West Mountain Village
Two hours later, Li Yu and Li Qing arrived at Clearwater Town. It happened to be the day of the towns grand fair. The streets were crowded with people.
Li Qing pulled Li Yus collar tightly, as if he was afraid that his sister would disappear if he let go. Li Yu let him pull her, and the siblings walked from the street to the end of the street.
Li Yu realized that there was only one street in Clearwater Town. The houses on both sides of the street and the limestone road under their feet were like the ancient streets she had seen when he went traveling in the past.
Li Qing pulled Li Yus collar and looked up. “Sister, are we going home now”
“Yes! Lets go home.” Li Yu brought Li Qing out of the town according to her memory. When they walked out of the town, they saw Daqing Mountain opposite them at a glance. From afar, Daqing Mountain was stacked with greenery, and the mountain beams rose and fell like a huge dragon entrenched in the clouds. It was a magnificent mountain.
The siblings walked towards the river in the west and followed the river. Li Yu saw that the rice grains on both sides of the road looked very short. Li Yu felt that the yield should not be high.
The siblings walked for about an hour and saw a mountain beam about two stories high on the other side of the river. There was also a limestone arch bridge on the river and a pass on the other side. The siblings crossed the stone arch bridge and walked towards West Mountain Village.
Li Yu saw a large banyan tree standing not far ahead. She led Li Qing towards it and arrived in front of it in fifteen minutes.
There were a few old people sitting under the banyan tree at the entrance of the village chatting. When they saw Li Yu and her brother enter the village, an old man looked up at Li Yu and smiled. “Isnt this Li Shans family, Li Yu and Li Qing”
Li Yu stepped forward and bowed. “Grandpa Zhang, its us. Were home.”
Old Zhang looked at the siblings curiously. “Theres nothing left in your house. Why did you two come home”
Another old man with the surname Liu said, “Didnt they say that the Zhang familys noble student passed the county-level examination Counting the days, Xiaoyu has also been filial! Are you back to prepare for the wedding”
Li Qing replied angrily, “Grandpa, my sister didnt come back to get married. The Zhang family broke off the engagement to marry the young lady of the county. They scolded us and forced my sister to break off the engagement, so my sister brought me back.”
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Li Yu pulled Li Qing and scolded in a low voice, “Ah Qing, stop talking. The Zhang and Li families are not on the same level now. The Zhang family is vicious and almost beat us to death. Even if their family doesnt want to cancel the engagement, I have to.”
After Li Yu finished speaking, the elders revealed understanding expressions. Sigh! The orphaned siblings were young. Its no wonder they were bullied!
After thinking for a while, Grandpa Liu persuaded, “Xiaoyu, take it easy. You can lead a good life in the village with your brother in the future.”
Li Yu nodded. “Got it. Thank you, Grandpa Liu. Well go back now.”
Li Qing asked Li Yu curiously, “Sister, where are our things I remember that we have everything at home. Where did everything go”
Li Yu thought at first that Li Qing would not have remembered much. On second thoughts, she thought that he was right! Where did the Li familys things go Since theyre gone, the Zhang family must have taken them.
Li Yu replied, “The Zhang family probably dragged everything over. Well get him to return it to us later.”
The people they met on the way were all asking the siblings why they had returned home. Li Yu and her brother repeated what they said at the village entrance.
The siblings walked from the village entrance to their house at the end of the village. News spread among the villagers of West Mountain Village that the Zhang family wanted to climb up the social ladder and force Li Yu to break off the engagement. The siblings almost lost their lives and finally escaped.
When they arrived at the house at the foot of the hill at the end of the village, Li Yu and his sister stood at the entrance of the courtyard and saw that the door was locked. Li Yu walked to the wasteland in the west and saw that the wall in the west had collapsed.
Li Yu smiled self-deprecatingly and said, “This is great. Theres no need to even find the key.”
Standing at the collapsed area, Li Yu realized that the courtyard was filled with weeds as tall as a person. He said to Li Qing, “Ah Qing, lets clean up the courtyard first.”
Li Yu stepped over the wall and entered the courtyard that was covered in weeds. She saw a triple courtyard inside. The bottom half of the house was made of limestone strips, and the upper half was made of earth walls formed from earth. The roof of the room on the left was broken, but the entire courtyard looked huge.
Li Yu put down the backpack and pulled out a handful of grass with one hand. Li Qing also jumped in and the siblings began to get busy.
The siblings worked efficiently and soon cleared half of the courtyard. Li Yu shouted at Li Qing, who was almost at the east wall, “Ah Qing, theres a well there. You have to be careful not to fall in.”
Li Qing nodded and pricked up his ears. “Someones coming, sis.”
Just as Li Qing finished speaking, Li Yu heard someone shout outside, “Xiaoyu, Ah Qing.”
Li Yu hurriedly replied, “Who is it Were inside.”
At this moment, an uncle and auntie stepped into the courtyard from the collapsed wall. Li Yu thought about it carefully before remembering that it was the youngest son of the village chief, Chen Yaohui, and his wife, Madam Chen Li.
Madam Chen Li looked at Li Yu and her brother and smiled happily. “Its really you two. I thought they were pulling our legs!”
Li Yu and her brother greeted Chen Yaohui and his wife. “Uncle Chen, Auntie Li, we just arrived.”
Chen Yaohui looked at Li Yu and asked, “Xiaoyu, everyone in the village is saying that the Zhang family beat you up and forced you to break off the engagement. Is that true”
Li Yu nodded. “Yes, Uncle Chen. Auntie Li, the Zhang family thinks that Im just an orphan with a younger brother. In order to end the engagement, the Zhang family pushed us to our limits. Even if their family doesnt end the engagement, I must end it.”
Madam Li looked at Li Yu and sighed. “Xiaoyu! You have to have a backbone. In the past, I taught you not to let the Zhang family take away your furniture and farming equipment. You were still unhappy. Its not too late to recognize the Zhang family for what they are now. Your late parents should be at ease now.”
Chen Yaohui was furious. “If Zhang Defa hadnt been greedy enough to steal the baby bear back then, the mother bear wouldnt have chased after him. Your father wouldnt have lost his life to save him. After your father left, Zhang Defa took so much things and food from your family. Your aunt has long remembered these things. Ive already brought a letter to your aunt. When she comes, well uphold justice for you.”
Li Yu thought to herself, Father Li saved Zhang Defas life, and Zhang Defa took the Li familys assets. However, he didnt know how to be grateful and even abused the original owners siblings. However, Chen Yaohui and his wife still remembered Father Lis kindness of saving their lives back then. Could this what was meant by the old saying that rice feeds kindness and rice feeds hatred
Li Yu pulled Li Qing and bowed. “Thank you, Uncle Chen and Auntie Li, for upholding justice for us.”
“Theres no need to thank me! If your father hadnt dragged your uncle and Zhang Defa away back then, Im afraid your uncle wouldnt have been able to escape.”
Auntie Li looked at the collapsed walls and dilapidated houses and recalled that when Li Yus mother was alive, the courtyard and walls were filled with roses and wildflowers. Ever since that gentle and beautiful woman left, the Li family had declined. After the eldest brother of the Li family left, the Li family became worse.
Chen Yaohui and his wife sighed and bent down to help Li Yu and her brother clean up the courtyard.