You are currently viewing Raising the Young Grand Secretary – 010

Raising the Young Grand Secretary – 010

Chapter 010

Author: Feast of Masks


Translated by Gumihou

Edited by Gumihou: Just some very small sentence restructuring for better understanding


When she heard that final order, Zhao’er immediately stopped moving. She smiled and said, “Grandfather, surely this is nothing that we can’t know? Since Gou’er is staying back, I shall stay and have a listen too.”

Old Man Xue flashed her a glance. His voice suddenly became more aggressive as he said, “What is a woman like you doing here? Men are talking, does a woman like you have a role in men’s talk?”

Zhao’er was not annoyed. Instead, she cast a look at Yang’shi and said in an aggrieved tone, “Then why is Eldest Aunt here? Isn’t she a woman? Also, Gou’er is not good at talking, I’m afraid that he will annoy Grandpa with his clumsy words.”

The fact that she was broadly hinting that she feared others would bully Xue Tingxiang was not lost to anyone in the room.

Old Man Xue stared at her. He was beginning to wonder if the whole matter was started by this little brat. He knew that Gou’er was the taciturn type, so why did he not go and cry at his parents’ grave a little earlier or later, but just have to go and cry at such a critical time?

Thinking of all the messy things that this wretched little girl had done in the past, disgust and annoyance brewed in Old Man Xue’s heart, but he knew that this was not the time to vent his anger. He must settle this urgent matter first.

“Since you want to listen, then listen,” his tone basically told everyone to take themselves away, there was no way anyone could miss the dissatisfaction in his voice.

Zhao’er suddenly became deaf to nuances and took his words at face value and stood on the side.

Seeing this, Sun’shi dragged Xue Qinghuai back into the room and refused to move, “Since Zhao’er is here, let us all listen too, ba.” She said with a tittering laugh.

Old Man Xue was even more furious. He snapped, “If you want to listen, stay and listen!”

Most of the people stayed, including four-year-old Mao Dan. Even Zhou’shi, who was supposed to be busy in the kitchen, came in with a rag. After cleaning the table she did not leave.

Within the large dining hall, there was only one lit oil lamp on the table. The flame shuddered and danced on the wick, casting shadows and light everywhere. All eyes were on Old Man Xue. However, once he had everyone’s attention, he was suddenly unsure how to start speaking. He looked around the table and studied the faces around him with hooded eyes. Finally, he looked directly at Xue Tingxiang.

“In fact, it was nothing much. I just want to talk a little about what Eldest had said about sending the child to study at the town school.”

Zhao’er was immediately nervous, and she could not help but glance over at Xue Tingxiang, then back at Old Man Xue.

The couple from the main branch felt a sudden surge of happiness. They knew that this had to be the moment they had been waiting for. They had not endured these hard days for nothing.

Xue Qingshan could not hide the joy on his face. Even so, he managed to look at Xue Tingxiang with pity and compassion in his eyes. After looking at all the people around him, he returned his pity-filled gaze to Xue Tingxiang.

“Gou’re, ah. Don’t be discouraged, ah. After all, you are still lacking compared to your brother Juncai. Learn from your uncle for another two years. When the time comes, our family will also send you to town to study.”

This kind of mincing tone was too annoying, Zhao’er’s lips curled into a sneer and was about to say something when Xue Tingxiang pulled at her sleeve.

Xue Qingshan took in this sight and snickered privately in his heart. He thought: No matter how tricky this little brat is, the type of trouble she could cause was only the size of sesame seeds and mung beans, in short, petty little embarrassing matters. She is not someone who could ever achieve great things.

Feeling uncharacteristically benevolent, he smiled and said, “Zhao’er, ah. You also don’t be angry, ah. Uncle knows that you are ambitious, but no matter how great your ambition is, it still can’t be eaten. Don’t you think so?”

Nobody said anything.

At this time, Old Man Xue suddenly snapped, “Eldest! What are you talking about!?”

With a shrug, Xue Qingshan said casually, “Father, can’t you see that I’m trying to encourage Gou’er…”

Old Man Xue’s beard was shaking with his fury. He pointed the stem of his pipe at Xue Qingshan, “What encouragement? The one who would be studying in town is not Juncai, but Gouzi!”

The impact of his words was like a stone that caused a thousand waves.

The moment of stunned silence was broken by Old Zhao’s high-pitched voice, “Old man, what are you saying? What do you mean the one who would be studying in town is not Juncai?”

Xue Qingshan also said, “Father, did you confuse yourself and say the wrong name?”

“Your father is not confused. I also did not say the wrong name. Gouzi will be studying in town, not Juncai!”

After delivering this speech, Old Man Xue appeared to have lost all energy and refused to speak again. Everyone in the room kept looking back and forth between Xue Tingxiang and Xue Juncai, surprise on their faces.

Xue Qingshan’s smile cracked, Yang’shi was stunned.

Xue Juncai’s handsome little face flushed red, “Grandpa…”

Old Man Xue waved a tired hand at them, “Enough, go back to your rooms.”

It was difficult to refute the old man when he was like this, everyone had no choice but to leave. In the end, only the main branch family stayed behind.

As soon as everyone was gone from the main fall, a shrill voice shrieked, “Old man, you had better explain yourself! What do you mean the one who would study in town is Gouzi and not my Juncai!”

Naturally, the one doing the shrieking was Old Zhao.

There was also Xue Qingshan’s voice, intertwined with Yang’shi’s aggrieved sobs followed by Old Man Xue’s tired explanation.

No secrets could be kept from the people living under the same roof. By morning, everyone knew what had happened.

The next morning, those who should be up early had already woken up.

However, it was clear that their spirits were not good, that most people did not sleep well the night before. Yang’shi’s eyes were red and swollen, she had clearly been crying.

Xue Qingshan’s eyes were also red, but it was the red veins in his eyes that stood out. He would look at Zhao’er and Xue Tingxiang now and then with sinister eyes, but it was unclear why he did not say anything.

The whole atmosphere was very depressing. No one spoke, the people were all there and going about their own chores, but everything was strangely quiet.

After breakfast, Old Man Xue grabbed his hoe and made his way to the field. Xue Qingbai and Xue Qinghuai did not dare delay either. One led the cow out while the other picked up an iron plough and both followed their father to the field..

Xue Qingshan also did not remain in the house. However, it was unclear where he went after he left the house.

Unlike the rest of the Xue family members, Zhao’er was very happy.

She had learned about the whole matter from Xue Tingxiang himself and had fallen asleep nearly trembling with excitement. She was not actually gloating over other people’s misery. In her heart of hearts, she had already made up her mind that of course, her little man should attend the town school. Her main obstacle was a lack of money. This news was nothing short of a great joy to her.

Understanding that students who attended that school would be very particular about appearances and such, she purposefully searched out a piece of blue cloth that she had been keeping in the bottom of a box for a long time. This cloth was part of Qiu’shi’s dowry and she had given it to Zhao’er to make some clothes for herself. Sadly, she had been reluctant to do so and never used it all this while. Right now, she would use this cloth to make a bookbag for Xue Tingxiang.

After cutting out the patterns, she got her needle and thread, ready to sew the cloth together. All this while, she chattered on aimlessly at Xue Tingxiang about random things. It was at this time that the curtain door was suddenly thrown open.

It was the main branch’s second boy, Xue Youcai.

Xue Youcai was only seven this year but was very stout and plump, it was clear that he was very well-fed. The moment he entered, he started shouting at Xue Tinxiang, “It’s just like you to snatch things from my elder brother. You are just like your dog name! You are no smarter than a dog!” 

A child’s mouth was truly poisonous. Moreover, he was used to watching his parent bully others at home and was basically the little tyrant of the household. Anyone who had to deal with him would really be angered. Signs of such behaviour had appeared a couple of years ago, but it was a pity that Yang’shi was determined to shield him, making excuses like ‘he is just too young and ignorant’. Two years later, he was still the same, no longer so young but still ignorant.

Zhao’er was one of the few people who would not tolerate his acting up. If anyone in the Xue Family dared to beat Xue Youcai, it was her. Which was why Xue Youcai was a little afraid of her. However, right then, he was more angry than afraid. Zhao’er stood up with a swish, however, before she could say anything, Xue Youcai suddenly threw something at her. The thing hit her in the face. The pain from being struck was expected, however, there was also an odd smell…

After being struck twice, Zhao’er wanted to dodge away, but remembering Xue Tingxiang still sitting on the kang bed, she turned to hug him protectively, her back exposed to the unknown things. Xue Tingxiang was unprepared about being hugged and though it was out of place, his face flushed red, and his heart rate picked up.

Once was wave of attack was over, Zhao’er finally let go. Xue Youcai had already run away. It turned out that he had been throwing dried cow dung at them.

Zhao’er was so disgusted that she immediately lifted her foot and chased after him.

She caught Xue Youcai at the courtyard gate. Without bothering to say anything, she grabbed him by the collar, snatched up a branch by the wall and lashed at him without further ceremony.

“Did not hit you for three days and you already dare to climb up my roof and paw at my roof tile…”

Xue Youcai struggled to run away, but Zhao’er’s grip was too strong. She whipped him methodically even as he cried and screamed. Even as he flopped to the ground and rolled around, she kept whipping him.

It was the classic pose of a young spoilt child.

Everyone in the house was shocked to see such a great commotion happening just in their yard and they all ran out of their room.

When Old Zhao noticed that Zhao’er was beating up her beloved Xue Youcai, she exploded with rage, “How dare you hit my grandson. Stop it!”

Zhao’er ignored her. She continued to scold the child, “See if you still dare to do this in the future? Of all the things you could pick up, you decide to pick up cow shit to throw at people? And those vicious words, who taught you how to talk like that? If you refuse to tell me, I won’t just hit you, I’ll take you to the river and wash your mouth out for you…”

By now, Yangs’shi had also appeared. She screamed, “Wang Zhao’er, you crazy brat! You dare hit Youcai!”

“Eldest Aunt, why don’t you have a good look and see just what he did today? Still young but refuse to learn good things at that age. Only learn how to swear like a coarse woman and throw shit at people. Let me tell you now, your Second Brother had a name and it is Xue Tingxiang. If you still dare to say dog-this or dog-that, I will hit you every time I see you!”

Xue Youcai cried until tears and snot mingled. It was a pity that no one could come to his rescue. Old Zhao was so angry that she was literally hopping in place, but she could not get past Heizi.

Although Heizi often looked a little dumb and lethargic, the moment he sensed danger to his masters, he would suddenly become alert and threatening. Right now he was growling, teeth bared and hackles raised against the people screaming at Zhao’er. Yang’shi was sure that if she dared to move forward, the dog would pounce and bite her.

It was at this moment that a surprised voice suddenly called out, “What are you all doing here?”

It was Xue Qingshan who called out. He had returned from his trip outside. With him were Patriarch Xue, Zheng Lizheng and five or six other villagers over the fifty-year mark.

Xue Qingshan was shocked by the situation at home. A sudden wry smile appeared on his face and he turned to the people beside him and said, “I won’t mention what was said by outsiders, right or wrong, how could anyone but the people involved truly know? However, speaking of Xue Gouzi’s business, I dare say no one would ever dare to bully him. That little girl had always been a spicy one and would kick up a fuss at every little provocation. If anyone dared to make trouble for him, I fear that we would have no peace in the house.”

The words were insidious and filled with double meanings. However, Zhao’er was not one to allow others to slander her. She immediately retorted, “Eldest Uncle, aren’t your words a little too slanderous? I have always respected the elders, and would never make trouble. When did I ever kick up a fuss about every provocation? Today, I whip this brat for a reason, he dares to insult-”

Yang’shi just so happened to interrupt her at this crucial point.

She rushed over hastily, her face wreathed with anxiety and distress as she grabbed Xue Youcai from Zhao’er and cried, “Just how old is he and how old are you? He is still too young to know such things and yet, you still pick fights with him…”

Yang’shi continued to whine and cry, looking very aggrieved and helpless. Xue Qingshan sighed from the side, shaking his head dramatically. If Zhao’er still had no idea what the couple was playing at, she was done for.

Her little face flushed with anxiety and she was about to explain herself again when Xue Tingxiang, who had also come out of the house, stopped her.

He took two steps forward, stood in front of Zhao’er and respectfully greeted Patriarch Xue, Zheng Lizheng and the elderly villagers. They were all from the same village, people who met regularly, if not on a daily basis. As someone from the younger generation, these were all his elders.

Once the proper greeting had been performed and etiquette observed, he turned to Yang’shi and said, “I hope that Eldest Aunt would not be angry and overlook this matter once. After witnessing Little Cai insulting me for having ‘dog’ in my name and throwing cow dung at us, Zhao’er was overtaken by a sudden impulse and beat Little Cai in a fit of anger.”

Xue Tingyan’s actions first gave people a good impression. As a scholar, one should always be gentle and polite. Next, he borrowed the apology to make things clear with just two lines.

Zhao’er is far from stupid. She felt wronged and was too eager to explain everything clearly and talked too much, allowing others to cut in and change the narrative. However, Xue Tingxiang only mentioned key points, leaving all irrelevant matters out.

He had spoken very well. While it was perfectly normal for children to be naughty, to specifically insult someone as a ‘dog’ and compare it to their name, it was clear that this kind of behaviour deserves more attention. Not to mention throwing cow dung at Xue Tingxiang, their elder brother, alludes to the child disrespecting his elder. The few lines also explain why Zhao’er was struck by the sudden impulse to mercilessly whip the child.

Sure enough, when Patriarch Xue and the rest heard this, coupled with the sombre expression on Xue Tingxiang’s thin, malnourished face, they naturally leaned a little more towards his side.


[Gumihou: See this? Now this is how a true ‘intelligent character’ speaks. Wham! Bam! Pow! Done. None of that thousand-word-TED Talks happening here. I’m talking about you, AR Qiuning!!] has a Membership System!!

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