Chapter 99: It’s time to pay them a visit
After withdrawing the money and making a quick trip back home, Xu Tingsheng turned and returned to the county, going to take a look at Happy Shoppers itself. However unstable the Xu Family might currently be, the supermarket was still as bustling as ever, business even booming now that the New Year was right around the corner.
The Xu Family had Li Xiu to thank for this stability. This female manager whom Mr Xu had found in Xihu City was a living superwoman and workaholic, both her competence as well as commitment only able to evoke sighs of admiration.
The current Li Xiu could actually no longer be considered just the manager of Happy Shoppers Libei. To a certain extent, aside from Mr Xu, it was Li Xiu who was the actual in-charge of the six large scale supermarkets currently owned by the Xu Family.
Happy Shoppers Libei had hired two assistant managers to assist Li Xiu just a little over a month ago. Meanwhile, she herself spent most of her time busily running about the five counties of Jiannan City where the six supermarkets were located.
When Xu Tingsheng stepped into Li Xiu’s office, he found her hard at work with a great pile of paperwork before her. The Xu Family’s ship was currently swaying amidst the winds and the rain, but as one of its passengers, Li Xiu was like the most stable, experienced seafarer as she continued meticulously doing what she was supposed to do.
“Sis Xiu!” Xu Tingsheng exclaimed.
“Hey, Tingsheng…how come you’re here?” Li Xiu stood up, “It’s also good that you’re here; this sis was just about to go find you.”
Hearing that Li Xiu had been just about to seek him out for something, Xu Tingsheng sat down, brewing some tea in a disposable cup as he prepared to hear her out whilst also making use of this chance to soothe his nerves that had been tensed up for the entire day.
Li Xiu came before Xu Tingsheng with an accounts book in her hand, bending down and saying, “I know that you must be in need of money right now. I’ve just finished doing the monthly accounts for the various branches a little early, intending to collect the money and give it to you first to tide through the current crisis.”
Xu Tingsheng glanced at the accounts book. The numbers looked rather good.
“Sorry for the trouble, Sis Xiu,” Xu Tingsheng smiled and set the accounts book aside, saying mildly, “We’re not in urgent need of money at the moment. How’s the situation with the replenishment of the stocks?”
Li Xiu answered rather awkwardly, “I, I took it upon myself to temporarily halt it.”
Knowing that Li Xiu had done so with the Xu Family in mind, Xu Tingsheng had no intention of chastising her at all as he smiled, “Hurry up and get the stocks replenished then! It’s the new year; we can’t miss out on this great chance for earning money. Other than that, Sis Xiu, please help to calculate the year end bonuses for all the employees of our various stores from the workers up to the management level. No matter what, we must definitely distribute the year end bonuses by the end of the year.”
“I actually just discussed this matter with the heads of the other stores before lunch just now. We all felt that this matter can actually be delayed a little,” Li Xiu proposed.
“There’s no need to delay, nor can there be a delay. Given our current circumstances, giving our people peace of mind is a very important thing.”
Xu Tingsheng paused for a moment, only continuing after Li Xiu had nodded, “Therefore, not only do the year end bonuses have to be distributed, I still want Sis Xiu to announce a welfare incentive on my behalf. Starting from May next year, Happy Shoppers will arrange all its employees into three batches in going on a tour in Hainan. All the expenses for this holiday will be borne by Happy Shoppers.”
Back in the year 2003, apart from a few large scale modernised enterprises, employee benefits were still a comparatively undeveloped segment in companies. Employees themselves were less preinclined towards this concept as well. In the eyes of most people, so long as they went to work and were able to receive sufficient monthly wages in a timely manner, it would then already be enough to praise their company as good.
That Xu Tingsheng had suddenly proposed as great a welfare incentive as ‘all employees going on tour in Hainan’ when the Xu Family was currently placed in such a difficult predicament, even Li Xiu felt a little astonished by that.
“There’s nothing to worry about, Sis Xiu. The Xu Family’s foundation is not all that weak. For the money currently needed back home, even if all of the investment funds had to be returned at once, I would still be able to take out that money. There definitely won’t be a need to use the working capital in our stores.”
Xu Tingsheng stood up and walked towards the door, but turned and addressed Li Xiu again as he reached the doorway, “Sis Xiu, rest assured…the Xu Family’s ship will not sink. We’ll have to trouble you additionally over this period of time. When my Dad returns for the new year, remember to bring your kid along to our family for a reunion dinner together.”
Xu Tingsheng left, but Li Xiu was still left digesting his previous words.
Xu Tingsheng’s earlier words had contained truth, falsehood and also big words. For example, he had said that the Xu Family did not have to draw on the working capital in their stores, and he had indeed not drawn on them. However, in having said that the Xu Family’s foundation was such that it would even be able to return all of the investment funds in a single go…
Xu Tingsheng had said so and done so because he needed Li Xiu to help him set the minds of everyone else at ease. At the same time, he was also trying to keep Li Xiu working steadfastly for them.
Li Xiu had originally felt all along that she already possessed sufficient understanding regarding the Xu Family, including their background as well as Mr and Mrs Xu’s temperament and character etcetera. Now, however, she suddenly felt as though she actually didn’t really know anything about the Xu Family’s foundation at all, being even less able to see through their son, the nineteen-year-old Xu Tingsheng.
She began to believe Xu Tingsheng’s words that the Xu Family’s ship would not sink.
It was actually Xu Tingsheng’s final sentence that had impacted Li Xiu the most: When my Dad returns for the new year, remember to bring your kid along to our family for a reunion dinner together.
There were actually two layers of meaning to this sentence. Firstly, Mr Xu would definitely return in time to usher in the new year. Secondly, you, Li Xiu, are a member of our family whom we can eat our reunion dinner together with.
Having been accorded this sentence, Li Xiu decided not to consider things any further. She sat down, stuffed the accounts book into the drawer and called the finance department, instructing them to begin calculating the year end bonus. Afterwards, she also made a call back home.
She said, “Mum, you’ll have to take care of the kid these next few days. I’ll be rather busy. I’m going to help my Boss look after the six Happy Shoppers stores; I might not have the time to come home…”
“Yes. Yes, Mum, you’re right. The Xu Family is good to me. I know, I know…”
“With the Xu Family currently in hard times…I’m of the same mind as you. Of the granted goodwill, to be repaid manifold.”
Exiting Happy Shoppers, Xu Tingsheng found a noodle store and sat down for dinner. Afterwards, he sat by an anti-flood dam on a riverside road and lit up a cigarette. He was waiting for something.
The Huang Family had bared its ‘fangs’, and the Xu Family had also flashed its ‘trump card’. Xu Tingsheng felt that it was about time for him to view for himself Libei’s local snakehead-the ‘Huang Family Pillars(Liangzhu)’ .
Just as Xu Tingsheng was considering paying a visit to the Huang Family, the Huang Family had actually already long since been awaiting the arrival of a representative of the Xu Family. It was just that they had initially thought that the person who would come might be Mrs Xu, or a relative or friend whom the Xu Family would invite to help them deal with this matter.
Afterwards, they would be imploringly begged. Yet afterwards, they would receive the things that they wanted.
They were already used to this sort of thing happening. One at the forefront, one behind the scenes, this had always been the practice of the ‘Huang Family Pillars’. Meanwhile, they had always been easily successful in their methods, everything going perfectly as they liked.
In Libei, the people who could have the Huang Family ‘kick a metal board’ and eat a loss were few beyond number.
Anyway, they felt that they had already been sufficiently prudent in this matter, already having carried out sufficient investigations as well. This Xu Family which had suddenly sprung up into prominence was definitely not a metal board of any kind. On the contrary, they couldn’t even be considered an adobe wall.
Huang Tianzhu was the one in charge of the plan’s implementation. Receiving a call from his planted spy over in the morning and learning that the one currently in charge over at the Xu Family was actually a 19-year-old teenager, he very nearly died of laughter.
The Xu Family’s foundation seemed even weaker than he had thought. At a crucial time like this, they weren’t even able to bring out someone who could be put in charge of this matter.
Those who toiled over soil indeed. Without any background worth speaking of in the least, if they really wanted to rise up into power, it would require painstaking effort over a few generations of descendants at the very least.
Now? It was much too early for them.
There wasn’t merely a single operative planted by Huang Tianzhu amongst the hundred odd people gathered and clamoring for money over at the Xu Family home. Therefore, when Xu Tingsheng dumped that big bag of money over on the front lawn, Huang Tianzhu promptly got wind of it.
“Bro Zhu, the Xu Family kid may have brought back more than 2 million yuan.”
“More than 2 million yuan? …What then? This little money’s not enough, right?”
“I don’t know. Anyway, that kid seems pretty steady. He’s currently cooking lunch.”
“He still has the mood to cook lunch at a time like this? Has that kid lost his mind?” The information sent to him by his underlings left Huang Tianzhu speechless for a time.
He had been eagerly awaiting those who had gone to the Xu Family to get back their money stirring up a ruckus. So long as they were unable to get their money back, things should naturally escalate into a commotion, with them first causing a ruckus at the Xu Family, next causing a ruckus at the Xu Family’s supermarket, then causing a ruckus on the streets…
It was best if they rampaged all the way till the county government.
Like this, the Huang Family would be able to conveniently actualise Xu Jianliang’s criminal charges of illegal collective investment. They would even be able to attack a little more viciously, setting it up as a large scale hoax and adding on the charges of creating societal disturbance.
After yet more time had passed, with still no fresh news incoming, a rather impatient Huang Tianliang sent a message to inquire on the situation.
“What’s the situation now? Has the commotion begun?” Huang Tianliang asked.
“No, they’re currently eating,” His underling replied.
“Eating? They’re eating…and no one is stirring up a ruckus? All those people are just standing there watching on just like that?”
“Yeah, we’re watching. There’s also some people who’ve gone home to eat first. Bro Zhu, can we return for lunch first as well? We’re a little hungry.”
“Eat your XXX!” Fan the flames for me, get the people riled up. You must definitely get them into an uproar.”
This flow of information didn’t cease at all as the operatives planted by Huang Tianzhu also put in great effort. Fanning the flames and stirring things up-those were all caused by them.
Still, the situation ultimately didn’t descend into hubbub like Huang Tianzhu had hoped for.
Through this flow of information, Huang Tianzhu came to learn of Uncle Rong and his machete as well as those three things Xu Tingsheng had said.
He had said: My Dad will definitely come home to usher in the new year;
He had said: The Xu Family still has money;
He had said: The Xu Family never forgets gratitude, but also remembers enmity.
The entire county knew of their earlier words that they would not let the Xu Family usher in the new year. Huang Tianzhu currently felt as though this young brat truly didn’t know what was good for him. Under the watchful gazes of all, this was virtually going head-to-head with the Huang Family, blatantly slapping the Huang Family’s face.
“You think that your father can return for the new year just because you say so? In saying that you remember enmity, could you be saying that you will remember this enmity with our Huang Family? …This is Libei, the Huang Family’s Libei.”
When Xu Tingsheng dumped the second bag of cash over on the front lawn in the afternoon, Huang Tianzhu promptly received this news.
“Yet another big bag of money. Over a million yuan; things definitely won’t be stirred up here. Almost everyone’s left, many of them not taking the money. Bro Zhu, can we leave as well? So hungry…”
It was now that Huang Tianzhu finally began feeling as though things might not be as simple as he had thought. At the same time, he also felt like that young brat of the Xu Family might actually not be that simple as well.
However, he did not panic at all. There was never a time when he needed to panic, because there was always still a great ‘Buddha’ that stood behind him, the unshakeable bulwark of the Huang Family, the effective monarch of Libei County, Huang Tianliang.