Aerial Rain
Translating Web Novel

TGCF Ch 15 Part 1 – How Come the Neighbors Don’t Detest Xia Mian? (I)

Before others could react, Teacher Mi, who understood her grandson the best, exclaimed in puzzlement, “You mean those thugs were brought here by Xiao Huang?”

Ning Shaobai neither confirmed nor denied, casually mentioning, “Wasn’t there another incident this morning? Aunt Liu went to the union, right? The union must have called Zhang Qiming.”

“That’s correct. My husband said Director Wang gave Zhang Qiming a scolding today!” someone said. “Zhang Qiming didn’t even go home at noon, and as soon as he returned to work in the afternoon, he hurriedly applied to go on a business trip.” At this point, the person had a sudden realization, “Ah, I had thought he was being proactive after getting the demerit and aiming for the excellence award this year by tackling this difficult task, but it turns out he was just trying to avoid the backlash.”

“Right,” another person eagerly added, “Today, when Huang Xiaojuan went out, she was caught and scolded by Xiao He’s rural wife for a long while. Even Xuanxuan was shunned at the daycare because other parents forbid their kids from playing with him, so Huang Xiaojuan had to take him back home. Her face was very gloomy at that moment…”

Directed by Ning Shaobai’s prompts, the group of neighborhood gossipers instantly turned into detectives, “That’s why they framed Xia Mian! This way, we all would detest Xia Mian and would forget about their family’s problems.”

“Right, right. When Huang Xiaojuan left today, many people started feeling sympathetic towards her.”

Xia Mian suddenly realized, “No wonder those thugs didn’t leave even after I scolded them so badly. They must have been hired.”

“You scolded them?”

“Yes, they whistled at me, so of course, I scolded them.”

“So, they really don’t know Xia Mian.”

The neighborhood’s detective group speculated further, “No way, this strategy is simple yet effective. Pay those thugs a few bucks to spread Xia Mian’s name around the compound, and the girl’s reputation will be ruined!”

Aunt Liu commented, “Only that black-hearted couple could do such a thing. They obviously want to drive Xia Mian away. Xia Mian has just moved from the county town to the city and has no one here. If those thugs got a hold of her, who would believe her innocence?”

Teacher Mi thought of even worse possibilities, “Xia Mian is just sixteen. If those thugs took her away…”

The possibility was too real. The crowd gasped, and a middle-aged woman exclaimed, “Exactly! Otherwise, why would the whole family suddenly leave? Zhang Qiming is going on a business trip for seven to eight days, and Huang Xiaojuan took luggage when she left.”

“She even mentioned that they were frightened by those thugs and wanted to hide at her parents’ house for a few days. They are deliberately cornering Xia Mian, to leave her without no one to ask for help!”

“Right, I was wondering if Huang Xiaojuan was too ashamed to stay in the compound and wanted to lie low for a while, but it turns out she harbored such vicious thoughts!”

“Beasts will always be beasts; the whole family is rotten to the core. Xiao Feng is with Xia Mian, are they planning to leave them both to the thugs?!”

Amidst the condemnation, Xia Mian was only concerned about one thing: “They’re all gone? Is the door locked?”

“Do you have the key?” Although Aunt Liu asked this, she already knew the answer.

Sure enough, Xia Mian shook her head.

Aunt Liu lamented, “What are you going to do, then? Where will you two stay tonight, especially with Xiao Feng?”

The grip on Xia Mian’s leg tensed, and sure enough, Xiao Feng was clinging to her legs, his small hands nervously intertwined. This child had been treated like an object since he was young and was very sensitive to his surroundings.

Xia Mian stroked his head, “Don’t worry, Auntie won’t leave you behind. Auntie’s going to run some errands and will buy some food on the way back. Xiao Feng must be tired and hungry; it’ll be quicker if Auntie goes alone.”

Xiao Feng was still terrified. His lips pursed in nervousness and he kept clutching the hem of Xia Mian’s skirt, but he bravely nodded, “Auntie, I’ll be good, please come back soon.” By the end of his words, tears were welling up in his big eyes.

The sound of his tearful voice was unbearable for Xia Mian, “Forget it.” She picked up the boy, “How about Auntie take Xiao Feng wherever she goes, okay?”

Xiao Feng tightly hugged her neck, tears finally falling, “Auntie, I’ll be a good boy.”

Seeing this scene, the adults around felt heartbroken. Aunt Liu cursed, “This vile family truly is heartless! Xia Mian, what are you planning to do? Why don’t you stay at my place for a few days? Xiao Feng can play with Zhuangzhuang.”

“It’s okay, Aunt Liu.” Xia Mian initially wanted to clean up those thugs and extract some information. But now, Xiao Feng was more important.

Xia Mian didn’t plan to stay anywhere else. She disliked troubling others and didn’t want to depend on anyone, especially since things hadn’t reached that point yet.

A young girl just up from a small county town might be helpless in this situation, but Zhang Qiming and Huang Xiaojuan were mistaken if they thought this would trouble her. Rather, they’d better pray they wouldn’t regret their actions upon their return!

“Do you even have any money?” Aunt Liu asked worriedly.

Xia Mian smiled, “Don’t worry about me. I’ll give Zhang Qiming a call and see what he suggests I should do.”

“He’s on a business trip, what can he do?” Aunt Liu was still concerned.

“Let’s ask him first. Aunt Liu, may I use your phone?”

“Use mine.” Teacher Mi said, “It saves you going upstairs.” She then turned and walked back.

Xia Mian didn’t refuse; Teacher Mi’s house was on the first floor, which was more convenient.

Seeing Ning Shaobai following behind, Xia Mian felt something was about to click until she saw him entering Teacher Mi’s house like it was his own home. She then realized, could this guy be Teacher Mi’s genius grandson, Xiao Bai?!

Ning Shaobai saw her incredulous look, “What’s wrong?”

“Oh, nothing.” Xia Mian instantly forgave him. Well, it’s normal for a genius to have some quirks. Considering his help today, she decided not to hold it against him anymore.

Ning Shaobai somehow had a feeling that she was up to no good again.

Xia Mian made a call to Zhang Qiming. At this time, mobile phones were a rarity, with bulky cell phones still being a luxury in the mainland. According to ‘Xia Mian’s’ memory, only the wealthiest family in Mingxi County owned such a device, and it was common to see the balding, pot-bellied parvenu shouting into his cell phone on the street, “Ah, what did you say? The signal’s bad, I didn’t catch that, say it again.” This would instantly draw almost all eyes on the street.

However, beepers were somewhat more common, and most families of modest means had one.

Xia Mian left a message saying she was at Teacher Mi’s house and asked him to call back there, so Zhang Qiming’s response was relatively swift.

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