Chapter 25.2 – Art Shakes the Pure Wind House
Finally, Long Ling responded, “Rou’er was extremely bright, even as a child. No matter what it was, she always wanted to learn about it and could absorb that knowledge in a short period of time. Since she was a child until now, be it man or woman, no one had the ability to beat her. She is also very competitive. Since you are the first to make her taste defeat several times, her competitiveness, along with her curiosity towards you, has made her value you more. You absolutely cannot break away from it or there will be more trouble later on.”
Nian Bing didn’t care about it one bit as he said, “Then just let her do as she pleases, I don’t really care much about that.” In any case, after he was done learning about magic here, he would leave and would never see Luo Rou again. As such, this matter was not really that important. “Ling’er, let’s go. I still want to go back to the library and study.”
“Wait a minute.” Long Ling shouted at Nian Bing who then halted and turned back. As she looked at Nian Bing, her gaze showed hesitation.
Nian Bing asked, “What? Is there something else you want to say?”
Long Ling bit her lower lip before responding, “Nian Bing, is it really true? Your master is really a chef and not a mage?”
Nian Bing slightly smiled. He understood what made Long Ling so anxious. His tone softened as he replied, “Ling’er, listen to me. It’s true that my master is a chef, but so is the fact that I am a mage. You have to understand that there is an inseparable relation between the two as they are a part of me. Although my cooking skills cannot be said to be the best on the whole continent, it can still be considered top-rate, and when compared to magic, there is a great gap of comprehension between the two. It only takes a moment for me to understand new cooking skills whereas it would take me longer to learn new magic spells. You can rest assured. Since I am already a member of the Association, I will fulfill the oath I made during the ceremony and abide by my promise to help your Association. I am a man of my word.”
When she heard Nian Bing’s words, Long Ling finally sighed in relief. She took the initiative to grab his large hand and emotionally said, “Thank you, Nian Bing. I… I really don’t know what I should say.”
Looking at the beautiful and gentle Long Ling, Nian Bing felt a surge of warmth rush into his heart. Unconsciously, he gripped Long Ling’s hand tighter as he said, “There is no need to say anything. Since the Association has supported me so much, this is something I ought to do as repayment.”
Suddenly, a trace of disappointment rose inside Long Ling’s heart. She realized that what she’d wished to hear Nian Bing say was, “Everything I did is for you.”
“Nian Bing, Ling’er! Are you guys not back yet?” Shi Jiu’s voice came as a timely interruption. Simultaneously, both Nian Bing and Long Ling felt a bit annoyed inside. Nian Bing quickly released Long Ling’s hand. He still had an ambitious goal, so offending Shi Jiu at this time would be quite the unwise move.
“Big Brother Shi Jiu, we’ve returned.” Nian Bing gave a profound look to Long Ling before they went inside the Mage Association.
Shi Jiu welcomed them back resentfully. “Where did you go earlier? How come you came back after such a long time? I went to the library and heard you guys had went out.”
Nian Bing answered, “Earlier, Miss Luo Rou had me accompany her to Pure Wind House to explain some things to Miss Xue Jing. Since Ling’er was present, Miss Luo Rou invited her to go along with us. In fact, she had just sent us back.”
Once Shi Jiu heard Nian Bing and Long Ling weren’t alone together, his look softened a bit. “Next time, before going out, you need to tell me and avoid making me worry.”
Nian Bing nodded with a faint smile. “Big Brother, I will head back to the library first. You and Ling’er can keep chatting.” After he finished talking, he left in big strides.
At that moment, Long Ling entered the Association. Shi Jiu welcomed her with enthusiasm. “Ling’er, you went out for half a day. It worried me to death. Right, I recently purchased two hairpins for you. I felt that they especially fit you. Come with me to have a look. I think you will certainly like it.”
Seeing Shi Jiu’s earnesty, although Long Ling didn’t really have any interest, she was gentle by nature and couldn’t bear to refuse her senior brother. Just when she didn’t know what to do, Long Zhi’s voice was suddenly heard. “Little Jiu, what are you doing here instead of properly cultivating inside your room?”
Shi Jiu was most afraid of this person, his master, a Magic Scholar. Once he saw Long Zhi appear, he hurriedly paid his respects, “Master, Ling’er and Nian Bing went out a while ago. As I was somewhat anxious, I waited here for them.”
Long Zhi glanced at Long Ling, then frowned. “Since they have already returned, you can also go back and cultivate. Look at our Nian Bing; compared to you, he’s ten years younger yet he’s already a Great Mage. I’m giving you one year; if you still can’t break through to the realm of Great Mage in that time, then don’t you dare say that you’re my disciple in the future.”
Once he saw that Long Zhi was angry, Shi Jiu was paralyzed by the intimidating atmosphere. He hurriedly said, “Yes, Master! I’m returning to my room to cultivate.” He hurriedly left after finishing his sentence.
After Long Zhi saw that Shi Jiu had left, his expression immediately relaxed. He walked forward until he was next to his precious daughter. With a smile he inquired, “Where did you go to with Nian Bing?”
“Father…” Earlier, she had been mentally preparing herself to endure Shi Jiu, but now there was no need. Her tense nerves suddenly relaxed as she looked at her father. “Earlier, we went to Pure Wind House.”
Long Zhi asked, “These days, Nian Bing must be very exhausted. He also needs to go out more often. Since you were a child, you always very attentive so you should take care of his daily life. That’s right, what do you think about Nian Bing?”
Long Ling blanked for a moment before replying, “He… is very good! He is very ambitious. What more, his comprehension is very high and not beneath Luo Rou. That person is also very outstanding, although somewhat mysterious.”
Long Zhi smiled. “Men like Nian Bing are first concerned with their career before they can settle down and marry. If a man didn’t have the ability, then he will only be mediocre all his life. I also feel that child Nian Bing is not bad.”
Long Ling hesitated for a bit before she decided to inform her father about the matter that happened at Pure Wind House earlier. “Father, the truth is… Nian Bing has another profession…”
At once, she retold in detail what had happened when she went out with Nian Bing. When Long Zhi heard his daughter’s story, his expression continuously changed. He also didn’t expected that the person he had the highest expectations for was a chef. Although he didn’t discriminate against chefs, he didn’t wish for Nian Bing to waste his energy on other things. “…So, this is what happened. However, Nian Bing said that his cooking skills had already reached a certain level and he didn’t need to practice anymore. What he needs is to cultivate magic more. Uncle Xue seems to value Nian Bing a lot. I’m afraid he will come in a while.”
There was a glint in Long Zhi’s eyes. “So, that’s why my intuition told me Nian Bing seemed to have something on his mind. It all makes sense now. He was a chef to begin with. No wonder he was at Pure Wind House before.”
His voice barely fell when, outside, the sounds of a carriage and horses could be heard. Long Zhi bitterly laughed before saying, “My Big Brother Xue has always been impatient. Looks like he has just arrived. Ling’er, you go first. Leave everything to me.”
Long Ling complied. Her had nearly blind trust in her father that came from her heart. Immediately, she felt a lot better. Turning around, she left for the library.
As soon as Long Ling left, Xue Ji and Xue Jing entered the Mage Association. The mages guarding the entrance of the Mage Association recognized them and didn’t obstruct them.
Long Zhi laughed out loud. “What kind of wind blew Big Brother Xue and my little niece to come here? It really brightens up our place!”
Xue Ji came face to face with Long Zhi after a few big strides. He smiled bitterly as he said, “Please excuse your Big Brother for coming without announcement if it wasn’t for something! This time, I came because I want you to help me with something.”
Long Zhi’s eyes glinted as he responded, “Big Brother, if you want Nian Bing to go with you and become a chef, then there is nothing to say. You already have Ming Yuan. As for me, I cannot afford to lose him!”
Xue Ji blanked for a moment. His friendship with Long Zhi was deep, so he naturally understood why Long Zhi said such words. He just didn’t expect that he there wasn’t even room for discussion. What’s more, he didn’t think that Nian Bing was this important to Long Zhi. Despite knowing this, he still probed his friend. “Younger Brother, Nian Bing is a chef. To be exact, in the future, he will certainly be a grand chef. Therefore…”
Long Zhi was resolute. “Big Brother, perhaps Nian Bing’s culinary talents are extraordinary and excellent, but let me inform you that Nian Bing’s biggest achievement was breaking through to the realm of Great Mage. In the future he can also become a grand mage. He is already a member of my Association. What’s more, he was only chopping wood at your Pure Wind House. It is certainly impossible for me to let go of him.”
Xue Jing clenched the brocade box in her hand while looking at her father and Long Zhi clashing with one another. Her heart couldn’t help but feel bitter. Not long ago, Nian Bing was just a good-for-nothing in her eyes, but he was now a talent being fought over by her father and Long Zhi. The contrast was too big. ‘If I had known the difference between us was really this great… Nian Bing… Sigh! Nian Bing… I really don’t know if I should hate you or…’
Xue Ji shook his head helplessly. “Forget about it. The truth is… this time, I didn’t come hoping for anything. Even if you didn’t stop me, I’m afraid Nian Bing will not go with me and stay at my small restaurant. What happened before was my mistake, and to unexpectedly let him chop wood at Pure Wind House… This time, I came to apologize to him.”
Long Zhi was somewhat suspicious. “You only want to apologize? Big Brother, you also know that right now our Mage Association is slowly deteriorating. It was with great difficulty that we obtained such a talent. There is nothing I can do about it!”
Xue Ji smiled calmly before saying, “That’s right! Little Brother, don’t you know my character? I only want to see him once. After that, I will leave. Even if I can’t employ him, I can still be friends with him.”
Long Zhi blushed. Indeed, when it came to matters pertaining Nian Bing, he was really too nervous. He hurriedly stepped aside and said, “Big Brother, I will lead you to him. He’s in the library.”
On the third floor of the library, Nian Bing was sitting on the floor, completely absorbed in reading the magic documents in his hands. As long as there was a book in his hands, he would forget about everything around him. Although the books on the third floor were not numerous, the contents were more broad and profound, and it would be impossible to completely comprehend them in just a day or two. His strong interest in magic dated from long ago, so if he didn’t delve in it thoroughly it would be unlikely he would give up halfway.
Long Ling was looking at Nian Bing lifelessly. She discovered that his devoted appearance was the most attractive. Although he was reading without even giving her a glance, his handsome appearance had long ingrained itself deep into her mind.
Long Ling had always believed in fate. Born into a family of mages, since childhood she had followed her father’s footsteps and studied magic. She didn’t have any other interest and firmly believed this was her life and her fate. Since this was so, she wanted to continue on this path. Shi Jiu was her senior brother and had always pursued her. He was very good to her. She had always believed in that ever since she was young. This is what fate had arranged for her, so when she grew up, she believed she would marry that senior brother who was ten years older than her.
But, ever since she met Nian Bing, she was convinced that her fate had changed. When Nian Bing first succeeded in creating a magic scroll and smiled at her with confidence, Long Ling knew that she was completely attracted by that eye-catching smile. For the first time, she felt a throbbing inside her heart that was coupled with an indescribable feeling. Every day, although she was only looked at him quietly, her heart felt very satisfied. So long as she looked at him, she could forget about everything.
At the beginning, Long Ling was somewhat scared of these rising feelings. However, today, when she saw how Nian Bing’s hands gave birth to the Nine Mysterious Green Dragons Hidden in Clouds of Ice, the fear in her heart suddenly vanished. She clearly understood that she had fallen deeply in love with this mysterious man, Nian Bing. Although he wasn’t that strong, she was deeply attracted by everything about him, even his shortcomings, and perhaps even his indifferent attitude. Except for cooking and magic, he seemed to not care about anything else, not even about Luo Rou, who was a beautiful and intelligent woman. In fact, he seemed to fear and even avoid her.
Long Ling couldn’t help but frown when she heard the sound of footsteps. She really didn’t want anyone to disturb her time with Nian Bing. She got up and, while trying to be careful and not make a sound, went downstairs. At that moment, she saw her father had brought the Xue parent and child with him. “Uncle Xue, Jing Jing. You came.”
Xue Jing looked at Long Ling with a somewhat strange expression. “Ling’er, you also came to the library to study magic? I recall that two years ago you said you had already read all the books here.”
Long Ling blushed and replied, “Nian Bing’s understanding of magic is unusual, so I’m here to accompany him during his studies.”
Long Zhi’s heart moved. He clearly understood his daughter’s character the most. He said with a smile, “Conveniently, she also takes care of Nian Bing. After all, he practices and cultivates very hard each day without rest and doesn’t take good care of himself. If it wasn’t for Ling’er reminding him every day, I fear that he would even forget about eating. That child is too single-minded. I really can’t help but admire him.”
Xue Ji glanced at Long Zhi and Long Zhi did the same. It was very obvious that Long Zhi’s gaze was somewhat proud. Xue Ji couldn’t help but shake his head. It was very clear that in terms of affection, his side was at a disadvantage. In the Pure Wind House, Nian Bing was only a firewood chopper, but in the Mage Association, he was a treasure. Long Zhi didn’t hide the fact that he was sending his daughter to attend to him. When comparing both sides, the difference was very large. Sigh! If only he could have seen Nian Bing’s true abilities earlier, the current situation wouldn’t have happened.
Xue Ji and Xue Jing walked towards Nian Bing. Although Nian Bing was focused, he still discovered there were two people standing next to him. Raising his head, he saw the Xue father and daughter. The surprise in his eyes couldn’t be hid. He hurriedly stood and asked, “Mr Xue and Miss Xue Jing, why are you here?”