Chapter 22.2 – Scrolls and Magic Arrays
Nian Bing knew roughly how precious scrolls were. Smiling slightly, he said, “I accept your proposal. Anyway, the resources I used were given to me by the Association. Without the materials from the library, I would be unable to make the scrolls. It’s fine like this. All the scrolls I make, except the ones that I need, will be contributed to the Association. I won’t even take a penny. But I hope that the President will grant me some privileges and in exchange, if I ever need money, the association can just offer me a more limited amount. Is this okay?”
Long Ling was at a loss. “I, I haven’t misheard what you said, right? You don’t want money?”
Nian Bing let out a small laugh and said, “What would I do with all that money? It’s much too troublesome to carry it on my person, and what’s more, my expense aren’t that big.”
Long Ling cheered and suddenly embraced Nian Bing before she forcefully pressed a kiss onto his face. “This is so great, this really great. Nian Bing, as you know, because of the existence of the Ice Goddess Pagoda, we, the Ice Moon Empire Mage Association had no standing in the continent. The Association does not only have sparse magic experts, its reserves are also much smaller than every other Empire’s Association. In the eyes of the royal family of the Ice Moon Empire, the symbol of the empire is solely the Ice Goddess Pagoda. We do not amount to anything, so the allocated funds is pitifully small. Father is always troubled over this. I really did not know you were such a monster. You should know, even if father made low level scrolls, his success rate would be lower than yours. At least half of the Association’s expense is dependant on father making scrolls.”
Nian Bing touched the spot where Long Ling kissed him and said in surprise, “That can’t be. An Empire’s Mage Association can actually be maintained like this?”
Long Ling said sadly, “In reality, this is how it is. Our Association and the other Empires’ Associations are different. Other empire associations are entirely supported by the Empire. In our case, the Ice Goddess Pagoda strength grows bigger and bigger while the Association continues to lose the acknowledgement of the Imperial Family. Our allocated funds are a mere pittance, basically just symbolic. Nian Bing! With your scrolls, the whole Association can improve. This is really too great. Thank you so much. Father can finally stop working so hard. Did you know? Father is fifty years old this year and Uncle Xue, Xue Jing’s father, is already over sixty years, but dad is much better than Uncle Xue in cultivation, but he looks older than Uncle Xue. Nian Bing, thank you, you are the Association’s hope! Just continue reading books, I will go tell Father the good news. Can I bring some of the scrolls you made?”
Nian Bing smiled slightly and said, “Of course you can, please choose whatever you wish.” Having known Long Ling for some days, this is the first he saw Long Ling in such a tizzy of excitement. This of course was not just because of the Mage Association, but more importantly, it was because of her father.
Long Ling snatched up a scroll from the ground with such happiness and excitement she did not look at its rank before she immediately ran off. In a blink, she had disappeared from the stairs.
Nian Bing looked at her fleeing figure and felt his face was warm. Muttering to himself, he said, “She really is such a cute girl! Scrolls are actually this great. En, the normal level ones I will leave with the Association and the higher grades I will keep for myself. If I accumulate a few scrolls, I can be very relaxed when I travel to the continent.”
He didn’t continue to make scrolls. After over ten days, he had already finished reading basically everything he needed to know on the second floor. He only had one last thing he was interested in, and after he finished reading he would go to the third floor for a higher understanding of magic.
Casually, he picked up a book he had found earlier from the mound of scrolls and opened it slowly. The book was called,A Beginner’s Explanation of Magic Arrays.
Magic arrays were made through special symbols and magic fluctuations, which were then connected to the magic elements of the heaven and earth. Its method of usage was fair and equal. Under certain circumstances, magic arrays were something every mage should understand, especially Advanced Mages, because the only reasonable use of a magic array was to completely bring out a mage’s ability. Using the least energy, it can release their strongest power.
Having read just this section, Nian Bing’s interest was immediately aroused. The reason why he chose this book was because of magic scroll making. The drawing techniques of magic scrolls was actually founded on magic arrays. Since this is the case, if you can comprehend magic arrays, you may be able to make your own special magic scrolls. Like this, there would be no limit to the expansion of power.
The study of magic arrays is very mysterious . Even though Nian Bing was intelligent, upon seeing the complicated symbols, as well as the relationships between them. and their uses, he was somewhat at a loss. There weren’t that many magic symbols, only about one hundred. Each had its own effect, but when two magic symbols form a new symbol, their new effect would be completely different. This change made Nian Bing’s headache. A hundred plus symbols and their possible combinations that could produce new characters, effectively increasing the content many times over. In this sort of situation, how could he remember all of them?
The thick book with more than a thousand pages on magic arrays had quickly caused Nian Bing to be immersed within its pages. At this moment, he had even forgotten that he was actually a chef as the subtleties of magic had deeply intoxicated him. Magic was undoubtedly a mysterious thing. There was so much knowledge to be learned in comparison to other subjects.
“Nian Bing, could you pause for a moment?” The gentle voice awakened Nian Bing from his trance. He raised his head to look. He didn’t know how long the Association President Long Zhi and Long Ling had been at his side. Hurriedly getting to his feet, he spoke in an embarrassed voice, “Sorry, President, I was entranced.”
Long Zhi smiled slightly and said, “Don’t worry about it, this kind of focus is good. I’ve already heard about your matters from Long Ling’er. Could you make a scroll for me to see right now? I really do not understand. Your magic power is not weak, but it is still far cry off from mine. Why is your success rate is so high?”
Nian Bing could only shrug his shoulders helplessly. He replied, “I don’t have the answer to this problem. While I make one, as an authority in the magic world, maybe you can find out this question’s crucial point. It’s a pity. I’ve already used up my white scrolls.”
“That’s not a problem. I have some here.” While saying this, Long Zhi pulled out a small scroll from his chest and gave it to Nian Bing. He said with a small smile, “This the most expensive kind of scroll, priced at ten purple-gold coins. It can greatly increase your scroll-making success rate. Try it.”
When the three inch long, small scroll entered his hand, Nian Bing suddenly felt that it couldn’t compare to the previous one gold white scrolls. A rich magic element spread throughout this scroll. Cautiously and solemnly , he opened the scroll. The white paper had a glossy sheen that glittered under the light. Nian Bing did not hesitate much as the allure of magic propelled him into action. He focused on his right hand as the surrounding air immediately turned cold. He did not immediately begin drawing on the scroll. Just like when he first chopped wood and observed it, he carefully observed this ten purple-gold coin scroll. His eyes lit up. He had found it, found the small chink in the energy waves.
Finally, after a few short breaths of observation, Nian Bing’s right hand moved. His wrist seemed to snap off, as it flew to the paper and transformed. Ice element, condensed from magic power, was used to draw on the narrow, small scroll. The speed was quick to the point that the strokes couldn’t be seen clearly. A rank 5 Ice Wall was completed in a few short blinks. When Nian Bing’s final point was on the scroll, a rink of blue light scattered a way. The light scattered and flashed rapidly before suddenly vanishing. The rank 5 scroll was a success.
Long Zhi gasped. “Heavens! This is how you draw scrolls?”
Nian Bing awoke from his immersed state and raised his head to look at Long Zhi. He said with a little smile, “President, this white scroll is pretty good. The kind I used to use had a success of one out of ten. Look, this Ice Wall is quite good.”
Long Zhi smiled bitterly. “Nian Bing, fortunately, I still haven’t become so old that my eyesight has weakened. So that’s why you can have such a high success rate. Do you know? Whenever I draw a magic scroll, it takes me at least an hour while you only take a few breaths. This really is a great difference! If I’m correct, you haven’t been working with magic scrolls for long, but why are you so quick at drawing? Aren’t you afraid of making a mistake? The magic array drawn on the scrolls must be very exact. Even if only a tiny error is made, the whole scroll will be ruined. Before, when Ling’er told me that you had already drawn one hundred scrolls, I did not dare to believe it. But right now, you have confirmed that you are a bonafide magic genius!”
Nian Bing smiled faintly. “I’ve already said this to Ling’er, but when cultivating magic with an aim to increase the accuracy and strength of your magic control, concentrating your spirit is the best method. Before I draw a scroll, I first go over the shape of the entire magic array firmly in my mind, then by observing the white paper, I determine the best position for my hand. I then directly blend it in with the magic aura of the white scroll. As such, naturally it can be done with just one step. When your spiritual power is completely concentrated, there’s no way your scroll can have any mistake whatsoever. Even though I wasted those white scrolls previously, it was only because my magic power did not combine together well at the crucial moment.” Of course he couldn’t tell Long Zhi that by practicing knife arts for so many years, his right hand’s accuracy was extremely high and so could grasp the drawing. Long Zhi, even if he wanted to draw scrolls well, probably wouldn’t waste eight years cutting vegetables or chopping firewood.
Long Zhi let out a long sigh while facing the sky. “Genius, a genius. Nian Bing, in my whole life, the best decision I made was to marry Ling’er mother. The second was may probably be letting you into the Association. I officially declare that from now on, you will officially become an Association Elder and enjoy all the authority that comes with it. Anything you need, you can rely on the special badge that will allow you to extract funds from the resources of any branch.”
Nian Bing had already predicted what Long Zhi would say. After all, magic scrolls were very important to an Association, especially since the Ice Moon Empire Mage Association was in such a predicament. The thing they needed most was someone like him. If Long Zhi didn’t rope him in, it would be strange.
“Since it’s like this, if Nian Bing refused, it would be impolite. President, I also have a statement. From now on, every scroll I make except the ones I need will all be given back to the Association. I only hope that the Association can furnish me with high-quality white scrolls to the best of its ability. This way, my success rate will be even higher. It’s just a pity that my present magic power is still so weak. If I could make some rank 7 and 8 scrolls, it would be even more advantageous to the Association.”
Long Zhi smiled softly and said, “There is time. You can’t rush magic cultivation. You also don’t need to hurry the process of drawing scrolls. First, just learn everything you need to know. Just relax. If there’s anything you need, the Association will completely provide you with the highest quality white scrolls. Of course, I hope you can make more rank 5 and 6 scrolls.”
Nian Bing thought silently, ‘With the ability to make magic scrolls, I could establish myself in the Association. Too bad the Mage Association’s strength is so much lower than the Ice Goddess Pagoda. I only need to do some instigating and I may be able to spark conflict between the Association and Ice Goddess Pagoda. Even if it’s only in secret, it should be very advantageous towards my actions from now on.’
Long Zhi was in a fantastic mood. He had wanted to invite Nian Bing to eat a meal at the Pure Wind House together, but the invitation was evaded by Nian Bing with the reason he wanted to continue studying magic arrays. Indeed, in regards to what Nian Bing said, there was nothing more important than studying magic arrays, because there were some advantageous things he read pertaining to his cultivation of ice and fire source in A Detailed Explanation of Magic Arrays.
Time passed, day by day. Upon reaching the thousandth page, Nian Bing had used up seven days to completely finish reading. But, he didn’t just read, he even dedicated time to comprehension. He didn’t study the changes in these symbols after combinations occurred, he instead focused on the original one hundred. He comprehended each and every one of their special characteristics. When he studied, he also comprehended that although combining symbols was life, the foundation of the one hundred odd symbols were death. These combined characters exhibited special properties and had differences born from the effects of the original symbols. Therefore, he only needed to thoroughly understand the foundation symbols, clearly understand the laws that governed the transformation, and all of the basic knowledge of magic arrays.