Blue Feather Goddess quickly reached me. She stood in front of me with a fake smile and a feeling that she was going hit someone.
I could only lower my ears dejectedly. In accordance to the old rules, I held out my hand to take a beating.
But Blue Feather Goddess didn’t punish me. She smiled and said, “Miao Miao, what are you doing?”
“You can hit me…” I closed my eyes and resigned myself.
“Why would I hit you?” Blue Feather Goddess took out a fan to fan herself.
This feeling of not knowing what she was going to do felt more terrible.
“I cut the Feng Xiang tree.” (T/N: Feng Xiang means Fragrant Phoenix)
“Yes, and you were going to use it to light a fire for cooking.”
“Miao Miao was wrong…” I bent down my head to admit my guilt. I withdrew the previously held out hand. I told them the entire story and asked for leniency. Please don’t put me into confinement.
I didn’t expect that Blue Feather Goddess would start smiling after listening. She covered her mouth to hide her smile.
Next to her, Huang Teacher continued shaking his head and sighing. He said, “A foolish cat cannot be taught.”
Xiao Tian enviously said, “Bi Qing-shenjun is so fortunate. I also want to eat Miao Miao’s cooking.”
I wouldn’t feed my food to a dog. I didn’t pay any attention to that stupid guy.
I pulled on Blue Feather Goddess’s hand to ask for mercy. And, I also asked her to give me a little bit of Feng Xiang wood.
She smiled at me and said, “Do you think that using the best materials will guarantee that your dish will be good?”
“Of course!” I decisively answered, “If the materials are good, then the dishes made from those ingredients will definitely be delicious.”
As a result, Blue Feather Goddess forced me to vow to the heavens that I will never steal another Feng Xiang branch or my tail will be cut off. Then, she said that since this is the first time I’m doing housework, she’d let me off this one time. She also said that I should continue doing my best to experience mortal life.
Lastly, she mysteriously explained, “In the Mortal Realm, there is cold and warmth. The human world is fickle with many different kinds of emotions and hypocrisy. There is birth, aging, illness, and death. This is the path you decided.”
I didn’t understand these messy words. I felt muddle-headed after listening. I ran off after thanking Blue Feather Goddess. From behind, I heard layer upon layer of sighs.
Shao Zhong heard that I was gathering ingredients to cook for Xiang Qing. Without asking any questions, he borrowed an alchemy fire for me. (T/N: This fire is normally used to concoct immortality pills.)
Xiao Zi found the best tealeaves and tea petals for me.
Man Tou brought me rice and flour that had been grown in Heaven Realm.
Han Jin lent me a stove used to concoct immortality pills.
Xiao Lin gave me several sturdy pots and pans.
In the afternoon, a crowd of people in Heaven Realm had sent me off after saying their good-byes. I left with a bundle of packages that was as high as a person. I staggered home due to the various items.
By this time, Yin Zi had fully wakened. He was pacing at the entryway. When he saw that I had returned, he pelted me down with a rain of scolds.
Then he asked, “Why did you go to Heaven Realm?”
I quickly explained everything again. After he heard everything, he was flabbergasted for a moment.
He nervously said, “Let me secretly help you cook, or I’ll change into your appearance to cook.”
I rejected his good intentions. I must be the one to cook for my husband. Yin Zi isn’t Xiang Qing’s mom. How could he casually get involved?
“Then… I’ll teach you?”
“Cooking is a simple thing! Why do you need to teach?”
I had obtained so many precious materials.
I was full of self-confidence.
I didn’t have the slightest fear.
Yin Zi kept trying to persuade me. I pretended I didn’t hear him and directly went into the kitchen with my supplies.
I thought about it. Maybe it would be inappropriate to use all the ingredients at once. So, I only took out half of the ingredients.
I copied the way Xiang Qing had cooked. I swiftly slaughtered and cut open the fish, then tossed it into the pot along with water, seasonings, and precious medicinal herbs. Lastly, I set up the alchemy fire and slowly cooked the soup.
Yin Zi worriedly looked inside through a window. When he wanted to say anything, my glare stopped him. He could only anxiously wait.
I was truly clever and my ability to imitate was also strong. Although the rice I cooked was somewhat of a failure because I had put too much water, it was okay. We could eat it as congee. The pot of fish soup also smelled decent.
However… Xiang Qing had not returned yet. If he didn’t taste the results, it couldn’t be counted as a success.
Yin Zi gingerly walked forward to smell the food. He sneezed.
Yin Zi suggested, “Why don’t you try a little bit first…just in case the taste is weird…”
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I looked at him. Then I scooped up a bit of fish and had a bite of it. Although the fish wasn’t as good as I thought it would be, it was still passable even though the taste was a bit too strong and peculiar. It should be okay. At least it wasn’t as bad as when Bi Qing-shenjun tried cooking for the first time.
Yin Zi suggested again, “You put in too many strange ingredients… you should get someone else to try the food…what if eating the food hurts someone?
“I ate it without any problems!” I despised the way Yin Zi looked down on cats.
“Are you not scared of poisoning Xiang Qing? He is a mortal. You tossed in so many medicinal herbs. What if the combined effects of those herbs are poisonous? If that happens, he’ll die!” Yin Zi yelled out of concern. His face was completely lacking in confidence in me.
But his words had some logic. Maybe a mortal’s taste wasn’t the same as mine. Xiang Qing and mother-in-law might not enjoy eating the same food as me. It would be better to try feeding this food to a mortal.
Isn’t there a poem that said?
Spend three days in the kitchen,
Wash paws, make soup,
Don’t register mother-in-law’s habits,
First, ask a passersby to taste instead.
(T/N: The above poem sounds weird because Miao Miao only remembered the first line correctly. The real poem should be this instead.
Spend three days in the kitchen,
Wash hands, make soup,
Don’t know mother-in-law’s eating habits yet,
First, ask younger sister-in-law to try.
The poem is called ‘Bride’ and its about how a newly married wife has to show dedication and be careful of her mother-in-law.)
And so, I carried a bowl of fish soup to look for a person to taste it. At this time, it was still afternoon. My sister-in-law was watering the plants in the vegetable garden. Mother-in-law was feeding chickens. Other people were probably working too. I didn’t dare ask the neighbors to taste the soup. It would be a small matter if they got sick. But if Xiang Qing found out that he wasn’t the first person to eat my cooking, that would be the worst.
So Yin Zi and I went outside the village to look. Luckily, we found a green robed girl sleeping on the roadside. Her body was covered in mud. She looked battered and exhausted. She was carrying a small bundle that was torn. The torn parts revealed clothes.
When I saw that she was sleeping soundly, I didn’t want to bother her. As I was about to leave to look for another person, the girl suddenly woke up. Her hand reached out to grab the hem of my skirt.
She weakly said, “Help…”
Yin Zi walked forward and turned her over. Surprised, he said, “Miao Miao, this girl looks somewhat similar to you.”
I leaned down and seriously looked. Yin Zi was right, but it wasn’t a big deal.
Yin Zi gently picked up the girl and put her down near a tree. He took the fish soup from me.
He whispered, “She’s dizzy from hunger. It’ll be just right for her to taste your cooking.”
When the girl saw that there was food, her gaze was like a wolf’s. She grabbed the fish soup from Yin Zi. She hurriedly started eating and finished the soup in a few moments. She almost choked while eating. I happily watched her eat.
After she finished eating and then hiccuping, she said, “Thank you for helping me. I was robbed of all my money in a nearby village’s teashop. Then I became lost in the mountains and almost died.”
“How did the soup taste? Do you feel uncomfortable anywhere?” I hastily asked her.
The girl was somewhat perplexed. A moment later, she embarrassedly replied, “I didn’t taste the soup before swallowing it…”
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I was disappointed after hearing her words. I stood up to leave.
But the girl grabbed onto the hem of skirt. She desperately said, “I don’t have any food to eat or a place to go. I need to find a place to earn money. Does your family need a servant?”
Without thinking, I replied, “No need.” It already takes Xiang Qing a lot of effort to support Yin Zi and me. How could I add another person?
The girl grabbed my hand wouldn’t let go. She continued to ask, “Then, do you know if there’s any place that’s hiring? Any place is okay. Even a brothel is okay. If I continue like this, I’ll definitely die.”
“There isn’t a brothel in this village. You would need to travel 20 li (T/N: approximately 10 kilometers) to reach a village that has a brothel.
“But… but I don’t have the energy to travel 20 li.” The girl’s face turned ugly and also tired. She endured it and pitifully said, “Please help me.”
Yin Zi coldly said, “The quality of your clothes is very good. You should be a rich family’s daughter that has servants following you. How is it possible for something bad to happen to you? You’re a shady person. Perhaps, it would be safer to deliver you to the officials.”
“No…” The girl’s face became more ugly. She quickly defended herself, “It was my family… they wanted to kill me… I ran away. I wanted to go to the capital to start a business, but I was robbed. I beg you. Please help me… My stomach hurts.”
Soon after, the girl held her stomach and fell over. Her entire body twitched and she started to vomit.
Could it be… my fish soup caused this?
What… what should I do? Was it really poisonous?
Yin Zi quickly crouched down to check the girl’s pulse. After checking, with an unhappy face, he confirmed that the poisoning was due to the soup…
For lack of better options, I could only take responsibility for the girl. I had to carry the girl back for treatment so that she wouldn’t die by the road. I didn’t want Xiang Qing to scold me.