Chapter 10 (part 2)

Ning Wan went on to wax eloquent along the same lines – there was both good and bad in any marriage, and one should think on the positive side.
Remember the things that one loved when you were newlyweds.
In short, she exhorted making peace, not war, and in the end Aunt Wu gave up the idea of divorce and went home as Ning Wan had advised…

Fu Zheng couldn't believe it.
”Is this how you mediate? ”

Ning Wan didn't seem to feel guilty at all.
Her tone was even smug.
”Wasn't I quick? ” She looked at her watch.
”Look at that.
I got rid of her in ten minutes, a record high.
It's always taken me at least fifteen minutes previously to persuade Aunt Wu to go… ”

It was true that community legal service wasn't a simple job, and that mediation may be what cases needed sometimes.
But domestic violence was hardly something to be negotiated upon.
Though Ning Wan might be remarkable at mediation, what the hell did she think she was doing?

She had 'solved' the case with no regard to ethics and morality, thinking only of reducing her workload by making a major incident into a minor one.
She had simply casually persuaded that old lady, not caring about whether or not the problem was actually solved or how the auntie might suffer in the future.
So long as she could take it easy, that's all she cared about.

Regardless of whether or not Ning Wan was good at her job, she had no professional ethics at all.

Fu Zheng no longer wanted to hear any explanation from her, and interrupted coldly.
”Say no more.
I don't want to know. ”

Ning Wan was surprised, but said nothing.

Fortunately, the awkwardly silent atmosphere was soon interrupted by a resident coming for consultation.
This time, the middle-aged man chose Fu Zheng.

He looked a little embarrassed, and stuttered a little as he spoke.
”I…
I want to hire a lawyer…
The Social Work Committee said that there were lawyers here to consult…
I… ”

Ning Wan had immediately stood up upon seeing him.
”Uncle, don't worry, ” she began, ”Calm down, tell us what's going on… ”

Unfortunately, before she could say ”and speak slowly ”, Fu Zheng interrupted her.
”This is my case.
I hope you won't intervene. ”

Ning Wan blinked.
Recently, she sensed that the relationship between Fu Zheng and herself had eased.
Yet without her knowledge as to how or why, he had now become cold to her again.
She had not even thought about potentially stealing a case from him – such a consult, even if in the end they did not get hired, was often the beginning of a very complicated case, yet with only a little remuneration.
What would be the point of stealing it? She had spoken up simply because she was afraid that Fu Zheng couldn't handle it alone, just like the last time.
She wanted to guide him, but he was being extremely hostile for some reason.

”Then, sir, I'll trust you. ” Unaware of the undercurrent between Ning Wan and Fu Zheng, the middle-aged man went on to describe his problem, his face torn between anguish and annoyance.
”My name is Lu Yu, and I live in the high-rise building of Yuelan Community.
I take an electric bike to work.
I usually park it in the garage connected to the corridor on the first floor.
And well, I parked it there as usual last night, but this morning I found that there was a fire there overnight, and my electric bike is ruined! ”

”Do you know what caused the fire? ”

”Yes.
Two of us in the apartment have electric bikes.
I'm one, and the other is old Mao Li on the 15th floor.
My bike was perfectly fine, not a problem with it at all.
The problem was Mao Li's! ”

Lu Yu seemed to be getting more and more frustrated as he spoke.
”There's a charging area for batteries in the first floor of the garage.
I charge mine there, but Mao Li doesn't.
That old geezer can't adapt to new stuff.
He's been charging his battery for the last 800 years by running an extension cord from his home, and he's gotten into trouble with our building for it before.
What age is he living in to charge an e-bike like that?! And he runs it all the way from the 15th floor, too, and several places on the cable are wrapped in tape.
It's dangerous just looking at it.
If some senior citizen goes out without watching their step, they might fall.
Cables like that age, and in the summer they short circuit and start fires if you don't pay attention.
It's a hazard to everyone in the building! ”

”I didn't think it would catch fire before summer even started.
When I parked yesterday, I saw old Mao charging his battery.
And today, here we are.
All that to say, it must have been his cable that started the fire! ”

”Why am I so unlucky? ” Lu Yu mumbled, looking anguished.
”I just got this new e-bike, and I ride it every day to work, but someone else's broken cable not only burnt up their own vehicle, but mine, too.
For something like this, old Mao is in the wrong, isn't he? ”

”Yes, this is indeed against regulations, ” Fu Zheng nodded.
”The Ministry of Public Security has issued a notice regulating parking and charging of electric vehicles for the purpose of fire prevention, and the notice clearly stipulates that using an extension cord to charge batteries for electric vehicles is prohibited due to the high risk of fire.
Your loss was caused by a fire started by someone else, allowing you to claim compensation from the other person. ”

”Great! ” Lu Yu's face lit up.
”Then will you help me defend my rights? Will you get me compensated? ”

”Yes, ” Fu Zheng nodded.

”How soon will I get the money? ” Lu Yu asked, concerned.
”My little girl has just started going to tuition, and my old man happens to be hospitalized right now.
I don't have much money on hand… ”

”You won't have to go to court.
For fire and property damaged caused by fly-line charging, the guilty party bears tort liability.
I will help you communicate and negotiate with Mr.
Mao, and get you your compensation as soon as possible. ”

……

In the end, Lu Yu filled in the forms for community legal consultation, left his contact information, and left the office after repeated thanks.

Once he was out the door, Ning Wan couldn't resist saying something.
”This case won't be easy to negotiate.
I've heard of old Mao.
He's over 70, and he used to have a single child, but that child died in a car accident ten years ago.
Old Mao and his wife didn't want to have another, so they lived alone.
His wife died a year ago, and now he has no one left, no brothers or sisters or parents.
He's a lonely old man. ”

She thought of old Mao's lonesome figure trudging about the building, and couldn't bear to remain silent.
”Old Mao is very poor.
You might think that an e-bike would only cost him one or two thousand, but to him it's a huge sum… ”

Community law, even cases based on mediation, required care and attention to the ways and means.
Afraid that Fu Zheng would operate too dogmatically in caring only about Lu Yu's side and completely ignoring old Mao's situation, Ning Wan was trying to give him a little background knowledge.
”Perhaps it might be better to… ”

She was interrupted coldly by Fu Zheng.
”I learnt my lesson from the last case.
I know that one should consider the situation for both parties – in this case Old Mao – for community law.
You don't need to teach me this.
As for his inability to pay, there is a decent solution.
The Ministry of Public Security has made it clear that residential properties should bear the burden of stopping EV battery charging by flying wire, and that inspections should be carried out regularly for this case.
So long as the investigation shows that the property has not been doing their duty policing and raising awareness of illegal charging methods in the recent months, the property has not fulfilled its management obligations.
This makes them jointly liable for the fire, and allows us to negotiate the compensation for injured residents, taking some of the pressure off of Old Mao. ”

Upon hearing Fu Zheng's thoughts, Ning Wan breathed a sigh of relief.
She was about to praise him when she heard him say rudely, ”I don't need your guidance. ”

Having her kind thoughts returned as ridicule, Ning Wan got a little pissed off.
”I am your senior.
You have no work experience, so it's my role to guide you. ”

”The law industry pays attention to qualifications, not so much experience.
In addition, you handle things in a contemptible manner.
You may be qualified to give pointers due to your work experience, but a person's ceiling is determined by their ability at the starting line. ” Fu Zheng looked at Ning Wan and said indifferently, ”And as far as your alma mater is concerned, I feel that you're in no position to give me guidance. ”

Fu Zheng turned on his heel and left to deal with the fly-line charging case, leaving her alone in the office.

As soon as he closed the door, Ning Wan's face crumpled in rage.

What a bastard! How dare he judge heroes by their birth1?! And 'contemptible'? How was her way of handling things contemptible? Although every case here in the community was small and perhaps even trivial, Ning Wan prided herself upon having handled each and every one conscientiously in the past two years, never brushing them aside or being perfunctory.
Yes, Fu Zheng had gone to a famous school, but was that so amazing? How dare he act so superior? This little young master was getting more and more unpleasant to the eye!

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