Chapter 10.2 – Pure Wind House
Nian Bing stood in the middle of the main street. He looked at the Grand Pavilion on the left and the Pure Wind House on the right. For a moment, he felt helplessly awkward. ‘In the end, which one should I go to ?’ In order to reach his dream, he was inclined to choose the Pure Wind House, which had a more refined style. As a child, he had been taught how to write by his father, thus, he couldn’t really be pegged as a commoner. But he wasn’t a scholar either, let alone a great scholar! Unfortunately, considering the lines “Convivial discussion of great scholars” and “Gathering of poets” written on the building, it seemed that his only choice was to go to the Grand Pavilion. After thinking about it, he turned around and walked to the Grand Pavilion on the left side.
At the Grand Pavilion’s entrance, eight young women were receiving guests. When Nian Bing walked in front of them, they were immediately attracted by his handsome appearance. Eight pairs of beautiful eyes darted on his body. Suddenly, Nian Bing felt a bit uncomfortable. Among the girls who watched the embarrassed Nian Bing, one of them couldn’t help but laugh. “Where did this country bumpkin come from? For him to be able to come this far is pretty good.”
Another one opened her mouth, but her words were more sarcastic. “Right! Absolutely marvelous! I’m sure someone with different kinds of interests would like it. It’s a pity that we’re not a brothel!”
Everyone who came to eat at the Grand Pavilion were high-ranked nobles wearing gorgeous clothes. With one look at Nian Bing’s appearance and attire, the young women at the entrance knew he wasn’t nobility. These women had already learned how to gauge someone’s status long ago. Naturally, they started mocking Nian Bing.
Nian Bing was furious inside, however, he hadn’t come here to start an enmity, so he forcefully restrained his fury. “Excuse me! Is the Grand Pavilion hiring a cook? I can properly make side dishes.” This so-called side dish mainly used cut vegetables. After being mixed with all kinds of other ingredients in preparation for the main kitchen, it would then be processed by the main kitchen’s cooking methods, thus becoming a dish.
The first young woman smiled. “Oh! It turns out you’re a cook! Which cooking academy did you graduate from?”
“Cooking academy?” This was the first time Nian Bing had heard of this. Nowadays, chefs had to go to a school? He had heard his master say that the only requirement needed was the apprentice’s ability.
The young woman looked at him in disdain. “You don’t even know about cooking academies and yet you dare to come to the Grand Pavilion? You’re still here?! Go away! This is not some place where anyone can come and go as they please!”
Just when Nian Bing was in a dilemma over what was the correct way to get hired, someone came out from the Grand Pavilion. It was a tall person in his forties. He had a fierce-looking face, giving people the impression of a fearful barbarian, and wore a purple satin chang pao. He was holding a fan in his right hand, constantly beating it on the palm of his left hand. Unexpectedly, the fan was very big and measured 45.5 cm. From the way he hit with the fan, it looked heavy and it didn’t seem to be made of wood. He was about to leave when his eyes fell on Nian Bing. In a few steps, he was near Nian Bing and asked, “What’s going here?”
Previously, the eight young women were all smiling, but when they saw the middle-aged man, they quickly stood properly at their respective places with serious expressions. The young woman who had been talking to Nian Bing said, “Third manager, this person thinks our place hires temporary workers. However, he hasn’t even heard of a cooking academy. I was just about to let him go.”
The middle-aged man looked arrogantly at Nian Bing and said with impatience, “Quickly get lost! Stop obstructing my view! You, poor people are only worth cleaning my shoes.”
Nian Bing’s eyes flashed a cold light. The moment it had appeared, a melodious voice sounded from behind him. “Oh, my! Third Manager Liao is displaying his might again! I had no idea that mangy mutt Liao had started wearing shoes! Since when?”
Nian Bing turned around and only saw a young lady saddled on a horse. He wasn’t aware of the length of time she had been behind him with that extremely tall horse. The mount she rode on resembled the war-horses he had previously seen with some of the knights from the Silver Feather knight regiment. Its whole body was snow-white, with not even a single stray hair. The young lady on the horse was wearing red clothes. She was a slender, healthy, and beautiful woman. She had long brown curly hair draping her shoulders and flowing on her back. Her forehead fully displayed her heroic features. At her waist hanged the red scabbard of a long sword. Although it couldn’t compare with the color of Feng Nu’s scabbard, it still gave one the impression of a beautiful, lively color. A red clothed beauty on a snow white horse, standing in the middle of the main street – it immediately created a bright and beautiful scenery!
When Third Manager Liao heard that young lady mocking, he exploded in anger. Standing there, he shouted with hatred, “Xue Jing! Do you really believe that just because you have your father’s backing that I won’t dare to deal with you?”
Xue Jing jumped down from her horseback. She went besides Nian Bing. She looked at Third Manager Liao with a smile and said, “Really? Then, come here! Let me see how you are going to deal with me? Also, I wonder who it was last time that fell flat on his face? Grand Pavilion, humph! I spit on it!” Third Manager Liao obviously had an awful lot of misgivings towards the young lady Xue Jing. Although, his ugly face was already red with anger, he still didn’t dare to do anything to her. He shifted his gaze to someone else. His anger abruptly exploded on another target. The fan in his hand suddenly shot out towards Nian Bing’s shoulder. “Insignificant insect, you still haven’t disappeared?!”
Nian Bing’s heart was already filled with enmity. At the exact time he had heard the wind caused by Third Manager Liao’s fan, he clearly understood what could happen. Nian Bing felt dread crawling up his spine, if he really got hit by that fan, his shoulder blade would shatter into tiny, little pieces. However, at this moment, he didn’t lose his temper. He cunningly thought ahead and started scheming. Ah! He stumbled backward, fell and retreated behind the red-clothed young lady. The red-clothed young lady roused her ability and red dou qi suddenly burst out. Bang! Third Manager Liao tumbled back several steps, almost falling on the ground. The red-clothed woman, Xue Jing, groaned in disdain and said, “Mangy mutt, you want to bite someone again?! Today, if I don’t discipline you, I am not called Xue Jing!”
“Miss Xue, on my behalf, please forget about this matter,” a loud and clear voice suddenly sounded out. Someone else had come out from the Grand Pavilion. It was a short and stout man who appeared to be around fifty years old. He was dressed in a golden chang pao with rounded, golden embroideries design. His face was shaped by excess fat. A bright light flickered from his tiny eyes, which were almost hidden by the surrounding fat.
“Boss, Xue Jing is causing trouble for us again. I want to teach her a lesson!” Third Manager Liao urgently turned to the short and fat man for help. The short and fat man’s brows wrinkled. He shouted in a cold voice as he used his palm to hit Third Manager Liao, who stumbled. “Go back in for me! You still haven’t lost enough face?” Third Manager Liao’s complexion slightly changed. He didn’t dare to say anything else. He gloomily returned inside the Grand Pavilion. When he went away, the short fat man’s face immediately turned into a smile. The fat on his smiling face unceasingly jiggled. “Miss Xue, we, the Grand Pavilion, and you, the Pure Wind House, should each mind our own business. Amiability makes you rich, we should keep it as such.”
Xue Jing sneered. “It looks like Head Manager came out this time. Good! Even if I beat a dog, I still need to give his master some face. Can you let Third Manager Liao bear in mind that if I see him bully someone again… Humph! ” She firmly turned and was about to leave when she saw Nian Bing behind her. She looked at his flustered expression and unhappily said, “Che! Look at you, so lucky to grow so tall, but such a waste! Can you still be called a man?!”
Previously, Nian Bing had a somewhat good impression of Xue Jing, but, when he heard her domineering words, his previous good impression immediately decreased. He strongly wanted to say something back, but he heard Xue Jing continue, “You’re trying to find work. Come with me. We, the Pure Wind House, just happen to need someone to chop firewood.” As she finished speaking, she lead her white horse toward Pure Wind House’s side door.
‘Chopping firewood? Impossible! I chopped them for so many years. How can it be that I still have to chop firewood when I have just gone out on a journey?!’ Nian Bing couldn’t help but display a forced smile. He had already been bored stiff of having to chop firewood since a long time ago. However, he couldn’t reveal the circumstances pertaining to his cooking skills. Perhaps chopping firewood was the only way to enter the Pure Wind House. Helplessly, he followed Xue Jing into the Pure Wind House, through the side door.
When he passed through the side door, Nian Bing immediately smelled a faint fragrant scent which belong to a plant. The air felt more fresh and clean. As he looked at the surroundings, except for stoned paved lanes shaped into symbols, everything else was green. In the middle of all the green color, there was a small lake. The lake was not big. It was only three or four square meters. Above the lake, there were long corridors meandering between four pavilions, with a unique and extremely refined air.
“Hey! What are you looking at? Hurry up!” Xue Jing turned towards Nian Bing impatiently. Now that she looked clearly at Nian Bing, she secretly thought, ‘Handsome is handsome, after all. But he doesn’t have any abilities. Heaven has bestowed this kind of appearance upon him in vain. Truly a waste!’
Two servants dressed in black clothes came over. One of them took the reins in Xue Jing’s hand and respectfully said, “Miss, you have returned. Great Mage Long Ling has already been waiting for you for half a day.”
“Big Sister Ling’er came? Very good! I was just thinking I should go look for her. Where is she?” Xue Jing’s face displayed her excitement.
The servant said, “ Great Mage Long Ling has reserved the Moon Pavilion.”
“Good! I’m going now. Oh! That’s right! This person is someone I rescued on the street and brought back with me. Send him to the firewood room and let him chop firewood. I remembered we needed someone for that.”
“Yes, Miss.” Xue Jing ran away at lightning speed. She disappeared from the corridor in a blink. The servant leading her horse left. The other servant used a different tone to address Nian Bing. “Come with me!”