Chapter 100: The Huang Family’s face
Huang Tianzhu only managed to get through to his brother Huang Tianliang on his fifth try. During the previous four, the phone had continually been engaged.
As soon as the line connected, Huang Tianzhu said a little worriedly, “Bro, something’s come up. That kid of the Xu Family somehow’s managed to stabilise the situation over there. A commotion’s probably not going to happen. If this goes on…it looks like we may really have underestimated the Xu Family. It looks like we’ll have to be a bit more ruthless with them.”
Having heard his younger brother’s words, Huang Tianliang said a little dispiritedly, “Underestimated? How high do you feel we should estimate the Xu Family now then?”
Huang Tianzhu was a little perplexed by this question of his brother’s which had seemingly sprung out of nowhere, but he dared not be inattentive, sorting out his thoughts a little before he earnestly said, “Firstly, the Xu Family’s foundation is stronger than we’d thought. They seem not to be troubled in the financial sense.”
“Secondly, I hadn’t considered that young brat of the Xu Family. It seems that he was Libei’s top scholar in the previous examinations or something. From the news my men sent me, he doesn’t seem merely like a kid. The Xu Family did not grow panicked.”
“Anything else?” Huang Tianliang pressed.
“Anything else? I guess not? …Nothing. It’s just that. We still have many ways to deal with that Xu Family regardless, don’t we? …Bro, why don’t you put in some effort over there and get those criminal charges actualised. It looks like the Xu Family won’t cry till they’ve seen their coffin.”
Huang Tianliang sighed, “My, how did I get saddled with a useless brother like you? Really, didn’t you say that you properly investigated everything and the Xu Family doesn’t have any foundation?”
Having been chastised, Huang Tianzhu hurriedly refuted, “Yeah, I did it check it properly. The Xu Family’s been toiling on the soil for their past eighteen generations! What foundation could they have? Even if Xu Jianliang established some connections recently, there’re also not any who have the qualifications to play with our Huang Family! Bro, this is Libei. What’re you so flustered about?”
“Damn!” Huang Tianliang continued in a sombre tone, “Do you know how many phone calls I’ve just received, just how many people have been asking about this incident with the Xu Family?”
“Eight. Three of these were from within the county. They all said that they were calling on behalf of their higher-ups…Apart than that, two were from the city…”
A panicked Huang Tianzhu interrupted him mid-sentence, “Really? Xu Jianliang has connections even in the city?”
“Shut up! I’m not done yet,” Huang Tianliang was clearly trying hard to repress his fury as he exclaimed, “There were still another three calls. Do you know where they were from? They were from the goddamn province, the provincial congress!”
“That’s impossible, that’s definitely impossible. The Xu Family…how is it possible?” Huang Tianzhu seemed to be doubting Huang Tianliang’s words whilst also simply just muttering incomprehensibly to himself, just being unable to believe it at the end of the day.
“Shut it! Now, you explain to me. This is the completely foundationless that you speak of? Sitting ducks?” Huang Tianliang finally began roaring in rage.
Huang Tianzhu had already not seen his elder brother Huang Tianliang lose his composure like this for a long time. He always seemed stable as Mount Tai, unflustered in the face of all that was thrown at him.
Having reigned in a position of power for a long time, one would naturally come to possess an ‘unshakeable aura’, that which was known by the common person as dominative authority.
Many people were afraid of Huang Tianliang. As his younger brother, Huang Tianzhu was as well.
“What do we do then? How about…we let him go and leave it at that?” Huang Tianzhu asked rather perturbedly.
“Let him go? Of course we’ll let him go. But if we let him go just like that, all that we’ve worked for all these years will be lost in a mere single day. Will our Huang Family still have any face left?” Huang Tianliang asked gloomily.
“We’ll discuss it when I get back.”
The Huang Family Pillars naturally had differing dwellings, but the getting back that Huang Tianliang had spoken of referred to Huang Tianzhu’s home. It had always been Huang Tianzhu’s home that was the Huang Family’s front in Libei. Be it bearing gifts amidst requests or subserviently lowering their heads and providing offerings to the mighty, anyone who was a little smarter as well as more sensible should know where they were to visit.
If you foolishly ran over to visit Huang Tianliang’s home, you would immediately be shooed out righteously and harshly, your gift also thrown out alongside you. And you would still want to accomplish your aim?
Due to his age, Huang Tianliang had already dismissed the possibility of being able to rise to a position of greater power. However, he had always thought that when the day came when he were to retire, it would be best if there could be an atmosphere along the lines of a thousand people simultaneously sending him off warmly. Better still if he could additionally gather some ‘Umbrellas of ten thousand citizens’ or whatnot along the way.
Therefore, everyone knew that there was only receiving a cup of warm tea if you went to Huang Tianzhu’s home.
Huang Tianliang’s panic did not last for too long. After dinner, Huang Tianzhu discovered that his elder brother had resumed that original look of his that was as steadfast and unyielding as a mountain.
He brewed a cup of tea and brought it before his elder brother, attempting to probe, “Bro, you’ve thought of a plan?”
Huang Tianliang nodded, “Let’s do it like this. We’ll release Xu Jianliang after New Year’s Day and bring an end to the matter with this. I won’t be personally acting in the future, but there’s no need for you to have any misgivings. You can use your own methods to continue slowly playing with the Xu Family in the future.”
“Huh, why?” Huang Tianzhu asked quizzically.
The deeply experienced Huang Tianliang laughed, “Are you asking me why it definitely has to be after New Year’s Day? That’s because you’ve already spread the word, with it being equivalent to my Huang Family saying, that we’ll leave the Xu Family unable to usher in the new year this year.”
“Therefore, the Xu Family must not be able to usher in the new year. Therefore, I can release him, but it can definitely only be done after this New Year’s Day has ended…”
“This mere difference of a single day represents all of our Huang Family’s face.”
Huang Tianzhu pondered for a while before asking, “But, those calls…”
“There’s nothing to ‘but’ about,” Huang Tianliang said, “I’m also not insisting on definitely taking his Xu Family down, also not saying that I won’t release him.”
“Then…it’ll be fine like this?” Huang Tianzhu asked rather worriedly.
Huang Tianliang thought that it was high time he taught his little brother a little about officialdom as a moment of rare patience came upon him, “Do you find these cards that the Xu Family has thrown out this time great or otherwise?”
“Right. So many big cards were slammed down all at once, leaving even me feeling almost knocked off my feet. However, it is precisely also because of this that I don’t care about the one in charge of the Xu Family, whether it is really that young brat or if it is someone who is guiding him behind the scenes. Whatever the case, he’s just too inexperienced. The cards that he threw out are just too great and too messy. No one can just casually throw out a set of cards like this.”
“In that case, this is equivalent to the Xu Family having already shown me all their cards. Such relationships would not be the type that they can use repeatedly. Such figures are also not ones that will truly make a move on a tiny little Bureau Chief like me. What they were asking about in their calls was merely the nature of this matter itself.”
“Therefore, the situation now is that I am unable to make a move on Xu Jianliang, whilst also having to release him due to having to give those people up above face.”
“However, as long as I do not stubbornly insist on making a move on him, those people up above will also not make a move on me. At the very least, they will not make a move on me just because I kept Xu Jianliang incarcerated for a few more days, because no matter what, I would already have moved according to their intentions, thereby resolving the matter. Do you understand?”
Huang Tianzhu nodded, but then shook his head.
Having used up all his patience, Huang Tianliang concluded with an impatient expression on his face, “In conclusion, things are basically like this now. I’ve agreed to release him, but the relevant procedures will take a little longer, go a little more complicated, accidentally going past New Year’s Day itself.”
“Like this, the Xu Family can’t possibly get those people to move just because of this slight discrepancy. Like this, my Huang Family’s face can also be kept.”
“At my age, there is already no longer any hope of me rising up any higher. Thus, I actually don’t really care much about those up above feeling dissatisfied with or holding some opinion about me. It’s fine so long as I do not act to the extent that they must definitely make a move on me.”
“Like this, Libei will still be the undisputed realm of our Huang Family. I’ve spent decades building up a net in Libei. So long as this net is not broken, our Huang Family is assured of stability for a few generations more to come.”
Even despite his rebirth, Xu Tingsheng was indeed still much more inexperienced regarding matters of officialdom as compared to a figure like Huang Tianliang. He would not have the chance to hear Huang Tianliang’s earlier words, but if he had been able to, he would immediately understand where he had gone wrong, would definitely ‘benefit greatly’ from it.
Huang Tianzhu did not consider those words further, instead being concerned about something else as he asked Huang Tianliang, “Then, how are we supposed to convey these intentions of ours to the Xu Family now? Otherwise, what if they decide to go all out and bring us down together with them no matter what…How about I find someone to convey them a message?”
Huang Tianliang shook his head, saying, “No need. As long as that kid of the Xu Family is not as much of a fool as you, logically speaking, he should be paying this place a visit this very night. Just speak as I told you to. I’ll be off now.”
As per Huang Tianliang’s predictions, less than half an hour later, Xu Tingsheng arrived at the Huang Family’s doorstep.
His inexperience, as seen in his every step, was completely within Huang Tianliang’s calculations. Therefore, despite him having taken out his relationship with the Fang Family, Huang Tianliang had merely been initially flustered by it a little.
If Xu Tingsheng had been able to catch Huang Tianliang at that point of time when even he had felt like he had almost been knocked off his feet, Mr Xu’s matter might have been resolved on the spot.
However, he missed that particular point of time. At this moment, Huang Tianliang had already completely regained his footing, being able to easily play around with Xu Tingsheng as he liked.
Xu Tingsheng did not meet Huang Tianliang, only meeting Huang Tianzhu for a period of less than twenty minutes. Over this period of time, Huang Tianzhu did go into pleasantries, did feign some ignorance, but there were only two lines of his which actually held any value:
The first: “Relax, your father will be fine. We will release him, but we will have to go through the proper procedures first. The second day of the new year-you can come and get him then. Right, if your father just happens to run into the end-of-year hair-shaving here, remember to prepare an extra hat at the time.”
The second: “Visit? That’s not in accordance with the rules!”
As Xu Tingsheng left, Huang Tianzhu who saw him to the door said from behind him, “Kid, remember-this is Libei. Typhoons can’t gust in here, floodwaters can’t flood in here, the sky distant and the monarchs far away. Thus, however great of a storm you can brew outside, in Libei, there is no going against my Huang Family.”