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“Uh, it’s alright, go to sleep, go to sleep.” Xu Qing’s words caused Li Changfeng to reconsider, realizing that discussing this matter would not be good for the party involved, and therefore it would be best to avoid the topic.
Xu Qing: “…you get up for me, get up!” How could he just leave people hanging?
Li Changfeng: “zzzzzzzzz…”
Xu Qing gazed at Li Changfeng’s back and let out a sigh and reminded himself not to be angry with him. He would just be torturing himself. As he thought about this, he composed himself, tidied up, and tucked Tuan Tuan under the blanket before slowly drifting off to sleep.
Soon after Xu Qing fell asleep, he was embraced by a pair of powerful arms that pulled him into a broad chest. Initially, Xu Qing shifted his position, but once he found a comfortable spot, he remained still.
The next morning, Xu Qing had forgotten about what happened the previous night. Li Changfeng felt relieved when he noticed that Xu Qing didn’t bring up the conversation, and he worked even harder than usual. Xu Qing was amazed by Li Changfeng’s performance and almost suspected that he was taking some sort of performance-enhancing drug. His progress was truly remarkable.
Upon returning from the field, Li Changfeng was greeted by the sight of his elder brother Li under the blistering sun. Eldest Li was sweating profusely and standing hesitantly at the entrance of the courtyard. Xu Qing had taken Tuan Tuan to the back mountain to cut hogweed earlier, leaving no one at home.
“Have a sip of herbal tea.”
Li Changfeng brought eldest Li inside the house and poured him a cup of herbal tea.
Eldest Li took the herbal tea and finished it in three or two sips. In order to save some money, he came here on foot. No one could stand the long journey under such hot weather.
Seeing that the eldest Li had finished his drink, Li Changfeng refilled his cup for him. “It’s incredibly hot today. Why didn’t you make the trip when the weather is not as intolerable?” he remarked.
The eldest Li listened to Li Changfeng’s complaint full of concern and smugly patted his head and grinned. “Well, I wouldn’t have had to come out in this heat if I didn’t have to eh!.” Li Changfeng patted the mud off his trousers, took a seat on a stool, and glanced over at his brother.
“Are you here for the separation?”
The eldest Li’s face turned slightly red. He rubbed his calloused hands, thinking about his wife’s request. He gathered up his courage, looked at Li Changfeng, and spoke up, “Yes, I mean we want to split up.”
“The third brother agreed to the split up?” Li Changfeng mistakenly assumed that the eldest Li was referring to himself and the third brother.
Eldest Li hurriedly shook his head, “No, no, it’s me and your eldest brother-in-law.”
Li Changfeng contemplated the situation. He realized that the eldest brother’s visit was likely due to their father’s scolding the other day. Their mother also did not agree. The eldest brother-in-law was worried the family would not take this idea seriously if they drag it on and hence had sent the eldest Li to speak with Li Changfeng.
“I would have come looking for you if you hadn’t told me,” said Li Changfeng slowly. The eldest Li had been struggling with this situation. He held his parents’ words in high regard and appreciated everything they had done for him, including raising him, getting him married, and starting a family. He was now thinking of splitting up the family, which seemed unfilial to him.
Observing the expression on eldest Li’s face, Li Changfeng was aware of what was going through his brother’s mind. He knew well that his eldest brother was an honest and sincere person, who often became engrossed in his own beliefs and never bothered to consider other viewpoints.
“Brother, I hate to say this, but you have done enough for this family for so many years. But think about it, you still have two sons. What about them?” Li Changfeng said, trying to make the eldest Li see the bigger picture.
Eldest Li asked in confusion, “Why? What’s with them?”
“Big brother, have you ever thought about how splitting up the family would benefit your two sons? They are still young and could use all the help they can get. Take Da Niu for example, he may be just a half-sized boy, but he is a hard worker at home. He can do the work of two people easily, but his clothes are all so old and tattered, unlike our third brother’s family. It’s not just me who sees this, anyone with a discerning eye can tell. Don’t you feel sorry for your own sons?” Li Changfeng explained to the eldest Li.
Eldest Li appeared taken aback and conflicted, showing disapproval in his eyes. He remained silent for a moment before muttering, “But he’s my brother.”
“Hmph! And your sons are his nephews!”
Li Changfeng spoke in a flat tone, devoid of any emotions. “Why is it that when it comes to the pregnancy of the third brother’s wife, he gets to rest, but when it was your wife’s turn, he still worked outside even when he was about to give birth? And do you forget what happened to the child before Da Niu? Do you remember how you lost your first child, eldest brother?”
Eldest Li tightly clasped his hands on his lap as he listened to Li Changfeng mention the child. How could he forget about his first child? At that time, the third brother said he needed to study at night to memorize the contents better, so their mother had sent all the oil lamps to his room. One night, when his pregnant wife got up to use the restroom with no light, he couldn’t see clearly and stumbled, losing their four-month-old child.
Xu Qing returned home covered in pig grass with Tuan Tuan, and by the time they arrived, Eldest Li had already left. Li Changfeng didn’t mention to Xu Qing about Eldest Li’s visit.
Li Changfeng remarked, “You never listen to me, do you? You carried Tuan Tuan and that heavy pig grass on your back. You could have hurt yourself.” He then quickly took Tuan Tuan aside and helped Xu Qing with the basket.
“It gets so boring at home. Plus, there are plenty of trees over there and a stream nearby, so it’s not too hot. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have brought Tuan Tuan with me,” Xu Qing said as he rubbed his shoulders and shook his arms, feeling a bit stiff from carrying such a heavy load.
Li Changfeng fetched the jelly from the well and offered a bowl to Xu Qing. “If you plan to go cut pig grass next time, just let me know so I can carry it for you,” he said.
“Got it, next time next time.”
Xu Qing quickly took the bowl of refreshing jelly and began to eat. He didn’t have time to answer.
In the old Li family yard, Eldest Li’s wife was busy washing clothes, including clothes belonging to Third Brother’s wife. Since he was pregnant, Wang Li asked Eldest Li’s wife to wash their family’s clothes.
Eldest Li’s wife was washing the clothes unhurriedly, but his mind was preoccupied with his husband’s visit to Li Changfeng. He had been contemplating separating from the family for a long time, not just for a day or two. Ever since they lost their first child, he had held a grudge against third brother Li. Moreover, he believed that his husband had been working the hardest and suffering the most, and even their children had been mistreated. The third brother was so old that even his child could now go to the fields but he himself did not do anything all day.
Third brother Li didn’t work at all before as he was studying for the exams, but now he was using the excuse that his wife was pregnant to avoid going to the fields. He even told his parents, “Since I myself passed the Xiucai exam, my son will surely do even better in the future. I will study everyday so I can teach my son when he is born, and he will definitely be a good son who will honor his ancestors!”
Li Ama had always been the biggest supporter of his third son. Upon hearing his words, he had complete faith in them. The first child born to the third brother’s wife was a ger, but maybe the next one would be a son. If this son could follow in his father’s footsteps and become a Xiucai, then their family would have produced two accomplished individuals. Lost in such thoughts, the old Li couple turned a blind eye to the third brother’s lack of work ethic, leaving most of the household work to eldest Li, his wife, and Da Niu.
The youngest son of eldest Li, Xiao Niu, had also started to help with cooking at home. Seeing the blister on Xiao Niu’s hand from being scalded the day before, it pained eldest Li’s wife deeply. Li Changfeng, who had been a part of the family for many years, could also see the favoritism in the family. Li Changfeng was actually a bit of a cold-blooded person. He would only show concern for those he cared about, while indifferent to others. That is why Eldest Li’s wife sent his husband to talk to Li Changfeng, hoping that he could reason with his dull husband.
However, as he thought about his husband’s obedience to his parents, Eldest Li’s wife couldn’t help but let out a sigh. If only his husband had the same level of coldness as Li Changfeng, they wouldn’t be in this current state.
Eldest Li quietly opened the gate to the courtyard and saw his wife, who was not as robust as he was when they first got married, washing a large basin of clothes with a bowed and increasingly thin body. At a glance, he saw his wife was washing the clothes that belonged to the third brother’s wife, which he wore very frequently. Eldest Li could now see that Li Changfeng was right.
Eldest Li’s wife was in the middle of washing clothes when suddenly a pair of big hands grabbed the clothes in his hands. When he looked up, he saw that it was his husband. “You’re back, what are you doing? Give it to me.”
Eldest Li held onto the clothes tightly, pulling them up and pouring the water into the ditch outside. He then went to his youngest son who was carrying more than half-full bucket of water to help his mother. “Oh, your hand injury still hasn’t healed yet! Let me help. Quick, hand the bucket over,” Eldest Li said with concern. He stood up to take the bucket from Xiao Niu.
“I want to do more work so that you don’t have to work too hard,” Xiao Niu’s gentle words almost brought tears to Eldest Li’s eyes.
“Wife, let’s split up.”
Three days later, everyone from Li’s household returned, including Li Changfeng, Xu Qing, Li Xiao’er, and Wang Lei.
Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.
Old Man Li and Li Ama had somber expressions on their faces as they sat on their high chairs, while eldest Li knelt on the ground before them. “Father, Ama, your son is unfilial and has caused the brothers to return once again. This time, no matter what, I will separate from the family.”
“After the family is separated, we will still remain filial to both of you elders and will not do anything to disappoint you,” Eldest Li said, before kowtowing three times to the Old Li couple.
Eldest Li’s wife and their two children observed Eldest Li’s actions, feeling the weight of the situation but refraining from saying anything. The children could sense that their father was acting differently today, as in the past, he would never speak up against their grandfather, let alone in such a resolute manner.
Xu Qing held Tuan Tuan in his arms and watched the scene silently, while Li Changfeng also remained quiet, his thoughts unknown.
Thingyan: FINALLY!!!!! OMG, eldest Li .. about damn time.
Thank you for all the hard work you’ve done! I really appreciate you bringing this book to us and I hope you get through school safely!! 🙇🏻♀️🙇🏻♀️🙇🏻♀️
Thank you for your comment and encouragement. I’ll try my best ☺️🥰🥰🥰
Oh my. Eldest Li, you’ve finally got enlightened?
Let’s just hope he’s able to pull through with it this time. Being filial doesn’t mean being stupid. Being filial to the parents is okay, but to his younger brother? What for?