Journeying outside for a long period of time is something people that stay at home all the day can’t possibly imagine. One must personally experience the hardships and torments to understand.
It was evening, a month after they’d left Banja. Nicole, Suo Jia, and Xiang Yun were all sitting around a bonfire. They all looked at the large piece of meat in the bowl with tearless sorrowful expressions.
For the entire month, everyone’s meals had been solely comprised of magical beast meat that they had hunted, with the exception of the rations that Suo Jia had brought. That meant they’d only had meat and dry rations for the whole time. At this point, they’d find even delicious things hard to swallow.
When Nicole looked at the large chunk of meat and the thick and long shreds of meat on top of it, her stomach seemed to swell and her throat blocked up. Her heart was itching her to spit it back out. She tried many times to eat it, but every time she brought the fragrant piece of meat to her mouth, she wasn’t be able to swallow it.
“Tch…” Xiang Yun looked at Nicole in disdain and brazenly said, “Women are really just women. How could going out on a journey be easy? For the sake of your health, you have to eat!” Xiang Yun abruptly clamped onto a large piece of meat and tightly closed his eyes, quickly stuffing it into his mouth.
Five minutes later…
Xiang Yun was still chewing that piece of lean meat. Nicole laughed at Xiang Yun’s pained look and said, “Aiya…what’s wrong with our noble swordsman Xiang? Does a single bite of meat require chewing for five minutes? Could it be that…our noble swordsman Xiang has grown old?”
“Pft!” Xiang Yun darkly spat out the meat in his mouth onto the ground, and growled in annoyance, “***, do you think I don’t want to swallow it? But my throat gets terribly blocked up. Even after using all my energy, I can’t force myself to swallow it down!”
Suo Jia couldn’t help but sigh. He dumped out the meat in his bowl and helplessly said, “Forget it, don’t bother eating this. It looks like…if we don’t starve for an entire day, we won’t be able to eat this stuff at all!”
“No!” Nicole raised her hand to object, “Even if you starved me for a week, I definitely wouldn’t be able to swallow it, let alone after a day. We’ve really eaten it too much. I beg you, I want to eat a feast, I want to eat stir-fried dishes, or Western food!”
Suo Jia could only reply, “Do you think you’re the only one that feels that way? We also want to eat it. But the question is, among the three of us, can anyone cook?”
“That…” Xiang Yun scratched his head, and said in embarrassment, “My mother had taken care of me since I was young, so I can’t cook. Moreover, we have customs over there; men aren’t to enter a kitchen. After all, a nobleman who has seen a living animal cannot bear to see it die.”
Xiang Yun turned to look at Nicole and asked in confusion, “Theoretically speaking, shouldn’t you, a girl, be able to cook?”
“Me!” Nicole pouted gloomily and innocently replied, “I’ve already told both of you about my situation. Since I first became independent, I’d been going out to steal things in order to save my siblings. Where would I have gotten the time to learn how to cook!”
Nicole and Xiang Yun uniformly shifted their gazes towards Suo Jia. Meeting their expectant gazes, Suo Jia only coughed and said, “Sorry, I’m a training maniac, so I spend all my time on training. Don’t count on me.”
“Heavens!” Nicole gave a long sigh of grief and tightly clutched the metal plate in her hands. As she looked at the large chunk of beef on it, she lamented, “Beloved Mister Suo Jia, don’t tell me that…you want us to journey on the Greater Trade Routes with you without even eating properly? That’s signing a death wish! Before the enemy even kills us, we’ll die from poor health!”
“No way!” Xiang Yun looked at Nicole in bewilderment and argued, “This time was just poor planning on our part. If we’d planned to head towards a city when we first setted off, then we would’ve been able to bring enough food for several days, and thus rush to the next city.”
Nicole rolled her eyes in exasperation and replied in frustration, “In your dreams. What do you think the Greater Trade Routes are? Going a month without seeing any trace of human habituation there is normal. Where do you expect us to find food to eat?”
“Mmm…” Suo Jia nodded in agreement and solemnly added, “If the Greater Trade Routes had a dense population, then it wouldn’t be the Greater Trade Routes. I researched before coming here; it’s a vast but sparsely populated place, without any proper supply points.”
Xiang Yun looked at Suo Jia and Nicole in shock and said, “If that’s truly the case, then how do other groups do it? Don’t tell me that they don’t need to eat?”
Nicole looked at Xiang Yun and weakly replied, “Other groups always have at least one person that can cook, unlike us who don’t have a single member able to do that.”
“That…” Xiang Yun stood up and anxiously paced back and forth as he murmured, “This won’t do. If we don’t eat properly, how will we have the strength or energy to display our true mights? Food is a primary need. We have to quickly think of a solution.”
Seeing Xiang Yun aimlessly wander around like a headless fly, Suo Jia calmly said, “It’s not really complicated. The next time we’re at a large city, we’ll just look for a companion that can cook.”
“Hmm?!” Xiang Yun and Nicole cried out in astonishment. When they thought it over more closely, they realized that Suo Jia was right! The two simultaneously agreed to Suo Jia’s suggestions.
During the following several days, the three of them quickly rushed along their journey. They passed through a dozen cities, but weren’t able to find a comrade that could cook and rush through the Greater Trade Routes with them.
The Greater Trade Routes wasn’t a place that just anyone could go to. It was possible to meet danger at any moment. Any normal person would die the moment they weren’t paying attention, no matter how powerful their companions were.
However, their efforts couldn’t count as being wasted either. Although they were temporarily unable to find any suitable companions, Suo Jia had already managed to catch word on where to find a person that could meet these requirements.
According to the information they’d gotten along the way, there was a descendent of the Aili clan in Majara Empire. Although she was currently just a slave, her dishes were extremely delicious. Moreover, her original strength was quite formidable, so she fulfilled all the requirements Suo Jia was looking for.
Since they’d already received this information, the three of them obviously didn’t waste any time. They advanced as quickly as possible, turning around back where they had come from and traveled a thousand kilometers. With this, they finally reached Majara Empire’s capital: Mara!
After resting for a night, the two went out the next morning to search around. Soon…they managed to gather the bits of information together, and determined the location of Aili clan’s descendent.
Lauren Aili was a descendent of the Aili clan, which was an ancient, influential family that passed down trades like cooking and footwork. However…for some reason, the Aili clan seemed to have provoked some figure they shouldn’t have, which led to the destruction of the family. All of the clan members had become slaves.
The Aili Clan wasn’t actually from Majara Empire. The reason Lauren Aili was here was precisely because of her cooking skills. It was said that any dis produced by the Aili Clan could even make blind people see again.
Lauren Aili was over 50 years old this year. At the moment…she was within the Majara Imperial Palace as the chef for the Majara Emperor. She was only responsible for the regular meals of the Emperor alone. According to the received information, the Majara Emperor never ate any food made by any other person after inviting Lauren Aili to his palace.
The three people couldn’t help but furrow their brows after compiling the information. Although Lauren Aili was a slave…it was too annoying that she’d fallen into the Imperial Palace’s hands. It wasn’t like the Imperial family lacked money, power, or treasures; in fact, they had piles of such things. In that case, what were the three of them supposed to use to persuade the opposing party to give up his personal chef?
The most headache-inducing thing was that according to the information, Lauren Aili seemed to be living quite well. She had a good relationship with the Emperor. Although she was a slave, her status was even higher than that of an aristocrat. Even if the Emperor was willing to release her, would she be willing to accompany Suo Jia’s group to the Greater Trade Routes? One couldn’t forget that she was already over 50 years old!
Although the difficulties were endless, and all the reports pointed to Lauren Aili most likely being unwilling to leave with them, they’d already arrived at this point. If they didn’t try, they wouldn’t drop the matter.