The Urban Successor of God of Gluttony
Author: 小小羽 (Xiao Xiao Yu)
Food critic, Gu Zheng, was chosen by the God of Gluttony to become his urban successor. Having to undergo various trials posed by the Equipment Spirit under the command of the God of Gluttony, he hones his skills to become history’s greatest God of Food.
(Gu Zheng，“There’s a rating for ingredients in the heavenly realm too? And… The best ingredients on Earth is only of average standard? Moreover, you want me to use these existing ingredients to make top-notch delicacies? Come out Equipment Spirit, I promise not to hit you!”)
Chapter 1: Succession of the God of Gluttony
“As the season changes overnight, thousand of trees and flowers start to blossom, indicating the beginnings of Summer.¹”
Clusters of youngsters stroll among the field of trees of blossoming Callery Pear Blossoms, enjoying the sweet fragrance permeating the air. Occasionally, girls can be seen picking up fallen Pear Blossoms, reveling in their fragrance.
In the Northwest direction of Shen City, there lies a newly opened pear farm that stretched a thousand acres. Despite the pricey admission of RMB 50, it still managed to attract countless, regardless of male or female, who looked forward to enjoy the scenic view and relaxing atmosphere from the outset of Summer.
The hectic pace of urban lifestyle had rendered such opportunities to unwind scarce. Therefore, it is unsurprising that the hearsay of such a place managed to attract a large crowd, in spite of its inconvenient location that is away and far from the city center.
Among the groups of youngsters, a man in his twenties with long hair stared at the pear blossoms and lamented, “So beautiful! It would be such a blessing if I could live here forever!”
“That’s easy, just bring along your drawing canvas and stay here!”, one of his companions quipped.
Unsurprisingly, this sparked a rebuff from the long-haired youngster, “Gu Zheng, it is easy for you to say, afterall, if we have a good father and possess a good job like yours, we wouldn’t have to toil away and still be unable to afford housing!”
The long-haired youngster’s passion lies in drawing, and also majored in the arts. However, his job as an interior design required him to work overtime even during the holidays, depriving him of the luxury to travel and draw freely.
“Exactly. Gu Zheng, among the few of us, you’re the only one who possesses the time on your hands to travel freely!”, the group backed up the long-haired young man. Nonetheless, the man who spoke previously smiled and shook his head, “It is sufficient to visit a good place once. Excessive visits will greatly diminish its novelty value.”
Gu Zheng, aged twenty-three, works as a food critic. Simply put, he tastes delicacies from all over then writes review articles to be published on travelling or food websites, and even magazines. This is a job that garnered envy from majority, being able to have good food everyday while earning money.
Even so, overlooking the job benefits, the income is average, only enabling him to sustain his own spending. Luckily, he has a supporting, three-star Michelin sous chef father whom is the working France with an annual income of a million euros. Nonetheless, of paramount importance is not his salary but rather, the exquisite food that Gu Zheng’s father cooked that culminated Gu Zheng’s picky taste buds that spawned his hypercritical food reviews. If not for this, his income wouldn’t be limited to this.
“What is this?”, Gu Zheng abruptly lowered his gaze and picked up a piece of filthy piece of rock. This unseeming rock would have been overlooked as a mere piece of broken brick if not for Gu Zheng picking it up but what was puzzling was the layer of black mud covering the stone was not available in the area.
Lightly wiping off the layer of black mud, the black surface of the rock was exposed. It was not shapeless but instead seemed to take the abstract form of of a certain animal, although he can’t accurately identify what kind animal it is.
“Who knows? It’s probably a debris that fell from the mountain!”, responded the long haired youngster first before diverting his attention away from the rock in Gu Zheng’s hands. To him, the pure white pear blossoms were by far more attractive.
“Or it could the shooting star that fell yesterday. If that’s so, Gu Zheng, you’re rich! Don’t forget to treat us to a meal by that time!”, one companion grinned while reminiscing about the shooting star that shot past the nine o’clock night sky while they were barbecuing and drinking beer. Everyone had even wished upon it.
“Shooting stars are meteorites, even if it fell, it wouldn’t be here, and needless to say, wrapped in a layer of mud!”, Gu Zheng laughed, amused and enlivened by his friend’s words. However, he knew that it wasn’t possible. In addition, the rock seemed to exude some form of strange novelty the more he touched it, seeming like a force of attraction that’s pulling him in.
“Oh no!”, exclaimed Gu Zheng while the long haired youngster and the others gushed forward, seeing Gu Zheng suddenly grasping his hand while the stone fell to the ground, a line of blood starting to ooze out from his finger tip. As such, nobody managed to notice the drop of blood quickly seeping into the mouth of the animal-looking stone, slowly turning transparent and eventually fading into nothing.
“Gu Zheng, you’re awake. How are you feeling?”
Gu Zheng slowly opened his eyes, noting the white ceiling and walls, and the strange medicine smell enveloping his surroundings. Turning his head to survey the room twice, he concluded that he’s in the hospital.
“Huang Tao, I’m fine. Why am I here?”, Gu Zheng asked the long-hair youngster (the interior designer with a passion in drawing) beside him.
“You fainted after pricking your hand at the Pear Farm. We couldn’t wake you no matter how hard we tried so we sent you to the hospital. We’re in the Emergency Room now.”, Huang Tao hastily replied and anxiously added, “How are feeling now? The doctor says that your condition is stable but he couldn’t detect the cause of your fainting and thus require further detailed check ups. Du Yang and Zhao Yong Kui have gone to pay the bills!”
The Du Yang and Zhao Yong Kui mentioned by Huang Tao were the two other companions present on this trip. The four of them are best buddies. Capitalizing on free time during the weekend, this pear blossom appreciation trip was suggested by Huang Tao. However, they did not expect Gu Zheng to get hurt and even fainting for such an extended period of time. It had been a full two hours!
“I’m fine, give them a call, I don’t need further check ups.”
Conducting a cursory check, Gu Zheng forcefully shook his head and noted the lack of any discomfort on his body. The wound on his hand is also very small and had already scabbed over and been dressed up. By now, any discomfort in his head had already, likewise, subsided.
“Succession of God of Gluttony, activated!”, a low voice ringed in Gu Zheng’s head. The shocked Gu Zheng shot up straight, anxiously exclaiming, “Who, who’s talking?”
“Gu Zheng, what’s wrong? Nobody said anything, I’ve not even dialed the phone number.” Huang Tao rushed forward and held Gu Zheng, anxiety clouding his eyes. Gu Zheng’s eyes widened and scanned the room. At this moment, the voice in his head rang again.
“I’m the God of Gluttony, the ultimate God of Food. As the one to face the Chaos Calamity that strikes the heavenly realm every 33,000 years, I doubt I would be able to overcome this trial. However, I do not bear the heart to end the heritage that I had accumulated my entire life. Therefore, I have decided to infuse my essence of my years of enlightenment and treasures into the God of Gluttony Token, and send it out of prehistoric times (洪荒) to seek a destined one to be bestowed upon. The one that possesses the God of Gluttony Token shall succeed me as the God of Gluttony!”
This time, Gu Zheng did not scream although his eyes still remain widened. He could not only ‘hear’ the sound in his head, he could ‘see’ something, something that can be seen clearly in his mind, and even clearer with his eyes.
What he saw was a quaint, bronze beast that has a body of a goat paired with a human face, sharp teeth like a tiger with human hands, big mouth and face. What was most intriguing is that it had a pair of eyes under its armpits².
The beast twirled around and suddenly turned into a white light that at the same time turned Gu Zheng’s ‘sight’ into a sea of white, provoking him to grasp his head.
“Gu Zheng, I think you’d better have a good check up as advised by doctor, the state you’re in is worrying!”, Huang Tao put down the phone and exclaimed in a worried tone, the relief of Gu Zheng’s awakening lost in his voice.
¹An excerpt from 《白雪歌送武判官归京》 by 岑参:
As the sudden approach of Summer through the night (explaining erratic weather in the region)
Thousands of plants and flowers bloom (expressing the beauty that signals the beginnings of Summer)
²饕餮 (Tāotiè): a mystical ferocious, gluttonous beast that appeared in Chinese myths(Credits: http://baike.so.com/doc/5352363-5587821.html)