The Plough – Chapter 44

You're clearly not afraid of being so full you'll burst !
To be in He Youan’s situation was incredibly difficult to fully express her innermost fear and worries.

With her popularity, the slightest deviation from her normal behaviour would immediately be published in the press and made public and then to be criticised by the world.

She and Ling Shu had only met a few times, it was not even a particularly deep friendship, so she could only reveal everything to them at this time and at this place. In front of them, she was a little dejected, even if she was a peerless beauty, she still did not have one close friend.

Perhaps it was because she had spoken about something that she had suppressed inside for a long time that He Youan’s mood improved and seemed a lot lighter.

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“Thank you for your help. I know you don’t care about making a pretty penny or profit, so I wouldn’t dare to stain your eyes with these things. Over the years, I have collected some various calligraphy pieces and paintings from here and there, although it’s not worth much, there are some renowned painters and calligraphers from the Ming and Song dynasty included, so may be of some amusement for you both.”

Yue Dingtang: “We are not helping you for these things.”

He Youan said earnestly, “I understand, these objects come from a clean background, and they are all bought with clean money, please don’t worry, don’t refuse them. I know that no amount of gifts could express my gratitude, but this was the best way I could think of. If you don’t accept them, I wouldn’t have enough face1sociological concept again – not enough self-respect in this case to ask you for help.”

Since she had said this, Yue Dingtang naturally could not say anything else.

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However, Ling Shu suddenly coughed lightly, “Miss He, what you said is different from the ordinary. That is Lao Yue, he is a university professor, his family is extraordinary, he does indeed like these things, I am different, I am very vulgar, I don’t like any antique paintings or calligraphy, I only like seeing the smooth, round head of President Yuan2So called round smooth head is Yuan Shikaihere‘s a pic of the coin so you can see the roundness for yourself..”

Yue Dingtang:……

He Youan giggled.

The years of President Yuan’s term had long gone and past, but the silver yuan commonly called “Yuan Datou3袁大头 it’s literally Yuan big head” with his head upon it, was still in circulation, and was one of the most highly distributed currencies at this time4FYI – this time period – Republic of China had loads of different currencies circulating – twas a confusing time.

From what Ling Shu said, he was naturally implying that he liked money, and that He Youan could simply use money as a reward.

This was no longer implied, it was made explicit.

Yue Dingtang was speechless, wanting to tell him not to be so shameless, but not really knowing what to say either.

He Youan held back her laughter and nodded, “I understand, don’t worry.”

As they spoke, the door of their private room opened and the dishes were brought forth one after another.

Treasure Phoenix House had an exclusive secret recipe to their crab meatballs using a chicken soup base. The meatball absorbed the juices of the soup. The fragrant meat of the meatball was ample enough in flavour, when mixed in with the soup, it was a match made in heaven, never to separate from each other.

Wensi Tofu – when foreigners looked at it, it was just tofu soup. At first, they don’t think it’s anything special, then they try to pick it up with their chopsticks, only to find that the tofu is actually cut as thin as silk, thin and unbroken, as if it could even be threaded through the eye of a needle but it melts in the mouth, long and delicate, overcoming hardness with the softness.

More over, there was also squirrel fish, salted pork in jelly and many other dishes were carefully laid out on the Eight-Immortals table. Although these were dishes that could be found elsewhere, the chefs hired by Bao Feng House were not ordinary chefs after all, and the same dishes could give people a different feeling.

There are also dishes such as sweet lotus root and sauteed winter bamboo shoots etc, there were both meat and vegetarian dishes, to cater to everyone’s taste and preferences.
The appearance, aroma and flavour alone make this a masterpiece.

“Neither of you are from the North, so I ordered Huaiyang cuisine.”

“Thank you Miss He for your attentiveness, then I’ll make a start.”

“Enjoy your meal, gentlemen. I have also had Osmanthus wine and Plum wine prepared and will bring them to you when they have been warmed up.”

With Ling Shu present, even if there were only a few of them, the atmosphere would still not be cheerless and cold.

With the wine and food served, He Youan gradually relaxed and the three engaged in light conversation.

Although she went to school as a child, but since becoming an actress she was aware of her own shortcomings, and having followed Shen Shiqi to attend various occasions and events, she had put a lot of hard work to learn Chinese characters, and read books and she could now even say a few words in a foreign language. So naturally she wasn’t embarrassed to speak to them and could even hold her own.

Ling Shu needed to pee.

He’d had a lot of water before leaving home and drank a lot of wine at the table, so he couldn’t hold it in, so he got up and excused himself to go to the bathroom.

When he returned from relieving himself, he was walking past the private room next door, just as the waiter was coming out with a tray. The door was half open, the waiter looked up and met Ling Shu face to face. The waiter hurriedly made way and asked the customer to go first, so Ling Shu naturally glanced into the room.

It was just a casual glance, but the person inside looked up as if he had sensed something.

Two pairs of eyes stared at each other.

Ling Shu saw an old friend.

The other man first froze, then anger surfaced and he got up violently, coming towards him.

Oh dear, enemies meeting was inevitable.

Ling Shu smiled.

One laughed whilst the other was infuriated.

The two men had very different reactions.

“You dare to appear in front of me again?”

Shen Shiqi sneered, not even waiting for his own bodyguards to come out, he reached out to grab Ling Shu’s collar.

Ling Shu dodged sideways and avoided it with ease.

The movements were fluid and seemingly graceful, but in fact, if he wasn’t careful, he would have agitated an old injury, and the pain in his back from the beating he received last night began to ache again. In his head, Ling Shu was vomiting up blood, but he was as steady as rock on the outside.
But Shen Shiqi didn’t care if Ling Shu had the demeanor of a capable person, since he didn’t manage to grab his collar, he directly lunged his entire body at Lung Shu, he grabbed him fiercely by the shoulders and pushed him directly into the wall!

Ling Shu raised his hands and pushed, the other could not help but let go, he staggered forward, in the next moment, he had almost fallen over the second floor railing. A hand grabbed his clothing from behind in time, pulling him back from the edge.

Shen Shiqi sat down on the floor, his face was red with anger, he was about to get angry again when he saw Yue Dingtang walking out from the next room.

When the curses reached his throat, it was like a peach pit that he could not swallow nor could he spit out.

Yue Dingtang alone was nothing to worry about, but the Yue family behind Yue Dingtang was something to be feared.

Shen Shiqi did not want to clash with Yue Dingtang at this stage, let alone lose his cool tonight.

Ling Shu watched in amusement as the other man’s expression twisted and twitched before the words finally spilled out of his mouth —

“Thanks a lot!”

Ling Shu almost burst out laughing, “What does Shen gongzi want to thank me for?”

Shen Shiqi forced out a smile, “Thank you for pulling me just now, otherwise I would have slipped and probably fallen down.”

Ling Shu teased, “So I guess this can be counted as a live-saving favour, how will you repay me?”

The corners of Shen Shiqi’s mouth twitched: “I’ll have someone send some gifts to your residence later as a token of my appreciation.”

“What’s going on?”

Someone helped Shen Shiqi up from the floor and asked in passing.

Only then did Ling Shu realise that there was another person in the private room where Shen Shiqi was.

The other person was in his thirties or forties, he was ordinary in appearance with plain features, but had astuteness between his eyebrows. He looked like a businessman and his business was actually doing quite well, and he probably often dealt with people from all sorts of trades around the country. He had deep laugh lines at the corners of his mouth and a smile at the tips of his eyes.

“Mr Cheng!”

Shen Shiqi hurriedly got up, with his personality, he was not even fazed when he met the US Consul-General, but he was actually a bit frightened when in front of this Mr. Cheng.

“Nothing much, I met a friend and there was a misunderstanding, which has now been resolved.”

Instead of continuing to not let it go, Shen Shiqi took the initiative to put things to rest.

Mr. Cheng nodded and helped him up.

“That’s good, businessmen take peace for granted, to do business in this world, we rely on friends, the more friends we have, the easier it is to advance.”

Shen Shiqi laughed, “Well said, that’s so true!”

Mr. Cheng was about to say something else when his voice stopped abruptly, his gaze fell on the woman behind Yue Dingtang.

“This lady, she seems to look a bit familiar.”

Shen Shiqi’s face changed slightly when he saw He Youan.

When He Youan heard Shen Shiqi’s voice from inside the room, she wanted to avoid coming out so as not to cause more trouble, but when he heard Shen Shiqi’s sudden change of attitude, she couldn’t help but come out to take a look in the name of curiosity, but it was Mr. Cheng who was staring at her.

Shen Shiqi’s face sank, he held back his anger as he introduced Mr Cheng, “This is the famous movie star Miss He Youan, Mr. Cheng must have heard of her.”

Mr Cheng suddenly said, “So it’s Miss He, I’ve heard a lot about you, I’ve seen your films, they’re wonderful!”

Although most of his attention fell on He Youan, his gaze was not lewd, he looked more like a fan who simply loved her films and the characters she played.

Shen Shiqi: “This is Mr Cheng, my business partner.”

He Youan smiled and nodded: “Thank you for your kind words, I am honoured.”

Mr. Cheng: “Miss He doesn’t have to be too modest, when I was in Nanjing, I heard many people mention your name and they all praised you for your good acting. Other people, when they act they are acting, but when you act, it’s as if you become the character, if there was a title of master like in opera for movies then Miss He would certainly deserve it.”
It was beautifully said, without being rude, nor being cliché, nor being too intimate with a stranger.

He Youan, who had heard many beautiful praises before, still could not help but be slightly moved by his words and bowed in response.

“Mr. Cheng has been very complimentary, I am not deserving of such high praise.”

Ling Shu was not yet full, and seeing that their pleasantries were endless, he hurriedly took the opportunity to interrupt.

“Well, we’ve all gotten to know each other, Shen gongzi, there’s no need for you to repay you, just pick up the bill for us for tonight’s meal, what do you think?”

He grinned knowing that Shen Shiqi could not afford to throw a fit in front of Mr. Cheng.

Shen Shiqi really did have a smile that was more unsightly than if he had wept.

“Sure, no problem at all, you just take care of enjoying your meal, it’s all on my tab.”

Ling Shu: “Also, Miss He Youan invited us to dinner tonight to ask for our help, you won’t blame her for that, will you?”

Shen Shiqi: “…… Of course not. Youan has the freedom to make friends, not to mention with a mentor like Mr. Yue.”

Ling Shu ignored his deliberate omission of himself and said with satisfaction, “Then we’ll thank Shen gongzi in advance, you two go on chatting, don’t mind us.”

Shen Shiqi was in no mood to continue his meal, and when he returned to the private room, he rubbed his arm, which had just been twisted by Ling Shu, and was barely polite to Mr. Cheng.

“I apologise for just now.”

Mr. Cheng: “Does Miss He know you well?”

Shen Shiqi: “She and I are close friends.”

The so-called term close friends was ambiguous, not husband and wife, but more than friends.

Mr Cheng understood tacitly.

In the other room, Ling Shu had returned to the private room, and called for the waiter.

“I’d like to order some take out.”

Yue Dingtang said to himself – As expected.

However, it was better that Ling Shu was digging a pit for someone else than for him, not to mention that this pit was for Shen Shiqi. Since the feud between the two had come to this point, why not let him have a mere meal paid by the other, Yue Dingtang did not say a word.

The waiter took out his little notepad: “Eh, sir, please go ahead! If you want to order something, I’ll have it prepared!”
Yanduxian, Nanjing Salted Duck,Osmanthus cake, Sweet Lotus Root, Eight Treasure Duck with glutinous rice, Duck blood and vermicelli soup, Wine infused Tongyuan, Beancurd and Crabmeat Soup, Dazhu gansi.” Ling Shu said without stopping to take a breath, as if he had looked over the entire menu sign hanging on the first floor as soon as he entered the restaurant.

“That’s all for now, three of each, pack them all up, I’ll take them with me later.”

“Oh, and bring three more pots of Fenjiu now, bring aged wine, don’t try to trick us by bringing us one from more recent year!”

Waiter: …… You’re clearly not afraid of being so full you’ll burst!
Translator Note:

Man… that was a load of food pics – lucky I’m not hungry!

Sorry I linked instead of making a pop-up photo but I’m uncomfortable with using someone else’s snaps with explicit permissions and also that amount of javascript would slow the page down. Booooo.

Phew – that three chapter meal has finally come to an end.

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