Chapter 529: Unfazed by worldly occurrences, tides surge sky high
Li Xingming’s university experience is really not that much different from many others. Ordinary, with many far-fetched dreams yet no way of attaining them. Leisurely breezing through those happy and relaxed times with no care in the world, only to find one day that so, entering the chaotic torrents of society alone is simply inevitable at the end of the day...
It is a little better if your family background can pave the way for you.
It is a little better for those who are mentally prepared beforehand.
The majority of the remainder will go through an extremely lonely stage, struggling even.
At some point in time, there seems to have been a great divergence in the value system of our society as few recognise the ‘little things’ that bring them happiness, many instead seeking the success indicators set by their environment-people live not on their own terms, but on those of others.
Many people feel inferior as a result.
Xu Tingsheng had been far from meeting these indicators in his previous life, but had already far exceeded them in this one. He was the type that was very easily satisfied, like an old man gazing serenely at a lake with a fishing rod in his hand, unfazed by most worldly occurrences.
The car entered the district, headed towards a unit building. More than twenty metres away, Xu Tingsheng spied the figure of Fang Yuqing standing there.
Xu Tingsheng jokingly flashed the headlights of the car at Fang Yuqing, who merely raised a hand instinctively to shade his eyes before putting it down again. Uncharacteristically of him, there was no jolly, good-natured cursing in response.
Xu Tingsheng parked the car and emerged, asking, “You were looking for me? What great timing.”
Fang Yuqing shook his head and said, “No, I’ve been waiting here for you for more than two hours.”
“Why didn’t you go up first then? It’s not like you don’t know where Fu Cheng lives,” Xu Tingsheng said a bit astonishedly, “Why didn’t you call me? ...Something’s gone wrong?”
The first two questions were actually redundant. From Fang Yuqing’s expression and appearance tonight, it was clear that something was up.
“My Grandpa was finally still hospitalised three days ago. The old man is still putting up a tough struggle, but his days are numbered.”
“The news was somehow leaked two days ago. Yesterday, my eldest uncle was taken away for investigation,” Fang Yuqing said.
Xu Tingsheng fell silent for a time upon hearing this. The massive tempest with the Fang family at the eye of the storm and the worsening of Old Mr Fang’s condition as the fuse, that which he had previously been speculating and wondering about, had finally come.
People seek to be unfazed by worldly occurrences...but when tidal waves are fast encroaching, there can just be no staying out of it.
Xu Tingsheng looked at Fang Yuqing.
Fang Yuqing looked at Xu Tingsheng.
After a moment, Xu Tingsheng said, “Let’s talk upstairs.”
At what was truly a very normal invitation, Fang Yuqing visibly hesitated as the inner struggle was visible on his face. These words of Xu Tingsheng’s actually represented a stance in much the same way as how he had not called or gone upstairs but only waited downstairs earlier had also been a stance.
Fang Yuqing’s stance was: I’ll tell you about this, but I don’t think that you have to get involved. I definitely wouldn’t try to force this on you. You can choose to extricate yourself and pretend you heard nothing, while I can also turn and leave and pretend I said nothing.
Meanwhile, this reply of Xu Tingsheng’s meant: I’ll listen, and I’ll try to do what I can to help...it represented a high probability of him getting involved in this matter.
“Come on, let’s go upstairs! We’ll have a bit of wine first before talking slowly about it. Right now, I’m still completely in the dark here,” Seeing Fang Yuqing’s hesitance, Xu Tingsheng dragged him a little.
The two went upstairs and entered Xu Tingsheng’s flat.
Fang Yuqing sat down on the sofa.
Xu Tingsheng dumped his luggage in a corner and retrieved a bottle of whisky from the wine cabinet. He then took two glasses, pouring half a glass for Fang Yuqing and some for himself as well.
The two each drank a mouthful respectively, one a large mouthful and the other a small one.
Fang Yuqing set down his glass and spoke as Xu Tingsheng helped to refill it, “In the eyes of outsiders, your ties with our Fang family run deep...still, we ourselves know in reality that aside from me, aside from some policy conveniences and a bit of smooth sailing, you actually do not have that deep a connection with the Fang family. Thus, if you wish to extricate yourself at the cost of some benefits, you should still be able to do so.”
“I’m well aware of this,” Xu Tingsheng raised his brows, indicating that he switch his mode of logic in this narration.
“Grandpa says he’d like to meet you,” Fang Yuqing said.
“Alright,” Xu Tingsheng said.
Fang Yuqing hesitated for a moment before saying, “Still, I actually can’t understand why Grandpa is doing this, why he thinks of you as the one who can unravel this tough knot. The way I see it, you aren’t qualified enough for something of this scale. If you get involved, you can only end up dying together with us.”
Xu Tingsheng forced a smile. He knew his own worth, and he knew of the power structure within the country. He was indeed not qualified enough.
“I actually don’t understand too. So, I want to hear what the old man has to say,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“After you’ve heard it, though, it’d probably be too late to extricate yourself,” Fang Yuqing said, “The old man is no pushover, you know, and that’s an understatement.”
The two laughed.
They clinked glasses again.
“What kind of enmity is it, exactly?To what extent must the consequences go? Tell me about it,” Xu Tingsheng requested.
“Consequences? They possibly hope to see the end of our Fang family line,” Fang Yuqing said.
Xu Tingsheng instinctively sat straight.
“An eye for an eye,” Fang Yuqing said.
“During the Sino-Vietnamese War in 1997, my Grandpa led a squad on the frontlines. His two old combat buddies weren’t drafted, so they assigned their sons to my Grandpa’s squad. They wanted them to gain some battle experience and battlefield merits so that their futures would be smoother.”
“The two families entrusted their sons to my Grandpa with an ease of mind, two sons for one and three sons for the other. The oldest was twenty-seven, and the youngest was nineteen.”
Having studied history in his previous life, Xu Tingsheng was actually clearly than most on the brutality of that border war that virtually all history textbooks tended to omit. While that war had not been long, it had actually been far more brutal and difficult than what most people were able to imagine or had experienced before.
“Someone didn’t come back?” He asked.
“None of them came back,” Fang Yuqing said,
Five words, five lives. ‘None’, he said? Xu Tingsheng was struck by surprise.
Fang Yuqing continued, “It was a crucial mountain base they were attacking. They fought on for three days but couldn’t take it down...the style of my Grandpa’s old squad was to clench their teeth and push through, even at the cost of their teeth shattering. This time as well was no exception. Maybe it was the only one my Grandpa knows. Sentries, cook, administrative staff...without exception, all to the frontlines to fight to the death. Like this, the kids from the two families who were supposed to be in charge of only telegrams and whatnot were included too.”
“You can’t account for every life on the battlefield. It’s actually not really your Grandpa’s fault,” Xu Tingsheng defended Old Mr Fang with some common sense logic.
Fang Yuqing looked at him and smiled bitterly, not replying to that right away as he continued narrating, “In that battle, a death command was invoked. Whoever turned back would be killed.”
“The old man himself carried a machine gun and stood on the mountainside.”
“One wave after another charged. One wave after another fell…”
“Then, those five, perhaps scared out of their wits, maybe thinking that my Grandpa would give them special treatment and not shoot...they turned back.”
Fang Yuqing stopped here.
There was already no need to go on any further.
Two old combat buddies with five sons-not only had Old Mr Fang not taken care of them probably as entrusted, they had...perished at his very hands.
This hatred had lasted for more than two decades.
It was no wonder that Fang Yuqing had said: Consequences? They possibly hope to see the end of our Fang family line.
“After that battle, my Grandpa became a hero. From then on, wherever he went, he was always a head up over his two old combat buddies. Those two suffered this outrage in silence while cautiously rising up the ranks...still, revenge is inevitable here. Both sides know it full well.”
“The old man may have been too wild and arrogant in his early days, or perhaps he felt guilty about it. Whatever the case, he let down his guard...only when he had retired did he discover that the power that the other side displayed was already at a level that he could not suppress.”
“Based on his remnant aura, he has kept them at bay these past few years. Sadly, the time wasn’t enough, and the descendants of the Fang family aren’t decent enough...now, he has collapsed. On the day my eldest uncle was taken away for investigation, somebody came to deliver a note at the hospital. There, four words were written: Watch on helplessly, powerless.”
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So the new arc may be epic.