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It was wonderful—
It was very unbelievable.
Cui Dingchen suddenly fell into doubt. His heart clearly…had a wrong feeling. His gaze fell on Xu Zhao again, and at this moment, Xu Zhao had already titled his head down and completely turned his focus on his small notebook again, completely ignoring him. In actuality, Xu Zhao didn’t pay attention to anyone and was only waiting to arrive at the West Prefecture Food Factory.
It was only then that Xu Zhao lifted his gaze again and looked toward Cui Qingfeng.
Cui Qingfeng looked at Xu Zhao with skepticism and asked, “What is it?”
“You can’t enter the food factory as you wish. You, Youngest uncle, and Old Liu should wait here. I’ll enter the factory and find Manager Xu Jianguo to get authorization, then you guys can come in to get the mooncakes,” Xu Zhao said sternly.
Cui Qingfeng quickly nodded. “Alright.”
Xu Zhao turned his head to look at Cui Dingchen.
“No problem. You’re busy, so you don’t have to worry about me,” Cui Dingchen said.
Xu Zhao nodded. He really was extremely busy. He first needed to enter the factory by himself to find Xu Jianguo and get authorization for their vehicle to enter. Then he had to reconcile accounts and the quality, and paid the deposit for the 10,000 mooncakes.
It was only then that he brought the 10,000 mooncakes into the van. Every action he did and sentence he spoke recently was related to work. When they left the West Prefecture City Cigarette factory, they did everything according to plan. Cui Qingfeng took 900 mooncakes and rode the bus to the county town to deliver the goods. At the same time, Cui Dingchen followed Cui Qingfeng back to the county town, and only Xu Zhao and Old Liu were left in the city.
“Xiao Xu, where are we going?” Old Liu asked.
“To the West Prefecture Food Factory,” Xu Zhao said.
“Sure!” Before Cui Dingchen left, he instructed Old Liu to listen to Xu Zhao, therefore Old Liu didn’t object.
He needed to return to the West Prefecture Food Factory since he got the balance from the cigarette factory and needed to settle accounts with Xu Jianguo, and at the same time, order another 10,000 mooncakes. After paying the down payment, Xu Jianguo was in shock as he agreed to produce another 10,000 mooncakes for Xu Zhao. Afterward, Xu Zhao and Old Liu didn’t rest and entered the city again. They first went to book two rooms at a place called “Nanshan Hotel,” and after writing down their phone number, they began delivering the mooncakes to the 17 shops in the city all the way until evening. And even then, they were only able to deliver it to 7 shops. It was then that Xu Zhao realized in shock that he didn’t eat lunch, and that meant Old Liu didn’t eat lunch either.
And so, Xu Zhao quickly apologized to Old Liu.
Old Liu smiled and said, “It’s fine. No worries. When the boss is busy with work, he will also forget about eating. I’m used to it.”
Xu Zhao smiled awkwardly and said, “Let’s go eat now.”
“We’re not going to continue delivering?” Old Liu asked.
“We’re stopping for the day. We’ll continue tomorrow.”
Xu Zhao and Old Liu were finally free. After eating lunch/dinner, Xu Zhao and Old Liu returned to Nanshan Hotel and went to their own rooms. After Xu Zhao showered, he first needed to write a summary of everything that happened today in his small notebook.
After writing, he saw the lights illuminating one by one outside the window, and he suddenly thought of Xu Fan. He immediately went downstairs and borrowed the hotel’s phone to call Uncle Zhang’s home phone to call Mother Xu over.
As soon as he got on the phone with Mother Xu, he heard Xu Fan’s milky voice on the side calling out, “Grandma, I want to talk on the phone. I want to talk on the phone!” Xu Zhao didn’t know whether he should laugh or cry and said, “Mom, let Xu Fan have the phone.”
“Sure, I’ll give him the phone. This little child really can’t be helped.”
Xu Zhao smiled.
After a while, Xu Fan heard something on the other side. “Xu Fan?” Xu Zhao asked with doubt.
Just as Xu Zhao thought that the phone was broken, a milky voice finally came from the other side of the phone, “Daddy!”
Xu Zhao hurriedly replied, “Yes, it’s Daddy.”
“Daddy, how did you get inside the telephone?”
This question weng beyond his knowledge again, and Xu Zhao couldn’t answer.
“It’s dark already. Why aren’t you back yet?”
“… I’ll come back in two days, okay?”
“ no, Daddy. Come out of there now,” Xu Fan seriously said.
Xu Zhao used a lot of effort to explain to Xu Fan before Xu Fan finally understood that Xu Zhao was in the city, not inside of the telephone. Afterwards, Xu Zhao was able to communicate normally with Xu Fan.
“ Did he cry when you woke up this morning?” Xu Zhao asked.
“I cried,” Xu Fan replied.
“ Why did you cry?”
“ I couldn’t find Daddy. I couldn’t find you in the kitchen, or in the fields, or even at Da Zhuang’s house or on the road so I… I cried…”
When Xu Zhao heard this, his heart ached and felt warm. He could imagine Xu Fan waking up and drowsily calling out Daddy, and after not seeing Daddy, he’d ignore his grandparents and run his tiny legs around the village, the field, and the big dirt roads in search. After not finding Daddy, he’d immediately start crying. Mother Xu probably had to use egg soup and two pieces of meat to coax him.
Xu Zhao couldn’t help but miss him and said, “Daddy will be back in two days. Don’t cry anymore, okay?”
“Don’t cry at night. Daddy will buy you pig trotters when I get home.”
“Buy one for Da Zhuang too.”
“Because Da Zhuang’s father gave me a spinning top and a slingshot. Da Zhuang said that i-i-if I don’t give him pig trotters to eat, he’ll take back the spinning top and slingshot.”
“Okay, I’ll also buy one for Da Zhuang.”
“Mn. Daddy, come back soon.”
“Okay, I’ll be back in two days.”
After hanging up, Xu Zhao returned to his hotel room again and lay in bed. In the 21st century, regardless of where he went, there was no difference.
But since arriving here, everything seemed different. With his home in his heart, regardless of how good the hotel was, he would still miss the three thatched huts in South Bay Village as well as the plump Xu Fan. He missed them so much that he had difficulty sleeping up until a huge wave of sleepiness overcame him and he slept until morning.
Xu Zhao became busy again. After he finished the deliveries to the remaining 10 shops, he and Old Liu returned to Jiang Ping County with 3,600 mooncakes and delivered 3,000 mooncakes to the steel factory. After settling the account, he delivered the remaining 600 pieces of mooncakes to Fan’s Little Shop since Cui Qingfeng had called to say that business was very good and the 900 mooncakes were already sold out.
And so, after Xu Zhao delivered the 600 mooncakes, he left and returned to Nanshan Hotel and waited in front of Nanshan Hotel’s telephone with Old Liu. As soon as there was a call, Xu Zhao would pick it up, then have Old Liu head to the West Prefecture Food Factory to get the mooncakes to deliver to the specified shop…
And so, it went like this for one day, two days, three days, four days… On the sixth day, the busy farming season was basically concluded. All the Xu Zhao’s previous hard work had finally ushered in a rich harvest and the mooncakes sales suddenly shot through the roof.
Firstly, Cui Qingfeng suddenly called at noon and shouted, “Xu Zhao! The 2,000 mooncakes were sold out! Everyone from the village you took Xu Fan to previously all came to buy mooncakes!”
“How much more do you need?” Xu Zhao asked.
“I need another 2,000 mooncakes!” Cui Qingfeng was very excited and really admired Xu Zhao. So many people came to Fan’s Little Shop to buy mooncakes, and they all came because of the young man and the plump child. Other people’s shops couldn’t compare to Fan’s Little Shop.
So amazing! Xu Zhao was very amazing! Cui Qingfeng couldn’t help but praise Xu Zhao.
However, Xu Zhao wasn’t arrogant and took his work very seriously and said, “Okay. I’ll have Old Liu deliver 3,000 mooncakes right away.”
Xu Zhao hung up, and the phone sounded again. One moment, it was the curly-haired female boss, the other moment it was the fifth shop calling over, and another moment it was the tenth shop calling… In the end, Xu Zhao was so busy that he could only pay one Yuan to the hotel boss to help him answer the phone. He, on the other hand, rode the hotel’s bicycle to deliver the mooncakes. He was so busy that he had to run like the wind, and this busy period went on like this for three to four days. The fifth day was the Mid-Autumn Festival, and the sales of the mooncakes were finally coming to an end.
At this time, Xu Zhao had already made a small fortune. His profits completely exceeded his previous predictions. However, it was a lot more work than he thought. And of course, Old Liu was also exhausted. Xu Zhao knew that Old Liu had a big family and especially gave Old Liu six boxes of mooncakes. However, without saying anything, Old Liu only took two boxes, and Xu Zhao couldn’t force his hand.
Afterward, Old Liu dropped Xu Zhao off at Fan’s Little Shop.
Since it was the Mid-Autumn Festival, it wasn’t convenient to stay at other people’s houses for long. Xu Zhao just said simply to Cui Qingfeng, “Happy Mid-Autumn Festival. Let’s talk again tomorrow.” Afterward, he rode the bicycle, taking two sacks of mooncakes to Middle Street to buy five pig trotters. Once done, he rode toward South Bay Village.
Eleven days. It had been a total of eleven days since he had seen Xu Fan, Xu Sanwa. He only had one phone call with him, so Xu Zhao really missed him. It was clear that his biking speed was a lot faster than before. Eleven days. Eleven days ago, the sides of the dirt roads were full of matured soybeans. And now, they were completely cut, and even the soybeans stalks were dragged home. Since everyone wanted to pass an easy and comfortable Mid-Autumn Festival, they worked very fast.
In these past eleven days, he didn’t know how Xu Fan fared. Was he angry, did he fight, did he continue listening to <Journey to the West>, did he get fatter… As he was missing Xu Fan, he had already arrived at South Bay Village. In the distance, he could see six or seven children playing together by the entrance of the village. The eldest child had to be eight or nine, and the youngest was two or three years old…
That was correct, the two and three year old plump children were Xu Fan and Da Zhuang. Xu Fan and Da Zhuang played without any regards to their age.
They could listen to Chinese opera with 70-80 year old grandpas and grannies and listen to <Water Margin> with 50-60 year olds. They could also go fishing with Da Zhuang’s father or play in the mud with 1-2 year olds. At the same time, they could also run behind 8-9 year old kids. At this moment, it seemed like the 8-9 year olds had caught a bird and were running toward the village. Xu Fan and Da Zhuang saw the older kids carrying the bird, and they hastily ran their tiny legs to catch up.
They looked very cute.
“Xu Fan!” Xu Zhao couldn’t help but shout.
Xu Fan was running, until he suddenly stopped.
Xu Zhao shouted again, “Xu Fan!”
As soon as Xu Fan saw Xu Zhao, he was shocked and excitedly called out, “Daddy! Daddy! Aah! My Daddy is back! Daddy!”
Xu Zhao got off the bike with a smile.
Xu Fan didn’t follow the older kids and didn’t care about Da Zhuang anymore. He turned around and ran toward Xu Zhao, not looking at the road and staring fixedly on Xu Zhao as he called out, “Daddy! Daddy!” Afterward, a “snap” sound was heard as he fell. However, he quickly got back up, and as he ran toward Xu Zhao again, he reacted a beat too slowly to the pain from his tripping. His small plump hand rubbed his knee, his small brow wrinkled and a sob came out from his mouth.