Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
The next day, Mu Jingzhe woke up when Shao Qiyang was already at work.
Upon recalling the commotion she had heard last night, she shook her head. When the male lead was heartbroken and drunk late at night, the female lead would soon learn about it. But when the male supporting character drank… he just got drunk.
Mu Jingzhe didn't really like the trope of devoted supporting characters, especially those who refused to marry their entire lives because of the female or male lead.
It was fine if they didn't want to get married, but if it was because they couldn't forget about the protagonist, she felt that it was a little unfair.
"Do you want to eat steamed eggs or egg soup for lunch?" Mu Jingzhe asked Shao Dong and the others, who were going to school.
The four children stopped. Shao Xi looked at Mu Jingzhe and asked, "Aren't you going back home today?"
"Aren't you getting married?"
"Who said so?" Mu Jingzhe laughed. "You've heard the rumors then. Someone proposed marriage to me, but I didn't agree."
"Really?" Shao Nan couldn't help confirming it.
"How could it be fake? Yes, really." Mu Jingzhe looked at them. "Do you want me to leave?"
When the children heard that, they suddenly felt better.
"We don't want that," Little Bei couldn't resist saying.
Shao Xi glanced at Little Bei. "We heard that he's from the city."
"You kids are pretty well-informed. He's a driver from the city." Mu Jingzhe nodded.
"He definitely doesn't drive as well as you, Auntie," Little Bei immediately said.
Mu Jingzhe laughed. "Go to school. Don't be late."
Shao Xi left too, but before he did, he said something.
"Don't regret it in the future."
He meant: Don't regret it and take it out on us again.
Shao Qihai had died right after the original Mu Jingzhe had married into their family. At the time, she had felt lost and regretful. Sometimes, she used to find those children an eyesore.
Although she had never hit them, Shao Xi remembered.
Mu Jingzhe was stunned for a moment before she reacted and stroked Shao Zhong's head.
"I won't regret it."
While Mu Jingzhe was busy preparing for her business, the village was gossiping about her, saying that she was bound to accept this marriage proposal.
While their family members gossiped about this at home, the children heard them and started gossiping among themselves as well.
The eldest branch's members, Fu, Lu, and Shou, were the ones gossiping the most happily. They called over a few people from the village, and after school in the afternoon, they eagerly accosted Shao Dong, who was on duty that day.
"Stutterer, bring your buns to us today when you get back."
They could smell the fragrance from next door. In the past, they would have directly entered the old house to snatch them. Now, they were a little afraid of Mu Jingzhe's monstrous strength and her warning, so they'd chosen to threaten him outside.
They had even called over outsiders to embolden them. The few people they'd pulled over were no longer in school. Birds of a feather flocked together, so they were all people with a bad reputation in the village.
"No." With a darkness in the depths of his eyes, Shao Dong stared at them and outright refused.
Shao Fu laughed at him. "Your stepmother is going to get married soon. Why are you being so arrogant? In the future, my parents will be the ones raising you. How dare you disobey me!"
Shao Dong frowned. "She said she… she's not getting married."
The few of them laughed out loud and mimicked Shao Dong's stuttering.
Shao Dong clenched his fist, wanting to wave it over, but he held back. He turned around to leave but was quickly caught.
When he raised his head, he was slapped across the face.
"Hit this darned stutterer!"
When Mu Jingzhe heard from a child in the same village that Shao Dong was being beaten up, she ran over. She found Shao Dong lying on the ground with his head in his hands while six or seven people were punching and kicking him.
Mu Jingzhe flew into a rage at the sight.
She stepped forward and beat them up without mercy, not letting off any of them.
"Your great aunt wasn't even born when I started fighting. How dare you hit someone in front of me!"
As a warrior who had knocked out an adult's teeth at the age of three, Mu Jingzhe was very experienced in thrashing up people.
With just a few moves, the seven people who had been so aggressive just a moment ago ended up either lying on the ground or being forced down on their knees, wailing like ghosts and howling like wolves.
When Mu Jingzhe saw the handprint on Shao Dong's face, she slapped them again.
She returned their beating twice, not missing either side, slapping each cheek the same number of times.
Fu, Lu, Shou, and their companions either knelt or sat in front of Mu Jingzhe, trembling and not daring to move.
Mu Jingzhe picked up the thin rod that they had used to hit Shao Dong earlier, a rod used by the teachers to punish students. Mu Jingzhe held it in her hand and lifted their chins with it.
"If you dare bully him again in the future, I'll break both your hands whenever you touch one of his hands and both of your legs if you touch one of his legs. I'll pay you back double. If you think it's worth it, feel free to do it."
"No, we wouldn't dare hit him again."
The few older children begged for mercy.
They were truly afraid. By looking at Mu Jingzhe's eyes, they could tell that she wasn't bluffing.
On the other hand, Shao Fu, who was probably used to being arrogant, wanted to run away while Mu Jingzhe wasn't paying attention.
Mu Jingzhe sneered but didn't chase after him. Instead, she ruthlessly tossed the thin rod, which grazed past Shao Fu's ear and stabbed the road in front of him.
The roads they had been treading on all year round were hard to dig up even with a hoe, but the thin rod stuck straight in.
Shao Fu's face stiffened. He touched his ear and saw blood on his palm. His legs went limp, and he fell to his knees.
Mu Jingzhe didn't move. She then clapped her hands. "What do you think will happen if this thin rod is inserted into your neck?"
What would happen? He would die, of course.
The place was plunged into silence.
Those who had been crying were so frightened that they shut their mouths.
This time, Fu, Lu, and Shou were truly scared.
In the end, Shao Fu even had to be carried away by his two younger brothers. The place where he'd been kneeling was a little wet. Clearly, he was so terrified that he'd peed his pants.
Their movements were too loud and had attracted some attention, but Mu Jingzhe ignored everyone and turned around to help Shao Dong up.
Mu Jingzhe asked, "Where does it hurt? Did you hurt your bones?"
Shao Dong put the pencil-sharpening knife back into his pocket and shook his head. "I'm fine. I protected my head and vital parts."
Armed with extensive experience after being beaten up often, he knew that he had to protect the most important areas of his body.
However, this was the shortest duration he had been beaten for.
He had been beaten up many times over the years and had been seen by others on countless occasions. Zhao Lan and Eldest Sister-In-Law Shao had also seen him being beaten up a few times, but they'd never once stopped the perpetrators.
Many people in the village merely looked and walked away. Few of them stopped them. At most, they would only say a few words.
This was the first time someone had stopped them with force and had done what Shao Dong wanted to do.
Shao Dong lowered his head. The murderous look in his eyes was replaced by a complicated one.
Mu Jingzhe looked at the bloodstains at the corner of Shao Dong's mouth and then at the footprints on his body, feeling bad for him.
"It's alright now. No one will dare to touch you anymore. Tell me if anyone dares to touch you again."
According to the description in the book, all five children had suffered through a certain degree of violence.
Shao Dong had suffered the most. In the future, Shao Fu and the others would go increasingly more overboard. Gradually, they would no longer be satisfied with just hitting him. Instead, they would become more and more insulting.
Little Bei was a girl. She was only a few years old, but she was already beautiful. However, in the novel, due to her impaired hearing from the fever, she was often bullied.
Because the people Shao Fu had called over were undergoing puberty, they'd developed some crooked thoughts, and their bullying slowly changed in favor of involving lewd acts.
The three brothers, Fu, Lu, and Shou, knew that this wasn't good, but they were bribed with some tiny benefits.
When Shao Dong found out about this, he ruthlessly taught those people a lesson. They ended up in a miserable state, but the damage was already done.
Especially the damage on Little Bei.
As the old saying goes, childhood misfortune takes a lifetime to cure, and Little Bei never recovered from that.