But Madam Wu managed to muddle through and get some money in the end. After all, although Su Yonggui had some doubts in his heart, he was ultimately a person who cared about his face. It seemed that something bad had really happened to Madam Wu’s brother this time, so it was impossible for him to let her go to visit empty-handed.
Even with that layer of consideration, Madam Zhao only agreed to give Madam Wu ten copper coins. Since Su Yonggui seemed unhappy with Madam Wu, Madam Zhao felt that he wouldn’t say that ten copper coins was too little.
Seeing her in-laws getting so protective over ten copper coins, Madam Wu was enraged. But she was also worried about what was happening at home, so in the end, she just obediently accepted the ten copper coins before returning to her room and fishing a few taels of silver out of her own personal stash before rushing into town.
Meanwhile, Pockmarked Zhang, who had really broken both of Wu Yong’s legs in a moment of rage before stumbling home to sleep, was finally waking up. When his eyes flickered open and he saw the first rays of dawn outside, he couldn’t help but recall what he had done last night.
For a moment, he actually felt a bit afraid. However, he shook off that feeling and slowly stood up from his kang bed. That was when he noticed something. On his table were two plain silver coins, the most common type of silver you could find anywhere on the street, without any markings at all to indicate their source.
When Pockmarked Zhang saw the two silver coins, his back was suddenly drenched with cold sweat. Had that young master came back to deliver this silver last night? It was so strange, the money appeared on his table silently as if it had been left behind by a ghost.
Pockmarked Zhang slowly reached out and picked up the silver coins. At the same time, he ruminated over everything that had happened yesterday. He licked his lips and suddenly felt a bit afraid that maybe that Wu Yong might end up dying from that beating in the coming days.
“Bah, I have nothing to be afraid of!” Pockmarked Zhang dared not think too much about it anymore. He still remembered that he owed five taels of silver to the gambling house, and that was much more important. After all, he remembered that he had properly put a sack over Wu Yong’s head before beating him up, so there was no way the man would be able to identify him.
After reassuring himself for a bit, he quickly put the money away and went out to see about finding the rest of the money he would need to pay his debts.
However, despite his efforts to embolden himself and tell himself not to be afraid, when he finally went outside he couldn’t help but cautiously look to his left and right after stepping outside his door. He saw that the thick snowfall from last night had left a heavy carpet of snow all over his yard, but his footprints seemed to be the only footprints in the snow. Seeing that, Pockmarked Zhang shivered a bit and told himself not to think too much before quickly striding away.
Meanwhile, Madam Wu had headed straight to Qinghe Town’s small medical clinic after she arrived in town. But before she could go inside she found her parents, as well as Wu Yong’s wife and two children, all crying at the door. In addition to them, her second brother and his wife were also holding their own children and crying in front of the door as well.
When they saw Madam Wu coming, the whole family almost broke down. Madam Wu’s mother came over and said crying, “Xiang’er, I don’t know which cruel animal out there did this, but he deserves to suffer death by a thousand cuts! Your brother’s legs are useless, your brother is useless!”
The person who had gone to find Madam Wu had told her that he brother’s legs were broken, but she hadn’t known it was actually so serious. Still, when she heard her mother crying like this, she began to have a headache. She said, “Don’t cry yet. Don’t cry. But how daring, to really send someone to break eldest brother’s legs. Did eldest brother offend someone recently?”
For something like this to happen right after the new year, it was obviously someone trying to settle some score, so Madam Wu asked directly.
Wu Yong’s wife had been crying until her eyes were swollen, but when she heard Madam Wu’s question, she hurriedly interjected in a venomous tone, “Who could he possibly offend? He has always been well-liked by the lords in town for so many years, and he often gets rewards from them, so how could he offend someone? It’s been so many years and nothing like this has happened before, so how could he suddenly offend someone?”
But this just made Madam Wu angrier. Back then, the family hadn’t been able to afford to find her brother a wife, so they had sold her off to bring back this woman. With that kind of history between them, how could this ‘sister-in-law’ of hers dare to speak before her? She snapped, “Are you trying to say something? Don’t spout nonsense here.”
“How could I dare? You’ve always been the great savior of our Wu family, so what can I say to you? However, before this, your brother has always been able to live safely and steadily, and he has always brought his salary back every month, and our days have only been getting better and better.”
Wu Yong’s wife said with her words that she didn’t dare to challenge Madam Wu, but her tone gave another impression entirely.
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