June 23, 2024

The Analects of Righteous Father’s Collapse [ Fast Wear] Chapter 206

Chapter 206: Tremble, Scumbag 15

Author: 打字机


“If he continues like this, I’ll just consider it as raising one more son.”

After much deliberation, Bai Lan gave this response.

What could she do? The current foolish one they were raising hadn’t cheated on her or bullied the three of them. Instead, he acted cute and silly every day, letting her eldest son order him around. Even though Bai Lan resented Jiang Liu, she couldn’t vent her grievances on the current Jiang Liu, who didn’t understand anything.

Moreover, he was only “five years old” this year. Could she bully a five-year-old child?

“Just think about it. In his previous life, he was a hands-off boss who never cared about the three of us. Now, he holds Zhu Hua daily and does the heavy work around the house. After some enlightenment, he doesn’t fight with you over food anymore. He won’t hit back if you hit him or talk back if you scold him. Maybe this is his way of compensating us.”

As Bai Lan spoke, she added a few more words, partly to convince herself and partly to persuade her two children.

As long as Jiang Liu doesn’t recover his memory and reveal his true nature, Bai Lan has no thoughts of revenge. She doesn’t know how her two children feel, fearing they might not let go of their past hatred and impose their grudges from a previous life on the now brain-damaged Jiang Liu. So she said these words to comfort her children.

“I think the same way.”

Jiang Dahu sighed and nodded. It’s not that his hatred isn’t deep enough, but the current Jiang Liu is too endearing. It’s really hard to be harsh with him. Occasionally teasing him is enough to let off steam.

As for Jiang Zhu Hua, she’s still too young and far from expressing her opinions.

The first meeting of the three powerhouses came to a successful conclusion. Knowing each other’s shared rebirth experience brought the mother and her two children closer.

Jiang Liu also noticed the subtle emotional changes within the reborn trio. He became even more cautious, determined to embody his role as the fool fully.

***********

“Lan’er, will we open a noodle shop in town?”

Considering what his daughter-in-law had been worrying about these days, Jiang Miaoshi felt somewhat uneasy.

She wasn’t a woman with grand ambitions. In Jiang Miaoshi’s view, their money at home could easily be used to buy several acres of land and a ploughing ox. Later, they could rent out part of the land, cultivate another part, and live worry-free lives. Moreover, land could be passed down through generations. Over five hundred taels of silver were enough to buy seventy to eighty acres of medium-quality land, which could benefit future generations.

But Bai Lan doesn’t see things the same way. If her children spend their lives confined to the soil, they will only marry village peasants. It’s not that she looks down on village peasants, but she knows she can provide her children with a better life, so why shouldn’t they strive for more?

Bai Lan wanted to earn more money to send her son to school or martial arts training. She also wanted her daughter to have maids and servants, living a young lady’s life. This wasn’t something a few dozen acres of land could provide.

So, Bai Lan made her plans early on. After much thought, she decided to use 400 taels of silver to buy a storefront in town and open a noodle shop.

For this business, Bai Lan started working hard as soon as she was out of confinement, searching for a suitable shop. She did some simple decorations and hired staff. How could she possibly give up just because Jiang Miao backed out?

“Mother, I know you are capable, but I’m still scared. They say it’s hard to leave your homeland. Now our whole family is moving to town, and some old relatives will be far away, while strangers will surround us. I don’t feel quite right.”

Bai Lan definitely couldn’t handle the noodle shop business alone, and the shop was in town, which was too inconvenient for frequent travel. Moreover, Bai Lan was a young wife who was already married, and Jiang Miao-shi was not comfortable letting her live in town alone. Besides, a little granddaughter at home needed care, so moving the whole family to town was a foregone conclusion.

“Mother, it’s not like we’re never coming back.”

Bai Lan had thought it through. Once the business was on track, they could occasionally return and stay for a few days. After all, there was the Jiang family’s ancestral home and ancestral hall in the countryside and her biggest enemy from a previous life, Meng Jiao-niang, who in this life still had intentions of seducing her little fool but just hadn’t succeeded. Bai Lan wouldn’t be lenient in taking revenge.

However, Meng Jiao-niang had already ruined her life without Bai Lan’s intervention. Bai Lan only needed to keep an eye on her occasionally and press her down again when she was about to turn things around.

“I’m still young and need your help, Mother, to handle the big matters. When the business is booming, you might be so busy counting money day and night that you won’t have time to think about the old relatives in the countryside.”

These words made the old lady’s frown ease.

“I don’t expect the luxury of counting money day and night. I hope the noodle shop does well so we can save some money for Da Hu and Zhu Hua.”

With the family having some funds now, Jiang Miao-shi took her son to the county town to consult the best doctor and get the best medicine. However, after days of drinking bitter herbal soup, Jiang Miao-shi‘s face had turned as bitter as a bitter gourd, but there were no signs of improvement in his condition.

As time went on, Jiang Miao-shi started to lose hope. Anyway, her daughter-in-law was capable now, and she had no intention of abandoning her foolish son. He could remain foolish. She would focus on educating her grandchildren and ensuring they treated their father well.

Once she realized this, Jiang Miao-shi stopped hesitating. She had already purchased the two shops. Rather than being indecisive, she should focus wholeheartedly on making the business successful.

*********

The news of the Third Jiang family moving to town couldn’t be kept secret, and soon, some families in the village who had a good relationship with the Third Jiang family learned about it.

Furthermore, since the first and second households also lived under the same roof, it was only a matter of time before they noticed the third household’s relocation.

“Mother, you’re so biased.”

Xu Xiaocao felt awful seeing the third branch of the family thriving after the separation. If she had known it would turn out like this, she would have opposed the family split.

“How am I biased?”

Jiang Miao-shi was busy packing and didn’t have the time or energy to deal with her two sons, who had already separated from the family. She was unaware of the resentment brewing in their hearts.

“My husband and the second brother are also your children, but you’ve put all your focus on your third son. Now you’re taking him to enjoy a good life and haven’t even considered compensating us?”

Although Xu Xiaocao knew deep down that the third branch’s prosperity was largely due to the efforts of the third son’s wife, accepting this reality was another matter.

Rather than accepting this, Xu Xiaocao preferred to believe that Jiang Miao-shi had saved up a lot of private money and was openly supporting the third family after the separation.

If that were the case, she could claim her share from Jiang Miao-shi. After all, the private money was originally communal property. When the family decided to split, it should have been divided among Jiang Hai and his brothers rather than benefiting Jiang Liu alone.

“That’s a joke. I’ve never heard of a separated sister-in-law needing to compensate her brothers-in-law just because she earned some money.”

Jiang Miao-shi sneered. They used to look down on her son, Jiang Liu and wanted to discard him from the family. Now that Jiang Liu’s family was living comfortably, what right did they have to be jealous?

Besides, so what if she was biased? She hadn’t treated the first and second branches unfairly. Shouldn’t she have the right to distribute the wealth she saved as she wished?

Jiang Miao-shi‘s words shot down Xu Xiaocao’s intentions. Her face turned red with anger as she lifted down the curtain in a huff, leaving behind only a snort.

“Do they think they are pigs, only capable of snorting?”

Jiang Miao-shi rolled her eyes. Now that she had her precious youngest son and daughter-in-law, she no longer needed to appease the families of her eldest and second sons. She would live as she pleased.

*******

Of course, there were still intelligent individuals in the Jiang family’s first and second households. For example, Liu Cui and Jiang Hu were always good at enduring hardships. This couple was practically invisible within the Jiang family, rarely receiving much attention, but they were the most clear-headed.

When they learned that the third household was planning to move, Jiang Hu and Liu Cui initially felt uneasy, but they soon realized that this might be a good thing.

During the family’s initial split, Jiang Hu received only two acres of land. One of those acres had poor soil quality and an unfavourable location, making it suitable only for basic, low-maintenance crops with lower yields.

Jiang Hu and Liu Cui were hardworking people. With the third household moving to town, they naturally set their sights on the three acres of land that the third household was leaving behind. Leasing this land would significantly increase their yearly harvest.

Although there were disagreements between the first and second households, the issues were manageable, and they faced no direct conflicts. Jiang Hu anticipated renting the land from the third household would be much cheaper than renting from other landlords.

After hearing about the third household’s plan to move, Jiang Hu and Liu Cui approached Bai Lan about leasing the land. Recognizing that standing alone was difficult and considering the good relationship they were trying to foster with the second household, Bai Lan agreed to lease the three acres of land to Jiang Hu and Liu Cui at a price 30% lower than market rates. However, Bai Lan also had a condition: she specified the crops to be grown on the land and would later buy the produce at market prices. This arrangement was a win-win situation, and Jiang Hu naturally didn’t object.

By the time the first household realized that the second household had taken advantage of the situation and gained an advantage, the third household had already moved to town, and it was too late for them to regret it.

**********

Time flew by, and six years passed in the blink of an eye.

“Waiter, give us a bowl of savoury noodles, a bowl of plain noodles, a plate of brown sugar rice cakes, and a plate of deep-fried sticks.”

“We’ll have three servings of large intestine noodles, one with a double portion of large intestine toppings. Also, bring us a portion of beef noodles. Oh, and do you have any scallion pancakes left today? If you do, we’ll take two portions.”

The Nanbei Noodle House was bustling with business. Both floors were packed with people enjoying their meals, and many others stood outside, eagerly slurping down bowls of noodles.

It was early autumn, and the weather in the northern region was starting to cool down. The steaming hot noodles emitted a tantalizing aroma, and the rich scent of bone broth wafted through the air. Passersby couldn’t resist the temptation and was drawn inside for a bowl of noodles.

Bai Lan originally opened the Nanbei Noodle House (T/N = Nan – South; Bei – North). The name was chosen because this noodle house offered various noodle dishes representing northern and southern culinary traditions. Whether you were a local or a visiting merchant, you could enjoy authentic delicacies at the noodle house.

The most affordable option on the menu was plain noodles, also known as “guang mian.” These were simple noodles without any additional toppings. This bowl of noodles was popular among common folks, as it cost only five wen for a satisfying meal. Despite being plain, the taste far surpassed the ordinary noodles sold elsewhere.

Bai Lan’s noodles were served with a special secret broth made from simmering large bones and enhancing it with various spices. Even without any toppings, the rich aroma of the broth elevated the noodles’ flavour. The noodles were made with a unique blend of ingredients, resulting in a chewy texture that remained springy even after some time. When combined with the secret broth, even plain noodles became an extraordinary delicacy.

Bai Lan set a very reasonable price for her noodles. At five wen per bowl, they were affordable enough for ordinary women and children to enjoy a satisfying meal. Even labourers could feel full after consuming two bowls. Many short-term labourers who carried loads at the docks or worked in the homes of wealthy families were willing to treat themselves to this little luxury. With thin profits but high turnover, the plain noodles became the best-selling item at Bai Lan’s shop.

Of course, in addition to these affordable noodles, Nanbei Noodle House also offered high-priced noodle dishes for the upper class.

For example, there was the “Eight Delicacies Noodles,” claimed to be made with precious seafood such as sea cucumbers and abalones, and the “Eight Treasures Noodles,” which included rare mountain ingredients like pheasant and roe deer. These dishes had even more meticulously prepared broths and ingredients, resulting in higher prices. They also contributed significantly to the restaurant’s revenue.

In addition to noodles, the shop also offered a variety of dim sum and side dishes. These snacks were as delicious as those from well-known brands like Wufangzhai, making them highly popular among customers.

As the noodle house’s reputation grew, several branches have been opened. However, the original flagship store remained the most popular, as people knew that the owner of the Nanbei Noodle House spent the longest time managing the original establishment, making the noodles there the most authentic.

With more and more customers arriving, the chefs and kitchen staff in the back were getting busier.

“Fusheng, are you tired? Should we take a break?”

Jiang Miao-shi was by her son’s side, wiping the sweat off his forehead as she watched him knead the dough for the noodles. Her heart couldn’t help but ache to see him work tirelessly from morning till night.

“Mother, I’m not tired.”

Jiang Liu, now eleven years old, was much different from the spoiled child he had been at the same age in the original timeline. Thanks to the good upbringing of his wife and son, he had become responsible and mature beyond his years.

He took the towel from his mother’s hand, wiped his sweaty brow, and continued kneading the dough.

“Mother, why don’t you check how well your daughter-in-law does with the new sauce? I’m craving fried sauce noodles for tonight.”

The kitchen was bustling with activity, and Jiang Liu didn’t want his mother to stay there always. He suggested that the old lady go to the backyard to see his wife, who was preparing a new batch of sauce, effectively diverting her attention.

“Alright.”

When she heard that her son wanted to eat fried sauce noodles, the old lady hurried to the backyard. She reminded her daughter-in-law not to forget to make a large pot of noodles for Fusheng to enjoy later.

“Does my husband want to eat fried sauce noodles?”

Upon hearing her mother-in-law’s intentions, Bai Lan smiled and agreed. Even without Jiang Liu’s request, she had planned to make fried sauce noodles for dinner tonight. She had been working on improving the texture of the sauce recently.

“Hey, do you think I made mistakes in the past?”

Just as Bai Lan thought Jiang Miao-shi was about to leave after giving her instructions, Jiang Miao-shi unexpectedly sat down beside her and let out a sigh.

“I suppose I never really knew how to raise children. My eldest son was cared for by his grandma, and he grew distant from me. Feeling I couldn’t connect with him, I let him be. The second one was always introverted; after all the bad things that happened during his childhood, I thought he brought bad luck. So, I kept my distance from him, too.”

As Jiang Miao-shi reminisced about the past, Bai Lan listened quietly. Her hands slowed as she peeled an onion, but she didn’t interrupt Jiang Miao-shi’s self-reflection.

“Only the third one, he was adorable from a young age. Even a Daoist priest passing by on his full moon day said he had a prosperous fate. Because of this, I pampered him from a young age. However, I forgot that not teaching him was causing harm. Growing up, he became lazy and didn’t handle his responsibilities. Even so, I couldn’t bring myself to discipline him properly. I comforted myself by thinking that if I found him a capable and virtuous wife, she would care for him.”

Listening to her mother-in-law’s words, Bai Lan’s mind drifted to the arrogant husband of her past. Her expression remained calm, and she lowered her head, silently peeling the onion without interrupting Jiang Miao-shi‘s reflection.

“Lan’er, you must have resented me, haven’t you?”

Jiang Miao-shi held Bai Lan’s hand and continued, “I’ve been thinking all these years, what if Fusheng hadn’t hit his head and become foolish? What kind of person would he have become?”

She gave a self-deprecating smile.

“But I understand now. No matter how Fusheng turned out at that time, I probably would have taught you to endure. In a way, I’m relieved that he hit his head. Otherwise, I might have ruined Fusheng’s life, yours, and the children’s lives forever.”

Jiang Miao-shi had never realized this aspect before. She knew she had favoured her third child too much, but she didn’t think she had done anything wrong. After all, other families in the village doted on their children, too.

As her son became mentally impaired, memories returned to when he was four years old, and Jiang Miao-shi realized how gravely she had been mistaken. She now understood that her Fusheng hadn’t started so spoiled and arrogant. His transformation was a direct result of her poor parenting.

Now, under the guidance of her daughter-in-law, Bai Lan, Fusheng had become responsible, filial and remarkably capable. As she looked at her “eleven-year-old” son, Jiang Miao-shi deeply regretted her previous approach to raising him.

“Mother, it’s all in the past.”

Bai Lan smiled, gently withdrawing her hand from the old lady’s grip, and resumed work.

Yes. If it weren’t for that fall, their lives would have been vastly different. As she looked at the increasingly improved silly boy, Bai Lan couldn’t help feeling some resentment, resenting the old lady for not properly raising Jiang Liu. Based on his current behaviour, it was evident that he had the potential to become a good husband and father. However, due to his grandmother’s indulgence, he had lost that possibility.

Late at night, while looking at the sleeping boy by her side, Bai Lan would sometimes ponder whether things would have turned out differently if the old lady had raised him properly. Yet, the “what if” was futile. Bai Lan understood that the old lady’s pampering wasn’t motivated by a desire to spoil him.

Therefore, when the old lady earnestly expressed her thoughts and apologised, any lingering resentment in Bai Lan’s heart instantly vanished.

“Yes, it’s all in the past. The days are gradually getting better.”

Jiang Miao-shi also felt relieved because her daughter-in-law didn’t hold any grudges.

“Da Hu is nine, and Zhu Hua is already six. In a few more years, we’ll be arranging their marriages. Time flies.”

The old lady sighed. When her son suffered a head injury, she felt like her world was falling apart. She never could have imagined that six years later, she would be living a life of comfort, with maids and servants attending to her every need. Nor did she anticipate her son becoming so capable and ambitious.

“It’s still a long way off. But, Mother, please take good care of yourself. You’ll need to be strong to hold your great-grandchild.”

With the emotional barrier broken, Bai Lan cheerfully chatted with the old lady about the children. Everything was gradually getting better.


Author’s Note: The next chapter marks the end. I owe you one chapter from yesterday, and I’ll make up for it tomorrow. Lately, I’ve been sleeping around five or six in the morning and waking up at three or four in the afternoon. I feel like I’m going to die, but at night, I’m so full of energy that I can’t fall asleep no matter how much I toss and turn. Sigh.


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