At noon, everyone does eat stir-fried hazel grouse and braised rabbits. Nine people in total originally are not enough to eat, but Shopkeeper Lin’s cooking skills are absolutely superb, making two dishes very tasty, a spoonful of the dishes with a bowl of rice is completely enough. When the meal is over, there is still a layer of red soup floating in the pottery basins containing the dishes. Luo Tietou and Zhao Liu hurriedly take out their steamed buns and dip buns into the soup and eat them up bit by bit.
"It’s Comfortable, it’s really comfortable!" Luo Tietou is lying on the grass rubbing his stomach. If he can do tasks with Shopkeeper Lin in the future, he is willing to remain outside for 365 days. It's not about bustling about, it's about enjoying happiness.
"One hazel grouse is still a little less and not enough to eat. Why don't we go hunting a few more later and let Shopkeeper Lin continue to cook at night?" Zhao Liu lowers his voice and says.
"I think so, if we hunt game back, even though Shopkeeper Lin doesn't like to cook identical food, she has to do so. Game needs to be instantly cooked after being killed; it is delicious to cook like this." Luo Tietou keeps smacking his lips, just like he is still thinking about the lunch.
The handsome man glances at them and does not speak, it is apparent that he tacitly approves.
After a rest for less than an hour, the fleet sets out to continue their journey. When they arrive at a dense forest, Zhao Liu and Luo Tietou hear the sound of small animals running in the grass; they immediately take bows and arrows to chase. They have already made up their minds to hunt more game and have a good meal at night.
The handsome man just looks back and doesn’t go with them. After walking for a while, he gradually feels that something is wrong. He is preparing to make the driver slow down the carriage. The horse pulling the carriage is shot by an arrow, which shocks the rest of the horses. Several of the horses raise their hooves and neigh loudly, making a mess at once. Fortunately, the driver grabs the reins in time to calm the frightened horse; otherwise Shopkeeper Lin would have lost a lot.
It’s no damage to the goods, but it doesn’t mean that the situation will be better. A dozen big bruisers emerge from the dense jungle with broadswords and bows and arrows in their hands. One can know at first sight that they are habitual bandits who plunder houses and homes.
The handsome man approaches Shopkeeper Lin’s carriage at the fattest speed, lowering his voice and saying, "Don't resist, go with them first. Zhao Liu and Tietou are still behind. They will think of some way to save us." Although he excels in martial arts and it is not a problem to defeat a dozen bandits, he can’t protect the large number of people in the fleet.
Lin Dan knocks on the window with her knuckles indicating that she understands.
The group of people and their carriages are taken under escort to the mountain by the bandits. There is a small stronghold built on the mountain. Five or six earthen houses are surrounded by wooden fences, which look a little shabby. It shows obviously that those houses are built hastily by the fleeing bandits and the bandits are not yet in big scale. However, if they are not controlled, it will become a major local disaster in three to five years.
Lin Dan's hands are tied with ropes and she stumbles forward, counting the number of those bandits as she walks. Five or six earthen houses can’t host too many people, and according to what have been seen along the way, this is only a small nest of 20 or 30 bandits. There are also some other captured women who are working, their faces are absolutely numb. After being put into the largest earthen house, a fierce-looking man comes up immediately and asks gruffly, "Is there any good stuff this time?"
"Fuck, there is nothing but pickles and dried vegetables. It's worthless!" A bandit spits and then adds, "Fortunately, we have captured three young women. Brothers are blessed tonight."
The bandit leader is somewhat disappointed when he sees the three people including Lin Dan. He instantly smiles in an obscene way, "Well, well, the face is not fair enough, but the figure is quite good enough!"
Lin Dan travels outside all the year round, so her figure is naturally very vigorous and graceful. Her slim waist is tightly tied with cloth belt, which makes her even plumper in chest and quite nice in her buttock. It is completely different from the current morbid beauty, but it is extremely charming. She is used to strong winds and big waves and she remains calm at this time, but all her servants shout angrily, so her servants are quickly gagged and stepped on the ground.
The handsome man looks up to see the bandit leader, his eyes flash when he gets some ideas.
Lin Dan casts a comforting look to everyone, and then slowly says, "The leader may not know, my ancestors are imperial cooks, I have learned some cooking skills after my father. As long as the leader can spare my servants, I will stay and cook for your brothers. "
Naturally, she does not expect these vicious bandits to release her servants. The reason for saying so is to divert the attention of these bandits. An imperial chef is a person who can't be met in all the lives of the common people. If one can meet an imperial chef in reality by chance, can one not be curious? As long as the bandits are curious, Lin Dan can strive for more time for everyone and have the chance to escape if they get time.
"Are you an imperial chef?" The bandit leader stops his obscene smile as expected, looks at her with an amazed expression.
“My Shigong (a respectful address for the master of one’s father) is an imperial chef, and my father used to be a chef in the Yongding Mansion.” Lin Dan explains.
The family has served the emperor as well as the Yongding Marquis, and the two are figures that one can hardly touch even in dreams! The bandit leader looks at Lin Dan, his eyes gradually change, after thinking for a moment, he says, "How do I know what you say is true or not? What an odd coincidence, two cows have just been captured to our stronghold. You kill the cows and cook us a supper. As long as everyone is satisfied with the food, I can consider releasing you guys."
"Then thank the leader." Lin Dan cups her one hand on the other and says, "It takes a lot of effort to kill cows. I have to request the leader to release my two servant girls and let them help me." If Peony and Cuckoo are left behind, Lin Dan doesn't sure if they will be bullied by irrepressible bandits. How can she rest assured?
The work of killing cows is dirty and tiring, so bandits naturally do not want to do it. In addition, Peony and Cuckoo are only 12 or 13 years old. They are young, not tall and not very threatening, so they are soon released by the bandits. The rest are trussed up tightly into a woodshed.
When the bandits leave, Xiao Zhu wriggles to the side of the handsome man like a worm and asks in a low voice, "Brother, do you think Zhao Liu and Tietou can find our trace? When will they arrive? "
The handsome man is lying quietly on the ground with his eyelids slightly closed and says in a low voice, "Yes, they can, we just need to wait till nightfall."
Xiao Zhu is still a little flustered and looks out of the window with his neck craned. And he mutters, "I don't know how Shopkeeper Lin is doing now."
Lin Dan is fine now. She is squatting on the ground and grinding a sharp knife carefully. From time to time, she tests the sharpness of the knife with her finger pulp. Her expression is very serious. Two bandits who originally cast covetous eyes on her relax their vigilant nerves slowly and sit aside chatting after seeing that she only wants to light a fire, boil water and sharpen a knife without saying a word to the two little servant girls and looking around stealthily during this period.
The two cows are very strong and their fur is well taken care of. They are obviously farm cattle at the foot of the mountain.
Lin Dan finishes grinding the knife, walks around two cows several times, touches them up and down, and seems to be selecting the target. Seeing that she is finally ready to kill the cows, the two bandits hurriedly gather around to watch the scene of bustle. Killing cows is a technical work, so even three to five strong men can't do it together, let alone a woman?
There is no sign that the two bandits will help her. They just stand aside to sneer with their eyes full of malice.
But soon, Lin Dan's actions cool their hearts. When she picks one of the two cows, she asks the two little servant girls to take the other one away. The picked one is blindfolded with cloth strips so that it will not go mad. And then she stabs it with a knife. After piercing the cow's neck, she cuts off the carotid artery, then retreats, scoops up a ladle of water and slowly rinses the bloody tip of the knife.
Five meters away from her, the sturdy cow has fallen down slowly, without even having time to give a cry, and the blood gushes from its neck and dyes the ground red.
The two bandits are blindsided, but Lin Dan doesn’t rest. After the blood is released, she scalds the cowhide with boiling water, shaves the hair, and finally some hair piles are not scraped cleanly. The two little servant girls take a red-hot iron bar to sear the hair piles, and the smell of burnt flesh accompanied by the sound of sizzling makes their blood freeze.
After thoroughly cleaning the cow hair, Lin Dan stabs the point of the knife into the cow's stomach and cuts it open very cleanly. The internal organs spread all over the floor instantly. She puts it separately into pottery basins in different categories, then puts the knife into joints and dismembers the cow easily. She takes less than two hours to dispose of a 150-kilogram cow, and finishes the whole process with both ferocity and accuracy.
The two bandits do not dare to belittle her any more. They stand outside the blood pool in a timid way. They all think to themselves at the same time-- This kind of woman should continue to be a cook and should not be gotten into bed, or she will kill the one who gets into bed with her one day.
"You two brothers, how many people are there in your stronghold?" Lin Dan throws the last piece of beef into a pottery basin and asks casually.
"Why do you ask this?" The two bandits are scared and naturally more alert to her.
"I can cook only if I know how many people there are, otherwise we won't have enough to eat if we have less." Lin Dan wipes the blood spots on her face with a handkerchief, and her expression is very calm.
This is a very good reason. The two bandits count it out and reply, "There are 20 or 30 mouths. Please cook more."
Lin Dan nods and asks no more questions. She carries the beef into the kitchen with the two little servant girls, cuts it into 2-inch squares, marinates it with soy sauce, cooking wine, salt and other seasonings, and handles well the beef hooves, the sirloin butt, ribs, cow bones and other cooking materials one by one for later use.
"Master, how can we escape?" The two little servant girls can’t contain themselves any longer and whisper in her ear.
"Make this meal ready first." Lin Dan carefully peels garlic, and she looks calm.
It is useless for the two little servant girls to panic, so they have to go to clean the garnishes.
Two hours later, when the beef is pickled, Lin Dan pours half a jar of rape oil into a large pan, heats to 80% heat, then slowly puts the beef in, stir-fries with a slice, fishes out when the beef is half cooked, and puts it aside for later use. The remaining oil is poured out, the pan is washed, and new oil is poured into the pan. Ginger slices and shredded scallion are added to stir-fry the beef, then the half-cooked beef is added with soy sauce and anise, and the stir-frying is continued. A quarter of an hour later, water is added to boil the beef. After the soup is boiled, the surplus firewood is removed from the hearth and the soup is simmered slowly with low heat.
The stewed beef is almost done. She washes the beef tendons, cuts them into strips, and fries them in a pan. This is to make the beef tendons braised in brown sauce. The two little servant girls have been sincerely convinced. They don't expect that their master will not forget to cook even after entering the bandits' nest. They also don't know what she thinks. Is life or cooking important?