Chapter 31.2: A Second Master
Long Zhi’s smile disappeared; in its place was a serious expression. “I hope that when I die, you will take over my position and take care of Ling’er for me. Can you promise me this?”
Nian Bing smiled bitterly and said, “You seemed to have posed two conditions. What do you mean by take care of?”
Long Zhi sighed lightly before saying, “I am a father. I only wish for my daughter’s happiness. If you can make LIng’er happy, then I don’t care about anything else. This may seem like a vain promise, but at least, while I am alive, I have the ability to take care of my daughter.”
Nian Bing sighed secretly. He nodded and said, “I will take care of her as best I can. If one day you are fast approaching death, come find me.” His tone of voice was calm, but his words were heavy. This was the first time in his life that Nian Bing had made such a promise.
Long Zhi smiled. “A man’s oath has no need for words. And the other condition?”
Nian Bing’s brows creased. He said, “I know you hope that the Ice and Moon Empire Mage Association will one day become great, but you should understand that the present Association is a terrible mess.”
Long Zhi laughed out loud. He said, “Of course it’s a terrible mess. If the situation was not so dire, why would I have made such a condition? The title of president sounds nice, but the mages under my command only numbers in the tens. My Mage Association cannot compare to other empires who have hundreds of Great Mages at the least. However, I believe that this situation will improve if you inherit it in the future. Of course, I will work hard and dedicate my life to pave the way for you. This condition is the most crucial point.”
Nian Bing took a deep breath, feeling that the burden on his shoulders had become much heavier. “Since I do not have any choice in the matter, I will agree. However, I cannot fulfill this promise for at least eight years. I need to honor my master’s final wishes. Eight years later, I will return here and start my fight with the Ice God’s Pagoda.”
Long Zhi’s eyes exuded a light of excitement. “Okay. We will seal the deal with a word. Kneel.”
Nian Bing stepped back and with a plop, both knees hit the ground. Deferentially, he said, “The disciple pays his respects to master.” Having said this, he kowtowed to Long Zhi three times in respect.
After Long Zhi had calmly received his greetings, he helped Nian Bing up. “Nian Bing, did you know that having a magister as a master is a lifelong dream for some mages? But looking at you, you don’t seem all that excited.”
Nian Bing smiled while saying, “Do you think I should be happier? After all, we are in a mutually beneficial relationship.”
Long Zhi spoke honestly. “I will concede that point, but you are my disciple and have made a promise to me. From now on, I will not withhold anything from you, just as I don’t from Ling’er. I had originally placed all my hopes onto Ling’er, but she is a girl. I had many worries, but now, your presence has improved the situation.”
Nian Bing said, “As a man, when I say something, it is like the water that rushes forward. My promise will definitely be completed. Although I cannot guarantee that the the Association will improve in my hands, it will not get any worse.”
Long Zhi smiled and said, “Masters pass down wisdom, teach, and dispel doubts. Right now, I should fulfill my duties. From now on, this will be your classroom until you leave Ice and Snow City.”
Nian Bing asked in surprise: “You don’t seem like you want me to stay.”
Long Zhi nodded and said, “Yeah, that’s right. You cannot stay here. Do you know who came here before?”
Nian Bing was blank. He asked, “Who?”
Long Zhi sucked in a deep breath and said, “It was Liao Feng. Yesterday, your fame was too great. Liao Feng is proud, but he has principles of justice. He disdains performing underhanded dealings. He told met that Jin Hao from the Grand Pavilion is preparing to deal with you by investigating whether or not you are the person that the Ice and Snow Goddess Worshipper is looking for. They also sent a letter to the royal family to encourage the king to make you enter the palace kitchens. These two things, no matter which succeeds, will be extremely disadvantageous for you. As a result, you need to leave Ice and Snow City. Moreover, you need to leave in secret.”
Nian Bing was startled, but he quickly regained his cool. “I did not leave behind a trace of my actions. It won’t be so easy for them to find out whether or not I am the person that the Ice and Snow Goddess’ Worshipper is looking for. The more troublesome thing is inducting me into the royal palace. However, the Ice and Moon City is not near here. Even if a quick horse was running all out, it would take at least half a month to get here.”
Long Zhi nodded his head and said, “That’s right. It takes at least half a month to get to the Ice and Snow City from the Ice Moon City. However, His Majesty, the king has troops in the surroundings of Ice Moon City. Even if you have a passport, you will be held back by the investigation process for a couple of days. The troops garrisoned here are the Soul Exterminating Royal Knights Division. The Knights’ highest commander is Big Brother’s Xue’s blood brother, Xue Po. If we use a magic wind pigeon to send him a letter, Marshal Xue Po can extend the time to at least two months. If we do that, I should have ample time to transmit all my knowledge to you.”
Nian Bing said, “Two months should be enough.” In two months, the inlaying of the True Sun Knife should be finished.
Long Zhi said, “Then we will begin. Nian Bing, I hope that you can tell me everything about the circumstances of the special magic power of the Ice and Fire Source.”
Nian Bing nodded and said, “My father and mother were mages. Originally, I was following my father and cultivating fire magic. The year I turned ten, I followed my father to go to the Ice God’s Pagoda and meet my mother, but we were blocked by the Ice and Snow Goddess’ Worshipper. Father was far from being an opponent to the Ice and Snow Goddess’ Worshiper. At the final moment, he used all his strength to block the Ice and Snow Goddess’ Worshiper while giving me the Flame God’s Stone and the Ice and Snow Goddess’ Stone. He made me use a spatial shift scroll to flee the dire situation. If my guess is not wrong, mother and father had been afraid of getting killed for some time.” He spoke very simply, not getting into too much detail about the circumstances. However, a deep-abiding hatred was leaking from his eyes.
Long Zhi’s brow creased. “You said that your mother was part of the Ice God’s Pagoda? The Ice God’s Pagoda has a rule that their females are prohibited from marrying. But if you were 10 years old and your mother was still alive, her position in the Ice God’s Pagoda should’ve been pretty high.”
Nian Bing replied coldly. “High? What’s the use of having a high position? That must be a secret only known by the Ice God’s Pagoda. I can’t speak about the particulars of the situation; that year is too bitter for me to remember. I hate them, but I don’t just hate the Ice God’s Pagoda. I also hate the people who chased after me. In order to escape being murdered by the experts from the Ice God’s Pagoda, I jumped into the Azure Sky River. After being slammed about by the rushing water, I had thought then that I was going to die before I was fished out by my master’s fishnet. I received another chance at life. My teacher is the one famed throughout the continent, Demon Chef Zha Ji. Master saw my beginner rank magic and was extremely excited. After he made me his disciple, he started to fully devote himself to passing down his culinary arts to me. At the same time, I started cultivating magic. At that time I was surprised to discover that their was a cold stream in my body……” Nian Bing explained the details his magic cultivation.
After he finished listening to Nian Bing’s narration, Long Zhi hesitated. “So if it’s as you said, that jade on your chest actually awakened your will and fused two kinds of magic together. Nian Bing, did you know that you did not achieve true fusion? You have always been in such a dangerous area!”
Nian Bing smiled bitterly. “Of course I know that. If it was not the case, then why would I come to the Association? I had only one goal in coming here, and that was because I hoped I would find information about the Ice and Fire Source. I hope that I can resolve the hidden dangers of my internal magic.”
After thinking over this, Long Zhi said in a deep voice, “It will be very difficult. If I am honest, there isn’t any information pertaining to the Ice and Fire source even on the fourth floor of the library. I’m afraid that the other Mage Associations of other countries also don’t have any. Because the Ice and Fire Magic Source only exists in legends, after all.”
Nian Bing’s heart went cold. Questioning him further, he asked, “Then is there any other way? Don’t tell me that I will really die? I have a feeling that if my magic reaches a certain level, the Ice and Fire whirlpool will collapse. At that time, they will mutually destroy each other. Perhaps my body would even explode.”
Long Zhi shook his head and said, “No, you don’t need to be that pessimistic. Based on your present condition, it would take a thousand years for you to meet such an end. Since you already can maintain the balance between ice and fire, I can confirm that your body already has a special constitution. With the additional years from constant cultivation, your body has gradually adapted to having both ice and fire elements in it. Right now, you only need an opportunity. In special circumstances, your ice and and fire elements might actually be able to fuse together. When that happens, you will truly become the only Ice and Fire Source Mage on the continent. Didn’t you mention something about comprehension earlier? If you want to fuse them, you will need to raise your comprehension. RIght now, we don’t know how much the ice and fire whirlpool can hold. Before it becomes saturated, you need to understand its mysterious properties.” While saying this, Long Zhi grabbed Nian Bing’s hand, and gently sent wind element into Nian Bing’s body.
Nian Bing felt like a spring breeze was blowing around his body while he was wrapped in wind element. After a long while, Long Zhi released his hand. He did not say anything. He waved his empty right hand and the Morning Dew Knife wrapped in cloth, along with the Flame God’s Stone, simultaneously appeared in his hands. He separated the two magic items and put them in either of Nian Bing’s hands. He then again gripped his wrists.
Time passed second by second, until an hour had passed. Long Zhi let out a long sigh and released Nian Bing.
“Good. The Ice and Snow Goddess’ Stone and the Flame God’s Stone are no doubt top class gems. To have reached your present state is undoubtedly because of the existence of these stones. I clearly felt that your inner ice and fire whirlpool spun faster when these two gems were in your hands. In order to keep this whirlpool, you must maintain the rotation, so that the ice and fire will not consume each other. As long as you keep these gems on your person, unless your magic surpasses the level of what your body can contain, the whirlpool will always keep spinning. On top that, that piece of warm jade on your breast lends a stabilizing effect. There won’t be a problem.”
Nian BIng’s heart was a bit calmer when he asked, “Master, if my whole body is filled with magic power, then what realm would I be in?”
Long Zhi smiled slightly and said, “You should be entering the realm of a magister when your magic power fills your whole body, though that is still a long ways off. If you fail to discover a way to understand the mysteries of the Ice and Fire Source by then, we can seal your body. This would prevent your magic power from increasing. Although you would have no way of ever reaching the highest realm of magic, you can at least retain your life. With power approaching that of a magisters, along with the Ice and Fire Source, your strength should not be any weaker than mine.
With Long Zhi’s explanation, Nian Bing, who had always been bewildered by the problems of the Ice and Fire Source, came to a sudden realization. Although he had no way to solve his problem at the moment, knowing that his life was not in immediate danger improved his mood greatly. At least, he would be able to relax in his future cultivation. Nian Bing had confidence that his comprehension was not bad; moreover, he had already found an idea for his solution through concepts he had grasped from magic arrays. It was just that he was not too familiar with said concepts yet.
“Master, thank you. I think that the Ice and Fire Source will not be a problem for me.”
Long Zhi smiled slightly and said, “Since you have acknowledge me as your teacher, I have to accept you as my disciple. I will give you a present. Yesterday, when I sent Ling’er and Shi Jiu to bring you to your rooms, I recalled that you had lots of treasures on you. In that unconscious state, it was not appropriate for you to carry those things on you. And thus, I went to retrieve your things. Did you not think it was strange that the Flame God’s Stone and your cold knife suddenly appeared? You see, it actually was placed inside of here.” While saying this, Long Zhi extended his right arm to Nian Bing.
Nian Bing only saw a black ring on Long Zhi’s hand. The ring was very plain: an unremarkable ring made of iron. Long Zhi took of the rink and said with a smile, “Don’t underestimate it. This is a dark gold grade magic item. Ai, our Association is really too poor. We really have so few magic items! This ring is called the space ring, a spatial storage magic item cast out of special metal. You should know that normally, when a mage goes out, he has to bring lots of stuff with him. But with our bodies being so weak, how could we carry so many things? The space ring type magic item is necessary equipment for any Advanced Mage. In general, the ring is the best because it is small and extremely easy to carry. This ring can store up to 10 cubic meters of things. I’ve already put your treasures inside here.” While speaking, Long Zhi flicked his wrist. Some magic power went into the ring and his Green Underworld Staff immediately appeared out of thin air.