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Xu Zuocheng and Xu Youcheng were currently resting in their rooms. When they heard the sound, they came out from their respective east and west wings. Seeing Xu Zhao, they were a bit shocked.
“Xu Zhao, what are you doing?” Xu Zuocheng asked.
Xu Zhao turned to Xu Zuocheng and asked, “Eldest Brother, are you going to help with Dad’s matter or not?”
“Help how?” Xu Zuocheng retorted.
“With labor and money,” Xu Zhao said.
“Why should I?” Xu Zuocheng was unwilling.
“Because he’s your father.”
“He’s your father as well,” Xu Zuocheng retorted.
Xu Zhao looked at Xu Zuocheng and said, “That’s why I’m going to help him.”
Hearing this, Xu Zuocheng and Xu Youcheng were dumbfounded.
“What do you guys say?” Xu Zhao continued to ask.
“Say about what?” Xu Zuocheng asked.
“Are you going to support Mom and Dad or not?”
Xu Zuocheng and Xu Youcheng glanced at each other, then said together, “That’s your Mom and Dad!”
He knew his two brothers would act like this!
“Are you sure you don’t want them anymore?” Xu Zhao asked.
Who wants them can have them. In any case, they dote on you the most,” Xu Zuocheng cast aside his responsibility.
Xu Zhao long knew about Xu Zuocheng’s morals. To make him take care or help the two elders was impossible. Therefore, he said, “Fine, then let’s completely split the family.”
Xu Zuocheng and Xu Youcheng were stunned at the same time.
“Are we splitting or not?” Xu Zhao asked.
“How are we going to completely split everything?” Xu Zuocheng and Xu Youcheng asked at the same time.
Xu Zhao glanced at Xu Zuocheng and said each sentence clearly, “I’ll support Mom and Dad, so everything that belongs to them will belong to me. You guys can’t take a single thing of theirs.”
Xu Zuocheng and Xu Youcheng glanced at each other again, making calculations in their hearts. Father Xu had a stroke. If he wasn’t completely paralyzed in the future, then he’d become half-paralyzed and wouldn’t be able to help with any farm work. They’d even have to feed him and provide him medicine. It was too big of a loss. They were better off throwing him to Xu Zhao earlier. They were even trying to scheme. In any case, they already owned Xu Zhao’s mu of land and there wasn’t much else. Thinking like this, thoroughly splitting the family now was the best option.
Immediately, Xu Zuocheng and Xu Youcheng used a pompous excuse in reply.
Xu Zhao was the least bit surprised, and turned to leave.
Xu Zuocheng hastily asked, “Xu Zhao, what are you going to do?”
“Inviting the village chief over to testify,” Xu Zhao said.
He needed to invite the village chief over to prevent Xu Zuocheng and Xu Youcheng from playing any tricks.
Not long later, the village chief was invited over by Xu Zhao, carrying a large scale with him. With the village chief as witness, they divided everything that could be divided. The things that couldn’t be divided were handled in another way. Therefore, the chickens, ducks, firewood, sickles, shovels, bamboo baskets, and even chopsticks were divided.
Xu Zuocheng and Xu Youcheng were greedy people and wanted to take advantage of whatever they were dividing. It got to the point that even the village chief couldn’t help but speak up for Xu Zhao. Once they divided everything, Xu Zhao obtained the well-deserved wheat flour, corn flour, sweet potato powder, salted vegetables, duck eggs, wheat, bean seedlings, two chickens, two ducks, and etc. However the three tiled houses still went to Xu Zuocheng and Xu Youcheng, and they refused to let them go.
Xu Zhao also got three rooms, but it was two thatched huts and a kitchen.
However, Xu Zhao didn’t squabble over this. As long as he could get rid of Xu Zuocheng and Xu Youcheng, that was all that mattered. Everything else could be improved in time.
The courtyard needed to be improved first. He assumed the courtyard would directly be split into two. He and Xu Zuocheng and Xu Youcheng would use their own property. He immediately visited the small snack counter inside the village, carrying tobacco, alcohol, and vegetables with him to find Da Zhuang’s father and others to ask them to help him build a wall. He also helped mix the clay and wheat bran and build the wall. It wasn’t until the afternoon that they finished building the two meter tall mud wall that separated Xu Zuocheng and Xu Youcheng’s tiled houses and pigsty, and creating a small independent courtyard that only contained their two thatched huts and single kitchen.
The small courtyard was small, but it was quiet and comfortable.
Xu Zuocheng angrily looked at the mud wall and roared, “If you build a wall, how are we supposed to get out?”
“You can create a door yourselves,” Xu Zhao replied.
“Xu Zhao, don’t go overboard!”
“Did you want to support Dad instead?”
Threatening him to raise the parents was the ultimate technique.
Xu Zuocheng shut up just as he thought he would.
Xu Zhao was extremely thankful to Da Zhuang’s dad and the others. Afterwards, he sat in the small courtyard completely satisfied, his heart was calm. Turning his head, he saw Xu Fan exit from the kitchen, his tiny hands carrying a handful of wheat bran as he said to the small chickens, “Cluck, cluck. Come here and eat.”
With a wave of his small hand, he threw the wheat bran on the ground, then turned around to enter the kitchen again. Grabbing another small handful of wheat bran, he said, “Cluck, cluck. Come eat, come eat.”
Xu Zhao couldn’t help calling, “Xu Fan.”
Xu Fan looked over and called, “Daddy.”
“Those two don’t cluck,” Xu Zhao said.
“It is clucking,” Xu Fan said.
“They aren’t. Only hens will cluck and lay eggs,” Xu Zhao said.
Xu Fan looked at Xu Zhao, then at the two chickens. He used his two fingers to point at the two small chickens then said to Xu Zhao, “They are hens.”
“No, they’re roosters. They have a comb on their head. Look.”
“Then, then, Daddy. Do roosters go cock-a-doodle-doo?” Xu Fan immediately stood on his tip-toes, sticking out his small stomach, and pursed his small lips, copying a rooster’s crow.
He really looked…too cute!
“Hahaha.” Xu Zhao really couldn’t hold his laughter in, one of his hands covered his stomach as the other covered his large laugh.
Xu Fan, unknowingly, laughed along with him for a bit before feeling awkward and swung his small arms and called, “Daddy.”
Xu Zhao laughed nonstop.
“Daddy,” Xu Fan shouted.
Xu Zhao continued laughing.
Xu Fan once again called out in a screech, “Daddy!”
Xu Zhao’s laughter gradually subsided. He looked at Xu Fan and said, “Come here.”
Xu Fan walked up to Xu Zhao.
Xu Zhao hugged Xu Fan and kissed his small face and said, “Sanwa, you copied it well. How amazing!”
Xu Fan was the least bit modest as he said, “Yep, Daddy. I’m amazing. I can also woof, meow, quack, and baa.”
“Mn, you’re amazing. Yo, you’ve gained some weight.” Xu Zhao rubbed the fat on Xu Fan’s body.
“I look good after gaining some weight.”
“Yes, you look good. You’re very handsome, but starting from today, you won’t be able to eat meat everyday. You may not be able to eat meat for days.”
“Why?” Xu Fan asked.
“Because we have no money,” Xu Zhao replied.
“Then we can sell popsicles and make money,” Xu Fan said.
“The money from selling popsicles will be used for Grandpa’s treatment.”
“Grandpa is sick?”
“Yes, so we won’t be able to eat meat everyday. We need to save money for Grandpa’s treatment, okay?”
“Okay,” Xu Fan directly replied.
“Then what will you do if you want to eat meat?”
Xu Fan’s small hand rubbed his head, thinking it over. His small finger pointed to the two ducks inside the courtyard and said, “Kill the ducks to eat.”
Xu Zhao realized that he couldn’t have a serious conversation with Xu Fan. The more they talk, the more they would stray from the topic. He didn’t plan on taking with him anymore and turned around to tidy the three thatched huts. He directly locked the doors to the thatched hut and closed the main gate.
Afterwards, he carried Xu Fan while riding the bicycle to the county town. When he passed by the intersection near Cui Qingfeng’s house, he confirmed that Cui Qingfeng wasn’t standing there selling popsicles. Hahh… However, he didn’t have time to worry about this for now. Once he settled Father and Mother Xu’s affairs, he would come back to take care of this issue.
Xu Zhao returned his gaze and rode his bike all the way to the County Town Hospital Center, and entered the patient room. Opening the door to the patient room, he saw the still unconscious Father Xu and Mother Xu, who was sitting by the head of the bed.
It had only been half a day since he last saw Mother Xu, but he felt that she had aged a lot within that time.
“Mom,” Xu Zhao whispered.
Mother Xu lifted her head to look over, and asked with shock, “What are you guys doing here again?
“Here to see you,” Xu Zhao said.
As he spoke, Xu Zhao reached out his hand to give Mother Xu a cloth bag.
“What is this?” Mother Xu asked with surprise.
“Dad is in the hospital so won’t you guys need daily necessities? I brought these porcelain basins, towels, change of clothes, toilet paper and other things from home. You can use them.” Xu Zhao said.
Mother Xu was instantly in tears and speechless. She was immersed in grief all day and didn’t even think about going home to grab some necessities. As she grabbed the cloth bag, she felt that compared to the ruthlessness of Xu Zuocheng and Xu Youcheng, she felt more sorry for her own birth son.
“Mom, you haven’t eaten yet, right?” Xu Zhao handed over the double tier enamel jar to Mother Xu and said, “This is for you.”
“What is this?” Mother Xu asked.
“Noodles,” Xu Zhao said.
“Did you buy it?”
“Did you also just buy this enamel jar?” Mother Xu asked.
“Where did you get the money from?”
“I earned it.”
“How are you making money? Xu Zhao, listen to Mom. You can’t do bad things.” Mother Xu dearly loved Xu Zhao.
“I’m selling popsicles,” Xu Zhao said. “I’m making popsicles with my classmate and selling them to make a bit of money.”
“Really. I earned a bit of money.”
Mother Xu glanced at the double tier enamel jar and said, “That doesn’t mean you should have bought this enamel jar, and it’s even double tier. Wasn’t it expensive?”
“It wasn’t. You should eat quickly.”
Mother Xu accepted the enamel jar, but she didn’t have an appetite, so she placed it by the bedside table.
Xu Zhao looked at Mother Xu, sighing in his heart, but still said, “Mom, eldest Brother, second brother, and I split the family.”
Mother Xu looked at Xu Zhao with shock.
“Eldest Brother and second brother said they won’t support you or Dad, so I split the family with him and said I’d take care of you,” Xu Zhao said.
Mother Xu looked at Xu Fan in disbelief. Beginning in the sixties, the society had become extremely poor, and peasants had it the worst. There was nothing to eat, drink, or wear. There wasn’t a single parent who cared about the psychological state of their children. Moreover, Xu Zhao didn’t speak much. He only knew how to study. Later on, he left to attend school in the county town, only coming home once in a while. That was why Father and Mother Xu didn’t really understand the gloomy Xu Zhao. It was only after Xu Fan was born that she had a profound realization, and that was why she treated Xu Fan even better. In fact, she had wanted to compensate Xu Zhao.
When Xu Zhao suddenly wanted to drown himself in the river, Mother Xu couldn’t understand his reasoning. And now, for her sake, he and Xu Zuocheng and Xu Youcheng had split the family. She finally understood. Xu Zhao treated her well, so she had already lost hope for Xu Zuocheng and Xu Youcheng. She looked at Xu Zhao and asked, “Won’t you think that we’re a burden?”
“I won’t. You guys are my parents,” Xu Zhao said.
Mother Xu cried.
Xu Zhao reached out his hand to pat Mother Xu’s shoulder and said, “Mom, it doesn’t matter how difficult life gets, won’t it still be better than the sixties when there was nothing to eat? We still have our arms and legs. Our days will definitely get better.”
“But your dad—”
“We’ll make money to buy medicine. I just asked the doctor and the doctor said that Dad won’t become paralyzed. It’s just that his legs won’t be as agile as before. If he takes his medicine as the doctor prescribed, eats a healthy diet, and rest, he’ll be able to walk normally and eat normally.”
“Really?” Mother Xu looked at Xu Zhao and asked.
“Yes,” Xu Zhao said. “Therefore, before Dad gets better, we can’t give up. Mom, our lives will get better. Think about our lives in the past compared to now. Isn’t it better than before? What difficulties can’t we overcome?”
“Mom, eat first.”
“Eat first,” Xu Fan’s milky voice repeated.
Xu Zhao and Mother Xu looked at Xu Fan at the same time.
Xu Fan pointed at the enamel jar and said, “Grandma, there’s egg inside! Daddy bought it!”
Mother Xu’s eyes warmed as she looked at Xu Fan and asked, “Sanwa, did you eat yet?”
“You can still eat more, is that right?”
Xu Fan didn’t speak as he sucked in a breath, his eyes staring at the enamel jar in Mother Xu’s hands.
Once the enamel jar was opened, a bowl of fragrant noodles and a lustrous yellow fried egg appeared. Xu Fan immediately wowed.
Mother Xu picked up the egg and gave it to Xu Fan.
Xu Fan immediately opened his mouth.
Xu Zhao made a sound.
Xu Fan immediately closed his small mouth and cuddled close to Xu Zhao’s body. He looked at the fried egg and said, “The egg is for Grandma. Baobao can’t eat it.”
“It’s fine. Have a bite.”
“I won’t eat it.”
“Just a bite.”
“I won’t eat it.”
Mother Xu glanced at Mother Xu.
It was only then that Xu Zhao turned to Xu Fan and said, “Just a bite.”
Xu Fan was very unrestrained and instantly shot towards Mother Xu’s side like a rocket, taking a bite of the egg and happily jumping around.
Mother Cui laughed.
Xu Fan had a blissful face and said, “It’s so good.”
Xu Zhao smiled as well.
Xu Zhao was really helpless as he watched Mother Xu grasp the enamel jar full of noodles, and feeding half the contents in the enamel jar to Xu Fan. Once they were finished, Xu Zhao took out all 68 Yuan from his pocket and gave it to Mother Xu, startling her. She finally learned that Xu Zhao made a profit. Mother Xu laughed as she cried, taking the 68 Yuan and said, “If you give it all to me, you’ll be left with nothing.”
“I can just make more.”
“But you don’t even have any new clothes.”
Xu Zhao looked at the worn-out clothes on his body and said, “It’s fine. I can still wear them. I’ll buy new clothes once I make more money.”
“Xu Zhao, rest assured. Mom won’t use your money in vain,” Mother Xu said while clenching the money.
“Mom, it’s okay. I know. Be at ease and accompany Dad for a few days. I need to take care of something.”
“Go on. Will Sanwa be able to go with you?”
“Yes. I’m leaving. I’ll be back after I take care of the matter.”
Xu Zhao carried Xu Fan out of the hospital, his heart thinking about the matter of selling popsicles at the intersection. He placed Xu Fan on the front handlebars, and as his long legs stretched over the bicycle, he looked up to see Cui Qingfeng riding a brand new bicycle towards them and shouting from the distance, “Xu Zhao! Xu Zhao!”