Mysteries in the Imperial Harem: Chapter 4
I think the hardest thing to translate are dishes name. The English translation does not show the flare of elegance of the Chinese names. It doesn’t sounds as good or exquisite to eat in the English form… 😦
Chapter 4: I Want Revenge (Part 2)
Ce Míng Palace is located at the middle of the entire palace. It is considered to be place which connects the Inner Palace and the Front Hall and gathering place for most of the lower ranked eunuch and palace maid. There were numerous comings and goings but it was unusually quiet. Everyone is accustomed to walk in a hurried pace with heads bowed.
Fu Ling walked on this long palace alley numerous times, however this time it appears to made her feel ill at ease. Not because of anything but because of the plain white figure walking in front of her.
Fu Ling has been living in the palace for ten years and have seen countless number of beauties. Originally young pretty ladies will wear magnificent clothes, jewellery and make-up, becoming glamorous. And she’s… completely different. The Imperial Household sent over two sets of plain dresses and there was no jewellery or rouge. She just wore a plain white dress with her ink-black hair loosely tied and waked on the palace ally unrestrainedly. Just her silhouette, that exquisite elegance that is by no means common, was enough to keep others fascinated.
This type of female, appearing in Ce Míng Palace, will definitely attract countless curious glances but none dared to approach and could only look from afar. The radiant sunlight made her flawless white skin glow and also made the two deep scars sinisterly hideous. But she continued to lift her head up high, without any purpose to hide them. Those who saw her looks were stunned and could not help but gasped before quickly leaving.
After walking a while, Qing Feng suddenly stop walking and looked back asking, “Where is the place with the most number of eunuchs, palace maids and old mamas (older higher ranked palace maids)?”
Fu Ling looked up at her calm and serene eyes, she was unable to guess the meaning of Qing Feng’s thoughts. While Fu Ling was pondering if she should reply, Qing Feng’s cold and indifferent voice replied, “It does not matter if you don’t reply. There always be someone who is willing to tell me.” With that, Qing Feng walk towards an incoming eunuch. Fu Ling startled a little before quickly catching up with her and whispered, “The kitchens.” At this period, the Provisions Building should have the most number of people. In the palace, only supervisory gonggong and higher ranked palace maids will be able to dine in their own rooms. The rest of the eunuchs and palace maids are required to dine together in the kitchens.
Qing Feng eventually stop and said, “Bring me there.”
Determination shone through Qing Feng’s bright eyes and Fu Ling had no choice but to guide Qing Feng towards the direction. Fortunately there were many palace maids and eunuchs at that place, thus she believe that she will not be treated unwell. Its just that this trip of Miss, what is the main purpose?
The kitchens is not far away from Ce Míng Palace, but before even walking into it, once can hear the chaotic chatting and laughter from the huge compound. Qing Feng quickened her pace and walked in with Fu Ling following behind her, but her steps were significantly slower. She will not care about what the Miss wants to do, as long as she is not associated with these troubles.
The kitchen is a place where it can accommodate hundreds of people dining and at the moment it was densely filled with people. Palace maids and eunuchs sat separately beside one another, but these palace maids were dress similarly, indicating that there were all low-ranked palace maids. Upon entering, Qing Feng clearly and distinctly asked, “Who is your steward?”
The clear cold voice resonated in the enormous place, even though it was not resounding, once Qing Feng entered the place, every one was staring at her and instantly quieten down. This made the soft voice exceptionally clear.
After the silence was the incessant whispers, the palace maids and eunuchs discussed about her identity and no one answered her question.
A harsh appearance but looked considerably young mama stepped forward and asked, “Who are you?”
Sweeping her eyes across and realized that there were no one was attired in a steward position, Qing Feng did not bother to talk more with the elderly mama. She turned around and walked towards another side compound of a bigger house.
The elderly mama was surprised for a moment but she quickly recovered and shouted, “You can’t go around as you please!”
Qing Feng took big steps and entered the large room. It is a kitchen which is filled with all kinds of readily available vegetables, meats and cooking tools. There were only a dozen of eunuchs cleaning as it was during the lunch hour. Qing Feng’s eyes flashed a look of extraordinary splendour and exclaimed, “Who is your steward? Call him out.”
By the time everyone looked up, Qing Feng had walked over to the table where the cutting board was at. The eunuch anxiously asked, “Who are you? Why are you here?”
“Get your gonggong in-charge here!” Qing Feng spoke as she aggressively hauled and tossed the cut produced from the table.
The recently cleaned area was messed up by her and now required to be re-cleaned again. The eunuch’s expression was dark and he shouted, “Who are you actually? You dare to come to the Imperial Kitchen and behave atrociously? Which palace are you from?” Looking at how she dress, it does’t seem like a mistress, thus the eunuch’s soft voice increased in volume.
Fu Ling stood outside the dining area, hesitating to enter. Just as she lifted her foot, a furious chiding voice sounded from outside the side door, “In the middle of the afternoon, what is the noise about?”
A middle age man, wearing a dark red silk robe with embroidered waves patterns, walked over.The other eunuchs immediately stood up and greeted, “Xu Gonggong.”
Fu Ling slowly returned her lifted foot and a sense of concern for Qing Feng arose.
The person who came is was indeed the deputy head of the Imperial Kitchen. This person is a crafty wiley old fox that flatter the higher-up and bully the bottom and very narrow-minded. His elder sister, Xu Shu Ping, was East Empress Dowager’s favourite mama and everyone in the palace know about his attitude and powerful support, and generally will not dare to offend him.
Qing Feng silently sized up this person. A glowing face and a plump body. He must have received many ill-gotten gains. Looking at condescending attitude, Qing Feng surmised, “Are you the in-charge for the Imperial Kitchens?”
The Emperor’s, Empress’s and the various favoured Concubines’ meals are definitely not taken care by him, but for the meals of the rest of the palace and halls, were all allocated by him. To call him the one in-charge of the entire Imperial Kitchen was not an exaggeration! Xu Ji looked at Qing Feng, the glaring scars has disclosed her indentity. Xu Ji scoffed, just a disfigured tribute only. He cast a sidelong glance at Qing Feng and in a quite arrogant tone said, “The Imperial Kitchen is not a place that anyone can trespass! No rules and regulation. I can immediately get you…”
“You are talking about rules and regulations with me?” Qing Feng turn up her nose at Xu Ji and coldly laughed, “Good. I, Qing Ling, was invited by your distinguished country. I represent the friendship and allegiance intentions of Hao Yue to your distinguished country. There is a colloquial proverb: All comers are guest. As a mere eunuch who dare not to refer yourself as servant in front of me, who is the one misbehaving? Or does the people of Qiong Yue all serve cold rice and pickles to their guests? Wait till I have an audience with your Emperor, I would like to ask what is the rules and regulations of your distinguished country?”
What a ignorant female! The word eunuch frightened the crowd. Even when those supreme beauties meet Xu Ji, they too called him Eunuch Xu amicably. This foreign female is either recklessly ignorant or she has no idea what is death…
She she… She is a tribute from Hao Yue and she dare to claim to be an invited guest! Xu Ji was so angry that both of his hands trembled. Even though in his heart, he wanted to rip her mouth apart, he has to take in a consideration that even though she is disfigured, but the Emperor’s attitude was not clear as Qing Ling is a female hand-picked by the Emperor.
Even though her face is disfigured, she is still so arrogant, could it be that she has a support to a certain extend?! If the Emperor have tender protective feelings for her… Caution is the parent of safety. Wait for the right opportunity and he will ensure that she will suffer a fate worse than death!
Xu Ji faked a sudden look of sudden realization, plastered a fake smile and replied, “It’s Qing Ling from Hao Yue. This old servant’s eyes are dull and did not realised it. Cold rice and pickles are served for your meals? It must be the kitchen staff that are blinded. This old servant will definitely punish them severely! What does Miss like to eat? Dinner will be served exceedingly well.”
So it actually turn out to be a bunch of low-life snobs! Eunuch Xu must exercise your control stringently, otherwise other may not know it and have the impression that it is you who was blinded. What an injustice would it be.”
Fu Ling secretly broke out in a cold sweat. The scolding ability of this woman is definitely not weak, just one sentence is adequate to scold everyone working in the kitchens and probably irrefutable. In just a moment, all the faces in the kitchen changed.
“Many. Thanks. For. Miss’s. Teaching,” Xu Ji’s face was plastered with a false smile but he was stressing each word in his reply. He was obviously gnashing his teeth in anger.
You will not know how to cook the dishes that I like to eat. Just randomly cook some scallops balls (绣球干贝), braised mushrooms with duck’s feet (花菇鸭掌), wild mushrooms with bean’s sprout (山珍龙芽) and braised fish lips in white sauce (白扒鱼唇) will do.”
She actually knows how to eat. The chosen dishes were not valuable and rare but requires a number of ingredients and extremely test the culinary skills of the chef’s. With the corners of his mouth slightly hooked, Xu Ji feigned a respectful reply, “Yes. Will definitely serve it during Miss’s dinner tonight.” Trying to deliberately make things difficult for him with these few dishes?She has sorely underestimated him. The Imperial Kitchen is a convergence of numerous famous chefs. These few small side dishes is not worth a look from him.
This time, Qing Feng did not remarked and walked away proudly.
Watching that proud and arrogant figure float away, Xu Ji slowly straightened up and a dark cold look overcast the mouse-like pair of eyes. Humph, I want to see just how long your complacency can last!
Fu Ling sliently followed behind Qing Feng. After getting along with her for the past three to four days, she was a proud and aloof loner who would in no way quarrelled with others regarding three meals. Moreover today, she was poles apart from usual and deliberately provoked the entire incident. Fu Ling was unable to guess what was her intent but since she has offended those evil people, in the upcoming days, there will bound to be hardships.
Once both of them returned to the room, Fu Ling hesitated repeatedly but could not help to advised softly, “Miss, is this worth the trouble? Today’s conduct will cause future hardships.”
A touch of disdain crossed her eyes as Qing Feng coldly directed, “Get out.”
“Yes” Fu Ling released a soft sigh and did not speak anymore. She turn and walk out of the room and closed the doors.
Slender fingers disappeared into the large wide sleeves. An edged inch long paring knife, used by cooks to carve flowers, appeared in Qing Feng’s hands. The frost in that pair of eyes was sharper and colder than the blade of the knife. She don’t even want her life, what is there to be afraid of? In order to accomplish her purpose, she will use any means!
Yan Hong Tian, I want you to be buried with my family! Even if I can’t take your life, I still want your blood!