"It's so creamy…" Lian Li gasped.
"And thick too…" Manami agreed after swallowing.
Cai Hong licked her fingers slowly, "It's so yummy!"
Eris got closer to me, breathing hard, "What should we do next... Master?"
"Now you cool the cake using Ice quarks so that it will hold its shape," I instructed, wiping away the icing around Cai Hong's mouth.
Circulating my Ice quarks, I lowered the temperature around the cake to around freezing temperature.
"And we'll just have to wait for a few minutes before we can eat cake. Usually we'll leave it at around four degrees and leave it for an hour, but if you can control your ice quarks well, a few minutes is enough."
I turned to see Eris diligently taking notes while nodding her head.
Cai Hong was sucking on her finger while staring unblinkingly at the cake on the table, a hand clasped on my leg.
Lian Li and Manami moved to prepare the cutlery and plates for us to eat the cake, how thoughtful of them.
"What is the name of this, Master?" Eris asked.
"Vanilla cake, there's other variations to it so I'll give you the recipes to them later."
The girl nodded her head enthusiastically. Heh heh, my plan to get Eris interested in cooking is a huge success.
"Now that should be enough," I announced, dematerialising the ice quarks.
Lian Li passed a few plates and a knife to me, earning herself a head pat.
I began cutting slices out of the cake, enough for all of us with a big chunk leftover.
The four girls waited patiently as I took the first bite off my plate, they had always insisted that I ate before they did and no amount of persuasion I tried could sway them.
I nodded in satisfaction, "It's good, try it."
The girls immediately dug in, bringing the sugary sin to their lips.
"Bliss~~" Lian Li moaned, a hand caressing her cheek as she basked in the sweet taste of vanilla.
"Mmm… This is good," Manami remarked calmly, though her tails were shaking back and forth expressing her happiness.
"Papa! It's yummy!" Cai Hong exclaimed, wolfing down her slice of cake.
"Sweet," Eris muttered simply, though it's clear from how her eyes sparkled she liked it.
Heh, who doesn't like cake?
I looked towards the group of merchants who have been staring at us enviously for a while now, "You guys want a slice?"
"Ah? Don't mind if I do."
"I'll take one please."
"One for me as well, please."
"Could I take two?"
The five hungry men came up to us as I cut a slice for each of them, passing it out to them with a smile.
We were on our way back towards Heaven Sect in preparation for the annual Sect Showcase Festival, I was planning for Lian Li and Manami to advance to Inner Core Practitioner before participating.
Luckily for us, a merchant caravan had intended to travel past Heaven Sect so we hitched a ride with them instead of walking back.
In return, we provided additional security for them until we reached Heaven Sect.
It was easy to tell they were elated to have Heaven Sect members guarding them.
After having travelled for a few days, Heaven Sect was just up ahead. Right now, the merchants had wanted to take a break and reorganise their things before seeing us off at Heaven Sect, where another Adventurer group would take over us.
That's why I made a cake for all of us as a farewell.
So far throughout the journey, three groups of monsters had tried to attack the convoy but all were easily dealt with by my disciples without needing my involvement.
Sniff... They grow up so fast.
After everyone thoroughly enjoyed their cake, we reached the gates of Heaven Sect at midday.
The Adventurer team took over us without any problems, thus I brought the girls to the Sect entrance that was being guarded by two Sect members.
"Master Lin! You've returned!" One of them greeted.
I nodded back in greeting, "Umu, did anything happen while I was gone?"
"Nothing major, we received the rewards for the Request Master Lin completed some time ago so…"
The guard noticed the girls behind me.
"Ummm… Master Lin? Who are they? Last I remembered you only took in one disciple?"
"Yes, we had some fortunate encounters outside and I found a few more prospective disciples," I explained.
"To catch Master Lin's attention, they must be really special," the guard nodded.
Yeah, if only you knew the half of it.
Even Eris has been showing some genius talent in cooking and swordsmanship, she doesn't forget anything I teach her.
What's more, her situational awareness is astounding, it almost feels as if there's other people telling her what was going on around her.
You could approach her from her back and she would know you were coming.
What really baffles me is her abrupt changes in speaking patterns, one moment she's quiet and the next she's suddenly really excitable.
As far as I can tell, it isn't triggered by anything specific.
"Umu, in that case, I'll be heading to my place first."
"Of course, welcome back Master Lin," the guards opened the doors for me.
I led the awestruck girls into the Sect.
Lian Li had already been here before so she was less impressed than the other three.
For first timers our Sect is indeed impressive to see even if I do say so myself.
Built on the tallest mountain in the region, entering the Sect at the mountain's foot gives you a complete view of the entire Sect spread out above you.
The size was no laughing matter with it being around half the size of the capital city housing less than a quarter of said city's residents.
I first brought them to the Administration Building where Manami and Cai Hong will register as my disciples and Eris my servant.
Cai Hong will stay as a Student Practitioner for now, she's too young and advancing her too far will draw too many questions.
I can just tell people she's an orphan I picked up who showed promising Practitioner talent.
Being a Master of the Sect gives me the privilege of scouting prospective disciples outside of the biennial entrance test period. This rarely happens though, as most Masters prefer to stay in their Sects to cultivate instead of going out to scout for disciples.
Lazy asses I call them.
Can't believe I used to be like that too.
Oh well that's the past so let's not dwell on it.
The registration proceeded on without a hitch, though there were a few raised eyebrows for Cai Hong.
Her small dragon horns are hidden in her hair so she looks like a normal ten year old girl. Well, as normal as a ten year old girl with shimmering multicoloured hair can get.
They probably let it slide because of her cuteness.
Cai Hong is really cute after all, especially when she starts looking at you with her sparkly eyes. Did I mention she has this really adorable strand of ahoge sticking out of her head? Well she does and it's really, really cute.
While we were there, I arranged for Lian Li and Manami to be tested for their Inner Core Practitioner Advancement Exam next week.
The Sect Showcase Festival was in another three months, so they would get to show their skills in the festival itself.
It's a good opportunity for them to learn from other Sect's Practitioners too.
In the meantime, I should introduce the three newcomers to my abode.