Suddenly, the two yelled out loud at the same time.
The two shouted out loud the number of dishes they served up. Wu Yan gave Asuna a smug look while Asuna pouted in frustration.
Asuna snorted and she protested.
“The number of dishes isn’t a deciding factor in this duel, the taste of the food should decide the winner!”
“Well, I wouldn’t put it like that…”
Wu Yan didn’t want her to let Asuna play down his achievement like that.
“The number of food matters because if you can’t even satisfy basic hunger, the food’s tastiness will find its luster marred. Don’t forget, food is to fill your stomach.”
“You just cooked three more dishes than me, what’s the big deal?”
“It proves I just won!”
“Nope! There’s still the taste element!”
“Fine, I win one round then!”
“You… Okay, but I am going to be the ultimate victor!”
“Hah! I won one round, I sure as heck can win one more!
“I am going to put a stop to your haughty attitude!”
“Oh, really? I am going to make you surrender!”
After briefly exchanging more verbal attacks, the two stopped leering at each other. Instead, one could vaguely make out flames in the background as the two were on the verge of exploding.
“Well then, here’s mine!”
Asuna presented her nine dishes and she laid them in front of Wu Yan. She glared at him.
“By the way, you better make sure you’re impartial, buster. If I think you’re biased then I am going to get angry…”
Wu Yan rolled his eyes at her.
“Do I look that petty to you?”
“I guess it’s anyone guess…”
Asuna passed him a set of utensils. Wu Yan sat on the chair and he silently praised the aesthetic and smells coming from the food on top of the table. Her food looked very appetizing indeed.
He stabbed his knife into a piece of meat dripping with alluring juices. Wu Yan took a look at it and then he sampled it by putting it in his mouth. He closed his eyes to better assess the food’s taste.
Asuna looked a bit nervous. She’s surprised with herself, what in the world is she anxious about?
Wait, do I actually care very much what he thinks?
No, that’s not right. I am just anxious about the result. Yeah, that’s right…
Wu Yan gulped and he looked at the food with a look of surprise.
“H-how is it?”
Asuna stuttered as she held her breath.
“It’s way tastier than I had anticipated.”
Asuna beamed widely. She released a sigh of relief and she stopped herself when she sensed that she’s reacting too much.
Wu Yan gave her dishes another try and he continued praising her.
“Yes, this tastes good as well. What paste did you use? This is divine!”
Asuna teased him.
“I made the paste myself, you won’t find it anywhere else. Oh, you’re the first one to taste this besides me. Feeling proud yet?”
Wu Yan ignored her and he tasted her other dishes.
“Well, I can admit that you are adept at cooking, but, I think the material’s quality affected the outcome…”
“Rare materials have a base parameter, my concentrated effort enhanced that.”
Asuna didn’t deny his claim. Rare food materials are very expensive, she could only get her hands on them once in a blue moon. Forget making all nine dishes with rare materials, that’s just a pipe dream.
She sat in front of Wu Yan while he sampled her food. Her expression mellowed out. She supported her chin with both her hands and she floated a smile. Her heart slowly melted as she watched Wu Yan eating her food.
After a while, Wu Yan finished all 9 dishes. Asuna didn’t hide her radiant smile, she looked like a bright bulb right now.
“How is it? My cooking, I mean…”
Asuna raised an eyebrow. She wagged her finger at him.
“No personal feelings, remember?”
Wu Yan thought about his response and he replied swiftly.
Asuna puffed her cheeks.
“Why is it only 90 marks?”
“Well, after accounting for your chef sub-skills, that’s just how it is. When you’re competing on a higher level, the bar has to be set higher, right?”
Wu Yan leaned back on his chair and he nonchalantly gave her another comment.
“Getting 90 marks is already pretty good in my books…”
Asuna turned her head the other way and she mumbled.
“That’s reasonable enough…”
“We are competing on the same level, that makes you a chef too, you know?”
Wu Yan shook his head while chuckling.
“Anyway, it’s my turn now…”
Wu Yan cleared the empty dishes and he presented his dishes.
“I feel like I am giving you a handicap. Some of these are already cooled, the taste will surely be adversely affected…”
“It’s still steaming, isn’t it?”
“It isn’t completely room-temperature yet so I don’t think the taste will be too severely impacted…”
“I am fine with this. Cool or steaming hot, I am sure I can beat you either way!”
Asuna stopped when Wu Yan showcased more and more of his dishes. Her attention is now fully on the dishes in front of her.
The arrangement, it’s like he made pieces of arts rather than simple dishes, at least, that’s how she felt when she compared her dishes against his. Like magnificent paintings, his dishes looked as appetizing as they looked like avant-garde art.
The wafting smell tickled her nose. Just looking at it made her hungry, if the food entered her mouth…
Wu Yan grinned when he saw her fixed gaze.
“What’s the matter? Are you going to surrender?…”
Asuna gasped and she blushed furiously.
“No way! It’s just prettier, most importantly…”
“The taste, I know…”
Wu Yan chuckled again.
“Please, by all means, give it a taste, vice-captain-sama…”
“I don’t need you to tell me that!”
Asuna huffed and she picked up a piece of meat, she shoved it in her mouth and her eyes immediately widened with pure astonishment.
With victory firmly within his grasp, he teased her.
“What’s the matter? You wanna admit it yet?…”
“N-no you can’t make me…”
Asuna struggled against her own inner thoughts.
Wu Yan reminded her.
“No personal sentiments should affect your judgment…”
That was the coup de grâce. She glared at Wu Yan with tears at the corners of her eyes. She took another bite of the meat on her fork and she spat out one line with the most bitter tone she ever used in her life.
And, we have a victor!