Minli entered the open air pavilion. At the center, two stools and a small table of elaborately carved gingko wood waited for them. A large, finely woven bamboo basket as tall as Minli's waist stood next to the chairs. The king eagerly lifted off its lid and rich, warm aromas floated in the air, making Minli's stomach grumble.
The king took out the plates of delicate pink shrimp dumplings, savory noodles and pork, dragon's beard bean sprouts, emerald green chives, and a bowl of white jade tofu soup. A pot of tea and an assortment of cakes sat on the bottom layer of the basket, to finish off the dinner.