Chapter 327: Education bursary
Lu Zhixin had gone to Hong Kong to accompany her father for the New Year. The two exchanged simple greetings via text.
Despite having been invited by Xu Tingsheng previously, Tan Yao still remained in Yanzhou in the end. Perhaps watching another family's warm reunion was easier to evoke sadness in him.
When Xu Tingsheng called him, Ye Qing's voice resounded from the side over on the other end of the phone.
Xu Tingsheng was stunned.
Tan Yao explained that Ye Qing had argued a little with her older brother during their reunion dinner and left soon afterwards. Since they were both all alone anyway, they had somehow ended up together.
"Don't misunderstand, Bro Xu. I'm actually bothered to death by her," Tan Yao said.
Xu Tingsheng smiled, replying, "I'm misunderstanding nothing. Don't argue on New Year's Eve, you guys. Actually, being able to argue with Ye Qing is already crazy in itself, you know. You're probably the only one amongst the hundreds of thousands of men in Yanzhou who can, man."
After hesitating for a long time, Xu Tingsheng sent Li Wan'er a text: Happy New Year. Being alone by yourself outside, you've got to take good care of yourself. Remember to tell me if anything crops up.
Li Wan'er soon replied: Right, I will take good care of myself. Happy New Year! You're a year older again. How good it would be if I wasn't turning a year older too.
It was around 12am that he received Little Xiang Ning's call. She made use of when they were standing by time and her parents were asleep to secretly make this call. Amidst the intermittent sound of exploding fireworks, the two chatted for ten plus minutes about just some minor issues in their lives and their studies.
As for Wu Yuewei, he had not expected that after that previous parting, there would really not be even a single greeting that was exchanged between then.
On the first day of the Lunar New Year, Xu Tingsheng accompanied the elders of his family in playing a whole day of mahjong and lost more than ten thousand yuan.
It was just him who was losing the entire day. As everyone else was winning money, they were happy, and with that, he was happy too.
Just a year ago, he had still received red packets. This year, he was already beginning to give red packets to those children who were younger than him. As for the red packets for his elders, these were respectfully offered up to them at the mahjong table.
The only thing that Xu Tingsheng felt a little troubled about was this: His fortunes didn't seem to be so great at the start of this new year. A year ago, just a few random hands by him had seen heavenly wins and earthly wins coming in.
He recalled the 2005 of his previous life. His life had just been simple and ordinary, with no real fortunes so to speak of.
On the second day of the Lunar New Year, Xu Tingsheng was woken up early in the morning by Mr Xu. Father and son raised their hoes and went to plant potatoes in the field.
Seeing the Xu father and son who had struck it rich personally weeding the soil, ploughing the field, digging the pits, planting the seeds and adding fertiliser…many had congregated on the footpaths between fields watching them farming, all flocking over as if going to the market.
Over the next few days, Xu Tingsheng was brought along by Mr Xu in doing various kinds of farming work, having even cultivated many new vegetable fields. Besides the area that was close to the foot of the mountain which Xu Tingsheng vehemently refused they go near to, basically none of the land belonging to the Xu family was left untended to.
After the final plot of land had been cultivated, father and son soaked their hoes in the river water, sitting on the embankment between fields.
This had actually happened too when Xu Tingsheng was young. Transplanting rice seedlings, beating the paddy-he had actually experienced a little of all aspects of farming work. From time to time, he could still remember the stinging feeling as his sweat trickled down his arms that had cuts left on them from the paddy.
They left for home with their hoes on their backs.
Mr Xu asked, "How is it? After doing a bit of farming, the pressure's no longer that great, right? Your heart settles right down along with it."
Only now did Xu Tingsheng understand Mr Xu's motives. Thinking back on it, as he had trodden in the mud, gotten calluses on his hands and had sweat trickle down his body these past few days, he had returned home exhausted and sore all over everyday before devouring his food ravenously and falling dead asleep. He had not had the time to think useless thoughts at all, having lacked the energy to even dream as he had soundly slept all the way till daybreak.
The pressure and stress accumulated over this past year, especially in recent days considering the fear evoked within him by Ding Sen's incident, was indeed gradually fading.
"Dad, your level of cultivation can nearly be compared to Tao Yuanming's now," Xu Tingsheng smiled.
Mr Xu stroked Xu Tingsheng's head, "Your Dad doesn't know this Tao Yuanming guy. I just know that developing too fast and changing too much, people will inevitably end up drifting somewhat. That being the case, we should let ourselves stand practically on the ground when we have the time. The emperors of ancient times even put their hand to the plough! We father and son have got to keep stable here."
Looking at his father and that mountain in the distance, Xu Tingsheng said, "Dad, you've got to live to a ripe old age in this lifetime. Otherwise, I don't know if I might stray off the path, walking far away. I really wouldn't be able to manage without you."
Mr Xu laughed heartily, replying, "Fine."
On the sixth day of the Lunar New Year, a few days before her expected date of delivery, Tao Jiaxiu successfully gave birth to a pair of twin sisters as Zhong Wusheng officially became a father.
Xu Tingsheng, Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng argued over who would be their godfathers for a very long time. In the end, it was Mr Xu who sealed the deal, decisively seizing this honour.
Logically speaking, there could be more than just one godfather. Still, with Mr Xu having become their godfather…Xu Tingsheng? He could only gain a pair of little sisters here.
Huang Yaming and Fu Cheng successively lost their qualifications as they could only obediently become godfathers.
With such a lineup of godfather and godbrothers in Libei, how esteemed were these two little girls? How envious must one be of them?
Zhong Wusheng felt triumphant with the rising of his seniority as apart from looking at his precious daughter, he spent all his remaining time chasing Xu Tingsheng's trio around and forcing them to address him as Uncle.
The few of them thought about it for two whole days before finally deciding on names for the adorable twins: Zhong Lin, Zhong Li.
That night, after Sis Jia and their two children had settled down in bed, Zhong Wusheng sat in the courtyard outside and began soundlessly weeping all alone.
His entire life after his adolescent years, from when he had retired from the army and met Tao Jiaxia at an insensible age, to when he had acted rashly and gone to jail, to that hard to come by reunion…the two had not had it easy afterwards as he had even helplessly been forced to participate in illegal boxing matches for a livelihood for a time…
Who would have thought that such a day would come, with such a twist in fate and such a blissful life.
"This life of mine belongs to the Xu family."
On the eleventh day of the first lunar month, Huang Yaming returned prematurely from Libei to Yanzhou to continue preparing for the opening of his bar.
Having nothing to do anyway, Fu Cheng had originally been thinking of staying for a few more days. However, after his family suddenly arranged a matchmaking session for him out of the blue with the daughter of a Department Chief, he promptly escaped off with Huang Yaming.
Xu Tingsheng naturally wanted to go along with them. Still, Mr Xu asked him to stay till the sixteenth.
On the sixteenth day of the first lunar month, the Xu family would be officially launching an education bursary at Libei Senior High as a ceremony was to be held there.
The Xu family planned to take out five hundred thousand yuan for an education bursary every year, assisting the poor students of Libei County from primary school all the way to university as they learned and grew.
Libei Senior High would be receiving two hundred thousand of the funds. The remaining thirty thousand would be split amongst the various primary schools every year based on the actual situation on the ground.
Xu Tingsheng shamelessly kicked up a fuss and finally managed to worm his way out of going up on stage to speak. While he was very supportive of this matter, he did not want to participate too much in it. There was only one thing that he was insistent on, which was concentrating the funds of the education bursary on the children of single parent families, helping them out as much as possible.
Mr Xu was not against this. Still, he felt rather curious as to why Xu Tingsheng had such considerations and was so insistent on this too.
Xu Tingsheng could only use the situations of Apple and Lu Zhixin as examples in explaining things to Mr Xu. The two of them had both ended up in single parent families from around the age of ten.
While the trajectories of their lives were ultimately different as their personalities were different as well, it was indisputable that the two had actually both been influenced greatly by this kind of life. At a certain level, their mental health was not all that good and sound. For instance, both of them seriously lacked a sense of security.
In the face of this, Apple had chosen to look for someone to rely on to protect her, only having gradually experienced a qualitative change over the past half year.
As for Lu Zhixin, she was at the extreme of independence to protect herself as she sought to control everything, including people, for only then would she be able to feel at ease.
Mr Xu gave his agreement.