Chapter 57.2 I can’t figure out how to cook
Meanwhile, Lin Yan returned, cradling a young boy in his arms—the very same person who had attempted to snatch his fish earlier. Unfortunately, the boy had the misfortune of being directly hit by the cannon, causing him to lose consciousness. Lin Yan carried him to the shore and after performing some cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the boy groggily regained consciousness. Upon seeing Lin Yan’s face, he trembled and asked in a quivering voice, “What happened?”
“There was a little mishap earlier, and you were stunned by the impact,” Lin Yan explained gently.
“You saved me?” The boy expressed his astonishment.
“Not exactly,” Lin Yan replied. “You weren’t seriously injured, and I just happened to bring you out.”
“Then, what about my fish? I still need to proceed to the second level!” He struggled to get up from the ground and hoarsely complained, “Who told you to bring me out? Now I have to go back again!”
Upon hearing his words, the people around frowned. They didn’t expect someone to act so ungrateful. Lin Yan had kindly saved him, but he displayed such ingratitude.
If it were someone else, they would have likely scolded him already, but the one being accused was the saint-like Lin Yan.
Therefore, Lin Yan hesitated for a moment and extended the orange in his hand. “Since you’re injured and can’t go, take my fish. I’ll go again.”
The young boy stood frozen.
Seeing his lack of response, Lin Yan attempted to place the orange in his hand. But no matter how he tried, the boy showed no intention of accepting it. He choked back his tears and fiercely declared, “I don’t want your stinky fish.” He wiped his face and said with resentment, “Keep it for yourself. I don’t want anything you’ve touched!”
With only five minutes left until the end of the competition, it was impossible for the boy to return to the fishing area. He claimed he didn’t want to eat handouts and urged Lin Yan to put away his pity. His scolding left Lin Yan feeling somewhat lost, muttering to himself that he had initially wanted to snatch the fish.
The boy shouted angrily, “If I were to snatch it, it would be based on my own abilities!”
Lin Yan: This person is quite fierce.
Time quickly passed, and all three of them handed their fish to the person in charge of verification, successfully passing the first round.
Half of the participants had dropped out, and it seemed like everyone was accustomed to such performances. Some shook their heads, commenting that it had been an unlucky week and they would have to come back next month.
The young boy, who had been rescued by Lin Yan, was unsurprisingly eliminated. Before leaving, he awkwardly exchanged contact information with Lin Yan, saying they might meet again if fate allowed.
Lin Zhaohe barked twice and jokingly suggested that perhaps the boy had taken a liking to Lin Yan.
Unfortunately, Lin Yan couldn’t understand what was being said and looked at Mr. Li with a puzzled expression as he burst into laughter.
The details of the second round were quickly announced. At first glance, it seemed quite simple: the contestants had thirty minutes to gather supplementary ingredients that paired well with the orange fish they had just caught. The first one to find a complete set could select the orange fish from their previous catch as the main ingredient for the third round of cooking.
This posed a problem because in their haste to catch the Juyou fish earlier, the contestants had resorted to the most brutal methods. Some of the fish had been caught with such force that they were already battered and dead.
Mr. Li’s expression darkened as he explained that the Juyou fish was delicate and best enjoyed as sashimi. However, if the fish was injured during the capture, its value would significantly decrease. The bruising caused by the fish’s injuries would greatly affect its texture, especially for this type of ocean fish. With such rough handling during capture, it was nearly impossible to savor its taste.
“The second round is about finding ingredients, but what about the third round?” Lin Yan asked.
“Of course, it’s about cooking the Juyou fish,” Mr. Li replied.
Lin Yan timidly raised his hand and said, “I don’t know how to cook it…”
Mr. Li’s face turned gloomy. “What do we do then?” He knew they couldn’t rely on Zhuang Lao for the third round, but he hadn’t expected Lin Yan to be unfamiliar with it either.
“Well, let’s give it a try,” Zhuang Lao suggested. “We’ve come this far, and if all else fails, we can think of another solution.”
It seemed that was the only option. Mr. Li quickly calculated in his mind how to create the most delicious Juyou fish and how to acquire the ingredients as quickly as possible. He only had one pass to the lower realm, allowing him to bring two companions. It looked like he would have to rely solely on himself.
While Mr. Li was pondering, the thirty-minute countdown had already begun.
From a distance, Lin Zhaohe spotted someone who didn’t carry anything and headed straight for the row of orange fish. After a simple selection, the person picked up a fish. Astonishingly, they had no intention of using any supplementary ingredients for the third round of cooking.
“Eh? This contestant just selected a fish. Could it be that they intend to make it without using anything else?” The host, surprised by this scene, exclaimed loudly into the microphone. His explanation was similar to Mr. Li’s: the Juyou fish was indeed the best ingredient for sashimi, but if its texture was ruined, it would be far from ideal. Sashimi made from such a fish would be overwhelmingly fishy and nearly impossible to swallow.
Seeing this, Mr. Li’s mind started forming a cooking plan, and he turned around to return to the sea.
Lin Zhaohe and Lin Yan, both human and dog, looked at each other in confusion. At most, they had only cooked instant noodles and had never dealt with the complexity of fish as an ingredient. Zhuang Lao, on the other hand, appeared indifferent. Those unaware might think he had everything under control, but those in the know would realize he was simply being reckless.
Lin Yan, feeling determined, questioned why they couldn’t make sashimi if others could. He even speculated that their knife skills might be better than those of others. After contemplating for a moment, Zhuang Lao found some truth in Lin Yan’s words. The two of them exchanged a glance and unexpectedly gained a mysterious sense of confidence. They approached the basket of fish and carefully selected two.
Meanwhile, Mr. Li returned with some materials gathered from the sea, including seashells and seaweed. Upon seeing Lin Yan and Zhuang Lao each holding a fish, he was bewildered and asked, “What are you two planning to do?”
“Sashimi,” Zhuang Lao replied.
“I don’t know any other cooking methods,” Lin Yan helplessly admitted. “The most complex dish I’ve made at home is egg fried rice.”
Zhuang Lao: “I’m slightly better than him.”
Lin Yan used his eyes to inquire where his superiority lied.
Zhuang Lao: “I make egg fried rice with added ham sausage.”
Mr. Li’s pupils shook, shocked by their lack of respect for food. He struggled to hold back his reaction and reminded himself that he couldn’t compete with Zhuang Lao. For the time being, he decided not to argue with him.
The thirty minutes passed quickly, and the contestants returned intermittently. The fastest was undoubtedly the contestant who chose the fish for sashimi right away. Following closely behind were Zhuang Lao and Lin Yan, and Mr. Li came in fourth. Considering the quality of the fish, the contestants opted for more conservative ingredients. As they progressed, the quality of the fish declined. The unlucky last contestant received a blackened Juyou fish that looked as if it had been blasted by something. It was so unappetizing that even holding it made one feel disgusted.
“It seems that the contestants have all chosen their desired ingredients. Now, the most thrilling moment is about to arrive!” the host exclaimed loudly. “For the final hour, please use the ingredients you have selected along with the orange fish to create a dish that will satisfy the judges!”
As his words fell, the contestant who was the first to select ingredients let out a grating laughter, brimming with arrogance. Pointing at everyone present, he declared, “I advise you all not to waste your time! Just withdraw from the competition!”
“Why?” Lin Yan, a bit perplexed, asked in confusion, “Is your knife skills exceptional?”
The person sneered, “Of course, I have other means.”
With a wave of his hand, the previously lifeless Juyou fish in front of him suddenly came alive, and the wounds on its body rapidly healed. In the blink of an eye, the once damaged body was restored to its pristine condition.
Witnessing this scene, everyone gasped in astonishment, especially Mr. Li, who lowered the knife he had raised and helplessly said, “Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad for Lin Zhaohe to adapt to his current form. I mean, being a dog without going to work wouldn’t be too bad.”
Lin Zhaohe: “……” It seemed to make some sense.
“Is that true?” Zhuang Lao said. “I heard that dogs are usually neutered around their seventh or eight month…” He looked at Lin Zhaohe, lost in thought.
Lin Zhaohe hastily indicated that there was still hope, wagging his tail and rubbing against Zhuang Lao’s leg, urging his owner to figure out a solution.
Zhuang Lao and Mr. Li remained silent, their gaze fixed on the arrogant contestant who resurrected the fish.
Meanwhile, the contestant laughed heartily while slicing the fish meat. The translucent flesh shimmered in the plate, radiating a dazzling glow. Just by looking at it, one could tell that it must taste exquisite.
Mr. Li silently wiped away the moisture at the corner of his mouth and asked, “What do you think?”
Zhuang Lao didn’t answer.
The contestant presented the fish to the judges, who picked it up and placed it in their mouths. They all wore expressions of ecstasy, exclaiming that the fresh Juyou fish was truly captivating. Only the bravest and most clever individuals deserved the privilege to venture to the next level in search of ingredients!
The reactions of the other contestants mirrored Zhuang Lao and Mr. Li’s. It was evident that they believed their chances were slim. They stood despondently in their places, setting down the utensils in their hands.
“Why did they organize this competition in the first place? And why do we all have to listen to them?” Zhuang Lao began to voice his dangerous thoughts, squinting at the three judges. “Are these three people really that formidable?”
“They’re alright,” muttered Mr. Li. “But controlling their power is a bit challenging.” If things went wrong, they might end up killing everyone, and that would cause another uproar.
“Isn’t this a bit unfair?” Lin Yan, embodying the typical lawful and kind-hearted individual, said. “What if the fish we prepare turns out to be good?”
“I think it’s for our own good. The lower realm is too dangerous,” Mr. Li said. “These little fishies get wiped out as soon as they enter. It’s a waste of their passage tickets…”
Zhuang Lao: “But we’re not little fishies, aren’t we?”
Mr. Li: “No, we’re not.”
Zhuang Lao: “We’re not from this place either.”
Mr. Li: “?”
Zhuang Lao: “That’s why we shouldn’t abide by their rules.”
Lin Yan: “But we’re good people.”
“Only you are a good person,” Zhuang Lao and Mr. Li corrected simultaneously.
Lin Zhaohe: Only Lin Yan is a good person!
Zhuang Lao: What about you?
Lin Zhaohe wagged his tail: I am a bad doggie.
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