Chapter 16.2 – The Free Wind’s Gentle Hymn
‘A conspiracy, this is absolutely a conspiracy.’ Resentment soared in Long Zhi’s heart as he looked at Xue Ji who appeared immeasurably crafty. At the time he proposed to gift the knife to Nian Bing, he had certainly taken into account Nian Bing’s refusal. ‘Truly an old fox!’ “Correct! The value of the Humming Wind Stone was around 100,000 purple-gold coins. Even having Nian Bing work five years for the knife is completely worth it. However, the Association needs Nian Bing. Big Brother Xue, can you stop making things difficult for you younger brother?”
Xue Ji lightly smiled and responded, “Brother Long, don’t misunderstand. I want him to help me, but I’m not asking him to stay at the Pure Wind House all day long. You should know that Ming Yuan hasn’t been doing much cooking lately. If Nian Bing agrees to help us, he will also receive the same treatment as Ming Yuan. Every day, he need only come during the evening or later. For the rest of his time, he can stay at the Association. These conditions cannot be regarded as bad. Besides, five years is not a very long time.” When he had revealed the price, Xue Ji had already anticipated that Nian Bing wouldn’t have 100,000 purple-gold coins to buy the knife.
Long Zhi had nothing to say. If he was in Nian Bing’s shoes, he would certainly choose to work five years. After all, it was an extremely rare opportunity to acquire such an exceptionally precious knife, especially since Xue Ji would absolutely not give out such a great price to anyone. Unfortunately, he was not Nian Bing. It was correct to say Nian Bing was very fond of the Free Wind’s Gentle Hymn. However, he already had in his possession of the Morning Dew Knife that was no less overbearing than the Proud Sky Knife. Besides, the ice attribute of Morning Dew was more compatible with Nian Bing. Furthermore, it was possible for him to reach the same level of compatibility with his other knife, the True Sun Knife. So, his desire for the Proud Sky Knife was not as intense as someone else. Moreover, he did have the capital to afford something as expensive.
Nian Bing opened his mouth and with a calm smile and said, “I do want this knife and I know that its true value is far greater than the price Uncle gave me. I understand that Uncle wants to give me the opportunity to have it. If I was ungrateful, I wouldn’t have the audacity to become your friend.”
Xue Ji was in exultation. “Good! So you mean to say, you agree to work for us for five years? Rest assured, you will be paid a fair wage. As long as you are there, Pure Wind House will certainly prosper. Even after your five year agreement ends, if you weary of the outside world, Pure Wind House will always remain your home. In the future, you can retire to our restaurant. The words I have said represente Pure Wind House, even after Jing’er takes over my position, she will still abide to these promises.”
Nian Bing lightly smiled and replied, “Uncle, I think you misunderstood. I really want that knife, but it’s not the kind of desire you had imagined. I will pay 100,000 purple-gold coins and work for the Pure Wind House for a month, like the first condition you previously mentioned.”
Xue Ji froze before he asked, “You have 100,000 purple-gold coins? Don’t tell this was given to you by Senior Demon Chef?”
Nian Bing shook his head and said, “No, that’s not it. Although master gave me many things, as a man, there was no way I could use someone else’s money to buy the things I want. I will rely on my own resources to obtain the Free Wind’s Gentle Hymn. Even though I don’t currently have 100,000 purple-gold coins, if I could exchange some of my possessions to reach that value, it should be possible.”
The situation had exceed Xue Ji’s expectations. He couldn’t help but frown before asking, “What do you want to trade for the Free Wind’s Gentle Hymn?”
Nian Bing slightly smiled once again. “Uncle, I believe you’re quite knowledgeable about magic. If we were to put a price on a precious magic scroll, would a rank 11 Soul Subduing magic scroll be worth 100,000 purple-gold coins?”
Xue Ji nodded before answering, “I’m afraid that a rank 11 magic scroll is more expensive than that. However, as far as I know even the honorable Ice and Snow Goddess’ Worshipper couldn’t manufacture magic scroll above rank 10. Don’t tell me you have one?”
Nian Bing shook his head. “No, I don’t have any, but I can create scrolls. Although I cannot make it as high of a level as a rank 11 scroll, I can make a scroll that is just as valuable. I want to give you the ten scrolls I’ve made these last three months of which I’m the most proud of. I think they should be worth the same as two rank 11 scrolls. This is my sincerity to you.”
Xue Ji was somewhat doubtful when he said, “Nian Bing, I don’t want to doubt you, but you’re only a Great Mage. As far as I know, a Great Mage can only create rank 4 scrolls, and the chance of success is very low. There is still a big difference of seven ranks between the two scrolls. As for the price of a rank 4 scroll…”
Nian Bing smiled and interrupted Xue Ji. “You’re correct to say that I’m only a Great Mage. However, I can make rank 6 scrolls. The reason why I determine the value of my scrolls higher than the average is because of a certain characteristic of my scrolls. The power displayed by my scrolls will absolutely amaze you. The most valuable thing about my scrolls is that no one else can recreate them, even if that person was the Ice Goddess’ Great Worshiper. Unless I divulge the method of production, no one could develop the method or reach my mastery.” In order to obtain the Proud Sky Knife, Nian Bing no longer able to conceal the secret he discovered through his recent studies.
Xue Ji smiled. “Nian Bing, I believe you. I want to see with my own eyes why Long Zhi attaches so much importance to you. My magic doesn’t reach the same level of accomplishment as you, but you forget about something important. We, in the Xue Family, all use martial skills to protect ourselves. Even if you have a formidable magic scroll, we don’t have any use for them. Could it be that you want me to take them and exchange them for money? If you believe you can produce something so valuable why don’t you sell it yourself?”
Nian Bing calmly responded, “Because I still don’t want outsiders to know about the secrets of these scrolls. Therefore, I don’t wish to sell them. I would rather use them to exchange for the Proud Sky Knife. Since I dare to initiate this trade, I have already taken everything into consideration. The biggest advantage of the scrolls I made is that they can be used by anyone. As long as I teach them, any child could deploy the full power of the scroll.”
“WHAT?!” Xue Ji and Long Zhi shouted at the same time and looked at each other. ‘This is impossible.’
Nian Bing faintly smiled and took out a scroll from near his chest. It was a magic scroll made by using the most low level material. He gave the scroll to Xue Ji and said with a smile. “We should try out the scroll. Seeing with your own eyes will prove everything. Miss Xue Jing, please activate the scroll towards the ceiling following my instructions.”
Xue Jing blanked and asked, “How do I activate it?”
Nian Bing replied, “You only need to hold the scroll and activate the scroll by opening it. You only have to make sure to picture your target and you will activate it.”
Xue Jing’s eyes exposed a surprise look. Following Nian Bing’s words, she slowly opened the scroll. An bizarre scene appeared. When the scroll completely unfolded, it suddenly transformed into white mist with a Poff! Suddenly, ten ice blades appeared and turned into ten bright lights shooting towards the ceiling. Just when everyone was still immersed in shock, the ten ice blades suddenly exploded into ice mist at the same time and condensed into a big ice sphere.
Although Long Zhi had already heard Long Ling say that Nian Bing could make fusion scrolls, it was the first time he had seen it with his own eyes. He couldn’t help being shocked to the point that his jaw dropped. This was something major! A scroll that could be used and activated by someone without magic power like Xue Jing was a pioneering type of work. That value of such scrolls could overturn the world. If it was sold to the royal families, nobles, and officials, the potential market would certainly be enormous. Who wouldn’t want to have such a high quality life-saving scroll?
Nian Bing’s gaze shifted to the somewhat sluggish Xue Ji. He asked with a smile, “Uncle, you saw what my scroll is capable of doing. If you have ten of these scrolls by your side, your life and Miss Xue Jing’s life would be secure. It’s a very good item to guarantee your safety anywhere. Of course, rest assured, when I offered to give you those scrolls, I would certainly give you scrolls with two rank 6 spells. I can explain to you what the effects of those scrolls are, so that when you meet with danger, all you need to do is to open the scroll and protect yourself from harm.”
Xue Ji bitterly smiled while shaking his head. “Nian Bing, although I don’t know how much trouble it was to make this, I can guess the value of those scrolls from Little Brother Long’s reaction. The 10 scrolls with two rank 6 spells, if sold, could fetch at least 100,000 purple-gold coins. However, as you must know, what I want is not those scrolls. What I really wish for his your help with Pure Wind House.”
Nian Bing saw the longing in Xue Ji’s eyes and said with a dry smile, “Although the Proud Sky Knife is a treasure, the price for my freedom is very high. I can’t sacrifice my freedom for five years just to obtain Free Wind’s Gentle Hymn. For me, five years is too long. The truth is, if it wasn’t because of a special circumstance, I would have long left Ice Snow City. My master once told me, ‘Eight years of training, eight years of comprehending.’ Only after traveling throughout the continent for eight years will I have the ability to comprehend cooking. I hope you can understand my plight. If you don’t wish to trade, then I also won’t force you. I will still be a friend of Pure Wind House.”
Xue Ji sighed. “Those words of yours are like a splash of cold water on me. I, Xue Ji, will not renege the words I have said. After you make the scrolls, you can directly teach their use to my daughter. I think those ten scrolls will become Jing’er’s dowry in the future. When will you be ready to go work at Pure Wind House? Although it’s only for a month, I still want to employ you at my restaurant, I think you won’t refuse this little arrangement of mine.”
Nian Bing smiled with confidence. “If your arrangement also includes letting me compare notes with the other chefs, then this is exactly what I was searching for. How can I refuse? However, I hope the chefs you find will not be too bad, otherwise it will be very hard to motivate me. I’ll start helping tomorrow and I’ll be at the Pure Wind House every evening.
Xue Ji nodded and delivered the brocade case to Nian Bing. “Right now, although you have yet to complete your end of the deal, I will give you the knife to use first. I believe in your integrity. Honestly speaking, your words really save me a lot of trouble. There are many things that do not need to be said clearly. Right now, I understand clearly why our Ice Snow City’s Wise Girl lost to you. Jing Jing, let’s go.”
Xue Jing seemed very happy. She wasn’t the least resentful that their heirloom knife was going to become Nian Bing’s possession. Her beautiful eyes were wandering around before plainly settling on Nian Bing. “Well then, see you tomorrow. When you come, I’ll help find a uniform for you.”
Xue Ji and Xue Jing left leaving Nian Bing with the heavy brocade box in his hands. He was very happy about his new acquisition. Although the Proud Sky Knife’s usefulness was inferior to the Morning Dew Knife, he currently needed to hide Morning Dew’s aura and didn’t have another good knife to use at the moment. He always regretted this, but then came the Proud Sky Knife. It was a timely surprise which would make up for his lack of useable knives. Nian Bing firmly believed that with this knife, he would now be able to step further down the road of cooking. Previously, he didn’t dare to practice his knife techniques, but presently he could start to train his techniques.
Long Zhi’s eyes glinted as he looked at Nian Bing. He sighed and said, “I must confess, just a moment ago, I was really scared that you would agree to that five year agreement. However, I had no right to ask you to refuse. Nian Bing, I find that the more I look at you, the less I can see through you. In the end, I wonder how the inside of your brain works? After arriving here, you unravelled the mysteries of magic one by one. I know there will be a day when you will leave this city. I will not stop you from leaving. I only hope that when you leave you will always remember what I said before: you will always be a part of the Ice Moon Empire Mage Association. It will be enough if you remember that.”
Nian Bing nodded and responded, “President, be at ease. Since I became a member of the Association, I will always be a part of the Association. You have helped me greatly, I will certainly repay your kindness. I think I’ll go back to study and stop taking up your time.”
Long Zhi replied, “Then I will not disturb you. If you need anything, just tell Ling’er. I will try to satisfy your needs as much as I can.” When he was done talking, he immediately left with Long Ling in tow.
Nian Bing picked up the book he had been reading earlier and resumed his reading as if nothing happened. The brocade box was put beside him as he continued to study. Regarding magic arrays, as Nian Bing researched them in depth, he discovered more and more how they were very profound and mysterious. Those arrays were something he needed the most.
Long Ling followed after her father, leaving the library. When Long Zhi saw there was no one around, he whispered, “Ling’er, I want to talk with you about something.”
Long Ling was surprise and asked, “Father, what is it that you want to talk with me about? If I can do something for you, just tell me.”
Long Zhi sighed and said, “Right now, I discovered more and more that Nian Bing is not as simple as he appears. He surprised me more than I want to admit. This kind of genius is what our Association needs. If he can represent our Association and participate in the Rising Mage Tournament that occurs once every three years, then the position of our Ice Moon Empire Mage Association will certainly change. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that he won’t agree when it’s time! At first, I wanted to let you participate, but ever since Nian Bing arrived, I had to change my plans.”
Long Ling’s eyebrows lifted. “Father, although we can participate in the next Rising Mage Assembly, it was always as the Ice God’s Pagoda’s subordinate. In front of the Ice God’s Pagoda’s disciples, we were never able to display anything!”