Starbeck was humming a well-known melody as he plucked a white flower with golden spots from the garden outside and carefully inserted it into the vase.
After the flower was sprayed with some water, the color became more vibrant and charming.
Starbeck took a sniff off the flower and enjoyed its aroma with a smile on his face.
He then wiped away the water residue on the table with a cloth and placed four gray mats, two big and two small, in the middle of the table neatly.
When the arrangements were done, Starbeck, who was secretly counting the time, walked into the kitchen and plated the food from the stove.
The tableware was intricate and varied from one another. There was one silver plate, two porcelain plates and one more earthen pot served on the table.
The silver plate held salad, the porcelain plates had two main dishes and the earthen pot contained soup.
Such a line-up of food obviously didn't fit the upper-class dining rules, as the missing appetizer and dessert alone were enough for the guests to laugh their teeth off, but in Starbeck's heart, Kieran wasn't an outsider.
Or in other words, the so-called guests wouldn't have been ushered by Starbeck into the kitchen.
No guests were worthy of his cooking.
No guests dared to even ask for his cooking.
When the only set of silver tableware was arranged in front of the only seat at the table, the notification of Kieran entering the room appeared in Starbeck's vision.
The timing was perfect!
"Dinner is served."
Starbeck's lips curled into a smile when he saw the familiar figure walk in.
"Mm. I've been looking forward to this."
As he smelled the aroma, Kieran sat on the only chair while making himself at home.
He didn't feel awkward even though it wasn't his own room, just like Starbeck didn't feel at all uncomfortable when he was his own guest.
After Kieran sat down, Starbeck removed the cover on the plates.
"Rich Saucey Steak."
"Mixed Veggie Porridge."
Starbeck introduced each dish as he uncovered them, and each time a dish was revealed to Kieran, Gluttony inside him grew louder.
Eat! Eat! Eat!
Its roars were like war drums on the battlefield. It felt as if Gluttony itself had almost materialized into the world.
Everything smelled delicious!
Gluttony, who had zero resistance against food, almost lost itself in the food, and in order to taste more of the delicacies, it was willing to provide Kieran with more power, even if it had to submit to Kieran!
As long as I can eat, it's all good.
However, certain non-stop clamouring infuriated Gluttony, who wanted to devote itself to eating.
The clamours were from Envy, Wrath and Greed. They were mumbling, roaring and shouting respectively.
"Why not me?"
"It should be me!"
"Mine, all mine!"
Their clamours were like flies to Gluttony.
It clenched its teeth and scolded, "Go away! Go the hell away! Whoever dares to disturb my meal will end up becoming my meal!"
An unusual aura filled with abnormality and wickedness grew in Kieran's heart, becoming shinier and more dangerous.
It was pure.
It was persistent.
It would go against the world for food.
Whoever shall stop it from eating, it will eat them instead.
If it couldn't, it would drag them to hell together.
The cardinal sins went quiet.
They weren't afraid of dying because, most of the time, they were undead, but that didn't include the times when they were inside [Fusion Heart[.
Quiet, everything went quiet.
Gluttony took in a deep breath, and following Kieran's eating, it too was intoxicated.
A faint energy was lighting up the runes in Kieran's body. The darkness and chaotic presence started to weaken again.
But similar to Gluttony, Kieran wasn't overly bothered by the energy because he was too busy enjoying his meal.
The King Salad might seem like a mix of fresh fruits and vegetables, but it was garnish for the sweet, juicy meat inside.
The meat was a mouthful, its chewiness exciting the teeth more than beef, and it was juicier than common pork.
"It's tiger meat," Starbeck explained.
"Tiger? The king of animals, thus King Salad?"
Kieran squinted his eyes before taking in another mouthful. He then turned his eyes to the Rich Saucey Steak and Tomahawk Roaster.
They were tender and juicy!
The moment Kieran took a bite of the Rich Saucey Steak, his mouth was filled with the flavourful, beefy taste. Meat juice was also oozing out of the meat as he chewed, and it tingled all his taste buds. When Tomahawk Roaster was added into his mouth, the cinnamon and chilli perfectly fused together, presenting a very stimulating taste.
Sweat dripped out of Kieran's cheeks as if he was in the battlefield, swinging tomahawks at his enemies.
Kill, kill, kill?
Eat! Eat! Eat!
Kieran gave up thoughts about asking. He wielded his knife and fork in a flurry, his chopsticks leaving trails of afterimages whenever he grabbed a piece of meat while his spoon scooped the porridge as fast as lightning.
After swallowing the last mouthful of porridge by picking up the earthen pot, Kieran gave a satisfied burp.
Kieran then noticed that the darkness and chaos that lurked in his mind had dimmed down a little, although it was still an insignificant amount compared to the overall. Kieran didn't mind experiencing this meal a few more times, thus Kieran's eyes on Starbeck turned hotter.
Starbeck felt the hotness as well, so he smiled more brightly.
He didn't behave like a coward as he always did because no chef would dislike an eater like Kieran. As the chef of the meal, Starbeck was no exception.
"How's the meal?" he asked.
"Delicious," Kieran answered with a nod.
He wanted to praise Starbeck more but he couldn't find any suitable words in his mind, hence all he could give was the simplest compliment.
Though after the compliment, Kieran felt a little upset.
It was the first time he tasted food as delicious as this, but what if it were the last time?
What shall he do?
The thought naturally appeared in Kieran's mind and it seemed like Starbeck sensed it as well.
"If you don't mind, you can drop by more often. I'll try to make more meals each week—I don't have that many chances to level up my other skills to transcendence or above, but I do have confidence in Cooking," Starbeck clenched his fist and said with confidence.
Kieran raised his hand over Starbeck's head when he saw the reaction.
"You can do it," he said softly.
"Um!" Starbeck nodded.
As a freeloader, Kieran automatically helped Starbeck in cleaning up after the meal while Starbeck took the vase outside.
The flower that he had plucked had its roots preserved. In simpler words, the flower would not die as long as it was replanted and taken good care of for a few days; it would become another independent flower.
After the soft soil in the pot was dug up and the flower planted, Starbeck carefully buried the roots with his fingers. He didn't press the soil though, as it would only suppress the roots from growing.
After replanting, Starbeck clapped his hands and stood up.
He then saw a figure outside his premise, a stranger.
No, he had seen that person in front of Harvest Inn before while he was humming an unknown melody.