Chapter 27.2 – Trigger Magic Arrays
Long Ling felt the heat from Nian Bing’s big hand. “Could it be that in your heart, there is only cooking and magic?”
Nian Bing nodded before he spoke, “That’s right. In my heart, I only have cooking and magic. Everything else must be filtered out since I must fully concentrate in order to achieve success.”
Long Ling sighed, not letting her tears fall from her eyes. She didn’t blame Nian Bing. After all, everyone had different goals and aspirations. Unlike men, the lifelong dream of a girl was undoubtedly finding a good home. Some people would be bound to mediocrity for their entire life while others would aspire to higher skies. Nian Bing was clearly one of the latter variety. He had many big dreams and goals.
Long Ling immediately left, leaving Nian Bing who looked gloomily at the bookshelves around him with his heart in discomfort. He rejected a kindhearted and beautiful young woman. It wasn’t something that anyone would feel comfortable with. With his heart in disarray, an expression of despair suddenly flitted through his eyes. His whole body shook strongly as he involuntarily blurted out, “Mother, mother, I’m wrong. I shouldn’t worry about these things. The Ice God’s Pagoda is my target!” Despair painted his expression as he recalled the bitter memories of his past-his mother’s stare as she breathed her last. Nian Bing took a deep breath and pushed away all the distracting thoughts that put his mind in disarray. He sat cross-legged and started to meditate.
From morning to noon, from noon to night, Nian Bing spent the whole day cultivating. It was only through meditation that he was able to regain a calm mind. His Ice and Fire magic source became more concentrated through meditation. Although his progress was extremely slow, the two magics were still circulating steadily. That ingenious whirlpool inside him slowly merged the two magics together, intertwining without confliction. That was the might of the Ice and Fire magic source. Nian Bing raised his head and finally looked at the color of the sky outside. Outside, the day was slowly fading away into night. Inside the library, the magic lamps were about to be lit. Nian Bing took out two rank 4 magic scrolls from his chest pocket. These scrolls were made by him and were his proudest creations to date. He slowly opened the scroll. A blue magic power poured into the scroll, and without stopping, a light blue ray shot out and intertwined on top of the scroll. The blue light continuously flickered as it produced a wonderful pattern, seemingly without end.There was a magic array inserted inside the scroll. That work had been gradually completed by Nian Bing. With the perception of his spirit power, Nian Bing clearly knew that the scroll in his hand possessed an efficient trigger. One whole night of research, as well as a whole day of meditation, allowed him to grasp the technique to create a scroll that could trigger magic arrays. However, Nian Bing was very clear that his discovery was a fluke. The kind of scroll that could trigger magic arrays was extremely difficult to complete. Even if he understood the underlying theory, reality was a another thing. He had made errors countless times before getting to this result.
He got up while carefully putting the scroll back inside his clothes before picking up the brocade case from the floor. He quickly tidied his appearance before quietly leaving the library.
Except for Long Ling coming to deliver him his lunch at noon, she did not make any appearances. Nian Bing knew that he had deeply wounded her heart, although she didn’t say anything about it. It was also good if they didn’t see each other in order to avoid getting caught deeper in this.
Just when he left the Mage Association, a carriage stopped in front of him. When Nian Bing saw the carriage driver, he recognized him as the old man who had been driving Xue Jing’s carriage at the night of Luo Rou’s birthday banquet. Xue Jing’s head stuck out from the carriage. “Hey! Great Chef, get on the carriage. Father sent me to pick you up. I have been waiting for you for an hour already. You are really slow!”
Nian Bing was inwardly laughing bitterly. This is truly… a wave that has yet to recede, yet another one has come. Long Ling already understood his intentions whereas this Mad Girl couldn’t be sent away. Hopefully, she still hated him a lot. It’s a pity that she liked Yan Feng who was unexpectedly a YanHua. Otherwise, their relationship would take Xue Jing’s concentration away from him him. “Thank you for your trouble, Miss Xue. I truly do not dare to accept such an honor!” Although he had uttered those words, he still got on the carriage.
Xue Jing sat beside Nian Bing with a very sweet smile on her face. “ ‘I do not dare’ ? Since when were you so polite? Are you trying to bully me this time?”
Nian Bing bitterly smiled and said, “Didn’t I already explain everything clearly? Miss Xue Jing, can’t you let me off? There really is no grudges that exist between us.”
Xue Jing faintly smiled before replying, “Let you go…ah! I’ll think about it. Anyway, let’s change the way we call each other. I call you by your name since you already called my father ‘uncle’. So, you can call me Jing’er or Jing Jing. We also can be considered friends, which means I won’t refuse this little request of forgiveness.. I saw you call Ling’er before and it felt quite close!”
Nian Bing didn’t think much about it and hurriedly said, “Good then! I promise you Jing Jing. In the future, there is no need to send a carriage to pick me up. I will go to Pure Wind House myself. It’s also a good way to exercise my muscles and body.”
Xue Jing happily laughed and responded, “Exercising your muscles? You can exercise all you want at night.” Her face immediately flushed red as she realized what she had said.
Nian Bing pretended he didn’t understand the accidental innuendo. “Exercises at night? Tonight, Uncle might not give me any time, won’t it be difficult to exercise then?”
Xue Jing adorably stuck out her tongue before saying, “It shouldn’t be difficult. Father has invited the Grand Pavilion’s boss to come. At the same time, they have also issued a challenge against each other.”
A glint flashed through Nian Bing’s eyes. “A battle against the Grand Pavilion’s chef? Good! That was exactly what I was hoping for.” An intense amount of fighting spirit erupted from Nian Bing’s body. In the dim carriage, his eyes, flickering with confidence, seemed like two cold stars in the night. As he touched the brocade case laying on his legs containing Proud Sky Knife, he said, “Today, I’ll test the capabilities of this knife.”
Sensing an ice-cold aura coming from Nian Bing, Xue Jing’s heart trembled. Ah! Such strong confidence! At first, she had believed that the challenge arranged by her father would cause Nian Bing some difficulty, but she didn’t expected that Nian Bing would so readily agree to the challenge. Furthermore, he was very excited by the idea. She naturally didn’t understand the mind of a chef. To any expert, the most difficult thing was to find inspiration or enlightenment. If given the opportunity, how could Nian Bing not be excited? The reason why he decided to come to Ice Snow City was to compare with the chefs of Pure Wind House and the Grand Pavilion!
“You seem very confident!” Xue Jing looked at Nian Bing, her heart bursting with warmth.
Nian Bing smiled and said, “Could it be you’re not confident in my abilities? Tell me, what kind of special skills does the Grand Pavilion’s chef have? To be able to contend with the Pure Wind House, his ability should not be below Master Ming’s.”
Xue Jing nodded, before replying, “Of course, there are reasons why the Grand Pavilion became the place that nobles love. It’s not because they offered special services. The main reason is the flavor of the dishes. Their head chef is very young, he is only in his thirties. It’s unclear who his master was, but Uncle Ming once competed with him and the match ended in a draw. It seemed like his specialities were meat dishes. I have no choice but to admit both his dish’s presentation and its fragrance were above Uncle Ming. So, the draw all came down to the judge’s preference.”
Nian Bing nodded. “I heard what you said. That head chef must be trying to master the beautiful way, which implies that he focuses mainly on beautiful presentation and fragrance. Very good. Today, I want to compare with him and see who can put out the most beautiful dish. Jing’er, have you recently seen Yan Feng?”
Xue Jing was startled. She suddenly discovered that ever since she was focused on hating Nian Bing, she had never thought of Yan Feng. “Him? I haven’t see him recently. I am very baffled. Why would he consider you a friend when you had both just met for the first time? From his character, he didn’t seem easy to befriend .”
Nian Bing recalled the way Yan Feng looked at him. His mind suddenly became cold. He bitterly smiled, “Jing’er, let me give you an advice. It’s best for you to give up on him. It’s impossible for you to have any future with him.”
Xue Jing curiously asked, “Why do you say that? Could it be that you’re jealous that I like him?”
“Jealous?” Nian Bing smiled and replied, “That word never encroaches my mind. I’m just saying this for your own good. I don’t make a habit of talking behind people’s back. You will later know what I mean by your future with him being an impossibility.”
Xue Jing snorted. “This is none of your business! If you don’t say it clearly, I will just assume you’re jealous.”
Nian Bing faintly smiled. “Then, let’s say I am jealous. You are such a pretty girl, my jealousy would be quite normal.”
The carriage came to a halt in front of Pure Wind House. Nian Bing discovered with astonishment that the whole street was completely silent. As Xue Jing stepped off the carriage, he also realised that there was no one on the most bustling street in Ice Snow City. Xue Jing smiled and said, “For today’s competition, Father had invited the City Lord and everyone with status to act as a judge. For this competition, both restaurants will be closed temporarily, and soldiers are dispatched to block activities on this street.”
Nian Bing replied with amazement, “Was there a need to make such great fanfare? One day of business for the Pure Wind House and the Grand Pavilion must be an astronomical amount. For just for a simple competition, they close business. Aren’t you afraid of losing money?”
Xue Jing answered, “You really don’t understand. The victor will immediately become the city’s top restaurant and this honor will bring in much greater profits. How can a day’s loss compare to that? Who knows how long the Grand Pavilion has waited for this opportunity to happen. Their Boss has issued a challenge to my father many times, but was refused every time until now. Since the Grand Pavilion’s head chef is young, Uncle Ming once said that within three years, he would inevitably be surpassed. Therefore, to protect the Pure Wind House’s fame, Father has had to refuse their challenges many times. This is why the Grand Pavilion has always oppressed and formed a rivalry with Pure Wind House. However, today, when we can boldly held our head high, you can add oil to the fire!”
Nian Bing nodded before saying, “I will do my best. I am aware that this Free Wind’s Gentle Hymn is not easy to handle. Let’s go in.”
Just when they are about to enter Pure Wind House, Nian Bing immediately felt the imposing atmosphere. From both sides of the passage, there stood servants of the Pure Wind House along with some unfamiliar people in common clothes . He glanced at those people without lifting his eyes as he used his spirit power to examine them. Through it, he discovered that although they were wearing common clothes, their appearance was merely a façade. Every one of them were reserved and all of them were martial arts experts.
The Pure Wind House hall was the same as before, with the exception of a hundred tables that have been rearranged. In addition, there was a long table set up in front and empty chairs behind it. On both ends of the hall, there was a kitchen set up with cooking equipments. On the left side of the kitchens, there were normal cooking tool while on the right side, there were people standing ready.
Xue Jing whispered, “You see, the judges’ table is in the front. You will be cooking on the left side, while the right side will be allocated to your opponent, the head chef of Grand Pavilion. They have already started to set things up. If you need anything, you should hurry and request it. We will immediately ask people to bring it back. Otherwise, you will not have enough time to prepare. You don’t need to worry about the cost or the availability of the ingredients. You need only to say it and I will find it for you.”
Nian Bing nodded. He leaned near Xue Jing’s ear and whisper something. Xue Jing’s face became progressively more surprised. “You are going to use those? They are very common ingredients!”
Nian Bing faintly smiled and said, “Bringing out the beauty in the ordinary is real skill. You just need to do as I instructed. Rest assured, I know what I’m doing.”
Xue Jing nodded and replied, “You should go change into the clothes on the bed of my room. I chose those clothes for you. The competition will start when you return.”
Nian Bing glanced at Xue Jing and said, “So I have to enter your room again!”
Xue Jing laughed. “Don’t tell me you’re afraid? I want to give you some time to prepare. Just go already!” As she finished speaking, she floated away like a red cloud.
Nian Bing watched Xue Jing’s excited appearance and knew the grudge between them had disappeared. However, it wasn’t a good thing, in his opinion. While he thought about it, he left the hall and walked to Xue Jing’s room which was left unlocked. As he entered, the familiar fragrance assailed his nose once again. Nian Bing reached the bed, unable to refrain from remembering the awkwardness of last time when he was hiding with Xue Jing.
A pure white set of clothes was neatly folded on the bed. Nian Bing carefully unfolded it and couldn’t be help but be frightened by the sight of it What kind of chef clothes was this?! This was clearly a luxurious white chang pao with dragons embroidered in silver thread. There were not many dragons, but it was obviously the focal point of the clothes. It made the entire cloth appear sumptuous and elegant. The girdle belt was very simple; it too was white with silver threads lining the ends, leading to an elegant milky white stone that proudly decorated the middle. Although it was not a mutton fat jade, it was smooth to the touch and seemed precious. Is this still considered a chef uniform? This is clearly something a noble son would wear! Although he complained in his heart, Nian Bing still took off his mage gown and put on the silvery-white chang pao.