Chapter 186: Strongest Among the Strong

 

Translated by Gumihou

Please read this at kitchennovel dot com

 

Note from Gumihou: (/ ‘з’)/

Right I’ve just made the executive decision to change Mister Lu to Teacher Lu. It makes sense for a proud scholar to want to be addressed by a title and being educated back in the ancient days was A Big Deal, and this chapter just reflected that.

As to why there’s a waffling between Mister and Teacher, well, both are ambiguously enough, 先生Xian Sheng, which could mean Mister, Teacher or Doctor…

However, for our purpose here, for the prideful and celestial being like Lu Feng Yu, being addressed as Teacher Lu would separate him from the common masses. Hence, from now on, we shall address our ultimate foodie as Teacher Lu.

ƪƪ’▿’) Claps (‘▿’ʃʃ

 

 

“Hehe, secrets may be kept for a time, but can they be kept for a life time? Moreover, that Ms. Wang is incredibly sharp. Even I have no idea how she did it. Stealing secret recipes takes a special kind of skill apparently.” Su Dong Lou said as he sipped his tea. Then he laughed, “Why? Are you going to make an exception today? You’ve been eating these snacks non-stop, haven’t you?”

No matter how thick Lu Feng Yu’s face was, a blush still bloomed through. Suddenly, he laughed and said, “For the sake of eating, who cares about losing a little face, ah? Not only am I going to eat, I’m also going to take the rest home with me. Let’s see…” he glanced about the room, spotted an original painting made by the previous dynasty’s most popular artist, and made his way towards it. Then, he stretched his hands out to lift it off the wall…

“What are you doing? Hey, put that down.” Su Dong Lou was shocked.

Lu Feng Yu tossed a careless glance at him, saying, “Well then, give me a few pieces of paper or I’ll really use this painting to wrap the snacks up. If you really like it, I’ll paint you another one later.” One of this evil celestial’s skill is forgery. However, no matter how well something is forged, it’s still not the real thing, you know?

“You really are a scoundrel.” Su Dong Lou nearly stomped his foot in anger. But he still bade his servants to bring in some clean parchment paper, allowing Lu Feng Yu to carefully wrap up the snacks. Finally, he snapped, “Why are you here anyway? Surely you can say it now?”

“It will be Tomb Sweeping Day[1] in a few days. The emperor has already sent a decree to His Lordship to sweep the tombs at Nan Jing. When the time comes, would Master Su please arrange the protection personnel for the trip, please.”

Su Dong Lou paused, then excitedly asked, “Oh? The emperor has decreed for His Lordship to go? Had it not always been the princes who go?”

“Not necessarily, five years ago His Lordship offered sacrifices at the Imperial Tomb.” Lu Feng Yu said absentmindedly. With that, he stood up, cradled his two precious takeaway packets to his chest and said, “Well, now that business is over. I shall take my leave. By the way, that cook certainly is fierce, you might not be able to handle her, might as well send her over to my residence…”

He hadn’t finished speaking when Su Dong Lou cut in, “Don’t even think about it. You wait. I’ll come over to your place one of these days and take back everything owed to me plus interest.”

“It’s a promise, my wolfdogs will be there to welcome you as well.” Lu Feng Yu was not at all phased as he chuckled, hands up in a farewell salute.

“Wolfdog, is it?” Su Dong Lou sneered, “Excellent. I’ve been craving dog meat these few days. Speaking of which, I must thank Teacher Lu for giving me the privilege of enjoying dog meat this year. I’ll thank you in advance for bringing those dogs over tomorrow.”

Lu Feng Yu’s face faintly changed, he looked displeased as he sneered, “I’ll advice you to not look down on the enemy. Those wolfdogs are precious western gifts from His Lordship…”

He hadn’t finished speaking when Su Dong Lou laughed, “That’s even better, the more precious, the more delicious.”

Lu Feng Yu finally had enough of this ridiculous conversation. With a cold harrumph, he left.

It was not until his tall, willowy figure had disappeared through the ink-black gate that a servant, who had been busy rubbing at flower pots, finally stood up. It was Duan Tingxuan. The little marquis stared at the doors of the front entrance with a contemplative look on in his eyes.

 

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“If that Lu Feng Yu is as cunning as you said, he must be suspicious of Su Nuan Nuan’s identity.”

Back at the secret room, Duan Tingxuan and Su Dong Lou sat opposite each other as they discussed and battled over the Pork Chop Stuffed Rice Cakes, going one for you, one for me, as they maintained comically solemn expressions. On the side, Su Nuan Nuan watched as tears slowly flowed down her cheeks.

Was the main purpose of her transmigrating to give deliverance to these foodies? When other people transmigrated, they meet with all kinds of people on their journey. All kinds of personalities would turn up, swordmasters, priests, noblemen, villains… but she? It’s all foodies, foodies, nothing but more foodies, the good people are foodies, even the villains are foodies. To think that the ultimate villain is also the ultimate foodie. It really made her ready to give up in life, ah.

“Oh, he’s definitely suspicious, ah. But it’s all fine, after all we don’t plan to let sister-in-law carry out any mission, right? Even if he insisted on going after sister-in-law you can take the opportunity to go after alternative routes of investigation while he’s distracted. Wu! These Pork Chop Stuffed Rice Cakes are incredible, ah! Too bad sister-in-law can’t reveal her identity. If she presents this kind of delicacies in front of that villain, he’d treat her like a king.”

“You better leave me a piece. Though we had these during Chinese New Year, most of them were eaten by the senior members of the family. I had a hard time hiding just two plates of them in my study, thinking to eat them on the sly when no one’s about. Then, that blasted cat must have sniffed them out and snatched away half a plate. I was so pissed off even my liver hurts. It’s not easy to get to eat these, so you better not snatch them from me.”

“Pei! You still have the cheek to say this? At the very least you’ve eaten it before, right? Also, since the cat only ate half a plate, didn’t you already had one and a half plate of this?”

As Su Dong Lou continued to aggressively stuff his mouth with snacks, a vein under Su Nuan Nuan’s eye throbbed and finally, she could not stand it anymore. She slammed a hand on the table and snarled, “Wei! Are you two done? I’m not wasting half of my beauty sleep just to watch you compete over food, you know?”

“Well, just go and sleep then.” Su Dong Lou and Duan Tingxuan said in unison. For once, the two were in perfect sync.

“Just tell me what’s going on first.”

How could Su Nuan Nuan bear to go back? She still wanted to see if she could convince these two to let her play spy for this mission. No matter how evil this Lu Feng Yu was, as Su Dong Lou said, he found killing people distasteful. From what Su Nuan Nuan could see, this villain also seemed to have some OCD behaviour, especially with cleanliness. Thus, she was sure that no matter what problem she might face, it was nothing life-threatening. If Duan Tingxuan came with her, her safety would be 100% guaranteed. There was no way she was going to miss out on experiencing the exciting life of espionage just because two ancient men were being too fuddy-duddies about boring things like propriety. Furthermore, she was bored. Bored of the stuffy life of a noble woman; bored of entertaining these foodies and their increasingly annoying quarrel over perfectly ordinary food.

Su Dong Lou and Duan Tingxuan intended to resist, but once Su Nuan Nuan reinforced her true power as the ‘Great Gourmet Goddess’, the two finally stopped clawing at the Pork Chop Stuffed Rice Cakes with their oily paws and paid attention.

Su Dong Lou switched the topic back onto serious stuff and said, “Do you have any idea why the emperor would decree King Xiangyang to offer sacrifices at the Imperial Tomb?”

“After the matter with the Duke of Ping as well as Lord Long, the emperor has grown suspicious of King Xiangyang. Otherwise he would not have sent me over to secretly investigate him. The decree to offer sacrifices may be a way to placate and distract King Xiangyang.” Duan Tingxuan clearly understood the emperor very well.

Su Dong Lou, sighed, then laughed a little, “That’s right, the emperor must be worried about you getting into trouble. By letting Kind Xiangyang have this honour, he might be placated enough to not bother you even when he found out you’ve been sniffing about. However, if I may be honest, you must not lower your guard even a fraction. The emperor might understand his brother, but he definitely would not have taken Lu Feng Yu into consideration.

That snake would immediately sense the reason behind this decree. It’s really too bad that you can’t learn how to cook. Now that sister-in-law’s presence has been exposed. I’m afraid we can only assume that he’s already suspicious of your real identities. The only saving grace is that her life would probably be safe no matter what.”

Duan Tingxuan said, “I was worried about this too. But after hearing about what happened in the kitchen between her and Lu Feng Yu, I’m not really worried anymore. What heir’s wife is as fierce and shrewish as her? Have you seen how Lu Feng Yu suffered after having lowered his guard a little? He could barely edge a word in. I swear, he was nearly spitting blood at the end. Do you think an ordinary heir’s wife could do this?”

Su Dong Lou had a slightly troubled look on his face as he said, “Well, to be honest… sister-in-law’s shrewishness is… ahem, ahem… something that… everyone already knew about for the past few years…”

This perfectly true fact rang across the room like a thunderclap.

For a long moment, Duan Tingxuan was speechless. Su Nuan Nuan grew a little anxious, “What’s going on? Have I somehow exposed myself or something? Should I have not spoken to him so boldly?”

Before she could continue, Duan Tingxuan comforted her, saying, “Don’t worry about it, it has nothing to do with you. You just make sure to maintain your unique personality. In fact, I’d say you’ve performed quite well under the circumstances. It’s fine to just be yourself. The more yourself you are, the more Lu Feng Yu would second guess himself. In fact, Nuan Nuan, I’m sure you’ll set his mind spinning with despair.”

Is this really… a compliment? Su Nuan Nuan turned over his words in her mind. Unique personality? What did he mean by unique personality? As a good for nothing foodie? As a tough personality who refuses to compromise with idiots? Ask anyone on the streets, I’m sure nine out of ten would not say that these are good traits.

What was that?

Ten out of ten would probably say that these were all bad traits?

Poppycock, these are all traits that famous women in history have, right? The most important person’s opinion is herself, right? Well, she, Su Nuan Nuan, did not think that there is anything wrong with these two traits.

She was still pondering over this when Su Dong Lou laughed, “That’s right, after all, we have no intention of letting sister-in-law go over there. That Lu Feng Yu probably thought that I’m playing hard to catch with him, humph. Well, I’ll just refuse to let sister-in-law off. Let’s just see this incredibly clever clogs stumble over his own cleverness.”

Su Nuan Nuan was not at all happy with this remark: Just what do you mean refuse to let sister-in-law off? The f*ck, are you treating me like a bitch?

At least, the following discussion was based on serious matters. Finally, it was decided that Su Nuan Nuan will continue to display her culinary skills, and that Su Dong Lou would refuse to allow Su Nuan Nuan to leave on the excuse that he was addicted to her cooking. So addicted in fact, that he would bring both cook and her spouse with him to Nan Jing. As to what happens next, they will deal with the situation as it arises.

With the plan in place, they all went back to bed.

 

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Though Duan Tingxuan and Su Nuan Nuan shared a room, one slept on the bed and the other on the couch. Therefore, when Su Dong Lou offered to arrange for a maid to attend to them, the little marquis refused: After all, one cannot let outsiders know about his family shame. If the maids found out that a proud and dignified little marquis like himself could not even crawl into his wife’s bed, how embarrassing would that be?

The next day, Duan Tingxuan followed Chang San to ‘visit the countryside’. He was, in reality, looking for an opportunity to investigate the site where Long Pingzhang was last seen hoping to find any clues that the original investigators had missed. Without confirming things with his own eyes, the little marquis could not rest easy.

Naturally, Su Nuan Nuan was playing her role as the cook. Though she was not shocking the world with new innovations, her talent in cooking meant even the most mundane dish was somehow more elaborate and delicious.

On top of that, she could not take out those special dishes people associated with An Ping Heir’s Wife. Things like Lion’s Head definitely could not be shown. On the other hand, common dishes like Stir-Fried Vermicelli with Meat Strips could be altered simply by finely mincing the meat and tada! We have ‘Ants Climbing a Twig!

While she dared not make any fried Stuffed Eggplants, she could serve up the same mince mixture as stuffing for dumplings; and oh look, because we have some extra meat left and no more dumpling wrappings, let’s stuff the meat into the eggplants since the master has been craving them. How to cook them you ask? Let’s just steam them and see what happens.

After all, it’s not like no one ever thought of stuffing meat into eggplants, right?

 

[Gumihou: Hahaha, even Su Nuan Nuan is sick of all these foodies around her.]

 

[1] Tomb Sweeping Day or Qing Ming Festival – celebrated on the 4th or 5th of April on the lunar month. It’s the day people would show respect through tomb sweeping and food/drink offering

https://www.chinahighlights.com/festivals/qingming-festival.htm#:~:text=The%20Qingming%20Festival%20is%20an,the%20traditional%20Chinese%20solar%20calendar.

 

 

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Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.

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