After checking the time, Bai Lu went to the food market to get some groceries. Then he returned to the shop and opened the restaurant for business.
Sha Sha invited the customers into the restaurant while wearing her new uniform. It made her a little uncomfortable, and her face was blushing slightly. Bai Lu said, "It looks perfect on you." She thanked him softly.
When it was 6:30 pm, somebody knocked on the door. It attracted the attention of all the customers that were currently eating.
There were a total of eight people who came. All of them were of varying heights and sizes. Two cars were parked along the road, one of which was a BMW.
Zhang Sha Sha went over and explained softly. "I am sorry. We are already full."
"We are not here for a meal. The reason that we came today is to challenge your restaurant venue." The young lad, who was in his twenties, spoke in front of the group.
When he declared such words, all the customers in the restaurant were surprised. They followed it up with a knowing smile, and then they continued eating.
Zhang Sha Sha replied timidly. "But our restaurant doesn't have a venue."
Her unintentional words of carelessness led the whole restaurant of customers to burst into laughter. Outside the shop, some of the people that came had a sudden change in mood. "Trying to play a prank on us?"
Bai Lu came over, he opened the door: "No matter what sort of antics you guys are planning to do, it would still not be entertained here, good night."
Out of the eight people, there was one guy who was very tall, with a very muscular physique like a gymnastic athlete. He stood out of the crowd with a cold smile. "You are afraid of the challenge?"
Bai Lu looked at him apathetically, and he did not say a word.
"Yesterday, someone praised your restaurant to the skies. He said that the Great Heavens was a disappointing comparison, and it wouldn't even be equal to 10 to 20% of the level of this place. What say you? Now I even show up at your doorsteps, yet you lack the guts, to receive the challenge? That's ok. As long as you admit that you are terrified and issue an apology, I would leave right away."
Bai Lu was a little helpless. He thought, "The city is restless. And yet the hearts of people are even more fickle and impatient. Why is there always a need to compete for superiority in every event? How senseless."
Someone from the group of eight people made a phone call. After a few seconds, a phone ringtone emanated from one of the black cars along the side of the road. Huang Feng held the phone and came out of the car with an awkward laugh. He greeted the group. "Coming."
Since the restaurant was too small, when it was in operation, he and Gao Yuan remained in the car.
The person who made the call was a handsome young man. At least the way he dressed was very dashing. From top to bottom he was wearing branded apparel. When he saw Huang Feng getting out of the car, he put away his phone and cursed. "Screw you! My car was just parked behind you. Would it kill you to come out and greet us? Instead of hiding in the car to watch the show."
"I am not watching the show. It's because we can't enter the restaurant." Huang Feng tried to squirm his way out of this.
"Cut the bullshit. Yesterday you were boasting so arrogantly, so I turned down two dinner parties today. To come and witness personally just how legendary is this awesome guy that you constantly bragged about. But in the end, he did not even dare to step up to the challenge." His choice of words carried a strong hint of contempt.
"Unfortunately, the boss has this type of temperament. Take a look at the sign; there are rules written on it." Huang Feng pointed at the wooden signboard.
"Stupid rules. Just admit that he has no guts, instead of finding excuses."
Huang Feng did not want to argue with him. He greeted three other people; they were all his classmates, so manners must be observed. The other four people were chefs from the Great Heavens. They were actually from two different groups, and they just arrived together at the same time coincidentally.
The tall guy with a physique like a gymnastic athlete said to Bai Lu. "My name is Da Tian. I have no other talents, except for cooking. That's why I am indifferent to everything else, but it gets on my nerves to hear somebody claiming that there was a person who is better in cooking than me. Let's have a competition."
"In this world, there's always someone better than you." Bai Lu commented unenthusiastically. What he meant was, that the other guy was overestimating his capabilities, just like a frog viewing the sky from the bottom of a well.
"That doesn't count for me if I do not see or hear of such a person."
"You don't watch the television?" After rebutting with this one argument, Bai Lu felt that it was meaningless. He thought, "What's the point of competing with him?" He shook his head and closed the door; he chose to ignore this madman.
With a single move, Da Tian pushed aside the door. "Since I already came here, the competition is a must. If you feel that it is too boring for you, then we could spice it up a little."
"Compete. Compete against him." As soon as one of the customers in the restaurant said so, he immediately rallied the support of the others, and they all chanted. "Compete against him."
Bai Lu laughed. He faced the entire room of customers, and he said, "Are you guys finished with the meal? If so, then please leave. The shop is closing soon."
Da Tian was stunned, and he thought to himself. "What the hell, the boss of this restaurant speaks to customers like this?" He already considered himself to be full of swagger, but even so, he did not dare to offend the customers like this. "Perhaps this goes to show that this guy has quite the ability."
The customers refused to leave. "Compete against him. As soon as the competition is over, we would leave immediately."
As the saying goes, "The law cannot be enforced when everyone is an offender." No matter how heartless Bai Lu was, he could not possibly expel every single one of his customers from the restaurant. What a troubling situation. Gao Yuan squeezed into the restaurant, and he said, "Are you competing?"
When Bai Lu turned around, he saw He San Qing who was dressed in full red attire. He was carrying a camera and filming him. Bai Lu was infuriated, and he said, "Are you crazy?"
"Stop moving around so carelessly. Do you have any idea how expensive this equipment costs?" He San Qing reprimanded him sternly, but everyone else knew, that this guy was just purely pretending.
As he looked outside again, Si Ma Zhi and Tong An Quan came with a group of people. They had excitement written across their whole face as they waited for the show to start.
Bai Lu did not want to compete, but when he turned around, he saw Zhang Sha Sha staring at him with big eyes, which were filled with hopefulness. It seemed like she wanted him to compete. At this moment, Bai Lu laughed, and he thought, "Fine, for the sake of this little girl. I will compete." Therefore, he said, "Finish your meal first. We will start the competition in a while."
"We have already finished the meal." The customers responded in unison.
Thus, the competition has begun. Since the kitchen was too small, the competition venue was set in the hall. The plates and bowls were removed, and then two tables were joined together. Da Tian asked, "There's no stove. How do we cook the dishes?"
Bai Lu revealed a cutting board. "Rumours has it that your knife skills are incredible. Let's compete in that category."
His tone of laziness seemed condescending. Da Tian had a severe expression, and he asked, "Are you looking down on me?"
"Don't be mad. Let's decide on that after you win me in knife skills." Bai Lu went back into the kitchen to retrieve some carrots, peanuts, and ginger.
"Fine! You shall concede your defeat wholeheartedly. Who starts first?"
"You are the guest, so please go ahead." Bai Lu made a hand gesture.
Da Tian did not refuse. He stood behind the cutting board. With a deep voice, he shouted, "Knife."
A young lad came from behind and delivered a leather pouch. When it was opened, there were nine knives neatly arranged in order from big to small.
"What the hell. Are you making a movie?" Bai Lu decided to embarrass him a little, he laughed and said, "Could it be that you are the legendary Giddens Ko 1 ? Didn't know that such a famous writer with impressive literary talent could also possess such a high level of culinary skill."
"What?" Da Tian did not get the joke. When he finally realized that the joke was on him, he gave Bai Lu an angry stare. With a casual stroke, he retrieved a thin knife. It wasn't just the cutting edge that was as thin as the wings of a cicada, even the back of the blade was just as thin as a few pieces of paper.
With the knife at hand, Da Tian had a drastic change in disposition. Now he was filled with extreme confidence, just like in ancient times when a Military General inspected the troops. With a disdainful look for everyone in the audience, his moved his wrist with ease, to preprocess all three of the ingredients. For example, he cut the raw ginger into square cubes by removing the edges; Then he separated the head and tail end of the carrot and so forth. Lastly, he followed up with three gentle knife strokes, to split the peanut, carrot, and ginger in the middle into two pieces.
Da Tian took a single piece from each of the ingredients. He placed them flat on the chopping board with a fixed distance apart. Then he glanced at Bai Lu, with a lofty smile. In one hand he held the piece of peanut gently, and in the other, he grasped the knife. When a spot of light flickered from the blade, he launched into action. In an instant, the spot of light transformed into a beam. After a short moment, half of the peanut became a pile of thin strands.
Throughout the whole process, no one uttered a single word. All that was heard was the light sound "Dong Dong Dong" as the blade of the knife contacted the cutting board. The loudness of the sounds was mostly uniform, but occasionally a few uneven noises occurred.
After chopping up the peanut, Da Tian slightly relaxed his hand for a moment. He proceeded to dice the carrots, followed up by the ginger, and in total, he spent less than three minutes. When he finally stopped and kept the knife, all that was left on the chopping board were three piles of vegetables with thin strands. From the peanuts to carrots to gingers, they were all arranged neatly according to their sizes, just like the surface of a fan.
Bai Lu said softly, "Such a shame. There was a lack of calmness within the heart."
Da Tian laughed coldly and ignored what he just said. "It's your turn."
The three piles of vegetable strands were a beautiful sight. The shape was beautiful. Even the colors were beautiful. It was quickly apparent that Da Tian had solid knife skills. When he stopped the task, the people that gathered around to watch the show started applauding.
Someone whispered, "This is truly the boss of the Great Heavens. How impressive."
"He is Da Tian? He owns such a big restaurant. Why does he still want to compete with this small place? Seriously, he has no regard for shame."
"Lu Zi is good at making delicious dishes. What's the point of Da Tian having excellent knife skills? Wouldn't the food still end up in the stomach?"
Witnessing how impressively Da Tian performed, the customers were worried that Bai Lu would be defeated. One by one they started to say a bunch of different things, to try and comfort Bai Lu.
The vegetables that Da Tian prepared had already occupied half of the cutting board. Only the other empty half of the board was left. From the top to the bottom Bai Lu laid the ginger block, carrot, and peanut. Then he went back to the kitchen to retrieve the knife. When he came out, he confronted He San Qing. "Turn that thing off now."
He San Qing refused. "I just borrowed it... Wait a minute. What kind of knife are you holding in your hand?"
Da Tian used a professional knife set, while Bai Lu just randomly took any knife he saw. It was those kinds of big cleavers that were used for cutting bones; it looked thick and heavy. Half of the knife was black, and only the edge of the blade was glittering brightly. It seemed like it was razor sharp.
"Kitchen knife." Bai Lu looked at the camera. "Shut it off."
"Fine. You are boring." He San Qing put down his camera.
At this moment, when Bai Lu flashed the big knife, he also had a completely different demeanor. He was very focused, with his eyes fixated only on his blade.
Previously when Da Tian was dicing the vegetables, at least the glittering edge of the knife was still visible. One could still see the motion of his hands. But now, there were only two kinds of light in everybody's vision. One was with a lot of blackness, while the other was a tiny amount of whiteness because the speed was too fast. The black and white colors along the knife were transformed into a dynamic image. It combined with the high speed, which became an entirely different kind of beauty. Underneath this beautiful image, it was impossible to see the peanut. Even the hands were invisible. All that could be seen was just a fuzzy image.
It was apparent that Bai Lu's knife skills were much faster.
Da Tian took more than two minutes to dice the vegetables, while Bai Lu only used one minute to finish the same task. And throughout the whole dicing operation, there were also no sounds from the knife impacting the cutting board.
When Da Tian was dicing the vegetables, a slight sound "Dong Dong" was emanated. This proofed that his control of strength was very precise. But Bai Lu was even more accurate. From the start to the end, only the brushing sounds of the vegetables being chopped up was heard. When the edge of the knife barely contacted the cutting board, it was immediately retracted, and that was why the knife did not make a sound.
When Bai Lu stopped the knife, all the customers within the restaurant could not believe their eyes: "Isn't this like the movies? No, this is even more awesome than the movies!"
Da Tian was even more surprised. He always thought that he had excellent knife skills. Within the entire Northern City, even if he weren't the best, he would still be in the top three positions. Never would he have expected this random kid to defeat him so effortlessly.
As he looked at the sparkling and translucent peanut strands which resembled jade that was lying on the cutting board, Da Tian did not concede defeat. "He is just faster. Right, he is just faster." He clenched his teeth. Then he looked back and commanded. "Needle."
Even the others that followed him here were stunned: Could that also be considered knife skills? How could any human have such quick knife skills? Could this guy be a machine?
The three people that Da Tian brought along were his apprentices. At this moment they kept looking back and forth, alternating between the piles of vegetable strands and Bai Lu. No matter what, they couldn't believe that all of it was real, but they saw it with their own eyes...
At the same time, when they heard Da Tian's voice. One of the apprentices frantically retrieved the needle. He got stung and let out a yelling sound "Argh."
Da Tian glared at him with rage, and he snatched over the needle. From each of the individual piles of vegetables, he obtained three different strands. In the presence of the audience, he tested them a couple of times. One by one, all of the vegetable strands passed through the eye of the needle with ease.Famous taiwanese writer. His pseudonym could be translated as 9 Knives.