Lin Xiaowan's mind felt groggy and heavy. She could smell a salty and fishy scent distinctive to the beach, while the sound of waves beating on the shore faintly traveled to her ears. This must be a dream! It must be! Her hometown was located in the inner regions. She had only seen the sea once in her life when she visited her sister, who studied in a university located beside the sea. Why would she be able to hear the sound of waves now?
Lin Xiaowan tried her best to open her eyes, but she was unable to break away from the clinging darkness. It felt like a nightmare. Her mind was sober, but she couldn't wake up.
"Second Sister, Second Sister! Waahhh… Second Sister, you can't die! Shitou isn't hungry anymore, Shitou doesn't want to eat steamed buns anymore! Second Sister, please wake up!…" Lin Xiaowan felt a light weight beside herself, shaking her arm desperately.
Second Sister? That wasn't right? She was the eldest child in her family. Her parents had died when she was in middle school. As the eldest sister, she dropped out of school to work and raise her younger siblings all by herself. She has been called 'Eldest Sister' for over twenty years. Why was she suddenly being called 'Second Sister'? He must have made a mistake!
"So wicked! The child had just wanted to pick up a steamed bun to eat, yet that woman had beat her as if she wanted to kill her! Xiaocao has always been a child with a weak constitution. Can she still survive after having her head smashed in? Look at how much blood there is! Is she still alive?"
"Moreover, it was the child's aunt who did it! A steamed bun doesn't even cost much money. She hit her so hard the child's head slammed against the ship. I've never seen such a cruel person!"
"Xiaocao's father is the most famous fisherman around this area. He's also a good hunter. If it wasn't for him, Old Yu's family wouldn't have been able to build that new five-room house and ship. Why couldn't she just let the child eat a steamed bun?"
"The child doesn't seem to be doing that well. Quick, call her mother over! If this drags on, she might not even be able to see her child's last moments!"
"Li Guihua really has a sharp tongue and cruel heart. She was so vicious even to her own niece! We should keep our distance from her. Otherwise, she might backstab us if we accidentally offend her in the future!"
Lin Xiaowan's ears buzzed with the voices of strangers. Her senses were gradually returning. She felt herself lying on soft sands and her forehead was aching with pain. She seemed to be surrounded by a large crowd.
This is such a strange dream. When can she wake up?!
"What nonsense are you talking about?! If you don't know what happened, then don't speak blindly! That darned girl stole a steamed bun that I brought back from my maiden home. I just scolded her a little and lightly pushed her a couple of times. Who could had thought that she would bump into that ship? Didn't you see me tell my son, Heizi, to call for a doctor?" She snorted. "So much money is needed to take care of her fragile body, but she was born in a poor family. She's always sick, just like her mother! What an utter waste of food!" The woman spoke with a sharp voice, which sounded like a broken gong.
"Second Sister didn't steal the steamed bun. Brother Heizi dropped it on the ground and didn't want it since it was dirty! Second Sister picked it up because I was hungry! Second Sister isn't a thief!" It was a young child's voice. He was obviously sobbing, but his voice still sounded abnormally clear.
"You little brat! You've already learned how to lie at such a young age! Your Brother Heizi clearly said your second sister stole it, yet you still won't admit it! I just gently pushed her. Maybe she purposely bumped her head on that ship. She might just be using her injury to escape punishment!" A sense of guilt emerged within that woman's bitter tone.
"Dashan's wife, your words are unfair! The child has a huge bloody hole in her head and it seems like she's about to stop breathing. You're still trying to accuse the child of using her injury to avoid punishment! She was still just a little girl, so how would she be able to think of such a trick!" The speaker's voice sounded old, but it was full of energy and hidden rage.
That's right, that's right! That woman is seriously vile. She battered the child so harshly because of a piece of bun. Moreover, they're relatives! Lin Xiaowan wanted to open her eyes and see how 'impressive' that vicious woman was. However, her eyelids felt extremely heavy. She couldn't open her eyes no matter how hard she tried.
"Cao'er!!!" It was a tired voice that also sounded anxious and pained. Lin Xiaowan felt her body being lifted by a pair of thin and weak arms. Several drops of warm tears fell on her face.
Such a warm embrace. The feeling of having a mother… How long has it been? Since her mother passed away from a car accident when she was fourteen, she had never felt such a warm and secure feeling. Even though she had gritted her teeth and learned to be strong in life, Lin Xiaowan still felt the urge to cry.
"Younger Sister… She's bleeding a lot! Mother, it's not the time to be crying! Quickly call for a doctor!" This was a young girl's voice. She sounded to be at most ten years old, but… Who's she calling 'Younger Sister'? She wouldn't be calling me, right? A bad feeling suddenly emerged within Lin Xiaowan's heart. What kind of dream is this? Why is it starting to feel even more real?
Ow!! Her forehead really hurts and the feeling of being embraced… This definitely wasn't a dream! However, she had clearly lived as Lin Xiaowan for twenty-nine years. Why did she suddenly turn into 'Cao'er'?
"Move away. Quickly move! Doctor You is here!"
"Doctor You, please save Cao'er! Please save my daughter!" The woman, who was holding her, didn't know what to do besides crying. At this time, she finally raised her head and pleaded with the doctor while trembling. Her voice was weak and helpless.
"Set the child down. Let me stop her bleeding first…" Lin Xiaowan felt a pair of hands gently wiping the blood on her forehead. When her wound was being cleaned, she felt a sharp pain that made her body shake violently. She opened her eyes slightly, but the piercing light made her shut her eyes again.
"She's awake, she's awake! Xiaocao is awake!" Someone in the crowd exclaimed.
Doctor You gently helped the young girl bandage her wound, while saying, "It's good that she's awake. However, her body has always been weak and she had bled so much just now. She needs to properly rest for some time. Be sure to give her some nutritious foods to help her recover."
Lin Xiaowan slightly opened her eyes and slowly got used to the brightness. She was stunned when she finally saw her surroundings. Why was she surrounded by a group of people wearing ancient period clothing? She thought back to the voices she had heard earlier… Did she get caught up in a ridiculous transmigration plot?
"Cao'er, you're awake? Does your head hurt? Tell Mother, do you still feel uncomfortable anywhere?" Lin Xiaowan turned her head towards the voice and stared into a gaze full of concern and pain. Uh… This her mother? Isn't she too young? She didn't look that much older than herself.
"Younger Sister, who beat you up like that? I'll go scold them for you!!" This thin little girl, who seems to be less than ten years old, was her older sister? Lin Xiaowan widened her eyes, then lowered her head to look at herself. She saw a pair of tiny hands and a small body. She smiled bitterly in her heart. Did the heavens take pity on the difficult life she had previously and granted her a chance to regain her childhood?
However, why didn't the heavens give her a better family? The whole family were dressed in rags and their faces were wan and haggard. They were so poor that they would even pick up a steamed bun that someone else had thrown away. Doesn't that seem too miserable?
Lin Xiaowan gradually recovered from the shock of being transmigrated. Since she had already came, she's just going to go with the flow. Her younger siblings from her previous life had already gotten jobs and formed their own families. It was probably a good time for her to step back and rest. However, she did wonder if her siblings would be sad about her suddenly 'passing away'.
For a moment, Lin Xiaowan fell into a trance. She thought back to when she was fifteen. She had just entered the second year of middle school that year. Her parents had left early in the morning to sell vegetables like usual, but they had gotten in a car accident on the way and passed away. Her uncles hastily took care of her parents' funeral before leaving in a hurry, as if they were scared that the three orphaned children would cling on to them.
As the eldest sister, she had dropped out of school ever since she was young. She took the heavy responsibility of raising her siblings on her slender shoulders. That year, her sister was twelve, while her brother had just turned ten.
Over the next fourteen years, she not only took care of their family's three acres of farmland, but also worked various jobs for the sake of her younger siblings' school fees. She was afraid that she wouldn't be hired because of her age, so she would lie by saying that she was seventeen and that she just looked young.
She had sold vegetables, helped others sell fruits, and worked as a waiter. She had also worked in a factory… Later on, the lady boss of a braised food store had helped her after she noticed that she was able to endure hardships and was honest and kind. The lady boss also pitied her due to her circumstances. Thus, she hired her to help out in her store.
The braised food store provided good benefits. Accommodation and meals were provided, and the wage was higher than other stores. The lady boss had also taught her the secret recipes for her braised foods without any reservation. Later on, when the lady boss decided to return to her hometown, she sold the braised food store, which was well-known and doing rather well, to her at a low price. With this small braised food store, she was able to earn enough money to support her younger siblings through middle school and high school…
Her younger sister was an intelligent child and her heart ached for her sister who had to wake up while it was still dark to work in order to send her to school. After graduating high school, her younger sister skipped the national college entrance examination without telling her and secretly followed the other girls from the village to find work in the south.
Lin Xiaowan had cried her heart out for this matter when she found out. She hated herself for being useless and hindering her sister's future. Even if it wasn't a famous university, her sister should have been able to enter a decent university with her grades.
Her younger brother had always ranked at the top of his class since he was young. He had even skipped a grade in both elementary school and middle school. When he was fifteen and still a sophomore in high school, he had pestered his homeroom teacher to help him register for the national college entrance examination. On his career form, he only filled in 'military academy' as his first admission choice and left all the other slots blank.
There were no tuition fees for the military academy and they also gave a standard allowance. Those with excellent grades would be assigned to the local army and would even be ranked as a deputy officer! She knew that her brother had just wanted to lessen her burden!
Fourteen years had passed in a blink of an eye. While working, her sister had continued to study and earned a bachelor's degree. After that, she became a white-collar worker and even found love.
Her younger brother performed outstandingly while studying in the military academy. He graduated when he was nineteen years old and was assigned to the Jinling Military Camp. He became the youngest officer in the camp. Later on, her tall and handsome brother, who was exceptional in all areas, caught the eye of the deputy commander of the camp. The deputy commander introduced his granddaughter to her brother and they fell in love.
When they got married, her sister also brought along her white-collar husband and their one-year old son to the wedding. After seeing her younger siblings with their own happy families, she was so happy that she drank a few more cups of wine…
After the wedding banquet, when she was walking down the stairs, she accidentally missed a step and fell down the stairs… When she woke up again, she had already entered the body of this weak, little fisher girl…