SWFM 313

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Chapter 313: The killing plot

 

Plot No. 4 was on the eastern riverbank of Yanzhou as one had to walk over a bridge to get there. In the words of the locals, after the bridge is the village.

This was the greatest problem. That aside, Plot No. 4 actually had its good points too. It was the biggest and the cheapest, also not needing anything troublesome like tearing down pre-existing structures. Now, it even seemed that there would also be no need to compete for it.

Therefore, it was just a matter of that bridge.

Everyone felt conflicted over that bridge. The bridge connected Yanzhou’s city district to what could only be considered a small town at most.

If it was a city was Shenghai, people would think that only needing half an hour to go to and come home from work was really great. Still, it was different for Yanzhou.

Of course, if this was three or four years later, Xu Tingsheng knew that people would definitely not face such an inner conflict in most of China’s second-rate cities. Sadly, this was 2004, even though it was really just a matter of time.

Xu Tingsheng met all those gazes, looking straight back at them.

No one expressed their opinion or deliberately hinted at the choice they wished to hear being made. Still, it was evident that quite a few people present were actually secretly hoping for Xu Tingsheng to give in and compromise.

While they might not be consciously thinking this, this was just how it was. Having borne that immense pressure for so long, anyone would look forward to what a relief and how wonderful things would be after it was gone. Moreover, so many good things had been promised to them.

Also, even if they really persisted to the end, they actually still did not have that great a chance of successfully obtaining Plot No. 1 or Plot No. 2…this being so, why did they have to continue resisting to the death then?

“What would you do if I say that we should resist to the death?” Xu Tingsheng smiled, asking.

Resist to the death?

But why do so?

“Doable,” Wu Kun replied frankly, not even considering these two questions.

Then, Ye Qing expressed her support too, even though she had just admitted that what had been promised to her possessed great significance.

Next, Chen Yan and Gao Yupo said that it was okay too.

They did not even ask Xu Tingsheng for an explanation at all.

Such a situation definitely would not have occurred during their first gathering. Still, things were different now. Xu Tingsheng had already demonstrated to them that he had the ability to predict and influence the flow of events, even though he was currently relying on their collective power.

Still, this power had actually always been available to them. Besides Ye Qing and Chu Lianyi, what most of them had done in the past was simply muddle their way through life. However, besides venting their unhappiness and getting into fights to preserve their face, also helping each other out once in a while, they had never used this power effectively and well before.

Therefore, that Xu Tingsheng had been able to gather them all and harness their collective power was actually already a show of his capabilities in itself.

Moreover, all of them still had that ‘misunderstanding’, believing that Xu Tingsheng had a trump card up his sleeve.

It had to be said that Xu Tingsheng having requested nothing of them and all those things that Chen Jianxing had helped to do for him in private had exacerbated such a ‘misunderstanding’.

Even Ye Qing had failed to find out which considerably influential power in Yanzhou had been protecting Hucheng. Also, as they saw it, the other party had not gone all out as they had only exerted slight power to help Hucheng secure its basic foundation, with concealing their identity seemingly being the greater consideration for them in this.

Those local real estate companies seemed to have noticed this too. This was actually also one of the reasons for them having changed their overall strategy.

Xu Tingsheng’s initial attitude regarding Chen Jianxiang and this matter was very clear-cut. He did not wish to get involved in those affairs in the slightest. Still, ever since the day of Chen Jianxing’s wedding when he had seen his wife and daughter at the entrance to the street, Xu Tingsheng’s thoughts regarding this had actually become rather complex. Now, he was feeling even more conflicted regarding this…

As there were still important matters at hand, Xu Tingsheng ceased thinking about this for now.

“So, maybe we can secure Plot No. 1 or Plot No. 2 for real? …In that case, we should persevere however things play out…we can hold our heads high for once, rather than always being treated like trash who can only randomly fool around…”

They all had various considerations in mind as they resolved themselves, consoled themselves.

Xu Tingsheng headed straight for the safe and pressed the first digit, the code that he had set.

After a slight hesitation, the rest followed suit.

The second one.

The third.
……

After the safe had been unlocked, Xu Tingsheng took out the first piece of the paper napkin that he had torn into three.

Some people resisted the urge to laugh as they now recalled what Xu Tingsheng had done back then.They had all said that this was like a childish joke as it was like he was acting profound and not taking things seriously, having just helplessly played along with him in the end.

What about now?

Things were actually a bit different now. There was a renewed sense of anticipation as everyone began feeling curious as to what exactly was written on that piece of napkin. Xu Tingsheng had previously said that on it was written his rough estimate of the various phases of what would be happening thereafter and how he intended to act in response to this.

“He really…foresaw it? For real? …Also, how does he intend to respond to this situation?”

Everyone’s gazes converged on that little piece of paper napkin which Chu Lianyi now held.

Chu Lianyi looked at it and took in a deep breath, exhaling before she recited, “We will all bear immense pressure for around a month or so. Some may quit. Therefore, I will be going away to hide for a while lest you exert pressure on me. For some things, too much discussion would only create more tensions and divisions. Having discussed it, our responses would become worse, fake even. I will just make use of this time to contact the construction materials suppliers.”

Chu Lianyi finished reciting the first segment.

“WTF!” Hu Shengming let loose a vulgarity, aptly expressing everyone’s feelings at this moment.

Chu Lianyi continued, “After making it through this, we will receive many enticements. Therefore, more people may back out. Then, if the situation is optimistic, we will be able to happily accept all these benefits before the end of December before giving up on competing for Plot No. 1 and Plot No. 2.”

“Resisting any further would really be asking to die.”

“That aside, we should be able to secure Plot No. 4 at a low price without any competition whatsoever. We’ll not look down on that. Go for it. The construction materials will have been ordered for Plot No. 4 in the first place.”

“……”

“…That’s all,” Chu Lianyi concluded, seeing that everyone’s gazes were still on her.

She placed the wrinkled piece of napkin on the table. Next, there were naturally some interested parties who came to analyse this.

“…This is just inhuman.”

“Crazy as hell.”

These startled exclamations aside, everyone present also felt like a great weight had been lifted off their shoulders, allowing them to heave a sigh of relief.

Due to what Xu Tingsheng had said earlier, everyone had believed that they would probably be resisting to the end, having also mostly prepared themselves for this. They would believe that Xu Tingsheng surely had some rationale for this, because he had always been right thus far.

Still, despite having prepared themselves, resisting to the end would be, to put it bluntly, not recognising the concessions that had been promised them, not giving the other side face and forcing them into desperation…would their lot still be able to hold on then? The pressure wasn’t small at all.

Now, no, not now, but over a month ago, apparently, Xu Tingsheng had already made a decision on this, just that he had only told them about it now. He would choose to accept the concessions during this time frame, giving up on competing for Plot No. 1 and Plot No. 2 in securing Plot No. 4 instead.

Everyone could feel relaxed now.

The very fact that this decision had been made long beforehand proved that they had not been forced into giving up. They did not even feel the stifledness of having been forced out of the competition now. They did not even feel so disdainful of Plot No. 4 like they had before…

The reason was the same. It was that…Xu Tingsheng surely had some rationale for this…and moreover, there were still two pieces of paper napkin inside that safe.

Obstructing all those inquisitive, prying gazes, Xu Tingsheng closed the safe again.

They did not re-set the passcode. The other five people of the Black Horse Club who possessed a number code were all relatively stable and dependable. They would not be so hasty as to rush to see how things would turn out, combining those digits they had to collectively unlock the safe.

Of course, things would definitely be different if the remainder of that code was in the hands of Hu Shengming’s group. That bunch would surely want to steal a look. As for the digit which Xu Tingsheng had, they could just test it out one by one.

“Hurry up and cash in all those benefits. Verbal promises don’t mean anything,” Xu Tingsheng said calmly, “Next, I feel that there is actually also much that can be done with Plot No. 4. Let’s just take it like we are accumulating some qualifications and experience going into real estate.”

Everyone else nodded.

Plot No. 4 was really not that bad, in truth. It might only be looked down on because the other three plots of land that had been taken out this time were really just too good, especially Plot No. 1 and Plot No. 2 which were truly hard to come by.

It was due to this that people might feel disdainful of it.

Actually, Plot No. 4 would just be a little cheaper with a little less profit to be made when the time came as its units would sell more slowly. When the price of the land had not been made too high by the overwhelming interest in it, there was really much that could be done with this. There had actually still been those who had been considering competing for this a little.

Yet, this was not the case any longer.

Also, they would get it at a low price.

Hence, everyone accepted Xu Tingsheng’s words. On one hand, they would still be able to make a profit. On the other, like he had said, they would be able to accumulate some qualifications and experience going into real estate, solidifying their foundation.

They would also receive so many benefits out of the blue.

“Let’s get Plot No. 4 done well and proper then.”

They reached an unanimous decision.

Many people were actually still wondering something. If it just was Plot No. 4, why did they need imported construction materials? Did it really have to be so high-end? They would have to ask Xu Tingsheng about this. Still, no one actually asked it now. They had already unconsciously become willing to trust Xu Tingsheng more and more.

At the same time, they were also looking forward to it. While things actually seemed like they were already basically set in stone, Xu Tingsheng’s so-called ‘predictions’ were only one-third revealed. It was impossible for them not to look forward to it.

Xu Tingsheng looked around, “Is everything fine now? Who has the time to stay here with me in getting over the jet lag?”

Most of the guys stayed behind.

As for the ladies, they successively expressed that they dared not stay awake the night through as they got up and prepared to leave.

When walking past Tan Yao, Ye Qing stopped, not looking at him as she spoke in a mild tone, “You’re not allowed to bring anyone out.”

Tan Yao stiffened his neck, saying softly but in an unfriendly manner, “Can you manage me?”

“I can’t,” Ye Qing said, “But I’ve always been an unreasonable person. I manage what I want. Also, I have many ways I can manage you.”

After saying so, Ye Qing stalked straight out.

Xu Tingsheng was rather taken aback as he turned, asking Tan Yao, “What’s with you two?”

Tan Yao sighed, with Huang Yaming answering on his behalf, “They quarrelled, several times. Something’s up with Ye Qing. She suddenly began managing Tan Yao a few days ago, not allowing him to go gallivanting around outside. Tan Yao refuses to be managed by her, so he argued with her. Tan Yao’s in a huff now, though it doesn’t seem like Ye Qing is really angry…I think that the situation is somewhat complicated. Let’s just watch the show.”

Xu Tingsheng looked at Tan Yao, agreeing, “Yep, let’s just watch the show.”

Hu Shengming looked at Wu Kun, asking, “Bro Kun, we can’t sit alone through this long night?”

Wu Kun called over a waiter and whispered a few words into his ear.

Soon, a group of flashily dressed women walked into the room. There were old faces and new ones too. Xu Tingsheng scanned these women once over and back, occasionally zeroing onto an unfamiliar face and asking a few questions.

Having looked very happy at first after coming in, Tongtong…was glaring petulantly at him.

Finally, Xu Tingsheng looked at Tongtong, smiling, “But my Tongtong’s still the best.”

Knowing that Xu Tingsheng had just been teasing her in actuality, Tongtong was over the moon as she frolicked and came to sit down beside him, pouting playfully, “You really angered me to death…also, I’ve nearly missed you to death.”

Amidst the ongoing ruckus, Xu Tingsheng took out a small perfume bottle from his backpack and secretly handed it to her, saying softly, “Those wallets are all fake. This is a real French Provence brand. I specially brought you a present back from France. Don’t let anyone know.”

Provence was a name that held infinite allure for females. Moreover, Xu Tingsheng had said ‘specially’ and ‘don’t let anyone know’. Tongtong nodded excitedly before carefully hiding the small perfume bottle.
……

Dongzi and the tattooed man returned to Yanzhou two days later. Xu Tingsheng had already resumed going to lessons, with Hucheng and those of the Black Horse Club currently being in the midst of properly grasping those benefits they had been promised.

Everyone keeping an eye on this incident knew that Xu Tingsheng had returned, next having chosen to give in as he had ‘uselessly’ given up on the competition for Plot No. 1 and Plot No. 2.

As outsiders saw it, he had single-handedly brought all the earlier efforts and persistence of the other members of the Black Horse Club to devastation…

Xu Tingsheng had turned into a joke amongst Yanzhou’s upper strata.

Ding Sen was naturally aware of this as well.

However, he still recalled Dongzi and the tattooed man, asking them to return to Yanzhou.

At 1am in the morning, a pickup and an ordinary Toyata stopped at some intersection in Yanzhou.

“Bro Sen, I heard the guy no longer dares to oppose you. That matter…do we still continue?” The tattooed man ventured.

Ding Sen laughed disdainfully, saying with a savage expression on his face, “It’s good that he knows how to be afraid. Still, this is already no longer related to me wanting him dead..this old man gets mad just thinking about him. I want him dead!”

The tattooed man nodded rather excitedly. After all, this meant that that sum of money was still theirs to be had.

“What do we do this time then? If it’s the school, we’d surely be seen if we enter…” The tattooed man said rather hesitantly as he carefully observed Ding Sen’s expression.

Ding Sen considered this, “There’d be too many eyes in other places. Let’s just use that same method. He netted a piece of land near the training institute recently. He’ll definitely make a couple of trips over, and there will surely be many chances. The two of you rest and make preparations for one day tomorrow, and then the day after…you just start waiting for him.”

“Understood,” The tattooed man sighed in relief, nodding.

That same old method was naturally better for the two of them. If they were truly unable to escape after this, between a premeditated murder and a car accident…they would definitely choose the latter.

“Remember, it ain’t over till he’s dead,” Ding Sen ground his teeth, breathing heavily, “That’s it then. Act on your own after this. Don’t contact me if there isn’t anything, and don’t cause trouble for me. I will contact you if there’s anything on my side.”

“Understood. Rest assured, Bro Sen, we definitely won’t get you into trouble no matter what.”

“Inform me about it when you’re done. Afterwards, just leave right away. I guarantee that I will definitely wire the money over…most importantly, don’t try to fool me. If I can’t confirm it, I’m not sending you any money.”

“That won’t happen. You can rest assured, Bro Sen.”

“That’s all then.”

The engines of the two vehicles revved up amidst the night, zooming off in opposite directions.
……

The wireless went off at 10.30 in the dormitory. When this happened, the night owls of the various dormitories would usually play Counterstrike on LAN. Leaning over a computer, Xu Tingsheng chastised Li Xingming’s incompetence while scoring a headshot with every bullet.

This was a game. Life and death was decided in a single round, and everything would restart thereafter.

Never would Xu Tingsheng have imagined that the shadow of death loomed so closely over him in the real world.


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