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Chapter 101 - The Sea

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Chapter 101 - The Sea

His Highness King Jing, relying on the agility developed from years of fishing, leapt up and down nimbly. His claws struck with precision and ferocity, allowing one cat to take on three and a half opponents without being at a disadvantage.

Su Yu realized that the fight wouldn't end anytime soon, so he handed the plate to His Majesty the Emperor, telling him to eat slowly. He then prepared to go to the kitchen to make dinner.

"Four against one, what kind of heroes are you!" King Jing flipped the little fat cat over with a swipe of his paw and pounced to bite its neck, but was knocked down by Seventeenth Uncle's sneak attack.

He quickly kicked away the big cat that lunged at him with his hind legs and shouted toward the emperor, who was leisurely munching on a pastry: "Your Majesty, come help!"

His Majesty the Emperor looked at him with disdain, finished the snack in his hand, snorted coldly, and tossed the empty plate aside before turning to leave. He certainly wasn't going to waste time with these fools, as an emperor who managed countless affairs daily, he had more important matters to attend to. Thus, he walked out of the main hall with his hands behind his back, heading leisurely towards the kitchen.

“Woof woof woof!” As soon as he entered the kitchen, a noisy barking sound came from the corner.

His Majesty the Emperor frowned: “What is that?”

Su Yu, who was leaning over the water tank to look at the newly delivered fish, waved to the Emperor. “It's the Heluo fish.”

Heluo fish, one head and ten tails, its sound resembling a dog's bark. Eating it cures ulcers.

This time, King Jing brought all the fish he had caught just before the East Sea was sealed, providing the nearly out-of-food royal family with fresh sea monsters to eat. Previously, King Jing had also sent some Heluo fish, but there were not many, and they were directly killed at the Anguo Tower, so the Emperor had not seen a live one before.

An Hongche approached the water tank, peering over the edge. Inside were several fish of various strange shapes and sizes. The most conspicuous was the Heluo fish, with an unusually large head resembling a book clamp, followed by ten neatly arranged fish bodies, making it look like an ugly, oversized brush.

The big fish head emerged from the water and stared at His Majesty the Emperor for a moment. "Woof!"

Annoyed by the irritating sound, the Emperor knocked out the Heluo fish that had jumped out of the water with a slap. "We'll eat this tonight."

As expected, the Cat Lord inherently disliked dog barking. Su Yu quickly scooped up the unconscious fish. "Alright, we'll eat this."

The ten bodies of the Heluo fish had no spines, just a single fishbone each. After chopping off the enormous fish head, the ten bodies were still held together by a clamp-like cartilage. Folding the cartilage and securing it with a thin bamboo skewer, the ten bodies formed a circle.

The scales were removed and the bones extracted, then with a delicate knife, the fish meat was sliced into a flower shape. Coated in flour and fried in oil until golden, it transformed into a large, beautiful fish meat flower.

Su Yu had now memorized the Su Family recipe book by heart and, combined with his skills from his previous life, effortlessly prepared ten different sauces. Sweet and sour, salty, fresh soy, garlic sauce... Ten different sauces were drizzled over the ten fish bodies, creating ten distinct flavors from a single fish.

The piping hot sauce poured over the crispy fish meat, emitting a tantalizing sizzle. His Majesty the Emperor couldn't resist picking up his chopsticks and tasting each one.

Pretending not to notice, Su Yu let the greedy cat steal bites while he turned to lift the lid off the pot, coincidentally revealing that the big fish head was also ready.

The head of the Heluo fish was exceptionally large, with a considerable amount of tender meat between the head and cartilage. There was no better dish than spicy chopped fish head. Although Su Yu was known for his Sichuan cuisine in the past, he could also prepare several classic Hunan dishes. Making a simple fish head with chopped peppers was a piece of cake for him.

The fragrant aroma of fresh spiciness wafted from the pot, causing His Majesty the Emperor to immediately set aside the fish and come over to circle around Su Yu.

"Don't be so impatient." Su Yu said with a suppressed smile as he added the final seasoning. Then, he served it up and picked up a chopstick to feed the big plaster sticking to his back.

The Emperor opened his mouth to eat it, then licked his lips.

"Bring some noodles." He had tried this fish head with chopped peppers before, and the best part wasn't the fish meat but the wide leaf noodles added after finishing the fish meat.

"You have a good memory." Su Yu said, tilting his head slightly and rubbing his face against the Emperor's, motioning to the kitchen maids to roll out the noodles.

"Wait until we're almost done eating in the house, then cook them."

The palace maids brought the dishes to the table. The Wangyes, who were supposed to still be fighting, were now sitting neatly at the table, behaving peacefully as if they had resolved their previous grievances and were now enjoying themselves.

"Why are you still here?" His Majesty the Emperor said displeased.

King Ling, with a thick-skinned face, replied: "Isn't it time for dinner?"

King Zhao stared at the plate in the maid's hand. "Sishter-in-law, Ish this vegetarian? It looks so rough!"

The Eldest Prince squatted on the table, meowing and jumping into Su Yu's arms.

King Su said nothing, quietly picking up his chopsticks

His Majesty the Emperor clenched his left hand into a fist, emitting a dangerous creaking sound. Everyone involuntarily shrank their necks, facing the risk of being beaten, yet still stubbornly refused to move.

King Jing, on the other hand, was not afraid at all, he almost wished the Emperor would get angry so he could have another fight with him.

Fortunately, the Heluo fish was exceptionally large, enough to feed several people.

It was still okay to eat fish like Qingyu and Ying Yu that affect the fortune of the world, but fish like Heluo, which affect one's own fortune, should not be consumed excessively by ordinary people. The Heluo fish can cure ulcers, for those who are ill, eating it naturally brings relief. However, for those without illness, consuming it excessively can lead to nosebleeds due to its highly nourishing properties.

Of course, for the Cat Lord who consumes all sorts of strange fish, whether they heal or harm, there will be no impact whatsoever. For the descendants of ancient divine beasts, they're just tasty fish meat.

Since Su Yu couldn't eat too much Heluo fish, he cooked himself a bowl of small wontons. When His Majesty the Emperor saw this, he came over and wanted to have some too. Su Yu then scooped up a warm wonton, blew on it, and fed it to him along with the soup.

His Majesty the Emperor opened his mouth contentedly, took the delicious wonton into his mouth, and then drank the soup in the spoon.

His Highness King Zhao buried his head in his bowl, pretending not to see anything. Seeing this, the Eldest Prince followed suit, burying his face in his own small bowl, resulting in soup splattering all over his face.

King Jing, watching his younger brother's shameless act of having his wife feed him, raised an eyebrow and said: "What's that? Let me try some too."

On the whole table, only Su Yu had wontons in his bowl. Upon hearing this, His Majesty the Emperor immediately flew into a rage. He flung his chopsticks out, shooting straight for King Jing's eyes, only for King Jing to catch them accurately.

Seeing another potential fight about to break out, King Su, intending to intervene, was elbowed by King Ling. He understood immediately and remained silent, hastening his pace of eating fish. Seeing this, the two who were about to fight glared at each other and then picked up their chopsticks again.

After finishing the meal, King Jing finally remembered that he had come to the Beiji Palace to report back to the Emperor on the situation in the East Sea.

He laid out a map of the sea on a cushion. Because the map had been rolled up for a long time, it kept rolling back up when unfolded. His Majesty the Emperor then instructed the remaining four cats to crouch at the four corners to hold it down.

The two uncles dutifully remained crouched in their positions, while the little chubby cat, having eaten its fill, sprawled out on top of the map, exposing its belly. The Eldest Prince, perplexed, squatted on the cushion and scratched at the corner that was sticking up.

Su Yu, helpless, had no choice but to sit beside his son and use his hand to hold down the corner. The little furball sniffed at Su Yu's fair fingers, detecting the lingering aroma of fish meat. Happily, it licked them and then hugged Su Yu’s wrist and curled up on the back of his hand.

Ignoring the four strange paperweights, King Jing put away his smile and began discussing the business at hand.

The situation in the East Sea area has become extremely serious. There are hardly any safe beaches left, and many fishermen have fallen ill from accidentally consuming sea monsters. Not all strange fish have bizarre appearances, some look very similar to ordinary fish, but consuming them can still cause illness or madness.

King Jing has already issued a strict ban on fishermen consuming strange fish and has posted images of those resembling common fish in various locations.

"If we don't eradicate them completely, and the people remain unaware of the danger, in the long run, there will come a time when it becomes uncontrollable, and the world will be in chaos." The worry in King Jing's beautiful peach blossom eyes was evident.

Although he enjoyed catching these strange fish, he understood that even with his strength, there were times when he couldn't cover everything. If the people caught dangerous fish and didn't kill them in time, droughts, floods, wars, and tsunamis would follow one after another.

“Father Emperor and the rest are on an island in the East Sea." His Majesty the Emperor remained silent for a moment before speaking.

"These must be set up by Yazi, Father Emperor and the others..." Prince Jing paused halfway through his sentence, suddenly stopping. "What did you just say, Your Majesty? Father Emperor and them, are they still alive?"

"It's what the mermaid said." An Hongche furrowed his brows slightly. The Retired Emperor and several Qinwangs got lost at sea while trying to defeat Yazi and find the exit where the strange fish were released.

"Why didn't the mermaid tell the Wangye?" Su Yu asked in surprise.

Considering King Jing's restless nature, could he resist not turning into a cat and scratching them a few times when catching the mermaid? Unless... Su Yu glanced at King Jing's charming peach blossom eyes, seemingly understanding something.

King Jing, who was quite popular with women, must be very conscious of his image in front of beautiful women. Wait a minute, if that's the case, then the purpose behind King Jing presenting the mermaid to the Emperor initially...

"How could I possibly talk to food?" King Jing looked at Su Yu inexplicably.

Su Yu choked for a moment. "Then, why did Wangye send the mermaid to the capital?"

"I don't know how to eat it." King Jing shrugged.

The chefs in his Wangfu refused to kill the fish no matter what, so his consorts advised him to present the mermaid to the Emperor. After some thought, he agreed. Giving this inedible thing to the Emperor not only provided a rare and unique ingredient, saving this year's tribute, but more importantly, he hoped the Emperor would find the right way to eat it, so he could eat it if he caught any merfolk in the future.

The corner of Su Yu’s mouth twitched. He couldn't help but feel that King Jing's imperial consorts might not have had that intention...

The author has something to say:

Small Theater:

Consort A: She looks so charming, she mustn't stay!

Consort B: Her voice is so enticing, she mustn't stay!

Consort C: Wangye has been staring at her all this time, she mustn't stay!

Consort D: Wangye is drooling over her, we must persuade him to present her to the Emperor!

King Jing: How do you eat this thing? (¯﹃¯)

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You can see here a cool drawing of how a heluo fish should look like https://abookofcreatures.com/2019/08/26/heluo-zhi-yu/

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