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197 The Artist Tastes the Food

    Yujia uncovered the layers of the bamboo basket one by one.

    The first layer was the best layer, by far. It was the most recent layer that Yujia had made. In other words, it was the layer which came as a result of practice folding countless other buns. These were the most refined ones.

    As the layers in the basket traveled down, the quality of the steamed buns- or at least, the physical appearance of them- were far inferior to the steamed buns at the topmost layer. Yujia almost couldn't even stand to look at the few steamed buns in the last layer. They were ugly little things, made when she barely had any idea how to fold pretty steamed buns.

    Some of them were overstuffed. Some of them were pinched strangely. Some of them had messy folds in the dough. Some of them were even deflated. Something wrong must've happened during the cooking process for the bread part of the steamed bun to fall flat like that.

    Yujia frowned as she poked at the ones at the bottom layer.

    She was definitely not going to feed these to Yu Zixu.

    Altogether, Yujia had created two large baskets of steamed buns under the guidance of Chef Hong. Each layer had fifteen buns, and each basket consisted of three stacked layers. Yujia created ninety steamed buns in total. Considering that perhaps she would save six buns for Yu Zixu, eat two buns herself, and give a few to Chef Hong...

    She figured that she would have enough to give every disciple two buns, one salty and one sweet. She made plenty of them, and she might even have extras at the end of the day. Yujia didn't believe that she had more than thirty senior brothers overall.

    Carefully, with a pair of chopsticks, she nudged six of the prettiest steamed buns into a corner of the basket, dividing them from the rest of the buns. She had told Chef Hong exactly who she was actually cooking for during the time she spent in the kitchen, so the chef knew that these steamed buns were left for Yu Zixu without her needing to tell the other.

    When Zixu came to eat the steamed buns amongst the rest of the disciples, Yujia would specially give him the best ones out of all of them. That, she supposed, was what made the gift personal, right? Besides, everyone else had two, but if he liked the steamed buns she made so bad, he could have triple the amount that normal disciples could have.

    Yujia decided to herself that her method of repayment seemed to work out well. She capped the lid to the basket once she finished her observations and divisions, trapping the heat within. It would be bad if the steamed buns became cold by the time that Zixu ate them, especially since they were best served warm.

    And now, finally, the moment she had been waiting for-

    Yujia could get a taste of her own handiwork.

    She picked one of the average-looking salty steamed buns, nearly burning her fingers as she broke it in half to see the cross-section. Then, she took a big bite.

    Her eyes widened.

    She didn't know if it was because of her hard work that she put into it, or the anticipation that she had for these steamed buns, but she was certainly not underwhelmed.

    They were delicious.

    The bread part of the bun was light and fluffy, a wonderful texture to bite into. It was neither too soft nor too chewy, and when one chewed it enough, a natural sweetness came from the bread. The meat filling paired perfectly with it. Seasoned perfectly, the combination of ground pork, ginger, scallion, and lettuce made for a simple but fulfilling taste. Yujia probably couldn't fit a whole basket of these steamed buns in her stomach, but after tasting this one steamed bun, she somewhat wanted to try.

    Quickly enough, she finished that steamed bun, then moved on to the one with sweet filling. Once more, the bread did not fail to amaze her, but she was further impressed by the filling. Composed of a black sesame paste, the sweetness brought a smile to Yujia's face when she bit down. The delicate aroma of the sesame paired well with the sugar that she used in creating the paste filling. Furthermore, the contrast between the white bread and the black filling made it visually pleasing to look at.

    She scarfed this one down as well. Considering that she barely had anything for lunch- Chef Hong gave her less than ten minutes for a break- Yujia was almost starving at this point. The two steamed buns filled her up, but she still wanted to eat more.

    She glanced over to the side at Chef Hong, who sampled a salty steamed bun. Chef Hong took a few bites, then nodded with appreciation.

    "You did well."

    That was all Yujia needed to hear. She wanted to cry.

    All of that work- from chopping that gigantic pig up to make the pork filling, to carrying those buckets of water back and forth, to digging up ingredients and folding her buns- finally paid off. She had two full baskets of wonderful steamed buns and praise from a master at cooking.

    Seeing that her eyes were watering up, Chef Hong quickly snapped, "You're crying now? Girlie, I didn't tell you this to make you cry! What are you crying for? Stop! Stop right now!"

    Upon hearing this, Yujia, who managed to hold the tears back before, couldn't stop the tears from flowing out now. "I'm- just- so happy- that they turned out well-" she managed to say, "I didn't- know they would turn out- this- this good?"

    "Huh, you overly emotional kid. Stop making a mess of yourself," the chef scolded, but she couldn't hold back her smile either.

    Yujia raised her sleeve up and dabbed at her face, grinning like a fool as well despite her watery eyes. "I was going to be fine until you told me to stop crying! Then, I couldn't stop myself!"

    She waved her hand at Yujia. "Okay, okay. I'll send these steamed buns out to the disciples at Lingxin Pavilion. You go wash up. You're... looking like a mess right now."

    "Hm?"

    Yujia looked down at the sleeve she just wiped on her face. There was an ungodly amount of flour on both of her sleeves. She looked down at the basic robes she wore. Similarly, they were all caked with flour. When her hands went up to her hair, she swore that there was flour in there too. Not to mention, Yujia had been sweating all this time.

    Basically, it all came down to one fact: she was definitely a complete mess right now.

    Her expression froze. Surely, she couldn't go looking for Zixu like this!

    She gave Chef Hong a quick thanks, then ran off to her courtyard.

    ...

    Yujia felt ever-so-thankful for the slightly modern-styled bath existing in the bathroom of her courtyard. With the advanced water system that was already built in by the time she arrived, Yujia learned to stop questioning why the bathroom was so technologically advanced and instead chose to take advantage of it. So, by herself, she managed to fill up the large bath and jumped in, quickly getting all of the flour and sweat off of herself while avoiding dipping her hair in the water.

    Without a hair-dryer, it would take forever for her hair to dry once wet. She would have to manually get any of the flour she accidently brushed in there out with a comb or a wet towel, which did make for an inconvenience, but in the end, it was alright.

    Once she was done with bathing herself, she dried herself off and wore the set of Lingxin disciple robes that were provided to her. The custom robes styled by a seamstress just to suit the robes of a female finally came in, allowing Yujia to stop wearing the robes made for the male disciples. The two types of robes were essentially the same, only now that Yujia was given the female one, the entire skirt of the robes flowed more, and there were no pants underneath the layers of the skirt.

    Yujia did slightly miss the ability to wear pants underneath her skirt. She did prefer the one that was meant for male disciples because of this fact. However, with the fact that it was not socially acceptable for her to do so, she had to settle with wearing the female robes. She still kept a set of the male disciple robes in her room though, for any cases where she would need it.

    At the mirror, Yujia spent a moment wondering if she should doll up a bit. She did have a bit of rouge, but Yujia deemed it unnecessary to put anything on her face. This was Yu Zixu she was seeing. She didn't need to dress up for him... did she?

    She just needed to look clean.

    So Yujia settled with ignoring the idea of rouge. She cleaned her hair of the flour that she got in there, tucked the now-clean strands into a simple hairstyle, checked herself for any other accidental flour left on her in the mirror one last time, before running back to Lingxin Pavilion. She wanted to hear from her senior brothers what they thought of her cooking, and to hopefully find Zixu as well.

    ...

    It was an ordinary day for the Lingxin disciples before they heard news that their junior sister made free steamed buns for them. When that news traveled to them, it created a stampede of people running to Lingxin Pavilion, all to get a taste of their junior sister's cooking.

    Word had long spread that there was a new direct disciple of Master Yue, and she was a "mysterious beauty" with an unclear background. The disciples couldn't care much about this vague background part. They were more interested in getting to know this "mysterious beauty" better.

    Besides, who could say no to free food?

    Thus, when Yujia made it to the pavilion where Chef Hong told her she would send the steamed buns to, she saw a loud crowd of twenty or so people, all jammed into the pavilion and fighting for the steamed buns even though there was plenty enough for them. Find authorized novels in Webnovel,faster updates, better experience,Please click www.webnovel.com  for visiting.

    She couldn't believe the sight in front of her. She had only spent half an hour getting herself ready, so how was it that in this little time, so many people managed to gather at Lingxin Pavilion? Were they all really that hungry?

    For a single moment, they all froze when Yujia stepped near the pavilion.

    And then pure chaos broke out.

    "Junior sister! These steamed buns that you made are super delicious!"

    "Junior sister! They told me I could only have two, but could I have a couple more?"

    "Junior sister! I never knew that you were so good at cooking too? You should do this more often!"

    "Junior sister!""Junior sister!""Junior sister!"

    Yujia stared at the horde of people swarming at her with horror, her hands held up in front of herself. She didn't expect this. Not at all.

    Then, a clear voice, louder than all of them, yelled out, "JUNIOR SISTER! Did you make these because of me?"

    Yujia turned her head slowly. She made the steamed buns because of Zixu. Yet that was not the voice of Zixu. Zixu wouldn't be yelling. Zixu's tone wouldn't be so energetic.

    So who could it be, hollering like that?

    Yujia's answer arrived when she came face to face with the young master of the Rong Family, the brother of Rong Tianyu who she saved, Rong Yuan.
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