Chapter 36: Ox-Bone and Kelp Soup
Translated by Kollumceti of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
It was yet another busy day. Now that it was getting colder and the sun was setting earlier, the sun had already set and the street lights had started to light up by the time Lin ShuYi tidied up the restaurant and closed up.
“Are you done?” Shen Fu leaned against the lamp post by the roadside with his hands in his pockets as he looked at Lin ShuYi.
Lin ShuYi seemed to have grown taller, but he still just reached Shen Fu’s chin. If Shen Fu went up and put his hands around Lin ShuYi’s waist now, he should be able to put his chin on top of Lin ShuYi’s head. Shen Fu could not help grinning upon thinking of this.
The weather was getting colder. The two went shopping two days ago and bought a lot of clothes. Lin ShuYi’s lack of clothes had to be mentioned when speaking of this. His wardrobe only a few pieces of old and faded clothes hanging in it. Shen Fu could not help wondering what kind of life he had lead before.
Lin ShuYi’s ability to appreciate fashion was almost zero, but he had a face that perfectly matched all clothes and a drool-worthy body with the right proportions. So regardless of what clothes he wore, it was not ugly at all.
Though Shen Fu rarely bought his own clothes, that did not mean that he had no taste. He chose from within a pile of clothes and finally picked a few sets that were stunning enough for people to gasp when Lin ShuYi wore it.
The salesman’s praise instantly gave Shen Fu a sense of joy that… my family’s child is growing up.
For example, all the clothes that Lin ShuYi were wearing now were selected by Shen Fu.
A white neck extended out from the pure white cotton shirt under a light grey round-necked knitted sweater. The dark blue and well-ironed trousers wrapped around two slender legs that were matched with white casual shoes. It was totally the picture of a beautiful adolescent. Shen Fu smiled. Why did Lin ShuYi look better the more he watched?
Lin ShuYi turned around as he carried the thermos and saw Shen Fu looking at him. He did not know why Shen Fu was smiling.
Shen Fu shrugged. “‘Nothing, aren’t we going to deliver the soup to Grandpa?”
Old man Yang did not come to the XiQin Restaurant the past few days. Yang JianGuo’s matters made him feel somewhat uncomfortable so he stayed couped up at home. Lin ShuYi would send meals to him at a regular time every day. Today, Lin ShuYi specially fried several small wontons. They were golden yellow on the bottom and some spring onions and sesame seeds were sprinkled on top to look more appealing as he was afraid that Old man Yang had no appetite. He also bought several ox bones to simmer into a small pot of ox-bone soup and put kelp and winter melon in it. It had an appetizing aroma and was highly nutritious.
Seeing that Lin ShuYi had shut the door, Shen Fu went forward to take the thermos he was holding. “It smells good.”
They had already eaten dinner in the evening, so Shen Fu probably did not have the luck to eat Lin ShuYi’s fried wontons and ox-bone soup.
“There’s still some leftover wontons in the fridge. If you want to eat, we can cook them tomorrow morning.”
Lin ShuYi already knew what Shen Fu wanted to say before he spoke. Shen Fu smiled and used his other hand to rub Lin ShuYi’s head. “Why are you so virtuous?”
Lin ShuYi stared at him. “A nobleman stays clear of the kitchen. I just happen to like it.”
Maybe the reason why he was transported here from Da Yan was because of his deep attachment to cooking.
“If you like it so much, why not expand the XiQin Restaurant?” Shen Fu smiled as he proposed.
“Just like the most famous seven-star hotel in S city, how about making it into a seven-star restaurant known all over the country?” Under the dim light, Shen Fu looked up slightly and cajoled him like he was talking about something important, even though what he said was not practical at all.
Lin ShuYi knew about the seven-star hotel. It should be said that everyone within Tian Chao/Imperial China knew about it. Lin ShuYi shook his head, “I just like it, but I’ve never thought about being famous all over the world. I’m satisfied as long as I can cook for for the people I like.”
Although it was not what he expected at all, Shen Fu was satisfied with this answer.
The two men walked slowly to Old man Yang’s house. Lin ShuYi knocked on the door. Old man Yang responded softly from within and the two men pushed the door open.
The room was clean and tidy, not at all like a house where an old man was living alone. But as clean as the house was, it was also just as empty, so much so that it made one uncomfortable. One could not not know how terrible it was for Old man Yang to live here alone for so long.
“Grandpa, come have dinner.”
Old man Yang was sitting on the bed, wearing a pair of reading glasses, as he looked through a photo album. Shen Fu leaned over for a look. Old man Yang smiled. He simply turned the album over, placing it on the bed as he pointed out various pictures to the two of them.
A withered and emaciated finger pointed a one of the yellowing black-and-white photograph. Three people were captured in this photo. One was clearly a young Old man Yang, wearing an old-fashioned army-green overcoat, with a face that looked energetic and happy. Next to him was a young woman with her hair put in two neat and tidy braids, dressed in a floral-patterned long skirt. Her smile was a little shy, and her eyes were narrowed into the shape of a crescent moon. This must be Old man Yang’s wife.
The woman was holding a child in her arms. It was a boy. He held an old rattle-drum in one hand as he gave a wide and cheerful grin. He was grabbing onto Old man Yang’s fingers with his other hand. The three people faced the camera with clearly expressed joy.
“This is JianGuo’s mum, and this is the only photo we’ve left of the three of us. It was expensive to take a photo at that time. She only agreed to take a photo together after I spent a long time persuading her, or maybe it was because JianGuo had turned one year old. You see at that time, he only had four teeth in his mouth. He was so chubby that everyone liked him upon seeing him…” Old man Yang sunk into his memory as his lips raised in a slight smile.
Unfortunately, Old man Yang’s wife caught a serious illness just two years after this photo. In the end, she died from the illness and left the two first. He had single-handedly brought Yang JianGuo up. Who knew that when he got old, Yang JianGuo would make such a decision and end up like this?
“This one was taken in the year of his mother’s death. When he saw it at the age of three, he asked me where his mother had gone…”
“This was when he was attending primary school…”
“That year he scored the first in the exams, and I happened to have returned too. He was so overjoyed as he carried the award home to show to me. In the end, he fell down on the roadside and broke the award. When he saw me after coming back, the first thing he did was to cry and he wouldn’t stop no matter how I coaxed…”
“I didn’t go to collect him until I had settled down. He was scared to see me at first, but then he got much better…”
The years passed bit by bit as photograph after photograph was displayed. Yang JianGuo had also changed from a child who lost his mother to a man that was taller and stronger than Old man Yang. It was obvious that Old man Yang loved him so much, yet he finally chose to drive Yang JianGuo far away. How could outsiders understand the sorrow from this?
Old man Yang rubbed his eyes with his hands. Shen Fu and Lin ShuYi stood beside him, but they did not know what to say to comfort him. After all, any comfort seemed useless in this kind of situation.
“Forget about it. Let’s not talk about what happened in the past. It just makes people feel bad. It’s late and you two should also be getting to bed since you have to get up early tomorrow.” Old man Yang rubbed his eyes and said.
Lin ShuYi opened the thermos, “Grandpa, it’s all right. Come and eat. We’ll go back after you eat.”
Old man Yang was the only one living here. It was good for them to occasionally keep him company and talk with him.
The atmosphere was somewhat sentimental. Shen Fu rubbed his forehead and recalled a silly joke that he had seen from somewhere. He moved the stool beside Old man Yang’s bed and sat on it, “I suddenly remembered a joke, let me tell you…”
Once he started talking, he talked for more than two hours. Shen Fu did not stop until Old man Yang had finished eating and fell asleep.
Lin ShuYi tidied up the bowls as the corner of his mouth lifted, “Grandpa is asleep now. Let’s go.”
Shen Fu stood up and did a big stretch. Then he leaned on Lin ShuYi, “My mouth is parched and my tongue is scorched.”
Lin ShuYi softly and quietly went out while supporting Shen Fu’s weight. Then he closed the door and replied, “We still have the pears we bought the last time at home. You can boil some in water for yourself to drink.”
Shen Fu continued to hang onto Lin ShuYi and embraced him tightly. “Actually, there’s no need to eat pears.”
Shen Fu scrutinized Lin ShuYi’s lips as he said something wicked and ambiguous. He admitted that he was momentarily captivated by Lin ShuYi’s beauty. In fact, he was somewhat regretful after the words escaped his mouth. After all, Lin ShuYi did not seem to be old enough for him to make a move.
Who knew that Lin ShuYi was stubbornly oblivious in this respect. He hesitated for a moment before saying, “If you are lazy to make it, just drink water.”
Shen Fu:… His worries were always superfluous.
He hoped that the time from this year to the next year would pass faster, the faster the better.
They took a bath and went to sleep when they reached home. As usual, Shen Fu slept on the sofa, and Lin ShuYi slept in the bedroom inside.
Since it was a little late, neither of them watched television. Instead, they washed their faces and rinsed their mouths before going to bed.
Lin ShuYi originally had a regular sleeping schedule. Yet, he could not fall asleep tonight. He felt that his right eyelid was always twitching as he listened to the barking of dogs outside. Thus, he was wide awake as he tossed and turned on the bed.
“You haven’t slept?” Shen Fu’s hoarse voice came from outside.
Lin ShuYi gave an “en”, and ten seconds later, the door opened.
Shen Fu stood at the door wearing a pajamas that revealed a large expanse his collarbone, “What are you thinking about? Want to have a heart-to-heart talk?”
Lin ShuYi felt that it was funny for an indescribable reason, “No, it’s just that the barking outside is a little annoying.”
Shen Fu listened for a while. It was true that there were many people in the suburbs who kept dogs in their yards. But why did they bark so often tonight? Wasn’t spring long past? “Then you should go to bed early. We still have to get up early tomorrow.”
Lin ShuYi nodded and nestled within his quilt for a long time, before he finally fell asleep at some unknown time after it quietened outside.
But the next day, before Lin ShuYi could get up, thunderous knocks sounded as the door was banged upon.
Shen Fu had opened the door before Lin ShuYi left his bed.
“Who is it?”
“Quickly go and take a look. Something terrible has happened at Old man Yang’s home!”
Lin ShuYi jumped out of bed, put on a pair of slippers and went out. “What?!”
Several people stood together outside with terrified expressions. They were all neighbors of Old man Yang. Shen Fu was originally still sleepy and bleary-eyed, but when he heard the man’s words, his eyes narrowed in an instant, “Speak slowly, what’s the matter?” Then he turned to Lin ShuYi who had just walked out and said, “Change your clothes. Let’s go and have a look.”
When the neighbor next to the XiQin Restaurant got up in the morning to exercise, he saw the that door of the XiQin Restaurant open and thought that the restaurant had opened early today. When he stepped in to say hello, he found that were was nobody in the restaurant and the interior was in a mess. The tables and chairs were overturned, and all the things that could be smashed were smashed. The entire restaurant was in complete disorder and that person was shocked, thinking that a thief had robbed the XiQin Restaurant. He unconsciously headed over to Old man Yang’s house. Yet, who would expect that Old man Yang’s house was also in the same state. The items in the house had been rummaged through and everything was in a hideous mess. Old man Yang was missing too. It was only then that the neighbor lost his head and promptly called all the other neighbors before calling the police. It was only after this that he remembered to contact Lin ShuYi.
Lin ShuYi’s face turned white when he heard the story from the crowd.
Shen Fu’s face was also grim. The group quickly walked to Old man Yang’s house. As everyone had said, the room was in a complete mess.
“Has this been reported to the police?”
Several people nodded.
Shen Fu narrowed his eyes. “Wait for me. I’ll be right back.” The latter part of the sentence was actually intended for Lin ShuYi.
Lin ShuYi nodded absent-mindedly. After Shen Fu left, he tried his best to calm down and thought of Yang Xiao. He wanted to go take a look and see if it had anything to do with Yang Xiao.
There was only one person here who knew the address of Yang Xiao’s family and that was Xiao Wan’s Grandma. Although it was not good to worry her now, there was no other way besides this. Lin ShuYi thought over the matter as he went to knock on the door of Xiao Wan’s Grandma.
Sure enough, they found that their door was wide open and the house was completely empty when Xiao Wan’s Grandma and Lin ShuYi went to Yang JianGuo’s home together. Not only Yang Xiao, but Yang JianGuo and Zhao XueMei were also gone.
“What is going on?”
Lin ShuYi took a deep breath and replied, “I’m afraid it has something to do with Yang Xiao’s debt.”
Xiao Wan’s Grandma did not understand and Lin ShuYi had no time to slowly explain it to her.
It was just, what did this have to do with Old man Yang? Why was there no one in their home?
It was only until the police arrived at the XiQin Restaurant that Lin ShuYi understood the reason.
Yang Xiao had been kidnapped and Zhao XueMei was in the police station all the time. She did not know what had become of her home and that the money in her home had disappeared. This indicated that these people were deliberately looking for Old man Yang.
Lin ShuYi felt a ball of rage flaring wildly in his heart.