Chapter 21: Getting Ready to Leave
The sun had already set, and sparse starlight hung in the sky.
The previously quiet Shen family village was once again stirred up by the sound of gongs and drums.
“Village Head, what’s happening now?” a woman holding a bowl of clear rice soup asked. The bowl was so empty that the bottom could be seen.
The Village Head went straight to the point and spoke loudly, “Just now, Shen Rong’s family came to inform us that the county town has been breached by the refugees. They might even reach our town soon. Those who are willing to leave should go back home and pack their things. Gather at the village entrance in one hour.”
“Why should we leave?,” someone asked.
The Village Head, Shen Lizheng didn’t bother to explain and someone immediately said, “If the refugees come here, what will we do if we don’t leave?”
“I think it’s probably fake news. There are government officials in the county, and the refugees wouldn’t dare to go in. Even if they wanted to, do they have the ability?” someone who didn’t believe in the news said.
“Last time Shen Rong said there might be a locust plague, and you said it was fake. But now it actually happened,” Wu Cuihua was present and immediately retorted upon hearing this.
“Did Shen the scholar’s family give you food or money to speak up for them?” the person who spoke earlier asked angrily.
Wu Cuihua spat on the ground and said, “They didn’t give me anything, but I believe in their family. As for you, you jump out and make a fuss every time someone says something, just like someone dug up your ancestors’ graves.”
That person’s face was as ugly as if they had eaten a fly, and they were so angry that they wanted to rush over and hit her.
Lizheng was watching the noisy crowd and felt his head buzzing. Suddenly, he banged a drum.
“Dong, dong!” The two loud noises startled the quarreling crowd, and their voices lowered.
He said, “What’s the point of arguing? Those who want to leave can go home and pack up, and those who don’t want to leave can stay.”
Looking at Li Zheng’s unhappy expression, no one dared to say anything.
The county official was not as influential as Lizheng in this village. He was the most powerful one here.
The woman who had just wanted to rush over and hit Wu Cuihua was interrupted by Lizheng and dared not cause any more trouble. However, she still stubbornly said, “Tsk, I believe nothing that others say. If there were refugees going to the county, the government would have caught them first. They wouldn’t wait until they come to us.”
“Anyway, if you want to leave, then leave. My family won’t leave. If you leave, then this house and land will belong to my family.”
The woman finished speaking and then walked away.
Someone was moved by what the woman who left said. If everyone else left, then the fields and houses would belong to those who remained.
Although it’s still dry now, it doesn’t mean it won’t rain in the future!
Oh, this is such a good opportunity. If more people leave, we’ll have to thank Mr. Shen for it.
Immediately, several people expressed that they wouldn’t leave either.
Lizheng could tell from their behavior what they were thinking. He was about to persuade them a little more when the people from those few households waved their hands and left.
“Hmph, a few ignorant people. If you want to leave, go home and pack up your things. You can leave in an hour at most. If you don’t want to leave, stay here like them,” Lizheng said before turning around and leaving.
Some of the remaining people hesitated, while others quickly went home to pack their things.
The Village Head thought about what the girl, Shen Yu’an, said to him when she followed Shen Xiucai to find him, and he felt uneasy.
As an older person, he couldn’t believe that he had been intimidated by a little girl. It would be embarrassing if this got out and people laughed at him.
However, when he thought about the serious look on the girl’s face, he couldn’t help but believe her.
So, after hurriedly notifying everyone, he quickly went home to pack up his things. He had to bring the grain and the chickens and ducks from his home.
The people who stayed behind were also worried. Could it be that the refugees really were coming? Would the government not take action?
In any case, they decided to follow the village head and his team. If no refugees came, they would return, knowing that their houses and fields would still belong to them even if they were gone for a few days.
Thinking this way in their heart, they quickly turned around and went back to pack their things.
Although there wasn’t much food left at home, they couldn’t just let the refugees take it for nothing.
At this time, the Shen family was also busy packing their things in an organized manner because Shen Yu’an had warned them in advance.
They Move the grain from the cellar onto the carts, along with the clothes and fabrics they need to bring. They also packed utensils for eating on the road, as well as various odds and ends like oilcloth and raincoats, filling both carts to the brim.
In addition, Mrs. Shen also had Shen Yu’an pack some of the grain into her small chest, in order to make it less noticeable on the cart among the large amount of grain they had just sold at noon. Otherwise, it would be difficult to explain.
The Zhang family’s four members didn’t cause them any trouble. When they arrived, they brought a cart which, although it required manpower to push, was able to fit all of their belongings.
Zhang Mancang and his group also understood that it was a favor from the Shen family to take them in, so they couldn’t trouble them with everything and make things difficult for his sister and niece.
The Shen family didn’t say much either. They helped with what they could, and let Zhang’s family do what they could themselves.
After packing everything onto the carriage, the house looked empty, and everyone felt a little sad.
They didn’t know if they would be able to come back after leaving.
When Shen Yu’an entered the room, she found her mother still standing by the bed folding clothes, which she had probably folded numerous times before.
She approached and asked, “Mom, what’s wrong?”
“Your grandfather won’t come over either. How can I not worry?” Song Shi explained with a frown.
“Don’t worry about Grandpa and them. When we went to see them yesterday, they were fine. If they don’t come to our side, they must have their own thoughts,” Shen Yu’an comforted.
“Moreover, both of my uncles and a few male cousins have good martial arts skills, and it’s safe for them to stay together in the same village.”
“That’s true. We didn’t expect this to happen so suddenly,” Song Shi said with a smile.
Yesterday, Shen Yu’an accompanied Song Shi’s mother to the Song family’s village because she was worried about the safety of the people in the Song family.
Song Shi couldn’t do much either. She went to call for help yesterday, but her father thought it would be troublesome if so many people from the extended family came over. She said many things to persuade and comfort him, but in the end, he didn’t come over.
They also said that no matter what happens, they will follow the villagers’ actions and not worry about it.
Now, all they can do is hope that they have also heard the news and that everyone is safe.
At this time, the Song family’s village also received the news, and the person who brought the news back, Shen Yun, would definitely be recognized by them.
He happened to be a person to go to the Song family’s village and was also a son of a trustworthy person of the village. His words were trustworthy.
When Shen Yu’an and the others returned to the village, the man also went back to the Song family’s village and told his father about this matter.
The Song family’s village had few residents, with only over thirty households, and most of them relied on hunting for a living. Therefore, although the locust plague had caused some impact on them, it did not seriously affect their daily lives. If it weren’t for the arrival of refugees, they wouldn’t have left their village.