TN: bonus chapter!💕
After half a lifetime, old man Song could finally hold the long lost recipe book, and was unable to speak for a long time.
Tao Mu and the others could somewhat understand the feelings of the old man and let the old man walk around in the bedroom with the recipe book all night. The small table lamp placed by the bedside was on all night, and the warm orange light sneaked out from the gap in the door, just like the huge rock that had been pressing on Song Daozhen’s heart, now finally and silently moved away.
You c an fi nd t he la te st cha pte rs at ( th e ir on tr ee bl oo ms. c o m )
Early the next morning, Song Daozhen asked Tao Mu to accompany him to the Wenwan Restoration Shop in Liulichang, and wanted to rebind the Song family’s recipe book. (TN: Liulichang is a district in downtown Beijing that is known for a series of traditional Chinese stone dwellings selling various craftwork, artistry, and antiques. It is one of Beijing’s traditional old quarters)
Tao Mu noticed that the “Song Family Recipe Book” that Mr. Song brought out was thinner than the one he brought back and raised eyebrows unconsciously.
Song Daozhen noticed Tao Mu’s puzzlement, and slowly said, “What I want back is the “Song Family Recipe Book”. Since it should be returned intact to the owner, whether it is less or more, neither will count as complete.”
Tao Mu suddenly realized what Song Daozhen meant.
He didn’t say anything and just accompanied the old man to rebind the “Song Family Recipe Book”. And then accompanied the old man in preparing for worshipping the ancestors.
Though it was said that the ancestor worship would take place on the first day of the Lunar New Year, before the ancestor worship, there were actually a lot of things to do. The Song family ancestor’s grave had been passed down to the present, and had a history of more than 100 years. In the past, Mr. Song had felt ashamed to face his ancestors, and he was also afraid of being reminded of the painful past, so he did not dare to go grave sweeping often. At most it was just once every year during the Qingming Festival to burn some paper money and incense sticks as well as confess to his ancestors about his incompetence and weakness in being unable to avenge the Song family.
And when he came back he would always fall seriously ill.
But now, the “Song Family Recipe Book” was finally back and the Song family inheritance also returned. Song Daozhen felt that he was still incompetent, but finally he was not ashamed to face his ancestors. At least if he closed his eyes for the last time in this life now, he had the confidence to face his parents and grandparents in the afterlife.
So this year’s New Year, Song Daozhen could finally follow the family tradition to worship the ancestors——according to the Song family’s rules, they must cook 36 Song family dishes when worshiping the ancestors. Among them, the patriarch would cook eight dishes, while the other descendants and disciples cooked the 24 dishes together.
However, the Song family having passed down to now, only Song Daozhen, a lonely old man, and Tao Mu, an irresponsible direct disciple, remained. So Song Daozhen decided to cook 30 dishes by himself, and let Tao Mu cook the remaining six dishes.
Before cooking to worship the ancestors, the ancestral tomb had to be specially repaired. For various reasons, the tomb of the Song family had not been repaired for many years. Although the tomb head and tombstone were not incomplete, they look dilapidated. There were signs of aging and fading everywhere due to wear and tear. It was the scars left from the wind and rain during the long years.
Just like what happened to the Song family over the decades.
Tao Mu knew the wish of Mr. Song and decided to take over the work of repairing the grave. Chinese people pay a lot of attention to this kind of grave repair and burial rites. Tao Mu didn’t understand the inner workings, so he simply invited a Feng Shui master to come over.
After looking at Feng Shui, calculating days, buying candles, paper money, various stones and wood, they must also hire people to do the work. Fortunately, Liu Yao and Meng Qi helped out, or else Tao Mu, who still had to go to school during the day, wouldn’t have been able to oversee it all.
On the second night after returning to Beijing, Tao Mu called Li Xiaoheng and asked him to come out so he could thank him in person——this time dealing with the Sheng’an Group, if there was no Li Xiaoheng behind his back, it would likely not have gone so smoothly.
So reasonably and emotionally, Tao Mu should treat the other to this meal.
Tao Mu felt that the meaning of this meal was very formal, so he didn’t cook it at home. Instead, he invited Li Xiaoheng to Song Ji, and the old man personally cooked it himself. Yao Dad and Xiao Qi Dad also accompanied on the side. It could be considered their family of four thanking Li Xiaoheng together.
Li Xiaoheng went to the appointment with pleasure. After accepting the warm gestures of gratitude from the family of four. At noon the next day, Tao Mu was invited to dinner at a Cantonese restaurant opposite Beijing Film.
This time it was just the two of them, sitting in an elegantly decorated small enclosed private room.
Li Xiaoheng poured a cup of tea for Tao Mu and asked: “I want to shift the focus of Xiaoheng Capital’s work to China. Recently, the venture capital department organized an inspection group that focused on several projects. Help me take a look. “
Li Xiaoheng said, handing a few thick folders to Tao Mu.
The two would talk about business affairs every time they met so Tao Mu was not surprised either. He picked up the files and looked at them one by one.
It must be said that the venture capital department of Xiaoheng Capital was very capable indeed, their investment vision was very accurate. At least of the projects Tao Mu saw, they were all very profitable projects for later years. Among them, new energy and environmental protection projects would be supported by the state in the next few years. There was also the research and development and use of artificial intelligence in the logistics and production lines, which would also be particularly popular in the future, and especially had a market.
Of course, in addition to this, Tao Mu felt that the development prospects of the entertainment industry were also good.
Combining the development direction of future years, Tao Mu spoke his own thoughts carefully and seriously to Li Xiaoheng. This chat took more than an hour. Tao Mu spoke until his mouth was dry, and Li Xiaoheng sat next to him, helping him pour tea.
Tao Mu, who had drunk a lot, went to the bathroom three times.
When he came back for the last time, Tao Mu smiled at Li Xiaoheng and said: “…..When I went out, the waiter kept looking strangely at me. Maybe he was thinking that despite my young age I already had kidney problems.”
Having said that, he couldn’t help taking another sip of tea.
Li Xiaoheng chuckled and gave Tao Mu a shumai filled with shiitake mushrooms, shrimp and glutinous rice: “It’s all my fault.”
“What does it have to do with you.” Tao Mu swallowed the shumai in one bite, and his eyes lit up at the delicious taste: “It’s good.”
Li Xiaoheng curved the corners of his mouth upwards, and his expression became a little eager: “Actually, I have been at home for a while, and I have also learned a few dishes at home. When there’s a chance someday, I will cook it for you.”
“Then I won’t be courteous with you. I must definitely try the craftsmanship of the boss.” Tao Mu smiled, but didn’t take it to heart.
He knew that Li Xiaoheng was too busy at work and didn’t even have time to eat. How could he waste time studying cooking? It was just the normal social niceties, so whether it was true or not it was not important, so long as the words sounded pleasant then that was enough.
But Tao Mu was slapped in the face just a few days after. Because Li Xiaoheng came over again with two bags of ingredients on the third night of his return to Beijing. The two met in the small apartment opposite Beijing Film. Li Xiaoheng personally cooked Tao Mu a dish of sweet and sour pork ribs, a dish of garlic vermicelli steamed shrimp, a dish of steamed fish, and a pot of seafood porridge.
The taste was actually pretty good as well.
Tao Mu was instantly a little delighted. He gave a thumbs up to Li Xiaoheng: “As expected of the big boss. Learning everything very fast.”
Li Xiaoheng curved his mouth upwards with satisfaction. As if he had forgotten the fact that he almost blew up the kitchen when he was learning how to cook——twice in fact.
“By the way, I want to withdraw one million from my Xiaoheng Capital’s account. Don’t know if it is convenient or not?” Mr. Song’s matter had been mostly resolved. Tao Mu was no longer as busy and finally had the mind to deal with another matter.
Li Xiaoheng smiled slightly: “Of course it’s no problem.”
Immediately after a pause, he asked a little hesitantly: “Then I don’t know if it is inconvenient for me to ask, what are you eager to use the money for? Is there a problem with the operation of FlyNews?”
“Oh, no.” Tao Mu shook his head: “Didn’t the old man set up the Song Huai Fund with 10% of the shares of Sheng’an Group. I am also deeply inspired. Anyway, I am not short of money, so I want to take out the one million yuan to also set up an education fund within our orphanage. As you know, few of the children from orphanages can go to college. Most of them just go out to work part-time jobs in society after the nine-year compulsory education ends. And because of their low academic qualifications, they can only find manual labor, and there is almost no development of future prospects. I was lucky, I have a handsome face and met good people like my old man, Yao Dad and Xiao Qi dad. I also had the opportunity to study in Beijing Film. In truth, my college entrance examination score is also not that high, just 500 points. But that is the highest score in our orphanage in more than ten years.”
“In fact, some children in our orphanage are really smart. If they can devote themselves to their studies, maybe they will be able to produce a few 985 and 211 high-achieving students in the future.” (TN: 985 and 211 are constructive projects for founding elite universities conducted by China’s government in the 21st century)
Of course, only half of what Tao Mu said was sincere. The other half wanted to take this opportunity to dig out the poisonous snake hidden in the orphanage that would be bribed by a developer in the future and framed dean Tao, and thrown them into prison.
Li Xiaoheng didn’t know Tao Mu’s real plan. Hearing this, he sighed: “I didn’t see it before, but it seems you really like children.”
“You didn’t see wrong.” Tao Mu sneered, “I’m most annoyed with children. Except for crying and screaming every day, there is never a quiet moment. If you even looked the other way, they might be able to stir up a mess that you have to clean up. And they are especially talented at bullying the weak and fearing the strong. They are all little devils.”
“But the children in our orphanage are afraid of me. No one dares to make a mess in front of me and they all pretend to be very good in front of me. They are afraid of being beaten.” Tao Mu said naturally.
However, what he didn’t know was that the children in their orphanage were not only afraid of him, but they all also admired him. Because Tao Mu was the first child in the orphanage to go to college, and because Tao Mu could make money since he was a child and always took some of this money to subsidize the orphanage.
Although Tao Mu was not averse to giving them a beating——most of the time it was because the children in the orphanage stole Tao Mu’s hidden snacks, pocket money or Tao Mu’s clothes. Tao Mu had always been possessive since he was a child. He didn’t mind giving others what he didn’t want, but he never let others touch things that he didn’t give away. If anyone dared to touch, they could just expect a beating.
Sometimes when Tao Mu couldn’t beat a child older than him, he would use insidious tricks, or bribe the hoodlums in the alley to help him beat others. Sometimes the beaten child would cry and complain to the dean. Dean Tao would call Tao Mu to lecture him patiently and reason with him. Tao Mu was not convinced, but he didn’t say anything in front of dean Tao, and continued to beat people secretly. And even more ruthlessly. The little bastard who he up beat would then no longer have the daring to tell on him again. In the end, all the children learned to submit to him.
But under normal circumstances, after Tao Mu beat someone, he would also treat the beaten child to eat delicious food, or give them a toy as compensation. After a slap on the wrist a sweet date was given. Generally, children with families would learn such a truth and social tactic of maneuvering in society after they graduated from college. But Tao Mu seemed to be born knowing this. Later, when he was a little older, Tao Mu knew how to put on a pretense, and he didn’t do much of the dirty work himself. It all became insidious tricks and calculations behind the scenes.
Which was why people who had been in contact with Tao Mu say that he was very calculating, manipulative and ruthless. But they were not wrong. Because the environment he came from was like that.
——Anyway, in Tao Mu’s eyes, all children were ungrateful wretches. Especially those that come out of the orphanage. They might not know that you are good to them, but if you are not good to them, they would definitely remember you for the rest of their life. Pretending to be docile in front of you, but scheming ruthlessly behind your back. They had strong jealousy, were prone to being two-faced, had a sinister mindset, and fought viciously for every bit of benefit in sight.
Tao Mu himself was such a person. Those who came out of the orphanage, never grew up in a normal family since childhood, without the love of parents, so insecurity was unavoidable. The personality defects caused by the shadow of childhood caused them to hold on tightly to any bit of thing in their possession, to not trust anyone, and easily go to extremes.
Before now, Tao Mu would never dare to tell others about these past events. In his previous life, he was criticized by others and was afraid of being scolded by others. The psychological shadow left on him was too great, and even after rebirth, he would rather pretend to be weak and act on his own instead of revealing his nature. Therefore, even if he acted like he didn’t care about what others say, he would subconsciously pretend to be slick and tactful in front of others, and he did not dare to argue with others. Not only was it due to a lack of confidence, but also due to the inferiority and cowardice hidden in his bones.
After experiencing the incident of the Yao family, not only Mr. Song’s sore point healed, even Tao Mu felt that he had untied a knot in his heart.
So what if he was scheming and calculating with ruthless and vicious tactics? By letting others know that he was not easy to provoke or that others should not dare to provoke, he was more able to protect those around him.
Like a very sharp knife, it was easy to injure others but also easy to protect others. If the purpose of hurting someone was to protect someone, then show the knife first. Those who had bad intentions in their hearts would naturally weigh the pros and cons. And as a result, some troubles could be avoided before they even begin.
Tao Mu sometimes also found it strange. There was a saying handed down from the ancestors, a lifetime of integrity is lost in later years. It meant that good people had done good things for a lifetime, but because they did a bad thing when they were old, their life’s value was denied by others. There were also the sayings, a prodigal son returned home is worth more than gold and putting down the butcher knife to become a Buddha on the spot. These two sayings meant that a bad person had done a bad thing for a lifetime, but if he did a good thing when he grew old, he would become a good person instead. It seemed that the bad things he had done before could all be wiped out.
Really f**king bullsh*t.
It could be seen that human nature was to bully the weak and fear the strong. Wasn’t it because you knew that good people don’t take the initiative to hurt others, so you could point your fingers unscrupulously and that bad guys were not easy to provoke, so even if the other did a good thing on a whim, you couldn’t wait to sing praises. Because you knew that bad people doing good or bad things was just a matter of thought. Bad people doing good deeds might not be able to benefit you, but if they did bad things, it would definitely be a threat to you.
If it was like this, Tao Mu would rather be the bad guy in the eyes of others. If they knew to be afraid, they would not easily attack the people around Tao Mu. There would be no such thing as a threat being made on family members. If anyone dared to move against Tao Mu, Tao Mu would only fight back viciously. Just like the Sheng’an Group, which was a very good example.
Especially as Tao Mu would be entering the entertainment circle in the future, so he must sound the alarm for those marketing accounts who could only see money. If they want to bully him and his family like in the last life, it would no longer work!
Tao Mu secretly bared his teeth and sharpened his claws in his heart. But in Li Xiaoheng’s eyes, he only felt that Tao Mu had gradually let go of his heart’s defenses, and had slowly revealed his true side when getting along in private.
Sure enough, his previous course of action was correct. He must start with the people around Tao Mu, taking a subtle route that eventually surrounded the center.
The meal passed in good spirits.
Anyway, the big boss’s filters when looking at a certain someone had become deeper and deeper.
After the Song family’s ancestral tomb was repaired, it was already the end of January 2009. The twelfth lunar month was over, and it would be the first month of the lunar new year.
Tao Mu had yet to wait for Yao Shengan’s arrival in Beijing to make his apologies, but another couldn’t sit still.
With an ingratiating smile on his face, Zhang Dafu went to Tao Mu’s school again, and begged the old doorman to call Tao Mu’s dorm. When learning that Tao Mu was not in the dorm, he then begged Tao Mu’s roommate to call Tao Mu who was reading materials in the library.
“Why are you here again?” It was the deep winter, Zhang Dafu was wearing a thick military coat, sitting in the doorman booth with a small fire under the kang and drinking the old doorman’s tea.
Seeing Tao Mu, he smiled ingratiatingly and said: “Aren’t I here for business. Proper business.”
Tao Mu also guessed why Zhang Dafu came here. He glanced at Zhang Dafu with a half-smile, and led Zhang Dafu to the coffee shop opposite the school.
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Before he left, he didn’t forget to pass a box of kidney bean cakes to the doorman uncle: “I made it myself. Please have a taste to see if it is authentic.”
Tao Mu was learning the dishes for ancestor worship with Mr. Song recently. As there were too many things made, it couldn’t be finished by just themselves, everyone was in luck. Including the employees of FlyNews and Night, as well as the teachers and students of Beijing Film, they had all tasted his craftsmanship. Most people didn’t know whether it was authentic or not, they just knew that Tao Mu’s cooking was very delicious.
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