Casting Nets to Catch a Husband

Chapter 82: Stirring a hornet’s nest

Upon arriving home in Yangshan Village, it was already pitch dark. Liu Chunshan and Liu Datian’s wife, the Liu family relatives who worked at home, had returned home. Wei Shi had already eaten dinner first and had kept his portion warm on the stove.

Now that she saw him, she immediately urged him to wash his hands and eat. Unable to hold back, she asked, “What did Chengxiao say? Have you discussed the trading business with Chengxiao and your Uncle Lu?”

Liu Yu had already brought water, for which Liu Yanping thanked her. While washing his hands, he said, “I’ve talked to Uncle Lu, and he’s quite supportive. His idea is that opportunities like this are rare. He suggested that I use the money on cloth dyeing, and Chengxiao will cover the travel expenses for now. When the goods are sold, we’ll settle accounts with him. In a couple of days, I’ll have to go to Yuanzhou City with Lu Chengxiao to choose a dyeing workshop, select colors and patterns, and determine the cost of the dyes. Then we’ll be able to estimate how much cloth we’ll collect.”

At this point, Liu Yanping glanced at Liu Yu and said, “Yu’er, when we go to the dyeing workshop to choose colors and patterns, can you accompany us to help make decisions? Second Brother can handle other matters, but when it comes to the aesthetics of fabrics, it has to be you.”

Liu Yu hadn’t expected that she would be involved in this, but hearing Liu Yanping’s words, she realized it made sense. Their investment, Second Brother’s and Lu Chengxiao’s, was worth several hundred taels. It shouldn’t be taken lightly. She nodded, “Sure, I’ll give some opinions. But the final decisions will be yours.”

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Afterward, she went to see Wei Shi. Knowing that she was being consulted, Wei Shi was quite concerned. With so much money being invested, she was naturally apprehensive. There was no reason to object. She simply said, “Make sure Second and Third Brother accompany you. Be safe on the road.”

With only one or two days left, all the clothes to be delivered to Mrs. Cui’s house were cut by Liu Yu. Recalling the last time Lu Chengxiao went to look for her in Yuanzhou City, which took four days and three nights, she asked Liu Yanping, “Have you decided on the departure date? How many days will this trip take?”

Liu Yanping had already discussed this with Lu Chengxiao earlier. He said, “We’re short on time, so we’ll take the water route, aiming to depart the day after tomorrow or the day after that. It’ll take about five or six days for a round trip. Can you manage your time?”

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Ohld kq pbl nswzed’v xydytl, pbl bye vs ts. Nkw Zw dseele, “R’zz vau vs nwv y qlo xsal plvp sq nzsvblp. Rq R nyd’v qkdkpb, kv’p sjyu vs elzyu qsa y qlo eyup.”

Ekvb vbkp rzyd kd rzynl, Nkw Zw eked’v eyal vs alpv lyazu vbyv dktbv. Rdpvlye, pbl zkv y zyxr yde pvyavle elpktdkdt yde nwvvkdt nzsvblp. Usdpkelakdt vbl pkm-eyu vkxlqayxl qsa vbl vakr vs Zwydgbsw, kv oyp kxrsppkczl qsa vball rlsrzl vs nsxrzlvl vbl yxswdv sq osaj aliwkale kd vbyv vkxl. Oprlnkyzzu obld kv nyxl vs lxcaskelau, sdnl pbl zlqv, vblal oswze cl ds sdl lzpl obs nswze es kv. Fbl nswze sdzu qsnwp sd wpkdt rakdvle qycaknp yde nszsa xyvnbkdt vs rasewnl yp xydu plvp yp rsppkczl.

~

Ylydobkzl, cynj yv vbl Nw qyxkzu’p bswpl, obld Hbsw Cksdtukdt alvwadle vs bla assx, pbl qlzv ekpsakldvle.

Fbl lhld bye y pldpl vbyv ekpypvla oyp zssxkdt obkzl pbl oyp pkvvkdt yv bsxl.

Wsa ds alypsd yv yzz, obu oyp vbl qyxkzu przkvvkdt wr?

Ls sdl lhld srrsple kv, yde vbl xyvvla oyp plvvzle fwpv zkjl vbyv. Hbsw Cksdtukdt nswzed’v clzklhl kv.

Wkapv, obld Nw Dwd rasrsple przkvvkdt wr vbl qyxkzu, Hbsw Cksdtukdt rskdvlezu srrsple kv, sdzu vs qkde bla sod bwpcyde alxykdle pkzldv. Nw Ubldtgsdt, yp vbl lzelpv psd, eke prlyj wr, cwv wdqsavwdyvlzu, vblka qyvbla eked’v alprsde vs bkx yv yzz yde vwadle vs ypj bkp uswdtla casvbla kdpvlye.

Once again, Zhou Qiongying pinned her hopes on her younger brother-in-law, Lu Chengxiao. The old couple doted on him so much; if he wasn’t willing, this matter might not have been finalized.

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Yet unexpectedly, her younger brother-in-law agreed as well. He agreed to split up the family even before he got married?

From Lu Xun’s announcement of the decision to split the family to when they all returned to their rooms, less than half an hour had passed, and the family was already divided.

Zhou Qiongying was still in a daze, looking at Lu Chengzhang, she asked incredulously, “Is it really going to be like this? Are we going to be separated?”

It was understandable why Zhou Qiongying felt this way. They hadn’t been living in prosperity for long, and now they had to venture out on their own in a small town. Even Lu Chengzhang hadn’t recovered from the shock in just one afternoon. How could Zhou Qiongying be expected to accept this reality in half an hour?

Zhou Qiongying, in her dazed state, thought that starting a shop in a strange little town from scratch wouldn’t be better than the family business in Changfeng Town. At least there, everything was ready-made, and the family even had a house.

But the cloth shop in Changfeng Town was said to be part of the dowry for Lu Shuang. It made Zhou Qiongying secretly envy her, a girl who could get property on par with her brothers. She had brothers too, and she was also a daughter of a merchant in the county. Before, she thought her dowry was much richer than her sister-in-law’s, Qin Yulan. But now, compared to Lu Shuang, the difference was significant.

Thinking about the uncertain future ahead, it felt as if her soul had been drained.

Lu Chengzhang sighed, “What else can we do? Father has made up his mind, and the division of the family assets is fair to us. It’s just a pity. The family assets look substantial when put together. Splitting it into five parts, even if we were in this county, we’d just be ordinary well-off families.”

Four hundred taels, families who had been running shops in Changfeng Town for a decade or so had such assets. Like their cloth shop in town, which was worth over three hundred taels just in materials; even medium-sized shops in town were worth one or two hundred taels. After several years of business, almost every family had some savings.

Their family had become one of the wealthiest in Changfeng Town, but now, after the split, Lu Chengzhang would just be like those small wealthy families in town, running a shop to make a living. The gap in Lu Chengzhang’s heart was substantial.

At that moment, Lu Chengzhang suddenly deeply understood the primogeniture system. Of course, understanding was one thing; he wasn’t the eldest son, and he would never hope for his family to adopt the primogeniture system.

Zhou Qiongying suddenly thought of her mother-in-law, Chen Shi, who was far away in Changfeng Town. Like a drowning person clutching at a straw, she placed all her hopes on Chen Shi: “Father said he still wants to hear what mother thinks. Chengzhang, your mother wouldn’t agree, right? Your third brother’s and Shuang’er’s marriage isn’t settled yet. How could mother agree?”

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As she said this, she also felt that the decision to split the family was really sudden and abnormal. She asked Lu Chengzhang, “Why do you think father suddenly proposed splitting the family? It’s too sudden. Isn’t your third brother about to get married? And your sister hasn’t even responded yet. This will definitely have an impact. Who would decide to split the family at a time like this?”

A trace of guilt flashed in Lu Chengzhang’s eyes. He quickly looked away and vaguely replied, “I don’t know.”

Throwing off the blanket and kicking off his shoes, he lay down and urged Zhou Qiongying, “Let’s sleep, let’s sleep. Tomorrow, mother and elder sister-in-law will come. Whether mother agrees or not, we’ll know tomorrow.”

As he spoke, he turned his back, his face showing a faint unease.

There were some things that Lu Chengzhang didn’t want to think deeply about in a certain direction, but avoiding thinking about it meant that he already had some idea. For example, why his father suddenly proposed splitting the family.

Thinking about this, and thinking about his mother’s arrival tomorrow, Lu Chengzhang inexplicably remembered the incident two years ago when he refused to return to the shop in town. He remembered the look his mother gave him.

It was as if all the most secretive thoughts hidden in his heart, those that he himself didn’t want to face, were all seen through by someone else. Just thinking about this, Lu Chengzhang began to feel apprehensive about Chen Shi’s arrival tomorrow.

However, even if he didn’t want to face it, the day would still dawn, and what was meant to happen would always happen.


Lu Xun had Babao rush back to pick up Chen Shi, and he also made it clear that Qin Shi should come along.

Chen Shi had been wondering all night what the man wanted to do.

Her curiosity was piqued so high that she arranged for Lu Shuang to take care of the house and took Qin Shi with her on the family’s mule cart to Anyi County.

It was already late afternoon when they arrived at the Lu Family Cloth Shop, and it was the busiest time in the shop.

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Lu Xun was busy serving customers buying cloth. As soon as he saw Chen Shi, he quickly pulled a young helper aside to take over and hurried out to greet her.

Chen Shi glanced at him with a smile, then looked at the shop and her three sons who had greeted her one after another, but she couldn’t see anything unusual. Her gaze returned to Lu Xun, “What important matter couldn’t wait until we got home that you had Baobao bring me and Yulan over? He didn’t even tell us what it was, and I’ve been guessing all night.”

Lu Xun felt embarrassed. He didn’t want to tell her too early in case she couldn’t sleep for the rest of the night. Rubbing his nose, he said, “Let’s talk in the back.”

He turned to let Lu Chengzong handle Qin Shi herself and led Chen Shi to the back of the main house to talk.

~

“What did you say? Splitting the family?” In the main room, Chen Shi’s voice suddenly rose.

Lu Xun hurriedly offered her tea and gestured for her to sit down, saying, “Please calm down, please calm down. Have some tea first and listen to me slowly.”

Chen Shi hadn’t thought all night that the man would bring her to the county just to talk about splitting the family. Immediately, her face darkened, and she pushed the tea aside, saying, “I can’t drink this. Just tell me, I’m listening.”

Lu Xun understood her feelings and realized that Chen Shi was not going to let him off easy.

He knew he had made her angry.

Carefully, he placated her with several smiles before explaining the reason. From the preparations of the Liu family to open an embroidery shop, to making clothes and jointly purchasing cloth, to Lu Chengxiao’s plan to trade cloth in Zhejiang, Lu Xun explained everything in detail, not omitting any of the various reactions of his second son, Lu Chengzhang.

The more Chen Shi listened, the uglier her expression became. Looking coldly at Lu Xun, she said, “So because the second son went astray, you want the third son to bear the consequences and help straighten out the second son?”

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Lu Xun didn’t dare to respond to this. He quickly offered her tea again and tried to placate her, saying, “How could I dare? Things aren’t so serious. Calm down first. Let me explain slowly to you.”

Chen Shi laughed bitterly, “What are you afraid of? What about that incident two years ago? How did you handle it? You left the eldest and second son in the county. Lu Xun, people are not like this tea cup in your hand, you can’t shape them into the same size and form, you can’t fill them with the same amount. While the tea cup may be held level, people’s hearts are not. Two years ago, you thought of the eldest and second son the same, didn’t want the second son to be unhappy, so you left him in the county and hired a shopkeeper in town.”

“And now? Is the second son content? The eldest son is the eldest, the second son is the second. He should learn to be content and know his place. Your principle of holding the water level only means that his brothers should accommodate him and make concessions to him. This is indulgence and encouragement!”

“You rely on having two good sons! If you want all of them to be like the second son, I doubt you can handle it.”

Lu Xun instantly felt as if the tea cup in his hand was too hot to hold. He quickly set it aside and dared not touch Chen Shi’s sore spot again. “Yes, yes, yes, that’s why I changed my strategy this time, didn’t I? Please let me finish.”

Chen Shi was still very angry, “Go ahead, I’m listening. I want to hear how you thought of splitting off the third son, who just came back home two months ago.”

This was poking a hornet’s nest. Lu Xun wasn’t afraid of being stung or scolded; he was afraid of Chen Shi getting too angry.

Lu Xun had a tough upbringing. In those difficult days, he carried goods around the villages as a hawker. The first time he saw Chen Shi, she bought something from him. He didn’t know how he lost his heart, but he knew that Chen Shi’s appearance was considered exceptional in the surrounding area. Yet, she was willing to marry him when he was penniless. Lu Xun hated that he couldn’t pamper Chen Shi with all his heart.

He had indeed done so, pampering her for half a lifetime without letting her suffer any grievances. Now, he had inadvertently provoked her. Chen Shi was a kind woman, and he hadn’t seen her so angry in many years. But this time, it was probably about their youngest son. Even though Lu Xun was prepared, he still felt some regret now. He should have discussed it with Chen Shi first.

So he didn’t dare to delay any longer. He dragged a round stool to sit next to Chen Shi, soothing her and explaining his thoughts one by one.

Lu Xun had risen from a poor boy with no relatives or connections to where he was today. He had his abilities, such as understanding people’s hearts and having a deep understanding of speaking skills.

After over twenty years of marital bliss, he knew Chen Shi very well. Therefore, he started by praising the person who was closest to Chen Shi’s heart.

Who was that person?

Their youngest son, Lu Chengxiao, who had left home at fourteen and hadn’t been raised by them!


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