Chapter 44 Sashimi (i)
Translated by Ultra
Edited by Gumihou
Recently, Lin Fan had been feeling a little… uncomfortable. 
No matter where he went, people would whisper and point at him. Not that he was unused to being pointed at or whispered about, for both good and bad reason.  He had been the inept main branch’s son. Then, he had been a powerful fighter who conquered whatever he set out to do. His strength was real and people sat up and took noticed of it.
However, this was the first time that he heard… giggles behind his back.
It felt… dirty. 
It twisted at him. However, as he was naturally taciturn, he found it hard to even go after the gigglers to ask what they were laughing about. In the end, he defaulted into his original command mode to ignore everything and just continue onwards.
Then, Instructor Ping Ting called him over to see her.
The absentee instructor sent for him after several days of disappearance. Lin Fan did not think too much of it. He arrived at the requested time, and indeed, everything seemed perfectly normal. Instructor Ping Ting handed a few things to him saying, “This is the proof of admission for your little friend. Her class number is on it as well as her uniform type. She’s not very strong, so the class she could go into is not very good. You should prepare her for that.”
He had not expected this slightly air-headed Ping Ting to actually prepare all these for him. Lin Fan was about to thank her and leave when Instructor Ping Ting suddenly lowered her voice and hissed, “Hey, I heard that you’re being pursued by Feng Luo. Did you accept his suit?”
Lin Fan, “… …” what.
“Aiya! Don’t pretend anymore!” Instructor Ping Ting’s fatty chest began to tremble with some kind of hidden emotion. “You are the College’s most famous person, you know? You’re even more famous than our first beauty, Xue Qingge. That Feng Luo is the sole heir of Feng City’s Feng Clan, to be able to make him chase after you is a great accomplishment. That’s not something an ordinary school beauty could lay claim to!” 
Lin Fan collected Shiyu’s things. This Instructor always seemed to be a few leaves short of a forest. It’s best to just ignore her.
Instructor Ping Ting was disappointed to see Lin Fan leave without revealing his emotions. However, she soon brightened up, “Hue hue hue, he must be shy.”  Just then, a random thought entered her head, “Ah, I forgot to ask him to remind that little friend of his to report to class. Oh well, everything should all work out on its own.”
After all, people who got into the College would be all too eager to get to know who their new instructors and classmates are, right?
That evening, Lin Fan waited for Shiyu to hand over the things he had gotten from that unstable instructor and congratulate her on becoming a formal member of the College. After the necessary small talk, he asked, “Have you heard any strange rumours around lately?”
Shiyu, the source of these strange rumours, widened her eyes and said, “No, ah. I’ve been busy at the shop and practising my knife skills.”
Are you joking? If Lin Fan realizes that she’s the culprit behind this weird rumour, wouldn’t he slice her up like those little radish discs?
She was not entirely sure what demon had gotten hold of her that day when she made that stupid joke. She really thought that people would maybe talk about it for a couple of days before moving on to newer and better things. Who would have thought that the rumour would just grow and grow until it bent  the male lead’s reputation? Alas, if his many wives and concubines knew, they would storm after her head!
Lin Fan nodded at her answer, “It’s good to ignore rumours. Those who listen to too many rumours would find themselves in mired in too many distractions. Their Cultivation would not progress well. Continue to ignore them.”
“Sure,” Shiyu chirped obediently.
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The days passed quickly, and the knife work that Shiyu had learned at the Soup Shop was also improving. Dozens of radishes later, she could make slices almost as thin as Master Gan Ping’s. However, her cuts were not as fast or uniformed. Every night, she would return to her residence, fish out a couple of fishes from the pond and practised her slicing skills for Sashimi. Though Fat Cat still disdained her offerings, Shiyu was gratified to see that she had made visible progress.
The daily fish slicing meant lots of cut fish every single day.
Shiyu has plenty of recipes that involved sliced fish.  Frying, stewing, braising, soups… nevertheless, the sheer amount of fish by-product that resulted from Shiyu’s knife skill cultivation meant… a lot of fish. Not just fish slices, there were fish heads, fish bones, fish scales… In the end, she brought the fish as well as some of her Spiritual Beast Mountain wild vegetables to the Soup Shop and made them into her signature Fish Soup with Wild Vegetables. The broth was made from fish bones, of course, and the fish slices stirred in last to maintain its sweet and al dante texture.
The scent alone was enough to hook in new customers.
When they marketed the Fish Soup as a Limited Time offer and sold it alongside the Pork Bone Radish Soup, the Soup Shop’s business began to see an uptick in sales. Nevertheless, their selling method remained the same. 1 coin per bowl and transactions depended wholly on the students’ sincerity. Still, their money bowls were usually filled up with coins at the end of the day.
Though the soups were priced at 1 coin per bowl, most people paid more. Perhaps it was the lack of pocket change or laziness, but some students even leave whole silver teals in their money bowl. This gave Shiyu an idea, but it would take some time before she could implement it.
Meanwhile, Feng Luo, who had gone home to collect some Feng Clan treasures worth about 10 million teals as thank you gifts for Shiyu, was now back at the College. His family had insisted that he take these treasures to his ‘benefactor’. They were unwilling to owe too much to a stranger with seemingly strong connections, but still want to maintain a good relationship. Hence the compromise.
Personally, Feng Luo had no problem complying with his family’s wishes. It was his personal opinion that goodwill and generosity should be rewarded. Thus, he entered the College bearing gifts, all for Shiyu.
However, as soon as he stepped through the College gates, an annoyingly familiar face was there waiting for him.
“Feng Luo, you’re finally back.” Fei Yue said anxiously. “Meng Li had been sick for many days now. She’s been refusing her medicine, please, do come and persuade her.”
When he heard that Meng Li had been ill, Feng Luo immediately grew anxious, “Where is she now? I’ll come and see her.”
“She’s been self-cultivating back in her dormitories.” Fei Yue said, taking in his concerned face and thought: Oho, looks like he hasn’t completely lost all feelings for a certain someone. Encouraged, she began to wax on and on about how ‘Meng Li’s been so sad’, and how ‘Meng Li misses you so much’.
Feng Luo’s heart ached at every stab.
When he finally set eyes on the frail and thin beauty lying weakly in bed, his heart had already softened.
“I’ll fetch her medicine,” Fei Yue was quick-witted enough to make herself scarce.
Meng Li blinked her beautiful eyes opened. It looked like she had just woken up. The dewy eyes widened in surprise at the sight of Feng Luo, but then she turned away. Her voice was very weak, “Why have you come?”
“I heard that you’re not well.”
“So you came out of pity? I don’t need your pity. There is nothing between us anymore. If you keep hanging around me, who knows what others would say?”
Feng Luo stood up. There was shame on his face, “Very well, I shall leave now. I don’t have any other motive. You just take care of yourself, let me know if you need anything in the future.”
At this, Meng Li’s face twisted sharply.
How could he not read the atmosphere?
Hanging around a nobody would bring nothing but bad luck, but it’s completely different if an heir of a great family were to hang around her, ah!
“Wait,” Meng Li pushed herself up ‘with much effort’ and faced him ‘bravely. “We have been together for a long time. I’ve gotten used to having you beside me. Now that you’re no longer around, I have trouble sleeping. I don’t ask for much, only that we remain friends. Is that alright? If I know that you’re still around, th-that I won’t lose you completely, I can feel at ease.”
“Of course we may,” Feng Luo accepted without hesitation.
Finally, a bright smile blossomed across Meng Li’s face, “Then, in the future, may I play come and spend time with you and Shiyu?”
“Of course, ah!” the smile on Meng Li’s face prompted one to appear on Feng Luo’s lips.
Therefore, when the happy duo appeared at Shiyu’s doorstep later. Shiyu greeted them with a face most people reserved for the bottom of their shoe after stepping on something nasty.
While it was not the most hospitable of thing to keep guests waiting outside, Shiyu had no intention of letting them in. However, Meng Li was already gushing, “Feng Luo, this villa is so beautiful. How nice it is if I could also live in a villa like this?”
Her words might as well be the wind by Shiyu’s ears. Shiyu eyed them both, before addressing Feng Luo, “You’re… back together?”
Feng Luo nodded, “We are now friends.”
Meng Li piped up, “Very good friends.”
“Oh,” was all Shiyu had to say. I don’t know what you are to each other now, but it’s fine as long as you’re happy, she thought. Out loud, she said, “What are you here for?”
“Feng Luo brought me here to get to know you,” Meng Li said with a cautious smile. “I understand that we have some misunderstanding in the past. However, since you are Feng Luo’s friend, you will be my friend too.”
“Oh, I regret to say I cannot accept this honour.” The door slammed in their faces.
Apologies, I want to have no part in this disgusting interaction.
Luckily, all debts between herself and Feng Luo were already cleared. Otherwise, she would not be able to slam her door into their collective faces. What kind of joke is this? Friends with you? I still want to live well in this world and eat more delicacies.
As for Feng Luo… tsk, tsk, she could only say what a pity, ah.
That’s right, what a pity that a good man had fallen into the hands of a treacherous little minx.
You two go and play on your own and ruin your own lives as you like. This old lady is more interested in protecting my life and making money.
[Gumihou: So there! Humph! *Gumihou waves ‘Protect Shiyu’ banners*]
 Structural Changes: Lengthen for dramatic purpose – As usual, Author Xu Nian Jin Shi aka In the Prime of Life-san just leaps in with both feet. Gumihou likes to warm the readers up, like a frog in a pot.
Hue hue hue
 Additions for Impact: Missed a chance to tie-back to Shiyu’s origin story. Also, characters who don’t talk much tend to ruminate over their past a lot. To help increase reader’s sympathy for them.
 Structural Changes for the Prevention of OOC: Exchanged ‘.’ for a ‘!’ Strategically fatty instructor seems like the type to pepper her dialogues with ‘!’, I also added the ‘hue hue hue’.
Oh, but I deleted Lin Fan’s ‘!’. He seems more like the type to favour the ‘…’
 Bent the male lead – turn him crooked, as in ‘not straight’, lol
 Added details – to the slice fish issue. Give more options to the fish thing. Good restaurants will let chef in practice cook kitchen scraps heads, peelings, bones and other odds and ends for staff meals. It saves money, reduces waste and gives the low level cooks an opportunity to cook.
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