Zhao Lan was famous for being biased in the book. She'd accepted Shao Qihai's allowance but only treated the children of the eldest branch well.
The money that was supposed to be used on Shao Dong and his siblings was all used on Shao Fu and the rest. Shao Dong and his siblings had suffered a lot and were dressed in rags. On the other hand, the children of the eldest branch wore new clothes and ate extremely well.
Mu Jingzhe looked coldly at Fu, Lu, Shou, and Xǐ's fat faces and clothes.
Zhao Lan hadn't expected to be asked for money when she'd come to ask for money. Her face turned red when she heard that. "You…"
Just as she was about to curse, she saw Mu Jingzhe wave the iron spear in her hand with an enigmatic smile.
Zhao Lan instantly gulped down her words. Seeing that Mu Jingzhe looked like she was about to attack at any moment, she took two steps back and swallowed her saliva.
"I'd like to be responsible for that, but I don't have any money. All the money was used up to build the house, and Qihai suddenly passed away…"
Zhao Lan ran away after complaining about having no money.
Fu, Lu, Shou, and Xǐ followed her closely. Judging from Mu Jingzhe's gaze, these four sensitive children felt like she might come up and rip off their new clothes at any moment.
Mu Jingzhe retracted her gaze regretfully.
She didn't make a move, mainly because she thought their clothes were dirty since they had worn them before. Therefore, she couldn't give them to Shao Dong and the others.
She turned around and met Shao Qiyang and the five children's gazes. Finally, she looked at the door.
Mu Jingzhe: "…"
Silently hiding the iron spade behind her, she said, "This door is a little decayed. It would be a good idea to replace it."
Shao Qiyang: "I just changed my door a few days ago."
If he hadn't been lifted by her after his fall on the way, he would have believed it.
Mu Jingzhe paused for a moment. "Alright, I'm actually a little strong."
"A little?" More like a lot, huh.
Mu Jingzhe said helplessly, "Yeah, a little."
Her original strength, which was as powerful as a bull's strength, had come with her when she'd transmigrated.
She was about to step forward to destroy the evidence when Shao Qiyang, who was in front of her, suddenly took a step back, wanting to stay as far away from her as possible. There was wariness in his eyes, as if she was a pervert who would pounce on him at any time.
Mu Jingzhe: "…"
This made her feel very displeased.
The original Mu Jingzhe had wanted to seduce her brother-in-law, but she didn't have that intention. Mu Jingzhe said directly, "Let's talk about some serious business in private."
Shao Qiyang reluctantly agreed. Upon seeing him nod, Shao Dong led his younger siblings away without having to be asked.
"I'm only treating you as my younger brother-in-law. Please don't get the wrong idea." Mu Jingzhe got straight to the point.
Shao Qiyang: "…"
Was that a misunderstanding? Why was her behavior so blatant then?
Mu Jingzhe pointed at the broken door. "Why don't you take a look at this door? If I really wanted to do something, do you think this door would be able to stop me? I could just tear it down easily."
Shao Qiyang was almost convinced before he saw the floral dress Mu Jingzhe was wearing.
His expression froze.
Mu Jingzhe looked down and saw the floral dress that she hadn't had the time to change out of last night.
Uh… This was the dress that the original Mu Jingzhe had stolen from Mu Xue. After finding out that her younger brother-in-law and Mu Xue seemed to have a thing, the original Mu Jingzhe had stolen it the previous night and worn it. She'd then imitated Mu Xue's voice and tried to trick Shao Qiyang into opening the door.
This was awkward. It was akin to claiming to be innocent before the evidence was destroyed.
Mu Jingzhe pretended not to see it. "Don't doubt me. To be honest, if I really wanted you to be something other than my younger brother-in-law, would you be able to stop me?"
Couldn't I just force myself on you? Would you be able to break free?
Shao Qiyang's eyes widened, and his face turned red. "You… You…"
He was so shocked that he was at a loss for words. This was the first time he had heard such words come from a woman's mouth, but he couldn't bring himself to retort.
After all, it seemed to be true.
Shao Qiyang's face instantly turned into an entire color palette.
He should have been relieved and happy after clarifying the matter, but the way she was going about it made him unable to feel happy.
Shao Qiyang was angry, embarrassed, and hateful.
While he was feeling embarrassed, Mu Jingzhe had already gone to the kitchen to prepare dinner. The children should be hungry by now.
When she entered the kitchen, she realized that Shao Dong had already turned on the stove.
"Be careful. Don't burn yourself." Mu Jingzhe hurriedly cautioned him.
Shao Dong looked at her speechlessly.
Mu Jingzhe instantly felt embarrassed, for Shao Dong started the fire to cook every day. He had even learned how to cook, and there were many burns on his hands.
It had only been three months since Shao Qihai's death, but these children had gone through all kinds of hardships.
Mu Jingzhe retracted her gaze and said, "I'll cook. You guys go out and play for now."
Shao Dong didn't say anything and silently took his younger siblings out. Mu Jingzhe spoke again with her back facing them.
"In the future, if Shao Fu and the rest want to cause you trouble again, don't fight with them. They are older than you. If you fight with them, you will be at a disadvantage. Look for me instead."
She would take care of it. She didn't have a bottom line that held her back from hitting children, as some children were worse than adults.
Shao Dong turned around and glanced at Mu Jingzhe. He thought to himself that he wasn't always the one to lose after a confrontation. And even if he suffered a loss, he would take revenge.
When Fu, Lu, and Shou went to school or went to play, they would often get beaten up by their peers on the way. Eldest Aunt scolded the perpetrators a lot, but it was useless. Every once in a while, they would be beaten up.
Even now, they still didn't know that this was Shao Dong borrowing someone else's hand to take revenge.
Lunch was ready in no time because Mu Jingzhe whipped up two simple dishes—Chinese dough knot soup and a carrot pancake.
She wanted to make a sumptuous meal, but there were no ingredients for her to work with.
The seven of them sat around the dining table and ate. After the first bite, their eyes lit up.
The few of them increased their eating speed.
It couldn't be helped, as it had been a long time since they had eaten such delicious food.
Previously, whenever Shao Dong had cooked, because he was really young and the ingredients were limited, they'd frequently eaten gruel.
As for Mu Jingzhe, she had been relying on herself since she was young, so it had been necessary for her to learn how to cook. After she'd been cooking for a long time, her culinary skills had developed, so even if she cooked simple food, it tasted good.
The few of them buried their heads in their food. There was no sound at the dining table.
Even the youngest, Shao Zhong, obediently ate by himself. Because he couldn't use the chopsticks very well, in the end, he simply lowered his head and kept drinking the soup.
Mu Jingzhe broke the carrot pancake into pieces and placed a bowl in front of him.
Shao Zhong secretly glanced at Mu Jingzhe and hesitated for a moment before eating.
He was three years old this year. His facial features were exquisite as a doll's, but he was very thin and he appeared filthy.
Even now, he still didn't know how to speak, nor did he know how to scream in pain or cry. Hence, he was despised and ignored. He would usually follow his older siblings around like an invisible person.
Even so, there were some differences between them, as he and his siblings didn't have the same mother.
They all had straight black hair, but his hair was curly and a little yellow. In modern times, with his naturally curly locks, he wouldn't have to dye or perm his hair and would save a lot of money. However, in this day and age, everyone said that his yellow hair was weird and called him a mute bastard.
Feeling Mu Jingzhe's gaze on him, Shao Zhong lowered his head even more until he was almost under the table.
Mu Jingzhe shifted away her gaze and sized up the others.
On the whole, they were all beautiful, but… they were really thin. Their clothes were dirty and torn, and they looked malnourished.
Even though she was just a temporary mother, she had to feed them well and keep them warm.
Mu Jingzhe only had one thought when she saw that there was no soup left in the pot of Chinese dough knot soup.
No, we can't go on like this. It might be okay for adults, but kids need nourishment while growing up. I have to think of something.