Chapter 9.3 – Feng Nu and the Heavenly Flame Sword
“Feng Nu, what do you eat every day? Why is there only rice?” Nian Bing asked puzzledly.
Feng Nu lowered her head and embarrassedly said, “Ah, every day, I only drink congee! It was the same when master was still alive; he said that congee works best for digestion. We would occasionally buy and cut some vegetables to boil with the congee. Master also said it was nourishing enough. I just ate the last vegetable yesterday, so I’ll go buy some now. What else do you need?”
“Only drink congee?!” Nian Bing looked at Feng Nu, dumbstruck. He laughed bitterly. “Your lifestyle really is plain and simple. No need to go buy anything. Let’s go out instead.”
Once again, they went into the courtyard. Feng Nu looked at Nian Bing. Guiltily, she said, “Sorry! You were supposed to stay for a meal, but I forgot that I didn’t have any vegetables.”
Nian Bing shook his head and smiled. An indescribable feeling of tenderness rose inside his heart. “It doesn’t matter. I’m quite resourceful. If I can’t even deal with this, then I’m not fit to be the Demon Chef’s disciple.” While chatting, he looked around. The sun had already rose high in the sky. He quickly found what he was looking for on top of the courtyard wall. He lifted his hand and pointed toward it. From his eyes glinted blue, two equally colored lights flashed like lightning from his finger. Immediately, two pigeons that were playing on the wall were pierced, and fell lifelessly inside the courtyard.
Feng Nu looked at Nian Bing in shock. “You can also use martial skills? But why did you kill the pigeons?! Ah, they are so pitiful!”
Nian Bing said, “I can’t use martial skills. That was merely ice magic, a low level ice arrow spell. Also, countless people are killed every day, so killing a pigeon or two shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Feng Nu, you should know that in a chef’s eyes, as long as something can be eaten, it can be classified as an ingredient. Besides, you simply have none in your house. I really have no other choice, but to gather ingredients in this way.”
Feng Nu looked at Nian Bing resentfully. “I didn’t expect you to be such a cruel person.”
Nian Bing smiled slightly and said, “I’m a cruel person? Well, you just don’t have to eat my cooking later then.” While speaking, he picked up the pigeons and walked to a corner. After going through eight years of strict training, his spirit power had reached a very high level. When he had produced the ice arrow, it shattered the two pigeons’ heads, letting them die a painless death.
He walked past Feng Nu, still holding the pigeons. Looking at her with a somewhat dull gaze, Nian Bing smiled and said, “Pigeons have an extremely rich nutritional value. Their meat are very beneficial to the body. It’s effective in strengthening the body and kidneys. Since you said I’m cruel, don’t beg for some after I’ve finished cooking.” He immediately walked inside the kitchen.
“No way. I’m not going to beg!” Feng Nu stubbornly glared at Nian Bing before following him.
Nian Bing took a basin, changed the water, and returned to the courtyard. With quick movements, he unplucked all the feathers from the pigeons and took out their five visceras before neatly cleaning them from inside out.
Seeing the gore and blood, Feng Nu furrowed her eyebrows. She persisted on staying near Nian Bing and continue to observe him. Nian Bing only smiled faintly. With a flip of his wrist, he took out the Morning Dew knife from his chest. As he used his spirit power to control his magic, he easily directed his magic into the bloody basin and the five visceras to freeze them. Gently, he turned over the basin, and the ice fell out. Nian Bing skillfully took the washed pigeons out of the ice and softly chanted, “Scorching fire, burst forth your passionate heart! Exploded into this world between Heaven and Earth, Exploding Flame spell!” In front of him, fire concentrated into a ball. A bright and shiny light sparked in his eyes as the Exploding Flame’s sphere of about 12.5 cm in diameter loudly rumbled and exploded with a Bang! The chunk of bloody ice disappeared without any trace, leaving behind only thin evaporating steam .
Feng Nu foolishly looked at Nian Bing. “You! You know two types of magic? Fire and Ice, how can that be possible?”
Nian Bing smiled and said, “Since the origin of the world, nothing has been impossible. As long as you wish for it and have the courage, you can even turn fantasy into reality. When I was practicing culinary art with my master, so we came up with this kind of method to destroy garbage. How could we leave behind trash? The mix of ice and raging inferno can turn things into water vapor. Previously, when I froze the bloody water, I had already taken the pigeons’ five visceras and blended them together with the ice. Within the Exploding Flames blast, it completely disappeared along with the ice.” Exploding Flames was a third level magic spell that needed the power of an intermediate mage to be able to fully exhibit the extreme explosive force of the spell.
Nian Bing returned to the kitchen while grabbing the pigeons by their legs. As a result of Nian Bing’s treatment of the pigeons, Feng Nu didn’t have much of a good impression left about him. Leaning on the kitchen’s door frame, she watched Nian Bing, wondering what he was doing. She was astonished to discover that Nian Bing’s whole person seemed to have transformed. Holding the pigeons by their legs, he stood as steady as a boulder. His gaze became sharper as he became more focused on the pigeon. ‘What could he be looking at?’ Suddenly, he moved. Feng Nu only saw a blue radiance that appeared into the air and flickered beautifully. At this moment, Nian Bing’s right hand had become illusionary, with multiple after images flickered continuously. On the chopping board of the long narrow table, perfectly sliced meat slices fell one after another. Although Feng Nu couldn’t even clearly see the shadow of the knife, she was still amazed by the blue, twinkling radiance. Under Nian Bing’s hand, the pigeon quickly became a skeleton. From beginning to end, it only took a few moments to cut the pigeon. Nian Bing took the other pigeon and, once again, the blue radiance flickered as he butchered the second pigeon until only the skeleton was left. Then, he put it next to the other one beside the pile of perfectly sliced pieces of meat. Nian Bing took out a white handkerchief from his chest and wrapped it around the blade of Morning Dew knife. A mist of frost appeared on top of the blade as he slowly wiped the knife without leaving any traces of grease and blood on it.
Nian Bing faintly smiled. When he went in front of the kitchen’s stove, he pointed at the stove with his left hand and a fireball stroke at the firewood, igniting a fire. A clean pot was then placed on the stove. The pigeons’ bones were thrown into the pot. Next, he took the fresh water by his side and poured it into the pot until the bones were completely submerged in water. He carefully covered the pot with a lid. Then, he smiled and said, “Drink the soup and only then will you absorb all the nutrients!”
Feng Nu looked at Nian Bing, dumbstruck. She mumbled a question. “You really haven’t learned any martial skills? The way you use your knife is so fast!” Although she was also cultivating dou qi, she clearly understood that her skills could not measure up to Nian Bing’s speed.
Nian Bing smiled and said, “My knife skills can only cut vegetables and slice meat. They’re merely basic knife skills and nothing more. It’s similar to you cultivating senior Hua Tian’s Nine Flame dou qi. Unfortunately, I want to concentrate on cultivating my magic. If that wasn’t the case, I would probably consult you about a few things pertaining to dou qi. I can’t make pigeon’s stew, since you only have salt, so I’m making a simple pigeon dish for you to eat.” While saying this, he took out a small square cloth bag from his waist and spread it on top of the chopping board. Inside the cloth bag, there were all kinds of pouches. They were of different sizes, and each of them held something in particular. The biggest contained a small knife, whereas the smallest contained needles. Altogether, there were ten pouches, most of them filled with needle-like objects.
Feng Nu curiously asked, “What are you doing with these things? How come these look like a doctor’s practice tools? Don’t tell me you also know acupuncture and moxibustion?!”
Nian Bing smiled faintly and said, “Needles aren’t only used for acupuncture and moxibustion. They can also be used for cooking.” While he was talking, he took another pot from the side. He scooped up some rice and put fresh water in it. Then, he once again set himself to work. His left hand pinched a grain of rice while his right hand took out thin needles from a pouch. His right hand later moved towards the second of the needles, and grabbed it. Suddenly, the head of the needle turned red and started emitting heat. Fire magic heated the needle, until its head became red. His right wrist shook and went towards the grain of uncooked rice in his left hand. Simultaneously, he used his pinky to lift the slice of meat. The needle pierced through the uncooked rice before it bore through the meat. Immediately after, Nian Bing’s movements started to speed up. Once again, he took a grain of rice and threaded it with a needle, before piercing it through the meat. Unexpectedly, he made use of the uncooked rice grain in such a clever way! It became something similar to a thread linking the sliced meat like a skewer. Feng Nu’s eyes filled with amazement at the wonderous, god-like actions. It didn’t looked anything like cooking! It clearly looked more as if he was making a perfect handicraft object!
Nian Bing’s hands continuously made complex movements without hesitation, neither making any errors, nor being negligent. Both hands were so fast, they looked like a flow of phantom images. However, even with his speed, it still took half an hour to thread all the slices of meat. Seeing the rows and rows of meat and rice, Nian smiled. This kind of Rice Through Meats technique could only be accomplished with the combination of magic. Without the use of the burning hot fire needle, it was fundamentally impossible to evenly pierce through every single grain of rice as if they were some kind of beads. Nian Bing turned around and lift the lid of the pot. After the pigeons’ bones were done simmering into the soup, a fragrant scent started to come from the heated steam that wafted out of the pot. He took the ladle by his side and carefully scooped out the pigeons’ bones. Seeing the milky-white broth, he hesitated a bit before mumbling several incantations. A faint blue light appeared on the chopping board and wrapped itself around the rice that was threading the meat. As the Morning Dew knife appeared, they unexpectedly froze together and became one. Lightly, he arranged the pieces of meat with the frozen rice grains directly into the pot. There were thin layers of salt covering the skewers. Nian Bing covered the pot with a lid after he had put all of them in. He then sheathed the Morning Dew knife back into the scabbard. He turned towards Feng Nu as the afternoon light shone on her. Feng Nu had a dull expression on her face as he said to her, “Good! After being cooked for around thirty minutes, it should be ready. Although the flavor of cooked pigeon’s meat is not bad, it’s still a waste of labor compared to other things. Still, I’ll have to ask you to wait for a moment.”
Feng Nu looked oddly at Nian Bing. “You…what kind of cooking is this? If this was some normal chef, I’m afraid that they wouldn’t even be able to finish it in one day.”
Nian Bing laughed and said, “One day? If they use the whole day, the pigeon’s meat can’t be eaten anymore. In actual practice, it doesn’t mean anything to only make beautiful-looking dishes. Wait until you taste this before making a conclusion.”
They both exited the kitchen. Feng Nu’s previous bad impression of Nian Bing’s god-like kitchen skills had long vanished like smoke in thin air. They both entered the courtyard, and sat down on two wooden stools. Nian Bing appeared somewhat tired. His eyes narrowed as he looked at the lofty old tree in the courtyard. The sliced meat rice skewer had used up all of his spirit energy to completely control his magic. It had required a lot of concentration to make it successful as he had done so much at one go. It was similar to controlling a large magic spell. He also didn’t know why he had chosen to make such a tedious pigeon rice dish for Feng Nu; even though it sounded quite simple, the simpler the dish was, the more it would reveal the skills of the chef.