How do i limit the written text to express 100 figures in the get_publish_meta tag?

I have to grab the written text in this fashion:

<?php echo get_post_meta($relationship->ID, 'company_description', true ); ?> 

This is the way I'd normally limit the written text but I'm not sure how you can mix it using the syntax above:

<?php echo substr($fields->company_description,0,100) . "..."; ?>

Probably the most readable way:

$text = get_post_meta($relationship->ID, 'company_description', true);
echo substr($text, 0, 100) . "...";

Then obviously, you might nest the function calls, which most likely sucks when it comes to readability:

echo substr(get_post_meta($relationship->ID, 'company_description', true), 0, 100) . "...";

Incidentally: If company_description might contain raw HTML, you'll most likely wish to run strip_tags() regarding this prior to getting a substring – not draining HTML would enable you to get in danger over time otherwise.

$text = strip_tags(get_post_meta($relationship->ID, 'company_description', true));
echo substr($text, 0, 100) . "...";