35.1: Roasted Fragrant Musk Deer
As he thought to this point, Nian Bing paused his footsteps and asked himself: “Can I leave Mao Mao here by herself? The answer was a definite no.”
Seeing Nian Bing halt, Mao Mao stopped crying and quickly ran to Nian Bing’s side in a few steps. Tugging his arm, she sobbed, “Big brother Nian Bing, you won’t leave Mao Mao alone and not care about me right?” If this sentence was said to him by any other lady that he knew within the city, he would definitely have felt some ambiguity. However, Nian Bing only felt a warm tender protectiveness towards Mao Mao, who was asking him with teary eyes.
He turned around and looked at Mao Mao as she stared at him with an expectant expression. Lightly sighing, Nian Bing stroked her soft and silky black hair and said, “Tell me, where is your home? Big brother will send you home.”
Mao Mao blinked a few times, saying “I….I’ve forgotten. At the time, I was afraid of being discovered by my father. Thus, I chose to leave at night, without regards for direction and terrain. I have long forgotten the way back.”
Nian Bing naturally did not believe her words. “Then can you tell me how long do you intend to play outside before you return home? Can it be that you don’t miss your father and mother?”
Sticking her tongue out, Mao Mao said “Of course I think of them! But the moment I go back, I will not be able to play anymore. In that case, I will go back after I have played to my heart’s content. Big brother, just bring me along will you? I will be very obedient, and even help you massage your back. I can even summon Cow Cow to help you carry your things!”
Faced with Mao Mao, Nian Bing was rendered speechless. “Let’s go, your father will definitely come looking for you. Remember your promise; you are not to find trouble for me on our travels. You also have to listen to me. In return, I promise to keep making delicious food for you to eat. ” With that, Nian Bing extended his hand towards Mao Mao.
Smiling, Mao Mao smacked Nian Bing’s palm. Not even a trace of the sorrowful expression from before remained. In reality, Nian Bing had still underestimated her. As the daughter of the one and only Dragon Summoner Mage on the continent, how could she not have any abilities for self protection?
Mao Mao summoned her pet cow and climbed atop it. As they were now on the road with much fewer people than the city, riding a cow as a steed would not garner much attention. As they moved along, Nian Bing turned to Mao Mao and asked, “How did you run from Feng Nu’s place? I remember seeing you there even as I left!”
Smiling mischievously, Mao Mao said “Of course I have my methods. You will know of it eventually. Big brother, you are a Magus, but why are you not wearing the Mage’s robes? Those clothes do not suit you at all.”
“It is better for a person to stay humble and remain low key.” Nian Bing explained. “Coarse clothes like these are the most comfortable. Mao Mao, your clothes seem to not have been changed for some time. Later, when we’ve found a place to rest, I will go and buy some new clothes for you. By the way, return my money pouch to me.”
Mao Mao pushed his hands away, suddenly looking innocent. “Money pouch? What money pouch? Did I take your money pouch?”
The Nian Bing who was able to charm countless ladies in Ice Snow City, found himself completely powerless against the little girl in front of him. “Take it that I didn’t say anything.” he sighed. Declining to speak further, Nian Bing strode ahead with big steps.
Although Mao Mao’s cow looked quite fat, it was surprisingly quick and showed no signs of exhaustion even when following Nian Bing’s pace. Nian Bing was no longer paying attention to Mao Mao, but she was still playing happily by herself. Whenever the road became clear of travellers, she would summon each of her pets to play with in turns. However, whenever the fox Na Na was summoned, the cow would immediately stop moving, and stare at it with a furious look in its eyes. Mao Mao had no choice but to summon only the mouse and the pig to play.
In order to not become frustrated, Nian Bing controlled himself and did not speak to Mao Mao. Mao Mao was also very self conscious. Whenever any other travellers appeared on the road, she would immediately send the pets in her bosom back to their space, avoiding any possible troubles.
Nian Bing’s journey had neither a final destination nor specific places he wanted to visit. Apart from representing Ice Moon Empire’s Magus Association in the competition in Harmonic Flower Empire’s capital in ten months time, he did not have anything he had to do. Thus, their travel was set to be in the direction of the Harmonic Flower Empire, which was South of Ice Moon Empire. There, he could also complete Luo Rou’s request. Nian Bing had his own thoughts as well. Years ago when he first went to Ice Snow City with his master Zha Ji, he had met a beautiful noblewoman who had gifted him the Heavenly Flower Tile. From certain angles, this noblewoman can be considered a life saving benefactor of his. If there was an opportunity, Nian Bing intend to look for the noblewoman and thank her with his culinary skills.
Nian Bing suddenly realised that there was a big problem. He had been in too much of a rush when he left Ice Snow City and had even neglected to buy a map of the continent! Now, it was like they were groping about in the dark, and can only rely on luck whilst moving southeast. There was no way to tell how far they were from the Harmonic Flower Empire.
“Big brother, I’m hungry!” Mao Mao finally could not endure anymore.
Nian Bing turned back and looked at Mao Mao, who had a pitiful look on her face, and then at his surroundings. “There are neither villages nor shops in this desolate place. Where will I go to obtain food for you? We had lunch only slightly more than 2 hours ago. I seem to recall you ate quite a big portion as well!”
Sticking out her tongue, Mao Mao pouted, “This girl here is still undergoing puberty! Naturally, I need to eat more. Big brother, I’m hungry!”
Looking at this cute little girl, apart from helplessness, there was only helplessness still in Nian Bing’s mind. “Alright, let’s take a break by the side of the road for now. I did not bring any food with me. If you want to eat, I certainly don’t mind turning this nice cow into a gourmet dish. Of course, that mouse and pig will do just fine. Heh Heh.”
Seeing the chilly smile on Nian Bing’s face, a look of vigilance flashed across Mao Mao’s eyes. “Big brother is a bully! Always thinking of other people’s precious pets. They can’t be eaten!” Right at this moment, she seemed to have detected something, her black eyes lighting up. Nian Bing distinctly felt a wave of spirit force from Mao Mao, spreading out into the surrounding.
The ground trembled softly, and a small figure suddenly emerged from within. The figure arrived in front of Mao Mao very quickly, making noises of familiarity. It was a cockroach-like creature. This is the first time Nian Bing had seen such a huge cockroach, and was momentarily stunned. Mao Mao jumped off the cow with a flip, picked up the huge cockroach, and laughed. “Thank you! You can go back now.” There was a flash of red light, then the cockroach disappeared from her arms.
Nian Bing was shocked. “Is that also your pet?”
Nodding, Mao Mao explained, “Of course! I managed to escape from Big Sister Feng Nu all thanks to him! He’s called Qiang Qiang, and is very obedient. It can isolate my smell, and find me even from a large distance. Furthermore, it can manifest all kinds of illusions! Earlier, the ‘me’ you saw back at Big Sister Feng Nu’s place was actually an illusion which Qiang Qiang made. Isn’t he impressive?”
Summoning Magic intrigued Nian Bing, and he was interested to learn more about it. When he heard this, Nian Bing could not contain his curiosity and asked, “How did your pets gain these abilities? They may look very ordinary on the surface, but they all have such special skills! Were they born with these abilities?”
“Of course not!” Mao Mao said. “They developed these abilities through father’s special methods. However, these abilities are all random. I only slowly found out their special abilities after we’ve formed a contract. Thus, Big brother, you should not underestimate Mao Mao!”
Nian Bing displayed a rare glint of respect in his eyes, sincerely saying, “Your father must be a really great Summoning Mage. If there is an opportunity in the future, I would like to get some pointers from him.”
Shaking her head furiously, Mao Mao anxiously said, “Don’t! You must not! Daddy is very fierce! It would be better if you never meet him. Apart from Mother, nobody is capable of handling Daddy. If he ever came looking, Mao Mao’s poor butt will be finished!”
Nian Bing roared with laughter. “You truly have great guts! If I were your Father, I would make sure to give your butt a good spanking after I caught you! Hmph, who asked you to be so disobedient, daring to even run away from home!” Whilst conversing, he took Mao Mao towards a shaded area on the side of the road and sat down. After walking for half a day, a Magus like Nian Bing who did not have a strong body felt somewhat tired as well.
Mao Mao also sat down, not hesitating to lean against Nian Bing. The cow had went off on its own and was grazing by the roadside.
“Big Brother, what are you going to make for me to eat this time?” Mao Mao surveyed her surroundings curiously, and then looked at Nian Bing.
Smiling bitterly, Nian Bing said, “I was in too much of a hurry when we left, and did not bring anything. From what I can see, there are only some wild vegetables here that are edible. Even so, I did not bring any seasonings with me, so I can’t make anything with those wild vegetables. Why don’t you endure for a little longer? You can drink some of the milk from the cow in the meantime. If we are able to come across some wild beasts or perhaps a village later, I will make you something delicious.” Although he was a Chef, he could not possibly carry his kitchen equipments and ingredients with him everywhere.
As if having thought of something brilliant, Mao Mao’s eyes shone and asked, “Is it sufficient so long as you have a wild beast to work with? That’s too simple! Big brother, give me a moment. Oh, before that, I need to clarify. I will only be responsible for luring the wild beasts over. The one doing the killing will be you. Ok?” Having said that, her dark eyes flashed, spirit force surging. “I summon you in my name, Xi Yun, come on out, my pet, Na Na!” A flash of red light appeared in front of the duo, and a fox with a silly thieving look appeared from within.
The fox Na Na blinked its eyes a few times as it looked around. When its eyes landed on the juicy cow, it seemed to suddenly focus its attention. Just when it was about to dash toward the tasty milk source, its fiery red tail was suddenly gripped and tugged upwards, causing it to be lifted disgruntledly into the air by Mao Mao. “Na Na, don’t be so mischievous! You must help Mao Mao ok?”
Na Na let out a few urgent jiji cries, all the while staring at the juicy cow with a thieving look in its eyes. The cow Dan Dan had obviously felt the presence of the silly fox, and was staring back at it with an unfriendly gaze, growling lowly. It was as if it was prepared to raise its hoofs at any moment and use its powerful body to charge at the silly looking fox, Na Na.
Mao Mao pointed at a nearby bush and instructed, “Na Na, I need you to go and piss over there. Hurry up, I will let you play with Dan Dan after you’ve finished.”
Na Na blinked its eyes, as if in deep contemplation. After a long time did it finally nodded its head reluctantly. Mao Mao finally put it down after seeing it agree. After rolling on the ground once, Na Na quickly dashed into the bush. Raising one leg, it began to urinate. This action was actually no different from a dog!
Very quickly, the wind carried a raw and rancid fishy smell towards them, which caused Nian Bing and Mao Mao to pinch their noses, a look of disgust on their faces. Na Na let out a yip of joy as though it were extremely relieved. With a sudden burst of speed, it lightly dashed toward Dan Dan the cow. Dan Dan did not use its milk jets to attack. Instead, it raised its front hoofs and resolutely kicked out. Na Na was extremely agile and nimble. Breaking from its original frontal charge, it twisted its body and with a sway, was under the belly of Dan Dan. Clamping its mouth tightly around Dan Dan’s *, it began sucking in deep gulps.
Nian Bing looked at Mao Mao and asked uncertainly, “Will the urine of this fox really be able to attract wild beasts?”
“Hehe, of course!” Mao Mao laughed mischievously. “Na Na’s urine is very unique. The smell is not bad right?”
“Not bad my ass!” Nian Bing mumbled disgruntledly, “Apart from the fur on this dumb fox, which looks barely acceptable, there is nothing I like about it. Fox meat tastes revolting, and from what I can see, its piss is even more revolting!”
Discontented, Mao Mao said, “You can’t talk about Na Na like that! It is actually very clever! Amongst all my pets, Na Na is actually a General!”
“Pfft,” Nian Bing spurted in laughter. “In the past, I have heard of the term Dog-head General (used as a mocking term to refer to an unwise commander who constantly makes bad decisions). Never would I have imagined that I would meet a Fox-head General this day! If an opportunity presents itself, you must let me witness its cleverness! Is it only clever when it comes to drinking milk?” In that instant, a faint rustling sound was heard from behind Nian Bing. Startled, he stood up quickly and turned around, looking towards the cluster of trees. An animal was walking out slowly towards their direction, sniffing the air as if following a smell. This creature looked to be a small deer. It had fur of yellow and black, no antlers and long slender legs. Its hind legs were slightly longer than its front legs. This was a musk deer. This musk deer was quite big, and had a mouth full of fierce looking teeth.
Mao Mao had never seen this kind of creature before and asked, “Big brother Nian Bing, what creature is this?”
Nian Bing put a finger to his lips, indicating for Mao Mao to be silent. After pulling her behind a tree, he waved his right hand and with a flash of green light, the Free Wind’s Gentle Hymn, Proud Sky Knife had appeared within his palms.
The musk deer was not very fast. Nian Bing focused his attention and suddenly jumped out from the cover of the tree, slashing fiercely at the musk deer. Although Nian Bing did not know any martial arts, the weapon in his hand was a top grade treasure blade. Green light flashed across the sky, creating a Wind Blade! This level of Wind Blade was naturally not worth much when placed in front of proper Martial Artists. However, it was more than enough against this musk deer. Blood sprayed everywhere, and the musk deer staggered, falling over strangely.