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192 The Artist Snatches Good Food

    When Yujia returned to Lingxin, she immediately headed to the kitchens, a small, tucked-away area that one could only walk to after many twists and turns.

    She stepped in, and Lingxin's main chef, Chef Hong, gave her a bright grin. Chef Hong was a wide woman who always had a messy appearance, her workstation being just as messy as well. Flour dusted over her rolled up sleeves and apron. Her hair was perhaps the only neat part, with it pulled back by a piece of cloth. She always greeted Yujia with a smile and a welcoming attitude, so during the brief visits where Yujia ran into Chef Hong, she developed quite a positive opinion on this woman.

    Plus, the food that Chef Hong cooked was just too good. She specialized in all different kinds of methods in cooking meat, and who could say no to well-roasted duck?

    Yujia stood in front of Chef Hong, making sure to not bow, and to only provide a curt nod. Last time she bowed, Chef Hong almost reprimanded her, telling Yujia that she never was one for too much etiquette. She preferred it when people were straightforward.

    "What are you here for, girlie?" Chef Hong asked, dicing some greens as she spoke. She didn't even have to look down at her board as she cut, her attention seemingly focused on Yujia. "Hungry again?"

    Yujia put on a sheepish smile. During the days she spent at Lingxin, she did sneak to the kitchens once or twice to grab a quick snack. That was how she met Chef Hong before.

    "No, not just because I'm hungry." She pulled out the box she managed to obtain. "I just wanted to ask if Chef Hong knows what kind of metal this is?"

    When she observed the metal of the box, she thought of the kitchen knives and the metal used to make those blades. That was what inspired her to go look for Chef Hong to find help.

    Chef Hong slammed the knife she had in her hand down on the board, snatching the box from Yujia and turning it in the air.

    "This metal isn't like anything I've seen before. Why ask me?" she stated after a second of looking.

    "I thought that it resembled the kitchen knives when sharpened, don't you think?" Yujia proposed, taking the box back. "But I guess not."

    "No, no, it's too bright and silver." Chef Hong explained, "I wouldn't be surprised if it was pure silver."

    "Really?" Yujia looked at the box with newfound interest. A whole intricate box made of silver... this box had to cost plenty. If it wasn't made with ordinary metal- like that used to make the knives- then this would only make the entire case more interesting.

    "There's one way to test it out." A gleam appeared in Chef Hong's eyes. "The knife I'm using right now is a good iron knife. Iron is sharper than silver. Let's hack at it until it breaks."

    A look of horror crossed over Yujia's face. "Hack at it? What? That-!"

    Chef Hong raised the knife she was chopping at vegetables a few moments ago, spinning it in the air. "Hand me the box. You won't know until you try!"

    Instinctively, Yujia brought the box closer to herself.

    "Ah- Chef- that's, really, really- unnecessary- I-"

    Wasn't this too reckless? Yujia didn't know what the point would be of hacking at metal with metal! She didn't know her chemistry well, but at least she was fairly positive that it wouldn't work. This wasn't a good, scientific method of testing out silver at all! Plus, she wasn't sure of the content in the box. What if during Chef Hong's violence, the contents were broken as well?

    "Didn't you hear me? Hand me the box!"

    Yujia shoved the box back into her pockets, crossing her arm. "Chef Hong, that's too dangerous!"

    "You think I'm afraid of danger?" she snorted, "You should've seen me in my younger days! I've done far more dangerous things than this!"

    Yujia's eyes widened further. She glanced to the side, then back at Chef Hong, who was now holding her large chopping knife in front of her like a weapon.

    At this moment, the talented chef in front of her looked more like a serial killer than a cook.

    Their eyes met, and a staring competition began without any words. Both gazes were very intense, with one intent on protecting the box, and the other intent on hacking.

    And then, Yujia, who decided that she shouldn't have even come to find Chef Hong in the first place, suddenly leapt to the side.

    It was time to break off this staring contest anticlimactically! Yujia didn't want to leave this place with a hacked up box- no, not today!

    She grabbed two hot steamed buns, newly steamed, from an open basket. With food now in her hand, she darted towards the direction of the exit, raising her hand in a wave as she did so.

    "I'll be going then, Chef! Thanks for your suggestion, but I'll see you later when I've figured out the identity of this metal!"

    She should've brought it to a specialist in metals, like a blacksmith or locksmith, in the first place! Why did she even come to the kitchen again? What valuable information did she expect to gain from this?

    Yujia glanced down at the steamed buns in her hand, wondering what the stuffing would be.

    Ah.

    Maybe her sub-consciousness was just hungry, so she went to the kitchens to steal food under the guise of seeking knowledge...

    ...

    Chef Hong watched the young girl leave, a hearty laugh escaping from her. She set the knife in her hand down.

    It was so fun to mess with youngsters. She never planned to hack at the box in the first place- from what she saw and felt, that metal seemed tougher than silver and possibly even iron, making it a unique type that she certainly had never seen before.

    She wondered what the girl wanted to do with the box, and how she came upon it in the first place. But a second of thought later, she decided that it wasn't really her business.

    So, she went back to chopping vegetables.

    Chef Hong was a simple woman.

    ...

    Returning back to her room, Yujia took the box back out, raising it in the air as she plopped down at a table. She raised it in the air, speaking her thoughts out loud, "Box, oh box, what could you be? What could you have inside of you?"

    A moment of thinking later, Yujia dropped her arms and poured herself a cup of tea. She stuffed a bite of one steamed bun in her mouth, finding the stuffing to be white radish, her favorite.

    As she chewed, still going over the events of this morning in her mind, her eyes automatically trailed over to a statue of two intertwined agate fishes sitting on a windowsill opposite from her.

    It was a gift from Bo Zhizhong from the other day and his gift parade, but thinking about it now, it didn't particularly match with the general theme of her room. The swirling red agate was too flamboyant in contrast with the more elegant, muted environment of Lingxin.

    What did that servant say about this statue again? Yujia couldn't remember it too clearly, but didn't he say that it was an antique passed down for many centuries? The statue must be worth many, many taels.

    Yujia bit her lower lip.

    Right now, the statue was just sitting at her window, collecting dust. It didn't really do much for her or her room's aesthetic...

    So... wouldn't it be a good idea to sell it?

    She might as well get a few extra taels out of it.

    ...

    Fu Yushang, wandering the markets again, caught his eye on one stall with a very, very familiar vendor woman. The middle-aged woman didn't look like anything too special, but he remembered her clearly!

    This was the woman who scammed a whole gold tael out of him, just because of that one time Yang Yujia sold the cloak he had given her to this vendor! To buy it back- Yushang couldn't imagine the idea of others and their grubby hands touching his cloak- he was forced to waste a whole gold tael.

    Yushang's eyes fixed on this scammer-vendor, his gaze filled with seething hatred.

    Then, his eyes traveled down to the goods she was selling this time around. Something very, very familiar caught his attention: a statue of two red fish.

    Yushang's eyebrows knitted, his eyes largened, and his jaw dropped down in pure disbelief.

    Wasn't this the statue gift he gave Yujia just the other day? What was it doing here?

    How could this be- he- this-

    This statue was an antique passed down from emperor to emperor! It was an antique worth hundreds of gold taels, the history behind it simply too valuable to put a price to! No ordinary person would dare to even touch it after being gifted it, much less so carelessly selling it to some vendor on the street!

    But Yujia-!

    Yushang rushed forward in long strides, his veins throbbing and nostrils flared.

    "You!" he exclaimed, picking up the statue, "Where did you get your hands on this?"

    The vendor woman stared back at him, a bright grin spreading across her face, completely contrary to the fuming scowl Yushang wore now. It seemed like she remembered Yushang and his generous payment of a gold tael that she managed to scam the other time.

    She clasped her hands together. "This Noble! How delightful to see you again!"Find authorized novels in Webnovel,faster updates, better experience,Please click www.webnovel.com  for visiting.

    "I could not disagree more," he snapped back, waving the statue and repeating his previous question, "Where did you get this?"

    "Oh, some girl sold it to me just a few hours ago," the woman replied cheerfully, "Would Noble like to buy it?"

    Yushang stared at it. It would be wrong of him to just let such a valuable antique slip though into the hands of citizens, wouldn't it?

    "How much?"

    The vendor tapped her chin, thinking about it, "Five taels."

    "Five taels? So cheap?" Yushang blinked, leaning back.

    "Oh- my mistake for not clarifying," she exclaimed, a fake look of surprise crossing her face as her hand raised up to her mouth, "I meant five gold taels!"

    Yushang stared at her. He blinked again. Once. Twice. Three more times.

    No way! There was no way that he was paying five gold taels- the equivalent of five hundred silver taels- for something that once belonged to him! This woman may have scammed a gold tael out of him last time, but there was no possible way that he was paying another five taels to a scammer like her!

    He would never do so! How shameful would that be? He had at least the most basic amount of pride, didn't he?

    Thus! No! Way!

    He would not pay that money and fall for this scam!

    ...

    A few moments of persuasion and deep thinking later, Yushang walked out of the marketplace with a "new" agate statue and five less gold taels in his pocket.
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