BLL Chapter 30 Imitation

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Liu Yufeng raised his eyes and glanced toward the door. Ji Yan’s second uncle, Ji Youjin’s, and his second aunt, Liu Yufeng’s, two sons, Ji Shu and Ji Ya, were standing. One had an ambiguous smile on his face, while the other had a blank expression as he followed his brother. It was Ji Shu who spoke just now.

Ji Shu was a scheming person, like his mother, Liu Yufeng. He was always looking for ways to take advantage of the situation. He was completely different from his honest younger brother who worked hard to farm, Ji Ya. Early on, he came to the county town alone to find his path. He was strong, so he started carrying goods on the docks. Later, he relied on his ability to socialize and found a job on the dock, then married a daughter of a merchant or worked on the streets and alleys. He’d settled in the county town ever since.

He was at the docks and heard of a “manly” Shuang’er who moved goods on the docks. This Shuang’er, Ger Qiu, was pretty well known at the docks. He wasn’t ashamed to mix with a group of men. He didn’t resemble a Shuang’er in the slightest either. The others would gossip about him in their free time. It was said that Ger Qiu went to work at a restaurant these days. The new opened restaurant was famous among the dock workers. Ji Shu was curious and asked around, and learned that it was his cousin and cousin-in-law’s shop.

“Cousin…” Ger Yan bit his lip. He wiped his hands with a towel and walked to Lin Lixuan’s side. Ger Yan had a bad relationship with these two cousins. He was a bit closer to Ji Ya. Ji Shu had moved to the county town when he was younger, and so Ger Yan hadn’t spoken to him for many years.

“Ger Yan, you’ve become a lot more beautiful after marrying. I almost didn’t recognize you…”

Ger Yan thought the other party was here to talk about Zhao Qingqing. He glanced at Lin Lixuan with some uneasiness. Lin Lixuan reached out and patted his shoulder comfortingly.

Lin Lixuan said with a smile, “Hello, cousins.”

“Hello, cousin-in-law.”

“We opened our store a few days ago and didn’t have enough help. Ger Qiu and I intended to hire someone. We didn’t know you two were interested. If we had known, we wouldn’t have hired someone else. But now that we’ve already hired Ger Qiu and signed a long-term contract…”

Ji Shu rubbed his hands together, smiled, and looked around the entire Lin’s Restaurant. “That’s a shame.”

“Cousin-in-law, how much money can this store earn a day?”

“It’s just a small business. We’re barely surviving.” How could they tell them how much money they made?

Ji Shu clicked his tongue, obviously not believing Lin Lixuan’s words. “How is that possible? Look at all the people coming and going. You probably earn a few taels of silver each day, right? You probably earn two or three taels of silver a day…”

Lin Lixuan looked at him with a smile and made a gesture to repute his claim. “Cousin, you’re so funny. Is it that easy to make two or three taels of silver? After all the costs, it’s already good if we make four to five hundred wen in profit, and we still have to calculate the rent…”

Ger Yan looked at his two cousins, then turned his head to Lin Lixuan. Why was it different from what he’d imagined? Why didn’t his cousin ask about his cousin-in-law…and instead, kept asking about the store…

Ji Shu kept hinting at information from Lin Lixuan about the store. Lin Lixuan was tired of being asked questions. His words became sharp, it was clear that he was asking the other party to leave. Ji Ya was turning red-faced at being spoken to like that and was about to pull his brother’s hand to leave, but Ji Shu was still about to deal with Lin Lixuan’s impoliteness with a smile.

In the end, Lin Lixuan took advantage of the fact that the shop was about to close to send the two uninvited guests away. If these two weren’t Ger Yan’s cousins, there wouldn’t have been a reason to reach out and hit that smug face. He would have rolled up his sleeve and scolded and beat the other person.

“Why didn’t they ask about cousin-in-law’s matter?” Ger Yan curiously asked.

“Who knows? They just came to annoy us.” Two pieces of mooncake from the counter had been taken away, the tofu as well. The ground was still full of melon seed shells they had eaten. The melon seeds had been roasted by Zhao Liniang. Lin Lixuan had suggested using tea to roast the melon seeds. Zhao Liniang tried it and made a pot of roast melon seeds and placed it inside the shop for the guests. It was very popular with the customers. Some customers even ordered a cup of tea to pair with it.

This “eat and run”, wasn’t it just so annoying?

Ger Yan took a broom and swept up the melon seed shells.  He swept for a while and suddenly said angrily, “If they come again, we won’t let them inside the store.”

Lin Lixuan watched as he “gritted his teeth”, and he suddenly smiled. “Isn’t he your cousin, though?”

Ger Yan said seriously, “I don’t like them. Lin-dage, let’s not associate with them…”

“Okay…” Lin Lixuan smiled and said, “If they come again in the future, they will be driven out.”

A few days later, Lin’s Restaurant finally realized what Ji Shu had been up to. He had been investigating them. Today, a few customers came to the store and told him that a shop similar to Lin’s Restaurant had opened on the other side of the county town. The food they sold was an imitation of theirs. The layout of the shop was also similar to theirs. And the shopkeeper said that they were relatives of theirs as well…

Some people also came to ask if they were the ones who’d opened a branch of Lin’s Restaurant…

Hehe. Lin Lixuan picked up the Mandarin roll made by “Ji Family’s Restaurant” and was speechless. The things sold by Ji Family’s Restaurant were a lot cheaper than their Lin’s Restaurant by a copper coin. They also copied their method of giving out free soy milk. They relied on the price difference and freshness to attract many people to join in the fun.

“They went too far! Those bastards went too far!” Zhao Liniang was furious. She knew the Ji family wasn’t anything good. She must have been blind back then to have formed a marriage bond with the Ji family, making them relatives. They were really unbearable. When she found a marriage partner for Lin Lixuan, she thought that Ji Yan was a good boy. Lin Lixuan used to be a fool, so this orphan and widow duo didn’t have much to offer… But now that their days were getting better, bad relatives came out to annoy them…

“Mother, I’m sorry…” Ji Yan’s eyes reddened. He lowered his head and pinched the corner of his clothes.

“Ger Yan, be good. Mother isn’t scolding you.” Zhao Liniang took his hand and pulled him into her embrace to comfort him. These few months after Ger Yan married into the family, she had already considered him her own son. When he first came, she only considered him a daughter-in-law, but later saw that he was diligent and well-behaved. He listened to her every word, when even her own biological son sometimes went against her. Comparing the two, how could she afford to not like him? She intimately called him Ger Yan now. Besides, Ger Yan had married into their family, so he was part of the Lin family now.

“Then what should we do?”

“Hehe, don’t worry.” Lin Lixuan took a bite of the Mandarin roll. The poor imitation using poor ingredients resulted in poor taste. People with evil intentions, he was sure that everyone could see through it with a taste. “I think they’ll ruin themselves.”

They couldn’t take customers as fools. After the newness passed, they would have to depend on the quality of the product to attract customers.

Lin Lixuan heard a friend tell a story: A popular bakery chain story opened in front of a school. The first two days, there was a huge crowd outside the bakery. Everyone wanted to have a taste of the newly opened bakery, making the shop owner very happy. If someone went there late at night, the store wouldn’t want to sell it to you. But on the third day, the bakery’s door had been completely deserted. The bakery closed in less than a month.

They needed to stand the test of time first.

“I told you… Our shop is too popular. Ji Ya, count the money. There should be at least two taels of silver. We made two taels of silver in a day. There should be at least 60 taels of silver in a month. We’re rich. Don’t ever say that your brother never takes care of you. Stop staying home to farm. Come to the county town and help your brother out,” Ji Shu spoke to his younger brother and wife, Wu Xin’Er, as he counted the money.

Wu Xin’Er also persuaded him, “That’s right. Look how good your older brother is to you. You should bring Qingqing over in a few days…”

“Eh, okay. Thank you, brother, sister-in-law.” Ji Ya smiled wide.

Ji Shu pulled his wife close to him. “The noodles are old, and the soybeans will be made into soy milk anyway, so no need to buy good beans or pork. Wait till the butcher is about to close his stall to go over to buy some, and we’ll be able to get it a bit cheaper.”

“I understand…” She exchanged glances with her husband. Wu Xin’Er was the daughter of a merchant who roamed the streets. She knew the best tricks to save money.

She and Ji Shu were birds of the same feather.

Besides the first two days when Lin’s Restaurant was affected, there were more customers who came to their restaurant than before. The county town residents on the other side of town knew there was a restaurant here that sold delicious food. As for Ji Shu’s shop, the tides had turned for them.

Of course, that was mainly because of Lin Lixuan’s sharp tongue. Inside his store, he would explain the difference between his food and the other one. He would speak about the ingredients, noodles many times. He’d even soaked fresh soybeans for them to see. He would tell them that their own shop used the freshest pork. And if they believe their word, they could ask Butcher Liu…

Wu Xin’Er stood by the shop’s door. It…It was already noon, so why hadn’t anyone come to buy anything… She made a whole pile of mantou, what would they do if they couldn’t sell it…

“Why isn’t anyone coming to buy anything? I’ll call the dock workers over…” Ji Shu was anxious. Why did the customers disappear after only two days?

“Shu, what should we do if we can’t sell them all?”

“…Just leave them to sell tomorrow…”

It didn’t matter how good their goods were if they didn’t do any marketing. Under Lin Lixuan’s promotion, their customer flow greatly increased…

“Boss Lin, your shop is better. That shop’s soy milk stinks of beans. It’s terrible…”

“That’s right. The color of the soy milk isn’t right either…”

“Their Mandarin roll tastes horrible as well… The meat is all rancid. They sell ones that were left overnight as well. What black-hearted owners.”

“After finding your shop, I haven’t gone back to the other one…”

Their soy milk had been made with plump and beautiful soybeans. They didn’t use crude brown sugar, but white cubes of sugar that had been evaporated and filtered.

There was no comparison between the two. It was all thanks to those two cousins for the easy win…

However, Lin Lixuan wasn’t even able to bathe in this victory for two days before being scolded by Zhao Liniang.

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