Bu Fang and Nethery returned to the restaurant straightaway, without taking note of the lady who had brushed past their shoulders.
Although the woman's features were fairly stunning, Bu Fang paid her no mind.
Nethery-who was a lady herself, albeit one with a cold attitude-also did not think much of the saintess; at that moment, all she thought about was the fragrant Dragon Blood Rice.
Ever since she began to follow Bu Fang, the spirit energy in her body had always been constantly refilled, so she no longer had to worry about the backlash. This made her extremely satisfied; this lifestyle was pretty good for her.
The fact that her face got rosier by the day was a testament to this.
When the two returned to the restaurant, they found Lord Dog lazily lying below the Path-Understanding Tree, having good dreams. "This lazy dog..."
Bu Fang went to the kitchen and washed his hands, then began to cook Lord Dog's Sweet 'n' Sour Ribs and Nethery's Dragon Blood Rice.
As he carried the dishes out of the kitchen, the sleeping Lord Dog seemed to have an epiphany, and its eyes flew open. The plump dog excitedly rushed over to the table and stared at Bu Fang, with its tongue hanging out.
This dog could never sleep when he perceived food, eh...
Eat, then sleep. Sleep, then eat... The lazy dog's figure grew plumper by the day, and now, it was a certified fat dog.
To think that when he first saw Blacky back then, it was such a slender dog.
Bu Fang shook his head as he watched the happy Blacky scarf its food down, then he sighed and turned to look at Nethery. Wasn't her appetite even greater than that dog's...
Bu Fang stared blankly. He looked at the glamorous Nethery, then at the fat dog, and back to Nethery again.
Nethery was still as slender as ever, but if she kept this gluttonous attitude up, wouldn't she end up as fat as that fat dog?
No way! That was a sight that would hurt the eyes. It seemed he needed to control Nethery's diet in the future. Nethery might not care about her figure, but as her boss, he felt the responsibility to show a little care for his workers.
When Nethery and Lord Dog finished their meals, they both lazily stretched at the same time, then the dog went back beneath the Path-Understanding Tree, while the Netherworld woman went into the Netherworld Ship. Both were of the same mind: they were going to sleep.
Bu Fang was speechless as he cleaned up the tableware. These two lazy fellows...
After packing the tableware, Bu Fang returned to the kitchen. Whitey stood at its usual spot, beside the kitchen door, with Shrimpy laying atop its head, snoozing out bubbles.
There was another lazy fellow there too, a prawn...
Bu Fang found it funny that he was taking care of three lazy beings. Unlike those three, who only knew how to sleep, Whitey was much better.
After giving Whitey's belly a slight rub, Bu Fang stood before the stove, pondering what he should cook next. He initially did not plan to participate in the next round.
However, Mao Shi's words made him a little uncomfortable, so Bu Fang felt he ought to teach the kid a little lesson; if he let Mao Shi taste despair, he would understand the terror that a chef could pose.
Bu Fang rubbed his chin, contemplating seriously.
Suddenly, his eyes lit up as though he had thought of something, and he hurriedly asked the system a question, in excitement:
"System, the Magic Hand Conference has crystals as rewards. Do these crystals count as part of the business's revenue?" Bu Fang asked seriously, as this was something extremely important.
The system did not reply immediately. It was silent for a while before it proceeded to answer Bu Fang's question:
"It counts... The crystals obtained from ranking in the Magical Hands Conference will be counted into the host's business revenue."
Bu Fang was silent, but he was overjoyed on the inside. He had only just thought of that and decided to ask. He did not think that the crystal rewards from the Magical Hands Conference would be counted as part of his business revenue.
Now, he really had to take part in the competition; even if it was just for the crystals, he would see the competition through till the end.
For the crystals!
It was all for the crystals!
Bu Fang clenched his fists, and his face turned serious.
Crystals were the most beautiful things in this world.
Since he had already uttered such big words, Bu Fang knew that he had to take things seriously if he did not want to lose face. He had to try his hardest to get his opponent to blow up their furnace.
Should he cook another spicy dish? Or, should he cook another stinky dish like Stinky Tofu, one that denied the possibility of having any friends? Or perhaps should he cook another fragrant dish that brought one a countless number of friends...
As these thoughts ran through his mind, Bu Fang felt that if he did one of these, his chances of victory would still be pretty low; after all, Mao Shi's level of skill at alchemy was pretty high, so he wouldn't be so easily affected.
Such a normal impact may have no influence on him.
Bu Fang twirled the knife in his hand as he slowly paced around the kitchen, seriously contemplating this conundrum.
If Mao Shi's furnace did not explode, he would be the one who lost; thus, he would have to make an extremely stimulating dish. However, making a dish capable of causing Mao Shi to blow up his own furnace... was a difficult task to accomplish. He was currently unable to come up with any dishes that could do that.
Mao Shi had a high cultivation level, strong vitality, and lots of energy; an ordinary dish would have no effect on him.
This gave Bu Fang a headache.
Even after twirling the knife in his grip a few more times, Bu Fang still had not come up with anything. He continued to think as he put back the Black Turtle Constellation Wok and the Golden Dragon Bone Kitchen Knife, then returned to his room. He proceeded to have a warm shower, and after that, he walked to his bed.
Even after towel-drying his moist hair, Bu Fang still had not come up with any ideas.
In the end, he lay on his bed and fell asleep, temporarily discarding the problem that has brought him nothing but headaches.
The remaining two days flew by quickly. In these two days, Bu Fang kept thinking about the dish to cook. While he was contemplating, the top ten matches of the Magical Hand Conference ended.
After that, the names of the top five were released.
The names for the next match were also released. Out of the five contestants, only one would advance to the next round without having to take part in a match.
The person who obtained this luxury was not Bu Fang; it was Mu Bai.
Who would have known that this guy whose alchemy skills was already so good and he would have such luck as well, instantly advancing to the top three without doing anything...
When the other contestants heard the news, they heaved sighs of relief. This way, they would not meet Mu Bai, hence they have avoided elimination.
Bu Fang's opponent had also been determined; it was Mao Shi, the-arrogant guy.
This matchup did not come as a surprise to anyone, but despite that, everyone was still very excited, especially the audience. They had all watched that scene where Mao Shi made a move on Bu Fang. They knew that Bu Fang and Mao Shi disliked each other, so in a match where both of them were pitted against each other, there was bound to be a huge clash.
Furthermore, Bu Fang had told Mao Shi that If his furnace didn't explode, it would be Bu Fang's loss; such strong words made them look forward to the match all the more.
On the second day, Nangong Wuque had run over, in excitement, to tell Bu Fang the news. He waved his clenched fists as he urged Bu Fang to destroy Mao Shi, the boastful guy.
Bu Fang did not react any differently. At that point, he was still thinking of what dish to cook.
He was even ready to take out Buddha Jumps Over the Wall Soup-his killing move. If he made the Buddha Jumps Over the Wall Soup, he would easily win against Mao Shi; however, for him to make Mao Shi to blow up his furnace... would be difficult, so it gave Bu Fang a persistent headache.
As though he knew Bu Fang's current predicament, Nangong Wuque quieted down and pondered for a long while; then, he patted his chest and told Bu Fang, with certainty, that he would provide an ingredient which would leave him satisfied.
Bu Fang was confused; he could not understand the meaning behind Nangong Wuque's words.
However, Nangong Wuque did not explain. He only gave Bu Fang an understanding gaze, then he walked off proudly...
Bu Fang suddenly felt like that guy was about to stir up something.
Within Heavenly Shine City's battleship, Mao Shi's hair was scattered, and his eyes were bloodshot. In his hand, there was a blazing black flame, which caused the air on its surrounding to distort.
In front of him was a huge alchemy furnace. Countless medicinal herbs were thrown in, and with a ferocious expression, he began to refine the ingredients within the furnace, causing it to melt into drops of medicinal liquid.
The alchemy furnace slammed heavily onto the floor of the secret room, giving off a loud "hong" sound, and green smoke gushed out of it.
Mao Shi felt as though his mental force was boiling, and the true energy within his body fluctuated constantly.
"Goddamn... It can't go on like this. The mental energy is still unstable; this will make me vulnerable. If the chef finds that opening, I will be finished. This match... I can only win, not lose!" Mao Shi sighed with his face pale.
He had been practicing and training his mental force relentlessly. He trained the perseverance level of his mental force so that it would not be influenced by anything.
After a period of time, the door to the secret room was pushed open. Mao Shi walked out completely soaked in his own sweat. His eyes were slightly bloodshot, and he was out of breath. He was still unable to solve that problem. He could feel the presence of his flaw, and he was afraid that Bu Fang would find it and make him blow up his furnace. When that happened, it was not only his furnace that would blow up; his reputation would blow up along with it.
He would then become another stepping stone for the chef.
Suddenly, Mao Shi was jolted out of his reverie and narrowed his eyes as he looked into the distance.
From there, two figures were walking over.
"Xiong Shi? Are you looking for me?" Mao Shi asked with his hoarse voice.
Xiong Shi was dispirited, of course. He had been that way since his big bear was killed and made into a dish in front of him. That was a feeling of sorrow that could not be expressed with words. Hence, there would be something wrong with him if he wasn't dispirited over that.
"Senior Mao is having a headache over how he would deal with that chef?" Xiong Shi asked, lowering his head to look at Mao Shi.
Mao Shi only glanced at Xiong Shi before sneering. "Do you have an idea? I only remember the chef wiping the floor with you..."
Xiong Shi paused, feeling a little depressed. That was his mistake. He had thought that his big bear had run off to look for a female; who knew it would end up becoming an ingredient? Completely caught off guard, a heavy blow was done to his mental force.
That was what caused him to almost blow up his furnace; this was what caused him to lose... It was why he had sought death by using the Sorrowful Orchid...
That alone was adding a cherry atop the chef's victory. If he hadn't blown up his furnace after all that, he would feel sorry for himself.
Although Xiong Shi was depressed, he didn't say any more. He turned around, and a hunched figure appeared from behind him.
Mao Shi was now able to see an elderly man, who had a hunched back, staring at him with a solemn expression.
Suddenly, the elderly's hands moved, bringing out a red jade bottle, which he hurled toward Mao Shi, who understood the meaning behind his actions and caught the bottle. When he opened his palms to examine the bottle, his eyes widened.
"What is this?" Mao Shi asked, after taking a deep breath.
The hunched elderly's wrinkled face suddenly quivered, and the corners of his lips curled up, saying, "Weren't you having a headache over how you would deal with that chef? This is something that can help you win. It is something good."
"Blood Fire... Shura pill... You are someone from Shura City?" Mao Shi exclaimed with wide eyes once he opened the jade bottle and tipped it over his palm, causing a scalding hot pill to roll out onto it.