Chapter 46: First-Class Helper
After lunch, Xia Chunyu headed to the study room. Qing Liu wanted to follow him but he refused. “You don’t have to follow me. I won’t need your services for a while.”
Qing Liu stopped in her tracks, feeling a sudden sense of disappointment. After a half a year away, the Master Crown Prince was a completely different person. He was now cold to her and unwilling for her to go near him.??Did the heir-son lord find someone he likes? Is is that Miss Ye that Song Qi was talking about??
“Heir-son lord, are you not happy with the presence of your lowly servant?” Qing Liu asked, bitterness evident in her voice.
“You think too much,”?Xia Chunyu replied indifferently, walking away without even a backward glance at her.
Qing Liu has been serving him since she was young, right at the time when he was full of curiosity towards the opposite sex. She did not exactly set out to seduce him but something happened between them. From then on, she put in more effort in serving him, and in turn, he treated her differently from the other servants. Xia Chunyu has thought of settling her down properly in the future as his concubine.?The people around him all have three or four concubines at hand, so this kind of things did not concern him that much.
However, now, his heart was fully taken over by another woman. It was difficult to even think of entertaining such matters when his heart was still claimed by aching and longing.
Just when he reached the study room, one of his guards reported, “Young Royal Highness Jing is here.”
Xia Chunyu’s lips twitched in annoyance.??This little devil is haunting me even on a rare day where I get to rest.
“Brother Chunyu, brother Chunyu!” Helian Jing rushed in without waiting for Xia Chunyu’s permission to enter. “Brother Chunyu, you have to help me think of something! The men I sent have almost flipped the whole of Zhen Jiang over and they still can’t find big Raorao.”
Xia Chunyu shot him a glance and slowly said, “It looks like he is intentionally hiding from you. Why do you bother finding him? Unless you get the constables to put up pictures and offer a reward for a missing person, which you don’t want because you don’t want to cause gossip, I don’t know how else you can find him.”
“Is that the only way?” Helian Jing asked with discontent.
Xia Chunyu frowned, “I am curious as to who is this big Raorao. How can he make you think of him all the time? You told me he’s a male… are you like Zhao Qixuan?”
Zhao Qixuan was the Yong An Marquis heir-son lord. In the imperial capital, there were many aristocrats who are male homosexuals. Most of them just play around, keeping their sexuality under wraps. Zhao Qixuan was the only one who proudly announces his preferences to everyone who will listen. He blatantly professed his affections for the left premier’s third son, chasing him undyingly. It caused the third young master to escape from the imperial capital and wander around everywhere, refusing to return to Jin Ling.
“What nonsense are you talking about? I am not that kind of person! I… it is just that I feel bad owing people something,” Helian Jing bluffed, his face flushed red from guilt and agitation.
Xia Chunyu looked at him with suspicion. “That better be the case. Otherwise, your brother would be more ruthless than Zhao Qixuan’s father.”
Helian Jing was slightly distressed. His big brother was vehemently against this kind of things and he was still not 100% sure of his feelings yet.
“Of course not.” Helian Jing muttered, shifting his gaze away.
Xia Chunyu, as hard as he was, could not bear to watch Helian Jing like this. “When you first met that brother Jin Yao of yours, did he say for sure that he’s coming to Jin Ling?”
“Then did he say why he wanted to come here?”
Xia Chunyu thought that if Jin Yao has a motive for coming to Jin Ling, then it is impossible for him to wander around for thousand miles and just give up. It was very likely that he did not go to Jiang Xi, but instead, came quietly to Jin Ling.
Helian Jing wracked his brain for information to no avail. He was discouraged as he replied, “No, he didn’t say.”
He regretted not probing big Raorao further then. If he had, he wouldn’t have to?run around like a headless chicken to find him, like he was doing now.
Xia Chunyu asked again, “If he wants to survive at a place, what is the most probable job he’d do?”
Helian Jing mulled over Chunyu’s question. Big Raorao has exceptional cooking skills. If he were to seek a livelihood, he would definitely become a chef. He already sent his men around to look at restaurants and eating houses, but they still couldn’t find him.
“He’d be a chef. He is very good at cooking. We managed to hitch a ride with the Li family’s trading ship because he helped prepare a wedding feast for the family.”
Very good at cooking? Jin Yao… Jinxuan… Yaoyao…
His heart pounded against his chest, thumping so hard he was afraid that everyone could hear.??Is it possible??”
“Are you sure Jin Yao is a man?” Xia Chunyu asked nervously.
Helian Jing broke into laughter. “Of course, he is a man. We ate and slept together on the entire journey. If he is a woman, surely I would be able to tell.”
Xia Chunyu fell silent for quite a while, bitterly laughing at himself inwardly. He was becoming too sensitive and paranoid. There was no way Yaoyao would still be alive. She was with Sheng Wu when the barrage of disordered arrows rained on him. Even if she fell into the lake, a woman like her would not be able to swim across it.
Although he was extremely unwilling to accept the truth, he had to.
Yaoyao is no longer around.
“Okay, listen. First, assuming Jin Yao did not go Jiang Xi but came to Jin Ling instead, you can secretly inquire around all the major restaurants and eating houses in Jin Ling. You must do this covertly. He’s intentionally hiding from you, and if you alarm him, he would surely escape again. Second, assuming he did go to?Jiang Xi, you can get Zhao Qixuan to help you. His brother-in-law is Gan Zhou’s commander.” Xia Chunyu suggested.
Helian Jing thought over Xia Chunyu’s suggestions meticulously, his frown slowly spreading. “I shall go look for Zhao Qixuan this moment.”
He got up and cupped his hands hurriedly before leaving.
Xia Chunyu laughed, shaking his head. He has never seen little Jing so hung up on anyone. Hopefully, he finds Jin Yao, so that he could end his misery.
At least little Jing has hope, mine has already been dashed?.
In ‘Heavenly Residence’, shopkeeper Li tried the three dishes before him, nodding his head appropriately. “Authentic, not bad.”
Li Erniang said, “I think you can keep him. His knife skills, I dare say for sure, is top three in the entire Jin Ling. He also has good control over fire, and most importantly, he can come up with innovative ideas. For example, he changed the lotus root in pork meatballs to fresh water chestnut and changed the starch powder to lotus root powder. It made the dish have the crisp of the water chestnut and the sweet scent of the lotus root. The texture is even more distinctive in flavour. In the food and business industry in Jin Ling, where hidden masters are everywhere, it is difficult to compare everyone’s cooking skills, so the one who knows how to adapt and innovate would emerge as the winner. I believe he can do that very well.”
Shopkeeper Li was quite satisfied with Ye Jiayao’s culinary skills but he was apprehensive of her age. Would she be able to handle the task of being the head chef?
Li Erniang understood her brother’s concerns and said, “Li Yao is a rare talent and his age is his disadvantage, but also his advantage. Groom him well and one day he would be the head chef that can shake the whole Jin Ling. Or, you can just take him in and let him cook for a period of time. I have my own inn to handle, I cannot come over every day.”
Shopkeeper Li took another look at the three dishes, toying with the merits and disadvantages in his head before he finally decided. “I will sign him as a helper first, temporarily taking over the head chef. If he performs well, I’ll give him the position.”
The position of the head chef was too important. It was vital to the restaurant’s survival, and he has to be extra careful. His praises do not count, the customers have to acknowledge the deliciousness of the food as well. Especially because he has many regular customers that come for the food head chef?Niu makes. They were so used to chef Niu’s food, he was not sure if the customers could get accustomed to a new head chef.
“You still have to stay today because there is a VIP reservation for two tables. We will have Li Yao show some of his skills, you just watch over him,” shopkeeper Li said.
Ye Jiayao waited nervously downstairs. Although she thought she has performed relatively well today, she was uncertain of the standards of the original head chef. Li Erniang had been gone for a long time and Ye Jiayao’s confidence was dwindling by each passing second.
Finally, Li Er Niang came back down.
Ye Jiayao rushed towards her. “Big sister, how is it?”
Li Erniang smiled slightly “Congratulations! Shopkeeper Li has decided to keep you as a helper.”
Ye Jiayao was overjoyed. Although it was only a helper, being able to work in such a grand restaurant as a helper was already a chance that was hard to come by.
“Manager Qian will look for you to sign the contract in a while. If you have any requests, you can bring it up,” Li Erniang said.
“Yes, yes! I will do well, big sister. Thank you very much!” Ye Jiayao nodded happily.
After a little rest, manager Qian called Ye Jiayao over.
“First-class helpers draw a monthly salary of eight taels, second class is five taels, third class is three taels, and normal workers draw one tael. The restaurant currently only has one first-class helper and you are the second one,” manager Qian started.
Yes!?Ye Jiayao was very satisfied in getting the position of a first class helper. She was so elated she couldn’t say anything.
“The contract is signed every five years. The restaurant covers meals and accommodation. There are four people in one room. If you have no other questions, then sign and press your thumbprint!”
Ye Jiayao hesitated when she heard that the contract was signed every five years. That was too long! She does not want to become a chef for the rest of her life. Her goal is to open her own restaurant and be the boss.
“Can I not sign for five years? I can’t leave my house for so long,” Ye Jiayao asked weakly.
Manager Qian replied, “The minimum is three years. No restaurant will sign anything under three years.”
It was an acceptable range. Based on her capabilities, three years was enough for her to gain a foothold and reputation in Jin Ling’s food and beverages business, laying the foundation for her future development.
“Sure, three years it is. I will sign it.” Ye Jiayao nods. “Also, manager Qian, if I don’t live in the restaurant, can you cover some of my accommodation fees? Any amount will do.”?Ye Jiayao forced a smile. Any amount was still an amount that could go to her savings.
She could do with four men in a room but only for a short period. It would not be convenient and practical in the long run.?Shopkeeper Du’s inn was not very far from here, half an hour walk was all it takes. If she rented a room permanently in the inn, there should be some discounts. With a monthly salary of eight taels and free meals, it was enough for her to slightly improve her living condition.
Manager Qian showed a hint of impatience. “You will have to ask the shopkeeper about this. However, I suggest you stay in the restaurant because there might be customers at night and everyone can only rest after all the customers leave. What’s more, you are from out of town, the rental in Jin Ling is not cheap.”
“I know. I will not let it interfere with the work at the restaurant. It does not matter how late or early, but I would still like to live outside.” Ye Jiayao insisted.