Chapter 248 (Part 2): Unexpected Windfall
Translated by Gumihou
Edited by Vinisha
Please read this at kitchennovel dot com
Duan Tingxuan merely laughed, “Don’t worry about it. Do you think that soldiers and customs officers are all honest people? Life outside the Capital can be quite hard. When government officials and soldiers intercepted smuggled goods, they often take a cut before offering a share to the upper levels. Majority of the goods often go into their own pockets. Otherwise, why do you think people would be willing to take up official posts here?”
“So that’s how it is.”
Su Nuan Nuan breathed a sigh of relief. She had no intention of criticizing these kinds of malpractices, especially since she had no better idea of how to control it. Instead, she happily partook in the system and tucked the pearl away. The two cheerfully returned to the hall to report their find. An anxious Cang Jian came over to meet them, “Madam, do you think the kelp is done boiling? I really can’t feel at ease thinking about it. If the flavour is not bad, we could really use it to pad the food supplies until the next relief supplies from the imperial court come.”
Su Nuan Nuan smiled, “Since the kelp is rather thick, I told them to cook it a little longer. Otherwise, it would be rather difficult to eat them.”
Duan Tingxuan laughed, “Don’t worry about these trivial matters. First, let me ask you now, do you really not know what you have in your yard?”
“What are they but a bunch of river mussels? They are edible I supposed, but river mussels don’t taste very good and depend a lot on the chef’s skills. However, we barely have enough food, let alone the spare seasonings to make bland mussels tasty. No, no, the sharks you brought in are much better than those shellfish.”
Duan Tingxuan smiled, “Don’t be too hasty in your evaluation. Let me tell you, those aren’t ordinary river mussels. They are Eastern Pearl Mussels from the Ussuri River. Otherwise, why do you think smugglers would waste their time transporting carts of mussels this time of the year?”
Cang Jian’s face stiffened, it was a long time before he reacted, and react he did. The man leapt two feet into the air and shouted, “Curse his mother’s left leg! So it’s Eastern Pearl Mussels, ah. And here I’d been wondering what fool would bother transporting several carts of river mussels for? And to run away when my soldiers confronted them? It turns out they’re suffering from guilty conscience having stolen Eastern Pearl Mussels from the Ussuri Rivers. How terrible, this is too terrible, ah. We must capture these mussel thieves next time and gain great achievement, ah.”
Duan Tingxuan and Su Nuan Nuan were both laughing at this official’s reaction when a voice called from outside, “What great achievement have you all gained, ah? Could it be that the imperial relief rations have been brought back?”
“No, the people who went after the thieves have not yet returned.” When the food matter was brought up, Cang Jian could not help but sigh again. However, he then relayed the more cheerful and funny news of how his people had accidentally foiled a smuggling racket to Long Pingzhang.
His Excellency Long was indeed surprised by this, he shook his head and smiled, “What an unexpected windfall, ah. To think you’d actually meet such good fortune under such circumstances.”
“There’s something even better.” Cang Jian radiated with delight as he proceeded to inform them what Duan Tingxuan and his group had managed to collect from Bohai Sea. It was just too bad that he lacked storytelling skills and was unable to convey the intensity of the story the way Zhang Tianming did.
Still, Long Pingzhang glanced over at Duan Tingxuan and asked concernedly, “Tingxuan, are you alright?”
“What could be wrong with me? Those sharks are nothing to me.” Duan Tingxuan laughed unrestrainedly before looking over Long Pingzhang a few times. “What about you? Have you managed to recover all of your memories?”
Long Pingzhang nodded, before sighing. “The whole incident felt like a dream, ah. At that time, I thought I was going to die. I left you that clue when those people weren’t paying attention, but I did not expect to be so seriously injured when I rolled off the cliff to escape. In the end, I survived, but my companions… aih!”
“You’re here now because of heaven’s protection. Miss Chu said that when she found you, there were a few other corpses scattered nearby. None of your companions survived, but you did. Furthermore, you’ve escaped great injury and look how well you are now after just a few months’ recuperation. Oh, you said that you jumped off the cliff on your own?”
“But of course?” Long Pingzhang’s face twisted with pain as he recalled past events. “When I saw that no help was coming, I thought it best to die rather than be humiliated. Therefore, after leaving the clue for you, I leapt off the cliff with every bit of strength I had. By the way, did you see the clue?”
“I saw it, but because you were suffering from memory loss, I did not speak to you about it in detail. However, thanks to the clue, I was able to complete the task successfully. As expected of the great Fire Eye Long .” Because Cang Jian was right next to them, he kept his remarks vague.
Fire Eye Long was a nickname that Long Pingzhang earned during their college years together. When he heard this nickname, he scratched his head embarrassedly, “Don’t joke anymore. I only managed that much under great duress, and you should leave me some face before Xiu’er. Enough about Long Fire Eye or whatever. Xiu’er doesn’t know that you are complimenting me over my powerful observational skills and think I’m nothing more than a Peeping Tom .”
“Hahaha…” The little marquis laughed brightly at this. “Only you would boast about yourself in such a way. Look, even Miss Chu is embarrassed for you.”
Long Pingzhang was crossed. He looked over at Su Nuan Nuan for support. However, instead of a sympathetic comrade, he saw her staring fixedly at him. The intense stare caused goosebumps to rise over his skin and he shivered involuntarily.
Finally, he managed to stutter, “Sis… sister-in-law, w-why are you staring at me like this?”
Author White Pear Flower: I always felt that it would be wonderful to sit in front of a pile of shells and pick pearls out of it, awooo!
[Gumihou: Hahaha, clearly this is some of White Pear Flower’s wish fulfilment scene, lol!]
 Eastern Pearls – Are actually pearls found on the eastern side of China. Generally speaking, Eastern Pearls aren’t as valuable as Southern Pearls if only because they are freshwater pearls and therefore not as round and lustrous as sea pearls. The value of Eastern Pearls became priceless when they are made into Imperial Eastern Pearl accessories. The significance is actually geographical, as Eastern Pearls came from the Manchuria area, and therefore the origin of the Qing imperial family.
 Ussuri River – The river exists, and they do have freshwater mussels that produce pearls
 Fire Eye Long – Because Long Pingzhang’s surname means ‘dragon’, his nickname is Fire Dragon Eye. By the way, ‘Fire Eye’ also meant ‘pinkeye’. It is believed that men who peeped at women would develop pinkeye…
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Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.
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