When Nangong Wuque first heard the news from the servant, he rejected it. He had thought that the servant was joking, but when he saw the scorching sun suspended in the sky, he was completely shocked.
Damn! He had actually missed the timing for the match. What time was it?!
This was something out of his expectations...
Originally, he had planned to spend the night fusing with the Nine Hell King Flame; after that, he would rush to the central plaza and win the match.
However, God's plans always superseded human plans, even his. He had actually spent this much time to fuse with the Nine Hell King Flame.
Nangong Wuque's heart was bleeding at the thought. Old Bu had planned to throw the match, but what did he himself do? He had ruined Old Bu's painstaking efforts; he did not even attend the match.
"Why didn't you remind me!"Nangong Wuque's heart lurched as he turned to the respectful servant, who was standing at his side, and asked in a depressing tone of voice.
The servant was stunned, but he only bowed and replied, "If the patriarch wants me to remind you, the patriarch has to tell us in advance; if patriarch does not do so, then how would this insignificant one know he should remind patriarch?! So, the next time the patriarch has business to attend, please tell us in advance; if you don't do so, it will mean that there is no trust between us."
"Say no more; it's all my fault!" Nangong Wuque was enraged, but he had no words with which to refute his servant.
He no longer cared for breathing in the fresh air, neither did he concern himself with the sense of fulfillment he obtained from the Nine Hell King Flame residing in his body. At that moment, all he wanted to do was rush to the central square with his fastest speed; maybe he would still make it in time for the match.
After leaving the secret room, Nangong Wuque did not take time to clean up the filth all over his body; instead, he charged out of the Nangong Family property, running toward the central plaza at an extremely quick pace.
He began to wonder if he had fallen for Yang Meiji's plans?
Did that lady deliberately mess things up? Was it all in order to make him fail to participate in today's match?
What exactly was the relationship between that Yang Meiji and Old Bu?!
He did not think Old Bu was actually like that! Nangong Wuque believed he had now seen through Old Bu's facade. His loss in this match was without reason.
No... He clearly understood the reason for his loss. He did not lose to Old Bu, but rather, he lost to Yang Meiji.
Who knew that Yang Meiji would, on the very last day, come running to him to return his Nine Hell King Flame? That sincere expression had made it hard for him to refuse.
And the result of his inability to refuse... was him being very late for the match.
When he arrived at the entrance of the central plaza, he perceived a pleasant aroma that had wafted over from somewhere else.
His heart sank to the bottom.
This smell... Without a doubt, Old Bu had already begun to cook. Victory in this match already belonged to Old Bu!
He had not participated in this match, so as long as Old Bu's dish met the minimum requirement, he would easily clinch the victory.
His loss was an injustice!
At this point, Bu Fang finished cooking the bear paw. The bear paw exuded a fragrance so pleasant that it attracted the attention of countless people.
Although this was not the first time he had cooked the bear paw dish, people still exclaimed in surprise whenever they saw it. The members of the audience had not tasted the bear paw dish before, but they could guess how good it tasted after seeing the joy and satisfaction on the faces of the few alchemy grandmasters.
Bu Fang wiped his wet hands and sighed gently.
He turned his attention to the empty bronze platform in the distance. Nangong Wuque still had not shown up.
"This rascal, where exactly did he go?" Bu Fang whispered in confusion.
Suddenly, the audience began to clamor, and laughter and whistles rang out.
The alchemy grandmasters, who were making quick work of the bear paws, were attracted by the uproar. They did not understand why the audience would suddenly begin to react this way, so they followed the audience's line of sight.
At the entrance of the square, a sorry figure had just waddled in. The person looked as though he was about to burst into tears. That person was Nangong Wuque.
"This kid still has the guts to appear?" Grandmaster Xuan Ming fumed; with a piece of bear paw still in his mouth, he glared coldly at Nangong Wuque.
"Look at that kid's appearance. There must have been some matters that caused his late-coming," Grandmaster Gu He said with a smile.
Bu Fang folded his arms and looked at Nangong Wuque with a smile.
When Nangong Wuque spotted Bu Fang's gaze, he straightened his posture, and his countenance became serious, then he said, "Bu Fang, that which you requested of me, I have accomplished! The chance you wanted, I have given you! You cannot let me down! You have to make it into the top three. Let those alchemists who mocked you see what it means to be a true chef!"
Bu Fang froze, as did everyone else.
In the next moment, everyone sucked in a cold breath. Was this a trick? The reason for Nangong Wuque giving up the match was unclear.
So Owner Bu's target was the top three? Did he not intend to give up on the competition? If he really sought to enter the top three, wouldn't that mean he would have to go up against Mu Bai? Although they supported Bu Fang, they believed that if he met Mu Bai, the ensuing match would not be a match of opponents at the same level.
Even that Mao Shi couldn't compete against Owner Bu.
When they heard Nangong Wuque's words, many began to sneer.
One of them was Mao Shi.
Mao Shi was seated amongst the audience, and he was looking at Bu Fang, who was on the stage, with disdain. He knew the kind of person Nangong Wuque was; that little kid wasn't someone who would give up. It was clear that something had come up.
It was obvious that the chef had come across some dog shit luck; that was why he had won.
This type of person actually wanted to get into the top three? Did he really think that the Magical Hand Conference had no contestants?
Even if this was his dream, it was still impossible!
Mu Bai, on the other hand, was very gentle. He had always been amiable, and at that moment, he had a smile on his lips, one that was like flowing milk, making anyone who saw it feel refreshed.
This chef... was very interesting.
"The winner of this match is... Bu Fang!" Grandmaster Xuan Ming declared, even though he was still glaring at Nangong Wuque. He could tell that the kid was spouting nonsense because he was Nangong Wuque's teacher.
He must have been late because he faced some sort of problem, not because he made any promises to Bu Fang.
This kid simply wanted a stage to step down from after giving up on the match.
However, wasn't this kid lacking morals? Those words he had said, wasn't that him pitting Bu Fang against the remaining top ten alchemists? This would cause Bu Fang to receive the wrath of many alchemists.
Furthermore, these alchemists were not ordinary alchemists.
Not mentioning Mu Bai, even Mao Shi and the other alchemists held a certain degree of influence. Mao Shi's prowess at alchemy was very high-way higher than that of crazy Xiong Shi and sorceress An Sheng.
However, this did not matter to Bu Fang; after emerging victorious, he began to prepare to leave the stage.
He was already thinking of quickly returning to the restaurant to open for business. To him, his business was more important than the Magical Hand Conference.
Bu Fang had advanced yet again. Although it was hard to say who his opponent for the next round would be, many had begun to speculate that Bu Fang would most likely be matched against Mao Shi.
This was because Mao Shi was competing the next day. If he also advanced, it would be easy to assign them both to the competition for the top three. However, it could also be Mu Bai. If Bu Fang were to meet him early on, he could attribute it to bad luck. If Bu Fang met Mu Bai, he would have no hope of winning.
This was how much Dan King Mu Bai dominated the hearts of the audience members.
Bu Fang walked down the stage and went over to Nangong Wuque, then he folded his arms and glanced at the latecomer.
"Didn't you want me to throw the match? Why didn't you give me the chance to do so?"
"I..." Nangong Wuque felt frustrated; he really did not do it on purpose.
It was all because of that lady, Yang Meiji, who had sought him out for seemingly no reason, saying that she wished to return his former Heaven and Earth Obsidian Flame. How was he to know that fusing with the Heaven and Earth Obsidian Flame would take so much time?
"Okay; say no more. I have already decided to throw in the next match-just like you did," Bu Fang calmly said, with a wave his hand, cutting Nangong Wuque's speech off.
Nangong Wuque's face turned an awkward shade of red.
"Tsk, tsk. Going to give up the match? Didn't you say your goal was the top three? Why has it suddenly changed to giving up?" A mocking voice floated over from behind them.
No one knew when Mao Shi walked over to stand beside them, with an expression of contempt on his face, sneering.
"That's none of your business. You actually believed what Old Bu spouted at random? Has your brain been eaten by a dog?" Nangong Wuque said, looking at Mao Shi as though the latter was stupid.
Mao Shi twitched, then he smirked with disdain.
"I'm not talking to a coward who threw his match. I'll directly tell this chef that in the next match, your opponent will be me!" Mao Shi said to Bu Fang with a cold stare.
Nangong Wuque exploded. Coward? Who was a coward?!
He had accidentally spent too much time on his cultivation. What did it have to do with cowardice?
"If you say anything else, you should be ready, for I, Nangong Wuque, will go hard on you!" Nangong Wuque's nostrils flared, breathing heavily, and his bloodshot eyes opened wide.
Mao Shi shook his head in disdain; he was too lazy to reply to Nangong Wuque. His gaze remained fixed on Bu Fang, waiting for the chef's reaction.
"Wo... Then, let me wish you good luck." Bu Fang was stunned for a bit, then he replied, with a serious expression.
Mao Shi jumped. "Who needs your good luck wish? Beating you will be as easy as lifting a finger, so why would I need your luck? Don't speak as though you are saying something so grandiose! Just wait to eat your loss! I'll return An Sheng's humiliation to you! I'll let you know what defeat really means! A chef should just stay in the kitchen, quietly! There's no need to come out and shame yourself!"
"Are you trying to help Big Boobs An regain her pride? Who are you to Big Boobs An? Do you have the right to make decisions for her?" Nangong Wuque, who simply couldn't stand the look of superiority on Mao Shi's face, began a string of inquiries.
"Shut up! Don't use your vulgar vocabulary to coin An Sheng!" Mao Shi hollered, glaring at Nangong Wuque as though he was a snake.
"Hoho... You want this senior to shut up?"
Nangong Wuque was already enraged, and after being triggered by Mao Shi, he too also hollered, with fumes escaping his nostrils.
"As I said before, a chef is only a chef. Since it is difficult to ascend to the Hall of Elegance, then you should obediently stay in the kitchen, cooking your dishes. In the next match, I'll let you know what despair really means! A chef cannot possibly be compared to an alchemist!" Mao Shi said coldly.
Nangong Wuque snorted and moved to take action, but he was stopped by Bu Fang, who had placed a hand on his shoulder.
Nethery gently glided over from afar and stood beside Bu Fang. Her gaze was deep and cold; when she glanced at Mao Shi, it was as though she was looking at an insignificant ant. She didn't care a whit for him.
It was difficult for a chef to ascend the Hall of Elegance? Who gave you the confidence to spout such words?
Bu Fang's mood had darkened at that point, but he remained expressionless; after a momentary pause, he calmly said, "So you are my opponent for the next round? Okay; if your furnace does not explode, then you can count the next round as my loss."