That night, Yang Meiji did not leave the Nangong Residence...
The following day, Bu Fang lazily opened his eyes, and a yawn escaped his lips. After that, he crawled off his bed with sleepy eyes. He walked to the window and took a deep breath, filling his lungs with fresh air; afterward, he felt more energetic.
It was another beautiful day.
He went down the stairs and into the kitchen, and as per usual, he began to practice his cutting and carving skills. He was able to practice the Overlord Thirteen Blades, but he was unable to grasp the Overlord's Energy.
Knife skills were one of the basics of being a chef. This was the reason why Bu Fang took some time to practice his knife skills every day. Good knife skills were extremely important for a chef.
Bu Fang quickly began to prepare one serving of Sweet 'n' Sour Ribs and one serving of Dragon Blood Rice, and soon, a dense fragrance began to waft out of the kitchen.
After Blacky and Nethery had eaten their breakfast, the lazy dog returned to his spot underneath the Path-Understanding Tree and curled up, then it went back to sleep. Soon, it was snoring loudly.
Nethery, on the other hand, pulled out a chair underneath the Path-Understand Tree and sat on it. Her straight black hair cascaded down her shoulders and onto her snow-white legs. As the sunlight illuminated her pale face, she looked to be emitting an obscure beauty.
Bu Fang packed his things and clasped his hand behind his back; he was ready to leave the restaurant.
Nethery pondered for a moment and stood up. She had decided to follow Bu Fang today.
She knew what Bu Fang was going out to do. She had once tasted a dish Bu Fang made during the competition, after all. She knew that Bu Fang was going to make another delicious dish.
"This time, I won't be making anything new... I'm going there to be a bystander," Bu Fang said to Nethery with a serious expression.
Despite that, Nethery decided to follow him anyway. Bu Fang, who was helpless to change that, did not say anything more, so he allowed her to follow him.
However, this time, he did not carry his enormous signboard to the venue. Since the temporary mission was already completed, Bu Fang no longer needed to carry the signboard for the competition.
Today, he was going to be lowkey.
Nethery, who wore a long black dress, followed behind him. Her slender legs were snow-white and flawless. As usual, the Netherworld woman did not wear shoes; instead, she floated in the air. Every time the tip of her glistening feet touched the ground, her entire body would move.
They both gradually made their way over to the central plaza, and soon, they arrived.
Although Bu Fang had explicitly said that he might give up on the competition, a huge number of spectators had still turned up to watch the match.
Bu Fang's was very famous now. He was no longer that nameless chef who arrived at Heavenly Mist City in the past. Now, he no longer had to rely on his Stinky Tofu to attract customers for his store.
Today, he was the biggest dark horse in the Magical Hands Conference. He was a dark horse who had caused the eyes of a countless number of people to bulge in shock.
His appearance was a miracle in and of itself. A chef like him had actually managed to defeat countless alchemists as he charged up the rankings; not even Sorceress An Sheng or Crazy Xiong could slow him down. Initially, almost no one had been optimistic about Bu Fang's chances in the competition.
However, the miraculous chef used his sharp kitchen knife to carve his way forward, into the top ten!
He did not only astound those watching in Heavenly Mist City; he also astounded those watching the competition via the projection array from their locations in other cities.
They were completely floored by this chef.
Some people had hoped that a genius alchemist would appear and thoroughly defeat this chef, avenging the other alchemists who the chef had defeated. Some others nursed positive thoughts for this dark house. Although there were those who supported him and those who hated him-which was normal-what really surprised people was Bu Fang's profession.
When he walked into the arena with Nethery, deafening cheers erupted, leaving him feeling a little flustered.
When Bu Fang saw how excited the audience members were, he was puzzled.
This time, only one stage was to be used for all the matches. This stage was already surrounded by the huge crowd, and there was no empty seat left behind. Every seat had a spectator on it.
When the audience spotted Bu Fang, who had calmly entered the arena, they cheered fervently.
The roars and cheers seemed to emerge collectively, and the combined uproar was deafening!
"Bu Fang, do your best! Don't give up!"
"Little Chef, you are the biggest dark horse in this competition! Please keep going till the end!"
"What do you mean you'll give up... Real men never give up! Don't even give up!"
The audience already knew that Bu Fang had made up his mind to drop out of the competition, but they still held on to hope and came, hoping that Bu Fang would participate in the competition of the top 10. They never believed for one second that Bu fang would give up, and there he was; he actually showed up for the competition! Expressions of excitement colored their faces, and many could not stop themselves from cheering loudly.
Nethery looked around curiously. She seemed unaccustomed to the bustling atmosphere, especially the countless gazes directed her way.
Since she was walking beside Bu Fang, she had also garnered a lot of attention.
In fact, she was actually the center of attention. As a beautiful woman, the moment she appeared, almost all the attention had immediately shifted over to her.
"You should head over to the audience stand and wait for me," Bu Fang said to Nethery.
Nethery nodded expressionlessly and turned around. The tip of her sparkling touched the ground once, and she floated over to a seat.
Bu Fang looked around and realized that a lot of people supported him, what left him slightly dazed for a moment. Could he have made the wrong decision? Faced with so many people who supported him, Bu Fang felt he should aim for first place.
If he did not, he would disappoint all his supporters! And if he let so many people down, he would feel guilty.
Nangong Wuque had not yet arrived, making Bu Fang feel as though something suspicious was going on.
Normally, this clown, Nangong Wuque, should have arrived a long time ago. Then, he would repeatedly urge Bu Fang to go through the motions without actually doing anything.
Bu Fang clasped his hand behind his back and walked up the stage.
The competition of the top 10 was being held in a specially made stage, and each match was held individually. The material used to build this stage was different. The bronze platform atop this specially-made stage had many mysterious arrays carved onto it. The arrays emitted subtle fluctuations that calmed the participants of the competition.
This bronze platform was of a much higher grade than the bronze platforms used in the previous rounds. If one was to conduct refinement on this new bronze platforms, they would be able to concentrate fully.
It was interesting.
Bu Fang surveyed the bronze platform for the first time, tracing his hand on its markings. The markings did not make the bronze platform feel rough; instead, Bu Fang felt comfortable when he touched it. It was as though he had laid his hand on a soothing breeze.
It was perfect for alchemists. Any alchemist that refined atop these bronze platforms would have their conditions improve by leaps and bounds.
Bu Fang examined the bronze platforms for some time, and the excitement of the audience gradually calmed down. However, even though some time had passed, there was still no sign of Nangong Wuque.
This caused many people to become suspicious.
"Where is Nangong Wuque? It's already so late. Why isn't he here yet?"
"The competition is about to begin. Where in the world is he? Is he going to abandon the match?"
"Wasn't the chef the one who decided to give up on the match? Why is Nangong Wuque now absent?"
Many in the audience were confused and began to discuss amongst themselves. They truly had no idea what was going on.
With Nangong Wuque's crappy attitude, the fellow should have arrived a long time ago.
Nangong Wan, who was sitting amongst the audience, was unable to endure it any longer.
The Nangong Wuque she knew would not give up on the competition. Especially after he had spoken to Bu Fang about it. Bu Fang was even supposed to go easy on him today.
But now, Nangong Wuque had gone missing?
Although he had already asked Owner Bu to go easy on him, he still decided to dig a pit for Bu Fang to jump into?
The start time for the match soon arrived, and the warship, which housed the five alchemy grandmasters, appeared in the sky above the arena. The five figures walked out of the warship with fluttering hairs. Grandmaster Xuan Ming stepped forward and announced the start of the first match of the competition for the top 10, with a serious expression on his face.
After he made the announcement, the atmosphere turned awkward.
This was because Nangong Wuque was still absent...
Did this brat actually plan to abandon the competition?
Since when was Nangong Wuque such a scaredy cat?
The audience was horrified.
Bu Fang also had an expression of confusion on his face. Did Nangong Wuque oversleep? That did not seem possible. How could he oversleep on the day of such an important event
No one knew what had happened to Nangong Wuque.
Grandmaster Xuan Ming's face was extremely unsightly, and at that moment, he looked extremely terrifying. He had to get down to the bottom of the matter.
Nangong Wuque... did he actually forsake the competition?!
"This is absolutely ridiculous! That little brat!" Grandmaster Xuan Ming was so angry, his beard fluttered on its own. He looked ready to beat someone up!
If anyone was going to abandon the match, they thought it would be Bu Fang, but it had turned out to be Nangong Wuque instead. The people who came to watch the match did so with their spare time, and in the end, it was Nangong Wuque who did not show up.
That little brat... Does he still care about his place in Heavenly Mist City's Pill Tower?
"What in the world is going on?" Grandmaster Xuan Ming muttered, solemnly staring at the chief judge, who was in charge of this round.
The chief judge felt a headache brewing. He realized that every time he had the slightest of contacts with Bu Fang, something would go wrong. Bu Fang's opponent, no matter who they were, would always meet with misfortune.
If their furnace didn't explode, they would bawl their eyes out, and now, someone had failed to turn up.
This dark horse... Has he planned to go through the entire competition without winning a single match properly?
"It's possible that Nangong Wuque has thrown the match. The competition should have already started already. We can't delay it any longer."
Grandmaster Xuan Ming's face sunk. He had wanted to help Nangong Wuque out, even if it meant stalling for time.
However, he was unable to stall for long.
"Forget it; just announce the start of this competition. Let Bu Fang advance through this round of the competition. Although he has no opponent, he still has to prepare a proper product. It's his obligation to the masses," Grandmaster Xuan Ming said.
He was still stunned. The person who had said he would participate in the match was the person who had thrown the match. The person who said he would throw the match was the person now standing on stage energetically.
Were they messing with him?
If Bu Fang could read Grandmaster Xuan Ming's thoughts, he would definitely go insane. That was because he really did plan to throw the match.
He was only standing here because Nangong Wuque asked him to lose with style.
Fine... In the end, he had achieved victory without even knowing how he did it.
The corners of Bu Fang's mouth curled upwards, and with a wave of his hand, the heavy Black Turtle Constellation Wok appeard, landing atop the bronze platform with a loud thud.
Since Nangong Wuque wasn't there for the match, he would definitely win. Since that was the case, Bu Fang decided to get serious and make a dish.
It was to appease the fervent audience.
This was the first time Bu Fang realized that he actually had a lot of supporters.
He remembered the time when the audience cheered for the alchemists he was up against, urging them to destroy him, the public enemy of alchemists.
As those thoughts crossed Bu Fang's mind, he took out a giant bear from his system's storage space. He prodded the giant bear for a bit and sliced off the other paw, then he prepared to make his dish.
Seeing this, Xiong Shi, who was sitting in the audience stand, was unable to control himself and began to cry. Did Bu Fang hate him or something? Why did he have to cook the bear in a round his victory was already assured? Couldn't he treat the bear nicely?
In the Nangong Residence.
In the secret chamber, Nangong Wuque opened his eyes, and a forceful aura surged out from behind him. Two chains hovered behind him, and a third chain was faintly visible.
A bright glow flickered in his eyes, and he exhaled a long breath of dark, turbid air.
An uncontrollable surge of delight appeared on Nangong Wuque's face. He raised his hand, and a clump of white flames danced atop his fingertips. That familiar feeling instantly enveloped his entire body.
The Nine Hell King Flame, which he had just regained, felt much easier to control.
He opened the doors of the secret room, and the blinding sunlight shone on him. Nangong Wuque exhaled a long breath and felt his mind clear.
He felt very refreshed.
Suddenly, a servant, who had been respectfully standing outside the room, bowed toward Nangong Wuque, with a strange expression on his face. "Patriarch... You... You finally came out! The Magical Hand Conference is about to end!"