Chapter 44: Put one’s finger into another’s pie
Ye Jiayao gritted her teeth and paid 100 copper coins on a room with the plate number “earth”.
After days of sleeping with other guys, finally, she was able to stay in a room by herself. Ye Jiayao carefreely took off her clothes and bra to shower comfortably. For almost a month, she only had been wiping herself clean and she?was already starting to feel rotten.
She changed into some fresh, clean clothes and set out to look for food.
She walked to the hall where she saw a few customers quarreling with a staff.
“Why are you serving this disgusting food with such an expensive price? Is this a tourist trap?” One of the young men slammed the chopsticks down causing the dishes and the table to violently shake.
The staff seemed already used to it as he showed no visible signs of panic. He said calmly,?“I’ve told you beforehand that the chef was not here today, and we can’t make any delicious meals. It was you who insisted to stay and eat here.”
The fat customer looked indignant and acted as if the waiter didn’t speak. “The vegetables are over-cooked, and the beans are too salty! And what is this? Is this braised meat in a brown sauce? It looks like crisp fat!”
“It doesn’t matter now if it was disgusting or delicious. You insisted on eating here, and you’ve already finished your meals. You must pay. Four dishes and one soup totals to one silver coin.” The waiter held his palm open, asking for the money.
“We are not paying anything! As a matter of fact, we are not staying in this place anymore. We’re going!” The customers lifted their baggage, preparing to leave.
“Aye! You can’t go! You haven’t paid the rental fee yet. If you don’t pay, I will report to police.”
“Go and report for all we care. We are looking for somewhere else to stay. Your business is disgusting. You gave us dirty sheets, cold tea, and foods that were suited for pigs! Pay you? Ha!” The customer was very cocky.
Ye Jiayao realized that these customers were trying to get out of paying the motel. Yes, the food was bad, but the service was quite good, the room was clean, and the tea was hot. The?staff especially sent two pots of hot water for her when she wanted to take a shower.
In good conscience, Ye Jiayao could not let this pass. She went to ask the scared cashier behind the counter.
“Sir, how long did they live in this place?”
The cashier answered, “They have lived here for more than half a month and they asked for two rooms with plate number ‘People’. They only paid two silver coins as a deposit and they still owe us six silver coins.”
“Where is your manager?” Ye Jiayao only saw the cashier and the wait staff.
“The manager is not here. If he is here, they would have no way to repudiate the debt. They are only doing this because our manager is away,” the cashier despised.
Ye Jiayao nodded. She had seen ‘dine and ditch’, but not ‘live and ditch’.??Well, what do you know, ancient times also has its share of reprobates.
The tricksters were starting to cause a scene, pushing the wait staff around and?gearing up to start a fight. Other tenants of the motel must’ve heard the commotion and rushed down to take a look. Even people outside the motel circled around to?look.
Ye Jiayao saw the unfair incident and couldn’t just stand by and do nothing. She went to stand between the two parties and smilingly said, “Big brothers, you can negotiate with each other and avoid this fight. Don’t get too angry or you’ll hurt your liver. Come, we can settle this inside.”
The man saw the good-looking guy meddling in their business and was immediately frustrated. They were looking for a reason to leave, they didn’t want to go inside and ‘settle’ the dispute. He said angrily, “Stay out of this! It’s none of your business!”
“I also came to live in the motel. I just heard it was a tourist trap and I wanted to know for sure. If it is really a tourist trap, I don’t want to live here any longer,” Ye Jiayao replied calmly.
The wait staff was worried. “Sir, you can’t believe what they said. Our motel is small, but our service is good. Our price is clear, and we tell no lies to anyone. Our neighbors and everyone who has stayed here can prove that.”
“Good service my ass! It is definitely a tourist trap.” The fat man sounded indignant.
“It is!” two other men with him echoed.
“You’re saying all these awful things because you just want to repudiate the debt”?The wait staff’s face turned red with anger.
“What did you say?” The fat man grabbed the wait staff’s collar, almost lifting him off his feet and stared at him fiercely.
“You said this place is a tourist trap. Why do you say so? You must give some reasons so that the others would be aware as well,” Ye Jiayao reasoned before turning to the spectators. “How about you all? What do you think?”
The people around them all echoed the same sentiments as Ye Jiayao.
The wait staff felt foolish. He thought that this good-looking young man was a nice gentleman that was coming to his aid. He thought that he misjudged Ye Jiayao as she appeared to take the sides of the troublemakers.
Ye Jiayao deliberately set them up because she knew that these rascals only made up a reason to leave. There was no way they could rationally explain their side of things once she asked them for facts.
“I don’t need to enumerate all the bad things in this motel because the customers who live here already know. We even lost some of our things, and the wait staff was the only one who came in our room. You see they cleverly disguised their thieves as the guards!”
Ye Jiayao sneered.??This low-life really would blame anyone and anything just to get out of paying.
“Tell us then, which one of you saw me steal your things?” the motel staff countered angrily.
“Well, we can’t really prove anything regarding your missing stuff, as you don’t have a tangible evidence. Even if you go to the police, they can’t convict the wait staff with just your words to go on. What I’m curious about, though, is how bad the motel is. I’m wondering how did you manage to spend more than half a month here if you hated it so much? There are many other better motels in Jin Ling City, surely?” Ye Jiayao said.
The four customers looked at each other, unable to answer her.
Everyone around them understood the situation, and all smiled secretly.
“It seems to me, that you like this motel seeing as you lived here for quite some time. I just arrived here today and I’m staying in a room with a number plate ‘earth’, which by the way, is the lowest. The blankets were soft and clean, they have warm and cold tea, and the service is great. All of that, for the price they’re asking? I say it’s fair.”
Other tenants of the motel nodded, agreeing with what Ye Jiayao said.
She was on a roll as she continued, “On the account of the dishes not being great as they were supposed to be, you were warned earlier that the chef was not present. It was understandable that the dishes were not as delicious as you expected. How about this? I will make you guys another round of dishes. After you finish eating, you’ll pay the rest of the rental fee, and leave. Is that okay?”
“Manager Du is a great man who runs this motel for so many years. He’s well-liked by everyone.”
“It is not easy for them to run the business with a small capital. It would be good to just talk through the misunderstanding.”
The neighbors and tenant rounded out to call for fairness.
“Just let it go,” a voice from the crowd urged.
The four customers had nowhere to go. Their guilty conscience was already showing on their faces and if they refuse Ye Jiayao, they would appear more unreasonable. They had no choice but to go along. “Okay, you’ve convinced us. We will let it go but we refuse to live here anymore.”
“Alright. Now, go pay the rental fee, and I will go to the kitchen to cook for you.” Pulling her sleeves up, she turned to the wait staff and asked, “Where is the kitchen?”
The wait staff pointed at the back hall. “It is behind the small yard on the left-hand side.”
After the dispute has been settled, and the four customers left, Ye Jiayao gave one silver coin to the cashier.
“It doesn’t feel right to take that,” the wait staff said embarrassedly. He thought he misjudged the little brother earlier, but it turns out that he really was a gentleman.
“I insist.” Ye Jiayao set the money down on the counter and returned to her room.
One silver coin was a lot of money to her, but Ye Jiayao never lost money in business. Sometimes, suffering a loss is a blessing, and she knew that the silver coin would return to her in multiple.
On the second day, Ye Jiayao woke up very early because she was going to start looking for a job.
She was just about to leave when she heard a knock on her door. “Little brother, are you up yet?”
Ye Jiayao opened the door to the wait staff from last night. “Good morning! What can I do for you?”
The waiter’s smile showed excitement. “Little brother, our manager wants to see you!”
“Your manager is back?”
“Yes, he came back last night. He arrived very late and we didn’t want to bother you.”
Ye Jiayao followed the waiter as he led her to the manager, a short, fat middle-aged man who looked like the Buddha when he smiles.
“Little brother Li, thank you so much for what you did yesterday.” Manager Du made an obeisance by cupping one hand in the other before his chest to thank her.
Ye Jiayao returned that with a polite gesture and a smile. “It was nothing, manager Du. You’re most welcome.”
“I’ve felt something wrong about those customers from Wei Zhou ages ago. I should’ve known that they would try to run away when I’m not here. Little Yang told me that you managed to stop them with a few words and get them to pay their rental fee. I am a man who repays his debt, little brother Li. These two silver coins are for you. I can’t let you spend money on a favor you delivered.”
Ye Jiayao refused to take it, but manager Du forced to put the money in her hands.
“Take it, take it. Otherwise, I won’t let you live in the motel,” manager Du jokingly threatened.
Ye Jiayao finally took the silvers.
Manager Du asked, “What are you doing in Jin Ling, little brother?”
“I’m looking for a job here in Jin Ling. I was a chef in Shang Dong and I only arrived here yesterday,” Ye Jiayao answered honestly.
was a chef in Shang Dong and looking for a job in Jin Ling. I only arrived here yesterday, and I am looking for work right now.” Ye Jiayao said honestly.
“You are a chef?” The manager was surprised.
“Yes! I studied for a few years and I know how to make a few dishes.”
“Do you know how to cook Huaiyang dishes?”
“Yes, I am good at making Huaiyang dishes.” Ye Jiayao was dancing inside. The way that the manager was asking her made her think that he wanted to hire her as a cook.
Manager Du laughed and loudly called, “Second lady, second lady!”
A woman lifted the bamboo curtain and asked, “What is going on?”
Manager Du said, “Isn’t this a coincidence? Big uncle’s hotel needs a chef and here we have a chef in our motel. This is little brother Li who helped us solve the problem yesterday. He is a chef and good at Huaiyang dishes.”
The woman looked at Ye Jiayao with doubtful eyes. “You’re a chef? How? You’re so young.”
Ye Jiayao saw the woman’s hand stick with fish scales and guessed that she might be the proprietress as well as the cook. “Big sister, if it will appease you, you can ask me any question.”
The woman was slightly reassured with Ye Jiayao’s confidence.
Manager Du said, “Are you going to the hotel to help during lunch time? You can bring him to see your brother. If he is happy with little brother’s work, he doesn’t have to look around anymore.”
Manager Du was a warm-hearted person. He recognized the big help that Ye Jiayao had done for him last night and he wanted to return the favor.
The woman hesitated before saying, “Sure, I will bring him. Heads up, though,?my brother is not looking for any mediocre chef. You have to impress him little brother Li.”
Ye Jiayao nodded, grateful for the help they were giving.
It was true that a good act will always be rewarded.