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653 Last-Minute Mission

 A few days passed. The new year was getting nearer and nearer. Man Man hadn't gone to the restaurant recently as she was preparing for her new restaurant.

Ten days before the New Year's Eve.

At 5:00 am in the morning, Yuan Zhou opened his eyes.

"System, when I reached the top level, can I revive the dead?" Yuan Zhou solemnly asked.

Suddenly, it was as if the atmosphere around him grew silent. Yuan Zhou felt somewhat awkward, yet he still waited solemnly for the system's answer. The system displayed, "Brother, I am a Master Chef System, not the Master Physician System. I won't be able to do that."

The system used a cold flat tone. Even Yuan Zhou could feel the deep sense of helplessness hidden within those words. After all, the system got so panicked it was calling him brother. This was a first. After the system said no, Yuan Zhou did not speak anymore. He silently left the door and went jogging. The first thing he did after returning from his jog was to take out a sign. A row of words was written on the sign with vigorous strokes of a marker pen.

[No Bamboo Liquor is offered for today. Thank you for your understanding.]

A short and concise sentence.

A "thud" rang out when Yuan Zhou put the sign away before returning the restaurant to start preparing breakfast.

"Good morning, boss," Mu Xianyun greeted with a smile.

"Morning," Yuan Zhou nodded and returned the greeting.

"Good morning, boss." Shortly after Mu Xiaoyun arrived, Zhou Jia arrived as well.

"Mhm." No additional emotion could be seen from Yuan Zhou's face, as if everything was the same as usual.

After Mu Xiaoyun and Zhou Jia were done with their greetings, they picked up the cloths and started cleaning the restaurant. While doing that, Mu Xiaoyun cautiously raised her head to observe Yuan Zhou before pulling at Zhou Jia's sleeve and started whispering.

"Sister Jia Jia, boss seems to be in a bad mood today?" Mu Xiaoyun whispered softly.

"Yeah, I noticed the same thing as well. What happened to him?" Zhou Jia heavily nodded and replied in agreement.

"I don't know. But did you see the sign outside?" Mu Xiaoyun signaled her to look outside.

"Yeah, I saw that but hadn't gotten the chance to ask about it," Zhou Jia answered with a thoughtful frown.

"Let me try asking," Mu Xiaoyun immediately said.

"Ok." Zhou Jia nodded.

"Boss, we won't be selling Bamboo Liquor today?" Mu Xiaoyun probed cautiously.

"Yeah, we won't." Yuan Zhou nodded.

"Are we going to sell BBQ food due to the rain instead?" Mu Xiaoyun guessed.

"No." Yuan Zhou shook his head.

"Did anything happen, boss?" Zhou Jia couldn't wait anymore and directly asked.

"No. The restaurant will be opening soon," Yuan Zhou said after pointing at the clock.

"Oh, ok." Zhou Jia nodded on instinct.

Breakfast time would normally be very lively. That was because apart from those queuing up for food, there would also be people arriving for the lucky draw just to obtain the Bamboo Liquor later in the evening. An example of such a person was Chen Wei who would come for the lottery draw anytime he was at Chengdu.

"What happened? Why is there no liquor today? I don't recall hearing that it will rain today." Chen Wei raised his head and looked at the clear sky as he wondered.

"I checked the weather forecast. It's not going to rain today. It will only be a cloudy day," beside him, Fang Heng replied with a nod.

"We'll know if we ask," the novelist calmly said.

"True." Chen Wei nodded. Then, he stopped talking and silently stayed in the line waiting for the restaurant to open.

Fortunately for them, they weren't kept waiting for long. Soon, the glass door of Yuan Zhou's restaurant opened. Zhou Jia and Mu Xiaoyun each stood to one side of the door, welcoming the customers into the restaurant at the same time. At this time, Chen Wei and Fang Heng walked ahead of everyone to ask Yuan Zhou about the liquor.

"Boss Yuan, since there is no liquor today, is there going to be BBQ instead?" Fang Heng asked, already thinking of a liquor that would go well with BBQ.

"No. We are not offering Bamboo Liquor today, but we are not offering BBQ as well," Yuan Zhou shook his head and answered with a serious tone.

"But..." Chen Wei wanted to say something else but he was stopped with a pull by the novelist behind him.

"Why are you pulling me?" Chen Wei asked in confusion.

"No reason. I just don't want to hear your question," the novelist spoke earnestly.

"Are you trying to get a beating?" Chen Wei felt somewhat angry.

"Mhm, let's speak outside." The novelist nodded at Yuan Zhou before turning around to leave.

"That was random," Chen Wei said and turned around. Just as he was about to ask his question, he was stopped by Fang Heng.

"What's going on?" Chen Wei was utterly confused. Why were so many people trying to stop him from speaking?

"See for yourself," Fang Heng said as he stepped to the side, giving Chen Wei a clear view of Yuan Zhou's face.

This time, Chen Wei no longer tried asking. He obediently followed the novelist out the door.

"Ok. If there is no liquor today, we will come again tomorrow. Goodbye." Fang Heng waved his hand and excused himself.

They did not even try to ask the reason for there being no liquor. This was a rare occurrence. Even if this was the first time Yuan Zhou had refused to offer both liquor and BBQ without providing any reason, they still decided to not ask him why. Even Wu Hai, the foodie, who normally had the most to say kept his silence this time.

Noon arrived.

"Boss Yuan seems to be in a bad mood. For some reason, his entire person looks rather bad," Mu Xiaoyun seriously explained to their frequent customers at the door.

"But the food is still so good it makes one feel like swallowing one's own tongue," at the side, Wu Hai chipped in.

"The only thing you know is to eat." Man Man who was catching a breather from her busy work looked at Wu Hai in disdain.

"Of course that's the only thing I know. But that's better than being someone who does not dare to eat in fear of getting fat. Someone like you," Wu Hai shot back.

"Don't you care about Boss Yuan?" Man Man asked curiously.

"Nope. Boss Yuan never mentioned that he needed my help anyway. If he says that, I will naturally help. Since he hadn't mentioned anything and nothing seemed to have happened, it's clear that it is his personal issue. There is no need to ask about that" Wu Hai righteously voiced his skewed line of reasoning.

He was speaking so incoherently. He first claimed he wouldn't help, then he claimed he wouldn't ask. Man Man was speechless when she heard him.

"From the looks of it, Boss Yuan does not seem to want anyone to know about that matter," Ling Hong voiced his agreement on Wu Hai's opinion.

"Actually, I saw Boss Yuan buying flowers and fruits," Zhou Jia spoke with some hesitation.

"White chrysanthemums and a white tiny flower which I think is the windflower," Zhou Jia added.

"Enough, stop guessing," as a bossy person by nature, Jiang Changxi stopped everyone's discussion.

In fact, after Zhou Jia said what she saw, everyone already knew the reason. They had merely reached a tacit mutual understanding to not bring it out. After all, since Yuan Zhou hadn't spoken about it, it could only mean that he did not want to speak about it. If that was the case, there was no point to their discussion. In any case, there would still be liquor tomorrow. So long as the restaurant was still around, everything would be fine.

For the entire day, Yuan Zhou maintained a solemn expression on his face. He also spoke fewer words than he usually would. Of course, his mannerism and respect towards his customers were still there. Yuan Zhou's skill was also still there. The food he cooked was as high quality as ever. After serving dinner, the restaurant closed for the day. Once again, Yuan Zhou asked the system.

"Can I take the fruits out of the restaurant?" Yuan Zhou's question was direct and concise.

It was already clear what's going on. Since Yuan Zhou was going to visit his parents' tomb, he naturally wished to bring the best he could. Today was the death anniversary of his parents.

The system displayed, "The ingredients of the restaurant can't be brought out."

The system directly rejected as always.

"But I need to take them out. Is there any way around it?" An intense emotion was contained within Yuan Zhou's words, something which was rarely seen.

The restaurant sank into a long silence -- a silence resembling the peaceful mornings of the restaurant -- before answering again.

The system displayed, "A last-minute mission has been issued. Do you accept?"