Chapter 16

I was filled with amazement and couldn’t shut my mouth. Suddenly, the swirling flames came together and turned into an intense sun. The even more remarkable thing was that the little sun spoke.

Hehe! Solar has appeared!”

“...Amazing.”

I used a word that my granddaughter taught me. The spectacle itself was amazing. The fire spoke. No, was this weird? It was a virtual reality world so it wasn’t strange that this would happen.


[The apostle ‘Fire Thief Looking Ahead’ is smiling at the primordial fire.]


...Come to think of it, did this guy steal the fire? The devouring flames of the sky that had the name ‘Solar’ came to me and cried out, “Alexus, you’re alive!”

Eh?

“What?”

Huh?

Zalmergus and Masis’ eyes widened. Why did their eyes widen like this...

They were staring at me with disbelieving expressions.

Solar continued speaking, “Um, you aren't? You look similar but the hair is a bit different. Hehe. Sorry!”

Zalmergus and Masis sighed with relief.

Sigh. I was really surprised.”

“Elder, I think you really have the talent to surprise people.”

I couldn’t help cocking my head without understanding why.

Zalmergus said, “It has been a while, Solar. Can you help me with the cooking?”

“I understand! Hehe!

At Zalmergus’ words, Solar moved its body to the bottom of the pot floating in the air. There was a loud sound and it started heating up the pot. 

“Father, will it be okay? Something seems unusual...”

“It will be fine. Don’t worry.”

Zalmergus was boiling oil in the pot. At the same time, he started chopping meat on the cutting board of the store. The meat was cut, chopped, and thoroughly shredded. I looked at it and guessed what type of dish would come out. Based on the meat, was he trying to create a meat skewer?

My guess was off the mark. All of a sudden, the meat was dredged with frying flour and then dropped into the pot with boiling oil!

...It was amazing. He was a fairly seasoned chef. I also walked the culinary path so I could see it instantly. The burn marks on his hand and the marks on his knife proved it. His eyes were similar to my own eyes.

Craftsmanship. In the old days, my disciples had said something like this, ‘You have different eyes before and after cooking.’

This was how it felt. Now Zalmergus’ eyes were completely different. He was a true craftsman. I gulped as I saw the will of a general prepared to fight to the death for his country. There was also a growling sound from my stomach.

...Ugh, I was hungry.

Zalmergus picked up the fried meat and brought the ping-pong shaped balls to Solar one by one. I watched with round eyes. Then something surprising happened. The meat was charred black and burned like it was becoming another sun. Zalmergus quickly put them on a plate and placed a lid over them.

“It is complete.”

“...”

It was a truly great dish. It shone enough to make doubts fill my eyes. As such, I had a thought—I had to eat that? I wondered what it would taste like but I also wondered if I could eat it. If I ate it, I would definitely get burned...

“Don’t worry about being burned.”

“...”

My face turned red as my thoughts were discovered. Kuek. Then I won’t worry.”


* * *


We moved and settled at the large table in the middle of the room. There was only one dish with a lid on it. Three people were gazing at me with nervous eyes. I told Zalmergus, “It will be fine. Don’t worry too much.”

“But...”

“It is a dish made with sincerity. There won’t be any problems.”

Yes, there wouldn’t be any problems. I saw his craftsmanship and passion for cooking. I knew instinctively that such a dish wouldn’t go wrong.

“Thank you... cough! Cough!” Zalmergus started to cough while talking.

"Grandfather!" Masis quickly handed over a handkerchief. Zalmergus accepted it and continued to cough. Then he finally spat something out. I could see traces of red blood on the white handkerchief that covered his mouth.

“Grandfather, are you okay?” Kim Sujeong approached him and used Slow Heal. However...

“It's useless.”

“What...?”

"In fact, in order to cook this dish, I have to summon the sun elemental next to you.”

I looked at Solar at his words. Solar was watching its master with worry. Perhaps Solar was familiar with this situation. 

“However, the summoning condition of the sun elemental is the life of the summoner.”

...What?

Then this was a dish using his life as collateral? I quickly turned my head and asked Zalmergus, "Zalmergus. Why do this?”

“I think it is more important to take off the stigma than my life.”

“...”

I couldn’t say anything to him. What if it were me? With that thought...

“In any case, my body will soon rot. I want to remove the stigma of a dish that kills people for my grandson before I die.”

“Grandfather...”

I clenched my fists. How hard was it? I would be saddened to think that my cooking could kill someone. That stress. The pressure. The fear. It was like falling into a hell where a chef could no longer cook. I wanted to comfort him. I wanted to eat this somehow.

‘I will be fine eating this dish. It is fine so cook again. It is very delicious.’

I wanted to tell him this was a chef. I grabbed the stainless steel lid covering the dish and said, “Don't worry. I’ll tell you how delicious I think it is.”

Everyone gulped at the same time. I opened the lid with curiosity and fear. Then it appeared. It was a sudden fire.

...Um?!

I fell down out of amazement and Masis raised me up.

“Are you okay? Elder?”

I was so distracted by the dish in front of me that I couldn’t thank him. Beautiful. There was no other word that came to mind. It didn’t require any more or any less modifiers. Looking at it, I felt like my soul was sucked in. “What is the name of this dish?”

“It is called Meatballs of the Sun.”

“Meatballs of the Sun...” I looked at the dish and reflected on the name. “It is the perfect name.”

It was so perfect that I couldn’t express it in any other manner. What more did I need to say?

Sigh...” I sat reverently and took long, deep breaths.

...I was nervous. I thought that perhaps I might really die. It was clear that a fire of this degree would 100% burn me...

“Don’t worry about being burned.”

“...”

Can I trust him? There were six meatballs on the plate. I smiled a bit at the thought of eating six of them. I put the nearest meatball in my mouth with a nervous expression. Sigh... I’ll eat well.”

Chew chew.

The first taste was hot but I could bear it. Moreover, the resulting aftertaste was deeply permeated with the flavor of meat, giving it a distinct smoky aroma. Um, what? It was delicious...

Oof!

My chest was hot. It felt like someone had set fire to my chest. It felt like I was dancing on top of oil. I felt a burning sensation.

Kuaaaaaack!

Unbeknownst to me, fire emerged from my mouth.

...Crazy. Didn’t he say I wouldn’t be burned?


[You have eaten a Meatball of the Sun.]

[You can feel a burning pain from your chest.]

[You have suffered 50 damage.]

[Remaining Meatballs of the Sun 5/6]


I literally knelt on the floor and held my chest. I couldn’t wake up from the extremely hot taste. The extremities of my body were trembling and fear permeated.

K...Kuock...

“Elder! Are you okay? Jackson!"

"S-Slow Heal!”

Masis was shaking me but I couldn’t hear his voice. My spirit had already flown away. Even Slow Heal was useless.


[Slow Heal doesn't work. The Meatball of the Sun is too powerful.]


“U-Unbelievable!” Kim Sujeong had an expression like she couldn’t believe it.

Five minutes passed before I felt a bit better and looked up at Zalmergus. He was sitting in his seat with closed eyes. I hurriedly took a potion out of my inventory and drank it.


[You have taken a low grade health potion.]

[The potion has no effect.]

[The Meatball of the Sun is too powerful.]


The heals and the potions didn’t get through.

“Shit!” I struck the floor with my fist. I sat down with difficulty and looked at Zalmergus. He still didn’t want to open his eyes.

...This old man. Obviously, I didn’t get any burns. I just suffered damage.

Hah.

For a moment, I really wanted to smoke a cigarette but I had made a promise I couldn’t break. My chest was hot again as I inserted a fork into the second meatball.

“Father, are you okay?”

“Yes, don’t worry. I’m fine.”

It was nonsense. My tongue was still tingling. It felt paralyzed...


[The apostle ‘Fire Thief Looking Ahead’ is praying for you.]


You rotten bastard, it suddenly felt dirty.

Then the second meatball went straight into my mouth.

Kuaaaaak!

I could see the fire from my mouth burning the ceiling. I saw it and realized. Damn, this was why the ceiling was black...!

It felt like I went to Heaven for a bit. There, I felt like I glimpsed my wife’s face and wanted to high-five an angel.


[You have eaten a Meatball of the Sun.]

[You can feel a burning pain from your chest.]

[You have suffered 50 damage.]

[Remaining Meatballs of the Sun 4/6]


Kuooock... ugh!

“Jackson! Are you okay? Wake up?”

How could I be okay? I wanted to tell this to the voice calling out to me. However...

“Wa...te...r...”

Masis grabbed water from the kitchen and handed it to me. Kim Sujeong kept watching me with a worried expression.


[You have drank water.]

[The water has no effect.]

[The Meatball of the Sun is too powerful.]

[Your heart can’t calm down.]


...Shit. I didn’t know why my luck was so fierce today. I felt good when I saw the heart that Mido drew and now it was the opposite. It would scare anyone who listened to my daily life.

“...Let’s see who will win.”

I checked my health gauge. My total health was 300 points and I had now suffered 100 damage. I was sorry that the fire dealt 50 damage. There were four meatballs left. Each one dealt 50 damage but I only had 200 health left. I would die if I ate all of them. However... I wouldn’t really die. Perhaps I could distribute points into my Fitness stat.


[A quest is in progress. You can’t distribute your stat points.]


“Shit.”

It seemed this game didn’t want me to eat them. It was the same when I tried to choose a job and still the same now. I thought that perhaps it wanted me dead. I sat back in the chair with determination.

All or nothing! Die or live!

Zalmergus still had his eyes closed and didn’t move. I could see small tear marks on his face. Maybe he was fighting as well. It was natural to have complicated feelings about serving this type of dish for his benefactor! There was no doubt that he was fighting against himself. Thus, I wanted to cheer him on.

“Zalmergus... delicious... cough!


[The apostle ‘Fire Thief Looking Ahead’ is touched by your camaraderie.]


Zalmergus’ eyes were twitching violently. There were still four flames on the plate and I shook my head as I looked at it. Eventually, Zalmergus couldn’t stand it and got up. “Jackson!”

I looked into his eyes and thought that perhaps I couldn’t avoid death. Then... a decision had to be made. I ate the four meatballs in front of me at the same time.

“No!”

“Elder!”

“Father!”

Kuaaaaaaaaah!!!!!

Flames shot from my mouth. Tonight, I was a hot guy. 

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