Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
When the waiter finally brought the tray and served Zhang Xiaohua his spicy diced chicken cubes and five bowls of rice, Zhang Xiaohua had finished three pots of tea and his stomach was grumbling loudly in hunger.
However, when Zhang Xiaohua saw the dish that was filled with chillies and menacingly red oily chicken, he became stunned and asked dumbly, “Waiter, is this the dish that I ordered?”
The waiter smiled as he replied, “Customer, you are absolutely right, this is our restaurant’s famous and reasonably priced spicy chicken cubes which brings numbness from its spiciness, and is extremely delicious. People who loves spicy food will find this a staple in our restaurant.”
Zhang Xiaohua frowned, that was right, the menu clearly stated that it was numb and spicy so why did he not inquire more before ordering? The waiter even asked him a few times to ascertain his order yet he had not noticed any abnormalities.
Sigh, that was the price of being too cheapskate.
Perhaps this dish was really delicious but Zhang Xiaohua was afraid of spicy food.
However, there was no other choice, he could not possibly ask for another dish, and would they not waste even more money? Zhang Xiaohua hardened his skin and picked up the utensils, carefully placed a piece of the diced chicken cubes in his mouth and almost immediately, he could feel a burning sensation that rose all the way to his head. His eyes began to water so Zhang Xiaohua hurriedly gobbled mouthful of rice before the burning sensation subsided slightly. Following this, Zhang Xiaohua gulped large sips of tea before taking another bite of the dish.
Even though the spicy diced chicken cubes were extremely spicy, it was still a good dish and with Zhang Xiaohua’s penny-pinching and patient mentality, he finally finished the dish along with six large bowls of plain rice and another two pots of tea.
Zhang Xiaohua picked up his chopsticks, dug around the dish, and when he realized that he had finished all the chicken, he put his chopsticks down in relief. Even though Zhang Xiaohua initially wanted to finish the chillies in the dish as well, he gave up the idea when he thought of the burning sensation still lingering in his mouth. He then stroked his stomach, feeling extremely full from the meal.
Since he finished his meal, the bill naturally had to be settled so Zhang Xiaohua raised his arm to signal the waiter. Actually, the waiter had been keeping Zhang Xiaohua in his sight since the latter began eating, and after he finished his meal, the waiter paid even more attention to him. Zhang Xiaohua’s behaviour from before was extremely suspicious, even though he ate his food heartily, he might sneak off in the middle of the meal and leave without paying for it. If that happened, the bill would be passed to the waiter to settle, so how could the waiter not pay close attention to Zhang Xiaohua?
At that moment, the water was feeling even more cautious when he saw Zhang Xiaohua signalling to settle his bill, he was afraid that the latter would nitpick about the dish and refuse to pay. Hence, he remained worried until Zhang Xiaohua asked him for the price. Hearing the question, the waiter smiled in relief and replied, “Customer, have you finished your food? It costs fifty coins in total.”
“Fifty coins?” Zhang Xiaohua asked in a strange tone, “Why is it so expensive. I remembered that it costs forty-five coins in the menu.”
The waiter smiled obligingly and said, “Customer did not see wrongly, the spicy chicken diced cubes costs forty-five coins.”
“So why are you charging me fifty coins?” Zhang Xiaohua asked, “Wasn’t the rice free of charge?”
The waiter replied, “Yes, customer, but the pot of tea costs five coins as well.”
“What?” Zhang Xiaohua almost jumped off his seat as he said, “The water costs money as well? Why didn’t you tell me?”
The waiter showed a helpless expression as he replied, “You didn’t ask me, customer, beverages are not free, and even the authorities are aware of it, don’t you know? How would I know that you don’t know this?”
Zhang Xiaohua was speechless, he had taken much precaution to ensure they he did not get ripped off but was still charged more than he expected, fortunately the tea was charged based on per pax and not on the number of refills. If not, wouldn’t he have been taken advantage of?
Hence, Zhang Xiaohua did not question the waiter any further, he felt around his breast and took out the money pouch, searched inside for a while and took out a small broken piece of silver before passing it to the waiter.
The waiter was bewildered again, the boy who he initially thought would dash off without paying had unexpectedly paid the bill without much trouble, but even when he wanted to settle the bill, it was only fifty coins so a copper coin was sufficient yet he brought out a piece of silver which looked as heavy as three to five silver coins, was the customer fooling around with him?
The waiter barely maintained his composure and replied with a slight frown on his face, “Customer, the bill is only fifty coins, don’t you have any coppers? Or perhaps a smaller piece of silver?”
Zhang Xiaohua replied with a straight face, “I do not have coppers, and this is the smallest piece of silver I have.”
The waiter almost fainted on the spot, what kind of person was this. The customer obviously had more silvers in his money pouch and was a little rich child, yet why was he so stingy with his choices? Not only did he ordered a single dish of spicy chicken cubes, he even asked for six free bowls of rice, oh right, and four refills of tea, and even complained over the additional five coins charged.
Not only was the waiter troubled, when he took the silver piece and brought it to the counter, his actions caught the attention of the man beside Zhang Xiaohua. The man had only ordered a plate of peanuts and a jar of wine and was drinking to himself while his eyes darted left and right across the restaurant. Zhang Xiaohua did not enter his view while the former was eating but when he took out the money pouch and even said that the silver bit was the smallest piece he had to the waiter, the man’s eyes flashed brightly.
Not long after, the waiter returned with a string of copper coins placed on another small tray. He placed the tray on Zhang Xiaohua’s table, took out another smaller broken piece of silver and said, “Customer, this is your change of four silvers and some copper coins, please keep them well.”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled gleefully at the copper coins and said, “Are these coppers sufficient? Does that silver piece cover enough change as well?”
The waiter put on a righteous expression and said, “Customer, you can question my personal integrity but not the reputation of our ‘food as the sky’ restaurant. Unscrupulous methods such as short-changing our customers will never happen within the confines of this place.”
Zhang Xiaohua replied, “In that case, I will believe you. Oh right, waiter, I would like to ask if you know where the Pingyang city is?”
“Pingyang city?” The waiter scratched his head and said, “Customer, this waiter has only heard of Pingcheng city, Yiyang city as well as Yu city, but I have not come across this Pingyang city before.”
Zhang Xiaohua was dumbfounded.
Pingyang city was the largest city he had ever been to yet this waiter who had seen and known much have not heard of it. How far had he actually floated down the river?
Zhang Xiaohua immediately stood up and asked in a slightly agitated tone, “In that case, is there a carriage service called Biaochi in this town?”
“Biaochi carriage service?” The waiter scratched his head again and smiled, “There is indeed a carriage station in the town but it is called Feichi. If customer is looking for it, you can turn left from the door and walk straight ahead.”
Upon hearing this, Zhang Xiaohua quickly kept the smaller piece of silver back into his money pouch and was about to keep the string of copper coins into his breast when he seemed to have recalled something, took out a coin, pondered for another moment and a took out another coin and placed them in the waiter’s hands. He said, “This is for you, thanks for your service.”
The waiter did not know whether to laugh or cry when he saw the two coins in his hands, he did not know if he should accept them or not. The restaurant he worked in was quite prestigious and the customers were all affluent so the tips he received were either in fives or tens of coppers, when will he receive two copper coins as a tip?
However, when he thought back to the customer’s earlier behaviour, two coins was much aplenty so he smiled and replied, “Many thanks for your patronage!”
His words were actually sincere this time.
However, Zhang Xiaohua who was rushing out of the restaurant turned around and replied, “Waiter, if the tea costs money again, please remember to remind me so in the future.”
“Dang” The waiter fainted at the restaurant door.
When Zhang Xiaohua left the ‘food as sky’ restaurant, he hurried over in the direction of the carriage station and was oblivious to the waiter who had injured himself behind him. Furthermore, he did not notice that when the waiter was settling his bill, the man in the corner had also settled his bill earlier and left the restaurant when he heard the waiter talked about the carriage station.
Zhang Xiaohua left the restaurant and turned left, raised his head and saw that there was a large courtyard at the end of the street with a large banner so he guessed that it must be the location of the carriage station that the waiter mentioned earlier. Seeing that it was quite far ahead, Zhang Xiaohua quickened his pace.
In this unfamiliar town, Zhang Xiaohua immediately thought of the carriage station when he wanted to return. Obviously, since the waiter had no idea where Pingyang city was, he must be extremely far from there and if he were to continue his journey on foot, then who knows when he would reach back home?
Zhang Xiaohua took the horse carriage on his very first journey into the world, so the idea of using the carriage station services came immediately to him. Thus, one cannot deny that the truth of ‘reading a thousand books and travelling a hundred li.”
After walking for some while, Zhang Xiaohua saw that there was only a junction left before he reached the entrance of the carriage station, and he could also read the words clearly on the banner that wrote “Feichi carriage station, we will reach our destination.”
Just as Zhang Xiaohua crossed the junction, a middle-aged man who, perhaps due to the slippery road from the snow, collided onto him. The moment their bodies contacted each other, Zhang Xiaohua suddenly felt a hand reached into his breast and was about to take the money pouch. Zhang Xiaohua was extremely sensitive and his actions were nimble so he immediately stopped, used his left hand to grab onto the person’s hands and said, “What are you trying to do?”
When the middle-aged man saw that he was caught by Zhang Xiaohua, he did not become flustered and purposely slipped and fell into a sitting position in front of Zhang Xiaohua before shouting out loud, “Oh my, this rascal, what are you so careless to collide onto me? Oh my, I am injured.”
After saying that, he lay on the floor and groaned loudly.
Zhang Xiaohua’s hands were still holding on to the man’s wrist but the latter was lying on the ground in front of him which made him at a loss of what to do.
Right at that moment, he heard quite a few voices and when he turned around to look, he saw six to seven youths who were slightly older than Zhang Xiaohua with taunting smiles on their faces who said as they walked over, “Where did this beggar come from, and how dare he knock our elder brother Fan?”
Now that the situation had progressed liked this, how could Zhang Xiaohua who had abundant experience in thievery not know what was going on?
However, the current Zhang Xiaohua was not like in the past, not to mention that he had his own small sword and killed a black clothed martial art expert, he was not afraid of this group of youths just based on his mastery of the heavenly dipper fist martial art.
Hence, he let go of the man’s wrist and folded his arms while he waited for the people to come over confidently.
At that moment, Zhang Xiaohua was no longer the bumbling and ignorant village youth.
The middle-aged elder brother Fan laughed secretly as he saw the group of youths walked over to surround Zhang Xiaohua and remained on the ground even after Zhang Xiaohua let go of his wrist.
As for the few passers-by, they avoided the scene as though there was a pack of wild dogs around, whereas those who had slightly more courage stood from afar and threw pitiful glances at Zhang Xiaohua. Those that were cowardly had long run off in fear that the hooligans would turn their attention on themselves.
When the group of youths walked over and surrounded Zhang Xiaohua, the middle-aged man then opened his mouth and said, “This little brother, you slipped and caused me to get injured, so what do you think you should do now that I am unable to get up?”
Zhang Xiaohua looked at the youths around him before smiling towards the elder brother Fan and said, “This elder brother, I was walking very normally even though my pace was slightly fast. You were also the one who collided onto me so the person who got injured should be me instead.”
The elder brother Fan replied in a higher tone, “Even if your words sound reasonable, who do you think is lying on the floor right now?”
Zhang Xiaohua replied calmly, “There is so much snow on the ground, I have no intention of getting wet, who knows why you are so weird to want to sit on this kind of wet and dirty places?”
The elder brother Fan smiled and said, “Little brother’s words are quite cold, but what has happened can be witnessed by all these people here, so you cannot shrug off any responsibility so simply.”
Zhang Xiaohua smiled as he replied, “Sigh, since it has come to this, and we cannot agree with each other, then let’s go to the authorities to settle this matter then.”
Upon hearing this, the elder brother Fan sat up and smiled, “Little brother, since you say so, you must be a person with poor morals”
Zhang Xiaohua asked, “So what should I do if I am morally upright? And what should I do if I am not?”
The wretched elder brother Fan said in his sharp voice, “Haha, that’s right, little brother. If you are morally upright person, then it is best if you hand over that money pouch in your breast obediently to us. Since we are not heartless people, we can leave you alone after we are done. And if you have poor morals? Hehe, just look at all these spectators who are so righteous and forthcoming.”
Zhang Xiaohua laughed back as he replied, “Haha, if these people are so righteous, why would they be putting on an act with you?”
Elder brother Fan smiled as he said, “Because I am part of the righteous group.”
Zhang Xiaohua said, “So why don’t I think that you are so no matter how much I look at you?”
Upon hearing this, elder brother Fan shouted impatiently, “It seems that this little brother is a morally poor person!”
Zhang Xiaohua laughed even more as he answered, “You are not an upright person yourself, why bother going through this charade of being good or bad?”
Seeing Zhang Xiaohua taunting him back without any intention of relenting, the elder brother Fan’s embarrassment turned into anger and he motioned towards the few people behind him as he shouted, “Forget it, give this rascal a good lesson and let him know my prowess.”
When the people behind him heard this, three youths walked out and raised their fists menacingly and flexed their sturdy muscles, but Zhang Xiaohua did not seem to mind as he maintained his smiling expression.
Seeing that they were being made a fool of, the three youths exchanged glances and ran towards Zhang Xiaohua.
The three of them obviously had some experience in fighting and their movements were practiced, but they were immediately bullied over when they got near Zhang Xiaohua. Zhang Xiaohua used a move from the dipper heavenly fist martial art to block an oncoming punch before switching to another stance and kicking the same person’s lower body. With a “Pa” sound, the person fell onto the ground while another opponent had already taken his place. Zhang Xiaohua did not attempt to avoid his attack, he raised his fist to meet the other party’s punch and their fists collided, Zhang Xiaohua remained in his position while the other party grabbed his own fist and cried out in pain. The last person already retracted his steps when he saw his other two members being defeated but how could Zhang Xiaohua let him go? With a step as fast as an arrow, Zhang Xiaohua lifted his leg and kicked towards the person’s waist, and the person cried out as well as he fell onto the ground while Zhang Xiaohua felt strange as he did not use much force this time.
Seeing that the three had been defeated so easily, elder brother Fan was like a person who could not get off the tiger he was riding on. If he escaped without fighting, he would have difficulties assuming his command but if he continued to fight, the remaining people with him added might not be a match for this child, so what should he do?
Elder brother Fan pondered for a moment before taking out an object from his waist while the other four performed similar actions. At that moment, Zhang Xiaohua could see clearly that all his opponents had a dagger in their hands.
Seeing the daggers that shone in a chilling light, Zhang Xiaohua became anxious because even though he was confident in a fist-to-fist combat, he had no experience when his opponent was wielding a weapon.
However, everything has its first time and this was perhaps another kind of test for him. With such a mindset, Zhang Xiaohua unknowingly felt for the small sword in his chest but the moment he gripped it, he relaxed his grip. The small sword was too powerful and he could not control its lethality, there would definitely be bloodshed if he took it out and it might become troublesome if he caused a death on the streets. Hence, he decided not to use it.
When elder brother Fan saw Zhang Xiaohua’s anxious expression, he felt gleeful and rushed forward with the dagger in his hands as he thrusted it towards Zhang Xiaohua’s waist. As for the remaining four youths, they followed their leader and waved their daggers towards Zhang Xiaohua.
When Zhang Xiaohua saw the flashing oncoming daggers that were heading towards the various parts of his body, he could not help but become fluster and displayed a defensive stance in the dipper heavenly fist martial art. After avoiding some of the attacks, he was still careless and got hurt by one of the daggers which scratched his arm, causing a bloody patch to form on his sleeves.
Zhang Xiaohua suddenly became composed after he got injured, he knew that there was not much effect if he continued to defend, and as the saying went, offence is the best defence.
Zhang Xiaohua adjusted his posture slightly and when he saw a weak spot among the daggers, his leg flew up and kicked towards the wrist. As a result, a cry was emitted from the person and the dagger flew into the air.