Chapter 18- Conspiracy

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One month’s time is limited, in order to cultivate his disciples quickly, Su Yu arrived early every day at Xianmantang.
The two disciples were also very diligent and simply lived in the back kitchen.

Watching the two of them make a bed on the floor in the utility room, Su Yu couldn’t bear seeing it anymore.

After discussing with Mister Yuan, he rented a small courtyard next door with three rooms, making it into a large bunkhouse, enough for two apprentices and a few young boys to live in.

Speaking of it, Xianmantang’s servants were all transferred from King Zhao’s Wangfu, and the expenses were paid by the Wangfu.
Su Yu looked at the accounts carefully and felt that it was inappropriate to do so.

He wanted to cooperate with King Zhao for a long time and it was bad in the long run to take advantage of others.

“The new waiter has already been recruited, there’s no need to trouble yourself.” Mister Yuan stopped Su Yu from dividing the accounts.

“They are domestic slaves, and it was impossible for them to leave King Zhao’s Wangfu.”

“It’s me who’s confused.” Su Yu suddenly realized that although the slaves on the Wangfu were slaves, it was a position that many were unwilling to give up.

In the eyes of others, the waiter in the restaurant and the slaves in the Wangfu naturally couldn’t be mentioned in the same breath.

The new waiter was still in training and could take up his post in a few days, Su Yu was not good at this, so he handed it all over to Mister Yuan.

But he repeatedly explained that the accounts in the future should be clearly separated, he couldn’t let Wangye suffer any more losses, and then he could concentrate on teaching his two apprentices.

One month should be enough for each of the two apprentices to learn seven dishes.

The most difficult thing in cooking was controlling the temperature and seasoning.
Time was pressing, so Su Yu matched the seasonings of these fourteen dishes and put them in different cans, in which were marked the dishes to use on.

What Zhang Cheng and Wang Feng needed to learn was to control the temperature and how to handle the ingredients.

Seafood ingredients were more particular than other ingredients.
Where they can be eaten, where can they be used for the soup base, where should they be cut in advance and the order of priority cannot be wrong.

Su Yu chose simple fish, shrimp, and scallops, it wasn’t difficult to make 14 dishes with these main ingredients.

“Today I’m making fried shrimp marinated in soy sauce.” Su Yu took out a pot of shrimps and gave it to Zhang Cheng asking him to pick the shrimp line.

Fried shrimp with soy sauce was not simply fried with soy sauce, in the era Su Yu lived, chefs were often lazy and used the prepared Meiji sauce directly.
There wasn’t any industrial-produced Meiji sauce here, so it needed to be prepared by hand.

“The most important thing in seafood cuisine is not after cooking, but prior to cooking.” Su Yu checked the processed shrimp and handed a pile of seasonings to Zhang Cheng.

To get rid of the fishiness, you need cooking wine, and naturally, there was no cooking wine in Da’an Dynasty.

When looking through Su Ji’s recipes, he found that many dishes contained a seasoning called “Hua Diao”.

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Hua Diao, also known as flower carving wine, was a kind of yellow rice wine.
Su Yu bought Hua Diao wine in East Street, and there were more than a dozen kinds of yellow rice wine, such as Zhuangyuan Hong, Jintan wine, Hua Baiyang, and more, and he tried them all.

He found that these kinds of yellow rice wines had basically the same effect on removing fishiness, he didn’t know why the ancestors of the Su family only wrote Hua Diao wine, which made him guess for several days.

Minced garlic, ginger, soy sauce, sugar, pepper, and yellow rice wine, first the seasoning should be ready, remove the head of the fresh shrimp, marinate it in the seasoning for half an hour, and then drain it well before putting it into the pot.

This was the first time that Zhang Cheng looked carefully at Su Yu processing ingredients, he saw the slender white fingers flying, spreading the ingredients, dispersing powder, and dropping sauce, it was a set of movements like moving clouds and flowing waters.

It was like performing a superb tea ceremony, and he couldn’t help but be fascinated by it.

There were always some people who looked ordinary when they were at leisure, like Su Yu, their appearance could only be regarded as above average, and their life was also mediocre.

However, when they stepped into their field they can instantly become peerless, with an unmatched radiance.

“Can you remember?” Su Yu stopped and asked his little apprentice.

“Shifu, why do I feel like you're not cooking, but rather…”

“Bang!” With a crisp sound, the conversation between master and disciple was interrupted.

Looking up, he saw that a small basin of flour originally used to make snacks was knocked over to the ground.
A furball covered with flour looked very angry.

While sneezing, it didn’t forget to ruthlessly slap away the basin that dared to be in his way.

“Sauce!” Su Yu’s eyes lit up, and he ran over in three steps and picked up the white kitten.

Stupid slave! His amber eyes were full of anger.

An Hongche lifted his paw and slapped Su Yu’s hand away, struggled to jump back to the chopping board, and shook his fur vigorously.

Damn it, marinated shrimp is marinated shrimp, who are you showing that seductive look for!

Looking at Zhang Cheng who was stunned at the side, the anger in His Majesty’s heart was even stronger, and he couldn’t help but bare his teeth at him.

“Be good, be good, don’t be angry.” Su Yu held the kitten up again with a smile and leaned over to kiss the flour-stained cat’s ear.

“Come on, let’s wash it or you’ll feel uncomfortable.”

Wretched, wretched thing!

Using his usual means, the flour cat in his arms really stopped moving.
Su Yu touched the cat’s head with satisfaction and instructed Zhang Cheng to marinate it again, leaving his apprentice to bathe the cat.

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The weather was getting hotter and soon it was noon, so Su Yu was not afraid of freezing.

He took a small wooden basin, scooped a ladle of hot water from the steamer, and mixed it, then tested the water temperature before putting the furball in.

The depth of the water was just right, lying on his stomach can completely submerge his body.
Master Cat lay down comfortably and pillowed his head on the edge of the basin.

“Sauce, why did you run out at noon?” Su Yu had not seen this little guy in the daytime for a long time and he came twice in the middle of the night this month.

Now looking carefully, he seemed to be a circle bigger than before.

The kitten, who was squitting and enjoying his bath, lifted his eyelids and looked at him.
He lifted his front paw and the tactful cat slave immediately grasped it and carefully cleaned the flour paste in the paw seams with his fingertips.

Today is a day of rest, We came to take a bath! An Hongche yawned and answered casually.

However, this sentence sounded like “Meow meow meow” to Su Yu, he didn’t understand it at all, but he was still chatting happily.

“What do you want to eat? I’ll cook something delicious for you later, it’s when you are growing up that you should eat more… Hey, by the way, do you remember where I placed my name card? I didn’t hand it in at all, why did the Zongzheng Department order me to go to the selection?”

An Hongche didn’t bother to pay attention to him anymore, and just let him ramble on there.

After washing the cat, Su Yu wiped the Master Cat from head to toe with a cloth towel.

Maomao's fur was half dry and afraid of it being blown by the wind, he simply took another dry cloth and wrapped the cat and took him in his arms.

An Hongche uncomfortably broke away from the cloth towel and rubbed his damp fur on Su Yu’s shirt.

It was already summer, and Su Yu didn’t wear anything else except that shirt, the feeling of his skin was transmitted through the soft wet clothes, and His Majesty couldn’t help but freeze for a while.

“Boss, something happened in the front.” The waiter who passed the dishes hurried over.

“A man claims to be your elder brother and wanted to keep an account, but Mister Yuan refused so he make an uproar for you to come.”

Su Yu frowned and raised his hand to take out the cat in his arms so that he could check the situation.

An Hongche, who was in a daze, subconsciously grabbed Su Yu’s clothes with a claw, as a result, he couldn’t take him out.
Su Yu, who had always been used to him, didn’t force it, so he simply took the cat to the lobby.

Sure enough, Su Yu’s cousin Su Ming was standing in front of the counter, shouting endlessly, and the guests in the lobby watched the excitement while eating.

“Su Yu, you speak, am I not your elder brother?” Seeing Su Yu coming, Su Ming immediately became more energetic and banged the table.

These days, Su Ming couldn’t bear to see Su Yu’s flushed with success complacent expression.
He wanted to come here to eat and drink for free, and after wiping his mouth he would put it on Su Yu’s account and make him suffer a loss.

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On Xianmantang one had to pay before eating, and the shopkeeper was very stubborn, he just refused to put it on Su Yu’s account.

Seeing that the people in the lobby began to laugh at him in whispers, Su Ming, who became angry from embarrassment, couldn’t help losing his temper.

Su Yu had a headache and took a deep breath.

“Mister Yuan, as I said, anyone who makes trouble will be sent to the government.”

“Understood.” Mister Yuan smiled.
“I already asked someone to invite people from the Yamen.”

“Su Yu, what do you mean!” As soon as Su Ming heard that he went to invite the Yamen, he was suddenly and little flustered.

Unwilling to show his cowardice, he bluntly grabbed Su Yu’s shirt.

“Ouch!”

Just as he approached, a sharp claw scratched a deep bloody mark.

“I’m sorry to disturb the guest’s meal.
Today, everyone here will be given a pot of sour plum soup.” Su Yu calmly patted the furball in his arms and cupped his hands at the crowd.

In front of a table by the window, An Hongzhuo stared at the tuff of golden fur exposed on Su Yu’s shirt, and a playful smile appeared in his long and narrow eyes.

Turning around, he looked at Su Ming, who was still swearing after being kicked out by the waiter, and slightly raised his chin.

”Follow him.”

“Yes.” Someone nearby answered and walked away, following Su Ming’s footsteps, he gradually disappeared on the bustling East Street.

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In the evening, Su Yu finished the last dish, rubbed his sore shoulder, and turned his head to look at the golden kitten who was concentrating on catching fish by the fish tank.
He couldn’t help smiling.

“Sauce, let’s go home.”

The golden furry ears moved, and An Hongche looked up at him.
In the warm candlelight in the kitchen, the not-so-handsome face became softer and softer.

He loosened the fishtail he had just hooked and shook his paws.
Really, just because We favor you, you cannot act coquettish in front of others.

Back at Su Residence, Su Yu's courtyard was dark.

Just after stepping into the courtyard, the kitten in his arms suddenly jumped over his shoulder, at the same time, there was a muffled sound behind the door and a dark figure rolled out.

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“Ouch!” The shadow fell to the ground and let out a cry.

“Su Ming? Why are you here?” Su Yu lit a candle and saw the person on the ground.

It was Su Ming, his cousin who made trouble during the day.
He guessed that he had been hiding in the dark just now.
Somehow, he missed his step and fell down, he also held a net bag in his hand, not sure what for.

Su Ming’s face was pale.
He looked nervously at the obscure corner and glanced at Su Yu again, then ran away.

“What’s going on here?” Su Yu scratched his head, he didn’t think that Su Ming was hiding in his house to do anything good, it was either to steal money or to beat him, but why did he fall out on his own and get scared?

Standing on his shoulder, An Hongche’s eyes were full of cold light.

He wanted to catch Us with a rabbit-catching net bag, it was truly wishful thinking.

The next day, Su Ming fell ill and his eldest aunt refused to let go, saying that he fell down in Su Yu’s house and got hurt.

Su Yu was so annoyed that he simply didn’t return home, and just directly lived at Xianmantang to stay away from the filth and unrest of the world.

In the twinkling of an eye, it was the third day of the seventh lunar month the day of the Imperial Concubine Selection.

Zhao Shu called Su Yu back the day before and taught him in a hurry.

She reminded him to make more friends with those noblemen and put away a few sets of clothes and accessories for him.

At the beginning of the morning, Su Xiaozhang had already driven a donkey cart to send Su Ying to the ZongZheng Department.
Su Yu missed the donkey ride so he could only walk over with his baggage.

When he arrived at the front yard of the ZongZheng Department, many noble children were already there in groups of twos and threes, all dressed in brocade and beautiful clothes.

Su Yu didn’t know anyone, so he could only shrink in the corner like a quail.

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Meiji sauce->a type of soy sauce

Hua Diao->Flower Carving/ Shaoxing yellow wine

set of movements like moving clouds and flowing waters->natural and unforced

Shifu->Master

Yamen->government office in feudal China

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