RERC Chapter 52 Cooperation

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Xu Zhao wasn’t paying attention to his hands when they were grabbed by Cui Dingchen. The pen in his hand fell down, and he looked at Cui Dingchen, stunned as he asked, “Youngest uncle, what’s the matter?”

“What happened to your hand?” A bit of anxiety laced Cui Dingchen’s expression.

So it was about his hands!

Xu Zhao was really frightened, thinking that there was a snake or bug or something. But it was only about his blisters. He very naturally took back his hands and spread them wide for Cui Dingchen to see before saying, “When I was planting wheat, I had to support the planter. The planter gave me some blisters, that’s all.”

“That’s all?” Cui Dingchen held onto that keyword.

“…” Xu Zhao didn’t know how to reply.

Cui Dingchen’s right hand shook weakly beside his leg. He grasped his hand and felt the coolness off of Xu Zhao’s hand. He couldn’t help but ask, “Does it hurt?”

“It doesn’t hurt, and it won’t hinder my work. It’s really nothing.” Xu Zhao really thought that these blisters weren’t anything big and said, “They’ll definitely get better tomorrow.”

“You don’t need to put on any medicine?”

“No need. I’m not that fragile. I can still work.”

Xu Zhao bent down and picked up the pen from the ground and continued jotting down data.

Cui Dingchen watched from the side, his gaze always glancing back to Xu Zhao’s palms. And after seeing the numerous blisters, his heart felt a bit upset. This went on all the way until twilight and he couldn’t see the blisters on Xu Zhao’s palms anymore. He also saw that Xu Zhao actually wasn’t affected by the blisters. Cui Dingchen and Cui Qingfeng then followed Xu Zhao to the Xu family’s small courtyard.

At this time, Mother Xu had already cooked dinner. Cui Dingchen and Cui Qingfeng mooched off a meal, and after dinner, Cui Qingfeng asked Xu Zhao about the greenhouse vegetables. Xu Zhao told everything to Cui Qingfeng, stating that starting tomorrow, he would have to buy all sorts of tools for the greenhouse before starting to build it. They would start planting vegetables a week later, and in about 45 days, they would have their first vegetable harvest which they could sell in the market.

Cui Qingfeng was overwhelmed with emotions as he listened.

It was just that Xu Zhao still wasn’t sure what materials were used to build the greenhouse. Da Zhuang’s father suggested bamboo and wood, saying that it was cheap and practical. Xu Zhao felt the same, but he was still a bit hesitant. At this moment, even Cui Qingfeng said to use bamboo and wood.

Just as Xu Zhao made up his mind to use bamboo and wood, he heard another voice. It was Cui Dingchen’s voice.

“Use steel pipes,” Cui Dingchen said in a deep voice.

Xu Zhao looked at Cui Dingchen, his eyes filled with doubt.

“Use steel pipes for the main frame, and you can use bamboo and wood for the smaller frames, which will make it easy to replace as well as resistant to the wind and snow,” Cui Dingchen explained.

“But the cost will increase,” Xu Zhao said.

“Not necessarily. You can think about it differently,” Cui Dingchen looked at Xu Zhao profoundly as he said.

Xu Zhao met Cui Dingchen’s gaze. He thought for a second before asking, “Differently how?”

Cui Dingchen’s tone was calm. “It can bring you new business opportunities.”

“What business opportunities?”

Cui Dingchen was silent for a second, then asked, “Steep pipes are produced by the steel factory, right?”

“Yes,” Xu Zhao replied.

“As far as I know, Yang Yun, from the steel factory, manages personnel welfare. She might not manage the canteen, so it might be a bit difficult to have the steel factory use your vegetable merely relying on Yang Yun’s power, but if you were to buy the steel factory’s—”

“Youngest uncle!” Without waiting for Cui Dingchen to finish speaking, Xu Zhao excitedly looked at Cui Dingchen.

Cui Dingchen raised an eyebrow and asked, “Do you understand now?”

Xu Zhao nodded. “Yes.”

“Very smart,” Cui Dingchen sincerely said these two words.

“Youngest uncle, you’re smarter.” Xu Zhao was also very sincere.

“Mn. I think so as well.”

“…”

Both Xu Zhao and Cui Dingchen understood, but Cui Qingfeng and Xu Fan were confused. Xu Zhao had to explain it to Cui Qingfeng before Cui Qingfeng understood. Although Xu Zhao knew Sister Yun from the steel factory, Sister Yun didn’t manage the canteen. Therefore, after Xu Zhao planted the vegetables, if he wanted to cooperate with the steel factory, Sister Yun might not have a say in it. Xu Zhao had also worried about this problem before.

However, now there was a shortcut to solve this problem. Xu Zhao could get to know some of the managers from the steel factory through obtaining materials for the greenhouse. Moreover, when developing relationships for cooperation, the more people he knew, the more likely they will help him. Perhaps during their cooperation, he might even gain other value from it.

The most important thing was getting good quality steel pipes. Moreover, he could first pay a 30% deposit with the steel factory, and after a month when the vegetables could be harvested, Xu Zhao could directly bring the vegetables to the steel factory to offset some of the cost of the steel pipes.  This was a method that was often used during cooperation between big and small companies. It could also be called a forced sale.

If Xu Zhao’s vegetables were cheap and of good quality, then they could continue this cooperation, then Xu Zhao wouldn’t have to worry about not making any money.

Cui Qingfeng immediately praised Xu Zhao for being amazing after hearing this.

“It’s all because you brought it up, Youngest uncle,” Xu Zhao said.

Cui Dingchen smiled but didn’t say anything.

Xu Zhao had always heard Cui Qingfeng say that his youngest uncle was amazing and that his brain was flexible. But he had never seen it first-hand before. And because of this small incident, he was able to catch a glimpse of his awesomeness. After talking for a bit longer, it had already gotten very late. Xu Zhao carried Xu Fan and walked Cui Qingfeng and Cui Dingchen to the entrance.

Before leaving, Cui Qingfeng said he needed to use the bathroom.

After Xu Zhao pointed out the direction, he carried Xu Fan and led Cui Dingchen to the entrance of South Bay Village first. The village entrance was quiet and deserted, with only a pillar of light lighting the way, which was the flashlight in Xu Fan’s hand. The flashlight was specially bought by Xu Zhao a couple days ago to make life easier. Xu Fan found it to be a novelty, and every time he got ahold of it, he refused to let it go and would play with it for a while.

The same was true at this moment. Two small and meaty hands grasped the flashlights as he illuminated the way.

“Shine it on the road,” Xu Zhao said.

Xu Fan mischievously turned the light to Xu Zhao’s face.

Xu Zhao patted Xu Fan’s butt and placed the giggling Xu Fan onto the ground, telling him to play by himself.

Meanwhile, Xu Zhao and Cui Dingchen waited for Cui Qingfeng. After waiting two minutes, they still didn’t see Cui Qingfeng. There was no one else at the village entrance. Xu Fan ran to the side of the road and shone the flashlight on the insects.

And so, in front of the withered and crooked tree, there was only Xu Zhao and Cui Dingchen. It was a tranquil night with very few lights shining from the village, making the area in front of the trees even more peaceful.

Cui Dingchen didn’t like to speak, so Xu Zhao had to speak up first, “Youngest uncle, thank you for today.”

“You said ‘thank you’ to me 24 times today,” Cui Dingchen said.

“…” Xu Zhao stayed silent.

“You don’t have anything else to say to me?” Cui Dingchen asked.

“Like what?” Xu Zhao asked back.

Cui Dingchen said in his usual tone, “The last time I bought cigarettes from you, I owed 50 cents and still haven’t returned it. Why haven’t you asked me for the money?”

“…” He remembered he owed 50 cents, so couldn’t he just take the initiative to return it as well? He had to wait for the other party to ask for it? Xu Zhao had a helpless expression and said, “I forgot. I really forgot.”

“Keep track of it. I don’t have any money on me right now.”

“…Okay.”

After a while, Xu Zhao still hadn’t spoken, so Cui Dingchen asked again, “Do you also treat others like this?”

“What?” Xu Zhao wasn’t on the same train of thought.

“Do you also forget when others owe you things?” Cui Dingchen explained.

Xu Zhao immediately defended himself, “I don’t. I just forgot about your incident.”

“Then I really am special.”

“…”

Xu Zhao had a bit of difficulty holding a conversation with Cui Dingchen. Fortunately, Xu Fan was there. He quickly ran to Xu Fan and held him. Actually, this was just to put some distance from Cui Dingchen. When Cui Dingchen focused on someone, it was a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, Cui Qingfeng arrived at this time. Cui Qingfeng said while grinning, “Xu Zhao, my youngest uncle and I are heading home.”

“Okay, be careful on the road,” Xu Zhao said.

“Oh, right. You’re coming to the county town tomorrow, right?”

“Mn. I’m going to buy items for the greenhouse vegetables, as well as some firecrackers for building the upper beam and peanut and  candy to give out in celebration.

Building the upper beam was the most important portion of constructing a building. When a household was building the upper beam, they would buy firecrackers and light them. They would also buy peanuts, candy, and mixed buns to hand out. Some would even put up couplets. In any case, it was a custom to invite “safety and smooth process.”

“You’re building the upper beam so soon?” Cui Qingfeng asked.

“It’s the upper beams for the three tiled houses, not for the courtyard. The kitchen was already built, and it’ll take at least another week or so to finish building everything. When the time comes, I’ll cook and invite you guys over for a meal at the new house,” Xu Zhao said with a smile.

Cui Qingfeng happily responded, “Okay!”

After Xu Zhao waved goodbye, Cui Qingfeng hopped onto Cui Dingchen’s bicycle. He enjoyed the fall breeze and happily asked, “Youngest uncle, what do you think of Xu Zhao?”

“He’s very good,” Cui Dingchen replied.

“I also think he’s very good. By the way, about your Shen Jiayang—”

“Who’s Shen Jiayang?” Cui Dingchen asked unhappily.

Cui Qingfeng hesitated for a moment before asking again, “You two split up?”

“Were we ever together?” Cui Dingchen’s tone was much colder.

“…I guess not.”

“Don’t spout nonsense in the future.”

“Okay. Um, Youngest uncle, do you think Xu Zhao—”

Once Xu Zhao was brought up, Cui Dingchen’s tone finally warmed again. He slowly chatted with Cui Qingfeng as he biked. Meanwhile, Xu Zhao was leading Xu Fan back to the small courtyard. In the end, Xu Fan was addicted to playing with the flashlight and refused to return to the small courtyard. He stayed by the road, illuminating here and there. After shining the road for a full minute, he finally followed Xu Zhao inside the courtyard. Once inside the courtyard, he ran to find Mother and Father Xu to teach them how to use the flashlight.

Xu Zhao now had some free time. He faced the kerosene lamp, and after finishing writing a summary inside his small notebook, he looked at the dim and slightly flickering kerosene lamp, lost in thought—

Inexplicably, he actually thought of Cui Dingchen. Cui Dingchen really was a very smart and exceptional man. Especially his looks—It was completely Xu Zhao’s type. Perhaps there wasn’t anyone who disliked this kind of excellent appearance.

However, Cui Dingchen was Cui Dingchen’s youngest uncle. Moreover, a man with mysophobia like Cui Dingchen probably wouldn’t like him, who had Xu Fan… He (CDC) definitely wouldn’t like him (XF), so there was no point to even fantasize about it. It was better to think about his life. He needed to build a house and a greenhouse, but Xu Zhao didn’t have any money again. He was about to starve to death, so what else could he think about besides his life?

Xu Zhao adjusted his mood and entered the kitchen to boil water, preparing to take a bath. While the water was boiling, Xu Fan ran over.

“Daddy, I’m hungry,” Xu Fan said.

“Why are you hungry again?” Xu Zhao asked.

“Daddy, aren’t you cooking now?” Xu Fan asked instead.

“…I’m boiling water for a bath.”

“But I’m hungry.”

“I’m so hungry.”

Xu Zhao reached out his hand to pet Xu Fan’s small belly. They had eaten dinner early, and after eating, they had chatted and played, so it wasn’t strange for him to be hungry. Xu Zhao thought for a moment, then pulled a sweet potato from the cellar and threw it into the kitchen stove hole. Once the father and son had finished bathing, he pulled the sweet potato out from the hole and peeled the charred skin. The sweet and fragrant inside drifted to their noses as steam rose from it.

“Wow! It smells so good.” Xu Fan’s small meaty hand couldn’t help but grab onto Xu Zhao’s arm.

Xu Zhao squatted down and used a spoon to scoop a bit of sweet potato for Xu Fan.

“Daddy, you eat too.”

“Mn. Is it sweet?”

“It’s very sweet.”

After eating the roasted sweet potato, he finally stopped complaining that he was hungry. Xu Zhao wrapped his arms around Xu Fan, telling Xu Fan a bit about what had happened during the day. They talked about their feelings and reflected upon the day, then had Xu Fan memorize two Tang poems before they both drifted to sleep.

The next morning, Xu Zhao pushed the ox cart. Xu Fan sat on the ox cart, and the father and son headed toward the new tiled house together to see the situation. The builders were very hard working. He had just finished eating, but the builders had already started working on the house. Da Zhuang’s father watched over everyone as they built the house. With Da Zhuang’s father there, Xu Zhao was relieved.

After saying a few sentences to Da Zhuang’s father, Xu Zhao pushed the car, preparing to head to the county town. As they were passing the intersection in front of their courtyard, he heard a cry coming from inside the thatched hut. It seemed to be the Xu family’s second sister-in-law.


Thought it’s really funny that Cui Dingchen likes cleanliness and his initials are CDC. (¬‿¬)


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