Aunt Li Mei
The onlookers also dispersed. Chen Yaohui walked up to Li Yu and handed her the silver and the marriage certificate. He instructed, “Xiaoyu, put these silver coins away first. Uncle will go home and bring two hoes over. Your courtyard has to be properly renovated before it can be lived in.”
Li Yu took the silver and letter and tore the marriage contract into pieces. She pulled Li Qing and bowed. “Uncle Chen, Auntie Li, thank you.”
Li Mei also walked over and bowed to Chen Yaohui and his wife. “Brother Yaohui, Sister-in-law, thank you for bringing me the letter.”
Chen Yaohui waved his hand and smiled heartily. “What are you thanking me for I just brought a letter!”
“Sister, its a good thing you came. This Brother Zhang is really a piece of trash.” Madam Chen smiled at Li Mei.
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Li Mei looked at the Li siblings and smiled at Chen Yaohui and his wife. “Its all thanks to your help. Otherwise, those things would have been taken away. Look, many of the people here today have also received Ah Shans help. Only you and your wife can step forward to help. I thank you on behalf of Ah Shan.”
Li Meis husband, Liu Changmin, came over and said to Li Mei, “Ah Mei, lets repair the house for the Yu siblings first. Otherwise, where are they going to stay if it gets late”
“Thats right. Lets go back and get a few things first.” Chen Yaohui brought Madam Chen Li home.
Along the way, Madam Chen Li looked at Chen Yaohui worriedly. “Ah Hui, will Father scold us when we go back later”
“Ignore him. The Zhang family treated them like this, yet he still spoke up for them. Isnt he just afraid that Zhang Guisheng would take revenge on us when he becomes successful in the future But we cant be heartless! Theres still a long way to go!”
“If you ask me, its all because of that stepmother of yours. I dont get it. She only had two daughters. Dont tell me she doesnt want us to support her in her old age”
The couple chatted as they walked towards the Chen familys house in the middle of the village.
Li Mei looked at Li Yu and his sister, then at the dilapidated courtyard. Her eyes couldnt help but turn red. When her younger brother and sister-in-law were still alive, the courtyard had been renovated so well! In just a few years, it had become dilapidated.
Li Mei wiped the tears from the corners of her eyes and asked Li Yu, “Yuer, Ah Qing, why dont you follow me home and stay at my house for a few days You can come back after the house is fixed, okay”
When Liu Changmin heard this, he panicked. “Ah Mei, lets go back and discuss with Mother before coming to pick up Ah Qing and the others, okay”
Li Mei thought of her unreasonable mother-in-law and looked at her thin nephew and niece. She was furious. She pointed at Liu Changmin and complained, “Its all your fault. Youre weak and useless. You always listen to your mother. Otherwise, would Ashan have entrusted the child to that bastard Zhang Defa”
“Ah Mei, but Mother, sigh! I cant do anything about her!” Liu Changmin stomped his feet and turned around to enter the courtyard to start working.
Li Yu finally understood why her father had entrusted Little Li Yu and her brother to Zhang Defa. It turned out that her aunt had an evil mother-in-law.
Li Yu said to Li Mei, “Aunt, well stay at home and not go anywhere. I plan to hire someone to repair the house and settle down first.”
Li Meis heart ached so much that tears flowed from Li Yu and her sisters eyes. “I told you to stay at home and not stay at the Zhang familys house in the past because I was afraid that you would suffer. Its not too late to turn back now. Now that you have that money and some things, your lives will be better.”
Li Yu smiled and comforted Li Mei. “Yes, Aunt, dont worry. Well be fine. Dont quarrel with Uncle when you go back.”
Li Mei looked at Liu Changmin, who was busy in the courtyard, in disappointment. “Ignore him and let him go back alone. Ill help you guys for a few days.” Li Mei took out a piece of red bean cake from her backpack and handed it to the siblings. “Eat some of this to fill your stomach first.”
Li Qing took a piece of red bean cake and handed one to Li Mei and Li Yu. “Aunt, Sister, eat it.”
Li Yu looked at the mud in her hands and the mud in Li Qings hands. “Ah Qing, lets wash our hands first before eating.”
Li Mei stuffed the red bean cake in her hand into Li Yus mouth. “What are you afraid of As the saying goes, you cant get sick if you eat dirty food.”
Li Yu was stunned for a moment. Li Qing covered his mouth and chuckled at Li Yu. He said to Li Mei, “Aunt, in the future, will you cook without washing the rice and vegetables”
“You two, eat and rest for a while. Ill go help your uncle with the work,” Li Mei said as she rushed into the courtyard and carried the weeds to the outside of the courtyard wall to spread them out to dry.
Li Yu swallowed the red bean cake with difficulty. She recalled that the property deeds, land deeds, and household register were still hidden in the woodshed.
Li Yu walked into the woodshed and saw a few holes in the roof. She followed her memory to the foot of the left wall and dug through the soil to find a hole under the corner. There was a small clay pot in the hole.
Li Yu reached into the clay pot and took out an item wrapped in oilcloth. After opening it, she saw that it was the title deed that Chen Zhaodi had been longing for. There was also a set of keys, a jade gourd pendant, and the Li familys household register and title deed.
Li Yu saw that the title deed said two acres of fertile land. There was the location of a house on the title deed. The house base was two acres big. Only Li Yu and Li Qing were left on the household register.
Li Yu put the pendant, the deed, and the household register back into the oilcloth and wrapped it up. She took it to the courtyard and hid it with the silver ingot.
After hiding, she took the key and went out of the courtyard. Li Yu opened the courtyard door and went back to take a piece of silver and stuffed it into Li Meis hand. “Aunt, Ill clean up the kitchen first. Go find an acquaintance to help us buy some rice and grains.”
Li Mei looked at the silver in her hand and thought about how her purse was empty. She secretly blamed herself for not having the silver to buy some food for her child. Li Mei took the silver and nodded at Li Yu before turning around and walking into the village.
Li Yu carried the backpack and walked to the door of the central room. She opened the door and saw that it was empty.
Li Yu entered the central room and opened the bedroom doors on both sides. She stood at the door and looked into the room. There was only an empty shelf bed and a room full of cobwebs. Coupled with the broken window paper, it looked like a scene from a horror movie.
Li Yu placed the backpack in the bedroom and came out to lock the door. She walked towards the kitchen and was stunned when she arrived. There were only two holes in the stove and the pot was gone. There was only a water vat, a low wooden table, and a few old bamboo stools left in the kitchen.
Li Yu thought to herself, I have to go to town and buy two pots and a few bedding and tools.
Li Yu returned to the bedroom and took out some silver. She went to the courtyard and gave the key to Li Qing. She instructed Li Qing in a low voice, “Ah Qing, Im going to town to buy pots, pans, and oil. Stay at home and watch over things. I left the money in the house.”
“Got it, sis. Be careful on the road.”
“Got it!” Li Yu greeted Liu Changmin and hurried towards town.
After Chen Yaohui and his wife returned home, they took two hoes with them and planned to go to the Li family to help. The village chief, Chen Changzong, stopped them and said, “Where are you going if youre not going to work You dont know your place.”
Chen Yaohui looked at him indifferently and said, “Were just there to work. Arent you satisfied” With that, he picked up the basket and left.
Chen Changzong looked at the couples backs and sighed before returning to his room with his hands behind his back.
Li Yu had just walked to the corner when she bumped into Chen Yaohui and his wife. Madam Li looked at Li Yu and smiled. “Xiaoyu, where are you rushing to”
“Aunt, a pot is gone from my stove. Ill go to town and buy two pots and some soy sauce and vinegar.”
“Oh, be careful then. Come back soon.”
Li Yu thought of the leaking roof and stopped in her tracks. She turned around and called out to Chen Yaohui, “Uncle, is there anyone in the village who knows how to repair houses”
“Yes. Ill get a few for you. Well repair the kitchen and the woodshed walls while its still early.”
“Alright, then Ill have to trouble you. Tell everyone that my family doesnt provide food. Help me pay the salary!”
“Alright, go quickly! The market will have dispersed by now.”