Chapter 417: We’re family
The bosses of the two restaurants next door sat down for real, perhaps wishing to revel in their ‘victory’ and slowly relish the tragic ending to the family business of the Xiang and Niu familities.
Just after the tea had started to boil, Devilspawn Jun entered Home-Cooked Food with his gang in tow.
The two bosses both straightened their backs confidently on seeing them. These were their people.
“Bro Jun!” One of them waved a hand and rose to greet him, “Really, let me put in a word for the bosses of this restaurant. Please be lenient and tolerate their former insensibilities, Bro Jun.”
It was just as though he was speaking on behalf of the Xiang and Niu families who should even be grateful to them.
“Your mother, hoodwinking this old man. I’ll look for you two later!” Devilspawn Jun ground his teeth and said in a barely audible tone.
Then, he modified his expression and turned towards Mr Xiang and Old Niu, saying in a very respectful tone, “Sorry for what happened before. I was blind and ignorant. Please, spare me."
After saying so, Devilspawn Jun pulled out a wad of cash and placed it on the table before the bemused, quizzical gazes of the two bosses from next door.
“This is twenty thousand in compensation for your chef. We will come by to apologise in person when he returns.”
Another wad was dropped.
“This is what we cheated from the store before, repaid tenfold.”
Yet another wad.
“This is compensation for affecting your business.”
Finally, Devilspawn Jun lowered his head and forced out an apology to Mr Xiang and Old Niu, “Please be merciful, bosses. I really didn’t know before...I was instigated by these two. I was a damned fool.”
Now, Devilspawn Jun pointed at the two beside him, saying, “I will definitely settle the score with them later.”
Those two shivered a little at this, still in an uncomprehending daze. Really, what in the world was going on here?
Mr Xiang was even more bemused as he looked quizzically at Devilspawn Jun’s gang, asking, “What do you mean be merciful and spare you? We should be the ones saying this to you, Bro Jun. And this money…”
Old Niu kept quiet and watched on in amusement.
Mr Xiang was actually speaking sincerely and not being sarcastic at all. He was on tenterhooks right now, not knowing what kind of trick the other party was trying to pull in suddenly acting like this.
Still, Devilspawn Jun took this as Mr Xiang intentionally refuting him, being unwilling to spare him.
A conflicted Devilspawn Jun hesitated for a while before, against everyone’s expectations, gritting his teeth and bowing deeply to Mr Xiang, his head reaching knee level. As for his lackeys behind him, they were basically all kneeling by now.
“Boss Xiang, Boss Niu, state any conditions you want. Please, just give us a way out!” Devilspawn Jun pleaded in a low tone.
He too wished to be stubborn and unyielding. It was not like he had never risked his life before as he navigated the dark side of society. Still, as he had come to be doing pretty well, his spirit of bravely putting his life on the line had naturally faded over time. Moreover, the one who had contacted him yesterday had been Starry Splendour’s Wu Kun.
In Yanzhou, this entailed an existence that gangsters of his level could not hope to stand up to at all.
Just last night, somebody had suddenly come looking for them, saying that Wu Kun wanted to see them.
As a street thug in Yanzhou, it was impossible to not know Wu Kun. No one would dare to not know of him too...if one wished to survive in the long run, they naturally had to know who they absolutely could not provoke.
It was with doubt and unease that Devilspawn Jun’s gang had gone to Starry Splendour. Along the way, in order to ease their nervousness, they had even comforted one another for a while, “We’ve always been very careful. It’s impossible that we’d aggravate Bro Kun...maybe it’s a good thing? Bro Kun intends to give us an opportunity?”
That fantasy of theirs had been dispelled very quickly. Right after stepping into Starry Splendour, they had all been soundly beaten up.
Wu Kun knew of and had seen Little Xiang Ning before. Thus, after learning that one of the bosses of Home-Cooked Food was surnamed Xiang, he had immediately realised the severity of this matter. If not for the fact that Xu Tingsheng had repeatedly instructed him not to blow this matter out of proportion, it would have become very major indeed. It would not just have ended as easily as with a mere beating and warning.
When Wu Kun had finally told Devilspawn Jun that the reason for this lay with Home-Cooked Food, that they had provoked someone whom they could afford to provoke even less than him, Devilspawn Jun’s mental state had just fallen apart completely.
He was very much tempted to find the two bosses of Home-Cooked Food and have a good chat with them.
“If your background is so crazy, what are you doing, running a small restaurant? Also, why didn’t you say it earlier? You should have done that! What’s with the suffering of injustices, apologising and compensating us time and time again? Just to dig a pit for us to fall into and get us buried?”
This was the reason behind them all having come to Home-Cooked Food early in the morning and speaking in such a deferential, submissive manner, caring not even for their own image.
No one knew if Wu Kun had really buried people before, if he often threw people into the Yanzhou River for real. That was how the rumours went, anyway. Ever since he had started rising to prominence by betting with his very life in his early twenties, countless versions of his viciousness had circulated. The more these stories had spread, the more terrifying they had become.
Having no way at all of ascertaining if the other party was serious, Mr Xiang directed an enquiring gaze at Old Xiang…
Old Niu simply got up and said politely, “Well, Bro Jun, it’s good that this misunderstanding is resolved. We will still be doing business around here in the future. Please take care of us.”
Devilspawn Jun looked up, his eyes radiating light, “That’s for sure! I will look after this restaurant like I do my own house in the future. If you have anything, just say it! Um…”
Old Niu straightened his back and laughed, suddenly feeling a bit like he was speaking loftily from a position of superiority as he made sure to say in a cool and magnanimous manner, “It’s fine. It wasn’t that serious anyway.”
“Thank you, thank you very much! ...Um, can we take our leave first? These two…”
Devilspawn Jun was pointing at those two bosses from next door who were sitting there uneasily, wanting to leave yet not being able to.
“See you, Bro Jun. These two bosses would like to stay behind and have some tea,” Old Niu said.
Devilspawn Jun’s actions left the two bosses from next door feeling ill at ease and totally out of their element by the time he left. Still, having heard Old Niu’s words earlier, they knew that they could not leave, having to stay behind to ‘have some tea’.
Sitting back down, Old Niu looked at them, asking, “How about some wine instead? Don’t worry, there’s more…”
Right after he had said that, the team from City Management that had removed and taken away their signboard and lights just the previous day arrived.
Two representatives of theirs came in and apologised. The ones who were outside readied their tools and got to work connecting the lights and putting up the signboard.
Since when had City Management started serving the public like this?
The ones inside and the passers-by outside were all dumbfounded.
The two bosses from next door were on the verge of bursting into tears.
Two of the ‘four routines’ had been resolved in so short a time. Also, the people in question had lowered their heads so meekly, as if bowing helplessly to authority that could not be challenged. The two bosses were already basically aware now that they had stirred up a hornet’s nest. The situation was already totally out of their control by now as they were fully at the mercy of these two couples.
They too could not understand how these two families which had clearly seemed so easy to bully before were actually such bigshots, possessing both underworld influence and power in society.
Also...they were truly very adept at suffering in silence.
Some things just could not be forgone no matter what. The two poured some tea, intending to get up and express their apologies.
The people from the commerce and hygience bureaus arrived together. The same two groups of people who had arrogantly taken away their permits just yesterday now respectfully returned the operating permit and hygiene certification to them.
While there was naturally no need for them to worry about their livelihoods like Devilspawn Jun, their future prospects...would still cause them to lower their heads. Moreover, receiving bribes and acting unethically also inevitably weighed on their conscience.
Those from the bureaucracy were already deigning to lower their statuses and respectfully apologise. Normal citizens like Mr Xiang and Old Niu would naturally reciprocate with due respect.
The fact that Old Niu and Mr Xiang had not made things difficult for them caused the three groups of people from City Management as well as the commerce and hygience bureaus to collectively heave a sigh of relief. This tiny little resaurant had led to numerous calls from their higher-ups in the city…
...That had really been too terrifying.
The three groups of people all apologised repeatedly before leaving behind their numbers and promising that anything which happened to the restaurant in the future would be their problem, which they would definitely try their best to help resolve as quickly and efficiently as they could.
When all was said and done, they left.
And so it was that on this morning, in less than two hours, the situation had undergone a total reversal.
Yesterday, four groups of people had come, virtually causing Home-Cooked Food to collapse overnight.
Today, four groups of people had come, and the restaurant had regained its footing. Also, all who knew about this incident understood that it would be an unshakeable entity in the future.
Finally, only the six of them remained.
This included the joyful Mrs Xiang, Mr Xiang who was frowning in deep thought, the Niu couple who were smiling inwardly with the corners of their mouths arching unconsciously upwards and the two bosses from next door, whose faces were ashen and bitter as they knew that they were really in for it this time.
“Well, so many things have happened this fine morning. What a real spectacle, huh?” Old Niu smiled, saying.
“Goodbye now. The tea’s cold, and we still have to notify our employees to come to work,” Mr Xiang said in a cold, indifferent manner, his temper not sated.
“Boss Niu, Boss Xiang, please...is there really no room for discussion here?” The two bosses from next door asked woodenly.
“Did you ever give us room for discussion? ...Goodbye. When you came over this morning, a jolly good mood you were in! Haha, who would have thought, huh!” Mrs Niu exclaimed angrily too, never having been the sort of person to say things in a roundabout manner.
The two sighed and walked towards the exit while cursing inwardly.
Even if the Xiang and Niu families did not act against them after this, the days ahead of them would not be good. Those four groups of people from earlier had previously been under their employ in a sense. Whether to win impression points before the Xiang and Niu families or to take revenge on them over this matter, they would immediately end up becoming devils that hastened their own demise instead from here on out.
“Right, please help to tear off that piece of paper on your way out, you two bosses!” Old Niu yelled.
Hearty laughter erupted behind them that caused the two to grit their teeth. Still, they lacked sufficient courage to not tear it off…
‘Shop For Sale’. It had been they who had delivered the words here just over an hour ago. And now, even if they pasted this on their own doors as soon as they got back, it might not be able to resolve the problem fully.
With the two having departed, those of the Xiang and Niu families sat there with bright smiles on their faces.
The only difference, though, was that Mr and Mrs Xiang still looked puzzled.
“Which of your relatives is so capable, Old Niu? How about we stay closed today, and you invite the person over for a meal so that we can properly thank him?” Mrs Xiang said earnestly.
The Niu couple were barely holding back their laughter as they looked at each other.
“If we want to invite him, it should be you who does it. Our family isn’t in position enough to do that,” Knowing that this matter definitely had to be told to them sooner or later, Mrs Niu simply decided to reveal it now.
“It’s no stranger at all. You’re family, “Old Niu glanced at Mr and Mrs Xiang and said in a meaningful tone.
With that, Mr Xiang who had already previously considered this possibility got it at once.
“Is he surnamed Xu?” Mr Xiang asked for a final confirmation.
Mrs Niu nodded rather awkwardly.
“How did you get in touch with him?” Mr Xiang asked rather resignedly.
Mrs Niu smiled and pointed at Mrs Xiang’s handphone on the table.
Mrs Xiang grabbed it and looked through it. The phone records were still there. A call had been made with it to Xu Tingsheng last night...Mrs Niu had borrowed her phone at the time.
The expressions of the Xiang couple turned unnatural all at once.
“What’s wrong with that?” Old Niu grinned, “This is a good thing! Youmei’s right. We can stay closed today and invite him over for a meal. Our family has to thank him, and as for yours...there’s really no need to stand on ceremony! You’re family, after all.”
Mr and Mrs Xiang could not very well throw a tantrum at their old friends as they could only force a smile.
They were family, huh? Mr and Mrs Xiang were instantly overcome by the same emotions, “We’ve been through a lot together over the past two years. Even if there were dark clouds before, they’ve all dispersed now…it seems it is high time we see Tingsheng this way, right?”
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