Adorable Food Goddess - Chapter 98
Chapter 98: Arguing Strongly For What Is Right
Translator: YTJS_ Editor: Perriemix
The Emperor strode into the palace hall with Helian Xuan following behind him.
Everyone called out Long live His Majesty thrice.
The Empress Dowager said in fury, “Emperor, take a look at your subjects. They don’t know respect! This is too atrocious.”
His Majesty sighed silently. Chunyu was absolutely right, too much pampering has harmed Liu Li. She’s already 16. It was time for her to grow up, but she could not do that because the Empress Dowager is fiercely protective of her and listens to no one.
“Chunyu, you are a subject that I heavily rely on. I always feel that you have a sense of propriety and boundaries. Why are you so impudent today? Aren’t you going to offer your apologies to the Empress Dowager?” The Emperor intended to help Chunyu resolve this matter.
Xia Chunyu kotowed and said, “Your humble servant is aware of his mistakes. Please, quell your anger, Your Highness.”
“Knowing your mistakes is not payment enough. Liu Li has yet to enter your family and she’s already being ganged up on. You even dare to contradict me. How can I hand my Liu Li to you with a peace of mind?” the Empress Dowager demanded, her rage not subsiding.
Well, don’t hand her over to me then. I would be more than happy not to marry her. Xia Chunyu struggled not to let his elation show as he imagined the Empress Dowager canceling the arrangement.
Xia You stood silently at the side. If that’s the case, terminate the marriage agreement. I wouldn’t want a daughter-in-law like that.
The Empress Dowager was expecting the pair of mother and son to express their remorse in front of her, but neither of them spoke up. What was the meaning of this? Do they not like Liu Li?
Yu De, sensing the rising tension, braced herself to mediate. “The children are just playing around. I’m sure that they would make up tomorrow. We shouldn’t take this too seriously. However, Little Jing, Liu Li is still younger than you. You should just indulge her instead of going against her deeds. If something like this ever happens again, I’m going to punish you myself.”
Reluctantly, Xia You followed Yu De and turned to ‘chide’ her son. “The two of you better get your act right. Go and apologize to Liu Li after this.”
The Emperor seized the opportunity to add in, “This is just a misunderstanding, Empress Dowager. Don’t lower yourself to the children’s level. It is so late, you should retire to bed. Everyone is dismissed.”
Just when they were about to heave a sigh of relief, the Empress Dowager said solemnly, “I can let this matter go on account of His Majesty, but I have to punish that chef severely.”
Helian Jing panicked and exclaimed, “This has nothing to do with Li Yao.”
Xia Chunfeng agreed enthusiastically, “Liu Li sneaked out of the palace in plain clothes and dressed up as a male. Besides, Liu Li was in the wrong at that time, so Li Yao told her off. How was he supposed to know that she was a princess?”
“Today in Lan Ting Xuan, many of the princes and noblemen witness what happened. If Your Highness insists on punishing Li Yao, I’m afraid people would protest. Liu Li is in the wrong, do you need others to point that out?” Xia Chunyu said firmly.
The Empress Dowager was annoyed. “Who is this Li Yao? Why are you all so protective of him?”
“To answer you, Your Highness, Li Yao once saved Little Jing’s life. He is a benefactor of the Helian family,” Helian Xuan, who has stayed silent throughout the discourse, started.
This statement has clearly shown that the Helian family was bound to oppose the Empress Dowager if she insisted on punishing Li Yao.
Helian Xuan did not say that for Li Yao, but for his younger brother, his best friend, and his best friend’s brother. They were not afraid to offend the Empress Dowager just to defend Li Yao, and if this goes on, things would get out of hand.
The Empress Dowager snorted. “The benefactor of the Helian family, huh? What a great influence. So, in that case, he is relying on the Helian family’s influence when he harassed Liu Li?”
“Your Highness, Li Yao is not that kind of person. He has shown your humble servant great kindness, yet he did not seek compensation. He hid in Heavenly Residence as a chef, and if not for a chance encounter, I would’ve never seen him again,” Helian Jing defended Li Yao.
The Empress Dowager laughed coldly. “Chanced encounter? How could you be sure that he wasn’t just merely using a long line to catch a big fish? Only an airhead like you would fall for this ruse.”
“Your Highness, it is Liu Li who kicked up a fuss over not being able to try Heavenly Residence’s chilled drinks. She threatened to tear the restaurant down and lock the chef up in jail. Li Yao only told her off because he could not stand it anymore. In order to get revenge on him, Liu Li tried to frame him as a theft. She tried to rile the common people up to catch Li Yao and bring him to the constables. It was only Li Yao’s quick thinking that saved him. I would like to ask, what wrong did Li Yao do?” Helian Jing had poured all his emotions in his defense of his friend. After all, Brother Chunyu had done it, why couldn’t he?
“Not only that, but Liu Li even dragged the Crown Prince to the restaurant to stir up some trouble for Li Yao. Luckily, the Crown Prince recognized Li Yao’s culinary talent and did not listen to Liu Li’s urgings. That angered Liu Li even more so she threatened the restaurant’s landlord to take the building back so the Heavenly Residence will be forced to close down. Your Highness, Li Yao wanted to apologize to Liu Li, but the Princess was unwilling to forgive him. Whether in emotion or in reason, Li Yao is right,” Xia Chunfeng said.
The Empress Dowager was secretly shocked. Why was their story different from Liu Li’s? Was it possible that Liu Li was lying?
The Emperor frowned. “If that’s what really happened, then it is Liu Li’s fault.”
“Your Majesty, your humble servant has not told a single lie. Today in Lan Ting Xuan, many people have witnessed this and Liu Li has also admitted it herself,” Helian Jing told her.
Hearing that so many people have witnessed the event, the Empress Dowager shook her head. Liu Li had become a laughing stock! “Even if Liu Li was in the wrong, couldn’t you just have reported this to me? She’s still a woman who has yet to get married! You shouldn’t have schemed against her like that. She’s still a part of the royal family and you’ve embarrassed her. With Li Yao now knowing Liu Li’s identity and still daring to plot against her… that’s unacceptable. He should be put to death for that intention.”
The Empress Dowager’s words made everyone’s skin crawl with fear. Was she trying to give Li Yao a death penalty?
Helian Jing kowtowed heavily. “Your Highness, this is your humble servant’s idea. I lack consideration. Li Yao was not aware of the plan and simply came because she wanted to apologize to Liu Li. Your humble servant called so many people because I wanted them to act as witnesses in case Liu Li decides to settle old scores.”
“The rotten idea was thought of by me and Little Jing,” Xia Chunfeng supported smoothly. “It has nothing to do with Li Yao. If Your Highness wants to punish someone, punish your humble servants instead.”
Xia Chunyu cupped his hands together submissively. “Your Highness, ultimately, this is all your humble servant’s fault. I didn’t investigate properly and I acted hastily. I was overwhelmed by anxiousness when I saw Liu Li holding a sword, preparing to kill Li Yao. If I knew that there were other people in the room, I would’ve never spoken like that against Liu Li.”
“Chunyu, that Li Yao is Little Jing’s benefactor. It is understandable that Little Jing stood up for him, but what do you have to do with Li Yao?” the Emperor asked, a bit confused.
“Your Majesty, Li Yao has contributed greatly to the destruction of Hei Feng Gang. If not for his assistance, Bai Chongye would’ve figured out my true identity and would’ve strung me up to die in front of the whole stockade. He is my benefactor, too. However, he does not like attention so he did not allow me to report his heroic deed,” Xia Chunyu answered sincerely.
Helian Xuan was bewildered. Why didn’t he know about this? No wonder Chunyu said that he was indebted to Li Yao.
Helian Jing and Xia Chunfeng exchanged glances, stunned.
Xia You tried hard to recall the young man named Li Yao. So, the pretty chef has saved Chun-er’s life before! If she had known, she would have been more polite with him. Well, at least she helped him get the birthday feast.
The Emperor looked at Helian Xuan, seeking his confirmation on the validity of the claim.
“Yes, that is the case,” Helian Xuan calmly said.
The Emperor nodded. “Well, it looks like this Li Yao can be considered a chivalrous character. I also heard about the famous chilled drinks in Heavenly Residence. Did he invent it?”
Xia Chunfeng replied eagerly, “Yes, yes! It is absolutely delicious. Li Yao said that he is going to launch more delicious things in the future.”
“He is going to be the one preparing my grandmother’s birthday feast. I heard that he is going to make crystal mooncake and ice cream mooncake. He said that it is a fresh idea he brought over from foreign lands over the seas,” Helian Jing offered.
“Oh? He’s even been to foreign lands?” The Emperor was starting to take interest in this young man.
Xia Chunyu laughed inwardly. Yaoyao could really bullsh*t. Foreign lands? A young lady like her who has never stepped out of her house? Ha! In her dreams, maybe! Only these two brainless gits would believe her.
The Empress Dowager was speechless. How did they end up talking about food?
“Emperor, how do you think we should settle this matter? That Li Yao might not have bad intentions, but this matter started from him. Don’t tell me you are going to let Liu Li suffer in vain?” the Empress Dowager said, pulling them back.
The Emperor gave two dry coughs. “Since this matter rose from the chilled drinks, then I shall punish him to send a portion of chilled drinks to Liu Li every day. If there is any other delicious food, he has to send it, too, as a form of apology to Liu Li. As for the two of you…”
The Emperor pointed at Helian Jing and Xia Chunfeng. “You have kind intentions but you lack consideration. It looks like you still need more practice to improve yourselves. From tomorrow onwards, Little Jing, you will officially enter the army and get Helian Xuan to arrange a job for you. Chunfeng, you will go to the Zhan government to receive a job there. If you do well in the imperial military examination, I will consider putting you in an important position.”
Helian Jing and Xia Chunfeng were both exhilarated, quickly kowtowing to thank the Emperor for his favor.
Yu De and Xia You were also immensely pleased. However, the Empress Dowager was still pulling a long face so they couldn’t make their joy so obvious.
“Chunyu,” the Emperor called.
“Your humble servant is here.” Xia Chunyu awaited the Emperor’s orders respectfully.
“You were rude to the Empress Dowager today. Although it is pardonable considering the situation, it is still a loss of etiquette. I shall punish you to reflect on your errors. After three days, hand in a written repentance. If it’s not to our liking, you shall rewrite it until the Empress Dowager and I are satisfied.”
The Empress Dowager wasn’t stupid. The Emperor was making it seem like he was punishing Chunyu, but really, he was just trying to cover up for him. This made her furious. She would just feel even more frustrated seeing him loiter around the palace.
The Empress Dowager turned to the Emperor. “Emperor, you consider this a punishment?”
The Emperor waved his hand dismissively.”It is getting late. All of you are dismissed.”
Everyone kowtowed, bowed, and stepped down.
It was only when everyone was gone did the Emperor said, “Empress Mother, the fault in today’s matter lies with Liu Li. If I punish them, the reputation of the royal family would be tarnished. Besides, Helian Xuan and Xia Chunyu are young and outstanding talents, the pillars of the country. How can I disappoint them because of such a small matter?”
“Then Liu Li…” The Empress Dowager was still feeling sorry for Liu Li.
“It is a good thing that Liu Li was taught a lesson this time. She is no longer young. She has reached a marriageable age. If she doesn’t change her temperament, how will she get along with her husband and in-laws? With the character she’s exhibiting now, do you think she’ll be respectful to her elders and kind to her brothers and sisters-in-law? I’m afraid there would only be chaos every other day when she goes to the feudal fiefdom in the future. How can she become the mother of the citizens?” the Emperor said earnestly.
The Empress Dowager was silent. She has to admit, the Emperor made sense.