Translated by: Taffy
Quiz 28: 3mm Pot Roast
A plate of steaming pot roast was placed in front of Carron.
Meng Ming confidently smiled, “Go ahead and taste it!” He arrogantly thought to himself: It’s not easy to assign something that would challenge me.
“Oh, done? Not bad, you completed on time…” Carron eyed the dish, and closely examined the colors of it, “Very beautiful, and it looks completely cooked too. It has a nice aroma as well.”
Meng Ming thought back to his method of using the large fire just now—he’d abandoned the pot and the water! He had roasted each item over the fire with chopsticks. That way, the slices of beef and the potato chunks were immediately cooked. He then tossed the cooked beef and potatoes into the pot over the small fire, and added the water and seasoning afterwards. In other words, Meng Ming had used his super swift hand movements to roast each piece of beef and potato individually within 20 minutes, then mixed it together and added seasoning at the end!
As long as Carron thought it was tasty, Meng Ming’s level wouldn’t be questioned!
Huang Qiao Yi smiled and also urged Carron to eat. Thus, Carron picked up his chopsticks and gently grabbed a piece of potato. “Oh, this level of hardness isn’t bad either.” He placed the potato into his mouth.
Outside of both their expectations, Carron didn’t have any evident reaction after his first taste. A few seconds later, he suddenly made a very strange expression, which shocked both Meng Ming and Huang Qiao Yi. —But he still didn’t say whether it was delicious or not!
Exactly how is it…?? Meng Ming was anticipating Carron’s assessment very much; even a single word was fine!
But Carron still hadn’t spoken. He maintained that same expression, and picked up a chunk of beef to place into his mouth. After that, he picked up another piece of potato…
Meng Ming was growing more and more anxious. Why did that old baldie give such a strange reaction just now! Exactly what is his assessment?!
Carron’s expression remained unchanged as he slowly ate, picking up another piece, eating it, repeating the process many times. Like this, a large portion of the food on the plate was silently finished by him.
Finally, he put down his chopsticks and straightened his chest, as if he had found an answer.
Meng Ming and Huang Qiao Yi were both waiting for his response.
“Oh.” Carron sighed comfortably and said carefreely—
“You came just to eat?!!!” Meng Ming was so furious he almost chucked the pot and ladle at Carron.
“Ok.” Carron finished eating and stood up, “I’ve also…pretty much understood your level.”
Understood?! Meng Ming was shocked once more. Just from tasting some pot roast, Carron could…understand a person’s strength?
Carron asked Huang Qiao Yi to bring a few pieces of paper and some pencils over. He stood up and walked backwards a few meters, then tossed a pencil at Meng Ming. With a piece of paper raised in his hand, he said to Meng Ming, “Come, use that pencil to burn this piece of paper.”
Meng Ming was several meters away from Carron. He thought to himself: Piece of cake, and used Zhuge Style Cheating Technique—Igniting Flames, to light the pencil up! Then I’ll use New Zhuge Style Cheating Technique—Flaming Arrow! The blazing pencil shot out from Meng Ming and hit the center of the paper. The flames quickly burned the paper until it completely disappeared.
“Oh, not bad. But what about this?” Carron picked up another set of pencil and paper, and drew a horizontal line through the middle of the paper. He then tossed the pencil at Meng Ming. “Do it again. This time, you can only burn it up to here. Burn off the bottom half of the paper, but leave the top half intact. You cannot pass the line.”
Huh?! Like that… This was the first time Meng Ming had heard of such a burning method. He thought about it for a bit: That means…I need to control the power of the flames? Meng Ming first lit up the pencil in his hand. But then he looked at the horizontal line, inspecting it for a long time before resolutely throwing it.
It was extremely imperfect. Although the flames accurately burned the paper’s bottom half and began to rise upwards, the growing flames slowly continued burning, and reached further and further past the horizontal line. The entire paper was basically burned up.
“See that, just like this.” Carron said seriously as he shook off the ashes. When Meng Ming saw Carron’s expression, he felt like Carron had completely seen through his strength, which made Meng Ming feel uncomfortable. Carron said, “From the dish you just cooked, I could tell—that your control over fire only reaches the first level, and that you cannot control it up to the second level.”
First level, second level? Meng Ming didn’t understand, “What do you mean?”
Carron explained the crucial point, “In other words, your manipulation of fire is very, very good, and you can burn anything in your hands however you want. But you’ve only reached the first level. Once the flames leave your hands, you lose your control.”
It was hard to believe that Carron had figured this out from tasting the pot roast the Meng Ming had cooked earlier!
He then continued, “I said before that judging a C-type’s basic skills requires looking at how they sharpen a pencil. Your foundation was using flames. Thus, your first level of skills have already been mastered. But if you use flames as your basic abilities, you need to rely on them to give rise to more changes. If you want to duel in the examination, you need to at least train to the second level—you must still be able to accurately control the flames after they leave your hands.”
What the old baldie is saying is very correct…Meng Ming immediately understood where he was lacking! —If he couldn’t control the fire properly, it would not only be bad to use, but fires too large would draw the proctors’ attentions. He had to train in the concept of “appropriate amount”! Meng Ming suddenly felt the urge to ask, “Then how do I practice”, but the question didn’t leave his lips.
Carron told him, “Your last name is Zhuge, so you must understand this principle as well: Intelligence, adaptability, and control over the whole situation are what give you dominance in a competition. On the other hand, skills and abilities will not necessarily give you the lead. It is indeed true that people with low technical skill still have a chance of winning. But these kinds of skills are necessary tools. That’s why you should continue practicing. Make some more pot roast, and properly learn how to control the fire! This time, the amount of potatoes and beef will be decreased by 100g, and each piece will be reduced to 8mm in diameter.”
Decreasing the volume of ingredients? Would this kind of training really teach Meng Ming how to master the second level?
Meng Ming once again went to prepare pot roast. This time, he cut the pieces smaller, and then placed them individually over the fire to roast them again. Because they were only 8mm thick, the ingredients quickly cooked.
They’re done so quickly? It’s a bit difficult to grasp the timing…! As Meng Ming used the chopsticks to hold them over the fire, he discovered that cooking the beef and potato pieces so that they were evenly well done was indeed not easy! Especially doing all the 8mm thin pieces in succession.
He quickly finished another dish, but Meng Ming didn’t bring it out. After only a single time, he felt that he wasn’t yet used to it. He shouted to Huang Qiao Yi, “Potatoes and beef! Do you still have any?!”
Meng Ming gradually became more and more deeply immersed into the training, and began to get a better feeling of it. He practiced it over and over without stopping! Soon, the kitchen was filled with dozens of pot roast platters. The fragrant aroma diffused through the air, inciting hunger in anyone that smelled it.
Time continued to pass. Meng Ming began to feel somewhat tired, but his mind was abnormally excited still. He had finally perfected the roasting of the 8mm small pieces of beef and potatoes under his control!
Carron only took a single taste, before he immediately said, “Not bad, there’s improvement. Now go practice with 5mm pieces.”
Because of the training just now, Meng Ming quickly mastered the 5mm chunks.
“Alright, now try this.” Carron picked up a pencil and paper, and drew a horizontal line on the paper before throwing the pencil back at Meng Ming.
Meng Ming caught the pencil, and closed his eyes to gather his concentration, searching for the feeling he had when he was cooking. Then, he suddenly snapped his eyes open, quickly ignited the pencil, and abruptly threw out a Flaming Arrow. The fire’s strength was controlled extremely well! The pencil brushed past the edge of the paper, and the fire quickly spread, burning the surface to just barely past the boundary!
“What do you think, you can feel how much you improved, right! Next, practice roasting 3mm thin ingredients.” Carron said, “You need to train the accuracy of your fire so that it lands right on my line, no more or less. —This training is different from your previous ones; 3mm pieces of beef and potatoes will immediately finish cooking, so it’s nearly impossible for the human hand to control it. No chef can perfectly achieve this. This is the ultimate challenge!”
“Of course that isn’t a problem.” Meng Ming re-entered the kitchen, and sliced the materials until they were only 3mm thin. He then began the training,
As expected, just as Carron had said, the 3mm thin pieces were very hard. The fire was large, and the ingredients were small. In less than a second, the potatoes had already become extremely spongy!
Alright, I not only have to increase the speed of my movements, I also need to control the fire’s temperature!
Meng Ming grew more and more spirited, and earnestly faced this ultimate challenge.
“Hehe, try it.” Meng Ming laughed.
It was the second morning, around 1am. Carron had gone home to sleep ages ago, so Meng Ming told Huang Qiao Yi to lift up a piece of paper with multiple horizontal lines drawn across it. He picked up a line of pencils in his hand, and stood around 10 meters away from her.
Meng Ming suddenly lit up one of the pencils, and fiercely threw it at his target. As it brushed past the paper, it lit up the bottom half. The fire’s strength was just enough, and stopped perfectly just as the flames reached the bottom-most horizontal line! Meng Ming made Huang Qiao Yi hold the middle part of the paper and said, “I’ll do the top and bottom at the same time!” He ignited two more pencils, and tossed them simultaneously from his hands. The two pencils touched the top and bottom sections, and the fire spread to both of the lines before stopping perfectly at the correct positions.
“Alright! The Flaming Arrow is nearly perfect!” Meng Ming grew more and more confident, “Little Qiao, draw a shape!”
“Is any shape ok?” Huang Qiao Yi took a new piece of paper and sketched a large spade, then held it up in the air.
The paper fluttered randomly in the air. Meng Ming watched for the perfect moment, lit up four pencils, and shot all of them out at the same time! The pencils all hit the paper so strongly that they sent the paper flying and nailed it to the wall. The four Flaming Arrows then burned the paper from all four corners. Gradually, the flames burned the paper accurately into a white spade!