1404 A Gathering Over A Meal
Fatty had opened his restaurant near Dynasty's headquarters in Emperor City. Due to his relationship with Lin Huang, its location was fairly superior. It was practically the best location in Emperor City and Dynasty had never collected a single penny for rental.
People from Dynasty often patronized Fatty's restaurant because of his culinary skills. Fatty also did not collect life crystals as payment for meals; he let Dynasty provide a batch of ingredients every week.
He might have opened this restaurant, but he had not given up on his dream of being a food hunter. Instead, he now realized this dream in a different way.
Fatty no longer hunted for ingredients on his own but obtained them through the people of Dynasty. He was only responsible for preparing the ingredients and turning them into culinary dishes.
Contrary to expectations, this manner of cooperation with the people of Dynasty had improved his cooking skills extremely quickly and his earnings were quite considerable.
His restaurant was often visited by cultivators and his menu basically consisted of specialty ingredients that only food hunters could prepare properly.
The profit in life crystals after one of these meals was equivalent to a few months' income for other restaurants.
There were even many ordinary people who had heard that the owner of this restaurant was a food hunter. They would patronize the place out of admiration, wishing to try the fabled culinary skills of the food hunters of legend.
This had also led to long queues in the restaurant every day before nine o'clock in the morning. It should be noted that Fatty did not serve breakfast at his restaurant.
However, on this day, Fatty arrived at his shop around eight o'clock in the morning.
Seeing that there was already a line at the door, he smiled and brought out a sign that read 'Temporarily Closed'.
"My apologies dear patrons, we are closed today. I have booked the space to entertain some friends." Before the people waiting in line could complain, he continued, "If you are in line now, you are eligible for a 50% discount coupon from the waiter over there. With this coupon, you can enjoy the one-time privilege of a priority seating at any time within this year."
The people who originally had complaints immediately simmered down and quickly went to the waiter to obtain their coupons.
Not only were they getting a 50% discount, but they also had priority seating privileges—which meant that the next time they came to the restaurant, they would not need to line up as they were doing now.
After seeing to the customers in the queue, Fatty brought out the decorations that he bought last night and assigned a few waiters to decorate the shop.
By the time they were done setting up, it was almost nine o'clock.
Yi Zheng and the others arrived one after the other.
When Lin Huang arrived, everyone was already there except for Leng Yuexin and Chan Dou.
"Where are Xiao Mo and Lin Xin?" Seeing that Lin Huang had come alone, Yi Yeyu asked in some curiosity.
"Xiao Mo is on a mission, Xin Er is in closed-door cultivation."
Lin Huang glanced at Yi Zheng and his sister. He noted that the two had not changed much; they were still the same, but their combat levels had advanced significantly.
"It seems that both you siblings haven't slacked off this year; the two of you have advanced to imperial-level."
"This year, our cultivation speed has improved a lot. Also, with so many people to compete against in the Heaven Alliance, we dare not relax." Yi Zheng shook his head and smiled. After using the Flawless Card, his inherent genius talent and potential had immediately elevated to the level of a super genius. Naturally, he had worked even harder at cultivation after that.
As for Yi Yeyu, she was bidding fair to outstrip her older brother in terms of talent and potential, to the point that her abilities were comparable to the level of the Five Princes, including Chan Dou. Not long after Lin Huang left the gravel world, she had also joined the Heaven Alliance under Yi Zheng's recommendation. After that, she had become the Heaven Alliance's main protégé. In the Genius Union, she was even named one of the Three Goddesses by a large number of male cultivators there. Some time ago, when she broke through to imperial-level and left the Genius Union, many fans even held a farewell party for her at the Stairway Tree.
Of course, Lin Huang did not know about these matters.
Since advancing to imperial-level, he had hardly paid any attention to the affairs of the Genius Union, let alone after he had left the gravel world for a year.
"Indeed, competition makes people more motivated. I initially used Brother Chan as my ideal and worked hard toward that."
Before Lin Huang came along, the Five Princes were the five insurmountable obstacles for everyone in the Genius Union. At that time, Lin Huang also worked hard toward his goal of becoming like Chan Dou, who was one of the Five Princes.
However, Lin Huang had ended the rule of the Five Princes later on through his own prowess and became the unprecedented Genius Emperor of the entire Genius Union. (He had always used the name "Lin Xie" within the Union.)
After chatting for a bit with Yi Zheng and his sister, Lin Huang quickly turned his attention to Li Lang.
Unlike Yi Zheng and his sister, the changes in Li Lang were considerable. In the previous video call, Lin Huang had noticed that the lad had a buzz cut, but now that he was face-to-face with Li Lang, he realized that his friend's aura was a lot steadier.
"Are you losing your hair or something?" Lin Huang teased him, laughing.
"You're the one who's losing hair! What's wrong with your eyes? It's obviously just shaved short," Li Lang retorted in annoyance.
"I think you didn't get a buzz cut; you want to become a monk."
As soon as Lin Huang said this, Yi Yeyu and Yi Zheng hurriedly sent him some pointed looks.
Lin Huang knew right away that he had said the wrong thing, but did not quite understand what had happened.
At this time, Senior Brother Liu Ming took the initiative to defuse the situation.
"All right, stop teasing him about his hair. Why not pick a less sensitive subject, hmm?"
"It's okay, it's nothing that can't be disclosed. It's over anyway." Li Lang waved his hand and smiled. "It's just a breakup, that's all."
"Huh?" Only then did Lin Huang understand why Li Lang had not yet broken through to imperial-level. The lad had spent his time conducting a love affair.
"I don't know who has been posting this message in the group every day for several months—'There will always be sudden encounters and unexpected joys in this world. Of course, there will also be unexpected goodbyes and unrelenting exits'. What an inexplicable saying," Yi Yeyu grumbled on the side.
Beside her, Yi Zheng hurriedly gave his sister a swat and shook his head at her.
"Why not put your efforts into cultivation? The great world is full of beautiful women. The sooner you advance to virtual god-level, the sooner you'll get to go to the great world—isn't that a good thing?" Lin Huang smiled and patted Li Lang on the shoulder.
Lin Huang did not ask for any further details about Li Lang's situation, but turned to look at his Senior Brother Liu Ming.
Liu Ming's current combat strength had reached the peak of imperial-level purple gold-rank, and he was only one step away from virtual god-level.
"Senior Brother's combat strength has improved considerably this year."
"All thanks to you. After that day, my cultivation talent and potential improved substantially. Initially, I thought that as I got older, the cultivation path would become more and more difficult to follow, but I didn't expect that my speed of cultivation this year would be even much faster than when I was young." The elevation of Liu Ming's talent was naturally the effect of Lin Huang's Flawless Card. He already had a solid foundation; after the advancement of his potential, not only had his combat strength soared, but his ability had as well.
"How's the preparation going for your advancement to virtual god-level? Have you targeted a monster?"
"I've found one; my preparations are almost complete too. I plan to make a move next week!" Liu Ming had planned it all out from early on.
"Do you need any help? I'll ask Tianfu to find some people for you."
"I'd already contacted Huang Tianfu before you came back. The members of the team are all ready to go."
"That's good." Initially, Lin Huang was worried that Liu Ming would be resistant to hunting in a team, but now it seemed that he had over-thought things.
As the few of them chatted, Leng Yuexin and Chan Dou arrived at the scene almost simultaneously at nine o'clock sharp.
Lin Huang noticed that Leng Yuexin's combat strength had also elevated to imperial-level. It was already at imperial-level crimson gold-rank even, which was a little higher than Yi Zheng and his sister.
As for Chan Dou, he had already advanced to virtual god-level. Although he was only at rank-1, his aura was very stable. Moreover, Lin Huang was also very aware that this fellow's true abilities were definitely far beyond Virtual God rank-1.
Once everyone had arrived, Fatty began serving up the food.
Everyone chatted while eating and drinking, and the topic soon came around to Lin Huang.
"Lin Huang, what rank is your current combat strength at?" It was Chan Dou who asked this question.
Chan Dou was also at virtual god-level but he could not sense how strong Lin Huang's aura was at all. However, he was very sure that Lin Huang must have advanced to virtual god-level.
When the other people at the table heard this, they all quietened down, obviously very curious about Lin Huang's current combat level.
"Currently it's at rank-3."
There was no need for Lin Huang to conceal his combat strength in front of this group of friends. Given that there was too big a gap between his actual ability and his combat level, even if any outsiders knew about his actual combat level, it would not affect him much.
"Rank-3..." Chan Dou frowned when he heard Lin Huang's answer. "How much do you know about the invaders who want to attack the gravel world?"
"I don't know much. The area corresponding to the space rift is a battlefield between the territory of the Protoss and the Abyssal Tribes. That battlefield is completely accessible; anyone can enter it." Lin Huang had also asked Bloody the same question, but she had not managed to discover who these intruders might be in the course of her investigations. "Anyway, we can't openly investigate this matter. The more people who know about it, the more likely that the coordinates of the gravel world will be revealed—which means it's more likely to come to the attention of the Heavenly Gods or even the Lords."
"We don't know who the enemy is. We also don't know anything about their combat levels or even how many of them there are. A battle like this is really hard to fight." Chan Dou looked helpless.
"The only thing we can do right now is to improve our own abilities as much as possible!" Lin Huang put forward the only viable countermeasure.
"Alright, today is a gathering of friends—we won't bring up such heavy topics any more. Let's talk about other things..." Liu Ming hurriedly smoothed the matter over.
As the topic shifted direction to something much more light-hearted, everyone at the dining table soon fell back into a lively, joyous state of mind, and the gathering of friends finally resumed the original intention of their meetup.