The aroma of the Sweet 'n' Sour Ribs, accompanied by spirit energy, filled the air as the freshly prepared dish was transferred onto a porcelain plate, emanating emerald-like glitters.
The solemn and austere voice of the system resonated in Bu Fang's mind. The spoken words startled him slightly, but shortly he pulled his lips and smiled.
"Congratulations to the Host for achieving the targeted revenue and accomplishing the system assigned dishes. The promotion in rank has now begun."
Was he to be ranked up? Finally, he would rise in rank.
Bu Fang exhaled deeply. There was a twitch on his impassive face. He started his strides and headed out of the kitchen, with the Dragon Blood Rice and Sweet 'n' Sour Ribs in his hands. As he walked, his aura changed drastically. Intense true energy was bubbling in him. Every stride he took was accompanied by the emergence of the solidification and improvement of his spirit energy.
"Blacky, Nethery, come out for your dinner." Bu Fang regained his composure and allowed his true energy to surge in him. Upon reaching the dining area, he realized that the doors were closed. On the ceiling was a crystal-like gem radiating a glaring brilliance, illuminating the restaurant to the resemblance of bright daylight.
Nethery slouched in her chair, with her face pale. She looked feeble but was instantly rejuvenated when she got a whiff of the fragrance diffusing from the kitchen.
Under the Path-Understanding Tree, Blacky was sound asleep as its lumpy flesh shuddered with his every breath. As Bu Fang walked out of the kitchen, Blacky opened his sleepy eyes and looked at Bu Fang, with his gaze fixed on the Sweet 'n' Sour Ribs in Bu Fang's hands.
The next moment, Blacky's eyes were illuminated with a sparkling brilliance and he appeared beside Nethery in a jiffy, with his paws hinged on the tabletop, looking expectantly at Bu Fang.
Bu Fang's energy drifted within his body. Along with every step, there was a torrential surge of his true energy in his body. The amount of energy was relaxing and comfortable for him. He placed the dishes in front of Blacky and Nethery.
Blacky stuck his tongue out and started devouring the food on the plate. Nethery's Dragon Blood Rice was also placed on the table, and a look of excitement emerged from Nethery's pale face as she held the plate and started to grasp the rice with her fair and slender hands, stuffing it into her mouth. This time, the Dragon Blood Rice was fortified with the purple essence. With the torrents of spirit essence in the rice, Nethery's constitution improved after consuming just a few mouthfuls, and her rosy cheeks re-emerged.
Bu Fang smiled as he looked at them savouring the dishes delightfully. He pulled a chair out and sat opposite Blacky, then heaved slightly. His eyes were mystifying and his heart and soul sedimented deeply into his body.
Host: Bu Fang
True Energy Cultivation Level: Tenth-grade Divine Physique Echelon (Peak of Divine Physique Echelon).
Culinary Talent: Five Star.
Cooking Skills: second-grade Meteor Cutting Technique (100/100); second-grade Big Dipper Carving Technique (100/100); first-grade Cutting Technique-Overload Thirteen Blades (8/13); Gourmet Array (2/6).
Equipment: Golden Dragon Bone Kitchen Knife (God of Cooking Set); Heaven and Earth Metamorphosis Wok (God of Cooking Set); Vermillion Chef Robe (God of Cooking Set).
God of Cooking Comprehensive Assessment: mid-level Master Chef (culinary talent escalated to another level; culinary skills increasingly skilfull; a broader and more diverse culinary world has opened its doors for you, you may now begin to cook utility dishes).
System Level: Second Grade, Eleven Stars (Vitality exchange ratio is one hundred percent).
System Reward: recipe for the Treasured Pagoda Meat, a Fragment of the God of Cooking Set (1/5).
Extra: Host's True Energy Cultivation Level has reached the Peak of the Divine Physique Echelon, initialize the "Rank up" assessment?
The system's signboard appeared before Bu Fang, dazzling his eyes. This round of rank up had upgraded his True Energy Cultivation Level directly to the Peak of the Divine Physique Echelon. Bu Fang could sense the restriction of the shackles on his body collapsing. There was an influx of strong and powerful energy into his body, strengthening his body continually. Bu Fang's slender body inflated slightly, suffused with the influx of energy.
That was the Peak of the Divine Physique Echelon, endowing him with an exceptionally powerful physique. Bu Fang squinted his eyes and sighed almost simultaneously.
"Rank up assessment? What is that?" Bu Fang frowned and was baffled. What was such thing? Hadn't he just completed the promotion in rank? So why was there still a need for another assessment? Hence, Bu Fang queried the system for details of the assessment.
The system's reply was unexpected for him:
"The Host's True Energy Cultivation Level has reached the Peak of the Divine Physique Echelon. The 'Rank up' assessment has been initiated. Once you attain the last breakthrough, you will be at the Divine Soul Echelon," said the system.
Bu Fang was dumbfounded. He could reach the Divine Soul Echelon if he could complete the last breakthrough? He was not ready, thus he was not prepared to try it out immediately. It would not be an easy feat to pass the assessment given its level of difficulty, and so Bu Fang decided not to take up the challenge for now. Instead, he started examining his rewards from this round of upgrades. It was routine for the system to give out the rewards and it was also a routine for Bu Fang to check out his rewards.
"The Treasured Pagoda Meat..." Bu Fang closed his eyes slightly while reading the recipe in his mind and could not help but exclaim. He was itching to try out this Treasured Pagoda Meat. It was a dish that required exemplary cutting techniques. With his present cutting technique, he might not be able to cook it.
Bu Fang had thought that he had completed the collection of the God of Cooking Set, hence, it was a surprise to see a fragment for the next part. The present tool required a collection of five fragments to be released. Would that mean that the tool was more powerful and awesome?
Bu Fang had, by then, understood the extraordinary power of the God of Cooking Set, and had fully realized the need to make the exchange for the set. If he were to become the God of Cooking standing at the apex of the food chain of the fantasy world, he would definitely need the God of Cooking Set.
The rice was licked thoroughly clean by Nethery, and her face was flushed with excitement. She gave a faint burp, spouting with it a thick spirit essence. Nethery stood up and drifted towards the Path-Understanding Tree as she was satiated with the food. She took out her Netherworld Ship and smashed it beside the tree. In a jiffy, she crawled towards the ship, with no regards to her image. Once she was in the ship, the door was shut tight.
Blacky was still munching on the ribs as the food was fast diminishing. Eighty, the bird with great aspiration, strutted up and down the restaurant. Bu Fang's true energy broke through, and a storm seemed to be brewing in the sea of his mental energy, as the energy was escalating in an unstoppable manner.
Above the misty greyish dimension, there was an emergence of a holographic air, an air that was a cumulation of Bu Fang's mental energy. Bu Fang's mental energy had always been strong. Even before the breakthrough, his mental energy was already way above the average expert at the peak of the Divine Psyche Echelon. Now with the breakthrough, his mental energy had been strengthened tremendously. With only the emergence of a thought, it seemed as if he could stir up a storm. That feeling accentuated his five senses, making his vision much sharper and his hearing so powerful that he could hear most of the sounds within the place.
What good would the stronger mental energy bring?
As a chef, Bu Fang needed his mental energy to be stronger for his cutting or culinary techniques to be brought up by leaps and bounds. He would need his mental energy to sense the spirit energy in the dishes, so he could successfully manage the flow of spirit energy in his dishes, hence having total control of it.
The true energy in Bu Fang calmed down, settling at the Peak of the Divine Physique Echelon level. Bu Fang raised his arm that was bandaged by the black belt and could feel the fearsome energy embedded in his arm.
Blacky finally finished its meal. It strode off the dining table and cat-walked to the Path-Understanding Tree, lay under it and went soundly asleep. It was typical of Blacky to repeat the cycle, eat and sleep, sleep and eat, incessantly.
Bu Fang's lips quivered as he stood and cleared the plates, bringing them to the kitchen. He placed the plates into the automated dishwashing machine, clapped his hands and walked upstairs.
Blip. The lights in the restaurant were turned off.
The silvery moonlight shone from above onto the floor, while its silvery luster fell on Blacky's head as he slumped lazily on the ground. As Blacky's gaze followed the diminishing silhouette of Bu Fang, he pulled his lips and mumbled, "Bu Fang's culinary skills have improved drastically... I can't wait for tomorrow to have another taste of the delicious Sweet 'n' Sour Ribs!" The three strands of dog fur given to Nethery had all been utilized, showing ample proof of the ordeal that the two fellows had gone through.
Bu Fang tidied up the kitchen and left it for his room. He realized belatedly that his bed was used by Xiao Ya. He pulled his lips and scratched his head resignedly before stepping into the bathroom to have a hot bath.
Once done, he walked out of the room and entered the kitchen in his opened-top bathrobe and with his glistening moist hair.
Bu Fang flicked his finger and out came the solid black massive kitchen knife onto his hand. He twirled the razor-sharp knife and started to practice his cutting technique with the ingredients prepared by the system.
His room had been taken up by Xiao Ya, thus he could only come down to practice his cutting technique. In the meantime, he could also ponder upon the recipe of the Treasured Pagoda Meat, his reward.
The sound of the intimate contact between the kitchen knife and the chopping board reverberated. The moon at the arch of heaven sank gradually, exposing the bright horizon, together with the rising sun.
A new day had begun.