As soon as Mi Ge’er saw them, he greeted them happily, “Boss Yu, you’ve finally come.”
Seeing Mi Ge’er’s expression, Yu Qingze knew that the porridge must have been well-received. However, he still asked, “So, how did your young master like the porridge?”
Mi Ge’er’s eyes curved with a smile as he handed over the gift box he was carrying and said, “Yesterday, we had the chef make three types of porridge—yam and red jujube glutinous rice porridge, yam and radish porridge. My young master had a bowl of each. Both my master and madam also enjoyed them. Except for the seafood porridge, my young master said it was too fishy and didn’t drink it. So, Boss Yu, I came today specially to thank you. This is a thank-you gift from my master. I hope you can visit our residence when you have free time.”
Yu Qingze initially declined and said, “Your master is too kind. If your young master enjoyed it, it’s enough. It was a small effort, nothing worth mentioning.”
Mi Ge’er directly pushed the gift box into Yu Qingze’s hands and said, “Oh, Boss Yu, just take it. It may be a small effort for you, but it means a lot to us.”
Yu Qingze held the gift box and smiled, “Then I thank your master very much!”
Seeing Yu Qingze’s generous demeanor and his respectful but confident attitude, Mi Ge’er secretly took note of it.
Yu Qingze put the gift box aside on the newly set up table and furrowed his brow. He said, “Why did your young master find the seafood porridge fishy? It should be fresh, shouldn’t it?”
Mi Ge’er nodded and replied, “Yes, it was fishy. I also found it fishy. Could it be that our chef didn’t prepare it well?”
Yu Qingze furrowed his brow and said, “It’s possible. Maybe the steps to remove the fishy taste weren’t done properly. But it’s okay, let him try a few more times, and he’ll figure it out.”
Mi Ge’er nodded again and asked, “If he can’t do it well, Boss Yu, can I bring him to seek advice from you?”
Yu Qingze nodded and said, “Of course.”
Mi Ge’er was delighted and brought back some liangpi, cold noodles, and pickled green beans and radishes.
When Yu Qingze returned home in the evening, he opened the gift box sent by the Cai family. The first box contained pastries from a famous old pastry shop in the city, and the other box contained a decent-quality ginseng root.
For rural folks, ginseng was an extremely valuable gift, but Yu Qingze had no intention of returning it. Grandfather Chang’s health wasn’t great, and according to Chang Hao, he tended to fall ill easily during the winter. It would be a good opportunity to nourish his body with the ginseng.
During these days, Yu Qingze had developed a deep respect for this sensible old man, and it reminded him of his own grandfather. The nostalgia for his grandfather made him treat this old man as if he were his own grandfather.
He shared the pastries with everyone and then handed the ginseng to Chang Le, saying, “Brother Le, take it and keep it.”
Chang Le didn’t say anything and took it into his room. Lately, Yu Qingze had been entrusting him with any extra money he earned, apart from the expenses for their business. He thought it was just for safekeeping, so he accepted it without realizing that Yu Qingze had intended to give the precious gift to his grandfather.
Two peaceful days passed without any incident. Liu’s Noodle House across the street seemed unusually calm, as if nothing had happened.
But just when Yu Qingze and the others thought that the person behind them had quieted down and given up, something unexpected happened during the busiest time of the day, at lunch.
“Oh no, there’s a worm in this noodle!” a middle-aged man exclaimed loudly while eating his cold noodles.
The customers sitting at the same table stopped eating and looked into his bowl upon hearing about the worm.
“Look, is this a worm? Right here, take a look, isn’t it?” The middle-aged man used his chopsticks to poke at the noodles, and sure enough, there was a small green worm curled up in the noodles, with some chili oil sticking to its body.
Upon seeing this, the others also confirmed it, and suddenly they couldn’t bring themselves to eat the noodles in their own bowls.
“Hey, boss, there’s a worm in your noodles! It’s not clean at all. How can we eat this? It scared me to death!” The middle-aged man slammed his chopsticks down and shouted loudly.
The middle-aged man’s outcry was so loud that the customers who were waiting in line for liangpi and liangmian heard it and rushed over. People on the surrounding streets also heard the commotion and curiously stopped to watch.
Yu Qingze and the others also heard the noise and hurried over. As sellers of food, having unclean food was a serious incident that could damage their reputation.
Approaching the scene, Chang Hao looked at the worm in the man’s bowl, scratched his head, and furrowed his brow. “Strange, we only serve liangpi and liangmian, and there are no vegetables. Where did this worm come from?”
The middle-aged man pointed at the small worm inside and said, “There’s cucumber in it, maybe it’s from the cucumber or the green beans or the scallions! You made it yourselves, who knows how it ended up with a worm! I heard that the liangmian here was delicious, so I specially came to eat, but who would have thought I’d find a worm in it? It’s truly disappointing!”
“Oh, there really is a worm! I wonder if we’ve eaten any in ours. We just slurped it down without looking carefully.”
“Yeah, the thought of eating a worm makes my stomach feel uncomfortable.”
“Look, I’ve been eating here for several days and never found a worm. Boss Yu’s place is clean.”
“It’s just a small food stall, not as clean as a proper noodle shop.”
“You’re only paying a few coins, what do you expect in terms of cleanliness? You come here for the taste, don’t you?”
The discussions among the customers grew louder, and Yu Qingze and Chang Le’s faces darkened.
Chang Hao was about to speak, but Yu Qingze pulled him back, stopping him.
Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.
Yu Qingze looked at the middle-aged man with a apologetic expression and said, “I’m sorry, sir. I’ll replace your bowl for free.”
However, to his surprise, the middle-aged man immediately refused, saying, “No, no need. How can I eat this anymore?”
Yu Qingze apologized again, saying, “I’m sorry, let me offer you a pound of pickled green beans and a pound of pickled radish as compensation.”
But the middle-aged man waved his hand and said, “No need, who knows if there are worms in those too. I can’t trust your food anymore.”
Yu Qingze frowned. He didn’t naively think that the man would let the matter go so easily. He said, “Then, what do you suggest…”
“You should just compensate me with money! I don’t want much, just one or two silver coins.” Before Yu Qingze could finish speaking, the middle-aged man boldly demanded compensation of one or two silver coins.
“Wow! One or two silver coins!” The onlookers were all shocked, taking in a sharp breath.
It was clear that this person was deliberately causing trouble. Yu Qingze furrowed his brow and carefully examined the worm. He said, “Sir, asking for one or two silver coins is excessive. This bowl of noodles costs only five wen. Besides, the presence of this worm is not our fault.”
The middle-aged man widened his eyes and immediately retorted, “What do you mean it’s not your fault?! Hey, everyone, listen! I found a worm in their noodles. Look, the worm is still here. This boss is actually lying and saying it’s not their fault. If it’s not their fault, am I falsely accusing them?!”
The onlookers had mixed reactions, some agreeing and some shaking their heads, all watching the spectacle.
This kind of thing often happened on the streets, and they had witnessed many cases before. Whether it was true or false, intentional extortion or a genuine issue with worms, it was hard to determine. In any case, when something like this happened, the boss could only accept their misfortune.
Yu Qingze glanced at the worm in the bowl and said, “Our liangpi and cold noodles are all cooked. Cucumbers, pickled green beans, pickled radishes, and even the scallions are either sliced or diced. If it were truly our fault, the worm would have been scalded to death or cut into pieces. But look at this worm, it’s still green and intact. It definitely didn’t come from our food.”
Yu Qingze’s logical and well-supported explanation was quite persuasive, and many of the onlookers nodded in agreement, finding it reasonable.
However, the middle-aged man, seemingly caught off guard by such analysis, hesitated for a moment, then quickly responded, “Regardless, since I found the worm in your noodles, you are responsible! Pay up!”
As he spoke, he even extended his hand, demanding money.
The onlookers continued their discussion, Chang Le had been observing the middle-aged man and the bowl of noodles. During this observation, he noticed something amiss.
Seeing that Yu Qingze was about to speak to the middle-aged man, Chang Le quickly tugged at his sleeve and gestured to him.
Chang Hao immediately translated his brother’s words, saying, “Brother Yu, my brother says that the worm is still alive.”
Yu Qingze was momentarily stunned upon hearing this, then he picked up a nearby pair of chopsticks and carefully picked up the worm. He indeed saw the worm wriggle a bit and crawl onto the chopsticks, securing itself.
Yu Qingze: …
“Ah, the worm is still alive!” someone exclaimed.
The people around them started discussing again, and many began to say that this was an extortion attempt.
Yu Qingze held up the chopsticks with the worm and brought them in front of the middle-aged man, saying, “The worms from my place aren’t this resilient. They’re practically dead after being scalded with boiling water or cut with a knife. This one must be from your place, right?”
“Hahaha…” The people around couldn’t help but laugh at Yu Qingze’s words.
The middle-aged man naturally understood what Yu Qingze meant and became a little flustered. He quickly extended his left hand and swatted away the chopsticks being offered to him, saying, “Are you going to give me the money or not?!”
He was trying to be domineering. However, in an instant, his left wrist was held tightly by a slender hand.
“What are you doing?” The middle-aged man angrily turned his head and found that the person holding his wrist was the mute ger. He then shouted fiercely.
Chang Le paid no attention to him and exerted force, causing the middle-aged man to be immobilized.
Immediately, under the gaze of the crowd, Chang Le reached into the man’s left sleeve and pulled out a small cloth bundle.
Upon seeing the cloth bundle being taken out, the middle-aged man became even more agitated. He reached out, wanting to snatch it, and shouted, “What are you doing, taking my purse without permission!”
His intense reaction seemed to be a desperate attempt to cover up the truth. Chang Le pushed him away with one hand and quickly opened the cloth bundle on the table with the other hand.
Immediately, the crowd was shocked.
Inside the handkerchief, there were five or six green worms stacked together, wriggling around. These worms were clearly identical to the ones found in the bowl of noodles earlier.
“So many worms! He brought them here himself!”
“This man is so wicked! He just wanted to extort money!”
Upon seeing his true intentions exposed, the middle-aged man took advantage of Chang Le’s momentary distraction and used all his strength to break free from his grip. He swiftly maneuvered through the crowd and ran away.
If he didn’t run, he would probably be drowned in people’s spit.
Chang Le wanted to chase after him, but he was stopped by Yu Qingze.
Yu Qingze shook his head at Chang Le and then addressed the onlookers, “Sorry, everyone, for the scare. It was a false alarm. Please rest assured that the cold noodles and liangpi at our Yu’s Restaurant are made by ourselves and we eat them too. They are absolutely clean and hygienic. Please feel free to enjoy.”
After witnessing the whole scene, the onlookers naturally realized that the owner had been falsely accused. They echoed Yu Qingze’s words and soon resumed eating, shopping, and going about their business. The crowd dispersed shortly after.
In an old house on East Street, a middle-aged man angrily reprimanded a young man.
“What kind of people did you find? Are they brainless? They cause more trouble than they solve!” Then, the middle-aged man pointed at another man and said, “You, tomorrow, find some clever people to handle this. If things go wrong again, don’t bother coming back to see me!”
Translator has something to say: OMG can you spend your time researching the better cold noodle recipe instead of plotting against others? By the way, if you like farming novels, check out our new project “Busy Farming in the Last Days.”