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Why did the Xu family’s second sister-in-law come again?
Did she want to stir up trouble again?
Xu Zhao quickly stopped the ox card beside the courtyard entrance and carried Xu Fan inside the thatched hut. He thought he would see a scene of daggers drawn, but he didn’t expect to only see his second sister-in-law crying bitterly by herself. After understanding the situation, he realized that it was about Xu Youcheng’s matter. Xu Youcheng’s case was settled and determined to be—premeditated assault. He would have a four month prison sentence, and he would also have to compensate for all the medical fees or else a longer sentence would be added.
This punishment was really serious for this era.
The second sister-in-law was crying very broken-heartedly, saying that they didn’t have money to compensate for the medical fees, saying that their days were very difficult, asked how she would lift her head in the future, and saying that she didn’t want to live anymore.
Mother Xu was indifferent and even awkwardly expressed that she also didn’t have any more. In fact, she really didn’t have any money.
Father Xu’s hand trembled slightly. Who knew if it was an after-affect of the stroke or if it was because Xu Youcheng was in prison. In any case, the tremble in his hand got stronger and his complexion wasn’t looking too good either.
Xu Fan obediently lay on Xu Zhao’s shoulders, his watery eyes looking toward the second sister-in-law. His small arms tightly gripped around Xu Zhao’s neck. With every raise of the second sister-in-law’s voice, Xu Fan would drill his face into Xu Zhao’s neck even more.
Xu Zhao stayed in the thatched hut for a bit, and after saying that it was Da Zhuang’s father who got injured, he took Xu Fan and left the small courtyard, and started pushing the ox cart to the county town again.
On the way, Xu Fan asked with a face full of doubt, “Daddy, why was Second Auntie crying?”
“Because your Second Uncle was caught and sent to prison,” Xu Zhao replied.
“Why was he caught?” Xu Fan asked in his milky voice.
“Because your Second Uncle cut someone with a sickle.”
“You can’t cut people with sickles or knives.”
Xu Fan paused for a moment as if thinking of something, then seriously said, “Daddy! Cutting people deserve spanking.”
Xu Zhao laughed and said, “That’s right. You will be spanked if you cut others.” Xu Zhao added an “you” to the sentence.
Xu Youcheng was guilty and deserved his punishment, and Xu Zhao didn’t sympathize with him in the slightest. After all, Xu Youcheng cutting people with a sickle was too dangerous. For example, if he had used a bit more strength, Da Zhuang’s father might have lost his life then and there, or perhaps if he had turned and hit him instead, then he (XZ) would be the one who would have lost his life. However, seeing his second sister-in-law crying like that, he still felt a bit stifled in his heart. However, he was consoled by Xu Fan who was “babbling nonsense,” and his mood lifted. “Xu Fan,” he called.
Xu Fan turned his head and called back, “Daddy, what is it?”
Xu Zhao smiled and said, “Sit tight.”
“Sit tight and do what?” Xu Fan was always full of questions.
“Sit tight. We’re going to hurry to the county town,” Xu Zhao patiently explained.
“Why are we hurrying?”
As soon as Xu Fan’s voice landed, Xu Zhao had increased his speed in pushing the ox cart. He gradually accelerated, so Xu Fan didn’t feel uncomfortable. On the contrary, because the ox cart was moving faster and faster, the little boy gripped the side of the ox cart, giggling nonstop. When they arrived at the county town, he still wanted Xu Zhao to go faster, but the county town was full of people, so they couldn’t.
Xu Zhao unhurriedly pushed Xu Fan to the steel factory first. With Sister Yun pulling some strings, he found the branch manager of the steel factory and ordered a batch of steel pipes. When he paid the 30% deposit, he told them the pipes were for building a greenhouse to grow vegetables.
Moreover, in a joking tone, he expressed that he hadn’t earned any money in a month, and that he would use his greenhouse vegetables to pay the debt. He didn’t expect the branch manager to say that it was no problem. The factory cooperated with many people who used items to repay their debt. Since business transactions were considered “speculation,” everyone bartered.
Xu Zhao didn’t expect it to go so smoothly, and he was very grateful to Cui Dingchen in his heart. Thinking that once he arrived at the Cui residence in a bit, he would tell Cui Dingchen the good news. Instead, he brought Xu Fan to the various streets of the county town to begin purchasing bamboo, shed film, nylon, hemp rope, and other things. He bought half an ox cart full of things, and when he was about to buy more, Cui Qingfeng suddenly appeared.
“Xu Zhao!” Cui Qingfeng happily called.
“Qingfeng, what are you doing here?” Xu Zhao asked in surprise.
“I came to find you,” Cui Qingfeng said.
“Find me? For what?”
“To help you,” Cui Qingfeng happily said.
“Then how did you know I was here?”
“Youngest uncle told me,” Cui Qingfeng said with a smile, “Isn’t my youngest uncle amazing? He said that you needed to buy materials for the greenhouse, so you would definitely come here. He said that there were too many materials and that you might have your hand’s full by yourself while watching a child as well. So he told me to come help, and I could earn some money as well.”
Cui Dingchen really was very smart!
“Where’s Youngest uncle?” Xu Zhao couldn’t help but ask.
“He went to the city. His company opened a new transport line and needed him to oversee it.” As Cui Qingfeng spoke, he suddenly thought of something and pulled out a note from his pocket. Handing it to Xu Zhao, he said, “Oh, right. My youngest uncle wanted me to give you this phone number. He said that if you encounter a problem while growing the vegetables, you could call and ask him. One is his company number and the other is his house number. If you can’t reach him at the company, call his house.”
“His house?” Xu Zhao looked at the bold and powerful letters that perfectly matched Cui Dingchen. They looked especially good.
“Yep. He has three houses. One in the county town, one in the city, and the last one is my home. He has a phone in each house. My youngest uncle has a lot of money. It’s just that he doesn’t have a lot of cash flow or capital since he wants to expand his business,” Cui Qingfeng replied.
“Qingfeng, since your youngest uncle is this amazing, why don’t you follow him?” Xu Zhao couldn’t help but ask.
Cui Qingfeng explained to Xu Zhao, “My youngest uncle only became this amazing in the last year or two. He had a bit of money in the past, but he was just a small fish in a big pond. He said I was too stupid, and I couldn’t join him for now. He told me to get some experience in society first and expand my horizons. Just think about it. If someone as smart as my youngest uncle was pitted against, then what about me?”
Xu Zhao thought for a moment before answering, “That makes sense.”
“Therefore, I’ll train myself first. Anyway, you should put away the phone numbers first. My youngest uncle is willing to help you, so you’ll be able to take less detours in the future. Alright, let’s not talk about this for now. What did you buy? What else are you missing?”
Cui Qingfeng looked inside the ox cart after he finished speaking and saw the car half full of materials for the greenhouse and the little chubby child sitting on the side. The little chubby child was wearing a gray long-sleeved shirt and small pants. One hand wrapped around his toy car and his other small meaty hand was holding a piece of rice crispy treats. His small lip munched on the rice crispy treats with complete focus, not at all affected by the outside world. Wasn’t this Xu Fan, Xu Sanwa?
“Xu Sanwa!” Cui Qingfeng called.
Xu Fan lifted his gaze to look at Cui Qingfeng, his small lips still covered in rice crispy treats. Seeing Cui Qingfeng get closer and thinking that Cui Qingfeng wanted to steal his rice crispy treats, he quickly twisted his body and firmly said, “Mine! Not giving you any!”
Qingfeng smiled and said, “Can’t you give me one bite?”
“No,” Xu Fan said very clear and resolutely.
“Just one bite,” Cui Qingfeng said in a deliberative tone.
“I still have some peanuts at home. Your Grandma Cui also bought milk, bread, and lots of other foods.”
“Lots of other foods—
Xu Fan began to waver, then changed his mind and said, “I can give you one small bite.”
Xu Sanwa was very smart! Cui Qingfeng laughed, then said to Xu Zhao, “Xu Zhao, your Sanwa is really stingy.”
Xu Zhao refuted, “Who said? We’re very generous.”
Cui Qingfeng smiled and didn’t counter it. It was just that he had never seen Xu Fan be generous before. Xu Fan was probably only generous toward Xu Zhao. He was similar to his youngest uncle, only generous to his own people.
Xu Zhao said, “Okay, enough with that. Let’s go purchase items.”
“Sure,” Cui Qingfeng said.
Cui Qingfeng pushed the ox cart as Xu Zhao carried Xu Fan, and they continued to shop around the county town. They shopped the whole morning and bought a lot of items. The ox cart was completely full, but they still hadn’t finished buying everything yet. It couldn’t be helped. Xu Zhao and County town brought Xu Fan back to South Bay Village first.
In the afternoon, they left Xu Fan at South Bay Village while Xu Zhao and Cui Qingfeng returned to the County town once more to finally finish purchasing all the items for the greenhouse. At this moment, the steel factory also delivered the steel pipes for the greenhouse.
Noon the next day, the upper beams were built for Xu Zhao’s new three tiled houses. Before the beams were placed on the roof, they lit up the firecrackers, and the builders of the house carried bamboo baskets full of peanuts that were dyed red, candy, melon seeds, mixed bun, and other things. The entire bamboo basket was completely full, and it was very luxurious.
As soon as the firecrackers sounded, the workers immediately scattered peanuts, candy, and other things in all directions of the house. It seemed that all the villagers had come, and it was very joyful and lively. Even Xu Fan and Da Zhuang participated in grabbing the candy and snacks. However, Xu Fan and Da Zhuang were picking them up instead.
Mother and Father Xu who were standing to the side, were brimming with tears. The two elders struggled their whole lives to build three tiled houses for their eldest and second son to live in. The eldest and second son weren’t filial, and the two elders thought that they would have to live in a thatched hut for the rest of their lives. They never thought that their youngest son would be talented, would be this talented!
The two elders couldn’t help but stretch their hands to wipe away their tears.
The sound of firecrackers landed, and Xu Fan pushed through the crowd. Since Xu Zhao had specifically instructed him, Xu Fan didn’t dare to grab snacks from within the crowd, afraid he would get trampled on. So he and Da Zhuang picked up candy from the side. He picked up four red dyed peanuts and happily gave one to Grandpa, one to Grandma, one for Daddy, and one for himself, and especially said to Xu Zhao, “Da Zhuang only picked up three peanuts, and I picked up four!”
“Xu Baobao, you’re so amazing!” Xu Zhao said.
Xu Fan repeatedly nodded, then seriously said, “I’m very amazing!”
Xu Zhao really liked this general confidence as he held Xu Fan’s little face in his hands and fiercely kissed him. He kissed him until Xu Fan started giggling, and Xu Zhao realized that Xu Fan really liked to be hugged and kissed by him. His eyes were shining brightly every single time, making him look very good.
Xu Zhao smiled and hugged Xu Fan as they looked all around their new tiled house. The three tiled houses were built and all that was left was the kitchen and courtyard wall, which would be very simple and quick, and it wouldn’t need a lot of manpower either. The stitches behind Da Zhuang’s father’s ear and chin had already been removed. He was currently bringing along the other workers to follow Xu Zhao’s plans to build the greenhouse. On the day they were building the greenhouse, they attracted a lot of attention from their fellow villagers. Everyone asked one after another and discussed:
“Da Zhuang’s father, what are you guys doing?”
“Xu Zhao, don’t tell me you’re planning to build another house?”
“Xu Zhao, this is perfectly good land. You’re not going to plant anything, but why are you going to build yet another building?”
“Hahh, Xiao Xu Zhao, you’re being too wasteful.”
Xu Zhao was bombarded with questions. Xu Zhao had no other choice but to truthfully answer in front of everyone, “I’m building a greenhouse to grow vegetables.”
The villagers were stunned.