Chapter 43 Sashimi (h)
Translated by Ultra
Edited by Gumihou
Gumihou had a lot of fun translating this chapter~
Hope you have fun reading too.
Shiyu did not spend a long time fiddling with the radishes.
“You’re done already?” the man looked at her with some suspicion.
Shiyu coughed, “I have some experience in this.” There was no need to disclose the fact that she had help.
At the kitchen table, the man slowed his hands and made his movements more deliberate. Shiyu watched the process for a moment, before picking out her own radish to try her hand at it.  She peeled and cut the green top and the pointed end off, sending the bits into the rubbish bin before placing the prepped up radish onto the cutting board.
Shiyu had placed herself at an angle opposite the man to better observe his technique and not get in his way . At first, her cuts were not very even, there were thicker and thinner radish discs gathered at the end of her cutting board.  In fact, they looked worse than if she had used the technique she had learned as a professional chef. However, she persevered. The method shown by this man was hard on her wrists. However, she was able to use her Spiritual Power to deal with the physical soreness.
As the two worked on their respective radishes, a cry from the kitchen reached Shiyu’s ears, “I want to go home to Spiritual Beast Mountain Range!”
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News that the corner shop with its unfortunate menu item has hired a delicate and pretty looking young girl as kitchen assistant soon made their rounds within the College grapevine. A few came to gawk and verify the truth of this rumour, while others were here to check and see if the girl was really as pretty as the rumours said. However, the gawkers soon got tired when nothing really happened, aside from rampant radish abuse.
There were some, however, who sneered at Shiyu for demeaning herself by working in a kitchen. The College Elders sighed among themselves: Well, it looked like another student had been duped into becoming that person’s free kitchen help.
The whispers reached Shiyu’s ears from time to time. However, it did not bother her. She knew why she was here and what her goal was. So, she took a little detour into this less trodden path, but there’s no reason why she should just follow the herd everywhere, right?
There was one downside to working in this store, though. Oddly enough for a food stall, there was no food to be found.  As for the radish soup… Shiyu had already taken it off the list of ‘food’ after tasting it. In the interest of science, she had taken a sip. One, very tiny little sip, and the bitter taste overtook her mouth and offended her taste buds so much that she now regarded the pot of soup as a Mortal Enemy . The man was talented in his own way. Shiyu had observed what had gone into the soup, and she could not think how this combination of things would transform into Mortal Enemy. At worst, the food should be bland. Finally, after cracking her head trying to understand this mystery for some time, she concluded that he must overflow with a talent for Dark Cooking.
One day, Shiyu had had enough . She dumped out Mortal Enemy and washed out the pot. It was entirely possible that the pot itself was cursed to turn all food into Dark Food, but she took a chance here and filled the same pot with fresh water to restart the soup. She tied a bunch of spring onions into a bouquet garni and dumped it into the pot, along with some table salt  and pork bones. Once the soup came up to a roiling boil, she lowered the fire and let it simmer until it turned white. Finally, she added the radish slices.
It really doesn’t matter how long a pot of soup is boiled. As long as you put in the right things at the right time, the end result would be delicious. Or at least edible. She also set aside some of the radish slices to make a simple salad. With this, a meal was completed.
The man had been too absorbed in his knife skill cultivation to notice when Shiyu had dumped out Mortal Enemy, but the sweet smell of pork bones and radish soup soon teased his senses and his hand slowed down. The youngster, who had turned up like clockwork in the afternoon for cheap soup, stood there stunned.
At the sight of the young man who had appeared for the evening soup, Shiyu blinked. This guy ate a whole pot of Mortal Enemy that afternoon, what would he think of the evening soup ?
Instead of getting furious or upset, the youngster said weakly, “Has the price of your soup changed…”
The man patted him on the shoulder, “It’s still the same price.”
Then, quite suddenly, both young and old attacked the soup, freaking Shiyu out a little.
One other noteworthy thing. Students attracted by the fragrance of the soup stopped by to check out the Soup Shop’s new menu, but they were all turned away by the man who was now guarding the pot like it was his baby. 
“See? This is why it is imperative to make the soup as horrible as possible. It is to discourage people from coming over and bothering you,” said the man seriously as he sipped another bowl of soup.  He wiped his lips and continued, “It’s both annoying and a waste of time to have to serve these people.”
Black lines appeared on Shiyu’s forehead. Is that your real reason?  Shiyu thought back to the Mortal Enemy that could only be made through black sorcery that was Dark Cooking. She decided to humour this mysterious master and nodded along.
The next day, students who came to the cafeteria found a large sign hanging in front of the notoriously unpopular shop.
“1 coin per bowl. Serve yourself and pay the exact amount. Line up properly. DO NOT disturb the chef!”
“What kind of joke is this? Are there enough fools to actually make a line for that dark soup?” someone sneered.
However, he was soon struck dumb by the long line of people waiting to pay their single coin for soup.
“What’s going on?!” he cried.
“I heard that the boss had learned a secret technique for soup making. People said that it’s very good now, so I’m going to try it too.” Someone said, before hurrying off to line up.
“Just the scent alone is gorgeous,” sighed someone, their face slack and dreamy as though drunk from soup fumes.
“Truly?” curiosity spurred by these reactions, this person became also joined the line of people waiting to serve themselves soup.
The two people in the kitchen ignored the people outside. They were diligently practicing their knife skills. It was as though the world outside their kitchen had nothing to do with them.
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After spending the whole day helping out at the shop and practising her knife skills, Shiyu would return home to fish out a couple of fishes to make Sashimi. She could see some improvement in her cutting skills, though it was not advancing as quickly as she would like it to. However, that was fine too. As long as there is progress, there is hope.
The physical worked exhausted her a lot, but it also helped to loosen up the blockage on her Meridians from excessive consumption of Cinnabar Fruit. Being able to feel her own Spiritual Energy flowing through her Meridians again was a great relief. However, San Pang’s advice was for to continue to take the Cinnabar Fruit until it had fully lost its effect on her.
“This is the most basic way to widen one’s Meridian,.” the fat little Radish Demon said authoritatively, “Once the Cinnabar Fruit lost its effects on you, you would have reached your upper limits and could enter into Transformation Core naturally.”
In other words, if she were to force her Meridians to widen, it would be like growing plants with stable roots and trunks. Her foundation would be solid and she need not worry about making breakthroughs in the future.
After considering the pros and cons of the matter, Shiyu decided to accept San Pang’s suggestion. It just so happened that the Cinnabar Fruits in her space was ripening again. She should have more of them soon enough.
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One day, while she was busy taking care of odds and ends at the shop, a most unexpected person turned up at their door.
“May I speak with you?” to be fair, Meng Li was quite a vision when dressed in white. Her voice was sweet, her face fresh and pure. She was most likely the dream girl of the guys in this College. In fact, the fellows lining up for soup were all looking at this Girl in White with shiny eyes.
This was Shiyu’s first real contact with Meng Li, however…
“Apologies, but I don’t want you to waste my time.” Shiyu chose to refuse her immediately.
No matter how uncertain the relationship between Meng Li and Feng Luo, Shiyu was determined to have nothing to do with her.
Clearly, Meng Li had not expected Shiyu to reject her request outright. For a moment, she stood there in a daze. But her eyes soon reddened and she said, “My apologies… I just, I just wish to know if Feng Luo is doing well. Ever since our last quarrel, he had not spoken to me. Now that he’s with you, I just want to ask after him. Please be at ease, I- I have no of coming between you. I just… I just…”
Crystal-like tears fell from her beautiful eyes as her words choked off.
Tsk, tsk, look this pitiful face, if you say that you’ve given up on that man, who would believe you, ah? Shiyu really wanted to come out, shake that girl and bestow a few slaps on that prettily pitiful face. 
Oh look, the peanut gallery was giving her weird looks now. Angry and more than a little exasperated, Shiyu stabbed her knife into her chopping board and glared at the pitiful spectacle. She could feel the collective intake of breath from the male audience, some were clearly getting ready to jump into the Girl in White’s rescue.
Shiyu smiled kindly and lowered her voice, “Meng Li, you are a very good and wonderful girl. To be honest, I can’t bear to see you in pain like this anymore. It just… it breaks my heart, that’s what it does.” Shiyu sighed dramatically, “My advice is to let go of this love. His heart is no longer with you, so why bother?”
“I-” Meng Li choked off. 
Shiyu’s smile disappeared and she leaned in earnestly, “I know you see him around me all the time, but in truth…” she hesitated. Her audience(s) leaned forward. 
“In truth…?” Meng Li prompted. 
“In truth, the one he loves is not me. I am but a pitiful shield.” Should she cover her eyes? Would it be too dramatic? Shiyu decided to cover her mouth. 
Meng Li took the bait, “Wh- who does he love?”
“You should know this person.” Shiyu lowered her voice even more. However, despite lowering her voice and speaking through her hand, all ears heard her next words. It was like no other sound existed from the epicentre of this great drama. The clink of spoon against bowls stopped as people ignored their soup in favour of this great gossip.
A thrill of excitement flashed past Meng Li’s eyes. “Are you saying… that the person he l-love is… is…”
“Exactly!” Shiyu nodded. “It’s that great and terrible newcomer who thrashed up the previous top student. That Lin Fan guy!”  [Puuuu!!!!] 
Soup burst forth from dozens of people. The most spectacular fountain show exploded into being by this unexpected news.
[Gumihou: Okay, who expected that?]
 Details for Logistical Purpose: you gotta peel ‘em first
 Missed Opportunity for Funny: Author-san, you should really stop using ‘!’ for description and save it for reactions. Also, I named the radish soup Mortal Enemy.
 Details for Logistical Purposes – time, which break? First day? Second day? One fine day? I went with ‘one day’
 Salting Rant! : Ok, here’s a cooking tip. DO NOT salt food at the beginning. ALWAYS salt at the end. If you salt at the beginning, the flavour would dissipate, and guess what? You ended up adding MORE SALT. For people are trying to reduce their salt intake, salt at the end. If you want saltier food, don’t dust your food with salt. Put a little on a dish and dip the corners of your food into the dish of salt. The taste of salt is more concentrated and you get a better hit for a much lower amount of salt.
I know this because there was one time my taste buds want saltier food but my family all ‘bleh’ at it. So, I made bland (for me) food, and just keep a little saucer of soy sauce on the side. It was barely a teaspoon, but it made me happy. I have a mysterious medical condition that makes food tasted too bland or too salty, it’s weird but temporary (thank god). Even plain rice tasted salty to me one time.
 Detail Change, Because Wut? :Okay, author-san, your question and your worries are not aligned, ah. Why are you worried about whether the soup is enough or not? Shiyu had just drastically changed the recipe, why are you worried about the amount of soup?
 Missed Opportunity for Funny: it said that the old man turned the students away, but that’s it. Author-san, you missed out describing why the man turned them away and how. It’s okay, the pot of soup has transformed from Mortal Enemy to Precious Baby. Also, added a description to the dialogue below.
 Missed Opportunity for Funny: original Shiyu believed the man. Seriously? Wut? Let’s just humour him and be funny.
 Potential for funny – Oh, I know a lot of people have laughed at this. However, allow me to present a more ‘dramatic’, as opposed to mere ‘shock value’ type of hilarity. I, Gumihou, am brilliant at this.
FYI – Here’s the original translation of the joke
Ignoring the strange prying eyes of the surrounding students, Shi Yu thrust the kitchen knife into the cutting board, earnestly saying: “Meng Li, you are a kind girl, so I don’t want you to hurt anymore. Best to let go of this love. His heart is no longer with you, so why are you bothering with him? Even though you see him near me, in fact, the person who he actually likes isn’t me at all. I’m just his shield.”
Meng Li was surprised when she heard this, “Then who does he like?”
“You should know this person.” Shi Yu lowered her voice. But there were still lots of eavesdroppers around, their ears perked, some not even noticing that they had already finished their soup.
A hint of joy flashed through Meng Li’s eyes, “Could it be that the person that he likes… is…”
“Yes!” Shi Yu nodded, “It’s Lin Fan, who overpowered the previous King of the new arrivals not long ago.”
“Pfff!” The scene of dozens of people spewing soup at once was quite spectacular.
 And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you make full use of the power of ‘!!!’