Sungchul was able to sense mystical energy emanating from the orb like the Essence of the Wind Spirit.
[Then I’ll be taking my leave. I have to quickly return to watch the masterpiece unfolding in my Realm.]
Sungchul stopped the Snake who wanted to leave.
[What is it?]
“So are these all that are left of the gifts? If I bring another Letter of God, I’ll still be limited to one of these remaining choices?”
[Of course. Why, mortal? Are you unhappy with the remaining items?]
“To tell you the truth, they do not interest me. Unless you add more items to the list, I do not think I’ll come back here.”
[Mmm… What a needy mortal.]
The snake’s eyes briefly blackened.
Sungchul had no reason to back down.
The snake was quiet for a moment as if lost in thought before it nodded its sizable head.
[Ok, Mortal. I’ll have my vaultkeeper arrange for more gifts to be added to the list. But I wish to have my efforts rewarded.]
“What do you mean?”
The snake did not reply. Instead, it turned its head to gaze far off into the distance.
Sungchul’s heart momentarily skipped a beat. A deep furrows appeared on his brow.
‘What is this sensation…?’
Sungchul involuntarily turned his head to look east as if he had been commanded. And what he saw caused no small amount of shock.
Oroboros, the snake that is said to be able to devour the world whole.
Such a meager thing looked like a tiny earthworm in comparison to the being that was walking upon the infinite sky far off in the distance, surrounded by blinding hallowed light.
[You have great luck, mortal. In this short incidental meeting we had, you were blessed with the privilege of witnessing that great being, albeit from afar.]
“What is that?”
Oroboros replied with a voice carrying admiration and wonder.
[There walks one of the five all-fathers, principle Gods that enables the worlds to exist.]
“One… one of the five all-fathers?!”
Sungchul watched the unimaginably large being walk across the horizon of the infinite world with eyes bursting with awe. The divine reverence Sungchul felt just by gazing upon it made him feel as if his breathing would stop and heart burst open. Every bit of this great being radiated a wondrous aura that inspired piety. Enough to deeply ruffle even Sungchul’s otherwise emotionally insensitive body and mind.
In the midst of his awe induced silence, Oroboros spoke.
[You are in the presence of the God of Order.]
It was said that there are five Gods in this world. God of Order, God of Mediation and Neutrality, Primordial God of antiquity, God of Chaos, and the Unborn God yet to be.
Of these, God of Order and God of Mediation were the two principle gods that Humans worshipped as their guardian and protectors.
And befitting its reputation and station, the sheer grand majesty of the God of Order was enough to reduce Sungchul’s view of himself as a speck of dust in comparison.
But in his mind was a growing doubt in contrast with his awe inspiring experience.
Sungchul had long since met with a being beyond the stairs that was said to lead to God; a being that used no adjectives or descriptors other than simply ‘God’, a limitless being that felt and seemed fitting of the name it carried.
‘That, is no God.’
Sungchul’s dazed eyes slowly regained their light.
‘That is not a God that I met at the end of the stairs. It’s a completely different being altogether.’
The doubt that began to rapidly sprout and spread in his head was ironically caused by his meeting with a being that had been called a God.
Sungchul reorganized his priorities in the darkness of the path that led back to the present. Once he was back at the Tower of Recluse, Sungchul immediately headed to Tangrit’s former residence. There, he entered one of the rooms and started to clean up the dust and snow covered furnitures.
“What are you doing, so suddenly?”
Curious Bertelgia approached Sungchul ask him. Sungchul smiled as he looked towards her to reply.
“To put my skills to use for once.”
A dish exceeding 90 points.
Time had finally come to make it.
Even up until the moment he was cleaning the cooking area he was highly enthusiastic and motivated.
But now that he was done with cleaning and standing before the culinary tools, he discover that he was unable to do anything.
What was he going to make?
The most basic and fundamental problem was blocking his progress.
‘There is a dish that I’ve thought of. But the ingredients are no easy task to collect, and requires a great deal of time to complete.’
One of the ingredients he had been thinking of is baby Winter Bell mouse. The preparation required that he take infants whose eyes haven’t even opened yet and put them into a dark room to feed them aromatic seeds. Once they’ve been fattened up, they were to be dropped into sweet alcohol. However, it would take more than a week to just fatten them up.
Even considering ingredients other than the Winter Bell mouse, Sungchul possessed no ingredients that were considered high class or grade. Not meat nor fresh vegetables. It would be possible for him to hunt down a hooved animal on a snowy mountainside, but it would be difficult obtaining anything more than that.
Sungchul was fully aware of just how important the quality of the ingredients were as a culinarian. Plenty of dishes existed whose quality were more than ninety percent determined by the ingredients.
A deep furrow appeared on his brow. He was no stranger to the frustration of reality being unable to match his desires.
“Why are you so hesitant for? Just go fish up those minnow you like and mix in that weird dirt into a soup.”
Bertelgia commented after watching Sungchul struggle for a bit.
“It’s called Doenjang. And that thing doesn’t like spicy soups.”
“Hmm. Then you were stuck because of a lack of ingredients?”
Sungchul nodded to Bertelgia’s question.
“Fresh meat and produce of some kind would be great to have. But there doesn’t seem to be a way for me to obtain that from around here.”
Bertelgia shook lightly and made a suggestion.
“Then what about begging?”
“What, you can borrow at least a little, right? Even though the world insults you and calls you names like the Enemy of the World and whatnot, how many people have you saved, even just in this area? How bad could it be to borrow a few cooking materials?”
Bertelgia seemed to have a point. Sungchul was fully qualified to borrow a bit of ingredients for food.
‘It doesn’t sit well with me, but there seems to be no other way.’
He would face similar problem no matter where he went. In fact, a place like the area around the Tower of Recluse was perfect for focusing on nothing but his cooking if he were to have access to ingredients.
For that reason, Sungchul headed to the Tower of Recluse to obtain some ingredients.
But the Tower of Recluse was also in a devastated state, all they could offer him was a few potatoes and turnips. They offered him dried fish as well but he turned them down. Sungchul was more than aware that the childish overseer of the chef class abhorred it as an ingredient.
The next place Sungchul headed to was the anchorage of the Imperial Navy. But all imperial personale were terrified of Sungchul. The entire encampment froze as if time had stopped when he appeared.
Luckily, there was someone he recognized there.
It was stew.
“W…who are you?”
Stew was trying desperately to run away and hide, but she did not possess the skill necessary to escape from Sungchul. Upon capturing Stew, Sungchul was given an opportunity to meet with her superior, Colonel Brev, And it was from him that Sungchul was able to obtain additional ingredients.
Unlike Stew, Colonel Brev knew how to repay past favors, and committed manpower available to him in collecting ingredients Sungchul desired.
Marinated pork, live chicken, eggs, carrots, bread and the like came into his possession. It was a rather bountiful harvest.
“You have my thanks.”
Sungchul expressed his gratitude to Colonel Brev.
“It’s cheap compared to the value of life.”
Colonel Brev laughed heartily. He was a rare individual with a good sense of honor and shame.
After, Sungchul returned back to Tangrit’s residence. But now that he returned to the kitchen, he felt that he was still lacking something.
A decent meal could be made out of the ingredients he was able to gather, but it seemed woefully lacking in creating a dish above 90 points like he was wanting.
‘I guess the answer lies in spices.’
Luckily, plenty of spices were stored away in boxes in Sungchul’s Soul Storage.
Spices were culinary magic that transformed ordinary ingredients into the best of dishes.
Sungchul resolved to try and make an attempt with the ingredients he had on hand for now.
The first attempt he made was with the chicken.
The overseer of the Chef class had a tendency to prefer cooked or fried food. And of all the cooked food, Sungchul wanted to attempt making a braised dish that was best for bringing out the flavor of the ingredients.
The cooking itself was simple, but the key lay in the combination of spices.
Sungchul placed spices he had pilfered from the Emperor’s greenhouse on top of white table cloth and prepared the best spices that he could using precise measurements and careful combinations. A total of three different types of sauces were prepared. The reason why he went through the effort of making three types was to find out the overseer’s preferences and tastes.
‘There was a saying… find out the examiner’s intent.’
Sungchul recalled words he’s heard in his childhood as he tried out each of the sauces.
One was spicy but mouth watering, another was sweet and gentle, and the last was savory with a subtly aromatic aftertaste.
Sungchul applied each of the sauces onto cut chicken and began to cook it on the stovetop.
Marakia, who had been touching his beak by the campfire, came closer to hover nearby as if he was getting hungry. The intestines of the chicken soon caught his attention.
“Mmm. Are these not to be eaten?”
Sungchul removed only the stomach from the chicken’s innards from the bin he had next to the cutting board before presenting the rest to Marakia.
“Wait. What is that?”
Marakia’s eyes sparkled as he noticed the thing in Sungchul’s hands.
“This is called chicken gizzard. It’s essentially a sand bag. Do you not have this inside of you?”
“There’s no way a noble body of Nahak has something like that inside.”
Marakia didn’t take his eyes off of the stomach of the chicken despite his outburst.
“That, it looks good.”
“You can’t have this.”
Sungchul refused immediately.
“What is the reason? Humans do not eat intestines, right?”
“I am planning on having this later as my appetizer for drinks.”
“If it’s an appetizer, aren’t they being cooked over there?”
Marakia looked wronged as he indicated the chicken being cooked on the stove.
He had a point.
Those chicken dishes were not destined to reach above 90 points, meaning they were inevitably going to end up in his stomach anyway.
Sungchul threw the chicken stomach towards Marakia as if granting him a boon. Marakia looked rejoiced as he snatched the stomach from out of the air with his beak before he began to chew.
After just a few munches…
Marakia spat out the stomach.
“What is this? This is gross! Why is this so rubbery?”
Sungchul’s face grew rigid after witnessing this.
Marakia didn’t seem to notice this change in Sungchul as he grasped the bin containing the intestines with both of his hands to start stabbing away with his beak.
A terrifying degree of malice surfaced onto Sungchul’s eyes.
If it wasn’t for Bertelgia’s intervention, then Marakia might have ended up slathered up with the sauce and placed into the stove along with the chickens.
While waiting for the chickens to cook, Sungchul took out the wondrous item he had obtained from the Transcendent World.
It was the Essence of the Fire Spirit.
Announcement! Master Hunter K Book 1 has been released on Amazon Kindle and Kindle Unlimited:) Our very first translation work is out. It feels good typing that. It comes with the editing and formatting you expect of our kindle releases and of course black-white illustrations inside the book as well! Exclusive to the kindle version. The definitive edition to read/re-read the novel!
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