48.2 Camel Chef Zi Xiu
Wiping the tears off his face, Zi Xiu snorted and said, “Well, that’s pretty much true. Even if your master was her, you wouldn’t necessarily be able to beat me. For a boy like you, who has only studied cooking for a couple of years to challenge me, it’s still too early. Since you can use the Brocade Character Void Lattice, I reckon you have a superficial knowledge of Dance of the Gathering Rain Dragons. For now, study in the fifth grade of the culinary faculty in the cooking with heat class while, like Little Meng, work part-time as a knife arts teacher. I’ll wait for you to surpass both Little Meng, in knife technique and surpass her elder brother Zi Qing Jian in technique, to give you an opportunity.
“She and her brother have studied cooking with me for over ten years. The inheritance of the Heavy Eagle Hand, and Dense Jade Screen Knife techniques have been split between them. Although their heat control is not up to par, but in terms of their age group they are a match for you. If you can beat them, then you are able to match, at least, seventy percent of my strength.”
Nian Bing smiled and replied, “I’ll do as you have said. However, it won’t be long before I exchange pointers with you.”
Zi Xiu looked at Nian Bing and said, “It looks like you have a lot of confidence in yourself!”
Nian Bing said coolly, “As the successor of the Demon Chef, if I didn’t have self-confidence wouldn’t I be diminishing the fame of my master?” When Zha Ji had introduced the Camel Chef Zi Xiu, he had mentioned that, because of Zi Xiu’s extreme arrogance, only if he could surpass him in the area of his expertise, could he be subdued. Otherwise, he would forever be arrogant and domineering. Thus, Nian Bing’s tone gradually became less polite.
Zi Xiu stood up and said, “Since you’re here I might as well as tell you. One year has two semesters, and every semester costs ten gold coins. Lodging costs five gold coins and boarding costs another five. In total, the fee for attendance is twenty gold coins. As a teacher, your income is five gold coins a month, so I won’t collect any money from you. However, don’t count on me to pay your wages. As for classes, you’re free to choose. I’ll let Little Meng tell you the duties of a knife arts teacher. The culinary faculty’s first and second floors are used for teaching. The third and fourth floors are lodging, and the teachers’ offices are on the fifth floor. I don’t think that you need an office. You can stay on the fourth floor. There aren’t many students in the culinary faculty so I can accommodate you in a single room.”
Just as Zi Xiu had finished speaking, a rich voice suddenly came from outside. “Second Uncle, Second Uncle. I heard that there’s a guy who can use the Brocade Character Void Lattice. Where is he?” The door was knocked open, and a tall figure rushed in. When he saw this person, Nian Bing couldn’t help but jump. That person was taller than him by a head. His shoulders were extremely wide. Not only did he need to duck when he passed through the door, he also had to turn sidewise. He wore a deep blue uniform that was tightly wrapped around his strong muscles. His skin was dark, and he had a shock of tangled red hair. His eyes were extremely bright. Although you couldn’t say he was handsome, his stalwart and sun-drenched face was very likeable. His whole body emitted strength, particularly his palm-leaf, fan-sized hands and prominent bones. His appearance immediately brought about a feeling of intense oppression. Nian Bing had no doubt that those two hands could tear him apart.
“Little Jian, don’t learn from your little sister. If you’re always this rude, how can you achieve great things?” asked Zi Xiu ill-temperedly.
The giant man called Little Jian didn’t any pay attention to Zi Xiu, but looked at Nian Bing. Excitedly, he said, “Hello, are you the guy who can use the Brocade Character Void Lattice? My name is Zi Qing Jian, but you can call me Little Jian. Let’s go; we can exchange pointers. Let’s see who has the most awesome skills.” He went to grab Nian Bing.
Nian Bing jumped in fright and dodged Zi Qing Jian’s arm. This was Zi Qing Meng’s elder brother? Heavens! They must have been born from different mothers.
“Little Jian, why are you rushing? He’s not going anywhere; there will be a chance later. Anyways, it’s good that you have arrived. Take him to the fourth floor to find a room, and let your sister deal with the classes that he has to attend. He’s also a temporary knife arts instructor. Nian Bing, you are called Nian Bing right? Go with Qing Jian. If there’s nothing wrong then don’t come to me. Also, if you want to see me, knock first.”
Zi Qing Jian said excitedly, “Uncle, don’t talk rubbish, and just go and pick up your girl. Brother Nian Bing, just leave it to me. Let’s go, Brother Nian Bing.”
When he had recalled what Zi Qing Meng had told him previously, Nian Bing hurriedly dodged Zi Qing Jian’s outstretched hands and said with a bitter smile, “Big Brother Qing Jian, I can walk on my own, also, I don’t study martial arts, so I can’t withstand you tuging me!”
Zi Qing Jian said somewhat embarrassedly, “Oh, I forgot you aren’t part of the martial arts faculty. I’ll remember this from now on.” The two people then exited the room. When Zi Qing Jian closed the door, it made a deafening sound.
Seeing the door to his office shaking wildly, Camel Chef Zi Xiu said with displeasure, “I should get a pure steel door. Little Meng has disturbed me with a good thing. So Zha Ji’s disciple has actually appeared. From his appearance, he should have learned some of Zha Ji’s techniques. It seems that the culinary world won’t be so peaceful anymore. However, new replacing the old is the way of the world. We old fellows are indeed old. Zha Ji, you old man, have actually died this early. Fuck, fuck.” Zi Xiu wasn’t in the mood to enjoy the beautiful spring scenery 1. He sat in his chair with a taciturn expression.
Nian Bing went to the fourth floor with Zi Qing Jian, who immediately shouted, “Teacher Floor Senior2, Teacher Floor Senior.” His resonant voice jolted the entire floor slightly.
“I’m coming, I’m coming. Oh, it’s Zi Qing Jian again. Boy, can’t you be quieter? Sooner or later, you’re going to knock down the entire building.” A clear and crisp voice with a fragrant scent came out. When Nian Bing saw the floor senior, he couldn’t help but stare with an open mouth because the woman before him was the pretty, middle-aged woman whom he had seen in Zi Xiu’s room previously.
“Qing Jian, what is it? Oh, so you brought this lad to find a room. I heard what Little Meng was saying to the old man earlier. Lad, welcome to the culinary faculty.”
Although he couldn’t look at the woman straight, Nian Bing gripped her hand and said, “I will be troubling you. The chairman said that I could get a room.”
Zi Qing Jian said, “Yes, you can get a single room. The rooms here have two beds, maybe, when we exchange pointers later, I will also have a place to sleep. Teacher Dan Ji, hurry up please.”
Dan Ji smiled slightly and replied, “Then come with me.” Having said this, she seemed to produce a string of keys from nowhere and handed one to Nian Bing. She led them over to a corridor and walked straight. After passing about twenty rooms, she stopped in front of a room numbered 4273. “We don’t have many students in our faculty, and some of them are from the city, so our dorms are quite empty. You can lodge here. Lad, what’s your name?”
“My name is Nian Bing. Thank you, Teacher Dan Ji.”
Dan Ji’s gaze lingered on Nian Bing’s face for a second. “Okay, I’ll go and rest first. If you have any problems then come find me. Remember that the third floor is the girls’ dormitory; men are forbidden there.” There was a hint of a profound smile on her face as she left.
He opened the door and both Nian Bing and Zi Qing Jian walked into his new room. The room was very large, about thirty square meters. There were two wardrobes, two chairs, and two tables. It was pretty plain but clean. Zi Qing Jian sat down on a chair without the slightest trace of politeness. His not-so-light body made the chair creak. “Brother Nian Bing, when do you think I can take a look at your Brocade Character Void Lattice? I heard Second Uncle say before that each of the Five Distinguished Knives have special characteristics and that the Brocade Character Void Lattice is an extremely mysterious knife art.”
Nian Bing smiled lightly and replied, “I have only scratched the surface of it. Big Bro Qing Jian, from your appearance, it doesn’t seem that you have a very harmonious relationship with your uncle!”
“Not harmonious? How could that be? Although my uncle is much older than me and Little Meng, he’s an old child. He’s not very strict with us, so the other things don’t matter. He was the one who asked us to be informal with him.. Being together with Uncle is much more relaxing than being with my father. Uncle is like our friend, maybe even a brother. Nian Bing, you have just arrived here so you won’t understand things about this place very well. Just because you saw Teacher Dan Ji in Uncle’s office earlier, do not think that she abused her relationship with uncle to become the floor senior.”
Nian Bing smiled slightly and said, “I don’t look down on anyone. Is Teacher Dan Ji is your uncle’s wife?”
Zi Qing Jian shook his head and said, “No, my uncle doesn’t have a wife, but there have been innumerable women through his life. There are many beautiful female teachers here, the majority of whom have some relationship with my uncle. Teacher Dan Ji is specializes in wheat foods and is the number one wheat foods teacher in the faculty. She came to the college to teach, but she decided to stay until now because of uncle’s culinary talent. If you eat the wheat foods that she makes, you will definitely be captivated. She’s taught many useful things to me and Little Meng; if you have the opportunity later, you should learn from her.”
Nian Bing nodded and said, “I heard Senior Zi Xiu say that you have studied the Life Tearing Eagle Hand. If we have the opportunity later, I would like to see it.”
Zi Qing Jian chuckled and said, “Originally, I didn’t have much interest towards culinary arts as making food was something for women. If I hadn’t chose to study culinary arts because of Uncle’s Life Tearing Eagle Hand, I wouldn’t be talking to you right now! Did you know that the Life Tearing Eagle Hand is the only one of the Seven Great Forbidden Techniques that is based on martial arts? It can be used to make food as well as to kill people. Even my father cannot use it, only my uncle can. If I didn’t learn it would be too pitiful! Little Sister learned the Dense Jade Screen knife art from him, which has been very helpful for her own martial arts cultivation.
“I’m normally not in class in the culinary faculty, but in the martial arts faculty. If you want to find me, then go over there and ask for Little Jian. My brothers will recognize you. Ah, I can’t endure it any longer Brother, could you show me just once? I am very interested about your Brocade Character Void Lattice! Little Sister said that you had used the Brocade Character Void Lattice in the restaurant and turned every single cucumber into the character meng, so I immediately ran over here. Don’t take offense. I’m just someone who’s rude and impetuous and very excited about anything to do with martial arts.”
Nian Bing smiled and said, “Why would I take offense? I like to meet refreshing and excited people like Big Brother Qing Jian. From what I’ve seen, you seem to be famous within this college.”
Zi Qing Jian scratched his head and said, “That’s possible. I am the heavy sword instructor for the martial arts faculty. I am very enthusiastic about martial arts, and you can come find me any time. However, you’re a bit old now, so it is a bit late for you to start training in martial arts. But you aren’t too old to start strengthening your body. Your physique is pretty good. With enough practice, you could have some success.”
Nian Bing shook his head and said, “There’s no need for that. I’m only interested in culinary arts, but thank you for the offer. However, there are no ingredients for me to use, so I cannot show you the Brocade Character Void Lattice!”
“Ingredients? That’s not hard at all. Right now it’s the afternoon lessons. Let’s go, I will bring you to the fifth grade classroom. Every afternoon they have knife lessons. Didn’t uncle make you a knife arts teacher? You’re just in time to show off. Everyone who enters our college must have talent, so if you can’t prove yourself to them, then it won’t be easy for them to think of you as a teacher.” He was a swift and decisive person; whatever he had decided to, he wouldn’t go back on it. He stood up and walked out.