One should know that, although Yu Qiu had lived for hundreds of years, his focus was always on seals and talismans. In addition, Xu Hong had been in charge of everything in his previous life. Yu Qiu couldn’t easily talk to others, let alone shake hands with a girl. This thing had never happened before, truly the first time in his life ah.
No, think carefully. This wasn’t the first time. He had also touched Xiao Chunmian’s hand before when they first met in Yulian county. Following this memory, it seemed he not only held Xiao Chunmian’s hand but also touched Xiao Chunmian’s face ah!
Suddenly, the soft and tender feeling from that time once again lingered in Yu Qiu’s heart.
Poor little century-old virgin Yu Qiu. In this seemingly ordinary grip, his face slowly turned very red, all the way to the back of his ears.
“Xiao Qiu?” Xiao Chunmian was extremely surprised.
Then Xiao Chunmian remembered that Yu Qiu seemed to be a cutsleeve. 
He quickly released Yu Qiu’s hand and apologized, “Xiao Qiu, I’m sorry. I was too rude.”
Yu Qiu gently shook his head.
Feeling the residual warmth on the back of his hand, Yu Qiu felt a little lost in his heart.
Was Xiao Chunmian also thinking about the warmth in the palm of his hand? Normally, he wouldn’t have cared about it. But now, seeing how Yu Qiu looked, he felt that the temperature on his hand had turned hot.
“Take good care of this sword. Now, you’re only in the second level of Qi Refining; you can’t control it yet. However, you can still use it for ordinary sword moves. Wait until the fourth level of Qi Refining, then learn how to control the sword.” After Yu Qiu explained, he resigned somewhat depressedly.
Xiao Chunmian kept looking at his back until Yu Qiu turned around a corner, the sight of him blocked by the wall.
After a while, Xiao Chunmian raised his hand and quietly looked at his palm.
“A cutsleeve, huh?” Xiao Chunmian suddenly chuckled. Xiao Chunmian could naturally tell that Yu Qiu’s reaction just now was because he was falling in love, and it was falling for him. And… having a man fall for him was, unexpectedly, not disgusting ah.
Xiao Chunmian’s eyes narrowed slightly.
“Right.” Yu Qiu suddenly came back and put a jade scroll on top of the table. “This is the sword manual I found before. I almost forgot to give it to you. You…”
When he looked up, Yu Qiu found that Xiao Chunmian was putting his lips to his hand. It looked like he was… licking his palm? Wait, wasn’t that the hand he held just now? What was going on!
Xiao Chunmian met his eyes indifferently. “Many thanks, xiao Qiu.”
He was so unperturbed. Meanwhile, Yu Qiu was so embarrassed that he couldn’t stay calm. So he nodded, thinking that he must have seen wrong just now, and walked out of the room again.
Later on, no one ever mentioned this small episode.
After getting the new flying sword and sword manual, Xiao Chunmian was in a fighting spirit everyday. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh did he train in the sword, several times more diligent than before. His daily qi refining also didn’t decline. In just a few days, he was finally able to make a breakthrough to the third level of Qi Refining. After that, he successfully marched all the way to the peak  of the third level.
Yu Qiu’s, however, had not been going smoothly. The day after Xiao Chunmian broke through the third level of Qi Refining, he had already reached the peak of the third level. But then, there was no further progress. He got stuck there, as he had expected.
Breaking through from one small realm to another was neither easy nor difficult, but a chance was needed. Yu Qiu was not in a hurry. Anyway, there were still three months before Xuanyang  sect’s entrance exam. Even if he couldn’t make a breakthrough in a month, it wouldn’t be too late.
And Xiao Chunmian seemed to have found something new to do. He’d been leaving early and returning late everyday instead of practicing with the sword all day long. However, his sword-play and cultivation seemed to be forging ahead more vigorously.
Yu Qiu still drew talismans everyday to refine qi. After he could afford White Deer paper, he hadn’t been employing the new drawing method a lot. Instead, he’d been drawing with the conventional method. Afterwards, he’d take them to sell in the market. And in just a few days, everyone inside Fangshanji knew of the young seal cultivator named Yu Qiu.
After selling out the talismans, Yu Qiu would then stroll around the market. He wanted to buy a new writing brush. After all, he couldn’t always throw away mortal brushes after drawing talismans all day long.
But this kind of brush was not easy to find in Fangshanji. One should know that Fangshanji is composed entirely of a group of people in the Qi Refining period. First of all, there was a lack of Seal Cultivators who wanted a writing brush; second, there was a lack of Tool Refining masters who were at a sufficient level. So even though Yu Qiu would look for a brush everyday, he never got anything.
Until a certain day, at the stall where he had bought the sword for Xiao Chunmian, Yu Qiu found something.
“What is this?” asked Yu Qiu.
The seller lazily blew out a ring of smoke. “Brush.”
“… Only the brush shaft?”
The seller smoked. “It’s not yet finished.”
“Why not finish it?” Seeking hope with great difficulty, Yu Qiu couldn’t help but ask.
“I’ve thought about it left and right , and the mane of the black tiger beast is the most suitable. The seller slouched sideways on the chair. “Unfortunately, no one has hunted recently. It might have to wait for several days ba, but it’s probably gonna happen soon.”
Yu Qiu thought about it, then glanced at him. “If I could hunt for it, how about selling this brush to me at half the price?”
The seller shook his head. “Can’t do, someone else had this brush made to order, so I’m not selling.”
Someone had it custom-made? This answer really surprised Yu Qiu. It wasn’t that he hadn’t thought about it, but the cost of having it custom-made was more than half of the original price.
He hadn’t had any idea of custom-made before, but the cost of custom-made was more than half of normal. Yu Qiu was not very willing to pay this sum of money when the mortal brush could make-do. And in Fangshanji, seal cultivators were extremely rare. Besides him, who else would need a custom brush?
“It’s a beautiful young man,” said the seller, but he also gave him a surprised look. “What, you don’t know?”
Yu Qiu was at a loss. “Why should I know?”
“But the person who had this brush made…” said the seller. “Hanging from his waist was the sword you bought from me before.”
2 The raws actually use 圆满, which mean consummate or perfect. The characters for “peak” are actually 巅峰, but I couldn’t think of a better word to use, and I think they’re referring to the same thing anyway, so I just went with “peak.”
Moreover, I just realized I’ve been using layer and level interchangeably sdfghjk. I hope I haven’t confused anyone. They have the same character in Chinese, so just keep in mind that layer = level. However, layer/level (层) ≠ stage (期).
Lizonka: Omg, when XCM narrowed his eyes and licked his palm… that really gave me the chills! I wonder if he’ll turn into a yandere hmmm
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