While Si Jin continued to practice his onion cutting skills under the guidance of Si Shi Wu, Xiao Ming and Qian Huang got back to work. They had already planned the first few live streams to make sure that they wouldn’t have to rush anything if all their viewers were in favor of doing the specials. So now, all that was left was to implement the plan they had come up with while keeping up with the usual tasks.
Scrolling through the many comments that Nin Sha’s post had gotten, Qian Huang grinned like a Cheshire cat. “Honestly, he really is your certified number one fan. With this, we have less advertising to do. Some guy cutting up ten thousand onions for you is definitely the kind of news that we need right now. I guess that means I should use the opportunity and post the list of ingredients right now.”
Xiao Ming nodded. “I think that’s a good idea. That way, everyone will have enough time to get them if they want to take part. Don’t forget to separate the ingredients for the task from the others for the dishes.”
“Sure thing!” Qian Huang nodded and then copied the post he had already prepared.
Bright Yellow Water: [Cutting special for tomorrow’s live stream! If you want to practice cutting alongside Xiao Ming, you will need the following ingredients: yams, daikon radish, soft tofu (either silken or regular), seasoned tofu, chili, as well as green onions. For other ingredients of the dishes, see the attachment! — Qian Huang] He added a photo of the list of ingredients that Xiao Ming had written, showcasing his beautiful handwriting, and smiled to himself.
Looking at the message and the first few likes that were coming in, he couldn’t help but purse his lips and rub his chin. Finally, he couldn’t help himself and sent another message.
Bright Yellow Water: [No other onions required! — Qian Huang]
Back at the ninjas’ house, Si Jin picked up his phone and then furrowed his brows when he saw that it hadn’t been Xiao Ming who posted. Because of that, he didn’t even bother to read it and just went back to cutting onions.
On the other hand, the other fans were sending rows of laughter after the second message while some mentioned that they would go and get the ingredients this evening or the next morning.
It seemed that the next live stream and the specials were off to a good start.
Qian Huang continued to take care of the channel while Xiao Ming went back to the recipes until it was finally time to eat the stew.
Li Shui came running over as soon as Xiao Ming opened the lid, almost looking as if he’d start to drool the next moment. Xiao Ming raised his brows at him, tasted the stew, and finally nodded to himself before he ladled some of it into a bowl and handed it to Li Shui. Immediately, their cameraman took off to the other side of the counter, huddled over his bowl, and started to slurp it down.
Xiao Ming chuckled and then called for Qian Huang to come over as well so the three of them could eat together before they had to get back to work.
With everybody soon focusing on their own tasks again, it was soon evening and they finally went to sleep with everything for the first live stream special having been taken care of save for the ingredients they still needed.
The next morning, Xiao Ming got up early, made breakfast for the three of them, and then headed out together with Li Shui. They went to the market they usually frequented. It was only a few streets away so that didn’t need to take the car and could just go on foot.
The auntie that sold the vegetables waved at them and gave them a big smile when they came over. “Xiao Ming, I saw you on the television yesterday! Is it true that you are going to be on there with that Mister Yu?”
Xiao Ming nodded. “It’s true, auntie Zhang.”
“Well, that’s something! Back then, when you three boys started with that online thing, I thought you were crazy and that this would never work out. But it seems that you made the right decision. Now, you can even meet a great chef like Mister Yu. You’ve really managed to achieve something. Here, let auntie help you out a bit too! What do you need today?”
Xiao Ming looked around and chose the vegetables that he needed, trying to refuse when she wanted to give it to them for free. He hurriedly shook his hands and head at the same time. “No need, no need. Anyway, we’ll be getting paid for being on the show. So you really don’t have to do this.”
“Aiya, what are you being so modest for? You’re doing a good thing there. Teaching people how to cook very important. Just tell them where you get your vegetables. I’m sure they’ll come running!”
Xiao Ming shook his head, really not wanting to accept. Even back when they hadn’t been doing so well, auntie Zhang had been giving them a few things for free every now and then. Now that they finally had enough money to pay for everything, he really didn’t want to take even more advantage of her. In fact, if he could, he wanted to pay her more to make up for her help back then.
Li Shui looked from one person to the other and felt that they wouldn’t come to an agreement. He looked around and pursed his lips. “Auntie Zhang, Xiao Ming won’t accept no matter how often you ask him. He’d be embarrassed to take all that stuff from you. How about you give us a little something else so he can make a dish more for me instead? I always have to carry around that heavy camera. I really need to eat more.”
Auntie Zhang laughed and slapped his shoulder. “You, ah! Look at how sturdy and tall you’ve grown! I don’t believe for a single moment that you have trouble carrying anything. Instead, you should make sure that you help Xiao Ming out more. In the kitchen, there are also heavy things to carry around. Don’t tell me you let him lift all these heavy pots by himself.”
Li Shui hurriedly shook his head even though he never really helped out with much in the kitchen. Maybe he should do that in the future though. He’d speak with Xiao Ming about it later.
Overall, auntie Zhang was happy with the suggestion though. She turned back to Xiao Ming and waved for him to choose something. “Just tell me what you’d like and I’ll give it to you on top. Don’t be shy. Anyway, it’s all very fresh.”
Xiao Ming could see that he wouldn’t be able to talk her out of it this time so he finally motioned at the cucumbers. “How about these? I think they would fit really nicely into what I had planned for today.”
Auntie Zhang nodded and packed them up as well, handing them to Xiao Ming. “Here you go, boy. Make sure you make something tasty. Don’t embarrass our town.”
Xiao Ming laughed and then handed over the money. “Don’t worry, I always give my best.”
The two of them bid their farewell and then went on to purchase the other ingredients that they hadn’t gotten yet before they finally went back home.
When they walked inside, Qian Huang waved at them. “That Nin Sha just posted an update, saying that he finished cutting those ten-thousand onions for you and that he’ll be going to sleep now. I guess he doesn’t want you to worry.”
Xiao Ming raised his brows and went over, looking over Qian Huang’s shoulder. Indeed, Nin Sha had left that kind of message. “Ah, I really don’t know what to say to that. It must have been such a chore. I don’t think he had any fun doing it.”
Qian Huang just chuckled. “He doesn’t seem like the fun kind of guy. Anyway, he also said that he gave the onions to some institutions in his city just like you asked him to. He even attached a list in case you want to verify.”
Xiao Ming went to put down the groceries in the kitchen and started to put them away. “And? Did you go and verify it yet?”
Qian Huang snorted and followed him over, leaning on the countertop. “Honestly? There is no need to do that. They already all leaped out and thanked us and especially ‘Golden Spoon’. He chose ten institutions and all of them got one thousand onions. That’s something they won’t have to buy so naturally, they’re all happy no matter how stupid it sounds.”
Xiao Ming smiled and then leaned over the counter as well when he had finished putting away the groceries. “Actually, I’m kind of surprised. I wouldn’t have thought that he’d do this.”
Qian Huang grinned. “I can’t believe that you’re still being surprised at this. He’s been this crazy all these years. Anyway, maybe you’re unlucky and somebody will go and interview him. They might even take a photo.”
Xiao Ming chuckled and shook his head. “Then what should I do if he isn’t good-looking?”
Qian Huang turned around and leaned against the counter with his back, pursing his lips at his phone. “I’m afraid that I won’t be able to make jokes about your dating life then anymore. With how busy we are, and now with the show coming up, I don’t think you’ll be able to date anyone save for your fans and the people taking part in the show. And those other judges? They are all too old for you. Also, I don’t think that Mister Yu swings that way.”
Xiao Ming laughed. “He sure doesn’t. He is married and has children. In fact, I actually think he has a grandchild as well. I think there was some news that she went to culinary school.”
“Figures. With her granddad being a famous chef, it’s probably what they expect of her. She likely won’t have had any trouble getting in there. It would be nice if people like us had such good luck.”
Xiao Ming shook his head at him and patted his shoulder before he went back to his own room. “Don’t be like that! Looking back now, while things were hard, I guess we were also lucky that I didn’t manage to get into culinary school back then. If I had, then who knows if we would have ever started Bright Yellow Water? In that case, everything that happened in the past five years … No, I really wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Qian Huang followed him over and stood in the doorway, watching Xiao Ming take out his laptop and sit down at his desk. “We could’ve had it easier though. Anyway, it’s good that things are picking up. Do you need me to prepare anything else for today’s stream?”
Xiao Ming shook his head and then pointed at the website he had just opened. “There’s actually an article about an anonymous onion donor. They neither got his photo nor his name though, just the info that he was learning how to cut onions for the cooking show ‘Golden spoon’.”
Qian Huang rushed over and leaned over Xiao Ming’s shoulder, staring at the article. He had only just seen the post on Weibo so he didn’t know what exactly other news said. “Did they mention us?”
“For a bit. He seems to have dropped our name so they included that in the article.”
Qian Huang gave a hum and read for himself. His expression wasn’t quite as happy though. “What the hell?”
Hearing the two of them talk, Li Shui also came over, and put his arms around their shoulders, leaning down as well. He read the part of the article out loud that was at the top, his brows raising while he did so. “The anonymous donor said that he wanted to take part in the cooking show because he was a fan of one of the judges. The two fixed members of the judging panel are the famous chef Yu Chang Jing and an online food anchor. Other members of the judging panel will change every episode.” He kept quiet for a moment but finally couldn’t help and question what he saw. “Nin Sha is your fan but they actually didn’t even use your name. It sounds like he’s interested in that Mister Yu.”
Qian Huang slapped the table and stood up, pushing Li Shui’s hand off his shoulder. “I can’t believe it!”
Xiao Ming turned around and gave him a worried look, not quite sure what to say. “Anyway, at least we were mentioned. They also said the name of the channel once in the article. That’s better than nothing.”
Qian Huang crossed his arms in front of his chest and paced up and down, not quite sure where to vent his anger. “Still, it isn’t right.”
Li Shui leaned against the table and watched Qian Huang pace around as well, exchanging a glance with Xiao Ming.
Qian Huang finally stopped and brushed through his hair before he shook his head. “Well, whatever. It’s not like we can change it. When you’re on the show, people will report about you no matter what.”
Xiao Ming nodded. “They will. So don’t worry. Anyway, after the special today, maybe somebody else will pick up the news and include us. We shouldn’t give up hope yet.”
Qian Huang nodded and then sighed. “Well, let’s leave that aside now. You just do your own thing for the moment. You’ll have to work hard this evening again.” He grabbed Li Shui by the shoulder and pulled him out of the room, closing the door behind him.
Li Shui gave him a sideways glance. “Are you really alright with this?” He knew that Qian Huang had put a lot of hope in the preparation for the show. Now, that there was actually a chance of getting free advertisement only for them to hardly be mentioned despite being the ones who had caused the news, he didn’t believe that Qian Huang would just accept that. He wasn’t the type to calm down so easily. Not when it was about their dream.
Qian Huang didn’t seem too bothered though. He tightened his grip on Li Shui’s shoulder, pulling him closer, and walked back to the living room. “You’re looking at this wrong, my dear brother. The ones who should be unhappy aren’t us. You know who will be even more unhappy?”
Li Shui’s gaze darted from side to side and finally, his expression lit up. “Nin Sha?”
Qian Huang nodded. “You can tell me what you want but he has definitely an eye on Xiao Ming. While we don’t know how he looks, he knows that our Xiao Ming is the best. This has to do as much with this cooking as his good looks. That guy is gay, I swear! So when he finds out that his attempt at winning Xiao Ming over hasn’t worked, do you believe that the guy who is able to buy ten-thousand onions on short notice won’t go and raise a storm?”
Li Shui pursed his lips and then shook his head. “No, it’s possible. He’ll definitely try to cause some waves so Xiao Ming won’t misunderstand.”
“See? So why should I worry? At most, I might wait a few hours and then tell him that it’s a pity the news were spread like that. He’ll likely need more time to realize it himself after all. From everything that I’ve seen, he doesn’t seem to interact with anyone or anything other than Xiao Ming.” He let go of Li Shui, a pensive expression on his face. Then, he just went to search for some more articles. Anyway, he had to see if he could find some more information.