Chapter 195: Penetrate the Tiger’s Den

 

Translated by Gumihou

Please read this at kitchennovel dot com

 

Su Dong Lou and Duan Tingxuan exchanged a look. Suddenly, they both burst into laughter and declared, “This is an excellent example of ‘The Onlooker Sees Clear’. While we both bragged about our great wisdom and intelligence, look how muddled we become when something unexpected happened.”

Su Nuan Nuan smirked, “You’re only too focussed on what the worse could happen, thinking that a weak woman walking into a tiger’s den is too dangerous. The reality is not as terrible as you think. From what I can see, though this Lu Feng Yu is certainly malicious and treacherous, he suffers from mysophobia and therefore would not do anything to dirty his own hands…”

She hadn’t finish speaking when Su Dong Lou said curiously, “What’s this meeso- fobias thing?”

“It’s… he dislikes killing people, that’s mysophobia. There is no way he’d dirty his own hand with blood.” Su Nuan Nuan really don’t know how to explain it, but it looked like Su Dong Lou understood this much. He nodded, “You’re right. In fact, beyond not liking to kill people, as a weak scholar, he is incapable of killing even a chicken. However, since he’s in position of power, he could take people’s life just by opening his mouth.”

Duan Tingxuan sneered, “He thinks that doesn’t count as killing people? How naïve. He thinks that by giving King Xiangyang all those stratagems that destroyed how many peoples’ lives, he’s not at fault just because he did not personally wielded the sword or knife? Everything else aside, just how many people had died from the Duke of Ping’s incident? Isn’t that one of his ‘contributions’?”

Su Dong Lou laughed, “I have spoken to him about this too. According to him, he only gave advice. The people who implemented those plans and took lives had nothing to do with him.”

“So, in other words, the one who inflicted harm is King Xiangyang? He did not even bother to avoid the topic? And King Xiangyang still trusted him?” Su Nuan Nuan was shocked: What a weird pair, could it be possible that these two are in some kind of a relationship…?

[Gumihou: Su Nuan Nuan, your brain! It’s all yellow!]

Su Dong Lou stopped laughing, he said solemnly, “That’s right, King Xiangyang actually knew about this side of him. However, he also said that as long as Lu Feng Yu continues to supply good advice and schemes, he did not care about ‘taking the blame’. Therefore, you should understand just what kind of standing he has in His Lordship’s heart. He’d rather bear the title of ‘the one who inflicts harm’ and allow that freak of nature to indulge in his… meesofobia, is it?”

Duan Tingxuan shook his head, “King Xiangyang is not that broad-minded. For now, he needs Lu Feng Yu’s schemes, there’s just no other choice. However, once he succeeded in his plot, do you think he’d be content to play the villain in his story? The funny thing is, that Lu Feng Yu is still under the delusion that once he helped this lizard rise to the dragon throne, he would benefit too. That idiot did not know that the moment his master got into power, the first person to be rooted out would be him.”

Su Nuan Nuan said, “His destiny is not our concern. King Xiangyang must not be allowed to succeed. Let’s return to the topic at hand. I have something to ask Su Dong Lou, you say that Lu Feng Yu values good food over life, and might even throw his life away for good food. Is this correct?”

“Of course it is. Did sister-in-law not experience this first hand? The first time you saw him, that person stormed into the kitchen and went straight for the pot of puffer fish. He ignored the well-known fact that puffer fish is highly toxic, or that this is my personal residence, and ate from straight from the pot without hesitation. Don’t you think this answers your question already?”

Su Nuan Nuan broke into laughter. “Oh yes, how could I have forgotten that? If that’s the case, than he’s too easy to handle. Once I’m at the prince’s residence, I shall treat him to all manner of delicious things. When he’s addicted to my cooking, even if he did realized my true identity, he might even betray the other side for the sake of gourmet food.”

“Surely that’s… impossible? That person is deeply committed to gaining power through helping that King Xiangyang ascend the throne.”

Su Dong Lou frowned, he felt that Su Nuan Nuan was being too carefree. Su Nuan Nuan continued to explain, “Within everyone’s heart, there’s always something they take great pleasure in. As someone who has known Lu Feng Yu this long, which do you think has a higher position in his heart? Power and influence or exquisite gourmet food?”

Su Dong Lou thought carefully for a long while, recalling all the previous interactions with the man, blanking out for a moment as realisation set in. “Now that sister-in-law mention it, I… I have a sudden realisation. That man most likely places delicious food above everything else, ba? Also, I don’t think I ever saw him feel strongly about power and influence? Only… quotes relating to historical anecdotes on previous emperors are never far from his lips. Although it made him looked like he regarded power quite highly, he never seemed really moved by it. So, why would he be so enthusiastic about helping King Xiangyang into power?”

“Regardless, we have found a weakness.” Su Nuan Nuan happily slapped the table. “In other words, it doesn’t matter if Lu Feng Yu is a poisonous snake. He’s not an egg without a crack… Eh, this metaphor isn’t quite right, I’m not a fly so why would I care… Oh, never mind. Anyway, it’s time for main players to meet. My gourmet food and King Xiangyang’s promises of power, let’s see which one moves this poisonous snake’s heart most. That’s the important point.”

Su Dong Lou remained silent, now that matter had reached this stage, what else could he say?

Duan Tingxuan’s voice was resolute, “Enough, let’s go along with Su Nuan Nuan’s plan. Only one other thing, I shall be going with Su Nuan Nuan. After all, we’re a married couple. Splitting us up just because Lu Feng Yu wants her as a cook doesn’t make sense.”

“This is not a problem.” Su Dong Lou was not someone who would do things carelessly. Now that they have all decided on a course, he made to leave in order the make all the arrangements when Duan Tingxuan stopped him. The little marquis took out the white rock and told him about the poem he believed the rock represented and asked for Su Dong Lou’s opinion.

Su Dong Lou said, “I’ve always lived in Hangzhou, and can’t say I know Suzhou well. However, I’ll be travelling with His Lordship this next two months. I’m sure I’ll be able to find something out by the time I come back. For the moment, nothing comes to mind, but I shall sleep on the matter. I’ll also send two capable scouts to see whether there’s anything of interest at Mt. Yuelu. Once I have news, I shall send someone over with a message.”

Now that everything had been settled, they can move forward confidently.

 

Please read this at kitchennovel dot com.

 

Three days later, Su Nuan Nuan and Duan Tingxuan packed up their belongings in two little bags and made their way towards the prince’s residence. A servant led them to Lu Feng Yu’s courtyard, and gave them a sympathetic gaze before leaving.

As for Si Ping, he was left at Mingyu Residence. After all, their opponent this time was the cunning and sly Lu Feng Yu, the more people they have, the more likely something would leak out. Therefore, after much thought, Duan Tingxuan and Su Nuan Nuan heartlessly abandoned this comrade of theirs, even though his acting skills was no less worthy than the little marquis’.

Once they entered the courtyard, a different servant led them to the Matron-in-Charge. As soon as the servant left, the matron began to smile mildly threateningly and said, “As per our master’s orders, you shall be staying in a house close to the kitchen. The beddings within are all new. To be honest, we have never seen master treat any servant this way.”

“Where is your master?” Su Nuan Nuan looked about, but did not see Lu Feng Yu. The matron tittered, “It’s not even noon yet, so of course our master is assisting His Lordship with his work. He will be back in the afternoon. He even said that if your culinary skills meets his standard, he will reward you.”

Su Nuan Nuan sneered, “I’ve never cooked for reward in my life. I just enjoy cooking. If the master likes it, then he’ll eat it. If he’s unhappy with it, I’ll just leave. I don’t care about any reward.”

The matron stood there, flabbergasted. After a long while her face grew stone cold and she said, “Ms. Wang, you’re merely a cook, it’s not good to be this arrogant. Though our master is a gentle sort, he will not endure a cook’s temper.”

 

[Gumihou: Except he did! Lolz!]

 

 

[1] The Onlooker Sees Clear – the spectator sees more of the game than the player. A case of being too close to the forest to see the trees

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Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.

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