Chapter 187: The Danger of Owner Bu
Translator: E.3.3. Editor: Vermillion
On a dark night, the snow lingered, and two crescent moons rested partly hidden between the clouds.
Light Wind Empire Imperial City, the Palace.
The inside of the main halls of the palace were brightly lit. The sound of dance and music echoed ceaselessly and the aroma of fine wine and gourmet delicacies pervaded the air of the palace. At the center, female dancers twirled their waists, trying hard to show off their beauty.
Court musicians, sitting in a corner, heartily performed pleasant melodies. The female dancers twirled and fluttered gracefully in accordance with the music. It was dazzlingly beautiful, making it difficult to swerve one's gaze elsewhere.
In the upper tiers of the main halls, Ji Chengxue sat upon the throne dressed in fine, luxurious garments. On the two sides sat important ministers of the royal court, many of which were new faces. They were obviously promoted by Ji Chengxue after the grand cleansing took place.
The big name households of the empire were also seated. Were it the members of the Xiao family, the Ouyang family, or the Yang family, they all sat within the main halls toasting each other, emitting waves of laughters.
The Ghost Chef sat close to Ji Chengxue. The wrinkles on his face stirred, revealing his contentment within.
"Master Wang, this sovereign has heard the former emperor's praise of the master back when he was still active and well. He said the master is a legend of the empire, having travelled across the continent for decades, and has witnessed countless wondrous spectacles as well as people and phenomenon. Allegedly, it was because the master desired to cultivate his cooking skills. It really demands this sovereign's admiration."
Ji Chengxue filled a white jade cup with Bejewelled Nectar Wine as he verbally esteemed the Ghost Chef Wang Ding. Just as his voice faded, he drained the wine within the cup with one gulp.
Wang Ding also lifted the jade cup, expressed his appreciation towards Ji Chengxue, and gulped down the wine. He smacked his lips and acclaimed that it was good wine.
"Your Majesty, you mistakenly flatter me. This old fellow is nothing more than someone who wandered about the continent, certainly unworthy of the weight of your Majesty's commendation." Wang Ding smiled softly.
Ji Chengxue sincerely revered the elder before him. Of course, a large part came from his cooking skills and other capabilities. But the story that Ghost Chef Wang Ding had journeyed across the continent was indeed truthful.
"Master Wang is being modest. The Hidden Dragon Continent is vast and without boundaries. This sovereign is aware that the Light Wind Empire is nothing more than a pellet-sized dot within the continent. My heart yearns for the vast universe out there, and thus this deference to the master comes from the bottom of the heart.
"If Master Wang can afford his time, how about introducing this sovereign to some of the places within the Hidden Dragon Continent, for the sake of satisfying this sovereign's curiosity." Ji Chengxue faced the Ghost Chef Wang Ding, rising the glass again as he spoke.
The Ghost Chef did not turn down the request. He was actually born in the Light Wind Empire, and as the Empire prospered, his fame as the Ghost Chef also spread. The numerous years afterwards he spent roaming through the continent, and it was only a couple of years ago that he settled in seclusion outside of the Wildlands, in Qingyang Town, and opened a small restaurant.
The crowd within the main halls suddenly turned to gaze at the Ghost Chef, while their ears perked up. One often felt an inexplicable yearning for the unknown, and even those as noble and privileged as the imperial aristocrats could not escape this. Even someone as almighty as Xiao Meng held his breath in curiosity.
"This old fellow had travelled across the continent for decades. It's a shame to admit that I have yet to cover the entire continent. The continent is boundless, and this old fellow believes he could never reach the ends even if he devoted an entire lifetime. But this old fellow did not end up empty-handed.
"Your Majesty should be aware of the Wildlands. It is vast in territory, filled with countless savage beasts, and is practically known as a forbidden zone to humans. But in the continent, there are many regions as such." The Ghost Chef Wang Ding took a sip of the Bejewelled Nectar Wine, emitted a long breath, and said slowly.
"Up north there is a field of vast, boundless swamp known as the Illusory Spirit Swamp. Its level of menace is not even a degree lower than that of the Wildlands. The spirit swamp is broad, but the species of spirit beasts are rich and the amount of spirit herbs innumerable. Even seventh grade spirit herbs exist there. This old fellow trekked across the Illusory Spirit Swamp for many years and has witnessed plenty of peculiar species, for example, the serpent-men tribes, the scorpion-men tribes, and more."
The crowd within the main halls gasped, taking in a chilled breath, serpent-men tribes... that sounded pretty incredible.
"There is a big city in the spirit swamp, built by the serpent-men tribes, that is towering and majestic. There are many warriors among the serpent-men tribe, much more than the Light Wind Empire can conceive. Within the Illusory Spirit Swamp, the serpent-men aren't the strongest. Instead, there is another villa erected among the clouds, called the White Cloud Villa. This old fellow has only heard of this villa's name but has yet to witness it with his own eyes."
Ji Chengxue's eyes sparkled, a gush of heated blood surged up his heart as he took in a chilled breath. White Cloud Villa, serpent-men city... The continent was immense, and it truly contained an infinite variety of fantastic phenomena.
"In the east, there is a plain of continuous large mountains, referred to as the Hundred Thousand Mountains, where there is an endless sweep of mountainous ranges and peaks. That was the most frightening zone for this old fellow, who spent a decade there but could not reach the ends of the ridges... The forces of power within the mountain ranges are complex, there are spirit beasts, humans, and unknown species. They all compete for the resources within the mountains for self development.
"In the south, there is a boundless ocean. It stretches beyond one's visual horizons, but nobody could tell where it ended..."
The Ghost Chef Wang Ding shared a great deal, or maybe it has been too long since he last told his tales. That night, he unleashed his words, describing with meticulous details his adventures. For the crowd within the main halls, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
It turned out that the continent... was really that limitless and beyond belief.
"Master Wang really is a saint. All these places you've mentioned are unimaginable for us here. The northern Illusory Spirit Swamp, the eastern Hundred Thousand Mountains, the Southern boundless ocean... Hmm, the mere sound of it floods this sovereign's heart with emotions." Ji Chengxue raised the wine glass once again, and toasted the Ghost Chef Wang Ding.
Wang Ding also raised his wine glass and drained it.
Suddenly, a waft of aroma drifted by, and a number of graceful court maids carrying porcelain plates strolled in. Rich fragrance emanated from the porcelain plates.
Ji Chengxue noticed this and suddenly burst into laughter, "Haha, finally here, Master Wang, give this a taste, here is the Oyster Bun that this sovereign specially ordered someone to purchase from Owner Bu. Master Wang has intensively studied cooking and would probably appreciate it."
The Ghost Chef Wang Ding was taken back. His gaze turned to the porcelain plate that court maids have laid down in front of him. Within the plate was a piece of round-shaped, plump golden fried bun.
Ji Chengxue licked his lips, picked up the piece of Oyster Pancake, and took a bite. Suddenly, the rich aroma burst forth, and with the plump oyster in his mouth he felt completely intoxicated. Because of preoccupation with busy court affairs, whenever he needed to satisfy his cravings, he could only eat this Oyster Bun.
So savory... unbelievably savory!
The Ghost Chef took in a deep breath, and as the rich fragrance provoked his taste buds, he was unable to restrain his mouth from watering.
He also picked up this Oyster Bun and took a bite. It made a light crispy sound.
As the outmost layers of the Oyster Bun was ripped open, its aroma burst out like an exploding bomb and embraced the Ghost Chef, keeping him intoxicated and unable to escape. His mouth could not stop chewing, and the fragrances from the meat, oysters, and shredded turnips intermingled, presenting him with an unprecedented taste and texture.
"Delicious! Absolutely too delicious!" Wang Ding snapped back to reality and swallowed a mouthful as he showered it with praise.
"Haha! As long as Master Wang likes it. Since this sovereign planned the banquet, he specifically ordered many people to head down and purchase this Oyster Bun from Owner Bu. Each person is limited to one order, and each order only contains two pieces. With this many orders of Oyster Pancake, Owner Bu is probably feeling exhausted by now." Ji Chengxue chuckled.
"Owner Bu? Do you mean the owner of Fang Fang's Little Store, located in the alleyway?" Wang Ding was dumfounded. He gazed at Ji Chengxue as he asked in bewilderment.
"Precisely. Could it be Master Wang is acquainted with Owner Bu?" Ji Chengxue was astonished.
The Ghost Chef Wang Ding shook his head with an odd look on his face, took a bite out of the Oyster Bun, and replied: "I had just left the store before entering the palace."
Oh? Ji Chengxue was immensely intrigued. The Ghost Chef Wang Ding was acclaimed as the man with the greatest cooking skills within the Empire. It was fascinating to know what kind of feedbacks he would give after trying Owner Bu's cooking.
"Owner Bu's cooking abilities is flawless. What is unique is that every dish of his contains a rich concentration of true energy, this is extremely inconceivable and not something a commoner can achieve," the Ghost Chef added. But just as he finished speaking, his brows formed a frown.
"But... Your Majesty, there is something to be mentioned, but this old fellow is unsure whether that is appropriate."
"Speak your mind freely." Ji Chengxue regained a serious posture.
"This little store has an ambiguous origin, and Owner Bu is of an unknown identity. Their existence in the Light Wind Empire Imperial City, within the capital of a kingdom, may bring about unthinkable disaster to the Imperial City." The wrinkles on the Ghost Chef's face froze as he spoke earnestly.
At this claim, Ji Chengxue, Xiao Meng, and Grandpa Ouyang all blanched in astonishment.
Owner Bu will bring catastrophe to the Imperial City? Now that sounds like a joke...