Monday, May 30, 2016
Bringing the Farm... - Chap 119
Chapter 119 - Cooperation (Part 1)
Kun shook his head, and Laura understood that he was saying he had never seen such dishes before, which made her feel even more curious.
Zhao saw the look on Laura's face and slightly chuckled. "Come, Miss Laura, Mister Kun, lady Nier. Try it. These are our specialties."
"Then I'll be polite," Laura said. "Honestly, this is the first time I have seen such big fire fish."
"Miss likes to eat fire fish, but we didn't expect that we could eat it here. Mister Zhao, do you have a lot of experience raising fire fish?" Kun asked.
Everyone knew what Kun was really asking for, but Zhao didn't get angry. In fact, he was waiting for them to give in to their temptation to ask. "Not really. We just came here for the hot springs. I like hot springs, so we stayed, and raised the fire fish as an afterthought. Unfortunately, the environment here stops us from raising a lot."
Not raising a lot? Kun and Laura couldn't help but recall the dense amount of fire fish they saw in the hot spring's ditch. There was a point where modesty could go too far.
Kun frowned. "Mister Zhao, may I take the liberty to ask, did you bring these fire fish from somewhere else? Because I remember the last time I came here to Stony Mountain, there were very few small fire fish in the hot springs, but now they're bigger and there are so much more. Even if you are raising fire fish, it would be impossible to raise that many in such a short time."
Laura knew why Kun was asking this. Zhao had only come to Stony Mountain not too long ago, so there was no way he could raise so many fire fish. The only explanation was that he must have brought them from elsewhere. But where? Maybe his answer would tell them where he came from.
Zhao shook his head. "I'm sorry, Mister Kun. It's a secret." It was clear that he refused to answer, like he was saying, I will not tell you and you will not find out.
At once, Kun said, "I'm sorry, Mister Zhao. I was being rude."
"Don't worry about it." Zhao waved it off, then he smiled, "Now try our vegetables before they go cold."
Laura and her group politely picked up their knives and forks, ready to taste the dishes on the table. Unlike them, Zhao wasn't a native of the Ark Continent, so he was using chopsticks since he wasn't used to knives and forks.
Ever since Meirin started learning how to make Chinese food, Zhao had been using chopsticks. Green and everyone else thought it was strange, but they didn't say anything about it.
Before, Green would tell Zhao not to do anything too strange since he was a noble, but now that Zhao had the space, Green would rarely say anything. Anyway, they lived in the Black Waste, so whether or not you acted like a noble, no one would see it.
These days, if Zhao acted too much like a noble, that would not be a good thing because it would make it easy to detect his true identity. Right now Zhao was supposed to be a black mage. In the Continent, black mages were a very special profession that was recognized as having some quirks. If a black mage acted too normal, no one would believe that he was a black mage.
Laura and her group noticed Zhao using chopsticks. It was made from a branch of an oil fruit tree, shaved down with a knife, and polished until its reddish brown wood became shiny and beautiful.
Zhao didn't take his hat off. This dark robe set was interesting because the veil of the hat could be adjusted, so you didn't need to bother to take it off when you wanted to eat.
Laura and Kun gave Zhao a puzzled look. They didn't know why he was eating this way. When Zhao saw the look on the two's faces, he laughed. "I'm sorry. Because of some special reasons, I do not want others to see my face."
Saying that was worse than giving no explanation. If Zhao hadn't said anything, Laura and Kun would just have assumed that eating with a veil was just another quirk of his. But thanks to what he said, Laura couldn't help but ask herself, why does Zhao not want others to see his face? Was he afraid of being recognized? Was he a wanted criminal in the Empire?
But Zhao gave no further explanation. After all, today was only the second time he had met Laura. So Zhao didn't say anything as he kept his head down and ate lunch.
Seeing as Zhao wasn't speaking, Laura and Kun focused on eating. Soon they didn't feel bored because the things they were eating really were delicious.
They had never tasted food like this before. It was completely different than what you could find on the Ark Continent.
Laura had high requirements when it comes to what she ate. Whether it was cooking methods or ingredients, she was very demanding.
Part of the Markey Company's business was selling vegetables and other types of food. Naturally, they must have the ability to assess the quality of vegetables. After all, the Markey Company's biggest customers weren't the commoners, but the nobility.
The most important thing to nobles when it came to food was that they must taste good. When Laura did any business related to food, usually she would personally taste it herself.
In the Continent, their cooking methods weren't really worth mentioning, but their quality of ingredients was high, otherwise there would be no distinction between ordinary vegetables and magic vegetables.
In addition to increasing magic power, magic vegetables also tasted a lot better than ordinary vegetables.
It was precisely because of this that Laura became very interested about the food on the table. Not only were the cooking methods good, but each dish also had high quality ingredients.
In the beginning, Laura didn't even want to try the dish that was made from magic radishes. In her opinion, magic radishes were the lowest level of magic vegetables, so she simply wasn't interested in eating it. But out of politeness, she ate one and found that it was the most delicious magic radish she ever had. The taste was pure and crisp. It was simply the best.
Laura couldn't help but feel taken aback. She tried all the other dishes and everything was delicious. The most important one was the fire fish. She had eaten fire fish before, so this dish shouldn't be more delicious than any of the other ones she had tried in the past, but it was. It was so good that she couldn't stop herself from eating two portions.
The atmosphere around the table was good with everyone thoroughly enjoying themselves.
Once lunch was over, they all went back into the living room. Meg and Meirin provided everyone with a cup of tea. It was then that Zhao turned to Laura and said, "Miss Laura, you know, if you hadn't come to me, I would have gone to see you."
Laura was surprised for a moment, not knowing why he would want to meet her, but then she quickly asked, "What can I do for you, Mister Zhao?"
"It's no big deal. Miss Laura might not see it, but my people are struggling, plus I'm a black mage so it's hard to earn money for my family. I want to ask if Miss Laura can help me with that."
Laura was surprised, not understanding what Zhao meant. Although the times she had been in contact with Zhao was short, she had imagined that he was a somewhat arrogant man. His pride was something that was deep in his bones. Such people weren't likely to open up to her about their lack of money, and would try to solve their problems by themselves. It was then that Laura immediately thought about the hot springs full of fire fish outside.
"What do you mean?" Laura asked. She was still not sure what Zhao's idea was.
"I want your cooperation in some business, Miss Laura. I don't know whether or not you are willing."
Laura's eyes were shining. "Are you talking about selling those fire fish?"
Zhao gave a slight chuckle. "No, the amount of fire fish is too little now. I can only sell about a hundred a month to you. What I'm talking about is another business: magic radishes."
"Magic radishes? Well, if you're planning to sell a lot, then that is no problem. We of the Markey Company could endure it." Laura was justified in saying this because magic radishes weren't precious things. She believed that if Zhao wasn't selling a lot of them, he wouldn't have wanted to meet her.
Zhao stared at Laura and said, "Miss Laura, I would like to know if you can endure how much magic radishes I'm going to sell per month. As for the quality of the magic radishes, you just have to taste it."
He placed a magic radish on the table.
Translator Notes: This chapter is to make up for the one I missed on Thursday, 5/26
Translator Notes #2: At the end, I'm guessing Zhao wants Laura to taste the magic radish in its raw form.