49.1 Brocade Character Void Lattice Shakes the Classroom
Orchid Dream College. These four words echoed in Nian Bing’s heart. It looked like he would be staying here for a while. Master! You were unable to tell me who your enemy was, but as your disciple, I can’t let go of this hatred. As long as I can find out who your enemy is from the Camel Chef, then I will definitely avenge you. She forced you to snap your hand tendons, so I will force her to snap the tendons and blood vessels of her four limbs. Thinking this, a chilly aura subconsciously emanated from him. From a person who has long since embedded hatred deep within his heart, the caliber of loathing he had was completely different from an ordinary person. From an outsider’s point of view, he seemed very good-natured and amiable, but his heart was frozen over. Ever since his father and mother had fallen at the hands of the Ice God’s Pagoda, there were only two people capable of moving his heart. The first was the Demon Chef Zha Ji, and the other was the beautiful woman who had given him the Heavenly Flower Tile. As for other people, they were nothing more than mist in his eyes. At most, he would only admire them.
The duo arrived on the second floor. Zi Qing Jian continued with his tradition of not knocking and opened the doors to the classrooms one by one. After going through six classrooms, he finally found the one he was looking for. “Nian Bing, it’s here. Come in with me.” Having said this, he pushed open the door and led Nian Bing into the classroom.
The classroom was very large, over fifty students inside. Standing behind the lectern was a middle-aged man over forty years old. When he saw Zi Qing Jian, he couldn’t help but crease his brows. “Qing Jian, what are you doing? This isn’t your martial arts faculty classrooms. For what reason, did you come here?” Nian Bing gaze fell on the lectern. There was a very large chopping board on it, next to it was a table where some meat and vegetables were laid out. Every student also had a desk in front of them, although the ingredients were the same, it was smaller than those on the lectern,. It looked like they had just started the class.
Zi Qing Jian hehe’d and said, “Teacher Fan, don’t be mad. I’m introducing you to Nian Bing. This is Fan Jian, or Teacher Fan, but he isn’t Fan Jian (犯贱)1. Fan is the surname Fan (范), and Jian is the Jian(健) from healthy(健康).” It would have been better if he hadn’t said anything, as the students immediately burst into laughter. The fanjian teacher’s face contorted, as if he was trying to prevent himself from erupting. Zi Qing Jian feigned ignorance,and continued on, as if he hadn’t seen the teacher’s dissatisfaction. “Teacher Fan. This is Nian Bing, a new knife arts teacher. I brought him here so you and the students could check him out.”
Fan Jian looked at Nian Bing with surprise. He said, “A new knife arts teacher?” He wasn’t the only one surprised even the students wore shocked expressions. Before Nian Bing, Zi Qing Meng was the Orchid Dream’s College youngest teacher. These students had utmost confidence in themselves. Zi Qing Meng was able to suppress them because of her outstanding appearance as well as the level of perfection her knife techniques had achieved. For a new knife arts teacher to appear, who was even younger than her, the students would have a hard time accepting this.
Nian Bing nodded to Fan Jian. He said, “Hello, Teacher Fan. I have just arrived at the college and will be in your care.”
Zi Qing Jian said somewhat impatiently, “Okay, okay. Stop with the formalities. Nian Bing hurry up at let me see your skills. And make those fellows acknowledge you.”
Nian Bing sent an inquiring gaze over to Fang Jian. “Can I, Teacher Fan?” He was very clear that as long as he could demonstrate his talent now, to establish his foothold in the college, he would be able to pass his days comfortably.
Fan Jian’s class had been disrupted so he was very angry, but Zi Qing Meng held a very high position in the college. Although he usually treated people very nicely, it was hard for him to think highly of someone. Thus, Fan Jian looked at Nian Bing as someone with the ability to earn the respect of Zi Qing Jian. He made a permissive gesture to Nian Bing and said, “Since you are a knife arts teacher of this faculty, we are colleagues from now on, so go ahead.”
Nian Bing was no longer humble. He walked up to where Fan Jian was and looked at the fifty-plus students with a calm smile. “You most likely think that because I am so young, I’m not suited to be your teacher. But let me tell you that when comparing culinary skills, age is not a deciding factor. If you truly think that your skills are above mine, then I’ll let you have this position any time.”
His tone was very calm, but hidden within it was an arrogance that filled the hall. Of course, he couldn’t just use his words to make the students acknowledge him. Just when Nian Bing lowered his voice, someone heckled him, “All talk and no action. Let us see if you have the talent to talk big.”
Nian Bing raised a hand to point in the direction of the voice. “You there, stand up.”
“Standing is just standing. I’m not scared of you.” The student wasn’t tall, but was very robust. He probably trained himself regularly as you could see his muscles bulging out slightly from the uniform. His dark red hair was sticking upwards like a hedgehog, and he wore a disdainful expression. Obviously, he didn’t approve Nian Bing due to his age.
Zi Qing Jian said, “Dun Zi, so it was you causing trouble.” It looked as if he was very familiar with this student.
The student called Dun Zi chuckled and said, “Big Bro Jian, I can’t believe that he is on the same level as Big Sis Meng!”
Zi Qing Jian snorted and replied, “Take a look and you see. You will soon know that Little Meng thinks of Nian Bing as her greatest opponent. You stinky brat, you never pay attention in class and cause trouble for teachers, all day long. Wait for tomorrow’s heavy sword class. You and I will exchange pointers.”
Dun Zi jumped in fright and waved his hands rapidly. “Never mind, never mind. Is it fine if I admit you could instantly kill me? Big Bro jian, you are the person I admire most after the principal. Could you really have the heart to hurt my childish self?”
The classroom was once again sent into laughter. Dun Zi, who described himself as childish, wore a shy and coquetitsh expression, making people laugh.
The only one who wasn’t laughing was Nian Bing. When the laughter stopped, he picked up a kitchen knife on the table and weighed it in his hand. Although this knife was far from Proud Sky, it was much better than the one that he used at the restaurant. “You are Dun Zi?”
Dun Zi snorted and puffed out his chest and said, “That’s right, so what about it? Are you going to cut me with that knife? You won’t be able to do it.”
Nian Bing smiled and replied, “I am a chef not a martial artist. Since you want someone to cut you, I think that Big Brother Qing Jian could do it for you tomorrow. I asked you to stand up so I could know your name. I know that you guys don’t accept this, and perhaps most of you are older than me. As long as one of you can replicate my knife techniques, then I will honor you as my teacher. If not, then you must call me teacher and remember my name. My name is Nian Bing.”
While talking, he picked up a large carrot. All the students, including Dun Zi, looked at Nian Bing. They all wanted to see if this domineering newcomer had the skills.
With a slight smile, a cold light flashed in Nian Bing’s eyes. His fingers that were grasping the knife moved slightly. The kitchen knife immediately twirled in his hand. With some motions from his palm, the rotation speed began to get faster and faster.
Dun Zi stood there and snorted through his nose. “What is this, when I was three years old I could also play with knives. You think can be our teacher with this bit of talent…”
Nian Bing continued to spin the knife in his hand while looking at Dun Zi. It seemed like two bolts of cold lightning had streaked across the classroom. Dun Zi felt his body grow cold, and the chatter behind him stopped. At this moment, Nian Bing moved, but for real.
He spread out the carrot in his left hand and balanced it across his palm whilst the knife in his hand approached the carrot. When the knife touched the carrot, it spun rapidly. Nian Bing’s right hand had already turned into a blur. There was no sound from the vegetable as it was being cut; everything was silent. The glinting light from the knife continued to pass through the carrot. Even Zi Qing Jian couldn’t see the outline of the knife clearly.
Nian Bing’s hands were steady as the knife cut through the carrot. It seemed as if he was repeating an identical movement over and over again. He raised his head, not looking at his left hand, but swept his gaze across the whole classroom. “What is the foundation of knife arts? It is stability. Without stability, even if you could occasionally produce some results, it couldn’t be called expertise with knife techniques. The crucial point of my knife technique is in the tip. If you had the talent, you should have been able to see clearly that only talking big will doom you to a lifetime of mediocrity. Big Brother Qing Jian, this is the Brocade Character Void Lattice that you had wanted to see.”
When he heard the words Brocade Character Void Lattice, Fan Jian’s whole body shook, and a dumbstruck light appeared in his eyes.
The knife light suddenly became fainter, and the spinning stopped. Nian Bing’s hand, wielding the knife continued to vibrate strangely as the knife continued to prick the carrot. Red, identical shavings appeared on top of the chopping board. The left hand holding carrot hadn’t moved at all while it was covered by the glistening light from the knife. It seemed that the carrot didn’t need to move at all, as the knife would just cut around it. At this moment, the trembling knife lights started to spin faster than previously. Except for a faint afterimage, no one could see anything else.
Duo––. The light faded, and the kitchen knife was stuck in the chopping board. All of the tremors had disappeared. Nian Bing’s forehead was dripping with sweat, and his exhale was a bit hurried. His left hand slowly stretched outwards, presenting the carrot to all of the students. “Dun Zi, tell me, what do you see now?”
Dun Zi cast his gaze doubtfully on the carrot. “A carrot! So you made holes and pits on the carrot. What sort of knife technique was that?” Nian Bing’s imposing manner had oppressed him before but with Zi Qing Jian’s threatening air, he would not dare to so easily mock him.
Indeed, just as Dun Zi had said, the carrot had some weird pits, but still looked a carrot. He didn’t see any special characteristics. Zi Qing Jian’s’s gaze was also despairing but only Fan Jian’s eyes sparkled. He wanted to say something, but had no way of confirming his ideas.
“If you want to train in knife arts, you must first train your eyes. You can’t even see what I was doing, it seems your fifth grade culinary faculty is still unrefined.” Nian Bing extended his hands to pinch at the tip and bottom of the carrot, raising it up. He swept his eyes along the hall, and then the next moment, his body emitted an incomparably dominating aura, a dominating aura that stemmed from his self confidence. Both his hands trembled slightly and separated to the sides creating an unbelievable scene.
The originally pitted carrot immediately unfolded like a cloth. No, it would be better to say that it was like a piece of red silk. It floated outward, without breaking. The originally conical shaped carrot actually turned into a meter long piece of cloth, but, unbelievably, on the cloth were two words, Dun Zi, imprinted about a hundred times.
Dun Zi rubbed his eyes and opened them wide as possible. “This- this is impossible! You are not using knife arts, this is magic! It’s definitely magic!”
Nian Bing set the carrot, which had turned into red silk on the chopping board. “Have you heard of a spell like this? There is nothing impossible in the world. There are only things that you dare, and do not dare to do, things that you dare and do not dare to dream of. If you don’t try, how will you know whether you will be defeated? In the north of the Ice Moon Empire, there is a skill called papercutting. They take a piece of paper and fold it up into very tiny pieces. When they open it up again, there will be fantastic designs on the paper. My knife technique is inspired by papercutting. The most important point is to completely embody the tip part of knife.
“Carrots are a very simple ingredient. Even though it is not seen as much, the Brocade Character Void Lattice used on its soft surface can bring out its quintessence. You’re still far from enough. Teacher Fan, I have bothered you. Please continue with your lesson.” Having said this, Nian Bing tugged the shocked Zi Qing Jian out of the classroom.
When they left, the entire classroom was still dead silent. Dun Zi rubbed his eyes a few more times, but the carrot still looked as fantastical as before.
Fan Jian took his place behind the lectern and swept his gaze over the students. “Students, what did you see just now? Who can tell me?”
A student who was on good terms with Dun Zi answered, “Teacher Fan, I know that the teacher called Nian Bing must definitely have prepared a silk ahead of time. Then he threw around his knife for a little bit and right before showing us, swapped the carrot for the silk.”
“Utter nonsense! Which of you saw him swap it with a silk? Come over here and try to eat these one hundred ‘Dun Zi’ and tell me if it’s possible.” Fan Jian was very angry. “You are all trash. You are so arrogant everyday, but for what? Today you saw true talent, but then you vilify him? The carrot is mine, the knife is also mine. Teacher Nian Bing didn’t know Dun Zi ahead of time. What just happened right now in this classroom will have you know that there are people beyond people and heavens beyond heaven. Do you even know what the Brocade Character Void Lattice is? Can you tell me?”
- 犯 means criminal, 贱 means cheap. These words sound the same, so he is making a joke. ↩