On the way, Yu Qiu asked, “Ruo Qiu sword. Did you name it after me?”
Yu Qiu “hey”-ed and said, “Why would you call it with that name?”
Xiao Chunmian gently stroked the sword and said, “Because you gave it to me.”
Ruo Qiu, Ruo Qiu… Was this “qiu” character really the same as Yu Qiu’s “qiu”1In Chinese, different characters, with entirely different meanings, can have the same pronunciation.? Yu Qiu chewed over these two characters in his heart and felt quite sweet.
“I plan to take part in the entrance exam of Xuanyang Sect two months later,” Yu Qiu said all of a sudden.
“… Xuanyang Sect?” Xiao Chunmian was startled. “Could it be the Xuanyang Sect after Fang Beishan?”
“Naturally. That’s the only Xuanyang Sect,” said Yu Qiu. “Although Xuanyang Sect is third-rate… cough, I mean, Xuanyang is a sect that accepts all kinds of cultivators, except for demonic cultivators. There are lots of sword cultivator experts, but they are no better than those in specialized sword cultivation sects. But then again, it’s nearby, so Xuanyang Sect is also a choice for you. How about you join me in the entrance2I previously translated this as Fire Refining, coz the dictionary I use defines 试炼 as “to refine with fire.” And I just went with it, coz it sounds very xianxia-ish anyway… But as I read on, I feel like it’s really not referring to a field in Refining (unlike Tools Refining). So I’m now translating the entire 入门试炼 as “entrance exam,” since “refine with fire” seems to be metaphorical here haha exam?”
Xiao Chunmian listened quietly and was silent for a while. Then he said with a smile, “Xiao Qiu, are you inviting me to accompany you?”
“Not just to accompany me!” Yu Qiu’s face was completely serious. “Since you’ve already arrived at the middle stage of Qi Refining, you should try to pass the entrance test of Xuanyang Sect this year, even if it’s just for yourself. If you pass even a year earlier, it will be a big step ahead of others.”
Xiao Chunmian nodded. “Then I’ll join ba.”
Yu Qiu saw him speak lightly and thought he didn’t take it seriously. He took the trouble to tell him again, “Don’t think this thing is easy. Many cultivators in the late stage of Qi Refining wouldn’t be able to pass it the first time! Even if I’m gonna look after you, in these remaining two months, you should also try to upgrade to at least the fifth level of Qi Refining. But of course, the sixth level is the best…”
As he was telling him off, he looked up and saw Xiao Chunmian’s expression, and he couldn’t help but stop the conversation.
After that brief exhortation, Xiao Chunmian’s face was already full of fighting spirit.
“Joining a sect…” Xiao Chunmian murmured in a low voice, “You can become stronger faster…”
At this moment, Xiao Chunmian was like a sword out of its scabbard. So sharp, it couldn’t be described.
Yu Qiu felt he was completely unfamiliar that he couldn’t help but blink.
But in the blink of an eye, Xiao Chunmian’s face returned to that soft and gentle look Yu Qiu was familiar with. The sharp fighting intent disappeared in a flash without a trace. It was as if Yu Qiu’s eyes had only blurred for a moment.
“Since xiaoqiu has said so, then I will certainly do it.” Xiao Chunmian said with a gentle smile, “Don’t worry about me.”
Yu Qiu nodded, and sure enough, that dark look just now was really just because his vision had gone vague for a moment.
In the early morning of the next day, they finally returned to Fangshanji. Xiao Chunmian went to hand over the mane of Black Tiger Beast King to the owner of the stall, while Yu Qiu immediately went back to catch up on sleep.
When he had enough sleep, Yu Qiu opened his eyes and got up from the bed in a daze. Then all of a sudden, he slapped his forehead when he remembered that he had been waiting to listen to what Xiao Chunmian wanted to say. But Gao Conghan had interrupted them again, and it eventually slipped his mind!
He quickly wiped his face and went out to find Xiao Chunmian, but it turned out that he wasn’t home. Asking his old man, he learned that Xiao Chunmian had hurriedly returned before he fell asleep, then hurriedly washed his body clean all over, and then he actually hurriedly ran back to the mountains to hunt again.
The old man was still pointing his finger at Yu Qiu, complaining incessantly how the two were all covered in blood when they returned earlier. It really scared him to death.
Yu Qiu wiped his face again, appeased the old man, and then went back to his room. Stroking the ring on his finger, he let out the piles of blood and flesh of that Black Tiger Beast King. Little by little, he moved them to sell in the market.
As for the words Xiao Chunmian were yet to say, Yu Qiu had no choice but to once again push it down to the bottom of his heart, thinking that there’d always be a chance to ask him again.