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908 Star Chasing Ling Hong

 There was a saying that it was hard to find a person one was truly close to in life. Yuan Zhou agreed deeply to this saying. It would be great to have a friend one could tease without any misgivings or to voice everything on one's mind. Unfortunately, Yuan Zhou did not have a friend like this.

Perhaps it was an effect of his parents passing early, removing his courage to make such a friend anymore.

When Zhou Shijie heard Yuan Zhou's question, he nodded, indicating that he understood the question.

Yuan Zhou continued, "If it's you, what will you do to vent out this feeling?"

"Maybe I am getting old, but death no longer impacts me as much anymore. This is especially true after my other half passed due to old age," Zhou Shijie started. "At the very least, that is how I am. Thus, I doubt there will be anything capable of causing such fluctuation in my emotions. But just last year, a friend I have known for over 20 years passed away. In truth, he would always speak unpleasant words and I never liked him much. But after receiving the news of his death, I still couldn't help but to grieve."

Yuan Zhou listened attentively.

"Although everything heals with time, at that very moment, I felt so bad, I couldn't wait for time to heal my grief. Thus, I went to his family and gave them some help." Zhou Shijie continued, "Slowly, I recovered from my grief."

Yuan Zhou said, "But I don't know where he lives and I don't even know if he has any family members."

Zhou Shijie asked, "At the very least, you should know his name, right? You used to meet him frequently, after all. Just start searching with his name?"

Yuan Zhou sank into silence. True, there were many things that could be figured out with only a tiny effort at investigation.

"Everyone will die. Humans are not machines. It is natural for you to feel grief. But do not let the grief turn into a thorn stuck in your heart," Zhou Shijie said. "I can't truthfully say I understand how you feel, but I can tell you I once experienced the same. I hope my experience will be helpful to you."

"Thank you, Chairman Zhou," Yuan Zhou gave Zhou Shijie a deep and solemn bow. True, everyone would die. Yuan Zhou hoped that before he eventually passed, he could leave some beautiful memories behind at his restaurant.

After the talk with the chairman, Yuan Zhou felt much better.

While they talked, they left the marketplace and reached the entrance.

This was in truth a rather spacious entrance, but since there were many stalls around, it became rather cramped.

A black Volkswagen was parked beside the entrance. The driver got off the car and opened the door to the passenger seat.

Zhou Shijie did not sit in the passenger seat. Rather, he headed towards the rear seat. Clearly, he was intending to sit with Yuan Zhou. The driver quickly opened the door to the rear seat and stood there waiting.

"Come," Zhou Shijie invited.

"Ok, but you go in first," Yuan Zhou said as he walked around the car to enter through the other door.

"We're going to Taoxi Road," Zhou Shijie smiled before saying to the driver.

"Ok, chairman," the driver nodded and got on the car as well.

Along the way, Zhou Shijie did not talk without a stop. Rather, he shut his eyes and rested for a long time. As for Yuan Zhou, he was seated there peacefully thinking about the Three Fragrance to the Ocean he cooked earlier, the exemplary restaurant competition, Zhou Shijie's birthday, and his conversation with Zhou Shijie earlier. Simply put, all sorts of thoughts crossed his mind.

Jinfa Market wasn't too far from Yuan Zhou's restaurant. And such, after about half an hour of smooth journey, they reached the intersection into Taoxi Road.

Yuan Zhou was the first to get off the car. Next, it was Zhou Shijie. The two then walked towards the restaurant.

When they reached, Yuan Zhou opened the door. Zhou Shijie entered and sat down. He picked up the menu and when he was about to browse through it, he suddenly raised his head and looked at Yuan Zhou, "Don't bother about me. I will look around by myself."

"Ok. Let me know if you need anything. I need to wash up before preparing the ingredients," Yuan Zhou said with a nod.

"You can only make good food if you are clean," Zhou Shijie said with a wave of his hand before starting to browse the menu.

Yuan Zhou's bath was quite fast. Zhou Shijie had just finished browsing through the menu when Yuan Zhou came down again with a gray Han attire and wet hair.

"Chairman," Yuan Zhou greeted.

"Ok, don't bother about me. Go prepare your ingredients. Otherwise, if your customers found out I slowed your ingredient preparation, they will come demanding an explanation from me," Zhou Shijie teased.

"Ok," Yuan Zhou nodded and started concentrating on work.

As for Zhou Shijie, he started seriously observing Yuan Zhou while he worked.

Of the dinner ingredients, some needed to be handled in advance. For example, the Dongpo Pig Knuckle that had been left stewing on a small flame needed to have the flame revised. Some of the vegetables needed to be washed and dried in advance, while the Sautéed Vermicelli with Spicy Minced Pork needed to have its vermicellis soaked first. All these preparations would help speed up the cooking process later on.

Simply put, the preparation stage was also a busy one. Even so, Yuan Zhou was able to do them all in a smooth and orderly fashion.

He moved between tasks smoothly.

"Little Yuan is very good in these trifle works and it is clear he takes them seriously as well," Zhou Shijie lamented.

Since the door of the restaurant was left opened, Zhou Shijie noticed Wu Hai coming down from the stairs across the road wearing his sandals. He was probably coming to have his dinner.

"Little Yuan, I'm going out to line up. Otherwise, if I fail to get a number, I would have visited for nothing," Zhou Shijie said and walked outside. He would always follow the rules.

He left at the perfect timing, just right to be ahead of Wu Hai in the queue. Before Wu Hai could say anything, Ling Hong who had also arrived spoke.

"Shameless Wu, you're not the first today?" Ling Hong asked in astonishment.

"You still have your legs on you?" Wu Hai jabbed straight at Ling Hong's heart.

That's right. The incident with Grandpa Jia was found out by everyone. Everyone now knew that Ling Hong nearly got his legs broken by his grandfather after eating Yuan Zhou's Herbal Tea Eggs.

And thus, Wu Hai used that to tease Ling Hong.

"Of course. I am a fast runner," Ling Hong bragged proudly.

"I think your grandfather probably spared you intentionally," said Wu Hai while rubbing his mustache. With a serious expression, he continued, "After all, even though you have changed several girlfriends, you have yet to get any of them pregnant."

"Piss off. I survived because I run fast," Ling Hong insisted that his survival was due to him being skillful in escaping.

With a look of disbelief, Wu Hai looked Ling Hong from top to bottom.

"Forget about that. Do you know that O'Neill? I heard he is coming to China soon," Ling Hong suddenly said in excitement.

"Um? O'Neil? Do you mean George Bernard O'Neill is coming to China? No, wait. I thought he's dead?" Wu Hai looked at Ling Hong in stupefaction?

"Who's George Bernard O'Neill? Who told you O'Neil is dead?" Ling Hong asked in bewilderment.

"An uncultured swine like you is truly scary. He is a renowned French painter, one of those I respected. Although his works declined in his later years, during his early years, he was a remarkable painter. He..."

And thus, Wu Hai started blurting out a long list of information that most ordinary people would not understand. As for Ling Hong, he turned around and could no longer be bothered with talking to Wu Hai. What the hell? They were talking about completely different people here.