Chapter 138 – Meeting The Parents
Yin Zi’s words were, “Mother-in-laws are ruthless and fierce like a tiger.”
That existence called the mother-in-law was even more frightening and scary than the Eighteen Demons of Hell. Hearing him mention this topic, my body burst into cold sweat as if I was facing a formidable enemy. I immediately urged and persuaded him to finally push the meeting date two days back. Xiao Mao and I hastened to return to Hua Residence to discuss with everyone the matter of meeting the woman who was known to be ruthless and fierce as a tiger.
Yin Zi and the others expressed both joy and worry upon hearing of this matter. They were afraid that I might humiliate myself and lose favor in the eyes of the mother-in-law, and also suffer because of my stupidity.
Jian Nan used the village within Hua Residence as examples of poor daughter and mother-in-law relationships and the painful consequences that come with them. One by one, he explained, the daughter and mother-in-law has an argument, then the mother-in-law kicks the daughter-in-law out of the family, and then the daughter-in-law is abandoned. And how some daughter-in-laws kick the mother-in-law out instead, causing thousands of people to encircle and scold her. Or perhaps it’s the difficult mother-in-law that likes to make things difficult for the daughter-in-law, scolding and beating her as she wishes, until she can no longer stand the abuse and jump or hang herself to death…..from this information, I’ve come to a general understanding of this thing called mother-in-law. In short, this thing called mother-in-law has a status that is generally higher than that of the daughter-in-law. I must make sure to carefully please this mother-in-law so I don’t trouble Xiang Qing.
And the others have mentioned that mother-in-laws don’t usually have good impressions of widows or women with children, and deliberately make things difficult for them. I was really afraid but I must also work hard. I earnestly wrote down all of the recommendations everyone suggested onto my hands, and then recited them nonstop for several days. I absolutely can’t forget.
The first problem that must be fixed was my clothing. The thin and low-cut clothes I’ve worn in the past aren’t allowed. I must wear tightly bound clothing with buttons close to the neck and in simple and plain colours to give off the impression that I’m honest and diligent.
Followed by this was the problem with my hair. It can no longer be tied up messily like how it was in the past. I must neatly bring up my hair with a simple silver hairpin to look like my family wasn’t too luxurious, but it also mustn’t be too plain.
Finally, it was the problem with my attitude and behaviour. When one meets the mother-in-law, one must bow first, smile brightly, and speak in a soft tone of voice. A daughter-in-law needs to be elegant and obedient, and can’t cause chaos. No matter what is asked or is requested from you, you must do your best to comply. You can’t speak nonsense, and you must be polite. You must treat the mother-in-law with respect in order for her to adore you.
As for Xiao Mao, he was left out by everyone, saying how we shouldn’t too much of a shock to the other party. After I’ve married into the family, we can slowly give an explanation. It was already too late for regrets. Anyway, my skin was thick enough, as long as Xiang Qing is good to me, I don’t care about this stuff.
My injuries will all finish healing before I leave. In the middle of the night, everyone reminded me tens of thousand time about my duties, making it sound like this thing called a daughter-in-law is not good to be. And to make matters worse, I’m not just a regular daughter-in-law, but a demon daughter-in-law. Abusing power…..if I carelessly reveal myself to the mother-in-law, I may scare her to death.
In the mean time, Wawa gave me her old maid servant clothing and Jian Nan had gone down to the human village to buy some silver hairpins. My brows were simply and plainly redrawn and I dressed up into my new clothing. Truthfully, I appear quite gentle and honest looking…..
On the second day when Xiang Qing finally saw my appearance, he was dazed and didn’t say anything for a long time.
The old sect master Wu Daochang along with all the senior brothers and sisters bid me farewell. I jumped up and down as I happily followed Xiang Qing down the mountain. He eagerly described his family along the way, “My father passed away when I was young, I have an older brother and younger sister whom my mother all brought us up. My older brother married a wife seven years ago and has his own family, and my sister married into a wealthy family about two years ago. From time to time, they would come back to help our mother out. Because I’m the youngest son and because I’ve spent the majority of my time at Maoshan Sect, the crop fields and the house were given to my brother as thanks for taking care of my mother…..”
In addition to his immediate family members, there seems to be an also things like brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Anyways, he mentioned many relationships, but my mind wasn’t able to digest all this information.
At the entrance to the village, my mind recalled the teachings that Yin Zi and the others imparted. I slowed down my paces, splitting them into three smaller steps. I lowered my head and twisted my fingers around my skirt.
After taking a few paces and seeing that I didn’t catch up, he asked in confusion, “What’s the matter?”
“I must give a good impression.” I honestly replied, and continued to recollect yesterday’s greetings and proper terminology.
“What impression?” Xiang Qing was puzzled. Seeing how slowly I was walking, his voice was somewhat worried, “It’s almost noon, we have to return to have a meal together.”
“I need to give a good impression for mother-in-law.”
“You don’t need to be so polite, she has a very good personality and character.” Xiang Qing waved his hand and smiled, “You’re so adorable, she’ll definitely like you.”
Hearing his words, the nervousness in my heart calmed a lot, but I still mustn’t forget about the teachings. I’ll just adjust it so I’m walking only slightly faster.
As we gradually advanced, perhaps it’s because it is day time and that the men are out doing work, but there were many women and children who stared at us with curiosity. The children greeted us and requested that Xiang Qing go play with them because he hasn’t returned in a long time. This village was like one big family, although the buildings were really simple and the people appeared quite poor, everyone in the neighborhood had a good relationship with one another. The only problem was that the dogs in this village would run away at the sight of me and the ones that couldn’t run away, they lay on the ground shivering.
It seems that I would need some time to communicate the importance of peaceful coexistence.
We’ve finally arrived at Xiang Qing’s home. The outside of his home had a bamboo fence with long grass and wild chrysanthemums growing from below, not much different from other people. To the side, there were several penned hens and a single rooster. On the house hung many herbs and dried goods on ropes and strings, freely swaying in the gentle breeze.
There was about four or five rooms in the house that encircled the main hall. The walls on the exterior were painted gray and were lined with red speckled bricks, appearing to have aged a bit. But from the north to south direction, there were large windows that allowed good ventilation throughout. Giving the inside a quick glance, I found that the inside was quite spacious and was very clean and neat as well. In the back was also a vegetable garden.
There were many more details that I couldn’t fully explain, but the feeling this house gave off was one that was home. The atmosphere was warm and comfortable.
Xiang Qing stood by the door and called for his mother a few times. A woman dressed in gray lifted the blue cloth curtains and came out, she came in front of us and said with a smile, “How come you’ve returned?”
I hurriedly gave a bow, and then loudly greeted, “The first…..greetings to mother-in-law, this is our first meeting.”
That woman stared at me for a long time without speaking.
Xiang Qing quickly nudged me several times, and quietly whispered, “That is my sister-in-law…..not my mother.”
That woman touched her face, and asked unhappily, “Do I really look that old?”
“No, no, you’re not old at all,” I anxiously explained, “It’s…..it’s just that I thought mother-in-laws were very young.”
“Qing’er…..” An old woman with white hair and a walking stick came walking out. Her eyes became hazy and was full of tears as she stared at Xiang Qing. She held onto Xiang Qing’s hands and said in distress, “I haven’t seen you in more than half a year, how come you’ve become thinner? Have you not eaten well recently? You’re so busy practicing your martial arts that you won’t even come home?”
Xiang Qing supported her, and affectionately said, “Mother, I’m fine, I’ve just been a little busy recently.”
“Let me tell some good news,” Mother-in-law said, “About two months ago, I asked Aunty Ma to help arrange a marriage for you with the neighboring Shi Lin Village’s Ye Family’s daughter. The girl’s talent in poetry and arts is unheard of within a hundred miles radius, and the other party seems to have heard about your own talent in cultivation as well as your agreeable conduct, thus we arranged your marriage.”
With such remarks, I wasn’t taught by Yin Zi and the others on how to respond in such circumstances. Xiang Qing had also turned stiff like a stone.
On top of the trees, Yin Zi and Jian Nan who had secretly followed along fell down in shock…..