Chapter 287: Chapter 287: Mapo Tofu
Translator: CatatoPatch Editor: Vermillion
The Third Corps of the Western Mystery Army was the weakest of the lot. They couldn't be compared to The Fist Corps who were the elites of the army. The Third Corps fell short of others, especially in terms of the cultivation, tenacity, and stability of their soldiers. However, The Third Corps remained an official army unit whose troops were trained orderly.
The army cooks raised their pots high up. The pots emitted surges of steam that were filled with rich fragrances that wafted through the air. The blend of delicious aromas made evident the delicious dishes in the pots, and the efforts their cooks put into making them. Some of the dishes were prepared from the meat of precious spirit beasts. This was to ensure that the soldiers of the Third Corps attained top shape after eating them, so they would be at their prime when confronting the enemy.
Inside the camp, the heavy pots were placed down, and their rich fragrance immediately permeated the entire surroundings.
Some armored soldiers from the camp shot curious glances at the pots. Although they were quite curious about the contents, they didn't seem to expect much. This made Wei Dafu, who had quietly paid attention to the soldiers' expression, quite angry.
However, he felt quite helpless about this. The soldiers of the Third Corp were already tired of eating their regular dishes, but they may feel curious and excited about dishes that had been specially prepared. This was because specially prepared dishes didn't taste bad at all and they weren't consumed by the soldiers often. Regularly prepared dishes seemed almost tasteless in the soldiers' eyes.
They wouldn't be able to satisfy the taste buds of the soldiers unless they came up with a new dish, and the cooks had no way of achieving that.
The Third Corps' Commander, Zhu Yue, placed his hands behind his back and walked leisurely toward Wei Dafu. Several armored adjutants followed beside him.
Immediately, Wei Dafu bent his body and saluted him respectfully before retreating to the side.
"This is good, well done. Divide these dishes among the soldiers, and let them eat to their heart's content." Zhu Yue instructed with a satisfied smile on his face. Although the quality of the Cooks' Army Unit's dishes was the same, it was already a luxury for these soldiers to be able to eat to their heart's content.
Wei Dafu complied and arranged for the cooks to serve the sumptuous dishes. The soldiers noisily flocked toward the cooks, surrounded the pots hungrily and began to order food in excitement.
Wei Dafu and the others worked hard. The soldiers were quite fond of their spirit energy dishes. Not only did they taste great, but they also helped preserve their True Energy in its peak state, so how could the soldiers not love it?
Bu Fang calmly looked at the soldiers—ravaging dishes like a pack of hungry wolves—before putting his small pot down. His pot was still sealed with a lid, so the aroma didn't leak out at all.
Just as Wei Dafu had predicted, the soldiers only focused on the spirit energy dishes. No one paid attention to Bu Fang's pot, that contained an ordinary dish.
The soldiers didn't even glance in Bu Fang's direction for one second. The disparity between their regard for the other dishes and his dish was huge.
Wei Dafu had a huge smile on his face the entire time. He either ladened bowls with food and handed them to the soldiers, or patrolled with hands behind his back. While patrolling, he couldn't help but smile as he looked at the cooks bustling about.
His gaze fell on Bu Fang, who stood quietly in a corner. His pot was covered by a lid which sealed its aroma completely. He seemed quite pitiful standing there—all alone.
"Do you see this... it's obvious that no one would pay attention to it. If your dish isn't eaten by anyone, then, I will properly take care of you when we return to our camp." Wei Dafu walked toward Bu Fang, his hands behind his back. He took a look at Bu Fang's pitiful appearance and burst out in laughter.
There was a huge difference between ordinary dishes and spirit energy dishes; it was an irrefutable fact. This was evident from the disparity in the amount of activity that both Wei Dafu and Bu Fang had attracted.
Bu Fang shot a glance at the smug Wei Dafu and the corners of his mouth curled up slightly. His expression hadn't changed a bit while the soldiers fought over the dishes made by the other cooks.
Although those soldiers seemed excited, Bu Fang could clearly tell they weren't truly pleased with it. It was obvious that the soldiers had already tasted these dishes many times in the past.
"I'll let the soldiers entertain themselves with the other dishes, for now; otherwise, my dish will be completely devoured in no time," Bu Fang said calmly, a confident smile on his face, as he shot a glance at Wei Dafu.
As if he felt the glance, Wei Dafu's body stiffened for a second, then he sneered with disdain: "Kid, you're really overconfident... There is a huge disparity between ordinary dishes and spirit dishes. Your confidence only showcases your ignorance."
"Ah... Ignorance?" The corners of Bu Fang's mouth curled upwards.
After that, he paid Wei Dafu no mind, grasped the lid of his pot and lifted it.
Immediately, a pillar of steam burst forth from the pot and shot into the sky—like a mushroom cloud. An overwhelmingly rich fragrance gushed out from the pot, like an erupting volcano, and threw the entire camp into chaos.
The fragrance swept through the entire camp, like a whirlwind, and caused its inhabitants to come to a standstill. The camp was quiet and the soldiers stood still as if they hadn't been fighting over food just moments ago.
They all perceived the strange but rich fragrance and licked their lips; the excessively rich fragrance had greatly stimulated their taste buds.
Bu Fang took a deep breath and, immediately, his face became flushed. Excited, he peered into his pot.
A smell that was rich, spicy, and well, albeit a little rough, escaped out of the pot and into his face. It was the smell of countless pieces of tofu that trembled in the soup — like they were perfectly cut pieces of gelatin.
It was Mapo Tofu... spicy, rough and sweet Mapo Tofu!
It looked really tasty and caused everyone who perceived its pleasant aroma to swallow their saliva. As soon as the fragrance from Bu Fang's dish permeated every nook and cranny of the camp, Wei Dafu's body stiffened. "This fragrance enveloping the camp... what the hell is it?"
Nursing a bad premonition, Wei Dafu turned around and found all the soldiers, who had just fought over other dishes, surrounding Bu Fang and completely sealing him in a tight circle. The soldiers all had longing expressions and smacked their lips fervently.
"This aroma is really fragrant! Ah! I never perceived an aroma this rich before..."
"What kind of dish is this? It isn't something I have eaten before. Is it a new recipe researched by the army cooks?"
"This sweet and spicy... My God, it has completed aroused my appetite; I can't bear it anymore!"
The soldiers chatted nonstop as they stared at the Mapo Tofu with glittering eyes and longing expressions.
"Well? This pot is quite small... Could it be that this dish was made with ordinary ingredients?" The soldiers easily deduced, after all, they were familiar with the army cooks' routine, so they could tell what kind of ingredients were used from the size of the pot.
Once they heard this, disappointment sprouted on the soldiers' faces and their longing waned. After all, the dish had been made using ordinary ingredients.
Despite all that, Bu Fang maintained a composed demeanor. A dish's aroma played an important role in bringing attention to the dish. After all, the customers perceive the aroma first, and it has the ability to stimulate their appetites.
The Mapo Tofu's fragrance was sufficiently rich. There were many types of fragrant dishes, however, the soldiers needed a dish that would improve their mental states; a sweet and spicy dish was the best choice, so Bu Fang chose the Mapo Tofu.
Although the ingredients he used were normal, they still achieved the desired effect.
Bu Fang looked at the soldiers, who were initially excited but now shook their heads in regret, and smiled. He used an iron ladle to scoop the Mapo Tofu into a bowl. The piping hot bowl exuded a thick steam coupled with a rich fragrance.
Bu Fang handed the bowl to the soldier closer to him and smiled calmly. "Here, have a taste."
The soldier received the dish without much thought, making evident the fact that he was still curious.
Wei Dafu watched all this play out with round eyes and raged inwardly, "Why did you take it? Where are your morals and principles? You should eat dishes made with spiritual energy ingredients to maintain optimum condition!"
The soldier anxiously stared at the bowl in his hand. The rosy and tender Mapo Tofu emanated a spicy and numbing fragrance that stimulated his taste buds and attracted his gaze.
Trembling visibly, he used a spoon and scooped up a piece of tofu. He blew at the steam emanating from the tofu and swallowed the piece—under the gazes of everyone.