A crowd of people were gathered within Taotie Palace.
Tao Zhentian and the other Earthly Immortal Realm experts sat upright on the seats of the hosts while 100 stoves were set out in an orderly manner at the center of this enormous hall.
At the sides of the hall was row after row of tables that had a mountain of wooden boxes spread out on them. These were the rare ingredients from all over the world that were prepared for the spirit chefs that were about to undergo the second round of the competition.
When Chen Xi's handsome and extraordinary figure appeared within the hall, it instantly drew over 10 hostile stares, yet he seemed as if he didn't notice and walked slowly to arrive before a stove under the lead of an attendant.
There was a variety of utensils set up at the stove since a long time ago, and it was laid out there in an orderly manner, causing it to be pleasing to the eye.
Chen Xi stood upright before the stove and completely disregarded the surroundings.
He knew that he'd already become the most unwelcome person in the entire hall, and it was better to be quiet so as to avoid arousing even more displeasure.
Because the second round hadn't begun yet, the spirit chefs that had arrived at the hall were engaging in idle chatting, and they unknowingly shot their gazes towards Chen Xi and more or less carried some surprise in their gazes.
The reason was very simple, after the first round ended yesterday, the roster of the 100 spirit chefs that advanced was already publicly announced, and it was hung on the streets of Taotie City.
Surprisingly, Chen Xi's name was within the roster as well, and it caused the entire city to be stirred and enter into an uproar.
Presently, practically everyone knew that Chen Xi had arrived at Taotie City, but never had anyone imagined that he'd actually come to Taotie City to participate in the Spirit Chef Gold Rankings!
Even more astounding to everyone, he actually advanced to the top 100!
The sort of astonished and absurd feeling they felt was like watching a peerless sword cultivator suddenly stop cultivating in the sword and became a butcher instead…
Everyone felt disbelief, yet it just happened to be something that had really occurred, and it become a piece of interesting news in Taotie City that caused everyone to click their tongues in admiration.
On the other hand, the spirit chefs felt that Chen Xi's entrance into the competition caused it to feel as if the Taotie Clan was screwing around with the competition. They even suspected that Chen Xi was able to advance because the Taotie Clan made him advance through underhanded methods.
It was true that Chen Xi's natural talent was extraordinary, and his combat strength could be described as unsurpassed amongst those of the same generation. But… Does he know what the Culinary Dao is?
All these spirit chefs within the hall were renowned figures from all over the Dark Reverie, and they possessed extraordinary attainments in the Culinary Dao. Many of them were addressed respectfully as 'master' and received the admiration of countless people, so they maintained an attitude of suspicion towards Chen Xi's ability to be here.
It was even to the extent that some people felt disdainful towards being grouped together with Chen Xi.
If it was at a normal time, they might be delighted to form good relations with such a peerless genius, but since he'd participated in the competition with the identity of a spirit chef, it was completely different.
After all, this competition meant that they would contend against each other. Even though there were no blades involved, yet it wasn't the slightest bit less horrifying because everyone wanted to be ranked in the top three, and who would be willing to allow another to take it?
Especially when Chen Xi might had joined in through the 'back door!'
"Alas, I originally thought this is a grand event of the Culinary Dao, yet I never imagined the entire pot of congee would be spoiled by a speck of rat shit." Someone sighed lightly and made insinuations.
"Alas, you can say that. Perhaps there's more than meets the eye. I'm afraid someone's arrival caused the Fellow Daoists of the Taotie Clan to be in a rather difficult position. Everyone should be understanding." Someone assumed the role of the 'nice person,' but all his words carried a sarcastic tone.
"Difficult situation? Could it be that the rules of the competition should be broken intentionally because of this? It's simply shady!" Someone had a hot temper and spoke his mind.
These discussions irritated those elders that sat on the seats of the host to the point their eyelids and faces twitched without end, and they had nowhere to vent their bellyful of rage. They could only shoot their gazes at the culprit, Chen Xi, and their gazes were icy cold and murderous.
If it wasn't for this bastard, how could there be such a great controversy?
But it just so happened that they couldn't explain because it would just add insult to injury. It couldn't be helped, Chen Xi's existence was truly a variable, and only they knew clearly exactly what extent Chen Xi had attained in the culinary arts.
Chen Xi remained composed like an old monk in meditation, and he was indifferent to all this.
Unfortunately, his unwillingness to get into a disagreement with them seemed like incapability to justify himself in the eyes of others, and they became even more fearless, causing their words to carry hidden needles that were filled with ridicule and sarcasm.
In the end, even Tao Zhentian couldn't continue watching and spoke out to restrain them. It couldn't be helped because if this were to go on, then this second round of the competition would surely become the laughing stock of the cultivation world.
"Alright, the second round will begin now!" Tao Zhentian proclaimed while his gaze inadvertently glanced at Chen Xi, and he couldn't help but sigh when he saw the latter's indifferent appearance.
He even slightly hoped that this fellow could make a proper show of ability and not make a very embarrassing display so that the Taotie Clan's reputation wouldn't suffer smearing that it shouldn't suffer.
The topics of the competition were written on numerous pieces of paper that were sealed within a pitch black jade box.
This jade box was constructed from a type of special material, allowing it to be capable of keeping one's Divine Sense out. It was extremely expensive and not inferior to a Quasi Immortal Artifact in terms of value.
After the spirit chefs that participated in the second round drew a piece of paper from the jade box, they had to cook a dish according to the topic given on the piece of paper, and the most outstanding dish would win.
In next to no time, the competition began. An old man walked forward and drew a paper and inspected it carefully for a short moment before selecting the ingredients he required, and then he started cooking.
Most of the spirit chefs stared their eyes wide open and stared fixedly at the old man. They wanted to see exactly what level of accomplishments he'd attained to form judgment and make preparation for their following actions.
Only Chen Xi and very few other spirit chefs sat cross-legged silently on the spot like clay statues, and they had peaceful bearings that weren't shaken by anything from outside.
Time slowly flowed by bit by bit.
Spirit chef after spirit chef drew a piece of paper and cooked according to the topics given on them. Some were happy, some frowned, and they each had different expressions.
This second round of the competition had a time restraint. Every single spirit chef must finish cooking within 15 minutes, otherwise the spirit chef would be directly eliminated.
In merely four hours, there were eight spirit chefs who left with dejection because they weren't able to finish cooking in time, and one of them was even a spirit chef that had made a name for himself a long time ago!
This caused the atmosphere within the hall to start becoming nervous and oppressive.
Tempting and sweet fragrances were curling up and suffused the air, yet no one paid attention to it nor did anyone open their mouths and speak.
After waiting until the second round was on the verge of ending, Chen Xi walked forward to start drawing the paper as the last contestant. Actually, there was utterly no need for him to draw it because only the last piece of paper remained within the jade box now.
Chen Xi opened the folded paper and sized it up briefly before being unable to help but be stunned.
The other spirit chefs had already raised their heads in anticipation since Chen Xi made a move, and they seemed as if they wanted to watch the show. At this moment, all of them shot their gazes onto that piece of paper, and they saw two words written on it — Unsettled Mind!