“His Majesty has arrived…” Putting down the book, he stood up happily and quickly went out to greet the Emperor, who had just walked into the inner room. Dai Qiyou smiled and bowed, “I pay my respects to Your Majesty.”
“Empress, no need to be so polite.” Emperor Yongming helped Dai Qiyou up, showing a smile on his face. “I heard that Jiang Kangchen brought back some interesting things. I already asked them to bring the food to Jingyou Palace, so accompany me for a meal.”
“I will obey your will.”
“Show me what interesting things Jiang Kangchen has brought.” Dai Qiyou laughed. “Your Majesty might as well have your meal first before you look at it. I am afraid that Your Majesty will not be able to eat after looking at it.”
Emperor Yongming laughed. “If the Empress says so, then it must be the most interesting thing. Good! I’ll listen to the Empress and eat first.”
Emperor Yongming took the Empress’ hand and pulled him to sit down. Then he spoke on behalf of the Emperor. “Zhuo Jin, go and bring out that box with mahjong.”
“Yes.” Emperor Yongming became curious. “Mahjong?”
“Jiang Kangchen brought it back and said it was something to play with, I haven’t seen it yet.” Emperor Yongming became interested. “Show it to me quickly.”
Zhuo Jin came out holding the mahjong box and opened it in front of Emperor Yongming and the Empress. The mahjong tiles that Shao Yunan gave to his backer would certainly not be casual. Like the Rubik’s Cube, what he gave was a set of pure crystal mahjong tiles. This material alone was something that surprised Emperor Yongming and the Empress. The two of them reached out at the same time to touch the tiles. Emperor Yongming looked at the 7 circles (seven tiles) on the tile and became curious. While the Empress marveled even more.
Zhuo Jin… “Your Majesty, Empress, there is a piece of paper here that seems to have something written on it.” The Empress reached out to take it, opened it, and saw the words on the top, ‘Rules of Mahjong.’ He glanced at Emperor Yongming, leaned over, and looked at it together with Emperor Yongming.
These were some of the mahjong rules that Shao Yunan thoughtfully wrote down. If he wanted to send mahjong to his backer, he also needed to explain how to play it to them, right? Shao Yunan wrote in great detail. The more Emperor Yongming and the Empress read, the more excited they became. When they finished reading, Emperor Yongming clapped his hands. “Summon Old Master Weng and General Dai to the palace. Say that I have ‘important matters’ to discuss with them, so they will need to stay at the palace for a few days.”
The Empress laughed and shook his head. “Your Majesty, be careful or the officials might start talking about you.” Emperor Yongming immediately said righteously, “I have to find someone to help me figure out such a novel thing. Learning how to play may not only make you feel better, but might also help with politics, so isn’t it a serious matter? Besides, I really have important matters to discuss with the two elders.”
The Empress laughed out loud since he was saying it all so casually. The food from the imperial kitchen came, and Emperor Yongming waved away the palace maids and eunuchs. Even eunuch Zhuo Jin didn’t stay. The Emperor never liked to have other people around when he ate in Jingyou, while other people also knew of the Emperor’s habit.
Dai Qiyou served vegetables to Emperor Yongming and said, “The second son of the Hengyuan Marquis House went to Chinan Province. There is no surprise, he also wants the new tea and wine. I also heard that he brought some people who have some friendship with them.
Emperor Yongming’s face showed a cold sneer. “Who doesn’t know that I am so short of money that I need to use my own money? But the Hengyuan Marquis House still has the guts to rob me of money. He really thinks that I wouldn’t dare to touch his Hengyuan Marquis House, right!”
Dai Qiyou shook Emperor Yongming’s hand. “Don’t be angry, Your Majesty. I will not let anyone take away your business. As for the Hengyuan Marquis House, the Emperor can do whatever he wants, the ministers from the Dai family will help you from the sidelines and support you.”
Emperor Yongming clasped the Empress’ hand. “I know that no matter what I do, you will understand me and help me.” Dai Qiyou withdrew his hand and shoved the chopsticks into the Emperor’s hand, “Eat first and I will tell you something that you will surely be happy about.”
“What?” Emperor Yongming ‘obediently’ picked up the food and ate it. Dai Qiyou said, “Shao Yunan and Wang Shijing donated the 3,500 taels of gold from the dividend to General Dai.” Emperor Yongming almost spit up the food in his mouth, then hastily swallowed and asked in surprise, “I heard correctly, right? The two of them gave all 3,500 taels of gold to General Dai?”
Dai Qiyou nodded his head and then with an unsurprised expression spoke. “It’s true. Jiang Kangchen brought the gold back. Wang Shijing seemed to have been a centurion under General Dai before. He said that General Dai was very kind to him before and now that he had money, he wanted to show his care for the border soldiers and repay General Dai’s kindness.”
Emperor Yongming’s first reaction was, “What do they want to ask for?” Dai Qiyou shook his head. “No. Jiang Kangchen said that they were willing to do so, firstly, to repay the kindness; secondly, to share the worries of the Emperor; and thirdly for the people of the Great State of Yan and to protect the border. Let’s not mention whether they are sincere or not. Just the fact that they can give such a large sum of money shows that they can do great things.”
Emperor Yongming held his chopsticks without making a sound, then after a long time he let out a long sigh. “Even if it’s fake, it’s still better than those who only know how to covet my money without helping any way.”
Dai Qiyou comforted him. “It will be fine. The Great State of Yan is strong. Your Majesty, now there are also Shao Yunan and Wang Shijing who are willing to share your worries and in the future, there might be more people like them who would be willing to help you and the Great State of Yan.”
Emperor Yongming put away the anger suppressed in his heart and smiled joyfully. “I believe you, Empress. Come, eat your food or it will get cold.”
Dai Qiyou personally went to get the wine from what Shao Yunan sent. Then the two of them ate their dishes and drank in a rare leisurely moment. After eating a bowl of rice, Emperor Yongming felt that it was not enough and asked Dai Qiyou to serve him another bowl saying, “The vegetables grown by the two of them are even better than the ones grown in the palace. I thought it was because I was greedy for freshness, but after a careful taste today, they are indeed different. Does the Empress feel the same?”
Dai Qiyou nodded. “Indeed. Both the dishes and the wine are better than the ones from the palace. I also like these snacks.” Dai Qiyou continued. “I have also given some of them to the other palaces. Since the Emperor likes it, we should ask them to send more in the future. Our own store’s recipe is still not as good as the ones he made by hand.”
Emperor Yongming said, “I have to consider whether to call them to the capital.”
“Wait a little longer. At least until the supply of tea and wine is stable.”
“That’s right, I will listen to the Empress.”
Most of the delicious snacks that Emperor Yongming had on hand were distributed to the officials as rewards. Don’t look at them as just simple peanuts and melon seeds and sugar. In the ancient times of extreme material poverty, these fresh snacks that even the Emperor hadn’t eaten could be used as rewards.
Dai Qiyou also sent these snacks especially to the General House, to let them taste such rare things. Although Shao Yunan provided them with the preparation method, they were not as skillful in their craft as him. Coupled with the cheat of the spiritual spring water, what Shao Yunan made was naturally the most delicious in the entire Great State of Yan.
Edited by: Jaisland