The problem with the old priest was that he could not see things clearly on his own, but would not be completely convinced by advice from others either. Determined that the senior did not tell him everything, Priest Mo had set his mind to stay here for a little while longer.
In spite of being the abbot of Wuliang Temple, he did not have to deal with any routine tasks at all. His subordinates included a temple supervisor and eight errand-men in charge of the guests, housing, storage, accounts, scriptures, ceremonies, main hall and reception office, respectively. Nothing would require his personal attention.
That was to say, he could stay in Bai Town for as long as half a month and no one would be looking for him. He had requested explicitly to be allowed to live for a short period in Ziyang Temple of Phoenix Mountain so that he could consult a senior and share experiences.
'Consult my ass! How am I supposed to cultivate with you beside me on the mountain?' The idea had given Gu Yu a terrible headache. The old man was hopelessly shameless and had decided to pester him no matter what. Gu Yu found him most obnoxious, but there was nothing he could do about it.
After finally getting rid of the old priest, Gu Yu calmed himself down a bit and busied himself with incense-making again.
Speaking of that, Zeng Yuewei had some awesome friends--they had ordered fifteen boxes of Wake-up Incense and seven boxes of incense pills these past days. With the price she had suggested, that is 1200 for the incense sticks and 400 for the pills, he could make a profit of over 20000 yuan with this batch.
The only downside was that the job would be quite monotonous. Forming 900 incense sticks in total, he might as well start a fire with it.
Becoming a peddler was a last resort back then. Now that a better alternative was available, naturally his attention turned elsewhere. This was only the first batch and if he could have a steady stream of customers, the peddler life would become history forever.
To Gu Yu, both He Tian and He Zun were names of the past. As it turned out, though, a big surprise was waiting for him the next day.
The following morning.
Gu Yu finished his morning exercise and stopped by the food market to get some groceries, then toddled back home with the bags. He had just turned into the alley when he saw three fellows hover outside his house. Noticing Gu Yu, they called out in unison, "Mr. Gu!"
He took a closer look and realized the man in the front seemed to be the personal hatchet man of He Zun. Just as he was trying to figure out why they were here, the man said, "Chairman He and Chairman Li had sent us here to express their apology. Here is a token of their regard, please kindly accept it!"
"Don't just stand there, take them inside! Quickly! Quickly!"
"Hey, wait a minute…"
Before he had a chance to stop them, the other two men carried the things they brought into his yard at an amazing speed.
That man gave him a slight bow and went on, "Mr. Gu, do help us out here. We are only foot soldiers following the bosses' order. If you don't take these, it's our asses that'll get kicked when we go back… so, that's all, we're leaving!"
That was it. After the no-nonsense announcement, the three men went away swiftly in the same no-nonsense style, leaving Gu Yu with little time to react.
Gu Yu stood there dazed for quite a while before he went inside and walked around the pile of gifts. There weren't actually that many things. They had brought six boxes of various sizes in total, which looked rather conspicuous outside his door.
"Yoho, Xiao Gu, you've bought a lot of stuff. What's the occasion?"
Perfect, just the thing he needed right now. A passing neighbor saw the pile of boxes and asked at the top of his voice.
"Well, they are from a friend, from a friend!"
Gu Yu replied nervously and moved everything into his room in a flurry. Unable to restrain his curiosity, he unboxed them.
The first thing he took out was a small ornament in the style of a lonesome boat, likely made from agarwood. There was also a jade plate in the shape of a pair of fish--the material felt smooth and moist with a bright and limpid appearance. One could tell from a glimpse that it was of top quality. These two were the chief objects and the rest were just miscellaneous stuff.
He Zun and Li Yan were very thorough and thoughtful. The gifts they sent were of some value, but not so precious that they would be impractical. They even included a couple of gift cards, one of Bai Town Mall and the other of Shengtian Mall. Gu Yu could not tell how much money each card was worth, but the amount should be substantial.
The action of sending him gifts was no more than an attempt to please him and build up a relationship with him. Once he accepted the gifts, they would send another batch later. In the course of time, a stable demand-supply relationship would be established. When they were in actual need of his help, he would not be able to say no.
Therefore, Gu Yu wrapped everything up the way it was and put the boxes into a corner, planning to return them through the Zeng family later on.
After taking care of that, he browsed the internet for a while. When it was almost time, he went into the kitchen, starting to wash and trim the vegetables for cooking.
Fang Qing's exams finished today and she was coming over for lunch. The girl did well, which was a great comfort for Uncle and Aunt Fang. They had job to do in the morning and had left Fang Qing in Gu Yu's hand.
Gu Yu bought a kilo of streaky pork specially for today--the meat was from the real black-haired free range pigs. He threw the pork into a pot to thoroughly scald it, then took it out and chopped it. He heated the oil in a wok and put the pork in. After adding a rock candy, he stir fried the meat and used dark soy sauce to give it color. When the water was boiled, he poured some yellow rice wine and threw in ginger slices, star anise and some hot pepper.
He lowered the heat to a medium level, stewing the meat slowly.
Twenty minutes later, an aroma filled the air. Another twenty minutes passed and he added in quail eggs and carrot chunks. In another ten minutes, he turned up the heat to reduce the liquid. His timing was perfect. As he was loading food into plates, the girl was calling outside, "Brother, I'm home...! Wow, that smells so good!"
As soon as Fang Qing stepped inside, she snuffled around. "Brother, you are the best. My mum never makes braised pork for me."
"That's because she's worried about your weight."
Gu Yu laughed and brought the dishes to the table. Aside from the braised pork with eggs, there was also a bunch of assorted vegetables mixed with sauce--one meat dish and one vegetable dish. He filled their two bowls with cooked rice and sat down. "How was the exam this morning?"
"It was the easiest, all reciting stuff," the girl was full of confidence.
"Wow, in that case, No. One High School wouldn't be a problem, then?" Gu Yu teased.
"Hehe, I'm not that good. Anyway, I'm definitely not going to a vocational school!"
After getting the load off her back, Fang Qing was the happiest girl today. She couldn't stop her blabbering. "The best student in my class cried after the exam today. Oh my, he was hanging onto his mother right outside the school gate… he's so weak. Even I'm better than that! And that Lin Junlong, he didn't even bother to come to the exam today. I don't even have to guess how he did."
"Is he still going to find a job?" Gu Yu asked.
"Definitely! I asked him before the exams. He said he had an uncle in Shengtian, who has a repair shop there. He could probably get 500 yuan a month working for his uncle."
"How much did you expect for him to earn as an apprentice? He'll earn more in the future."
They chatted on throughout the lunch, finishing the entire plate of braised pork and the assorted vegetables dish until only some broth was left.
While Gu Yu was cleaning away the table and washing dishes, Fang Qing, restless from a stuffed stomach, was wandering around the room. She turned around and saw the pile of gifts. "Brother, what are those?"
"They are for someone else, don't meddle with them."
"Brother, what's this little gourd for?"
"It's used for burning incense."
"Brother, when did you get this pair of bead strings?"
"Qing Qing, why don't you use the laptop for a while?" He was getting a headache from all the questions.
Fang Qing sat down right in front of the laptop and swiped the mouse. The screen came back to life and on its bottom right corner was a minimized chat software.
She clicked on it secretively. Just as the software enlarged, a beeping came along, making the girl start. Luckily, Gu Yu was washing dishes out in the kitchen. Even if he heard the sound, he would probably think it was for Fang Qing.
Feeling uneasy, Fang Qing was about to close the window. She glanced at the avatar and noticed, 'Hey, this person is in the 'special attention' group.'
"Tsk tsk, the restless hormone, ah!"
She knew her big brother too well to know that he would not take meaningless actions, which meant he must care a lot about this person.
Just as the saying went, 'Teenage girls would ruin the world.' She rolled her eyes and gave the avatar a quick and nervous click. A dialog window jumped out with a line on it, "What are you doing now?"
Being an experienced internet roamer, Fang Qing knew every trick there was in chatting. She immediately typed back, "Just finished lunch. You?"
"About to have a meeting. Our apartment is having a team-building activity, we are going to discuss which place we should go to have some fun."
The mischievous girl had no idea what team-building was, but that would not stop her from being naughty. An idea suddenly came to her mind and she replied, "Come to Phoenix Mountain then. It's not far and you'll have a lot of fun here."
The person on the other side went silent. After a few seconds, a question popped up in the window, "Who are you?"