“Hahahaha, he’s only six years old and he’s already beaten several twelve year olds to tears? Really capable! He’s got talent! As expected of my great-grandson!”
In the ward, Qin Zhuopu, who had just listened to Lu Ying’s complaints, looked at the laughing old man helplessly, “Grandpa, don’t praise the child for that in the future. Zaizai, like Lu Ying, has a special physique and is very strong and nimble. He can beat practically anyone. Lu Ying has been teaching him to behave for fear that he will hurt other people’s children accidentally.”
The old man was unconvinced and hummed: “It’s wrong to hit someone but it depends on the situation. It was self-defence! Fortunately, our Zaizai is amazing, otherwise he’d be bullied by those little bastards! You hurry up and pick him up for me. I don’t want to wait for a day. I have to watch him with my own eyes. I will follow him when he goes to school in the future. I promise not to let outsiders bully my Zaizai!”
“Grandpa…” Qin Zhuopu had a headache and looked at the old man helplessly, “Don’t say that wind is rain. How dare I pick him up with your attitude like this? I don’t know what kind of young master you’ll spoil him into, but if he becomes a little bastard who doesn’t know any rules, Lu Ying and I will be finished for the rest of our lives.”
Elder Qin was furious: “How dare you speak like an old man! That’s your own son, good bamboo produces good shoots! My Qin family can never raise a loser fop. I’ll spoil him because I like him? How can I spoil him? Even you weren’t spoiled by me!”
Qin Zhuopu was noncommittal. Many families had good children in the first few generations, but later they got more and more crooked, most likely due to the inter-generational spoiling by the elderly. He certainly agreed with his grandfather that good bamboo produced good shoots. Lu Zaizai was a cute little boy. This time beating those guys up was the right thing to do and he was happy about it. He was more at ease as a father than if the child didn’t know how to fight back, not to mention that he loved Zaizai’s character.
“Grandpa, you didn’t spoil me much when I was little. Hehe, you trapped me at home every day to practise calligraphy and beat me on the palm of my hand if I couldn’t write properly, tsk tsk…” Qin Zhuopu was relentless in exposing the ‘different from person to person’ attitude of the old man.
“Nonsense, disciplining you strictly was for your own good.”
“Fine, so I can rest assured you’ll do the same for Zaizai.”
“He’s different. He’s still young, he’s my great-grandson and he’s suffered so much before. I have to be good to him! By the way, I’m going to buy a piece of land right now to build an amusement park to compensate him. What else does he like? Do you want to buy a toy factory…”
The grandfather and grandson were talking a lot, and their emotions were very high. The old man was in very good spirits every time he talked about Zaizai. When Mrs. Qin came over, the two of them restrained themselves at the same time.
Qin Zhuopu got up, “Mom is here, then I’ll go back to the office. I’ll see Grandpa again tomorrow.”
“You go and get busy.” The old man waved his hand. He felt tired once his grandson left, after all, he had talked for a long time.
Helplessly watching her son leave, Mrs. Qin asked, “Dad, what kind of fruit do you want to eat? I’ll cut it for you.”
The old man shook his head, “No need. I’m sleepy, I’ll take a nap first.”
“Then you go to sleep.”
The old man soon fell asleep, snoring.
Mrs. Qin stood by, her heart empty and unable to settle, always full of anxiety these days. When she raised her eyes, she saw that the family photo of her son and Lu Ying had been framed by the old man, and the wooden frame was placed on the edge of the table, in a position that couldn’t be more eye-catching.
Whenever relatives or friends came over to visit these days, the old man would introduce them with great excitement and pride: “This is my grandson’s family, on the right is my grandson’s wife and the little fat boy is my great-grandson!”
“Oh my, what a happy family. The Old Master is blessed.”
“Congratulations to the Old Master on his new great-grandson.”
“Now that your grandson has a family and a son, you are relieved, old buddy…”
The constant stream of compliments and blessings that surrounded the old man every day was more effective than the medicine and injections, and the old man was now recovering well and was full of energy.
Only Mrs. Qin had mixed feelings, unconsciously feeling like an outsider.
Should she break the deadlock and make another showdown?
Either give up… or save everything.
The next day Lu Ying personally sent Lu Zaizai to school and was, not surprisingly, called to the headmaster’s office. There were also several parents of the sixth-graders.
When they saw Lu Ying come in, the grandmother of one of the students immediately pointed at Lu Ying and Zaizai and started screaming: “Your bear child beat my grandson until his teeth bled! At a young age so vicious and so cruel! Headmaster, why do you still have such a black sheep in your school? I’m telling you, you’re going to have to pay for the medical bills, the moral damage and our family’s absence from work!” She had heard from her grandson that this little fatty’s family was particularly rich, he even had a private helicopter, so it would be a great opportunity to squeeze some money out of them. Anyway, those rich people cared about their face and didn’t want to be involved in trivial matters, so they would certainly be generous with their money.
The old lady was spitting and frothing while pointing her finger at Lu Zaizai. Lu Ying slapped her hand away: “There is surveillance all over the campus. Please ask the headmaster to bring up the surveillance to see what actually happened and who actually started it. If you don’t want to, I’ll just call the police and the reporters.”
Several parents were all taken aback and looked very uncomfortable.
Immediately a father took the lead and apologised, “Mr. Lu, I’m sorry, it was my son who was too disobedient ambushing a first grader. He only had a little superficial injury and he realised his mistake. I hope Mr. Lu will not take offence. Li Zihao, quickly apologise to your little brother!”
He was busy with work and seldom took care of his child, so he didn’t expect such great deeds from his son, bullying a first grader and getting beaten up in turn. He didn’t have the cheek to go on, he just wanted to retreat and keep a close eye on his son.
The teenager who was slapped on the head was a bit reluctant, but he still walked in front of Lu Zaizai and bowed his head to admit his mistake: “I’m sorry, I was wrong. I won’t dare to do it again next time.”
Lu Zaizai was generous, waved his hand and nodded, “It’s good that you know your mistake and can change, I forgive you.”
“Thank you, little student.”
Lu Ying also smiled along with his son, “Sixth grade is the rebellious period, I hope parents pay good attention to their children’s growth. Don’t go astray in the future.” Nowadays, teenage boys were all tall and big, and could be a real pain in the ass, and their parents were sometimes helpless; except for unreasonable bear parents like the old lady, where the family’s child was rebellious and even criminal purely due to their ‘family history’.
The two kids reconciled and the dad immediately took his son to class. Two more mothers soon lectured their children and also left after a smooth reconciliation.
There were three more left, the bossy old lady, a round-faced mom and a dad who kept smoking regardless of the occasion.
“I’m telling you, it’s no use calling the police! Do you know there used to be a news story where a twelve-year-old didn’t have to go to jail even though he killed his mother? What’s wrong with my son robbing yours of twenty yuan, robbing him is honouring him!” The round-faced mother cursed, her eyes bulging.
Lu Ying frowned, his face full of disgust. The headmaster couldn’t stand it: “Parent, please watch your words, your behaviour will have a direct negative impact on the child.”
“Whether it affects him or not is my family’s business! If the headmaster has the ability to expel my son, I will immediately go to the Education Bureau to report a complaint against you. I’ll see if you dare!”
“You!” The headmaster was so angry that his face turned blue: “Rude and unreasonable! Watch your language!”
“That’s right, it’s only natural to compensate for injuries. Even if it’s wrong for our boy to grab something, it’s even more wrong to hit someone.” The old lady interjected again, determined not to leave without money.
“Anyway, your family has money, wouldn’t it be better to compensate generously?” The old lady ‘kindly’ reminded.
The headmaster simply laughed and Lu Ying rolled his eyes, “Not to mention your kid just had bleeding teeth, I wouldn’t pay a dime if his teeth were knocked out.”
“Rich and still so stingy!” The old lady was furious.
“A few of your twelve-year-olds are bullying a six-year-old and blackmailing him for money, is there a reason to pay for it?”
“If it was another child who was robbed and bullied, how pitiful would that child be? You are the black sheep. Students like this appear in primary schools, and there is school violence because of your bad kids and the bastard parents who raise them.”
Lu Ying was really disappointed. He used to worry about whether his child would experience school violence or violence against others during the rebellious years in middle and high school. He didn’t expect this problem to arise just after starting primary school. Just because they were ‘rich’, they were targeted by the bad guys from the upper grades. He finally realised the huge difference between primary school and kindergarten. No matter how annoying or bearish the kindergarten kids were, they would cry and howl a bit and remain good friends afterwards.
But those eleven and twelve year olds in primary school, all of whom were almost 1.7 metres tall, taller than many adults, were really chilling and alarming.
Lu Zaizai was physically strong and had hard fists, so he was not afraid of violence, but what if he was just a normal kid? He would have been robbed of his money and beaten for resisting. Then he would go to school and would continue to be robbed of his money…
No wonder so many people worked hard to make money to buy school district housing. There was no best, only better. The difference between a good school and a bad school was not just the admission rate.
Facing several underage children, Lu Ying couldn’t use legal means to defend justice, and even the headmaster didn’t have the right to expel the black sheep. The headmaster was more helpless than Lu Ying. He was the new headmaster who was appointed only last year. He knew those bad students and persuaded them to transfer, but it was useless. He just looked forward to them graduating and leaving soon.
The parents who wanted to make some money saw that Lu Ying didn’t budge and had no choice but to drag their children away. Lu Ying didn’t want to delay his son’s classes and left quickly.
When he returned to the bakery, he was surprised to find Brother Yang and Lu Qianchuan sitting in the shop, next to the little Yang Xiaolu lying in a pram.
“Brother Yang, Grandpa Lu, why are you guys here?”
“I heard that Zaizai was fighting with someone at school? What’s going on?” Brother Yang asked with concern.
Lu Ying helplessly told the story briefly, and Lu Qianchuan was furious after hearing it, “How dare they! Learning from a bad example at a young age and bullying Zaizai! How dare the school not throw them out?”
Lu Ying didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry, “Grandpa, it’s impossible to expel students from compulsory education.”
Grandpa Lu sighed with disgust, “This school’s senior management is poor and the school atmosphere is bad. Grandpa just recently sold a lot of good stuff, Zaizai can choose whichever school he wants to attend, I’ll pay for his education.”
“I don’t believe that those famous good schools will be so messy, right? Your Brother Yang always tells me that the child’s education is most important. My Xiaolu will go straight to the capital to study in the future. The big cities have good educational resources and the parents and children are of high quality. Someone who starts robbing money as a teenager is incorrigible!”
Grandpa Lu’s words were also the thoughts Lu Ying had for a while. He couldn’t change other people’s children, nor could he change the school environment. Anyway, he was really disappointed with Primary School 12 now. But it wasn’t that easy to change schools, not to mention the fact that the semester wasn’t over yet. Besides, where would he go? The schools in the vicinity were all the same.
Transferring to a good school far away, how would he arrange his work?…
For a while, Lu Ying was full of worry.
“Changing schools is not just a matter of money, it’s something I have to think through carefully. No matter what, let Zaizai finish the semester first.”
Lu Qianchuan nodded: “Okay, just make your own arrangements.”
Once the idea of changing schools took root in his mind, Lu Ying could no longer ignore it. He spent the afternoon deliberately asking customers about their children’s schools.
As a result, he didn’t find any good schools, but more than one parent complained to him about how bad Primary School 12 was. The teachers were very mediocre and the student population varied greatly. If the family was well off, it would be better to change schools.
Lu Ying took this to heart and thought about it carefully. If he hadn’t had the conditions, like before, he wouldn’t have given much thought to transferring to another school. But now that he had the conditions, of course he wanted to make life better for his son. And even if he could ignore it, there was Qin Zhuopu.
Qin Zhuopu had always wanted his child to go to Guanlan City to study, it was just that Lu Ying was not up to it yet.
In the evening Lu Zaizai came home, still unhappy.
“What’s wrong again?”
Lu Zaizai huffed, “I had a good friend who broke up with me.”
“…broke up?” Lu Ying held his forehead, “Why?”
“She said I hit people and made my senior brothers cry. She said I was a violent boy and she didn’t want to be friends with me anymore. But I wouldn’t hit her…”
“……” Lu Ying sighed; it was true that a good deed wouldn’t leave home but an evil deed would travel a thousand miles. “You’re right about this, so you don’t have to care about friends who casually break up with you. They don’t count as friends when they don’t even want to figure out what’s right or wrong before they label you as violent.”
“En en, I don’t want to be friends with her! If you break up, you break up. What’s so great about her.”
Once persuaded by his dad, Lu Zaizai didn’t care so much.
During the evening video chat, Lu Ying couldn’t help but complain to Qin Zhuopu, “It’s so hard to teach the kid. Even when you do a good job yourself, you have to guard against other people’s bear kids. Although I know he won’t suffer, I’m still upset.”
“You’re really doing a good job, don’t put pressure on yourself.” Qin Zhuopu sighed, “I’ll say the same old thing again, Zaizai will have a much better environment when he comes to live and study with me.”
“…I know. How is your grandfather’s health now?”
“Old people always have problems. Now he’s hospitalised for the routine treatment to control blood pressure. He’ll be almost ready to go home in a couple of days.”
“Well, you take good care of Grandpa. Don’t worry about things on my end, I can handle the little things.”
“I understand, thank you for your hard work.”
“Why are you so polite?” Lu Ying was a little uncomfortable.
“It’s not being polite, it’s the truth.” Qin Zhuopu sighed. He was now running between the hospital and the office every day. When Grandpa got sick, he acted like an old child, and because Qin Zhuopu didn’t promise to go and bring Lu Ying and Zaizai home immediately, Grandpa was all kinds of ‘fussy’. An old child was even harder to deal with than a real child. Lu Zaizai was mostly well behaved, but a child is a child, and children can be a bit naughty at any time. On the way to raising a child, the parents didn’t dare be negligent at all.
As December approached, it rained in Caifeng City, and the temperature immediately dropped. People put on autumn and winter coats overnight to keep out the cold.
The bakery was not afraid of wind and rain and Lu Ying was still busy. Now, apart from regular product innovations, he had mastered all the delicacies in the store and his talent and speed of learning were quite amazing. In the days when Brother Yang was away, Lu Ying’s innovative works were unanimously praised by customers, and the sales were very impressive.
“Xiao Lu’s tongue is too keen, he is simply a natural gourmet. The new recipes that come out are one better than the other. Hey, how come I don’t know how to match stuff like this?” The old employee nibbled on Lu Ying’s newly baked snacks and sighed with envy.
Lu Ying said modestly, “Maybe it’s because I’m a glutton by nature. I just want to make something delicious to satisfy myself when I have the chance.”
Fei Qiqi pushed the door open, “Brother Xiao Lu, someone is looking for you.”
Fei Qiqi shook her head and added, “It seems to be the auntie who has been here before.”
Lu Ying muttered in his heart, why was Mrs. Qin here again? He had already calmly and politely said everything before, and he thought that Mrs. Qin wouldn’t come again. When he met her at Grandma’s birthday banquet, Mrs. Qin deliberately avoided him, and not only was he not disappointed, he was relieved. After all, it was Qin Zhuopu’s mother, and he only wanted her not to make trouble and not to disturb him.
Lu Ying took a seat across the table and said straightforwardly, “What is it that Mrs. Qin wants to see me about this time? I’m still at work and I can’t afford to delay for too long.”
Seeing his hurried demeanour, Mrs. Qin felt helpless. But she had come, so she had no intention of backing out this time.
“The old man at home is sick, you know that, right?” Mrs. Qin asked, looking at Lu Ying.
Lu Ying nodded, “Zhuopu told me. We talk every night.”
“The Old Master has always loved you and Zaizai, and he always misses you.”
Lu Ying smiled lightly, “Oh.”
“…en. Actually, I came here hoping you can come…”
“Excuse me for a moment, hold on.” Lu Ying saw the time on the wall clock, suddenly got up and quickly went back to the workroom, adjusted the time set for the oven a bit, and confirmed again that it was correct. Reassured, he returned to sit opposite Mrs. Qin.
“Mrs. Qin, go on, what did you just say?”
Mrs. Qin raised her head and drank a whole glass of lemonade. Sighing, she shook her head.
By the look of it, she had something on her mind, but Lu Ying didn’t want to care at all. Instead, he wanted to leave quickly. He fiddled with his phone, patiently counting the minutes. Just as Lu Ying was about to give up on the pantomime and walk away, he suddenly heard a muffled voice.
Mrs. Qin clenched her hands and squeezed them, breathed deeply, sat up straight and looked at Lu Ying, saying clearly, “I’m sorry.”
“……???” Lu Ying froze, thinking that he had auditory hallucinations.
Seeing this, Mrs. Qin was even more ashamed and quickly added, “Lu Ying, I came here today to apologise to you. In the past, I did wrong and I am sorry.”
The apology came unexpectedly.
Lu Ying was dumbfounded and didn’t respond for a long time.
Mrs. Qin’s eyes were red. She took out a handkerchief, wiped her eyes and said, “Seven years ago, I shouldn’t have driven you away. I caused Zhuopu to be separated from you for so many years… Zhuopu really likes you, and during the seven years you were away, he never had anyone else around. It was my bigotry that hurt him.”
Lu Ying bowed his head in silence. He used to dream about the picture of Mrs. Qin apologising to him. Because he did resent Mrs. Qin. He blamed her for taking advantage of Qin Zhuopu’s absence and playing tricks to drive him away. A good relationship was destroyed. All those years of raising Zaizai alone, he thought about the past, sometimes resentful, sometimes hopeful, conflicting thoughts tormenting him all the time. But either way, he hoped that Mrs. Qin would apologise to him.
Now after years of waiting, he finally got a belated apology.
He should be happy, right?
But the truth was that Lu Ying was not happy, just relieved at last. It was as if the boulder that had been weighing him down for so many years was lifted. All those years of resenting Mrs. Qin undoubtedly oppressed him.
There was a time when he was a carefree, untroubled man who knew no sorrow or resentment, and the world was bright and shining in his eyes.
If one could live like a pure angel, who would be happy to have their wings stained with dark?
“Lu Ying, I’m sorry.” Mrs. Qin repeated again and again with tears streaming down her face. Once she opened her mouth, the words poured out like a flood that passed the floodgates. Those words in her heart could no longer be held back. It dawned on her that she had actually wanted to apologise to Lu Ying from the first moment she saw him again in Qixia Town. But the words didn’t come out, and the exchange backfired and mistakes were added to mistakes.
“I’ve wanted to say this apology for a long time, no matter what you think of me in your heart and whether you will forgive me or not.” Mrs. Qin took a breath, “But I did hesitate for a long time when I came over today… Someone like me, it takes too much courage to bow my head and admit my mistakes. Before I met you, I didn’t even know if I would be able to say it successfully.”
“Now I’ve finally said it.”
Mrs. Qin exhaled, some part of her heart relieved.
When Lu Ying didn’t speak for a long time, Mrs. Qin wiped her face clean and got up, “That’s all I have to say, and I don’t expect you to forgive me. Just so long as you know what I think now. You are the partner that Zhuopu chose, and Zaizai is the child he recognised, and the old man likes you too. You don’t have to care about me, and if you have time, you can take the child to the Qin family’s house to play. They will all be very happy.”
“Don’t drag them down because of me.”
Mrs. Qin bowed her head, “…you are busy.”
Embarrassed and in a hurry, she hid her face and left.
“Dad, you’re happy today?”
In the evening, Lu Ying accompanied the child to do his homework on the balcony. Probably because the smile on his face couldn’t be suppressed, even Lu Zaizai was distracted.
Lu Ying stroked his head, “Yes, Dad is happy today.”
“I’m not happy.” Lu Zaizai put down his pencil.
Lu Ying raised his eyebrows, “Why?” At such a young age, how can you have so many emotions every day?
Lu Zaizai’s mouth was deflated.
“Oh, I’m not happy when I do my homework.”
Very good, to hell with Dad’s happiness!
“Write, write, do your homework!”
“Oooh, Dad is so mean, I want Uncle.”
Lu Ying looked at his son and sneered.
“You think Uncle won’t make you do your homework? Dream on!”
“Uncle just won’t, only Dad will!”
Lu Ying threw back his head and laughed.
“That’s right, he is your dad!”
“……” I don’t believe it, I don’t believe it, I don’t believe it!
Later, Lu Zaizai wrote in his diary:
Whether it was the dad who came first or the dad who came later, they were the most, most loving dads to me.
I would love them too if they didn’t guard me left and right to make me do my homework. QaQ
Teacher: Today’s topic is ‘Dad’, please write an essay with this in mind.
Lu Zaizai: It’s written.
Teacher: …very good.
Teacher: Mr. Qin, Mr. Lu, your son has written an excellent essay about his father. I am sending it to you.
Lu Ying: Really? Great, it must be written about me!
Mr. Qin: Zaizai is amazing! It’s supposed to be written about me, right?
Lu Ying: Let’s see what the title is?
Mr. Qin: …’The Devil’.
Lu Ying: …it’s about you.
Mr. Qin: It’s you.
Lu Ying: It’s you.
Lu Zaizai: Stop arguing, you pair of devils!
Lu Zaizai: The turning point in my life was not suddenly going from being a poor boy to a rich young master.
Reporter: What was it then?
Zaizaiby: It was when from having one father I suddenly got two!
Reporter: Many people envy you!
Lu Zaizai: The person who yells at me to do my homework every day has changed from 1 to 1×2 (smile.jpg)
Reporter: …… (sympathy for a second)
Netizen A: Please give me a dozen dads who force Zaizai to do his homework!
Netizen B: Other people have 1 father-in-law. I’m awesome, I have 1×2 fathers-in-law.
Netizen C: I don’t care if I’m a young lady or not, I mainly want two such fathers-in-laws ^_^