Chapter 416: Shop for sale
Wednesday, 7pm. While there should have been many customers coming in for dinner, no lights could be seen in the Xiang family’s Home-Cooked Food. Seeing the pitch blackness from the distance, those potential customers could only leave dejectedly, looking for someplace else.
“Why aren’t they open? Their business is clearly doing very well,” Someone inquired curiously.
“You don’t know about it? They’ve been targeted out of jealousy. A few waves of people came today. They couldn’t go on operating,” A frequent customer helped to explain their situation.
All this had happened within the span of a single day.
First, the city management had come claiming that the restaurant's signboard and lights were not in line with regulations. Without giving any advice regarding how to remedy this at all, they had directly removed and brought these items all away...a while later, Devilspawn Jun had come looking for trouble with his gang and beat up one of their chefs.
In the afternoon, some people from the commerce and hygiene bureaus had respectively come knocking and stripped the restaurant of its operating permit and hygiene certification.
Within the span of a single day, Home-Cooked Food had collapsed.
The door of the restaurant was shut tightly as Mr and Mrs Xiang along with Mr and Mrs Niu were sitting inside with gloomy looks on their faces.
There was a lot of food on the table. They wouldn't be able to resume operations that day anyway, and it seemed that the next day was just as unlikely. As the groceries they had bought that morning would go to waste otherwise, Mrs Xiang had ended up simply cooking it all.
Still, none of the four had any appetite at all.
This meal had a bit of the 'before we go our separate ways’ vibe.
Old Niu and Old Xiang opened a bottle of wine, not eating as they simply drank to forget about their troubles. Soon, the two were quite inebriated.
Old Niu's face was full of despondence and unwillingness.
Old Xiang's face was very visibly conflicted.
Their expressions were mirrored by their wives as Mrs Niu looked despairing and Mrs Xiang seemed conflicted.
“To have it end this way…” Old Niu sighed helplessly.
“But what can we do anyway? Be it underworld influence or power in society, we've got neither...just why is it that doing business is so difficult?!” Mrs Niu exclaimed before getting up and whipping out her phone, “Whatever, anything's better than doing nothing. I'll call around, see if we have any friends or relatives with connections.”
Mrs Niu walked outside, phone to her ear.
“Nope! My family's been farmers for eighteen generations,” Old Niu sighed, next asking, “Right, does your family have any connections, Old Xiang? Now's not the time to be holding back on such things. This is not just about earning money. Everything our two families have has been invested into this. Also, if we have to swallow this blatant oppression just like that, we'll surely never be able to get over it!”
Mr and Mrs Xiang exchanged glances very unnaturally before helplessly turning away, lowering their heads and remaining silent.
Of course the Xiang family did have connections. Also, it was the kind that would virtually be able to resolve the problem for sure. The problem was that right now, they just could not get themselves to ask Xu Tingsheng for help no matter what. Such would really wound their pride too much.
Whatever it was that Xu Tingsheng had done for the Xiang family before, Mr and Mrs Xiang had never actually asked it of him, not even once. In the case of that flat, the two were even clenching their teeth and working their socks off...they would pay him back the money for sure.
The two of them were very stubborn and firm in their convictions. This could be a double-edged sword.
“Sigh, never mind. It seems there's really nothing we can do then.”
Old Niu poured and downed a glass of wine. The eyes of this forty-year-old man were actually rather red at this point, both from sorrow and from anger.
“I'm gonna go to the toilet. Let's get dead drunk tonight, the both of us. We can talk about how to get the store sold tomorrow...I don't even know if it's still possible now…” Old Niu rose.
Old Niu encountered his wife in the toilet.
As they were husband and wife, this should logically be nothing. Still, for some reason Old Niu could not understand, his wife's expression turned very strange all of a sudden. Besides worry, excitement was actually visible on her face too.
“What? Did you take the wrong medicine?” Due to his anger, Old Niu’s tone was naturally a bit unhappy.
“No, that’s not it,” His wife leaned over and whispered into his ear, “I heard something just now. There’s hope…”
“What? Did we have relatives like these?”
Old Niu had spoken a bit loudly here. His wife immediately covered his mouth with a hand and indicated for him to speak more softly.
Old Niu was left confounded by this.
“Not us. It’s the Xiang family,” Mrs Niu said.
“The Xiang family? That’s impossible! Their relatives are not doing all that much better than us. Also, if they really had connections, would the Xiang couple still keep them hidden and not use them at this stage?” Old Niu did not believe it.
“It’s true! The guy’s surnamed Xu, you’ve seen him before. That teacher of Little Ning’s when the Xiang family treated everyone to a meal…” Mrs Niu said.
Old Niu recalled it as he commented, “So young, and just a teacher...what use would he be? And even if this person really has the capabilities, isn’t it that even people who’re especially close might not be willing to try their best to help in such matters?”
“He’ll definitely be able to help, and he’ll definitely help too,” Smiling excitedly, Mrs Niu declared confidently, “I would never have known about this if someone hadn’t told me about it. Really, the Xiang couple. What’s there to be embarrassed about?”
The couple had never heard about those rumours about the Xiang family’s relationship with Xu Tingsheng before. As everyone knew that their two families were on very good terms and Old Niu was known for his quick temper, no one had dared to mention this matter in front of them.
“What exactly is this about? Speak clearly, don’t beat around the bush,” Feeling increasingly bemused, Old Niu asked impatiently.
“It’s that young Mr Xu from that day! He’s a big boss and famous in the entire country. Who would have thought? Let me tell you…” Mrs Niu excitedly narrated what she had just learnt about Xu Tingsheng.
Old Niu clicked his tongue in astonishment before enquiring, “And he will definitely help us?”
“Yes, definitely,” His wife next whispered into his ear, “Why do you think the Xiang couple is embarrassed about making use of this connection? ...Their future son-in-law’s cherishing their precious daughter like a princess…”
Old Niu’s mouth was wide open for a long time before he finally broke out of his daze, asking, “How old is Little Ning?”
His wife thought about it before answering, “Sixteen, I think? Maybe the Xiang couple isn’t willing to make use of this relationship because they think that their daughter is too young.”
“Well, she isn’t that young. Wasn’t Youmei around the same age when the two of them got together?” Old Niu hesitated for a while before venturing, “So this...is actually a good thing.”
“Right, it is a good thing. Based on our relationship with the Xiang family, it’s a wonderful thing for our family too,” Mrs Niu exclaimed excitedly.
“Let’s get this matter settled first. I’ll go find Old Xiang. Really, he...the issue is so serious that even my tears felt ready to leak. And he still wasn’t going to say anything! I’m off to settle this with him.”
Old Niu was just about to stalk off when his wife pulled him back.
“You can’t do it this way! The Xiang family would just be even more embarrassed and unwilling. Here, watch how I do it.”
Mrs Niu pulled out her handphone battery.
The Niu couple returned one after another.
A short while later, Mrs Niu claimed that her handphone had run out of battery and borrowed Mrs Xiang’s, saying that she wanted to contact more people to ask around for any potential solutions.
Mr Xiang did not find this any strange. Mrs Niu had really made quite a few calls that night. It was only understandable that her phone had run out of battery. What he was perplexed about, really, was how Old Niu’s mood seemed to have improved greatly ever since returning from the toilet. It was not just better-Mr Xiang had even spied him smiling secretly to himself a few times.
“Hello. Oh, I’m not Youmei. Are you that Xu Tingsheng?”
“Yes, I am. And you are?”
“I’m from the Niu family. You may not know, but we opened a restaurant with the Xiang family.”
“Oh, hi, Auntie. Yes, I know about that. Is there…”
“It’s like this…”
“...Got it. You can rest assured, Auntie. I’ll take care of this matter.”
Hanging up the call that Mrs Niu had made from Mrs Xiang’s phone, Xu Tingsheng pondered for a time before helplessly forcing a smile. Mr and Mrs Xiang’s temperament really was somewhat troublesome. He definitely could not get on their bad side again.
And then Xu Tingsheng dialled five, six numbers consecutively…
If he had still needed to borrow the power and influence of others before, those of the Black Horse Club could mostly be considered as having become part of his own power base now.
This was actually one of the reasons behind him having previously invested so much effort in this.
Regardless, those were no ordinary figures that night who were alerted over the troubles of a small, simple restaurant in Yanzhou City.
Early the next morning, the four bosses of the Xiang and Niu families had only just congregated when the bosses of the restaurants next to them entered together and exclaimed exaggeratedly, “Wow, what happened? We’ve only been neighbours for a while; we haven’t yet interacted for as long as we’d like. But you’re closing down already?”
Mr Xiang immediately glanced at Old Niu, afraid that he would be unable to suppress his fury. Unexpectedly, however, Old Niu did not seem enraged at all.
“We’ve come bearing a little present for you this time. Don’t stand on ceremony; just treat it as a parting gift to a neighbour.”
Having blatantly come to rub salt into their wounds, the two bosses arrogantly went on with their playacting as they were full of themselves.
One of them pulled out a piece of red paper and opened it. On it was written large characters in calligraphy that read: Shop For Sale.
Even Mr Xiang was somewhat infuriated by this as he shot up from his seat.
To his surprise, Old Niu actually smiled as he stood up, taking that piece of paper and pasting it on the door before jovially exclaiming, “Why thank you! There’s nothing much we can serve you, sires, but please sit down for a cup of tea...or wine if you’d like.”
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