Jiabao’s home was located at the innermost part of the alley. They bypassed a front yard and entered through a small side door.
Inside, there was a narrow courtyard, roughly seven to eight square meters in size. There were two rooms: one served as the kitchen, and the other had two beds made of bricks, separated by a curtain in the middle.
Taking a look, Yu Qingze noticed that the position of this house in the courtyard was different from the other houses in the alley. It seemed more like an original west wing or a shed. He also observed the wall in front of the house, which was only about two meters away from the entrance. Yu Qingze thought that it was probably a partition within the courtyard.
Jiabao took out a long bench from the room, wiped it clean, and arranged it somewhat awkwardly. He said, “Boss Yu, Brother Le, please have a seat. The house is small, so it’s more spacious here. Let me pour some water for you.”
Yu Qingze stopped him and said, “No need to pour water. We’re just a bit concerned that those ruffians might cause trouble for you. We should head back now. Take care of yourself, and if the ruffians come, don’t open the door, alright?”
Jiabao nodded and replied, “I understand. Thank you for escorting me home.”
Yu Qingze patted his shoulder and, together with Chang Le, headed back.
The next day, after closing their stalls, Yu Qingze and Chang Le accompanied Jiabao home and brought him some vegetables from their food stall.
Seeing the young boy buying steamed buns yesterday, they guessed that he probably ate steamed buns every night and saved the money to repay his debts. They pretended not to know and gave him ten wen every day, acting as if he was eating well.
Sigh, this child…
As they reached the alley where the ruffians had confronted Jiabao yesterday, they unexpectedly encountered those two ruffians again.
The two ruffians glared at Jiabao fiercely when they saw Yu Qingze and Chang Le with him. They then walked away leisurely.
Yu Qingze frowned, realizing that these two individuals hadn’t been properly educated by their parents.
Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.
On the third day, they ran into those two individuals again.
By the fourth day, things took a turn. This time, it wasn’t just two people; it was four.
The more aggressive ruffian spotted them turning the corner and said to one of the other two people walking ahead of them, “Big brother, it’s them!”
“Oh? Is that so? I’d like to see who dared to hit my good brother! They’re asking for trouble!” The two individuals turned around, both appearing to be in their twenties. One of them had a piece of straw in his mouth, exuding a thuggish aura.
Upon seeing the two individuals, Yu Qingze and Chang Le were slightly taken aback, feeling a sense of familiarity.
Chang Le recognized them first and gestured, “Big brother Yu, these two are the ones who robbed us before!”
Now Yu Qingze also recognized them. He narrowed his eyes, pulled Brother Le and Jiabao behind him, and picked up a large stone from the ground, preparing for a fight.
Chang Le tightened his grip on his pole, ready as well. These past few days, just to be safe, he had been carrying his pole when accompanying Jiabao.
On the other side, the two accomplices the ruffians brought along were also taken aback upon realizing it was Yu Qingze and the others.
One of the accomplices said to the person next to him, “Hey, isn’t this the person the boss mentioned before, the one who has a good relationship with the Cai Family? The one we robbed before?”
The “big brother” nodded, spat out the straw from his mouth, and said, “Yeah. Damn, why are we so unlucky to run into them?” He had wanted to show off in front of the new recruits, but now that he encountered this person, how could he boast? He could only retreat in disgrace!
The other person asked, “So, should we still go?”
The “big brother” smacked him on the head angrily and said, “Go? You go if you want to! The boss already said he’s connected to the Cai Family. If we encounter them in the future, we better steer clear; otherwise, we’ll end up empty-handed!”
They were about to leave when the two individuals stopped them. These two young ruffians, who had recently joined the gang at the age of seventeen or eighteen, quickly intercepted them and asked, “Big brother, didn’t you say we should teach these guys a lesson? Why are we leaving just like that?”
The “big brother” scolded them, “How the hell did you guys provoke them?! Don’t you know who that tall man is?”
The two ruffians were dumbfounded. “Who? Isn’t he just a guy running a food stall?”
The “big brother” curled his index and middle fingers, tapping each of their heads with a knock, and said, “He’s the benefactor of the Cai Family in the southern part of the city. If you dare lay a finger on him, you’ll end up rotting in jail!”
Saying that, the accomplices brought by the two ruffians left. As they passed by Yu Qingze and the others, they even smiled ingratiatingly at Yu Qingze and said, “Hehehe, it was a misunderstanding, mistook the wrong person, hahaha…”
Yu Qingze and Chang Le: …
“What, what’s the matter?”
“Let’s settle the score!”
Just now, Yu Qingze had heard their entire conversation clearly. He didn’t expect these small-time ruffians to be so well-informed. This was truly great!
Saying that, Yu Qingze dropped the stone from his hand and rushed forward, giving those two individuals a good beating.
Those two individuals were nervous and didn’t dare fight back against Yu Qingze. They were no match for him in the first place, so they could only passively endure the beating. In the end, they were unilaterally pummeled before rolling away in pain and humiliation.
The two ruffians who had brought the hired help were stunned by their cowardice. Then they saw Yu Qingze approaching them, and in a hurry, they quickly turned tail and fled.
The two ruffians never expected that the owner of the food stall had quite a powerful background and was not to be messed with. What’s more surprising to them was that Tian Jiabao, this little guy, actually knew him!
They couldn’t exact revenge for the beating they received from their family!
Jiabao still hadn’t figured out what was going on when he saw four people approaching to corner them, but they were quickly driven away by Boss Yu.
Admiration sparkled in his eyes.
Boss Yu is so amazing!
In the following days, when they accompanied Jiabao home, they didn’t encounter those two ruffians again.
On the other hand, during these days, apart from Jiabao’s situation, Yu Qingze had another worry—he couldn’t find a shop space.
He would wander around in the morning and wander around again in the afternoon, but there were no vacant shop spaces on North Street.
He even went to South Street to have a look, and there was a shop space that was barely suitable, but it was clearly not as good as North Street, so he didn’t consider it and decided to wait a little longer.
However, during these days, quite a few guests who received gifts at Zhao Mansion’s old master’s birthday banquet came to the food stall and placed orders for some snacks. It was an additional gain for him.
One afternoon, he went out again and saw that a previously vacant shop space was now being filled with goods. It seemed like someone was going to start a fabric business there.
With this shop space rented out, there was only one vacant shop space left on North Street.
Yu Qingze felt a bit anxious.
“Oh, Boss Yu? What a coincidence to meet you here.”
Yu Qingze turned his head and saw Zhao’s steward walking over with one of his subordinates carrying many things.
“Oh, Steward Zhao, what a coincidence. Are you out shopping?”
Steward Zhao smiled and said, “Hey, isn’t it Boss Yu! And Yes, we’re buying a few stuff for the mansion. What are you up to?”
Yu Qingze sighed and said, “I came to check out the shop spaces, but I haven’t found a good one.”
Following Yu Qingze’s gaze, Steward Zhao asked, “Boss Yu, are you looking to rent a shop?”
Yu Qingze shook his head and replied, “I don’t have enough money to buy a shop now. I want to open a restaurant, but there are no suitable options here. The only two available shops have already been rented out.”
Steward Zhao glanced at the shops and said, “It’s not easy to find a shop here.”
“You’re right,” Yu Qingze sighed.
“But isn’t there one more?” Steward Zhao asked.
Yu Qingze shook his head and answered, “That one isn’t suitable either. It’s similar to this one, long and narrow, not suitable for a restaurant. I’ll have to keep looking.”
Steward Zhao then asked, “What kind of shop are you looking for, Boss Yu?”
Yu Qingze replied, “I want one with good lighting, a somewhat square shape, not too big. It should be able to accommodate around fourteen or fifteen tables. It’s really difficult to find.”
Steward Zhao smiled and said, “This is North Street, of course it’s difficult. Have you ever thought about opening on South Street?”
Yu Qingze shook his head and said, “The foot traffic there isn’t as high, and besides, North Street is close to the wharf, attracting more merchants and customers. With my food stall, I don’t earn much per item. I mainly rely on a high customer flow to make some sales, otherwise, I won’t earn much money.”
Steward Zhao nodded thoughtfully and said, “Then you’ll have to wait for now.”
Yu Qingze helplessly replied, “Yes.”
They chatted for a few more moments before parting ways.
Two days later.
On this day, Boss Liu was waiting at the door early in the morning. When he saw Yu Qingze and his group arrive, he quickly went over and whispered to Yu Qingze, “Brother Yu, I heard that Man Tang Xiang Restaurant is closing down. They’re planning to shut their doors in a couple of days. Do you want to take a look? The shop space there is quite good, just a bit bigger than mine, I reckon.”
Upon hearing this, Yu Qingze immediately became energized and hurriedly asked, “Really? Man Tang Xiang, is it the one next to Wang’s Noodle House, next door to next door?”
Boss Liu nodded and said, “That’s the one. If you’re interested, go and take a look. Don’t let someone else snatch it away if you’re too late.”
“Great, great, great! I’ll go right now. Thanks, Brother!” Yu Qingze happily parked his cart in place and quickly informed Brother Le and the others before rushing over to Man Tang Xiang Restaurant.
Man Tang Xiang Restaurant hadn’t opened for business yet, but they had one door open for people to enter and exit.
“Is anyone here?” Yu Qingze knocked on the door from outside.
“Hey, coming! Who is it? Come in, I’m in the kitchen!” A voice from inside responded loudly.
Yu Qingze entered the restaurant and casually looked around the dining area. It was about the same size as Liu’s place. However, at this hour, there weren’t many people inside. All the chairs in the dining area were still flipped upside down on the tables. It seemed like they were truly closing down.
He then proceeded to the kitchen and saw only two people in there, packing up – the kitchen utensils?
“Do you need something?” a middle-aged man looked up and asked.
Yu Qingze snapped back to reality and quickly asked, “Excuse me, is the owner here?”
The middle-aged man replied, “That’s me. Do you have any business with me?”
Yu Qingze responded, “Oh, hello, boss. My surname is Yu, and I sell snacks over there. Are you planning to close down?”
The middle-aged man glanced at Yu Qingze and said, “Oh, I know you, Boss Yu. Yes, we’re not operating anymore. We’re actually in the process of packing up.”
Upon hearing this, Yu Qingze felt delighted and asked, “Then, boss, do you know if someone will be renting this place next? Or could you recommend me to the landlord? I would like to discuss renting this space.”
The middle-aged man asked, “You want to rent the place?”
Yu Qingze nodded and said, “Yes.”
The middle-aged man sighed and said, “It’s too late. Someone has already rented it.”
“What? But didn’t you just decide to close down?” Yu Qingze exclaimed in surprise.
The middle-aged man nodded and said, “Yes. I informed the landlord just yesterday morning, and in the afternoon, someone came to view the place.”
He hurriedly asked, “Do you know if they have already paid and signed the contract?”
The middle-aged man nodded and said, “They signed on the spot and even paid three months’ rent in advance.”
“…Boss, thank you anyway,” Yu Qingze said with a dejected tone as he left the premises.
Sigh, he was a step too late.
Thandar: Hmmmmm I have a feeling!!!