“This woman was just spouting rubbish, Li Zheng, please don’t take it to heart!” Sang Pingliang smiled then added, “Rest assured, I can promise you that we will treat Xiao Fei as our own son once he’s adopted. If you don’t believe us, we can put that down on paper! Sigh, when one is old without a son, just thinking about the future brings chills to my heart; we really harbor no other reasons! Li Zheng, you are a person of old age as well, surely you must be able to empathize with me!”
“Ah Hong, what do you think?” Li Zheng sighed again. If only I knew it would come to this, I would have acted differently!
“No!” With the situation reaching this stage, Sang Hong knew he had to remain firm. If he were to show any signs of giving in, they would definitely grab onto it tightly.
“You unfilial brat! Are you in a position to decide? I won’t accept a ‘no’ for an answer even if you disagree!” Sang Pingliang glared at Sang Hong and snarled. His heart was full of anger! He had almost convinced Li Zheng entirely but this rascal just had to become so hard-headed!
Refusing to back down, Sang Hong replied, “If Mister Sang had raised this before yesterday, I would have said nothing. But now, saying that I’m unfilial doesn’t seem right, does it?”
“Eh, Ah Hong isn’t wrong!” Li Zheng glared at the furious Sang Pingliang. “Your family has broken ties with theirs; both of you are no longer their elders now, so how can you criticize him for being unfilial? If he is unwilling to let you adopt his blood-related brother, then so be it. You have no say in this! Alright, alright! Let’s stop with this now! From how I see it, the two of you are still healthy. Why not just go to a neighboring district to adopt another child from the same ancestry? He will still be able to look after you and give you a proper burial!”
A sudden realization struck Li Zheng, and he took a brief look at Sang Pingliang and Li Shi. Oh, since Sang Yufei is all grown up now, they would be able to have another pair of working hands without having to lift a finger at raising another child once they adopt him! This couple must indeed be harboring this thought!
Li Zheng looked down on them even more. He waved his hand impatiently and said, “Enough, enough! Old Brother Sang, you are also a wizened man now; you can’t keep making changes to decisions that were already made! How can you simply revert the decision you made yesterday? Furthermore, this isn’t a small matter! Enough of this already, it’s no longer early now, so all of you, please go back! Oh right, take the chickens that you brought here with you as well!”
This couple… Thinking again, those words surely were redundant; they would have taken those chickens away without my reminder.
“Please excuse me!” Sang Hong stood up and cupped his hands together as he bid farewell.
However, Sang Pingliang grabbed onto him and said, “We have not asked Xiao Fei about this! How do you know whether Xiao Fei is unwilling? Call Xiao Fei now, I will ask him directly!”
“That’s right, that’s right! Xiao Fei is so nice, unlike you, an unconscientious brat!” Li Shi chipped in.
Why is this couple talking in such an erratic manner today? Li Zheng was perplexed. Something is definitely strange!
“Alright then, call Xiao Fei over and ask him too.” Li Zheng felt disgusted at how persistent the couple was acting and wished he could chase them away as soon as possible. Thus, he warned, “I will say this upfront. If Xiao Fei is unwilling, then we’ll close this matter! Everyone here will speak no more about this and quickly return to your own homes!”
“Then if he is willing, Li Zheng, you’ll have to help us!” Li Shi hurriedly said.
Li Zheng glanced at Sang Hong and seeing how he had nothing to comment, nodded his head, “If he is willing, then I will help you guys with this matter.” After calling for his son, he instructed him to head to Sang Hong’s house and invite Sang Yufei over.
In just a short while, Sang Yufei knocked on the door becoming coming in, “Li Zheng, you wished to see me?”
“Xiao Fei ah! You’re finally here!”
“Xiao Fei, come, come. Second Uncle has a huge piece of good news to tell you!”
Not waiting for Li Zheng to speak, Sang Pingliang and his wife had smiles on their faces as though they had spotted a gold bar. They hurried towards Sang Yufei and spoke adoringly to him.
With great difficulty, Sang Yufei was finally able to pull himself away from them before smiling bitterly, “What’s going on? Mister Sang and Auntie Sang, you’re speaking too fast!”
“This is a huge piece of good news to you, so listen to us carefully!” Sang Pingliang then told Sang Yufei about how he wanted him to be his son and how all of their inheritance would be his in the future; he would be allowed to study for as long as he wanted and would not be financially interrupted! Sang Pingliang also made repeated promises on how he would treat him like his blood-related son and that a written document could be drawn right here in Li Zheng’s place if his words weren’t credible enough!
As soon as Sang Yufei heard that, he knew that they must have somehow gotten wind of his success. Whilst mocking them deep down, he did not show it on the surface.
Sang Pingliang had a bright smile on his face and his mouth could not stay shut as he forcefully pulled Sang Yufei to be in front of Li Zheng before saying excitedly, “Li Zheng, just look. Xiao Fei has no objections to us. Will you please help us to write the document?”
“Yes, please help us. We wouldn’t want others ruin this matter in the future, do we?” Li Shi agreed immediately while glaring at Sang Hong.
“Mister Sang!” Sang Yufei quickly released himself from Sang Pingliang’s grasp, “I did not agree to this! I’ve stayed with my brother and sister-in-law for all my life, I don’t wish to be adopted!”
“Are you learning from that unfilial brat as well?” Sang Pingliang’s face immediately turned cold.
“Unfilial? Just how is Mister Sang related to us? Such words should not be spouted without care!” Sang Yufei was not as mellow as Sang Hong. The corner of his lips curled as he spoke sarcastically.
“I, I am your second uncle! You can’t change that!”
“But yesterday, you just did so yourself. On a white paper with black ink, surely Mister Sang hasn’t forgotten about it so quickly, right? If you did, please go back and take it out to read again!” Sang Yufei glanced at them coldly and pulled at Sang Hong, “Big Brother, let’s go home!”
“I say, Old Brother Sang ah! You should really give up this time,” Li Zheng urged impatiently, “Just look at the time now; go back, go back and make dinner at home! Let’s just end this matter here! And don’t speak about this anymore! Just go out there and adopt a child, wouldn’t it be the same? If not, just find a son-in-law to marry into your family! Why do you have to separate others from their family?”
An instant karma! Not a day had passed, and they were already slapping their own faces! Really, why are these two making such a scene!
Li Zheng shook his head in confusion, expressing how he could not understand their thoughts at all.
“You did it on purpose, you all did it on purpose!” Sang Pingliang was so angry as he pointed at Sang Hong and Sang Yufei without a care for everything else, “You two, you two brothers must have teamed up to pranked us! Sang Yufei, you cold-blooded rascal! So you want to cut off ties with us once you’ve become the top escorted examinee? You cold-blooded rascal!”
“What?!” Li Zheng and Sang Yufei exclaimed sceptically. After a moment of astonishment, a momentary sense of uneasiness flashed past Sang Hong’s eyes but he quickly regained his composure.
“What? Become the top escorted examinee? Are saying me, are you saying that I—— have clinched that title?” Sang Yufei’s eyes were wide open as he pointed right at his nose, in disbelief, before laughing out loud, “I say, Mister Sang, please don’t pull jokes like this! If I didn’t manage to get it, will you compensate me for this one?”
“What exactly is happening?” Li Zheng was also confused. “Did you hear wrongly? Did Xiao Fei really become a top escorted examinee?” Li Zheng asked excitedly.
“The entire town knows about it now, how can it be wrong!” Sang Pingliang sneered, as he described what he saw and heard in town today. He pointed at Sang Yufei and questioned, “And you dare to say you don’t know? Hehe, if you don’t know, then would you have acted the way you did yesterday? You were obviously afraid that we would gain benefits from your success, so you set a trap for us to fall into!”
“Mister Sang!” Sang Yufei said coldly, “Yesterday, all I did was borrow flour from your house. It’s okay if you didn’t want to lend it to us, but what did you say? Do you really need me to repeat the words you said yesterday? It’s okay if you had only scolded us, but you even went on to scold our father! And today, you even dared to scold me for being unfilial! The ones who insisted on cutting ties and eventually went to find Li Zheng were the two of you. My sister-in-law had tried to stop you numerous times, but did you guys listen to her? Oh, so now I’ve become a top escorted nominee ah. Hehe, no wonder you’d want to adopt me! Mister Sang, Auntie Sang, what a well-made plan! My brother and sister-in-law had painstakingly provided me with food to eat, clothes to wear and supported my education, while the two of you are here trying to reap the benefits without lifting a finger!”
Li Zheng was doing his best to contain his own excitement. After hearing Sang Yufei’s words, he sighed and said, “Old Brother Sang, no matter what, you have already cut off ties with them. Since Xiao Fei, erm, Second Young Master Sang is not willing to be adopted, then that is final! This matter shall not be mentioned anymore!”
If he had not known about Sang Yufei becoming a top escorted examinee, it was still fine to call him by name. But now that he knew, a small figure like him wouldn’t dare to call him by his nickname when even the mayor had to greet him respectfully.
“All of you were colluding! To deceive us!” Flushed with embarrassment and anger, Sang Pingliang scolded even Li Zheng as well.
“How dare you say that?” Li Zheng fumed, “Who was the one that begged me for help yesterday? Huh?”
“No, no, I wasn’t saying you! It was them, they must have known about it first, that’s why they would—” Sang Pingliang no longer had the confidence and started pointing fingers at the Sang brothers again.
Sang Yufei smiled tauntingly, “Didn’t you say that you saw a group of officials announcing the good news in town today? When even our local officials have yet to receive the news, how could I have gotten it first? Anyway, this is indeed a big piece of good news. If I had known, would I have came back shabbily? Unless, Mister Sang, you’re trying to play a prank with me? Have I really gotten the title?”
Sang Yufei creased his brows, his face full of uneasiness.
“You—” Sang Pingliang was sure that he had already known about the news beforehand and seeing how he was acting so pretentious, the anger in him almost choked him.
“At the age the both of you are now at, why are you still acting so appallingly? When they were in trouble, you stood aside and merely chided them. Now, that they have attained some success, you try to mooch off them. Do you really think that there are free lunches in the world? Alright, forgive me, since I can’t help you in this matter, please return!” Li Zheng pressured them coldly.
Li Zheng was not foolish; he was able to read the situation and suspect that yesterday’s matter was planned by the Sang brothers beforehand. But he was not dumb enough to say that out. Sang Pingliang was a selfish person that only cared about his own benefits. If there were no benefits to gain, he would not have insisted on adopting Sang Yufei. Presently, his actions meant that the news he brought back was highly probable. Which also meant that Sang Yufei was now a top escorted examinee! In the future, he might have to suck up to Sang Yufei for various reasons! So right now, it would do him good to do the top escorted examinee a favor!