Chapter 148: Poached Fish Slices (3)
Chu Lian purposely kept her expression straight, scolding them, “Let’s see if you’ll dare to eat before thinking the next time! If you ever do something wrong, the punishment from now on will be to eat a whole bowl of these chillis!”
The younger maidservants quickly bowed their heads, not daring to make a peep. Even the expressions of Senior Servants Gui and Zhong instantly turned serious.
Actually, Chu Lian had phrased her words like this on purpose.
Two days ago, for He Sanlang’s package, Xiyan and the rest had taken her snacks and Senior Servant Gui had taken her wine without asking for her permission. Furthermore, ever since they had started cooking their own food to eat, since her recipes were so good, there would be some food missing from time to time. Chu Lian had only pretended not to notice, but recently, they had started overstepping their bounds too much.
Although Xiyan and Senior Servant Gui had been acting on her behalf when giving away her snacks and wine for He Sanlang’s package, they had to have rules in place. She was the actual mistress of Songtao Court, after all, and that was only within this courtyard. Outside was still the hierarchy of the larger Jing’an Estate.
It might be a small matter to take some food, but she couldn’t let bad habits like this fester. Letting it pass would eventually lead to the servants becoming bolder and greedier. Chu Lian took this chance to knock some sense back into the servants of her courtyard, clearly asserting her stance. She was going to punish anyone who overstepped their bounds again, and even Senior Servant Gui was not exempt from this rule.
Chu Lian’s eyes swept over the gathered servants. After sensing that her warning had been taken seriously, she relaxed and her expression returned to her warm and friendly self.
“Fuyan, go and see if there’s any fish in the kitchen today. Wenlan, Mingyan, bring out two more basins to keep these chillis. Jingyan, bring me some sesame, garlic, scallions, and ginger.”
After she finishing giving out orders, Chu Lian stood to one side and instructed the remaining handmaids on how to wash and chop the dried chillis.
For the entire afternoon, Songtao Court was filled with a fragrant yet spicy aroma, making most of the people in the kitchen choke on the smell.
Chu Lian got Xiyan to move out one of the wooden chairs to a spot under some wisteria plants. She held Guilin Restaurant’s account book in her hands and made markings from time to time, all the while keeping an eye on the servants bustling around the lively kitchen.
When she held her hand out, Xiyan quickly passed a delicate dish over, filled with little pieces of bittergourd with toothpicks sticking out of them.
Chu Lian picked up one of the pieces with a toothpick and felt refreshed. When Xiyan noticed her change in expression, she hurried forward to help massage Chu Lian’s shoulders.
Chu Lian would speak up every few moments — “A little more to the left.”
— And Xiyan would follow her orders.
Chu Lian closed her eyes and relaxed. This was the ideal layabout’s life for her!
Not long after, Fuyan and the rest walked in covered with the smell of grease and smoke. Their faces were flushed red from the heat and exertion. When they reached Chu Lian’s side, they were coughing non-stop.
Chu Lian purposely coughed into her fist and asked, “Is it all done?”
“Replying to Third Young Madam, the chilli oil has been prepared according to your instructions. There are about two jars worth of oil in total. Once it has cooled down, we can pour it into the jars.” Jingyan replied.
“Since it’s done, go back to your rooms to bathe and change. Wash off that smell on you.”
The maidservants acted like they had just been given amnesty and fled.
Satisfied, Chu Lian ate another piece of bittergourd. “Xiyan, have you taken a good look? This is the fate of anyone who dares to steal my food for the benefit of others! Don’t worry, I still have sacks and sacks of chilli left!”
Xiyan was scared stiff by Chu Lian’s words.
She tried to stay strong, but she couldn’t hold it back in the end. “Third Young Madam, this servant will not dare to touch your belongings without your permission in the future! Third Young Madam, please have mercy on this servant this one time!”
Chu Lian cast a glance at Xiyan, “Xiyan, it’s good that you understand. I hope you won’t lose something bigger for the sake of a small gain.”
Although it wasn’t easy to make those snacks, they were just something to fulfill a craving. Chu Lian wanted to use this opportunity to remind Xiyan that she had to protect whatever was entrusted to her safekeeping. If she were to make the same mistake again, there were punishments awaiting her.