109. Street Thug
“Ever since then,” JingYuan continued. “Qin HaiTian had been on his guard against Qin Feng. After all, the man had just strangled his mother in front of the boy. Back then, Qin Feng had been into quite a crazy young man. But a few years passed and Qin Feng behaved himself the whole time. Qin HaiTian let his guard down too. Perhaps he thought that the boy was his son. They’re connected by blood. He didn’t think Qin Feng’s silence wasn’t due to an absence of hate but because he was suppressing it. He used seven years to slowly get to know the ins and outs of the Hidden Dragon. Then, he whipped Qin HaiTian to death with just one belt.
“Under Qin HaiTian’s leadership, the gang would do anything and everything. They’d overreached and offended someone up top. Qin Feng acted before the officials could do anything. After Qin Feng took over the Hidden Dragon, he began a great revolution. The gang refused to have anything to do with drugs from then on. It was all so well-organised that the higher ups decided they liked him and they wouldn’t interfere with him. Currently, they’re in a rather precarious balance.”
“I understand.” YiHan nodded. “Light and dark exist together. The world cannot be absolutely good. If the river’s too clear, there’ll be no fish.”
“That’s right,” JingYuan praised. “That is why the Hidden Dragons and the five great families all stay out of each other’s business. They’ll keep to themselves. They won’t make enemies with each other nor would they really befriend each other. We all know of each other’s existence and general motives. As long as we don’t disturb each other, everyone will be fine.”
YiHan nodded along as JingYuan explained. No matter how ambitious the five families got, the Hidden Dragon wouldn’t care about what happened at all as long as the gang wasn’t involved. They’re on opposite banks of the river. All they’d do was watch as the fire burned. They wouldn’t put it out. It was why he never knew of the Hidden Dragon in his last life.
“Qin Feng is quite pitiful,” YiHan sighed. “He has a father but he might as well not have one. His mother’s dead and he still had to live such a bloody life. But since he’d reached the top, he’d become the Dragon’s head, why did he get so hurt and how was he saved by Fang Yi?”
“It happened a while ago,” JingYuan replied. “Qin HaiTian is like a centipede. Cut off one head and the other brains will keep moving on. Qin HaiTian’s loyal protectors seized the chance to assassinate Qin Feng when he was all alone, as revenge. Actually, that opportunity was just a trap. Qin Feng baited them out to kill them all off. He was hurt during the process and went missing for a time. He was probably recovering with Fang Yi then.”
“It feels like a story from another world,” YiHan said.
“That’s technically the truth,” JingYuan softly said, smoothing back YiHan’s hair with a gentle hand. “You’re born in the light and you grew up in the light. He was born to the dark and he was raised in the dark. It’s not wrong to say it’s another world. However, you don’t need to understand his world. You don’t have anything in common. You’re not going to be close friends. Just like tonight. We recognised each other but we said nothing. Not just because Fang Yi still doesn’t know who he is, it’s also because it’s the silent agreement those in the light and in the dark have with each other.”
“Then, Fang Yi…” YiHan worriedly said.
“You must understand, HanHan,” JingYuan said. “Everyone has their own path. You can’t make decisions on Fang Yi’s behalf. He’s a virtuous, passionate and bold man, but he’s not socially adept. It’d be very easy for him to attract the ire of someone petty. While Qin Feng is dangerous, he is someone who understands gratitude. He definitely doesn’t have any bad intentions for Fang Yi. Instead, he’d protect the man. Perhaps this is Fang Yi’s fate. With someone protecting him from the dark, he’s free to be the passionate and righteous policeman he wants to be.
“This is his path. We can’t meddle too much or it’d be extremely easy for our good intentions to have the opposite effect.”
YiHan recalled his past life. When he met with Fang Yi back then, the man already had quite some power. It was also clear he was as hotblooded and empathetic as he was now. Fang Yi had no one backing him up. With how dazed and green the man was, if he didn’t transform into a social butterfly, it would be awfully hard for him to be successful. Instead, he’d be battered up by how cruel reality was. However, if someone were to be his secret protector, everything made sense.
YiHan looked at JingYuan with admiration. This man was so smart and wise that he could see through the ways of the world. It’s a skill YiHan would never be able to learn.
JingYuan savoured being bathed in his lover’s worshipful gaze. Amazing! In one fell swoop, he curried favour with the little one and took care of a potential love rival. He couldn’t have done it any better. The answer he gave was spectacular!
When they arrived at the restaurant, it was rather busy as they were there in time for dinner rush hour. Barbeque tasted the best when paired with beer and there were plenty who were smoking. The main eating hall stank of haze and smog as loud chattering echoed and bounced off the walls.
Usually, Fang Yi wouldn’t think anything about it. All barbeque restaurants were like this. But when he walked through the door with YiHan and JingYuan behind him, he felt extremely uneasy. The couple behind him so did not fit in with the crowd here.
Fang Yi turned back in embarrassment to find YiHan looking as natural as can be in a room like this. This young man should be the most sheltered of them all yet when he saw an empty table across the room, he walked straight over without an ounce of contempt in his face.
The policeman let out a sigh of relief. With a small smile, he quickly followed.
The four men sat down. It was a square table. YiHan and JingYuan sat together on one side while Fang Yi and Qin Feng sat opposite them.
“I did say I’d treat you to dinner,” YiHan said with a bright smile. “Be it here or Yan Hao, it’s dinner. But you simply had to choose this place. Are you trying to save me some money, you silly man? I’d be secretly laughing if so.”
“I’m someone destined to be a stingy poor man,” Fang Yi responded with an equally bright smile. “If I picked somewhere so expensive, I wouldn’t be full.”
“This place is good too,” YiHan said. “The food smells great. Come. It’s my treat today and you’re the star. Order us some food. You can take the bill next time.”
“I can’t afford to treat you to food at Yan Hao,” Fang Yi gasped in shock.
YiHan blinked and whispered, “Actually, I don’t like going there too. No matter how pretty the decorations and cutlery are, it’s useless. We’re not there to eat the plate. And they’re so fussy with having different plates and all that. I’d rather go have some noodles!”
Fang Yi laughed so hard at the admission that his shoulders were jerking up and down.
“I sincerely agree with what you said,” Qin Feng concurred.
Eventually, Fang Yi calmed down.
“You speak as if you’d been to Yan Hao,” Fang Yi said, rolling his eyes at the younger man.
Qin An froze. “So what if I hadn’t been there before?” he said after letting out an awkward cough. “You can’t look down on me for that.”
“I’m not looking down on you,” Fang Yi solemnly said. “I only want to warn you. Don’t ever go to that place. Not only must you be dressed up in a pressed suit, but you must also have a refined air about you. If a street thug like you rocked up, they might not even let you in. It’d be humiliating.”
Qin An: …well done. In the future, I must bring you there with me. You’ll be scared stiff.
YiHan and JingYuan: …well done. You’re probably the only one alive who’d dare say that of this powerful leader of the underground world.
The barbeque restaurant Fang Yi chose was a place where the staff would provide pre-marinated food. The customers would grill the food themselves. The food didn’t look bad, and the cutlery, plates and bowls looked clean. JingYuan rolled up his sleeves and got to work. Whatever YiHan pointed to, JingYuan would cook. The man would look after the fire’s size and carefully turned the food over to the other side as they cooked. He treated the food on the grill with an even more serious attitude than when handling business deals worth billions.
YiHan stared at the sizzling skewers of meat, eager anticipation glimmering in his eyes. He pointed to the skewer that was the first to be placed on the grill.
“This one should be done, right?” asked YiHan.
JingYuan picked up the skewer and thoroughly inspected each inch of meat that could be seen.
“It still needs to cook for a while longer,” JingYuan said. “It’s not cooked through yet.”
With an obedient little “oh”, YiHan leaned back. He took a sniff of the scents wafting up from the food as he continued to watch his meal cook. Food was only given to him after passing JingYuan’s three rounds of inspections and verbal approval. When one finally passed the tests, YiHan eagerly picked up the skewer from his plate, huffed twice at it and bit into it.
“Mmh,” he hummed in happiness. “It’s delicious. Officer Fang, you really picked a good spot.”
JingYuan placed another skewer on YiHan’s plate. This time, it consisted of vegetables.
“Blow on it a little more,” JingYuan murmured to YiHan. “It’s very hot.”
Fang Yi and Qin Feng were astonished. They thought YiHan only agreed to come to such a place because he didn’t want to be rude to Fang Yi. They didn’t expect him to really eat anything. To their surprise, YiHan actually ate a full skewer. He looked so happy and satisfied with his food.
“I often come here,” Fang Yi proudly stated around a mouthful of meat. “Their prices are reasonable and they’ve got big portions. Most importantly, their food tastes good. They’re one of the best when it comes to their marinate. I hear it’s a secret recipe from the boss. No one else knows of it.”
“A restaurant’s food quality cannot be judged by the size of the shop,” YiHan said, nodding along. “A lot of places are hidden gems. This place is quite nice. We can come here more often.”
“Very nice, Little Master Bai! You’re a great man to get along with!” Qin Feng roared in laughter.
“Call me my name,” YiHan said with a wave of his hand. “It’s so weird to hear someone call me Little Master Bai on such a happy and casual dinner outing.”
“Yet you keep calling me Officer Fang,” chuckled Fang Yi.
“My bad,” YiHan said, raising his hands up in surrender. “Come, come, Fang Yi. Pour me a cup of juice. This is rather spicy.”
Fang Yi hurriedly poured some orange juice into YiHan’s cup. After a few sips, YiHan began chowing down on the vegetable skewer JingYuan had given him.
JingYuan brows furrowed slightly. He didn’t think YiHan would really like the food here. He thought YiHan only wanted to come because it’d be something new and exciting. If YiHan kept eating like this, his digestive system might not be able to handle the food. However, JingYuan couldn’t bring himself to stop YiHan from enjoying himself.
As JingYuan debated with himself on the issue, he heard YiHan say, “This beef is nice. It’s tender and juice. It’s very appetising.”
Before JingYuan’s brain could react to what he heard, his hands had already reached out and placed a few more beef skewers on the grill. Regret began to grow when he realised what he’d done, but then he turned to find YiHan’s eyes shining bright at his actions. Those chubby cheeks bopped up and down. There was a dab of sauce staining the edges of YiHan’s mouth. JingYuan pursed his lips and silently committed himself to cooking the skewers thoroughly.
YiHan could tell JingYuan was conflicted about something, but he thought it was because the other man wanted to try some yet was too proud to do so. YiHan raised one of his beef skewers to JingYuan’s mouth.
“It’s super nice,” YiHan coaxed, smile beaming up at JingYuan. “Try it?”
JingYuan shot a glance at YiHan and down at the skewer. He reached up, grabbed the skewer and took a bite.
“Well?” YiHan anxiously asked.
JingYuan looked back at YiHan. Finally, a snort of laughter burst out of him and he wiped YiHan’s mouth with a paper towel.
“It’s not bad,” JingYuan said with a smile.
“Right? Right?” YiHan joyfully crowed. “I’m telling you; barbeque is a food that can’t be eaten with dignity and refinement. Put table manners, etiquette and all that aside. Food will taste much nicer that. It’s such a relaxing thing to do.”
JingYuan nodded and continued nibbling on the skewer in his hand.
Fang Yi and Qin Feng looked at each other in the eye. They were holding back so much laughter that they could feel their bodies aching at the strain. Who knew that there’d be shocking revelations waiting for them once they properly got to know Bai YiHan? This man was actually teaching the big boss of Mu Group how to eat grilled skewers with a straight face. Would anyone believe them if they said it out loud?
But then again, no one would even believe them if they said they’d had grilled skewers together. Right? They would definitely be mocked as delusional mad men.
The four cheerfully ate and spent the evening away. Meanwhile, a hurricane was brewing elsewhere.
Qin Feng, Qin An: The changes between using Qin An and using Qin Feng are kept from the original text.
Great man to get along with: This line should technically go, “Little Master Bai, you sure are a carefree (easily satisfied) man! That’s the way to live/I like you!”. It doesn’t really roll off the tongue as easily though.