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Chapter 83: Person Chef
Usually, the fatty braised pork and the boiled green vegetables would be the best pairing. The pairing frequently appeared on the tables of ordinary people in Changling. When one was hungry, this kind of pairing along with steaming white rice, was extremely tempting.
The food was, naturally, for the use of the students here. There were clean bowls and chopsticks placed on a simple table in the hut. The sword marks on the table formed an unusually simple character- “use”.
“It seems good. We do not need to fight while starving.” He Zhaoxi’s stomach rumbled as he spoke ashamedly.
He usually had a regular schedule in the Green Vine Sword School, and ate his three meals punctually. This way, he could go into cultivation in his best state. Not having eaten for a day and night, he realized that starvation would likely have a bigger effect on him than most people.
Zhang Yi and Shen Yi had become used to taking care of Xue Wangxu in Falling Parasol, and were portioning out food for everyone. They laid out the braised pork and the vegetables on top of the rice before carefully drizzling some of the sauce.
Whenever the first bowl was prepared, out of habit it would be first served to Xue Wangxu. This reminded Zhang Yi once again of the reality Xue Wangxu had passed away, and his eyes turned red.
“This bowl is for Cave Master.” He bowed his head in sadness, inserted a pair of chopsticks upright in the first bowl, and put it at the front of the table.
Xie Changsheng was not willing to think of such grave matters. He glanced at the bowl that Shen Yi handed him. Looking at the oily and shiny pieces of meat, he said, “This is very like the last meal before execution.”
Nangong Caishu said helplessly upon hearing this, “Can you not say some auspicious things?”
He Zhaoxi was extremely hungry. He ignored his image and started to chew.
Ding Ning also raised his bowl. Yet, after taking a bite, his brow furrowed slightly.
The taste was wonderful yet the invisible little silkworms in his body had immediately responded by moving restlessly.
The Nine Death Silkworm he cultivated was the most profound method in the world, much stronger than most methods in the world in sensing one’s inner body. So in the next moment, he felt some energies detrimental to his body moving through him. The food clearly had problems, and contained some unique toxin.
But why would there be a problem with the food that Min Mountain Sword Sect had prepared?
Ding Ning put down his chopsticks and bowl. Looking at He Zhaoxi and the others eating enthusiastically, and then thinking of Jing Liuli’s actions previously, his eyes flashed and he maintained his silence.
The braised pork and the vegetables were delicious. He Zhaoxi, who had the best appetite, finished a bowl with only a few movements of his chopsticks. He quickly started to serve himself a third bowl.
“Junior Sect Brother, at least eat something.”
Zhang Yi saw Ding Ning not eating and thought that Ding Ning was grieving. He also found it hard to swallow and stopped to comfort the other.
Ding Ning glanced at him, shook his head, and did not speak.
Zhang Yi felt even sadder and could not eat.
At this time, Ding Ning suddenly looked up towards the outside of the hut.
Zhang Yi did not know why Ding Ning had moved like this. He instinctively looked up along Ding Ning’s gaze and was stunned.
Less than ten feet away from him and Ding Ning, there was an indigo figure standing under the eaves.
There was also a young man dressed in green jade robes.
Compared to the young man with Jing Liuli, this Min Mountain Sword Sect cultivator standing close to them had an ordinary appearance. More importantly, he did not give off any sharp sword essence.
Even now, he did not sense any presence of a cultivator from this young man’s body.
If he took off the green jade robes that represented Min Mountain Sword Sect, he feared the young man would not attract his attention on the Changling streets.
When Zhang Yi was stunned by the sudden arrival of this Min Mountain Sword Sect cultivator, Xie Changsheng and the others discovered this person and put down their chopsticks.
“Why do you not eat?” Ignoring their gazes this ordinary-looking man in green robes looked at Ding Ning. His voice was very ordinary, with a calm tone and no special traits.
Ding Ning glanced at him and said calmly, “I do not want to.”
“Why not? Is the food not delicious?” The green robed man asked in an unusually harmonious tone.
Nangong Caishu suddenly felt a wave of cold. This green robed man felt like a chef asking about a customer’s taste in a restaurant.
Ding Ning did not immediately respond.
“I am the best chef in Min Mountain Sword Sect. Also, I think my food is better than most of Changling’s restaurants. Even more importantly, I have not personally made food for others for many years,” the green robed man looked at the food in front of Ding Ning and continued.
As he spoke these words, his voice was still gentle like a chef of a restaurant asking the customer to give him some face. The food was truly outstanding in taste. Even though the rice had been cooked for some time now, it was still suitably soft. There was no flaw to be found in the braised pork. Yet at his words, even Xie Changsheng thought of something terrifying, and his face turned green. He Zhaoxi, who had almost finished his third bowl, felt his intestines twist.
“You are Elder Geng Ren?” Nangong Caishu suppressed her shock and asked.
The green robed man looked at her, nodded, and said, “This one is Geng Ren.”
He Zhaoxi immediately felt nausea in addition to twisting of his intestines.
Xie Changsheng and the others felt terror rise, because the man in front of them was the legendary “person chef.”
In the past wars the Qin Dynasty waged against the Han, Zhao, and Wei, Geng Ren of Min Mountain Sword Sect had been a student just like them. Even so, this student of Min Mountain Sword Sect left behind many records.
He had once killed multiple important generals of the Han Dynasty. Once, he had hid for more than a dozen days in a Han military camp containing tens of thousands of people. No one in the camp had managed to discover his existence. In the end, even after he had successfully assassinated, no one had been able to even discover his tracks.
But the most stunning story about him was when he had been in the city of Cu in Han. He had disguised himself as a Han chef, was conscripted into the army as a cook, and then he used poison to kill thousands of people, enraging the famed general Han Song. The general sent five thousand elite cavalry and dozens of cultivators in pursuit, chasing him into the north of the Han. After the snows sealed the mountains, the Han army used three thousand elite foot soldiers to work along the cultivators in pursuit. But in the end, Geng Ren managed to survive, and more than half of the three thousand infantry and dozens of cultivators had been killed.
The northern forest of the Han rarely had food. The Han army had killed all the animals and burned all usable wood they encountered in order to cut off Geng Ren’s food. The squads sent into the mountains to search each day would first feed themselves so as to carry any food along.
In some of the records, Geng Ren survived by cutting the meat off his enemies’ legs. This powerless act of survival in war had not been verbally confirmed by Geng Ren, but it had given him the nickname of “Person Chef”.
What was certain was Geng Ren of Min Mountain Sword Sect was a powerful assassin, and also a master of poisons at the same time.
For the juniors of Changling, an elder like this was a true legend.
Xie Changsheng had not expected to see another legendary person at this time and this place.
“Has nothing to do with taste.” Ding Ning shook his head, he was still unfazed.
“Then you must eat a bowl.” Geng Ren shook his head in apparent helplessness and said, “Because the food has poison.”
The look of admiration that Zhang Yi, Xie Changsheng and the others were holding for this legend, underwent a complete change.
Telling someone there was poison and then forcing them to eat it. What did this mean?
Was this person one of the empress’ and could do as he pleased in the Min Mountain Sword Sect?
Yet, Geng Ren continued in a humble tone, “This is the rules of the trial this time … Originally, I did not have to say it because I felt that the poison I put would not be detected by any cultivator below realm seven. I was very confident in the taste of the food I prepared. Yet I had not thought that someone, after starving for a day and night, would not want to eat what I have prepared.”
After saying this, he shook his head dispiritedly and said, “What kind of truth is this!”
Xie Changsheng and the others were speechless.
They felt that they should be the ones saying what Geng Ren had just said. Poisoning was a rule of the trials … poisoning them? What kind of truth was this?
“This is not an ordinary poison,”
Geng Ren looked over everyone and slowly explained. “This is a poison recipe from the former Wei. Its power is extremely unique. Usually, when cultivators are poisoned, they will not react at all. But when they fight someone, and should their vital energy flow quickly, it will affect the energies and organs. It will give people great pain, and cause many parts of the body to go out of equilibrium. This person would feel as if they were struck with another poison or are seriously injured. Thus, this is also called the Seventy Percent Powder. This means that the afflicted cultivators can only fight with seventy percent of their power. If they go over, their bodies will not be able to withstand it.”
“What is this?”
Xie Changsheng finally could not help but shout. Thinking that he was already poisoned, he said with a black expression, “What kind of freakish trial rule is this!”
“I did not make the rules, but I agree with the reasoning.”
Geng Ren smiled unconcernedly and said, “A cultivator will experience many battles in life, and I fear they will be when one is not in their best state. Many times, they would be fighting when injured. So fighting in a situation like this is more realistic. Controlling one’s vital energy and one’s body, saving more vital energy, this is how one moves as one pleases. If one cannot even sense one’s wounds, and how much power one can exert, how can one fight as best and as long as possible when injured? Then this cultivator does not qualify to become a disciple of Min Mountain Sword Sect, and enter Min Mountain Sword Sect to study.”
“What Min Mountain Sword Sect needs the most are swordsmen who can truly fight and kill, not dancers who know sword moves.” When he said this Geng Ren finally showed a hint of pride.
Translator Ramblings: Geng Ren is a pretty vicious person.