Chapter 119 – Yuehong Restaurant’s Roast Duck (2)
Faced with that waiting gaze, Chu Lian could only follow Royal Princess Duanjia’s instructions, dipping the duck into the sauce, and then putting it into her mouth.
Chu Lian: ……
Although the roast duck was so crisp that the surface was covered in oil, the inside was completely devoid of flavour! No wonder they had to dip it in soy sauce and salt.
The soy sauce and salt combo could add some taste to the meat, but that was only on the outermost layer. It was worth noting that even the most finely ground salt here was coarser than the table salt of the modern world. She could clearly see every single grain of salt, and the larger crystals arguably made the crispy skin it coated even saltier. The meat on the inside was the complete opposite: utterly tasteless. While biting down was like eating a mouthful of salt, chewing was equally horrid. She couldn’t taste any duck at all. With this sort of uneven flavour distribution, how could anyone consider this delicious?
Chu Lian was used to lighter flavours, and this duck definitely didn’t match her tastes. However, Royal Princess Duanjia was watching her so she couldn’t just spit it out. She quickly chewed the piece of duck in her mouth and swallowed it with difficulty.
She coughed twice to disguise her disgust. When Royal Princess Duanjia saw her reaction, she asked, “Chu Liu, how is it? Did you like it?”
Chu Lian looked up at Royal Princess Duanjia. Although her expression was rather calm, the anticipation of a positive answer in her eyes gave her away.
Chu Lian couldn’t bear to waste her good intentions, so she tried to gloss over it. “It’s okay.”
Upon receiving an answer she hadn’t expected, Royal Princess Duanjia frowned. “Is it tasty or not?”
Chu Lian awkwardly smiled. She was already numb to the dreadful food here. Perhaps even the imperial banquets in this darn Great Wu Dynasty were of this standard.
Suddenly, Royal Princess Duanjia’s eyes lit up. “Chu Liu. Could it be… that you know how to make even tastier roast duck?”
Chu Lian wanted to say no, but Royal Princess Duanjia quickly followed with, “Don’t lie to me! Or I’ll tell my father that you bullied me!”
Uh… Chu Lian hadn’t expected the amiable Royal Princess Duanjia to suddenly behave like a tsundere towards her.
Considering Prince Wei’s status, and comparing him to her own father, who was simply slacking around in a cushy official job while House Ying was going into decline, Chu Lian had to give in. The princess’ dad was too strong for her. If they were to call out their fathers, she would be completely obliterated.
Chu Lian replied with a quick turn of wit, “Royal Princess, I can’t guarantee that my roast duck is magnitudes better, but it would be at least a teeny bit better than Yuehong Restaurant’s roast duck.”
Chu Lian even held out her right hand and made a pinching gesture to show how tiny the difference would be, with her fingertips almost touching.
Royal Princess Duanjia hadn’t thought that this little brat in front of her actually knew how to cook roast duck. Her eyes darted about as she thought. “In a few days, I’ll send another invite for you to come to my estate. How about we cook roast duck together?”
Although Royal Princess Duanjia was proposing this with a straight face, she was laughing her head off on the inside. Hmph! She knew that this roast duck wasn’t all that good. Her fourth brother had actually spent a huge sum to buy the secret recipe for this duck. Now even Chu Liu could make something better than this. What a joke! She definitely had to give Fourth Brother a piece of Chu Liu’s roast duck. Let’s see if he’ll expire from anger!
While indulging in her smug thoughts, Royal Princess Duanjia had completely forgotten that she had been the one who wanted to come to Yuehong Restaurant to eat this roast duck in the first place.
However, now that Chu Lian had given it such a poor evaluation, it didn’t seem to be as delicious as before, no matter how much she continued eating.
Out of all the ways she had tried to imagine how this day with Royal Princess Duanjia would go, Chu Lian hadn’t expected them to spend the whole day on eating.
Again, she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
The roast duck was the only dish in Yuehong Restaurant that the princess liked, and she didn’t think the other dishes were all that good. Since Chu Lian had made her lose interest in eating any more of the roast duck, the two of them just ate a little more of the meal. They did take a liking to the sweet, fragrant fruit wine that Yuehong Restaurant offered, so the two of them drank more of that.
Royal Princess Duanjia and Chu Lian chattered on happily in their private room, not knowing that every word was falling into the ears of someone in the room next door.
Tang Yan couldn’t help but cover his mouth with a hand, his cheeks flushing red as he held back his laughter. In the end, he lost the fight and burst into a fit of coughing. He gave up and laughed outright.
The Fourth Brother that Royal Princess Duanjia had mentioned happened to be Prince Jin. He already had an unhappy expression on his face. Those extraordinary azure eyes of his coldly swept over Tang Yan, causing the man in question to abruptly shiver.
Tang Yan quickly stopped laughing after receiving that warning glare. He straightened up and put on a serious face as he said, “This lowly official dares to ask Fourth Prince, how much did you spend on the secret recipe for this roast duck?”
Prince Jin’s face stiffened and he shot another flying dagger of a glare at the man. “Tang Yan, do you perhaps feel that you’re being paid too much as an official, since you’re coming to Yuehong Restaurant to spend it all?”
Having some intelligence about him, Tang Yan immediately shut up. However, just like Royal Princess Duanjia, he didn’t feel much like eating the crispy roast duck before him now.
He lamented, “This lowly official wonders how skilled the princess’ friend is at cooking roast duck. This lowly official would like to try some.”
Prince Jin generously bestowed another cold glare upon him. “Have you gotten addicted to testing your courage?”
Tang Yan awkwardly coughed before turning the conversation back to their original topic. “Your Highness, He Sanlang has already reached Liangzhou. These are the letters that he sent.”
Tang Yan was one of Prince Jin’s subordinate officials, as well as one of his trusted advisors.
Prince Jin took the stack of letters from Tang Yan, only reading the letter that He Changdi had written to him. The other two letters meant for House Jing’an were kept to one side. He would send someone to the Jing’an Estate with them when he reached home.
“Send a team of men and horses over to Changdi. They are to be at his disposal.”
Tang Yan nodded.
When the two of them were almost done with their business, Prince Jin heard the ladies next door preparing to leave for Defeng Teahouse for the show.
Remembering He Changdi’s words in the letter just now, asking him to take ‘special care’ of Chu Lian, Prince Jin and Tang Yan also stood up to move to Defeng Teahouse in secret.
Actually, while writing the words ‘special care’, He Changdi had been gritting his teeth in anger. His brush had been trembling while writing out the words, and he had almost fainted from the force of his rage. Who could know if Prince Jin could sense the conflict and anger in his heart?