Chapter 29.1 – Ice and Fire Nine Layered Heavens
With each person harboring a different feeling in their hearts, Nian Bing’s gaze finally left the knife. He slowly raised his head, watching the industrious Liao Feng before him. Calmly, he said, “Master Ming, in a moment, you must toss me each ingredient as I ask for it. It would be much appreciated if you threw it in front of my chest. Great Ice and Snow Goddess! Please grant me your wrath, deliver us to the lost, holy shore, ——Snowstorm.”
Under the effect of Nian Bing’s enchantment, the temperature in the hall dropped as snowflakes appeared in midair. The bizarre thing was that the snowflakes did not interfere with Liao Feng on the opposite side; they only appeared by Nian Bing. The light blue snowflakes supported Nian Bing’s body as he floated into the air. He flew out from behind the cooking counter and in front of the gazes of the shocked crowd, slowly came to a stop in the center of the hall. Liao Feng could not help but slow down his hands a little when he saw Nian Bing’s unusual form. He nearly made a mistake, but he immediately reigned in his emotions and continued to make his own dishes. The snowstorm coalesced beneath Nian Bing’s feet under his superior magic control, forming a spiral of snow and wind. Nian Bing was surprised to discover that the Proud Sky Knife he held in his hand was continuously emitting wind aura that made the rotation of the snowstorm even faster. The ceiling of the Pure Wind House hall was very high; it approached ten meters. Nian Bing hovered at about two meters from the ground. Lightly, he called out, “Green onion.”
Ming Yuan tossed a clean green onion towards Nian Bing’s chest. The scallion disappeared as a green light transformed into countless afterimages. “Ginger.”
Just as before, a ginger flew into that green light and also disappeared. Marquis Nuo Ya and Xue Ji’s had the highest martial arts level among the guests, but even they could only vaguely see the green onion and ginger turn into dust, surrounded by the green knife light. It was unlikely that the ingredients had fallen from the place where Ming Yuan had thrown them. This kind of midair cooking was a first for everyone; a gorgeous scene that immediately surpassed Liao Feng’s display.
“Whole chicken.” A clean whole chicken flew at Nian Bing, who used his left hand to grab it by the foot and toss it into the air. While it was up in the air, he produced a fireball in his left hand that formed into a disk shape under his magic control. In Nian Bing’s hand, the Proud Sky Knife arced. A wave of ice flashed forward to wrap around the oil dispensor. With a flick of the wrist, the utensil immediately poured out a portion of clear oil. The flame in Nian Bing’s left hand rose higher into the air as it accurately caught the oil. The knife light in his right hand instantly disappeared as the diced green onions and ginger were simultaneously thrown into the fire. The whole chicken descended from the sky and fell directly into the the flames that had soared up into the air because of the oil. In just a moment, the scallion and ginger were stir-fried in oil and gave out a fragrance that filled the entire hall.
Long Zhi had already gotten to his feet. He couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw the blaze in Nian Bing’s left hand. That was obviously fire magic! Although it was only a low level flame skill, it was coming from the hands of an ice mage. Long Zhi couldn’t even imagine what this meant. He was doubting what was in front of him, but Nian Bing’s actions did not stop.
A green light flashed, and the fifty centimeters long Proud Sky Knife directly stabbed into the chicken. Under Nian Bing’s skilled movements, the chicken was continuously turned. The fragrances of the green onions and ginger combined with the chicken’s fragrance as it was roasted together. The flame in Nian Bing’s hand started to undergo a metamorphosis. It pulsated in waves of strong and weak flames, moving from left to right as it separated into nine layers of different-sized flames that continually roasted the chicken body. Nian Bing’s body, under the influence of the snow storm, slowly moved towards the kitchen counter. Suddenly, the snow storm drifted away and left Nian Bing in front of the counter. He speedily picked up two lotus leaves and wrapped the chicken with them. The chicken was then quickly rotated over the flame three times before the blaze disappeared. A blue light flashed, and surrounding the lotus leaves was a thick layer of around three centimeter of ice. From fire came ice. Everything had happened very naturally, but everyone knew that ice and fire were two different extremes. For one mage to possess both type of magics, what could that imply? It had already surpassed their imagination.
Luo Rou finally understood. She understood why there had been two types of magic when Third Manager Liao had been killed. She also understood that the Magic Reaper was only one person.
The chicken wrapped in ice was set on a table. The snowstorm again swept away Nian Bing’s body as he floated above the ground. This time, his words came much more quickly. “Green onion, ginger, garlic.” While saying what he needed, Nian Bing directed the snow storm to position himself above the counter. With the snow and wind blowing beneath him, Nian Bing immediately swept all of the seasonings into the air. Under the influence of his tremendous magic control, the seasoning dispensers floated in front of Nian Bing. A blue light condensed in Nian Bing’s palm, quickly turning into a gigantic ice spoon. Green onion, ginger, and garlic simultaneously fell into the growing ice spoon. In fact, it could no longer be described as a spoon, but rather a pot forged out of ice. Nian Bing bit the Proud Sky knife between his teeth, waved his right hand, and created another ice spoon. This time, it was much smaller. The ice spoon was quickly sent into the ice pot to stir and mix all kind of seasoning. His right hand closed and the ice ladle disappeared, and was replaced by a fireball. The ball of flame flew into the pot. With a bang, the contents of the pot were immediately set on fire. This wasn’t an ordinary fireball technique, it was a bursting flame! This time, Nian Bing didn’t instantaneously cast the magic. He didn’t have the ability to quickly cast the bursting flame. Instead, he used a small scroll and relied on his superior magic control to ingeniously fry the ingredients. The knife again fell to his right hand as he yelled out, “Tomatoes, two of them.”
Ming Yuan flicked his hand, and two tomatoes were thrown at Nian Bing. He didn’t even look at what he was doing, for fear of wasting a moment.
Green light flashed, and immediately wrapped around the red tomatoes. Two red things were sent flying out from the green light. The judges were surprised to see that it was actually the tomato skin. The skin was whole, and had only one nick. Using a knife to peel tomato skin, this level of knife skill had already made the judges’ jaws drop in shock. The red juice was scattered into the flames of the ice pot. Under the effects of the Proud Sky Knife, the tomatoes had already turned into tomato juice that soaked into the seasonings. The tomato juice immediately melted into the flame before Nian Bing’s hand shook a little bit, and it was immediately thrown up into the air, This time under the effects of the extremely high temperatures of the bursting flame, the seasoning completely dissolved into the tomato juice. The ice pot was raised in the air, and once again the tomato juice was drawn into the pot. “Lamb ribs.”
Half a rack of lamb ribs were sent flying into the air. Proud Sky glinted, and the ribs were evenly separated into smaller pieces before falling into the pot. The contact between the lamb ribs and the boiling juices gave birth to a piercing sound. Nian Bing flicked his wrist and got rid of the ice pot, smoothly setting it on the counter. Nian Bing pointed a finger at the pot, and the flame technique once again appeared, making the once extinguished bursting flame once again ignite. Nian Bing said calmly, “Master Ming, I must trouble you to sprinkle a teaspoon of oil into the pot every three breaths.” The ice pot was continuously melting and became see through. You could see entirely the sheep ribs and tomato juice being boiled continuously on the inside.
Nian Bing floated downwards, and the snowstorm returned the seasoning dispensers back to the counter. He brought his hands together, and the whirling snowstorm began to condense until it became an ice cube half a meter in diameter. The ice cube was about 20 centimeters thick. Nian Bing concentrated on the ice cube before him. Immediately, the Proud Sky Knife became a sparkling green light which circled around the ice cube once. It pared off all of the uneven protrusions. Proud Sky, like a spring breeze, trembled in Nian Bing’s hand, emitting a low groaning sound. The Free Wind’s Gentle Hymn danced around the ice cube.
The green light then subsided as Nian Bing returned to behind the counter. The circular chunk of ice had been neatly divided into eight pieces that were still connected. Every portion appeared to be triangular in a shape. Every piece was exactly the same size. Nian Bing’s left hand pressed on the ice chunk, dividing into eight ice plates. Immediately, an icy coldness wrapped around the ice plates, to prevent them from melting. Nian Bing called out, “Potatoes, carrots, cucumber, sweet potato, pork, mutton, beef, dog meat. One portion of each.” These ingredients had already been prepared. Just as Nian Bing opened his mouth, Ming Yuan immediately put them in front of him.
While Ming Yuan was putting the ingredients Nian Bing had requested on the counter, the latter grabbed a pot from next to him and poured in fresh water. His left hand grabbed a scroll from his chest pocket. Activating it with magic, the bursting flame immediately appeared in the center of his hand. The water in the pot was sent into a near-boil very quickly. Nian Bing used his teeth to bite down on the pot handle, while his left hand controlled the flame. His right hand held the Proud Sky Knife as he chose two cleaned snow white fish. This was the Ice Moon Empire’s regional speciality, the extreme ice snow fish. They only lived in the sea of ice to the north of the Ice Moon Empire. There were no scales on its body, meat was extremely delicious, and its nutritional value was exceptional. The snow fish was the most precious out of the ingredients that Nian Bing needed today.
Green knife lights rained down on the fish. First, the Proud Sky Knife had to remove the two fish’s head and tail. In four successive cuts, the fish’s head and tail had immediately fallen to the side. The fish body was picked up and a tinkling sound could be heard. Nian Bing did not use the knife to hack at the fish. He instead used the flat of the blade to slap at the fish body. With soft sounds, at the two cut ends of the fish, a white pointed tip emerged. The Proud Sky Knife was raised gently, and two white strands were immediately pulled out of the fish’s body. The knife light suddenly turned back and the two snow fish broke down into a paste. In that moment, no one could see clearly how many cuts had Nian Bing made.
The snow fish paste was added into the boiling water. The umami taste of the fish soup emerged quickly. Nian Bing set the knife next to him and used his right hand to take the ice pot from his mouth. Looking at the milky white fish soup, a slight smile couldn’t help but cross his face. The bursting flame disappeared, and the fish soup was left boiling inside the cast iron pot from the remaining heat. Nian Bing put the pot to the side and went to the counter. The green light flashed, and with the assistance of the wind from the Proud Sky Knife, his hand speed reached never before obtained heights. Under the effects of the Proud Sky Knife, the eight items that Nian Bing had previously prepared were immediately shredded into thread-like filaments. As far as Nian Bing considered, this was incredibly easy for him.
Each of the eight kinds of ingredients were placed into the ice plates. Nian Bing used a spoon to put a small amount of different kinds of seasonings on the eight portions. The fish soup in the iron pot was still boiling as he finished up. With a smile, Nian Bing spoke to Ming Yuan next to him. “Master Ming, please pour the fish soup into the ice plates.” While saying this, he simultaneously used both his hands to press down on the counter. Two circular disks gradually formed out of condensed ice. At this time, the ice pot that had been holding the sheep ribs had melted into a perilously thin layer. The pot would soon break, and the fire inside the ice was also extremely close into extinguishing.
Nian Bing looked at the ice plates he had made. With a flick of his wrist, an ice plate slid across the counter. He had perfectly timed the placement of the ice plate. As soon as the plate reached its destination, the ice pot shattered. The lamb ribs wrapped in tomato juice were piled on the center of the ice plate. At this time, the seasoned tomato juice had already turned into a sticky sauce because of the amount of time they had spent in the fire. They completely wrapped around the sheep ribs, not allowing the slightest bit of excess tomato juice to escape. A discerning person would know that this dish was already complete.
Nian Bing’s gaze turned back to his first dish, the chicken wrapped in his ice. He tossed the chicken into the air, his right hand throwing out a bursting flame scroll. With a bang, the ice cube exploded in the flame. The lotus leaves burned into nothing, and the golden colored chicken fell down while wrapped in fire. Nian Bing picked up the other ice plate he made to catch the chicken. Next, all kinds of ingredients were quickly shuffled in his hands, while he arranged the two ice plates. For Nian Bing, this was not difficult. Just as all the ingredients had been arranged beautifully, his two hands pressed down on the void above the ice plates and immediately, two ice covers appeared on top of the plate. They had completely fused with the ice plates, hiding the food completely.
Proud Sky dimmed as Nian Bing put it back in the lead box. He fished out a cloth bag from his chest pocket and took out something that pulsated in light blue color. The Demonic Engraving knife appeared once again..
At this time, the fish soup had already been poured into the eight deep ice plates. Nian Bing chanted softly, “The ghostly hand descends to overturn the heavens, the engraving becomes the billowing waves that revolves a hundred times, the work of god for all eternity will remain as the knife reflects the waning moon in the cold spring.” The blue light of the Demonic Engraving seemed to dance as it flew away. Bits of ice were scattered nonstop, and eight different designs were engraved in quick succession on the outer part of the eight ice plates. Each of the eight designs engraved in each plate corresponded to a specific ingredient. The carvings were fine and delicate, vivid and lifelike.
“Time is up. If the two chefs would please serve their dishes to the judges.” In shock, Marquis Nuo Ya announced the end of the competition.
Liao Feng stood lifelessly behind his own counter. His three dishes had already been finished while Nian Bing was in the air. Everything that Nian Bing had done had already exceeded the scope of his knowledge.
Jin Hao’s face had turned a deathly grey. Although he had not tried the dishes, he feared that he had already lost.