47.1 Orchid Dream College
He took out a map from his space ring and carefully checked his position. Nian Bing saw, that just as Sang Jie said, Orchid Dream City was nearby Crow Orchid City. If he were to directly pass to the capital of the Profound Orchid Empire, Profound Orchid City, he would need to pass through Crow Orchid City which was the shortest route. If he were to go through Orchid Dream City, he would need to make a detour. However, in order to avoid the war, going to Orchid Dream City was definitely the best choice. Anyway, Luo Rou’s marriage was going to take place two years later. There was plenty of time, so he might as well stop by Orchid Dream City for a while. He could use this time to cultivate his magic, as well as deepen his understanding of culinary arts. By exchanging pointers with Ming Hui, Nian Bing had gained some insight into Wrapping Noodles with Water Mysterious Jade Hand. Although the Mysterious Jade Hand was created by practicing in a special way that he couldn’t copy, with his control over the fire element, the heat wouldn’t affect him too much. With more practice, he could definitely produce an effect almost like Wrapping Noodles with Water. So Orchid Dream City, he would go to Orchid Dream City.
After thinking over his plan, Nian Bing put away the map. He recited the chant for the snowstorm and left the hillside. There was no sign of human life on the road from Ice Orchid City to Orchid Dream City. Nian Bing had a map this time so he didn’t travel along the big roads and found a different path instead. He attempted to use the snowstorm for a longer flight, but the snowstorm wasn’t a wind spell. He tried his hardest, but he could only fly just over two hours. Despite this, a two hour flight was equivalent to walking for two days. Nian Bing discovered that this was a good way for train his magic. It didn’t just have a small positive influence on raising his magic power, so he might as well abandon his legs and just use the snowstorm. Every time his magic was about to run out, he found a secluded place to stay. With his magic scrolls as protection, he would then recover his magic power, then continue on his journey.
With the speed of the snowstorm, three days later, he finally arrived at his destination–Orchid Dream City.
Orchid Dream City was already in sight. Perhaps because it was Profound Orchid Empire’s garden, but there wasn’t that much defense. The city walls were not high, only ten meters. The defense here and the defense of Ice and Snow City couldn’t be spoken of in one breath1. The city gates were wide open; there weren’t many people passing through, and there were only four Profound Orchid Empire soldiers guarding the gates.
There wasn’t much difference between people of the Profound Orchid Empire and people of the Ice Moon Empire. They were just slightly shorter in stature, and their hair was mainly blue, purple, or black. Blue-haired people in the Profound Orchid Empire wasn’t any different than the Ice Moon Empire, and golden hair like his was just as rare. Nian Bing strode to Orchid Dream City. Since he decided that he would stay here until the war had ended, he wanted to find a good quality yet cheap hotel.
While thinking over this, Nian Bing arrived at the entrance of Orchid Dream City. The guards didn’t give him any hassle because of his golden hair. They didn’t even give him a second glance and just let him enter. When he entered Orchid Dream City, he immediately sensed something peculiar. The entire city seemed to enveloped in a peaceful air. It was close to noon, and there weren’t many people on the streets, but he could see their comfortable and content smiles on their faces.
“Little Brother, have you come to register?” Nian Bing had just found a street lined with inns, when an unfamiliar voice came from behind him. He turned to look, only to see a thirty-ish year old man looking right at him. He was petite in build, and the smile on his face looked obscene. He did not wait for Nian Bing to say anything, and immediately pressed him forward and said, “It looks like you are from out-of-town. So you definitely must have come to our Orchid Dream City to study. What do you want to study? Do you want to study martial arts? That stuff is too plebeian. If you ever joined the army, war is merciless. It would be good to learn a survival skill so you can have it your whole life!”
Nian Bing smiled and asked, “So if you come to Orchid Dream City you can learn anything?”
The middle aged man went blank for a moment, then said, “Could it be that you haven’t come here to learn? For someone as young as you to come to Orchid Dream City as an outsider, I can’t think of any reason why you would want to come here other than to study. Orchid Dream City is also called the college city. That is not just an empty name. We have colleges for every kind of profession here in Orchid Dream City, particularly the continent’s only comprehensive college, which is also the biggest educational establishment in the entire continent. It is a bit expensive to study there, but you can learn anything you want there. Youngsters should learn many things while they are young. It will be hard to study once you enter society.”
The phrase college city piqued Nian Bing’s interest. “So what can you learn at the comprehensive college here?”
The middle-aged man rubbed his hands. His tiny eyes showed the expression of his target taking the bait. Although it was a fleeting emotion, Nian Bing caught it. “Little Brother, the most famous place in our Orchid Dream City is the Orchid Dream College. It is the comprehensive college that I just told you about. It has dozen of departments for the most popular industries, each with a very strong faculty. Every industry is different, and so is their tuition. What’s more, you can’t just get in with money; you also have to pass a test. If you can obtain a diploma from the Orchid Dream College, then you can find work for yourself on any corner of the continent. Of course, the entrance exam is difficult. If you cannot pass the exam then don’t be nervous; our Orchid Dream City has many smaller colleges that offer a wide range of different industries. It isn’t terrible in comparison to Orchid Dream City, and the schools fees are also lower. Sometimes, Orchid Dream College faculty will teach some classes at the smaller colleges. So, do you have an interest in a profession?”
When he heard this, Nian Bing could not help but think of the time when he had just come to Ice Snow City, and Xue Jing asked him which culinary school he had graduated from. He found himself saying, “Is there a culinary college in Orchid Dream CIty?”
“Culinary arts?” When the middle-aged man heard those two words, he blanked out. He didn’t think that the imposing and handsome youth in front of him would have interest towards one of the lowest-ranked professions on the continent. However, he responded very quickly, his blank stare lasting only for a moment. He hastened to say, “Of course, of course we have one. Chefs are a very plebeian profession. You want to study culinary arts? No problem. In our college city, there is nothing that we don’t teach. As such, Little Brother, would you like me to give you a recommendation? Whether it be Orchid Dream College or an plebeian small college, I have all the connections.”
Nian Bing smiled and replied, “Then I will trouble you to give me a referral to Orchid Dream College.”
The middle-aged man hehe’d and said, “This is easy, this is easy. As a plebeian profession, the fee is relatively low. However, that’s your own thing. Only you can pass the exam. If your marks are extremely good, you might even get free tuition. However, the referral…” When he said this, he rubbed his hands.
When the middle-aged man started to talk to Nian Bing about colleges, Nian Bing already understood what the man was doing. However, he had just arrived here and was unfamiliar with everything. It was advantageous for him to listen to his narration. At the moment, when he saw the other show his true colors, he could not help but say, “The referral fee is not a problem. I just want you to help me participate in taking the exam. Only, does the Orchid Dream College accept new students anytime? So it doesn’t have any special rules.”
The middle-aged man answered, “Of course it doesn’t. The Orchid Dream College is special. No matter which faculty it is, you can take the test at any time. As long as you pass the exam, the faculty advisor will assign you to the appropriate grade level to continue your studies. The culinary faculty seems to be divided into five grades. However, there is something I must mention to you. To test into the Orchid Dream College, you must have a foundation in a profession. If not, it will be very hard for you to pass the test. As for the referral fee, one gold coin is enough. It is a very cheap price. If you have my recommendation, you can take the test today. How about that?”
“One gold coin? You might as well be robbing me,” said Nian Bing in displeasure. He had spent one gold coin for his entire Sky Spring Pavilion kitchenware set. This middle-aged man was too much like a lion’s gaping maw.
The middle-aged man hehe’d. “My fee is very reasonable; my service is definitely valuable. If you do not have my referral, you will need to wait till ten people have gathered before you can take the entrance examination. Every day you delay, aren’t you learning less things? Okay, if it’s like that, then let’s say me meeting you at the city gate was destiny. I will give you a twenty percent discount. This should be cheap enough.”
Nian Bing laughed. “Cheap? Eight silver coins is nothing to the son of a rich family, but can’t you see the way am I dressed? Do I like the son of a rich family? What’s more, the sons of rich family probably don’t learn cooking. One silver coin, this is the price I am willing to pay. I would rather wait for ten people first.”
“One silver coin? Boy, you are too stingy.” When he heard how little Nian Bing would pay, the middle-aged man’s attitude immediately changed. He had gone from calling him little brother to boy.
Nian Bing said calmly, “You only need to put in a few good words for me; one silver coin for a bit of talk is not little. If you do not want it, then that’s fine. I will go myself.”
The middle-aged man rolled his eyes, showing his disdain. “Fine. One silver coin is a silver coin. However, I must first say that I am only responsible for getting you there. If you cannot pass the examination, or you don’t have money to pay the school fees, then it’s not my problem. I will not return the money to you. Let’s go, follow me.” He walked along the road to the city.
Nian Bing really cared about money? Of course not, he just wanted to spend his money on things that were worth it. A culinary college was not bad. If he could learn something there, then not only did he find somewhere to stay, he might be able to advance to a higher level of cooking. He would spend night time cultivating his magic. That was truly the best decision. Thinking this, he couldn’t help but rejoice that he had come to this city. Right now, he just hoped that Orchid Dream College was really like the middle-aged man had said: suited to the appellate of number one college in the continent.
Maybe it was because Nian Bing had offered too little money, but the middle-aged man didn’t bother to argue with him more about the fee. He led him through many winding turns deeper into Orchid Dream City. While walking, Nian Bing observed his surroundings. Very quickly he discovered that even if the middle-aged man was greedy, he had not lied. He had already seen no less then ten signs for colleges on the road. Although they did not look very big, they really included every kind of profession, including blacksmithing, magic, martial arts, politics, tailoring, business, etc. There were even schools for relatively small professions. The areas next to the schools were the more bustling part of Orchid Dream City. He saw some youngsters wearing identical clothing walking along the road. Their clothes were very obviously emblazoned with the name of their school.
They walked from the north of the city to the west of the city when the middle-aged man finally stopped. “We have arrived; this is the place.” Nian Bing followed his pointing finger. He didn’t see a signboard for a school. It was a very plebeian, mid-sized restaurant. The words Ru Family Restaurant were on the front. There wasn’t even a single person at the restaurant.
“Here? You are not mistaken, this is a college?” Nian Bing asked with dissatisfaction.
The middle-aged man snorted and said unpleasantly, “Idiot. Who would directly bring you to the college. If you don’t pass the exam, then there’s no point for you to go to the college. This is the site of the Orchid Dream College culinary exam. Go in, but first give me the referral fee. I will let you take the exam.”
Nian Bing fished out a silver coin and tossed it to the middle-aged man. He was not afraid that this obscene guy would act too shamelessly. After all, he didn’t have the strength of an advanced rank warrior like the Iron Blood Cavalry.
The middle-aged man caught the silver coin and put it into his chest somewhat dissatisfied. “Follow me.” He spoke neither coldly nor warmly, and headed for the Ru Family Restaurant first.
Upon entering the restaurant, Nian Bing found that it was slightly more lively than he had imagined. The restaurant was one hundred-some square meters. The fifty, sixty tables were half full. The waiters shuttled across the room without any breaks. Their business seemed to be pretty good.
The middle-aged man led Nian Bing over to the counter. A girl stood behind the counter. She wasn’t tall, only coming up to Nian Bing’s chest. She wore a tailored blue shirt and pants without much adornment. Her long blue hair was combed into a fat braid that hung behind her. She was bent over an abacus, seeming to be settling accounts.
“Miss Meng, hello, I have brought a new student.” The middle-aged man smiled at the girl behind the counter.
The girl raised her head. When Nian Bing saw her appearance, his heart was immediately overcome with a breathtaking feeling. This girl in blue had a pair of large, violet eyes. Her gaze was very calm, somewhat cold. Although she wasn’t tall, she wasn’t as well-developed as Xue JIng, but she did have an unworldly air. When she saw the middle-aged man, the coldness in her purple eyes became more severe. “What are you doing here? Haven’t you been always dragging people to the martial arts college recently? How come you have time to come over here today.”
The middle-aged man pointed to Nian Bing next to him. “Miss Meng, it’s like this. Today I met this boy at the city gates. He wanted to enter college to study culinary arts, so I brought him here.”
- Incomparable ↩