Despite being scolded by the cooks in the imperial kitchen, Ren Baqian wasn't angry at all. He calmly replied, "What will all of you do if I can take them out?"
"If you can take them out, I will call you 'Grandpa'," Caretaker Gou said angrily.
"I will call you 'Daddy'," another cook suddenly added.
Ren Baqian almost burst out laughing. The entire imperial kitchen quieted down.
Caretaker Gou gave that cook a murderous stare. The cook did not expect Caretaker Gou to speak and blurted out words that undermined Caretaker Gou's.
When the cook saw Caretaker Gou's murderous stare, he turned stunned. Immediately, he corrected himself, "I will call you 'Grandpa' too."
Ren Baqian was overjoyed. "Forget about calling me 'Grandpa'. If I can take them out, you will call me 'Brother' and wait upon me whenever I come over in the future."
"If you can't take them out, I will break your legs." Caretaker Gou gave Ren Baqian a death stare.
Caretaker Gou's murderous look, along with his tall and burly body, made him looked really scary.
To prove that he would really do what he said, Caretaker Gou looked around and found a 10 centimeter thick chopping board and smashed it into smithereens with one slap.
When Ren Baqian saw this sight, he felt pain for the chopping board. Why was even a cook in the Dayao Nation was so hot-tempered? Fortunately, Ren Baqian was confident of himself. He was completely using Earth's technologies and resources to bully the aboriginals of an unknown world.
"Alright then. I will definitely show them to you in four days' time."
"If you try to run away, I will hang your head at the city wall."
"You won't have the chance." Ren Baqian smiled, not wanting to argue with them anymore. After all, he knew he was bullying them and he should not go overboard.
He still had some conscience in him.
After making the bet, Ren Baqian suddenly looked as though he thought of something. He said to Caretaker Gou, "Send someone to the beast park and bring a chunk of ice over."
Caretaker Gou cast a glance at Ren Baqian and said to a person on his side, "Go!"
"Do you have fruit?" Ren Baqian continued to ask.
"Yes!" With a solemn look on his face, Caretaker Gou ordered another subordinate to bring Ren Baqian to choose some fruit. He wanted to see what Ren Baqian could actually do.
Ren Baqian cut a slice from every fruit and tasted them. The fruit in this world really tasted very good.
Especially the one that tasted like a coconut. It was the size of half a coconut and did not have a lot of juice within it. However, it tasted very sweet and fresh. Its pulp was smooth, tender and extremely tasty.
There was another fruit that tasted like a peach, but it was the size of a strawberry.
There were a few other fruits that tasted not bad as well.
"What fruits does Her Majesty like to eat?" Ren Baqian asked.
With a grave look on his face, Caretaker Gou pointed to a few fruits. One of them was the fruit that tasted like a coconut.
"All of you should know how to extract juice, right?" Ren Baqian asked.
Upon hearing these words, Caretaker Gou's face turned even darker. Are you asking us whether or not we know how to extract juice from a fruit? Are you insulting us?
When Ren Baqian saw the look on Caretaker Gou's face, he immediately knew the answer. Before Caretaker Gou could say anything, Ren Baqian quickly said, "Extract the juice from this fruit and slice these fruits into smaller pieces."
Caretaker Gou's facial expression had never been pleasant ever since Ren Baqian set foot upon the imperial kitchen. With scowling look on his face, he said, "Go and do it."
Immediately, someone went to wash and slice the fruits.
After the ice chunk was brought over, Ren Baqian used a kitchen knife to shave fine layers of snow-like ice off its surface and placed them in a bowl.
Following which, he sprinkled the diced fruits and poured the fruit juice over the bowl of shaved ice.
Then, he broke the ice chunks into smaller pieces, placed them in a basin, put the bowl of shaved ice in the middle of the basin and covered the bowl with a lid.
"It's completed, send it over." Ren Baqian patted his hands.
"Is this it?" All the cooks in the imperial kitchen that were waiting for Ren Baqian to do something were stunned.
After working for such a long time, is this it? So simple?
Do we even need you to do this?
"Her Majesty has a bad appetite because of the blistering hot weather. This is the best dish for her to eat now. It can relieve her of the summer heat and quench her thirst. After eating this, her appetite will recover," Ren Baqian explained seriously.
"We let you do something and you made this? Even a child can make this, right?" Someone blurted out.
"The problem is, do you have ice? Even if you have ice, can you think of it?" Ren Baqian replied calmly.
There were people that wanted to retort but did not know how after thinking about it. If they had ice, they most probably would just ice the fruits. They would never think of something like this. Furthermore, since when had they ever see ice before in the past? They only knew ice was recently created by the beast park, but they did not it was Ren Baqian who created it.
"You need so much time to find the ingredients to make just this?"
"You don't have enough ingredients and I can only make this," Ren Baqian retorted boldly and confidently.
Caretaker Gou was infuriated.
"Send it to Her Majesty. If she isn't satisfied with it, he will be punished and it has nothing to do with us," Caretaker Gou said. Then, he continued, "I will send it to her personally just in case she thinks it's our fault."
Caretaker Gou left the imperial kitchen with the bowl of shaved ice, leaving Ren Baqian and the group of cooks in a staring match.
Feeling bored, Ren Baqian checked what types of meat and vegetables there were in the imperial kitchen. He placed those that he did not know into his mouth and tasted them.
When Caretaker Gou reached the empress's palace hall with the bowl of shaved ice, he saw her lying lazily on the couch.
Basins of ice chunks were placed around the palace hall, giving off dense traces of cold air and lowering the temperature of the palace hall.
"Your Majesty, this is made by the Ren fellow from the beast park," Caretaker Gou took out the bowl of shaved ice from the iced basin.
He put emphasis on the words "the Ren fellow".
"Oh?" the empress replied lazily. Immediately, someone took over the bowl of shaved ice from Caretaker Gou. After testing it for poison and tasting it, the bowl of shaved ice was served to the empress.
"What is this?" the empress looked at the bowl and asked.
"Subordinate does not know as well."
The empress used a spoon to stir, took one spoonful of the shaved ice, and placed it inside her mouth. Following which, her eyes lit up.
By eating the pulps, the juice and the shaved ice together, a tinge of coolness flowed straight down her throat into the bottom of her heart.
After eating a few spoons of it, the empress nodded her head and said, "Not bad, it's just to my liking. Is there anything else?"
Caretaker Gou was slightly taken back by the empress's words.
After all, he had seen the entire process of how Ren Baqian made it. He merely shaved some ice into a bowl and sprinkled some fruit pulps and fruit juice over it. There was nothing special about it.
Her Majesty was actually impressed by such a simple dish. The meals that were meticulously prepared by the imperial kitchen for past few days were not even praised by Her Majesty.
He felt a sense of failure.
However, he regained his composure very soon and continued, "He said the imperial kitchen has a limited variety of spices and he did not make anything else."
"What did he say?" the empress asked, looking as though her interest was piqued.
"He said… there are insufficient spices to make even a bowl of zhajiangmian." Caretaker Gou felt anger when he thought of what Ren Baqian had said just now.
(Zhajiangmian - a Chinese dish consisting of thick wheat noodles topped with zhajiang sauce. Zhajiang sauce is normally made by simmering stir-fried ground pork or beef with salty fermented soybean paste.)
"What is zhajiangmian?" the empress asked with curiosity.
"Subordinate doesn't as well," Caretaker Gou replied. He then continued angrily, "But I know this person likes to blabber nonsense. There are only these many spices. Even the imperial kitchen of the Yun Nation has only these spices. I have never heard of the spices that he mentioned."
"Then?" the empress looked rather interested.
"He said he is only willing to show them to us four days later but I feel that he can't be trusted. Even if there are rare spices in this world, it is not possible for him to find them in just a few days' time. I feel that he is trying to buy time," Caretaker Gou said.
"Buy time to do what?"
"That I don't know."
"It's only four days, we will and see," the empress said nonchalantly.
"Pass down my order, let him go back and make his preparations. Four days later, I want to see what he can make," the empress ordered.
She wasn't at all interested in what happened in the imperial kitchen. She was only interested in what Ren Baqian could do.
The ice that he previously made out of thin air and this bowl of shaved ice topped with fruit pulps and fruit juice made her look forward to what he would do next.