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“Then, Daddy, let’s eat. I’m so hungry,” Xu Fan’s milky voice said.
“There isn’t enough food,” Xu Zhao replied.
Not only was this noodle soup not enough for him to eat, even if the whole thing was given to Xu Fan, Xu Fan still wouldn’t be full. Xu Zhao immediately thought of Xu Zuocheng whose mouth was dripping with oil. Xu Zuocheng took away his and Xu Fan’s portion. Xu Zuocheng did it again! He needed to stand up for himself or else Xu Zuocheng will take it even further in the future!
Xu Fan, who didn’t know anything, still clung to the kitchen stove, stood on his tiptoes while looking at the pot and asked, “Daddy, what should we do if there’s not enough to eat?”
“I’m going to find him.”
Xu Zhao placed the wooden lip back onto the iron pot and strode out of the kitchen. He shouted towards Xu Zuocheng’s back, “Eldest Brother.”
Xu Zuocheng paused when he heard this. He turned his head and asked, “What is it?”
Xu Zhao still had a gentle tone when he said, “There aren’t any noodles in the pot.”
“So what?” Xu Zuocheng acted as if he didn’t understand.
Upon seeing this, he felt that there was no use in restraining himself and directly said, “In accordance to our family rule, each person gets one bowl of food. That means the bowl in your hands belongs to me and Xu Fan. You shouldn’t be eating anymore.”
“Huh?” Xu Zuocheng suspected that he had heard wrong.
Xu Zhao expressionlessly said, “The bowl in your hands belongs to me and Xu Fan.”
“What are you talking about?” Xu Zuocheng asked again.
“The noodles are mine.”
Xu Zuocheng looked at Xu Zhao in disbelief. This wasn’t the first time he snatched Xu Zhao and Xu Fan’s food, and Xu Zhao had always submitted meekly, without a peep of protest. That’s why he had repeatedly either eaten most of their food or all of it. However, this time Xu Zhao actually dared say something. He actually dared to ask him for the food back?
Did he lose his mind when he fell in the river?
“Say it one more time,” Xu Zuocheng said.
“The bowl of noodles in your hands belongs to me,” Xu Zhao still said.
Xu Zuocheng showed an annoyed face and asked,” Is your name written on these noodles?”
“Then why did you say the noodles belonged to you? Is there something wrong with your head?”
Xu Zuocheng didn’t reply to Xu Zhao, assuming that Xu Zhao was still the same as the original Xu Zhao, he headed towards the main hall while carrying the bowl of noodles.
Xu Zhao shouted, “Give it back to me!”
Xu Zuocheng stopped when he heard this.
The Xu family, who were eating the noodles with relish inside the main hall, carried their bowls out one by one when they heard this, and stared at Xu Zhao with a face full of shock. Even the neighbors who were eating under the shade of the trees, all flocked to the yard and peered around.
“What’s happening? Who yelled just now?”
“Wasn’t it Xu Zhao?”
“Xu Zhao? No way? Xu Zhao wouldn’t even blow out a single fart. How could he yell?”
“Why can’t he shout? You can’t underestimate Xu Zhao. Although he keeps things inside, he has a strong heart. Otherwise, how could he have attended school or given birth to his child, Xu Fan. Looking at the situation, it seems that he got into a fight with the eldest child of the Xu family.”
“Why are they fighting?”
“I don’t know.”
The neighbors discussed in a low voice.
Xu Zuocheng didn’t expect that such a large crowd would be attracted here all because of a bowl of noodles, and his face immediately turned sour. He was extremely dissatisfied with Xu Zhao.
Xu Fan had never seen his father act like this before. He opened his watery eyes and stared at Xu Zhao.
Xu Zhao was unaffected and continued to have his eyes fixed on Xu Zuocheng.
Xu Zuocheng held a large bowl of noodles, neither moving nor staying still. After gritting his teeth, he turned his head to scold Xu Zhao, “Give it to you? What are you saying belongs to you?”
“The noodles are mine.”
“What right do you have to say that it’s yours? Is your name written on them?”
Xu Zhao replied with a serious face, “One bowl per person. You ate more than that.”
Xu Zuocheng’e eyes throbbed with anger. Ever since he was young, he never liked Xu Zhao. Not only did Xu Zhao steal their parents’ attention from a young age, he was also smart, handsome. Everyone praised Xu Zhao, making him look bad. Later on, he married a wife, and that wife would whisper in his ear, saying that his parents secretly supplemented Xu Zhao and Xu Fan, and they didn’t have he or his son in their hearts. Xu Zhao and Xu Fan became even more unpleasant in his eyes. And this time, Xu Zhao actually quarreled with him because of noodles. If that’s the case, he would fight with Xu Zhao till the end and make Xu Zhao obedient again!
Xu Zuocheng placed the bowl of noodles in front of the neighbors and said, “Take a look. Do you see me overeating? How are you seeing that I’ve eaten more? It’s currently the busy season, and I’ve exhausted myself cutting and pulling wheat in the fields. I came back to eat a mere bowl of noodles, so how could you say I ate more?”
The neighbors immediately looked inside Xu Zuocheng’s bowl, and expressed that it wasn’t too much for him to eat this bowl of noodles. In the moment of discord, they all started to criticize Xu Zhao, saying that he was ignorant and taking all the food for himself.
After Xu Zuocheng heard this, he was extremely pleased with himself and felt that he had won. He carried the bowl and wanted to leave the yard to sit under the shade of the tree with his neighbors to cool off while he ate. When he was about to take a step, Xu Zhao spoke up. “Did you only eat one bowl?”
Xu Zuocheng stopped again and turned his head and asked, “If not?”
“You’ve already had a bowl.”
“Eldest Brother, before saying that you didn’t have a bowl earlier, you should wipe the oil from your mouth first,” Xu Zhao said in a flat tone.
As soon as Xu Zhao’s voice fell, the neighbors who followed blindly all turned to look at Xu Zuocheng’s mouth. Goods were severely lacking in this era. A needle, thread, and even a cent was extremely valuable. Especially since there was a flood two years ago and a drought last year, the villagers paid special attention to food. In the past, there were two daughter-in-laws of the same family who had a shouting match, and even got into a fight because someone had eaten one more sweet potato. That’s why, it was normal to see Xu Zhao and Xu Zuocheng fight over the bowl of noodles.
Everyone was too sensitive about the lack of food. That’s why they were about to quickly distinguish it from the color of Xu Zuocheng’s mouth—Xu Zuocheng had indeed eaten before. Moreover, he didn’t eat a small amount or else there wouldn’t be oily stains on his mouth.
The neighbors quieted down.
Xu Zuocheng’s face immediately paled. He didn’t expect Xu Zhao to become sharp-tongued after having his brain filled with water.
Xu Zhao silently waited for Xu Zuocheng’s reply. He didn’t think that Xu Zuocheng, who had skin as thick as city walls, would immediately look terrified, and took the initiative to hand the bowl of noodles back to him and Xu Fan.
Just as expected.
In the next second, Xu Zuocheng loudly said, “The oil on my mouth is from when I ate just not. It’s not that I ate more than my share!”
Xu Zhao’s voice wasn’t quiet or loud, but it carried a sense of pressure. He asked, “Eldest Brother, how did you eat earlier?”
Xu Zuocheng couldn’t answer at that moment.
Xu Zhao continued in a normal tone, “Your current bowl is filled to the brim with noodles, it can’t even hold a drop more of soup. May I ask what you ate just now? One bowl per person has always been the rule of our family, and you dare say you didn’t eat more?” Not only did he eat more, he definitely stuffed himself with a full bowl.
“I didn’t eat more!”
Xu Zuocheng’s face reddened as he yelled in denial. He was going to put the blame on Xu Zhao till the end. Even if he was beaten up, he wouldn’t admit to eating more. It’s not like anyone could open up his stomach to take a look, right?
The neighbors quieted down.
Xu Fan was so frightened by Xu Zuocheng that he gripped his little hands onto Xu Zhao’s pants, and couldn’t help but lean against Xu Zhao’s leg.
Xu Zhao kept silent.
The atmosphere turned stiff.
Xu Zuocheng looked at Xu Zhao with eyes full of joy and contempt.
Xu Zhao wasn’t affected. He glanced at the neighbors, then lowered his head to look at Xu Fan who was leaning against his head. He reached out to pat Xu Fan on the head and said, “Eldest Brother, this isn’t your first time eating Xu Fan’s food. Xu Fan is two-years-old, yet he doesn’t even look like a one-year-old. He even says he’s hungry everyday.”
“Who isn’t hungry these days? Is your child made of gold or something?” Xu Zuocheng retorted.
“So because he isn’t made of gold, you’re allowed to steal his food?” Xu Zhao asked?
“I didn’t eat his food.”
“You’ve already eaten a bowl. The bowl you ate was Xu Fan’s.”
“I didn’t eat his food!”
“You did! I saw you eat it!” The voice of a small boy suddenly came out of the crowd, and he pointed at Xu Zuocheng as he said, “I saw him eat it. He ate it in front of the pigsty, and it was even a huge bowl at that. After he finished eating, he returned to the kitchen to get more. He already ate a bowl of noodles.”
Xu Fan, who had been silent until now, immediately asked, “Da Zhuang, you saw my Eldest Uncle finishing a bowl of noodles earlier?”
“Mm, I saw it,” Da Zhuang loudly said.
“He ate a big bowl?” Xu Fan asked again?
“It was a huge bowl. He ate it so fast! Once he was done, he returned to the kitchen to get another bowl!”
Xu Fan immediately turned his head to look at Xu Zhao and loudly said, “Daddy, Da Zhuang said Eldest Uncle secretly ate a huge bowl of noodles!”
A huge uproar sounded when Xu Fan finished speaking, since kids don’t lie.
Xu Zhao reached out to pat Xu Fan on the head, knowing that Da Zhuang wouldn’t restrain himself to help Xu Fan. Even if his mom was here and covered his mouth after he spoke, Da Zhuang would still stick to the loyal code of brotherhood. It appeared that Xu Fan had quite the charm.
Xu Zuocheng’s face turned red, then green. He had an extremely ugly expression.
The neighbors finally started to whisper, “The eldest son of the Xu family is so dishonest. Regardless of anything, you shouldn’t take food from a child.”
“That’s right. Moreover, no one is able to eat their fill this year. With so many people to feed, having one bowl per person is not bad.”
“The rule in our family is also one bowl per person. No one would dare take more.”
“My family is the same.”
“The eldest son of the Xu family did the wrong thing. Whoever wants to eat more will eat more, even if it means others can’t eat?”
Since they were scarce on food, each and every household didn’t have enough food to eat. When there was an uneven distribution of food, it is extremely frowned upon to see someone keep all the food to themselves. Although they didn’t chastise Xu Zuocheng out loud, Xu Zuocheng became the topic of everyone’s discussion. He wanted to refuse until the end since Xu Zhao couldn’t do anything to him anyways, however, he didn’t expect a small boy to appear in the middle to unveil his life. Now, he couldn’t move forward or retreat. He lost more than half face1Check termbank for more information on this. He was so awkward that he even wanted to die.
The rest of the Xu family also stood awkwardly with him.
Xu Zhao and Xu Fan quietly waited for Xu Zuocheng’s reply.
Xu Zuocheng was so angry that he started to shake. Even the hand holding the bowl trembled. He fiercely stared at Xu Zhao like he had saved up tremendous power to wreck Xu Zhao and Xu Fan.