At dusk, the skies were drizzling.
This lethargic weather caused the air to harbor a chilly intent.
Bu Fang opened his eyes and got out of his bed. After he finished rinsing himself, he left his room and made his way into the kitchen.
Even though the Chef's Challenge between him and Wen Renchou would be beginning soon, there wasn't a hint of distress in Bu Fang's eyes. He just gave his sleepy and seemingly heavy head a little massage, followed by a big yawn. Afterwards, he began to practice his knife skills.
He first prepared the usual Sweet 'n' Sour Ribs and Dragon Blood Rice for the two gluttons in the restaurant. He went back into the kitchen to practice his knife skills a little bit more before he sat down to ponder about the dish he wanted to cook for the battle.
"Fish-related dishes... Which dish should I use to battle against Wen Renchou?" Bu Fang pondered about it seriously.
Since it was a Chef's Challenge, Wen Renchou would definitely not use dishes that he wasn't a hundred percent confident in. There was no way he would challenge Bu Fang with something he was unsure of. This was, after all, a battle for a chef's honor and future.
The loser would be stripped of his kitchen knife and rights to cook. How cruel!
"Drunken fish? Steamed fish? Fish Head Tofu Soup? Grilled fish?" Bu Fang fondled his chin as he dwelled upon it. Of course, there were endless other fish-related dishes. Up till now, Bu Fang had cooked numerous varieties of fish-related dishes. He was able to bring out many dishes for this competition.
After thinking for a long time, Bu Fang raised his brows as he had a revelation that he might as well try a new type of dish.
A dish that had been ridiculously famous in his previous life began to surface in his mind. Bu Fang's heart moved while his eyes beamed and his lips curled upwards. That was definitely going to be the dish.
Due to it being a Chef's Challenge, the system was actually able to provide Bu Fang with the necessary ingredients free of charge. He was somewhat shocked. Was the stingy system finally letting up?
Bu Fang was in a state of shock when an enormously luscious Divine-Physique-Echelon Fish landed in front of him as it flapped its fins around. Just because of how strong this fish was, the plumpness and spiritual energy contained within the meat would be of top-notch quality.
Bu Fang squeezed the fish's tender yet succulent body a few times. He then examined its blade-like fish scales which carried an aura of sharpness.
After meddling with the fish for a while, Bu Fang began to prepare this fish. The Dragon Bone Kitchen Knife appeared as it displayed a flowery stance. The knife chopped down viciously, making a perfect cut. The light from the blade was shimmering with extreme intensity and it was really blinding.
The drizzle gradually died down.
Along with some moisture in the air, this kind of drizzle was rarely seen even during the summer.
Regardless of whether it was raining or not, the queue in front of the restaurant's gate remained as long as before. Everyone was queuing expectantly, waiting for that bronze gate to open up.
However, things were slightly different from before. There was a hint of excitement on their faces and there was some uneasiness hidden under that as well. This was because they had received news regarding today's Chef's Challenge between Owner Bu and another ridiculously strong chef.
They were also not familiar with the term "Chef's Challenge". Nonetheless, they still found it somewhat awe-inspiring. Those that had some understanding regarding the pros and cons of this Chef's Challenge felt a little worried for Bu Fang.
Still, up to that day, Bu Fang had yet to lose to anyone, and not even the Pill Palace's top-tier alchemists were a match for him. After all, they were alchemists, not chefs.
This time, he had finally found a chef as an opponent... Moreover, his opponent seemed like a reliable and experienced chef. He even knew about the rarely known term, "Chef's Challenge".
Rain poured down from the sky, drenching the clothes of many.
A rumble was suddenly heard from the distant street.
A shadowy figure approached slowly. Everyone's pupils shrank involuntarily as they saw the figure carrying a gigantic and luxurious fish behind his back. The fish was still alive and its mouth was still gaping open. It was still gasping for breath. Its scales were scintillating rays of light within the rain, shimmering with an overwhelming glow as though it was a bright star shining in the night sky.
"He is here!"
"That man over there is the chef who challenged Owner Bu to a Chef's Challenge!"
"Oh my, such a well-upholstered fish! What kind of fish is it?!"
Many were amazed by the sight of that fish as they inhaled in a deep breath.
The Nether King and Nangong Wuque were both looking at that plump and luscious fish with their mouths wide open.
"That fish is comparable to a Divine Physique Echelon beast that had broken through three supreme-being shackles. It's called the Timeless Cod Fish. Legend says that it can spit out a whole territory, and the people can even live there!" Nangong Wuque exclaimed in shock.
The Nether King felt curious as he looked suspiciously toward Nangong Wuque and said, "Why are the kids these days so knowledgeable?"
"However, fishes like this have remarkably tender meat when cooked properly. It also pushes one's control over their flame to the limit. If one were to be careless in handling their flame, it would cause the fish's meat to lose its tenderness." Nangong Wuque continued to comment.
The Nether King got even more shocked and asked, "How do you know about this. Aren't you an alchemist?"
Nangong Wuque snorted unhappily, "Although I am an alchemist, I also have the heart of a cook. Since I've eaten Old Bu's dishes, I started to research on food... Aren't they competing with fishes? I merely flipped through the relevant notes on fish once."
Just as these two were conversing, the bronze gate of the Cloud Mist Restaurant opened slowly.
A swoosh was heard.
Everyone's gaze unanimously turned toward that opening bronze gate as a figure walked out of the restaurant.
Bu Fang then lazily stretched his waist as he swept his gaze calmly across the crowd.
"Good morning everyone," Bu Fang greeted.
"Owner Bu, we support you! You will definitely win this Chef's Challenge!"
"Owner Bu you better win this challenge! I haven't had nearly enough of the dishes you cooked!"
"Owner Bu, do you want to continue your business for today first? If you lose, we will never get to taste the dishes you food ever again..."
Bu Fang's expression turned dark... What kind of encouragement was that? What do they mean for him to do business first? Did they doubt him so much?
The crowd made way for Wen Renchou as he gradually strolled in with the Timeless Cod Fish behind his back. Water splashed as he stepped on the floor surface which was filled with puddles of water.
Wen Renchou was rather excited. His muscles were all shivering with anticipation... He felt as though he finally got the chance to repay Bu Fang for the humiliation he suffered.
Bu Fang walked out and stood at the open ground in front of his restaurant.
The bosses of various elixir shop had voluntarily relocated their shops and they opened up a huge space suitable for the two chefs to have their battle.
The atmosphere turned tense immediately. Even the rain had turned mercilessly bone-chilling.
The Nether King's handsome face revealed a solemn expression. With a gesture from him, a barrier of light appeared, blocking out the pouring rain.
The rain became heavier as the rainwater struck against the light barrier, splashing and emitting splashing sounds which echoed louder.
Everyone held their breaths as they scrutinized the two chefs who were the center of attention right now.
A metal table appeared. Wen Renchou tossed the Timeless Cod Fish onto the metal table and a loud blast rumbled through the air, startling the audience around them.
"Fish is the theme for today's Chef's Challenge. I wonder if Owner Bu is prepared for the challenge... I hope you will not disappoint me," Wen Renchou said smugly.
A blue radiance appeared on Wen Renchou's palm. The surrounding temperature began to fall rapidly and a sharp ice blade appeared in his hand. The Crystal Cleaver began to move swiftly, slashing across the ingredients. Fish scales began to shoot outwards as though they were flying knives. Wen Renchou's action was as smooth as water and it startled the crowd. This chef was definitely no weaker than Owner Bu!
A sense of anticipation appeared in the heart of the audience members. They were eagerly waiting for the battle to start. Perhaps, that would be an intriguing Chef's Challenge.
A kitchen knife flashed past, beheading the fish as it revealed the white and succulent meat.
Wen Renchou raised his head and stared at the flabbergasted crowd. His lips curved into an arc and an arrogant expression appeared on his face.
As the crowd cheered him on, his kitchen knife flashed and a rip was heard. The kitchen knife was already in the fish's abdomen area and with the next stroke, the blade dragged all the bones out of the fish.
Bu Fang was slightly bewildered by Wen Renchou's knife arts. He was indeed pretty good... What was this Wen Renchou's foundation? That was the true ability of a second-grade chef from the Valley of Gluttony.
A flat obsidian-colored wok emerged as it hovered high in the sky. It was obviously not an ordinary wok, but an extraordinary one.
With a snap, a ball of fiery red flames burst forth and drilled into the base of the wok. A second later, the wok began to produce incessant amounts of smoke.
Many pieces of spirit wood flew into the air as a blue sword light streaked through the sky. The pieces of wood were instantly chopped up into smaller pieces and they entered the bottom of the wok.
A medicinal fragrance emerged from the wok and it filled the sky, causing the crowd to sniff vigorously like animals who went hungry for days.
The Nether King was somewhat intrigued by this scene. It was his first time seeing a battle between chefs... Such a unique battle caused him to anticipate the ending and he was extremely excited.
Wen Renchou made use of the time while the wood was burning and emitting an intoxicating aroma to prepare the fish. He did not choose the entire fish. Instead, he chose the most delectable and luscious part of this fish. The best part of this fish was the delicious-looking piece of meat which had a ring shape.
Using his fingers, he carefully held his icy kitchen knife. Wen Renchou's finger then began to move in complex ways as it pressed against the fish meat at lightning speed. It was as though he was massaging it with utmost care. That kind of handling technique caused one to be dumbfounded. After massaging the fish meat, he tossed the fish high up in the air.
He waved his hand and a pot of alcohol emerged. With a single flick, the pot of alcohol imploded aggressively, causing streaks of glistening alcohol to burst out, filling the air.
Under Wen Renchou's precise control, the alcohol thoroughly integrated itself into the fish meat.
The Crystal Cleaver that was spinning on one of his fingers flew up the next moment and landed on the body of the fish. That relentless battering caused the alcohol to seep deep into the fish. The meat of the fish which was hovering in the sky seemed to be glistening under the light.
After the alcohol had completely entered the fish, Wen Renchou activated the true energy in his body and began to siphon up all the alcohol hidden within the fish's meat.
The fish's meat then fell into a lump of flour that was prepared in advance. He evenly coated the flour around the meat.
Sizzle, sizzle, sizzle!
Once it entered the pot, the sizzling sound and fragrance instantly erupted violently.
The crowd inhaled a deep breath of air as they observed Wen Renchou's series of actions which showed off his perfect control over his dish. Wen Renchou really wanted to go all out against Bu Fang.
That elegant and flawless control, that voguish knife arts... All of Wen Renchou's skills caused the bystanders to feel stupefied.
"This is really terrifying... Old Bu is really in danger this time!" Nangong Wuque said with his eyes wide open.
The Nether King then said casually, "If Old Bu uses that Chili Strip, he will certainly dominate that piece of crap..."
However, unlike the crowd that had unsettling looks on their faces, Bu Fang had a very calm attitude toward everything which was happening.
His hands flashed with a bright glow and a table appeared in front of him. A lush and delectable fish then appeared from thin air and landed on the table with a loud boom.
Bu Fang exhaled softly. He then clasped his hands together as his mouth moved slightly.
"West Lake Sweet 'n' Sour Fish... Come forth!"