Spending the holiday in the mountains was actually quite fun, not as boring as Yansheng thought.
The old lady’s villa was located halfway up the mountain. Looking up, there were mountains to climb. Looking into the distance, you could see villages looming in the mist of the mountains. Not only was the air fresh, but the autumn colors were cascading in the mountains and forests, and the fruits were plentiful, which was particularly interesting.
There were waterfalls and pools in the back mountain, and they had been developed using the old lady’s money. This was not a scenic spot, but a mountain hill where land use rights were bought privately. The old lady bought several nearby hills, and planting something was the second thing. She mainly wanted this quiet environment.
For example, the waterfall pool in the back mountain, after being developed, became the private landscape of the old lady’s villa. This environment was much better than the swimming pool of a villa in the city.
However, it was autumn now so you could only play in the water for a while when the water temperature was hottest in the afternoon.
Even so, Shuocheng still went crazy. He climbed trees, dug worms, picked fruits, and piled mud in the mountains. He was simply happy.
He played happily and didn’t really trouble the adults. He followed whenever he was asked to eat and do his homework.
The old lady was surprised after observing for a few days.
Yingying had been in Zhang’s house for several years, and the old lady was aware that she had two grandchildren from her, but she had always been unable to get close to Yingying’s two children. One was always timid and the other was uneducated.
Unexpectedly, after not seeing them for a while, these two children had changed a lot.
Shuocheng was much more obedient and he became more and more obedient under the care of Heling.
“Hehe, come here.” Walking on the mountain path, the old lady beckoned Heling over. “Tell Grandma, why are you so good at taking care of your younger brother now? How did you make your brother obedient?”
Heling was wearing a sun hat and had an insect trap in her hand, her face flushed, and told the truth, “Sister asked me to take care of him. If Shuocheng doesn’t obey, Sister will beat him up. He is most afraid of our elder sister.”
The old lady became interested and asked how Yansheng beat Shuocheng, and she listened with relish.
“That’s how he should be beaten!” she said.
Heling covered her mouth and laughed, and her eyebrows curled. The old lady looked at her and thought she was much cuter than before, so she touched her head. “Go on, go and play.”
It happened that Shuocheng shouted over there, “Sister! Sister, come here! There is a big green worm here!”
“Coming! Don’t kill it first!” Heling ran away quickly holding the net.
Huan’s eldest daughter, second daughter, and youngest son had all grown up. The old lady had not experienced this kind of childlike interest for a long time and she couldn’t help but put a smile on her face.
Qi took the old lady for a walk and watched from a distance as the two little ones squatted on the ground, and met each other to pound the big green worm, while Yansheng stood beside them with her hands on her waist and looking at them. She smiled and said, “Seriously, I thought Yanyan came here to do her filial piety. As a result, she was dragged by these two little ones and didn’t have time to accompany you at all.”
The old lady smiled. “She is an older sister who takes care of her younger brother and sister when they come out to play. Of course, she has to take care of them. This is a responsibility.”
While they were talking, Yansheng came over.
“Grandma.” She asked, “Are you tired? Go back if you are tired. The two of them haven’t had enough fun yet.”
“Don’t underestimate me,” the old lady responded angrily, “I can walk this road back and forth without sweating.”
Qi carefully helped the old lady, smiled, and said to Yansheng, “Grandma has me here, don’t worry about it. Go and watch the two of them, don’t tell them to run around, the mountains are quite dangerous.”
“It’s okay, let’s go and sit there.” The old lady pointed to the outdoor bench under the tree in front of them. “Let’s watch them together.”
The three of them walked over and sat down. The bench was not far from the two kids. Not only could they watch them, but they could also hear the two chattering.
Shuocheng wanted to roast the big green worm, but Heling felt it was too cruel and refused to let him do it. The two argued and it was very interesting for the adults.
Before sitting down, Qi asked, “How is Yanyan in school now? Can you keep up in the preparatory class?”
This was a topic that the old lady also cared about, so she also asked, “Yes, how are you at No.1 High School?”
“The school is very good, but I am not,” Yansheng honestly admitted, “I am at the bottom ranking in the monthly exam. Although I am not in last place, I am still not in a good position. If I don’t work hard, I will be pushed out.”
Contempt and pride flashed in Qi’s eyes.
The old lady laughed, patted the back of Yansheng’s hand, and said, “It’s okay to know that you’re not good enough. But I can see that you know what you’re doing in your heart. Achievement can’t determine everything. If you know how to work hard, then that’s okay.”
Yansheng also smiled and said, “Although I said that, in school, not everything is measured by grades. There are a lot of good students in our class. I have a classmate whose notes were like calligraphy pieces. He is even a boy. I now think that it is really the right choice for me to study at No.1 High School. If someone like me went to a private school, I would definitely not be able to learn anything from laziness. This environment is very stressful and everyone around you is studying hard. In this kind of atmosphere, I dare not to relax at all.”
“Public schools naturally have their advantages.” The old lady said disapprovingly, “I have always disapproved of letting my children study at private schools. Our country is strong in basic education and the best educational resources are in public schools. If you want to go abroad in the future, you should lay the foundation first. It’s not necessary.”
When the old lady said this, Yansheng didn’t look at Qi, but she could feel Qi’s discomfort from the corners of her eyes.
Qi was the first grandchild of the Zhang family, so she received a lot of attention from the old lady after she was born. Under the interference of the old lady, Qi went to public schools all the way.
But her mother was very unhappy about this. The old lady said the same thing and she didn’t dare to object in front of her mother-in-law, but she had many complaints in private.
Later on, the old lady learned about those complaints, so she didn’t interfere so much with her first grandson, Lin. Qi’s mother fulfilled her wish and sent Lin to a private school.
But afterward, she realized that the old lady was increasingly leaning toward her second daughter-in-law, who was Yansheng’s mother. She discovered that the old lady no longer interfered with Qi and Lin’s affairs, but in the same way, her love and concern for them also faded.
Qi’s mother was a little panicked, so she discussed with her husband whether to send Lin to the public school again. When the old lady learned about it, she called her eldest son to scold him, “If you have chosen a good path, then you should go on with it and not go back and forth. Why are you tormenting your child? Xiao Lin has adapted to the atmosphere of a private school. Will he be comfortable if you send him back to the public school?”
This matter came to an end.
But Qi’s mother often complained at home, that the old lady was arbitrary and tyrannical, that the old lady was partial to her sister-in-law and niece, and worried that her family would be at a disadvantage in the future distribution of the inheritance.
Qi had listened to her mother’s complaints and worries since she was a child, and had regarded her cousin, Yansheng, as her competitor from then on.
When she was a child, the adults always praised her cousin and considered her as ‘other people’s child’. Fortunately, after her aunt’s death, her cousin became more and more mediocre, and she and her younger brother became more outstanding, crushing her cousin.
Without her aunt to take care of Yansheng, this cousin became more and more ignorant, and gradually lost the favor of her grandmother. Qi was secretly happy, but when Yansheng entered high school this year, she suddenly seemed to understand things and became sensible again.
As for the old lady, her heart was too biased. No matter how hard Qi had been doing in front of her, with Yansheng only showing a little bit of good intentions, the old lady immediately crooked to her side.
Qi bit her lip secretly.
She had been secretly observing Yansheng these days, and Yansheng was also observing Qi. Both of them had their own gains.
The old lady was also observing the two of them.
After dinner, Yansheng was sitting on a recliner in the courtyard looking at the stars, when suddenly someone touched her head. She looked up and saw the old lady, she didn’t know when she came over.
Yansheng hurriedly got up and gave the recliner to the old lady, then she asked, “Have you sprayed Wen Bu Ding already?”
The air in the mountains was good, the scenery was good, and the water was good, but there were too many mosquitoes. Yansheng carried both Wen Bu Ding and a cooling balm with her. She quickly took the Wen Bu Ding out and sprayed it on the old lady.
“You’re getting better and better at taking care of people.” The old lady sighed. “If your mother sees what you look like now, she will definitely be very happy.”
“Forget it,” Yansheng said angrily, “If my mother is alive and sees those two kids, I’m afraid she will be angry with my father.”
It was the old lady’s son who cheated on her second daughter-in-law for having illegitimate children. She was also a little embarrassed, she sighed and said, “I didn’t teach your father well.”
“It’s not your fault,” Yansheng said, “He is not a child anymore. He knew what he was doing.”
The old lady sighed, stopped dwelling on this matter, and turned to say, “I think you are becoming more and more like an older sister now. Do you get along well with Hehe and Shuoshuo?”
Yansheng lowered her eyes and replied, “Both of them have been born and I can’t stuff them back into Yingying’s belly. Moreover, there is karma for every wrongdoing. It’s my father and that woman who have wronged my mother, not the two of them.”
“Leave the affairs of adults to the adults. You’re still a kid too. Xiao Min has been dead for several years now. She definitely hoped that you could live your life well, not because that woman made trouble with your father. Don’t always be angry with Hehe’s mother, your father is not a fool, she can’t afford to stir up more trouble.” The old lady comforted her.
Yansheng thought this was a bit familiar. She suddenly remembered that her grandmother had advised her before.
But she was young and full of resentment, so she couldn’t listen to such words. Later, she was separated from her grandmother to that extent.
She was silent for a while, then nodded. “I know. I won’t let her affect my life.”
The old lady was very relieved. She asked lovingly, “I watched you sit here for a long time just now. What were you thinking to be so lost in thought?”
Yansheng replied honestly, “I’m thinking about Sister Qiqi.”
The old lady showed an expression of interest. “Oh?”
“Sister Qiqi seems to have a very clear goal in life,” Yansheng said, “and so is brother Xiao Lin. I heard that he wants to go to a foreign university, has a target school, and has something he wants to learn.”
The old lady listened patiently.
“But I don’t have one,” Yansheng continued, “Grandma, I know I should study hard, but I don’t know what my goal in life should be. My classmates are all working hard, but if you ask them, they would just say, Of course, I have to work hard. Only with a good university and a good degree can you find a good job, get a high salary, and make more money.
“But I have never been short of money. I also know that no matter how hard they work in the future, they may not earn more money than my current pocket money. That’s why I’m so confused.
“I know I should work hard, but I don’t know what this hard work is for.”