The silken thick soup was pulled longer, crystal clear and exuding a boiling hot aroma as the mouthwatering sweet-sour scent assailed Nether King's nose. He licked his lips and closed his eyes in delight after putting the piece of fish into his mouth.
The sweet-sour scent exploded instantaneously, widening Nether King's eyes.
If Wen Renchou's pan-fried codfish could be akin to one surfing in the ocean, then Bu Fang's Westlake sweet-sour fish would be one relaxing in the comfort of a boat ride on a small lake. The two different dishes presented two totally different styles.
It was a mouthful of delicious soup but it was that one mouthful which whetted Nether King's appetite completely. That ineffable feeling was unique.
Wen Renchou's smile of confidence froze. He sensed an unpleasant premonition from Nether King's expression... The latter did not seem to particularly like his dish, which in turn made him somewhat flurried, and his confidence crumbled slightly.
His most familiar culinary skill was cooking fish. He would be speechless if he lost with this cuisine.
This demonic Bu Fang was truly beyond his expectation. It would suffice if Bu Fang was from the Valley of Gluttony, but he was not. Yet he could dish out such scrumptious cuisine, not any weaker than him, who was from the Valley of Gluttony.
This youngster! Where on earth did he come from!
"Little Ha, how is it? The texture?" Looking at Nether King's expression of indulgence, Nangong Wuque felt like having millions of ants crawling on his heart, making him ever more curious.
"Hmm... Youngsters nowadays are not bad!" Nether King nodded his head, fixating his glance on the West Lake Sweet 'n' Sour Fish. "These two dishes are not bad. The Chili Strip is slightly better but..."
"Forget it, it would be better if you do not continue." Nangong Wuque had a deadpan expression and waved his hand to stop Nether King from continuing after hearing him mentioning the Chili Strips again.
He wanted to have a taste of the dishes himself.
Nether King glared on having his speech interrupted, "Youngsters nowadays! Why are they so mischievous? Can't they let me say my piece?"
Bu Fang was calm. He pulled a chair and snuggled onto it, yawning in a laid-back manner.
All the diners were excited and mesmerized by the two dishes.
The air was cold after the rain, but the diners' hearts were burning with passion.
The dishes were emptied progressively by the diners. They were all intoxicated and reminiscing even as they gobbled up the dishes.
Wen Renchou's face was drained of its color in Cloud Mist Restaurant. He was trembling slightly, with beads of perspiration on his forehead and there was terror in his eyes.
He could anticipate the results from the expression of the masses. It was an unacceptable outcome for him. He could not believe it. He did not want to believe it...
He dished out a cuisine that he was most adept at, but the result was not to his liking.
This was the battle of the master chefs! He was confident, and thus he initiated the battle. Though there was a tinge of regret at that instant when he called for the battle, he was still enormously confident in his culinary skills.
It seemed now from the battle outcome that his confidence appeared rather ridiculous.
Everyone had a verdict after tasting the two dishes.
When the last bit of the food was delectably savored, a holographical image of a huge beast emerged from Wen Renchou's body. That illusion had a humongous mouth, and when it opened, it seemed to be able to swallow the heaven and earth. It was horrific!
A formation hovered around the image, shrouding those who had tasted the dishes. However, as the formation touched Nether King, it dissipated, unable to hold on to him.
Nether King twitched the corner of his lips and shook his head, lifting his black tress in the process.
"That plaything was so timid..."
There were two options in the hearts of those who were shrouded by the light. Bu Fang and Wen Renchou chou had light twinkling on their bodies too.
It was like the ferocious roar of a huge beast, and everyone was a tad dazed. The next instant, there appeared to be a thunderous voice whispering in their ears about the rules.
Wen Renchou ugly's torso was paralyzed, and his forehead was beaming with perspiration. He staggered backwards, and his posterior nearly touching the ground.
Bu Fang cast a nonchalant glance at him, swept his leg and threw a chair, securing Wen Renchou's body onto the chair. Wen Renchou slumped motionless onto the chair, but his face paled. The lights on both their bodies started to glitter, it seemed that the diners had made their choice.
A unique buzzing sound rang, and in the next moment, the light on Bu Fang's body glittered brightly, overshadowing the light covering Wen Renchou. The latter starred blankly at Bu Fang. Comparing the lights on both their bodies, it was akin to the stark contrast of the Moon and a firefly.
His confidence shattered, collapsing instantaneously. This was a true collapse.
In the legacy of the venerable sabre, his confidence was intact though he lost. There was only unwillingness in the defeat as he knew that he was most skilled in fish cuisine, not those kinds of cuisine. However, this round he was given a punch under the belt. He failed miserably in this Chef's Challenge!
As everyone recovered from their daze, the formation disappeared gradually, diminishing into a ray of light, engulfed by the illusion.
"The Chef's Challenge! Bu Fang wins, Wen Renchou loses!"
The voice which sounded like the morning bells and evening drums rang through the ears of all. Everyone felt a palpitation, with their gazes falling onto Bu Fang and Wen Renchou.
Bu Fang was indifferent, snuggling on the chair, as though he had anticipated the results, without a trace of worry to be seen.
On the other hand, Wen Renchou was totally drained of his color. He had lost... truly lost!
"The Chef's Challenge has ended. The punishment begins... Wen Renchou will be stripped of his culinary rights, will never again be a chef, and his kitchen knife will be taken and awarded to his rival."
Wen Renchou stared blankly.
Above the enormous illusionary figure in the illusionary sky, there seemed to be an invisible pair of eyes gazing at his body, making him feel empty and exhausted.
This was the price of the Chef's Challenge.
He lost, and he had to pay a price that he could not bear.
Bu Fang was stumped slightly and raised his brows. He saw Wen Renchou's icy crystal knife flying toward him. So this was what they termed as "stripped of the kitchen knife"? Also, stripped of the culinary rights? The battle between the chefs was genuinely cruel!
Bu Fang creased his brows. Looking at the pale Wen Renchou, he twitched his lips. He had no empathy for Wen Renchou. He knew that if he were to lose this day, it would be his kitchen knife and his culinary rights which would be taken away from him forever.
When Wen Renchou called for the battle, it might have meant to wipe out all of Bu Fang's retreats. However, it was beyond his expectation the full extent of Bu Fang's strength. Bu Fang was not magnanimous. In fact, he was a tad petty.
The icy crystal kitchen knife flew right into Bu Fang's hands, so he raised his hand and grabbed it. The ice-blue of the kitchen knife exuded an aura of glamour, resembling the cold ice from the deep sea, which was freezing cold. There was a faint air of coldness lingering.
"A good knife!" Bu Fang exclaimed.
He stuck out a finger and caressed the kitchen knife. There was a piercing feeling which constricted the skin, causing Bu Fang's lips to twitch. It might not be as good as his Dragon Bone Kitchen Knife, but it was undeniably a rare good knife.
Wen Renchou's eyes were filled with grief. He looked at the kitchen knife in Bu Fang's hand and opened his mouth to speak but gave up. The restrictive force on him was unbearable. It was the restrictive force of the Gluttony's Oath.
Bu Fang looked briefly at Wen Renchou, pulled the corner of his lips and moved his fingers. The ice-blue kitchen knife started to rotate in his hand, blooming with a sparkling aurora of the knife.
Wen renchou looked on with his heart pulling on tightly.
"You..." Wen Renchou felt his heart tearing apart.
"Congratulations to the host for defeating the second-grade chef from the Valley of Gluttony, Wen Renchou. The reward is his kitchen knife and a knife cabinet for the collection of kitchen knives from battle. The road to the God of Cooking is a progression with no retreat. The knife cabinet collects more than the knives of the losers, it also serves as a reminder to the host to keep up upgrading his culinary skills, striving toward being the God of Cooking," the system's stern and serious speech reverberated in Bu Fang's mind.
The next moment, Bu Fang's heart quivered a little. An array started to form and spread out. Bright spots appeared before him, turning into a conveyor formation, and an antique sandalwood cabinet of magenta shade appeared.
The crowd was astounded by the emergence of the cabinet.
Wen Renchou's eyes turned blood-red and he gave out a loud roar upon seeing the cabinet. He was not unfamiliar with the cabinet. He had seen it in the Valley of Gluttony. Any culinary geniuses used this style of cabinet for their collection of the losers' kitchen knives.
That was an insult to every loser!
"Oh, how I hate it!" Wen Renchou was furious, and his blood was boiling to a tremor.
Bu Fang glanced at him nonchalantly. Expressionlessly, he opened the cabinet. It was empty. However, there were many exquisite knife holders standing side by side. He placed the Crystal Cleaver into the cabinet and stared at the lonely kitchen knife, suddenly speechless.
As the system said, culinary art was like a martial art. There might be some difference but ultimately it would be to reach the epitome of the art.
As in all great competitions, only the winner would stay forever.
Bu Fang wanted to be the God of Cooking hence there would be no slowing down of his pace, he had to diligently practice and improve his culinary skills. Otherwise, it would be his Dragon Bone Kitchen Knife sitting in another chef's cabinet...
"This serves as a warning and a reminder to me..." Bu Fang mumbled.
Wen Renchou trembled, falling limply onto his chair, exhausted and lifeless. He knew it was his own doing.
"Why? Why did I lose? I am from the Valley of Gluttony. I am a second-grade chef from the Valley of Gluttony. How did I lose?" Wen Renchou murmured with his empty eyes.
Bu Fang closed his knife cabinet and turned to look at Wen Renchou.
"Isn't it normal to lose? You are most adept at cooking fish, but I am not. You used your most accomplished skill yet you could not defeat me, what is there to regret?" Bu Fang said with a blank expression.
Bu Fang's expertise was not in cooking fish?!
Wen Renchou rolled his eyeballs, lifted his head and stuttered, "then what are you most skilled at?"
Bu Fang sighed upon casting a glance at Wen Renchou. He faced the direction of the kitchen, with his hands at his back, exuding a mysterious aura.
Everyone was curious, their ears standing, waiting expectantly for Bu Fang's reply. It was a long pause. A melancholic sound resonated.
"By any means, it is not fish..."