Chapter 334: Snakeball Dragon Blood Congee
Translator: CatatoPatch Editor: Vermillion
Nights in the Hundred Thousand Mountains were immeasurably dead. As one walked along its mountainous roads, a certain sense of chilliness, carried along by the mountain breeze, would bombard the body, ever more so as one continued down this rocky path.
With just one foot into this gigantic mountain range, the atmosphere changed drastically.
That narrow mountain path, strewn full of leaves, seemed to reek of a rather unique stench; sour, almost reminiscent of wine brewing with its signature mellow and thick aroma.
Amidst the deafening silence, the soft cries of the insects became that much more moving as the symphony of bzzz and brrrs harmonized together into a song.
As Bu Fang stepped on the fallen leaves, they caved in, ever so softly like a layer soft cotton, a sensation one would not expect at all from such harsh terrain.
High above, the moon's silvery brilliance was all but blocked out by the lush canopy above. The fact that these trees were so verdant and lush spoke volumes about the Hundred Thousand Mountains and its primeval state.
The branching limbs of these trees seemed to spread endlessly over the horizon, and as the wind blew, they danced in the night like a demon waving its claws.
Treading through this eerie environment, anyone, as long as he was still a human at heart, would understandably be on edge.
Not Bu Fang, however, for he had Whitey behind him and that was no small degree of assurance, to be sure. Giving the robot a small pat on its rotund belly, he then continued onwards as if that mere act gave him the courage to press forward.
The Hundred Thousand Mountains were filled with dangers but it was just as full of treasures and resources. That was an undeniable fact.
Taking a few steps forward, his nose began to twitch and his brows jumped. Laying not too far ahead of him, sandwiched between two ancient trees, was a herb growing atop a little mound.
It was a spiritual herb, dyed in an eye-piercing red hue, fragrance just as pungent. Just a mere whiff of its smell was enough to bring a reflexive frown to one's face and stir up memories of flowing blood.
"Heart Blood Grass... a fifth grade spiritual herb," he muttered, eyes lighting up as he strolled toward the herb.
While the Heart Blood Grass might have looked as bloody as its namesake, it was more striking than anything else. From its delicate curves that seemed to rival the most bewitching of belles, to its dainty spots, there was nothing on it that didn't scream beauty.
Beneath such beauty, as always, laid a terrifying face to be uncovered-killing intent! From behind it, came an equally red little snake, scales glistening like a blood red jewel in the night. As its pitch black tongue gently hissed in the air, its serpentine eyes locked onto the human standing before it.
A fifth grade spirit beast. Bu Fang gasped to himself though that surprise didn't last long as he quickly came to a realization. This was a spirit herb, even if it was merely a fifth grade spirit herb, it was still a rare treasure and naturally had its own guardian.
That was probably why the Hundred Thousand Mountains was so dangerous-because everything inside it was a treasure of some sort. These treasures nurtured their own spirit beast and in turn, these spirit beasts guarded the treasures.
The two sides formed a symbiotic relationship and relied on each other for survival.
The tiny crimson snake eyed Bu Fang for a long while. Suddenly, its serpentine eyes narrowed and with a piercing hiss, it sprang into the air like a crimson bolt of lightning, right toward Bu Fang.
To those who dared to covet its treasure, death was the only answer it had for them!
The little snake was a fierce one. Its speed unusually quick for a beast of its grade. Had it been an old sixth grade Battle-Emperor facing it right now, they would have undoubtedly found it a difficult opponent.
However, Bu Fang was different. He was the picture of calmness at the moment.
His current self was a man worthy of the title Battle-Saint. As a Battle-Saint, he naturally had his strengths. He didn't even bother to take out his God of Cooking Set equipment, as he activated his true energy, reached out right as the little snake came flying toward him, and then clamped down like a vice on its body.
Just from its color alone, Bu Fang could tell that it was a poisonous snake. Thus, he knew he had to take extra charge when handling it.
True energy surging forth and eyes narrowing, Bu Fang used his own unique hand skill to crush the weak point of the snake's body. The little snake shuddered, struggling for a mere instant before letting out a weak gasp and collapsing lifeless lay in his palms.
As a chef, he naturally had his own special techniques for... handling ingredients. Grabbing both ends of the snake, he coiled the snake carcass around into a bundle before storing it in the system.
Without any interference from a guardian beast, Bu Fang was now able to harvest the spirit herb at his own leisure. He took a step forward but was immediately hit with a tidal wave of spiritual energy that came rushing out at him and left him slightly stunned.
That Heart Blood Grass... Its age must've been pretty high, its quality too!
Nights in a jungle weren't easy, whether it was for the eyes or the feet. Naturally, Bu Fang wasn't planning to travel all that much under such tiring conditions. All he planned to do was to find a place to rest and then wait till dawn.
However, that didn't mean he would ignore all those spirit herbs that so happened to grow along his path either.
While the spot Bu Fang was at could be considered a part of the Hundred Thousand Mountains, it still wasn't its deepest reaches. That was why herbs like those at the seventh or eighth grade hadn't appeared yet.
Gathering up some dried tinder, Bu Fang then used them to start a billowing fire whose smoke column seemed to rise endlessly into the horizon.
With that settled, he lowered himself onto the ground cross-legged and peered into its dancing luminescence in a daze.
In a distance sat Whitey, plump as always, mechanical eyes continuing to flicker in the dark. From time to time, the adorable-looking machine would reach for its head and give it a light scratch with its equally plump and large hands.
Amidst the deafening silence of the forest, only the periodic faint cries of the insects and the distant howls of beasts allowed one some measure of reprieve from this spooky, almost frightening atmosphere.
Having sat there in a daze for some time, Bu Fang began to feel a little bored himself so he went out foraging once more, coming back with a bunch of branches shortly after. He stacked them together to form a makeshift stove before retrieving a black wok from the system's inventory.
It wasn't a particularly large wok but it was roughly the size needed for stewing and steaming.
On long trips like these, especially ones that passed such mountain ranges, an iron wok was a necessity. Why? Because the mountain range was filled with delicacies waiting to be hunted and Bu Fang naturally wasn't willing to forget about that.
Soon, the Spirit Spring Water in the wok started to bubble furiously and a column of steam rose not too long after, filling the air with the crisp, refreshing sensation of spirit energy.
Bu Fang scooped a ladleful of the boiling liquid and gave it a couple of blows. Upon taking a sip, his body was filled with a sense of warmth and nourishment.
He exhaled in satisfaction. A cloud of green smoke coiled around his hands and soon after his Dragon Bone Kitchen Knife appeared within his palms.
The recently killed snake was retrieved as well from the system's inventory.
Giving the kitchen knife a quick twirl, Bu Fang deftly sliced apart the snake's belly, fingers dancing at a speed that left one's head spinning just to keep up. His practiced swift motions easily parted the snake's skin from its flesh in an instant. He then proceeded to remove the innards before giving the snake a wash down.
A little snake like that was packed to the brim with toxin so, naturally, a round of cleaning was needed before it could be used. From top to bottom, every inch of this snake could be said to be a treasure, but Bu Fang didn't care all too much about it. Snake gall and the whatnot were all discarded without a second thought; all he wanted was the snake meat and nothing else.
Compared to the immense nourishing qualities of the snake gall and innards, he'd much rather focus on the delicacy that was the snake meat.
Bu Fang took out a small serving of Dragon Blood Rice and poured it into the bubbling wok of Spirit Spring Water. With each and every grain eye-catching with it redness and freshness, they almost seemed to transform into beautiful rubies as they danced in the piping hot spring water.
In the meantime, while the rice continued to boil, Bu Fang began processing the snake meat.
First off, he sliced the snake meat into tiny pieces, continuously raining chop after chop with his Dragon Bone Kitchen Knife until finally the slightly red meat was minced into a fine paste.
Having chopped it for a good long while, the snake meat was basically one processed lump that was clinging to his prepared wooden chopping board. It was at that moment that the Dragon Blood Rice concoction came up to a boil once more, slowly filling the air with the refreshing feel of spirit energy as its thick fragrance wafted out from the pot.
The energies within the rice were extremely dense and as they tumbled around the wok, transforming into a cloudy little dragon that coiled around atop the iron wok.
Grasping the Dragon Bone Kitchen Knife in his hand, Bu Fang gave a showy flourish with his knife before deftly picking up the wooden chopping board, slicing off lumps of the snake meat and dropping them into the wok, one at a time.
The boiling Spirit Spring Water instantly enveloped the meat, causing it to tumble around for a second or two before sinking to the bottom amidst a plop, as if the cloudy dragon was the one being fed the meat balls instead.
Soon, the minced snake meat was all dropped into the pot and a thick cloud of meat fragrance was starting to waft out of the wok, along which came that familiar refreshing sensation of spirit energy from the Dragon Blood Rice. Combined together, the two ingredients seemed to create a unique sensation in oneself.
Gathering his true energy, Bu Fang placed his hand over the top of the metal wok's side and closed his eyes slightly. Amidst all the boiling ingredients, he was able to sense the bubbling spirit energies within.
The quality of the snake meat, thanks to the reaction with the Dragon Blood Rice and the boiling Spirit Spring Water, was starting to change. With the way the spirit energy of the rice and water mixed, the wok seemed to have birthed its own unique fragrance.
The moment that rich fragrance broke loose of its watery restraints, it burst forth in all directions with a radiance that lit up the blackened forest in an instant, as if the wok was some kind of sun lamp.
Seeing that, Bu Fang couldn't help but feel a little pleased with himself. This was what the culinary arts were all about, in all its mouth-watery beauty. Even amidst the wilderness of the Hundred Thousand Mountains, one was still able to savor such a delicacy as long as he possessed the skill to do so.
Furthermore, this gastronomic artwork was warming as well!
The appetizing fragrance slowly began to make its way around the forest like a seductive lady dancing in the wind as it circled around the trees. Soon, scratching sounds could be heard, echoing from within the silent abyss that was the night forest. A pair of greedy pupils appeared in the middle of all that.
A sonorous roar resounded throughout the night sky.
One by one, spirit beasts started congregating toward Bu Fang.
Such a rich fragrance, such abundant spirit energy, how could they even resist such a temptation? No, they could not!
Bu Fang withdrew his palm from the side of the wok and gently breathed. His heart was astir with excitement right now-his cooking was finally done.
A self-invented Snakeball Dragon Blood Congee. From the looks of things, it was going to be a feast for his palette. Bu Fang happily thought to himself with brimming confidence.
From the system's inventory, he retrieved a porcelain bowl.
Each time he went on a journey, he packed the system with a variety of necessities. To him, every journey was a culinary adventure. And since it was a culinary adventure, he naturally needed a variety of tools.
Woks, bowls, ladles and plates; whatever one could think of, he had.
Scooping out a bowl full of fresh red congee, he lowered his face down onto the steaming dish and took a deep whiff of its fragrance. Immediately, his face lit up in satisfaction.
As the porcelain ladle scooped out the congee, a couple of tender snakeballs would come jiggling to the surface. With the way they seemed to wobble with the steam, the balls seemed almost endearing to Bu Fang.
Yet, just as he was about to dig into the congee, his hand paused. All around him, he could hear the low growl of beasts.
Why were there beast growling? Bu Fang asked himself, slightly shocked.
Bu Fang downed the spoonful of congee he scooped out and then stood up, giving his surroundings a confused look.
The moment he stood up, his surroundings echoed with a faint scratching.
One after another, the shadowy figures of beasts could be seen coming out of the darkness, with cold greedy eyes fixed squarely in the direction of Bu Fang.
The terror of the Hundred Thousand Mountains was finally brought to bear against Bu Fang. It was a pack of spirit wolves-one of the most terrifying killers in the mountain range.