Chapter 28.1 – Staking the Dazzling Holy Brilliance Stone
The soft cloth made wearing the clothes very comfortable, like they had been custom made for him.
“Nian Bing, is there anything that doesn’t fit?” Xue Jing’s voice was accompanied by the sound of footsteps. A red-clad figure appeared in the doorway of the room. Xue Jing could not help but turn pink when she saw Nian Bing, who had changed into his nice clothes. “Very handsome. I did say that these clothes would suit you. Golden hair and silver clothes, it’s too wonderful.”
Nian Bing forced a smile and said, “Jing’er, these clothes are pretty good, but they don’t seem like something a chef should be wearing. Did you want me to wear this to the competition?”
Xue Jing giggled, saying, “Is there some rule saying you can’t? I think that they’re very nice! In fact, let these clothes be a gift to you. Let’s go, we should go receive guests. Father is already in the main hall. ”
These two people returned to the main hall of the Pure Wind House, where everything was almost set up. Ming Yuan and Xue Ji immediately went to greet Nian Bing when they saw him come. Xue Ji’s eyes sparkled, and he said, “Nian Bing, if I was thirty, forty years old, maybe I would be jealous of you. You’re really good looking!”
Nian Bing forced a smile and said, “Uncle, don’t tease me. I am a chef. Wearing stuff like this does not seem suited to making food.”
Xue Ji laughed and said, “Don’t worry about it, don’t worry about it. I think it looks very good. This time, I want to make Jin Hao from the Grand Pavilion completely admit defeat. Ai, Lord Marquis has come.”
Everyone’s gaze was directed towards the two people at the entrance.. While bowing in salute, Nian Bing looked out and saw that the two people were dressed in splendid clothing. The first person was a stranger, but Nian Bing recognized the man on the left. He was Luo Rou’s father, manager of the finances of Ice Snow City, the Earl Luo Hao. Lagging behind the person on the right by half a step, his fat face exuded a faint smiling expression. The person on the right looked to be about 40 years old and was very tall and appeared majestic. Although he only wore simple dress clothes, he emitted an imperceptible air of dignity, proof of his unordinary status.
Xue Ji and Ming Yuan immediately went to receive them. “Lord Marquis, welcome to the Pure Wind House. You really cast great splendor onto my humble shack!”
The Marquis smiled slightly and said, “Big Bro Xue, we are friends. There’s no need to be so polite. I’ve waited for this competition for so long. It seems that Chef Ming has some new invention.”
Xue Ji secretly smiled. He said, “Lord Marquis, I would never dare to fight a battle I’m not certain of. Since I dared to raise the challenge, I naturally have some measure of certainty. I would like to introduce a young talent to you. Nian Bing, come. This is the lord of our Ice Snow City, the Marquis Nuo Ya. Although the Marquis comes from a military background, he is also a connoisseur of fine food. Today, he is acting as the executive judge.”
Nian Bing stepped forward, and bowed lightly. He greeted Nuo Ya, “Commoner Nian Bing pays his respects to the Lord Marquis.”
Nuo Ya looked at Nian Bing, whose bearing was unusually handsome and elegant. His eyes couldn’t help but show a sliver of surprise. “Big Bro Xue! Which family has such a handsome young man as a son?”
Xue Ji laughed slightly and said, “Lord Marquis, please forgive me for my secrecy. You will know later. Please come in and sit.”
Although the marquis still had his suspicions, Xue Ji’s status was not just one of a simple restaurant owner. If he had to offend someone, he definitely would not offend Xue Ji. With the powers behind Xue Ji, one couldn’t afford to offend him, even if he had the status of a marquis. It would be more accurate to say, that except the imperial household, there were very few people who could afford to offend him. Following Xue Ji’s guidance, Marquis Nuo Ya and Earl Luo Hao sat behind a long table. Xue Ji sat alongside them. He said to Luo Hao, “Lord Earl, is Rou’er not coming with you today?”
Luo Hao smiled, saying, “I can’t control that girl, but with the capital as such today, she wouldn’t miss this event. When I was going out, she said she would change clothes and be along shortly.”
Right at this moment, two people came in from outside. Nian Bing was much more familiar with these two. They were Long Zhi and Long Ling, the father daughter pair. Nian Bing immediately went up to greet them. “President, you came too?”
Long Zhi smiled slightly and said, “Besides magic, my other hobby is eating. I am a regular customer at the Pure Wind House. When I heard about today’s competition, even if it wasn’t to give Big Bro Xue some face, I would’ve come to cheer you on! I also wanted to try the tasty dishes from that super chef, who was highly praised even by Big Bro Xue and Ming Yuan.”
Long Ling was still wearing her light blue magic gown. When she saw Nian Bing’s attire, her beautiful eyes sparkled with a trace of distress, making Nian Bing’s heart hurt. He was almost unable to stop himself from asking, but he endured. His mother’s expression of despair reverberated in his mind. In order to become stronger, he definitely could not so easily explore the feelings between men and women.
Xue Ji walked out again to greet Long Zhi. He said, “It’s good that you’ve come. The Lords Marquis and Earl have already come. Let’s go, Judge Long, you should take a seat.”
Nian Bing knew that Long Zhi was one of the judges. With his status as the President of the Mage Association, he was qualified to be a judge. With such great people as judges, Xue Ji had really gone all out. He had entrusted all his hopes to Nian Bing. It seems that in today’s competition, Nian Bing could not lose. This was repaying Xue Ji for the Proud Sky Knife.
Xue Jing had dragged Long Ling off to the side to talk quietly. Nian Bing did not know what he should be doing right now. Ming Yuan walked up next to him, and asked in a low voice, “Nian Bing, what dish are you going to make?”
Nian Bing said, “Master Ming, what kind of requirements or rules does this competition have? This is my first time ever participating.”
Ming Yuan said, “The requirements are simple. Both sides must each make the three dishes they are most confident in within the allotted hour. That’s it. Then the judges will decide on the victor. There is a huge force behind the Grand Pavilion. Their owner, Jin Hao, is the current Ice Moon Empire’s His Majesty the King’s older brother-in-law. His little sister is His Majesty the King’s most beloved imperial concubine. With this level of relationship, except for a dish with an exponentially better taste, the final result will be a tie. Do you get what I’m saying?”
Nian Bing smiled slightly and said, “I understand. To keep the balance in the relationship between the Pure Wind House and the Grand Pavilion, Lord Marquis cannot decide the winner of the competition so lightly. Rest assured I will make them accept their loss . In fact, I think I know the three dishes I want to make already.”
Ming Yuan smiled lightly and said, “It’s good that you’ve already grasped that. Today, I will be the sous-chef.” The sous-chef actually acted as an assistant and was responsible for side-dishes and other low level work.
Nian Bing jumped in shock. Immediately, he said, “How is this okay? How can I let you be the assistant? Actually, I believe that your strength is enough to achieve victory.”
Ming Yuan shook his head and said, “Although I have a lot of pride, I also have great knowledge of myself. Last time, the tie was very forced. The head chef of the Grand Pavilion is named Liao Feng and is called the Golden Chef. His forte is in making exceedingly resplendent dishes. He is among the most promising chefs I’ve seen. After a few years of practice, his level will definitely exceed mine. If it was me matched with him, maybe there wouldn’t be a chance to maintain the tie. If this wasn’t the case, why would Owner always try to stall the fight? This time, I will be relying on you. I want to see more of the skills that Senior Demon Chef passed on to you.”
Nian Bing wanted to say something, but Ming Yuan cut him off. Ming Yuan smiled lightly, saying, “Don’t try to refuse this. To be the assistant chef to the successor of the Demon Chef is my honor. Our opponents have arrived.”
Following Ming Yuan’s gaze, Nian Bing saw a line of people coming in from the outer corridor. At the very front were two people. The left person was extremely tall and wore a golden cheongsam that looked exceedingly luxurious. He was fifty or so years old. His eyes were not big, but they glittered with a faint resplendence. Walking in line with him was someone wearing a snow white chef’s outfit. A youth wearing a tall hat. He looked to be around Shi Jiu’s age. Although his appearance was not above Nian Bing’s, he also could be regarded as handsome. The pitiful thing was that his handsome face carried an arrogant air, which made people unable to look at him. Behind them were the two shopkeepers from the Grand Pavilion, as well as three chefs wearing chef outfits. These people were obviously the assistant chefs.
There was no need for Ming Yuan to introduce them. Nian Bing could guess that the golden-robed person was the Grand Pavilion’s owner, Jin Hao, and at his side was the head chef of the Grand Pavilion, Golden Chef Liao Feng.
Jin Hao and his group of people went to the judges to greet them respectfully. Jin Hao said, “Jin Hao and the chefs from the Grand Pavilion pay their respects to the Lords Marquis and Earl.” Although he was a relative of the imperial family, he didn’t possess an government position, so he maintained his etiquette.
Marquis Nuo Ya and Earl Luo Hao stood. Nuo Ya smiled while speaking, “Brother Jin, there’s no need to be polite. Come, take a seat. Today we shall enjoy the dragons battle, and the tigers fight. 1”
Jin Hao made a noise agreement and walked to the judges’ seating. At this time, Liao Feng turned toward Ming Yuan. Upon looking at Ming Yuan, his eyes exuded a provocative light. “Dragons battle, tigers fight? I don’t think that will necessarily happen.”
Jin Hao admonished him. “Liao Feng, you can’t be so mannerless. Go and prepare.” Liao Feng made a sound in an agreement. After greeting the people at the judges table, he headed to the cooking counter on his side.
Jin Hao’s gaze turned to Xue Ji. Smiling slightly, he said, “Brother Xue, is Master Ming finally okay? We have put off this competition for over a year. It seems that you have some certainty?”
Xue Ji smiled slightly while speaking. “Brother Jin is very courteous. Master Ming’s body is in very good condition, but he still suffers from some minor ailments. I’m afraid they might be exacerbated.”
Jin Hao laughed aloud and said, “Not a problem, not a problem. Since Master Ming is sick, even if you lose, then you still have this excuse. Anyways, our main focus is to be exchanging notes.” Although the words he spoke were beautiful, anyone could see the barbs hidden within.
Xue Ji smiled faintly and said, “Lose? Please teach me how to write this world. I’m a martial artist, my foundations in literature are exceedingly poor.”
Jin Hao coldly snorted. He said, “Okay, today I will teach you how to write the word ‘lose.’ However, Brother Xue, should we hedge some luck on on this competition? So that our two chef’s effort won’t be in vain.” Xue Ji had long been prepared for such words. “What do you want to bet on Brother Jin?”
Jin Hao cast his gaze on Liao Feng, who was busy making preparations. He said, “Not long ago, my insignificant self acquired a precious object. I want to use it to bet Brother Xue’s Pure Wind House. Our Grand Pavilion has resplendence to spare, but not enough elegance. If the two restaurants were combined, that would be a wonderful thing. Brother Xue, how about it?”
Hearing that Jin Hao wanted to bet on the Pure Wind House, Long Zhi, Nuo Ya, and Luo Hao could not help but be shocked. The Pure Wind House was Xue Ji’s life. If Xue Ji lost, it was equivalent to him not being able to continue living in Ice Snow City. Such stakes were really big. Just as they were thinking that Xue Ji wouldn’t answer, Xue Ji opened his mouth. “That’s fine! However, what is Brother Jin going to bet? I have squandered my heart’s blood for half of my life on the Pure Wind House. If you don’t have an equivalent item, I won’t bet. In my eyes, even if it was Brother Jin’s Grand Pavilion, it wouldn’t be enough to fit my standards.”
Jin Hao listened to his retaliation. Coldy, he smiled. He said, “The Grand Pavilion is not enough by your standards? Then please take a look, Brother Xue, to see if this item matches your standards.” While saying this, he stuck his hand into his chest pocket and pulled out a black square shaped box. Upon seeing it, Xue Ji’s face could not help but change slightly;he recognized that the box was made out of lead. A lead box was no doubt used to conceal the item’s radiance, or its ability to use the elements. Since he had previously owned the Proud Sky Knife, he understood this very well.
Jin Hao’s eyes seemed to exude a complacent smile. Slowly, he opened the box. A golden light immediately pierced through the air, filling the entire hall. It was a very pure gold color, and unconsciously filled people with an amiable feeling. In the box was a golden precious stone. It’s light, although dazzling, was not harsh on the eyes. Everyone could clearly see a round gem, a round gem without any blemishes. The gem was transparent, but filled with a golden light. Every ray of light was very gentle. The golden light illuminated everything and made people relaxed, as if a gentle spring breeze was blowing. The gentle golden light gradually dissipated, except for a ring of golden light centered on the gem that would pulse outwards. From this sight, it was not hard to see the preciousness of the gem.
Other people may be dazzled by the outward appearance of the gem, but Nian Bing, Long Zhi and Long Ling knew otherwise. Because they were mages, they could tell that this gem was emitting a strong magic element that was not inferior to the Humming Wind Stone. It had the power of light. The scarcely seen light element was surging brightly. Except for the aura of darkness, any sort of magic element that came in contact with the light element would give birth to a very amiable feeling.
- See a fight between great powers ↩