The Female Supporting Role Shows Out - Chapter 3
Translator: NovelMultiverse | Editor: NovelMultiverse
It was already night time when Lady Qi woke up. She began to sob silently the moment she saw Lin Dan. She seemed a little unwilling to accept what had happened and started ranting, “You’ve learned cooking from your father at the age of seven. It’s been five or six years since and it’s right to say that you’re a seasoned chef. How could you lose to that girl from the Yan family? I don’t know how those people will see your father now. We failed to protect his reputation. How can I explain to him when I see him again? Baotian, I’ve failed you…”
Looking at the sobbing Lady Qi, Lin Dan could imagine that if the old Lin Dan was still here, she would probably blame herself for the defeat. But since she had taken over the identity, she would support this family for her.
The old Lin Dan was only twelve or thirteen years old. She was thin and delicate and looked two or three years younger than her actual age. It was not easy for her to take on such a heavy responsibility at a young age. If Lin Dan did not take over her identity, she wondered what would happen to her.
Lady Qi was probably worried about the future of the family. She gradually stopped crying, but the sighs came one after another. It was at this moment when the two maids came in. They relayed the Marquis’ message and said that he granted Lady Qi and Lin Dan to continue living in the residence, as the residence would have no problems providing for another two ladies. Lin Baotian and the Old Marquis had a close relationship. He had served the Marquis for more than a decade and even followed him on the battlefield. Now that Lin had died, the Marquis would never want to put his descendants in a difficult situation.
The Marquis of Yongding was a connoisseur and even had a sense of taste that was better than most cooks. Surely, he could tell the difference between the two dishes that were prepared. But he insisted that the two dishes tasted similar because he favored Lin Dan and wanted to preserve Lin Baotian’s reputation. However, his son was also a food lover and had a sense of taste that was even better than his. With his forthright character, he made Lin Dan had no choice but to concede defeat.
On the day of the competition, more than half of the connoisseurs in Beijing were there and there were also many onlookers. The reputation that Lin Baotian had built for many years was tarnished. News had spread and everyone was calling him an ungrateful villain who deceived his master and brought shame to his ancestors. If Lady Qi and Lin Dan were to leave the Marquis Residence, he reckoned they would be bullied to death.
On the other hand, Lady Qi was also afraid of facing the rumors. She was relieved to hear that the family could continue to stay in the residence.
Lin Dan was calm and rational and good at judging the situation. She knew that staying with Lady Qi in the Marquis’ residence was the best arrangement. Neither she nor the old Lin Dan knew the outside world. If she had left the residence, she might not even be able to support herself, not to mention nursing the sick and weak Lady Qi. But she had a strong feeling that many bad things would happen if she continued to stay in the residence. She might not remember her true identity and past experiences, but she trusted her intuition.
After the maids left, she said firmly, “Mother, it’s better that we leave. I know you’re afraid of the rumors that are spreading outside, but it is the rumors that are circulated within this residence that is truly terrifying. After all, everyone has been jealous of our family for a long time. Now that we are in trouble, we will naturally be bullied and oppressed by them. In the past, father was valued by the Marquis and we were naturally respected in the house. Now that we’re nothing but dirty mud, it’s easy for anyone to step on us. It’s true that I’ve lost to Yan Langqing and I’m not qualified to be a chef of the Marquis Residence. I’d have to be a slave if we were to stay and this is the same for you. Even if the Marquis doesn’t mind having us here, do you think we can shamelessly live here as guests?”
The head chef of the Marquis Residence was different from the other servants. Chefs usually sign a work contract with the Marquis and not the slave deed. They could even enjoy a higher status than the chief steward of the residence. This was the reason why Lady Qi and Lin Dan could stay in the Marquis Residence as guests, as they were family members of the head chef. But things have changed. Without Lin Baotian, Lady Qi and Lin Dan would not be able to live in the residence as guests and be served by servants. They would have to take up some jobs in order to continue staying in the residence.
Lady Qi was an egotistical lady. She would begin packing her luggage if she knew that staying in the residence meant that she would have to be a maid. She would never want to stoop to the same level as those who had served her.
“Your father had bought a house outside and opened a restaurant with your second and third uncles. I heard that business has been good. We can venture out and support ourselves. Let’s not stay in this place anymore.” Lady Qi opened the chests and started packing. The sorrowful look on her face and in her eyes had faded. She reckoned there was no meaning in blaming her daughter since it was an undeniable fact that she had lost. She thought her daughter must have felt worse than she did.
Lin Dan heaved a sigh of relief. She dragged out a red sandalwood chest that was hidden under the bed and said, “I will return the Golden Knife and the recipes to Yan Langqing now, as well as drop by the old marquis’ to bid farewell.”
Lady Qi stared at the chest for a long time before finally accepting their fate. “Go now,” she said.
Lin Dan did not open the box to admire the magnificent Golden Knife and the recipes written by the legendary chef. She sent it directly to the young marquis’ manor. Yan Langqing was still a personal maid of the young marquis and was in charge of his small kitchen.
When Lin Dan arrived, Yan Langqing was begging the young marquis to retrieve the Golden Knife and the recipes for her. She was worried that Lin Dan would destroy the knife and the recipes out of spite. The Golden Knife cannot be repaired once it is destroyed, and if the recipes are gone too, all her efforts of getting into the Marquis’ residence would turn to ashes. If Lady Qi had not collapsed and Lin Dan had not left in the blink of an eye, she would definitely ask them to hand over those things on the spot.
The young marquis knew a little about Lin Dan and agreed to help her. He thought Lin Dan was the kind of girl who could do something like this for revenge. The two were about to send someone when they saw a servant walking in with a chest and said that it was sent by Miss Lin. They opened it and saw the Golden Knife and the recipes. The items were carefully wrapped in red silk cloth and were very well preserved.
The young marquis glanced at Yan Langqing immediately and her cheeks were flushed with embarrassment. The things she said to prepare for the worst had now sounded as though she was judging a noble person with her own despicable mind.
When the two walked out of the door, they saw a thin figure slowly and unhurriedly walking away.
Although Lin Baotian was highly valued by the Marquis and had received many gifts from him, he had sent it to support his two brothers or used to buy precious ingredients. Therefore, he did not leave his family with many assets. Lady Qi looked high and low in the house and was dumbfounded to only find one hundred and twenty taels of silver. It was fortunate that they owned a property and a restaurant, so they did not have to worry about their sustenance.
However, Lin Dan was not as optimistic as Lady Qi. In Lin Dan’s memory, Lin Baotian’s two younger brothers were not simple. They only depended on Lin Baotian whenever they were in trouble but were selfish enough to keep all the good things for themselves. They said they were running the restaurant for Lin Baotian, but he had never received any income from them. They would only appear and ask for help when the restaurant’s business declined and needed new recipe ideas. Since Lin Baotian was no longer the “successor of the Golden Knife Imperial Chef”, this would also affect the restaurant’s business. It would be a surprise if they would be willing to offer help.
It was just as Lin Dan thought. When Lady Qi found the house that was purchased by her husband and wanted to settle down, she found that the house had been occupied by the families of the second and third brothers. They refused to let them in and took out the property deed which only had the name of Lin’s second and third brother as proof. The mother and daughter were then chased out by the two women.
Lady Qi wanted to reason with them but the two women let her be, saying that she could bring even more shame to Lin Baotian’s already bad reputation by making a scene. Lady Qi did not want to embarrass herself further in the public and stomped towards the restaurant with tears in her eyes. She knew that the restaurant would most probably be taken away by Lin’s two younger brothers, but she had to see it with her own eyes.
Lin Dan held her without saying a word. It was Lin Baotian’s fault for trusting his two younger brothers so much. He had never asked for any details or deeds when he purchased the property or opened the restaurant. This was why there was no chance they would win the case even if they brought the matter up to the officials. Besides, Lin Baotian’s reputation after death was bad enough for everyone to deny everything about him. Nobody would stand up for his widow and orphan.
As Lin Dan walked along the streets, she had to accept the public’s contempt and had already prepared for the worst. When they arrived at the restaurant, it was no surprise that they were stopped by the receptionist and were not allowed to enter. They threatened to report them to the officials if they were unable to produce any property deed or share certificate.
Lady Qi’s eyes were red with anger, but there was nothing she could say in retaliation. Lin Dan comforted her by caressing her shaking body. She looked up and realized that the restaurant’s sign had changed from “Lin’s Restaurant” to “Yan’s Restaurant”. The signboard looked exquisite with the golden words engraved on the red background.
The second son of the Lin family appeared. He pointed to the signboard and said, “Sister-in-law, my brother has done ugly things and utterly embarrassed us! To atone for his sins, third brother and I have decided to give 50% of big brother’s shares to the Yan family. It’s useless for you to make a scene here because this is rightfully theirs. If we help big brother to atone for his sins, we could at least do some good deeds in his name and ensure that he could reincarnate to a good family in the next life. For the sake of Lin’s family’s reputation, please just stop.” He heaved a sigh after finishing his piece.
The onlookers applauded and praised the second and third-son of the Lin family for being righteous and benevolent, unlike their eldest brother. They found their qualities admirable and promised to patronize the restaurant frequently in the future.
Lady Qi turned pale and was on the verge of collapsing. Yet, Lin Dan lowered her head and smiled to herself scornfully. The two brothers of the Lin family had got it all planned out. They made use of the widow and orphan of their eldest brother to get ahead in life. By doing so, not only did they manage to detach themselves from being implicated by their brother’s bad reputation, but they were also able to save the restaurant. If only Lin Baotian was half as shrewd as them, his wife and child would not have to reduce to this.
Lin Baotian was dead nevertheless. There was nothing they could do but find a way to survive. Lin Dan wanted to take Lady Qi away, but Yan Langqing and her father arrived in a carriage with the young marquis following them on the horse. It seemed like a rather grand arrival.
The second and third son of the Lin family hurriedly greeted them, bowing their heads with fawning faces.
The young marquis kept a poker face as he got down from the horse and lifted the curtain of Yan Langqing’s carriage. Yan Langqing was blushing and she was smiling shyly. She caught a glimpse of Lin Dan who was standing nearby and couldn’t help being taken aback.
Lin Dan wanted to take her mother away without even looking at the two of them. But Lin Dan’s ignorance might have provoked Yan Langqing, as she got angry in an instant and yelled, “Lin Dan, since you have lost, you have no right to address yourself as the successor of the Golden Knife Imperial Chef nor make dishes of the Yan family anymore.”
Lin Dan was usually a calm lady, but it did not mean that she would not stand up for herself. She chose to stay quiet the last time because she knew that the situation was very unfavorable to her. Since it would not help the situation no matter how hard she fought for herself, she would rather save some energy and think about the next step. However, she would not stay quiet this time around since Yan Langqing had crossed the line.