The moment that light shone from within the bear paw, everyone present could not help exclaiming in surprise. The sight was really too awe-inspiring, and its beauty was enough to make one feel slightly intoxicated. The dazzling light and tantalizing aroma were a combination that generated infatuation from the spectators, who felt almost unable to resist.
"Another dish that emits light," grandmaster Xuan Ming said with a serious tone of voice as he narrowed his eyes.
For a dish to emit light, the amount of spiritual energy it contained would have to have reached a considerable level; otherwise, the dish itself would not be able to undergo such a qualitative transformation and emit such resplendent brilliance.
The bear paw was smeared with a thick layer of red broth. The steam emanating from the boiling broth highlighted the contours of the bear paw, making it crystal clear.
Grandmaster Xuan Ming moved his chopsticks, trying to pick up the bear paw. The dish was tender, not tough; despite that, it was slippery and difficult to pick up.
Even Grandmaster Xuan Ming was unable to use his chopsticks to grasp the paw. This made him slightly embarrassed. However, he kept at it, and after a few more tries, he was able to grasp and pull a piece of crystal clear bear paw meat.
The piping-hot piece of bear paw meat was topped with bits of chopped up spirit herbs, making it resemble a dragon-looking horn. The red broth dripping of the piece of meat exuded steam.
Although the aroma emanating from the piece was fragrant, it was not too dense.
If a piece of meat from the bear paw was placed into one's mouth, the aroma of bear meat would permeate every cranny of their oral orifice. The aroma was fresh and didn't stink, so it would not make anyone feel nervous. In fact, it was this aroma that made the rich flavor in the bear meat burst forth when it was chewed.
Unlike a lot of other meat, the bear paw meat was chewy, for within the bear paw meat there were also bits of chopped up spirit herbs. When chewed, the bear paw meat would not melt in one's mouth. Even if it was boiled until it was really tender, the meat would still remain chewy.
However, after being chewed for a while, a different flavor would begin to emerge from the bear paw meat.
Ba Ji Ba Ji...
When Grandmaster Xuan Ming began to chew, his eyes widened, and the spectators licked their lips while staring at him with curiosity-filled gazes.
"How is it? How does the dish taste?" Grandmaster Gu He eagerly asked. He also wished to have a bite, but since Xuan Ming was the host, he had to give Xuan Ming some face.
"Tender but not greasy; fresh, and does not smell... Its taste is simply superb!" Grandmaster Xuan Ming replied, emotionally.
The flavor of the bear paw meat lingered on his palate. It tasted delicious, and he almost lost himself to its flavor. Before that moment, he had never tasted such a unique flavor in his life.
Being able to make a dish this delicious proved that this little chef was not ordinary.
This dish was very different from the dish he made last time, the barbecued skewers. In the last round, the little chef stumbled onto a great opportunity, but in this ground, he displayed genuine skill in cooking.
The value of Bu Fang's bear paw meat did not lay in its delicious taste alone; it was, more importantly, also very medicinal. It was akin to a very valuable medicinal spirit herb.
Bu Fang's bear paw meat almost seemed divine. The amount of spirit energy it contained was enough to allow those who ate it to obtain an unlimited amount of benefits.
Furthermore, it possessed the powerful ability to expel impurities from one's body.
When everyone heard Grandmaster Xuan Ming's verdict, they were shocked; no one expected him to praise the dish that much. Now, they really wanted to taste it.
Grandmaster Gu He hurriedly moved his chopsticks to the bear paw, and the other grandmasters did the same.
They all ate quickly, and when the first pieces of bear paw meat entered their mouths, the grandmasters' eyes widened. Their wrinkled faces turned rosy, almost as if they had experienced something unknown.
"This... this feeling!! I can't quite put it into words... Somehow, I'm beginning to feel wisps of the youth I lost long ago," grandmaster Gu He emotionally said. His face was slightly flushed, and his white beard fluttered in the wind.
Xiong Shi, on the other hand, was weeping. My Big Bear is allowing you to feel wisps of the youth you lost? Was your youth spent as a bear?
My dear Big Bear!
How did you end up as a dish for so many people!
Xiong Shi felt so wronged, and tears couldn't stop dripping down his cheeks. Up until that moment, no one had cared about the spirit pill he refined, which lay atop his open palm.
That truly was the greatest tragedy.
What had his big bear sacrificed itself for? It had sacrificed itself so that he could defeat his opponent in the next round.
But, what had happened in the end? Everyone simply ate it up, overlooking its sacrifice. This made Xiong Shi's sorrow so heart-wrenching, he found breathing difficult.
Tragic! It was simply too tragic!
The judge, who was standing at the side, turned to look at Xiong Shi. He noticed the expressions on Xiong Shi's face change thrice every second, and his heart was slightly unable to bear it, so he said, "Let me help you take a look. However, keep in mind that your chances in this round are not too good."
Xiong Shi's eye's instantly lit up, and he was almost moved to tears.
Despite that, he was confused. Even though he had been affected by the Sorrowful Orchid, did the smallest of things have to bring him so close to tears?
"I have never seen such expressions on these teachers' faces before. It seems the chef's dish has greatly satisfied them. Although you have refined this spirit pill in such a short time, I'm afraid it's close to impossible for you to defeat him at this point." The judge sighed as he pulled out a jade tablet.
That jade tablet began to glow, and an array appeared from within.
The judge took the spirit pill from Xiong Shi's hand and placed it into the array.
A dazzling glow burst out of the array. Xiong Shi's spirit pill was a two-mark spirit pill. The pink spirit pill was like an exquisite work of art. It had two fine lines, which seemed to flow as deftly as a dragon. It was visually awe-inspiring.
"The quality of its spirit energy is sufficient. Normally, two-mark spirit pills are considered high level, but it will be too difficult to defeat the chef with this; unless the effects of your spirit pill are unique and excellent," the judge said.
On the other side, the five alchemy grandmasters were still gorging themselves on Bu Fang's bear paw dish.
The members of the audience could hear the "ba ji ba ji" sounds, and it made many of them speechless.
Furthermore, the match was being broadcast to all the Pill Cities via the projection array, and every spectator in Heavenly Pill City and Heavenly Shine City could see what was happening.
When they all saw the alchemy grandmasters, who they highly respected, gorging themselves on bear paw meat, they were left a bit dumbfounded. Their views of the world had now become obscured.
Were these people on stage still their once highly respected grandmasters?
Those people who understood what the grandmasters' behaviors implied, completely changed the manner with which they looked at the chef.
The chef's cooking skills and intricate control over his true energy highlighted his level of strength and his standards.
Through the array, they realized that cooking was not something easy.
From Bu Fang's display so far, one could see that cooking skills were nothing that could be acquired without a certain period of practice.
The bear paw was soon finished. The porcelain bowl it was served in had been licked clean; not even a drop of the thick broth was spared.
The five grandmasters turned to face Bu Fang, with a similar expression of satisfaction on their faces.
"Little Chef, you are pretty good, so continue working hard. This round is your victory," Grandmaster Xuan Ming said with a smile.
Every time he looked at Bu Fang, he felt more pleased than before. This little kid was from Heavenly Mist City, and he was representing Heavenly Mist City in the Magical Hand Conference.
The chef's ability to charge into the top ten, becoming the biggest dark horse, made grandmaster Xuan Ming feel proud.
"Esteemed grandmasters, you still haven't seen contestant Xiong Shi's spirit pill," the judge hurriedly said, trying to help Xiong Shi, when he saw how grandmaster Xuan Ming directly crowned Bu Fang the winner.
Grandmaster Xuan Ming slowly turned around, with folded arms, and glanced at the judge.
"Didn't you test it already? Although the spiritual energy in the pill is enough to make it a two-mark spirit pill, have you checked out its effects?"
The judge froze before shaking his head sideways.
"Then, you can give it a go; after that, you will understand why I instantly declared the little chef the winner of this match."
After that, grandmaster Xuan Ming was too lazy to say any more. He gave Bu Fang a nod, and the grandmasters, who had all eaten their fill, slipped away.
The judge frowned at that. He glanced at grandmaster Xuan Ming's retreating figure and turned to face the wide-eyed Xiong Shi. ]
Did that mean the pill had some sort of defect?
The judge gritted his teeth and placed the pill into his mouth.
The spiritual energy within that pink spirit pill was really dense; after all, it was a two-mark pill made using only high-grade spirit herbs.
Once the pill entered the judge's mouth, the true energy within his body began to rotate like a cyclone. His hair fluttered wildly; his eyes brimmed with power, and every pore on his body seemed to open up.
Behind him, three supreme shackles swayed wildly, and the pressure of heaven and earth surged from his body.
Without question, Xiong Shi's pill was a pill that enhanced one's combat strength.
The judge's expression changed; he felt that something was not right.
As he was trying to put his finger on that nagging thought, an inexplicable feeling of sorrow welled up in his heart, for no reason whatsoever. The sorrow seemed to stem from the fact that, before he left his house that morning, he failed an attempt at refining a spirit pill.
The judge's lips began to twitch uncontrollably; his eyes became moist, and sorrow filled his heart even more. Why was he feeling so sad? Wasn't it just a failed attempt at refining a spirit pill?!
"Wuu... Wuu... This feeling is so uncomfortable, and now I want to cry. Why am I so sad?! What is the reason for this..."
The judge placed a hand over his mouth and began to sob, and tears streaked down his cheeks without pause.
"What is happening? This... sadness... where is it coming from?" The judge wept. He was so sad, and the audience could only watch in astonishment.
Xiong Shi was stupefied. Why was it like this?
Why would the judge start crying out of nowhere?
Suddenly, Xiong Shi was hit with a realization. Was this happening because of the Sorrowful Orchid?
Oh my god! Did I not get rid of the Sorrowful Orchid?
Xiong Shi's burly figure trembled as he recalled his previous actions. Back then, he had taken care of the pink smoke from the Sorrowful orchid, but... because he was agitated by Big Bear's untimely demise, a sorrow which had been further intensified by the pink smoke, he forgot to deal with the remains of the Sorrowful Orchid left in his furnace.
Hence, the Sorrowful Orchid completely mixed with the other spirit herbs.
Although this didn't have any effect on the medicinal effect of the spirit pill, whoever consumed the spirit pill would have to deal with a huge pang of sorrow.
"I... I really didn't do it on purpose!" Xiong Shi was close to tears. He really hadn't done that on purpose. He was just unable to control himself at the time.
The sobbing judge stared daggers at Xiong Shi. He finally understood why grandmaster Xuan Ming had so confidently declared Bu Fang the winner: Xiong Shi's spirit pill had such a glaring flaw.
This was literally asking for a life!
The judge glared at Xiong Shi with hatred, despite massive drops of tears dripping down from his eyes.
After declaring Bu Fang the winner with a shaky voice, the judge covered his mouth and rushed off the stage, in tears. The sounds of his sobs made the hearts of the audience members tighten in pain.
Bu Feng was speechless as he watched the judge rush down the stage, then, he gazed at Xiong Shi, and the corners of his lips curled upward before he nodded at his opponent.
Xiong Shi, on the other hand, felt sad at that moment. He lost... He had actually lost.
When he saw Bu Fang glancing at him, he was overcome with sadness.
"Anytime I look at you, I think of my Big Bear!" Xiong Shi wailed and also rushed down the stage, in tears.
Only Bu Fang was left on the stage, sporting a look of astonishment. Could someone tell him what exactly had happened?
Suddenly, a solemn voice resounded in Bu Fang's mind. It was the long-awaited voice of the system.
"Congratulations to the host for completing the temporary mission: spread Cloud Mist Restaurant's reputation throughout Heavenly Mist City. Beginning the release of the rewards now..."