Chapter 251: Monster of the Dragon River
Translator: E.3.3. Editor: Vermillion
Outside the Southern City, spring showers drizzled down.
The sun that hung in the sky radiated like a big ball of fire, emanating an irritating amount of heat. On the banks of the Dragon River, there remained many people fishing quietly. They held their breaths as they sat there, waiting for a plump fish swimming in the stream to bite the bait.
Upon the Dragon River sat fishing boats afloat. Some folks sat cross-legged on the boats, completely at ease. Others cast their fishing nets into the water to capture the fleshy fishes of the Dragon River.
At the Ten-Mile Pavilion of the Southern City.
A row of men in black sauntered in. They wore veils and bamboo hats that fully concealed their faces, so nobody could easily recognize them. But the energy their bodies emitted was both sinister and frightening.
Many folks resting in the Ten-Mile Pavilion knitted their brows and kept their distance when they saw these men. Indeed, these men in black gave others quite an unpleasant feeling.
"The Southern City is right ahead of us. The river that envelops the city is the Dragon River." A hoarse voice rang in the air, stopping the steps of this squad of men.
"The Dragon River? Haha... it's time to make it a genuine river of dragon." Another raspy voice echoed in everyone's ears, prompting squeals of laughters with his remark.
This crew of men continued walking along the road until they hit the Dragon River. Sensing the surging flow of water, these men felt a trace of excitement smear across their concealed faces.
"Xiao Meng's daughter is currently in the city, right? I wonder whether Xiao Meng would rush to the Southern City if he knew his daughter was in danger?"
"Xiao Meng is the great general who guards the Imperial City. He would not leave there easily for the Southern City... but no matter what, our plan must go on." The scratchy voice chuckled.
They said no more and proceeded to summoning the true energy within their bodies. Dark mystifying magic arrays appeared in their hands, within which peculiar energies fluctuated.
"Into the water."
One of the five men burst out a shout. Then, all five marched forward and miraculously stepped onto the water without sinking in. In other words, they were floating on the surface of the river.
They ferociously dipped their palms, which were wrapped by dark magic arrays, into the river stream.
Strange waves of fluctuation spread outwards, until the entire surface of the river was covered by such ripples.
Those fishing fluttered open their eyelids, revealing a trace of confusion in their gazes.
The fishing boats also shook ever so slightly, prompting the fishermen to raise their heads up in alarm. Yet, after a look around, they found nothing unusual.
The five-men squad took their hands out of the river, sniggered with low voices, and backed onto the shore. The magic arrays in their hands had already disappeared. Then, the five merely stared blankly at the Dragon River.
Rays of sunlight pierced through the sky. Watching from a higher plain, one could notice that below the Dragon River... a gigantic shadow was vaguely emerging.
Bu Fang stared at the steaming hot Dragon River Vinegar Fish before him, his eyes sparkling slightly.
A dark-colored sauce was poured over the plump fish. Its white, aromatic flesh was emitting a rich fragrance. One couldn't help but take in a deep breath.
The fish was big in size and cut by the chef into two halves along its stomach. The left half was processed with unique carving techniques-sliced vertically five times with the third cut horizontal. On the right half, a deep slit could be traced along the spine, without any damage done to the outer skin.
The chef evidently handled this Dragon River Vinegar Fish with the utmost proficiency. Both the carving and cutting exhibited rich experience and skillful technique, much better than the processing of the foie gras.
An addition suddenly appeared in the recipe journal provided by the system, causing Bu Fang to narrow his eyes. He had his fair share of dishes ever since entering the Southern City, yet none had been recorded into this recipe journal. So far, only this Dragon River Vinegar Fish made it into the journal. It seemed like the dish must be deemed authentic and delicious enough to be bookmarked by the recipe journal.
Once the dish had been recorded, Bu Fang could easily discern every step of its making, which meant he could easily learn how to cook it. This was definitely a wonderful and convenient function for Bu Fang.
"Owner Bu, have a taste. This Dragon River Vinegar Fish is very fine." Xiao Yanyu peered at Bu Fang and smiled.
Bu Fang nodded, picked up the bamboo chopsticks again, and went for it.
His chopsticks flicked, removing a piece of skin, thus allowing the rich, aromatic sauce to seep into the white, soft fish's flesh. Afterwards, Bu Fang exerted some force and picked up a huge piece of juicy, tender fish. The flesh, held between the chopsticks, quivered slightly as it emanated warm steams and a dense fragrance.
Bu Fang cast a glance at this piece of fish and lightly nodded. This plump fish of the Dragon River was a little better than those found in the Illusory Spirit Swamp. After all, the fishes differed given varying kinds of living environments. The conditions of the Dragon River were excellent, and so naturally its fishes were fresh and fleshy.
Once entering the mouth, the fish's flesh softened, as if melting into a river of sauce that trickled down one's throat. The faint acidic flavor also burst forth, mixed with a hint of sweetness.
This taste lingered in his mouth, causing Bu Fang to squint his eyes. It left a sense of delight in his heart.
"How is it?" Xiao Yanyu, chin in her hands and exquisite wrist exposed, smiled at Bu Fang.
Bu Fang nodded his head. After all, this was the authentic Dragon River Vinegar Fish. Its taste was naturally good. But then again, there were also plenty of flaws and more room for improvement. Bu Fang picked up another piece of fish and puckered his lips.
Xiao Yanyu also picked up a piece of fish and sent it into her mouth. Her red lips parted slightly as she chewed softly, trying to feel that fragrance spread through her teeth and tongue.
The other side dishes were also served. Each, steaming hot, looked rather delicate. The aroma of these dishes pervaded in the air, stimulating one's appetite.
Bu Fang took another bite of the fish as he fell into a deep contemplation. The recipe journal didn't merely record the procedures of this Dragon River Vinegar Fish but also marked a bunch of improvements, which were more suitable for oceanic spirit beasts.
Although the cooking of this Dragon River Vinegar Fish preserved its tastiness, it had lost the original spirit energy. The plump fish of the Dragon River was a second grade spirit beast that contained a degree of spirit energy in its flesh. Yet, no spirit energy could be found in this cooked fish, which was quite a waste.
The recommended improvements recorded in the journal even underlined how to circulate spirit energy during cooking so that none of the ingredients' spirit energy would vanish.
This was the dream of many chefs. However, circulating the spirit energy during cooking was really too difficult to grasp. It usually required thousands of times of practices before someone could master it and truly preserve the spirit energy of the ingredients. This was why Elixir Cuisines were so hard to cook.
"Ah! Somebody got hurt!"
A commotion broke out right beneath the Drunken Fragrance Restaurant, disrupting Bu Fang's chain of thought. Xiao Yanyu cast a glance at Bu Fang and both peered downwards.
The streets near the city gates had burst into chaos, as flurried crowds jammed the roads so badly that not even a flood could get through.
"Go get a doctor! Don't just stand here!"
At the entrance to the city, a young man drenched in water looked around the crowd with bloodshot eyes and shouted in fury. His eyes were filled with desperation and fear.
Laying before him was a fragile middle-aged man with both legs broken. Blood gushed out nonstop, forming a pool of gory redness.
His legs were injured by horizontal gashes, as if bitten by something savage. Even his bones could be easily discerned.
Waves after waves of wounded people were carried through the city gates. They all seemed to have the same injury-their bodies suffering serious bites. Crimson blood was dying the entire entrance to the Southern City red. A repulsive smell of blood dissipated in the air.
"What's going on? Why are there suddenly so many injuries? It looks like they are all fishermen of the Dragon River." Xiao Yanyu was dumbstruck as she opened her mouth in astonishment.
As the moat of the Southern City, the Dragon River naturally contained plenty of spirit beasts, the levels of which were not high though. The cultivation of these fishermen were also at first or second grade tops. Their source of true energy was weak but enough to fish and provide for their families.
In the past years, only someone coming across a strong spirit beast that had accidentally entered the Dragon River would be bitten and wounded. However, the situation this time was way worse and simply too horrifying.
"That wound... must have been caused by some kind of large predatory fish." Bu Fang observed.
Huh? Xiao Yanyu was dumbfounded, unable to understand what Bu Fang was talking about.
"Let's go down to take a look." Bu Fang didn't offer any further explanations. He had already tasted this Dragon River Vinegar Fish and recorded the dish into his recipe journal. As for this imperfect plate of Dragon River Vinegar Fish, Bu Fang no longer had any yearnings for it. Besides, the spreading smell of blood had also badly affected his appetite.
The environment in which one dined could have tremendous influences on one's appetite.
Xiao Yanyu nodded along and put on her veil again. Bu Fang called for the waiter and paid him two golden coins.
They didn't ask for the change and directly walked down the stairs, heading for the miserable sights by the city gates.
Armored guards rushed through the streets. They quickly sealed off the scene and dissolved the crowds to restore order.
Wounded fishermen continued to be carried in through the entrance. The residents of the Southern City felt their hearts sink. It looked like the spirit beast that had accidentally entered the Dragon River this time was a tough one.
"Ouch!! There's a monster!"
Suddenly, the fishermen burst into an uproar outside of the city's entrance. Their hollers caused everyone gathering by the southern city gate to panic.
A deafening roar spread from outside the city.