Chapter 1 Part 2

The Lin family’s head of house pondered for an innumerable number of nights before he devised this idea for the topic of the examination question. For the sake of expressing his cultural disposition, he even requested the current First Talented Scholar to write the contest’s plaque.

Cooking is easy, but it is usually a million times harder to make a soup that smells, looks, and tastes great. If the taste is too heavy, it will steal other ingredients’ harmony; if the taste is too light, it will be as boring as plain boiled water. In other words, the contest is not easy.

The duration of the contests will be one lighted joss stick. As long as one was learning under the Lin family, anyone could participate. However the soup they make must smell, look, and taste great, and one must especially take note that the soup has color.

A male changpao clothed Lin Wuniao’s entire body; she stood in the last seat of the contest grounds.

In the first place, she was just a backup competitor. No one would rest their gaze on her and pay her even a little attention. Compared to the others, there were much fewer ingredients on her table. She only had one cut of a single stem of garlic shoots and a bit of seasoning.

Handmade, dyed soup.

Lin Wuniao almost cried out loud. Of course even she knows how to make soup, but she only knows how to make one type: Fairy Soup. Put in a little soy sauce, put in a little MSG, and everything is OK.

But this is the ancient times, so of course she can’t just bring a bowl with some soy sauce to the competition. Also, this era’s seasoning was so limited, it should be pitied.

The host took out a segment of incense, held it high and pointed it. Afterwards, every table’s competitor stood up nervously at the same time the flames of the incense leapt up. All except for, Lin Wu Niao.

She cast a glance at the person beside her. At the moment, he was in a fluster, using boiled water to stew tonghao; the water started to gradually appear green.

He wiped his sweat, then continued deal with the other ingredients.

The person in front of her was currently working hard to extract juice from some carrots. A reddish orange liquid flowed into the bowl, but it was just that half of it had dripped onto his sleeve.

“Why do you keep staring everywhere?” He turn his head around discontentedly. Catching the sight of Lin Wuniao’s swiveling head glancing left and right, she seemed extremely confident compared to his sorry figure, like she had nothing to do.

It would seem that planning in advance was very common.

“I was just thinking about what kind of soup I should make!” She answered honestly.

He looked at her with an expression as if he were looking at someone with a mental disorder. They had all started preparing for this round of the competition many months in advance, sometimes even over a year in advance. He hadn’t ever seen anyone who idled cozily to this degree before.

He couldn’t believe it was possible that she had just started thinking about what to make on the spot.

“Then you need to hurry up, because the incense is already burnt half-way through,” he kindly reminded her, planning to stop talking with her.

Lin Wuniao lifted her head and took a look, that incense stick really has already burned through three-fourths of way.

“Oh, time to start!” She rubbed her hands, started peeling garlic on one hand while humming a popular song on the other. She had finally figured it out. With the principle of the Olympic spirit, she had decided to participate seriously.

Since it was handmade dyed soup...

She decided to cook using the MSG from a pack of instant noodles.

As for the dye, this hermit has a brilliant scheme.

“Master, my family’s second son, has already prepared for over a year!”

Ai, my Baby has also already prepared for three years!”

Encircling the Lin family head were the Lin's big and small concubines. Each with the back of a tiger and waist of a bear, wearing clothes of beautiful purples and brilliant reds, all of the watery little handkerchiefs, were twisted round and round in the fat hands.

“Everyone shut up!” A roar from the Lin family head, and those concubines all used their handkerchiefs to stop up their mouths.

How come they all acted exactly the same?

Lin Wuniao raised her head, briefly looked at those meatballs, and slowly tore open a small bag of MSG. Facing the boiled water, she put it in.

One after another, the contestants had already started presenting their soup in the bowls up on stage: some red, some green; some purple, some blue.

Bowl after bowl piled up in front of the Lin family head and First Chef.

“Fighting!” Lin Wuniao spread out both arms towards the bowl in front of her. She took a deep breath, fished out that smooth and lustrous Maybelline lipstick from her chest, and mixed it into the bowl with a pinch of her index finger.

Mix and mix and mix, a bright color and oil floated up to the surface from the originally clear water in the bowl. The soup’s red was considerably beautiful, as if it carried a radiance and beauty in the first days of spring, a refreshing coolness in the hot summer, a fragrance of fruit in the withering autumn, a fierce sun amidst the desolate winter.

“Hey, you, bring that bowl up here!” She did not have time to feel self-satisfied when the First Chef already raised his high voice from over at the stage.

She actually passed through the crowd of competitors in front*, who saw that she held a bowl of strange red soup.

(The competitors in the front are standing upright like trees in a forest. For Lin Wuniao, a weak competitor, to pass through the top competitors—usually placed in the front like how the best students in class are seated in the front of the classroom and who are most likely favorites of the crowd and judges—can be seen as rude and socially oblique.)

Lin Wuniao took a deep breath, and picked up her bowl of rosy red soup, then walked over valiantly. Under the sunlight that bowl of soup was so red it glowed.

“Hey, little guy, what's this?” The First Chef narrowed his eyes, took the soup from her hands, and shook it a little bit. The magnificent red color swayed along, reflecting the bright color.

“This is the Raging Flames of the Crimson Rouge! The supreme soup of the Divine Land!” she boasted shamelessly.

“Oh?” The Lin Family Head was also interested. Sharing a look with the First Chef, each took a small sip. After that tiny sip entered their mouths, the two were immediately stunned.

The pair were in an unimaginably inconceivable state.

Lin Wuniao was a little nervous. The packet of seasoning this time was mushroom chicken, she didn’t know if it was complimentary to the taste of these two.

"Miao Daren, how is the taste?” The Lin Family Head’s voice even trembled.

That First Chef, using an incredibly unbelieving expression, lowered his head to take another sip. The full-blooded red of the pigment on his lips painted bright and beautiful layer of lip gloss.

Lin Wuniao turned her face to the back, secretly vomitting.

After retching several times, she calmed down with great difficulty, then put on a nonchalant manner again. She turned her face back around, and looked at the two in front of her with a serene visage despite the surging waves beneath.

“How is it?” The Lin Family Head once again questioned closely.

The First Chef’s eye squinted, then unexpectedly, suddenly opened wide. He caught hold of Lin Wuniao’s hand with a grasp, and shouted, “Wonderful! Wonderful! I, Miao, have been the number one blade of the kitchen for so long, yet this is the first time I have been able to drink such delicious soup. This is truly the Lin Family’s imperial kitchen; talented people come forth in large numbers."

He winked his eye, again extremely excitedly, his emotions surging high.

“Good soup, what a really good soup. The flavor is this delicious, the color is this beautiful, it's actually a fine work of art among soups. Brother Lin, with this child of yours, there are no regrets in life.” His facial expression could be counted as weeping bitter tears.

Lin Family Head was indescribably and pleasantly surprised. He caught hold of Lin Wuniao’s hand, shaking it again and again, “Very good, very good. Which branch’s child are you, I must reward your mother well. She educated the child with the correct method, really educated the child using the correct method.”

Lin Wuniao’s eyes rolled again and again. In the face of tremendous glory and honor, she was still calm.

She had full confidence in the MSG of modern humans. Paired with Maybelline X lipstick’s enchanting color, she couldn't believe they wouldn’t recognize the quality of the goods.

“My lord, my lord-it’s me, it’s me-she's my-Little Tangxin’s-obedient daughter.” From the middle of the flock of fat ladies. a jiggling ball of fat squeezed out, coming over with puffs of face powder drifting here and there. The little handkerchief in that hand was shaken so wildly it almost flew away.

“Very good!” The Lin head’s facial expression was very pleased. He raised his hand, and, with a look of incomparable height, he bestowed the reward, “Tangxin, your obedient daughter did very well. This bowl of Raging Flames of Crimson Rouge, I’ll just give it to you as a reward then."

The twentieth concubine wept tears of joy. Hugging the bowl of soup, she drained it in a single gulp.

Afterwards, to the crowd of concubines, she spread her lips in an extremely jubilant smile. That bloody mouth opened wide like a sacrificial bowl, along with an enormous and intimidating power. The row of concubines with backs of tigers and waists of bears across the room all shook and quivered.

Lin Wuniao, standing beside her, wanted to cry but had no tears. What she is most concerned about right now was, could the Maybelline X lipstick be digested in one's stomach with that bowl of soup?