Chapter 175 Panda Rice Balls (e)
Translated by Gumihou
Edited by Gumihou
 In the following days, the Shi Estate became very lively.  It was completely different from the near graveyard like state from before. Madam Shi understood that these people were merely here to make connections with the Divine Transformation master and that none of them was people she could develop a deep friendship with. Still, it’s not like the relationship one develops in this kind of business were the deep or lasting kind anyway.
When the family was in trouble, not a single of them came to help the Shi Clan. Now that everyone knew the Clan has the protection of a Divine Cultivation master, they all came lining up to catch a glimpse of him. Such a huge difference in treatment really cause people to doubt the basic moral value of human beings. Nevertheless, Madams Shi did not block these people from coming. No matter what, she should still show them a minimal amount of courtesy to avoid future conflict. Because of this, people continued to pour in and out of the estate every day.
Xiao Shu was still a little gloomy from nearly causing the annihilation of her clan and did not come out to meet the visitors. Not to mention, she was still trying to recover from heartbreak. Instead, she stayed within her courtyard and watched as Shiyu cooked.
She really liked the Panda Rice Balls. She liked how adorable they looked and would always set aside some to be sent to her mother.
Once, her mother happened to be sitting with a few matrons and their daughters when Xiao Shu brought the rice balls in. While the matrons talked, their daughters exclaimed over the cuteness of these Panda Rice Balls. When these young ladies got home, they immediately instructed their home cooks to make panda shaped rice balls.
The idea was novel, but not difficult to imitate. The cooks soon produced their own versions of Panda Rice Balls which the young ladies set out to entertain friends. “How adorable!”  “Are these rice balls?”  “Oh, there’s something inside!”
Inevitably, one after another, their friends would ask, “ Where did you get these from?”
The brilliant smiles on the young ladies grew a little strained, “That is… the last time I visited Madam Shi, Eldest Young Lady Shi brought Panda Rice Balls out to entertain us. They were so adorable that I had our cooks recreate them. They look very cute and sweet, but I must say the ones from the Shi Estate are still the most authentic.”
The Shi Clan had become the centre of attention at Dawn City due to the backing of a Divine Transformation master. Later, when rumours of a cute and novel dish were connected to the clan, Shi Clan became famous once again.  People who had no reason to involve themselves in the power struggles within Dawn City got to know Shi Clan through a more benign channel and their name was propelled forward even more.
In short, the Panda Rice Balls became so popular that they would eventually become one of the main features of Dawn City, alongside Cold Serve Rabbit.
Shiyu, who had been nesting within Xiao Shu’s courtyard, had no idea how she had influenced the rice ball trend outside. Instead, she devoted her time to cooking and doing her best to cheer Xiao Shu up. She did this by talking about her friends, Feng Luo and Lin Fan, from time to time to try and shake Xiao Shu out of her blue mood.
“Are they really that strong?” Xiao Shu was soon pulled in by Shiyu’s storytelling.
She already thought that Xiao Yu was incredibly talented and unique, but…
“Better than me, ah!” In truth, Shiyu had cheated through Fire Spirit, not once, but twice. The ones with real talent and who put actual effort into their Cultivation were Lin Fan and the rest. In terms of effort alone, she had already lost. “You’ll meet them one day, so you can see for yourself.”
“Really?” Xiao Shu’s eyes brightened with anticipation.
A light flitted through Shiyu’s eyes and she smirked. “You know about the Imperial College, right? We’re all from the same Cultivation school. If you can enter the school, we can all be schoolmates.”
Lin Fan alone was enough to wrestle Xiao Shu in through the backdoor. That’s how Shiyu got into the College after all. The only problem is, that Shen Lingfei will be there too.
Although Xiao Shu had officially ended the affair between herself and Shen Lingfei, there were too many unresolved matters between them. Shiyu was not someone who enjoyed complicated love tangles. If that scum manages to coax Xiao Shu into entangling with him again, it could cause a butterfly effect that would pull the rest of her friends into trouble.
Therefore, it’s better to settle everything first before leaving for the Eastern Empire.
Xiao Shu’s expression stiffened at the mentioned Imperial College. Wasn’t that where Shen Lingfei was planning to go?
If she happened to go there, there was no way she could avoid him.
“There are some hurdles in this world that you must overcome by yourself. That is why Madam Shi never interfere with your personal business,” Shiyu  decided to reveal this little secret, hoping that it would help Xiao Shu make her decisions. “She believes that you can handle it yourself.”
Xiao Shu’s eyes widened a little. Mother… really believed in her?  Was that why Mother had seemed so distant when it came to anything involving Lingfei?
After her heart had been trampled on and her family harmed, her eyes had been forced open no matter how unwilling. In the end, she was not willing to sacrifice her family on the altar of her stupidity. Her devotion to Lingfei had broken down, but, no matter how unhappy and unreconciled she was, she could not teach that bastard a lesson because the gap between their strengths was too wide.
Even if she wanted to, she could not do it. This was why she had secluded herself within her courtyard. Subconsciously hiding herself from the world and from Shen Lingfei. However, Xiao Yu’s words had strengthened her resolved. Mother believed in her!  Back then, Mother had allowed her to decide on Shen Lingfei’s life or death, and did not interfere not because she did not care, but because she believed in her!
“I will go to Easter Empire with you,” said Xiao Shu after some thought.
“Haha, good, good. That person still owes you 200,000 silver taels. You must get it back.”
“He owes me more than 200,000 taels. If I were to add up everything I’d ever given him, it would be no less than 500,000 silver taels. Since he said he would return all that money to me, I am honour bound to go to the Imperial College and collect this debt!” After all, love debts are also debts that must be repaid.
“Of course, of course,” Shiyu was more than happy to support Xiao Shu’s new overbearing attitude.
“So, when are we leaving?” asked Xiao Shu. “I guess I should do my best to prepare myself.” She had no reason not to leave for the Eastern Empire.
Please read this at kitchennovel dot com ~
Outside Dawn City’s wall.
A pair of old men stood just under the words that declared the place ‘City of Dawn’. Both of them studied the busy pedestrians moving to and fro before them. The old man on the left was dressed in plain linen robes. He gave off the image of a wandering Taoist master with his white beard and long white hair that draped down his back.
The old man on the right was dressed in more elaborated clothes, his Chinese style long jacket was embroidered with many auspicious characters. He also wore a black cap with a jade fixed on the front. He looked like a rich and prosperous merchant.
“It’s been 80 years since I’ve last been to Dawn City,” said the old man in plainer clothes. He stared at the words stamped onto the wall. “Nothing seems to have changed.”
“The city walls might not have changed, but people are not walls. The flush of youth eventually give way to wrinkles, even the strong would become dusty bones. How many people could stand the test of time?” the merchant-like old man sighed. “It’s been 80 years since your last visit, who knows whether I’ll still be around 80 years later.”
The man in linen clothes smiled, “Brother Feng, you have grown sentimental with your age. How about coming to the Eight Realm with me? I’m sure the Spiritual air above would be good for extending your life.”
“I’d rather not,” the man addressed as ‘Brother Feng’ shook his head. “My roots are here, who knows what would happen to them if I leave.”
“I have a feeling you’re reluctant because nobody will let you play matchmaker once you’ve ascended! Still, are you not tired of the matchmaking game after all these years?”
“… …” ‘Brother Feng’ merely sniffed coldly. “Enough! Let’s enter the city.” Then, he smiled, “Speaking of which, my youngest grandson, Old Three, has pretty good talent. He has now entered Core Condensation Stage. If he continues to progress this way, he might well reach Divine Transformation Stage before he’s 40.”
“Hah! Even boastings should have a limit! Breakthrough to Divine Transformation Stage at 40? How many people actually reached that stage in their whole lifetime at the Ninth Realm? Are your seeds so good? I don’t believe it,” said his friend bluntly.
“It’s fine if you don’t believe it,” Brother Feng said amiably as the two of them entered the City of Dawn.
His friend studied the streets with a nostalgic eye, “Most of these shops are still the same. In fact, I do believe they are the very same shops that were here 80 years ago.”
“Aren’t you meeting an old friend here? Why don’t we look him up first? After this, you must come with me to the Spiritual Beast Mountain Range to look for someone.”
His friend nodded, “I vaguely remember his address. Let’s go and seek him out.”
[Gumihou: … there aren’t that many Brother Feng with a promising youngest grandson at Core Condensation Stage, right?]
Gumihou is keeping track so that you don’t have to ~
|凝氣||Condensation Stage||Stage 1|
|化丹||Core Transformation||Stage 2|
|凝丹(46)||Core Condensation||Stage 3|
|化神(52)||Divine Transformation||Stage 4|
|成嬰||Nascent Formation||Stage 5|
|返墟||Revert Decay||Stage 7|
|歸真||Original Purity||Stage 8|
|成仙||Become Immortal||Stage 9|
 Adjust Sentence Style for Dramatic Purpose: Splitting paragraphs for maximum impact.  Elaboration for World Building Purpose: It’s mostly to explain the social-political situation of this world.  Show Don’t Tell: Kind of boring to just use a plain narrative line to describe the Spread of the Panda Rice Ball Craze, used a combination of dialogue and action statements to better convey what’s happening.  Change Details for Plausibility:
Original text: “Which cook made this?”
Like, erm, what?
Why would you ask for the cook instead of the establishment?
I mean, sure, if this is a cooking competition, but why ask for the cook when you’re at a friend’s house?
Does your friend have many cooks? Is she famous for having lots of cooks?
Sure, I’ll buy that, but please know that the text started with ‘several young ladies serving xxx dish’ and now everyone is asking for the name of a single cook?
Can’t you just get them to ask ‘Which restaurant did you buy it from?’
Your collective brains? Added Detail for Character Development: Originally it was just ‘Shiyu said’, but Gumihou decided to add the reason for the revelation to further develop the character a little. After all, Shiyu is supposed to be the adult here, despite her physical age. Also, Xiao Shu’s response. She had been a complete fool in love just a few chapters ago after all.
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