The hall was perfectly silent.
Chen Xi silently returned to his earlier seat before carefully sensing the changes in his Dao Heart.
This dish, Unsettled Mind, allowed him to suddenly comprehend a mysterious force that came from the Dao Heart, and it seemed to be illusory and ethereal, yet it was present everywhere.
He was faintly able to sense that this 'mysterious energy' was extremely shocking, and it wasn't inferior to True Essence, Shaman Energy, and Divine Sense, and it was a type of energy that came from the heart.
As the saying goes, the heart of man was unfathomable. Cultivation was like the cultivating of the heart, and the emotions and ups and downs of life caused all living beings to undergo change within their hearts at all times.
Unfortunately, there were very few people that knew how to grasp this sort of energy.
Because it was too illusory and ethereal to the point that even Chen Xi was only faintly capable of sensing the existence of this mysterious energy after his Dao Heart broke through, and he was very far away from controlling it.
"Divine skill!" While Chen Xi was sensing his gains in a meditative state, a voice that was filled with emotion suddenly broke the silence and shook the hall, causing everyone to seem as if they'd awoken from a dream and recover from their shock in unison.
The person that let out this emotional sigh was the Patriarch, Tao Zhentian. At this moment, he had an emotional expression as he looked at the cooked dish, and he didn't conceal his admiration in the slightest.
At this moment, he'd stopped thinking about the resentment, gains, and losses between his Taotie Clan and Chen Xi because his heart was filled with admiration and fondness towards this dish. As a descendant of the primeval ferocious beast, Taotie, deep love towards delicacies flowed within his bones as well.
"This dish used a mere four types of ingredients, yet was cooked into such a perfect delicacy. This level of attainment in the Culinary Dao can really be said to be divine!" Everyone sighed successively with emotion, and the gazes they shot at Chen Xi were filled with astonishment and disbelief, causing it to be extremely complicated. Who could have imagined before this that a young man like this would be capable of accomplishing this?
The expressions of all the elders of the Taotie Clan were slightly gloomy. But they had no choice but to admit in their hearts that this dish Chen Xi cooked was truly too beautiful and perfect!
Earlier, even they'd been terribly shocked…
Master Qiu Feng was slightly worried about his position in the contest. His expression was indeterminate as he looked at the dish 'Unsettled Mind' that Chen Xi had cooked, and he even seemed to be slightly apprehensive and anxious.
He'd spoken confidently about cooking to the point 'flames rose out of water yet never dispersed and Yin embraced Yang while Yang shot into the skies.' That was the method of cooking he felt was the most perfect, and this method obtained the uniform agreement of all the other spirit chefs in the hall.
But at this moment, he noticed that the method of cooking Chen Xi utilized was much superior to his own, and it formed the perfect state of fire and water merging while Yin and Yang circulated. Chen Xi's unique attainment in the Culinary Dao caused him to feel ashamed of his inferiority.
The second round came to an end here, and it was time to proclaim the results next.
Tao Zhentian led all the elders to start tasting the 100 dishes one by one before passing judgment.
Of course, the final outcome could only be known after all the dishes had been tested, and then 10 would be selected to advance to the final round.
This period of time was so unbearable to all the spirit chefs in the hall because even though Tao Zhentian and the others were giving exaggerated judgments of the dishes, it didn't represent the final outcome, and it caused everyone to be slightly unsettled in their hearts.
In next to no time, it was the turn of Chen Xi's dish.
When they intended to try Chen Xi's dish, Tao Zhentian spoke abruptly. "Don't allow your mental state to affect the taste of your tongues."
The other elders were stunned. Some nodded seriously while others remained indifferent.
Meanwhile, the gazes of the other spirit chefs in the hall converged over in unison because they wanted to listen to the judgment obtain by this dish that revealed a shocking scene.
After that, a scene that caused everyone to be astounded appeared.
Amongst these elders that had tasted the dish, some revealed intoxicated expressions as they praised it profusely and applauded as if they'd had dragon liver and phoenix marrow.
However, another portion of the elders had expressions of detest and kept spitting as if they'd eaten a fly. They seemed as if it tasted terrible to them, and their expressions didn't seem to be faked.
This caused everyone to be curious. It's only a simple dish, yet how has reactions of two extremes appeared?
Everyone was surprised and bewildered.
Only Chen Xi's expression remained composed and without the slightest ripple, and he seemed as if he'd expected this scene to occur.
Tao Zhentian frowned and was extremely furious in his heart. He'd just tasted the dish moments ago, and its taste was so superb that it absolutely stood above the other dishes. It was even to the extent that he couldn't refrain himself for tasting another mouthful.
Even though he detested Chen Xi as well. But he had to admit that Chen Xi's culinary skill had subdued his taste buds in this competition.
But now, he'd clearly warned them not to be influenced by personal emotions, yet these elders just didn't listen and intentionally went against him. Moreover, they even bluntly criticized this dish as trash. How could he not be infuriated?
"That's enough all of you!" Tao Zhentian was infuriated and berated in a low voice.
"Patriarch, we're absolutely not making unfounded criticism. The taste we tasted is really horrible to the extreme, and it tastes like sawdust." Fourth elder didn't give in and spoke with a serious expression.
"You dare make excuses!?" Tao Zhentian was infuriated to the point his lips trembled. Could it be that these idiots don't know shame? There are so many spirit chefs watching here!
"Patriarch, we can take an oath!" At this moment, it wasn't just fourth elder, and even those other elders couldn't help but speak up.
"Huh…" Tao Zhentian was stunned, and he faintly felt something was strange.
The other spirit chefs were astounded as well. What exactly is going on?
"There's no need to argue, what all of you have tasted is its truest taste." Right at this moment, a rough and deep voice suddenly resounded within the entire hall.
A wisp of dazzling immortal glow suffused the hall along with this voice, and then a middle aged man that wore a high crown walked out from within the glow. He was tall and robust, had a rough appearance, twisting muscles, and an immortal radiance flowed all over his body, causing him to seem like a war god that had descended from the heavens and emitted an exceedingly terrifying aura.
In merely an instant, the entire hall erupted with boundless radiance from his arrival, and even the air was cheering while the entire surroundings were bathed in an atmosphere of calmness, peace, and order.
"Ancestor!" Tao Zhentian and all the elders were shocked and swiftly knelt on the ground with respectful expressions that revealed heartfelt reverence.
Isn't that the Nine-Profundity Immortal Wok?
The bodies of all the other spirit chefs trembled as they stood up hastily as well before bowing themselves. Never had they imagined that this existence would be alerted at this moment.
Even Chen Xi stood up swiftly while revealed a shocked expression because the aura emitted by the tall middle aged man was too terrifying and concentrated. It was like a deep abyss that gave others an extremely oppressive and suffocating feeling just from looking at him from afar.
The Nine-Profundity Immortal Wok… This is its Artifact Spirit?
Instantly, Chen Xi thought of many things. According to rumor, this immortal wok had existed since the primeval times, and it was the weapon of a god whose might shook the three dimensions, causing it to have extremely terrifying origins.
But Chen Xi was bewildered because both the Dark Parasol Divine Tree and the Exalted Ant Emperor from the primeval times had suffered calamity and fallen, so why was the Artifact Spirit of this immortal wok capable of surviving until now?
"When the heart isn't pure, it's impossible to differentiate between immortal and devil, let alone a dish? Your mental states have been affected, so how can you distinguish the quality of a dish?" The tall middle aged man spoke with a voice that was like the rumbling of thunder, and he seemed like the ruler that controlled the world while being covered in an immortal glow.
Even though his voice didn't sound like he was berating in a stern tone, Fourth Elder and the others seemed as if they were struck by lightning and revealed ashamed expressions.
The other spirit chefs came to an understanding, and they felt even more shocked in their hearts. A dish was capable of creating different dishes according to the difference in one's state of mind? Exactly how high must one's attainments in the Culinary Dao be to achieve this?
In merely an instant, they were completely subdued by Chen Xi, and they didn't have the slightest intention to feel displeased or suspicious anymore. Even the Nine-Profundity Immortal Wok had been alerted, and merely this was sufficient to explain everything.
"This second round ends here, and this 'Unsettled Mind' is the first." The tall middle aged man spoke indifferently with a profound gaze while an immortal glow curled up from him, and he decided the outcome with this single sentence.
"Ancestor is wise!" Tao Zhentian and the other elders knelt as they spoke respectfully.
"Young brother, there's no need for you to participate in the final competition with your level in the Culinary Dao. Care to join me for a chat?" The tall middle aged man turned his head abruptly and looked at Chen Xi, and his tone eased up unconsciously.
Everyone in the hall was shocked and envious when they noticed this slight change. Exactly what ability does this kid have to actually obtain such favor from Ancestor?
Chen Xi was stunned and pondered for a moment before he cupped his hands. "It's my pleasure."
He faintly sensed that the Artifact Spirit of the Nine-Profundity Immortal Wok had absolutely not come looking for him merely because of the dish, Unsettled Mind, that he'd cooked.
The second round ended, and the list of the top 100 was placed all over the streets of Taotie City.
The person in the position of first on the list was shockingly Chen Xi!
Everyone in the city was shocked and exploded into an uproar when they saw this name.
Even though the second round of the Spirit Chef Gold Rankings wasn't the final round, Chen Xi's name was actually able to appear at the position of first, and it still caused them to feel that it was absurd and question it.
He surely cheated!
Even Master Qiu Feng who's renowned throughout the world is actually ranked beneath Chen Xi! Such an outcome is simply a joke!
This caused everyone to feel that the Spirit Chef Gold Rankings this time was filled with underhanded tricks because no matter how terrifying Chen Xi's combat strength was, how could he possibly compare to Master Qiu Feng in the Culinary Dao?
Some people felt indignant and went over to inquire about it with the spirit chefs that participated in the second round, but they obtained as astonishing answer. Chen Xi's position as first was actually judged personally by the Nine-Profundity Immortal Wok!
This caused most people to be speechless. That was the Nine-Profundity Immortal Wok! It had no need to try so hard to flatter Chen Xi with its identity! Obviously, it was impossible for it to act in such a way.
Most shocking of it all was that even Master Qiu Feng himself expressed that Chen Xi's attainments in the Culinary Dao were extraordinary and far from his reach. Moreover, his tone even carried undisguised admiration as he said this.
Now, the entire Taotie City was stirred!
Everyone knew that not only did Chen Xi possess ferocious combat strength, even his cultivation in the Culinary Dao had actually reached the peak of perfection. Even Master Qiu Feng felt embarrassed of his inferiority while the Nine-Profundity Immortal Wok expressed its admiration towards him…
On the other hand, at this moment, Chen Xi was within a secret realm in the depths of Taotie Palace, and he was looking at a bronze box the tall middle aged man passed over to him with a shocked expression.