Chapter 18.2 – Birthday Banquet
Nian Bing said neutrally, “Then what should I call you?”
Xue Jing thought for a moment before saying, “Since you are portraying the position of my boyfriend, then you should call me Jing’er like my father does. I’ll let you off this time. Also, you should remember that at the party, when you speak to me, do not be so deferential. We must definitely appear somewhat affectionate. Doing that would add a feeling of veracity. We cannot be found out by other people, do you understand?”
Nian Bing smiled slightly and said, “I understand, Jing’er. So it’s like this.” While talking, he turned his body around and sat down next to Xue Jing. One hand wrapped around her slender waist, making her lean against his chest.
Xue Jing was distracted at first, but almost immediately, she clearly sniffed Nian Bing’s masculine scent. She raised her head to look at his distinctly angular and handsome face. In that moment, she actually did not feel that their current position was very much questionable.
Nian Bing embraced Xue Jing, his eyes exuding a faint cold light. ‘Since you forced me to be your boyfriend, I will not be polite.’
After quite a while, Xue Jing sobered up. Struggling, she said, “Release me, can’t you see that we still have not arrived at the banquet yet?” Although she spoke these words with her mouth, her struggle was very light. She was, of course, overcome with a cozy feeling from Nian Bing’s warm embrace.
Nian Bing smiled slightly, saying, “We haven’t arrived at the party yet, but I feel that it is good for us to cultivate the mood. If it is too stiff, any bright-eyed person could see through it, right? Since we are putting on a act, naturally, we would want to create a feeling of authenticity.”
Xue Jing was at a bit of a loss, and when she looked at this handsome man again, she said, “When did you become so smart? In my impression, you should’ve been dim-witted!”
Nian Bing’s blue eyes exuded a crystal clear light. “That was only what you assumed, but I am not an idiot. I never said I was stupid! Isn’t that so?”
Xue Jing suddenly felt a trace of wrongness, but she couldn’t say why. Letting out a snort, she said, “You must remember, you are only acting as my boyfriend for the night. That is all. If you have any presumptuous ideas, I cannot be blamed for being impolite to you.”
Nian Bing gave a little smile and said, “I wouldn’t dare to have any presumptuous thoughts. You are the Miss, and I am a servant. Naturally, after tonight, our positions will return to what they are. Each of us will return to our respective domains. Isn’t that so? Jing’er.”
Xue Jing saw that Nian Bing was wearing a strange expression, but did not know why. Her mind was somewhat disturbed. At this time, the carriage came to a stop. They had arrived at their destination.
Xue Jing swatted Nian Bing’s hands. From beneath where she sat, she pulled out a box and passed it over to Nian Bing.
Nian Bing asked, puzzled, “What is this?”
Xue Jing replied, “You’ll know once you open it.”
The box was red and had considerable weight. Opening the box, Nian Bing immediately felt an essence of fire element hit him in the face. It was actually a Fire Magic wand. The rod was dark red in color and had spiraling veins on the surface. A round, red gem sat on the tip of the wand. The quality was not bad; the fire element flavor was very rich. It was at the same level as his own Icicle Rod.
Xue Jing said, “I am also lending this to you. It is called the Fire Star Wand. You must be careful, fire mages all want this wand.”
Nian Bing pulled out the wand and nodded his head, saying, “I will not break it. Even if I sold myself, I wouldn’t be able to afford it.”
Xue Jing stared blankly for a moment and tried to think of something to say, but no words came out.
The coach curtains were lifted. According to propriety, Nian Bing dismounted first and then offered out his right arm to Xue Jing in the carriage. Xue Jing used him as support to descend from the carriage. The elderly coachman hurriedly moved the carriage to the side and said, “Miss, I will await you at the entrance.”
Nian Bing raised his head to look out , and all he could see was a fantastically dazzling palace-like construction. Although he was only outside of the gates, he could still feel the magnificent grandeur of the courtyard. It was a very large courtyard. It was surrounded not by walls, but by a iron-wrought fence. The fence was approximately three metres high and covered in sharp tips. Obviously, these were used to prevent anyone from climbing over. Outside of the huge gates, which approached five metres in height, were ten soldiers guarding each of the two gates. Each soldier was equipped with a standard issue cavalry spear. The formidable looking soldiers standing guard exuded a threatening aura. Obviously, it they weren’t just any ordinary guards.
Nian Bing remembered Xue Jing’s explanation that the owner of the house was the Minister of Finance in Ice Snow City. He possessed great authority, only second to the city owner, the Lord Marquis. He personally carried the title of count. Today’s party was held because it was his daughter’s eighteenth birthday. The count’s daughter, Long Ling, and Xue Jing were very good friends.
Xue Jing pulled on Nian Bing’s arm, saying, “Speak carefully, and remember everything I taught you, am I clear?” Her hand was very cold. Even separated by two layers of clothing, Nian Bing still clearly felt that Xue Jing was evidently nervous right now.
At this time, Nian Bing relaxed a lot. His facial expression was extremely natural. Together with Xue Jing, he slowly strolled to the big gates.
At the entrance stood a butler who was taking all the invitations of guests entering the courtyard. Upon seeing Xue Jing, he could not help but laugh. “Miss Xue has arrived; our family’s Miss has been awaiting you. Long Ling is estimated to arrive quickly. This time, our Ice Snow City’s three great beauties will finally be together again.”
Xue Jing smiled lightly. “Uncle Li, you are making fun of Xue’er. What are these Ice Snow City three great beauties! That is only sycophantic nonsense. If we are speaking truthfully, Ling’er and Rou’er are the beauties, while what am I regarded as?”
The butler smiled lightly and his gaze fell on Nian Bing. Nian Bing clearly saw that from this butler’s eyes flashed a cold lightning. If his frame of mind had not been sufficiently determined, it would’ve only take this one gaze to frighten him away. Towards the butler he nodded his head and said, “Hello, I am the fire mage, Nian Bing.”
The butler smiled lightly and said, “No need to be polite, sir. Having achieved the realm of an Advanced Mage at such an age makes you really a promising youngster! Since you are a friend of Miss Xue, naturally, you are our respected guest. You two, please enter.” He did not ask any further. From Nian Bing’s unhurried and composed expression, he had already felt Nian Bing’s true strength.
Xue Jing did not feel that anything was amiss. Xue Jing grabbing onto Nian Bing’s arm, they finally entered the courtyard.
The courtyard was enormous. Right in the front of the ginormous, palace-like building was an gigantic magic fountain that would spout a ten meter high column of water. In the vicinity of the fountain, a bouquet of every color formed a crowd. The whole courtyard was covered with greenery. The trees alone, numbering in the dozens, were obviously a product of the owner’s request for the location’s environment to be sufficiently tall.
Xue Jing seemed to have let out a breath and in a low voice, said to Nian Bing, “We have passed what is considered the first hurdle. You didn’t know but Uncle Li, who was guarding the door, actually grew up with the Lord Marquis, despite only holding the position of a butler. His martial arts level is extremely high and is held in deep regard by the Lord Marquis. Every time there is a party, it always him who is assigned responsibility for examining the guests. Up until now, no one can sneak in while under his eyes. My father already spoke with me about this. Uncle Li might have the strength of a Martial Master.
Nian Bing said secretly in his mind, ‘These kinds of noble families are really different, as expected. A mere butler already has this such valiant strength. It seems that I should be even more careful; I definitely do not want to let the cat out of the bag.’ While thinking this, he subconsciously stroked the Morning Dew Knife in his chest, his most reliable item.
They walked from the front of the door to the giant building, and immediately, two servants came out to greet them, inviting the two to enter.
A somewhat peculiar voice suddenly rang out. “Is this not Xue Jing? Ah! You have really undergone great changes today! I didn’t think that you would actually be this pretty in full, formal dress.” These words were spoken by a married woman. Her stature was not tall; she was shorter than Xue Jing by over half a head. Though she may have been beautiful in the past, the years had elapsed. In the corner of her eyes, crow’s feet had already appeared. She was heavily made up. Seeing her made Nian Bing nearly throw up.
The beautiful woman believed in taking beautiful strides to walk in front of Xue Jing. Xue Jing could not help but wrinkle her brow. “So it is Madam Mei Ya. I didn’t think you would come today.”
Lady Mei Ya laughed, saying, “Of course I would come. Today is the Lord Count’s daughter’s birthday. How could I not come? Xue Jing, hurry, we will go in to talk. My, who is this handsome mage! Have we not met before?”