Chapter 427 - Ruby Shrimp
When Zhen Hua returned to his personal dining hall, his expression was already back to normal.
Tang Wulin stood up straight from his seat at the sound of the door opening.“Uncle-master,” he said.
Zhen Hua waved for him to sit back down. “Are you done eating?”
“Yes, I ate.”
“Alright. That’s good,” Zhen Hua said. “I just called your master to tell him you came over. He told me to take good care of you. I’ve also arranged an opponent for you. They’ll be waiting for you in the Blacksmith’s Association’s sealed space. I’ll record the match so you can use it as proof.”
“Thank you, Uncle-master,” Tang Wulin said. After eating the moonlight rice and dragon tendon, he felt his body swell with warmth. His blood essence bubbled within him, and his mind was sharp as a blade. He was in peak condition.
“No need to thank me. You’re my junior so this is only natural. So you’re a student at Shrek Academy with three soul rings, right? Do you have any plans for the future?” Zhen Hua asked.
Without skipping a beat, Tang Wulin replied, “I want to become a battle armor master!”
Zhen Hua cracked a smile. “How ambitious. You know, I forged most of the metals used to make the battle armors at Shrek Academy. Next time I visit, how about I find you and give you some pointers?”
“Yes, please! That would be awesome!” Tang Wulin could hardly contain himself with excitement. Not when a Divine Blacksmith had agreed to afford him guidance!
“It’s settled then. Give me your number and I’ll call you next time I’m in town.”
Zhen Hua was a man of determination who reached the peak in his field! There had been more to his call with Mu Chen than just as an avenue to vent his frustration. In fact, underneath the many layers of subtext and his own personal brand of care, he was also telling Mu Chen that there was no use in hiding Tang Wulin anymore. Mu Chen may be able to teach Tang Wulin soul refining, but teaching him how to heavenly refine was a different story. That was where Zhen Hua came in. When that time came, things would be much easier for Tang Wulin under a Divine Blacksmith’s watchful eye.
Therefore, Zhen Hua’s current plan was to develop a good relationship with Tang Wulin, whom he had taken quite the liking to. Tang Wulin might be greedy, but greed was good motivation for a blacksmith! As long as Tang Wulin put in the work as a blacksmith, he would drown in money later on.
At that moment, the kitchen door swung open, the chef carrying a platter as he passed through the doorway.
Before the chef arrived at the dining table, Tang Wulin could already smell the tantalizing aroma wafting over from the platter. His eyes widened, mouth instantly watering. It was as if a wave of deliciousness had assaulted his nose. The strong aroma roused his blood essence far more than the previous dishes.
What dish is it?
The platter was half a meter in diameter. Six humongous shrimps lay plump on its surface, and the heads were similarly gigantic. The shells were already peeled, revealing their glossy flesh, a bold shade of crimson. There were no seasonings or sauces to enhance their scent. The alluring aroma had come from these shrimp.
“What’s the special occasion? Why did you bring out the ruby shrimp? You’d normally never do that!” Zhen Hua exclaimed.
The chef snorted. “Your mind is always elsewhere, so how could you appreciate a true culinary delicacy? This kid has got quite a stomach, and he loves my food from the bottom of his heart. I’m cooking this for him. You’re lucky to have met him.”
Tang Wulin was surprised by how the chef treated Zhen Hua. Despite there not being a single shred of soul power radiating from the chef’s body, they gave off the image of being equals.
Zhen Hua chuckled. “Count me a lucky man then. My little nephew-disciple is so amazing. But aren’t you suffering a loss here too? In a sense, isn’t he one of your people?”
The chef smiled, mischief dancing in his eyes. “Did you think I couldn’t tell? Kid, eat up. These are ruby shrimp, also known as blood shrimp. They’re one of the bizarre creatures living three kilometers below the Blood Trench. Their blood essence is similar to that of humans. I think you should be able to handle eating three of them.”
Which meant that the other three were clearly meant for Zhen Hua.
“Thank you.” Tang Wulin rose from his seat and bent into a slight bow to the chef. Never had he come across the name ruby shrimp before, but he was certain that it was an absolute delicacy!
The last fibers of his self restraint snapped. He grabbed a shrimp by its tail and popped it into his mouth.
The meat was sweet and tender, a hint of fruitiness dancing at the edges. When he pressed his teeth together for a chew, warm, flavorful juices gushed out of the shrimp and trickled down his throat.
His body submerged into a pool of comfort. He could hear a buzz permeating his mind as his skin blushed red. A burst of warmth spread through him and the golden veined pattern of the Golden Dragon King surfaced all over his body. His blood essence surged. Without any conscious control, it flowed in reverse, following the path set by Golden Dragon Shocks the Heavens.
At the sight of Tang Wulin’s golden skin and raging blood essence, Zhen Hua and the chef froze, stupefied. When a golden soul ring made its debut, the chef’s jaw finally dropped. His eyes were glued to Tang Wulin.
Sucking in a deep breath, Tang Wulin looked within himself to inspect his body. He was astonished to find his blood essence attacking the fourth seal on the Golden Dragon King. Wave after wave of blood essence crashed against the seal, wearing it down bit by bit, and the seal flashed brilliantly each time.
Concerned at the scene, Zhen Hua shot the chef a doubtful look. “Is he digesting it immediately? Doesn’t it usually take a whole year to digest ruby shrimp?”
The chef shrugged. “I don’t know. You’re the one who brought this little monster here.”
Zhen Hua smiled. “Yeah. He really is a little monster. He’s from Shrek Academy.”
Once the chef heard that fact, a light flashed in his eyes, his cheeks beginning to twitch. “If I knew earlier, I wouldn’t have fed him the shrimp! But his body really is interesting. You weren’t wrong to say he’s one of my people.”
For over ten minutes Tang Wulin’s blood essence continued to bubble within him before gradually settling down. In the end, the seal still held, but the feverous blood essence flaring within him was undeniable. It was as if his entire body had been refined and he felt utterly comfortable. His soul power surged, two months worth of cultivation added on after just a few moments of eating.
“Thank you, Senior,” Tang Wulin said to the chef respectfully. There were only two shrimp left. The other three had already been eaten by Zhen Hua.
The chef shook his head. “This is an opportunity for you. If you want to take me as your master and eat food like this every day, then leave Shrek Academy. It’s your decision.”
Tang Wulin was taken aback. The chef’s food left a deep impression on him. If he could eat food of such quality every day, then his cultivation would progress by leaps and bounds! He wouldn’t have to worry about his blood essence for the first nine seals either. That said, he was also a person of integrity.
“Senior, thank you for your offer, but I’m a student of Shrek Academy. I can’t leave just yet. If you’re still willing to take me in after I graduate, then when that time comes…”
The chef waved in dismissal. He stood up in one brisk motion and returned to the kitchen.
Witnessing such a strange scene, Tang Wulin turned to Zhen Hua for guidance. “Uncle-master, is that chef uncle angry?”
“Chef? Hehe. He’s not angry. He just knows he has no hope. People from Shrek aren’t fools. Would they really let a talent like you graduate from the outer court? You’re definitely bound for the inner court. He knows he doesn’t stand a chance, so there was no point in staying. Here. These last two shrimp are yours. Kid, I’ve got to say, your stomach is amazing!”
Tang Wulin quickly took the remaining two shrimp and threw them into his mouth. His blood essence surged once more and assaulted the fourth seal. However, his body’s ability to handle blood essence had improved, so the attack on the seal wasn’t as powerful as the first time. Even so, Tang Wulin could feel the fourth seal growing slack.
But he had no plans of breaking the fourth seal right then. Despite having enough soul power to do so, he also had to take into account the amount of the Golden Dragon King’s power he could absorb after the seal was broken. His body wasn’t ready yet. Plus, there was still time to find the spirit items Old Tang had informed him.
Zhen Hua waited until Tang Wulin finished digesting the remaining shrimp before standing up from his seat and walking to the door. “Let’s go then. I’ll bring you to battle your opponent. Afterward you can be on your way to finish your exam.”
There was still one thing of interest, though. “Uncle-master, who was that chef uncle?” Tang Wulin asked.