35.2 Roasted Fragrant Musk Deer
Mao Mao covered her eyes and said in annoyance, “Big Brother, you’re so vicious! To so easily take a life.”
Nian Bing replied without good humor, “If I didn’t kill it, what would you eat? If you don’t like it, then don’t eat anything next time. Hurry up and come with me, we will go into the forest to deal with it.” While talking, he walked over to the musk deer and picked up its corpse. After draining the blood from its wound, he took the lead and headed into the forest.
Mao Mao did not dare to look at the dead deer. She hid next to the dairy cow and followed Nian Bing into the forest. That fox, Na Na, seemed to have taken great interest in the musk deer in Nian Bing’s hands. She bounced and leaped next to him, wanting to eat it.
When they had entered the forest, Nian Bing instantly casted a rank 1 Freeze spell to seal even the head of the deer. Just as he was about to take the next step, Mao Mao came close to him and asked, “Big Brother, what kind of animal is this? Can we really eat it?”
Nian Bing shot her a look and answered, “My true profession is a chef. If I couldn’t even distinguish what things can and cannot be eaten, I would be a useless bastard. Learn this: This is a musk deer. You see, its canine teeth protrude slightly from its lip, identifying it as a male musk deer. Moreover, there is a faint fragrance coming from its body. If my guess is not wrong, this is a fragrant musk deer. Our luck is pretty good.”
Mao Mao became interested by Nian Bing’s words. She asked in doubt, “Big Brother, what is a musk deer?!”
A light flashed in Nian Bing’s hand and the Proud Sky Knife appeared once more. He did not reposition the musk deer’s body, but instead directly cut off it’s head in one chop. While moving he said, “Musk deers are a type of animal. Their appearances bears some similarity to deer1, but a little smaller. Male musk deer have larger canines and a musk gland. It is a rare ingredient for making gourmet food. It also quite good for medicinal cuisine. Today you have good luck in finding good food.” While speaking, he had already pulled out the deer’s two canines, and then tossed the head to the fox Na Na who was drooling in desire. “Take it and go. I don’t want to smell your filthy scent.”
Nian Bing took the musk deer’s body and laid it flat. The knife in his hand flashed and immediately the musk deer’s body had been wounded. The fragrant smell had become ten times thicker in an instant. Nian Bing carefully ripped off a strip of cloth from his clothing and laid it flat on the ground. From inside the deer, he fished out a sticky clump of crystals and carefully laid them on the cloth. “So this really is a fragrance deer. I’ve never seen one. These yellow things are called the musk gland2; these are the most precious part of the fragrance deer. Before, when Master was teaching me cooking skills, he gave me an introduction to every type of meat. He mentioned the fragrant musk deer. Musk deer are called musk deer because of the male deer. Male musk deer are called musk deer, and female musk deer are called musk does.3 Male musk deers have the fragrant musk glands. The fragrant musk deer is incredibly precious, especially this musk gland. When used in perfume, it keeps incredibly strong and it can repel many kinds of small insects. If used in drugs, it can open meridians and is taken through the orifice. I will give this musk gland to you as a present in a moment.”
When Mao Mao heard she was getting a present, she had forgotten the bloody scene from before. “Okay! Okay! What are you giving me?”
Nian Bing smiled slightly and said in return, “Don’t be impatient. We’ll talk after we’ve finished eating.” He carefully took out the entire musk gland and wrapped it up in the cloth before setting it aside. With a exquisite show of his knife art, he skinned the musk deer while perfectly preserving its flesh. Taking advantage of its frozen state, Nian Bing pulled out its innards and tossed them to the side. Then he took a straight branch from one of the trees next to them and speared the musk deer through. While doing that, his Proud Sky Knife never rested until the entire tree was completely chopped into firewood. If Xue Ji knew what he was using the Proud Sky Knife for, he didn’t know if he would regret giving it to him.
A rank 1 fireball spell was nothing for Nian Bing. The kindling immediately started to burn. There was no water here, but Nian Bing possessed the ice attribute. By using a bath of ice crystals he rubbed the dirt off the musk deer until it was clean. Nian Bing looked at the musk beer and pondered. He said, “It’s a real pity that there aren’t any suitable seasonings here. If not, it could’ve been more perfect, nearing unity.” While talking, he started to roast the musk deer in his hands over the flame. He did not, like ordinary, roast this deer over a wooden support contraption, but instead used his own arm strength to turn the stick in his hands. Nian Bing held the deer very far away from the flames and turned it very carefully. HIs hands were extremely steady and all of his attention was focused on the musk deer.
Mao Mao asked in doubt, “Big Brother, when Daddy roasted meat for me before, he didn’t do it as far as you! Your fire is far away, can it be cooked through?”
Nian Bing smiled faintly. He replied, “Perhaps I am far from your father in magic, but when it comes to cooking, I’m afraid he cannot be above me. Don’t tell me you didn’t know that right now, we don’t have seasonings? Normally, when you roast something you will brush it with marinade and oil so that you can prevent the meat from being burnt. Right now, we don’t have any of those things. If we want the musk deer meat to taste good without being burnt, we need to use the natural oils in its body. This musk deer has enough, but first we need the fat in its body to be heated and then gradually roast it. This way, the cooking will be distributed evenly and its flavor will reach its optimal state. Go wait by the side for a bit and then we can eat.”
He didn’t have any condiments, but he did have Hundred Flavor Head Salt on him. He didn’t hastily toss the salt out, but carefully turned the musk deer. HIs movements were neither hurried nor slow; he just kept a steady pace from beginning to end.
Just as Nian Bing had spoken, the oils from the roasting had gradually appeared. Nian Bing slowly lowered the deer in his hand while outputting some of his fire magic towards the musk deer meat. With the addition of magic power, the musk deer gradually turned red. At this time, Nian Bing picked up a bit of the musk gland he had prepared earlier and used the Proud Sky Knife to carefully smear it over the deer’s body. No doubt the Proud Sky Knife was a top quality treasure knife; not a single drop of the oil touched it. Once that was done, it brightened like before. The green light was moving like the autumn water of a girl’s’ eyes.
Nian Bing who was totally fixed on roasting the meat and Mao Mao, who was smelling the fragrance and wiping of drool, did not discover that the danger that was nearing them.
The faint scent gradually became stronger, and the special scent of the musk gland and the scent of the roasting oil effectively blended together. It was a mouthwatering scent. Mao Mao drooled endlessly, and that fox had abandoned the musk deer’s head and had crouched next to Mao Mao. Its drool dripped down from its mouth and its eyes were filled with a greedy light. The dairy cow Dan Dan, who was only interested in vegetables, was not fascinated by the scent and leisurely ate its grass.
An hour later, the deer Nian Bing was holding had completely turned a golden yellow, while Mao Mao and the fox Na Na had been fixated on it the whole time. Nian Bing alternated hands for roasting. If he hadn’t trained for many years, he would not have been able to support the deer for such a long time. This musk deer was about ten kilograms. With a slight smile, Nian Bing shot a glance at the human and beast next to him. “Looking at your appearance, it’s like you haven’t eaten anything in several days. It’s good now.” Saying this, he took out the salt he had brought from his space ring and evenly sprinkled it on the musk deer. He didn’t use much salt in order to prevent masking the natural taste of the musk deer.
Just as Mao Mao and the Fox Na Na were preparing to pounce, the dairy cow Dan Dan’s massive head suddenly lifted. The hairs on its back suddenly stood up and issued a low moo; it was a menacing bellow. While it cried out, it retreated to Nian Bing and Mao Mao like it had met some sort of danger.
The Proud Sky Knife trembled in Nian Bing’s grasp. The surrounding wind element intensified very distinctly, and a faint hum came from the knife. Nian Bing Immediately understood what the Proud Sky Knife was doing. Although he possessed three knives, the Ice and Snow Goddess’ Sigh and the Flame God’s Roar were completed by his blood in their final forging; their relationship with him was much more intimate. But this knife, the Free Wind’s Hymn was just as strong. In the beginning, Nian Bing had used it to show off his fastest knife skills, so they had reached an understanding with each other. The Proud Sky’s Knife’s humming could only have one meaning: a warning.
Nian Bing gave the stick with the fragrant musk deer to Mao Mao and pulled her behind him. In a low voice he said, “Stay close to me, there might be danger.” While saying this, the Free Wind’s Hymn took to the air and in its place was the Flame God’s Roar and the Ice and Snow Goddess’ Sigh. He could not use Morning Dew, but he needed to be prepared because the mysterious foe was of unknown strength. If he had to save his life, then he wouldn’t care about those things.
A rustling sound appeared. Nian Bing’s eyes exuded a sliver of a strange light. What could this be?
The sound came from a tall shrub. Nian Bing coldly looked at the shrubbery, a chant already on his lips.
The fox Na Na poked out from under Nian BIng’s legs and suddenly trembled while jumping into Mao Mao’s embrace. Mao Mao went blank for a moment and then said to Nian Bing, “Big Brother, Na Na seems to be scared. That thing is very dangerous; you have to be careful!”
Nian Bing nodded his head and then pointed the broad True Sun Knife in front of him. A fist-sized rank 1 fireball appeared in front of him. Controlled by his spiritual power, it made a beautiful arc into the back of the undergrowth. At the same time, he had already prepared a stronger magic.
The fireball created a bright burst in the back of the undergrowth. An angry roar shook the ground and a gigantic black figure stood up behind the shrubbery. The bush was originally 1.7 meters tall but it only reached up to its chest. Amidst its bellow, its massive body slammed forwards, completely crushing the shrubbery in an instant and revealing its sturdy body.
Nian Bing stared wide-eyed at the lifeform before him. Heavens! What was this? He had never seen such a creature before. From its appearance, he reckoned it was about 3.3 meters tall with its upper half erect. Its whole body was covered in a steel-grey outer skin that looked extremely durable. It’s body shape resembled a giant lizard, but it was obviously much larger than a lizard. There were two rows of hard, black fin-like protrusions on its back. Its powerful and rough back legs supported its massive body with its long tail dragging behind it. When it roared, it exposed its gigantic sword-like teeth. From head to tail, it reached 6 meters long with its front limbs obviously shorter than its back limbs. But its claws were large. Nian Bing had reason to believe that it could easily tear his body to shreds.
The ground trembled as the monster stepped out of the undergrowth. Its dark green eyes death-glared at Mao Mao behind Nian Bing. It would be more precise to say, at the musk gland in Mao Mao’s hands.
An excited voice came from Mao Mao behind him. “Waa, it’s actually a cute iron-backed sword-toothed lizard. Since it’s this big, it’s probably over a hundred years old.”
Cute? Nian Bing did not feel that any part of this guy was cute at all. Its body exuded a formless pressure that made it hard for him to breathe. Did he want to eat the musk deer? If he could exchange the musk deer for it leaving, then that would be fortunate. “Mao Mao, since you recognize this creature, does it have any special characteristics?”
“It has, it has! Father told me once that iron-backed sword-toothed lizards are extremely savage. If it sees another creature, it will see it as its food without the slightest chance of getting lucky. Daddy also especially to warned me that if I met with this kind of thing, I should just turn around and run away. If I can’t run away, then i should give it the cow to eat. I reckon it’ll take a moment for it to eat. Big Brother Nian Bing, can you help me catch him? If I can get it to be my pet, then I won’t be afraid of getting bullied by other people.”
Nian Bing pulled Mao Mao several steps in reverse. “You speak so lightly. We should first save our lives. Can you command your cow to give up its life? I will try to use magic, maybe I can beat it back. However, the outer skin of his body seems to be very tough.”
The iron-backed sword-toothed lizard glared like a tiger watching its prey. For an unknown reason, it wasn’t in a hurry to attack them.
Mao Mao seemed unworried about the danger she was in. “Dan Dan has already ran behind us; it won’t be easy to make it commit suicide. Big Brother Nian Bing, to tell you some bad news, the iron-backed sword-toothed lizard is also called the iron-backed land dragon. Although it is not a true dragon, due to it having some dragon lineage, it has some immunity to magic. I remember Daddy said that ordinary iron-backed sword-toothed lizards have immunity to any attribute rank 4 magic and below.
Hearing Mao mao say this, Nian Bing immediately breathed a sigh of relief. “Then that’s good. The highest rank of magic I can use is rank 6.”
Mao mao giggled and said, “Big Brother, but the hundred year old iron-backed sword-toothed lizard in front of you is not an ordinary iron-backed sword-toothed lizard! Daddy said that an over one-hundred-year-old iron-backed sword-toothed lizard is immune to rank 6 and below magic. Although it is not like a true dragon, which is immune to rank 8 magic and below, your magic will just be a tickle for it.”
- Of family Cervidae. Musk Deer are of family Moschidae ↩
- I’ve been calling this a musk gland, but I’m not entirely sure what it is. Also, musk glands are used for perfume, not eating. I think ↩
- All right, this is real fucking confusing. So the word TJSS uses for musk deer normally is 獐 or 獐子, which is a musk deer according to baidu. Here, he’s saying that male 獐 are called 麝, or musk. Female 獐 are just called 獐. ↩