Chapter 234: Heaven Sent Rescue
Translated by Gumihou
Edited by Onionpi
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We will have a new tier soon~
It’s been a while since we updated the tier, so please look forward to it! o(〃＾▽＾〃)o
Our tier this time will be a Hotpot!
˓˓ ू༼ ⠁⃘ཀ ⠁⃘ू༽ Yummy~
Though Fatty Hwang continued to behave in this imperious manner, the young man refused to budge an inch. His manner of speaking was as sharp as a spear despite his youthfulness.
Since the other party did not back down, Fatty Hwang gave a cold sniff, cupped his hand in mock salute, and with a final condescending, “Well then, this Wang shall tidy up our dining hall and await your presence,” The fat man turned sharply and made his way downstairs. One after another, his followers all mockingly saluted the tall young man as they filed past him, before trailing after the fat man with grins on their faces.
It was quite interesting to watch the group move downstairs. The crowd parted before Fatty Wang like shrimps scurrying away from a slow-moving barge. As the group passed by Duan Tingxuan and Co, one of the followers said loudly, “Those An Le Lou people are just too arrogant. How dare they regard our Lin Qing as one of those nameless little towns and put up a ‘No. 1 Restaurant in The World’ sign here? Aren’t they just asking for trouble? In my opinion, An Le Lou would probably collapse if we just show up with our signature dishes…”
As the group walked further away, their voices also grew fainter. Duan Tingxuan kept his eyes on the procession as they moved down the street, his brows knitted into a frown. Su Nuan Nuan’s voice interrupted his reverie from within the carriage, “My lord, it looks like our restaurant has opened up a branch at Lin Qing. As to the question of how they managed to offend a local powerhouse to the point of them coming over to ‘Kick the Hall’ at An Le Lou, we should investigate deeper into the matter before making any decision.”
Duan Tingxuan nodded. He got off his horse in one smooth movement, and personally escorted Su Nuan Nuan down the carriage steps. Long Pingzhang, who had recovered a bit more of his memory, saw that Chu Xiu was also interested in what was happening helped her down from the carriage as well. Si Ping was left to look after the carriage and horses as the four of them made their way through the dispersing onlookers towards the restaurant.
When they entered the restaurant, the tall young man who had refused to show weakness before Fatty Wang did not look quite as confident as before. He was currently pacing up and down the dining hall in agitation. Suddenly, he stopped as though he had hit an invisible wall. As they watched, he turned and spoke urgently to the person at the counter, “Chang Qing, fetch the fastest horse you can and head for the Capital immediately. Get the main branch to send two of their best senior chefs here. Tell them that we have encountered some problems at Lin Qing and unless the seniors come and assist us, An Le Lou’s prestige will be badly damaged.”
“But, Manager, even if we travel day and night, it will take us at least three to four days to reach the Capital. Moreover. Once I get there, there’s no guarantee that the senior chef’s body would be able to endure the travel here. Even if they have the physical fortitude for it, I’m afraid that we would not make it here in time.” The shop assistant’s face was bitter as he said this.
The young Manager stamped his feet, and said through gritted teeth, “Enough of that. If we don’t have the masters here, are YOU going to work the stoves? Enough with your nonsense, just go, just go!”
His voice had just finished echoing through the room when low laughter floated over, “Oh ho, it looks like that fearless act just now was really an act, ah. This youngster is not bad. He has very good foundations, no wonder he was able to become a Manager for An Le Lou’s Lin Qing branch.”
The young manager whirled around, finally spotting the two couples standing at the restaurant entrance. Though all four were dressed simply, he could tell that they were no ordinary people. Wary about offending them, he cupped his hands in greeting and said respectfully, “Have dear customers come for a meal? Would dear customers prefer a private room on the third floor or a private booth on the second floor…”
Duan Tingxuan interrupted him to say, “You’re sent here by Tingye? And you don’t recognise me?”
Tingye? The young Manager was stunned by this remark and his eyes widened in shock. Finally, he recalled that Tingye was the name of An Le Lou’s master, the second young master of the Marquis of An Ping. For this noble and aristocratic young man to so casually address their top boss like that, just how many people in the world have this kind of privilege, ah?
At this thought, the young manager tried to swallow past his dry mouth and said carefully, “Honourable customer is familiar with our master?”
“Are you joking? How could I not be familiar with my own younger brother? Well? Haven’t you heard that the lord heir of the Marquis of An Ping and his wife are heading towards Niu Tou Mountain?”
As Duan Tingxuan spoke, he unfurled his paper fan and began to inspect the restaurant. His eyes travelled over the fine furnishings and various strategically placed decorations. He nodded to himself as he continued his inspection, no wonder Tingye was willing to entrust such a young man as the manager of a branch restaurant so far from the Capital. This youngster certainly has some skills, ah. Heheh, that Fu Sheng Xiang was certainly good at sensing trouble. They were anxious about shutting this rival down, to the point of coming over to Kick the Hall. Looks like this was no ordinary quarrel over restaurant reputation. They must really be feeling threatened by An Le Lou’s existence.
“This lowly one has met the lord heir before. And… could this… could this possibly be… the most famous and legendary lord heir’s wife?”
At first, the young man was still saluting them, but when his eyes fell upon Su Nuan Nuan, he collapsed onto his knees with a [pu tong]. The assistant also ran over to kneel, but was stopped by Duan Tingxuan. He said mildly, “This is the first time we set foot to this place, and have no intention of making a big show of our presence. However, when we heard there is a restaurant bearing the name An Le Lou, we grew interested and came to inspect it. Unexpectedly, it turns out to be one of our own, therefore we cannot just ignore matters. There’s no need for you to be overly courteous. Just properly tell us what happened here.”
“Yes, yes, yes…” The young man nodded continuously, looking very excited. He dearly wanted to have closer look at the mysterious and legendary heir’s wife, but dared not let his eyes wander over to her direction. He could only happily rub his hands together and said, “It’s good that the lord heir and madam are here. With you here, this lowly one will have some powerful backing against this local restaurant. This is clearly a heaven sent help. Oh yes, this one is called Li Qiushan. Before this, I had been the manager of a few other stores. Thanks to second young master’s recognition of my skill, I was sent to Lin Qing to manage An Le Lou.
Unexpectedly, the local tyrant Fu Sheng Xiang grow envious of our prosperity and wanted to squash us. They hired a few master chefs from who knows where and came over to Kick the Hall. This one is ashamed to say that we do not have a single senior chef here. Our skills are limited to our specialities, and while those are enough to compete with Fu Sheng Xiang’s own specialities, we cannot win against them in a serious cooking battle. Which is why this one is so agitated, and was in a hurry to send for help from the Capital’s senior chefs. However, thanks to heaven’s protection, with the lord heir and madam here, it’s… it’s all too…”
“Where are the dishes served up by Fu Sheng Xiang?” Duan Tingxuan cut off Li Qiushan’s rambling and got to the crucial point.
“It’s in one of the private rooms on the third floor. Would the lord heir and madam please come with me?” Said Liu Qiushan, then he glanced over at Long Pingzhang and Chu Xiu and said cautiously, “These two are…”
“They are my friends, enough about that. Just bring us to the third floor.” Duan Tingxuan gave the barest explanation, Li Qiushan took the hint and did not question further and led the way to the third floor.
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“Hmm, no wonder Tingye hired you as the manager. You certainly have some skills.”
The little group reached the top of the third floor steps, instead of the expected narrow corridors, they were greeted by an unexpected open space. There were no tables or chairs in this space, making the room feel wider than it really was. Aside from a few paintings by famous artists and luxurious white Persian carpets on the floor, there was nothing else. Arranged around the hall were 10 non-descriptive, but expensive looking doors that lead to An Le Lou’s private rooms. Each door was marked with a black wooden sign, with the names of the room etched in gold lettering. Each room was auspiciously named, ‘Blooming Wealth’, ‘Auspicious Wishes’. ‘Success in Exams’, ‘Begetting Success’ and other similar lucky names.
Though this kind of sight was not rare in modern China, it was the first time Su Nuan Nuan and Duan Tingxuan encounter it in an ancient China restaurant. She had to admit, this really fits the ‘High End Atmosphere, and Low-Key Presentation of the truly rich and famous. One could imagine that famous celebrities or high officials would definitely choose to dine in these rooms if given the choice.
They entered the ‘Blooming Wealth’ private room, and were greeted first by the wonderful fragrance of delicious food, followed by the sight of a round table filled with sumptuously prepared food. The sight really entices a person to come closer. The most eye-catching item was a whole roasted goat in the middle of the table. Because the food had already been eaten, the presentation was not very good. However, even without tasting the food, the scent alone was enough for Su Nuan Nuan to tell that the Fu Sheng Xiang’s chefs had really put in their blood and sweat into these dishes. In fact, she had a suspicion that these were all speciality dishes of different chefs hired from outside, and that the real Fu Sheng Xiang chefs probably would not be able to compete against this table.
After tasting a piece of the roasted goat meat, and one of the abalone, Su Nuan Nuan set down her chopsticks and turned to Li Qiushan. “No wonder you’re so desperate to send for help. What fair fight? Even if we both use the same ingredients, the taste would not be able to beat these professionally made dishes. Fortunately, that Fatty Wang is generous enough to give us five days to prepare. That’s good enough for us.”
When Li Qiushan heard Su Nuan Nuan said this, the worry that had been stuck in his throat finally disappeared. However, he was still a little wary, and he cautiously reminded her, “Madam, these dishes are especially delicious, if not especially unique. An Le Lou’s main advantage in the restaurant business is our cutting edge dishes and new products. However, after such a long time, imitations have also appeared…”
“I understand, but be at ease. Though my kitchen skills may not be up to the standards of these masters, you should also know who came up with that all those new dishes for An Le Lou. If I can come up with one or ten dishes, that means I have no problem coming up with 20 or 30 dishes. Tomorrow, you just make sure to follow my instructions and prepare the ingredients I want.”
“Yes! This lowly one understands!” Li Qiushan happily replied. Then, he smiled ingratiatingly, “My lord heir, you mentioned that you’ve just arrived at Lin Qing, may this one know if you have made any arrangements with any inns? If you haven’t, might we suggest staying at the An Le Lodge? The lodge is just behind An Le Lou, and is especially catered for wealthy and honourable guests. We just happened to have two Heaven Character Rooms available. Would my lord and madam like to have a look? If my lord does not mind, please do consider staying the night here.”
“Heaven Character Rooms? There are actually Heaven Character Rooms at Lin Qing?” Su Nuan Nuan was shocked. She had only mentioned in passing about presidential suites to Duan Tingxuan, but never thought that Duan Tingye would, in just a few months’ time, created such five star lodgings at Lin Qing of all places.
“That’s right, not just in Lin Qing either. We also have these high-class rooms at the Capital, Kai Feng, Luo Yang and few other places. Oh right, since the lord heir and madam had not been at home these few months, you might not have known just how prosperous the An Ping businesses have been, right? You must have a look at the place. To be honest, this one had been keeping these two Heaven Character Rooms empty for high ranking officials and dignitaries. Otherwise, it would never have been left empty, we have rich merchants who are incredibly eager to stay there.”
As Li Qiushan spoke, he led the enthusiastic Su Nuan Nuan, Duan Tingxuan as well as Long Pingzhang and Chu Xiu through a shaded lane towards the back of the restaurant. After rounding a corner, they came upon another three-storey building. The outside of the building was not especially eye-catching, aside from the large wooden plaque that read ‘An Le Lodge’ in huge bronze characters.
This Li Qiushan certainly has a good eye for picking up hints and a discreet nature. After leading the four of them here, he asked to be excused. Duan Tingxuan ordered him to send Si Ping over with their luggage and to put the carriage away and settle the horses. Once alone in their room, he sat before Su Nuan Nuan and smiled bitterly, “That Tingye, we’ve just been away for a few months and he’d actually dared to expand this much? And what’s all this about being No.1? No matter how bold he is, or how real the claim, he still shouldn’t have been so aggressive, ah. Well? Looks like we really have caused a public outrage this time. If things are like this at Lin Qing, I must ask myself, whether the same thing is happening at other places? When trouble comes, I wonder how he’s going to put the fire out?”
[Gumihou: Hahaha, Tingye is such an aggressive businessman.]
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Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.
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