! No matter what the days are like, carry on living! You are the eldest, so let’s not talk about others, just for your few siblings, you have to be strong!”
Lian Fang Zhou’s heart warmed, she nodded her head and smiled as she said: “Aunt Zhang, thank you. I will. From now on, who would dare to even think about bullying us siblings!”
Aunt Zhang thinking of Fang Zhou’s previous tough behavior, smiled and said: “It’s great that you thought it through!” but she couldn’t help to ask : “You really — promised to break off the engagement?”
“Aunt Zhang.” Lian Fang Zhou laughed and said: “This isn’t the question of whether I am willing or not. The other party already forced their way to the door. Why should I suffer from their pestering?”
Lian Fang Zhou, heart full of gloom, thought: Marriage? She’s too lazy to want this bothersome marriage! If she can break it off, then she’s lucky! If she can’t then that would be bad!
“Well said!” Aunt Zhang couldn’t help but give her a thumbs up: “Have ambition! At last, you can think it through! Your parents in heaven can rest in peace!”
With their parents mentioned, the siblings’ looks darkened.
Aunt Zhang very softly said: “Don’t be sad, sooner or later you will have to face it! It is the truth! For us poor people, the most important thing is to realize the truth. Endure a bit and it will pass! Alright, this auntie should return now. The day isn’t young, I need to hurry home and make dinner. I told Ah Juan to pick lots of beans, and winter melon. In a while, come to my home and get some.”
Lian Fang Zhou and Lian Fang Ze hastily gave their thanks.
Seeing Aunt Zhang go, the siblings also returned home.
Their house had three rooms. There was the main room and two bedrooms. Upstairs attic, that was used for food storage. The kitchen was located outside, under eaves in a corner.
The exterior of the building was perhaps the original stone structure, but due to long years, half of the roof tiles had been replaced with thick bark-based thatch.
While the interior, besides a few pieces of old, rough, wooden furniture and partially missing tea set, was devoid of anything substantial.
It seemed like that Lian Fang Zhou wasn’t a hard working person. With Lian Ze being a boy and Lian Fang Qing and Lian Che very young, the interior was dirty and messy, really chaotic in appearance.
“Sister, you rest a moment. I’ll go cook the rice and after a while, I’ll pick some vegetables from the garden. Ah Che, you watch the fire. Fang Qing go check if the two old hens returned yet. Spread some feed and quickly lock up the chicken cage —but be prudent, don’t use too much.
Lian Ze commanded skillfully and the little guys immediately agreed.
Lian Fang Zhou softly rubbed her forehead: Isn’t she the eldest sister? Shouldn’t she give out the orders? And—
“What about me? What should I do?” Lian Fang Zhou couldn’t help asking.