Aerial Rain
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TGCF Ch 11 – Report the Loss of the Passbook

Aunt Liu’s son had already left for work and her grandson Zhuangzhuang could leave a bit later for kindergarten, so the Liu family had just started their breakfast, which wasn’t lavish.

Xia Mian borrowed Aunt Liu’s kitchen to make another batch of milk egg rolls. Li Xinmei, who loved good food, couldn’t resist coming to the kitchen as the aroma spread, “This is a fresh way to cook. Was that what Xuanxuan was holding earlier, made by you?” She asked curiously.

Xia Mian didn’t stop her hands, “I enjoy experimenting with food. Xiao Feng hadn’t eaten since yesterday evening here, and they didn’t leave any food for us this morning.”

“I understand I’ve upset them yesterday, and they’d probably love to drive us out. So, I didn’t make a fuss. Thinking of the doctor’s advice, I wanted to make something nutritious for Xiao Feng to replenish him. I didn’t expect her to just snatch it away, not letting Xiao Feng eat.”

“I really didn’t notice it before,” Li Xinmei clicked her tongue, “Indeed, only in times of trouble that you see people’s true colors.”

Aunt Liu, looking at the egg rolls Xia Mian made, commented, “This is good, milk and eggs are enough. Let’s make more, we should let the boys eat well.”

Finally enjoying a comfortable breakfast with the Liu family, Xia Mian and Xiao Feng ate their full. Before leaving, Aunt Liu stuffed a piece of bread into Xiao Feng’s hands and told Xia Mian, “If she gives you a hard time again, come find me. Don’t let the child go hungry. Do you need me to knock on the door for you?”

Xia Mian replied, “No, it’s okay. She probably won’t dare now.”

Indeed, Huang Xiaojuan didn’t dare. As soon as Xia Mian knocked, the security door was quickly opened.

Entering with Xiao Feng, Xia Mian clicked her tongue when she faced Huang Xiaojuan’s resentful gaze, “I thought you would have learned your lesson.”

Xia Mian’s two-faced act thoroughly pissed off Huang Xiaojuan, but she’s definitely learned her lesson and wouldn’t do anything rash now. She could only fume in silence as she watched Xia Mian find the number of the milk station from the phone book and order an extra liter of milk. Not only that, after putting down the phone, the girl casually instructed, “It seems we’re out of eggs. Remember to buy some when you come back today. If there’s fish, buy that too. I’ll share it with your Xuanxuan.”

From the way she behaved, others would think Xia Mian was the lady of the house.

Huang Xiaojuan’s lungs were about to burst with anger, yet Xia Mian’s next question made her freeze.

“Where’s my passbook?”

“What passbook?” Huang Xiaojuan reflexively responded.

Xia Mian chuckled, “What passbook? Of course my passbook. What, you don’t want to return it?”

Huang Xiaojuan definitely didn’t want to return it. If it weren’t for all the recent troubles, she might have given it to Xia Mian to calm things down, planning to ask it back later. But after yesterday and today, Huang Xiaojuan knew once the passbook was returned, she’d never see it again.

Xia Mian urged impatiently, “Hurry up. I’m going to take Xiao Feng out today to buy some things and need to withdraw some money.”

Scrambling for an excuse, Huang Xiaojuan said, “I left your passbook at the school after withdrawing money yesterday. I’ll bring it back to you today.”

Xia Mian frowned, “I need the money. I’ll go with you to the school to get it.”

Huang Xiaojuan quickly thought it out, “How much do you need? I still have some money left from yesterday. You can use it first, and I’ll bring the rest back after work.”

“One thousand.”

“What?” Huang Xiaojuan’s voice rose, “What do you need so much money for? A thousand is enough for a year’s high school tuition!”

“It’s my money, why do you care?” Xia Mian retorted, “Then I’ll go with you to the school to get the passbook.”

“Fine!” Huang Xiaojuan turned and went into the bedroom.

Xia Mian raised an eyebrow, knowing Huang Xiaojuan wouldn’t easily return the passbook. But from her reaction, it was clear she had already spent some of the money—well, since that was the case, Xia Mian had a plan.

After a while, Huang Xiaojuan returned with a stack of gray banknotes and handed them to Xia Mian. It was an old currency Xia Mian remembered from her childhood, each worth ten yuan, which she found somewhat novel. Counting them, there were only fifty notes.

“There’s only this much at home for now. Take it and use it,” Huang Xiaojuan said, clearly trying to avoid further conflict, “I’ll give you the passbook tomorrow.” She quickly added.

Without further discussion, Xia Mian turned around to write something on a piece of paper and pushed it towards Huang Xiaojuan, “Sign it.”

“What?” Huang Xiaojuan saw a receipt, surprisingly neat and beautiful in handwriting: [Today I received 500 yuan in cash from Ms. Huang Xiaojuan of Huagang Family Compound.

However, the receipt was unusual as it required signatures from both Xia Mian and Huang Xiaojuan.

“What do you mean by this?” Huang Xiaojuan frowned.

“It’s nothing,” Xia Mian was nonchalant, “I simply don’t trust you. You only gave me five hundred but might tell others you gave a thousand. So, just to be safe, let’s sign a receipt.”

Huang Xiaojuan indeed had this idea, but she didn’t expect Xia Mian to be so quick-witted.

Xia Mian didn’t want further hassle, so she directly threatened, “If you don’t want to sign, I can get a witness. Aunt Liu and Teacher Mi are still around.”

Left with no choice, Huang Xiaojuan signed. As Xia Mian put away the receipt, she warned, “Be careful not to lose my passbook. It’s in my mom’s name, and I can’t replace it if lost.”

With a side glance at Huang Xiaojuan, she added, “If you dare tell me the passbook is lost, I’ll call the police immediately!”

Huang Xiaojuan could only temporarily give up the idea, “What a petty mind! Who cares about your money!”

“Right, only beasts lower than pigs and dogs will covet my money.” Xia Mian was nonchalant.

Fuming, Huang Xiaojuan could say no more.

Xia Mian then packed all the important stuff into a shoulder bag and left the house with Xiao Feng. Their first stop after leaving the house was the bank. The passbook was now in Huang Xiaojuan’s hands, and she certainly wouldn’t let it go. Even if Xia Mian could somehow wrangle the passbook from Huang Xiaojuan’s hand, Zhang Qiming wouldn’t let the matter rest easily. Preferring not to cause more ruckus with the Zhang couple, she thus sought a permanent solution.

The claim that the passbook couldn’t be replaced was, of course, a lie. Xia Mian deliberately said that to deceive Huang Xiaojuan. In reality, with her mother’s ID, death certificate, and the family’s household registration book, the bank would certainly issue a replacement.

In this era, banks weren’t as ubiquitous as they are today. Xia Mian inquired about the nearest Postal Savings Bank, which happened to be by the department store not far from the compound.

Recalling the new clothes and shoes Huang Xiaojuan brought back yesterday, Xia Mian guessed they were probably purchased from that area.

Holding Xiao Feng’s hand, Xia Mian asked for directions along the way, and after walking about two kilometers, they finally saw the Postal Savings Bank’s service hall.

She was exasperated: two kilometers… how did passersby unanimously describe this as ‘nearby’?

Despite being just nine in the morning, the sun in August was quite strong. Xia Mian crouched down to check on Xiao Feng, making sure he was alright before psyching herself up at the bank’s entrance and pushing the door open.

If there was any advantage to her conspicuous red hair, it was that it made her memorable and eye-catching, very much so.

The electronic queuing system hadn’t been introduced in this era; it was just a simple queue. Fortunately, the bank wasn’t typically crowded on weekday mornings. There was no one at the loss report window, so Xia Mian quickly walked over and handed over all her documents, “Excuse me. I need to report a loss; my passbook is missing, and I don’t know if the money is too.”

The clerk in the window was a woman in her forties. Not fond of rebellious youths, she glanced at Xia Mian dismissively, “You can’t withdraw money with just the passbook and no pin, so don’t worry.”

Xia Mian still frowned, “I hope so. There should be 31,400 yuan in my account…”

The clerk entered the account number and had Xia Mian provide her pin. As she read the information on the screen, she paused, “How much did you say was in your account?”

“Thirty-one thousand and four hundred,” it was the entirety of her asset, so the original ‘Xia Mian’ remembered it clearly.

“Do any other family members know your passbook’s pin?” the clerk inquired, frowning.

“No,” Xia Mian said, “It’s just me left in my family… This money was left by my mom for my college tuition and living expenses…”

Seeing the girl’s mother’s death certificate and hearing her explanation, the clerk’s attitude shifted from disdain to concern, “There’s only twenty-five thousand left in your account. Think carefully, does anyone else know your pin?”

The amount over six thousand was significant, enough to make it a criminal case.

“Sister, can you please check when it was withdrawn?” Xia Mian asked.

The clerk felt pity for this delinquent-looking girl, especially considering the huge amount of missing money, and being called ‘sister’ by a young teen also made her flattered. Eager to help, she typed for a while and suddenly raised an eyebrow, “Oh? It was withdrawn yesterday, right here at this branch, by Xiao Wu.”

The clerk quickly called the manager, and since it might involve a criminal case, the manager took them to his office and soon brought Xiao Wu as well.

Xiao Wu was a junior teller who handled the withdrawal window, and she remembered the transaction, “It was a young woman, with permed hair, dressed quite fashionably,” she recalled. “I thought she came from a wealthy family. She wanted to withdraw ten thousand but didn’t know that withdrawals over six thousand needed an appointment in advance. I remember finding it strange. If the passbook was stolen, that would make sense.”

“Little girl, do you know who this person is?” the manager asked.

Biting her lip in frustration, Xia Mian dramatically revealed, “It was my brother-in-law’s mistress!”

 

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3 thoughts on “TGCF Ch 11 – Report the Loss of the Passbook”

    1. I first tought it was her brother-in-law but turned out it was the misstres. I would have thought that xia mians threath about police would have deterred her. Or maybe she needed it to bribe people in the police…

      I wonder how she will play it now.

      Thank you for the translation and finding a new interesting novel!

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