Chapter 3.1 – A Chef’s Cultivation
Perhaps if Nian Bing continuously cultivated fire magic and entered the realm of intermediate mages, his ice compatible physique might have disappeared as a result of his overpowering fire element. However at this time, Nian Bing had obtained the Ice and Snow Goddess’s Stone. As a first rate precious magic stone, the Ice and Snow Goddess’s Stone produces breaths of the purest ice element. Wordlessly, it had slowly drawn towards Nian Bing’s ice physique. What was originally fire magic power was forced to separate into different halves of his body. Originally, Nian Bing’s cultivated fire magic power was not pure, continuously suffering from the influence of his ice physique. When the Ice and Snow Goddess’s Stone had appeared, the fire magic power within Nian Bing’s body happened to be influenced by it, causing the strengthened ice element to separate from his fire magic power. As a result, regardless of whether it was his ice or fire magic power, they were each separate and extremely pure.
At the age of five, Nian Bing had begun to cultivate magic. Now, five years had past. The number of mages on the Yang Guang Continent were exceedingly rare; this was because the cultivation of a mage was extremely difficult. If a martial practitioner were to informally practice for three years, there would be some degree of achievement. At least they’d be able to attain the level of “Initial Success”. But for a mage without a foundation of ten years of meditation, it would be fundamentally impossible to attain the level of an intermediate mage. Even if an intermediate mage were to battle a martial practitioner that had cultivated only three years, the amount of time needed chant is a most terrible disadvantage. That is why those who choose to cultivate magic are very few. Also, those that succeed in joining with the magic elements are even rarer than those that become intermediate mages. However, mages are an essential existence. Although they would be at a disadvantage in a duel, in a battle on the scale of a legion, they are absolutely essential, especially those advanced mages that are capable of casting lethal large area spells. They often transformed an entire battle’s situation. That is why even if magic is truly difficult to cultivate, that is all along they had justification for their existence.
Last year, Nian Bing had succeeded in becoming an elementary mage. Although it seemed to Rong Tian that this was quite fast, he did not know that Nian Bing’s magic talent was actually extraordinarily outstanding. Were it not for the influence of his ice physique, his progress would have been much faster. But at this moment, under the effects of both the Ice and Snow Goddess’s Stone and the Blazing Flame God’s Stone, the disadvantage that existed for many years had finally disappeared. Because he was only a elementary mage, regardless of whether it was fire element or water element, neither of them would be very strong. Therefore for the time being, he was able to achieve equilibrium within his body. Although his previous disadvantage had disappeared, a new problem had arose. Ice and fire subdued one another. Nian Bing continued to ponder as such. What kind of situation would occur? Could they continuously exist in harmony? Nian Bing did not know the answer. He also did not know what he should do. It is true that the cultivation of magic is quite difficult. But to think of abandoning a type of magic power within his body was even more difficult. Unless he were to receive the assistance of a mage three ranks higher than his own, he would fundamentally be unable to succeed. But at this moment, where would he go to look for a mage?
Lying flat on the bed, Nian Bing continued to ponder about these questions. The left, cold, the right, warm gave the feeling of unease. However, it hadn’t made him feel excessively unwell. What should I do? Continue this kind of meditation? Ice and Fire, these two types of magic power, although they were not much, they felt purely concentrated. Perhaps this was the effect of the two precious stones. Right now, I have no other methods. In order to take revenge, I must have formidable strength. This being the case, I cannot give up cultivating magic, I can only continue. Perhaps if I tread carefully and wait until my magic grows stronger, I could have a way to settle this. Thinking of this, Nian Bing no longer hesitated. Finally after he had begun to separate the fire and ice living his body, he had meditated for the first time. Fire and Ice, these two magic elements, with the aid of the two precious stones, quickly condensed into his body at an amazing speed. Quickly, he fell into a trance.
Early morning, songbird’s chirpings were flooding the entire peach forest. The whole night Zha Ji was unable to sleep. He had risen from bed much earlier.
“Sleepyhead, it’s time to wake up.” Zha Ji opened the room’s door.
Nian Bing had just awoken from meditation not long after. It was just that his whole body felt unusually pure and his energy invigorated. With such an unprecedentedly snug feeling he could not help but let out a moan. He unconsciously stretched his body. Of course, within this snug feeling, there was a strange phenomenon. The already distinct temperatures on either side of his body had grown even farther apart.
Seeing Zha Ji, Nian Bing faintly smiled and said, “Master (Shi Fu 師傅), you woke up so early!”
Originally, Zha Ji was still afraid that his hypnosis had failed, but having heard Nian Bing call him these two words, Shi Fu (Master), he let out a sigh of relief. With a slight smile, he said, “Early? It’s not early. Quickly get up. From today onward, Master will formally start to pass on his culinary arts to you.”
“Alright.” Nian Bing saw that Zha Ji hadn’t suspected him and quickly got up. Taking advantage of Zha Ji’s inattention, he carefully put away the two precious stones. He simple arranged his room and followed Zha Ji out.
“Master, from where do I start learning?” Nian Bing curiously asked. Because he had resolved the matter of his hatred, he currently appeared much more lively than the day before.
With a slight smile, Zha Ji said, “I had thought much about it yesterday, the schedule of what I will teach you everyday. So long as you follow this schedule, you will be fine. Nian Bing, you will become a great chef. Do you know what is the first thing you should experience?”
Nian Bing puzzling shook his head, “I haven’t learned this before. How would I know?”
Zha Ji sternly said, “In order to become a good chef, you must go through a process; The process of becoming familiar with food. Only after becoming completely familiar with all of food’s various flavors and understanding how to taste, will you be able to become a qualified chef. Therefore starting today, you will taste all of my dishes. Let us temper your sense of taste and smell.”
Nian Bing stared blankly for a second and intelligently, he quickly replied, “Master, you don’t mean that you’ll just have me eat everyday? How could I learn the culinary arts like that?”
Zha Ji chuckled and said, “The culinary arts is a craft. Eating is also equivalent to a craft. You think eating is such an easy task? Not only must you eat, but you also know from which ingredient the taste comes from. You must also tell me all of what you’ve eaten.”
Nian Bing smiled and clapped his hands, saying, “Alright! That is rather complicated. Then when will we start eating? Master, I am already hungry.” Because of the hypnosis yesterday evening, apart from the bowl of congee he had initially eaten, he hadn’t eaten anything else. How could he not be hungry?
Zha Ji said unhappily, “Is it really that simple? Later you will know whether or not eating is simple. After eating, you need to to go through two processes. After completing these two processes, you will be able to genuinely being learning the culinary arts.”
Nian Bing curiously asked, “Two of what processes?”
Zha Ji strangely smiled, saying, “These two processes, is to become fat from thinness. Then to become thin from fatness.”
Although Nian Bing was intelligent, he still hadn’t understood Zha Ji’s meaning. Looking at his puzzled expression, Zha Ji said, “You still don’t understand? While we gradually advance through this processes, you will know the reasons to these two stages. Fine, begin the first meal. I have already readied breakfast for you. Go to the kitchen by yourself.”
Breakfast was rather simple, a large bowl of congee and a few small side dishes. Nian Bing was already hungry. Along with the fact it was Zha Ji’s handiwork, Nian Bing had nearly swallowed it all in one gulp. With his fastest speed, this breakfast had come to a close.
Zha Ji sitting at Nian Bing’s side, saw that he had finished eating, pleased with himself, and he asked with a smile, “How was it?”
Nian Bing contently said, “It was very delicious. Master, you are truly worthy of the title, Demon Chef. The food you produce is incomparable.”
Zha Ji sighed and said, “It is a pity that my hand tendons have already been cut. I can only make the most simplest of dishes. En, Incorrect. Smelly brat. Did you think a sentence of how good it was would satisfy me? Did you forget what I had just told you before? You have to now tell me what you felt from this breakfast.”
Nian Bing looked Zha Ji with innocent eyes, “Felt? Is delicious not a feeling? Don’t tell me that this isn’t enough!?”
Zha Ji hit Nian Bing on the head, “Fool. Of course it’s not enough. You only knew that it was delicious. Is there any difference between you and an average person? You have to say what was in it! Only that is acceptable.”