Lin Dan comes back after only two nights in the suburbs of the capital city. The shop has been sold to Madam Qin Er; Lin Dan has to move out her belongings to make room for the new owner.
"Can you not sell this shop and continue to run your hometown restaurant?" Madam Qin Er feels that she may be the stupidest fool in the world, because she buys a shop form others and still wants to return it. She can no longer eat the dishes cooked by Shopkeeper Lin, and she feels that she cannot live such a life.
"No. Things here have been finished in the capital. It’s time for me go somewhere else." Lin Dan has become accustomed to wandering life and will not stay in one place for too long.
While speaking, there are loud bangs on the door from time to time outside. Somebody raises his voice, and shouts loudly, “Does Shopkeeper Lin come back yet? When does the business begin? Shopkeeper Lin, Shopkeeper Lin..." Shouts for a long time in succession but fails to get a response, the people outside just go away with signs.
This kind of situation happens from time to time in the days when Lin Dan leaves. Almost every several minutes, diners will come to knock the door to ask. The hometown restaurant is closed, and people in the south district can only dream of authentic hometown food. These days, it is mostly strong men who can leave their hometown to make money in the capital city. They can't cook at all, even if they can, they can't make the taste of Lin Dan’s cooking, so they can only chew steamed corn-bread.
If there are good days to live, who wants to live a hard life? There are delicious things with low price, who wants to eat steamed corn-bread. Shopkeeper Lin is not here. It's a tough day!
Lin Dan does not feel the noise outside the door. She just packs her things. Madam Qin Er spits and laughs scornfully, "Don't open the door, let them worry! They ate so many good things in the shop at ordinary times, but no one helped you when people made trouble, a group of ungrateful animals! "
Lin Dan smiles and says nothing. It has nothing about animals but the fickleness of the world. However, she still has to thank Madam Qin Er. If she hadn't taken the girls in her building and beaten Mrs. Chou, Chou might have been making trouble for a long time. Others are willing to help one, which is mutual affection. Not willing to help one, which is also reasonable, one can’t blame anyone.
That's why she sells the shop to Madam Qin Er at a low price of ten taels of silver, and also gives her a prescription for brewing wine and several recipes for dishes eaten with wine. A prostitute house is not a place to eat, but drinks and snacks should also be included. It is enough to repay the favor.
They are packing and talking when they hear a shrill scream outside the door. There is a faint sound of pleading for mercy and kowtowing. The uproar is very disturbing.
"Who is fighting at the door? I'll go and have a look. You hide inside." Madam Qin Er throws down her broom and walks out.
Lin Dan will never put her in risks, pulls her behind, carrying a kitchen knife and goes out. She buckles the door panel and looks out, she sees Tang Jiu standing straight in front of the steps. Several guards are stepping on several small gangsters and breaking their hand bones one by one with sword backs.
The shrieks and pleading for mercy come from these gangsters, and a young man, Tang Peng, is kneeling beside him. He has several thorns tied to his back and shouts angrily, "Brother Jiu, just for an outsider, you have humiliated me so much that I must write a letter and tell my uncle when I get back!"
"You abuse power for personal gains and oppress the people. Is it reasonable?" Tang Jiu says with an indifference tone.
"What you are doing now is not abuse of power for personal gain?" Tang Peng is still struggling, but Zhao Liu presses on his shoulder and makes him kneel on the ground.
Tang Jiu ignores him and looks back when he hears something. "Lin Dan, you are back."
"What are you doing?" Lin Dan wants to point to Tang Peng and the gangsters. But she raises her hand only to find that she is holding a kitchen knife. She puts it down immediately.
Tang Jiu humbly cups his hands and says, "The government received a message from Tang Peng, so they didn't care about the arson case. Now I have brought him to plead guilty. These local ruffians and scoundrels are the criminals of the arson." He has obviously got the news and known Lin Dan has been in the shop, so he isn’t afraid to come for nothing.
Lin Dan looks suddenly enlightened. She glances at Tang Peng, who is still shouting insults. She thanks Tang Jiu and says, "Thank you for standing up for me. I accept this apology." She is going to close the door after saying.
Tang Jiu hurriedly puts his hand in the crack of the door, and says with a pleading voice, "Can you stay then?" Ten years ago, he failed to keep Lin Dan. Ten years later, he hopes this ending can be changed. No one knows how many times Lin Dan's stubborn back appears in his dreams. She always walks farther and farther, and then gradually disappears in the thick fog, making him awake with fear and guilt.
If it weren't for his partial faith and forcing Lin Dan to compete with Yan Langqing, her father wouldn't have suffered such injustice after his death. He almost grew up eating the dishes made by him. He should know what kind of person he is. But he was like being in a magic trick, he believed everything Yan Langqing said, but finally hurt the reputation of Lin Dan’s father, Lin Dan and her mother migrate, wandering for many years.
He has done nothing wrong in his life, but he is sorry for the dead Uncle Lin, Lin Dan and Aunt Chi. Seeing Lin Dan finally returns to the capital city after a long time, by supporting the Lins, he is happier than anyone else. He knows Lin Dan has much skill, as long as she gets enough time, she can definitely surpass her father’s achievements.
However, some people just don't want to make her live better. They use cheap methods one by one to make her go away. Now, Tang Jiu's dislike of the Yans has gone deep into his bone marrow, otherwise he would not have used any means to smooth out Yan Langqing's position as an imperial chef.
He stresses and repeats, "Can you stay this time? I promise that no one will dare to bully you in the future. "
Lin Dan shallowly smiles, but still firmly shakes her head.
Tang Jiu’s expectation showed in his eyes goes out in an instant and he wants to say something more. A man pushes his way through the crowd and says with trepidation, "I'm a servant from the Yans I've come to deliver letters to my young lady."
"Give it to me." Lin Dan stretches out her hand to receive the letter, and then slowly spits out one mouthful polluted breath. The person she wants to wait for finally arrives...
Tang Jiu takes a glance at the letter but sees a line written on it in lower case with regular script in small characters--June 6th, meet you in Fragrant Garden. Fragrant Garden is an imperial park. Ordinary people cannot even get near it. It is one of the emperor's favorite gardens. There are guards guarding it all the year round. Yan Langqing has no right to use it? Is there still the emperor's approval?
Think of this, Tang Jiu suddenly remembers that his sister sends a message to him, saying the emperor in recent years to Yan Langqing has been very lenient; she seems to be included in the harem, let him think it over. It is also because of this that the imperial concubine wants to marry Yan Langqing and lets her be a wife in the Mansion.
If the emperor really backs Yan Langqing behind her back, this competition will not be so fair. So he whispers, "Fragrant Garden is an imperial garden. No one can use it without a decree. The last person to feast in Fragrant Garden was Her Highness Grand Princess. "
Lin Dan frowns slightly and says with a nod after a moment, "I see, thank you for mentioning this." Her tone is relaxed.
Tang Jiu cannot see what she is thinking and continues, "I can think of some way to cancel this competition." Why should we take part in the unfair competition? Let Yan Langqing lose her grace first, and then there will be a competition. There is little justice in this world, but he wants to give Lin Dan justice, justice that has been delayed for ten years.
"No, I have my own way." Lin Dan smiles and shakes her head. She has waited for ten years and has no patience to wait any longer.
"You need to think about it again. Yan Langqing has the emperor's protection. The referee invited will definitely not dare to let her lose. “Tang Jiu cannot persuade her, but can only point out.
Lin Dan waves her hand, still says, "I have my own way, and you don’t have to worry."
Tang Jiu sees her, gritting his teeth. He in the mind is helpless and distressful. Lin Dan is still so stubborn, but it is because of this stubborn that she has become what she is now.
"Forget it; let me think of some way for you!" The words stop, he with Tang Peng strides away.
Madam Qin Er stands on tiptoe and looks at the letter paper, sighing, "Fragrant Garden, that's the emperor's favorite place to go. Ordinary people won't be let in. Shopkeeper Lin, please don't be stubborn with Tang Jiu. You compromise once in a while, it doesn't mean you lose. What level are you at? We all know that. Why should you fight stones with eggs? "
Lin Dan shakes her head with firm eyes.
The 6th of June will come soon. Lin Dan goes to the garden. After many checkpoints and checks, she is allowed to enter Fragrant Garden. The garden has one check post for every five steps, one pavilion ten steps. All the guards on patrol and imperial officials whose faces are purged come and go, and the imperial atmosphere prevails.
If it is an ordinary person comes in, he will be scared to death. How will he dare to compete? There is no doubt that before the two meet, Yan Langqing shows her power to Lin Dan. Lin Dan does not know who she is, but she can guess that her situation must be very wonderful, even magnificent. Because she has no feeling of panic by seeing this scene, her heart is as plain as a pool of stagnant water, not a ripple.
She walks into the inner court with a cool air, enters the main hall, sees a handsome man sitting in the main seat, immediately kneels down and kowtows. It is no doubt that the man wearing bright yellow boots is the emperor.
"Get up. I hear that you are going to compete with Langqing in cooking, I am out of the palace as a witness for her." The emperor smiles magnanimously, "In this competition, you only need to show your strengths and do not have to worry about what ingredients you want. The imperial secretary will prepare them for you."
Yan Langqing bows her head and covers her mouth, looking shy. The emperor looks at her and smiles more gently. He is fair on the surface, but in fact a few words point out his close relationship with Yan Langqing. Who dares to defy his mind?
Several people who come to be referees look at each other, each of them is thinking in their minds. These people include the old chefs who have already left the palace and well-known gourmets, as well as the chefs of some big restaurants, who are quite proficient in cooking.
Lin Dan roughly looks at them, she is shocked. 90% of these people took part in the competition once, as if the time had gone back and the past had reappeared. Tang Jiu, Lord Cheng, Lord Gong, the Weiyuan Marquis, the Duke and other old acquaintances sit watching. Yan Shouye, who should have been lying on the bed after being beaten, also comes and looks at her with bitter and proud eyes.
Lin Dan bows on her knees and opens her mouth and asks, "Your Majesty, can you guarantee the fairness of this competition?" The emperor prides himself on being a wise monarch. When he began to reign, he opened the way to suggest for solicited talents. He has been especially kind to those who dare to remonstrate directly without thinking death. Lin Dan points out the words directly, he has to nod even he doesn't want to.