Chapter 13 – Look at this pot
Disclaimer: This is edited MTL. Do forgive any grammar mistakes as they are my own and not the author’s. I may add some of my own words for clarity sake, but I will try not to change the meaning of the whole sentence. When the author uses 成语 / Cheng Yu, which is something like idiom-like phrases, I may just translate them in simple English if they are not very meaningful. Otherwise, I will add a translation note. An example would be ‘不三不四’, I would most likely translate it as ‘dubious’ depending on the context.
I found a Spanish translation for this novel~ https://www.wattpad.com/story/211755521-his-royal-highness-wants-a-divorce
The chefs in the kitchen seeing the Crown Princess entering the kitchen again, stared speechlessly at each other and stood at the back.
Previously the Crown Princess had driven all of them out. Even though they had no idea what the Crown Princess had done inside the kitchen, but when the steward came out with a round food tummy, they asked him about it. They still remembered the steward’s sympathetic look towards them at that time.
Steward: “It’s not that this old man wants to say anything, but it’s lucky for you guys that the Lord isn’t at home, if not, you guys might become the final batch of cooks to be replaced.”
Hence, when they saw the Crown Princess enter the kitchen again, their hearts rose and sank. On one hand, they wanted to see the Chu Country cuisine that could make the steward say that kind of words and at the same time, could also secretly learn the recipe. On the other hand, they were resistant to the idea of the Crown Princess entering the kitchen as working in the Crown Prince Manor was a well-paid occupation, they didn’t want to lose their jobs.
Yan Ke naturally didn’t expect that his actions would set off waves in the hearts of the kitchen staff.
He speedily washed the vegetables and then cut them. The details of the dishes were done well, where carvings were required, he wouldn’t skip on doing them just because the people in the past may not appreciate them.
[T/N: Not sure if food carvings are common throughout the world but see this for an example.]
When plating the dishes, he had a habit of doing it exquisitely even though there was no need for that. There was no ‘takeaway’ now, and there was probably no one who would send food so far away on foot. So the journey there would require a horse, travelling by horse, it would take one day of a bumpy journey to reach. Yan Ke thought, as long as nothing spilled out, he would be grateful enough, he won’t bother with the appearance of his dishes after the impact of a bumpy journey.
Even though he didn’t care about the appearance, but thinking of the volatile Lord Crowd Prince, he decided not to make any soup or paste-like food.
Watching Yan Ke cook, whether it was the seasoning or the strength of the fire, everything was done flawlessly. The aroma of the food spread around the kitchen and everyone swallowed their saliva at the same time.
After finishing the last dish, Braised Pork Ribs, Yan Ke had completed a feast consisting of both Manchurian and Chinese cuisine. Seeing the messengers staring at the table full of dishes with despair, Yan Ke realised that there was a problem.
Yan Ke: “If you can’t bring so many dishes, just choose some of the better ones and send those.”
He was just making the dishes for fun, which was why he made so much food. Besides the last time he made a few desserts, it’s been a long time since he entered the kitchen. Once he started cooking, he forgot that all these dishes were meant to be sent to the Lord Crown Prince residing at the frontier, where the dishes had to travel for one whole day on a non-stop journey by horse.
The few messengers hurriedly shook their hands and responded in unison: “We can, we can, we can!”
The steward sent some people to the streets to get some oiled paper used for wrapping snacks. Upon their return, Yan Ke wrapped every single dish neatly and placed it into a wooden box. He placed a few blocks of wood together with the wrapped dishes to prevent it from shifting too much, layer by layer, he repeated this for every dish. Finishing, he clapped his hands with sparkling eyes.
[T/N: Imagine something like this.]
Sighing with emotions in his heart: I am so capable!
The steward seeing that Yan Ke made so many dishes, felt that he was probably tired and so let him take a break first.
In the meantime, he arranged for the rest of the things to be placed carefully onto the horse’s back.
After everything was in place, he was about to tell the messengers to set off when Yan Ke came out from his room. Yan Ke then threw a letter into the wooden box.
Yan Ke: “You have all worked hard.”
The messengers seeing the Crown Princess being so polite to them, smiled in a flustered manner, a few of them were even overwhelmed with honour.
Yan Ke watched the messengers leave and began calculating in his heart, he definitely didn’t dare to tell Meng You that the dishes were made by him but he did drop a few hints in the letter. He even used Meng You’s golden words: Crown Prince, you must remember this great favour and kindness, in the future, this debt can be used.
The steward seeing Yan Ke’s eyes remaining on the direction that the messengers left in, his face held a gratified smile.
Steward: “Crown Princess, why don’t you go back and continue resting? You haven’t recovered fully and yet you still woke up so early in the morning to make this whole table of dishes, if the Lord knew about this, he would definitely know how good you are to him.”
If he didn’t understand how good he was, this old man will write a letter to tell the Lord himself!
Of course, he would definitely leave out the words about the dishes. If he spelled it out loud, if there was a day when the Lord Crown Prince became enlightened about what he should do, and also if the Crown Princess remembered the words he said today, he would think that it was this steward cueing the Crown Prince, this would then affect the couple’s feelings!
Yan Ke was lost in his thoughts, and dazedly gazed at the steward: “Would he?”
Would he remember Lao Zi’s great favour and kindness and gift him with a divorce, and also let Lao Zi leave to a far-off place with his dowry?!
The steward firmly nodded his head: “He would! Our lord’s heart isn’t made of stone, Crown Princess, let this old servant tell you something, during the period when you had yet come, our Lord actually didn’t want this marriage. He knelt outside the emperor’s palace for many days, finally the emperor got his imperial guards to lock the Crown Prince up in the Crown Prince Manor. Originally when you, the Crown Princess came over, we were a little worried about how the Crown Prince would treat you but, in the end, the Lord Crown Prince saw that there were wounds all over you, so he locked General Su up. Then he meticulously took care of you day and night, this old servant had never seen the Lord Crown Prince treat anyone with so much care!”
Yan Ke laughed and laughed.
Don’t say that he’s using the heart of a villain to measure the abdomen of a gentleman, but…it was obvious, locking Su Yu up was not for Yan Ke’s sake but it was probably Meng You venting his anger. After all, without Su Yu that shit stick, they wouldn’t be forcefully betrothed to each other!
[T/N: Author used 以小人之心度君子之腹. It’s an idiom meaning that he’s twisting a kind deed into a scheming action. Author used 搅屎棍, it means shit stick literally, but it also has a slang meaning of someone who make things worse.]
Also, regarding ‘meticulously taking care of him’…
Yan Ke was a bit surprised to hear this, that volatile Lord Crown Prince not performing ‘Murder of the sickly husband’ was already more than what he expected of him.
The steward would also not expose anything that could disrupt the harmonious feelings between the couple, for example…how the Crown Prince carried the Crown Princess into the Manor over his shoulders like a sack of potatoes.
For example…How rough their Lord Crown Prince treated the Crown Princess by wrapping him up like a dumpling.
All these things naturally cannot be mentioned.
Yan Ke woke up too early, he was about to head to kitchen to make some food to eat before returning to his room for a nap when his hands were caught by someone. When he turned around, he saw Tang Qi with a complacent expression standing behind him. Looking further back, he saw a few gentlemen wearing luxurious clothes standing behind Tang Qi.
[T/N: 公子 / Gong Zi / Gentlemen is a polite term for calling young men.]
Their faces were new, he had probably not seen them before.
Seeing the steward being able to greet all of them in succession, Yan Ke understood, these people are probably Meng You’s friends from the Capital.
Tang Qi patted Yan Ke’s back: “Crown Princess, the last time I came to find you to have fun in the city, you were scared that other people might gossip about us. So this time, I asked some more people to come along with us.”
Yan Ke didn’t even raise his eyes, he was someone, who was sometimes, very vengeful!
Yan Ke: “Why? You want to come at me together?”
[T/N: ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)]
Tang Qi’s face turned as red as a pig’s liver and retreated from Yan Ke: “…”
Due to his previous encounter, he was able to understand Yan Ke’s meaning.
But these few bros who came here for the first time pulled him aside with a bewildered face.
They asked: “What? If we want to ask the Crown Princess out to have fun, we still need to fight him?”
Tang Qi: “…”
Yan Ke heard their words and burst out laughing. These group of ancient people, can sometimes be so silly and cute!
The steward seeing that Yan Ke wasn’t very against these people, started to say a few convincing words to Yan Ke: “Crown Princess, these people are the Crown Prince’s good friends. Crown Princess, you can follow them to breath some fresh air outside.”
Yan Ke tiredly lifted his eyelids, in this place without any electronic devices, going out to breath some fresh air was really just breathing fresh air. Besides wandering around the streets, what else could they do to entertain themselves? These group of people also probably didn’t have the courage to bring him along to a brothel either.
[T/N: 青楼 / Qing Lou is literally a brothel but the people are more like escorts/hostesses as opposed to prostitutes as their job is to entertain, it is often by sex but sometimes it may be by painting, singing or playing instruments.]
So boring, so boring, he might as well just stay at home to sleep and wait for Meng You’s divorce letter, he would also be more comfortable.
The steward didn’t say anything but he just directly called for a few shadow guards to follow them and then said a few words to Tang Qi.
Steward: “Imperial Guard Tang, please watch over our family’s Crown Princess, he’s not familiar with the capital.”
Tang Qi’s face was still as red as a baboon’s butt. Hearing the steward’s words, he furiously nodded.
Yan Ke was basically pushed out of the house by the steward. The Crown Prince Manor was located near Yue Kingdom’s busiest street, once they left the entrance, they could see the bustling street. Yan Ke stepped forward with a sense of wonder.
Besides the last time when he chased Meng You to the city gates, this was the first time he went out the Manor. He felt like Grandma Liu entering the Grand View Garden. He was someone who had flew in the skies in a plane, something that was unimaginable to the people of this time; someone who had watched television before, a modern person who had experienced the height of technology. But putting him in this place, he was just like a countryside bumpkin.
[T/N: 刘姥姥 / Grandma Liu is a character in a famous classic book created centuries ago, 红楼梦 / Dream of the Red Mansion. 大观园 / Grand View Garden was a place where one of the arcs was set in. She came from a poor village, so when she entered the palace/garden in the book, everything was novel to her.]
The few gentlemen didn’t dare to approach Yan Ke to start a conversation, neither did Tang Qi who had already experienced Yan Ke’s sharp tongue and golden words.
After a while, someone couldn’t stand the boredom of wandering around the streets and asked: “How about we find a place to have fun?”
Yan Ke stopped walking and smiled towards the few young masters: “I’m not familiar with the capital, you can decide where to go.”
Tang Qi: …
He had never seen such a gentle look on the Crown Princess’s face before.
Tang Qi: “This is the first time we are meeting. Everyone tends to get closer after a few drinks, how about…we go to an inn?”
Yan Ke: “Brothel?”
[T/N: Inn in Chinese is 酒楼 / Jiu Lou, while brothel in Chinese is 青楼 / Qing Lou.]
Tang Qi corrected him: “Crown Princess, an inn.”
Yan Ke with shining eyes: “Okay, a brothel it is!”
Visiting a brothel, visiting a brothel, he is finally going to visit a real-life brothel!
Tang Qi and the group of gentlemen: “…”
No matter how dumb Tang Qi was, he could hear that Yan Ke was intentionally mishearing his words. He was stumped and looked at his bros. He tried to signal them with both his eyebrows and eyes for help for a long time yet his bros just left him in the lurch.
The conclusion was as plain as the nose on one’s face, the bros’ attitude was expressing: When it wasn’t a critical time, they can carry two swords to help a brother.
When it was a critical time, they could stab a brother with two swords.
[T/N: Author used两肋插刀 / Liang Zhu Cha Dao / Help with both hands to stab and 插兄弟两刀 / Cha Xiong Di Liang Dao / Stab a bro twice. 两 / Liang, 插 / Cha, 刀 / Dao are used in both phrases but in different order.
The original saying is actually 为兄弟两肋插刀，为女人插朋友两刀 / Wei Xiong Di Liang Zhu Cha Dao, Wei Nu Ren Cha Peng You Liang Dao. Meaning that a person would fight for a bro, but also stab a friend for a woman.]
Tang Qi made a last attempt: “Crown Princess, it’s an inn…”
“Brothel right? Did I hear it wrongly?” Yan Ke cleverly put on an ignorant look.
Everyone shook their head in unision.
Tang Qi who got betrayed: “…”
Tang Qi: “Then…Let’s go.”
If he was around, nothing should happen right?! But there also shouldn’t be anyone who would dare to touch Meng You’s man…
Yan Ke happily walked behind Tang Qi, while walking, he kept asking Tang Qi questions: “Tang Qi, are there a lot of ladies pulling customers at the brothel entrance?”
Tang Qi sweated: “I don’t know, I’ve never been to a brothel.”
Yan Ke: “I’ve watched television, the girls there were brandishing their silk handkerchiefs, and flinging them towards the men passing by while saying, customer, please come in to have some fun~”
Tang Qi could immediately imagine the scene in his head. Turning around to look at Yan Ke behind him with a complicated look in his eyes, he felt as if his head had already been chopped off and was hanging on Meng You’s belt, he asked: “Crown Princess…you regularly go to brothels?”
Yan Ke shook his head: “I’ve never been in one before!”
Tang Qi was relieved and laughed: “It’s good that you’ve never entered one before, never entering one before is good!”
The gentlemen behind hearing the conversation turning more outrageous, were already discussing how to throw the black pot away in a classy manner without harming their brotherly ties.
[T/N: Black Pot is slang for blame. Carrying the black pot means carrying the blame.]
“Just now, wasn’t it Tang Qi who brought up going to the brothel?”
“Yes, it was him who said it first.”
“That’s right, that was what happened, when the Lord returns, we can report it like this.”
Tang Qi: “…”
Does anyone even remember that he wanted to go to an inn for them to become closer?
Yan Ke silently condemned him in his heart: Look at this pot, it’s so big and round!
Author has something to say:
Once more! Love you all!