Chapter 8.1 – True Sun Knife
“Practice cooking for ten years, Comprehend cooking for ten years, live a life of solitude, one defeat will be your downfall.” Nian Bing repeated Zha Ji’s words. “Master, I understand. Be at ease. I will definitely take back the title of Demon Chef for you.”
Zha Ji shook his head, “It is done.The title of Demon Chef is mine, not yours. You have mastered my skill, but that is not enough to satisfy in any actuality. Only with unceasing improvements will you be able to reach the pinnacle of culinary skill. Chefs are one of the six most common professions. You must strive to practice magic. This occupation just happens to be your best cover. I did not hate that woman from that time; you don’t need to look for her.The past is already behind us. If it wasn’t for her, perhaps I would still be unable to comprehend the marvelousness of combining magic and culinary skill. Even more so, I would’ve never received you as such a great apprentice.” As he said this, his wrinkly hand took out a long cloth bundle and handed it over to Nian Bing. “This was my old partner. Now, I give it to you. Take it out and have a look.”
Nian Bing opened the cloth bundle. After removing the cloth from the bundle,, a knife was in front of him. A vegetable knife generally didn’t have a scabbard, but this one did. It resembled his Morning Dew. The blade’s length was comparable to Morning Dew’s. It was just that the knife blade was much broader, enough to cover four inches. The back of the knife was extremely thick, reaching half an inch. He grabbed the knife. The weight was quite heavy, no less than three times the weight of his Morning Dew Knife. The scabbard was a vermillion red. On the top of it was an antique design. Nian Bing adjusted his hand to the knife handle slowly taking out the knife.
A dim scorching smell that came from the dark red knife blade filled his nose. Nian Bing’s hand trembled. The flame god’s stone in his bosom let out a deep thunder. The magic power of the origin of fire and ice within his body revolved because of the Fire God’s Stone’s agitation, and it was slowly increasing. When he fully pulled the blade from its scabbard, the originally disharmonic broad edge and thick knife’s back actually had an abnormal beauty. The entire knife’s upper blade turned into a dark red luster. The edges and corners of the knife blade were clear, similar to a shark’s fin. An elegant streamline ran through the entire blade. With knife in hand, he could not stop the blaze from making his blood boil.
“This was a treasured knife I obtained after I became famous. It is my old partner, like a brother. It has always accompanied me at my side. Still remember Hua Tian? Apart from your morning dew, this is the knife he is most proud of. This True Sun was not forged or finished with metal. It is more accurate to say it was carved out. It’s fundamental material is a fire dragon’s horn.”
“Fire dragon horn? Master, are there truly fire dragons?” Looking at the True Sun knife’s graceful streamlined grain patterns, Nian Bing curiously asked.
“I also cannot answer that question. I can only say that there were in legends. Even if there are, they are quite rare. The fire dragon horn at the time, was found by me inside a valley as a result of its heat. I knew that it was certainly a treasure, therefore I sought out Hua Tian and have him look at it. At the time he said to me, ‘this horn, I want it. How much money do you want for it?’ I, your master, was quite shrewd! I told him, ‘It’s fine to just give you the horn, but, you must create and give me your life’s proudest knife. Make me a kitchen knife.’ Hua Tian agreed. Consequently, I acquired this True Sun knife. He too, can be considered a true friend, as he used the Fire Dragon Horn to carve out this precious knife.. Because it was carved out, the blade has no blemishes whatsoever. Furthermore, it possesses the aura of the fire dragon and contains the fire attribute. Originally, if I hadn’t lost to that woman in the match, I would have taken far too great care of True Sun and would have never made use of it. Even if she had combined magic with cooking and still could not win against me, the title of the Demon Chef would still have emptily passed on.” Saying this, Zha Ji coughed a few times, but the proudness in his eyes were not at all diminished.
“Master, you should rest first and leave the rest for later.” Nian Bing said with great concern and patted Zha Ji on the back.
Zha Ji smiled and said, “It’s alright. It is only that I am too happy, nothing more. My disciple is just about to finish his apprenticeship. In the end, my skill doesn’t have to enter the coffin with me. Nian Bing, what is your plan from now on?”
Nian Bing said with a blank expression, “I never thought about that question.”
Zha Ji said, “Then why don’t you hear out my recommendation? After you leave here, you should first go to Ice Snow City. I still don’t know whether Hua Tian that old chap died yet. Go pay him a visit for me as he is number one of the great six blacksmiths. His treasures should be many, and are by no means limited to those [blades] you saw that day. I can’t say for sure, but there are a few benefits you can hope to gain.”
Nian Bing eyes grew red and tightly held Zha Ji’s hand. “Master, I don’t want to go. I truly don’t want to go.”
A peculiar light flickered in Zha Ji’s eyes. “Foolish child, did I not already say it? You cannot take shelter underneath my wing forever! You should leave as you will want to eventually. Ice Snow City’s Grand Pavilion and Pure Wind House are the most famous restaurants in Ice Moon Empire. Those places should be your first stop. You can choose one as you wish. Think of a way to enter the kitchen and observe the chefs’ skills there. Perhaps you will be able to receive some benefit. However, you must remember not to reveal your own culinary skill, otherwise at your current ability, you will easily attract the attentions of others. If a state official appeared, it would be quite inconvenient.”
Nian Bing tearfully nodded, “Master, I will remember this. I will surely learn like you originally had and travel to all of the six corners and learn every kind of dish and style of cooking. I will certainly not disappoint you.”
Zha Ji wiped Nian Bing’s flowing tears and kindly said, “Foolish child, why are you crying? Remembering this is enough. On the kitchen stove’s left, the wall is hollow. Inside it, I put away some savings. You can take a portion of it, enough to cover your travel expenses. Although money isn’t such a great thing, without it, all things become more difficult. Take more and there are less troubles. As for everything else, you will want to get over it slowly. I feel like your magic with just power alone still isn’t enough. If you have the opportunity, you should seek out some instruction from a profound magic expert. You must learn to act accordingly to chance encounters. If only there were something to help guide you. It wouldn’t hurt to pay respect to a master. To never be too old to learn, is something every advanced chef must achieve.”
Nian Bing nodded, and caught a glimpse of a red light on Zha Ji’s face. The unease in his heart grew even more intense.
Zha Ji smiled. His smile was quite tranquil, “Child, your comprehension is much stronger than your master’s. Although it’s only been eight years, you have learned far more than I have learned in ten years originally. Eight years spent learning cooking, eight years spent comprehending cooking. However, I do not wish for you to be lonely throughout your life. If there is a suitable young woman, you mustn’t let her slip by. Let go of what you’re doing and chase after her. Happiness is something one should fight for.”
It could be said that Nian Bing didn’t understand a single word with regards to the matter of a male and a female, “Master, you should say this again later.”
Zha Ji sternly said, “There is something you must promise me and there is something you must do. I do not wish for you to repeat my tragic mistake. To have a stable family would only grant you benefits. From now on, continue pursuing your study of culinary skill. It will also steady your heart even more. Didn’t you say you wanted to make some fish soup for me? You should go now. Master is truly somewhat hungry. These few years, I’ve always eaten what you’ve made. Whatever I’ve made ended up somewhat tasteless.”
Nian Bing nodded with force, “Be at ease. I will certainly put out the most delicious bright flame fish soup for you to taste.”
Zha Ji faintly smiled and waved his hand, “Go, Master will wait for you.”
Nian Bing agreed at once, gathered his enthusiasm, and sprung up, trotting out of the room. Seeing Nian Bing from behind, Zha Ji’s eyes displayed a gratified radiance. “Child, Master made no mistake. Although you schemed quite deeply, you still became an emotional person. To have such a disciple, what else do I have left to recall fondly?” He picked up True Sun knife with shaking hands and sighed softly. He hurriedly scratched on the ground. Although the handwriting was distorted, it could still be regarded as recognizable.
Nian Bing quickly ran to the river bank, so that he could quickly let his master eat his fish soup. These past few years, he had long practiced swimming with his whole body in the river. After a moment, he had already caught two fat mackerels and returned to shore. Looking at the lively fish in his hand, he did not care about the traces of water on his body. He said to himself, “The fish today are quite fresh. Master, I will surely put out a great fish soup that will leave you satisfied.”
While talking, Nian Bing energetically ran back to Peach Blossom Forest. A few large strides later, he had already arrived in front of the wooden house. Master, Master! Look! I caught two large fish. After you eat a little of this, I’m afraid you’ll already be full. Master….”
When Nian Bing arrived once more to Zha Ji’s room, he was completely astonished. It was as if his whole body froze over, rigidly motionless. Zha Ji was reclining as before on his cozy desk chair. However, his eyes were already closed. His serene appearance would suggest he had fallen asleep. However, Nian Bing clearly knew that was by no means Zha Ji’s sleeping posture. In addition, there was not a day where his master’s snoring did not echo. But now, however…