Si Yi glanced in his direction when Si Qi said so. To be honest, he wasn’t unaware of Si Qi’s feelings. In fact, he had known for a long time. It was just that he couldn’t allow either of them to follow through with it. There were just some things that weren’t possible. And a relationship between them was one of those things.
It wasn’t that he couldn’t imagine it. In any case, they were both unmarried. Si Qi had a good appearance, there were a lot of things that he liked about his personality as well, and he didn’t have any complaints in regards to his habits or how he led his life. He could imagine a worse partner.
But there was still the Si clan to consider. And that alone disqualified not only Si Qi but all of the other nineteen ninjas. Back then, when the clan had taken in a woman for the first and also the last time, it had ended in disaster. One of their members had fallen in love with her while she had fallen in love with the spouse of one of her brothers. The chaos that resulted made clear that relationships like these were completely impossible to maintain.
Their ancestor had forbidden taking in women since that day, which had resulted in its own hurdles but, at the very least, such a complex situation had never occurred again. So anyway, it seemed to have worked somehow.
Unfortunately, now there was this problem with Si Qi that couldn’t have been prevented by that rule. From what he knew, his feelings had already existed for several years as well. And with time, they were only becoming more obvious. Most likely, Si Qi just wasn’t willing to stand back and do nothing any longer. He wanted to show him his feelings and was hoping that one day, he would admit to having noticed and give him an answer.
It was just … Si Yi really didn’t know what to do. He didn’t dislike him. But he also couldn’t be with him. So the answer could only be a no. But if he really rejected him, then that would also bring about troubles. So pretending not to notice was the way he had chosen for now until he was able to find a better one. He just wasn’t sure just how long he would be able to go on with this. Because apparently, Si Qi was trying to use this opportunity just like their master was.
No matter how he thought about it, right now wasn’t the right moment to think about that. Si Yi closed his eyes for a moment and then continued preparing his dish, taking a glance at his master next to him to see how far he had gotten. And then slightly slowing down himself to make sure that their master would be able to go first.
When Si Qi managed to shake off E Cheng Jun, he glanced in Si Yi’s direction, wanting to find out if he was paying attention to his side at all. Needless to say, that wasn’t the case. Si Yi had long since turned back to focusing on his own dish.
Si Qi lowered his head, staring at the ingredients in front of him and wondering why he was even still trying. Clearly, what hadn’t worked in the last two years wouldn’t suddenly start working. It was just that he had always hoped that when their master had gotten a partner of his own or was close to doing so, that Si Yi’s feelings would change.
When there wasn’t as much to take care of and their master would want to have some more privacy to enjoy his time with his boyfriend, maybe Si Yi would also be willing to look out for his own happiness. Maybe then, he would notice him and take him up on the offer. That was what he was hoping for. It was just that even though they were really close to making their master’s dreams come true, there was still no progress in his own love life.
Si Qi sighed and went back to cooking, trying not to think about it any longer. In any case, their master still hadn’t even gone on a single date with young master Xiao. He probably shouldn’t expect anything yet. Yes, in the future, when things had really been taken care of, then maybe this would also change. He just had to wait for that time and continue trying.
With both of them having made up their mind, the casting continued uneventfully on the side of the ninjas. E Cheng Jun as the host couldn’t say the same thing. There were so many people of importance gathered, but all of them were making her job difficult, either talking in riddles, not giving anything away, or basically just repeating whatever the guy before them had said. It really was infuriating! After a while of this, she left the area where the ninjas of the Si clan were gathered, instead going to take a look at some of the other contestants and interviewing the chefs that had been invited to help out with the casting.
When the second hour was almost coming to a close, the first contestants had finished and carried their dishes over to the chefs who decided whether they were good enough to be tasted by Xiao Ming and Mister Yu as well or if they should go back immediately.
There were several thousand contestants, meaning that most were disappointed on the spot. The ones that had their dishes brought over to Xiao Ming and Mister Yu were even more ecstatic though. They eagerly looked at the two of them, waiting for them to test the dishes and say a few words.
The cameramen who had originally been filming different scenes to make sure that there would be enough interesting material had now started to focus on the stage more. This was where it would be decided who would be the lucky contestants of the first episode so they had to make sure that they wouldn’t miss out on any interesting developments.
So far, everything had gone without a hitch. None of the contestants made any trouble even if their dishes didn’t look as if they could convince the two judges and got a harsher critique. That might also be because Mister Yu and Xiao Ming were pretty much of the same opinion no matter which of them spoke first. They at most differed a little in how they were giving pointers to the contestants but the devil was also in the detail there so that was to be expected.
Even though the contestants immediately got that feedback and could draw their own clues from that, they didn’t get the favor of being told the final decision of whether they had passed the trial for the first episode or not. There were just way too many contestants to decide on that. Since only sixty-four people would be allowed in the first episode, Xiao Ming and Mister Yu had to sort quite thoroughly. They noted down what exactly they thought of the dishes, and then just thanked the contestants, making them quiver in anticipation.
With the constant dishes now arriving in front of them, the two main judges were busy the whole time despite the many helpers that were already sorting before them. Time passed by in a flash and, finally, the ninjas of the Si clan also finished preparing their dishes.
There was only a minuscule difference in time between them because they had given interviews of differing lengths and not all of them had continued cooking while at it. Still, they were used to working as a team and being orderly, so those who had finished first stood in place or pretended to arrange some small details. Finally, they pulled out the small carts to bring their dishes over to the staff member, lined up, and went over, making for quite the picturesque image.
The staff member looked at the line of twenty men that were all bringing over a cart with similar-looking tableware on top that held an almost identical dish. The staff member couldn’t help but slightly furrow their brows. This seemed strange but it wasn’t their place to judge anything. Thus, they finally just motioned for all of them to follow them over to one of the chefs.
The first one to go up to the chef was naturally Si Jin. He was a little unhappy that this dish wouldn’t be given to Xiao Ming immediately, but he still obediently handed it over with a blank expression.
The chef looked at him with a smile. Even though it had been quite some time already and many contestants had come over, she still felt that this was a good opportunity and being nice to the contestants should be a given so she liked to give them a smile and a greeting at least, and maybe even encourage them. Unfortunately, this guy in front of her was a little strange. Neither did he say anything, nor did he smile back. He just stared at her. She felt strange about it but didn’t say anything, figuring that he might just be overly nervous. There were some people like that.
Having decided on that, she picked up the bowl to have a taste. When she did, her brows immediately shot up. This was pretty much of the kind of quality she would expect at a restaurant. Not a star-level restaurant like Ai Gui Jin’s ‘Shi Wu’, of course, but already something that was past the stage of what a person that was just cooking as a hobby would usually be able to do.
She nodded in appreciation, feeling like the show would be quite interesting. She actually regretted not being able to be a judge on the other episodes. Well, there was nothing she could do about that. She just nodded at Si Jin, indicating that the dish passed, and then motioned for the staff members that had led him over to bring him to Xiao Ming and Mister Yu next. Then, she turned to Si Er who handed over his bowl with a very much identical dish while giving her a big smile. Clearly, he enjoyed the current scene quite a bit.
The chef whose expression had just returned to normal raised her brows again, wondering how it could be that the very next participant would have made the exact same dish. Just like the staff member before, she felt like it wasn’t her place to judge that though. Thus, she still took another spoon and had a taste of this soup as well. Then, her brows furrowed. Not only did this dish look pretty much exactly the same, but it also tasted virtually the same as the one from before as if they had come out of the same pot. She couldn’t taste a difference at all!
“This …” She looked for the staff member from before but they were already leading Si Jin away and weren’t available anymore. Well, so much for that. The chef smiled wryly and turned back to Si Er, unsure of what to do.
Naturally, just based on this dish, she would have to let him pass, but having pretty much the same dish looked a bit as if maybe this guy had tried to cheat and taken something from the guy next to him. That was something she would have to have the staff members verify before she could give her final judgment call. “Since the staff member isn’t here right now, please wait a moment. I’ll taste the next ones in the meantime. I hope that you’re alright with that.”
Si Er nodded, even though he was a little unhappy that he wouldn’t be able to stand right next to his master started his big spectacle in front of young master Xiao. Ah, he should have done it like Si Yi who had quietly gone to another chef to make sure he would be able to follow his master to the stage in time. Well, it was too late now.
Meanwhile, the chef waved for Si San to step closer only for her eyes to bulge when she saw what was handed to her. “This is …?”
“Rice cake soup.” Si San couldn’t help but wonder why this woman was even asking. Wasn’t she supposed to be a professional? Well, in any case, as long as he was waved through, it would be alright.
The poor chef that had to taste the dishes was becoming more and more worried. In the end, she could only ask all the ninjas to wait there, hoping that the staff members would be able to clear things up.