In the beginning, Mu Jingzhe hadn't thought of taking things this far.
However, Zhao Lan hadn't even been willing to lend her money, so she'd had to take it herself.
Since she'd had to take it herself, she wasn't going to return it.
Mu Jingzhe, who had read the novel, had known where Zhao Lan had hidden her money. One of her hiding spots was the hole behind the urinal in the corner of her room.
It contained the allowance that Shao Qihai had sent back over the years. The money used to build the house and pay for the daily expenses had come from this money.
As for her private savings, they had been hidden in the burial mound of her late husband.
Zhao Lan's so-called private savings were actually the money for Shao Zhong's treatment, as well as the money for the other children's illnesses that Zhao Lan had requested from Shao Qihai intermittently.
Shao Dong and the others hadn't been taken to the doctor when they were sick, not even once. However, Zhao Lan would ask for money from time to time, accumulating small sums into a big amount over time.
She would visit the grave every other day. The villagers said that she couldn't forget her deceased husband, but in reality, she was going there to look at her private savings.
Last night, Mu Jingzhe had taken advantage of the dark night and gone to the back mountain to take Zhao Lan's money.
She didn't feel guilty at all.
Using it to treat Shao Zhong's illness was a hundred times better than having it spent on good food for Zhao Lan, Shao Fu, and his family.
Mu Jingzhe naturally wouldn't admit it, but Zhao Lan was certain that it was her.
She had gone to check her private savings today, but she hadn't expected it to be gone just like that. It just so happened that Mu Jingzhe had also taken Shao Zhong to see a doctor.
How could there be such a coincidence?
Zhao Lan extended her hands and pounced on Mu Jingzhe. "You still refuse to admit that you stole my money! I'll beat you to death, you thief… Ah…"
Zhao Lan's momentum was fierce, but by the time she reached Mu Jingzhe, she couldn't move.
Just as Zhao Lan was about to kick her, Mu Jingzhe exerted force, and Zhao Lan felt like her arm was going to break.
"Let go! Let go of me!"
"Have you completely calmed down, mom? I'll let you go once you've calmed down."
It would be strange if Zhao Lan could stay calm now. "I'll kill you—"
Mu Jingzhe tilted her head. "Little Dong, help me."
Shao Dong hesitated for a moment before stepping forward to help.
Before Mu Jingzhe had returned, Zhao Lan had already taught them a lesson and given them a harsh dressing-down.
At Mu Jingzhe's command, he bound Zhao Lan's hands with a strap and tied her to a pillar.
Shao Dong and his siblings were dumbfounded.
Meanwhile, Zhao Lan was furious.
"Mu Jingzhe, you're so dead. I'll have you divorced today. Get out of the Shao Residence this very moment…"
Mu Jingzhe dug her ear. "How about… we find another towel to gag you?"
"How dare you!"
Mu Jingzhe only wanted to scare her a little. She hadn't expected to see Shao Nan pass an old towel to her.
Mu Jingzhe: "…"
Upon closer inspection, the towel seemed to be the one they used to wipe their feet.
Mu Jingzhe glanced at the innocent, obedient-looking Shao Nan. Tsk tsk… This devious little kid.
She shook her head slightly and looked at Shao Xi. "Quick, invite the village chief over."
Disappointment flashed across Shao Nan's eyes as he put away the towel.
"Mu Jingzhe, what are you doing? Are you crazy? How can you tie Mom up?"
At that moment, Eldest Sister-In-Law Shao walked through the door, her face full of shock. "I knew something was amiss based on the sounds. How could you do such a thing?"
Then, without waiting for Mu Jingzhe to react, she turned to Shao Xi and his siblings. "Are you just going to watch Grandma get tied up? Or did you kids steal the money?"
Shao Bei retorted, "We didn't take it. We don't even know where it is."
"Children shouldn't lie. If you did something wrong, you have to admit it. Didn't you go to Grandma's room last night? Did you take it yourself, or did someone ask you to?"
Eldest Sister-In-Law Shao didn't speak loudly, but she spoke very quickly. With a few words, she determined what was going on. When she finished speaking, the village chief happened to arrive.
She immediately turned to the village chief and said, "Village Chief, what are you doing here? How could they alarm you over such a trivial matter? Children are insensible and can't distinguish right from wrong, so they took their granny's money. How embarrassing that they let you witness this. I'll untie my mother-in-law now."
Shao Bei's face and eyes were red from anger.
At that moment, a hand suddenly stroked her head.
Shao Bei looked up and saw Mu Jingzhe.
Mu Jingzhe looked at Eldest Sister-In-Law Shao and clicked her tongue. "Eldest Sister-In-Law, why did you start acting and making things up as soon as you came in? This is our home, not a theater. Let's talk normally. Also, don't be in a hurry to untie her."
She looked at the village chief. "Village Chief, my mother-in-law seems to have gone crazy."
The village leader looked at Zhao Lan, who was cursing. "What?"
"I don't know what triggered my mother-in-law, but she suddenly accused me of stealing her money and then went crazy and started trying to hit me. She's my mother-in-law, so I couldn't retaliate. I could only tie her up and let her calm down so that she wouldn't hurt herself."
Before the village leader could speak, he was interrupted by Zhao Lan.
"Mu Jingzhe, you're the one playing dumb. You're the one who stole my money. Listen to me, I'm going to kill you if you don't pay me back!"
"If you didn't have money, how could I have stolen it?" Mu Jingzhe scoffed. "Yesterday, when I asked to borrow money from you to treat Little Zhong's condition, you kept insisting that you didn't have money. Now that I took Little Zhong to the doctor, you're accusing me of stealing your money? What kind of logic is that? You said that I stole money, but it's more like you're extorting me."
Zhao Lan rolled her eyes in fury. "You stole it precisely because I refused to lend it to you!"
"I didn't steal it. I borrowed money from my mother."
"Bah! Who would believe that? Only your mother, perhaps."
Eldest Sister-In-Law Shao added, "Jingzhe, how much money did you take from mom? Return it to her quickly."
Now that they were no longer receiving money from Shao Qihai, she had the same goal as Zhao Lan—she had to get the money back.
Zhao Lan's eyes flashed with ruthlessness as she said fiercely, "If you don't return the money to me, I'll go to the Mu Family and ask for it. I want the entire village to know that you stole the money and that someone from the Mu Family is a thief."
"You can say whatever you want. No one will believe you." Mu Jingzhe didn't care at all. "Everyone in the village knows that the Shao Family has no money. I will ask again: If you didn't have money, how could I possibly have stolen it?
"Or are you saying that you had money but you couldn't afford to treat your grandson's illness?"
Zhao Lan thought to herself that there was nothing wrong with him. She then heard Mu Jingzhe answer her own question. "That's impossible. Mom, you said before that you would kindly treat the children Shao Qihai left behind. How could you be unwilling to treat your grandson's illness?"
She stared at Zhao Lan and said, "Even I, a stepmother, borrowed money to treat his illness, yet his biological grandmother had the money but didn't want to treat her grandson's illness? You were not even willing to lend the money? Isn't that a beastly action? You're not a beast, right?"
Are you going to be an animal and insist that I stole your money, or are you going to admit that you had no money and have wrongly accused me?
Zhao Lan's expression finally changed as she looked at Mu Jingzhe.
She wanted to curse out loud and demand her money back, but when she saw the village chief gaze at her and then looked at the people outside who had heard the commotion and come over, she almost bit off her teeth but didn't say anything.
Only then did she realize that Mu Jingzhe had considered everything thoroughly.
This was the first time Zhao Lan had tasted the bitter taste of having to suffer in silence.
She had already lost her money, so why couldn't she just righteously deal with the person who had stolen it? Why did she have to be so aggrieved?
"You… You… Ah!" Zhao Lan screamed in rage.
"See, I told you that my mother-in-law was acting strange!" Mu Jingzhe calmly looked at her and exclaimed.
After everyone left, Mu Jingzhe announced that Shao Zhong's health was fine and that he would be able to speak if he worked hard at it. She encouraged everyone to talk to Shao Zhong more before asking Shao Dong to stay and see her in private.
Mu Jingzhe took some money out of her bag and handed it to Shao Dong.
"I was actually the one who took your grandmother's money."
Shao Dong: "…"