Chapter 64: Keep You Guessing
Helian Jing rushed back to the military department. His brother’s guard told him that the Royal Highness had been looking for him for a while. Helian Jing wiped the sweat off?of his forehead and forced himself to face his big brother.
“Where were you?” Helian Xuan asked sullenly. He knew that Little Jing ran away, but with other ministers around, he couldn’t say anything. At first, he thought that Little Jing was just bored and went out to get some air. It was the guard who had told him that Little Jing went to Heavenly Residence. He spent three hours going back and forth?the mansion and the restaurant just so he could?spend half an hour with Li Yao.
“You were in the middle of a meeting and I couldn’t say anything. I just went out to get some air,” Helian Jing lied.
Helian Xuan stared at his sweating forehead and sneered, “Get some air or get some sweat?”
“It is hot outside,” Helian Jing said feebly.
Helian Xuan hated his lies the most. He wanted to give Helian Jing some responsibilities to keep him busy, but he didn’t think he’d run away?whenever he has a free time.
“You must be hot as you ride the horse rapidly. Did you eat at Heavenly Residence before coming back?” Helian Xuan asked coldly.
Helian Jing looked at his big brother in surprise. “Did you have me followed?”
“I was only curious to see where you’re going. I heard that you kept going to Heavenly Residence. Tell me, what is attracting you so much there?” Helian Xuan conversed patiently, trying to avoid getting Little Jing mad.
“I like the dishes in Heavenly Residence. They’ve recently changed the head chef there and the food is amazing. I want to try something new.” Helian Jing remembered Zhao Qixuan’s warning so he didn’t say anything about Li Yao.
“Really? I’d like to try that someday,” Helian Xuan said. “Or, maybe we should go at lunchtime later?”
“I just went to see if there were new dishes out. I am sick of the other dishes already,” Helian Jing said hurriedly.
Helian Xuan smiled. “You get sick so fast, huh?”
“Big Brother, we can go to Family’s Fragrance. It is new, and I heard it is good.”
Little Jing tried so hard to keep him away from Heavenly Residence. What was he afraid of? If Li Yao really was just Little Jing’s savior, there shouldn’t be any problem. He could even ask Helian Xuan to repay Li Yao. Instead, Little Jing exerted all these efforts to keep this hidden… Helian Xuan was even more worried. How could he persuade himself to believe Little Jing when he was acting so suspiciously?
And that Li Yao had some connection with Xia Chunyu as well. He couldn’t make a move.?This thing is such a problem!
Song Qi informed Xia Chunyu that the former servant of the Ye family has already arrived in Jin Ling. Xia Chunyu dropped what he was doing and met with the 40-year-old woman immediately.
“I swore that what I said was the truth,” she vowed. “And I’m not the only servant who knew about this. The other servants who knew just didn’t dare to discuss this because they feared the Lady. The maid who was responsible to clean the main yard also heard that Master quarreled with the Lady about the first daughter’s marriage. The lady meant for the second daughter to marry the first son of Wei’s family.
Master said that the marriage was planned ages ago, and with the Wei family already waiting, they could not change it. When the first daughter left to marry, the second daughter, as well as her personal servant, also disappeared. Your Highness, if I see the first lady of Wei’s family, I would be able to recognize her.”
The servant lost a little money to gambling so she used a bit of the public money, which got her kicked out of the mansion by the Lady. Meanwhile, Mother Yang who also took some public money carried on unpunished just because she was next to the Lady. The servant didn’t find it fair, so when people asked her about the Ye family with the offer of a big reward, she blabbed everything she knew. The Ye family had a high social status and paid attention to traditional?Chinese courtesy, but they have done many terrible things.
Even though she didn’t know why this rich and powerful man was asking about the affairs of the Ye family,?she didn’t care. As long as she getting a reward from him, she’d keep talking.
Xia Chunyu believed her story. It would also explain why the second daughter wanted to set Yaoyao up.
He wanted to know how Ye’s second daughter planned to keep this charade up. Was she that certain that?Yaoyao would never make it back?
“What was the first daughter like in the mansion?” Xia Chunyu wanted to know more about Yaoyao’s past.
The woman exclaimed, “The first daughter was pitiful even though she was a lady. Her life was not even as good as the servants. Master didn’t care about her, and the second daughter always bullied her. The Lady would say that she liked the first daughter’s cooking so the first daughter had been obligated to cook for her every day.?The Lady would secretly feed the dogs with that food.
“Even when the first daughter fell ill, the Lady didn’t bother to get a doctor for her. She wouldn’t even pay the first daughter’s monthly pocket money. Every season, the second daughter and the second son would get four new sets of clothes, but the first daughter would be lucky if she’d get one new set.
The glass in Xia Chunyu’s hand broke.
Song Qi quickly ran to his side and cried out, “Sir, are you hurt?”
Xia Chunyu stared at his hand angrily. Yaoyao had been so mistreated by her family. Last night, she had told him that she wouldn’t even be sad no matter how her family has set her up.?She told him that they were all wolves and she didn’t love them.
The servant stopped with her story, shocked by Xia Chunyu’s reaction.
After a while, Xia Chunyu calmed down enough to say, “Song Qi, take her away and settle her properly. She’ll get her reward when we’ve confirmed what she said. Wei’s first lady would be arriving in Jin Ling any day now.”
Song Qi took her away and Xia Chunyu paced around the room.
He was incredibly furious. Ye’s Lady was the daughter of Hanlin court’s scholar, Ye Dakuan. How could someone born in a scholar’s family make such low and sinister actions? If Ye Dakuan knew about this, Xia Chunyu was sure that the scholar would boil with rage.
This matter should be made known to Yaoyao’s maternal grandparents. They have to know what was done to Yaoyao.
Xia Chunyu made up his mind and got started on the list of his requests.
After a busy lunchtime, Ye Jiayao pulled Zhong Xiang aside so they could study some pastry materials together.
At the beginning, they reviewed Bengal gelatine, a substance extracted from a mix of hot liquid of muriculate eucheuma frond and agar/gracilaria. After they cooled down, it would concentrate into seaweed essence which was filled with dietary fiber. It was a very important bodying agent for making pastry.
Zhong Xiang said, “Buy more, I haven’t done Bengal gelatine before. This may cost a lot of material.”
The next was light cream. It was not hard to do, she would only need to cook the milk repeatedly. The solid fat would float on the surface and she would only need to separate the fat from the milk.
Deng Haichuan told them, “There are cows in our village.”
“You can get us this then. Buy more fresh milk. We will do it ourselves. You can take money from me first,” Ye Jiayao said. The early study cost should not be asked from Manager Li. Luckily, she still had 70 silvers. They could ask for reimbursement after the study was proven successful.
The last thing they studied was shredded coconut stuffing.?It was pretty hard to get because coconuts were only produced in the southern area near the sea. It was hard to find even in Yang Zhou. No one at this time was really in the habit of making pastries with coconut stuffing. They would simply use sesame powder and soybean powder.
“We can only ask southern business ships to buy this. Oh, that Yong An Heir-son Lord is doing business in the south! Can you ask him to bring some here?” Zhong Xiang told her.
“I will ask him.”
Deng Haichuan asked curiously, “Brother Yao, what you want are so rare. What do we do with them?”
Ye Jiayao smiled mischievously. “I will keep you guessing. I assure you, though, that we can sell out after it is done. Zhong Xiang, this is a chance for you to be famous!”
“I will try my best to help,”?Zhong Xiang said, smiling awkwardly.
“Brother Yao, Brother Xiang, teach the rest of when you’re done,” Deng Haichuan implored.
“Of course, we’re going to teach you!” Ye Jiayao exclaimed. “You can’t just idle around, you know? You’ll need to work extra hours for this.”
Brother Yao sounded so certain that both of them filled with hope.
“Ah, my headache’s getting worse. Let me have a nap.” Ye Jiayao felt like her brain has run out of fuel and she has been absent-minded since this morning.
“Okay, you get some rest. When we’ve got everything done, I will call you,” Zhong Xiang said.
Ye Jiayao wobbled up to the third floor and slouched on the chair in the Fu Qu Attic. She closed her eyes and napped.
She couldn’t sleep well. She dreamt of her previous life and current life. Luckily, this situation didn’t occur frequently, and they mostly happened in dreams, otherwise, people might think she had split personality.
She didn’t know how long she slept. She only woke up when she heard someone shout her name.
“Brother Yao, Brother Yao!”
She opened her eyes and saw Deng Haichuan standing over her. She closed her eyes again and asked lazily, “Is it time?”
“Manager Li is asking for you,” Deng Haichuan said.
Her drowsiness disappeared almost immediately. She got up and fixed her clothes before heading to Manager Li’s office.
Manager Li looked sad as he asked her to sit down. He kept quiet for a long moment, looking slightly dazed.
Was the restaurant going bankrupt, Ye Jiayao thought. Or did Helian Xuan made good on his threat and did something bad to the restaurant?
She was not patient enough to wait for him to snap out of whatever he was thinking, especially with him looking so sad. She prompted,?“Manager, what do you need me for?”
Manager Li finally sighed and said,?“Today, we had a talk in the Chamber of Commerce. Fu Ji asked to hold a chef match, and every restaurant will choose someone to participate. There will be gold, silver, and bronze reward. Now I know why Xiang Yi spent such a huge money to hire Master Chef Niu. They found out about this earlier than I did.”