The Crusaders of Salvation set up their camp at the dead centre of the Suicide Unit’s encampment. The retinue was responsible for their manual labor.
From this place, one could hear the sounds of horseshoes being fitted and the cries of their laborers. The Crusaders of Salvation, who had little else to do, gathered in small groups for idle chat or wandered around their surroundings. Some of the Crusaders visited the tent where Sungchul performed his Alchemy. Three men and two women, all so young it looked as though they had narrowly avoided the Curse of Extinction. One of them discovered the Alchemic cauldron and called her comrades into the tent.
“Hey look over here! There’s an Alchemist here!”
“What? There’s an Alchemist in a place like this? Weird.”
“Should we go check out what he’s making?”
Sungchul was standing right before them, but they continued without giving him any importance. It was because of the prisoner number attached to his ragged coat. Sungchul peeked over at the unwelcome guests and continued what he was doing. He was making a Level 4 alchemic item called the Jug of Purification. It was a jar created from the clay found in the Demon Realm mixed with the Kaolin clay found further south.
The Jar was able to purify water into drinkable water, no matter how dirty or impure it was. It was an invaluable item within the Demon Realm where fresh water was difficult to find. Not only that, its Alchemic level was four. In the Other World where Alchemy was looked down upon, it was a significant level of difficulty.
Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.
Sungchul continued to grow the flames beneath the Alchemic cauldron by stepping on the bellows with no particular expression on his face. The jar inside the lidded cauldron was beginning to take a solid form as it was baked. When the jar was properly baked, Sungchul opened the lid. The steam that had been circulating within flew out with fearsome vigor. Sungchul placed a spoon inside the cauldron with the jar and began to stir.
The act of stirring was more for the purpose of allowing the mana to flow into the Alchemic item, which granted the item a life of its own, rather than actually mixing the ingredients. He wasn’t aware of it at first, but it was knowledge he acquired through continued practice. The spoon appeared to touch the jar, but it didn’t. The spoon simply passed through the jar and stirred the bottom of the cauldron as though the spoon and the jar were on separate planes of existence. It was a small miracle that occurred within an Alchemic cauldron, but it didn’t seem to appeal to the onlookers.
“I thought it might be interesting, but it’s some useless jar?”
“I thought he was making a bomb or something.”
“It looks cheap.”
Each onlooker made their complaints before leaving the tent.
The pride of Sungchul, for whom everything had been going well recently, crumbled. It affected the results poorly.
With a poof, the jar inside the cauldron shattered into countless pieces before turning into black dust.
“Those fucking bitches…!!”
Sungchul’s face became twisted as he headed towards the members of the Crusaders of Salvation.
“Woah~ calm down.”
Bertelgia shook her body within his pocket and spoke to him softly.
“Failure is the mother of success! A true Alchemist must be able to create the Philosopher’s Stone even in the middle of a busy market place.”
Sungchul clenched his teeth as he left the tent. Noncommissioned soldiers nearby saw Sungchul and threw out their greetings.
“Hey! Alchemist! Is it going well?”
Sungchul went towards the back of the tent. There was a separate brazier and preparatory table installed here. It was a private kitchen which Sungchul sometimes used to cook. He glimpsed around his surroundings before he pulled out the ingredients from his Soul Storage. It was the Mandragora kimchi and blood drained from the corpse of the Man-faced Beast in the Demon Realm.
The meat of the Man-faced Beast was tough like leather, and when one bit down on it, the abscess within it exploded with unpleasant flavor which made it impossible to eat. However, fresh blood from a recently killed Man-faced Beast made for great soup.
He pulled out the ingredients onto a simple counter to the side, then headed over to the food storage with three low-grade healing potions.
“What? Another trade?”
The storage manager, prisoner number 132, peeked over at Sungchul’s healing potions then handed over a portion of the rations. Dried sausages, ham, and an unknown bird’s carcass were traded for three healing potions. Sungchul took the exchanged materials to his own barracks to begin cooking.
Even though it was called cooking, there wasn’t much to it.
The mountain bird’s bones were boiled to make meat stock and left to simmer as the alchemic cauldron’s lid was set upside down and used as a pan to cook the Man Faced Beast’s blood.
Once the blood was cooked to a certain extent the Mandragora Kimchi, Sausages and Ham he received earlier, and the Mountain Bird stock was added in and brought to a boil. After it had boiled enough, he added in the spices and adjusted the flavor. This was the Demon Frontline version of sausage stew.
Unfortunately, Sungchul’s cooking wasn’t popular within the barracks. It was because the food was seasoned heavily with spices that the Other Worlders weren’t familiar with. Their opinions might have changed if they had given it a chance, but the soldiers of the Suicide Unit weren’t feeling very adventurous when it came to their meals.
Sungchul didn’t judge them for it. His food was made for his sake anyways. However, unfamiliar onlookers arrived as he was putting the finishing touches. He briefly wondered who they were, but quickly realized it was the same five members that watched him do Alchemy.
“Huh? What’s this, Alchemy?”
A freckled girl with blonde hair looked over at the bubbling sausage stew and popped her question.
‘To call it Alchemy…’
The fact that the girl called his dignified cooking Alchemy meant that she didn’t see Sungchul’s food as food.
“Whatever it is, it reeks. Is he making something dangerous?”
A blonde youth oozing with pomp clenched his nose and made a disgusted expression. The fellows next to him had things to say as well.
“It looks like some kind of food? Look. There’s some sausage and ham floating on the red liquid.”
The conversation between the five fell right into Sungchul’s ears. Sungchul felt humiliation on a level he had never experienced before.
‘Making such judgement of a High-Class Chef’s dish. Such arrogance from mere petty nobles.’
Judging strictly by ability, Sungchul was a level above the average royal chefs. Chef itself was a rare class, and not just anybody could become a high-class chef which was a rarity among the chefs.
Sungchul had actually spent considerable effort to become a high-class chef, and he had great pride in his own recipes; and those five had dared to mock Sungchul’s food.
Bertelgia could feel something big rumbling from Sungchul’s psyche and began to shake strongly as she whispered softly.
“Hold it. Woaaah~ Relax.”
However, Bertelgia’s words didn’t reach Sungchul’s ears. Sungchul turned to face the group of five. An incredibly heavy aura exuded from his person, and the five leaped up from the sudden change in atmosphere. Sungchul slowly opened his mouth.
“Why not give it a try?”
He held a ladle with the Man-faced Beast stew with pieces of ham and sausage within towards the group.
“Go ahead and eat some.”
The faces of the five froze at Sungchul’s sudden suggestion. Sungchul continued to insist.
“Hey. Why don’t you have a bite before you make a judgement? See if it tastes good or not.”
Despite Sungchul’s repeated insistence, the group of five remained distant.
The blonde youth spoke coldly before turning to leave. The other four followed suit without question. Callous voices could be heard from their backs.
“How could anyone eat something like that?”
“Not even dogs would eat that slop.”
Sungchul was unperturbed. He only smirked to himself.
“How dare they reject the food of a high-class chef. They lost an opportunity of their lifetime.”
Sungchul returned to his place and swallowed the stew in his ladle in a single gulp. The clotted blood exploded with savory flavors and melted on his tongue like soft tofu as the sausage and ham that had a chewy texture filled his stomach. The Mandragora kimchi complemented the soup nicely with a deep vinegar flavor. It was truly a feast of flavors in his mouth. Sungchul wore a satisfied expression on his face.
‘I give it an 87.’
However, his class didn’t rate it so highly.
[This recipe is… 34 points.]
‘I don’t know who is managing this class, but I really want to see his face just once.’
Sungchul thought to himself as he pulled out a hard liquor from his supplies and downed it. The bursting flavor in his mouth mixed with the strong drink as it moved into his stomach. It was heavenly.
‘They rejected something this good. They’re truly pitiful.’
Sungchul who was dining in this way felt someone’s gaze. He turned around to see if the five from before had returned, but it was someone unexpected.
‘This guy is…’
Curiosity rose in his eyes. His visitors were a blonde male who was the head of the Crusaders of Salvation, and a blonde woman who looked just like him.
“I thought I smelled something funky. It looks like it was the cooking of a Summoned.”
The youth approached Sungchul then looked over at the boiling sausage stew in the cauldron lid with a sharp gaze. Sungchul didn’t reply and continued to look up at him.
The youth looked young and delicate, but his eyes were bold and prudent.
‘He looks like he’s got some spunk. I don’t know how it’ll be in reality though.’
Sungchul shifted his gaze towards the girl who was standing behind the youth protectively. She had a similarly pale blonde hair and piercing blue eyes, and she was already looking at Sungchul. The moment their eyes met, Sungchul was reminded of a freshly honed blade of a knife.
‘The siblings are quite something despite their age.’
Sungchul finished judging the unwelcome guests as the youth who was observing his food began to speak.
“Hmm. This red soup, and this provocative smell. It feels similar to the food they serve at the Order of the Iron Blood Knights.”
“The food didn’t taste good, and I forced myself to eat it, but it was quite spicy and striking. I felt like I was looking at the Order’s heart. All flash with nothing to show for it.”
“What do you want to say?”
Sungchul downed another shot of alcohol as he retorted. Even dogs should be left alone during their meals. He wasn’t feeling hospitable as these unwelcome guests were buzzing around him during his meal.
The corner of the youth’s lip rose as the hand of the girl behind him reached for the hilt of her blade. A thick aura of hostility flew out from her. The youth waved his hand towards her.
“Sophia. Stop. I am the one in the wrong here.”
He slightly bent his neck towards Sungchul so as to express his apology for his disrespectful behavior.
“I apologize, unknown soldier. I smelled the scent of such foreign food, and I unknowingly overstepped my bounds.”
To apologize to a no-name soldier that even Aaron Genghis, the head of the Suicide Unit, treated like an insect. It was an unusual occurrence. This guy was growing on Sungchul. Sungchul took a ladle and offered a portion of the soup towards the youth.
“Don’t just apologize with words, try some.”
At Sungchul’s sudden action, the youth briefly froze.
The woman behind him had a worried expression and approached him. She glared towards Sungchul with a frosty gaze and shouted.
“You. Summoned! Who do you think he is that you can shove your slop of garbage towards him?”
Her blade was already pulled halfway. Sungchul looked at her shining sword and pulled back the ladle with a smile.
“Don’t eat it, if you don’t want to.”
The woman’s face grew scornful after hearing his words.
The youth restrained the girl once again.
“Sophia. Restrain yourself. How long do you intend to remain hysterical?”
Unlike the fuming girl, the youth sat next to Sungchul with a relaxed expression on his face.
“Could I give it a taste?”
Sungchul made a faint smile and handed over a small bowl filled with the stew. The youth made a mysterious expression on his face as he looked at the contents.
“It won’t taste as good if it goes cold.”
“Brother. You can’t eat this.”
The girl objected, but the youth smirked and swallowed Sungchul’s dish in a single gulp. However, his attitude was like that of someone forcing himself to try and eat something that wasn’t food. It looked as if he was doing something reckless like a youth.
The youth who had the stew in his mouth began to chew a few times before his face turned to stone. The girl who was watching the scene became pale.
At that moment, the youth let out a soft exclamation.
Sungchul crossed his arms and made a smug expression on his face as he observed the change.
‘I made it. There is no way it’ll taste bad.’
The youth who had a mysterious expression on his face looked behind him with a happy expression and spoke in a cheerful voice.
The mood changed completely.
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