In an inn in the Valley of Gluttony
The void shook for a while and rippled, gradually expanding outwards. A moment later, a figure slowly stepped out from within the ripples.
Yan Cheng frowned, his face cold. The black longbow rested on his shoulder. He looked at the torn sleeve in his hand, and the corners of his mouth arched into an arrogant smirk.
"Insects will always be insects. When faced with the giant beasts from the holy lands, the fate of anyone from the Valley of Gluttony would only be death. So what if he looked down on us? The most he could do was to tear off a piece of my sleeve."
Yan Cheng whispered, stomping on the ground. In the next instant, his body shook. His clothes split open, revealing his well-proportioned body.
A guard came forward, giving Yan Cheng another set of clothes. Yan Cheng sat on his chair as he leaned back, supporting his chin with his hand.
"The fellow who killed my brother is dead. Now, all that's left is the task the Holy Saint asked us to accomplish. I can imagine that the Netherworld creature that tore apart the Holy Saint's clone is staying in the mysterious restaurant."
Yan Cheng looked pensive.
"Commander Yan, do you need me to go there and investigate now? I'm sure I will be extremely careful..." A guard looked at Yan Cheng, clasping his fist as he spoke.
Yan Cheng's eyes flashed, his finger knocking on the table. He then looked over at that guard and shook his head.
"There's no need. You'll just be courting death since that Netherworld creature was able to kill the Holy Saint's clone. Even if you wanted to do anything, you wouldn't be able to."
The guard was startled and eventually stopped insisting. If Commander Yan himself said that he would not be able to escape, then there was no chance that he would be able to.
"Is the Chef's Challenge taking place tomorrow? That restaurant's owner will be cooking against Jade Scale Knife Liu Jiali of the Tablet of Gluttony, right?" Yan Cheng rubbed his chin.
The guards nodded. The entire city knew about the Chef's Challenge tomorrow. Naturally, they knew about it as well.
"Good. Tomorrow, we will go there and watch," said Yan Cheng.
After he finished his sentence, the guards left quietly.
The room regained its silence. Only the gentle sounds of one's breath could be heard.
At dawn, the next day...
The quiet Gluttony God City was now bathed in the warm sunlight following a peaceful night.
The entire city seemed to come to life once again. People were walking to and fro, and the traders started their daily business. By the city gate, the crowds of people entering and leaving were enormous.
With a squeaking sound, the restaurant's door opened.
Bu Fang yawned lazily as he walked through the door. Warm sunlight shone on him, giving him a cozy feeling. Stretching his neck slightly, Bu Fang strode out of the restaurant.
Nethery's slender frame also walked out of the restaurant, stopping to stand by Bu Fang. Her long and straight black hair cascaded down her back. As always, her face showed no emotion.
From a distance, several figures slowly approached. Xiao Ya was pulling Flowery's hand, running forward.
Xiao Ya's eyes were swollen from all the crying, and she looked somewhat tired. It had been a sleepless night for her.
Upon seeing Bu Fang, however, she cheered up.
Xiao Ya pulled harder on Flowery's hand as she came sprinting toward him. As for Flowery, she wore her usual cold face.
When Flowery entered Bu Fang's restaurant, her eyes squinted as she started to walk toward the black dog under the shade of the Path-Understanding Tree. But before she could even take one step, Bu Fang grabbed her head and pulled her back, saying, "Let's go. The Chef's Challenge's about to start."
"This Chef's Challenge can save Grandpa Chu, right?" Xiao Ya lifted her head, asking curiously.
"Definitely," Bu Fang said as he rubbed the little girl's head. Despite his nonchalant voice, he was confident.
Nethery followed behind them without a word.
In the end, this group of people departed, heading to a faraway place.
All of a sudden, by the roadside, a figure shrouded in a black cloak emerged. The shadow approached Bu Fang and pulled off his hood, revealing a handsome face. A lock of hair dangled in front of his forehead, covering his eye.
"You brat Bu Fang... Where's the Spicy Strip we've talked about?" Nether King Er Ha's eyes looked excited as he asked.
He had finally ditched that little sticky goblin!
"Spicy Strip, erm... I've been too busy practicing my culinary skills, so I didn't have time to cook any Spicy Strips. Can you wait for a little while longer?" Bu Fang asked.
The Nether King's nostrils flared as he glared at Bu Fang.
You're trying to fool a ghost! All you do is sunbathe all day long in front of the restaurant! You dare to tell this king you're busy?!
Deep down, Nether King Er Ha was enraged, but he tried to maintain his smiling face.
"Okay, this king will wait for you. Take your time."
The corners of Bu Fang's mouth curled upwards. He made a face that Nether King Er Ha could not help but want to punch.
The group continued to move forward, heading to the other end of the long street.
Liu Jiali's restaurant wasn't too far away. It was right at the end of the long street. When they arrived, Liu Jiali was already standing in front of his restaurant.
His restaurant was called the Jade Scale Restaurant. The name came from his famous kitchen knife, the Jade Scale Knife.
His restaurant was large and can be compared to Mu Cheng's Phoenix Pavilion. No matter what, there was no doubt that he was a first-grade chef. He had an amazing reputation and fame, so naturally, his business wouldn't be bad.
Liu Jiali was leaning against the door of the Jade Scale Restaurant, wearing a clean chef robe. His long hair was tied up with a round metal ring, and he was holding a worn-out, old book in his hand.
While flipping through the pages, he nodded along as he read. In fact, he was so engrossed that he did not even notice Bu Fang's group walking toward him.
As he flipped another page, he sensed the aura of a few people in front of him. He raised his head and finally saw them.
"Oh, so you're here." Liu Jiali's face turned solemn. He stood up, looking at Bu Fang.
The arrival of Bu Fang meant that the Chef's Challenge was about to start.
Besides Bu Fang's group, many other people came to observe the Chef's Challenge. Liu Jiali turned around, leading Bu Fang and the others into the Jade Scale Restaurant.
Meanwhile, the guards guided the diners to wait on the first floor of the Jade Scale Restaurant.
Similar to the Phoenix Pavilion, the Jade Scale Restaurant was also equipped with a projection array, which broadcasted the Chef's Challenge for the audience.
Today's theme was medicinal cuisine.
It made many people excited. Medicinal cuisine was extremely precious and expensive. Normally, the chefs wouldn't think of cooking these recipes, considering the additional effort required in preparing the dishes.
In legends, the real pinnacle of medicinal cuisine could regrow flesh on a skeleton.
Of course, strictly speaking, it was just a legend. After all, in the entire Valley of Gluttony, the number of chefs who studied medicinal cuisine was extremely rare after so many years. Moreover, the books and records documenting it were equally scarce.
Presently, Liu Jiali was the first chef that practiced medicinal cuisine in the Valley of Gluttony.
Bu Fang was familiar with medicinal cuisine. In fact, in the truest sense of the word, he himself had started off with medicinal cuisine. He had his own unique understanding and interpretation of it. Of course, with his mental energy, cooking a medicinal dish was not really different.
They climbed to the second floor, which was very spacious. Apparently, Liu Jiali had prepared well for this Chef's Challenge.
"I hadn't thought that the final Chef's Challenge will be between you and me." Liu Jiali looked at Bu Fang as he said that. "Right from the first Chef's Challenge, I have observed and studied you. Anyway, you're someone who creates miracles. In every battle, you will cook a dish that surpasses everyone's expectations... So, I can't wait to challenge you."
Liu Jiali came to the stove first. He placed both of his hands on the counter, smiling at Bu Fang.
At that moment, Bu Fang was assessing the entire second floor of the Jade Scale Restaurant, his eyes passive.
A strong scent of medicine permeated the second floor. Obviously, it stored a lot of medicinal materials available for use.
"This medicinal cuisine competition cannot depend on judges. In this sort of competition, the point of comparison is the effectiveness of the dish, not the texture or taste. Whether the chef could elevate the medicinal efficacies of the ingredients to their peak or not, that's the important point," said Liu Jiali.
He then raised and clapped his hands. The clapping reverberated throughout the second floor.
Watching the images from the projection array, the audience held their breath.
Two iron cages fell from the sky, pounding and shaking the entire second floor. Liu Jiali clasped his hands as he walked toward the cages.
He then patted one of them.
A bright radiance emitted instantly. The figures inside the cages gradually became clearer.
There were two wounded spirit beasts, one in each cage. They looked like pigs with a small mountain on their back.
"These are the Mountain Carrying Pigs, a type of vulnerable spirit beast. They are about to die now. We shall compete to see who can save the pig faster... What do you think?" Liu Jiali looked at Bu Fang, his eyes bright as he spoke.
He was elated that he finally had a chance to compete against Bu Fang. He had calmed his mind and secluded himself for several days to study. Today, he wanted to utterly defeat him.
Destroying a chef who had endlessly won against so many others, it was a feeling that made people's blood boil. It was really exciting as well.
Bu Fang looked at the two pigs, his mouth twitching. He moved his gaze to Liu Jiali and said, "It's too troublesome. There is no meaning in saving a pig. We're here to save him..."
Bu Fang's words made Liu Jiali dumbstruck. He did not expect Bu Fang to reject his suggestion.
"What did you say? Save who?" Liu Jiali took a deep breath, questioning him.
The corners of Bu Fang's mouth rose once. He lifted his hand, patting Flowery's head. The Tri-Flower Snake Eyes of the little girl darted.
She looked at Bu Fang, then took a step back. Her body transformed, becoming a giant python.
The python opened its mouth, and fluids spewed out of it. Chu Changsheng was then spurted out of the python's mouth, his body covered with numerous holes.
Liu Jiali stood rooted to the spot, speechless.
This... What happened?
For this Chef's Challenge, did Bu Fang beat the Great Elder to the verge of death? Impossible...
Not just Liu Jiali. The audience was petrified the moment they saw Chu Changsheng's gory body.
The fellow that the snake just puked out... was he really Elder Chu?!
Everybody clamored. The Great Elder was dying because of serious wounds?! It wasn't a joke, right?
There was a battle last night in the Gluttony God's Building. But they all thought that the Great Elder had expelled the enemy. They hadn't imagined that their Great Elder was almost eliminated as a result.
Looking at his pathetic figure, people's mouths trembled.
From the first floor, Yan Cheng smirked, clasping his hands. Chu Changsheng hadn't died yet... He was really a lucky man.
However, with his keen eyes, he immediately knew the state that Chu Changsheng was in.
His vitality was all gone. He only had but a wisp of will left to hold on to. As soon as that will dispersed, Chu Changsheng would die immediately.
Given his situation, even if they had a divine elixir, they couldn't revive him.
"This Chef's Challenge is really interesting..." Yan Cheng smiled coldly.
Liu Jiali sucked in a breath of cold air.
They would cook a dish to revive the Great Elder?
"Impossible... The Great Elder's vitality is all gone. He's as good as dead! How can we save him?!" exclaimed Liu Jiali. His face was ashen as he trembled and staggered.
From the system storage bag, Bu Fang took out a velvet rope to tie his hair. His eyes turned to Liu Jiali as he said, "If I say that I will be able to save him, I'll save him."
Liu Jiali's eyes lit up, looking as bright as torches.
"Fine! If you can revive the Great Elder... I, Liu Jiali, will immediately admit defeat!"