July 22, 2024

The Analects of Righteous Father’s Collapse [ Fast Wear] Chapter 205

Chapter 205: Tremble, Scumbag 14

Author: 打字机


It’s quite a coincidence that Meng Jiao-niang and Bai Lan gave birth on the same day. However, Meng Meng Jiao-niang didn’t have as good conditions as Bai Lan’s. It took her a whole day and night to deliver the child. Therefore, even though they gave birth on the same day, the birth times of the two children were one day apart.

“It’s a boy.”

An old woman, who found Meng Jiao-niang in difficult labor at the foot of the mountain, brought a bundle wrapped in old clothes to her.

This old woman was also a villager from the Jiang village. She had gone up the mountain to gather pigweed yesterday and stumbled upon Meng Jiao-niang lying on the ground. Her water had already broken at that time, and she seemed somewhat delirious.

The old woman knew Meng Jiao-niang‘s reputation and strongly disdained such women. However, as a devout Buddhist, she couldn’t just stand by and watch Meng Jiao-niang die in childbirth at the foot of the mountain. So she called several strong village women to carry Meng Jiao-niang back home and help her deliver the baby.

Due to a lack of proper nutrition during her pregnancy, Meng Jiao-niang‘s son, who was born after a day and night of pain, was thin and small. He was not even as big as the two palms of the midwife. At this moment, the child’s body was still covered in amniotic fluid. He was a skinny red bundle like a newborn mouse.

Meng Jiao-niang only took one look at the baby and felt a deep disgust for him.

Jiang Dezhu’s family made it clear they wouldn’t acknowledge this child. If it were a daughter, she could casually raise her, and in the future, this girl can help with household chores. Furthermore, if she grew up moderately attractive, she could sell her and make some money. But unfortunately, it was a son. What use would he have if she couldn’t find a wife for this son to bear children?

Moreover, she endured a whole day and night of suffering for this mouse-like child. She had never experienced such torment in her life.

“You, in the future, calm down and stop causing trouble. Take good care of this child; in the future, he can support you in your old age.”

Seeing Meng Jiao-niang’s attitude, the well-intentioned old woman grew even more displeased with her. She pitied the newborn child, who had come into the world only to suffer.

“En.”

Meng Jiao-niang’s grunt carried a heavy nasal tone. It was unclear whether she had taken the old woman’s words to heart. After grunting, she closed her eyes, looking like she was about to fall asleep.

“Ah.”

The women who helped with the delivery shook their heads upon seeing this.

Unfortunately, no one’s food and money came from the wind. They felt sorry for the child born to Meng Jiao-niang, but they already had many children to support their families. None of them had extra food to support the two of them.

Moreover, considering Meng Jiao-niang‘s past behaviour, they worried that if they helped her now, she would continue to pester them.

Perhaps it was fate. Several women helped clean the newborn baby, gave him a few sips of water, wrapped him in relatively clean old clothes, and placed him by Meng Jiao-niang‘s side.

In addition, they boiled a pot of hot water for Meng Jiao-niang and pooled their resources to leave a few pieces of hard bread before leaving her home.

This was all they could do.

*************

On the second day, after learning that Meng Jiao-niang had given birth, the village chief’s wealthy wife, Jiang Youcai, went to Meng’s house when nobody was around. She brought some food for Meng Jiao-niang. It’s unknown what the village chief’s wife said to Meng Jiao-niang, but since that day, although Meng Jiao-niang still didn’t like her son, she dared not starve or abuse him anymore.

However, Meng Jiao-niang ‘s diet remained poor, and her breast milk wasn’t sufficient. By the time the child was a month old, he still looked much the same as when he was born—tiny and emaciated, evoking sympathy from those who saw him.

After giving birth to the child, Meng Jiao-niang completely let herself go. She returned to her old ways and frequently lured men with ulterior motives into the woods or cornfields.

Meng Jiao-niang ‘s appearance was still attractive, and coupled with her carefree attitude, she gradually improved her financial situation with the help of some of her former lovers.

However, this time, she became smarter. She would seduce either widowers or elderly bachelors who hadn’t married yet, or some second-rate hooligans abandoned by their families, or even men who were authoritative at home, known for their infidelity outside but whose wives dared not come to Meng’s house to make a scene.

But not causing trouble doesn’t mean there is no resentment. Because of Meng Jiao-niang‘s increasingly bold and unscrupulous behaviour, her reputation in the village became even worse, and consequently, people began to resent her son as well.

The villagers avoided Meng Jiao-niang like the plague, but Meng Jiao-niang, who had given up on herself, didn’t care about others’ opinions. She just wanted to save some money while she was still young to live off that money in her old age.

Jiang Jinlin regained consciousness later than Jiang Zhuhua because of his poor physical condition. It wasn’t until nearly six months old that his brain slowly developed and absorbed memories from his previous life.

In his previous life, Jiang Jinlin’s official career had only reached the rank of “Juren,” but the path of the imperial examination was difficult. Even if he were just a “Juren,” it would have been enough for Jiang Jinlin to live a life envied and respected by everyone.

Moreover, Jiang Jinlin was never naive or foolish; on the contrary, he was cunning and shrewd.

It’s not worth mentioning how he helps his mother get rid of his father’s original wife and child. Jiang Jinlin understood that his family background was weak, so he had always carefully sought a way to climb up.

His first stepping stone was the granddaughter of his mentor. His mentor had many students and a vast network, so despite only being a “Xiucai,” his position still held high status locally.

By rights, Jiang Jinlin’s status could never have reached the level of the granddaughter of his mentor. Therefore, Jiang Jinlin bribed the maidservant by her side, occasionally sending in some romantic poems he wrote.

In addition, as a student of his mentor, Jiang Jinlin would occasionally visit his mentor’s home. He schemed to “accidentally” encounter the granddaughter several times. He quickly attracted the young lady with his extraordinary appearance and witty conversation.

Becoming the grandson-in-law of his mentor, Jiang Jinlin naturally received extra attention from his mentor and gained access to many influential figures he would never have encountered otherwise. He successfully passed the imperial examinations in a few years and became a “Juren.” After becoming a “Juren,” his original wife’s family naturally lost their influence over him.

At this point, Jiang Jinlin encountered the second stepping stone: the illegitimate daughter of the local governor’s family.

Jiang Jinlin’s appearance was still striking, and coupled with his young age and success as a “Juren,” he was seen as a rising star by many. The governor’s son saw potential in Jiang Jinlin’s future and frequently invited him to their home. The governor’s daughter, meanwhile, was more interested in Jiang Jinlin himself. Through his frequent visits, they developed a secret relationship.

Jiang Jinlin was ruthless. By this time, his mentor had passed away, and his influence had waned. Jiang Jinlin disregarded his years-long marriage and his original wife, who had borne him a son and a daughter. He poisoned his original wife’s meals with incompatible substances over half a year, slowly weakening and killing her. Then, he openly married the governor’s illegitimate daughter.

The governor’s daughter was no saint either. After giving birth to her son, she became increasingly disdainful of the two children from Jiang Jinlin’s previous marriage.

At that time, Jiang Jinlin had repeatedly failed in the imperial examinations and came up with the idea of “selection.” He could still be appointed as a county magistrate despite failing three times in the imperial examinations. Jiang Jinlin needed the support of his second wife’s family connections to secure a vacancy for a county magistrate. So, he pretended to be ignorant and watched as the second wife neglected the son born to the original wife and as the daughter born to the original wife was married off to a man who had killed three wives and had a notorious reputation.

If there had been real karma, Jiang Jinlin’s old age would have been impoverished and lonely. However, in reality, Jiang Jinlin was ambitious throughout his life. Despite some setbacks, he achieved fame and fortune, had beautiful wives, concubines, and grandchildren by his knees, and passed away with a smile.

If there were any regrets, it would be that he was too utilitarian and shortsighted in his youth. Due to his action of giving up the imperial examinations after failing several times and choosing to become a county magistrate, his official career halted at the prefect level, all due to his failure to advance beyond the rank of “Juren.” He couldn’t attain further promotion, and Jiang Jinlin believed his talents were enough to become a king or prime minister, even to enter the imperial cabinet.

This was Jiang Jinlin’s greatest regret. He would spend more time on the imperial examinations if given the chance to start over. He wanted to pass the highest level, become a Jinshi, and reach higher positions.

When he regained consciousness again, he saw his mother’s young face. Jiang Jinlin didn’t have time to contemplate his situation; he was ecstatic.

*********

“Little brother, do you like Dragon’s Beard Candy?”

Jiang Liu sat on the courtyard steps with a wide cloth tied around him and the newborn Jiang Zhuhua securely attached.

At this moment, Jiang Liu gently patted the back of his little daughter while his eyes were fixed on the Dragon’s Beard Candy plate in Jiang Dahu’s hand.

This was a snack prepared by Bai Lan for the new shop, though it was still in the trial phase. Because Bai Lan found that some of the raw materials and seasonings she had encountered in her previous life were different, some ingredients were unavailable here. So, she had been striving to find substitutes to ensure that the taste of the food would not be inferior to the original recipe.

Experiments naturally produce test products, and Jiang Liu was the best candidate to test the quality of these experiments. These days, Jiang Liu has been eating endless snacks every day, causing his body to become plump and round, looking increasingly chubby and pleasing.

Jiang Dahu had another dream about his experiences from his past life the previous night, so he woke up with a strong dislike for his chubby father’s face.

Seeing his father holding a plate of Dragon’s Beard Candy and enjoying its sweetness, Jiang Dahu didn’t hesitate to snatch it away.

In reality, Jiang Dahu wasn’t particularly fond of sweets. Still, the pitiful look in his father’s eyes, wanting something but not having it, gave him slightly vindictive satisfaction.

“Little brother, your sister-in-law says kids shouldn’t overeat sugar. Dragon’s Beard Candy is quite sweet, and I’ll help you share some of it,” Jiang Liu said in a friendly tone, blinking his eyes.

Jiang Zhuhua, being held in his arms, tilted her head back as if trying to distance herself from Jiang Liu. She seemed to think that her current father had the potential to start drooling at any moment and might end up dripping it onto her.

“But aren’t you a kid, too?”

Finally able to speak smoothly at the age of six, Jiang Dahu placed a piece of Dragon’s Beard Candy into his mouth and chewed it loudly.

“But I’m already five years old, which makes me a big kid,” Jiang Liu extended five fingers, proudly proclaiming. Another year had passed, and he was now a year older.

Watching the prideful yet seemingly inexplicable transformation in the man before her, Jiang Zhuhua lowered her head. Despite looking at this foolish face for over a month, she still struggled to adapt to his changes.

This world was completely different from the one she remembered, seemingly altered due to the head injury suffered by her father.

Her father hadn’t yet become involved with Widow Meng, and he hadn’t mistreated her and her half-brother, the product of her father and Widow Meng…

Jiang Zhuhua felt a sense of confusion. If the root causes of her mother and her suffering were no longer present, should she still seek revenge against these people for what happened in her previous life?

Especially her foolish father, who had been holding her for most of the two months since her birth, except during the month she was in confinement and when she was being breastfed.

He would use clumsy and childish methods to coax and entertain her; he would fumble around changing her diapers and whisper complaints in her ear, saying how much candy her brother had taken from him.

Facing this kind of father, Jiang Zhuhua found it challenging to harbour revenge thoughts.

On one side was the hatred from her previous life, and on the other were entirely different adversaries in this life. Jiang Zhuhua was almost driven to despair.

“Chirp – you’re just five years old, after all. Five years old is still a kid.”

Seeing his father solemnly holding up five fingers, Jiang Dahu was so amused that he couldn’t control his laughter, causing bits of the Dragon’s Beard Candy in his mouth to spray out.

“But you’re only three years old. You’re still two years younger than me,” Jiang Liu protested indignantly, gazing at the plate that was now half-empty.

“In that case, I’ll give you a piece. You should know you’re my dad. Of course, you could also be my brother since you’re five this year, but whether you’re my dad or brother, you should still indulge me.”

His father’s pitiful expression was just too hard to resist. Jiang Dahu ultimately couldn’t hold his ground and handed over a piece of Dragon’s Beard Candy to his father.

“In the previous life, you were so bad, but now you’re so obedient?”

Watching his father gleefully hold the Dragon’s Beard Candy, Jiang Dahu couldn’t help muttering to himself.

Was his father so well-behaved and easily fooled in his childhood? Was it his grandmother’s leniency and indulgence that turned him into the selfish and arrogant person he became?

Jiang Dahu couldn’t help but speculate. Since the head injury, his father’s behaviour had been so good. Although he was a bit sensitive, he learned quickly. Even if he didn’t get it at first, after explaining a few times, he would understand and actively correct his mistakes.

The man who used to hog food all to himself now willingly shared the tasty treats with his family. Even when he was teased, he always took it in good spirits. Furthermore, he always shielded him unconditionally during conflicts with other village children.

Seeing his father slowly improving and learning, although he seemed foolish, he was no longer detestable.

The more they interacted, the more Jiang Dahu understood. He gradually separated the current-world father from the father of his past life. In Jiang Dahu’s mind, they were now two distinct individuals. Any desire to tease and prank him purely stemmed from a mischievous impulse.

Moreover, letting go of hatred couldn’t be done quickly, especially when Jiang Liu’s face was a constant reminder.

On the side, Jiang Zhuhua’s sharp ears caught his older brother Jiang Dahu’s muttering. Her heart trembled, and she couldn’t help but start struggling vigorously.

Jiang Liu’s Dragon’s Beard Candy fell to the ground as he held his little sister and tried to comfort her. He wasn’t distracted by the fallen candy. Instead, he focused on soothing his little sister in his arms.

“Little sister, be good, don’t cry.”

Everyone says she’s his daughter, but he doesn’t believe it, just like everyone says his brother is his son. He’s only five years old this year; how could he have a son and a daughter?

Self-proclaimed clever Jiang Liu at home calls his son and daughter “brother” and “sister”. Anyway, there are no outsiders. Besides, Jiang Miaoshi and Bai Lan know that Jiang Liu’s brain is damaged. They treat him as a child, and no one fusses over this title.

Seeing his child continue to struggle, Jiang Liu started singing a nursery rhyme of this era. He felt hopeless and mentally gave a middle finger to “001.”

During these days, his little daughter’s behaviour had been perfectly normal. However, when Jiang Dahu mentioned their previous life, her intense reaction was unexpected, especially as she looked at her excited brother, Jiang Dahu. What was there for Jiang Liu not to understand?

However, when he thought about how the original owner had already attracted so many creditors, having another daughter didn’t seem like a big deal.

As the saying goes, the more lice, the less itchy; the more debts, the less worried. Jiang Liu had already calmly accepted the endless hardships brought to him by fate.

For the ten thousandth time, he was grateful that he pretended to be a fool. Otherwise, he would have faced a situation akin to a battlefield.

**********

“Da Hu, Zhuhua, are you both like Mom? Do you have memories from past lives?”

Bai Lan looked at her two children excitedly. She hadn’t expected her son and daughter to return to this era just like her, returning to a time before everything had happened.

Due to their child personas, Bai Lan hadn’t noticed anything peculiar about her children. However, Jiang Dahu was different. He had long noticed his mother’s change but couldn’t be certain initially. So, he hadn’t confirmed their relationship.

However, the unexpected reunion with his younger sister in the afternoon made Jiang Dahu suspect. Perhaps they, the mother and two children, all had this peculiar experience. Maybe, as compensation, the heavens had sent them back to this time.

“Mother!”

Jiang Dahu was filled with excitement. Jiang Zhuhua couldn’t speak; she could only gaze at Bai Lan with teary eyes.

Mother and children hugged each other, crying and letting out all their grief through their tears.

Afterwards, the mother and children shared their experiences from their previous and current lifetimes. Of course, most of the narration came from Bai Lan and Jiang Dahu; as Jiang Zhuhua was still a baby, she could only make cooing sounds to express her excitement. To learn about Jiang Zhuhua’s experiences during the years she was sold, they would have to wait until she could speak.

“In my previous lifetime, I learned many recipes. In this lifetime, I will ensure you have no worries about food and clothing and make up for what I owed you in the previous life.”

Bai Lan always felt that if she hadn’t been so weak in the past, her two children wouldn’t have ended up in such a situation.

“In my previous life, I was a soldier. In this lifetime, if anyone dares to bully you or my sister, I’ll beat them up.”

Jiang Dahu gestured with his fist, but as a three-year-old, he lacked enough intimidation when saying this.

“Ah ah ah!”

Jiang Zhuhua couldn’t speak, but she also made a few “ah ah ah” sounds to express her stance.

“Speaking of which, Mom, how are you planning to deal with Dad, that man?”

After his mood had calmed down, Jiang Dahu thought about their foolish father in his lifetime.

This man had hurt them badly in the past, but in this lifetime, their father was innocent. Jiang Dahu didn’t want revenge anymore, but he didn’t know what his mother and sister were thinking. So, after much hesitation, he posed this question.

Bai Lan fell silent, and the smile on her face gradually faded.

Yes, how should she deal with that man?


Author’s note: I’ve been staying up late these days, feeling tight in my chest. I’ll make up for today’s missed chapter with an update at 4 AM tomorrow.


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