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Zuoyan Xiaoyu placed the fruit in front of Yi Yun. The first dish prepared by Elder Lanqin was made from Green Spirit Fruit. It had a naturally refreshing fragrance, and the rice that was stuffed into the fruit was jade pearl rice. Golden-threaded dates adorned it, allowing every grain of rice to suffuse a light green color. The crystalline grains, when piled together, looked like jade fragments.
Just taking in the fragrance was intoxicating, and was enough to wipe away any physical exhaustion.
"Great food, it really is appetizing!"
Yi Yun had never eaten such food before. He had participated in several banquets held by important figures, allowing him to sample all sorts of precious delicacies, but none of them could match the Green Spirit Fruit rice in front of him.
Indeed, the Sinkhole was unique. As a large sect of the Calm Sea, the Myriad God Ridge's deep heritage was not to be doubted.
Most of the time, strength was displayed in ways other than wars or territorial disputes. Just the quality of basic necessities of life was enough to tell the difference.
Apart from the food, the Myriad God Ridge had lodging like the Sunken Moon Tower. Even the simple outfits worn by personal disciples were superior-grade enchanted clothes. Nothing could be faulted.
At that moment, Zhou Bingfeng said with a smile, "Brother Yi, just being able to eat a bit of Elder Lanqin's food is a great blessing. There's never enough for me. Besides, the food in these nine tripods and eight cauldrons form a natural set. They respectively nourish seventeen laws. This first rice dish is called Green Spirit Jade Fragment. It gathers rich wood-elemental Yuan Qi, and the Green Spirit Fruit's essence has long been absorbed by the rice. Enjoy your meal."
As Zhou Bingfeng spoke, he began wolfing down his food.
Zhou Bingfeng was clearly someone with much life experience, but his table manners were in no way elegant. He chomped down on the Green Spirit Jade Fragment, filling his mouth with rice fragrance.
Yi Yun ate two sets himself and enjoyed it all the more. Not only was the jade pearl rice gratifying, its texture was excellent. It was soft and did not lose its bounce.
In a few mouthfuls, he had finished a quarter of the rice within the fruit. However, Yi Yun noticed that Zuoyan Xiaoyu was sitting beside him with her head lowered. She looked very obedient.
With a thought, he pushed the other serving of Green Spirit Jade Fragment in front of Zuoyan Xiaoyu and said, "There's another serving. Take it."
Zuoyan Xiaoyu hurriedly shook her head. "I couldn’t! This is food prepared especially for personal disciples. How can a maidservant like me eat it?"
Just being allowed to sit meant that a maidservant was given extremely high preferential treatment, much less eating the food in the mess hall.
"It's fine. There are two servings anyway."
As Yi Yun spoke, he pointed to the middle of the hall. Song Bowen had suffered such grievous injuries that he was still unconscious.
The stewards that presided over the meal began doing their jobs. They sought out people to send Song Bowen for healing and, as such, he naturally would miss his meal.
Thus, Yi Yun made it a point to not stand on ceremony by taking Song Bowen's meal for his own.
There was no reason to refuse such delicious food that was also greatly beneficial to one's cultivation.
"But, Young Master, I really can't eat it." Zuoyan Xiaoyu was adamant. She felt her lowly status did not afford her the pleasure of the expensive food.
"Then, get a small bowl and have some. If you just keep watching me eat, I'll feel uneasy."
Yi Yun was not accustomed to having people serving him while eating. He found it awkward if a maidservant was watching him while he had his meals.
After failing to decline the offer, Zuoyan Xiaoyu got a tiny bowl and used a ladle to scoop a portion of rice into her bowl, and absolutely refused anything else.
As she looked at the tiny bit of rice in her tiny bowl, Zuoyan Xiaoyu felt conflicted. She was acutely aware how inferior the status of outer-sect disciples was in the Myriad God Ridge. She felt blissful enough to be a maidservant of a personal disciple, but was even more happy to be able to serve Yi Yun.
Under the light, the crystalline pearl rice twinkled like perfect pieces of art. She could not bring herself to eat it and could even sense that the maidservants close by, especially the girl that had tripped her, were casting envious stares at her.
Zuoyan Xiaoyu opened her tiny mouth and carefully ate a mouthful of rice. The fragrance filled her mouth as she slowly chewed and held the food in her mouth, before swallowing it unwillingly.
But even so, the rice had already transformed into pure Yuan Qi that infused into her body while in her mouth. It nourished her dantian.
Zuoyan Xiaoyu clearly felt her cultivation level, that had recently been on a plateau, beginning to subtly increase.
The effects of such spirit food were more intense for cultivators at lower cultivation levels. If warriors with low cultivation levels consumed very enriching pills, their bodies might not be able to withstand the energy of the pills. The warrior could very well end up exploding to their deaths. However, food would not result in such a situation.
"Go get the second dish. Take two servings." Yi Yun said after wiping his mouth. He had eaten nearly two servings of Green Spirit Jade Fragment and felt his appetite being whet!
Zuoyan Xiaoyu nodded and walked to a bronze cauldron and took the second dish.
She felt a little apprehensive as she approached the steward in charge of dispensing the food, afraid of asking for two servings, but she never expected the steward to just hand over two servings without her request. There was tacit consent over the situation.
This imbued Zuoyan Xiaoyu with the realization that the Myriad God Ridge was a sect that valued strength. Here, strength was the absolute greatest rule.
"For one person to eat two servings, and even let his personal maidservant have some? What arrogance! Senior Brother Ji, are you going to watch idly?"
Among the personal disciples, someone said this to Ji Changsheng.
They were all personal disciples, but the differences in status and strength were immense as well. Ji Changsheng had been a personal disciple for more than three centuries. Song Bowen was naturally incomparable to him. This was why he could run the entrance test and help Mo Shanqing preside over the Ascending Dragon Cauldron.
"So what if I do? Junior Brother Song was at fault in today's conflict. Without recognizing his strength, he wantonly provoked Yi Yun and ended up being taught a lesson. Who else is to blame but himself? However, this Yi Yun was ruthless in his retaliation. His personality is downright repugnant! Although the Myriad God Ridge values strength, there are numerous people stronger than Yi Yun. When he does encounter someone stronger, the one suffering will be him," Ji Changsheng said indifferently as he continued eating.
Although Yi Yun could not hear Ji Changsheng's conversation, his gaze had inadvertently swept past Ji Changsheng.
Yi Yun felt that Ji Changsheng gave others a deep and unfathomable impression.
"Xiaoyu, have more."
When Yi Yun saw that Zuoyan Xiaoyu would only eat a tiny mouthful of each dish before refusing to eat further, he gave her a huge scoop that filled most of her bowl.
"Young Master… I…"
Zuoyan Xiaoyu was overwhelmed by the favor but with the food in her bowl, she could not decline it.
"Eat it. It's Song Bowen's anyway. It will be a waste if you do not eat it. Besides, I can sense that the cultivation benefits you will receive from eating this food will be much better than mine. It seems like you are about to make a breakthrough."
Yi Yun enjoyed the meal, for it had been years since he had such a feast.
Previously, when he was in the Myriad Divine Territory, Yi Yun had entered seclusion for twenty-five years and practically did not eat or drink. When he went to the Mirage Sea Realm, he stayed there for a few years and led an idyllic life with Huan Chenxue. She was a woman that lived like a saint. She would often eat spirit flowers and drink morning dew. Although the diet was elegant, it was definitely not delicious from Yi Yun's point of view. How could it compare with the delicacies prepared meticulously by a Herbal Board Master?
Yi Yun felt that he could stay in Myriad God Ridge just for the monthly feast alone.
That night, after having his fill, Yi Yun began secluded meditation. After eating the seventeen dishes, Yi Yun felt that the Yuan Qi in his body was gathering together. Although it was not intense, it seemed never-ending and he felt like he was almost about to break through.
In fact, Yi Yun had cultivated in the Mirage Sea Realm for a few years and his cultivation level was extremely close to the fifth-floor Dao Palace. Now he was on the brink of a breakthrough, but it was not solely because of the meal. Even if he had not eaten it, he would have naturally broken through a few months later. What the meal did was save him some time.
And, of course, Sunken Moon Tower was very suitable for seclusion. As such, Yi Yun entered seclusion for three days.
During this time, Zuoyan Xiaoyu stood guard in Sunken Moon Tower's yard.
As she guarded Yi Yun, she cultivated as well. There were large amounts of Yuan Qi gathered by the arrays there, and with the Sunken Moon Wood nourishing her soul, it became a lot easier for Zuoyan Xiaoyu to cultivate.
She took two days to absorb most of the Yuan Qi given by the seventeen dishes. As she had a low cultivation level, her breakthrough came earlier than Yi Yun's. Her cultivation level had reached the perfected Yuan Opening realm.
This cultivation level was not bad for her age. However, there was still the Heaven Ascension realm and Dao Manifestation realm separating her from Yi Yun's Dao Palace realm.
Even so, Zuoyan Xiaoyu was very delighted.
She speculated that if she had not entered the Myriad God Ridge, it would have taken another three years for her Dao Seed to grow into a Dao Tree, allowing her to officially enter the Heaven Ascension realm.
The time she would take to enter the Heaven Ascension realm had been shortened to a few months.
She was eager for Yi Yun to come out of seclusion so that she could flaunt her cultivation results. Although Zuoyan Xiaoyu knew that her accomplishments meant nothing, she felt that simply gaining an approving nod from Yi Yun would leave her drowning in happiness.
Just as Zuoyan Xiaoyu was anticipating that moment, there was a knock on the door.
Zuoyan Xiaoyu opened the door and saw four people standing on the other side. They were dressed in Myriad God Ridge steward garb and they were expressionless. They executed their job without any personal considerations.
"Are you outer-sect disciple Zuoyan Xiaoyu?" The man leading the group asked Zuoyan Xiaoyu coldly. His voice did not exude any emotions.
"That…is me…" Zuoyan Xiaoyu was taken aback. From the person's attire, he was likely in charge of the Myriad God Ridge's miscellaneous chores department.
"Alright. Your job has been changed. From now on, you do not need to continue being a maidservant for Sunken Moon Tower. Follow me, we will arrange a new job for you."
"Ah?" Zuoyan Xiaoyu's breathing stagnated. She once believed that entering Myriad God Ridge and becoming Yi Yun's maidservant was the luckiest and happiest thing to ever happen to her. But was this bliss only meant to last less than three days before turning into evanescent bubbles?