Chapter 45: Ran Away With Someone
When she saw Shao Dong’s hesitation, Mu Jingzhe patted his shoulder.
“Don’t think too much. If you think it’s expensive, learn it well and try your best to get the most out of the course fees. That way, you won’t lose out.”
If he were to learn it, he would definitely study as much as he could and at the quickest speed possible.
Shao Dong stopped thinking about getting a refund for the course fees. “Thank you… It’s just that if this continues, in the future…”
He wanted to talk about repaying this kindness, but he felt that this kindness was too great.
Mu Jingzhe guessed his intentions. She thought for a moment and said, “If you feel pressured, you can pay me back when you earn money in the future. Okay?”
Shao Dong heaved a sigh of relief and nodded without hesitation. “Alright.”
The weekend trip to the county city was set.
When Mu Jingzhe returned, she had to continue making hair ornaments. She also planned on making some hair clips.
This was inspired by Little Bei’s performance. The children loved the rabbit ears and hair clip she had made last minute. Some parents had even asked her where they could buy them.
Mu Jingzhe naturally couldn’t let go of this business opportunity. She wanted to find Li Tao, who was the fastest and had the deftest hands, so she would make them.
However, this was the first time Li Tao hadn’t come to work.
It had never happened before. However, Li Tao hadn’t come this time. Her younger sister, Li Fang, had helped Li Tao apply for leave. It seemed like the couple had quarreled.
The butterfly hair clip was in the midst of being mass-produced, but now that Li Tao suddenly stopped showing up, Mu Jingzhe couldn’t help but recall what had happened previously.
She intended to wait. If Li Tao still didn’t show up, she would be prepared to react.
The next day, before Li Tao was meant to arrive, Mu Jingzhe went to deliver the goods just in case.
After returning, she wanted to go see Li Tao, but she suddenly heard that Li Tao had run away.
In villages, every now and then, people would run away because they couldn’t endure their lives there anymore.
Most of the people who ran away were women. There would always be a reason for them to run away—be it the physical abuse of their husband or the fact that life in the village was simply too arduous. Some people would send news back after a long time, while others never communicated again.
Li Tao was quite capable herself, but the man she had married, Bai Qiang, was a good-for-nothing. Initially, the Bai Family had been quite nice and her in-laws had been capable. However, ever since Li Tao’s in-laws had passed away, there had been no one to control him anymore, and Bai Qiang had looked increasingly unkempt and lazy.
The Li Family had originally married off their daughter because of Bai Qiang’s parents. In the end, the marriage didn’t go as planned. They had been married for three years but had no children. Many people said that Li Tao was a hen that couldn’t lay eggs, so the villagers stopped saying that Bai Qiang wasn’t good enough for Li Tao.
But somehow, Li Tao, who had been in a much better situation after she’d started working for Mu Jingzhe, had actually run away.
This matter instantly became a hot topic in Great Eastern Village. Mu Jingzhe felt helpless and regretful when she heard that. Giving birth depended on fate, and the reason a couple did not have a child might not necessarily lie with the woman. It might be the man’s fault.
However, the villagers wouldn’t say these things, and no one got divorced in this day and age.
Li Tao might have run away because she’d found life too hard there.
According to her past experience, everyone would just talk about this matter until they let it pass. However, there was a follow-up this time.
Li Tao’s husband, Bai Qiang, actually blamed the Li Family. He asked if they had instigated Li Tao and even demanded to know if she had hooked up with someone.
The Li Family hadn’t even asked the Bai Family to find their daughter, but the Bai Family had come to blame them first. The Bai Family instantly took the initiative and slandered Li Tao.
The Li Family was furious. They said that it was impossible and insisted that Li Tao wouldn’t leave them behind.
At the end of the day, they couldn’t find her, so they could only endure this.
Based on their forbearance, Bai Qiang determined that they were guilty and asked for a yard after taking an inch. Later on, he actually demanded that they get him a new wife by marrying Li Fang to him.
The Li Family was naturally unwilling to do that. “Bai Qiang, you’ve gone too far. In your dreams!”
“I’m giving you face and you’re refusing? Bah, considering their upbringing, who knows if a daughter from this family will run away after a guy marries her? Other than me, who else in the village will dare to marry Li Fang? Only I, who have no choice, do not despise her. To think you’re actually saying no!”
From that day onward, Bai Qiang went around badmouthing the girls of the Li Family to anyone who would listen. The older sister, Li Tao, had run away. His sister-in-law, Li Fang, used to smile and twist her body flirtatiously at him. He told everyone that she wasn’t a decent woman. It was all because of Li Fang’s provocative actions that he had proposed marriage.
In just half a day, the reputation of a good girl, Li Fang, was ruined.
This was precisely what Bai Qiang intended to do—force the Li Family to give him Li Fang as a wife.
The scene was ugly, and many people in the village saw and heard it.
Mu Jingzhe heard it from other people and saw Li Fang with red eyes.
Normally, Li Fang was full of energy and positivity, like a sunflower. She was also famous for being capable in the village.
She had set up a stall at the day market to sell hair ornaments. Because she had a bright personality and an eloquent mouth, her business was doing well, and she had earned some money. Mu Jingzhe had always admired and liked her.
Now, Li Fang was afraid of running into someone, so she specifically chose to come over at night. She looked listless and dispirited.
“Sister, I came to tell you that I won’t be taking any supplies for the time being.”
“Alright, there’s no hurry. We’ll talk about it after you’ve taken care of things. Li Fang, don’t mind what Bai Qiang has been saying about you. If a guy doesn’t dare to marry you because of this slander, he can’t be a real man. Everything will be fine after this period.
“If he tries anything funny again, don’t stand on ceremony. Teach him a lesson. I’ll be waiting for you to get back to business.”
If the Li Family didn’t agree, there was no way Bai Qiang could force the marriage.
Li Fang nodded vigorously. “Alright, I will do that.”
Amidst the chaos of the Li and Bai Families, the weekend arrived.
At the time, people only had one day off a week, and that was Sunday. They woke up early, and Mu Jingzhe prepared to take the five children to the county city.
The village was far away from the county city, so it was indeed inconvenient for them to get there. If they were to get there on foot, given their young age, they would probably spend the entire day walking there.
Fortunately, their family had already bought a bicycle.
Shao Qiyang knew that Mu Jingzhe wanted to use the bicycle and had ridden it back last night for that reason.
Ever since he had bought the bicycle, it had been much easier for him to work. It wasn’t as hard as before.
“Okay, it’s steady.”
After checking the two bamboo baskets fixed at the back of the bicycle, Shao Qiyang and Mu Jingzhe each took a child. They picked up Shao Nan and Little Bei and placed them in the bamboo baskets.
The old bicycle’s ability to carry weight was very high. At the time, such a bicycle could be used as a small car. It could carry people and deliver food without any problems.
A couple with two or three children would just own one bicycle. The front beam could carry two children, while the back could carry the wife. The wife would in turn carry a child on her back. In total, one bicycle could carry five people, including adults and children.
However, Mu Jingzhe had five kids with her. Including her, there were six of them.
Though the bicycle could carry the weight of the children, there was no place to hang them. In the end, they’d customized two bamboo baskets.
The bamboo baskets had been placed on the left and right side of the back seat. Other people were pulling food, while Mu Jingzhe was pulling children.
There was a mattress in the bamboo basket that the children could sit or stand on.
When they were placed in the basket, Shao Nan was still holding back, but Little Bei was already giggling.
“You must sit properly and stand properly on it later. The road is bumpy, so try not to get injured.”
Shao Dong and Shao Xi sat on the beam. As for Xiao Wu, Mu Jingzhe carried him on her back. Just like that, she brought the five children with her.
Shao Qiyang walked them all the way to the village entrance. However, he was still worried, so he secretly followed them.
Mu Jingzhe didn’t realize that the road was that bumpy. She focused on her bicycle, afraid that she would fall.
“Shao Dong, Shao Xi, raise your legs. Don’t get stuck in the wheel. It will hurt if you get stuck.”