Living leisurely in Tang Dynasty
Living Leisurely in Tang Dynasty Chapter 98

Li Chengqian’s action of meeting with the Emperor is naturally a task entrusted by Li Yuanying. The young prince had been at the Academy for close to 10 days and has got a general idea of the situation at hand.

Brats like Du He are violating all the rules from the way they eat to the place they sleep in. Even with an enhanced menu at the cafeteria, these people have never eaten in the cafeteria.

They look for excuses to travel to the school gate to collect food and naturally would top it up with an additional excuse to go home and sleep. It is a troublesome problem to manage. The gate of the Academy has now become a delivery pick up point which looks bad for its reputation. The task entrusted from young uncle to the crown prince is regarding this: while they are unable to intervene with foreign students, they should be disciplining the local ones who were supposed to be joining the Academy in all seriousness. They should no longer be allowed to go about on their own and should be adhering to the common laws set by the school.  

Chengqian naturally complied since it’s a serious matter. He approached the Emperor as soon as he got news on this and told His Majesty about young uncle’s plan: On this upcoming rest day, he will invite officials with relatives studying at the Academy for a gathering at the restaurant and get them to try out the food there. If the parents are satisfied, they should no longer be delivering any meals to their children. This way we help both the family and the students save time by not doing unecessary things!

More importantly, it is only through unified management that we can eradicate the bad habits of privilege students and integrate them into the bigger environment of the entire school!

While Chengqian has authority due to his position as  the Crown prince, he still needed to update his father so to avoid any suspicion between father and son.

“Then you go on this trip and relay the message.” (The Emperor)

Chengqian obeyed and and instructed his men to prepare the invitations.  Fearing that people would not attend, Chengqian deliberately added a sentence “This is His Majesty’s wish”.

On the day of rest the restaurant which had been closed for renovation reopened. Drums and Gongs were played to commemorate this occasion and when people started enquiring for a table, the waiters smilingly turned them away, citing fully reserved.

This is really weird, the doors are open but they do not to accept any guests? As people were curious, a crowd quickly form around the restaurant.

Fang Xuanling and the other ministers who got Chengqian’s invitation and had troublesome sons naturally brought their family to taste the “special food” as stated in the invitation.

Many surrounding the restaurant are idlers living in the capital. They might not have much knowledge about other things but they definitely recognized the rich and famous of Chang’an. When a person came, these idlers exclaimed from a distance: “That is XXX!”

After they gasp in amazement at the attendees, they took time to explain to those around them about these famous people. How  great is this person, how highly ranked is that person and what great things they have accomplished.

Soon, everyone knows about the restaurant re-opening and all the dignitaries were there to support it!

I heard that the restaurant has a new owner. Who is this new owner who is able to invite so many prestigious people?!

When the Crown Prince arrived, they was even more amazed. Even His Royal Highness came, isn’t this restaurant too amazing?

How delicious is the food?

There were much discussion among the masses and many decided that they must try the food next time. Even if the food is not the best, it is still worthwhile to eat where the nobles have sat!

Fang Xuanling and the others didn’t know that they are acting as a live advertisement board for a while now. They met Li Chengqian and greeted each other. The female relatives sat in the private rooms and the men sat outside according to their ranks. All were waiting for the waiter to bring them dishes. It has been a few days since classes started at the Imperial College and several winning dish had already been chosen by students. These dishes were now delivered to everyone one at a time. Everyone felt their appetite go up a notch.

These dishes are not only delicious but looks presentable. Although the food were not delicately made, they look appetizing. If these are the meal being provided at school, there really is no need to feed their children themselves which was a rather troublesome taks!  

Li Chengqian motioned for everyone to pick up their chopsticks with a smile. Let’s try these uncomplicated but extremely delicious meals. Whether it was noodles or rice, it tasted good!

Even Chengqian found it delicious.

Chengqian waited patiently for everyone to finish before asking them if they will be willing to let their children eat meals prepared by the school.

Fang Xuanling and others sent their sons to school with the intention for them to learn good things. In the past the food was really bad and so they had no choice but to provide separately. If there has been such good improvements then who wants to go through the trouble of sending deliveries? Everyone agreed saying that they will not deliver food anymore and promised to allow their children to be educated following the Academy’s rules.

Only then did Dong Xiaoyi come out to speak on Li Yuanying’s behalf.

Dong Xiaoyi quickly explained that Restaurant FengThai provides two meals a day according to a fixed number and distribute meals according to a roster every day.

Then he went to the ugly main topic: it’s okay to add more people into the roster but each family will need to add names at their own expense. After all, your son never came to eat in the canteen in the past. If he is now joining us, then the cooks and helpers will have to work extra hard and the cost of ingredients will also increase!

The children from  poor families had no money and so the boss is willing to subsidize them.But don’t you, “officials” appointed by the government have money to spare?  Shouldn’t you pay for your son’s?  As for how much? Just figure it out yourself.  Just pay us the amount you usually spend on feeding your sons.

Now everyone understands what this grand banquet was about. First we feed you, then we speak doctrines to you and then you will have to pay! In many cases, it is not scary to pay for something that had a clear price tag attached to it. But to pay for something that says “up to you” is way scarier. This restaurant made the Crown Prince host such an event, therefore the investor behind is obviously someone with good relationship with Royalty. Aren’t you embarrassed if you don’t pay? Do you have the nerve to dare give less?

But they have already agreed to it and it is too late to pull back. Zhangsun Wuji had a nephew in the Academy and is also Li Chengqian’s uncle. He naturally would support him. He very readily stepped forward and added his nephew’s name and generously filled in a large number. After finishing, he even unintentionally shared the amount he gave and said that he will get servants to deliver the amount  later!

This is dedicated childcare!

When everyone heard Zhangsun Wuji’s figure, they cursed in their hearts: Old thief Zhangsun! ! !

It’s fine if this shameless old thief wants to support the prince but why did he shout his contribution out, lest others not know how much he has given? Now everyone behind him will have to give similar amount else it will be hard to save face! Only those from lower ranks and poorer family backgrounds gave less.

Dong Xiaoyi was delighted to see more and more and more “name money” being recorded onto the roster.

Although it will still be a bit difficult to provide food to  two thousand people, it is much better now than His Highness having to pay for everything from his pocket.

Next, the Restaurant is now known as the official food supplier to the Imperial Academy so it will not be a problem turning it into the “Best Restaurant in Chang’an”. The crop output from Sunflower Garden and two more lands will now be fully utilized.

In the future, things like Gaochang wine and Thousand Gold tea would not be limited to being sold in the medical hall. Li Yuanying values Sun Simiao very much and he didn’t want mundane things affecting his medical research work!

Originally, when Li Yuanying wanted to take over the food supply of the whole Imperial College, Dong Xiaoyi thought that it would be a big loss. Now he thinks this is a great bargain.  

Let’s see, these “parents” are now covering the cost, so we won’t lose too much. The mouths of 2,000 students will act as live advertisements, everyday they will vote a signature dish that “a thousands students  think is delicious”!

After the imperial examination this year, a welcoming banquet can be served to welcome those who had passed the entrance exam. Anyway, these banquet will be exclusively provided by FengThai restaurant so if someone gets a good title we can say that we have fed them. It will not be regarded as  fake!

The more Dong Xiaoyi thought, the more excited he became. He wished that  Spring Festival would start immediately and the Academy would welcome more students and he could follow Li Yuanying’s instructions to make a fuss about this!

As for whether this act would be regarded as stealing the common man’s rice bowl, no one would dare claim so! We are providing meals for 2,000 people! If it’s really to steal profit, who else is capable of feeding 2,000 people? If you can, by all means take over!

The “Grand Banquet” for the parents ended successfully. When Chengqian left, he felt a little ashamed for doing something “unethical” that made parents paid a large sum. But after the initial  embarrassment was over, he felt quite happy he did it.

On normal days, Li Chengqian would often be criticized by these people. Now seeing how aggrieved they felt but could only obediently pay up money, he felt that he has gained.

Back in the East Palace, Chengqian went to watch his son study. When he was much younger, his father the Emperor appointed Li Gang as his teacher. Teacher is old and had trouble walking. Every time when he returns to the East Palace, his teacher would welcome him at the door. A few years later, Li Gang passed away. This memory can’t be called as beautiful. Back then he was at an age where he was playful and rebellious. How could he calm down and study?

Because of this, Chengqian was still quite hesitant about asking Xiao Deyan to be Li Xiang’s teacher. While he was thinking hard about this, Li Yuanying went ahead and helped him to ask father. Yuanying was enthusiastic and Chengqian didn’t have the heart to let him down. He sincerely helped Li Xiang prepare for the apprenticeship ceremony.

Chengqian was relieved after meeting Xiao Deyan, the teacher who young uncle praised endlessly in person. He didn’t look very old and was in good spirits. His body looks strong and he spoke with energy. Indeed a very good teacher candidate.

Chengqian walked towards Hongwen Hall and so happen Xiao Deyan is done with class with Li Xiang. He asked his son a few questions about homework and the child answered fluently.

Chengqian praised the child and then send him off to play.

He then turned to speak to Xiao Deyan.The main topic revolved around what Li Yuanying has been doing at the Academy. He had no idea how well young uncle is doing in class but his stint there has brought good food to all the students.

Xiao Deyan smiled: “Food is the most important, so it is normal for His Royal Highness to care about food the most.”

With Li Yuanying as the topic they chatted for a long time. Chengqian then asked the old teacher to recommend some disciples to work at Hongwen hall. It didn’t matter if they wanted to work on books or other chores. After all, the court will always lack real talents.

Deyan felt that the crown prince is slowly living up to his title. He is doing so much better than when compare to before where he was  arranged to study in the Wei Palace. The teacher readily agreed.

His Majesty Li Er has also heard about the incident at FengThai Restaurant . After thinking about it, it became clear: that kid Li Yuanying didn’t just ask Chengqian to get people to try the food, he wanted to ask for money from parents like Zhangsun Wuji!

Only Li Yuanying can do such things.

And Li Chengqian being the crown prince, was still willing to help with his plan after knowing his real intention!

Li Er felt that Fang Xuanling and the others would criticize him behind his back saying that he turned a bind eye to his son and younger brother’s partnership to deceive others! However, the intention of food and lodging were indeed intended for the children from impoverished families. If Fang Xuanling and the others really wanted their children to study there, paying a little shouldn’t be considered as cheating their money. Who asked them to spoil their sons? If they didn’t send them food, they won’t have to pay “lunch money”.

The more Li Er thought about it, the more he felt that his son and younger brother didn’t do anything wrong.

Li Er hadn’t seen that troublemaker brother for days and was quite worried. After finishing work the next day, he proposed to his ministers: “The weather is good, why don’t we visit the Imperial Academy for a walk.”

Notes from the author:

Little Prince: Ha Choo!

Little Prince: Who misses me?

1 comment
  1. Dawn has spoken 1 year ago

    Lol, the emperor is coming to check in on his little brother 😂 Thank you for the chapter!

    Reply

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