Chapter 279: A Unique Temporary Task
Translator: E.3.3. Editor: Vermillion
"Temporary Task: The host shall head to the Western Mystery City and join the armed forces as the army chef. During this period, please cook three dishes that the system deems satisfactory, but only with the available ingredients.
"The task reward: ten percent increase in your true energy cultivation, as well as one fragment of the God of Cooking Set (To become a chef at the highest level of the food chain, the God of Cooking in the Fantasy World, you must be able to cook gourmet delicacies even under the most difficult conditions. There are no limits when it comes to cultivating one's cooking skills. Work hard, young man)."
Bu Fang slouched in the chair before the entrance of the store, but his mind was ringing with the solemn voice of the system.
He forced open his sleepy eyes into a thin slit, and then suddenly widened them. His eyes lit up.
"Huh? Temporary task?" Bu Fang was taken aback as it had been a while since he last received a temporary assignment from the system. This sudden ambush almost made him jump up in surprise. The contents of this assignment also came as a shock to him.
"Join the armed forces and become the army chef?" Bu Fang's face was filled with perplexity as he blurted this out. His heart was filled with skepticism and puzzlement.
"Army chef, as in a cook that trails the forces? So basically a military chef. The system wants me to join the army... I mean, cook food for the army?"
Bu Fang widened his eyes as he smacked his lips. In all honesty, he was not pleased with this arrangement as being an army chef was no easy task. Not only did he need to keep up with the pace of the army and join their expedition... there was also the possibility of being forced onto the battlefield. Bu Fang felt extremely reluctant.
In his perspective... what did this even have to do with becoming the God of Cooking? Wasn't it enough to stay in the kitchen and work on one's dishes? Why was it necessary to join the army and tire himself to death?
Bu Fang's mouth twitched. Nonetheless, the system's reward this time was very enticing.
"Ten percent increase in my true energy cultivation, on top of one fragment of the God of Cooking Set... the prizes are attractive!" Bu Fang weighed as his heart thudded with excitement.
A ten percent increase in true energy cultivation could save Bu Fang a lot of time and energy. For someone eager to advance one's cultivation level as fast as possible, Bu Fang found the offer very practical.
Then there was the fragment of the God of Cooking Set, something that especially tickled Bu Fang's heart. As of that moment, he had collected two of three fragments. He thought he'd have to wait until his next advancement in cultivation to receive another piece. This sudden task was truly unexpected.
Bu Fang leaned back into his chair and stared at the sky blankly, debating with himself inside.
The sound of footsteps resounded in the small alleyway. Xiao Yanyu and her brother, Xiao Yue, made their way through.
Xiao Yanyu had returned to the Imperial City a couple of days ago since everything back in the Southern City was finally settled. Though the Xiao family in the Southern City gained nothing from the great battle, and even suffered some losses, fortunately, it was nothing too unbearable.
Xiao Xianyu stayed a couple more days in the Southern City and then departed for the Imperial City. Now that the entire Light Wind Empire had fallen into chaos, with the uprising of wars everywhere, Xiao Meng was anxious for her safety and requested for her return.
Yet once Xiao Yanyu returned to the capital, Xiao Meng was immediately off to the battlegrounds.
"Owner Bu, please give me a jar of Ice Heart Jade Urn Wine."
Xiao Yue stepped into the store and found a familiar seat. He made his order with a raspy voice, beckoning at Bu Fang, who was lying on a chair before the front door.
Xiao Yanyu also ordered a couple of dishes with Ouyang Xiaoyi.
Bu Fang stood up from his chair, stretched himself, and took a couple of steps with hands behind his back. Then, he nodded at Xiao Yanyu and Xiao Meng before stepping into the kitchen.
Inside, Xiao Xiaolong and Yu Fu were cooking away. Their skills had clearly improved over time. Though they still couldn't compare with Bu Fang, they had reached a level that Bu Fang deemed basically acceptable.
Pulling out his knife, Bu Fang began to prepare the ingredients. With his mind totally focused, he had become even more proficient with his knife skills, allowing him to process the ingredients more efficiently and swiftly.
Bu Fang did feel like his knife techniques reached a bottleneck since he had already fulfilled the Meteor Knife Technique Proficiency.
He lit up the fire and heated the pot, with movements flowing like streams of water. The dishes were quickly cooked under his hands. An intoxicating aroma drifted out of the kitchen and pervaded the air within the store.
Not after long, Bu Fang finished up and placed the dishes on the kitchen window, to be carried off by Ouyang Xiaoyi.
Bu Fang wiped his hands and carried a jar of Ice Heart Jade Urn Wine out of the kitchen. He approached Xiao Yanyu and Xiao Yue's table and handed the wine jar to the latter.
Xiao Yue popped open the lid on the wine jar and poured himself a cup, happily taking a sip.
Bu Fang pulled over a chair and sat across from them as he calmly studied the two.
Xiao Meng's expedition did bring the Imperial City much good news. After leaving the capital, he had traveled through many counties and suppressed countless rebels. This was certainly a positive break from all the bad news received by the Imperial City.
Ji Chengxue was somewhat reassured but also knew that it was not the time to relax. Xiao Meng had yet to encounter Ji Chengyu's forces. Given the solid backbone supporting Ji Chengyu, one couldn't easily tell how powerful his armies were. If Xiao Meng lost to him, then the whole empire would face a truly bitter struggle.
Bu Fang chatted with Xiao Yue extensively. Since he had decided to join the forces as an army chef, he needed to gain some basic understanding of military operations. Though Xiao Yue did not frequently stay in the army himself, he was still more knowledgeable in this area than Bu Fang.
The two talked about many things. Bu Fang asked the questions and Xiao Yue provided the answers. Xiao Yue, however, was also somewhat puzzled at Bu Fang's many inquiries about the army today.
As the conversation wrapped up, the wine drunk, and dishes eaten, the two bid farewell to Bu Fang and left the store.
Customers came and went throughout the day. As the store's fame grew, its business also flourished. With business thriving, Bu Fang was also closer to advancing his cultivation.
A day's business had finally ended. The exhausted Ouyang Xiaoyi and Xiao Xiaolong bid farewell to Bu Fang. Yu Fu also retired to her room for some rest.
By nightfall, the lights within the store's kitchen still flickered brightly. Bu Fang was practicing a very familiar dish. As an ambitious chef, he had the habit of practicing his dishes every day to ensure they were maintained at the highest quality.
"System, when can I set off for the Western Mystery City? How do I join the army?" Bu Fang had already returned to his room and took a shower. He wiped his damp hair as he asked the system.
"In two days, the system will activate the teleportation array. As for how to join the army, that is the host's responsibility," the system replied solemnly.
Bu Fang curled the corners of his mouth. So basically he had to find a way to sneak into the army himself? This was the first time he realized how... unreliable was this system.
Just thinking about this gave Bu Fang a headache. Join the army... how? Would the army just take him in? Why would they even do that?
Blinking his eyes, Bu Fang suddenly felt like this trip to the Western Mystery City was one hazy conundrum.
Unable to come up with a good solution, Bu Fang flopped onto his bed and fell into a deep sleep.
Compared to beating his head against the wall, sleep was much more important.
Two days passed by in a flash.
During this time the store operated as usual. He also completed his daily cooking practices.
"Um... I'm leaving the store again in a bit. This is for my own cooking training. As to when I'm coming back, I cannot be certain. The store's business will fall on your shoulders." Bu Fang instructed Xiao Xiaolong and Yu Fu, who were in the kitchen, in a serious tone.
"Once I get back, I'll teach you new dishes."
Xiao Xiaolong and Yu Fu's eyes instantly sparkled. The former patted his chest and confidently promised to look after the store.
Yu Fu also nodded gently to Bu Fang's instructions.
Bu Fang patted Xiao Xiaolong's shoulders and nodded his head, throwing him a reassuring glance: "Work hard, young man. I'll test your knife skills, carving techniques, and cooking abilities once I get back. A punishment is in place for whoever loses."
Again... Xiao Xiaolong's face froze, looking like he was banished to hell. He was knowledgeable of the punishment. Even as he recalled it now, his heart trembled and his wrists even throbbed with main.
Yu Fu, in seeing Xiao Xiaolong's long face, couldn't help but burst into a laugh.
Bu Fang bid them farewell and returned to his own room.
"The second stop of the Delicacy Map, the Western Mystery City, activated."
The system's stern voice rang. Then, with his sharp eyes, Bu Fang noticed that a white dot appeared in the air. The dot began to circulate, drawing out a mystifying array.
Bu Fang was no longer awed by it since he had traveled through this array multiple times already.
"The second stop of the Delicacy Map? There's also a temporary assignment in the mix." Bu Fang muttered quietly. Then, the array swirling in the air finally materialized.
A wild wind whistled, obscuring Bu Fang's figure.
In the very next moment, the stormy wind became motionless. Peace and tranquility were restored to the room, but Bu Fang's body was nowhere to be seen.