Xiao Meng and Ji Chengxue looked in surprise toward the person that just arrived. Their eyes were filled with incredulity.
"Your Majesty?! Why are you here?" Xiao Meng hurriedly stood up and went forward to meet the emperor. The stunned expression on his face had still not dissipated. The fact that the emperor himself would visit a store situated within an alleyway was out of anyone's expectations.
"Your son and subject greets father emperor," Ji Chengxue stood up as well and saluted the elderly man.
Even though the elderly man's hair had turned white, his mental state was still pretty good. He wore a beautiful robe and his hair was fixed in place with a green jade hairpin. With his hands placed behind his back, he was exuding a grandeur and refined aura.
"General Xiao? Chengxue? Are you eating at this store as well? Looks like the food here should be pretty good." Ji Changfeng faintly smiled as he stepped into the store. He was coughing as he walked and his body swayed with every step. He gave off the feeling of someone who had one foot in his grave.
Xiao Meng hurriedly supported him, fearing that the emperor would suffer a mishap.
"Your Majesty, why are you out here alone? This is unsafe. Even though the experts from the clan hiding within the imperial city have mostly retreated, there's no guarantee that there's none of them hiding around," Xiao Meng anxiously said.
The emperor waved him off and simply said, "It doesn't matter. Back in the day, I was still considered someone who awed the world. Even though I've grown old, not just anyone would dare to approach me. I came here today to talk about food and not anything else."
The emperor sat down on a chair and surveyed the surroundings. The space within the store was not big. There were a few neatly placed tables and the decorations were quite cozy. There was a certain sense of charm.
The emperor sniffed the air and his gaze shifted toward the table that Xiao Meng and Ji Chengxue were previously sitting at. His eyes slightly lit up as he said, "The aroma of this wine is truly rich. Could this be the fine wine that is better than the Bejewelled Nectar Wine?"
"Yes, Your Majesty. This is the wine exclusive to this store, the Ice Heart Jade Urn Wine. A jar costs fifteen crystals," Xiao Meng said with a nod.
"Fifteen crystals… that's not cheap. However, I am even more anxious to taste it now. Where's the owner? I want to meet him and order the dishes at the same time," the emperor asked.
Ouyang Xiaoyi was shyly looking at the emperor with her eyes widened. When she heard his words, she turned to the kitchen window and shouted, "Smelly boss, the emperor grandpa wishes to meet you."
"Hmm? Who?" Bu Fang's indifferent voice rang out from the kitchen, accompanied by the sound of stir frying.
"The emperor grandpa," Ouyang Xiaoyi earnestly repeated herself.
"Oh, let him wait," Bu Fang's indifferent voice drifted out but Ouyang Xiaoyi was dumbfounded by his words.
The little loli was exasperated. Whenever she spoke with Bu Fang, she felt like vomiting blood from exasperation.
The person that wanted to meet him was the emperor, the number one person within the Light Wind Empire as well as the supreme ruler. What did he mean by letting him wait?
Ji Changfeng and the others had heard the complete dialogue between Bu Fang and Ouyang Xiaoyi and their expressions were inexplicably wonderful.
Xiao Meng and Ji Chengxue did not know how to respond. They thought, "This Owner Bu… His character is still as eccentric as always. He doesn't even give face to the emperor."
On the other hand, Ji Changfeng was amused and thought it was interesting. If ordinary chefs heard his title, they would hurriedly come and fawn over him. There was not a single case like Bu Fang where he was completely ignored.
"This owner… has an interesting character." Ji Changfeng faintly smiled as he stroked his beard.
Xiao Meng and Ji Chengxue awkwardly smiled along as well.
Finally, after a few minutes, Bu Fang walked out of the kitchen. He was holding a plate of Sweet 'n' Sour Ribs in his hand. The rich aroma of the meat spread out and enveloped the entire store. The tangerine color of the Sweet 'n' Sour Ribs was tantalizing.
"Here's your Sweet 'n' Sour Ribs, please enjoy your meal," Bu Fang simply said as he placed the plate on Ji Chengxue's table.
Then he turned around and looked toward the elderly man sitting on the chair. He thought, "This must be the emperor grandpa that Xiaoyi mentioned."
"Hello, emperor," Bu Fang expressionlessly said.
Everyone was startled. The emperor was stunned for a moment and started laughing while stroking his beard.
"Hello, young man. Are you the owner of this store? What's the name of that dish just now? It's very fragrant." The emperor had a gentle smile on his face as he looked at Bu Fang. He thought that the owner was interesting.
"Oh, the name of the dish is Sweet 'n' Sour Ribs. It's the most expensive dish in the store for now," Bu Fang simply said.
"Sweet 'n' Sour Ribs… With such an alluring smell, I am looking forward to it. Good." The emperor nodded with a chuckle.
"The menu is behind you, tell me what you want to eat. The Ice Heart Jade Urn Wine is limited to three jars per day and there's only one jar left today," Bu Fang said as he pointed to the menu behind the emperor.
The emperor was surprised for a moment. He turned his head and saw the menu on the wall filled with dishes with astronomical prices.
The emperor frowned and lightly coughed a few times. Then he asked, "Interesting, a bowl of improved Egg-Fried Rice actually costs ten crystals. Sweet 'n' Sour Ribs… fifty crystals per serving. Why are they being sold at such an expensive price?"
"There's naturally a reason why the price is so expensive. Our store has a strict standard when it comes to the ingredients, handling process, and cooking process. Not only are our dishes delicious, but they can also promote the circulation and growth of true energy within a cultivator's body. These prices are… fair," Bu Fang expressionlessly said.
"Your dishes can promote cultivation? Even the meat of spirit beasts would lose most of its spirit energy after cooking. How do you manage to cook dishes that can promote cultivation?" the emperor curiously asked.
Bu Fang indifferently glanced at the emperor and said with a frown, "This is a secret."
Cough cough cough… Xiao Meng and the rest immediately coughed a few times. The mood became slightly awkward because of Bu Fang's reply.
On the contrary, the emperor nodded. "You probably have a special handling method and cooking method. This is indeed a secret and should not be casually revealed."
"Young man, then give me a serving of each of the dishes here. Let me taste this so-called dishes that can promote the circulation of true energy," the emperor said while stroking his beard as he calmly looked at Bu Fang.
"Alright, wait a moment. I'll cook your order once I've finished cooking their dishes," Bu Fang expressionlessly replied with a nod before he turned around and headed toward the kitchen.
This time, the emperor was frowning and slight unhappy as he asked, "Why aren't you cooking mine first?"
"First-come, first-served is the rule of the store," Bu Fang turned around at the entrance to the kitchen and replied.
"Cough cough… Owner Bu, it's fine if our dishes are served later. Please serve His Majesty's order before ours," Xiao Meng awkwardly coughed and hurriedly said.
Bu Fang expressionlessly glanced at Xiao Meng and simply said, "I already said that this is the rule of the store. First-come, first-served… Since you ordered first, I'll cook your dish first."
After Bu Fang finished speaking, he entered the kitchen and continued cooking the dishes.
Xiao Meng was dumbfounded by Bu Fang's words. He did not know how to respond as he helplessly looked at Bu Fang.
The smile on the emperor's face had already disappeared and his unfathomable gaze was directed toward the kitchen as his fingers tapped on the table. He simply said, "He has an interesting character, but this character must be built on the basis of strength. I'll give him a chance. If his dishes are unable to impress me, then there's no need for this store to continue operating."
The emperor was still the emperor after all. As the supreme ruler, when was he ever ignored by anyone like this? Bu Fang's indifference incited the emperor's displeasure as well.
Xiao Meng and Ji Chengxue suddenly felt their hearts skipped a beat. They were aware that the emperor was annoyed.
 Your son and subject greets father and emperor. (儿臣见过父皇) - Whenever a prince meets the emperor, he would refer to himself as "son and subject"(儿臣) while referring to the emperor as "father emperor"(父皇). The term, 父皇, has actually been used quite a few times in a few other chapters but I've simplified them into "father".