Even if he had amnesia and was reduced to a rural villager, Shen Wei Hou Shizi’s momentum was not even slightly diminished. At the moment, his sword-like eyebrows were wrinkled, his thin lips were tightly pursed, and he looked over with narrowed almond-shaped eyes, the invisible oppression he exerted in the atmosphere could intimidate people.
However, Zhou Yun Sheng wasn’t an ordinary person, he raised his chin and stretched out his hand, pointing towards him, “Have I offended you?”
The man’s skin was very white, under the sunshine, he looked like a doll carved out of mutton fat jade, without the slightest flaws. Contrarily, his lips were very red, so red it made others unable to look away. His already extraordinarily handsome features were complimented by a pair of glittering, vibrant, peach blossom eyes. When he looked over, his eyes were exceedingly beautiful, but also exceedingly arrogant.
If he was a Ger, the people dropping by to propose marriage to him would trample Zhu Jia’s threshold.
Qin Ce stared at him, involuntarily thinking of a two-line verse – The beauty in the high place is like a jade, while the handsome young man is unmatched in the world. Unfortunately, this young man was beautiful, but his behavior was really underwhelming.
Thinking of this, Qin Ce indifferently looked away, continuing to hoe.
Zhou Yun Sheng didn’t intend to badger him, seeing his silence, he dropped the subject and picked up some dirt, crumbling it, then examining the circumstances of the drought. Suddenly, a gentle voice shouted behind him, “Little Black, quickly come and eat!”
Because Qin Ce had amnesia and suntanned skin, Zhang Shu Lin nicknamed him Little Black on his own accord. He also saw that he was strong, muscular and highly skilled in martial arts, so he intended to recruit him as a house-guard to help deal with his group of annoying relatives.
Therefore, he was very affectionate with Qin Ce, his care could even be called meticulous.
When Qin Ce heard his call, he immediately threw the hoe into the fields, his stern expression melting slightly, revealing a gentle look. Zhou Yun Sheng seemed to sense something, he stared over, suspecting that this Qin Ce might be his lover.
That man’s origin was very mysterious, and he always loses his memories. He was sometimes the protagonist, sometimes a supporting character, sometimes a cannon fodder, it made him unable to predict who he would become this time. Unfortunately, the only way Zhou Yun Shen could somewhat sense him was through intimate contact.
Now, if he wanted to check Qin Ce’s identity, it would really be somewhat difficult, he couldn’t just walk up to him and forcefully kiss him, right? If it turned out to be a wrong guess, then in the future, Zhu Zi Yu’s ending might be even more miserable, then what would be the point of coming to this world?
Zhou Yun Sheng got lost in his thoughts, but after being stabbed by Qin Ce’s cold eyes, he snapped out of it, naturally shifting his attention towards the protagonist shou, denying in his heart: Treating me so indifferently, he can’t be that man.
The protagonist shou’s appearance could only be considered delicate and pretty, but his warm jade-like temperament was very attractive. Coupled with his bright red sindoor, his worth immediately surged. Helplessly, his family was really too impoverished, and he had difficult to support, annoying relatives holding him back. So, although he was 17, he still couldn’t find a husband.
At this point, the protagonist shou also saw him, his smile was immediately replaced by loathing, glaring over at him.
Zhou Yun Sheng patted the dirt off his palm, then raised an eyebrow, asking, “Have I offended you?”
“I’m Zhang Jia’s Shu Lin.” The protagonist shou tactfully replied.
“Zhang Shu Lin? Should I know you?” Zhou Yun Sheng raised his chin slightly, his gorgeous facial features made any expression he put on look arrogant.
He seized his secret recipe, then, in a blink of an eye, he forgot about him. Was the major event that was to him, a matter of life and death, not even worth mentioning in his eyes? What a wicked rich man!
Zhang Shu Lin really wished he could pounce and throttle the other man to death, but Qin Ce gripped his wrist as an implicit warning. He had no choice but to let out a mouthful of turbid air and calmly reply “Landlord is a busy person, how can you recognize this nobody? I just saw Landlord standing here and came over to greet you. Have you eaten yet, Landlord? Why don’t you join us for a snack?” While speaking, he opened the cover of the wicker basket, revealing sesame seed biscuits, pickled vegetables, boiled eggs and other things.
Zhou Yun Sheng glanced at it with disdain, then silently turned and left. Zhang Shu Lin’s anger rose again, but Qin Ce gripped his wrist, gently stroking his sindoor in silent comfort. At this, he calmed down.
The two people ate the sesame seed cake, and stared mockingly at the stumbling landlord, who almost tripped over the field ridges several times.
“I was going to tell him that there’ll be a great drought soon, so he should store up some water and food, but now it seems it’s not necessary.” Zhang Shu Lin snorted out a laugh.
“Zhu Jia is wealthy, they must stockpile large amounts of food every year, then sell the old grain in the storehouses. You really don’t need to worry about them.” Qin Ce rubbed his shaggy head.
“Ay, what the hell kind of unfair world is this? When natural disasters strike, only the poor suffer.” Zhang Shu Lin gave a dejected sigh. But then he recalled that he, a gay man, was able to come to this place where men and men could openly start a family, this could at least be considered life’s gains and losses. At this, he felt comforted again.
Qin Ce didn’t reply, he picked up the last egg, peeled it, then passed it to Zhang Shu Lin’s mouth. Zhang Shu Lin took a small bite, then pressed the rest into Qin Ce’s mouth.
While the protagonists were acting cozy, Zhou Yun Sheng had taken the carriage back to Zhu Jia. He changed out of his civilian clothes and went to the dining room for a meal.
“Young master, this is the Lu Wei Zhang Jia sells, I bought one of each variety, have a taste.” Lu-shi set each dish on the table.
“This is stewed pork.”
“This is stewed tofu.”
“This one’s stewed QianZhang.”
Zhou Yun Sheng tried them as Lu-shi introduced them, causing Tweety’s mouth to water, she praised, “I don’t know how the Zhang family comes up with so many ingenious ideas. On top of peddling this food, they also peddle many uncommon things. Forget about the century eggs from last time, this Lu Wei is really salty and delicious, really memorable. If not for Zhang family making this stewed pig intestines, I would’ve never known that this stinky stuff was both edible, and so delicious. Oh yes, young master, I heard they’re setting up a small store in the county, selling something called hotpot, can you bring Tweety to try it one day?”
“Is this really that delicious?” Zhou Yun Sheng put down his chopsticks and sneered, “I think it’s just so-so. They need to cut down on the fennel seed, and add more cinnamon. If they add two tokay geckos to the marinade, three monk fruits, and 25g of coriander seed, it’ll taste better.”
Tweety lost her appetite as she listened, her face white, “Young master, did you make a mistake? Tokay gecko? Isn’t that the sun-dried gecko used in traditional medicine to treat lung blockage? How can you use them for cooking? Won’t they stink up the pot?”
“This little girl has no insight.” Zhou Yun Sheng threw away his handkerchief and cast a sidelong glance at Tweety, smiling, “Most of the ingredients used in Zhang family’s Lu Wei are traditional medicines. Don’t judge traditional medicines by their odd tastes, if blended properly, they can also create supremely delicious flavors. Everyone says that Zhang family’s food is marvelous, I thought it would be delicious, but now it seems to be nothing more than a novelty. Tweety, get me a brush and paper, I’ll improve the recipe.”
Tweety skeptically brought him the brush and paper, asking, “Young master, how do you know what ingredients were used in this Lu Wei?”
“I’ve never told you? I’ve had a sensitive tongue from childhood. Forget about the ingredients in this Lu Wei, with just one sip, I can even tell which river and well the water was drawn from in a cup of tea.” Zhou Yun Sheng smiled neatly, really handsome, easy-going, and outstanding.
Tweety didn’t doubt him, she immediately spread the paper and grinded the ink, anticipating the outcome.
Zhou Yun Sheng re-wrote the recipe, carefully annotating the proper boiling method, which ingredients to add during the first few minutes, the amount, at what boiling level to take it off the fire to let cool down, how to cut with the knife, set the plates, etc. All had strict instructions.
When he finished writing the recipe, he called Zhu Lao Si over and ordered him to lower the tenant farmers’ rent from the original 50% to 30%.
Every 50% rent, Zhu Lao Si would secretly take 20%. Now that the boss reduced it to 30%, then wouldn’t he go cold and hungry? If it was anyone else, they would temporarily restrain themselves a little, but his courage had long been fostered by Zhu Zi Yu, becoming bold and fearless. Turning around, not only did he not reduce the rent, he added 10%, turning it into 60%, so he could pocket 10% more than in the past. This instantly provoked serious complaints from the villagers.
All his actions were known by Zhou Yun Sheng, but he didn’t expose him. Zhu Lao Si was his authorized scapegoat. The other side acting so unscrupulously was playing into Zhou Yun Sheng’s hands.
When the cook received the recipe, he dedicatedly spent three days and three nights effort to make a few dishes of Lu Wei. After a small taste test, his eyes immediately widened, and he regretted that he couldn’t swallow his tongue.
“Although the Lu Wei was created by Zhang Jia, after being altered so much by the boss, its taste can be called a peerless delicacy. In my opinion, it’s more than good enough to serve at an imperial feast!” The cook gave Tweety a thumbs up.
Tweety was twisting a piece of stewed duck neck, gnawing on it, she simply didn’t have the will power to pay attention to him. After eating, she gave a comfortable sigh, then threw him another recipe, urging, “This is the hotpot soup base recipe that young master altered, quickly get on it, everyone will eat hotpot tonight.”
“Great! Excellent! Tweety girl, please come fetch the dishes around 5pm.” The cook impatiently examined the new recipe.
Carrying the savory lunch into the dining room, Tweety curiously asked while setting up, “Young master, after you altered the recipe, the taste can be considered first class. Since the Zhang family’s Lu Wei is making so much money, why don’t we also open a Lu Wei store? Plus, their hotpot will certainly not taste as delicious as your alteration, so how about we open a hotpot restaurant too?”
“Don’t be too greedy, little girl.” Zhou Yun Sheng poured a glass of wine and casually said, “Cutting off someone’s livelihood is like killing their parents. Since the Lu Wei and hotpot was created by Zhang Jia, why should we fight with them over it? I just love good food, it’s really not about money. The world is so big, how can you earn all your money cleanly? Living comfortably, only this is the right thing to do.”
Tweety also agreed with this, halting her thoughts.
Zhou Yun Sheng drank wine accompanied by Lu Wei, gradually feeling slightly tipsy. He narrowed his eyes and contemplated on the protagonist shou’s gold finger. The protagonist shou was a chef in modern times, quite knowledgeable about food. However, Chu Yun Country was a very backwards country in terms of culinary technology, their food variety was very monotonous. Forget about Lu Wei, hotpot, stuffed steamed buns, dumplings and other traditional food, even light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sticky chilli bean sauce and other seasonings were not yet invented.
The protagonist shou was overjoyed after he realized, since then, he created fine food and good wine, embarking on the road to riches. And this gold finger also helped him firmly grasp the stomach and heart of the loyal dog gong, who was a foodie, letting him become the biggest winner in life.
Zhou Yun Sheng originally thought that the protagonist shou’s cooking must be superb, but when he tasted the Lu Wei, he immediately understood that his so-called culinary skills were most likely at the level of ‘roadside snack stall’. Zhang Shu Lin was born into an ordinary household, he might never taste truly high-class delicacies in his two lifetimes.
I actually had such big expectations for Zhang Jia’s gourmet food, what a waste of time! Zhou Yun Sheng gulped down his glass of wine, then switched to pondering over a more crucial problem: It seems Qin Ce already has a favorable impression of Zhang Shu Lin, if it was that guy, he could never love someone besides me. So, Qin Ce shouldn’t be him, then who could he be? He wouldn’t become a passerby, right? The world is so big, where should I go to look for him?
Little Black– Xiao Hei. It’s the type of name you’d give a pet
Lu Wei- spices and soy sauce-stewed food. Lu means stewed, so throughout the chapter was lu pork, lu tofu, lu duck etc. etc.
In case you forgot, the love interest was the protagonist in story 2, supporting character in 1&4, and cannon fodder in story 3.