It was said that shameless people were invincible and, now that Wang Changhe was gone, Chen Xiuxiu seemed to be the true embodiment of that phrase. She didn’t hesitate at all before immediately beginning to spout off sarcastically at Su Yonggui.
Su Yonggui’s face turned black, but he didn’t respond. Instead, he turned to look over at Su Tang, only to find that she was still crouched over the snow-cat she had been working on all this time with a serious expression on her face.
‘Ugh, it’s so ugly! You haven’t captured even a tiny fraction of the grace and magnificence of a Divine Beast!’ On the side, the orange cat was practically hopping up and down with dissatisfaction at Su Tang’s craftsmanship.
‘Xiao Four, do you know what it means to know yourself? If you really think that you are graceful and magnificent, you have a very skewed view of the world!’ Su Tang felt that her piece of abstract art was actually very accurate to the source material.
After exchanging barbs with a certain Divine Beast for a few moments, Su Tang finally looked up, met Su Yonggui’s eyes, and said: “Brother Qiang has always told me the Su family is a family with rules, and I’ve never had any reason to doubt him. I’ve always felt that we members of the Su family are good people who all know right from wrong, but now that I’ve heard what Brother Gui has said today, ah…”
Su Tang finished her sentence with a realistic sigh, as if she were truly troubled. Su Yongqiang hadn’t expected Su Tang to take the conversation in this direction, but he only frowned for a moment before playing along, “Tang girl, what do you mean by that?”
Su Tang finally tossed her twig aside and patted her knees before standing up. Then she looked up at Su Yongqiang, Su Yonggui, and the gathered villagers with a serious expression on her small face, “Well, I’ve been following Xiao Nuo while he has been learning from his master, and I’ve heard his master say that ‘a centipede will go on wriggling even when it’s dead’*. From what he explained, this should mean that, in the end, no matter how rich or noble a family becomes, internal decay is what inevitably ends up destroying them. Thus, in order for the family to prosper for a long time, the highest priority should be teaching the younger generations to learn and abide by the rules.”
“Xiao Nuo’s teacher said that, although our Su family can’t be called a very powerful family, we can at least say that we are a big family in Sujia Village and even in the other villages nearby. On top of that, everyone knows that we used to be an even larger and more prosperous family. That’s why, even if the Su family is currently at a low point, our members can still feel proud of their identity as a member of our Su family.”
“More than that, he told me that, in particular, everyone knows that Su Yongqiang has been working hard to make the family more prosperous ever since he took on the burden of being the patriarch and, although he still hasn’t had any amazing results, no one can deny that he has made a lot of effort.”
When Su Yongqiang heard the topic turn to the state of the Su family, he nodded along enthusiastically and “En, it seems Brother Nuo’s master knows what he’s talking about!”
“When Xiao Nuo’s master said all that, I took the opportunity to ask him what needed to be done so that the family could prosper for a long time into the future, and he told me two words in reply: Harsh discipline!”
Su Tang continued on, “He went on to explain that ‘harsh discipline’ isn’t just being strict when teaching the rules, it means that you must be harsher on your own younger generation than you would be to an outsider. This is because once the younger generation has been corrupted and lost their rules, the battle is already lost. Soon, they will do things that negatively impact themselves, and from there it’s only a matter of time before the whole family is implicated!”
At this point, Su Tang suddenly glanced over at Chen Xiuxiu, who was still standing there with an unhappy expression. Su Tang sent her a chilly smile, which caused Chen Xiuxiu to tremble and then quickly go and pick up the two bags of grain and turn to leave while saying: “Wow, the Su family is really amazing. I don’t dare to provoke you guys, so I’m leaving now!”
“You can go, but don’t you think you should leave my things behind?” Su Tang continued looking at her with a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes.
Chen Xiuxiu raised her eyebrows. “What do you mean? I just gave my silver bracelet to you in front of everyone here for these bags, didn’t I? Are you trying to go back on your word?”
Chen Xiuxiu was still thinking about the two pieces of satin in these bags, so she wasn’t willing to back down. Satin was a precious fabric and she could definitely sell it for some money once she took these bags home and cut the satin out and washed it.
When Madam Qin and Madam Zhou heard her criticize Su Tang like this, they quickly retorted, “What kind of nonsense are you spouting? I’ve really never seen someone as shameless as you are.”
“Yes, yes, I know. Your Su family is a big family, and I can’t afford to offend you, but if I’ve already spent the money, doesn’t that mean it’s mine? Why won’t you let me take it with me then?” Chen Xiuxiu’s tone turned very sarcastic as she began to be unable to control her annoyance with the Su family.
*the idiom here is ‘百足之虫死而不僵’ and… I’ll be honest I don’t really understand how it’s applicable in this context? It seems to have a vaguely equivalent meaning to ‘a starving camel is bigger than a horse’, as in, a big organization is difficult to ‘kill’. But I don’t get how that relates to the next sentence which is about how internal decay is what brings big organizations down… Maybe I’m just not fulling understanding the idiom I dunno.