Upon hearing that the person they encountered was the county magistrate, both Yu Qingze and the village chief hurriedly greeted him, saying, “We pay our respects to the magistrate.”
Seeing the county magistrate, all three of them were momentarily stunned, and they exchanged a quick glance with lowered heads.
Wasn’t it said that the county magistrate was in discussion with the registrar regarding urgent matters? But the county magistrate was clearly standing right in front of them.
The three of them quickly realized what was going on. It seemed that the clerk had come up with an excuse. They didn’t know if the registrar had slipped away or intentionally avoided them to delay their proceedings.
The county magistrate appeared younger than the registrar, probably around thirty-five or so. When he saw Li Zheng, he felt a sense of familiarity and assumed he might be one of the subordinates. He nodded slightly and casually asked, “No need for excessive formalities. Are you folks here at the county office for some business?”
Li Zheng replied, “Yes, sir. We’re here to handle household registration.”
“Is it already taken care of?” Upon hearing that it was about household registration, the county magistrate glanced at the village chief and Yu Qingze. When he saw Yu Qingze, he showed a hint of surprise and took a closer look.
Li Zheng raised his head slightly and said, “Sir, it hasn’t been completed yet. Coincidentally, the registrar is busy and not available. We plan to come back tomorrow to process it.”
Upon hearing that the registrar was unavailable, the county magistrate replied, “I see. In that case, there’s nothing we can do. I suggest you come back tomorrow, fellow villagers.”
Li Zheng acknowledged his words. The county magistrate then entered the office.
After leaving the government office, they walked to a secluded corner. Li Zheng pulled the two of them aside and said, “Aze, you might need to prepare more money tomorrow.”
The village chief also said, “Exactly! The registrar clearly wasn’t with the county magistrate. It’s obvious that it’s an excuse, probably because we didn’t offer any benefits.”
Yu Qingze had the same thought in mind, but if it was about benefits, the clerk shouldn’t have rejected the silver coins he tried to offer. However, they didn’t know the exact situation, so they could only give it a try.
“That’s all we can do for now.”
At the crossroads, Yu Qingze said to Li Zheng and the village chief, “Li Zheng, Village Chief, I’ll go inform Brother Le first, and then we’ll go back together.”
Li Zheng replied, “You go and attend to the snack stall. They seem busy there. Old Yu and I can go back first.”
Yu Qingze hurriedly said, “No problem, I’ll just go and inform him. We agreed to have a taste of my cooking tonight, so I’ll join you later.”
Li Zheng waved his hand and said, “There’s no rush for that. We can eat together after the household registration is done.”
The village chief added, “It’s alright, Aze. You go and attend to your work. Once the household registration is completed, Li Zheng and I will be there whenever you call. It’s just a day or two.”
Li Zheng also agreed, “That makes sense.”
Yu Qingze helplessly said, “Alright then, it’s been a tiring trip for both of you.”
“No problem, we’ll leave first. Take care of your business.”
After parting ways with Li Zheng and the village chief, Yu Qingze arrived at the snack stall.
When Chang Le saw Yu Qingze frowning, he asked if something was going wrong.
Not wanting Chang Le to worry, Yu Qingze replied, “Hmm, things didn’t go smoothly. The registrar was unavailable in the afternoon, so we’ll go back tomorrow.”
Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.
Chang Le, thinking it was just a regular absence, didn’t inquire further and instead asked Li Zheng and the village chief about it. Yu Qingze informed him that the village chief and Li Zheng had already gone back, saying they would eat together once the household registration was completed.
Chang Le understood and went about his own business.
Not long after, Boss Liu noticed Yu Qingze at the snack stall and sent his son to invite him over to taste the flavors.
Yu Qingze went over.
Boss Liu and his sons prepared both soup-based and stir-fried versions of the previously unsatisfactory knife-cut noodles for him to try. They had been busy with business in the past few days and hadn’t had time for the knife-cut noodles. Now, they specifically chose a time when there were fewer customers to practice.
“Mmm, the soup-based one is good. The stir-fried one has been cooked for a bit too long and is a bit burnt. It can be cooked for a shorter time,” Yu Qingze commented after tasting them.
Boss Liu and the others took note of his feedback.
After speaking, Yu Qingze fell silent, his brow furrowing as he pondered.
Seeing that he was not in a cheerful mood today, Boss Liu asked, “I heard you went to handle some matters this morning. Did things not go smoothly?”
Yu Qingze nodded and replied, “I went to the county office today. Things were going smoothly in the morning, but in the afternoon, the registrar deliberately avoided us, and we didn’t accomplish anything.”
As soon as Boss Liu heard “registrar,” he slammed the table with a loud noise, angrily exclaiming, “It must be that Fatty Wang causing trouble!”
“Oh, my goodness! Don’t shout so loudly, or someone might overhear,” Boss Liu’s eldest son exclaimed in fear, quickly glancing out of the kitchen and closing the door tightly.
Yu Qingze was startled by the sudden outburst. Hearing Boss Liu’s words, he remembered the conversation between Boss Liu and Boss Wang during their argument at the grain and oil shop before. He asked, “Older brother, is there a connection between this registrar and Boss Wang?”
Boss Liu sat down heavily and said, “The registrar is Boss Wang’s younger brother-in-law.”
Yu Qingze: … No wonder!
Boss Liu sighed and said, “That Fatty Wang relies on the fact that his younger brother-in-law is the registrar at the county office. He has caused several noodle shops to shut down before. The owners of those shops didn’t dare offend him. They suffered losses but didn’t dare speak up, and in the end, they had to change their businesses. Speaking of which, if it weren’t for my brother-in-law being classmates with Young Master Cai from the Cai family, my noodle shop wouldn’t have been able to survive for so long.”
Yu Qingze asked again, “What about the other two noodle shops on the main street?”
Boss Liu glanced at him and whispered, “Those who can open shops on this street all have some kind of connections. Otherwise, they would have been pushed out long ago. Even shops on Dongxi Street need to maintain good relationships if they want to survive in this city. Otherwise, they can only do small business in the alleys. Our previous small noodle shop was also located in an alley and didn’t have much business. It was my brother-in-law who found us this storefront. Sigh, we owe him a lot.”
“…,” Yu Qingze sighed and said, “I was thinking of opening a restaurant on this street.”
Boss Liu leaned closer and whispered, “As long as you maintain a good relationship with the Cai family, whether it’s a snack stall or a small restaurant, Fatty Wang won’t dare touch you, at least not openly. Other people will also consider the Cai family’s face.”
Yu Qingze let out a soft sigh and said, “Thank you for the advice, older brother. I guess that’s the only way.”
Speaking of which, if Fatty Wang knows about your relationship with the Cai family, why would he still make things difficult for you like this?”
Yu Qingze shook his head and said, “I’m not sure. Maybe he… wants to teach me a lesson?”
“But unless it’s absolutely necessary, if I can handle these matters on my own, I don’t want to trouble the Cai family. It’s not good to owe too many favors.”
Boss Liu nodded in agreement.
Meanwhile, in the county office, the county magistrate entered his office and saw his colleague sitting inside, drinking tea and reading a book. He asked, “So, you’re here. Earlier, I encountered a few people who said they came to handle some matters but left when they didn’t find you.”
“Oh, Your Honor, you’re here.” The registrar stood up when he saw the county magistrate approaching. When the county magistrate mentioned the people he had encountered, the registrar felt a pang of anxiety and quickly came up with an excuse, saying, “I’ve been waiting here this afternoon, hoping to discuss the autumn harvest taxes with you.”
The county magistrate glanced at him, raising an eyebrow. “Oh? You’re right across from me. Did you really need to come over here to wait for me?”
The registrar lowered his head and replied, “I was afraid of being too focused and missing Your Honor’s presence.”
The county magistrate sneered and then asked, “What were those people here to do?”
The registrar replied, “Reporting to Your Honor, in the morning, there were a few people who came to handle the registration for buying official land. I think they must be the ones.”
“Is it the young one who wants to register?”
“But is their surname Yu?”
Upon hearing this, the county magistrate’s heart skipped a beat, and he asked, “Registrar, do you know about a famous snack stall on North Street recently?”
The registrar lifted his head and answered, “Yes, I have heard about it. My son-in-law even brought some food back from there. I have also tried it, and the taste is excellent.”
The county magistrate continued, “Do you happen to know the surname and name of the owner of that snack stall?”