Luo Huai Yuan, who Yan Yan was curious about, was currently struggling.
The reason was none other than money. Doing anything required money, and without it everything was moot.
After pooling all his and Xiao An Zi’s assets, he realized that the two of them practically had no money. Xiao An Zi was actually richer than him by a bit, and could piece together a few broken pieces of silver. This was all his own savings from his years of honest hard work.
Luo Huai Yuan’s situation was tragic. After searching himself all over, he couldn’t come up with a single coin.
What need does a prince have for silver? Everything he needed was in the palace. The wealthier princes naturally rewarded their servants lavishly, handing out gold nuggets and leaves. But this didn’t have anything to do with Luo Huai Yuan. As a prince who wasn’t favored, he even had to go without food occasionally. Who would give him silver to reward his servants?
His clothes were made of decent material and he had quite a few jades and ornaments. But everything from the imperial palace was restricted. Only idiots would accept these things. Of course, Luo Huai Yuan also wouldn’t exchange these things for money. If it were discovered, the cost would be too high to imagine.
Very poor! Extremely poor!
The prince’s estate did have silver in its account. The prince’s living expenses were also arranged by the internal affairs department, and part of it included some daily allowance for the prince. But these silvers weren’t in Luo Huai Yuan’s hands. The general managing eunuch of the fourth prince estate was an obstacle that guarded the doors. Therefore, it was no different from not having it at all.
Even if he found some excuse to ask for some spending money, what could a few hundred taels do?
Luo Huai Yuan was about to despair. Just about to!
Xiao An Zi opened the door and came in. He carried various cakes and snacks in his hands, as well as two candied fruit skewers.
“Highness, this servant went and bought everything you asked for.”
In the corner of the room, Luo Huai Yuan held a medicine pestle, huffing and puffing as he rolled it around.
Seeing Xiao An Zi come in, he put the copper roller in his hands down and snatched the candied fruit skewer, biting off one of the fruits into his mouth.
“That old thing didn’t question this and that, right?”
Xiao An Zi wiped off his sweat. “That he didn’t do. When General Manager Xi saw this servant bring back a lot of snacks, he merely took a glance and didn’t say anything.”
“That makes sense. He’d get tired if he questioned you every day.” Luo Huai Yuan mumbled vaguely.
Xiao An Zi put the various packages in his hands on the table. Two yellow paper bags were picked out by him. “This is what you had me buy.”
Luo Huai Yuan was first delighted, but then twisted his lips. “Such a small amount. It’ll be used up in no time.”
Xiao An Zi didn’t even have the strength to be sullen. “Highness, we couldn’t get anymore. Otherwise, it would be discovered by General Manager Xi.”
Luo Huai Yuan harrumphed as he chewed on the candied fruit in his mouth.
Xiao An Zi nodded. Of course he was tired. He had wandered over half of the capital, stopping everywhere with tasty snacks. He went from the western part of the city to the south. Anyone would be tired.
Xiao An Zi wanted to nod but paused.
“Eat some cakes if you’re hungry.”
Xiao An Zi’s face was sullen. He made a pot of tea and started opening the packages of snacks. Recently, he and the fourth prince had eaten cakes and snacks every day. They ate so much they were about to puke. This was because the fourth prince “liked” eating cakes. He “liked” it so much he didn’t even eat food anymore.
General Manager Xi figured that the fourth prince had been bullied too much in the palace, and had never seen the various foods available on the outside. Towards the fourth prince “liking” to eat various snacks and cakes, he didn’t say anything. Only this way could Xiao An Zi go out and buy the fourth prince’s “favorite” cakes every day, and secretly buy some other things while he was out.
Xiao An Zi bit into a dry almond pastry, but really couldn’t swallow it. He poured a cup of water to wash it down.
“Highness, how long do we have to do this for? Xiao An Zi is about to be sick from eating this.”
He truly was about to be sick. If all these cakes weren’t consumed, how could he ask the accounting office for more money the next day to buy more of the fourth prince’s “favorite” cakes?
It could only be said that money was the downfall of heroes. For the sake of smuggling his own goods inside, Luo Huai Yuan gave all his efforts.
Luo Huai Yuan threw the half-eaten skewer aside and started eating one of the cakes. As he ate, he said superficially: “Soon, soon. Don’t worry.”
The servant who ate snacks every day until he was sick and tired couldn’t stand it anymore!
With over ten packages of snacks, the two of them wouldn’t be able to finish it all in a short amount of time even if they stuffed themselves to death. Luo Huai Yuan was quite optimistic. He brushed the crumbs off his hands and said: “The rest will be eaten for dinner. There’s even enough for a midnight snack.”
Xiao An Zi said dispiritedly: “Yes.”
“I’ve spent the entire morning working on it, and I’m exhausted. Go work on it a little for me. I’ll come switch with you after I’ve rested.” Luo Huai Yuan collapsed onto the bed and no longer moved.
The suffering Xiao An Zi didn’t say anything. He went over to the medicine pestle and started doing manual labor.
Luo Huai Yuan idly gave instructions. “You must grind it a little finer. It’s best if it’s in powder form. Grind them separately and put them to the side once you’re done. Oh, right. Were you able to buy the thing I was looking for?”
Xiao An Zi pushed the copper roller as he said: “The thing you asked for is too rare. I’ve asked at the pharmacy. Even the doctor filling prescriptions didn’t know what it was. I’ve brought back several things that fit your description. Take a look.”
Luo Huai Yuan lay in bed and didn’t move as he played dead. “Let me first rest a while.”
Along with the rolling sounds, Luo Huai Yuan slowly drifted off….
He had no choice but to do this. Someone was in charge of the estate’s money. He could come up with excuses for a few hundred taels, but any more than that wasn’t possible.
But what could so little money accomplish? He wanted to accumulate vast wealth that could raise a large army. Such little silver could only buy a horse’s tail.
Money was the downfall of heroes. However, Luo Huai Yuan wasn’t discouraged. After pondering for a few days, he finally decided on his first venture.
It was for the sake of this venture that Xiao An Zi went out to buy cakes every day. His goal was the items being ground up by the medicine pestle. Luo Huai Yuan had spent quite a lot of effort on this thing, and Xiao An Zi had also been sent all over the place like a dog.
After Luo Huai Yuan rested for a while, he went and opened the two paper packages. They were filled with all sorts of things that looked like medicinal ingredients.
He first took a look, then a sniff, and finally gave it a lick. One of the things was what we was looking for, making him pleasantly surprised. One the things he wasn’t sure about, so he planned on checking again after it was ground up.
“Highness, just what is all these things for?” Xiao An Zi stopped and massaged his arms.
“Of course it’s to make tasty things!”
“These things can be eaten?”
Luo Huai Yuan snorted, and acted profound.
Eunuch Xi’s impression of the fourth prince was that he was a glutton.
No wonder he was so stupidly fat!
A few days ago he was eating cakes and snacks every day. Recently, he had switched to messing around with using charcoal fires to roast meat. He didn’t just want to eat meat, he even had the servants carve out wooden skewers. Luckily there were many servants in the estate, and with very few masters, most of them were quite idle. They could go along with the fourth prince’s whims.
As long as he didn’t do anything else, Eunuch Xi didn’t bother with him. Not only did he turn a blind eye, he also helped perform minor services. Everything was arranged appropriately.
But it had to be said, the results of the fourth prince messing about smelled really good.
Eunuch Xi sniffed and asked: “His highness isn’t eating his meal today either?”
He was around sixty years old. He wore a black feudal hat and a jacket with wide sleeves. His long face was withered and full of wrinkles. If he didn’t dress himself up, he would be mistaken as a decrepit old man. His voice was feeble and contained some of the high pitch of a eunuch’s.
A low-ranked eunuch bowed and responded: “Answering the general manager’s question: his highness is messing around with roasting meat again. I saw that his highness and Xiao An Zi both had flare-ups around their mouths from the food.”
Eunuch Xi let out an “en” without showing any expression. “Have the kitchen prepare some flare-up calming soup in a bit and send it over to his highness. Tell him to take care of his health.”
Eunuch Xi glanced over at the covered terrace on the water before folding his sleeves and leaving.
As a prince who wasn’t favored and who was kicked out of the palace at a young age, his future vassal state wouldn’t be a fertile land if nothing unexpected occurred. There naturally weren’t many influential people who were sent to serve at the fourth prince estate. They were all leftovers in the palace, most of them shunned into coming here.
Those who were chosen were naturally all extremely dejected. But even so, they still had to serve wholeheartedly. This was because they would all accompany the prince to his vassal state in the future.
This would be a one-way trip. The fourth prince would become their true master, and their lives would be in his hands. They would naturally serve him carefully and respectfully. This was a servant’s lot in life.
Compared to the others, since Eunuch Xi could become the estate’s general manager, he naturally didn’t come over due to being shunned. It was because those above saw he was old, and had him retire here.
This was a reward, and he had to accept it.
But he also knew what was meant by retiring.
Therefore, he turned a blind eye to whatever the fourth prince wanted to do as long as it was within reason.
If necessary, he would clean up after him. This was naturally required.
Luo Huai Yuan, who felt he was successful in his deceit, was in the middle of eating barbecue beneath the covered terrace.
The fourth prince didn’t like seeing outsiders, so the servants were all sent far away. Only two low-ranked eunuchs were left behind.
One was Xiao An Zi. The other one….
“Hey, little fatty Luo. You’re so weird. I even had to disguise myself before I could come in.” A rather bulky and sturdy “low-ranked eunuch” spoke.
Luo Huai Yuan gave him a kick. “Are you mocking your big bro? I won’t let you eat any of this later.”
Shen Qi had long since been drooling. He had paced around the charcoal basin several times. How could he comply willingly? He continuously waved his hand. “You mustn’t, by any means! How would I dare mock you!”
Luo Huai Yuan harrumphed, “Isn’t it because I didn’t want to make trouble for you? You’re someone from the Zhenguo Duke Estate. If we interacted openly, it would bring your family trouble.”
Shen Qi scratched his head and became serious. “Of course I understand.” He pointed at the metal grill on top of the charcoal basin. “This grill is pretty nice.”
“The servants prepared it.”
That old eunuch belonged to someone else, but he was still rather respectful. In terms of Luo Huai Yuan’s daily necessities, he always did his best to satisfy him. When he asked for a barbecue grill, it was sent over the next day.
“Ever since you left, I never ate this sort of roasted meat. I tried roasting it myself a couple of times, but it was disgusting. I had the servants do it but the taste wasn’t the same.”
Luo Huai Yuan chuckled. “Today I’ll let you experience something even more special.”
He bared his teeth in a weird smile. He had recently eaten too much barbecue, and there were several pimples around his mouth. His face hurt like hell whenever he moved it too much.
After laughing, Luo Huai Yuan grabbed a large handful of yellow powder from a large bowl. His fatty hand shook several times, sprinkling it onto the meat skewers. A dense smoke rose up, making one unable to resist avoiding it while also drooling over the smell.
Shen Qi sniffed with all his might. “How fragrant. How sort of seasoning did you use? I’ve never seen you use it before.”
For the sake of making this effing seasoning, he had eaten cakes for a long time. He also had to eat several days of weird tasting meat skewers.
Luo Huai Yuan didn’t know how to cook. Therefore, he could only proceed via trial and error, mixing the required ingredients in various ratios before tasting to see what was better.
One downside of this era was that nothing was available. Making any seasoning required a lot of effort to get the raw ingredients. After getting them, he still had to combine it himself. It wasn’t like the modern times when he could just conveniently buy it from the supermarket.
Luckily the main ingredient in cumin powder was cumin seeds. He also knew that some star anise and cassia bark was needed. After countless experiments, his efforts did not go to waste.
Now that he had cumin powder, half the work was done. He had already found the rest of the things like pepper and peppercorn. Of course, Xiao An Zi had suffered quite a bit to gather everything.
As a webnovel writer in the modern world, he had some ideas about what a main character in a transmigration novel needed. The main character’s abilities would be given by the author. Although novels were read to pass the time, and although they could be fanciful with plot holes, they couldn’t be too farfetched.
What did a novel writer need to do?
Gather all sorts of information.
Congratulations, that’s the right answer. Here’s a prize.
Therefore, Luo Huai Yuan had a lot of confidence at the moment. He had a ton of cheats he could use. As long as it wasn’t too extravagant, it could be used. Although the ideas were good, everything was hard to implement.
A journey of a thousand miles started with a single step. Every major tycoon started off with a small business.
This was how Luo Huai Yuan comforted himself. What he had to do now was properly coax this little lord, who was the only person who could help him.
While various thoughts flashed through his mind, Luo Huai Yuan’s special skewers were done.
“Come, little second Shen. You get to try the good stuff first.”
Xian An Zi rubbed the pimples around his mouth. He really couldn’t understand how young master Shen could eat it with such gusto. Even though he was gritting his teeth from heat, he still stuffed it into his mouth with all his might.
But the smell permeating the air also made Xiao An Zi involuntarily salivate.
“Little second Shen, is it good?”
“Want to eat it every day?”
That’s good. The pitiful brat had fallen for his scheme.