Chapter 12.3 – Magic Reaper
It was a graceful figure practicing various elegant forms. The handle of the longsword was glittering with a red radiance, twisting and flipping up and down, creating traces of red light. The solidified dou qi that the figure was emitting undulated strongly, as the surrounding flowers, plants and trees rustled under its brush. At that moment, the one performing the sword-dance was Xue Jing. It seemed that she was very fond of the color red. Even though she had change her clothes for a long cheongsam, it was still flame-colored. It made her figure appear more vigorous. Her movements were as moving clouds and flowing water, and were generally not lacking agility. Nian Bing was somewhat puzzled. ‘It’s this late at night, but she hasn’t returned to her room to sleep. Why is she still here performing a sword-dance? Nevermind her. Besides, I still have to go back and use several healing spells on myself to take care of my injuries.’
As he had decided, he started to quietly walk away. But just as he was about to leave, his foot stepped on a bunch of flowers and plants which produced an extremely muffled sound.
“Who’s there?” Nian Bing secretly cursed. He hurriedly threw the black gown and mask in the midst of the flowers and plants as fast as he could. He had barely done it when a red cloud leaped from the wall of the courtyard to the garden and swiftly appeared in front of him. The red light was coming from Xue Jing’s long sword, which was already resting on Nian Bing’s neck. With that stream of dou qi circulating in the air, he didn’t dare rush into action.
Xue Jing evidently remembered Nian Bing to some extent because of his handsome features. Her brows slightly creased as she said, “It’s you. Didn’t they send you to the firewood house to help out? What are you doing running around so late at night instead of properly resting?”
Nian Bing pretended to be fearful and alarmed and replied, “Good evening Miss. Today, I’ve just arrived in the city. I thought to go buy some daily life items, but I hadn’t expected things in Ice-Snow city to be so expensive and so I wasn’t able to buy anything. Since I’ve just arrived here, I’m not familiar with the streets here and took the wrong direction. That’s why I came back this late. May I asked Miss, why are you still awake so late at night, instead of sleeping?”
Xue Jing snorted. She was obviously not in a very good mood. She put back the red long sword in her scabbard. “If it’s like that, then it’s good. If I ever find out that you came to the Pure Wind House with ill intents, you better worry for your neck.”
“I don’t dare! I don’t dare! The fact that I can have a proper meal to eat is all thanks to Miss’s generosity. I must hold on to this opportunity tightly. Miss, if there’s nothing else, I’m going back first.” He was gloomy although he had successfully passed through the ordeal. He could only take back his black gown and mask at a later time. After he humbly greeted Xue Jing, he hurriedly walked towards the firewood house.
“Just wait a moment.” Suddenly, Xue Jing called Nian Bing. Nian Bing became rigid as his thoughts darkened. ‘Don’t tell me she saw me throw those things in the flowers bed? That’s not possible. The sky was so dark and she’s not a night owl.’
He turned around and asked, “Miss, is there another matter you wish to instruct me on?”
Xue Jing was sizing Nian Bing up and down with her eyes. Suddenly, she moved. Without any warnings, Nian Bing had to face the current situation in front of him. He reached to grab the handle of his knife hidden in his jacket near his chest and pulled it out. By the time Nian Bing had sensed the soaring clouds and harnessed fog, he had already been captured although his Snowstorm was ready to be activate. This was the first time it had ever happened to him. He lowered his right hand touching the Morning Dew knife on his chest. At the same time, his left hand was ready to cast magic. However, for him, it was disadvantageous to fight with Xue Jing, even if he would be using his fastest reaction speed.
Xue Jing was now on top of the garden’s wall. She beckoned Ning Bing with a slight movement of her head. Nian Bing floated to the interior of the garden, lead by the red dou qi which had wrapped around him. Several times, it went up and down until it finally stopped on the eaves of an octagonal pavilion inside the garden. Releasing Nian Bing next to her, she softly said, “Sit down and don’t go anywhere.” In fact, she didn’t need to instruct Nian Bing since he really didn’t dare to move around. This pavilion was four or five meters high, if he fell from there, there was no doubt the fall wouldn’t be a pleasant one. He didn’t understand why Xue Jing would bring him up here. However, right now, he was unable to go anywhere and could only very carefully use one healing spell at a time. In case something unforeseen happened, he would at least be able to deal with it.
Xue Jing sat down and put her elbows on her knees. Blurs of light constantly flashed through her eyes as she gazed at the round full moon in the sky. Nian Bing realized, ‘She seems to have some troubles on her mind.’
Each of them believed that the other had their own worries. Whilst one of them was secretly healing himself, neither said anything, and so, an hour soon passed by. Nian Bing already felt that his internal organs didn’t ache as bad as before, which allowed him to relax a bit. He stealthily grabbed the Flame God’s stone, as fire magic was the best choice for attacking. At this moment, he couldn’t help but recall again the sight when he had killed Manager Liao. He knew that with his own strength, even if he’d actually had a head-on clash, he wouldn’t have been any weaker than Third Manager Liao. However, at that time, it proved to be more complicated than he originally thought, since, unexpectedly, Manager Liao wasn’t as weak as he expected. On the contrary, he must have possessed the strength of a first class Swordmaster, judging by his dou qi. The reason why he had easily managed to kill him was due to his ingenious way of making use of his two different types of magic. By using a third rank exploding fireball as distraction and, by combining his iceblade spell with his cooking technique, Needle Pierces Rice, he was able to create a single point attack named Ice Star Needle. The effectiveness of his self-created technique could be witnessed from the quick death of Manager Liao in the small alley. Although the iceblade spell was a rank two ice magic, when it was compressed to the size of a needle, its might was absolutely not to be trifled with. As long as the opponent’s dou qi was not too powerful, it could completely pierce through anyone’s defense without any effort.
“Why aren’t you saying anything?” Just as Nian Bing was pondering on the mysteries of magic, he heard Xue Jing’s voice. Startled, he unconsciously dodged to the side out of reflex, but now there was nothing under his feet. He cried out in alarm as he suddenly slipped from the eaves. As he lost his balance, as fast as he could, he used both his hands to grab at anything that could stop his fall and took a firm hold of Xue Jing’s skirt. Xue Jing was also scared by Nian Bing, as he had suddenly slipped down. As her heart started palpitating with fright, she also felt her body become heavier, and soon after she was dragged down right after him. As they both fell off the pavilion’s roof, they flipped and turned in the air. Xue Jing had practiced martial arts since childhood. Her reaction was extremely fast. She flipped her body in mid-air, grabbing Nian Bing’s waist and held him in her arms, while her other hand made a downward motion. She utilized her dou qi to strike the ground and made use of the recoil to once again jump back on top of the pavilion.
Silence, absolute silence. Nian Bing and Xue Jing were staring at each other while maintaining their strange position which was her holding Nian Bing by his waist and him holding her by the neck while his other hand was still holding her skirt, which was partially revealing her snow white thigh. His hand hooked on Xue Jing was touching her soft and silky nape. His heartbeat pounded erratically while his mind had momentarily blanked. He was always quick-witted, with hundred of tricks up his sleeve, but at this moment, he had turned dumb from not knowing what to do.
“Bastard!” Xue Jing suddenly let go of his waist and moved to slap Nian Bing’s face. The slap made him fall off the pavilion once again. Xue Jing used her foot to hook him back on the pavilion and she swatted his hand that was still grabbing her skirt, as she furiously looked at him. Nian Bing was being beaten silly by Xue Jing. He used his hand to rub where she had slapped his face. He didn’t know what he was supposed to do, as Xue Jing looked as if her emotions were slowly rising in turmoil. Gradually, her gaze turned hazy, tears pooling more and more, until they suddenly overflowed like a broken dam. She started sobbing loudly, as if she had been wronged by Nian Bing. Her tears kept flowing out without stopping.
“Miss, I-I didn’t mean to do that. It wasn’t on purpose!” Nian Bing tried to explain. At this moment, in front of a beautiful crying woman, he didn’t know what to do.
Xue Jing suddenly lifted her head and cast an angry look at Nian Bing. “I told you to not move! Who told you to move around?”
Nian Bing bitterly smiled, “Ah! I was startled by you. Do you think I wanted to move?” At that moment, the previous alluring scene kept replaying before his eyes, already making him forget about his own identity.
Xue Jing used her big eyes to glare at Nian Bing. “Still, you are very strange. Who told you not to speak for an hour?”
Nian Bing said in surprise, “Wasn’t it you who left me to sit here? You were also the one who brought me up here.”
Xue Jing was aware of her bent logic. She used her sleeve to wipe her tears and groaned. “In my family, everyone is a hero rescuing a beauty, but today, for the first time, a beautiful woman like me is saving a good-for-nothing. It’s really all in vain that you grew up this big.”
Nian Bing inwardly bitterly laugh. ‘A good-for-nothing, just a good-for-nothing…ah!’ He absolutely couldn’t tell Xue Jing that he was actually a Great Mage. Right now, he still hadn’t investigated the kitchen skills of Pure Wind House. It was something that required time. As he touched his face, he discovered that his left side had already started to swell, and even had a clear hand imprint. Even by using a low level healing spell every day, it would take him at least three days before he could go meet people. Today, it was the first time he had killed someone and had almost been killed in the process. With great difficulty, he had been able to return, and for some mysterious reason, he had to suffer a slap. He was truly unlucky. It was like drinking cold water and then, out of nowhere, getting something stuck between your teeth.
Xue Jing once again sat down on the edge, with her elbows on her knees. Her expression gradually turned back to a peaceful one as she looked at the moon in the sky. “Where do you come from?”
“Me?” Nian Bing replied, “I’m someone from the Harmonic Flower Empire.” It was the first time he had spoken about his origins. Even during the time he had been studying cooking skills, Zha Ji had never asked him about his origins.
“Harmonic Flower Empire? Ah! The Harmonic Flower known as the Fire Empire. That place, in terms of distance, is the farthest away from the Ice Moon Empire. Are you on the run? If not, then why did come to this faraway place?”
Nian Bing softly sighed and said, “What person leaves their home willingly? If only it hadn’t been fate that made it so. I was only ten that year when I came with my father to the Ice Moon Empire. However, now, only I remained here alone.”
Xue Jing turned her head to look at Nian Bing. “You also look as if you’re grieving for someone?”