Chapter 63 – Roasted Pork Skin (b)
Translated by Gumihou
Edited by Gumihou
When the pork had cooled down a little, Shiyu took out her dagger and cut a piece off.
The knife was so sharp she did not need a chopper and a cutting board to chop the crispy skin to pieces. Merely hold it aloft and hacking at it like she was slicing a sheaf of vegetable.
The skin had been roasted to crispy perfection. It crunched satisfyingly under her teeth, but was still chewy in places. The strong fragrance of the chilli oil spread across her mouth and made her sighed with happiness at the taste of the spicy and meaty perfection.
Happy! There’s no satisfaction like eating spicy meat! Shiyu was nearly in tears at the indulgence sensations in her mouth.
She cut another piece of roasted skin and popped it into her mouth. While still chewing, she prepared to grill some chicken wings when a smiling face appeared in front of her.
“Gyaa!” Shiyu nearly jumped out of her skin at the sight. The old man casually floated over to the Roasted Pork Skin, “This venerable one has already smelt it earlier. I knew you’re making something good again. What have you made this time?”
He was asking about the dish, but had already popped in a piece of the crackling into his mouth. He chewed thoughtfully for a moment before brightening. “I have no idea what this is, but it will definitely go great with wine.”
Well, it was meant to be alcohol snacks, so, the old man’s reaction was not surprising. Shiyu searched through her space ring and brought out a fairly good bottle of white spirits. She was not really fond of drinking wine and her collection was meant to be used in cooking, but she had splurged and stocked up better wines since she has the money for it. Her choice of drink was a cold beer. There’s nothing like cold draft beer after a hard day’s work and it could be paired with anything. She much prefers the all-purpose beer compared messing around with the pairing of white and red wines with fancy food.
Speaking of which, just how did people make beer anyway? She might have to make it if she ever wants to drink any in this era.
Not long after that, Fat Cat and Lin Fan appeared, attracted by the commotion in the garden. San Pang was, of course, attracted by the smell of the fragrant Roasted Pork Skin.
Well, it was not like she objected to their presence. Eating alone could be quite lonely after a while. Shiyu got up and prepared more pork skin for the grill. She also reached for the chicken wings, drumsticks and feet. Yes, she was going to roast chicken feet, much to the horror and fascination of some of her guests . She also took out her store of Matsutake Mushrooms and some meat slices. Then, she shooed San Pang off the plate of Roasted Pork Skin to fetch some vegetables for her.
Very soon, a whole table full of barbecued food was prepared. She had even taken out some fruits and made Lin Fan  useful, getting him to squeeze fruit juice for everyone. She also set out a basket of Ginseng Fruits in the middle of the table. Just like that, their late-night supper was prepared.
The smell of grilled meat, the rowdiness and chatter that came from eating good food soon attracted their nearest neighbours over. When Shiyu knew that Lin Fan did not view these people as enemy, she generously invited them for supper.
That night, they ate, drank, and played all night.
The next morning, Shiyu was poked awake by Fat Cat to train her knife work again.
Time flashed by, and soon, the day of Ling Xiaoxiao’s birthday banquet dawned.
By the way, Ling Xiaoxiao would be turning 19 this birthday. Her strength was at 2nd Level, Core Transformation Stage. As a main family daughter of the very rich Ling family, it would appear that she was also a favoured daughter of heaven. However, the reality was not so nice. Within the Imperial Family circle, her family clung at the fringes of society.
That’s because the Ling Family’s wealth was not inherited. They were an upstart rich family that had only arrived at the Imperial Capital just 10 years ago. Among the surname Ling, their strongest member only reached Level 6th of Core Condensation Stage. As for the Ling Family Patriarch himself, Lin Xiaoxiao’s father hadn’t even broken into the Core Condensation Stage yet.
With such poor strength, the Lings were not even qualified to be called upstarts. However, the one thing they have plenty of was money. Of the four major auction houses within the Imperial Capital, one belonged to them. They also have countless shops spread across the country that were constantly raking money. Though Ling Tianyi did not have a strong talent for Cultivation, he has a good head for business.
He realised that to protect himself and his family, he could not just sit idly by and accumulate money. With the money he has, he made friends with powerful officials and gradually cemented his status and position in this world. Though the Ling Family did not have a powerful individual sharing their surname, Ling Tianyi had ensured that anyone seeking to take a bite out of his family would mean offending a lot of backers behind him. Though they could not be considered nobility, they could easily rise to second class citizens.
When Shiyu reached the Ling Family House, to say that she was shocked by its splendour was an understatement.
The last time she visited the Xue family, the Xue Family House was very nicely done, but the luxury and beauty was very understated and modest, like a shaded lantern. The Ling family basically took the shades off their lantern and hung reflective crystals around their little light .
Nothing Shiyu’s gaping mouth, Ling Xiaoxiao blithely said, “Well, everyone knows my family is rich anyway. Even if we try to be modest it’ll still show. So why not decorate it however we like? My family prefer this kind of magnificent and ostentatious look, this suits us better, don’t you think? Grand!”
Shiyu paid her compliments to both the birthday girl and the Ling Patriarch before entering the main dining hall. There were a lot of guests in attendance, she even spotted both Mo Yin and Meng Li lurking about. However, she had seen neither hair nor shadow of Feng Luo yet.
“Did Feng Luo not come?” asked Shiyu.
“I’ve invited him, ah! But…” Ling Xiaoxiao hesitated, before leaning closer to whisper, “I know you have a good relationship with Feng Luo, but there’s a rumour going around, fairly persistent too, about how the Feng Clan is about to fall into unlucky days. There are just too many people targeting them. Even my father there are too many experts going after their tree. I’ve been watching Meng Li and her little gang too. The people who used to stick around him like flies are now keeping their distance. When I heard that Feng Luo recently bought Meng Li some precious medicines for Meng Li, I couldn’t bear to tell him about it.”
Shiyu paused, “Is this true?”
“Of course. It is said that the Old Feng Master will challenge the Divine Transformation Stage soon. There is currently no such powerful person within the whole of Ninth Realm. Just think, if he were to succeed, how many families would suffer for it? Everyone wants to be powerful, but no one wants anyone to be more powerful than them .”
At the very least, from her tone alone, Ling Xiaoxiao more or less believed in her claims.
As for Feng Luo, what does he know about this?
Shiyu was still pondering over the matter when Feng Luo came striding over. He was dressed in blue and still looked like a man of great dignity and poise. However, as he came over, Mo Yin merely gave him a brief glance before averting her eyes and continued her conversation with her other friends. Others looked at him stiffly, there were even a few sympathetic looks.
Regardless, no one approached him, either too afraid or awkward. He looked very alone.
“Feng Luo!” Shiyu couldn’t stand it anymore. She burst out her greeting and waved at him with uncharacteristic warmth. “I was just looking for you. Why are you so late? Did you get anything nice for Xiaoxiao?”
Feng Luo looked up. The sight of Shiyu waving at him warmed his heart. Though she did not have the looks of a great beauty, she looked pretty enough in her pink dress and girlish jewellery.
Ling Xiaoxiao was especially impressed with how brave and unprejudiced Shiyu was. Especially with the way she maintained her treatment of her friend. Her affectionate for her new friend increased even more.
She quickly chimed in, “And here I was thinking I won’t see you here today. Come, come, let me have a look what good thing you gotten for me.”
Feng Luo smiled. His fresh and pure expression was very pleasant as he presented a wooden box. “I can’t say that it’s anything special. However, Feng City is a seaport, for we do not lack ocean treasures. These are some of our famous shark teeth beads. Have a look at them and see if you like them, Xiaoxiao.”
[Gumihou is still suffering from food poisoning, but her head is mostly free from aches now…]
 Additional Detail for Dramatic Purpose: Chicken feet was casually tacked on, I went and googled BBQ chicken feet and found that it was a Thing. I’ve personally never seen it, but the amount of collagen and skin could protect the edible bits enough to make it tasty? Some recipes featured a Braised then Grill technique. I think the Direct Grill might be a bit risky, but then chicken feet is pretty thin, so maybe it would be good? It’s very popular in Vietnam and Indonesia.
Here’s one from Vietnam. Would you try them?
 Additional Details for Characterisation: Lin Fan appeared fairly laid back when it comes to Shiyu. I don’t think it would stretch the imagination much to make him squeeze juice. Especially since he was not a favoured young master growing up due to his weak beginnings.
 Additional Detail for Imagery – I put in the lantern imagery for easy reference
 Switched out wordings – Originally Ling Xiaoxiao said something about ‘Weigh the pros and cons, so you know‘, which sounded a lot more impressive in Chinese four-letter idiom, so switched out the metaphor for something that involves imagery instead without taking away the meaning.
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