Chapter 14- Business
“First Royal Brother.” King Zhao put down the dried squid in his hand and greeted him with a smile.
”What wind brings you here?”
“When His Majesty returns to court, I will naturally be free.” The visitor was dressed in dark green clothes and he was around twenty-five years old.
He was An Hongzhuo, King Mu.
An Hongyi secretly rolled his eyes. He said this as if he had made great contributions when the Emperor didn’t go to court. On the surface, he still happily asked him to sit down.
An Hongzhuo didn't sit down. He twisted up a piece of dried squid to take a look.
“Royal Younger Brother has gotten quite a lot of good stuff recently.”
When the emperor returned to court, it happened to be the day of his coming of age ceremony. People came from all directions and offered a lot of rare treasures.
With a thick skin, An Hongyi asked his brother for many amusing things at the family banquet the day before yesterday.
An Hongyi scratched his ears, he had heard a lot of these sour words these two days, but it was rare to hear them from Hongzhuo’s mouth.
He glanced at King Mu’s eyes which were more narrow than ordinary eyes. It’s too narrow, I can’t tell if there’s any jealousy.
“I bought it on East Street, to experience some freshness. If First Royal Brother likes it, tomorrow I’ll have someone send you a few pounds.”
“I heard that there’s a small seafood restaurant on East Street, which sells very different things from others restaurants. Presumably, this is from that restaurant, right?” An Hongzhou said casually.
“First Royal Brother, who is always busy with many things, still knows this? ” An Hongyi’s heart skipped a beat. Why did this guy suddenly mention Xianmantang?
Xianmantang was his, King Zhao’s, shop, which was no secret in the noble circle in the capital. Because Su Yu’s business was too special, it had attracted the attention of various forces since its opening.
After a little inquiry, it was known that the big boss behind the scenes was King Zhao, and those people with evil intentions stopped. This was also the reason why Su Yu had to find a backer.
Without the great banner of King Zhao, he could not open a restaurant.
“Recently, it has been widely spread all over Zhongdu. It is said that Xianmantang opened on East Street, and it’s very unique. I have in mind to try something new.” An Hongzhuo looked at An Hongyi with a smile.
The meaning was obvious, there were too few seats in Xianmantang hall, so they often had to queue up when they went there, but King Zhao, as the master behind the scenes, had a seat in the backyard.
“Haha, since First Royal Brother wants to go, I, the younger brother, will naturally accompany you.” An Hongyi smiled sincerely.
Near noon, East Street was very lively.
Many people were already standing on the spiral staircase of Xianmantang. When the two Kings went to the top, they saw a clean and fair-skinned waiter standing under the dome pavilion with a stack of small bamboo tokens in his hands.
Seeing the two of them approach, he handed over a token.
“ These two guests, the seats inside are full. You will have to wait in line to eat here. If you don’t want to wait, you can choose to take out.”
An Hongyi took the bamboo token, and the word “Qi(Seven)” was written on it. It meant that there were still six tables of people waiting in front of him.
“Then we’ll wait, ba.” An Hongyi sat down on the bench in front of the door and waved to his eldest royal brother to sit down, without any intention to open the backdoor.
"Please hold onto it carefully. If they skip your number, you'll have to wait in line again." The waiter reminded them expertly.
When An Hongzhuo saw him act like this, a sneer hung on the corner of his lips.
“The backyard is too small. My original seat was torn down to dry fish.” An Hongyi explained in a low voice, smiling with a simple and honest face.
Someone in front couldn’t wait and choose the take-out. It wasn’t long before it was their turn.
Inside, there were two waiters in the lobby, dressed in the same brown uniform as the one in front of the door, decorated with a plump fish made with simple strokes on the back.
The lobby of the two rooms had windows on three sides. The side without windows had a long counter. The shopkeeper sat behind the counter and said with a smile.
“Wangye, you came. What would you like to eat?”
There was a big wooden sign on the counter, which said that today’s main dishes were “Shrimp with minced garlic” and “ Braised small yellow croaker”.
The menu with small dishes was engraved on the counter, and even the price was engraved which was very detailed.
“I’ll have each of the main dishes, half a catty of boiled shrimp, a plate of Maxiang fish, and a pot of sour plum soup.” An Hongyi ordered some good dishes and handed over the money to the shopkeeper, those dishes cost nearly 400 copper coins.
“Okay, please take a seat.” The shopkeeper wrote down the orders and motioned them to take their seats.
“The sour plum soup here is very delicious, I can’t drink enough of it every time.” The two sat down, and the waiter brought up the sour plum soup and the Maxiang fish. An Hongyi couldn’t help drinking a cup first.
Whenever a restaurant opened, drinks were the most profitable, but because you couldn’t drink alcohol when one ate some kinds of seafood, for the sake of safety, Su Yu could only give up his plan of selling wine in Xianmantang. But normal drinks could still be sold.
The sour plum soup made by boiling sour plums, crystal sugar, orange peels, and logan fruits was very popular. It cost seven copper coins a cup and eighteen for a pot, almost every table ordered it.
Maxiang fish was a cold dish, it was fried fish sticks marinated with pepper and special seasonings and it was covered with a layer of sauce.
It tasted spicy and had a long aftertaste, eating it made one’s tongue numb and they couldn’t help but eating it again and again.
It was also a specialty there. Su Yu made a big pot every day, it could be served at any time by drizzling it with sauce.
“This is actually an interesting place, surely the His Majesty must like it.” An Hongzhuo said meaningfully.
“Hmm…”An Hongyi swallowed the shrimp in his mouth, then he reached out and pealed another one.
“The soy sauce here is different from other places, the shrimp only tastes delicious when it is dipped in this.”
An Hongzhuo asked all sorts of questions during dinner, however, An Hongyi forgot everything when he saw the delicious food. He answered something that didn’t match the topics. Afterward, he began to boast that the food was delicious and cut off the conversation.
After eating, An Hongzhuo, on grounds of being busy with official business, separated from An Hongyi. An Hongyi watched King Mu go downstairs and slowly finished the last cup of sour plum soup. Then he got up and walked towards the kitchen in the back.
“Wangye you’re here, why didn’t you eat in the backyard?” Su Yu finished making the lunch dishes and was washing his hands preparing to go out.
“It’s not easy to settle accounts when you bring a freeloader.” An Hongyi scratched his head.
Su Yu smiled, took out an oilpaper bag from his sleeve, and handed it to him.
”I was about to go to your Highness Wangfu to find Wangye. This is a snack that Sauce likes, please bring it to him.”
An Hongyi took the oilpaper bag, paused, and said:
“His Majesty has agreed to the Consort Selection. ZongZheng Department’s reviewed the list today and it is estimated that there would be news in a few days.”
Su Yu nodded indifferently, it had nothing to do with him no matter which angle he sees it.
“If you are chosen, you may be assigned by His Majesty to take care of Sauce.” Taking advantage of Su Yu’s inattention, An Hongyi smelled the oilpaper bag in his hand.
A tempting fragrance came to his nostrils and King Zhao felt hungry again even though he had just eaten his fill.
When An Hongyi returned to the Wangu, he saw the Imperial Guard in front of the Wangfu gate looking tense and when he saw him, he ran over and whispered.
”Wangye, the Emperor is here.”
In the middle of the Wangfu’s garden was a waterside pavilion. On the small bridge leading to it, there was a maid standing every three steps, each lowering their head, not daring to say anything.
On the waterside pavilion, a man wearing embroidered robes and a jade crown stood with his hands on his back.
“I, your servant, the younger brother has seen the Emperor. Long live our Emperor.” An Hongyi quickly walked over and knelt down to salute.
The man turned around, he had swordlike eyebrows and starry eyes, beautiful and extraordinary. He was the man that appeared in Su Yu’s room that day.
Glancing at King Zhao kneeling on the ground, he didn’t allow him to get up. He waved his hand slightly and the eunuch on his side immediately understood.
“All retreat.” The palace eunuch commanded loudly and led the servants out. Soon the courtyard was cleared.
“Hand it over.” A slender and fair white hand reached out to King Zhao.
An Hongyi honestly handed over the wrapped oilpaper bag in tribute. When the man turned around, he stood up consciously and watched his elder brother open the paper bag, revealing a crisp and delicious Xianbei pastry.
It was Su Yu’s snack fried with fresh shellfish and flour, each which was made to the size of a finger, which was convenient for Sauce’s cat mouth to eat, and it was crunchy when chewing.
King Zhao watched helplessly as his elder brother picked two pieces, threw them into his mouth, and ate them with relish. He then leaned over cheekily.
“Elder brother, is it delicious? Can you reward me with one?”
“It’s unpalatable, he hasn’t made any progress after so long.” An Hongche snorted coldly.
Looking at the snack in his hand he thought, he even used a mold to make it into the shape of a small fish, he’s really naive.
If it's unpalatable then why don’t you give it to me! An Hongyi looked at his elder brother throw them one by one into his mouth, and he couldn’t help curling his lips.
“If you want something fresh, you might as well go and see him.”
“What is there to see.” An Hongche finished the whole package of small fish cakes, wiped his hands, and glanced at his younger brother.
“What did An Hongzho go there for?”
After listening to his brother’s report, An Hongche was silent for a moment and then grabbed his little brother by the collar:
“Send more people and if something happens to Su Yu, I’ll pluck all your hair out! ”
Orluros's Vault of Secrets: Hello everyone! I'm finally free! Starting now the chapters are back on schedule :)
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