Chapter 27.1 – Trigger Magic Arrays
Long Zhi shook his head and said, “No, it won’t be the same. The Rising Mage Tournament has very stringent requirements. Participants need to be under twenty-five years old. Even if the Ice God’s Pagoda Faction fields a participant, they won’t necessarily get first place every time. After all, it’s hard for young mages to have great strength. But Nian Bing is different. With the Association’s extensive resources and a year to spare, who knows how many levels he’ll be able to rise in the future? There is a good possibility he could soar into the sky. If he nabs first place, our Association would also bring pride to the empire. At that moment, if the Ice God’s Pagoda wanted to suppress us, it would no longer be that easy.”
Long Ling spoke doubtfully, “You should tell these things to Nian Bing! What’s the use of saying them to me?”
Long Zhi smiled slightly and said, “Of course there’s a use. Ling’er, since your mother passed away, it was always Father who raised you. Honestly, you are the treasure of Father’s heart. Father puts a great importance on the Association, but to me, you are definitely an existence equal to the Association. I am going to ask you a question, and you need to answer me truthfully. Do you like Nian Bing?”
Long Ling never thought that her father would ask such a question. Her pretty face immediately flushed scarlet. She shyly lowered her head, her hands fiddling with the lapels of her jacket. No words would come out.
Long Zhi smiled slightly and said: “What’s going on? You’re not saying anything? Could it be that even a handsome youth like Nian Bing does not attract my daughter? Darling daughter, your standards can’t be too high. Think about it, if you marry Nian Bing, it’ll be easy for you to eat lots of things.”
“It isn’t that, Father.” Long Ling lowered her head, stammering. “Father, Nian Bing is truly, truly outstanding, but, we’ve only known each other for a short amount of time. How could I say if I like or don’t like him? Don’t pressure Ling’er!”
Long Zhi laughed and said, “Okay, okay. I won’t pressure you. I will go and find Luo Rou for a chat and see if she is interested in Nian Bing.”
“No.” Long Ling anxiously raised her head to look at her father. “Father, don’t do it! I, I……”
Long Zhi looked at his daughter with the shadow of a smile and said, “What’s this, is Ling’er going to speak the truth?”
Long Ling’s tone was annoyed as she spoke, “Father, you are really horrible. Fine, I’ll admit that I do have a favorable impression of Nian Bing. However, you also saw it he doesn’t care about anything other than magic and cooking.”
Long Zhi let out a sigh and said, “It’s enough if you like him. Everything else is easy to handle. Although Father is a bit utilitarian, I wouldn’t make my daughter marry someone she doesn’t love. Ling’er, remember Father’s words. You must rely on yourself to fight for happiness. If you like Nian Bing, don’t give up. Moreover, make your move soon. If you can grab his heart, then all the other problems will be solved as easily as bamboo splits at the knife’s edge. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
Long Ling lowered her head again. “But, Father, I am a girl after all. Could it be that you want me to reveal these thoughts to him?”
Long Zhi shook his head, and smiled while saying: “Of course that’s not it. Just influencing him secretly is enough. After all, you spend all day together. Nian Bing is not an idiot. I think, that with my daughter being so beautiful, there’s no way he wouldn’t notice you. However, at the crucial moments, you can also prod him a bit. The way I see it, that girl Xue Jing also has some feelings for Nian Bing. If Xue Ji, that old fox, pushes the waves and adds to the billows1, it will be hard to say what will happen. You can’t be thinking of giving the person you love to your friend, can you?”
Long Ling looked somewhat blankly at her Father. “I, I don’t know.”
Long Zhi smiled bitterly. “Ai, never mind. All these careful calculations and intrigues will be one’s downfall. 2 Adding on, I may also be too utilitarian. You young people nevertheless pay attention to fate. I’ll go with what you want. However, Father still hopes that you can persuade Nian Bing to represent our association in participating in the Rising Mage Tournament a year from now. Other matters can wait till later.”
Long Ling nodded her head and said, “Father, I will try my hardest. Right now however, I can’t make any assurances to you, because I don’t know what Nian Bing is thinking. One year might be too long, but I will definitely try my hardest. I hope that the Association’s circumstances can improve. I will take my leave first.”
Long Zhi nodded his head and said, “Go. In the evening, I will bring the white scrolls we bought. Nian Bing has need of them.”
Nian Bing turned the pages of the book in his hands. Right now, it was already late at night. Long Ling was sitting not too far from him, meditating. After he turned the final page of the book that introduced all kinds of profound magic arrays, Nian Bing was disappointed. Although the magic arrays recorded in this book weren’t bad, it was worse than what he had expected. It also didn’t have the information he sought the most.
Sighing as he moved to close the book, he discovered that there was a special symbol on the final page of the magic book. It was clearly a magic symbol, one of the symbols used to draw magic arrays. The symbol represented concealment.
Nian Bing’s heart jumped. He condensed his magic power, and carefully drew out the magic symbol.
A faint blue light sparkled. As he made the final stroke, the last page of the magic book was suddenly washed in ice blue. The handwriting on the page started to change, the original symbol and words changing completely.
“Magic arrays work by connecting to the heaven and earth. The balance of the heaven and earth contains the element of every kind of magic, and can be utilized by mages. But, as mages, we will always suffer losses in close combat. When meeting a strong martial arts cultivator in a one-on-one situation, it is very difficult to achieve victory. To counter this kind of situation, magic arrays can be altered into a special form . To supplement a scroll’s magic, you can draw this special array onto the scroll. This kind of array is called a trigger. This trigger means that when the holder of the magic scroll encounters a certain degree of attack, the scroll will automatically activate while protecting the user. The degree of the attack required can be set in the trigger array. Please study the uses on your own. Be especially aware that these arrays need to be added to magic scrolls that are already completed. If the add-on fails, the scroll will be rendered useless, so please use this method cautiously.”
Reading this, Nian Bing’s heart suddenly sprung to life. He finally understood why mages, when they reached the Magic Scholar level, were no longer scared of confrontations with martial artists. It wasn’t because the ability of the mage suddenly became stronger. Rather, it was because of the existence of these trigger magic arrays! In a case that there was an enemy who sneak attacked a mage, as long as there was one of these special scrolls on the mage’s person, it would neutralize the danger. This would give the mage enough time to chant a spell. It was good stuff, really good stuff. Thanks to Nian Bing being very mindful, he found this. If he hadn’t been, this wonderful magic array would’ve slipped away.
Thinking this, Nian Bing immediately threw himself into further studying. This kind of special magic array was extremely difficult to draw. Not only did it require an extremely high level of magic control, it simultaneously required a large amount of magic power to support. Drawing a trigger magic array was actually more difficult than drawing a rank 6 magic scroll.
What Nian Bing didn’t know was that this kind of magic array was not used very extensively. Although each empire’s Mage Association had record of these, due to the magic array being especially hard to make, the low success rate scared people. Magic scrolls were extremely precious. Who would use high level magic scrolls to test trigger magic arrays? That was too much of a waste. Therefore, even if they could make one, it would only be with low ranking magic, so the practice was abandoned by most mages early on.
Magic scholars were able to contend against martial artists mainly because of receiving Mage Association support. Once a mage reached the Magic Scholar realm, they would often carry a lot of magic goods. This was the Mage Association’s necessary protection for high level mages. Among these goods, using early warning magic goods were the most popular. Of course, their price was also the most expensive. With these kinds of magic goods, mages could anticipate the arrival of danger and make preparations in response. Even if the sneak attacker was very strong, Magic Scholars and those in realms above would also often have strong magic scrolls to protect themselves. After using the magic scrolls to fight for time, they could chant strong magic. This was the true reason they could contend against martial artists. Of course, in ordinary situations,mages would seldom travel alone unless necessary. They would always have martial artists accompany them. If a mage absolutely insisted on going solo, besides very conceited mages,they would choose to dress casually to belie their true status. Of course, this action had to be done in secret. If not, they would be laughed at by their peers.
Nain Bing’s research was not actually about drawing magic arrays, but rather, direct research on the principles of this kind of trigger magic array. Only by becoming familiar with the magic array symbols and carefully studying the principles of the trigger magic array could he fully understand the theory. There was no point in mechanically memorizing how to use the array. He had to make it his own in order to use it with more flexibility. He concentrated his attention on time-consuming research.When he finally understood everything, it was already light outside. Exhaustion struck his whole body, but his research had bore fruit, which made Nian Bing’s mood extremely cheerful.
“Eat something.” Long Ling’s voice roused Nian Bing who was immersed in his happiness. He turned his head only to see Long Ling standing at his side, a tray in her hands. Squatting down gracefully, she carefully laid the tray on the ground. The tray bore two mantou, 3, a heap of stewed meat, and one bowl of congee. Long Ling spoke in a rebuking tone, “Yet another night with no sleep. Don’t tell me these magic resources are so attractive to you?”
Nian Bing extended an arm to grab a mantou, but had his hand slapped by Long Ling. “Your hands are dirty. Clean your hands and face first before eating.” While saying this, she took a soft towel and passed it to Nian Bing.
The moist towel was very soothing in his hands. It exuded a faint fragrance. Nian Bing looked at Long Ling and he suddenly felt very warm. It was an indescribable feeling. “Ling’er, thank you.These past few days, you’ve always taken care of me.”
Long Ling smiled slightly and said, “We are friends! What’s more, the success of your research will be very advantageous for our Association. Nian Bing, the way to gather my spirit that you taught me was very useful. I can clearly feel that recently, the strength of my magic control has increased. Thank you.”
Nian Bing smiled slightly and said: “What are you thanking me for? That is all because of your hard work.” Using the towel to wipe his face and hands clean, Nian Bing immediately felt like his spirit had recovered. After a night of no sleep, his stomach was already growling. He hadn’t felt it before, but when his spirit relaxed, his stomach was almost crying out. Gobbling like a wolf and swallowing like a tiger, Nian Bing quickly cleaning out the tray. Although the food was not all that delicious, the feeling of eating was especially sweet.
“Slow down, we don’t want you to choke. Actually, the way you eat is bad. You don’t have any discipline. Nian Bing, you should relax more. You have time, why is there a need to be anxious?”
Nian Bing smiled slightly and said: “There’s no way I won’t be anxious! After learning all the Association has to offer and carrying out my agreement with Uncle Xue Ji, I will leave here. Lingering too long at a place is not advantageous for me. My ambition is to travel to the world – after all “reading ten thousand books is not equal to travelling ten thousand miles.” Right now, my world view is too narrow.”
Long Ling’s heart quivered. “Nian Bing, do you have to go? Actually, Ice Snow City……”
Nian Bing lowered his head. He couldn’t look into Long Ling’s expressive eyes. He nodded his head, and spoke firmly: “I must definitely go. When my master passed away, I promised him that I would become the greatest chef. I have comprehended cooking for eight years, but I have merely just took the first step into cooking. Ling’er, thank you for always caring about me but a real man must aspire to travel far and make one’s mark. Perhaps one day I will tire and return.”
Long Ling couldn’t help but let it slip. “Then I will wait for you.”
Nian Bing’s whole body jolted. Raising his head he looked into her gentle eyes and saw much. “Ling’er, don’t be like that, okay? I don’t know when I will return, or if I can return. I understand your intentions but I cannot hold up your life. Just regard me as a transient passerby in your life. With your temperament, you can definitely find someone who better suits you.”
Long Ling bit her lip. She took the tray and slowly stood up. In a low voice, she said, “I understand. It’s because I don’t suit you.”
“No.” Nian Bing stood, holding her shoulders with both hands. “It’s me who doesn’t suit you. “Ling’er, the only way that I wouldn’t be moved by you is if I had a heart of stone. Right now however, I cannot have any sort of companion. I still have many things to do. I don’t even know what I will be doing in the future. Right now, I can’t discuss relationships; that is too much of a luxury for me.”