Chapter 39: Demonic Cultivation and Sword Arts

If Jun Xiaomo wished to travel out of the Sect, she had to seek her parents’ permission first. However, Jun Xiaomo had her own thoughts about this – given how her mother spoils and pampers her so much, if she directly approached Liu Qingmei and asked for permission, Liu Qingmei might even end up locking Jun Xiaomo up in her own room to prevent her from slipping out. Therefore, if she wanted things to go much more smoothly, Jun Xiaomo decided to get Ye Xiuwen on her side first.

Therefore, Jun Xiaomo arrived early at the bamboo forest in Ye Xiuwen’s abode, eagerly anticipating the first lesson she would have with Ye Xiuwen. In fact, Jun Xiaomo had arrived one hour early. Yet little did she know, Ye Xiuwen was even earlier than her, and he was already practicing on his own at the bamboo forest.

On the other hand, Ye Xiuwen was also surprised to see Jun Xiaomo this early. He did not expect his martial sister to be so diligent and arrive so timeously. Nevertheless, he slowly concluded his practice, flicked his sword and sheathed it, and then walked towards Jun Xiaomo.

“There’s no need to arrive early next time. It’s fine if you arrive on time at dawn.” Ye Xiuwen patted Jun Xiaomo’s shoulders and said leisurely.

Of course, he was pleased to see his martial sister’s diligence, but praising her too much might be counterproductive. After all, she was still young, and it would be dangerous to let the praise get to her head.

Jun Xiaomo nodded intently in acknowledgement, as she minced over to Ye Xiuwen’s side, looked at Ye Xiuwen eagerly and asked, “Martial brother, what are we learning today?”

Seeing how his martial sister was gingerly clutching onto his sleeves, Ye Xiuwen slowly shut his eyes, as he spoke, “For today…”

As he spoke, Jun Xiaomo suddenly realized that the contents of this lesson might not necessarily be inclined towards the combat and skirmish that she had hoped for.

Indeed, she soon realized that the truth was as she feared –

Run three rounds around the bamboo forest, then hold a half-squat position for one hour; then run another three rounds around the bamboo forest, and then hold a half-squat position for yet another one hour…

If not for the fact that she knew Ye Xiuwen had no interest in teasing people, Jun Xiaomo might have suspected that Ye Xiuwen intentionally came up with this training menu to torture her.

Even though Jun Xiaomo could not understand Ye Xiuwen’s intentions, she nevertheless obediently complied with them and powered through these dry and arduous training tasks. She took breaks in between these tasks, and she even stumbled on one occasion while maintaining the half-squat position, falling flat on her face. But she gritted her teeth and powered on with sheer willpower until finally she completed the training menu given to her.

And because of this, Ye Xiuwen’s appraisal of Jun Xiaomo increased by yet another notch.

In Ye Xiuwen’s eyes, it was not a scary thing to have low talent or even experience a fall in cultivation levels. Rather, the scariest thing was lacking the courage to be diligent; and lacking the willpower to persevere. And seeing Jun Xiaomo’s performance today, she clearly possessed both these qualities.

“Mar--martial brother…is…is there more?” After completing the final three rounds around the bamboo forest, Jun Xiaomo was so tired that she was on the brink of collapsing. Both her legs felt as though they had a ball and chain tied to them, and every step she took was incredibly arduous and painful – almost as though she were wading through water.

Furthermore, this was the result after she had intentionally utilized the true energy in her body to sustain herself. Even though the true energy stored within her body was not easily transformed and dispersed, she noticed that by manipulating and gathering the true energy in parts of her body, she could experience a gradual sense of relief washing over these areas of her body. Therefore, when she had no more strength left in her, she had no choice but to manipulate her true energy to push on.

“Alright, let’s end today’s training here. Come over here and take a rest.” Ye Xiuwen stood near the pavilion in the bamboo forest and waved to Jun Xiaomo. Complying, Jun Xiaomo dragged her dainty feet towards the pavilion. As she approached the pavilion, intending to turn to face Ye Xiuwen, her legs suddenly spasmed and gave way, and she fell towards Ye Xiuwen! Jun Xiaomo’s heart skipped a beat; but right in that moment, Ye Xiuwen caught her, preventing her from falling flat on her face.

“That…thanks martial brother Ye…” Jun Xiaomo had discovered from her previous interactions with Ye Xiuwen that he did not like body contact with people. Therefore, she hastily picked herself up and tried to stabilize herself on her own. However, her dainty feet were already drained dry of all their energy, and very quickly they spasmed and gave way again, and Jun Xiaomo once more fell straight into Ye Xiuwen’s bosom.

What a calamity…Would martial brother Ye think I’m doing this on purpose? Jun Xiaomo lamented in her heart, thinking that she had really messed things up this time.

If she knew this would be the outcome, why did she bother pushing herself with the training to begin with?

However, as Ye Xiuwen held onto Jun Xiaomo’s soft and limp body, he discovered that he did not feel repulsed as he did before. In fact, this was despite Jun Xiaomo’s body being now covered in dust because she fell flat on the ground several times while maintaining the half-squat position earlier. Yet Ye Xiuwen did not feel disgusted by this at all. Instead, Ye Xiuwen flexed his arms, swept Jun Xiaomo up and set her down gently on the stone chairs inside the pavilion. 

On the surface, while Ye Xiuwen’s body type seemed to be of the longish sort, his arms in fact contained immense strength. As Jun Xiaomo was suddenly lifted into the air by Ye Xiuwen, her ears suddenly flushed with a burning sensation.

Only when Ye Xiuwen set her down gently on the stone chair in the pavilion did Jun Xiaomo finally come to realize that Ye Xiuwen had only carried her over because she could no longer walk properly.

Having come to her senses, her embarrassment also gradually faded away, and the tension accompanying her earlier anxiety and awkwardness was also dispelled.

“That…cough cough, thanks martial brother Ye.” Jun Xiaomo lowered her head and said softly and somewhat awkwardly.

“Don’t mention it. Next time when you can’t take the training anymore, just let me know. Don’t force yourself.” Ye Xiuwen said in a calm and tranquil fashion. The indifference with which he spoke made it seem as though he didn’t take Jun Xiaomo’s earlier awkwardness to heart.

Sigh! Martial brother’s behaviour is very normal! Why do you have to play up such an insignificant matter? Forget it! Forget it!

After Jun Xiaomo regulated her own emotions with several more “forget its”, she was able to face Ye Xiuwen with a much more natural disposition. She lifted her head and playfully made a face at Ye Xiuwen, saying, “I know, I know~ I also didn’t think I would be as weak as I am right now.” Jun Xiaomo subconsciously pulled out some tricks that she would normally use against her mother when she persistently nagged at Jun Xiaomo.

Seeing this, Ye Xiuwen’s eyes flashed as he swiftly broke eye contact with Jun Xiaomo and motioned towards the stone chair directly opposite her and began to brew a pot of tea.

Jun Xiaomo stuck out her tongue genially as she thought that her martial brother’s silence made him look even more solemn than before.

However, because of the veiled conical hat, Jun Xiaomo was unable to make out Ye Xiuwen’s expression. Therefore, she did not discover that Ye Xiuwen’s present expression was in fact extremely awkward as well. 

As the tea brewed, wafts of fragrance slowly diffused to the surrounding air and filled every corner of the pavilion. The scent complemented the serene surroundings, refreshing the hearts and soothing the minds of all around. As the aroma lingered on, it seemed to dilute and dispel the earlier awkwardness experienced by Ye Xiuwen and Jun Xiaomo.

Sipping the tea, Ye Xiuwen casually queried, “Martial sister, do you know why I’m asking you to do all of these dry and arduous, yet difficult training?”

Jun Xiaomo hefted the cup of tea with both hands, looking intently at the swirling tea in her cup as she deliberated for a moment. Then, with some uncertainty, she replied, “Is it because you wish to increase my body’s tolerance?”

Ye Xiuwen nodded gently, replying, “This is only one aspect of it. There are other reasons as well. Martial sister, do you know why, among all the Sects out there, there are so few sword cultivators?”

In this world, there were many spiritual cultivators who used the sword as a weapon or an equipment. However, of these cultivators, those who sought understanding of their cultivation paths through the sword, otherwise known as sword cultivators, were extremely few in number. Among the upper-tier sects, only the Frozen Sword Sect specialized in nurturing sword cultivator disciples. Furthermore, within the last few centuries, the number of disciples accepted by the Frozen Sword Sect numbered fewer than one hundred. Apart from the stringent qualifications required to enter the Frozen Sword Sect, the number of cultivators who were willing to pursue the path of the sword were extremely few as well.

“Because sword cultivation is extremely difficult?” In her previous life, Jun Xiaomo had not specialized in any weapon; and had always used whatever was available to her at hand. Because of this, she knew a little bit of everything, but she also barely scratched the surface in understanding each of these weapons. In any event, she did not pursue the path of a weapon-based cultivator in her previous life, so there was also no impetus for her to hone her art in that regard.

“Sword cultivation is actually more akin to martial arts cultivation. It requires its cultivators to have both a strong physique as well as an unwavering willpower. Yet at the same time it’s not just a practice, because a core aspect of it is in the idea of “understanding”. Only when one begins to understand the sword’s intent can one truly be considered to have embarked on the path of the sword. Otherwise, no matter how many forms and techniques one learns through both mind and body, one can only remain on the periphery of the path of the sword, never truly becoming a sword cultivator.”

It requires both a strong physique and a profound understanding? This is built on the same principles as demonic cultivation. Jun Xiaomo thought to herself. Naturally, she would not speak of such thoughts in front of Ye Xiuwen.

Thinking of this, Jun Xiaomo smiled radiantly at Ye Xiuwen and said, “Then I’d like martial brother to teach me to be a sword cultivator!”

Ye Xiuwen lifted his index finger and gently rapped her on the head, replying, “I’ve said all of that earlier not because I want to ask you to walk down the path of sword cultivation. Whether sword cultivation is suitable for you is a decision to be made when you’re at the tenth level of Qi Mastery. It’s still way too early to decide now.”

“Oh…” Jun Xiaomo puffed up her cheeks indignantly and she scratched her head, insistently saying, “But martial brother you’ve already agreed to teach me the sword! You cannot feign ignorance there!” Saying that, she even forcefully nodded her head, affirming her own words.

Ye Xiuwen furrowed his brows – Feign ignorance? It was the first time he had heard someone using these words on him.

Ye Xiuwen casually took another sip of tea, before slowly responding, “I’ll naturally teach you since you are willing to learn. Even if you decide later that the path of the sword is not something for you, you’ll still be able to protect yourself with these basic sword techniques and forms. But I’ll leave these words with you – sword arts are extremely difficult to master, and it will require unwavering perseverance on your part. What you’ve experienced today is only an appetizer, and future trainings will be even tougher. I won’t go easy on you once you’ve committed to learning from me.”

Jun Xiaomo hurriedly and fervently nodded her head in agreement. After all, she had in her previous life experienced many things which were far more difficult and grueling. In comparison, this little bit of hard work could not be counted as much at all. Furthermore, there were benefits to be had at the end of all this as well!

Ye Xiuwen chuckled, refilling Jun Xiaomo’s teacup with a fresh cup of tea.

“Oh yes, martial brother, I heard that you will be travelling out of the Sect for your missions soon!” Jun Xiaomo suddenly recalled this matter of importance which had troubled her the whole night before.

Hearing this, Ye Xiuwen was also a bit stunned. He had forgotten all about it until Jun Xiaomo reminded him!

Ye Xiuwen deliberated for a moment, before assuring Jun Xiaomo, “It’s fine, I will give you a training plan and a suitable sword technique for you to practice. As long as martial sister follows my instructions, the effects will be the same.”

Jun Xiaomo pouted in frustration. This was not the result she had expected from broaching this subject. If there was only a sword technique and no combat or skirmish, her cultivation would remain stuck at the first level of Qi Mastery.

Jun Xiaomo leapt down from the stone chair and inched closer to Ye Xiuwen’s side. Then, she gazed at Ye Xiuwen, blinking hesitantly.

Seeing this, Ye Xiuwen knew that Jun Xiaomo had something she wished to say to him. Therefore, he kept his cool and waited for her to speak.

“Martial brother, could you bring me out on your travels with you?” Jun Xiaomo grinned cheekily at Ye Xiuwen, revealing the two dimples on her cheeks.

“You want to travel out of the Sect with me?” Ye Xiuwen frowned – he had not expected Jun Xiaomo to make such a request.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter