The Princess Wei Yang - Chapter 99 part1
The Princess Wei Yang Chapter 99 part1
Chapter 99: Bursting with happiness
Guogong furen had already reached her goal; she carried a smile on her face as she left with her daughter-in-law, leaving an atmosphere of oddity behind amongst the crowd. Lao furen stared at Li Chang Le long before she began to coldly smile, she said: “Why are we still foolishly standing here, let’s disperse!”
Everyone quickly left, Li Wei Yang and Li Chang Le came out one after the other. Li Chang Le acted normally as she bid her farewell: “San mei, take care.”
Because of Li Wei Yang’s brazen attitude, she couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by unexpected favoritism. After the two had a fallout, this Dajie had never been this benign towards her, and so she calmly smiled and then turned to leave.
Li Chang Le watched her opponent’s silhouette and revealed a pondering expression. Even when Li Wei Yang disappeared from the corridor, her gaze still didn’t wander elsewhere.
Since the morning, the entire Li family had submerged in pessimism. Li Xiao Ran found out before Lao furen that the Jiang family forcefully sent Li Chang Le back. He, of course, wasn’t willing to see this humiliating daughter ever again, yet the household was inseparable from matters in the court. The reason he yielded to them was because the Jiang was offering him an even bigger benefit, but how could he explain this to his muqin and family? He would have never known that the mood in the family would continue into dinner and eventually explode.
Because Jiu Yiniang and Qi Yiniang needed to take care of their children, Lao furen specifically instructed that they don’t have to serve her during her meals. Si Yiniang and Liu Yiniang were like bickering chickens, taunting and jeering at one another nonstop, scheming against each other, creating pandemoniums. Seeing the two, Lao furen became very frustrated, so she told them to eat in their yuanzi as well. Thus during dinner, it was Luo Mama who prepared the meals for Lao furen and the one to serve her were the yatous. From the start to end of the meal, a cough couldn’t even be heard, it was silent to the point that it seemed like no one was there.
Li Xiao Ran looked at Li Chang Xiao who had her head down as she ate. He lightly coughed and Li Chang Xiao swiftly lifted her head and saw that her father was staring at her. She became anxious and then remembered his words, she hesitantly turned her head and said: “Lao furen, today is the fifteenth, a night of the full moon, the family should get together …….”
Lao furen frowned as if she was stunned: “Say whatever you have to say, don’t speak in bits and pieces.”
Li Chang Xiao gave Li Wei Yang a furtive glance and noticed that she was quiet as if she didn’t understand her meaning. She made up her mind and said: “Everyone is here now, except for Da jie. She is alone by herself, how pitiful, I beg for Lao furen’s kindness—“
After these words were spoken, everyone was shocked. Er furen coldly laughed: “Si Xiaojie is indeed benevolent, Da Xiaojie made a mistake. Lao furen had already showed mercy allowing her to return. And you even want her to eat with us at the table, don’t take a yard when given an inch!”
Li Chang Ru also smilingly said on the side: “Yes, Si Meimei, Lao furen becomes ill whenever she sees her. It’s better for you to not speak such rubbish, eat your food!”
Unrestrained embarrassment appeared on Li Chang Xiao’s face. She looked at Li Xiao Ran and then looked at the expressionless Lao furen, tears were about to flow from her eyes.
Li Xiao Ran looked towards Li Wei Yang as if he was hoping for her to put in a word. But Li Wei Yang didn’t even look at him and only quietly drank the winter bamboo shoots soup without lifting her head up. Li Xiao Ran felt dissatisfied, this yatou had always been clever, did she not understand his intentions today, she’s definitely unworthy of such attention! To Li Xiao Ran, his children must act according to his ideas and must not have any other thoughts or else they are impious! His expression froze, he coughed and then turned towards Lao furen and immediately put a smile on his face: “Lao furen, Chang Xiao is correct, the family should all get together sooner or later.”
Lao Furen coldly looked at him. Both of their gazes locked for a moment and in the end, Li Xiao Ran gave in. He stared at a pan of chrysanthemum fish and earnestly said, “Hope Lao furen will understand your son’s dilemma.”
Lao Furen was stunned and stayed silent for a while.
Having listened to the conversation, he couldn’t help but frowned. He looked at Li Wei Yang who was sitting across from him and noticed that she shook her head yet held back and didn’t utter a word.
Li Wei Yang sighed. Earlier, Li Xiao Ran was still determined but now that Jiang Dan had returned to the capital, he gave in. No, perhaps the cunning Jiang Dan and fuqin had reached an agreement. No matter what Li Chang Le will certainly stay and this was an unchangeable truth even if Lao furen disapproved. If it was like this, then why prevent it?
In the end, Lao Furen let out a long sigh. According to her own conscience, the Li family couldn’t forgive such an immoral daughter but since her son was this adamant, she didn’t have the heart to hold her stance — “Forget it, allow her to dine with us.”
Momentarily, Li Chang Le lowered her head as she approached the table and greeted Lao Furen and Li Xiao Ran. Li Xiao Ran didn’t look at her and only said: “Sit.”
After greeting them, Li Chang Le didn’t sit in her own seat but gently walked over and said: “Lao furen, sun nv will help serve you.” Her voice was gentle and warm, making others felt like they were listening to blissful music.
Luo Mama still had the bowl in her hand, waiting for Lao furen’s response.
Lao furen coldly said: “No need.”
A layer of tears appeared in Li Chang Le’s eyes, she glanced over at Li Xiao Ran to ask for his help. How could Li Xiao Ran not understand her meaning, if she didn’t reestablish her position as Da Xiaojie in front of everyone, her return was equivalent to being placed in the cold palace. He recalled Jiang Dan’s words and he bitingly said: “Lao furen —“
Lao furen sighed, unwilling to make her son’s life difficult, she nodded: “Hand it to her.”
Luo Mama transferred the little bowl to Li Chang Le. Li Chang Le smiled and following what Luo Mama was doing, she scooped a spoonful of winter bamboo shoot soup. The glimmer of the soup and the snow whiteness of the bamboo was seen from the bowl, making everyone hungry, as she placed it next to Lao furen.
Lao Furen gave it a glimpse and said: “My body is weak, this chicken soup is too oily that it makes one loses its appetite, no need.”
Li Chang Le quickly apologized: “Sun nv didn’t know Lao furen’s body hasn’t been well recently, I beg for Lao furen’s forgiveness.”
Li Min De’s pair of spring watered eyes was filled with cynicism. He looked at his beautiful Dajie, seeing her expression of being wronged, it made him felt like he swallowed a fly, revolting.
Er furen coldly voiced: “Da Xiaojie, no one would blame you for wanting to fawn on and show off your cleverness but you can’t disregard Lao furen’s health condition and casually let her eat whatever. If she ate something that affected her health, would you be able take full responsibility?”
Li Chang Le bit her lips and cried: “Lao furen, it is sun nv’s fault, it won’t happen again.”
As she spoke, she got a piece of steamed pepper bass and placed it into Lao furen’s bowl: “Try this out.”
Lao furen looked at her and then closed her eyes and said with disgust: “I don’t want to eat.”
Luo Mama smilingly said: “Da Xiaojie, recently, Lao furen wasn’t feeling well so she has eaten less chicken, duck, and fish. You are —“
Li Chang Le wasn’t discouraged and lightly said: “The food on this table is mainly meat or fish so it wouldn’t be appetizing. If Lao furen don’t mind, sun nv had already prepared a new meal for you and hope that you would give it a try.”
Lao furen frowned and was about to reject but heard Li Xiao Ran urged: “Lao furen, since Chang Le put effort into this, you should give it a try.”
Lao furen looked at Li Xiao Ran and in the end didn’t reject.
Li Chang Le told Tan Xiang who was by her side: “Let them bring forth the dishes.” Tan Xiang left and soon yatous flowed in, holding exquisite platters. Luo Mama ordered people to remove half of the dishes on the table and placed the dishes on the platters bought in by the yatous onto the table.
Er furen gave a glimpse, sneered and said: “Da Xiaojie, what is the meaning of this, isn’t this meat, what kind of game are you playing, perhaps you think our chef’s cooking is not satisfactory and deliberately invited a chef from the heavenly palace to prepare meals for Lao furen?”
On the table were dishes that were not much different, even though the colors were much more vibrant and seemed more appetizing, but there were nothing special about them.
Li Chang Le smilingly said: “I wouldn’t dare to deceive Lao furen,” Speaking up until now, she took a slice of appealing and aromatic ham and placed it into Lao furen’s bowl.
Luo Mama frowned and was about to reject for Lao furen when Lao furen changed her mind and had already grabbed the ham and placed it into her mouth. She didn’t open her mouth and everyone tensely stared at her. Lao furen actually revealed a satisfied expression and said: “Taste is really not bad.”
Lao furen had always been picky. The chefs in the residence are master chefs hired from around the nation yet none had been bluntly praised by her. Dishes that were able to gain her approval could easily be counted.
After hearing this, Li Wei Yang couldn’t help but look at the dishes on the table and revealed curiosity.
Lao furen spoke: “Where did the ham come from, the taste is refreshing.”
Er furen refused to give in and grabbed a bite and placed it into her mouth. The taste was definitely special, this ham was thin yet appetizing, making one want to take another bite. She frowned and deliberately said: “It is just so-so!”
Li Chang Le showed a smile instead of directly replying and then took the mushroom in the dish of mushroom chicken for Lao furen and said: “Give this a try, sun nv promise this won’t make you feel it’s oily at all.”
Lao furen listened and then tried a bite and paused. The mushroom chicken that were often served were clouded with the scent of chicken and oil so she always felt it was too greasy. But today, this dish was very different, not only was it refreshing but it was also aromatic. She couldn’t help but looked at that dish: “How was this made? That the taste is this unique.”
Li Wei Yang finally opened her mouth to speak. Her voice was slow yet steadfast: “These dishes from Dajie, are all vegetarian, right?”
Li Chang Le couldn’t believe that the first person to guess correctly was Li Wei Yang, who didn’t even taste the dishes. She succumbed her astonishment and then slightly smiled and said: “San mei has a good eye, the dishes on this table, are actually all vegetarian.”
Lao furen was still dubious and grabbed a few more slices and placed them into her mouth. Without distinguishing the difference, she curiously asked: “I’ve eaten vegetarian dishes from all around the nation but I haven’t tasted this before, how was this made?”
Li Chang Le smilingly said: “The days sun nv spent on the mountaintop, besides practicing abstinence from meat and chanting prayers, I idle away time aimlessly each day. So after a while, I decided to learn how to prepare vegetarian meals from the cook. The vegetarian dishes that Lao furen eats are inarguably prepared by an infamous chef, yet it might not be as legitimate compared to those prepared by the cook who resides deep in the mountains. In actuality, the way these vegetarian dishes are prepared is very simple. The main ingredients are wild vegetables, mushrooms, fungus, and various kinds of tofu, these simple things, as long as these are prepared well, not only will we save money but the meals would be vibrant and appetizing.
“These dishes were all prepared by you?” Lao furen glanced at the dishes on the table and only felt incredible. Li Chang Le had always boasted her nobility and never stained her hands with work. Making a bowl of soup once in a while in the kitchen was good enough but she actually prepared a table of vegetarian dishes, which made everyone couldn’t believe their eyes. Perhaps she was really a changed person, she wanted to start anew?
“All were prepared by sun nv but without the guidance of the temple’s Miao Xin Shifu, sun nv wouldn’t have been able to prepare such local vegetarian dishes.” Li Chang Le was very humble and her attitude was harmonious.
Li Chang Xiao couldn’t hold back her curiosity, she clamped a piece of chicken leg and gave it a try. She then revealed a shocked expression: “Dajie, how did you make this chicken leg? How does it still have bones?”
Li Chang Le warmly smiled: “Si mei, take a careful look at this chicken bone, what is it exactly?”
After tasting it for a while, Li Chang Xiao ultimately shook her hand. Li Chang Le comfortably said: “I’ve boiled the winter bamboo shoots in the water, then scooped them out and cut them into pieces to imitate the bones of a chicken. After, I add the pieces of bamboo into the middle of the tofus, wrapped them up to create various sizes of chicken legs. I fried them in a pot of oil until they are golden, so don’t they look exactly like chicken legs?”
Others continued to sample and then naturally gasped in admiration. The people all have eaten vegetarian dishes before but they have never tasted such refreshing ones. Even the best monk in An Guo Temple couldn’t prepare such a delicious meal.
Li Xiao Ran showed a rare smile: “If you had calmed your temperament, you wouldn’t have —“ Amidst his words, he gently sighed and said: “Since you’ve return, we will let the past be forgotten and you should serve Lao furen well.”
A modest smile appeared on Li Chang Le’s face: “Yes.”
Li Min De’s brows unconsciously tensed up, this Li Chang Le was entirely different from before. Whether it was her manner of speech or behavior, she was even more beautiful, noble, and gentle than before. If Li Chang Le was described as a beautiful, fragranced peony, this arrogant peony had transitioned into a luring and sophisticated orchid. And especially the type that carried a sense of gentleness and a delicate yet weak expression, making everyone not have the heart to reject her.
Li Wei Yang smiled gently, usual vegetarian dishes often used vegetarian chicken, duck, and fish cooked in vegetarian oil to imitate the shape of the chicken, duck, and fish. It was very difficult to imitate the taste, it may look like a meat dish but the taste was actually a vegetarian dish so some might think it’s not delicious. But this table of dishes was elaborately prepared by Li Chang Le.
Er furen forced a smile: “Da Xiaojie, don’t hide away those talented cooking skills, you should guide your Er mei more!”
Li Chang Ru’s smile was stiff and then she heard Li Chang Le warmly said: “If Er mei is willing to learn, then I will certainly advise her.”
Li Wei Yang actually shook her head and said: “No matter how much you learn Er jie, I’m afraid you wouldn’t learn how to.”
Li Chang Ru clenched her brows: “What is the meaning behind your words?! Am I not as smart as Da jie?”
Li Wei Yang’s smile created a sense of discomfort: “Er jie, you’ve misunderstood, Wei Yang’s meaning is even if Da jie taught you how to prepare these dishes, the taste wouldn’t be the same.”
Li Chang Ru completely didn’t understand and her face showed confusion.
Li Wei Yang smilingly picked up a piece of tofu, she said: “Let’s talk about this dish, it looks ordinary but in actuality, it requires ten and more wild chicken for the soup base. Think about it, how could the value of these be compared to those ordinary vegetarian dishes? I’m afraid one dish cost about one or two silvers and this is the cheapest amongst all the dishes. Other dishes look ordinary but with further observation, it is a waste, so how would Er Jiejie be able to prepare these?”
After those words were out, Li Xiao Ran’s expression sank and Lao furen revealed an incredulous expression.
Li Chang Le’s heart was cold yet showed a well-measured smile: “San jie has a good eye.”
Li Wei Yang’s expression was very calm like the sun reflected in the lake: “Da jie is flattering me. In actuality, your dishes look like vegetarian dishes but different types of delicacies have been used to create the essence of the soup. Once this is added to the vegetarian dishes, then the vegetables couldn’t be tasted at all and instead taste like bear paws and abalones. But for a table of dishes to cost a hundred or two silvers, then it is too wasteful.”
Li Chang Le’s facial expression didn’t change, she glaringly said: “San mei is exaggerating, it’s merely a hundred or two silvers. From the Li family’s fortune, why should we be so petty? As long as we are wholeheartedly doing it for zumu, it’s worth it to spend even more money. If you hate to part with your money, then I am willing to finance the ingredients used to prepare the dishes for each of her meals.” Thus, if Li Wei Yang continued to speak on, then she is disapproving the idea of expensing for Lao furen, then it would be impiety.
Li Wei Yang revealed an anxious expression: “Dajie had completely misunderstood Wei Yang’s intentions. The Li family now can, of course, bear the expenses but I am speaking for the Li family’s fortune in the long-run. If I’ve ruined Lao furen and fuqin’s mood, then please forgive me.”
Li Xiao Ran frowned: “Wei Yang, what are you trying to say?”
Li Wei Yang slowly spoke: “Fuqin, the Emperor had once said, out of all the officials, you are the most upright. Ever since you were promoted in De Zhou, you only owned three pieces of winter garments, you were served meals no more than five, and you only had four to five small yuanzis in your residence. Such simplicity, who wouldn’t praise your honesty and uprightness! Now that fuqin is the prime minister, the family’s condition changed and now to fulfill our duty towards Lao furen, spending more is natural, but —“ As she spoke, she gave Li Chang Le a glance and continued: “If we let the people in the capital know that a meal in the Li family cost a hundred to two silvers, what will they say about fuqin?”
Li Xiao Ran was stupefied and then his expression began to change for the worse. He looked at the table of dishes and then clenched his brows.
In the end, Li Wei Yang’s pair of eyes flashed and she said: “Thinking of this being spread around, they will call fuqin a hypocrite, pretending to be upright, my heart would feel awful. To protect fuqin’s upright reputation, integrity, and fame, it’s better to not consider these sweet desires and allow Lao furen to indulge in a lifetime of honor is the most important!”
Li Wei Yang’s intentions were obvious. If an outsider found out that a meal in the Li family cost about a hundred silvers, it would cause an uproar. As long as Li Xiao Ran is in the position of prime minister, Lao furen will live through good days. If they ruined their reputation because of these extravagant meals, the gains cannot cover the losses and they would even become a laughingstock amongst the world!
Lao furen, of course, understood Li Wei Yang’s meaning well. Even though she knew Li Wei Yang and Li Chang Le were at odds, but every word that Li Wei Yang spoke was for the Li family so Lao furen became hesitant.
A trace of watered chill slowly flashed across Li Chang Le’s eyes: “Perhaps San mei is overthinking it, it’s simply a table of dishes.”
Li Wei Yang sighed and said: “The Empress Dowager’s vegetarian banquet was merely eighty silvers.”
Lao furen suddenly became oblivious, she frowned as she looked at the dishes on the table: “Take them all away, I can’t accept such expenditures.”
The Da Li’s Empress Dowager only spent eighty silvers on a vegetarian banquet. The meal of a first-ranked official furen was actually much more extravagant than the Empress Dowager’s, it was like taking the lead to commit a crime!
Li Chang Le’s face revealed absolute regret and immediately said: “Lao furen, it’s all sun nv’s fault.”
Lao furen coldly watched her and was about to speak when Li Xiao Ran sighed and said: “Forget it, she had good intentions.”
Li Chang Le’s eyes were filled with tears and looked at Lao furen with anticipation, Lao furen calmly spoke: “So be it, in the future, let’s not have those wasteful dishes appear on our table.”
Li Chang Le quickly voiced: “Yes.”
Li Wei Yang smiled slightly, if it was another person, they would not have the financial resources to host such a banquet. But Li Chang Le is different, Da furen had already furtively sent all of Li family’s most expensive valuables to her own room. To host a banquet like this for an entire year or more was not a difficult matter but to actually invite the real vegetarian master to teach her, she didn’t have enough face. She was just saying how Miaoxin Dashi of the temple taught her how to prepare these, but she was merely speaking rubbish. She was sent to reflect and Lao furen deliberately chose the oldest and poorest temple, it was impossible that there would be such a monk. However, Li Wei Yang didn’t want to expose her because then Li Xiao Ran wouldn’t be able to back down with grace.
In the end, Li Chang Le was able to return completely because of Li Xiao Ran’s decision.