Chapter 15: Deep-Fried Stinky Tofu
Translated by Yan of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
After fishing, Old Man Yang’s mood improved quite a bit, and he would occasionally joke around with Lin ShuYi and the rest. He didn’t really mind other people talking about his son either.
Lin ShuYi also felt secretly gratified.
Of course, Shen Fu was the one who actually deserved the most credit. Because even though Lin ShuYi had a warm temperament, he didn’t know how to say things that would amuse someone and make them feel happy. But Shen Fu was different; he marvelously charmed Old Man Yang until he was grinning from ear to ear.
But Lin ShuYi kept feeling as if what the middle-aged woman said wasn’t wrong. No matter what, his son and grandson, who left Old Man Yang here alone and didn’t visit or even call much, were both too much.
It was only that Lin ShuYi truly wasn’t in the position to criticize, nor did he have the right to point fingers. After all, they were Old Man Yang’s son and grandson. Every time Xiao Xiao was mentioned, Old Man Yang always wore an adoring, pampering expression.
Just when Lin ShuYi was thinking that, in any case, it wouldn’t matter since they wouldn’t see them, they actually showed up.
Old Man Yang went to the meat shop to get meat. Shen Fu sat on the chair, talking with Lin ShuYi. When he turned his head, he saw two people walk inside.
The reason he was so certain that one of them was Old Man Yang’s son was because the middle-aged man in the front looked much too similar to Old Man Yang. He could tell just from looking at him how Old Man Yang must’ve looked back then when he was younger.
The middle-aged man also seemed a little stunned when he saw them. He looked around the shop, before he went out and looked at the sign again. When he saw that it said XiQin Restaurant on it, he walked back in.
Originally, Shen Fu was looking at him as they talked, but when he saw Lin ShuYi glance towards the door, he also turned his head.
“Who are you two?” Of course, Shen Fu didn’t say that. Instead, the one who spoke was the young man standing behind the middle-aged man. He didn’t look very old, a little older than Lin ShuYi, maybe about twenty-two or three. After a long pause, he spoke again, “Where’s my grandpa?”
Shen Fu had also just realized who these people were, and he stood up before pulling out the chair. He said, smiling, “Grandpa went to get meat. He’ll be back shortly, please sit first.”
The man immediately plopped down into the seat that Shen Fu had vacated. He complained loudly towards the middle-aged man, “I’m dying from the heat. Grandpa’s really something, he’s perfectly fine so why put up such a fuss? Wanting us to come see him too, just when I was playing with my friends.”
The middle-aged man thought of something that made his face darken a bit. He shot a glare at the young man and said, “Stop talking!”
He looked around, as if searching for something. After that, he said a little apologetically to Shen Fu, “Uh, do you have some water?”
Shen Fu turned and went to the back to pour them two cups of water. The middle-aged man took the cups and placed one down in front of the young man first. “Drink up. Cut your nonsense a bit in front of your grandpa.”
The young man rolled his eyes, and it wasn’t clear whether he actually listened or not. He took the cup that the middle-aged man gave him and drank a sip before he shouted again, “So hot! There’s no ice water?” The second sentence was directed at Shen Fu.
Lin ShuYi saw Shen Fu’s brows crinkle, though he didn’t bat an eyelid. Finally, he said, “I’m sorry, we don’t have any.”
Lin ShuYi and Shen Fu shared a look. It was clear that these two people had come because of what happened when Old Man Yang had abruptly returned last time.
But they had only come quite a few days after it had happened. Wasn’t it a bit too late to offer an apology and make amends?
Just as he was thinking that, Old Man Yang came back, carrying a big bag of meat. Shen Fu hastily went up to take it from him. Old Man Yang still hadn’t noticed the two people in the shop yet, and as he walked, he said, “This meat was freshly cut and sent over today. Xiao Song left me a large chunk, it’s really fresh. Xiao Song’s daughter is also really interesting, when I mentioned Xiao Fu today, her face went red…”
“Grandpa.” He only lifted his head when Shen Fu called out to him. Old Man Yang saw the two people sitting near the side, and his movements jerked before he twisted his hands together. “JianGuo? Xiao Xiao? Why are you here?”
He didn’t actually look that pleased.
The middle-aged man stood up then and called to Old Man Yang, “Dad.”
Yang Xiao also stood up, and he muttered an unwilling “Grandpa,” under the middle-aged man’s glare.
The smile on Old Man Yang’s face also slowly faded.
Lin ShuYi was still standing inside, looking at the three people outside. Shen Fu had already lifted the curtain and come inside some time ago, and he grabbed Lin ShuYi’s hand. “Let’s go, we’ll leave.”
Lin ShuYi was about to ask why they were going leave, but then he understood when he saw the three of them standing outside together, looking as if they had things to say to each other. They should go out and walk around a bit.
Fortunately, there were no other people in the shop at that time. Lin ShuYi took off his apron and went out with Shen Fu. When he passed Old Man Yang, he reached out and patted Old Man Yang’s shoulder. “Grandpa, we’ll go out for a bit.”
Old Man Yang knew their intentions, and he nodded but didn’t say anything.
Shen Fu walked in front with Lin ShuYi behind him. The two of them left through the door, and after they exited, they heard Yang Xiao ask Old Man Yang, “Grandpa, what do those two people do? Are they waiters? I didn’t see them the last time I came…”
Lin ShuYi had already been here for three or four months now. It was obvious how long it had been since they had last come here.
“Where are we going?” Shen Fu turned his head to ask Lin ShuYi once they were outside.
Lin ShuYi looked around a little blankly, and he didn’t answer. He didn’t know where to go either.
Shen Fu sighed. “How in the world did you live here for so long? You’re not even as familiar with this place as I am. Let’s go, big brother will take you to go wander around.”
Lin ShuYi’s mind was still preoccupied, so he didn’t pay attention to Shen Fu’s ‘big brother.’ “Where are we going?”
“Originally I wanted to take you to this street with delicious food, but they shouldn’t be open yet. Also, we probably don’t have enough time either, so next time. Next time, I’ll take you to the delicious food street in the city.”
When Lin ShuYi heard ‘delicious food,’ his expression finally grew a bit better. “What about now then?”
Shen Fu stuck his hands in his pockets, and he glanced around. “Now… we can only walk randomly for around a bit.”
He said ‘randomly,’ but because of Lin ShuYi’s special attribute where he would only be cured if he saw delicious food, Shen Fu only brought him to places with delicious food. After roaming around for a bit, Lin ShuYi ended up holding quite a few things in his hands.
There was finally a hint of a smile on his face. For some reason, Shen Fu felt like Old Man Yang was extremely important to Lin ShuYi, as if he was Lin ShuYi’s only relative. After walking for a while, the two of them guessed that Old Man Yang and the rest probably had had enough time to talk, and they went back. They hadn’t gone very far when Lin ShuYi stopped and frowned.
Shen Fu looked back. “What’s wrong?”
Lin ShuYi slowly lifted a hand and covered his nose. “What’s that smell? So stinky.”
Shen Fu sniffed, and a familiar stink flooded his nose. Even Shen Fu involuntarily made a face. “Stinky tofu ah, have you never eaten it before?”
Lin ShuYi shook his head. In reality, he hadn’t heard clearly what Shen Fu said.
Shen Fu was so overwhelmed by the stinky smell that he didn’t have time to lament that Lin ShuYi didn’t even know what this was. He was about to walk away when his eyes shifted and he grabbed Lin ShuYi. “It’s yummy, do you want to eat it?”
Lin ShuYi shook his head firmly. He pinched his nose, and he looked viciously at Shen Fu, as if he wanted to say, how can something so smelly be yummy?
Shen Fu laughed. “It’s really is yummy.” But the polarization towards stinky tofu was very severe. Those who loved it loved it to death, those who didn’t wanted to throw up the moment they smelled it. Shen Fu thought that it tasted pretty good, but it was true that the smell was truly overwhelming.
He dragged and hauled Lin ShuYi over to the vendor’s stall where people were crowded in front of it. The intense smell assaulted Lin ShuYi even more to the point that he wanted to turn his head away and leave.
But Shen Fu was already used to it. With one hand in his pocket, he pointed with his other hand at the crowd of people surrounding the stall ahead of them. “You really don’t want to eat it? Look, there are so many people over there, how could I be tricking you?”
Lin ShuYi’s extended leg paused for a moment before he finally withdrew it again. There really were a lot of people surrounding the small stall, shouting endlessly for orders back and forth.
Lin ShuYi, who only hesitated indecisively when he encountered food, truly amused Shen Fu to no end, making him smile until his eyes curved and causing the people nearby to keep shooting looks over. Lin ShuYi thought that Shen Fu was teasing him, and he glared at him before turning to walk away.
Unexpectedly, Shen Fu walked over to the edge of the stall and said, “Boss, give me two portions, one less spicy.”
Shen Fu’s voice was magnetic and pleasant to the ears. The people who hadn’t noticed him at first all looked over at him when he spoke. As a result, they were all completely stunned.
So handsome, it couldn’t be that this was some celebrity, right? But would celebrities also eat stinky tofu?
When the boss’ wife saw Shen Fu’s handsomeness, she took the lead and gave him two portions. Nobody actually objected either, and Shen Fu took the portions, beaming, before handing the less spicy one to Lin ShuYi. “Try it, I’m really not tricking you.”
Only then did everyone realize that it turned out this handsome man hadn’t come by himself. There was another… handsome guy.
Birds of a feather flock together, the saying never lied.
Lin ShuYi looked doubtfully at the black object inside of his paper bowl. There was a dense sauce and a few pieces of dark green cilantro scattered on top. A few toothpicks were stuck in the tofu, and it smelled a little fragrant.
Shen Fu chuckled as he reached out and stuck a toothpick in one of the pieces in Lin ShuYi’s bowl before picking it up. He fed it into his own mouth before he narrowed his eyes. “It’s very tasty, not poisonous. You don’t need to look so cautious.”
Only then did Lin ShuYi give it a try.
It was very fragrant and completely different from what he smelled from far away. It was very similar to tofu, but it was much yummier than tofu. The sauce was salty and rich, and it was very delicious when paired with the unique flavor of cilantro to the point that Lin ShuYi also narrowed his eyes. He finished the bowl in a few bites and handed it to Shen Fu. “More.”
Shen Fu was startled, before he laughed loudly. He couldn’t resist reaching out and ruffling Lin ShuYi’s hair. “Why are you so amusing?”
Lin ShuYi’s face immediately darkened.
The two of them walked slowly back, thinking that Old Man Yang should probably be just about done talking. Unexpectedly, when they got back the other two people were still there. Judging from their positioning, they seemed to be still arguing intensely, and Lin ShuYi quickly ran over.
“Stop talking! I won’t agree!”
“What’s wrong?” Lin ShuYi darted over to Old Man Yang, facing the middle-aged man and Old Man Yang’s grandson, who both wore agitated expressions.
Yang Xiao seemed to be in a fit of temper because of something. When he saw Lin ShuYi do that, he grew even angrier, and he reached out as if to push him, but someone caught his hand. When he looked, he saw Shen Fu standing behind him, gripping his hand and looking at him with a smile but not a smile. “Talking is fine, but you still want to make a move?”
Even though Yang Xiao was a little bit younger than Shen Fu, he wasn’t shorter at all. When Shen Fu gripped his wrist, he wanted to pull it back, but after struggling for a few seconds he realized that even though the strength Shen Fu was using to grip his wrist clearly wasn’t very strong, he couldn’t break free at all. He grew frantic. “What are you doing?! Let go!”
The middle-aged man also grew a little worried, and he said to Shen Fu, “What are you doing? Let him go first.”
Sure enough, Shen Fu let go, but it wasn’t because of Yang Xiao’s roar. Instead, it was because of Old Man Yang’s slightly concerned gaze. Shen Fu released Yang Xiao, but Yang Xiao looked like he was infuriated. He rushed towards Shen Fu, but was restrained by the middle-aged man. After all, the middle-aged man had seen all sorts of people before, and he could naturally tell that this person in front of them wasn’t someone easy to handle compared to his father and that other boy.
“Stop messing around!” Old Man Yang suddenly said loudly, looking at the middle-aged man and his grandson. In an instant, it looked as if he had aged a lot. “JianGuo, take Xiao Xiao back with you. I said already that I won’t agree.”
The man’s face also went bitter. It looked like he wanted to say something, but in the end he still closed his mouth.
Instead, Yang Xiao bellowed, “I don’t know what the point is of you leaving that rotten house! It’s not as if we don’t care about you, my mom said that you came…”
Old Man Yang’s expression changed, and the middle-aged man finally stopped Yang Xiao from speaking. “Forget it, let’s go.”
Upon leaving, he turned and said to Old Man Yang, “Dad, I’m sorry. I won’t bring it up again in the future. I’m leaving now.”
Yang Xiao also turned back, unwilling to give up, but he was restrained by the middle-aged man and dragged away.
Once the two of them left, Lin ShuYi turned back and looked Old Man Yang up and down. He was fine physically, which also made sense, since in the end Old Man Yang’s son shouldn’t really dare to lift a hand against Old Man Yang. The only thing was that Lin ShuYi didn’t know why things had become like this.
After they were gone, Old Man Yang finally sat down, rubbing his eyes with his hand. He said hoarsely, “I can’t sell the house.”
Shen Fu also walked up and sat down next to Old Man Yang. He didn’t need to talk. Right now, Old Man Yang only needed someone to listen to him.