Chapter 567: Twenty-seven years
Fuelled by more than twenty years of accumulated hatred, the Ling and Xiao families had set a deadly trap for the third generation of the Fang family.
The one who had orchestrated every step of this scheme was the sole daughter of the Ling and Xiao families, Ling Xiao. While Xu Tingsheng did not know how many steps ahead a top Weiqi player could calculate, Ling Xiao’s meticulous planning still exceeded all his expectations of a conflict like this.
When watching Romance of the Three Kingdoms in their childhood, of all the tacticians there, most would want to be Zhuge Liang. Xu Tingsheng was no exception. Still, this time, even he had completely played into the hands of another who had predicted his every move.
Apart from the fact that at this moment, the trio before Xu Tingsheng still did not know that after the third generation of the Fang family had collectively boarded the plane to America, there had actually been three of them who had got off.
At this point in time, there was not much more to speak of as the situation was already more or less settled. The reason that the Ling and Xiao families were willing to candidly speak of their entire plan and motives in front of Xu Tingsheng was really very simple...he could not leave.
Having been in an intense fight earlier, Zhong Wusheng would not be able to rush out with Xu Tingsheng no matter what. This might be the actual reason behind the Ling and Xiao families following the ‘old rules’ and sending the youth to block their path.
Ling Xiao looked up and asked, “Can we still be friends in the future? Xu Tingsheng.”
“Still, you say?” Xu Tingsheng made an exaggerated gesture, as if highlighting an aggravating matter from the past, “I made a friend some time back. She was called Ling Xiaoqing. But one day, she suddenly disappeared.”
Xu Tingsheng raised his hand and mimed fireworks exploding, indicating that...everything had vanished all at once.
Ling Xiao smiled rather helplessly.
Across the tea table, old man Xiao gave a snort while old man Ling smiled warmly and said “That’s fine too. This saves me much worry. Xiao’er put in quite some effort for us not to get angry and take it out on you. So, this is for the best.”
‘Zhuge’ Ling Xiao was like a young girl for once, glaring at her father before she silently wiped that trace of desolation off her face.
The person who had taken away Xu Tingsheng’s phone earlier came over with it, asking, “Mr Xu’s phone has constantly sounded. First were calls and then two texts came. Will he look at them?”
Ling Xiao nodded, indicating for him to pass Xu Tingsheng’s phone to him.
Of course, at this time, Xu Tingsheng could merely look and not respond.
The missed calls came from Xiang Ning, Huang Yaming and his roommates. Xu Tingsheng checked his texts.
Xiang Ning asked, “Little Carp’s gone? You know, I find myself missing her already. I’ve found another drama which is super good...was she using the luggage I gave to her? Did it look nice?”
Huang Yaming said, “Little Jinshan got a home tutor. In the end, he got him to do his homework for him everyday. In the meantime, he secretly ran out to play mahjong with a bunch of young richlings. Less than half a month into the holidays, he won over four hundred thousand. Old Jin wanted to beat him, but then thought that having won money, it doesn’t make sense to do so. Old Jin and I spent a whole meal discussing, but still haven’t been able to come to a conclusion on this.”
“I’ve been frequently associating with He Twenty-seven. We’re nearly becoming sworn brothers already.”
Beneath the gazes of the trio, Xu Tingsheng straightforwardly set his phone down on the table. The person who had delivered it inquired with his eyes if he needed to take it again. Ling Xiao shook her head.
Old man Ling looked at his watch and asked, “There’s still time. How about a game of chess?”
Xu Tingsheng said, “Okay.”
The chessboard was soon set.
Xu Tingsheng played black and started. He moved a pawn forward.
Wielding the pieces, old man Ling moved forward the red pawn on the other end.
Like a contest between two people who were cautious to the extreme, neither side crossed the river before they were done shoring up their defences. It was looking like this game would take forever…
At least, this was what the trio of the Ling and Xiao families thought.
Then...as if he had turned mad, Xu Tingsheng started exchanging pieces like crazy. It was as if the intention of his every move was not to gain an advantage over his opponent, but only to die together with them.
Actually, his skill in chess was inferior to the two old men. Even playing like this, defeat was still surely inevitable.
Still, old men Ling and Xiao unexpectedly seemed extremely averse to falling into such a situation. They tried hard to avoid exchanging pieces, choosing to retreat every time after a long period of consideration even if that meant paying a bit of a price.
Just like this, Xu Tingsheng relied on brute force alone to turn what had originally been a sure-lose game into one where neither side could kill the other…
“Looks like it’s a draw,” Ling Xiao said.
A twelve-seater vehicle was toppled over on the road, still emitting thick fumes from the big explosion that had just occurred. Its window and body were riddled with bullet holes...this vehicle had just been shot at by two armed black men while traversing the expressway.
The police was in the midst of tracing the perpetrators…the preliminary verdict was that the perpetrators were two illegal immigrants who had used force after failing to get what they wanted in a robbery. Meanwhile, the victims were Chinese.
The Ling family.
That old man who had appeared earlier rushed to the second floor before whispering something into the ear of old man Xiao.
Old man Xiao’s expression relaxed greatly for a time before his brows knit up again.
“What is it?” Old man Ling asked.
“We succeeded,” Old man Xiao said in a heavy tone, “But there were three missing.”
Their gazes all fell on Xu Tingsheng.
A message notification sounded from Xu Tingsheng’s phone.
At this specific timing…
Xu Tingsheng wanted to take his phone, but old man Xiao opposite him beat him to it.
It was Fang Yuqing who had sent the text, which read: They should have touched down a while ago, but we haven’t been able to get in touch with them. The phones of Fang Zhong and the rest aren’t on at all. What to do? Could something really have happened?
Old man Xiao slapped the phone down on the table and glowered at Xu Tingsheng.
“So you thought of it. When did you realise?” Ling Xiao asked.
“The very moment before the plane took off,” Not able to hide things, Xu Tingsheng simply admitted it frankly.
“Those on good terms with you stayed behind?” Ling Xiao asked, “Using those remaining to let our Ling and Xiao families vent our anger, resolving this incident?”
If it was really as she said, Xu Tingsheng had hopes of becoming an ambitious, lofty character in this lifetime. Still, it wasn’t.
“Those that remained were those we couldn’t persuade,” Xu Tingsheng said candidly, “Still, I think that it should be enough...can you let things end here?”
“What do you think?” Ling Xiao asked, “Let alone my family, just the people of the Fang family who remain-can they let things end here?”
There was actually one thing she had not said. The two old men here were getting on in years and might die at any time. At that time, only she would remain...with how things were now, she still had to worry about even passing down the family line.
“If I can get those of the Fang family who remain to promise that both sides will avoid each other for another twenty-seven years, would that be okay?” Xu Tingsheng asked.
He could not guarantee that those of the Fang family would not take revenge. As for the period of twenty-seven years, it had also been twenty-seven years the last time.
“Severing the tree at its roots is still the best option,” Leaning back into his chair, old man Ling slowly said as he opened his eyes.
Xu Tingsheng retrieved his phone with its shattered screen.
“It’s probably also not as simple now,” He said.
Ling Xiao looked at him, “I finally understand now why you had clearly thought of it but still had to come visit. You’re here to probe the thoughts and bottom line of our Ling and Xiao families. So, what you’re saying is that you feel our two families still won’t resort to illegal means within the country, bringing both sides down together?”
Xu Tingsheng nodded, “That’s what I think...that’s what I hope too. More than ten lives! Even if this matter can’t be linked to your two families in terms of the law, even if the public cannot see the truth, I believe that it will still be clear in the eyes of some.”
“You’re so sure?”
Xu Tingsheng began pouring the two old men a cup of tea, slowly saying, “Before this, after the chess match that you had with the Fang family’s old man, I actually asked him one thing. I said: The two of you are clearly smarter than he is. Yet, why have your positions never exceeded his as you can’t even beat him in chess?”
“He told me something about the past. When leading troops, he dared to charge in and do battle whereas the two of you were prudent and cautious. In the end, he had high casualties and high merits whereas you two had low casualties and also low merits.”
“He said the two of you are petty. I said that you love the soldiers like your children, unlike him whose merits are piled out of a heap of corpses.”
“He said that’s rubbish. The two of you are petty. He also said what you two most loved to do at the time was count bullets, count guns. Managing to obtain a cannon with great difficulty, you’d love to hug it to sleep.”
He placed the teacups in front of the old men.
“He told me that the reason you two have never acted over the past twenty-seven years is that there’s somebody on top pressuring you. He was in need of people at the time, so there was to be no infighting.”
“Actually, since they were in need of people, if he privately and swiftly suppressed the two of you to death, or the two of you against him...before stepping forward and claiming the blame. Besides having to suffer some anger, you’d very likely be okay...after all, it is when they’re in need of people. Isn’t that so?”
It didn’t feel good to be suddenly seen through by the youth before them. The two old men were silent.
“This is logic. His brain is not good, so he didn’t think of it. The two of you would definitely have thought of it. Still, due to your personalities, you didn’t dare to try,” Xu Tingsheng looked straight at the two old men across from him, demonstrating such an aura for the first time.
“I have been wondering about this, yet could not ascertain its identity. I vaguely seemed to understand, but it was like there was a cloud obscuring my vision. Only when I heard those earlier words, along with that game of chess...did it click all at once for me.”
Xu Tingsheng raised a hand and gestured, “Please have tea.”
“How do you know we will not take the dangerous route this time? Even within the country, we still have other means…” Ling Xiao said.
“Since someone can stand at the edge of a suspended bridge and stare across it for a whole twenty-seven years, I believe...they probably won’t cross it,” Xu Tingsheng finished.
Next, he retrieved two black pawns from the ones that the two old men had captured earlier.
“Moreover…” Placing them back on the chessboard where it had originally been a draw, the situation had instantly changed.
“Moreover, the Fang family still hasn’t retaliated yet,” Xu Tingsheng said.
Not so long ago, the two old men of the Ling and Xiao families had played a game of chess against old man Fang. In that game, all old man Fang had been left with at the end were two ‘pawns that had crossed the river’.
“I take my leave,” Xu Tingsheng said.Previous Chapter Next Chapter