The Great Worm Lich Chapter 10
The one leading the team was a short and plump police officer, at least forty years old. On his shoulder was a badge showing his second class sergeant rank. He knocked on the window of the first truck and asked in local dialect with his tongue curled, "So many of you from the same village, where are you guys going?"
"We're going to the county town to bring 'people' back." Tao Lielin, who sat on the passenger seat of the first truck, lowered down the window and replied in all seriousness.
"Bring people back" The second class sergeant was stunned. He then realized that these Miaowei people were on their way to bring a dead person home. He was already feeling anxious before this, and now he felt shocked inside. "We're having our third Shanlan International Tourism Festival in town soon. I'm afraid that it will affect the festival if so many of you are going in with so many trucks."
"If you're afraid that the vehicles might affect the festival, then why did you allow buses in?
"Officer comrade, let me tell you the truth. We're going to bring back the father of this kid right next to me. His is Zhang Daowu of the Zhang family of the Guawo Village.
"If we don't bring him back today, I'm afraid there will be more people than what you're looking at going into county town tomorrow."
The second class sergeant was the Damu Town police station's director Song Xinghe. He came from the county town, so he had no idea how powerful the Zhang family of Guawo Village was. However, listening to Tao Lielin's tone and the unfriendly way the hundreds of Miaowei people were looking at him, he knew very well that what he was dealing with could not be stopped by a lousy officer like him. Even if he managed to stop them, the price that he would have to pay would do more harm than good.
"Alright then, please get your villagers to behave." Song Xinghe thought about it and admitted to himself that it was just his bad luck that he encountered them today. He then got his subordinates to move their police cars aside as he smiled along.
"Of course, I'm also a cadre myself." Tao Lielin nodded and raised up the truck window. The troop then proceeded forward.
Watching the troops leaving faraway, Song Xinghe took out his mobile phone and called the deputy director of the county administration in charge of law and order. "Director Liang, I'm Song Xinghe. There's something that I need to report to you"
The police director reported to the deputy director of Public Security, and the deputy director of Public Security reported to the Director.
Later on, the director of Public Security who was also the political and legal secretary reported to the county secretary, who then called the county director's number. Soon, the whole story was clarified after the secretary and director personally took interest in the matter.
As the Guawo Village's troop arrived at the People's Hospital's entrance in central Qu County, the county town's deputy county secretary, Guo Guoxing, who was in charge of maintenance was waiting there together with the traffic police troop leader, Man Changsheng, Golden Path Taxi Company's director, He Dao Lin, and Qu County China Life Insurance Company's general manager, Xu Fanmao.
It was almost unimaginable for such things to happen in China's mainland county. However, in the areas where minorities gathered, especially the Miaowei land in Western Sichuan that had tough customs, it was a common scene during the past few years. This had caused some of the cadres working here to miss the olden days when there was no internet.
Knowing beforehand that there might be leaders from the county among the crowd, Tao Lielin did not show any respect as he pulled Zhang Lisheng along with him from the truck. On the contrary, Guo Guoxing took the initiative to walk toward them and asked with all concern, "Both of you must be comrade Tao Lielin and buddy Zhang Lisheng from Guawo Village, am I right?"
"I'm Tao Lielin, you are?"
"I'm the county town's deputy county secretary, Guo Guoxing."
"Oh, you're Secretary Guo. Ahh, look at me. I've always seen you on the county town news. Y-You're much younger than you look on television."
"Nah, I'm getting old. I've not been eating and sleeping well ever since I was assigned to take care of maintenance. I'm getting old."
"Lielin comrade, you look like you're a reasonable person, so let's not beat around the bush. I'm also a Miaowei people, so I deeply respect the Miaowei's custom of sending the deceased off.
"But it's an exceptional period of time now because we're launching the third Shanlan International Tourism Festival soon.
"It's national policy that we should respect all minorities' traditional customs in the county, but economic development is one of our top priorities. It's closely related to the personal interest of all of our common citizens"
"I know, Secretary Guo, I know. But it's not my say to get all of the villagers to retreat if the matter isn't solved. I-I"
Guo Guoxing said with a smile after seeing Tao Lielin's uneasy expression, "Don't worry, Old Tao. I won't give you a hard time.
"Manager Xu, please bring the insurance company's compensation.
"Manager He, we've gotten the Golden Path Taxi Company's consolation money ready. Am I right?"
Hearing the deputy county secretary's call, Xu Fanmao smiled as he quickly walked forward. He then took out a transfer cheque from China Construction Bank out of the inner pocket on his suit and passed it to him. "Secretary Guo, the total of insurance compensation would be five hundred thousand yuan. This is a transfer cheque, they'll receive the cash as soon as the cheque is shown at the bank. This is the highest insured amount of compensation that's available for our county town's common taxi."
Guo Guoxing nodded and then ran to check on He Daolin.
He Daolin was the president of Golden Path Taxi Company, an affiliated company of the taxi company which caused the accident.
With an awkward smile, he opened his bag and brought out a thick envelope. He then said, "We've prepared 150,000 yuan for compensation. Although it's insufficient, this is a little something from our Golden Path Taxi Company."
Zhang Daowu held half of the responsibility for the traffic accident that caused his death as he had crossed the road recklessly on his own. Initially, the compensation amount would have been three hundred to four hundred thousand yuan, which would have been great for the family.
However, not only did the insurance company have to pay the full amount, He Daolin still had to pay the 150,000 yuan of consolation money out of nowhere. It made sense that he felt the pain but he knew that he must pay the amount or else he would cause a so-called ethnic conflict. If that happened, he might have to close down his company.
After enough sincerity was presented, instead of looking at Tao Lielin, Guo Guoxing looked at the skinny Zhang Lisheng who was standing next to him and said with a heavy, sad tone, "Zhang Lisheng, buddy. Uncle is upset about the loss of your family as well.
"Now that everyone who's involved in the accident has given you their best compensation, you can suggest any other requests that you might have to them as long as it's reasonable."
He was the deputy county secretary and also the Tourist Development Zone's director of the division. A division of such a level might not be anything compared to the bigger cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, but in the Qu County territory, he was a person who would cause a slight stir if he was to stomp his foot in this county.
Moreover, Guo Guoxing was born to a Miaowei family. Theoretically, if he took action preemptively, he was not afraid that others would stir things up and create troubles out of nothing.
It was out of Guo Guoxing's expectation that the young man did not cry nor negotiate like he imagined. Instead, Zhang Lisheng said softly without even lifting his head, "Uncle, I'm here to bring my father's remains back.
"It was he who crossed the railings and got hit by the car, I don't blame anybody else for that. I'm okay with whatever the amount of compensation is, I'm just here to bring my father's remains back"
In this world, very few saints are noble, and similarly, very few criminals are poor and evil. It is the majority of commoners that has a combination of these few traits.
While the commoners had emotions that were easily affected by surrounding matters, the difference between hypocrisy and sincerity was just a quick shift of thought at times.
Hearing Zhang Lisheng's mumbling reply and glancing at this downcast thin youth before him who addressed him as uncle, Guo Guoxing suddenly felt a sour feeling arise in his heart. This matter had already reached a perfect conclusion and he should've been able to put down that rock in his heart. But at this point, he thought of his son who was almost the same age as Zhang Lisheng.
"Kid, don't say that. You still have to live your life. The compensation will be helpful for you to enter high school, university, and complete your undergraduate degree."
"After you've completed your studies, walk a bright path and give back to the country. That's the right path, you'll give a peace of mind to your father who had passed away," he said to Zhang Lisheng while shoving the cheque and cash that he took from Xu Fanmao and He Daoling into his hand.
Although what he said were merely cliches and empty talk, his tone clearly had a distinct difference from before.
After saying that, Guo Guoxing sighed as he saw Zhang Lisheng who was still not speaking with his head held down. He began to look around his pockets and brought out hundreds of yuan and shoved it into the young man's hand. He said, "Uncle is also living on a pay cheque. This is nothing much, but you can use this to buy textbooks for school. Study well."
"Secretary Guo, w-what are you doing? T-This isn't" Tao Lielin, who was standing aside, stammered as he spoke.
"Old Tao, it's my money that I'm giving. Don't speak."
"The kid has lost his father at such a young age, such a poor thing." At this point, Guo Guoxing seemed like he was moved by his own speech as his eyes were slowly getting wet. "If there are any difficulties at all in the future, you can bring him to see me at the county committee all you want"
"Snap, snap" Suddenly, there was noise that came off the shutter clicking continuously beside them. It was actually Guo Guoxing's secretary who followed him around. He brought out a camera out of nowhere and snapped pictures of such a moving scene.
Guo Guoxing was slightly stunned. He wanted to stop him by instinct, but he thought about it and held his tongue. Instead, he began to touch Zhang Lisheng's head which was unnecessary and revealed a kind yet sad expression.
Naturally, the shutter continued snapping once more as it clicked under his finger.
The incident of them bringing back the remains which would have caused an uproar had now become a deeply moving scenea drama of a county committee leader showing his concern to a Miaowei orphan's future growth.
With Guo Guoxing's care, the People's Hospital of the central county not only waived Zhang Daowu's hospital cost, they even contacted the related department, the county crematory, to specially send a hearse with a colder coffin and a mini power generator in order to send his remains back to Guawo Village.
To cut the story short, the journey to bring back Zhang Daowu's remains was a very successful one from the beginning to the end. However, it was already over 2 o'clock in the afternoon when the people returned to the mountain village.
The first person who got off the truck among the troop was Zhang Lisheng. He stood on the stone roads and watched as the young and strong villagers carry his father's remains in the cooler coffin. He thought to himself for a while and suddenly passed the envelope containing the 150,000 yuan consolation money to Tao Lielin. He then said, "Uncle Ah Lie, I know nothing at all. Thank you for your efforts in my father's funeral.
"Please take this money."
"We don't need this much money." Tao Lielin was surprised as he took out three stacks of hundred yuan cash from the envelope and said, "I'm only taking thirty thousand. We're from the same village. How is it possible that we rip you off like how we usually rip off those foreigners? Moreover, there's nothing at the supermarket in town now.
"Bring home the remaining money. I'll bring you to town to save this money after your father's funeral is over."
"Hmm." Zhang Lisheng did not decline any longer after hearing what Tao Lielin said. He took the remaining 120,000 yuan from Tao Lielin and accompanied the coffin holding Zhang Daowu's remains in the entrance of his old house.