Chapter 28.2 – Staking the Dazzling Holy Brilliance Stone
Although the level of this stone and the Humming Wind Stone were equal, the fact that light mages were rare made this stone a little bit worse than the Humming Wind Stone in terms of usage. Although very few people could use this stone’s magic element to its fullest potential, that did not diminish its value at all. The light aura could not only help people stabilize their emotions, but it could also dispel many kinds of evil auras. If kept on their person, even an ordinary person could increase their resistance against attacks and calm their hearts.
“I purchased this stone from a businessman who was in dire straits. It is called Holy Brilliance, an innate light elemental stone. I have already had someone examine it – this stone is void of other ores and impurities; it is made completely of condensed light element. It could even be said to have been blessed by the heavens. It would be very hard to find another of its kind on this continent. Anyway, I was thinking of offering this to His Majesty, the King. However, since Brother Xue said that my Grand Pavilion does not compare to his Pure Wind House, I could only bring this out. I don’t know what Brother Xue thinks. Is this Holy Brilliance Gem enough for you to bet on?”
Xue Ji’s gaze was directed to Nian Bing. He could not help but hesitate. After all, the Pure Wind House was his heart’s blood for half of his life. If he lost it, how could he remain established in Ice Snow City?
At this moment, Nian Bing was thinking about how many high-grade magic arrays were based on light magic. Light magic was a bit more complicated to understand and was an indispensable part of strong intermediate level magic arrays. Since Nian Bing did not possess the ability to use light magic, acquiring the Holy Brilliance Gem would be extremely advantageous for his magic array research. He could even rely on the gem’s aura to make dishes from light magic. Seeing Xue Ji’s expression, he shot him a confident gaze before he strode up to the judges’ table. Afterwards, he took the box with the Proud Sky Knife inside of it and placed it on top of the judges table.
“Owner Jin, though your Holy Brilliance Gem is undoubtedly precious, if you were to bet it for the Pure Wind House, then the relationship between the two establishments would definitely be harmed. Instead, I’ll use the item in this box to bet against your Holy Brilliance Gem.”
Jin Hao snorted coldly. He had already taken notice of the outsider, Nian Bing, whose qualities had already surprised him. Seeing as he was a relative of the emperor however, he did not put Nian Bing in his eyes. He snorted coldly and retorted, “What qualifications do you have to bet with me? Don’t tell me that this box contains an item comparable to Holy Brilliance?”
Nian Bing did not get angry because of Jin Hao’s contempt. He merely spoke calmly, “Whether or not it is worthy enough to gamble, I would have to ask Owner Jin to see the item before speaking. As for me, I am a part of the Pure Wind House.”
Xue Ji secretly let out a sigh of relief. Although the Proud Sky Knife was precious, he had already given it to Nian Bing. What’s more, the Proud Sky Knife was very far from comparing with the Pure Wind House in his heart. “That’s right, Nian Bing does represent me. The item in this box is not any less valuable than Brother Jin’s.”
Nian Bing opened the brocade box, and the same situation as yesterday occurred. In an instant, green light burst into the air as the golden light receded to the side. The two lights, gold and green, did not reject each other. Each occupied their own spot as they shone continuously. Nian Bing thrust his hand into the box and pulled out the Proud Sky Knife. He presented the knife handle to the judges and spoke calmly, “This knife is called Proud Sky. It is Uncle Xue’s item. The knife handle is inlayed with the Humming Wind Stone, whose quality is not any lower than your Holy Brilliance. The knife body is cast out of Green Metal Ore. It should be enough to compare with the Holy Brilliance Gem.”
A greedy gaze sparkled in Jin Hao’s eyes. He was about to speak when an eager voice suddenly interjected. “Old Jin, I want this knife, it’s a really good knife!”
Following the voice, Liao Feng strode up in front of the judges table. His greedy gaze was fixed on Proud Sky in Nian Bing’s hands. “A good knife, a really good knife. Old Jin, I definitely want this knife. Bet it with him.”
Jin Hao had actually wanted to use the Holy Brilliance Gem to argue for an even better deal, but since Liao Feng had made such a decision, there was nothing more to say. He closed the lid of Holy Brilliance’s box and said, “Okay, it’s a bet. I ask the lord Marquis and the lord Earl to stand as witnesses.” While saying this, he pushed the box containing Holy Brilliance in front of the Marquis.
Throughout his life as a marquis, Nuo Ya had seen an innumerable amount of treasures. However, right now, such treasures could not possibly compare to the two items in front of him. He resisted his desires with great difficulty and nodded his head. “Okay, as the Marquis, I stand witness to your bet. This is good; gambling items is a lot better than gambling your homes. It also helps to avoid damaging friendships. Now, let the competition begin. The usual rules stand; time limit is one hour.”
Liao Feng’s eyes were filled with self-confidence as he shot a sharp gaze at Ming Yuan. Ming Yuan’s face bore a slightly strange smile. “Liao Feng, it’s good that youngsters have talent, but being too arrogant can lead to quite a wretched downfall. It’s a waste for you to be looking at me, because today I am not the main actor. The person you are competing with is standing next to you.”
Liao Feng and Jin Hao were both shocked. The two people’s lines of sight fell onto Nian Bing. Liao Feng sized up Nian Bing, who outwardly looked like a nobleman’s son. Suspicious, he asked, “Him? He’s considered a chef with an appearance like that?”
Xue Ji smiled slightly and said, “Why can’t he be? Nian Bing is my newly hired head chef. He has the same position as Brother Ming. Today, he is representing the Pure Wind House in this competition. The challenge I issued didn’t say that Ming Yuan would be challenging Liao Feng; rather, it said that the Pure Wind House was challenging the Grand Pavilion. Nian Bing is a part of my Pure Wind House; naturally, he has the qualifications to enter the competition.
At the judges table, the Marquis and the Earl’s eyes were filled with shocked expressions. Marquis Nuo Ya was a little more discreet; after all, he had never seen Nian Bing. Earl Luo Hao had already seen him wearing a fire mage’s robe at his daughter’s banquet. He was the one chosen for his daughter’s first dance at the banquet. Combined with Nian Bing’s appearance, it naturally gave him an extremely deep impression. He turned his head to look at Long Zhi and asked, “President, isn’t this Nian Bing fellow a part of your association? How come he has run off to the Pure Wind House to be a chef?”
Long Zhi smiled bitterly and said, “I didn’t want to make him go there, but Big Brother Xue Ji’s maneuvering is too good! The Proud Sky Knife in Nian Bing’s hand was the price for him to be a chef.”
Jin Hao’s eyes glinted. His original plan had been destroyed. He never would have thought that Xue Ji would make an outside chef face off against Liao Feng. From Xue Ji’s confident gaze, he understood that this youngster would definitely not have just ordinary accomplishments in the field of cooking. “Lord Marquis, it seems a bit inappropriate that the Pure Wind House has swapped people.”
At this time, Nuo Ya looked at Nian Bing with surprise. Hearing what was said, he smiled slightly and responded, “There isn’t anything wrong with it. Brother Xue never said anything about who his participant would be. This is a challenge between Pure Wind House and the Grand Pavilion. I want to see this youngster’s cooking specialty. Stop delaying; the competition has begun.”
Right at this time, everyone’s eyes flashed with light. At the entrance, Luo Rou had appeared, wearing an azure changqun. She dressed simply today. Her dress was plain, devoid of any ornaments. Her long blue hair was combed back, held neatly by a headband. When she entered the doorway, she immediately attracted everyone’s attention. Even Liao Feng, standing next to Nian Bing, held bewitchment in his eyes.
Luo Rou walked up to the judges table and made the proper greetings. “Uncle Nuo Ya, Father, Uncle Xue, Uncle Jin, Rou’er came late. She asks for your forgiveness.”
Seeing the city-wide famous intelligent female, no matter if it was Jin Hao or Xue Ji, the expression on their faces softened. Luo Rou relied on her intelligence to win their respect. In Ice Snow City, though she was just a young woman, the respect afforded to her wasn’t any less than her father. Nuo Ya laughed and said, “I know you, such a lively girl. Quickly, come sit by your father and enjoy the show. Today’s competition will be very exciting; the Pure Wind House has brought in a new chef.”
Luo Rou looked at Nian Bing, her eyes exuding a slightly challenging light. With a small smile, she said, “Niece has already seen his cooking skills – they are truly unforgettable. I want to see who will win in a match up between him and the Golden Chef.” Her words were very ordinary; she wasn’t lauding Nian Bing at all. However, this simple sentence had raised Nian Bing onto the same level as Liao Feng.
Liao Feng smiled slightly and said, “Miss Wise Girl, you haven’t come to our Grand Pavilion in a long time. If you have any free time, please come and visit. Liao Feng will definitely cook for you personally, making things especially for the young Miss to eat.”
Luo Rou lightly smiled and said, “That’s great! However, if Luo Rou monopolizes the famous Golden Chef, she’s afraid that customers would be upset and come to bother her about it.” She deliberately made a scared expression, immediately teasing a hearty laugh out of the judges. Liao Feng immediately followed up. “No way, no way. My name isn’t all that great and pales considerably to Miss Wise Girl’s reputation. At most, it’s a bit better than the Pure Wind House.”
Nian Bing looked on with the impassivity of a bystander. He hadn’t seen Liao Feng’s cooking skills before, but based on the arrogance he was showing to Luo Rou, Nian Bing gathered that Liao Feng’s cooking comprehension was not inferior to Ming Yuan’s. Any accomplishments that he made today, perhaps only relied on innate talent. Nian Bing looked him over lazily, and then headed for the cooking counter on his side.
Xue Jing suddenly bounded up from the side. When she got in front of Nian Bing, she said, “Lower your head. Why’d you gotta grow that tall?”
Nian Bing looked at her blankly, but complied with her demands. “It seems that you’re not short either. I am just a little taller than you are.”
Xue Jing smiled slightly. From behind her, she brought out a snow white chef’s hat. She personally set it atop Nian Bing’s golden hair. When it was settled firmly, she said, “En, with this, you look just like a chef.”
Seeing Xue Jing and Nian Bing’s intimate appearance, Long Ling could not help but lower her head sadly. A strange light flashed in the corner of Luo Rou’s eyes.
After Marquis Nuo Ya’s voice decreed the beginning of the competition, Liao Feng finally returned to his cooking counter. In a low voice, he instructed his three underlings as they started to move. Nian Bing stood behind his own counter, but was not anxiously taking action at all. As Nian Bing observed his opponent, he was surprised to discover that he had underestimated Liao Feng. Standing behind the counter, Liao Feng expertly brandished his shiny kitchen knife. His attention was extremely focused. All kinds of ingredients took shape continuously under his hands. He could immediately repress his emotions and focus on just the cooking counter. He was not an easy opponent at all.
Ming Yuan spoke in a low voice next to Nian Bing’s ears. “What are we doing? I saw what you asked Jing Jing to bring. They were all ordinary ingredients. How do you plan to cook them?”
Nian Bing smiled slightly and said, “Today, I will use beauty to fight beauty. I want to crush the Golden Chef Liao Feng in every aspect, so we cannot move hastily.”
The one who was the most confident in Nian Bing was not Xue Ji, but Ming Yuan. As a fellow chef, it was very clear to him that he and Nian Bing were in totally different realms. Even if Nian Bing were to once again make the Nine Mysterious Green Dragons Concealed in Clouds of Ice, it would be enough for victory. On top of that, Nian Bing now had the Proud Sky Knife. There wasn’t any suspense in this competition.
Nian Bing lowered his head to look at the Proud Sky Knife in his hands. A green light circulated around the knife. Feeling the wind wrapped around his hand, and the activity of the wind elements, Nian Bing suddenly realized that the Ice and Fire magic source inside of him seemed to be calling out to Proud Sky. He should have no way of utilizing the wind element, but at the call of the Ice and Fire magic source, he was enveloped in an intimate feeling. It was a wonderful, cozy feeling. Nian Bing’s mood had completely become one with the knife. He became lost in this state, seeming to forget time.
At the judges table, the Marquis Nuo Ya turned to ask Xue Ji, “Brother Xue, your newly hired chef is only looking at his knife. Is he not going to move at all? You see, Liao Feng is already in full swing. An hour is not that long. If he can’t finish the competition because he moved too slowly, I can only declare it as the Pure Wind House’s loss.”
Xue Ji’s eyebrows creased. He was also worrying about this same problem. If Nian Bing could not even complete the competition, then no one could help the Pure Wind House. He really wanted to go and wake up Nian Bing, but the Wise Girl Luo Rou next to Luo Hao said, “You don’t need to bother him. He is constantly surprising people with strange things. Since he is not moving, it is naturally because he is certain in himself. Just watch him.”
On Liao Feng’s side, he had already started cooking the first dish. The flame rocketed in the air. Liao Feng’s expression remained at ease and unrestrained. Every kitchen tool was flying in his hands. A delicious fragrance assailed the nostrils. His three helper chefs continuously supplied him with ingredients.
It was half an hour into the competition, and Liao Feng had already started cooking his final dish. Meanwhile, Nian Bing was still looking at the knife in his hand without moving. Ming Yuan, who stood next to him, was extremely excited to see the absolute mastery of the Demon Chef’s successor. They were not worried, but Xue Ji was another case. The competition was already half over and Nian Bing still hadn’t made a move. This competition was related to the reputation of the Pure Wind House and the ownership of the Proud Sky Knife! Jin Hao, next to him, smiled coldly inside. He earnestly wished for Nian Bing to remain in this state up until the end. By beating the Pure Wind House this time, he would not only acquire a precious knife, but he would also make the Pure Wind House unable to raise its head high in the face of the Grand Pavilion.