The two of them returned to the house after the bath. Seeing Ye Cang carrying a bucket, Lin Liang asked, “Gonna try some new stuff?”

“Yeap, I tasted a little. It isn’t poisonous,” Ye Cang nodded.

The next day. Morning.

Ye Cang was done preparing the ingredients he collected the night before except for the mushroom man. He did not know whether he should simmer or stir-fry it. Just then, Old Li’s voice came out of nowhere, “Lil’White, I’m here to return you your cooking knife.”

Old Li was familiar with the layout of the house as he often came to pluck some fruits from the HappyFirmaments Tree. Staring at the unknown ingredient, his curiosity prompted him to pick the mini mushroom man up. “Wow, it’s just like those characters in fairy tales…”

“I was thinking whether I should simmer or stir-fry it. I can add in some fermented bean curd, milk and soy paste sauce too. It should be nice.” Ye Cang’s words stunned Old Li. What kind of crazy match-up is that? Thinking that it was a joke, he said, “Usually, we should try boiling it to taste the texture and taste of it. Only then, we decide on how to cook it since we haven’t tried it before. As a chef, we would only be able to know what ways suit it the most after tasting it. You know, if it tastes too overcooked, we can try to keep it slightly raw until we find the best texture for it, provided it isn’t poisonous. But if the tradeoff for being too overcooked is the juiciness of the soup, then we must adjust it ourselves.”

As Wu Na woke up to see Ye Cang in the kitchen, she quickly ushered him out of the place. Knowing that the new and unique ingredients must be collected from the forest, she asked Old Li to cook them. Anyway, Ye Cang was still able to sneak in but was ordered to only help out with the preparation.

Seeing the mini mushroom man hopping around, Old Li smiled, “That’s pretty cute.”

Wu Na nodded. Indeed. If I were them, I wouldn’t bring myself to kill it. Just a second later, she saw Old Li slicing the ingredient apart. He cut the stem into halves and picked it up to smell it while the half limbs were still moving. “I’ll try to make a miso soup…”

“......” It instantly gave Wu Na the feeling that all chefs were heartless. He was literally saying that it was cute the moment before he handed his knife on it...

“Oh, and this crab.” Ye Cang pointed at the combined creature. The word ‘crab’ caught Old Li’s attention. As he picked it up, he saw the claws. It looked like a hermit crab except that it was inseparable from the fungus. “We’ll steam it to try it out. Usually, we will taste the originality of the crab first. Or maybe dip it in my soy sauce if it still needs some flavor. Since it has fungus on it, it should be fresh.”

“This is a conifer cone fungus.” Ye Cang showed him the mushroom that looked like a conifer cone. “It grows on a pine tree.”

Old Li sliced it with a knife. It was relatively harder than a fungus. He was slicing dougan. Hmmm...maybe I should stir-fry it… As he placed a slice into his mouth, he was amazed by its aroma. “Looks like I’m wrong. We should fry this. Using the oil to force the unique conifer cone smell from it. If we can control the fire, it might even turn up to be super crispy. This has to be experimented.”

Old Li also saw there were unknown small fishes in the bucket and so he took one to examine. From the sea, freshwater or any ponds, there are no fishes that I do not know about. Even those in the forbidden sea, I have known it all. But this… this is something I really don’t know. It’s obvious that it’s still at a young age. Being able to differentiate the types of fishes is an imperative talent that a professional sashimi master should have. He replied to Ye Cang, “They’re not suitable to be eaten as they are too young. Put it back to where you get them from. But tasting one to get an idea of the taste is reasonable.”

Old Li cut the fish into halves and placed one into his mouth. He had never felt so enjoyable. “This fish has an indescribable freshness and sweetness. It even comes with an aromatic taste. Is it wine? It tastes like spring water and wine at the same time… I believe this fish will become the lord of the sashimi industry when it grows up.”

Staring at the fishes in the bucket, Old Li could foresee what they would look like in the future. The liver and the meat are both finest. I can boil stock with the fish head. Not to mention the fish bones, there’s no way I’m going to throw them away. How I wish to get an adult fish now! “When you captured them, did you see any grown-up ones?”

“Nope, they are all this small. There shouldn’t be any big fish if I’m not mistaken…” Ye Cang told him about the Million Wine Tree and Old Li was amazed. However, as a chef, he was more interested in how to cook it rather than the background of the ingredients. Knowing that the fishes were produced from the tree indeed boiled up his blood. He was so eager to discover all the unknown ingredients especially when Wu Na mentioned about the uncountable types of fungus in the forest of mushrooms. He immediately called Old Wang and went on his exploration after preparing breakfast for the people. 

At breakfast, Lin Liang took a sip of the miso soup made from the mini mushroom man. Wow, this mini mushroom is really something good. Can’t believe it could be this sweet after mixing in the soup. Master Li did not use any of his skills on purpose in this case. He made it with the most common technique. Even the paste is store-bought. All these are just to experiment on the mini mushroom man.

“What’s underneath the steamer?” As Liu Bei lifted the lid, the aroma of the fungus crab filled the entire house. The sweetness of the mushroom and the freshness of the crab made everyone crave for it. Ye Cang, as the greatest elder in the entire family, was the first one to take away a crab claw. The second one was taken by Wu Na and ThornyRose. Yet, they put it back when they saw everyone staring at them with anger. “Sharing it?”

The adventure team started a game of rock paper scissors and AV beat the rest. “Sigh, this claw was gifted by our sister-in-law, so everyone must at least taste it. Lil’Huang, I remember you saying that your cutting skills are good. Now, make sure you slice it evenly so everyone in the adventure team can have a chance to taste it.”

Huang Zhong was touched. I followed the right lord this time! Jia Xu was amazed too. He is indeed our president! What a generous person! This isn’t a matter of the claw anymore but a matter of his personality! In Jia Xu’s eyes, AV was surrounded by pinkish flowers.

“Why didn’t I…” Lin Liang saw everyone had it.

The other team members gave him a poker face as if he could “hear” the face saying ‘What do you think?’.

Lin Liang felt unappreciated. I’ve done so many things for the team. How dare they treat me like this?! Yet, when he recalled that he did not achieve much, he quietly picked a crab leg and sucked it for meat. The meat was so smooth that he did not even feel them flowing into his mouth. Yet, the freshness of the meat was still lingering in it. Not able to resist it, he wanted to pick another one but was stopped by Liu Bei, “Hey, that’s enough. The others haven’t tasted it.”

Ye Cang was enjoying the biggest claw while observing how Lin Liang was being bullied. Looks like Elder Lin isn’t doing that good over there…

Lin Liang smiled, “Alright, you guys eat the legs, I’ll eat the other parts.”

“Do you think you can get past me with this little trick?” Jia Xu smirked. “You just wanted to taste the roe and mustard (hepatopancreas).”

“Oh yeah, let’s look inside.” Ye Cang lifted it with a knife. Inside it, the mustard and roe looked as colorful as a rainbow. An aromatic smell of mustard flew into everyone’s nostrils.

As the leader, Ye Cang was first to taste it whereas everyone else was waiting while salivating at him enjoying the taste. They were suddenly shocked at his lovely expression. This was because Ye Cang was a strict taste critique even though the food he made was a thousand times more disgusting than shit. When it came to judging tastes, only Lin Liang was capable of competing with him.

“Is it really that nice?” Wu Na plucked a needle-like mushroom at the edge of the mustard and placed it into her mouth. Beyond control, a satisfactory smile was written on her face. The freshness of this was the best thing she ever tasted so far. As the fungus slid through her tongue, it was as if her tastebuds were dancing to the most classical rock song. Instantly, the rocker’s spirit surged through her body. She raised her hand and showed a ‘rock’ sign.

Even though the portion of the mustard and roe was extremely small, almost everyone got to taste it and there was even a small portion left. Ye Cang did not bother and went to try the other dish which was the fried conifer-cone fungus. Wu Na smiled, “Eating this mushroom is like eating a mouthful of conifer cones but this is way better than that. The texture is also different. It’s so crispy. I think this is suitable to be made into snacks.”

Meanwhile, the adventure team was deciding on who would be the one to enjoy the last bit of mustard. Unfortunately, AV won once again. “I win because I wanted everyone to taste it even if it is as small as a mouse's excrement. Lil’Huang, do the job.”

“My lord! Eat it yourself!” Huang Zhong was so touched that tears burst out of his eyes. Jia Xu also went over and held AV’s hand, “My lord, just enjoy it yourself. All of us have tasted it.”

Staring at Jia Xu, AV felt a chill at his ass. I must be overthinking. He put an arm around Jia Xu’s shoulder with a smile. “We are the adventure family! If I wasn't the president, I would definitely eat it myself. But now, I have responsibilities. I must share whatever is good with everyone. This is also the origin of the adventure team. When we all have the resources, we must share them. Of course, I don’t mean to include private stuff like our wives, girlfriends etc.”

“Pfft...wives and girlfriends are not even considered important and private…” Liu Bei mumbled.

“......” SpyingBlade and Fang Ci stared at him with a doubtful look. Isn’t this fella a godly person, at least to some extent?

“You’re indeed the scum who dares to say that brothers are like limbs and wives are like clothes,” Cao Cao sneered at him.

“You are just too bothered with Lady Ding…” Liu Bei shrugged his shoulders.

“I admit that I let her down but aren’t you guilty to Lady Mi?” Cao Cao asked.

Liu Bei kept silent for a moment. “So, I tried not to think about it. I...You should understand. In order to get that thing, we had let go of a lot of other things. Is there any of it that is not important? But… that’s the only choice we have, Mengde…”

Cao Cao then recalled his past life. I had let a lot of people down in the past even though some of them were just pieces to me. But she is the only one I couldn’t forget. She might not have left me any children but she treated Cao Ang like her own son. She dared to scold me when I was wrong. She is so not gentle at all. But I just couldn’t forget about her. Before I died, I thought of this. What if Cao Ang asked me where his mother is? How am I going to answer? He died for me but I didn’t take good care of his mother and left her alone… until she died of illness in the Ding clan. For the empire I desired, I gave her up, sacrificed the fairness for Ang’er. Lady Ding, how great would it be if we were to meet each other again in a peaceful era later...

“Let’s not talk about this alright?” Sun Quan ate the mustard Huang Zhong distributed.