Chapter 16: Li Jinhua Comes to Ask for Grain
Upon seeing the county magistrate come out, the common people couldn’t help but feel fear instinctively. The anger that had just been stirred up also dissipated a bit, and the crowd gradually quieted down.
“I know that the crops in the fields were hit by locusts yesterday, but it’s only the second day. I also have to report to the capital before I can distribute food to you,” the plump county magistrate said casually. “If anyone causes trouble before then, be careful or you’ll be taken to prison!”
“Oh, Heavenly Lord, please save us! If the food doesn’t come in half a month, we’ll run out of food at home,” a gray-haired woman knelt down and kowtowed to the county magistrate.
People knelt down intermittently, continuously pleading.
The county magistrate, with impatience, looked out beyond the crowd and shouted, “I understand, everyone can leave now.”
The gate slowly closed amidst the requests of the people, and Shen Yu’an glanced at those kneeling on the ground, feeling sympathetic but helpless.
She had the ability to provide the grain to solve this crisis, but doing so would only expose her and put her in danger.
After finally getting the chance to start over, she wanted to live peacefully with her family. She couldn’t afford to be reckless until she had enough power to protect herself and her loved ones.
She couldn’t bear to look and turned her head away, telling Shen Yun to leave.
They didn’t get any useful information in the county, so Shen Yu’an and Shen Yun had to go back.
However, she had a faint premonition in her heart that the government would not open the granaries to distribute grain, and as she thought, the court was now in chaos like a pot of porridge.
–In the Great Wei Imperial Palace —
“If there’s nothing else, my lords, you may leave court,” the Emperor said as he sat on his dragon throne.
“Your Majesty, I request that you establish a crown prince,” an elderly official stood up and spoke in a solemn tone.
“Yes, Your Majesty, for the stability of the country and the protection of the state, it would be best to establish a crown prince as soon as possible,” another official added.
The eldest son is virtuous and kind-hearted. Therefore, I believe that he should be established as the Crown Prince,” one official argued.
“There are differences in our opinions. Although the eldest prince is the firstborn, he is not the rightful heir. The eleventh prince is the legitimate son of the empress, and I believe he should be made the crown prince.”
“But the eleventh prince is too young and cannot yet shoulder the responsibility of the country. With so many princes, we must choose the one with the greatest ability to be the Crown Prince,” yet another courtier added.
For a moment, chaos broke out in the court. Currently, the Emperor has thirteen surviving sons, with most of them taking sides, except for the two youngest princes who remained silent and waited for their time.
The princes stood in front of the official with different expressions. Some showed no excitement as if the matter had nothing to do with them, while others quietly observed the emperor’s expression.
“Rubbish!” the person sitting on the throne above exclaimed in anger and threw the paper in his hand at the first official who had asked for the crown prince to be established.
The official’s legs went weak, and he knelt down on the grand hall. The others who had just spoken were also trembling with fear, and they too knelt down.
“Your Majesty, please calm down,” the official all lowered their heads.
“I’m not dead yet, and you already want to establish a crown prince. Are you cursing me or trying to change your lord?” The emperor asked angrily.
“We are loyal to Your Majesty and would never have any other intentions!” All the officials quickly expressed their loyalty and dared not mention the matter of appointing a crown prince again.
The Emperor became very angry and gasped for breath. The chief eunuch by his side, who had a keen eye, quickly bowed and handed over a delicate ivory box.
“Your Majesty, your elixir,” the eunuch’s sharp voice echoed in the hall.
The Emperor took the elixir and swallowed it, feeling a wave of comfort in his body the next moment. His complexion also became slightly rosy, and his mood improved a little.
With this miraculous elixir, he would be able to live forever, and this world would be his for generations to come. Those bastards are always thinking about appointing a crown prince!
He stood up and shook his sleeves, proclaiming loudly, “The matter of appointing a crown prince shall not be discussed again. I have my own plans. You may all leave!”
Meanwhile, on Shen Yu’an’s side, although she had not been able to obtain any concrete information, she was not too disappointed.
After an hour had passed, the two of them finally returned to the Shen family village. The area in front of the Shen family’s gate was particularly lively at this time.
“She’s Zhao Laidi, my daughter, no matter where she goes to get married. How can she not acknowledge me as her mother? What’s wrong with letting her provide some food for her younger brother?” Li Jinhua shouted confidently among the crowd.
Standing beside her were a middle-aged couple, Li Jinhua’s son Zhao Laigui and his wife Tiehua.
At the Shen family’s side, Zhao Shi, who had a handprint on her face, was being protected by Shen Ming and his three brothers who were glaring fiercely at Li Jinhua to prevent her from attacking again.
“I spit on you. Why should I give you our food?” Grandma Shen, who was the first to engage in battle, was quarreling with Li Jinhua.
The saying goes, “When picking persimmons, choose the soft ones to squeeze.”
Li Jinhua continued to shout at Zhao, “You let your own mother starve, yet you’re not afraid of choking on your own food.”
Zhao had been married into the Shen family for many years and had grown a spine. She walked out from the crowd and retorted, “When we harvested the grains early, didn’t we inform you. What were we supposed to do if we gave all our grains to you? You made a lot of money by selling your daughter, go buy your own grains in town.”
Li Jinhua couldn’t stand being talked back to and rushed over to grab Zhao’s hair, but Zhao fought back fiercely.
Grandma Shen and Song Shi tried to intervene quickly. After all, Li Jinhua was technically Zhao’s mother-in-law, and if they fought, it wouldn’t be good for her reputation. It could also affect the marriage prospects of Shen’s younger sons in the future.
“Laigui, Tiehua, come help your mother!” Li Jinhua screamed, her hair being pulled and unable to stand straight.
Zhao Laigui looked at the men from the Shen family, who were eyeing them fiercely, and pushed Tiehua hard. “Can’t you see our mother is being beaten? What are you standing here for?”
Zhao Shi seized Tiehua and mercilessly beat her up. This woman was not a good person either.
After marrying Zhao Laigui, she had been instigating Li Jinhua and Zhao Laigui to cause trouble. Zhao Shi vented her anger on Tiehua directly.
Shen Yu’an squeezed into the crowd and stood beside his family. He noticed that Shen Rong and Dalang, who should have been in town, were also at home, but it was not the time to ask about it.
Zhao Laigui noticed the arrival of Shen Yu’an and looked her up and down with lecherous eyes.
Shen Yu’an felt an uncomfortable gaze and looked up to see Zhao Laigui’s vulgar expression.
She gave him a sharp glare, but Zhao Laigui seemed unaware and continued to leer at her.
Shen Yu’an’s expression turned cold and she sent a burst of mental energy towards him. Shen Dalang and Shen Erlang also noticed the situation and quickly walked over, each giving him a punch.
Zhao Laigui was hit before he could react, and he could only lie there and take the beating as he experienced sudden pain in his head.
When everyone had let out their anger, the group walked back to their house, leaving the three injured people lying on the ground, looking miserable