Before Li Yundong could say anything, Liu Chuan was right beside their table along with his entourage, which consisted of a bunch of good-looking men and women.
"Well, well, well... What a coincidence!"
Li Yundong decided that he didn't like the look on Liu Chuan's face.
"Ooh... I see you've ordered the full-course meal, eh? Whoa! Tsk, tsk! What's this?" Liu Chuan turned around to give his entourage a look. "Using chopsticks at a fine dining restaurant!" Liu Chuan guffawed. "Man... This is creativity on a whole new level!"
Several giggles sounded.
When Li Yundong lifted his gaze and appraised Liu Chuan's entourage, the giggles stopped immediately. Li Yundong smirked. Call him vain, but he was glad he had that kind of effect on people these days; he could end a fight or a confrontation before it even began.
Li Yundong returned his gaze to Liu Chuan, who was now entertaining one of his groupies with an attempt to pick up a shellfish with Zhou Qin's chopsticks. Looks like this guy hasn't learned his lesson last time.
Li Yundong regarded Liu Chuan for a moment.
I bet this is about revenge...
Liu Chuan got humiliated the other day when Li Yundong had him pinned up against the wall with one hand. Li Yundong didn't remember much—he was in a Zouhuo Rumo state—about that incident, but he knew that Liu Chuan became the university's laughing stock after that day. Apparently, Li Yundong's violent behavior had caused Liu Chuan to forget all about his potty training. Some said that Liu Chuan had peed himself while others mentioned that he had shitted himself. Li Yundong personally thought that it was both.
Li Yundong did a quick scan across the restaurant. No signs of Zhou Qin yet.
Li Yundong had a feeling that this would be over very quickly if Zhou Qin were present.
Li Yundong smirked. He wondered what would happen if he announced to the entire restaurant about Liu Chuan little "accident." He was honestly surprised that his entourage hadn't heard about it already. Then again, maybe they did, just that Liu Chuan's big, fat, checkbook was too hard to say no to.
Liu Chuan planted himself in Zhou Qin's chair. From the corner of his eyes, Li Yundong noticed Su Chan's scowl. Li Yundong patted Su Chan's knee under the table, then gave her a subtle head shake. No need to cause any trouble here. This should be handled with tact.
Liu Chuan appeared to be studying the dishes on their table. "Not bad, not bad... You even knew what to order. I didn't know you have it in you... Hmm... the full thirteen courses... Oh, wait, wait, wait. Something isn't right... One course is missing!" Liu Chuan's face morphed into a smug look. He turned to the side and waved at someone in his entourage. "Hey, babe. Come here for sec."
A beautiful woman who wore heavy make-up strode over. "Um... Liu Chuan... Who are they? Are they your friends?"
"Oh, he's my classmate," Liu Chuan said offhandedly, pulling the woman into his lap.
"Babe..." Liu Chuan gestured at the table. "There's a course missing on this table. Can you guess which one? I'll give you a big reward if you guess it right!"
The rest of Liu Chuan's friends, which consisted of two men and two women, came over as well.
Li Yundong chuckled and put down his chopsticks. Oh... Now I see where this is going... He leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms in front of his chest. He believed he had just figured out the identity of the customer whose pre-order Zhou Qin had just canceled earlier. A small smile tugged at Li Yundong's lips as he watched Liu Chuan running the show. Or at least the guy thought he was running the show. This pathetic, attention-seeking drama queen had no idea that he was in for a huge surprise, and Li Yundong certainly had no plans on telling him. Why ruin all the fun?
Beside their table, the two men and two women who came into the restaurant with Liu Chuan whispered among themselves. Li Yundong heard a few French terms being tossed around as they tried to guess the name of the missing dish. Despite the promise of a reward, the woman in Liu Chuan's lap wasn't as enthusiastic about the guessing game as were her other companions. Instead, the woman kept sneaking glances at Su Chan. Li Yundong had to hold back his smirk every time he detected the look of insecurity on the woman's face.
"So, babe? Can you guess what the missing dish is?"
The woman tore her gaze away from Su Chan. "Aww... I really can't guess, baby... This is my first time trying out French cuisine! You know that! Why don't you...um…" The woman traced circles near the collar of Liu Chuan's shirt. "Why don't you teach me?" Her voice was so sickeningly sweet that it nearly made Li Yundong throw up.
Liu Chuan's face was practically dripping smugness at this point. He waved his hand across the table.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the missing dish is... wait for it..."
Li Yundong suppressed the urge to roll his eyes. F*cking drama queen. Should I do a drum roll for you too?
"The Beluga caviar!" Liu Chuan announced proudly. "It's one of French Cuisine’s finest dishes. And also one of the most luxurious!"
Silence spread across the table. Li Yundong smiled when he saw the look of recognition flitting across Su Chan's face. About time she figured it out...
Liu Chuan hooked his finger under Miss Groupie's chin. "I brought you guys here today because I managed to pre-order this restaurant's Beluga caviar. This restaurant serves the freshest and the best Beluga caviar in the city. They only have a limited supply though. And the waiting list was so long that I actually had to wait for half a year!"
Li Yundong detected movement beside him. He turned and saw Su Chan shift to the edge of her chair before leaning towards him.
"Yundong..." she whispered. "Just now Zhou Qin canceled someone's order, right? Don't tell me it's—"
Li Yundong grabbed Su Chan's knee under the table, then shook his head at her.
Su Chan took the hint and stopped talking.
Li Yundong brought his lips to her ear, trying hard not to laugh. "Let's just sit back and watch how this plays out, okay? No need to ruin their fun."
"Aww... I knew it! I knew you're the best, Brother Liu!" Miss Groupie said fawningly. "I've heard about it from my friends. They used to complain about how hard it was to order this restaurant's famous Beluga caviar. They tried a lot of times, but none of them even made it to the waiting list! Is there anything you can't do, Brother Liu?"
Li Yundong sniggered inwardly. I bet I could list down a few. Maintaining bladder and bowel control, for instance.
"But wait, Brother Liu," Miss Groupie went on. "Why is there a grading system for caviars?"
Piqued, Li Yundong sat up straighter and leaned forward a little. Good question. He was kind of curious about that too. Suddenly, the conversation stilled. Li Yundong studied Liu Chuan's face, waiting for him to answer. However, instead of looking smug, Liu Chuan looked downright uncomfortable.
Holy shit... the guy doesn't know!
A laugh escaped Li Yundong's lips, which he quickly masked as a cough. Li Yundong reached for his flute and took a small sip of wine.
"Brother Liu... Why don't we order the same dishes?" Miss Groupie said, no doubt giving Liu Chuan an out. Li Yundong set down his flute and pressed his lips together to smother his smile.
What a fool. Rich, yes. But still a fool. A f*cking imbecile.
"Do you know how much this full-course meal costs?" Liu Chuan said.
No. Li Yundong didn't miss the smug look Liu Chuan had thrown his way before he asked that question.
The fool just had to dig himself deeper into this. This was going to be fun to watch.
"Well... I don't know, Brother Liu..." Miss Groupie said shyly. There was a brief pause, then she added, "Don't tell me you can't afford it, Brother Liu!"
Liu Chuan snorted. "Some people might not be able to afford it. Not me."
Then, Liu Chuan pointed at the ham-like dish. "This foie gras alone costs several thousand yuan. All of these dishes cost around 24 thousand yuan! And much higher if we add in the Beluga caviar!"
Li Yundong cringed inwardly.
He felt a tug on his sleeve. Su Chan was looking at him worriedly.
"This is too expensive..." she whispered. "We can't afford it..."
Their table shook a little as Liu Chuan's guffawed.
Guess there was no point in reminding Su Chan to keep her voice down now.
"Oh my, my... You guys might have just made my day! Good God! This is probably the joke of the century!" Liu Chuan stopped laughing and pointed at Li Yundong. "You should know your place, buddy. Don't come to a place like this if you're flat out broke! What are you guys planning, eh? An eat-and-run?"
Giggles and chortles ensued.
Li Yundong smirked, but made no comments. He glanced to his side when he heard Su Chan's low growl. His princess honestly looked like she was about to do a number on Liu Chuan's nutsack. Li Yundong gripped Su Chan's hand under the table to prevent her from doing anything stupid.
Su Chan glared back at him, her eyes flashing with anger.
Li Yundong brought his lips closer to her ear. "Don't worry," he whispered. "I know what he's gonna do."
Su Chan gave him a questioning look.
"Just let him talk," Li Yundong whispered. "Like I said, I know what's he's gonna do. And we'll be the ones having the last laugh. I promise." He gave Su Chan's hand a brief squeeze before letting go.
Liu Chuan slapped his thighs a few times as the last of his laughter subsided.
"Damn, what a joke. A penniless dude coming into a restaurant like this," Liu Chuan said, swiping a stray tear from the corner of his eye. "You wouldn't be able to settle the debt even if you offer to wash dishes in this restaurant for years!"
Su Chan looked at Li Yundong again, her eyes flashing dangerously.
Li Yundong gave her a reassuring smile. "Just trust me," he mouthed the words to her.
Just then, Liu Chuan raised his hand in the air and summoned the waiter.
"Put the tab for this table on me," Liu Chuan told the waiter.
The waiter seemed surprised at the request. "Everything, sir?"
"Yes! Everything!" Liu Chuan said. "This is nothing after all."
The waiter studied Liu Chuan for a moment before leaving the table with a strange smile. Li Yundong flicked a glance at Su Chan, who now had a look of realization on her face. Li Yundong raised his brows and gave her a small shrug. See? I told you so.
"Consider yourself lucky that you ran into me today," Liu Chuan said in a smug tone. "And also... about that thing between us last time... Let's just call it even, eh? But, here's some free advice. Know your place, otherwise you're gonna run into trouble, like today. Eat at a place that fits your status. And for God's sake, don't use chopsticks in a fine-dining restaurant." Liu Chuan tilted his head slightly towards an occupied table nearby. "You're gonna embarrass us in front of the Westerners."
Li Yundong just smiled and said nothing. He didn't even want to waste his breath on that moron; it wasn't worth the time and effort to give a shit about snobs like Liu Chuan. They could flaunt their status and money for all he cared, but take those material things away, and what are they? An empty shell with no notable qualities to speak of.
The waiter stopped beside their table with the bill, then smiled at Liu Chuan. "That will be 132,500 yuan in total. Shall I charge the amount on your credit card, sir?"
Liu Chuan's wide-eyed stare brought Li Yundong a surge of satisfaction. "H- h- how much?"
The waiter's smile didn't waver. "That will be 132,500 yuan, sir."
Liu Chuan snatched the bill and gave it a quick glance. "132,500? What the— You think I'm an idiot?" He glared at the waiter. "I'm a regular here, so I know your menu. Together, these twelve dishes should only cost about 24 thousand!"
"Oh, but there's another dish that hasn't been served up yet."
"Another dish? Stop joking around! What dish could cost more than 100 thousand?"
"Why, the Beluga caviar, of course!"
Oh, the look on the bastard's face!
Li Yundong had to bite the insides of his cheek to stop himself from laughing.
"Y- y- you o-ordered the caviar..." Liu Chuan said. "B- but how! I was on the waiting list for months! And you j- just walked in and... No! That's not possible! Could it be that you ordered it even earlier than I did?"
Beside him, Su Chan burst into giggles.
By some miracle, Li Yundong managed to compose himself enough to answer Liu Chuan’s question.
"Nah... I didn't order it ahead of time," Li Yundong said offhandedly. "I just came in and ordered it straight from the menu. I mean… I didn't even know it's that expensive. I just thought it looked pretty cool and ordered it."
Not even the waiter could hold back his laughter at this point.
Liu Chuan honestly looked like he was seconds away from vomiting blood.
The waiter suddenly cleared his throat. "Sir, shall I charge it on your credit card?"
Li Yundong did a quick scan of the restaurant, which had gone completely silent. Everyone was staring at their table now: the other customers; the waitstaff; even Liu Chuan's companions.
The silence stretched on for several seconds before Liu Chuan broke it with a huff. "Fine! I'm a man of my word after all!"
Miss Groupie was clearly relieved as she practically sagged against Liu Chuan's chest. "Aww... You're such a generous man, Brother Liu!"
Li Yundong grinned, then clapped his hands a few times. "Indeed, indeed!" he said, raising his flute. "A toast to this generous man!"
A round of laughter permeated the restaurant. Even the waitstaff seemed to have forgotten their duties and had joined in their customers’ mirth.
Miss Groupie shrieked and nearly fell off Liu Chuan's lap when Liu Chuan stood up abruptly.
Li Yundong watched Liu Chuan storm off towards the table he had reserved. Liu Chuan's friends followed him to their table, though some of them honestly looked like they'd rather be elsewhere. Li Yundong shook his head and lowered his flute.
The waiter's serving cart stopped beside their table once again. Li Yundong thanked the waiter after he had placed a plate containing a clump of dark, bead-like substance, which he now knew cost more than 100 thousand yuan. When he turned to Su Chan, he saw that her face was buried against her arms, which were folded on top of the table, her shoulders quivering violently with laughter.
Li Yundong reached over and poked her ribs a few times. Su Chan raised her head and revealed her face, which was flushed in the most adorable way imaginable.
Li Yundong jerked his head towards another table not far away from theirs. Liu Chuan and his groupies had just settled into that table.
"Keep watching," Li Yundong said conspiratorially. "Show's not over yet."
Li Yundong glanced towards Liu Chuan's table.
Oh, yeah. The show was definitely still on.
A while later, the show that Li Yundong had been waiting for finally came. The manager strode towards Liu Chuan's table with an apologetic look on his face. Li Yundong glanced towards Su Chan to make sure she was watching. She was.
"Excuse me, sir? Are you Mr. Liu Chuan?"
Liu Chuan gave the manager an impatient look. "Yes, that's me. Why hasn't my Beluga caviar been served yet?"
"I'm sorry, Mr. Liu. But the Beluga caviar is no longer available—"
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"Um... You see, sir... The thing is—"
"I pre-ordered it months ago!"
"Well... There has been a mistake, and the order was supposed to go to someone else—"
"What! That doesn't even make sense! I've been on the waiting list for months! How could you just..." Liu Chuan took a deep breath. "Who? Who got the order?"
The manager turned and pointed awkwardly towards Li Yundong's table. "They did, sir."
When Liu Chuan glanced over, Li Yundong picked up his flute and saluted Liu Chuan with it.
Liu Chuan was gaping at them like a fish.
"How about this, sir. As a token of our apology for the mix-up, we shall serve you another one of our finest caviar dishes, the Osetra caviar. On the house..."
Li Yundong wasn't even listening anymore. He lowered his flute and dissolved into laughter.
Once his laughter subsided, he scooped a spoonful of Beluga caviar and then placed it on an empty plate.
"What a bunch of kind folks, aren't they?" Li Yundong said dryly, pushing the plate towards Su Chan. "We couldn't afford any of these, sure. But now look at us!" He waved across their table. "We get to enjoy these luxury foods without having to pay a single cent all thanks to that generous man over there. Ah... My faith in humanity is restored."
Su Chan smothered her laugh behind her hands.
"You know, Su Chan..." Li Yundong said with a straight face.
"Hmm?" Su Chan's face was still flushed after all that laughing earlier.
"If given the choice between having more money and having more brain cells. I'd go with the latter any day."
Su Chan giggled and ate a spoonful of caviar.
"You see, people with brains would eventually find ways to accumulate wealth," Li Yundong went on. "Rich fools, on the other hand, would eventually go broke because they have no idea how to spend their money wisely."
"Mm-hmm! Mm-hmm!" Su Chan nodded, her cheeks puffed out adorably as she chewed.
Li Yundong chuckled, then raised his index finger. "Moral of the story..."
Su Chan was still chewing her food, but he knew he had her full attention.
"Just like a knife, or a pair of chopsticks, money is just a tool. It's value depends on its user. In the hands of kind and intelligent people, it becomes a powerful resource. In the hands of dumb people, however..." Li Yundong looked towards Liu Chuan's table pointedly. "It will just be a total waste."
Li Yundong returned his gaze to Su Chan. She had stopped chewing and was now looking at him with starry eyes. He recognized that look. She had given him that same look the other night when he told her about visualizing nine lotus thrones during Guanxiang.
Li Yundong leaned back in his chair, then replayed his words.
"Dang..." he said, then looked towards Su Chan with his brows raised. "When did I become so wise?"
Seconds passed in silence.
Then, the two of them burst into laughter.