“Pei, you cannot reveal your intentions or you will lose your last role in the family. Your father may ask you to get married immediately. If you can act like Su Erya when outside all the time, there is no need to worry about your marriage.”
What her mother warned rang through Su Zipei’s ears. Her cool reason returned.
At this time, her father said, “Zipei, you made many mistakes before, but I didn’t blame you. You need to do a good job in front of the Zhu and Yang Families this time. Don’t damage the reputation of our Su Family.”
As her father’s tone was mild, Su Zipei felt better and nodded obediently, “Daddy, rest assured. I will be careful.”
Seeing his obedient daughter, Su Huanli became more relaxed. Children will grow up sooner or later. After experiencing so many things, Zipei finally understood how to care for her family.
“Your Second Sister is intelligent and a rare genius. She will probably become a famous female royal chef. You can’t compare with her. The Dasu Town isn’t safe right now. You have to protect your Second Sister from harm. You are full sisters. Your Second Sister will remember your kindness, and it is very likely for you to become the wife of an official.”
Su Huanli did not see her lower her head with a distorted face.
Was I just a substitute for Su Erya?
Are you kidding me？
Are we full sisters?
She was a bastard picked by my mother!
Why did she stand high above me? Why can’t I compare with her?
I am a person!
Su Zipei spoke out the secrets which were circling her heart. But it was interrupted by her father.
“Zipei, are you following me?”
Her father’s voice sounded slightly harsh with a high tone. Su Zipei broke out into a cold sweat and gently said, “Yes, Daddy. I see.”
“Ah. That’s good.”
Su Huanli stopped being so serious and gave the money reward for the purpose of stimulation. It was not far from the Baiwei Building where he would negotiate with the Zhu and Yang Families.
On this day, the entire Dasu Town bazaar was filled with fragrances from the Baiwei Building. Rumor pread that the Baiwei Building was closed to study the top-one dish of Baiwei Building and that it will open again with a new dish released!
At noon, Zhu Rongkun and Yang Li left beaten until they were black and blue. People were curious about the reason why the two Masters fought with each other, only to find that they fought for a dish!
Su Zipei was so tired that she fell to the ground. She saw the box was messy and that the ground was full of scattered dry yellow mud. The tempting fragrance was lingering on, which made people salivate.
“The fragrance that I smelled that day came from the new dish that the Second Sister cooked.”
Today, her performance was extremely bad. She almost did not have any temperament of a genius. But in front of the Beggar’s Chicken, no one paid attention to her. The two Masters fought with each other for the dish like rogues. Nobody remembered Su Zipei who knelt in the corner!
“Stand up quickly! If you perform so bad as you did today in the future, how can you protect your Second Sister!”
Su Huanli seriously reprimanded his daughter but could not help smiling. Although no one mentioned the profit in the whole process, but the owner of the last 10% profit had been settled.
Su Zipei got up silently and looked dull like a piece of wood. She followed her father and went home. During the whole process, she didn’t say anything. After returning to the wing-room in the West Courtyard, she burst into tears in front of her mother.
Zhu Yan cuddled her daughter in consolation. After a long time, Zipei intermittently explained what happened.
“Su Huanli, you were using my daughter as a shield!!”
Zhu Yan gritted her teeth and her voice changed. Her heart, spleen and lungs were entangled, which hurt her badly. She vaguely perceived it but did not expect that her husband would say it to the child directly. Zipei was arrogant. How could she endure this suffering?
“Zipei, don’t cry!”
Zhu Yan seized Zipei’s weak shoulders and felt furious. “Don’t forget that one day you will be high-flying. A female cook is nothing but a tool! When you become a princess or general’s wife, she will be just a woman who cooks for you!”
Zhu Yan’s comfort did have a miraculous effect. Su Zipei gradually stopped crying and asked, “Mother... What should I do now?”
“Lack of forbearance in small matters upsets great plans. You need to endure these days until I find the owner of the jade pendant. Then our good days will come.”
Zhu Yan’s eyes flashed. “You will continue to follow your father’s orders. Only in this way can you delay your marriage! Besides, you will definitely be involved in the business of the Baiwei Building, which is a trial for you. The flowers in a greenhouse are always useless, and the conflicts of rich and powerful families are more serious. From now on, I will train you to deal with them.”
“Well! I will listen to you.” Su Zipei rekindled the hope in her heart and even snickered.
Su Erya, in spite of your extraordinary background and talent, the winner will be me in the end. You were like a frog in the bottom of a well and couldn’t jump out for a long time!
At that moment, Su Erya still didn’t know the secret of the jade pendant. She was lovably serving tea in the study for her master, who had just returned from outside.
“Erya, your talent in cooking is really far beyond my imagination.”
As soon as Qi Xianqing returned to the Dasu Town, he was informed of the news. He looked very serious and warned, “But... the identity of a cook is often regarded as degrading and common. Remember that you should not suffer a big loss for a little gain, and don’t postpone your practice. Only when you practiced at a higher level can you hold yourself aloof from the world and master your own destiny. You can even look down upon the emperor of a country.”
“But master, books often say that a person in Jianghu can’t compare with those in the imperial court. How can I be aloof from the world?” Su Erya asked a question falsely.
Qi Xianqing did not know whether to laugh or cry. “The books you read are all controlled by the imperial court. How can they speak ill of themselves? A country is indeed a huge thing, and ordinary people cannot humiliate it. But those who have practiced into a higher level beyond most of others will not be restricted by the imperial court. On the contrary, the imperial court will be afraid of them. Can you guess the reason?”
Boasting a pair of clear eyes, Su Erya immediately replied, “I see. Books say that where there is nothing to lose, there is nothing to fear. Officials of the imperial court have too many scruples, but persons in Jianghu have no fixed places to live in and almost have no weaknesses.”
Qi Xianqing was suddenly stupefied. He did not expect Su Erya to be so insightful even though she never went out.
“You are really smart, so you’d better become a worldly person. Common people are often controlled and limited by others. Only people like me can live freely.”
Su Erya stayed silent for a moment and suddenly asked, “Did you practice the Ruthless Method?”
When Qi Xianqing closed his eyes slightly, Su Erya said, “According to the Ghost Valley Meditation Direction, one has to give up emotions to free themselves from inhibition. If he/she makes it, we can call him/her a ruthless person. But I still have my parents and my brothers. How can I give up emotions?”
Su Erya didn’t get the answer from her master for a long time.
After a long period of time, Qi Xianqing smiled sadly and said nothing. He had forgotten that Erya was still a 14-year-old little girl. She just stepped into human society. How could she give it all up like her master, who may go into the coffin at any time?
“Our paths of life vary with our experiences...”
Qi Xianqing had an epiphany at this moment. If he had the sixth hurdle of Ghost Valley Meditation Direction, he might make a breakthrough immediately and lengthen his life by dozens of years.
Unfortunately, he did not make it
Forget it. He had led Su Erya into the door of Xuangong and would plan a better way for her at most. It depended on Su Erya and how she practiced afterwards.
Thinking of this, Qi Xianqing took out a yellowed booklet titled Nothing Unusual from his arms. When Su Erya saw it, she was shocked. She didn’t expect that the old guy could get such a high-quality disguise skill, which was almost at the same level as her practice in her previous life.
Qi Xianqing put the booklet on the table and carefully explained, “In Jianghu, there are good and bad disguise skills. Using herbs to change five sense organs is the lowest method. With lots of flaws, the method can easily be seen through by others. Using herbs to make disguise pills is the moderate method. It usually can’t be seen through by persons with inferior practice. This is the best.”
Qi Xianqing pointed at the booklet and said, “Anyone can practice disguise skills. In a much higher level, they cannot be seen through unless there are secret eye skills. However, it is difficult to practice the secret disguise method, and only a few people in Jianghu can reach the wonderful realm. The booklet about secret disguise skills titled Nothing Unusual, is the best of its kind. Practice the skill using the booklet immediately and learn to hide your appearance.”
Su Erya took it with a sigh. There was no doubt that the practice became easier under the guidance of a master. She suffered a lot in her practice of previous life. It took her exact one year to get Beyond Recognition with lots of flaws. But in this life, it was almost effortless for her.
“I am busy with something for Baicao Tang. You should practice hard and industriously. I will check you’re your progress of study and practice tomorrow morning. Ok?”
“I see. Goodbye, master.”
Qi Xianqing got up and left.
At night, Su Erya did not fall asleep at all. She finished reading Nothing Unusual. Compared with Beyond Recognition, the former was more practical.
The method in Beyond Recognition made people ugly with distorted facial features like disabilities. According to the method in Nothing Unusual, however, any pretty and charming appearance may become commonplace. It was obvious that the disguise skill was designed for her by her master.
Disguise skills have a lot in common, that is, getting through some secret acupoints. With her experiences, Su Erya planned to try it, only to find that the dawn had come, so she had no choice but have class in the East Courtyard holding the copybook.
In order not to cause any trouble, she came to the East Courtyard wearing a veil. When her master saw her, he praised her in heart.
The human nature was hard to change. Some temperament would not change with age. People who were active in Jianghu would die quickly. Su Erya was cautious, which helped her live in Jianghu.
Although she became kind and pure, she would naturally improve in face of more difficulties. Qi Xianqing always felt quite fortunate that he had found a suitable successor when he was old.
After the class, Qi Xianqing checked Su Erya’s progress of practice and felt quite satisfied. It seemed that when his apprentice practiced into the third hurdle in six months, he could officially teach her medical knowledge.
“There isn’t enough time...”
Qi Xianqing felt worried and hoped his apprentice would break through earlier.