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Xu Youcheng was arrested—
Although he had guessed this result, it really happened. Xu Zhao was still a bit shocked and asked, “When did this happen?”
“Last night. Three police officers came. It was terrifying. After they said a few sentences, they directly took him away. Xu Zuocheng was even kicked by the police because he wouldn’t cooperate,” Mother Xu whispered.
Last night—That means as soon as Xu Zhao called the police, the police came. They were extra speedy. Remembering that hurting others in this era was a very serious matter, and for cases like Xu Youcheng’s, he would probably be locked up at the police station for at least 10-12 days. He definitely wouldn’t have returned yet.
Sure enough, he heard Mother Xu solemnly say, “He hasn’t returned yet.”
“Mn, he won’t return for a while,” Xu Zhao then said.
“It’s best if he stayed in there longer so that he can learn his lesson!” Mother Xu cursed a bit, then turned around to say, “However, your second sister-in-law has come to look for you a few times already.”
“Why was she looking for me?” Xu Zhao asked.
“To ask you to plead for leniency for Xu Youcheng,” Mother Xu said, “You definitely cannot do that!”
“Where do I have such great abilities that the police would listen to my pleas? Mom, let’s not talk about this for now.” Xu Zhao took two steps toward Mother Xu, lowering his voice as he said, “Mom, do you have five Yuan on you right now?”
“Yes, what do you need it for?” Mother Xu had money. It was all Xu Zhao’s money.
“I’ll tell you later. Give it to me for now. I’m gonna send Brother Li home now.”
“Okay. I’ll get it from the room.”
After getting the money, Xu Zhao helped Da Zhuang’s father to Da Zhuang’s house. U0pon entering Da Zhuang’s home, he sincerely apologized to Da Zhuang’s grandparents and his mom, stating that he had let Da Zhuang’s father suffer.
People in this era were honest and had the ideology that “it’s fine if your feet broke, as long as the shoes didn’t break.” Adding on to the fact that Da Zhuang’s whole family understood Xu Zhao’s situation and liked him, they didn’t blame Xu Zhao at all. Instead, they advised Xu Zhao to stay far away from Xu Zuocheng and Xu Youcheng.
However, Xu Zhao felt guilty and after explaining to Da Zhuang’s family on how to take the medicine, he pushed the five Yuan money he brought for the visit to Da Zhuang’s mother, and without letting Da Zhuang’s mother push the money back to him, he quickly left Da Zhuang’s house. Cui Dingchen followed behind.
Cui Dingchen walked out of Da Zhuang’s family small courtyard at a normal pace.
Xu Zhao turned back and said, “Youngest uncle, thank you for sending us back.”
Cui Dingchen nodded and accepted Xu Zhao’s gratitude.
Xu Zhao felt that the two words “thank you” lacked sincerity, and he had said thanks to Cui Dingchen too many times already. So he asked, “Youngest uncle, are you busy this afternoon?”
“No,” Cui Dingchen replied without any hesitation.
“Then have lunch at my place.”
Cui Dingchen asked in a joking tone, “Why are you willing to have me stay for a meal this time?”
Xu Zhao thought about the last time when he didn’t let Cui Dingchen enter the village. He smiled embarrassedly and said, “Since the situation with my two brothers has been settled, you can come over for a meal now.”
“Is it really settled?” Cui Dingchen asked.
“Mn,” Xu Zhao nodded and said, “My brothers are actually very timid. They’re probably scared to death after experiencing the police station.”
Cui Dingchen remembered the words Mother Xu had spoken at the courtyard entrance. “Didn’t your second sister-in-law come to find you? Are you going to take care of that?” he asked.
Xu Zhao smiled and said, “There’s no point in looking for me. This involves the police, so what can a civilian like me do? Besides, I don’t plan on continuing to live here in the future.”
“You won’t live here in the future?” Cui Dingchen curiously asked, “Where will you live?”
Xu Zhao paused for a moment and calculated the money on hand minus the amount they needed to pass winter, then said, “I want to see if I can buy a small house in the county town. If I can’t, I’ll build a tiled house in the village. In any case, we definitely have to live far away from them.”
Cui Dingchen turned it over in his head, then said, “I can help you take a look.”
“There’s no rush,” Xu Zhao said with a smile, “I haven’t calculated the money from the mooncake yet. We can talk after I do.”
Cui Dingchen nodded. “Alright, you can come find me if you need anything.”
Xu Zhao smiled as he walked.
Cui Dingchen walked beside him.
Xu Zhao was also tall, but walking beside Cui Dingchen, he barely reached Cui Dingchen’s ears. However, the two men were very handsome and attracted a lot of attention inside the village, especially Cui Dingchen. He was dressed respectfully, drove a car, and was a person from the city. While walking on the small roads of the village, there would be people looking over from time to time.
Cui Dingchen had been handsome since he was young. When he was young, he was chubby like Xu Fan and was especially good looking. He attracted a lot of attention, and the more he grew the more handsome he became. He would be stared at regardless of where he went, so he was already used to it.
However, Xu Zhao was more shy and was a bit embarrassed from being stared at, so he quickened his pace home. Before they reached home, they saw two chubby kids standing in front of the black compact car that was parked by the courtyard entrance. One was Da Zhuang and the other was Xu Fan. The two kids were currently circling the black car as if they couldn’t look enough. From time to time, they would use their tiny hands to touch the car door, the tires, the car windows. They became energized the more they touched it.
Da Zhuang pointed at the tires and said, “Sanwa, look. If we put two wings here on the big car, the big car will become… It’ll become a—flying car.”
Xu Fan ran in front of Da Zhuang and said while looking at him, “It’s not a flying car.”
“If it’s not a flying car, then what is it?” Da Zhuang asked.
Xu Fan immediately replied, “It’s not a flying car, it’s a big flying car! It’s a big flying car that’s even faster than the Great Sage the Equal of Heaven.”
Da Zhuang immediately agreed, “Yes, we’ll ride the big flying car to find the Great Sage the Equal of Heaven.”
“Mn. We’ll also look f-for the big white star.”
“There’s also Guanyin and tathagata buddhas,” Da Zhuang added.
“Da Zhuang, we can’t find tathagata buddha,” Xu Fan continued.
“Why not? Why can’t we find tathagata buddha?” Da Zhuang asked in confusion.
“Because tathagata is eating at home and is not in the sky,” Xu Fan said.
Xu Fan’s logic—
Xu Fan’s wild thoughts—
There was no one left.
Cui Dingchen couldn’t help but press the space between his eyebrows.
Xu Zhao was a bit distressed, but Xu Zhao was very willing to have Xu Fan speak unconstrained like him. Therefore, he only said a few words, having Xu Fan and Da Zhuang pay attention to their safety and to not damage the car. He didn’t care about anything else as he led Cui Dingchen inside the small courtyard.
Cui Dingchen entered the small courtyard earlier, but he didn’t have a good look around. This time, he saw that the courtyard was really small. It wasn’t even a third of Cui Qingfeng’s home courtyard. Moreover, the entire courtyard was surrounded by a fence, and the only thing inside the courtyard were three short thatched huts that were a bit shabby. Did Xu Zhao’s family live in these three thatched huts?
Bitterness rose in Cui Dingchen’s heart, and what made him even more bitter was the Xu family’s second sister-in-law holding her big belly to wail accusingly at Xu Zhao, crying about how life wasn’t easy and whatnot.
Cui Dingchen didn’t hear about how difficult the second sister-in-law and Xu Youcheng’s lives were. Instead, all he heard was how miserable Xu Zhao’s life was in the past and it had only become even more miserable after he had Xu Fan.
Xu Zhao lived so miserably, yet he was still so strong and lively. He was like those flowers and grass that grew on cliffs, very admirable. Moreover, he was even able to raise Xu Fan to be so lively and cheerful.
Cui Dingchen seemed as if he was reintroduced to Xu Zhao. He found that while Xu Youcheng treated Xu Zhao harshly, Xu Zhao treated the pregnant second sister-in-law very politely. However, his words were still full of advice and refusal. This wasn’t the matter of a normal person. And so, not long later, the Xu family’s second sister-in-law unwillingly left crying.
Xu Zhao sat in the courtyard, helping Mother Xu prepare the vegetables.
Cui Dingchen helped.
Father Xu was lighting a fire in the kitchen stove.
Mother Xu was busy inside and outside of the room.
Not long later, the meal was finished. Xu Zhao called outside the courtyard, “Xu Fan!”
“What?” Xu Fan’s soft milky voice came from outside the courtyard.
“Come in and eat.”
“Okay. I’m coming back to eat.”
Xu Fan’s voice sounded a while ago but the person was still not seen. Xu Zhao called again, “Sanwa, come eat. Do you not want to eat?”
“I want to! I want to eat. Daddy, I’m coming!”
Afterward, Xu Fan energetically ran into the courtyard, startling Cui Dingchen.
Who knew what Xu Fan was playing, but his entire little face was covered in mud and dirt, and his small hand looked like it was pulled out from a pile of mud. Knowing that he was dirty, Xu Fan giggled toward the adults and ran to the basin. He squatted down and reached out his small hand into the basin, but he wasn’t able to avoid Mother Xu’s nagging.
Even while eating around the table, Mother Xu was still nagging to Xu Fan, “I really don’t know who Sanwa took after. He loves playing like crazy. When Xu Zhao was little, he was very obedient.”
Xu Fan ate some chicken and replied, “Grandma, I take after Daddy.”
Mother Xu laughed and teased Xu Fan, “You don’t take after your daddy at all. Your dad is a lot more obedient than you.”
“I take after my daddy!”
Xu Zhao laughed when he heard this.
“You don’t. Your dad is very obedient. Moreover, he had very good grades when he was in school. He even went to secondary school. Out of the entire village, he was the only one to be admitted into secondary school. Will you also be admitted into secondary school in the future?” Mother Xu continued.
Before Xu Fan could answer, Cui Dingchen asked in surprise, “Xu Zhao attended secondary school? Which one?”
As soon as Mother Xu heard someone mention Xu Zhao attending secondary school, he immediately became proud and happily said, “Of course he did. It was that—”
“Mom,” Xu Zhao cut Mother Xu off, “I didn’t finish school, so there’s nothing to show off.”
“Hahh. At least you’ve attended it before,” Mother Xu said with a smile. “Others couldn’t even get admitted.”
Cui Dingchen turned to Xu Zhao and asked, “Since you were admitted, why didn’t you finish school?”
Xu Zhao smiled and said, “I didn’t go to class later on.”
Cui Dingchen also attended secondary school. He knew that those who couldn’t keep up with class, more than half of them were there looking for a partner. Thinking of this, he glanced at Xu Fan, the thread of confusion in his heart disappearing. He didn’t ask any more, but continued to eat instead. When he was half finished, he heard Dawa and Erwa from next door crying. It seemed like the two families were hitting the children. Why were they hitting the children?
Of course, they were hit so that Mother and Father Xu could see and hear so that they would feel distressed.
Sure enough, Father Xu couldn’t continue eating.
Mother Xu was also worried.
Xu Zhao picked an egg for Xu Fan, then looked at Mother and Father Xu and said, “Mom, Dad, let’s move.”