"Xiao Ben, what are you cooking?" a gentle female voice entering my ears.
The owner of this voice is Ming Mei, my wife. We just married couple month ago and have a good life together in this capital city. My job is a cook in Royal Palace although my level is only a junior cook there.
"I'm cooking for tomorrow's King lunch Ming-Er"
"You already cook it now although the lunch is still tomorrow?"
"Um. I want to make the King impressed with my cooking, so I can be promoted to senior cook"
King Shi Lie The make a competition about the dishes during his lunchtime. He gives an opportunity for one young cook every day to impress him with a new dish. The junior cook who able to impress him will automatically promote to senior cook, which mean more salary he will get every month.
Tomorrow is my turn to present the King with the new dish. I don't want to miss this chance since there are hundreds of junior cook in the palace. If I miss this chance, which means I must wait next year to be able to make a new dish presentation in front of the king.
Moreover, I need this salary rise for Ming Mei. She's already pregnant with my first child. I want to have enough savings for my first kid.
"Mmm...I believe Ben Ben can do that. Your cooking is always delicious. Even with only leftover that you bring from Palace kitchen"
I'm smiling hearing my wife praise. The greatest happiness for a cook is when people who eat his cooking said his food is delicious.
"Um. With your support, I'm feeling tomorrow I will succeed to conquer his majesty appetite. If I can become a senior cook, we will not worry about money for our child"
"Mmm Ben ben is so caring. I'm happy to become your wife. Please continue, my husband, I will watch you from the side. Watching your back while cooking is also pleasant in my eyes"
Ming Mei retreats to the dining table after left me a kiss in my cheek. With the support of my lovely wife, I'm feeling my spirit rise ten-time fold, make me can more focus on my cooking.
I'm watching the ingredients that currently boiled in a pot with the small fire. Although the process of this dish is taking a long time, I'm believe the result also good.
Next day, In Palace Kitchen.
I already place the pot that made up last night in the kitchen stove and still simmering it.
"Junior cook, Ben, what do you made for today King's lunch? You are the one who gets today turn, right?"
I look at the one who talks to me. His name is Bao Tong, a senior cook in the kitchen. Since the one who asks is my senior, I can't refuse to answer him, but I also can't reveal my dish to him.
"I made soup for your highness lunch, senior"
"Oh, soup. Well, good luck then. Most of the junior who get this opportunity usually fight with the main dish, but you choose use soup. No wonder you called a talented young cook, you have insight that different with common cook"
"Senior has overpraised me. It's just me who don't have the confidence to make the main dish, so only cowardly make the soup for your highness"
"Hahaha, don't be so low profile like that. The side dish that you make already caught attention from some prince and princess you know? Anyway, what's your main ingredient for soup?"
"It's fish, senior"
"Fish? Don't you know your highness hate the fish because of its bones? Don't ruin your chances with using fish, junior Ben"
"Thanks for your concern, senior Bao. But I already removed all the bones from the fish, you don't have to worry"
"Oh really, well good luck with your soup then, I still have matters to take care"
"Goodbye Senior Bao"
Although we not close, his attention for me makes me touched. Yes, I know the King hate fish because its bones, that why if I can make something delicious from something he hates, his impression to me will be deeper. Unfortunately, I don't notice the sinister smile in senior cook Bao lips when he left me.