Chapter 605: If I could relive it
Ling Xiao had already been at Yanjing for more than five days. No news had come whatsoever. Still, this itself was a signal that she was still fighting, that she still had a chance.
The current state of affairs was actually unfair. The Ling and Xiao families were able to come into contact with that important person, whereas the remainder of the Fang family could not.
It felt like they were out of solutions and were just sitting ducks.
Xu Tingsheng dared not imagine that he might be able to participate in a contest at the level of Yanjing. All he could do now was hope that through his efforts, things at Yanzhou could settle down as soon as possible.
As soon as things had settled down, the chances of that important person forcibly reversing things would decrease. While it would only decrease, this was already all he could do now.
An unexpected piece of news came from Yanjing. Chen Jianxing was about to return to Yanzhou.
“Something’s wrong. This doesn’t make any sense…”
Xu Tingsheng began to worry as soon as he heard the news. Whether or not the higher-ups had already finished getting his testimony and evidence, as the crucial figure in a massive upheaval in the bureaucracy, as that ‘spear’ that had mowed down a bunch, it simply didn’t make sense that Chen Jianxing was returning to the public eye at this time.
This was equivalent to throwing their most important witness into a cage for suspects, equivalent to pushing Chen Jianxing onto a stack of firewood doused in oil. Someone was pushing him to his death.
“What do they want to do? Could it...all amount to nothing at the final moment?”
Xu Tingsheng wondered about the underlying meaning behind this incident while feeling worried for Chen Jianxing’s personal safety.
Xu Tingsheng was not contacted by Chen Jianxing that night and was unable to contact him too. As there was no airport in Yanzhou, he brought along Zhong Wusheng and Du Jiang and drove two cars to the airport in Xihu City to wait for him early the next morning.
They waited in the carpark, with Xu Tingsheng’s nerves tensing as flight after flight from Yanjing landed. Whether because of the incident or the person, or because of that mother and daughter who were lonely and persevering as they waited throughout, he could not let Chen Jianxing die.
Finally, a number from a public phone appeared on the screen of Xu Tingsheng’s handphone.
“It’s me,” The voice on the other end said.
Recognising Chen Jianxing’s voice, Xu Tingsheng wasted no words as he cut to the chase and asked, “Where are you?”
“Inside the airport,” Chen Jianxing answered.
“Is there anybody guarding you?”
“Over at Yanjing, some people sent me up the plane. Here...there’s no one.”
“Don’t come out. Wait for my arrangements,” Xu Tingshsheng said decisively.
“I know,” Chen Jianxing knew his predicament as there were probably countless eyes fixated on him right now, waiting for him to leave the airport.
There was a short silence before Chen Jianxing finally asked, “Are they doing well?”
“Rest assured, they’re doing very well. They’re very safe,” Xu Tingsheng said.
“Thank you. Then, regarding their future arrangements?”
“They’ll go to Singapore. Housing, schooling...the arrangements are more or less done.”
“Singapore? Very good. There are many Chinese there. It will be easy for them to adjust in terms of work and studies. Thank you for being so meticulous in your considerations.”
“No need to stand on ceremony. Hey, your…” Not knowing if he should say ‘your wife’ or ‘your ex-wife’, Xu Tingsheng finally just said, “She hopes you can forgive her. She said...she wants to wait for you to go together.”
“No, definitely not!” Chen Jianxing exclaimed emotionally, “Get them to go first!”
“I mentioned it, and several times at that. Still, she just insists on waiting for you. She wouldn’t go no matter how I tried to persuade her. Your daughter really misses you too. She received a prize in her final examinations. She’s been waiting everyday, saying that she is waiting for her Dad to come home to show it to him.”
There was no response for a long time as low sobs could be heard from the other end.
At this moment, hearing Xu Tingsheng’s narration, Chen Jianxing who had always been feeling like dying for quite a long time suddenly very much felt like living again.
“I…” Chen Jianxing paused, “How wonderful. Sadly, I…”
Xu Tingsheng knew what Chen Jianxing meant. Still, he had no way of consoling him. Currently, having been embroiled in a political incident of this scale, for him to leave the country together with his wife...was as difficult as ascending to the heavens.
“We’ll secure your safety and let you reunite for now. Leaving is impossible for now. We’ll slowly think of a way in the future…” Xu Tingsheng said, “If you don’t have your handphone with you, don’t leave the phone. Wait for my arrangements.”
Chen Jianxing hesitated for a while, saying, “Alright.”
Finally, Xu Tingsheng said in a grave tone, “Trust me, Bro Chen.”
He hung up.
It would not be easy to successfully pick Chen Jianxing up.
Whether it was to get rid of the crucial witness whatever the cost in seeking a reversal or simply for revenge alone, there was more than just a single batch of people hidden in the shadows who were prepared to prevent Chen Jianxing from leaving this place alive today.
They might be the friends, relatives, allies or beneficiaries of the officials that Chen Jianxing had dragged off their pedestals and were currently struggling to keep afloat. They might be the Ling and Xiao families. They might even be people fighting for power on a higher level, people that Xu Tingsheng was unable to predict.
They would not make their move within the airport. Thus, ‘picking up’ itself wasn’t the crucial element. The crucial element was that Xu Tingsheng wanted to ensure that Chen Jianxing was not followed. He wanted Chen Jianxing to vanish into thin air without any traces whatsoever.
Xu Tingsheng knew that there were definitely people keeping an eye on him too.
He had brought along two people and driven two cars over. Both these cars would simultaneously appear at the airport’s entrance, ‘picking someone up’ before leaving.
Still, neither of the two would actually pick Chen Jianxing up and whisk him away.
Inside the carpark, there were two other cars with license plates from other provinces that had already been parked there since last night.
These two cars would appear at the entrance of the airport mixed in with a wave of traffic after the first two cars had left, ‘picking someone up’ before leaving. Xu Tingsheng, Zhong Wusheng and Du Jiang would respectively appear in these two cars.
Yet, Chen Jianxing would still not be in either of them.
The one who would take Chen Jianxing away was the Wang Xiao, the member of the Xu family’s three tigers who showed himself the least. He would bring Chen Jianxing along in eluding those keeping an eye on him in the airport, finding a place to hide and also change.
After the first four cars had respectively diverted the first wave of people and the second wave of backup personnel, only then would they follow the next wave of people..appearing at the place where people waited for taxis.
There, they would board a taxi from Xihu City that could not be any more ordinary.
This was a contest which, though secret, was something that both sides clearly knew about.
There was truthhood and deception mixed within this operation. Even though the first two cars were obvious targets, even though there was not a high chance of the target actually being on one of them, when they could not be certain of where Chen Jianxing was, the other side would have no choice but to follow them.
It was the latter two cars that could truly draw away most of the other side’s attention, because they would only be able to discover it ‘with great difficulty’. After that, they would definitely treat this as a priority to concentrate on.
When smart people have had their smartness verified, finding that feeling of ‘so it was indeed the case. Sadly, though, I’ve still managed to see through it…’, their sense of pride will rise as they enter a period of least caution, with the greatest flaws in their reasoning.
Then, something their opponents would be most unable to expect was that Chen Jianxing and Wang Xiao would make use of this time to leave in a taxi.
Xu Tingsheng confirmed the personnel, flow and timing one last time...
Calling the phone and confirming that it was Chen Jianxing who answered, Xu Tingsheng said, “After another ten plus minutes, the people from the next flight will stream out. Walk back and squeeze in amongst them...then, someone will give you a Nokia 1100. Follow him. I’ll contact you.”
Chen Jianxing said, “Alright.”
A batch of cars left the airport, another entering. The two cars that Xu Tingsheng’s trio had been in switched position and passengers too.
An aeroplane landed. Soon, passengers streamed out densely with their luggage.
Chen Jianxing suddenly turned and moved against the flow of people into the crowd.
One of the passengers of this flight, Wang Xiao, stuffed a Nokia 1100 in Chen Jianxing’s hand.
The two quickly vanished amidst the chaotic crowd.
“Should we look for him or not?” Losing their target, those keeping an eye on him asked.
Their superiors hesitated for a moment. Rather than looking for a needle in a haystack and playing hide-and-seek in an airport…
“Keep a close eye on every exit.”
The order was relayed.
The first and second cars executed their orders, picking someone up and bringing along the first wave of around seven cars.
When changing his clothes, Chen Jianxing said to Wang Xiao whom he was meeting for the first time, “Thank you.”
Wang Xiao said, “No need. We’re only acting as per the instructions of our company’s Young Boss.”
Chen Jianxing hesitated for a moment before asking, “You’re from the Xu family. In that case, have you seen my wife and daughter?”
Wang Xiao nodded, saying, “Your daughter is very cute. I also have a daughter. She’s a few years older than yours. She lives with her mother. I send them money on a regular basis but don’t meet with them very often.”
“I did many things in the past. I’ve been to prison, and have enemies. I’m worried about affecting them. Also, in our line, whether it’s in consideration for ourselves or our hirer, what we most fear is a fatal weak point like our family being captured,” Wang Xiao forced a smile and said, “This can also be considered as being for their own good. At least they presently lead rich, calm, normal lives...my daughter’s results are very good.”
A hint of warmth and pride emanated from Wang Xiao’s eyes.
Xu Tingsheng would never know that Wang Xiao had said these words as well as why he had said it and who had gotten him to do so. The person behind it bore no ill will towards him, much less wanting him to know about it.
Chen Jianxing’s expression changed. His most fragile nerve was touched upon.
“My wife and daughter, they’re...are they in Libei right now?” Chen Jianxing asked rather nervously.
Wang Xiao shook his head, “They were at first. But after…”
Chen Jianxing immediately asked, “What happened?”
“You should know that there are many people who want you to shut up,” Wang Xiao said as he looked at him, “When they couldn’t touch you before, capturing them and threatening you was the best way. So, after a few attempts, Libei became unsafe too..the Xu family still isn’t to the extent that people think it is.”
Chen Jianxing’s entire expression froze.
“Relax, they’re very safe right now. They can also leave at any time. They’re at…” Wang Xiao stopped, gazing around before he said, “I shouldn’t say it here. You’ll meet them later anyway.”
Chen Jianxing slowly nodded. He did not say anything.
The second batch of cars. Zhong Wusheng in one, Xu Tingsheng and Du Jiang in another…
Everything was going as planned.
Zhong Wusheng lured a bunch of people away.
Xu Tingsheng and Du Jiang were currently on the airport overpass, a huge bunch of cars on their tail.
Xu Tingsheng was in a pretty good mood.
A call came.
“You’re in the car?” Xu Tingsheng asked Wang Xiao.
“Chen Jianxing and I got separated,” Wang Xiao said.
“...” Xu Tingsheng’s entire body stiffened as he exclaimed, “Go look for him then! Look...forget it, there’s no need to look anymore.”
Xu Tingsheng could see Chen Jianxing. From the airport overpass, he could see Chen Jianxing walking on a road not far away. He was walking at a moderate speed, traffic all around him...he was very conspicuous.
Du Jiang who was driving saw him too. He turned and glanced at Xu Tingsheng, looking like he wanted to say something but refraining. He immediately turned back, regaining his composure and calmness.
Xu Tingsheng hurriedly dialled the number of the handphone which he had just gotten Wang Xiao to give to Chen Jianxing.
The call connected.
“Bro Chen, what are you doing?” Xu Tingsheng was a bit incensed.
“I...thank you, Tingsheng, but sorry. I’ve decided not to leave with you,” Chen Jianxing said.
“What bull is this? After I’ve spent so much energy, what’s the meaning of this?” Xu Tingsheng chastised angrily.
“Calm down first and listen to me.”
Chen Jianxing was still walking at a steady speed on the road. He stopped and asked a passer-by for a cigarette, lighting it up.
Then, he continued walking as he said, “In truth, from when I was notified to return to Yanzhou yesterday to when my plane landed today, I felt that I was going to die for sure. I’m very clear on that...actually, I’m not afraid of death. In the contest between the higher-ups, I am but a spear. I was only lucky to have people who were coincidentally willing to use me. That also granted my wish.”
“In Yanjing, I saw some arrested officials from Yanzhou and testified against them in person. That person was included amongst them. They were trembling, crying, snot and tears all over their faces and sweat from their big stomachs with their clothes all having turned yellow...having gotten used to seeing their superior looks and arrogant auras on stage before, you definitely wouldn’t be able to imagine what a sorry sight they cut. I really overestimated them before…”
“In front of them, I was laughing till tears flowed out of my eyes. I secretly told them: Hahahaha, this old man has finally freaking rendered you lot dead. You’d never have thought, right?”
“To be honest, Tingsheng, I’m already very satisfied.”
“Now, the person who was using me already has the upper hand. It may be that he wants to throw me out to quell the other side’s rage and account for things to them or he may have other intentions...I’m unable to grasp this. You can think about it. Anyway, I’m actually already of no use.”
Xu Tingsheng said, “I’m not discussing with you if you still have any use. I’m telling you your wife and daughter are waiting for you.”
Chen Jianxing said, “I know. Actually, when you told me that they were waiting for me half an hour ago, I really wanted to live again. I wanted to see them, then wait for that day as you said, starting life anew. I do trust you.”
“There’s no turning back for me. It’s too late. There’s no time. First, it’s too hard for me to live. You know it. There are too many people who need me dead to bring an end to things. If you insist on protecting me, it will only leave you in a more passive position. Second, if I really go back with you today, reuniting with them...they may never be able to leave a normal, peaceful life again. It’s better if I use my death to account for things to those peoples’ hatred and fury. I believe that with your added protection and arrangements, those people should be willing to leave it at that. That way, they will also be able to live their lives properly after getting there.”
“A load of bull. Have you asked the two of them this? Will they be willing?”
“They may be willing, but I’m not,” Chen Jianxing smiled awkwardly and said, “You’re still young, Tingsheng. You’ve never experienced marriage and having a family. So, you wouldn’t know. There are some things which you just can’t get past. If you ask me now if given another chance, I would still be willing to pay such a big price to render that bunch of bastards dead, I’d tell you that I’d still go. If I didn’t go, I’d have to kill myself. I’m a man!”
Xu Tingsheng was rendered speechless.
Chen Jianxing continued, “Maybe if I follow you back today, when we meet, the three of us will weep painfully and pour out our feelings to each other, finding that there’s nothing in this world that cannot be forgiven. Still, in the future, there’ll be dozens of uncertain decades waiting for us. The normalest days are actually the scariest. Whatever we think at that moment, we will return to reality nevertheless in the future.”
“The reality is that over such long days, what she did will actually still be on my mind. I won’t be able to forget them. I will unknowingly torture her. Even if it’s only a cold face from time to time, she will still be overly sensitive to it. Also, what I ruthlessly did to them will actually also not be forgotten. She and I will have to live each day cautiously, because the slightest carelessness and we’ll hurt each other. As for my daughter, she will grow up, will feel that atmosphere, will remember how she once hugged my leg and cried, while I still insisted on leaving. Maybe the day will come when fear and hatred breeds between us…”
“This family is already completely destroyed. It can’t be returned to, no matter whose fault it is, no matter how hard we work. Days like these...actually have no future.”
“So, you’re running away from it?”
“You could say that. Anyway, putting all these things together, I’ve decided that just reaching this point is fine. This way, they can lead proper lives. She’s still young, and my daughter is cute and clever. They will have futures. This way, while they may be sad for a period of time, in the future, they won’t have to constantly be facing the past because of me again. I think that more of it will be them missing me, thinking back on happy days in the past. They’ll forgive me, living without any weight on their shoulders. Isn’t that just great…”
“You...can you reconsider it? I’ll think of another way…” Xu Tingsheng said.
Chen Jianxing switched his emotions and said, “Right, Tingsheng, I’ve actually just thought of it. My death is actually two-sided. Those people definitely think right now that my death will be beneficial towards them, helping to vent their hatred too. Still, in truth, in being alive, I actually can’t provide any new evidence. Yet, if my death is used properly, it may instead be used to nail those people dead.”
“Things like politics have always been the gods fighting while the ordinary spirits bear the brunt. Those on top are always considering the big picture. When they find giving up on something more worth it, they won’t have any reluctance or hesitation at all, much less put up strong resistance towards it.”
“Do you get what I mean? Ever since the first time we met, you've been someone who is very good at using public sentiment...just keep yourself out of it.”
Xu Tingsheng could still not get used to facing a person’s life or death choice at such close proximity. This was especially true when at this moment, Chen Jianxing had his deep feelings for his family as well as thoughts that were calm, even cold and merciless to the extreme. It was as if what he was discussing simply wasn’t his own death at all.
This was a man who was overly stubborn. When that Vice Chief had said to him in the car: The day before your marriage, your wife was still on my bed...for your sake. Being alive might have been more torturous than dying for him from that point on.
He shook his head and looked for Chen Jianxing again.
A van with an obscured license plate was zooming towards him from behind at an unnatural speed.
“Bro Chen, run!” Xu Tingsheng yelled.
Chen Jianxing did not look back as he smiled, saying loudly, “Tingsheng, help me tell her to live well with our daughter. She should look again, look for a good person. Tell her that she’s a good woman. Tell her that if I could relive life one more time, I’d still go to that place, waiting to meet her there...still, I wouldn’t let my pride rule me. I wouldn’t feel that I’m not a good match for her and would burden her, demanding to break up. I’d shamelessly beg that she go to that distant little county with me. We’d live mundanely together till the end of our days. I understand now. However little we have, we can still have our hair turn white together…”
The van took a drastic right, zooming onto the pavement…
On the way back to Yanzhou, Xu Tingsheng heard a traffic report on the radio:
An accident had occurred on a road close to Xihu City’s airport. A van had fled after a hit-and-run. A pedestrian had been rolled over a second time after being hit, dying on the spot...the traffic police was currently out in full force, seeking to seize the vehicle in question.Previous Chapter Next Chapter