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843 Something With Difficulty

 Nine Dragon Sculpture? Yuan Zhou frowned. He had obviously heard of the Nine Dragon Sculpture when he learned ice sculpting before. After the establishment of the Republic of China, the numbers of sculpting masters that had completed a Nine Dragon Sculpture were less than five.

Yuan Zhou answered after a short silence, "Master Yang, although I have been sculpting ice for quite a while, it will still be a bit too hard for me to complete a Nine Dragon Sculpture."

It had indeed been "quite a while". Yuan Zhou had dabbled in ice sculpting for about three months. Of course, Yang Shuxin was unaware of this. He replied with a measured tone.

"You are not the only one not confident in completing it. I am the same as well. That was why I have decided to invite you to work together," Yang Shuxin said. He then continued, "I hope we can reinforce each other's skills during sculpting."

That was understandable. Reinforcing each other might help reach a brand new level in sculpting.

As more and more masters from the 40s and 50s eras retired, apart from ice sculpting, many crafts were starting to vanish due to the passage of time.

At times, the failure in passing through the arts couldn't be completely blamed on the fickleness and impatience of the people nowadays. After all, the progress of human technology had brought much convenience along with shallowness.

Ultimately, Yuan Zhou agreed after thinking about it. He wanted to find out if he could complete this challenge as well.

Yuan Zhou was not a competitive person by nature, but he enjoyed doing his best in anything related to cooking.

Zhou Shijie had not interrupted their conversation. Although he was on guard against having Yuan Zhou stolen, in such a serious discussion, Zhou Shijie still knew what was the proper thing to do.

They easily agreed to work together, but a different opinion had appeared on the technical aspect of ice sculpting.

The raw material of Nine Dragon Sculpture would not be any random block of ice. Yang Shuxin had extremely high requirement on the ice he used.

Chengdu did not have any ice blocks that met his requirement. Therefore, Yang Shuxin invited Yuan Zhou to Harbin.

However, Yuan Zhou insisted that he would not go on leave for the sake of ice sculpting. Finally, Yang Shuxin failed to convince Yuan Zhou and was forced to set the work location in Chengdu. The required block of ice would be transported from Harbin.

"You can go back first. I have something I need to discuss with Little Yuan," Zhou Shijie waved his hand as he told Yang Shuxin to leave.

The moment Yang Shuxin finished his discussion with Yuan Zhou, Zhou Shijie waved him away like he was a housefly.

As Yang Shuxin was in a good mood having completed his mission here, he decided to not take offense on this. After taking his leave from Yuan Zhou, he left.

"Little Yuan, are you interested in the Confucious Feast?" Zhou Shijie asked. "Two days later, Master Kong Li will be holding one in Beijing."

The name Confucious Feast greatly piqued Yuan Zhou's interest as this was a feast with a prestige that was above the Manchu Han Imperial Feast, one of the four greatest national feasts.

It was also worth noting that the most widely known Manchu Han Imperial Feast was in truth in the fourth place of the four greatest national feasts.

"Beijing is too far. I can't leave the restaurant," Yuan Zhou said after he thought about it. "If possible, can you record a video of the feast for me, Chairman Zhou?"

Yuan Zhou was no idiot. He knew that something like Confucious Feast would not allow a live broadcast. Therefore, he could only ask for Zhou Shijie's help.

Since he had just taken two days off when he got sick, it wouldn't do for him to take another leave so soon after. This was the compromise Yuan Zhou could do.

Zhou Shijie did not try persuading Yuan Zhou. He nodded and agreed that if possible, he would video it. After all, although Zhou Shijie had a higher status than Kong Li, this was a matter of etiquette.

"How are you doing, cooking skills wise?" Zhou Shijie started talking about some casual topic after he was done with business.

"I am presently doing my research on Sichuan's cooked wheaten foods," Yuan Zhou answered.

Zhou Shijie nodded. He was aware that recently, Sichuan cooked wheaten foods had been added on the menu of Yuan Zhou's restaurant. This was the reason why Zhou Shijie was not worried that Yang Shuxin would be able to successfully steal Yuan Zhou.

Yuan Zhou was still studying and improving his cooking skills.

Yuan Zhou had one thing he needed Zhou Shijie's help with, "Chairman Zhou, you know a lot of people. Can you help getting the material for the Nine Dragon Sculpture?"

This greatly confused Zhou Shijie. Although he had not interrupted Yuan Zhou's conversation with Yang Shuxin, he had still clearly heard that the ice block was going to be transported from Harbin by Yang Shuxin.

"Master Yang is a master in ice sculpting and will be able to transport the ice block from Harbin. I don't know anyone from Harbin and will not be able to get an ice block suited for sculpting Nine Dragon Sculpture from Harbin. Therefore, I need your help."

Zhou Shijie started doubting if he could actually understand Chinese. He could not figure out what Yuan Zhou was trying to say. With his eyes opened wide, he stared at Yuan Zhou.

"I am definitely not as experienced as Master Yang in ice sculpting. Therefore, in our battle of Nine Dragon Sculpture two days later, I hope that I won't lose out in terms of material as well," Yuan Zhou said.

The battle of Nine Dragon Sculpture... Zhou Shijie felt like Yuan Zhou had misunderstood something. After some thought, he spoke tactfully, "Old Yang is actually inviting you to complete a Nine Dragon Sculpture with him."

"I know. I have also heard that regardless of whether it was the Northern School or Southern School of Ice Sculpting, a large part of the craft had been lost to the passage of time. In the past thousand years, not a single person had managed to complete this sculpture alone," Yuan Zhou said. He continued, "But to improve, pressure is required. I greatly admire Master Yang's zeal in seeking for improvement."

Indeed, if there were two people competing against each other, if the two were sufficiently skilled, that would be a great avenue of improvement.

"I also hope that my ice sculpting skills can improve during this competition," Yuan Zhou said. In any case, he would require ice sculpting and ice plates for food decoration. It would help him greatly in cooking.

One reason Yuan Zhou had neglected to mention was that since a master ice sculptor was looking for him, it signified that he was very good in ice sculpting as well. And thus, Yuan Zhou was feeling rather smug inwardly. Of course, this was not reflected on his face.

Zhou Shijie finally understood that Yuan Zhou had completely misunderstood Yang Shuxin. But after thinking about it, he still decided to not clear it up. He had even agreed to Yuan Zhou's request.

Things would be interesting in two days time. One could see that Zhou Shijie was definitely a troublemaker in his younger days.

After a little bit of casual chat, Zhou Shijie took his leave.

After Yuan Zhou was done cleaning up, he started heading to the second floor. But before he could even step on the stairs, he heard someone urgently calling for him outside.

Fortunately, the system had not decided to soundproof the restaurant after business hours. Otherwise, it wouldn't matter how loud that person was shouting.

Apart from Wu Hai, who else would be looking for Yuan Zhou this late at night?

Then again, it was clear that this was not the voice of Wu Hai. Yuan Zhou went to his bedroom upstairs and looked down from his window. He saw an unfamiliar man with a medium body build.

Just as Yuan Zhou was about to speak, the shutter door of the store across the street was opened. Next, a young man walked out of the store.

When the medium built man talked to the young man, Yuan Zhou found out that the young man's name was Yuan Leban. Therefore, Yuan Zhou had misunderstood that the medium built man was looking for him when he heard someone yelling "Boss Yuan".

"Has the store changed its boss again?" Yuan Zhou muttered.

Before Chinese New Year, that store was selling noodles. Next, it started selling duck necks instead. And now, yet another new boss had appeared.

Perhaps it was because that store had a bad Fengshui. With Yuan Zhou's restaurant making this street popular, all stores here survived fine. Even Li Li was making big bucks from his restaurant. But this store across the street was the one that kept changing its boss.

Yuan Zhou thought about it and reached a conclusion that regardless of the changes of the other stores, his Master Chef Restaurant would forever remain.

Next, Yuan Zhou started drafting a blueprint. To complete the Nine Dragon Sculpture, one did not only need to sculpt. Making the blueprint in itself was a huge trial.

After all, the nine dragons would not be standing side by side. Rather, each of the dragons would have a different posture. In a serious manner, Yuan Zhou started making his preparation.