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TGCF Ch 21 Part 4 – Lively Days In the Hometown (IV)

Eldest Aunt-in-law served Xiao Feng another bowl, and after placing it down, she accidentally lifted the child’s shirt, causing several adults at the table to gasp in shock.

Xiao Feng’s injuries had significantly improved, but his body was still covered in a multitude of greenish-yellow bruises.

Xia Hai, a father himself, couldn’t help but curse under his breath, “Damn it…”

Eldest Uncle Xia glared at him, and Xia Hai shut up but was still furious. He was not very good at expressing himself, so he simply put a large piece of meat on Xiao Feng’s plate, making his voice as gentle as possible, “Good boy, eat more.”

Because this uncle had just ‘beaten’ Qiangqiang, Xiao Feng was a bit afraid of him, but he was giving him delicious food, leaving him conflicted.

Xia Mian rubbed his back and said, “This is Uncle Xia Hai, Qiangqiang’s dad. Qiangqiang’s dad only disciplines him because he’s naughty. Xiao Feng is good, everyone loves you very much and won’t hurt you.”

“Right, uncles love Xiao Feng a lot.” Xia He also offered the boy a piece of egg, “Wait a bit. After a few days, Uncle Xia He will take you fishing, alright? We’ll feed our Xiao Feng a lot of nutritious food.”

The atmosphere was warm and relaxed, and Xiao Feng gradually felt at ease, though he still didn’t dare to take half a step away from Xia Mian.

With children present, it wasn’t appropriate to ask too much, so after dinner, Eldest Aunt-in-law accompanied Xia Mian and Xiao Feng back to Xia Mian’s home, Qiangqiang in tow.

Once back, Xiao Feng felt much more relaxed, knowing this was his auntie’s home. He even had the courage to run around the yard with Qiangqiang from time to time.

Eldest Aunt-in-law lit some mugwort to fumigate the house, asking about the situation while doing so. Xia Mian proceeded to retell the entire story once again.

Hearing that Xia Mian had beaten the woman, the typically gentle aunt rarely said, “Well done. Next time let your Brother Chuan accompany you, a girl hitting doesn’t have the same effect.” And it doesn’t hurt as much.

While helping to bathe Xiao Feng, Aunt-in-law carefully examined the bruises and injuries on his body and couldn’t help but shed tears, “Such a sin! How could anyone bear to do this?”

Xiao Feng looked up at her curiously, his big eyes clear and innocent.

Eldest Aunt-in-law wiped her eyes, “It’s good you’re back. Actually, your uncle was not very keen on letting you go to the city.”

“The conditions there might be better, but Zhang Qiming is already married and has a new family. How could he genuinely take care of you? As the old saying goes, a golden nest and a silver nest are not as good as one’s own dog kennel. If something happened to you there, we couldn’t do anything.”

“As for your second uncle’s family.” Eldest Aunt-in-law frowned and sighed, “They’re annoying but wouldn’t dare to do any real harm. Now that you’re the only one left in your family, if he tries anything, come to us, your eldest uncle won’t let them off.”

“I know, Aunt.” Xia Mian had ways to deal with Second Uncle Xia, but she also didn’t want to dismiss her aunt’s kindness.

“About the Zhang family, I’ll think of a way to transfer Xiao Feng’s household registration back here.” She hadn’t quite figured out the procedure or the specifics of the household registration system of this era. The eldest uncle had some influence in Mingxi County and could ask around. After all, she was still a minor and needed a guardian; she wasn’t even sure if it was possible to add Xiao Feng to her household register.

Eldest Aunt-in-law hesitated, then sighed, “Alright, bringing the child back first is the right thing to do. In our home, he can at least eat well and dress warmly, which is better than being beaten every day.”

Xia Mian knew her aunt was worried about a minor like her taking care of a child, but this was difficult to explain, so she didn’t say much, appreciating her good intentions nonetheless.

Early the next morning, Xia Mian and Xiao Feng were awakened by shouting and cursing from next door. It turned out that after a night’s rest, Xia Bao was in so much pain he couldn’t get out of bed.

Xia Mian looked around but couldn’t find a ladder. After being conned out of four buildings by the second uncle’s family, Xia Mian’s mother, in utter disdain, had built walls around their yard, making it feel like a prison.

Although out of sight meant out of mind, the noise was still unavoidable. The original ‘Xia Mian’ and her mother had gotten used to it, treating it as background noise, but Xia Mian wasn’t as tolerant. She stepped outside, picked up a few stones, and stood at the neighboring gate. “Second Aunt, can you keep it down? Do you want to let people sleep or not?”

“Sleep? How can you sleep after what you did to your little brother, doesn’t your conscience hurt?…”

Xia Mian raised the stones and said, “Don’t you know very well whether I have a conscience or not? If you don’t shut up, I’m really going to throw these…”

“Go on, throw them! You won’t dare…”

Along with a loud crash, Second Aunt-in-law Xia’s scream pierced the sky.

Second Uncle Xia rushed out, his face full of distress, “My windows!!! Who did this? You’ll pay for this!”

Xia Mian picked up another stone and grinned, “Second Aunt told me to do it. Didn’t you hear her? She told me to throw them, it’s actually the first time I’ve heard her ask for something like this.”

“Xia Mian! You!!… Don’t!!!” Second Uncle Xia’s angry words halted abruptly as Xia Mian raised the stones again, clearly having heard everything from inside.

“Can we have some peace now?” Xia Mian tilted her head to ask.

The Second Aunt-in-law still tried to say something more but was firmly silenced by her husband. “Xia Mian, how could you… Alright, alright!! that’s enough…”

Only then did Xia Mian put down the stones, warning, “This is the last time, okay? Keep it down or I’ll smash all your windows!”

Second Uncle Xia said, “If we stop making noise, will you compensate us for the window?”

Xia Mian shrugged, “Depends on how you behave.” She then turned and walked away.

Second Uncle Xia called after her, “Aren’t you going to visit your grandma? She’s been missing you for a long time!” His ulterior motive soon surfaced, “Your grandma is getting old, she wants some senior milk powder! You give it to me, and I’ll take it to her.”

Clearly, he had heard about the gifts she brought to Eldest Uncle Xia’s house yesterday. Xia Mian rolled her eyes. Not to mention that Grandma Xia wasn’t even in Mingxi County, but even if she were, she wouldn’t need anything from them. The old lady was very self-sufficient, never shortchanging herself.

Though temporarily defeated, Second Aunt-in-law Xia, accustomed to getting her way and couldn’t take no for an answer, lost her temper again before noon. This time she didn’t curse Xia Mian but berated the Xia family ancestors instead, crying about how the family was cursed with misfortune for producing such a scoundrel who refused to compensate after causing damage to others.

Seeing Xiao Feng frightened, Xia Mian was extremely annoyed. She grabbed a handful of candies and went outside, and in front of Second Uncle Xia, who was watching from the doorway, she handed the colorful candies out to the children playing nearby: “Anytime you hear this family cursing, throw a stone at their windows. Smash one, and you get a handful of candy,” she instructed.

“Throw the stones together. With so many of you, who will know who did it? He won’t be able to find your parents to complain.”

“This offer stands every day.”

Second Uncle Xia was furious and wanted to scold Xia Mian, but the children, motivated by the candy, were quick to act. Soon after, a loud crash was heard.

Finally, there was silence next door.

Xia Mian was satisfied.

However, far away in Ming City, Huang Xiaojuan was nowhere in a good mood.

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