Chapter 5 – Phoenix Man (5) *edited
Yan Jingze knew that, after the incident of sending the roast duck, Jiang Pingxiu’s grandmother would have trouble in about a month.
Following the original plot, Jiang Pingxiu’s grandmother would accidentally break her leg while working in the fields. In the freezing winter, she wouldn’t be able to move, and it would take a long time before anyone found her.
Although she wasn’t too old, just sixty years old, her life had been very difficult, and her health wasn’t great. After breaking her leg, she also suffered from the cold, which made her fall ill. When Jiang Pingxiu received the news and called the original owner for help, the original owner hung up on him. He had to go back alone to take care of her, but he couldn’t completely cure her.
Feeling worried about her, Jiang Pingxiu brought her to the city, rented a house, and spent all his money on her, thus failing to provide the original owner with the living expenses on time.
The original owner could have borrowed a few hundred yuan from classmates or found a part-time job to get by, but he couldn’t bring himself to borrow money and feared that working part-time would affect his grades. In the end, he resorted to seducing Jiang Pingxiu and coaxing him to continue giving him money.
Consequently, that New Year, sixteen-year-old Jiang Pingxiu had to work tirelessly at a luxury hotel from morning till night, doing the work of two people to earn money. In the following years, he had no free time at all. He worked to support the original owner’s education while also taking care of his grandmother, whose leg injury had never healed and left her with a permanent limp.
As a result of this incident, Grandma Jiang’s health deteriorated… Just when the original owner had started working and decided to break away from Jiang Pingxiu, she also developed appendicitis.
Appendicitis was a common ailment, and a simple surgery could cure it. However, Grandma Jiang endured the pain and delayed seeking treatment until it became severe. The surgery required a substantial amount of money, which Jiang Pingxiu couldn’t afford. Still, he had hope for the original owner and naively asked him for a loan.
The original owner was ruthless; he framed Jiang Pingxiu for harassment and encouraged his girlfriend to have people break Jiang Pingxiu’s leg, effectively severing their ties.
In the end, both Jiang Pingxiu and his grandmother didn’t survive.
Yan Jingze took a deep breath and focused on his work in front of the computer.
The original host was a despicable person, and although he couldn’t let these events unfold as they did, he couldn’t change the past.
For now, he continued with his part-time job off-campus, as it provided a stable income. Additionally, he took on more online jobs, and as he gained experience, he started accepting more challenging tasks. Some of these tasks paid thousands of yuan upon completion.
Of course, it wasn’t as simple as it sounded. In the second week since his arrival, Yan Jingze was only getting four to five hours of sleep per night.
Finally, he had six thousand yuan in his hands.
He took the time to find a place to rent. He rented a two-bedroom apartment in an old residential area near the school for 1,500 yuan per month, and he paid the rent upfront for the first month. He then took leave from school and boarded the train back home after finishing his part-time job on Wednesday night.
On Thursday afternoon, after a sleepless night, Yan Jingze finally returned to his hometown.
The original owner couldn’t remember the exact date when Grandma Jiang broke her leg, so he tried to come back as soon as possible.
Upon arriving in the village, Yan Jingze’s first action was to go to Jiang Pingxiu’s home.
Grandma Jiang was doing well, agile and spirited. When she saw him, she wore a kind smile.
At this moment, Yan Jingze was the pride of this small mountain village, the most successful person from the village!
Everyone in the village, including the original owner’s parents, liked the original owner very much at this time.
“Yan Da, weren’t you studying in the city? Why did you come back?” Grandma Jiang was full of curiosity and said, “I’ll make you some sugar water.”
In the village, Yan Jingze was always called Yan Da, while Jiang Pingxiu had a different nickname.
Speaking of which, they were able to have such good names like “Yan Jingze” and “Jiang Pingxiu,” thanks to a teacher who came to support the local education when they were young.
After that teacher arrived, he couldn’t quite handle the extremely impoverished living conditions and the lack of meat in the diet here. He was always thinking about eating meat, so he developed a side job – giving people names.
As long as someone gave him an egg, he would come up with a beautiful name for their child. During those years, almost all the children in the nearby villages had names given by him.
He also broadened Yan Jingze’s horizons, making him desire to go outside and live in the city from a young age.
“Grandma Jiang, Pingxiu asked me to come and pick you up,” Yan Jingze said.
“Pingwa’er asked you to pick me up? What for?” Grandma Jiang was puzzled.
“He found a job in the city, rented a house, and wants you to live with him,” Yan Jingze explained.
Grandma Jiang promptly refused without hesitation, “How can I live in the city? I’ve never been to the city in my whole life, and if I go, what about the land at home?”
Grandma Jiang was just an ordinary rural woman who had lived in the small mountain village for most of her life. The farthest she had been was to the nearby town, and she had never thought about going to the city.
Yan Jingze had already anticipated this response, “Grandma, Pingxiu is all alone in the city. No one cooks for him, and no one talks to him. He really misses you…”
Yan Jingze painted a very difficult picture of Jiang Pingxiu’s current life, trying to persuade Grandma Jiang to leave with him.
In truth, it wasn’t a good idea to ask an elderly person to leave their familiar surroundings and go to a completely unfamiliar place. But Grandma Jiang was old and unwell, and leaving her behind would be risky in case something unexpected happened to her, as per his memories.
Moreover, Yan Jingze had another idea – he wanted Jiang Pingxiu to stop working and continue his studies.
If Jiang Pingxiu went back to school, he could accompany Grandma Jiang, and she wouldn’t feel too lonely.
After her husband’s early passing, Grandma Jiang worked hard to raise her eldest son, and after her son and daughter-in-law passed away together, she was left with Jiang Pingxiu. People in the village regarded her as a bringer of death and were reluctant to associate with her. Her personality was introverted, just like Jiang Pingxiu’s, so she had very few friends.
She didn’t want to leave her familiar place, but when she heard that her grandson wanted her to go to the city, she eventually decided to go.
The old lady was easy to coax. Without even talking to Jiang Pingxiu, she decided to leave with Yan Jingze. Yan Jingze asked her to pack her things, while he himself returned home.
At the original owner’s home, just like Jiang Pingxiu’s home, they were poor and owed a lot of external debts.
For a disabled couple, it wasn’t easy to support four children!
Speaking of which, it was fortunate that the original host had good grades, and everyone believed that he would have a bright future. That’s why the creditors didn’t come to collect debts, allowing their family to barely survive.
Everyone thought that once the original owner graduated from college and got a good job, he would be able to pay off the debts. After all, the debts weren’t that much, only seven or eight thousand.
But the original owner was truly selfish and self-serving.
He had always known how to please his parents and compete for attention from his siblings. Once he started studying, he used the excuse of focusing on his studies and never did any farm work again.
His good academic performance led his family to support him, but he didn’t appreciate it and always felt that his family was holding him back.
After chasing after the wealthy girl and getting a good job, he completely cut off contact with his family.
Later, when his parents fell ill, his siblings couldn’t even find him… The fate of this family was slightly better than Jiang Pingxiu’s, but not by much.
Of course, the original owner’s terrible actions led to an unfavorable outcome for him as well.
The original owner could notice Jiang Pingxiu’s feelings for him and even sleep with him because they were of the same kind – he also liked men.
He pursued the wealthy girl for money, and when he was with her, he was a perfect boyfriend, completely doting on her.
But once he married the wealthy girl and had a child, he couldn’t help but be interested in younger men, eventually having an affair.
However, the wealthy girl was not to be trifled with, and she didn’t act like the original owner thought she would. She didn’t just blindly support him after they got married and had a child — the wealthy girl who broke Jiang Pingxiu’s leg was a ruthless character.
In the end, the original owner left with nothing, disabled and abandoned by his child. He ended up living a destitute life and died alone, which could be considered a result of his own doing.
But now that Yan Jingze has transmigrated here, things will definitely be different.
Yan Jingze entered his home and met his parents.
This disabled couple’s clothing and appearance were even more rustic than Jiang Pingxiu’s.
Once again, Yan Jingze deeply realized that he needed to make money.
“Yan Da, why did you come back?” Father Yan looked puzzled at Yan Jingze.
“I came to help Jiang Pingxiu pick up his grandmother,” Yan Jingze said, “He gave me some money to come.”
“He’s picking up his grandmother? Why?” Father Yan was just as confused as Grandma Jiang.
“He’s afraid something will happen to his grandmother if she stays alone,” Yan Jingze explained and took out one thousand yuan and gave it to Father Yan, saying it was payment from Jiang Pingxiu.
“Pingwa’er has money to spare!” Father Yan’s hands trembled when he saw the ten one-hundred-yuan bills. He had never really seen much money before.
Seeing him like this, Yan Jingze felt a bit uncomfortable.
When the original owner was living a carefree life outside, he never thought about his family…
“He’s willing to work and can earn a decent amount of money… Dad, take this money and use it to buy the livestock from the Jiang family and then lease their land. Grandma Jiang probably won’t come back,” Yan Jingze suggested to his father. If there was more land and livestock at home, they could live a better life, and Grandma Jiang would have some money in her hands.
Father Yan listened to his eldest son and agreed without hesitation, then asked, “Since Pingwa’er can earn money outside, I’m sure your younger sister can too… Can you take Damei to the city to earn money?”
Yan Jingze had two younger sisters and one younger brother. The eldest daughter was three years younger than him, just turned sixteen, and was still in the second year of high school. His second younger sister was five years younger than him, fourteen years old, and in the sixth grade. The youngest brother was eight years younger than him, only eleven years old and in the third grade.
In fact, when the original owner just entered college, he had considered marrying off Damei and using the dowry to pay for his own education.
However, although Father Yan and Mother Yan were somewhat biased towards male children, they weren’t crazy enough to marry off a girl who was not even sixteen years old and hadn’t finished junior high school. In addition, Damei was strong-willed and spirited, and the original owner was afraid of causing trouble, so he abandoned the idea.
“Dad, let’s talk about this after the New Year. I can’t even find a place for Damei to live right now,” Yan Jingze said.
Father Yan felt that Yan Jingze made sense and agreed directly, “There are many things to do during the New Year. We really can’t do without Damei. Let’s talk about it after the New Year.” Father Yan was a simple man with a lame leg, and Mother Yan was mute. Their eldest daughter handled all the big and small matters in the family.
Yan Jingze didn’t stay long at home. After he had Grandma Jiang sell the livestock to his father, he left the village without even eating dinner, taking Grandma Jiang with him.
When Damei returned home with her younger siblings after walking two hours on the mountain road, he was long gone.
Hearing this, Damei was shocked, “He actually gave money to our family!?”
Even if Jiang Pingxiu gave his brother money to run errands, based on what she knew about her brother, her brother wouldn’t give money to their family!
“Your brother giving money to the family is not a big deal. He’s doing well, and he doesn’t ask for money from the family even in college,” Father Yan said. He had always felt that his eldest son was promising since he didn’t ask for money from the family even when he was studying.
Well, if his son really needed money, he didn’t have any to give.
Hearing her father’s words, Yan Damei curled her lips.
She admitted that her brother was outstanding, but she had never liked her brother.
Since childhood, no matter how busy their family was, her brother would never work in the fields, and he didn’t even have time to care for her siblings. He made her do all the work.
As for studying… Her grades weren’t bad either, but with so much work to do at home, and she couldn’t ignore the family matters like her brother did when living in school, she gradually fell behind.
She was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to attend high school.
Yan Damei’s eyes welled up a bit, but she gritted her teeth, picked up the basket, and went out again.
She was going to gather pigweed and then come back to cook it and feed the pigs.
Yan Da – Yan family’s eldest
Yan Damei – Yan family’s eldest daughter