Recently, Tao Mu had been living his days quite happily. So much so that when he received a call from Yao Shengan on New Year’s Eve, Tao Mu almost didn’t react at all.
“I’ve already arrived in Beijing.” On the phone, Yao Shengan’s voice was dry and heavy. He knew what he was going to face.
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“Today is New Year’s Eve. According to the old rules of the Song family, we have to go to the grave to invite the ancestors home for the New Year. And prepare dishes for ancestor worship. Should I go there today?”
At that time, Tao Mu was in Song Ji, and together with Mr. Song, he was preparing various incense candles and offerings that they would use when they went to the grave to worship the ancestors. Hearing these words, he frowned: “Didn’t I say to come over on the first day of the New Year?”
The Song family did have a rule of inviting their ancestors home for Chinese New Year on the New Year’s Eve. But the old man said that the ancestors of the Song family have been suffering for so many years and it was with much difficulty that they could raise their heads high so this New Year’s must be celebrated well. On the first day of the New Year, after the ancestors were sent back home, it would not be too late to let Yao Shengan, the bastard who betrayed his teachers and deceived his ancestors, kowtow to make amends.
Of course, Yao Shengan could also guess the old man’s thinking. If it had been a few months earlier, Yao Shengan would not be willing to come over——he cared about face the most in his life, but Tao Mu forcing him to kowtow in front of the Song family’s ancestral tomb was practically the same as completely tearing off Yao Shengan’s and even the Yao family’s face and stomping on it hard with his feet.
But the current situation of the Yao family was not the same as before.
Ever since Tao Mu and Li Xiaoheng attacked Sheng’an Group in the stock market, forcing the Yao family to take out 20% of the shares for a settlement. The Yao family’s control over the board of directors of Sheng’an Group was not as good as before. Later, the media exposed the scandal that the son-in-law of the Yao family used waste oil to embezzle the procurement funds because he owed huge debts to loan sharks, which caused the reputation of Sheng’ann Group to plummet. The stock price fell sharply, and its vitality was greatly damaged.
The board of directors would naturally have the management level account for the damage. The first to bear the brunt was the Yao family who once held important positions in various important departments of the Sheng’an Group. After all, Tao Mu and Li Xiaoheng attacked Sheng’an Group in the stock market because of old grudges between Yao Shengan and the Song family, and the party involved in the waste oil incident was the Yao family’s eldest son-in-law.
Some shareholders believed that the Yao family was to blame for the reason why Sheng’an Group had fallen into today’s situation. Some people wanted to hold the Yao family accountable, so they forced Yao Shengan to resign as chairman on the grounds that his virtue did not match his position. As for the eldest son-in-law of the Yao family who dared to embezzle public funds and use waste oil, he should be handed over to the relevant departments and be severely punished by the law.
Those who could make this kind of suggestion were naturally the victims who were forced by Yao Shengan into bankruptcy and left their hometowns by means of unfair competition. Because of Mr. Song’s decision, these people now also held 10% of the shares of Sheng’an Group. This was not a small amount, at least enough to initiate a shareholders meeting.
Karma is always paid back. When Yao Shengan drove these defeated losers out of Shanghai City, he probably never thought that these people would be able to come back, or even enter the Sheng’an Group, and sit grandly at the shareholders’ meeting.
However, winners take all, when Yao Shengan could no longer control the overall situation, the former losers and victims naturally want to step forward and take revenge.
They want Yao Shengan to be met with misfortune and the Yao family to be driven into decline. Therefore, whatever decision Yao Shengan insisted on, these people would definitely oppose it. Later, it was natural to join other shareholders to remove Yao Shengan as the chairman. And all the rest of the Yao family were kicked out of the management level.
As soon as the victims’ fortune changed for the better, they were naturally qualified to beat the wet dogs.
Many shareholders of Sheng’an Group were originally old friends of the Yao family. However, the attitude of the Yao family was really disappointing. Shares of Sheng’an Group fell sharply. The catering chains were empty of customers. The loss of business meant naturally the loss of interests of the shareholders. As the saying went, wealth shook people’s will. After several exchanges, some people were naturally persuaded by the new shareholders that Yao Sheng’an and the Yao family should indeed be responsible for the current state of the Sheng’an Group. They want Yao Shengan to take the blame and resign. Even a general meeting of shareholders was launched for this purpose.
At the critical moment, it was actually the Shen family who stood up and temporarily retained Yao Shengan’s seat——one had to admit that although the Shen family had ill intentions in the matter of the Sheng’an Group, they also knew Yao Shengan’s ability better than anyone. With the current situation of the Sheng’an Group, if there was no Yao Shengan to stabilize the situation, even if the Group did not fall apart, it was very likely that it would fall out of the ranks of the top food groups in Shanghai.
The father and son of the Shen family went to so much effort and made so many calculations to take 25% of the shares of Sheng’an Group. So they didn’t want to see their money being wasted. They had already suffered heavy losses because of Xiaoheng Capital’s sniping at Sheng’an Group’s stocks. The Shen family didn’t want to deal with any more trouble.
Therefore, Yao Shengan’s seat must be temporarily retained. At least until the Sheng’an Group re-consolidated its status as a Shanghai catering giant, Yao Shengan, the chairman and founder, could not leave. As for the idiot who embezzled public funds to pay usury, naturally no one would care about him.
However, while Yao Shengan’s chairman seat was temporarily retained, he also had to show his ability to the shareholders, turn the tide, and reassure the board of directors trust in him.
But Sheng’an Group’s reputation had become so bad, Yao Shengan couldn’t think of how to turn things around at all. He locked himself in the office for a long time. After thinking about it, the only way for the Sheng’an Group to find a means of survival depended on the Song family.
At this moment, Yao Shengan was very grateful to himself for his soft-hearted moment, inexplicably writing the recipes he had created over the many years into the “Song Family Cookbook”, and returning it together with the “Song Family Cookbook” to the Song family.
Back then, the old patriarch of the Song family taught his children to “do good deeds, don’t ask about the future”, Yao Shengan used to sneer and disapprove. Thinking about it at this moment, it really was true that there was always a light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps the reason why the old grandfather of the Song family taught his children “do good deeds, don’t ask about the future” was to enjoy this moment of joy in finding a life-saving rope in a desperate situation.
Yao Shengan wanted to pin his hope of whitewashing the Yao family’s reputation on his journey to kowtow to the Song family’s grave to make amends.
Tao Mu was naturally aware of this kind of thinking. Although after his visit to Shanghai, Tao Mu seemed to no longer pay attention to the Sheng’an Group and the Yao family. But the victims who had received the kindness of old man Song had always been thinking about repaying Tao Mu and old man Song for their kindness——of course, as well as show good will to Li Xiaoheng who stood behind Tao Mu. Therefore, it was understandable that they would make calls from time to time to report the current situation of the Yao family.
Thus, Tao Mu also knew the current situation of the Yao family very well. Judging others with himself, he could think of why Yao Shengan was so active to make amends. If he was Yao Shengan, it was likely that he would not miss such a good opportunity to whitewash himself and gain sympathy from others.
He said before that the world admired the strong and pitied the weak. This was actually not necessarily a good thing. Tao Mu had used this human habit himself, but now that Yao Shengan met a similar situation, this old bastard would naturally not let go of such an opportunity. He was sure that there would always be some keyboard holy mothers on the Internet who did not know the truth but still always stood indiscriminately on the side of the weak.
For example, the Tao Haiguo couple who tried to force Tao Mu using the moral high ground at the beginning. Another example was Yao Shengan, who was now a ‘hero in his old age’.
He still remembered when the Sheng’an Group bullied Tao Mu and the Song family. At that time, the Sheng’an Group was one of the top catering giants in the country. Tao Mu and the Song family were in a disadvantaged position. So a group of people sympathized with Tao Mu and the Song family while scolding the Sheng’an Group.
Today, the Sheng’an Group’s vitality was nearly completely damaged and barely holding on. Yao Shengan was also an old man, dragging his white-haired and sickly body over thousands of miles from Shanghai to the capital, just to kowtow to the Song family’s grave to make amends. It was likely that if someone saw this scene, they would forget the many lives of the Song family who died tragically in the past, as well as Yao Shengan’s endless dirty methods. And then easily begin to sympathize with Yao Shengan’s difficulty in his old age.
What was more, even if no one came out to sympathize with Yao Shengan, the Yao family could hire a water army to lead the discussion online.
Tao Mu, who had fought against Yao Wenxiao countless times in his last life, could almost think of what Yao Shengan could do even with his eyes closed. He was afraid that Shen Yu’s brain-dead guess earlier might really come true. It was just that the person who brought a camera to film the scene of Yao Shengan kowtowing and making amends was Yao Shengan himself.
Sure enough, after hearing Tao Mu’s question, Yao Shengan was silent for a moment, and then said in a dry voice: “I just want to say, if Mr. Song can forgive me, I am willing to kneel before my teacher’s grave for a day and a night.”
In such low temperatures, yet you want to kneel in front of the Song family’s grave for a day and a night. What are you planning?
Going to such an extent in order to act out such a dramatic scene!
Even though Tao Mu was prepared, but at this moment he couldn’t help but laugh in anger: “Grandpa, Yao Shengan said that he want to kneel in front of the Song family’s ancestral tomb for a day and a night to express his repentance to the Song family?”
Because he was going to pay homage to his ancestors, Mr. Song was packing incense candles and offerings while discussing with everyone enthusiastically the New Year’s Eve dinner and the dishes to be sacrificed to his ancestors in the morning. Liu Yao, Meng Qi, dean Tao, Feng Yuan, Gou Rixin and his mother, Qin Miaoru and her brothers were all in the courtyard. The large group of people were busy packing up the things, and they were discussing how many tables of mahjong they would need while watching the Spring Festival Gala in the evening, only to hear such mood dampening words.
The atmosphere of the whole Song Ji sank slightly, and they all looked at the old man inadvertently.
In order to set off the atmosphere of the Chinese New Year, everyone pasted new couplet blessings outside the door early in the morning, and hung all kinds of red lanterns in the restaurant. The old courtyard had high beams and deep eaves, and the lighting was not very good so Tao Mu asked people to light all the lanterns. The antique styled nine-grid palace lanterns swayed above their heads, and half of old man Song’s face was immersed in the red light, seemingly frozen for a while.
After a long silence, old man Song said slowly, “Have him go directly to the Song family’s ancestral tomb at four o’clock tomorrow morning.”
Tao Mu responded and conveyed the meaning of old man Song through the phone.
According to Yao Shengan’s thinking, he actually wanted to visit Song Ji with a camera. It would be even better to record the scene where he endured humiliation to plead for forgiveness only for the Song family to refuse to forgive. But he also knew that according to Song Daozhen’s temper, he would not accept his visit anyway. More importantly, Yao Shengan was not sure whether Tao Mu would let Song Daozhen fall into his calculations. Yao Shengan had a headache when he thought of that tough little bastard.
Now, the Yao family was already at risk and cornered from all sides. At this juncture, Yao Shengan was not afraid of being snubbed. But he also didn’t want unexpected troubles cropping up either.
So, after hearing Song Daozhen’s instruction, Yao Shengan waited obediently at the hotel, preparing to go to the Song family’s ancestral tomb early the next morning.
Because of this phone call, Mr. Song’s mood had dropped significantly. Just now he was telling everyone that he would also play two rounds of mahjong this New Years Eve. But now he did not speak a word, squatting in the kitchen and staring silently at his pots and pans instead. The fire on the stove was burning quietly, emitting a faint blue flame that illuminated people’s faces.
The large group of people looked at each other in dismay, and it was Tao Mu who went into the kitchen to coax the old man, and finally made the old man happy.
That’s right. Injustice would be revealed, and great hatred would be avenged. From now on one should live one’s days happily. There was no need to spoil one’s own New Year’s mood just because of a beast.
Whether he really thought it over or just didn’t want the youngsters to worry about him. Anyway, when Liu Yao took old man Song and Tao Mu to the grave to invite the ancestors, old man Song was very calm. When they came back for the New Year’s Eve dinner, the old man was also very happy. After playing mahjong, Tao Mu and his Yao Dad and Xiao Qi Dad joined hands and cooperated unabashedly to help the old man win.
In the end, the old man became embarrassed himself and no longer wanted to share a mahjong table with the three of them, insisting on a fair game. As a result, he went to Qin Miaoru and Gou Rixin’s table, only for the three young people who didn’t know how to respect the elderly win all his spare change.
But the old man was still very happy. Until the bell of the Spring Festival Gala rang, the old man barely even reacted. After being stunned for a while, he came back to his senses under the commotion of the group of youngsters making dumplings. It turned out that midnight had passed.
The old year was finally over and a new year was about to begin. In the room full of steaming delicious scent of dumplings, the old man silently drank two cups of warm wine.
This year had gone by so fast. The old man still remembered that in the summer, he and Tao Mu were angry with each other, this little bastard, worried that this kid was walking off the right path and would not have a good future. Who would have thought that the stinky boy came back from H Town, and not only started his own company, but also found two fathers for himself. Now, he had both a family and a career, and even got back the recipe book for the old Song family.
Why, it was like a dream.
When Mr. Song was helped by the youngsters to sleep on the bed in the main room, he was feeling a little tipsy. He remembered that at this time in previous years, he was alone in the empty courtyard with just the old TV as company, faced with the long night that would never end. On the TV, the whole family was reunited, year after year, but he was the only one left in the Song family, watching the New Year’s Eve dinner going from steaming hot dishes to cold dishes and cold bowls on the table.
The sound of falling snow rustled outside the window, the northwest wind whistled by, making howling sounds as it passed through the branches of the old locust tree, rolling the remaining snow on the branches, seeping into the old window cracks, to be swallowed along with the cold white wine down the stomach, causing the heart to also feel empty.
But this year, the courtyard, which had always been lonely and deserted, was full of people. A large group of shameless lads squatted outside to throw snowballs and make snowmen. A large group of people gathered around the dinner table to make dumplings. In previous years, the New Year’s Eve dinner, which was set out on the table as steaming hot only to grow cold, was now almost not enough for everyone to eat this year. The originally long and lonely night passed quickly in the time it took to play two rounds of mahjong. Even the wine he drank every year was now warm and steaming.
Warming the heart and bringing on a sense of intoxication.
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Old man Song was half lying on the carved wooden bed. Feeling the warm wet blankets rubbing gently on his face, neck and hands. A teardrop tumbled down and disappeared into the gray temples.
Truly, he had become old. Getting drunk with so little alcohol. So drunk that he never wanted to wake up from this dream.
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