Warning for emetephobia mention at the end.
Bonfire dinners were a type of feast unique to the Northern Li grasslands and reserved for celebrations. Usually, firewood was piled up in an open space and everyone sat around it to eat. However, there were only three guests today, so Jin Zi changed the traditional setting by setting up a small campfire with an iron frame that was currently roasting a whole lamb.
Mu Linger could smell the delicious aroma of roasting meat before she even got close and couldn't help licking her lips in hunger. When she got closer, she saw Jin Zi personally handling the knife to "serve" the entire animal. It was unclear how long the meat had been cooking, but the entire lamb was golden with oil and the meat crisped. Mu Linger couldn't help swallowing her saliva. She gave full marks for the appearance but didn't know how it'd taste.
Han Yunxi and Long Feiye were sitting on one side with two things on their table: an empty plate and a pot of tea.
"Linger's here, have a seat!" Han Yunxi called out with a smile.
Actually, Jin Zi knew Mu Linger was here even without her words. He remained with head bowed, carefully smearing honey on the lamb without a word. His seat was right of the royal couple, but there was no place set up for Mu Linger.
Long Feiye was currently tasting Jin Zi's tea while Han Yunxi looked back and forth. Feigning ignorance, she pointed at Jin Zi's spot and said, "Mu Linger, there's a seat there."
Jin Zi set up another plate and pot of tea. He hadn't even sat at his place and showed no signs of moving, so Mu Linger took a look and claimed the spot. Just like that, the trio sat waiting for Jin Zi to serve them meat.
Although it was cold, Han Yunxi still felt like she was eating roadside BBQ. She grinned while trying to hold back her laughs.
"What are you smiling about?" Long Feiye asked.
"If Jin Zi set up a stall to sell BBQ meat, he'll definitely have good business," Han Yunxi replied.
In the end Jin Zi was still a high official of the Northern Li grasslands, a first-grade minister of Great Qin. Han Yunxi's current evaluation left Long Feiye speechless. This empress of his must be going crazy wanting to do business, coming up with such ridiculous notions.
Mu Linger didn't even want to look at Jin Zi, but she was hungry! So much that her stomach was doing flip-flops. As the aroma of roasting meat intensified, her gaze couldn't help drifting to the lamb and giving Jin Zi a few glances in the process. This was the first time she discovered this fellow could roast, and roast so well! He was thin with little meat on his own body, so she assumed he was a vegetarian who didn't eat meat! Heaven knows how much cattle and sheep one could devour with his level of grilling. Mu Linger was sure Jin Zi was the kind of guy who never got fat even if he ate meat everyday.
How enviable, how jealous!
Indeed, Jin Zi liked eating meat. The meat of the Northern Li grasslands was the only thing that attracted him to it. Soon enough he finished roasting the lamb until it was practically glowing in golden oil, making it irresistible to take a bite. His viewers quickly discovered that he was also an adept butcher despite his meager martial arts skills. When he wielded a knife, he looked particularly stylish, his movements as smoothe as floating clouds and flowing waters as he carved with strength. Han Yunxi and Long Feiye were both entertained by the sight.
"He really has some skills," Han Yunxi remarked to herself.
"Maybe he's a good seedling for martial arts training," Long Feiye commented.
Han Yunxi laughed. "His quick hands were trained in the casino!"
Jin Zi was the number one gambler of Three-Way Black Market. At the gambling tables, there was only one way to win: be fast with your eyes and fingers!
Mu Linger watched in a daze and even forgot her hunger. But suddenly Han Yunxi grew alert.
"There's poison!" she said and looked behind Mu Linger, only to see a red-eyed white tiger show up out of nowhere. It was approaching Mu Linger step by step and was twice as huge as a normal tiger. Its fangs and claws both contained poison; without a doubt it used to be one of Jun Yixie's poison tigers raised in the tiger prison. Later on the beasts were quelled by Jin Zi and sacrificed much for his sake. This was one of the only remaining two.
Tigers were born imposing and walked aggressively with extraordinary attitudes, but this red-eyed one was quite interesting. Despite being a hulking beast, it walked like a mouse with its head bowed and sneaking on tiptoes. It carefully approached Mu Linger, afraid of being caught. Seeing that it didn't mean her any harm, Han Yunxi and Long Feiye both fell silent.
Mu Linger was too concentrated on the piece of lamb raised high in Jin ZI's hands to noticed the abnormality behind her. He cut multiple strips of meat into long, even pieces with uniform thickness, stacking them on top of each other in the center of the plate. His gaze flickered towards Mu Linger and immediately saw Big White had come, but he remained silent and walked towards the group.
"Your Majesty, Esteemed Empress, this is the best foodstuff of the grasslands, please accept this humble courtesy." He offered up the plate with both hands, respectful but not servile, his eyes containing the same trace of wildness within.
"You've taken pains," Long Feiye was indifferent. He didn't have a big appetite, but ate exquisitely and had high demands for his food. Still, Jin Zi's plate of meat still met his qualifications.
After setting down the roast meat, he ordered someone to send over a plate of raw lettuce. They were also carefully selected to be of perfect medium size and tender green leaves. Perhaps only one or two were taken per lettuce to fill the plate. A single plate of mouthwatering fragrant meat and another plate of extremely tender lettuce were a treat in visuals alone, but Jin Zi next delivered up a plate of sauce.
"This was secretly made by this subject," Jin Zi explained as he took two lettuce leaves, wrapped a piece of lamb in them, and smeared on some sauce before offering it to Han Yunxi. In theory, he should've given it to Long Feiye first as the emperor was noblest, but Long Feiye didn't fuss about such matters with Han Yunxi and wouldn't with Jin Zi, either.
Han Yunxi had seen this method of eating before, but Long Feiye hadn't. He felt it was very new and interesting. She took a bite and looked astonished. "It's super delicious!"
Not only did the roast lamb look good, it also had tender meat within the crispy skin. Most importantly, the scent of lamb mixed with the lettuce only enhanced the flavor, making it very palatable and unique. Han Yunxi had seen such combinations before, but this was her first time tasting such a mix of flavors. She quickly wrapped one up for Long Feiye so he could have a taste. He too, praised the food as good.
Jin Zi was rather proud to earn Long Feiye's nod of approval and explained in detail about the grilled meat, choice of lettuce, and sauce preparation. Mu Linger sat watching and listening until her stomach grumbled with hunger!
This was simply torture!
Forget about making her wait after inviting her to eat, now he was delaying things on purpose! From what she understood of Jin Zi, how could he ever waste time to explain so much nonsense! He was clearly using this chance to drag things on instead of bringing her the meat! Still, Mu Linger was positively determined and didn't leave the scene to become the butt of Jin Zi's joke. She didn't make any demands either, but simply sat looking away from them all.
Just when Mu Linger was sulking, a tiger roared behind her. "Roooaaaar!"
"AhH!" Mu Linger jumped to her feet in fright and almost lost her soul! She looked back to see a giant tiger sitting behind her! Scared again, she backed again and somehow fell. This time, not only Jin Zi, but Han Yunxi, Long Feiye, and the tiger all stared at her. Mu Linger desperately wanted to stand up, but she was too weak from hunger. After all, she'd skipped lunch and had nothing but a few glasses of water since then!
Although she was spent and wanted to cry, Mu Linger gritted her teeth and stood up. She recognized this big white tiger as the one who brought her, Jin Zi, and little Tang Tang away to hide in a cave. It had also found them a tigress to feed little Tang Tang milk.
But why was it roaring at her?
Before Mu Linger was about to roar back, the white tiger suddenly roared at Jin Zi! In fact, its roar just then was directed at him too!
Jin Zi froze.
This beast actually dared to roar at him? What was it saying?
Jin Zi looked wordlessly at the tiger, but it roared at him again. It was obviously displeased with him! Seeing this, Mu Linger was puzzled too. What's going on?
Abruptly, the tiger jumped to the edge of the campfire and took the roast lamb off its rack before bringing the whole thing to Mu Linger!
Mu Linger gave a start before she brought into explosive laughter!
Jin Zi ah, Jin Zi, so much for being the head of the Tiger Army! Even the big white tiger can mutiny!
Seeing Jin Zi's stunned expression made Mu Linger feel particularly satisfied. She pulled over the entire lamb and ripped off a leg before gobbling it up! It was a much simpler, brutal way of eating than Jin Zi's usual manners, being completely coarse.
"Not bad, it's delicious!" Mu Linger wasn't stingy with her praise.
As she spoke, she pulled off another leg and rewarded it to the big white tiger sitting by her side. It happily chowed down with relish, giving no face to Jin Zi's gloomy expression. Seeing the human and tiger eating like so, even Long Feiye was in danger of laughing. Han Yunxi guffawed before she suddenly stopped to sprawl over the table!
"What's wrong?" Long Feiye exclaimed in alarm.
Han Yunxi didn't respond as she laid unmoving while stroking her chest. In a panic, Long Feiye moved to help her up when Han Yunxi couldn't resist gagging and throwing up…
Long Feiye was lost since he'd never seen this happen before. Mu Linger saw and rushed over immediately. "Big sis, what's wrong?"Previous Chapter Next Chapter
can you imagine in the future if jin zi and mu linger gets married, how much the tigers will all take mu linger's side so hubby doesn't "bully" the wife too hard? hahaha
and oh my, is that a bun in the oven i'm sensing...? ohohoho...
p.s. check out the latest announcement for exciting news related to PGC!