Chapter 31 - Another Pretty Boy

Yu Xiaocao finally recognized the waiter in front of her. He was originally a staff in the kitchen. When she made the oyster sauce last time, he was the one who assisted her.

“Oh, it’s Young Brother Li! You actually still remember me!” With the ceramic pot in her hands, Yu Xiaocao smiled, revealing her shallow dimple.

The waiter tactfully took the earthenware jar from her hands and smiled until his eyes appeared like a line, “Of course I recognize you. How can I not?! Our young boss and Head Chef Wang mentions you multiple times every day, so there’s no way I could forget about you. Are you… sending abalones over again?”

“Do you think it’s that easy to obtain abalones? This is a type of wild fish caught in the mountain. Whether it is boiled in soup or fried, it will still be very delicious. It’s rare that I have the chance to come to town, so I brought some over for Third Young Master to try.” Since he had missed her so much, she should return his concern with a gift. Yu Xiaocao turned the wild fish she was going to sell into a gift for Third Young Master Zhou.

The server grinned happily, “Well, this is such a coincidence. Today, our young boss is hosting a banquet for several of his friends at noon. We were just troubled that there wasn’t a new dish to present. Miss Yu is really sending coal in the snow—a timely assistance.”

“Xiaocao, you’ve been here before?” Zhao Han was quite surprised inwardly when he saw the waiter’s change in attitude.

The server interjected, “Yes, of course! Our restaurant’s signature dishes, ‘stir-fried choy sum’, ‘fresh mushrooms in oyster sauce’, and ‘oyster sauce braised eggs’ were all created by Miss Yu! Oh, so this little brother came with Miss Yu. Please come in! Please come in quickly!”

The server guided the sister and brother pair to the side entrance to enter Zhenxiu Restaurant’s rear court. Zhao Han hastily carried his basket filled with game and followed them.

“Teacher——Teacher, quickly come see who came!” The waiter had already started shouting before he even entered the rear court.

Head Chef Wang’s loud voice was accompanied by the clanking of a spatula, “Stinky brat, why are you being so noisy? Can’t you see that your teacher is busy? Hurry up and come over to help!”

The waiter’s voice wasn’t inferior to that of Head Chef Wang’s, “Teacher, Miss Yu came! She also brought over a lot of game and a jar of small fish!”

As soon as he said that, Head Chef Wang’s plump figure rushed over like a cannonball, and then abruptly stopped in front of Yu Xiaocao. He patted the little girl’s shoulder with his chubby hand and spoke in a booming voice, “I have been hoping to see you again and you finally came! Did you know that our Zhenxiu Restaurant has completely defeated Fulin Restaurant with the help of your oyster sauce? Little girl, let Old Wang know if you have any more new recipes.”

Yu Xiaocao grimaced in pain after being smacked by his big palm, which was like a bear’s paw. She stepped back to maintain a safe distance and said, “I taught you how to make oyster sauce last time as a complimentary gift for the success of my first business deal. I’m not going to give out my secret recipes!”

The meaning within her words were very clear, ‘Of course I have new recipes, but don’t even think about getting them for free!’

“Hey! Miss Yu, we meet again! I forgot to ask where you are from when we met last time. It was very rude of me!” Today, the handsome young boy of the Zhou Family wore a moon-white colored brocade robe, a white jade crown, and a pair of patterned soft-soled boots. He looked like such an elegant and beautiful young man!

Yu Xiaocao smiled faintly and said, “Third Young Master, how have you been? We caught some game while hunting in the morning. Would your restaurant be interested in taking them?”

Her skin was as delicate as the snow, while she had big eyes that were dark and clear. Her eyelashes were thick and curly… Although her clothes were old and shabby, it was unable to conceal the confidence and glow that she radiated. Within his heart, Zhou Zixu faintly felt that even the noble ladies in the town might not be comparable to the graceful demeanor of this fisherman’s daughter in front of him.

“We’re taking them! Of course, we’re taking them! Our restaurant is pretty busy today, so we are worried that there might not have enough game! Li Qiang, aren’t you going to hurry up and settle the payment?” Zhou Zixu hinted at the waiter, who was just foolishly standing on the side.

Zhao Han put down the carrying basket and took out the game inside. There were nine plump wild hare and six pheasants, with eight of the game still alive and kicking.

Third Young Master Zhou instructed the waiter, Li Qiang, “The market price for wild hare is twenty copper coins per catty, while pheasants are fifty copper coins each. However, the price for live game is even higher. Let’s just calculate it based on the weight, so twenty-five copper coins per catty.”

Fifteen game weighed a total of seventy-eight catties, but the young server tactfully rounded it up to eighty catties. Thus, the fifteen game were sold for a total of 2,000 copper coins.

The server gave Zhao Han two ingots, which were worth one tael each. After receiving the money, Zhao Han turned toward Yu Xiaocao, who was still speaking with Third Young Master Zhou, and stuffed the ingots into her hands.

“Brother Han, the game were all caught in the traps that you set. Why are you giving all the money to me?” If he just gave her one or two hundred copper coins, then Yu Xiaocao would had accepted it with no qualms. After all, didn’t she also contribute? However, he was giving all the money to her. Although she loved money, she would never take the fruits of another person’s labor.

Zhao Han saw that Xiaocao had hid her hands behind herself, refusing to accept the money. He couldn’t just force it into her hands, so he tried to explain, “If I wasn’t teaching you guys how to set traps today, I would not had planned on entering the mountains. I have a good idea of how much game I usually catch with my traps. I probably got lucky today because of you siblings, so the game should belong to you guys… Quickly take the money!”

“I’m not taking it! Today, most of the traps were set by Brother Han. I’m already very grateful that you’re willing to teach us how to catch rabbits. Furthermore, we’re always eating the game you caught, so how can we take the money that you earn from selling game?” Yu Xiaocao shook her head like a rattle-drum and refused to accept the two ingots.

[You’re such an idiot! Without this Divine Stone’s bathing water, he should be content with just two or three game, let alone fifteen! This is all due to my contribution, so the money should have originally belonged to us!]

Its master was short on money right now, so if it helped its master earn more money, this deed should be able to accelerate its power intake, right? Taking advantage of the fact that no one else could see it, the little divine stone impatiently flew back and forth in front of Yu Xiaocao. However, Yu Xiaocao completely ignored it.

Zhao Han couldn’t win over this stubborn little girl, so he pondered for a moment and said, “Today, you ended up setting up most of the traps. After making a rough estimation, you should take half the credit for these game. You don’t want to take advantage of me, but as your older brother, how can I shamelessly take advantage of you?”

[Who said we only made half of the contribution? It was all the work of this Divine Stone! This brazen mortal actually dared to steal my credit. Look at how this celestial stone is going to punish you——] The tiny golden kitten looked extremely adorable as it bared its teeth and swung its claws angrily.

While Yu Xiaocao quietly shouted at it to stop in her mind, she also had to resist the urge of squeezing it in her hands. Moreover, she had to control her facial expression from exposing her thoughts. Thus, in other people’s eyes, she had a rather complicated expression on her face.

Zhou Zixu didn’t want to see them arguing over a mere two ingots, so he interjected, “I don’t think either of you should decline. Since both sides have made contribution, you guys should just split it evenly!”

Although one tael wasn’t a lot, it had far exceeded Yu Xiaocao’s expectation. Her biggest achievement for today was learning how to set traps. With this new skill, would she still lack the opportunity to earn money?

Seeing that they had no objection to his suggestion, Zhou Zixu wanted to speak up again, but he was interrupted by a clear and gentle voice behind him, “Zixu, Brother Wu and Brother Yang arrived already. Do you want to go over to greet them?”

Yu Xiaocao looked towards the sound and couldn’t help but be stunned. Such a delicate beautiful young man. With a complexion that was purer than snow and a picturesque face, he was dressed in a sky-blue scholar robe that made him looked even more refined. It seemed that even the most meticulously drawn elaborate-style painting wouldn’t be able to accurately depict this young man’s features.

Wow! The water in ancient times really fostered beauties. When just comparing their appearances, the three young boys in front of her each had their own advantages. They were truly beautiful young men!

The gorgeous young man might had felt her intent gaze. With a slight frown, he faintly swept a gaze over her, which gave off a different type of feeling.

Yuan Yunxi’s upbringing made it difficult for him to make crude remarks. However, it was definitely impolite for a young girl to stare at him so openly. When he saw her tattered clothing and young age, he felt slightly more relieved. It was considered excusable that a little girl from a poor family didn’t understand proper etiquette.

“Little Brother Xi, this is the Miss Yu, who I have mentioned to you before. She was the one who gave us the recipe for the oyster sauce for free. Your favorite stir-fried choy sum was made with her recipe.” Zhou Zixu enthusiastically introduced Yu Xiaocao to his close friend.

Yu Xiaocao also recovered from her daze and subtly nodded at the little pretty boy.

Yuan Yunxi was an innate foodie, so when he heard Zhou Zixu’s words, the displeasure within his heart had partially dissipated. He lightly nodded and said, “No wonder my grandfather always often said ‘true masters were among the people’. It seems like he was right. A six or seven year old little girl with such skills and breadth of mind is really admirable!”

“Alright! Stop being so pedantic! Don’t you see the earthenware jar in Miss Yu’s hands? There must be something good inside. Go help me greet the guests first and wait for the delicious meal that’s coming later!” Zhou Zixu had a close friendship with him, so he didn’t treat Yuan Yunxi as an outsider and sent him back to the restaurant’s private room to attend to the guests.

Yu Xiaocao lowered her head to look at the little white fish in the jar. She helplessly looked at Third Young Master Zhou and said, “These wild fish from the mountain were definitely tasty, but when did I ever say I was selling them?”

“You’re not selling them after coming all the way here. Are you planning to eat them yourself?” Zhou Zixu nearly reach out to snatch the ceramic pot when he heard the fish inside were delicious.  

Yu Xiaocao shook her head, “I’m not the one eating it! It’s my little cousin who likes to eat this! My grandmother told me to bring them over today. If I don’t complete my mission, then I’ll definitely be scolded when I get home!”

With a disappointed expression, Zhou Zixu looked at the fish in front of him and spoke with a pleading tone, “Aren’t there plenty of fish in there? You can just give me half of them! It’s just that I’ve already made a promise, so if I can’t fulfill my promise, I’ll lose credit in front of my friends. Wouldn’t that be really shameful? I’ll buy them for a high price, wouldn’t that be fine? Your grandmother wouldn’t scold you anymore when she sees all the money.”

As he spoke, he took out an ingot with the value of five taels and stuffed it into Little Shitou’s hands. A basket of game was sold for only two taels, so five taels for several fish should be enough, right?

Yu Xiaocao’s eyes lit up, but she pretended to be in a difficult position and lowered her head to ponder before reluctantly agreeing to him.

Zhou Zixu instructed the waiter to bring a basin over, poured out half of the fish within the jar, and told the kitchen staff to clean them. After that, he made another request shamelessly,

“Look, Head Chef Wang and the others have never cooked this type of fish before. Why don’t you just be a good person until the end and help us make the dish? It won’t take up too much time. In a moment, I’ll have the kitchen prepare a feast for you guys. It’s already late noon, so you guys must be hungry!”

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Myst's Thoughts

food pic

Translator: Myst