Adorable Food Goddess - Chapter 108
Chapter 108: Sabotage
Translator: Kats Editor: Perriemix
Everyone shared laughs and stories as the first pot of flour layer was made. Zhong Xiang was responsible for the filling while Wang Mingde was in charge of pressing it into shape.
“It looks delicious,” Helian Jing commented, drooling as he stared at the exquisite looking mooncake.
If only it weren’t needed to be frozen, he would’ve finished a few already.
Ye Jiayao checked the finished products to pick out all those who weren’t up to her standards. Luckily, Zhong Xiang’s technique was so good that there were almost no failures.
“Put them on plates and freeze them,” she ordered once she was done with her inspection.
The first 100 batch needed to be put in iceboxes.
“How long do I have to wait before I can eat it?” Helian Jing asked, sounding a little desperate.
Ye Jiayao resisted the urge to smile at how cute he was. “You’d have to wait at least half an hour, Little Jing.”
Helian Jing nodded acceptingly and brought a chair over to sit by the icebox.
The team then went on to cook the second pot of sticky rice powder.
When the half-hour mark passed, Helian Jing started pushing them for a taste. Cui Dongpeng went to open the icebox for the Young Royal Highness and immediately backtracked.
He yelled, “Brother Yao, come here! Something’s not right!”
Everyone stopped what they were doing and crowded around him.
Ye Jiayao took out a moon cake and noticed that it wasn’t as round and clear as the ones they made before. It was all dried up and some places were even cracked. It was easily broken in half and not as stretchy like before.
“It cracked? How? Why?” Zhong Xiang exclaimed.
“Was the recipe wrong?” Wang Mingde muttered questioningly.
“How could that be? We tested the recipe so many times and it succeeded every time,” Deng Haichuan said.
Was there something wrong with the ingredients?
Ye Jiayao shook her head. “Check the ingredients, we must find the cause of this.”
Helian Jing picked up one of the defective mooncakes and said, “I’m sure it’ll still be very delicious.”
“No. It has to look good and taste good,” Ye Jiayao said. She was hoping to catapult mooncakes into fame so she has to make their debut nothing less of spectacular.
Everyone split up to look for what might have been the cause, but no one could find anything. They all turned to Ye Jiayao, not knowing what to do.
Ye Jiayao frowned as she stared at the second pot that was about to be ready.
They’ve run through this recipe numerous times so that wasn’t the problem. They all tried to find what faulty ingredients caused this, but they found none. What the f*ck is the problem here?
“Put this batch in the freezer and test it. Don’t make any more until these come out.” If they turned out to be the same, it meant that somehow, something went wrong with the recipe.
The lighthearted talks and laughter that was previously running in the kitchen disappeared. Everyone was now looking at the icebox with wariness and apprehension. Every second of the wait was filled with tension and anxiety.
Helian Jing had never seen Yaoyao looked this worried before. “Yaoyao, don’t worry too much. I think that looks okay like that.”
Ye Jiayao knew that even if looked like utter horse crap, Little Jing would still tell her that it was the most appetizing thing in the world. She knew that she could present these as it was and she would still get paid in full. However, she wasn’t wired like that. She had worked long and hard at this and she’ll be damned if it wasn’t going to look perfect.
“Little Jing, can you please give us a few minutes? My mind is in chaos right now,” Ye Jiayao told him.
Helian Jing wanted to protest, but Deng Haichuan said, “When we find the problem, we’ll inform you, Young Royal Highness.”
Helian Jing reluctantly left the kitchen.
“Time’s up,” Zhong Xiang called out.
They opened the lid and took the mooncakes out.
“Hmm? This batch is fine!” Deng Haichuan announced happily.
Ye Jiayao tried one and smiled.
“Two batches of mooncakes, same recipe, same process… but one came out differently. It only meant that the previous ingredients we used had problems,” Ye Jiayao concluded.
Zhong Xiang frowned. “But they’re the same batch of ingredients! If some are faulty, they should all be faulty.”
Ye Jiayao had a cold look in her eyes when she suggested, “What if someone did something to it?”
Everyone was shaken.
Ye Jiayao continued, “Brother Xiang and Wang Mingde bought the ingredients together and I trust them.”
“We checked the ingredients before and they were all fine,” Wang Minde said.
“The first batch used ingredients from the top of the pile. It’s obvious that someone did things to the top of the stack. Our ingredients are kept in the kitchen so everyone can see it as they walk in and out. They couldn’t have done it during the day so they probably did this at night. Think. Who would do such thing?” Ye Jiayao asked.
Ye Jiayao felt anxious. Why would anyone do this? Was he jealous? Angry? Regardless of his motive, she had to pull this bastard out. She can’t risk accepting huge deals like this when someone’s out there just waiting to sabotage her.
“I really don’t know anyone who would do this,” Zhong Xiang said helplessly, shaking his head.
“Yeah, ever since you came, everyone in Heavenly Residence had been good,” Deng Haichuan said.
“No, no. Some people weren’t happy that we were the ones chosen by Brother Yao,” Cui Dongpeng pointed out.
“Those are all just complaints and grumbles. They wouldn’t harm us like that,” Deng Haichuan defended, clearly knowing who Cui Dongpeng was talking about.
“You can’t say that for sure. How can you know what’s really in a person’s heart?” Cui Dongpeng reasoned.
“You mean Liu Qisheng?” Ye Jiayao guessed. Liu Qisheng was Zhong Xiang’s previous crony who held a rally against her. Now that Zhong Xiang had given up going against her and instead became her right hand, Liu Qisheng must be feeling betrayed.
Zhong Xiang’s face dropped.
Cui Dongpeng analyzed, “We did a test the day before yesterday and everything was fine so you said that we don’t need to test anymore. There weren’t many people around, but I remember that Liu Qisheng was there. He must’ve done it between two nights ago and last night because he’s sure that we wouldn’t check the ingredients again.”
“That’s very logical,” Ye Jiayao agreed.
“But we can’t just point fingers at Liu Qisheng. Everyone there is also suspicious,” Zhong Xiang said, trying to stand up for Liu Qisheng.
Wang Mingde suddenly blurted out, “I remember something! Two nights ago, at midnight, I’m pretty sure I saw Liu Qisheng sneaking back to his room.”
“Perhaps he just went to the toilet,” Zhong Xiang tried.
Wang Mingde shook his head. “No, it didn’t look like it. Since when did he care about not waking anyone up when he goes to the toilet? No, that was different. He was sneaking back in, tip-toeing and trying to be stealthy.”
Everyone fell silent at that. Zhong Xiang looked sad and disappointed.
Ye Jiayao deduced, “From how the flour base cracked open, I’m guessing it was because the sticky rice powder was mixed with flour. Yang’s white flour is very fine and is very hard to distinguish from the sticky rice powder. Right now, Liu Qisheng is our only suspect. However, until we have concrete evidence, this stays among us. We’ll get to the bottom of this once the feast is finished.”
“What do we do with these 100 mooncakes?” Deng Haichuan asked.
“It’s useless.” That almost physically hurt Ye Jiayao. This lot cost 100 silver pieces!
“We can eat it ourselves,” Wang Mingde suggested.
Ye Jiayao nodded helplessly. “You guys can keep 20, I’ll take the rest.”
She would give it to Uncle and Auntie Jiang.
“Okay, get back to work. Brother Xiang, I’ll leave this to you. You must keep everything in check, alright?
“Where are you going?” Zhong Xiang asked.
Ye Jiayao replied,”We don’t have enough fillings, I need to go back to make them!”
Everyone worked until the sun rose. After they have made 400 mooncakes, they then moved on to steamed longevity peaches. They needed to make a large quantity of this so that they could give it to neighbors and passerby.
In order to get the day off to participate in the Old Royal Concubine’s birthday celebration, Xia Chunyu worked for three days in a row.
He came to the Helian Mansion early in the morning to help accommodate the guests. He and Helian Xuan stood side by side welcoming guests. One wore a purple and gold snake cloak and another wore sea and cloud cotton cloak. They both looked handsome and regal.
“I heard sister-in-law has quite the heart. Helian Jing told me that there was a problem with 100 pieces of mooncakes. Sister-in-law decided to just throw it away instead of serving it,” Helian Xuan told him.
“How could something like that happen?” Xia Chunyu was surprised. Yaoyao always did things carefully and meticulously. Yaoyao must be heartbroken with that much waste.
“That I don’t know.” Helian Xuan shrugged. “By the way, I’ve invited Mu Shilang like you asked. What are you planning?”
“I want to see someone from his family,” Xia Chunyu answered vaguely.
“Man or woman?” Helian Xuan turned to him, intrigued.
Xia Chunyu smiled and shook his head. “You’ll know in time.”
This was a good opportunity to rub elbows with high ranking nobles that Wei Liujiang wouldn’t pass up. Xia Chunyu was hoping that Ye Jinrong would come as well so he could set things in motion.
If all goes to plan, this was the first step in his quest to avenge Yaoyao.
Xia Chunyu tried to sneak into the kitchen, but just as he was about to enter, Helian Jing came out the door.
“Brother Chunyu, what are you doing here? Are you looking for some food or Yaoyao?” He Lianjing asked. “If you’re looking for Yaoyao, he’s really busy now. He even kicked me out.”
Xia Chunyu lied, “I came to find you. Your brother and I are so busy that we don’t even have the time to go to the toilet but you’re just here, scrounging for food. Your brother told me to bring you back.”
Helian Jing protested, “I wasn’t running away, I promise. I was just keeping watch with the food since that’s the most important part of the celebration!”
“You don’t need to explain to me. Go tell that to your brother.” Xia Chunyu turned away and left.
Helian Jing quickly followed behind him. “Where’s Chunfeng? He said he would help in the morning.”
“He’s already here. He’s watching the circus with Zhao Qixuan and the others.”
“Is that what he calls helping?” Helian Jing murmured exasperatedly.
The two was just coming out of the kitchen when they overheard someone report, “Lord Mu Shilang is here.”
Xia Chunyu stopped and watched as Mu Shilang walked in with Mu Qingchu and Wei Liujiang. Behind them, with a manager maid and Mu Shilang’s wife, was Ye Jinrong.