Sure enough, Wang Tianyan was no longer at the gate. Shao Yunan and Wang Shijing were told that Wang Tianyan had been taken away by the Yamen officials. Thinking that the official messengers must have already gone to Xiushui Village, Wang Shuping and Zhao Yuande needed to rush back immediately to explain the situation. Shao Yunan happened to need to buy some things so he let the two of them back first while he and Wang Shijing bought things before leaving. Wang Xing and Sun Erjiang, who had been quietly following Shao Yunan and Wang Shijing, both said they would go back with Shao Yunan and Wang Shijing.
Wang Shijing asked Wang Shuping and Zhao Yuande for help in bringing back the donkey and gave them several copper coins to take care of it. However, the two kept refusing and it was only when Wang Shijing forced them that they gave up. When Wang Shuping and Zhao Yuande left, Shao Yunan breathed heavily and said in a dry voice, “I want to drink water, I’m dying of thirst.”
Wang Shijing very consciously took Shao Yunan’s hand and held it tight. “Then let’s find a place to drink water.”
Xiushui Village exploded because of the appearance of a team of officers and soldiers. The atmosphere in the village also became tense, because the people who went to chase Shao Yunan did not come back for a long time. Wang Wenhe, who was waiting for the news at home became tense and his uneasiness only grew bigger and bigger. However, the one they waited for was not Shao Yunan, but these officers and soldiers!
Zhao Yuande, Wang Shuping, and Wang Zhisong also followed the officers and soldiers back. Wang Zhisong was sent home by Zhao Yuande and Wang Shuping, while the officers and soldiers followed them to the Wang family house to arrest people. A group of officers and soldiers poured into the Wang family house, where Wang Dali and his only daughter, Wang Zhisong’s sister, Wang Chunxiu, and Wang Tianyan’s son Wang Zaizheng were at home. Seeing such a group of officers and soldiers, Wang Dali was immediately paralyzed with fear. Wang Chunxiu and Wang Zaizheng, as a girl and a child could not even comprehend such a scene, while Wang Zhisong who just returned home, went inside without explaining anything.
Wang Shuping and Zhao Yuande were angry when they saw this, but now as representatives of the Wang family, Wang Shuping had the patience to ask where Wang Guo was. As soon as he heard that Wang Guo and old lady Wang were at his home, Wang Shuping’s anger flared up instantly. The officers and soldiers didn’t plan to wait for anyone since it was already dark, so they directly went to Wang Wenhe’s house after knowing their location.
The village was in chaos. The villagers all came out of their homes and watched in confusion as the officials rushed first to the Wang family house and then to the Wang clan patriarch’s house. They all could guess who the officials were coming to arrest. Some people guessed whether Wang Shijing and Shao Yunan reported the matter to the Yamen. At the patriarch’s house, they waited impatiently for Wang Shuping to bring Shao Yunan back. Old lady Wang and Wang Guo, who always liked to stir up trouble, were found there by the officials and soldiers.
As soon as the leading Yamen officer entered he asked, “Who is Wang Guo?” Wang Guo’s body shivered as she hid behind her mother-in-law, confused. h\Her first reaction was to hide, not even daring to reply.
Wang Wenhe fearfully asked the Yamen officer what had happened and hurriedly asked what happened to his son. But the Yamen officer didn’t have much patience, so he just asked again, “Who is Wang Guo?”
As soon as she felt the Yamen officer’s momentum, old lady Wang’s body went soft while Wang Guo cried out and crawled to hide behind Wang Wenhe. She did not know why the Yamen officer was looking for her, but it was definitely nothing good. This time the Yamen officer didn’t ask anymore and with just his gesture, two soldiers immediately grabbed Wang Guo and dragged her out.
“Mother! Mother! Patriarch! Patriarch, help! Mother, help!” As soon as Wang Guo was caught, a yellow smelly liquid appeared under her skirt. In the presence of the officials, Wang Shuping was unable to make a sound, so the Yamen officer just asked in a loud voice, “Where are the Zhao Lizheng and the Wang clan patriarch of Xiushui Village?!”
Wang Wenhe’s body went limp, so Wang Shuping hurriedly supported him. Wang Wenhe’s wife was so frightened that she quickly knelt down and didn’t even dare to ask what was wrong and hurriedly begged for mercy. Wang Shuping hurriedly asked his wife to pick his mother up. Then Zhao Lizheng came with the help of his second son, Zhao Yuanqing. The Yamen officer immediately announced the county magistrate’s punishment for Wang Dali’s family, as well as a verbal warning to the Wang clan and Zhao Lizheng for concealing it without reporting. Because of Wang Shijing’s plea, the Wang clan head, Zhao Lizheng, Wang Dali, and old lady Wang were exempted from punishment, but Wang Tianyan and Wang Guo had to be punished.
After that, the Yamen officer announced the sentence and left with the others. Old lady Wang was so scared by the Yamen officer that she almost peed herself and couldn’t come back to her mind. While Wang Guo squealed like a pig when she was slapped by the officers.
An unknown number of villagers watched as Wang Guo was taken away. When the officers and soldiers left, all the villagers gathered at Wang Wenhe’s house to ask what had happened. Only then did Zhao Yuande and Wang Shuping have a chance to tell what happened. Wang Wenhe and Zhao Lizheng became pale and the villagers became even more upset. That Shao Yunan really went to the county school and coincidentally met the county magistrate!
Zhao Lizheng and Wang Wenhe did not know that it was against the law for Wang Shijing to be forced to perform military service. But it was also the Wang’s family family business, so as long as Wang Shijing did not make a scene, they would not care much. This was how things were done in the village, human feelings outweighed the law. Wang Shijing was the eldest son of the Wang Dali family and the parents’ order could not be disobeyed. Even the head of the village’s clan patriarch could not interfere much. But how could these two know that if this matter was known by the county magistrate, the county magistrate would want to punish them!
As soon as the onlookers heard that if Wang Shijing’s matter was investigated, the whole Wang clan would be convicted of withholding information and not reporting them, some people immediately complained about Wang Dali and old lady Wang. While others said that Wang Shijing was unfilial, how could he let his male wife sue his parents and brothers?
But after they heard that Wang Dali’s family could even be exiled for four years for their several crimes they no longer dared to say anything. Wang Shuping and Zhao Yuande said that Wang Tianyan and Wang Guo would receive punishment for several crimes also on behalf of their parents and be imprisoned for five months as well as fifty hits of the boards each. After that, as long as the Wang family no longer committed any more crimes, the county magistrate would no longer pursue the case. Because Wang Shijing and Shao Yunan pleaded for mercy, the county magistrate changed the sentence in order to set an example for the others. Old lady Wang, who was still paralyzed by fear, sat still so the others breathed a sigh of relief.
But then, Wang Shuping said that the Dean of the county school asked Wang Zhisong to go home for self-reflection for three months and Wang Wenhe almost stopped breathing, while old lady Wang froze and then opened her mouth to howl again. “Ahhhhh! That evil star!”
“Shut up!” With an angry shout, old lady Wang’s curse was pushed back. But it was not Wang Wenhe who shouted angrily, but the extremely dark-faced Zhao Lizheng.
Regardless of the fact that the head of the Wang clan was right in front of him, Zhao Lizheng pointed at old lady Wang and scolded, “If I may say so, today’s trouble was all caused by an unreasonable old woman like you! It was clearly written in this deed that your family has nothing to do with Wang Shijing’s family, but just because you see that Wang Shijing has some money you treat the deed as bullshit! If you hadn’t been so unreasonable, they wouldn’t need to go to the county school. Did you even give birth to Shijing? If you don’t like him so much, why didn’t you strangle him when you gave birth to him? Wang Tianyan and Wang Zhisong are your sons, but Shijing isn’t?”
“You have the money to pay for the medical treatment and betrothal of Wang Zhisong, but not for Wang Shijing’s mandatory labor? You also don’t have money to pay for his military service? If it weren’t for Wang Shijing’s plea, not to mention your family’s Zhisong and Tianyan, all of Xiushui Village would be suffering along with you! Even the Wang clan would not be able to get away! I think your family is in trouble because of you, the wife! Wang Tianyan and his family are no good either! I think they deserve to be taught a lesson!”
“Go ahead and make trouble! It’s better to make Wang Tianyan and his wife be locked up in jail for life and make Wang Zhisong lose his status in the examination, then you’ll feel at ease! I’m telling you, in the future if your family is unreasonable, don’t come to me! Whoever caused the trouble should take care of it himself!”
Zhao Lizheng then turned to Wang Wenhe. “This time, the county magistrate and the county school teachers all know what happened to our Xiushui Village and your Wang clan. In the future, what face will the people of Xiushui Village have when they go out? Those who don’t know might think that our Xiushui village people are unreasonable. In the future, who would dare to marry a girl from our village or get married to our village men? Would the county school dare to accept students from our village? Let’s not blame Shijing and his family. If someone did not force them to this point, would they do it? Three years ago, you as the patriarch did not say anything, but what should be done now, you should think about it!”
This was the first time Zhao Lizheng said such heavy words to the patriarch of a clan. Turning around, regardless of Wang Wenhe’s attitude, Zhao Lizheng said to the onlookers, “Disperse!”
With his hands behind his back, Zhao Lizheng angrily took his two sons and left. The patriarch usually doesn’t get a chance to meet the county magistrate, but he as village head had to go every year to the Yamen to deal with the county magistrate! This time Xiushui village lost face in front of the county magistrate. Although the county magistrate left them without punishment this time, like he was reminded through his son when he met the county magistrate in the future, how can he behave in front of the heads of other villages? Zhao Lizheng didn’t blame Shao Yunan, but he was angry with the Wang family who caused this, including that tolerant Wang Wenhe.
Zhao Lizheng’s words also gave the villagers a sense of crisis. Yes, after such a big trouble, how can people from Xiushui Village be treated as humans after going out? Some people scolded that it was caused by old lady Wang, while others blamed Wang Shijing for not being able to control his wife and some people even blamed Shao Yunan for being restless. But almost every person who was good friends with Wang Shijing was secretly happy, old lady Wang’s family should be treated like this!
Once everyone dispersed, old lady Wang began to cry again, begging Wang Wenhe to find a way to save Wang Tianyan and Wang Zhisong. Wang Wenhe’s wife, who couldn’t stand it anymore, pointed at old lady Wang’s nose and cursed. She scolded her hard. Old lady Wang did not dare to scold the clan patriarch’s wife, even if she wanted to. Finally Wang Shuping asked his wife to drag old lady Wang out, saying that she should return home, while he stopped his mother and talked to her.
Edited by: Jaisland