OCN C24 The First Step after the Second

The time of the live stream soon arrived. Just like usual, Li Shui had already started making sure that the camera and lights were working as intended. And just like always, Xiao Ming was standing behind the counter, once again making sure that all the ingredients were prepared while he tried to control his nervousness.

Qian Huang had sat down on the other side of the counter with his notebook and opened the page of their channel. Looking at him, it also seemed like everything was just like any other day they live-streamed. But, of course, his feelings were completely different.

He didn’t dare to look at the comments on their Weibo account right now and he didn’t want to even glance at what was going on in their channel. After five years of working tirelessly to grow ‘Bright Yellow Water’, today was the first day where he’d rather they didn’t stream at all.

He just couldn’t help himself. No matter how much he loved their work, he had this nagging feeling that maybe they had reached their peak and had, in fact, reached it too fast so that now, things could only go downhill from here. He didn’t like that thought one bit but it had still always been there since the moment he saw Misses Youya’s post.

Well, there was nothing he could do about that now. They had already prepared everything. They should just do today’s live stream as usual and then think about what to do based on how things went. Maybe he was completely wrong and it would be just as great as usual. Maybe he was right … but what would that change? They had put the last five years into this channel. They couldn’t just give up on it. How would they start over if they had to?

Qian Huang exhaled and turned to look at Xiao Ming, feeling quite worried for him. He would take it especially badly if things took a turn for the worse. But, well, what was he supposed to do now? He could only hope that they did well today and somehow dispelled the doubts their viewers might have after seeing Misses Youya’s post.

Thankfully, Xiao Ming wouldn’t be able to see the comments on the channel and didn’t know there had been such a post. He should be able to work as usual. Although … there was still the chance that there might be fewer comments than usual because the viewers were disappointed in them. In that case, there might not be anything worthwhile he could read out loud. No matter what he tried, that kind of thing would be obvious to Xiao Ming. That really wasn’t good.

He forced himself to put on a neutral expression and tried to calm Xiao Ming down just like he usually did. “Don’t worry about it. In any case, the last few live streams have gone really well, haven’t they? I’m sure today will be the same.”

Xiao Ming looked up, the nervousness still evident in his face. “Thank you.” He wanted to say more but couldn’t help and furrow his brows. “Is everything alright with you? You’re looking a little pale.”

Qian Huang froze and then gave a wry smile. “Do you think so?” Now, Xiao Ming was actually worrying about him. He really wasn’t doing too well in assisting him right now, was he? There might be some truth to the part about him in Misses Youya’s post. “Well, maybe I’m getting sick or something.”

“Do you want to cut the live stream short then?”

Qian Huang shook his head. “No, don’t do that. In any case, if it does get worse, then Li Shui can just take over with reading the comments. But it shouldn’t be too bad.” He tried to cheer up and give Xiao Ming a smile but his friend still seemed worried.

Qian Huang also felt helpless. He had wanted to keep the bad news from him but now his own expression had actually been ugly enough to make Xiao Ming almost catch on. “You, ah! You’d better worry about yourself. If your expression looks like this on camera, won’t our viewers be worried about what happened to you? Come on, cheer up! I’ll just go and lie down after the live stream. After a good night’s sleep, I’m sure I’ll be just like new.”

Xiao Ming nodded and there was only a hint of worry left in his gaze. In any case, he also knew that Qian Huang could be quite stubborn when he decided on something. Even if he told him not to wait until then, it also wouldn’t make a difference. Qian Huang definitely wouldn’t listen to him. Also, he had at least promised to take care of himself afterward. That was better than nothing.

Xiao Ming turned back to the camera and Li Shui gave him a thumbs-up, indicating that he was ready. With that, Qian Huang started the live stream and Xiao Ming smiled right on cue.

“Welcome to ‘Bright Yellow Water’. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at some food processing techniques. For that, we will be making two types of pot stickers, baked char siu buns, creamy cabbage casserole, and fried rice-dough packets.” His smile became a little brighter after the introduction. In any case, if Qian Huang wasn’t doing well, then he couldn’t worry him even further. He should do his best today to make sure his friend could really rest afterward and didn’t need to take care of anything else.

With that thought, Xiao Ming jumped right into his explanation of this day’s live stream. “If you’ve already been following our channel, you will know that last time, we’ve been talking about how you can make sure that you present your dishes in the best possible manner. Today, what we want to talk about it is the processing of the food which will actually happen before the presentation. So in a sense, you could say that we’ve actually taken the second step before the first one.”

Qian Huang scrolled down to the comment section to take a glance at what was going on. He couldn’t help but be tense before he even managed to read anything. The first comment he saw actually made him relax though.

Nin Sha: [I never doubted that you had your reasons, Xiao Ming.]

This guy … no matter what was going on outside, he would always tune in each time they streamed at the same time and leave comments when something crossed his mind, wouldn’t he? Well, it had always been like this since the day Nin Sha discovered their channel five years ago. No matter what happened, things likely wouldn’t change.

Come to think of it, it was actually quite strange that this guy was supposed to be a rich businessman. Rich? Yes, definitely, judging by how he had sometimes thrown money their way. But a businessman? Qian Huang really couldn’t imagine it. If Nin Sha or, no, Si Jin was doing business, shouldn’t he be incredibly busy all the time? How could he calmly sit down and watch their live streams and even know all the time when they updated their Weibo? It just didn’t make any sense.

While Qian Huang wondered to himself, Xiao Ming continued with his explanation. “In case you were wondering why we decided to do things this way, I’ll tell you! There are actually two reasons for this. First off, I have already mentioned this before but I think that there are many people who know how to cook well but there are far fewer people who know how to present their dishes in an aesthetically pleasing way. Thus, I felt that it was more important to cover the presentation before the processing because it will help more people. Since there is only limited time until ‘Golden Spoon’ starts this seemed like the better timeline.

“The second reason for this decision was that while the presentation usually comes after the processing, there are a few steps toward the presentation that already have to or should be taken while you process the food.

“For example, we made figurative buns on the last stream. For those, we already needed to color the dough and shape the bun before the dish could be steamed and then finally turned into a finished product that could be plated. The same can be said for the fruits that we cut as garnishes for the pudding.

“Now, we’re already in the middle of discussing the actual techniques to process food. Even though this might not be the first thing you will be thinking of when I say processing techniques, cutting and even kneading the dough of the buns are also such techniques. Thus, we have actually covered a few techniques at the side already. Today though, we’re going to pay special attention to them.”

Xiao Ming rubbed his hands when he said so and then motioned over to the refrigerator. “Once again, I have prepared a few things already so that we can immediately start with what’s important regarding today’s topic. So let’s take it out and start on the first dish.”

He turned around and took out two bowls. At the same time, Qian Huang looked at the comment section again. This time, his happy mood was dashed though. The comments … were exactly what he had feared to happen. It seemed they couldn’t get around the negative reaction that most people received after Misses Youya published an article about them.

Well, at the very least, that was what Qian Huang thought. He might have been of a different opinion had he known that in a villa in another city in the country, eighteen ninjas were sitting in a row, each of them armed with a technical gadget to combat all those who dared to badmouth their Master’s secret crush. Ah, who would have thought that the mighty ninjas of the Si clan would one day turn into a group of keyboard warriors?

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