Legend of Fu Yao - Chapter 276
Chapter 276: Untitled
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
The boat lady quickly shut her mouth, her intentions to strike up an amicable chat shattered almost instantly. She went back quietly to row her boat and heard the young lady call over an honest and sincere man. “Tie Cheng, please hurry up. I didn’t say that you can’t look, why are you turning away?”
She comfortably settled down on the boat floor without many qualms, occupying much space in the already tiny boat. With her hands behind her head, she laid down with satisfaction. “Ah, such days are life’s enjoyment,” she commented.
The boat lady eyed at this weird, witty girl oddly. After a while, she couldn’t help but ask, “There is something I must ask.”
That man smiled. “Don’t listen to her, go on.”
“Are you guys siblings or a couple?”
The two different voices gave two different answers. That girl sat up and kicked the man. “You talk too much,” she spat and turned to the boat lady. “Why are you asking about this? I’m really going to give you fewer taels.”
“There are different kinds of good food that a pair of siblings and a couple can indulge in.” The boat lady smiled cheerily and continued, “If it is a pair of siblings, I will cook for you, but if it is a pair of loving couple, there is someone new from the capital that is a great chef on Wu family’s boat. But I’ve heard that he has many rules and every day, he only cooks a maximum of three dishes, and only married couples can eat. If the two of you are not a couple, I will not waste the effort to row over.”
“Delicious….” That young girl sat there as she salivated, desperately reining in her impulses to give into temptation. The boat lady looked at her, wreathed in smiles. Then, her pupils dilated as she noticed something wriggling in Meng Fuyao’s sleeves. Whatever that was moving vanished, miraculously reappeared on Meng Fuyao’s shoulder and scurried to her collar. With its claws, it grabbed her earlobes and tugged and tugged…
‘What in the world… is that…’
Naturally, it was the world’s greediest, sleepiest Lord Yuan Bao, its vicious and sly owner and the number one most shameless and ferocious King of Han.
This idyllic, uninterrupted trip for the three of them was a rare chance to come back. In the breathtaking nature and the unique infrastructure, there was a lot to see in Xuanji. The trio sauntered along the streets, enjoying themselves and as a result, they were barely 100 kilometers away from Taiyuan Province.
Meng Fuyao sat down, still struggling between the choices of being known as a couple or that mouthwatering, appetizing food. While Meng Fuyao was still absorbed in her internal struggle, Zhangsun Wuji had already settled the conclusion. “We are a couple, it’s just that this child is throwing a tantrum. Sorry to trouble you but please bring us there.”
The boat lady paddled along as the punt 1 gently bobbed with the small tides.
Meng Fuyao sat cross-legged as she casually asked, “Apparently, they are searching pretty hard for us?”
“Of course,” Zhangsun Wuji said as he tidied up her sleeves. “On our end, they have sent out officials to every city to search for us. It is a mere act, of course. But Xuanji is anxious about it.”
“What did that eleventh say?”
“He did not do a good job of getting rid of the bandits and have requested for punishment. But since he wasn’t there that night, he was stripped of his position and was ordered to continue getting rid of the bandits in the forest. Apparently, he already has the heads of several leaders of the Eternal Sky Clan. I doubt the authenticity of this information, but even if it’s real, he probably killed those leaders to instill those bandits that are under him as the new heads.”
“Officials and crooks have close ties since the olden days…” Meng Fuyao sighed. “I love criminal syndicates.”
“Take a break,” Zhangsun Wuji persuaded her. “Enjoy while you can, once we reach the city, there will definitely be a ton of mess.”
“I have no interest in their affairs as long as they don’t come and bother me.” Suddenly, Meng Fuyao wrinkled her nose as a smell wafted up to her nose. “What’s that smell?”
She carefully took a sniff, and her eyes began to shine.
The boat lady turned back and pointed in the direction of a red flag with the words “Boat Gourmet” billowing in the air. Meng Fuyao looked in that direction and saw a huge boat. The boat lady turned back with a smile and said, “We have reached our destination. Wu family’s boat, the biggest boat in Golden River. My dear guests, you are in luck, just in time for mealtime. That renowned chef from the capital is probably about to start cooking.”
Surprised, Meng Fuyao clarified. “It’s so early in the morning, and it’s mealtime…?”
“This guy from the capital is pretty eccentric. He starts cooking at around 10 plus, or 11, and before he starts cooking, it is a must to hear him speak about national affairs. He believes that family affairs, national affairs, and worldly affairs are something that everyone should be concerned about; like how everyone has a share of stir-fried, steamed, or cooked vegetables.”
Meng Fuyao chuckled. ‘This guy has certainly piqued her interest,’ she thought. As she leaped over to that huge, sturdy boat that was decorated in a tasteful and exquisite manner, she exclaimed, “What an intriguing person!” There was not a single soul on the deck, nor was there anyone rushing up to welcome her. But she could dimly hear someone talking at the top of his voice, and she headed over, following the sound.
“… Today’s latest news…” In between the words, she could hear the sounds of the paper flipping. “… The crown prince of Wuji and King of Han have been announced missing… What an eventful period at Xuanji… with incidents after incidents like oil over a fire! Actually, the fundamentals of ruling a country are the same as cooking. You can’t add too much or too little seasonings; the heat cannot be too high or too low… Just look at that eleventh prince with his fiery stance in eradicating the bandits… too much… Speaking of heat control, back in the days when the restaurant was hiring chefs, there was no need for any fancy dishes. We made fried eggs! Stir-fried bean sprouts! When the egg came out, the yolk was golden, a little runny at the perfect consistency. That bean sprouts, let me tell you, every single strand, the color the size the smell was the same! … Raw? No way! Just take a bite, that crisp crunch that will sound… Ah… And the flavourful juices well-seasoned with salt, pepper, vinegar, and wine… all the tastes you can ever ask for… Real skills can be seen in normal, family dishes… Well, let’s not talk about food… there’s nothing to eat now anyway.”
“… And that King of Han…”The stool shifted. “… so many people said that she is vicious and that luck is on her side. Otherwise, how can someone with no foundation or backing achieve such a level of success? In my opinion, things aren’t as simple as they seem on the surface – ah, like cooking with dried sea cucumber, or whatever dried goods. Before preparing, they all look dry, insignificant, and unappetizing. You can’t fry it, cook it or steam it, how do you eat it? So you need to prepare them! How do you do that? Do you know? How about you? You? You?! Hmph! You guys are customers on a ship, and you don’t even know how to prepare a sea cucumber! Let me teach you a few tricks, before submerging it in hot water, remove the internal organs and impurities completely. It must be clean else it will not come out nicely. And in a pot, fill it up with hot water and put the sea cucumber instead, covering with the lid. Pour out the water after one day, and you’ll have a nice, plump, well-prepared sea cucumber! I bet this King of Han was dunk it hot water – going through a lot of obstacles – and that is why she looks so successful!”
“… Speaking of which, it certainly isn’t peaceful recently… that Regent King died a while back.” The stool shuffled once more. “Just look at the days that Xuanyuan had last year… the officials, the guards everyone is being scrutinized and clean out… in big groups… Just like a feast where it starts with a cold dish, but it’s quickly followed up with warm dishes and soup to end it! The cold dishes must be beautiful, but they mustn’t be messy; otherwise, people will just eat them carelessly – just like the harem in the Xuanyuan palace. The warm dishes must back an impact, striking the nostrils directly with its pungent, mouthwatering scent, just like that ‘killing of rabbit’ that resulted in war. Apparently, the crown prince from Wuji had a part to play. Shocking! And soup to finish it off, a big bowl indeed. With the water and the land fully surrounded, those that were supposed to die all died. That night, the revolution, how many in the Xuanyuan palace died? At last, don’t forget to serve a bowl of plum blossom dessert soup – the highlight of the feast. Just like the Regent King’s burnt corpse hanging from that room… Forget it… If I continue, we can’t stomach anything.”
“The topic of discussion today shall be about that King of Han. She first started stirring up trouble in Wuji.” The sound of paper flipping could be heard. “… Back then, Wuji was fighting a war with Gao Luo with two battle front lines. King De thought he had a chance, but in the end, he was done in… Gao Luo is near the sea. There was once I went, and the families by the sea served their guests oysters. Have you eaten oysters? No? Aiyo, it’s white, yellow and black and it’s alive! A table full of guards commented that it tasted like blood. They don’t know how to appreciate. Seafood cannot be pan-fried, stir-fried, steamed, or cooked! Otherwise, it will lose its freshness… Just like that, add the soya sauce, vinegar, and some pepper. Do you guys even know what pepper is? The two together… Oh oh, back to the war. Look at Zhangsun Wuji. What kind of person is he? How would he let himself end up in a state where there is a need for two frontlines? That pitiful King De and his pipe dream… it didn’t occur to him that it was just a bait… speaking of bait…”
Meng Fuyao laughed inwardly.
Zhangsun Wuji laughed quietly.
What a gourmet…
Someone well-aware of the situation yet sandwiched his views between a bunch of principles about cooking and feasting.
He was well-versed in the politics and knew of Meng Fuyao’s family history and Zhangsun Wuji’s schemes at his fingertips. Yet, he sprouted away in a commoner’s ship by the river, sharing his “food politics” with fishermen and tourists that barely understood the meaning behind his words.
Was it a mere game for him? A rant? Or with an intent?
Meng Fuyao probed her head into the cabin. In that humble cabin with things lying around, the customers with their saliva dripping down their mouths sat down. Rather than listening to the man who was sitting on top of a chair that was stacked on the table, they were entranced by the fragrant scent of the food. The man on the chair was a scrawny man, dressed in simple green outerwear with oil splattered over it. There was still half a leaf stuck on his collar and with his sleeves rolled back, he discussed excitedly with the papers in his hands.
Meng Fuyao clapped as she strutted in. “Well said, well said!”
That man put down the papers in his hands. He looked like he was in his thirties, a little pale. Squinting, his gaze landed on Meng Fuyao, and then he looked over to Zhangsun Wuji. The first sentence that came out of his mouth was: “Married couple?”
Smiling, Meng Fuyao asked, “If we aren’t?”
“Then get out.” That person waved his hand unceremoniously. “Don’t you know my rules?”
“Of course.” Meng Fuyao sat down. “Since we are here, we naturally know your rules.”