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2. This is a fan work and the interpretation represents only the translator’s personal views without any input from the author.
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With everyone chiming in, everyone slowly started to put their weapons down. It was clear they were willing to listen for now.
The fiercest amongst them were still the Ma brothers. They kept shouting, “Smash first before discussing! We should fight first!”
“That’s right! We need to teach the Liu family a lesson!”
“My sister has worked like an ox for your family for over 10 years. How could you just divorce her like that? We should fight!”
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Ebkzl vbl casvblap prsjl, vblu vssj y qlo pvlrp qsaoyae. Jwv obld vblu pyo vbyv ds sdl fskdle vblx, vblu nswze sdzu pvyde pvkzz yde nsdvkdwl vs vau vs pvka vblx wr.
Mbl Akzzytl Tlye nyxl shla. “Ebu yal usw pvkzz iwyaalzkdt? Vlsrzl byhl yzalyeu tsvvld bwav; kpd’v vbyv ldswtb? Zsw pvkzz oydv vs pxypb vblka vbkdtp? Mbld yqvla usw’hl pxypble vblka vbkdtp, oswze usw pvkzz vbkdj kv’p dsv ldswtb yde oydv vs jkzz vblx? Ohlausdl dllep vs cl alypsdyczl! Zsw pbswze qkapv ekpnwpp vbl xyvvla yde pll kq kv nyd cl alpszhle vbyv oyu! Rq kv nyd cl, vbld yzz sq usw nyd ts cynj. Jwv kq kv nyd’v, vbld ts yblye yde pxypb vblka vbkdtp! R osd’v nyal – usw nyd ts yblye yde ynv!”
Gqvla vbl Akzzytl Tlye prsjl, psxl sq vbl nswpkdp pvyavle vs iwklv esod. Yy Plnbydt yde Yy Plnbldt olal csvb ydtau! Mblu byed’v xydytle vs qszzso vbaswtb okvb vblka rzyd sq pxypbkdt yzz sq vbl Nkw qyxkzu clzsdtkdtp, yp olzz yp tkhkdt Nkw Ubydtik y tsse clyvkdt!
Fllkdt vbl pkvwyvksd zkjl vbkp, Yy Plnbydt jdlo vbyv vblu nswze sdzu vau yde ekpnwpp vbl xyvvla. Tl rskdvle yv Nkw Ubydtik yde ydtakzu pyke, “Nkw Wkapv, zlv xl ypj usw, obu eke usw ekhsanl xu pkpvla? Pke xu pkpvla dsv tkhl usw y psd? Xa oyp pbl dsv qkzkyz vs uswa ryaldvp? Ohlauvkxl xu pkpvla nyxl cynj vs bla xykeld bsxl, pbl oswze yzoyup cakdt bla nbkzeald cynj okvb bla vs lyv vblka qkzz yde vyjl vbkdtp cynj vs pwrrsav usw! Xd obyv cypkp nyd usw ekhsanl bla? Nlv xl vlzz usw, ol’al dsv qkdkpble okvb vbkp xyvvla!”
Tkp osaep ydtlale Nkw Ubydtik, “Fvsr uswa nblyr osaep! Ebld eke uswa pkpvla ts bsxl vs lyv uswa qsse yde vyjl uswa vbkdtp?”
Yy Plnbydt oyp ldaytle. Tkp hsknl aspl yd snvyhl yde bl pbswvle, “Zsw alqwpl vs yexkv kv?! Mbld vblal’p dsvbkdt qsa kv! Wktbv!”
Mbl Akzzytl Tlye pbswvle, “Ebu yald’v usw vyzjkdt alypsdyczu! Ebyv jkde sq lhkeldnl oyp vbyv?! Ebld y xyaakle eywtbvla alvwadp bsxl, kpd’v kv dsaxyz vs rashkel y xlyz?! Gde obld vblu zlyhl, obs oswzed’v tkhl y zkvvzl psxlvbkdt! Rq usw oydv vs vyzj, vbld obu yal usw prlyjkdt kd pwnb y xyddla?”
Gqvla vbl Akzzytl Tlye qkdkpble, bl tzyale yv Yy Plnbydt. Mbld bl vwadle yde zssjle yv Nkw Ubydtik, “Ubydtik, obu esd’v usw lmrzykd obu usw oydv vs ekhsanl Yy pbk. Yyjl kv pbsav yde nzlya!”
Liu Changqi then said, “Everyone should be aware of Ma shi’s reputation! When we separated the family, I was also at fault, so I won’t mention that, but after we separated the family, was she content to live life separately? All day, she stirs trouble up. Seeing that Third had moved to town, she kept scolding and nagging all day at home, and beat the children…..”
“Liu Changqi! You f*cker, you should stop talking! Why are you even mentioning this?! I just want to know, of the seven conditions, which ones did my sister break?! Why are you just accusing her? Who’s wife doesn’t nag or scold?!”
Ma Decheng shouted, and his side started to become restless. “That’s right, why even mention this?! If this was all it took to divorce someone, then I should’ve divorced my wife long ago!”
The Majia villagers were clearly starting to get agitated. The Village Head gave him a kick quietly! He told Liu Changqi to explain, but he just doesn’t touch the heart of the matter!
Just as he was getting worried, a voice rang out from the courtyard. “ Let me explain! That should be fine right? I am not saying this to give Ma shi a bad reputation, but to explain clearly why my Liu family decided to divorce Ma shi over the New Year! After all, my family is not so idle that we would do such a thing over the New Year, causing a fight to break out between the two villages!”
It was Liu Gao shi’s voice.
The Taohua villagers parted to make way for Liu Gao shi to come forward. Liu Changqi, Liu Changgeng and Liu Chanshi quickly went to stand in front of Liu Gao shi, and were pushed to the side.
Liu Gao shi glared at them and said, “Scram! What are you doing blocking me when I want to speak? I am just an old woman. Even if these people wanted to kill someone, would they really raise a hand to an old woman like me? After all, who doesn’t have a mother or father?”
Old Man Liu had also come forward, and was nodding his head. “That’s right, move to the side. Let your mother speak.”
The three brothers could only step aside. Then Liu Gao shi and Old Man Liu went to the courtyard door. Acting as a bodyguard, Yuan Hao followed them closely. With their addition, there was no space left to maneuver around at the tight courtyard entrance.
The Village Head was well practiced at managing disputes; this was nothing he hadn’t seen before. So he turned around and said, “Oh my, there’s no space here to breathe! Liu Fourth, go and get a few stools out. I’m getting old, and it’s tiring to stay on my feet! Also, let your mother and father have a seat….. You should also bring out some chairs for the few brothers here. We should all sit down to talk, while the rest of you outside can spread out. Give us some space here. Don’t let me be flattened by all of you.”
A few people from Majia Village started to laugh before others glared at them. They immediately stopped.
Without waiting for Liu Changshi to head back in, a few people had already brought some stools out and a long bench. The Village Head, Old Man Liu and Liu Gao shi courteously invited the others to have a seat first. The Village Head smilingly invited the Ma brothers to sit down. Ma Dechang impatiently interrupted. “Quickly, explain! Why are you making so much fuss over all this?”
The Village Head pointed at Ma Decheng and asked, “Do you need someone to help you bandage that first?”
Ma Decheng was even fiercer, “If you’re not going to talk, then we should just fight! What are you delaying for? Are you hoping to delay the matter away? No way!”
Liu Gao shi hmphed and said, “Which of the seven conditions did your sister break? Let me tell you, she broke two! The first is deliberately causing disputes with others! All day, she makes trouble at home! Let me start from the beginning – ever since we separated the family, she started to nag all day about moving to town. She doesn’t even know her own strength. Without any money to move there, she scolds her man blindly for not having any capability, and beats the children to vent! One could argue that that was their personal family matters. But if you were to scold your sisters-in-law, and beat other family’s children, isn’t she just causing disputes with others? All day, she jumps up and down, trying to pick fights. No one in the neighbourhood is safe from her! Since we are all neighbours, there are things that we would usually turn a blind eye to. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t know about it! She pampered her daughters and raised them to be vicious – who in the village doesn’t know about that?!”
Ma Dechang was an ordinary man. He wasn’t a man of letters and so all he knew was that there were seven conditions for divorce. He didn’t know exactly what all of them were. He only knew of the two big ones – Not giving birth to a son and not showing filial piety to one’s in-laws. If either of those two were broken, the woman must be divorced. Now, hearing Liu Gao shi speak, he started to feel a bit diffident. The fact that Liu Gao shi was literate was well known in their family, and what she said seemed reasonable.
The more Liu Gao shi spoke, the angrier she got. Her voice slowly got louder and louder. “The second condition – jealousy! Your Ma shi….”
Ma Decheng started to shout out, “Are you trying to fool us?! I know about that! A jealous wife won’t allow her husband to accept any concubines. Does your Liu Changqi want a concubine?! Why don’t you piss off, and look at how much money you have?! Furthermore, even if you wanted to accept a concubine, did my sister stop you? If you dare to try and lie to us, let me tell you, I won’t listen to anymore!”
The Village Head called for order, “Pipe down, and listen to her finish! You’re always the first to want to resort to violence! No matter how fiercely you object, if there’s no reason behind it, it would be impossible to justify. But likewise, if there is reason, then it would be impossible not to justify no matter how much she says! Since we are all here to talk it out, then why don’t you sit back down and listen to her finish?”
“Pah! Why should I listen to her slander my sister?”
“I am not slandering anyone. Everyone in the village is here, listening! I am not afraid of going with you to the government office to talk! They would surely be able to investigate everything clearly!”
Liu Gao shi continued, “Did you think that jealousy was just about not letting one’s husband accept concubines? Who amongst us village folk would be so arrogant as to forget themselves and take a concubine? When I said that your sister is jealous, I meant that she’s covetous, and envious of others! Now that Second’s family is doing well, Ma shi was so jealous, she kept trying to get benefits from them! Second’s daughter has found others work – everyone in the village knows this. This morning, your sister brought the children over, trying to pester her into giving them some work as well. When she asked what they could do, she started to get frustrated after a sentence or two, and the children started to fight! Ma shi not only didn’t try to stop it, she encouraged the fight! When Second’s wife tried to break it up, she went one better and beat her to the ground! Let me ask you, was what your sister did right?”
Old Man Liu actually really wanted to say something, but he was unable to find the right time to speak. Right now, he hastily added a sentence, “What kind of marriage did she try to arrange for my granddaughter!”
Liu Gao shi nodded, “That’s right! What marriage did she try to arrange – she was basically selling off her daughter! She arranged it with one of your Majia villagers. Did he come today?” She pointed at a few people behind the Ma brothers. “Who is it? Step forward! Let me ask you – as a 30-year-old widower, how could you be so bold as to want to marry my family’s 16-year-old girl? When did my Liu family become so desperate we needed to sell our daughters? For 10 strings of cash, she sold her daughter?!”
This was something that the Taohua villagers were all unaware of. The Village Head immediately exclaimed, “What?! There’s still this matter?!”
Liu Gao shi nodded and said to the Village Head, “My First has tolerated her for so many years. Why do you think he suddenly couldn’t bear it anymore, and insisted on divorcing Ma shi? It was because he didn’t want her to ruin the children! Xian’er is only 16, and that woman actually matched her with a 30-year-old widower! When she came back, she didn’t say any of that to Liu Changqi. So Liu Changqi just said, that sounds alright, but we need to continue to look into it. The woman just said that Liu Changqi had agreed and accepted the 10 strings of cash! Village Head, don’t you think that a woman like that deserves to be divorced?”
The Village Head slapped his thigh and cried out, “She should be divorced!” He looked angrily at the Majia villagers and said, “What do you think – is that justifiable?! Which family is willing to match their 16-year-old to a 30-year-old widower?! If anyone thinks that’s reasonable, I really take my hat off to him!” He turned and said to Liu Changqi, “Just for that, you should divorce her!”
Amongst the Majia villagers was also someone who had studied. Ma Dechang was too stunned, but the rest of his brothers had gone amongst the crowd to find him. They asked, “Of the seven conditions….. Is what she said true?”
“….” The person hesitated for a moment before leaning forward and whispering into the brothers ears.
His actions made it very clear that they were the ones in the wrong, and what Liu Gao shi said was right. Otherwise, they would have long ago started to make a fuss. They wouldn’t be speaking in hushed whispers.
It wasn’t clear just to the Taohua villagers, even the Majia villagers could understand that. The people at the back started to crouch down in comfortable spots. Some of them started to chat with each other, while others started to smoke their pipes.
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Hoots After this fight Ma Shi will be gone for good. Let’s see if Liu Changqi finds a new wife or will he just work hard to take care and raise his children alone? Thanks for new chapter.