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Chapter 12

Yu Xizhi was already inside a noodle shop.

With just a hurried glance before, she only saw the table and noodles, but now she could clearly see the people standing outside the table, all dressed in the robes of the same sect.

Quite a domineering sect.

Yu Xizhi sighed inwardly, then directly carried a chair to the only table and politely said, “Sir, do you mind sharing the table?”

The middle-aged man, whose bowl of noodles was not yet empty, had gentle features. He wore a plain black robe with a wide white border at the hem, instantly diluting the solemnity of the black, which was deep but not impenetrable. He nodded. “Not at all.”

After a pause, he added with a smile, “Come in; it’s not your fault for being less skilled.”

The curtain was rolled up again, and the twin brothers bowed their heads as they walked in from outside. Seeing that Yu Xizhi had simply sat down at the same table as the owner, they were about to make trouble again, but they were stopped by the owner’s gaze.

The shopkeeper behind the counter lowered his voice and asked, “What kind of noodles would you like? From thin to wide, we have superfine, fine, and large flat noodles.”

“Fine noodles, with an extra beef meatball,” Yu Xizhi quickly decided.

The shopkeeper soon disappeared into the kitchen, leaving only the sound of the owner chewing his food. Everyone’s gaze was now quietly fixed on Yu Xizhi, each with their own speculations about her. But several minutes passed, and she seemed to have no intention of speaking to the owner.

It was as if… she really just came to share a table and eat a bowl of noodles.

But how could that be?

The owner of Xiya Tower, known as Tan Xingjing, was undoubtedly the current number one alchemist, having reached the later stage of soul accumulation, proving the Dao with alchemy.

Alchemists were different from sword cultivators.

If sword cultivators were a group of crazies only concerned with martial prowess, then alchemists were the darlings loved by all.

A tiny pill could help a cultivator cross a major threshold, stabilize shaky foundations, directly infuse spiritual energy into their foundation establishment stage, and even heal internal injuries and regulate meridians.

And the best, purest, most potent, and most effective pills in the world were refined by Master Tan.

Moreover, everyone knew that Master Tan had a gentle and scholarly disposition, was famously easy to talk to, and had been cheated out of many valuable pills by people who fabricated tragic stories about their backgrounds during his travels in the past. Since then, Xiya Tower has exercised strict control over anyone trying to approach Master Tan to prevent this emotionally sensitive owner from being deceived again.

Who would have thought that today, here and now, under the Kunwu Mountain Sect’s jurisdiction in Xianyun County, an outer disciple of Kunwu would barge in so recklessly!

How many people struggled to meet him, let alone sit at the same table with him!

The key point was that this great alchemist had yet to find a suitable direct disciple.

Alchemy, in a certain sense, emphasized talent.

And while Master Tan was usually casual in his dealings and easygoing in nature, he was extremely picky and strict when it came to choosing a successor. As a result, many years had passed, and he still hadn’t found a suitable person.

So those who sought to see Master Tan tried everything, either seeking pills or wanting to become his disciple.

All the Xiya Tower disciples who were on duty that day felt a thump in their hearts. Some of them were already determined to receive their punishment when they returned to Xiya Tower.

Who would draw their swords at Xiya Tower just for a bowl of noodles?

What Kunwu prohibition? Wasn’t it just a pretense for those who wanted to come in?!

Who would come to eat noodles and still wear a veiled hat, afraid to reveal their true identity?

In addition to these questions, there was another doubt in everyone’s mind.

Could an outer disciple of Kunwu Mountain Sect really defeat the second-floor master’s direct disciple with the most basic Qianfeng Liuyun Sword? You should know that that pair of twins were not just some pushovers; otherwise, they wouldn’t have been selected to accompany Master Tan on this trip!

According to the original plan of the Xiya Tower disciples, these two brothers, working together, should only be matched by the astonishing talent of Kunwu’s senior disciple. Even if they held back just now, how could… they be defeated by an outer disciple?

Everyone was waiting for Yu Xizhi to speak.

Although Master Tan seemed to be eating noodles, he was also waiting.

But they didn’t wait for anything.

Yu Xizhi sat quietly without speaking until the shopkeeper brought a steaming bowl of noodles along with a small bowl containing a beef meatball the size of half a fist.

“Enjoy your meal,” the shopkeeper said.

Sure enough, it was a good bowl of noodles, with one clear, two white, three yellow, and four green elements all present.

Yu Xizhi finally made a move.

Amidst everyone’s astonished gazes, she effortlessly took off the veiled hat, revealing a naturally smiling, clean little face. She picked up her chopsticks, picked up the noodles, blew on them, and started eating.

The room fell silent, with some staring at the little tree twig in her hair, some at her noodles, and others at her hands. Under so many eyes, she ate quietly, not seeming to be constrained by the silence but naturally calm.

After finishing the bowl of noodles, she tasted the beef meatball. After two bites, she frowned slightly but still ate it very seriously.

Then she wiped her mouth, put the veiled hat back on, and walked straight to the kitchen.

The roomful of people looked at each other, inevitably speculating on what she was going to do. Someone took a half step forward and whispered, “Owner, do you want to go and see?”

Master Tan was also curious. He didn’t stop them, which tacitly approved, so someone quietly followed to the doorway of the kitchen and peeked in with one eye.

Yu Xizhi had just rolled up her sleeves and washed her hands. She was earnestly rolling meatballs on the cutting board, saying as she did so, “Look at my method of exerting force and the direction of rolling the meatballs. The meatballs made like this will definitely taste better than the previous beef meatballs. Your meatballs have a good sauce flavor, but the meat is a bit loose. With this method, your sales will surely double.”

At first, the shopkeeper was a little skeptical, until he saw the beef meatballs in Yu Xizhi’s hands round and full, and after boiling and fishing them up, they held together without falling apart. When he took a bite, his eyes lit up, and he clasped his hands, saying, “Thank you, little taoist, for willing to share this secret recipe with me. If the little taoist doesn’t mind my noodles, from today onwards, whenever the little taoist comes, I will treat you.”

“Eat a bowl of noodles; pay for a bowl of noodles.” Yu Xizhi shook her head. “If you want to thank me, I hope that next time I come, I can eat beef meatballs made like this.”

The shopkeeper naturally nodded repeatedly.

Yu Xizhi readily paid and turned to leave, but her eyes caught sight of the meat cleaver placed next to the shopkeeper, and her eyes lit up. “Nice knife,” she remarked.

After staring at it for a while, she asked, “Could I borrow it for a moment?”

The eavesdropper at the door had already bowed beside Master Tan, expressing some confusion, “Nothing unusual was seen, she only taught the shopkeeper how to make beef meatballs… and now she wants to borrow a knife.”

The eyes of everyone in the room lit up: borrowing a knife!

This person must be borrowing a knife to find the owner!

As she spoke, they saw Yu Xizhi hurriedly leaving. She didn’t even look at anyone; she just walked out directly. In no time, she came back carrying a vegetable basket and a large basket of meat, heading straight into the kitchen.

The people at Xiya Tower were puzzled. At first, they were maintaining their composure, but by now, they all wanted to rush to the kitchen to see. But they saw the girl bending over to take out boneless chicken, raising her knife, and starting to chop meat.

Most cultivators were chosen into sects at a young age, and those with good aptitude were accepted into the inner sect early on. Who among them had ever touched raw meat like this? Looking at Yu Xizhi’s fair and beautiful hands unreservedly handling and chopping the meat, they all showed expressions of indescribable disdain, evidently extremely contemptuous.

However, in order to find out what Yu Xizhi was up to, they had no choice but to watch.

So a group of Qi refining stage cultivators surrounded the kitchen like disciples being instructed by a true immortal, vigilantly watching Yu Xizhi… chop meat.

The rhythm of the knife hitting the cutting board was uniform, and for these immortals who were not involved in worldly affairs, this was the first time they had heard such a sound. Some found it piercing, while others found it pleasant; some found it crude, while others saw a sense of freedom in the way the girl wielded the knife, which they hadn’t observed before.

Could chopping meat attract Master Tan’s attention?

Was this some kind of unconventional method?

…Wait a minute, if that’s the case, hasn’t she successfully attracted their attention already!

Such scheming! Truly remarkable!

Yu Xizhi was indeed chopping meat.

The knives and cutting boards here in the shop were both good, so she chopped the meat and formed the meatballs. When she went back, she could feed them directly to Fat Orange without having to wash the cutting board herself.

Regardless of the season, the mountain spring water from Kunwu Mountain was always chilling.

After chopping the meat, she naturally had to form the meatballs. Yu Xizhi rolled them quickly and neatly, placing them neatly in the box handed over by the shopkeeper. “I’ll return the box to you next time I come down the mountain.”

Looking up again, she was startled to see the crowd blocking the doorway.

This person, when she was doing something, was always completely focused, whether it was reading, practicing swordsmanship, or rolling meatballs… it was the same.

The shopkeeper had been scared into standing in the corner by the crowd at the door, but she now just realized this belatedly.

She pondered for a moment and felt that these people should not be looking at her.

What kind of cultivator would be so bored as to run to the kitchen door to watch someone chop meat?

Most likely, the children were all starving, lured by the aroma from the kitchen stew.

Pity the cultivators of the world; they couldn’t even enjoy a full meal.

“…Excuse me?” Yu Xizhi looked up; she had already reattached the veiled hat, naturally covering the sympathy in her eyes when she looked at the poor children.

The petite girl, carrying a large basket of vegetables in one hand and a few skewers of raw meat in the other, looked like a young girl in charge of household chores in a small alley, but she had a sword sheath on her back, which made her look somewhat out of place.

Everyone subconsciously made way for her.

Yu Xizhi originally intended to walk straight past, but she noticed that the person sitting at the table hadn’t finished eating the noodles yet. She furrowed her brows slightly, thinking to herself, “Are these cultivators so absorbed in their cultivation that they’ve lost all common sense?”

She couldn’t help but offer a friendly reminder: “Noodles should be eaten while they’re hot; otherwise, they’ll get soggy and lose their flavor.”

This was the second thing she had said to Master Tan since entering the noodle shop.

The people in the room suddenly perked up, waiting for Yu Xizhi to make some requests.

Master Tan nodded and looked at her, but saw that Yu Xizhi seemed to be genuinely uninterested and was about to leave.

For the first time in his life, he felt an irresistible urge and couldn’t help but ask, “Do you have anything else to say?”

The people from Xiya Tower became nervous.

If she just wanted a Solidifying Origin Pill or something like that, it would be fine.

But if she asked for something excessive, they would definitely…

However, Yu Xizhi just found this person to be quite strange. They were just eating noodles together—a chance encounter. She thought for a moment and felt she understood something: “There are beef meatballs I made in the kitchen that are better than the ones from the shop. You can try them.”

With that, she left the shop without looking back, walking calmly amidst the sea of night and lights. Then, in a deserted place, she stored all the dishes in a Qiankun bag, crushed the teleportation talisman, and returned to Kunwu Mountain Sect to steam cat rice.

In a noodle shop.

Master Tan had finished his bowl of noodles just in time before the best flavor of the noodles dissipated.

Cultivators couldn’t really be considered full, and when he came to eat noodles, it wasn’t for the sake of culinary pleasure, but because more than ten years ago, before the prologue of the Solar Eclipse Battle, he had eaten a bowl of noodles here.

At that time, he already had the reputation of being the world’s number one alchemist, but he had just barely entered the True Immortal stage and had not yet stabilized his realm. As a result, he could only squat in a corner near the door, watching these grandmasters who were already in the Refining Void, the Profound Void, and the Mahayana Realm, who were already gone off the grains, eating noodles.

Later, he was also served a bowl of noodles.

Then later, there was only him left, eating noodles.

It turned out that there were no more grandmasters in the world.

At least, that was how it appeared on the surface.

Someone brought over beef meatballs, and Yu Xizhi demonstrated by kneading three meatballs. The shopkeeper ate one, she ate one, and there was one left.

The soup blended into the beef meatballs, making the originally smooth meatballs appear even more plump and shiny. The aroma of the brown-red meatballs filled the entire room, and everyone looked at the meatball with complex expressions. For a moment, they couldn’t quite accept the fact that Yu Xizhi had just left like that.

Was she really just here for a bowl of noodles?

Or perhaps… did she really not know who was sitting in front of her?

However, Master Tan looked at the meatball in front of him, and the more he looked, the brighter his eyes became. His body, which had been somewhat relaxed, gradually tensed up, and he stared at the meatball without blinking. The aura of a soul accumulation stage cultivator, which had been restrained on his body, leaked out slightly.

In the soul accumulation stage, one had already integrated their entire body’s realm between heaven and earth. How could there be even the slightest deviation unless their mind was stirred to the extreme?

The two Nascent Soul stage elders behind him also sensed something and focused their gaze on the ordinary-looking beef meatball. “This is…”

“It is.” Master Tan affirmed before the elder finished his sentence.

“Have you seen clearly?” the Nascent Soul stage elder asked again.

“Crystal clear.”

The Nascent Soul stage elder’s voice trembled: “Are you… are you sure?!”

“I’m sure.” Master Tan stared at the meatball as if trying to see through it. He was usually elegant and easygoing, but at this moment, he couldn’t help but burst into a long laugh, seeming content and relaxed, as well as somewhat nostalgic. “Who would have thought that I would wait for this in a noodle shop at the foot of Kunwu Mountain Sect.”

Master Tan stood up immediately. “No need to wait until tomorrow, let’s go up the mountain now.”

He paused for a moment, then halted his steps forward. “No, it’s not appropriate. It seems too eager. If Kunwu Mountain Sect finds out about this, the old man from Liuguang Peak will definitely compete with me for it. We can’t be hasty. No one is allowed to speak of this matter!”

With the last sentence, he even used his divine sense.

With a Soul Accumulation stage cultivator’s divine sense, anyone in the room was instantly bound by the prohibition of not speaking of this matter.

The disciples of Xiya Tower looked at each other in bewilderment, not understanding, they could tell that the beef meatball was indeed extraordinary, but after inspecting it for a long time, they still couldn’t see any difference.

Finally, the twin brothers couldn’t hold back any longer and stepped forward. “Master, what’s so special about this meatball? Did she intentionally leave it for you to see?”

Master Tan placed his hands behind his back, his voice filled with undisguised satisfaction. “Have you figured out her cultivation level?”

The two brothers exchanged a glance. “We can’t tell. We only feel that she hasn’t even started condensing Qi into her body yet, or perhaps she just started. She’s just an outer disciple, but she was able to knock our swords away with one strike. It’s really incomprehensible. Perhaps she’s hiding her strength. She might actually be… a Foundation Establishment stage little cultivator? But I’ve never heard of anyone so young in the Foundation Establishment stage at Kunwu Mountain Sect, other than the disciples Yu Si.”

“It’s not your fault.” Master Tan shook his head with a smile. “I can’t tell either.”

The whole room was shocked.

It was well known that there were clear distinctions in the cultivation realm. If Xuan Ping and Xuan Fan couldn’t tell, it might indicate that the other party was in the Foundation Establishment stage.

But Master Tan was already in the Soul accumulation stage, and he can see the peak realm of that girl if it is Foundation establishment stage. Unless the person standing in front of him now was a grandmaster, who else could make him unable to see through?

“Maybe… there’s some secret technique?”

The Nascent Soul stage elder tried to recall but found that he hadn’t seen through the girl’s cultivation either, feeling uncertain.

“How could there be any secret technique?” Master Tan’s smile grew deeper. “Just a few cat hairs.”

Cat hairs?

What cat hairs? What cat? What’s the connection with cat hairs?

The people in Xiya Tower looked at each other with confusion, their minds full of questions, but they dared not ask again.

They didn’t dare to ask again, but in their hearts, they were convinced.

Indeed, this meatball was a trailblazer! This girl had been circling around for so long! Truly, her cunning and depth couldn’t be underestimated!

Only the two Nascent Soul stage elders seemed to understand something, their faces showing a mix of disbelief, fear, and concern.

Master Tan’s smile grew even deeper as he picked up the meatball, now slightly cold, allowing the sauce to stain his hands.

“This meatball is truly round.”

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