Chapter 249: End of Mission
Translated by Gumihou
Edited by Vinisha
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“So you’re all fine? Your memory has returned? All of it?” Su Nuan Nuan shook herself out of the trance she had fallen in and was now slowly circling Long Pingzhang as she muttered to herself. “That’s not right, ah. That’s not scientific at all. Just how did someone just recover all of their memory on their own like this?”
“Then… how should it be recovered?” Long Pingzhang licked his lips nervously, his eyes blinking rapidly as he asked. “What? Do you need ceremonial gongs and drums to call lost memory back? And then what? Wait for the master of ceremonies to declare that my memories are back? Haha… sister-in-law sure knows how to joke. People would think I’m the one who had gone crazy…”
“Oh no, no need for gongs or drums, but at least… a stimulation of some sort. A knock on the head or a strike from sticks, some sort of terrible pain or outside provocation or something… the brain needs stimulation to recover lost memories after all. The books I’ve read all said the same thing.”
Su Nuan Nuan made a show of touching her chin as she continued to study Long Pingzhang. Cold sweat popped up over his forehead as he smiled bitterly, “Sister-in-law, please don’t make jokes like this, alright? After narrowly escaping the clutches of death, if I have to recover my memories by going through more danger… isn’t is too cruel, ah?”
“Hahaha, just ignore your sister-in-law. She has read too many fantasy novels and her brain has been irreversibly poisoned.” Duan Tingxuan quickly explained Su Nuan Nuan’s weird behaviour. He then changed the subject by bringing up the Eastern Pearl Mussel smuggling case.
Long Pingzhang was more than happy for the subject change. He turned to Chu Xiu and said, “Wonderful, let’s get someone to open up all the mussels tomorrow and take out the pearls. Once we get back to the Capital, I will have a phoenix crown  made out of these pearls. You must wear it for our wedding.” Though the Eastern Pearls were incredibly valuable, there was no blanket prohibition against people outside of the imperial family to wear them in this era. Which was why smugglers dared to risk stealing them.
At this, Su Nuan Nuan protested, “Surely there’s no need to involve other people when picking out pearls? It’s not like Little Sister Xiu’er or I have anything to do anyway, we can open up the mussels ourselves. It will be like picking mushrooms or cracking peanuts open, an oddly addictive activity to occupy our time. Moreover, the joy of finding a large pearl inside a mussel is not something that could be described with words.”
Duan Tingxuan smiled at his wife’s enthusiasm, “Since you like it so much. In the future, when we have the time, I will take you to the Ussuri River up north and get people to collect a thousand catties of mussels for you to break open.”
Su Nuan Nuan cheerfully accepted this offer. “How wonderful, let’s find some time in the future. I also want to visit Ku Ye Island, Lake Baikal, and Xing’an Range…” Those are lands I often yearned to visit, but unfortunately, they were all beyond the borders of modern China, she thought.
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They chatted a bit more and eventually, someone bustled into the hall with a large food box in hand . It was the cook, he was nearly bursting with happiness as he set the box onto the table. Like a magician, he whipped the cover off, revealing a large plate of something that looked like green noodles sprinkled with a bit of chopped garlic. The cook smiled eagerly at them, “Sir, as madam has instructed, this one has boiled and finely sliced the kelp before tossing it with a bit of sesame oil and crushed garlic. Please try some.”
With his sensitive nose, Cang Jian immediately noticed the tempting smell tingling the air, but he dared not be the first to eat. Instead, he deferred to Duan Tingxuan and Long Pingzhang, “Lord Heir, Your Excellency Long, please try it first.”
At first, Duan Tingxuan wanted to maintain some airs as the little marquis, but the scent of garlic and sesame oil, mingled with the smell of the sea teased his nose. The sight of the translucent green kelp triggered his foodie soul and his fingers twitched. A pair of chopsticks appeared in those long fingers and a whole waterfall worth of kelp was picked up. He was about to suck up those sparkling green ‘noodles’ when he suddenly thought of Su Nuan Nuan. He paused and quickly turned to smile at her saying, “Speaking of which, if not for dearest wife, we would not have been able to bask in the radiance of these wonderful things. Dear wife should be the first one to try it.”
A greedy firstborn noble son could hold himself back and thought of me enough to let me eat first, surely this is a sign that this man treats me well, right? Thought Su Nuan Nuan with some amusement. Aloud, she said to the cook, “Bring out a few more bowls and chopsticks. Let everyone try some.” Actually, from the cheerful look on the cook’s face, Su Nuan Nuan knew that this fellow must have already sneaked some of the kelp back at the kitchen. However, being the generous person that she was, Su Nuan Nuan did not expose him.
However, it looked like Cang Jian could not wait any longer. With long strides, he made for his desk and took out a large tea tray, complete with a large white porcelain teapot and four white tea bowls. The rough man laughed, “I must admit, I’ve never been much for culture myself, and have very little understanding of the tea ceremony. Nevertheless, I do enjoy drinking tea very much. These is my regular tea set, as I mostly drank alone, I’ve only ever used this one tea bowl. If madam, Your Excellency Long and Miss Chu don’t mind, please use these as bowls.”
There was no dissent, and kelp was soon portioned out into the tea bowls. Faced with such a crude and unconventional way of serving food, Su Nuan Nuan did not know what to say. Fortunately, there were more than a dozen pairs of chopsticks tucked under the plate in the food box, and everyone either squatted down or sat to enjoy their share of cold kelp salad. Soon, slurps interspersed with praises for the delicious kelp filled the air.
In the end, through the assistance of kelp and other seafood, Duan Tingxuan, Long Pingzhang, and the anxious Cang Jian were able to keep the civil unrest at bay by keeping the piteously crying flood victims well-fed until the arrival of the Imperial Relief Provisions. Thus, the most urgent problem related to this flood issue was duly solved.
Incidentally, let’s talk about the unfortunate case of Deep Azure Island, this time, the flood was so devastating that it even affected a local nest of bandits who had been hiding out on a certain island for generations. This was the main reason why the Imperial Relief Provision was stolen in the first place. Unfortunately, they never expected to touch a major hornet’s nest there. The Imperial Envoy was led by Wu Xiufeng, and though the man was a civil official, his temper was legendary. Therefore, how could this bad-tempered old man be willing to let things go when the Imperial Relief Provision under his command was robbed?
When word got to him, he gave the order to mobilize all nearby troops to the area. Brandishing his Imperial Sword , he proceeded to lecture the soldiers and gave this one command to them with a dead serious face, “If you lot can’t take down Deep Azure Island and recover every single grain from the Imperial Relief Provision, human blood will be fed to this sword.”
Matters have become very dire. Though the local officials were far away from the Capital, even they have heard of this legendary Iron Face Censor. This rather colourful old character was known by another less flattering nickname, the Big Plank Wu. Whoever was caught by him would inevitably face punishment via slaps on the buttocks with large planks. Thus, no one dared to slack off and the residents of Deep Azure Mountain collapsed under the might of this very angry thunder.
One could say that it was the bandit’s own fault for inviting such major calamity onto their heads. If they had taken just half of the Imperial Provision, it was possible that Big Plank Wu would have left them alone and proceeded on his journey with half of the food provisions towards Jinzhou. The Deep Azure Island’s network was vast enough for them to squirrel away the grains and escape even from the long hand of justice during the delay. However, they had been too greedy and took everything. When Wu Xiufeng heard this, he nearly spat up blood in fury. Everyone knew how damned hard it was to gather emergency provisions during times of calamity, to have it stolen in one fell swoop was reason enough to raise the sword.
And raised the sword Big Plank Wu did. A sword more powerful than any legendary sword, the Imperial Sword carried the authority of the emperor and a vast army of troops were mobilized. In less than six days there was nothing but crumbling ashes and disappearing smoke on Deep Azure Island. This group of bandits were basically wiped off the face of history.
Thus, the moral of the story was, do not be too greedy. While it was rare for greedy people to be struck by lightning, the chances of them getting trashed by the power of justice were still quite high.
Once the Imperial Relief Provision arrived, the rain happened to cease as well. In fact, for the next half a month after that was very sunny. It was as though the Weather God had had his fill playing around with the lives of the people of Southern Liaoning and was now smiling benevolently down at them. With the continuous sunshine day after day, the vast body of water which had turned the nearby villages into featureless seas began to recede.
With the assistance of the Imperial Relief Provision, commoners began rebuilding their lives. Though their homes had been damaged, the fact that they did not have to move from their homes was enough to make these simple people happy. Everyone felt lucky to have such a good government supporting them through food provisions.
Thus, the mission that had been set for Duan Tingxuan and Long Pingzhang was considered over. Henceforth, they set off for their next destination.
The Niu Tou Mountain.
Author White Pear Flower: Hahaha, we’re almost done with the novel. Just one more stop and we’ll be back safely at the An Ping House. Everyone please be patient and wait for the big climax. Awooo!
[Gumihou: Oh, there are still more big climaxes to come? Awoo!]
 Phoenix Crown – Known as Fengguan in pinyin, is a type of traditional headgear for noblewomen during the Ming dynasty during official ceremonies. It is also a traditional headgear for brides.
 Okay, I added that because first the cook brought a plate out. Then suddenly, there were chopsticks in the food box. What the hell?
 Imperial Sword – the sword is a symbol of authority granted by the emperor. The bearer is invested with certain discretionary powers to make decisions during vital times.
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Translated by Gumihou from kitchennovel dot com.
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