Chapter 19 - Quiet Room
“Eight Treasures Fragrant Rice, Stewed Coiling Dragon in Brown Sauce, Dry-fried Inksoul Scorpion, Mixed Stew Azure Silkie...”
Old man Ma’s culinary arts had indeed attained an extraordinary level; in less than an hour, he had once again cooked another 13 extremely delicious delicacies.
Chen Xi felt extreme happiness, happiness that he had never felt since he was a child. Dish after dish of delicious delicacies that he’d never tasted in his life; they not only caused his six senses to obtain extreme satisfaction, but the pure and thick spirit energy that was contained within the dishes were like rainfall after a drought as they gathered within his Dantian, actually gradually condensing into the fourth True Essence violet cloud in an extremely short amount of time!
With every increase in one’s level of the Congenital Realm, a cloud condensed from True Essence would appear within the Dantian, and it was called the cloud stairway of foundation building. It continued until nine clouds were formed, then one could develop the Violet Palace to become a Violet Palace Realm cultivator that possessed the Dao foundation to formally step into the palace of immortals.
Chen Xi had already stagnated at the 3rd level of the Congenital Realm for five years, and it wasn’t because of his natural talent being too inferior, but instead because of that longevity lock his mother left behind. During these five years, it had silently absorbed the True Essence within his body, and only when the longevity lock shattered to reveal the jade pendant within did he seem as if he had broken his shackles. From that day onwards, he never worried about his cultivation being unable to advance.
However, even then, under the circumstances of lacking the support of spirit stones, spirit pills, spirit medicine, and other external sources of support, the advancement of his cultivation was extremely slow. He had never imagined that eating over 10 dishes actually allowed his cultivation to be like an oil well blowout and break through a level once again. This naturally caused him to be incomparably pleasantly surprised.
However, following the happiness, he also felt a type a torture. Every time old man Ma cooked a delicious dish, that pungent enticing smell caused him to be unable to stop even though he wanted to, and his original intention of having only a tiny bite turned completely into disregarding his image as he gobbled down the dishes. This caused him to feel more and more ashamed, and he felt himself to be a bigger and bigger glutton that was unable to resist temptation.
Old man Ma was startled by Chen Xi’s appearance when eating as well, as he gazed at those 14 empty jade plates, he simple didn’t dare believe his eyes, and only muttered in an absent-minded state. “Freak! Could it be that this fellow’s stomach is a bottomless pit? The disciple I fucking took is too…weird, right?”
Chen Xi felt even more ashamed in his heart when he heard this, and his deadpan face that was ridiculed for being expressionless even revealed a rare trace of a blush.
He felt it to be extremely strange as well, after completely clearing 14 dishes, not only did he not feel bloated, but instead he had the urge of wanting to eat a large pile of food.
“You freak, simply behaving exactly like those body refiner coolies[1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coolie], a complete glutton!” Old man Ma muttered once more.
However when these words entered Chen Xi’s ears, it instead caused a problem to cross his mind, it seemed… Since he cultivated the Universe Starslayer Body Forging Arts, he’d never felt full. Could this be the reason why?
Chen Xi carefully sensed the changes in his body. He felt as if his flesh, blood, and skin were filled with boundless vigor. Even his bones seemed to have become 100g lighter, and his entire body surged with copious amounts of thick strength.
At this moment, he completely understood that these dishes that were rich in spirit qi were not only useful to qi refiners, but were able to give rise to extremely good nourishment effects for the body of body refiners!
Old man Ma seemed to be moved by his conscience when he saw Chen Xi muddle-headed and not speaking, and he didn’t mutter words that caused Chen Xi to be extremely embarrassed anymore as he directly asked. “Among the 14 cooking methods, how many have you remembered?”
Speaking of proper business caused Chen Xi’s expression to finally return to normal, then he pondered and said, “I’ve almost memorized them all.”
“Really?” Old man Ma’s eyes abruptly sprang wide open.
Chen Xi thought for a moment, then seriously nodded.
Yet Old man Ma didn’t believe him and pointed towards the stove. “You go cook. Hmm, cook the Dry-fried Inksoul Scorpion.”
“Okay!” Chen Xi replied straightforwardly, and his actions were extremely decisive. He arrived before the stove, then followed according to the memories in his mind to start cooking step by step.
Cleaning and cutting the Inksoul Scorpion, blending the seasonings, controlling spirit flames…
Old man Ma gazed at Chen Xi’s methodical cooking method, and his expression that was originally doubtful slowly became astonished and astounded. Until he saw Chen Xi using True Essence to absorb the iron ladle onto his hand, then controlling the iron ladle and iron wok with precise and balanced strength, his gaze completely transformed into shock.
The steps weren’t different in the slightest!
Old man Ma couldn’t help but secretly say in his heart, when I fucking started to learn the culinary arts, I failed over ten times before barely attaining the level that this fellow has attained now. Could it be that I’ve really fucking taken a genius disciple with shocking comprehension in the culinary Dao?
His heart suddenly became excited when he thought up to here. Perhaps, the target I wasn’t able to attain can be realized by this fellow…
After the time for an incense stick to burn, a plate of Dry-fried Inksoul Scorpion with the mouth-watering texture of crispy meat came out of the wok.
Old man Ma rushed forward impatiently, then picked up a mellow Inksoul Scorpion and stuffed it into his mouth. He fell into a trance after slowly chewing for a moment, this taste and degree of purity of spirit energy… It was equal to what he’d cooked!
Chen Xi couldn’t help but be slightly perturbed, when he was cooking earlier, there were many occasions that he was nearly unable to control the rhythm of the spirit flame. Luckily, his disposition was steady and firm, and he was neither flurried nor disturbed. This allowed him to pull through without mishap and persist till the end.
“I intend to change the method of teaching you culinary arts.” After a short while, old man Ma seemed to have given it careful consideration and he slowly said, “Sheer imitation poses no difficulty to you. Since that’s the case, start cooking dishes of your own.”
Chen Xi was startled. “What should I do?”
“It’s extremely simple. Take the most basic 1,308 ingredients and cook dishes of your own according to their attributes.”
Old man Ma said indifferently, “So long as you’re able to allow it to possess both fragrance and taste, and at the same time allow the spirit energy of the dish to attain the optimum degree, you’ll be considered as a true 1 leaf spirit chef!”
Chen Xi felt it to be slightly inappropriate. He’d only just become a spirit chef apprentice and had only memorized two books: An Ultimate, Illustrated Guide to Food Ingredients and Collection of Spirit Flames. As for culinary arts, he’d merely memorized the steps of cooking 14 types of dishes from imitating another and didn’t have a shred of foundation.
Under these circumstances, why would old man Ma put forward such a demand?
Chen Xi was extremely uncertain.
“Just like the understanding and comprehension of the Dao of the Heavens is different for each cultivator, the culinary arts of each spirit chef is different.”
Old man Ma said indifferently, “Your natural talent in the culinary Dao is extremely shocking, instead of following my path, why don’t you search for a path of culinary Dao of your own!?”
Old man Ma’s eyes once again emitted a light of fanaticism and longing when he spoke up to this point, then he suddenly turned around to stare fixedly at Chen Xi’s eyes and said in a low voice. “However, I’ll test you every now and then, and if you’re unable to pass, then don’t dream of obtaining your salary from Clear Stream Restaurant.”
Chen Xi was dumbstruck, he suddenly had a feeling of being abandoned, and attached to it was bloody exploitation.
Within the Quiet Room.
Could it be that the Dry-fried Inksoul Scorpion I cooked tastes extremely bad? Is old man Ma taking revenge on me?
Chen Xi looked at the various ingredients that were piled into mountains that surrounded him, then looked at the brand-new stove and cooking utensils that were shiny. His gaze was perplexed while his mind was filled with a myriad of thoughts.
Only he was here, as according to the intentions of old man Ma, unless he’s able to cook dishes of his own and attain the level of a 1 leaf spirit chef, otherwise, don’t think of walking out of the Quiet Room.
This old goat has such an eccentric temper, and he even acts so strangely! He’s simply a crazy bastard!
Even with his tolerance, Chen Xi couldn’t help but feel a burst of annoyance when he recalled what old man Ma said. I only want to earn some spirit stones to help pay for my younger brother’s tuition, I have never thought of traversing the path of the culinary Dao at all!
After feeling annoyed, Chen Xi quickly calmed down, then he looked at everything in his surroundings. He knew that continuing to grumble would be of no use, instead it would be better to think of how to use these ingredients to cook a dish that satisfied old man Ma, then he could leave this damnable Quiet Room.
He walked up to the mountainous pile of ingredients and carefully examined them one by one.
If I want to become a 1 leaf spirit chef, then I must cook a dish that’s suitable to nourish a Postnatal Realm cultivator. Not only are these ingredients of various kinds, even their tastes differ from one another. It’s particularly important to distinguish between their attributes to complement each other, and I must absolutely not allow them to contradict…
When Chen Xi became serious, he undoubtedly possessed extremely shocking explosive power. His thoughts revolved in a frenzy as he combined the knowledge he’d learned from the An Ultimate, Illustrated Guide to Food Ingredients and started to reorganize the mountainous pile of various ingredients.
After the time for an incense stick to burn.
All the ingredients were organized into two large piles, respectively representing the attributes of Yin and Yang. Every large pile was further divided into five small portions that represented the five elemental attributed of metal, wood, water, earth, and fire. Every ingredient of similar elemental attributes were further divided into several parts that were even smaller by their taste, growth environment, main material, supplementary material, etc.
This process consumed nearly a day of his time, and for the sake of insuring there were no errors, he didn’t even hesitate to taste demon beast blood that assailed his nose with a bloody smell and ingredients in fluid form that had extremely disgusting colors. His tongue was nearly tortured to numbness from being stimulated by these various strange ingredients, and there were even many times that he nearly vomited from disgust.
However, when he saw the various ingredients appear before him in order, Chen Xi felt a trace of gratification, and he didn’t care to wipe the sweat off his forehead before starting to compute a method of creating a new dish.
Time trickled by. Chen Xi stood up after a long time, then he picked over ten ingredients before directly arriving at the stove.
After preparing the ingredients and seasonings, Chen Xi didn’t hesitate in the slightest as he started cooking, however it wasn’t even 15 minutes when a burnt smell was emitted from the bottom of the wok.
He’d long since been prepared to fail, so he wasn’t surprised when he saw this. He placed the dish onto the jade plate then ate it bite by bite.
The hot taste is too strong. The spirit energy of the Woad Flower and Wine Fragrance Fish are unbalanced, seems that I ought to use a warm flame to slowly roast them…
The taste was extremely strange, but Chen Xi seemed to not notice in the slightest as he chewed with an absent-minded expression, his mind was fully involved in analyzing the reason for failure.
After finishing and clearing up, Chen Xi started cooking once again.
Five elements were uneven, FAILURE!
Mistake in seasoning, FAILURE!
Ingredients prepared improperly, FAILURE!
Overly excessive cooking technique, True Essence dissipating, FAILURE!
After successively failing over ten times, Chen Xi had already become completely senseless, as he gulped down his failed dishes bite by bite, then calmly analysed the reason for each failure before starting anew. That sedate and stiff face was expressionless, and he was like a machine that knew no exhaustion as he monotonously repeated the same actions.
Chen Xi completely didn’t notice that not only did his spirit energy not get depleted, but instead was like a pool of water beneath a rainstorm, growing at a noticeable speed.