Chapter 0001 – Half a steamed bun led to a bloody scene
Li Xiaowan slowly regained her awareness and came out of her muddled-state. Her nose sniffed the unique brine of the sea and her ears registered the faint lapping of waves. She must be dreaming. It definitely had to be a dream! Her hometown was inland. She had only seen the ocean once in her life when she went to visit her younger sister at her college, which had been in a city near the sea. How could she be hearing the sound of the sea?
Li Xiaowan did her best to open her eyes, but she continued to be tangled in that viscous darkness. She felt as if she was having a nightmare - seemingly conscious, but unable to wake up.
“Second older sister! Second older sister! Waah… Second older sister, don’t die! Shitou isn’t hungry anymore. Shitou won’t eat any more steamed buns! Second older sister, please wake up, ah…”
Li Xiaowan felt a small mass over her body that was desperately shaking her arm.
Second older sister? She was clearly the oldest in her family. Their father and mother had passed away when she was in junior high. As the oldest child, she'd dropped out of school and raised her younger brother and sister. She'd been called oldest sister for over twenty years, so how was her title suddenly 'second' older sister? This person must be mistaking her for someone else!
“Too evil! Injuring her to the point of putting her at death’s door! The child only picked up a steam bun to eat. Little Cao doesn’t have a sturdy body to begin with, and she's bleeding from her head wounds. Is... is she still breathing?”
“It was her aunt that did this! A steamed bun isn’t worth much. I can’t believe she actually knocked the child’s head against the side of a boat. I’ve never seen such a heartless person!”
“Little Cao’s father is famous for catching fish in the surrounding villages. He also knows how to hunt. Old Yu’s five new rooms and boat were all built through her father’s efforts. What’s the big deal about a child eating a steamed bun?”
“This child doesn’t look well. Hurry and bring little Cao’s mother back here. I’m worried that she won’t even be able to see her alive one last time!”
“As expected, Li Guihua has a knife for a mouth and an ax for a heart. She’s even acting this viciously toward her own niece. We should stay away from her. Otherwise, if we accidentally offend her, she might catch us off guard one day and stab us in the back.”
Li Xiaowan’s ears were filled with the murmuring voices of strangers. As she gradually gained awareness, she felt that she was lying on soft sand and felt bursts of pain from her forehead. There seemed to be a lot of people surrounding her. What a strange dream. When would she wake up?!
“What nonsense are you guys talking about?! If you don’t know the truth, don’t speak nonsense! This brat stole a steamed bun that I had brought back from my maiden family. I only scolded her a bit and lightly pushed her a few times. Who could have expected that’s she would fall over on the boat?! Haven’t I already told my family’s Heizi to bring a doctor over? Humph! She’s the same as her mother. She has a lady’s weak body, but she’s fated to live a poor person’s life. She’s a sickly seedling that only knows how to waste food!” A sharp-voice woman shouted these words like a broken gong.
“Second older sister didn’t steal the steamed bun! The steamed bun had dropped on the ground, and Heizi had left it there because it was dirty. Second older sister saw that I was hungry, so she picked it up! Second older sister isn’t a thief!” That childish voice was sniffling, but her words were clear.
“You wretched brat! You’re already learning to speak lies at such a young age! Your older cousin Heizi clearly said that your second older sister stole the steamed bun, but she wouldn’t admit it! I only lightly pushed her. Perhaps, she deliberately knocked herself against the side of the boat and used the trick of injuring herself to avoid punishment!” Within the woman’s bitter voice, a hint of her guilty conscience was exposed.
“Big Shan’s wife, you words are unreasonable! There’s a large bloody wound on this child’s head, and she’s barely breathing. And yet, here you are, falsely accusing a child of deliberately injuring herself to gain sympathy! How old could she possibly be? How could she be capable of knowing such trickery?!” This voice was old, but it was full of confidence and energy and also held a trace of anger.
Exactly! Well said! This woman was truly a piece of quality work. Giving a child a bloody injury over a steamed bun! And that child was her relative! Li Xiaowan wanted to open her eyes. She wanted to see the “quality” of this woman, but her eyelids felt as if they weighed 500 hundred kilograms and she couldn’t open them.
“Cao-er -” This was a tired voice that held worry and distress.
Lin Xiaowan felt her body being hugged by a pair of thin and weak arms and with a few drops of tears that fell onto her face.
Such a warm embrace, it was… the touch of a mother. How long had it been? Since her mother had passed away in a car accident when she was fifteen years old, she hadn’t felt such a warm and comfortable feeling. Even though she had learned to clench her teeth and be strong, Lin Xiaowan still had an impulsive desire to cry.
“Younger sister… she’s already lost a lot of blood! Mother, right now isn’t the time to be crying. We need to hurry and call a doctor!” This was a young girl’s voice. She was ten years old at the most… But, who was she calling younger sister? It couldn’t be her, right? Lin Xiaowan suddenly had a foreboding feeling. Why was this dream becoming increasingly realistic?
She gasped. Her forehead hurt so much and she felt that someone was hugging her… This definitely wasn’t a dream! But, she had clearly lived twenty-nine years as Lin Xiaowan, why had she suddenly turned into “Cao-er”?
“Move aside, hurry and move aside. The doctor is here!”
The woman hugging her only knew how to cry. The woman finally raised her head and begged while trembling, “Doctor You, please save Cao-er. Please save my daughter!” Her voice was weak and helpless.
“Put the child down. I’ll stop her bleeding first…” Lin Xiaowan felt a pair of hands gently wiping away the blood on her forehead. Her body trembled from pain when the doctor was cleaning the wound. She lightly opened her eyes, but the glare from the sun caused her to close her eyes again.
“She’s awake! She’s awake! Little Cao is awake!” One of the surrounding people yelled out.
As Doctor You gently wrapped the little girl’s injury, he said, “It’s good that she’s awake, but her body is weak to begin with and she’s lost so much blood. She needs to properly recuperate for a period of time. Give her something nutritious to eat so that her body will heal properly.”
Lin Xiaowan slowly opened her eyes to a narrow slit and gradually got used to the brightness level in front of her. By the time she had clearly seen everything around her, she couldn’t help feeling gobsmacked. Why was she surrounded by a group of people dressed in ancient times costumes? She recalled the voices she had recently heard… It couldn’t be that the melodramatic and nonsensical plot of transmigration had fallen onto her head, right?
“Cao-er, are you awake? Does your head hurt? Tell mother, are you feeling uncomfortable anywhere else?”
Lin Xiaowan followed the sound of the voice, turned her head, and met a pair of eyes that were covered with concern and distress. Eh…. Was this her mother? She looked too young. She didn’t look that much older than herself.
“Younger sister, who hurt you? I’ll go and yell at that person for you!” This thin, little girl looked like she wasn’t even ten years old. This was her older sister? Lin Xiaowan widened her eyes, lowered her head to look at herself – a small palm, a small body – she inwardly wryly smiled. Could it be that the Heavens had taken pity on her because she had experienced hardships in her past life to support her family when she was only a teenager and was letting her relive the childhood that had been shattered?
Oh Heavens, couldn’t you have chosen a family with good qualifications? Look at these malnourished and haggard family members that were wearing shabby clothing. She had even picked up a dirty piece of steamed bun that someone had thrown away. Wasn’t this too wretched?
Lin Xiaowan gradually recovered from the shock of transmigrating and regained her calmness. Since there wasn’t anything she could do to change her situation, she might as well accept it. Her previous life’s younger brother and sister already had jobs and their own families. It was about time for her to take a step back. She had fulfilled her responsibility as their older sister. She wondered; were her brother and sister, which were separated from her by space and time, currently broken-heartedly sobbing because of her sudden “death”?
For a moment, Lin Xiaowan was somewhat absentminded. She recalled that year when she had recently moved up 8th grade. She had been fifteen years old at the time. Her dad and mom had already brought a set of dishes, but when they were halfway there, they both passed away in a car accident. After her father’s older brother and younger brother had hastily and carelessly sorted out her parent’s funeral arrangements, they quickly left. They acted as if they were afraid of being contaminated by these three orphaned and alone children if they left too slowly.
As the oldest sibling, she voluntarily dropped out of school. She picked up the responsibility of caring for her younger brother and sister on her thin and young shoulders. That year, her younger sister was twelve years old and her younger brother had recently turned ten.
During the past fourteen years, not only did she have to manage her family’s three acres of farmland, she had to go all over the place to earn money in order to pay for her younger brother and sister’s tuition. She was afraid that the bosses wouldn't hire her because she was too young, so she lied by saying she was already seventeen and just looked young for her age.
She bought and sold vegetables, assisted other people in selling fruit, worked as a waiter, worked in a factory… Later, the owner of a braised dishes shop saw how she endured hardships, worked hard, and was a sincere and honest person. The owner also felt sympathetic towards her because of her sad situation and hired her to work in her shop.
The owner of braised dishes shop treated her pretty well. Her compensation included meals and the wages were also higher than other shops. The lady boss had also unreservedly taught her how to make the shop’s specialty dishes. Later on, the lady boss decided to go back to her hometown and transferred this widely praised and very popular braised dishes shop to her for a low price. It was by relying on this small shop that enabled her to put her younger siblings through middle school, high school…
Her younger sister was sensible and felt distressed that her older sister woke up early and went to sleep late in order to work and allow her siblings to attend school. After her younger sister graduated high school, she hid the truth of not taking the college entrance exam from her and secretly headed out with the other village girls to the south to work.
Because of this matter, Lin Xiaowan had bitterly cried for a period. She hated herself for not being skillful enough and delaying her younger sister’s future. With her younger sister’s grades, although she wouldn’t have been able to enter a famous college, she probably wouldn’t have a problem scoring well enough to enter college.
Her younger brother had always scored the best in his class since he was a child. He had even skipped a grade when he was in elementary school and middle school. When he was fifteen years old and in 11th grade, he had bugged his teacher into helping him enroll in the college examinations for next year. Of his own wishes, he had only selected the first tier military academies as his choices and left everything else blank.
Not only did the military academies not require tuition, they also gave a basic allowance to their students. For the students that performed exceptionally well, they would be assigned to different military regions as second-ranked military officers after graduation! She knew; her younger brother had done this alleviate her burden!
In the blink of an eye, fourteen years had passed. Her younger sister worked while studying on her own and obtained a bachelor degree. Moreover, she had slowly worked and endured her way up to a white-collar job and also gained a love.
Her younger brother had done exceptionally well in the military academy. He graduated at nineteen, was assigned to Jin Ling Region, and became the youngest officer in that military region. Later on, Jin Ling Region’s second in command military officer noticed her younger brother, who was tall, handsome, and exceptional in every aspect, and introduced him to his granddaughter. It was love at first sight; they had natural affinity with each other.
On the wedding day, her younger sister had brought along her white-collar husband and their one year old son to attend the wedding. Seeing that her younger siblings had happy families, she was truly feeling too happy. And so, she drank two extra cups of wine…
After the wedding banquet was over, she accidentally missed a step as she was walking down and fell down the staircase… When she woke up again, she was Yu family’s little girl that had been sickly since birth…