SWFM 97

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Chapter 97: Let’s eat first

 

Having finished cooking dinner, Xu Tingsheng did not call Fu Cheng and the others into the dining room.

He moved a large round table over, setting it down right in the middle of the front lawn.

“You lot can wait for a while. If you can’t wait, go home and eat lunch first. Relax, the Xu Family won’t run,” Xu Tingsheng said, “Let’s eat first.”

In the eyes of many, Xu Tingsheng was clearly still just a child. However, him having said this, no rebutting voices of disapproval resounded at all.

How would most children react to such a change in their family?

Would they feel scared and cry? Would they feel panicked and helpless?

Xu Tingsheng did not. When he had casually flung a huge bag of money down onto the ground, when he had said ‘Make sure that they write receipts, especially their names…it all has to be written clearly’, when he had calmly tied on his mother’s apron to cook lunch when faced with close to a hundred people having come over to ask them for money…An unshakeable aura had been slowly forming around him, an unshakeable aura that was calm and stable as a mountain.

Xu Tingsheng was intentionally creating such a repressive atmosphere.

This child was a top scholar-this was something that everyone knew. This child could just casually throw out over two million yuan-this was something they had just seen. This child was not panicked in the least, mature and composed to the point that he did not seem like a child at all, mature and composed to the point that it caused one’s heart to palpitate.

Therefore, unexpectedly, no one came out to rebut his words. No one felt inclined to bite this bullet, many even having forgotten their original view. They had originally felt that the Xu Family had already collapsed.

Now, they were beginning to feel a little dazed. At least on this child, they were unable to see any signs of the Xu Family being close to toppling at all.

Fang Yuqing had still not called. Therefore, Xu Tingsheng had no need to panic. If Fang Yuqing was unable to help, he would definitely have called and told him. Since no news had come, it meant that he still had a method, was still working hard towards its implementation.

Mrs Xu and her children, Fu Cheng, Huang Yaming, Song Ni, Mr Xu’s younger brother and his wife as well as Mr Xu’s sister and her husband crowded around the table for lunch together.

Around them stood close to a hundred debtors. Most people would find it very hard to imagine being placed before the eyes of so many onlookers even when eating a simple meal like this, but Xu Tingsheng was not panicked. Therefore, everyone else calmed down along with him as well. They ate calmly and composedly, discussing Xu Tingsheng’s unexpectedly good culinary skills in the meantime.

“I didn’t think that you would be so good at this! The heck,” His mouth covered with oil, Huang Yaming exclaimed emotionally, “I remember that there’s a kitchen over at the riverside residence. I’m following you for sure next semester.”

Xu Tingsheng’s youngest uncle said from the side, “It’s really quite good. Now if there were only a little wine…”

Xu Tingsheng’s youngest uncle actually didn’t have a very high alcohol capacity, but he just loved to drink wine anyhow. At his words, his wife secretly kicked him under the table, glaring at him in admonishment for thinking of wine even in a situation like this.

Xu Tingsheng smiled, saying, “Uncle’s right. Mom, you go heat up some rice wine.”

In the end, wine was added on to this meal, which went on even past the hour mark. Xu Tingsheng was delaying, was delaying in terms of time, was delaying in terms of the human heart. With less than a third of the money left in his bag, Fang Yuqing had still yet to call him back.

Therefore, he had to delay, delay till people’s’ hearts began to waver.

A commotion finally appeared within the crowd.

As someone was about to leave, the person beside him caught him, asking him, “You don’t want your money?”

The one who wanted to leave said, “I’m going home to eat first.”

“What if you come back and all the money’s been split?”

“Forget it, if there’s no more, there’s no more then. Having so many departmental stalls, the Xu Family won’t be lacking my few thousand yuan. Besides, it wasn’t them who tried to borrow it from me before. It was me who shamelessly knocked on their door and forcibly stuffed it into their hands on the basis of us being fellow villagers.”

“Originally having felt grateful over their generosity, we’re now making a straight 180 degree turn and acting heartless, a hundred odd of us standing here and making things difficult for the Xu Family’s mother and children who’ve fallen on hard times. I don’t know what you people are thinking, but anyway, this Old Zhao’s face is gone.”

“Anyway, I won’t be wanting this money today.”

“My nephew Tingsheng, your Uncle Zhao feels guilty. Having heard the news, I just foolishly followed them over like this. Look at this commotion! Please don’t hold it to heart.”

Putting down his bowl and chopsticks, Xu Tingsheng stood up, “No need to say that, Uncle Zhao. Thank you, you can rest assured. The original sum, the interest and the bonuses will all be given by our Xu Family to you with not a cent less when you are in need of it.”

“Alright! Then, Nephew Tingsheng, I’m leaving first. You go on drinking; I’ve not the face to drink together with you today. I’ll invite you over to my home to drink next time.”

“I’ll not see you out, Uncle Zhao. When my Dad’s returned a few days later, the two of us will definitely go over personally and invite you to drink wine together.”

Uncle Zhao, around fifty years of age, was actually not related by blood to the Xu Family at all. He was a relatively more honest man of the village. Whatever he had done earlier, just based on those earlier words of his…Xu Tingsheng would naturally treat him with respect.

Having said his piece, Uncle Zhao left. There were more amongst the crowd who began to waver, a couple of them coming over to bid Xu Tingsheng farewell every once in a while as they took their leave.

Like this, a short while later, almost a third of the debtors had already left.

Looking over and seeing that his two maternal aunts were still there, Xu Tingsheng walked over and said, “So many people having been in front, I failed to spot my two blood-related aunts here. Look, this meal is almost over already. Sorry about that, two blood-related aunts.”

Repeatedly having been called blood-related aunts by Xu Tingsheng, the faces of the two women turned red, yet the two of them did not have any intention of leaving at all as his second aunt from the neighbouring village said, “Tingsheng, look, your aunt is just coincidentally in need of money at this time. It isn’t due to all these matters.”

His other aunt interjected, “Tingsheng, since you’re going to return the money anyway, just return it to us two as well. Relatives or whatever-don’t pick that up to discuss with us now.”

She having said such, Xu Tingsheng had no further words as he nodded and walked back to sit down at the dining table, saying to Mrs Xu, “Mum, have you remembered?”

“I’ve remembered, my blood-related sisters,” Mrs Xu said.

“Still remember how they begged all wailing to be allowed to join in the collective investment? Dad and I both said that we wouldn’t take theirs, but you just couldn’t ignore those ties.”

“Just take it as if Mum was a fool before. I’ll understand next time; I’ve also remembered it.”

Having already grown familiar with the character of these two aunts in his previous life and finally having managed to persuade Mrs Xu on this now, Xu Tingsheng smiled, stood up and said, “Wait for a while, those two aunts. I’ll go smoke a cigarette with my two bros for a bit. When we get back, you’ll get back your money.”

“Let me make this clear. When you invested previously, the time for returning the money was already set down. Now that you’re withdrawing it prematurely, there’ll definitely not be any interest or bonuses.”

“Having gotten back the initial sum, we’ll have nothing to do with each other from now on.”

Not waiting for them to reply, Xu Tingsheng left together with Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng, going to an empty stretch of land a distance away to smoke. Xu Tingsheng wanted to make use of the time spent here smoking this cigarette to sort out the gist of the general situation at large.

“How much money is there remaining?” Xu Tingsheng asked Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng in a hushed tone.

“Around six hundred thousand; it’s probably not enough,” Huang Yaming replied in a similarly hushed tone.

“Find a way to delay and tide through today. I’ll immediately contact someone and get Hucheng Education sold as soon as possible,” Xu Tingsheng said.

“Get it sold? How much can it sell for?” Huang Yaming asked astonishedly.

“Selling it now, if we meet someone who is discerning, it’ll just be a little over a million at most. In truth, it could be much lower than that as well. After all, Hucheng’s potential is not something that a lot of people would be able to understand now,” Xu Tingsheng said helplessly.

“Are you saying that if you continue expanding it, it might even be worth hundreds of millions in the future?” Huang Yaming complained.

“There’s no other way around it now. The supermarkets definitely cannot be sold at a time like this. As soon as such a thing happened, it would be equivalent to an admission of our Xu Family having collapsed. At the time, the pressure on us would only be greater. Therefore, we can only sell Hucheng. Adding on this money and getting together some three million odd, I think that we should be able to make it through this,” Xu Tingsheng calculated.

Fu Cheng suddenly interrupted from beside them, “Why don’t we sell the copyright for those songs? Quite a number of companies have approached me for them before.”

Xu Tingsheng thought for a moment, “Apple wants to enter showbiz under Rebirth’s name. In that case, these songs are all her foundation. However many good songs she has in the future, as long as she doesn’t have these current songs now, she would not be able to continue going on with this brand. Therefore, unless the situation truly utterly requires it…the songs cannot be sold.”

Not far away from the trio, Song Ni who had originally been walking over as as she had been worried about Xu Tingsheng stopped in her tracks as she heard his words.

On the train the previous day, she had still been feeling indignant for Apple, had still been emotionally rebuking Xu Tingsheng over how he had treated her. Now, however, she felt rather lost and helpless.

Xu Tingsheng had instructed her that the current matter was not to be told to Apple.

However, she really wanted to tell Apple about all that was happening now, all that Xu Tingsheng was currently going through. She wanted to tell her: Perhaps you didn’t know, as we all didn’t know as well, how much Xu Tingsheng actually cares about you. He actually…cares about you so much.”

“He would rather sell Hucheng that he painstakingly established with his own blood and sweat at a low price, that business which might be worth some hundreds of millions in the future, just to keep the road ahead of you smoothly paved.”

Now, someone began shouting over at the front lawn as they hid amidst the crowd, “Your Xu Family having already come to this stage, what show are you currently still staging? …Not even having fully grown out your hair, how are you still qualified to pretend with this old man around?”

Huang Yaming was about to shout out a reply, but Xu Tingsheng stopped him.

At moments like this, as long as the person who was stirring things up dared not to step out from amidst the crowd, there would then be no need for the Xu Family to respond. There was nothing at all that could be resolved by verbal disputes.


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