Chapter 149 Hotpot (a)
Translated by Gumihou
Edited by Gumihou
Lin Fan was stunned. Old Gu’s spirit resided within his jade pendant, but no one had ever detected anything. So, how did this person know?
However, what shocked him even more was… Old Gu actually revealed himself!?
Old Gu’s spirit manifested in its half-transparent form right before everyone’s eyes. Wen Xian was stunned. He had seen this ‘Old Gu’ before, but only as a cloaked old man. He certainly never seen Old Gu suddenly appear out of thin air like this! As for Feng Luo, after hanging out with Lin Fan all this time, he had some guesses and therefore was not quite as shocked.
As for Old Gu… he had a very strange look on his face. There was shock, disbelief and happiness.
Old Gu looked almost ecstatic as his hands shook, “Y… you’re Wen Boy ? You’re alive?!”
Wen Heng gave a faint smile, “Back then, father sealed my brother and me within a jade stone. After I woke up, I returned home to find that too many things have changed. There are so many old friends in the past, but yet I met none of them. I’ve searched the world from the ground up and heavens down. Within the whole of Nine Realms, the only one I managed to meet is Old Gu’s remnant soul.”
Old Gu gave a bitter little smile, “Not even the most powerful could withstand the test of time. Even if they do survive, their existence would wither away. I was lucky. Otherwise, I too would have disappeared.”
“Therefore, you must Become Immortal, ah!” Wen Heng rubbed his brother’s head. “Once you’ve Become Immortal , you can meet our parents.”
“Become Immortal? Isn’t that just a legend?” asked Wen Xian.
Wen Heng did not answer.
Nobody else said anything either.
The purpose of Cultivation is to become immortal. However, that goal is so difficult that it’s nearly impossible. Nevertheless, people have yet to give up. Regardless of how high or low your basic talent is, the unspoken goal of Cultivation is to ‘Become Immortal’.
To reach that goal, you must have the will to live on or die trying.
A hero’s hardship is one of those things that are never seen. As one traverse the river of challenge, who knows how many bones have sunk into its depths, how many bodies did we stepped on to reach the mountain top? Whether their little group would be reduced to a pile of bones for others to step on remains to be seen.
However, once you’ve become an Immortal, the people you have lost, the regrets you carried… The possibility of washing those sins clean and meet with those you have lost would be within your reach.
This has been Wen Heng’s ultimate goal all his life.
“I’m going to cook something,” Shiyu broke the silence.
Old Gu and Wen Heng’s talk was getting a little too heavy for her taste. The burdens and losses they carried were too oppressive for her to bear. It added to her feeling of powerlessness, which is just too depressing, ah! Especially when you consider their current strength difference. The people being depressed were at a completely different level than the juniors in terms of strength and experience, but even they were helpless!
Back then when Luo Yin  composed the phrase:
‘Today, this wine of mine,
Drink, and be drunk today’
Was he suffering from the same mood as her?”
“I’ll help you,”
Lin Fan and Feng Luo quickly volunteered.
This attracted Wen Heng’s attention. His eyes fell on Lin Fan, “Is this your disciple? His talent is not bad,” Talent is one thing, perseverance is more important.
When it comes to Cultivation, talent is only a starting point. How far you could travel down the road of Cultivation depends on many things such as mental resistance and luck.
“That’s right!” a smile flashed across Old Gu’s face as he thought of this good disciple. “His future development would not lose to mine.”
“1st Level Core Condensation Stage at 17 is really good, especially under such environment,” Wen Heng commented. He refrained from saying anything about the one sitting next to him. After all, she had taken a huge shortcut. “However, I’m afraid he’s at the stage where staying at Spiritual Beast Mountain Range would do him little good.”
Old Gu’s eyes widened. Suddenly, those old, sharp eyes narrowed, “Wen Boy, I’m an old man who watched you grow up! I only have this one disciple, I’m betting everything I have on him!”
Wen Heng pressed his lips together: What do you mean ‘you watch me grow up’? I saw you once when I was my brother’s age, and it was from a distance…
However, it’s not a bad idea to put a little more pressure on this disciple.
Some people tend to breakthrough faster when thrown into life-and-death confrontations.
“I will send him to a place later,”
Old Gu was perfectly happy with this response. As a bit of remnant soul, his ability was limited. Otherwise, he would have sent his favoured disciple somewhere better.
Meanwhile, Lin Fan was still unaware that his immediate future was being decided by the two old powerhouses. He was currently helping to clean some freshly picked wild greens.
“Do you still need Spiritual Beast meat?” Lin Fan asked suddenly. “I picked up quite a few on the way, it’s all being kept inside a separate space ring.”
“Ah, me too! I have some too!” Feng Luo chimed in.
Because these two young men were here to train themselves by fighting Spiritual Beasts, they ended up collecting quite a few Beast corpses. Though the level was not high, they managed to collect quite a few. Shiyu was immediately interested. What she lacked now was proper practice ingredients, ah!
“Yes, yes, yes!” Shiyu said. “Thank you very much, ah, good brothers! To think you still remember me even on your training trip.”
“Of course, you’re our good brother too, so there’s no need to stand on ceremony,” Feng Luo waved a generous hand at her. “All you have to do is provide me with more delicious food. Speaking of which, what are we having tonight?”
“Er…” Shiyu thought for a while. “Since there are so many people here, let’s have Hotpot tonight.”
The thought of everyone gathered around a campfire to eat a steaming Hotpot is just too attractive, ah.
Wen Xian also helped. A short while later, he came back with an armful of fruits and vegetables. As for Lin Fan and Feng Luo, they processed one of their many Spiritual Beast together.  They skinned the creature and cut up the meat into fine slices. Though their cutting technique was not quite up to Shiyu’s standard, the meat was well-trimmed and cut.
The essence of a good Hotpot lies in its soup base. If the soup base is good, whatever ingredients you put in would come out good. If the soup base is weak or unbalanced, it would spoil whatever ingredients you put in.
Her taste tended towards spiciness. Therefore, her standard soup base has a lot of chillies. However, just having chilli peppers was not good enough. A good and fragrant soup base should have spices like cinnamon, star anise and fennel. After describing the types of spices she wanted to Wen Xian, he set out to look for them.
The young man soon came back with quite a variety.
Shiyu picked out a few and dry toasted them on the wok before roughly crushing them with her mortar and pestle. She then fried the chilli in medium hot oil to make spicy, fragrant Mala Oil. The air around her seemed to turn brilliant red with the aura of hot and spicy chilli. Once the chilli oil had turned gem red, she added the crushed spices.
Shiyu stirred the spices in the Mala Oil, taking care not to burn anything. Once the fragrance of the spices emerges, she poured spring water into the pot, letting the water rise till it’s halfway up the pot. While waiting for the water to boil, she added a bit of wine into the soup. The original recipe requires sake lees, but she did not have any at hand. Once the pot of soup began to boil, Shiyu tossed in the bones of the Phoenix-Eye Vulture as well as the large bones of the Spiritual Beast Lin Fan and Feng Luo had processed .
Fire Seed’s fire was hotter than mundane fire. However, to ensure the best taste, Shiyu wrapped the pot with her fire and raised the temperature, forcing the umami flavour out of the bird and beast bones.
A quarter of an hour later, she lifted the lid and inspected the red, gurgling soup tumbling within the pot. The scent billowed into the air with the steam caused her eyes to water a little. Shiyu dipped a spoon past the oily surface and took a sip.
The soup base was spicy, fragrant and savoury.
With Lin Fan and the rest helping to prepare large plates of meat and vegetables for the Hotpot, the meal was considered ready as soon as the soup base was completed.  The vegetables were all washed and plucked, the meat sliced by the boys, so all Shiyu had to do next was hand out bowls and chopsticks.
She also took the time to brew another pot of Lotus Seed Heart Tea. Once that was done, Shiyu sent Wen Xian over to invite Old Gu and Wen Heng over and everyone sat around the bonfire with their bowls and chopsticks. Ready experience this thing called Hotpot.
[Gumihou: There’s been nothing too overtly awful about the cooking, aside from the blatant worship of chilli peppers. Gumihou is pleasantly shocked but still wary.]
 Wen Boy, specifically he said 溫哥兒 = Wen Ge’er = which translates to Wen Boy Child
 Become Immortal or 成仙 is one of the stages originally introduced by the author. Not sure it was at what stage now, but it was placed at Stage 9 back at chapter 39.3.
Gumihou is keeping track so that you don’t have to ~
|凝氣||Condensation Stage||Stage 1|
|化丹||Core Transformation||Stage 2|
|凝丹(46)||Core Condensation||Stage 3|
|化神(52)||Divine Transformation||Stage 4|
|成嬰||Nascent Formation||Stage 5|
|返墟||Revert Decay*||Stage 7|
|歸真||Original Purity*||Stage 8|
|成仙||Become Immortal*||Stage 9|
*Changed the words to something more mysterious sounding Luo Yin – Tang Dynasty Poet
Gumihou being naggy, or catty, depending on your point of view.
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