SWFM 103

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Chapter 103: Returning home to usher in the new year

 

One day, three days, five days, seven days…

Those secretly observing the Xu Family discovered that after their main members had busied themselves for a day following Xu Jianliang’s incarceration, they then suddenly stopped appearing in public.

Once in a while, some people would come to their door and ask for their investment money back. Mr Xu’s two younger brothers would return them the money on the Xu Family’s behalf, not wasting time on words whilst also not seeming troubled in the least.

Yet, rumours and speculation still arose.

“Is the Xu Family scared? In hiding? …It looks like the Xu Family won’t be able to usher in this new year. It’s also unclear whether Xu Jianliang will be able to make it out. Having provoked that kind of people, there’s really nothing that can be done about it.”

“They haven’t run, right? …Many people still have their money with them.”

“But their mall is still running! Could it already have changed hands in private to be surnamed Huang? I just knew that the Xu Family would definitely lower their heads regarding this. In Libei, there is no one who can afford to aggravate the Huang Family.”

“What about that kid of the Xu Family who let out big words a few days earlier, saying that his Dad would definitely come back in time to usher in the new year? He hasn’t been showing his face either?”

“He’s probably scared of being treated like a joke.”

Just as rumours were flying about everywhere, aside from a few close relatives of the Xu Family, no one else knew that Xu Tingsheng had already been gone from Libei for a couple of days.

Xu Tingsheng’s first stop was Yanzhou, where he found Fang Yuqing. After having told Fang Yuqing what he was going to do, the two of them then made a trip to Xihu City together.

After having returned from Xihu City, Xu Tingsheng still didn’t show his face.

The tiny Libei County was quiet as it usually was, with no unusual movements apparent in it at all. The arrogant Huang Family was still the Huang Family, and the Xu Family who had fallen on hard times was still stifled and unable to utter a sound. It was just that as the days gradually grew closer and closer to the end of the lunar new year, the business in Happy Shoppers boomed more and more by the day.

Had or had not Happy Shoppers changed hands in private to be surnamed Huang? Many people were speculating on this.

The definite answer was that it had not. It was just that everyone seemed clearly able to tell that the Xu Family had met defeat in this battle, also already feeling resigned to their fate by the looks of it.

Some people sympathised with the Xu Family, feeling indignant against the injustice that had been dealt them.

Naturally, there were those who rejoiced at their sorry plight as well. An example of this was Chen Yulun, having returned home for the winter holidays. Recently, he just loved to bring up the topic of Xu Tingsheng who just dared not show his face. He had even specifically given Song Ni a call, laughing mockingly at her for a long time on this.

Chen Yulun felt it to be a great pity that he couldn’t get hold of Xu Tingsheng now. Otherwise, no matter what, he would also have wanted to vent those negative emotions of his somewhat.

Those unable to find Xu Tingsheng found other targets to mock. For example, it was Song Ni who was on rather good terms with Xu Tingsheng whom Chen Yulun had found. Other than that, some bolder ones began insinuating things before Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng, only finally realising after having been beaten up that these two fellas were not to be aggravated…

For example, that Uncle Zhao who had spoken on behalf of the Xu Family before those hundred odd people who had come asking for money that day was currently being called Old Fool Zhao by many.

Also mocked were Uncle Rong and that bunch of old employees as well as even Wu Yuewei who was currently still in the midst of twelfth grade supplementary lessons…

Either unintentionally or purposefully walking past the Xu Family’s front door, there were many who saw that Audi that was parked out in the open. To some extent, it had once represented the Xu Family’s rise to prominence. Now, however, it was gradually being laden with dust.

This was perhaps the best proof of the Xu Family having been defeated. Many who had still harboured sympathy as well as hopes towards the Xu Family gradually despaired, disappointed.

This was precisely the effect that Xu Tingsheng wanted: letting everyone, especially the Huang Family, feel that the Xu Family had already resigned itself to its fate, no longer struggling. Whilst lying crouched and in wait, awaiting the imminent shocking thunder.
……

On New Year’s Eve, at around 9am in the morning, the families who lived in the same village as the Xu Family were seated leisurely at their doorways enjoying the morning sun when they discovered something strange:

Of the Xu Family who had kept themselves tucked away from the public eye for so long, Xu Tingsheng was currently washing his car outside their house, carefully brushing the accumulated dust off the Audi as it then regained its shininess.

As the news spread, more and more people congregated in order to spy on the action over at the Xu Family home.

Mrs Xu and her two children were just leaving the house. Xu Tingsheng was wearing a proper suit which really seemed a little overly formal while Mrs Xu and Xu Qiuyi were dressed elaborately in clothing for the new year festivities as well.

“What’re the Xu Family mother and children up to?”

Amidst their speculation, the Xu Family’s Audi left the village.

The Xu Family’s Audi had reappeared on the streets of Libei once more. At first, it was only a few people who noticed this. Then, through word of mouth, more and more people came to hear of this matter.

Even for those who had not heard of it beforehand, when out buying New Year goods, they still saw the large banner that suddenly appeared hanging from the balcony on the third floor of Happy Shoppers at 10am in the morning:

‘Xu Family’s Happy Shoppers, Great Joy and Celebration. Big Discounts for the New Year’.

While it was clearly just a promotion banner for a supermarket, the words ‘Xu Family’ would naturally lead one to think of some things. What they also had to question were the words ‘Great Joy and Celebration’. Generally speaking, shouldn’t it be written ‘Welcoming The New Spring?’

Happy Shoppers still belonged to the Xu Family. Also, the Xu Family had a cause for great joy and celebration.
……

When the Xu Family’s car had still yet to leave their village, at the Huang Family.

Already having been resting at home for the past two days, Huang Tianliang received a call from within the county early in the morning, saying that there was an urgent meeting regarding safety during the upcoming New Year festivities that he was required to attend.

This having come right on the day before New Year’s Eve, Huang Tianliang exclaimed impatiently, “I haven’t even changed my clothes yet! How about I send two deputies over?”

The other party sounded rather troubled, “Bureau Chief Huang, this meeting today really is rather important. Later on, some higher-ups from the city will be arriving to allocate tasks as well. I’m sorry, but it’s necessary that you make a trip here. The deputy chiefs and whatnot all have to come anyways; we’re currently in the midst of informing them.”

From the other party’s words, this meeting must really be rather important. Normally, when Huang Tianliang said that he wouldn’t be attending, he would only be met with acceptance. Today, however…the guy was being very persistent.

Huang Tianliang thought for a moment before saying, “Alright. When does the meeting start?”

“8.30.”

“I’ll change my clothes and be on my way then.”

Huang Tianliang changed his clothes whilst informing his wife who was currently in the midst of busily preparing the annual reunion dinner about his meeting.

His wife didn’t really believe him as she asked, “Huang Tianliang, do you know what day is it today? I already don’t care about those whatever mistresses’ home you usually like to stay in outside. Today, you’ve got to be at home no matter what.”

Perhaps because he often went off for a few days without coming back, Huang Tianliang’s wife refused to believe him despite his repeated explanations. He decided not to explain anymore, just flinging away her hand that was tugging at him and stalking off.

When he arrived at the door, gazing back at his wife off a few decades, Huang Tianliang sighed as he felt a little guilty, “Sigh, look at you. I’m really off to attend a meeting now…prepare the food, and I’ll be back soon for lunch. Drink a little with me.”

Hearing her husband say that he would be back soon, Huang Tianliang’s wife could finally set her heart at ease as she waved to him, saying, “I’ll be waiting for you with lunch then. You’ve definitely got to come back!”

Huang Tianliang did not look back, just waving towards her, “Relax, I’ll definitely be back.”

Around the same time that Huang Tianliang received that call, the various officials related to the Huang Family in the various governmental departments of Libei County received notifications regarding that meeting as well. They hurriedly left their houses.

Of course, so that this matter would not appear so obtrusive, quite a few officials who were not related to the Huang Family received notifications to come as well.

Major figures generally just loved to be the last to arrive on scene such that their importance would be emphasised, and Huang Tianliang was no exception to this rule.

Finally strolling leisurely to the location of the meeting, Huang Tianliang asked the receptionist at the doorway, “So, is everyone here?”

“Everyone’s here, there’s just Bureau Chief Huang left,” The receptionist said.

“Okay,” Huang Tianliang responded before walking authoritatively into the meeting room and sitting down, the people within successively standing up, greeting him and wishing him a happy new year as he walked past them.

This was the unshakeable aura and authority that Huang Tianliang possessed in Libei County. In all actuality, he was superior to even the County Head himself in terms of his position and the weight of his words.

“The meeting can begin now, right?” Huang Tianliang said in a deep tone after he had gotten seated.

The entrances of the room all shut simultaneously, a few people whom Huang Tianliang found to be rather unfamiliar entering and walking over before him before one of them said smilingly, “We discussed a little beforehand, and felt that inviting Bureau Chief Huang here in this Libei here might really not be that easy. Therefore, we staged a small play. I hope that Bureau Chief Huang will not mind it.”

The next moment, Huang Tianliang understood, as did all the officials here who were related to him. They understood that this was…netting them all in one fell swoop. The heavens of Libei were about to change.

The next moment, a great many non-Libei armed personnel began surging into the room.

At the same time, Huang Tianzhu also received an ‘unwelcome guest’ at his home who had specifically come to invite him over.
……

Meanwhile, at around 10am in the morning, Mr Xu rather despondently changed into the fresh new suit and leather shoes that the warden had handed him before stepping out of the gates of the facility.

Garbed in new clothing, his wife, daughter and son were standing in front of the gates waiting for him. His son, especially, was wearing the exact same suit as him.

Xu Tingsheng took off his hat, revealing a crew cut that ran just along the skin of his head, “Dad, how’s this…I feel that this hairstyle will definitely be very popular in a couple of years. If people aren’t handsome dudes, they normally won’t even dare to cut it this way.”

Tears in his eyes, Mr Xu rubbed first his own head and then his son’s before musing aloud, “I still thought that you’d prepare Dad a hat.”

Xu Tingsheng threw the hat in his hand into the nearby bushes by the roadside before saying as he opened the door of the car, “That isn’t necessary. Dad, let’s return home to usher in the new year.”


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