Chapter 66 Gifting a Sword
“Give Senior Brother a chance, okay?”
He Lanze’s eyes were sincere.
Ye Yunlan avoided looking at him. His gaze fell on He Lanze’s gray robe and the dirt on his clothes.
In the past two years, He Lanze had indeed changed a lot.
He had been humble and polite in front of lower-generation disciples without being arrogant or domineering like before. In front of him, he was even more caring.
… Compared to the sect’s Senior Brother in his previous life’s memories, they seemed to be completely different people.
Ye Yunlan remembered that a long, long time ago, he had admired the other’s swordsmanship. He had borne the wind and snow waiting outside the other party’s residence, holding out his true heart in the cold.
If it was that self at that time, facing such a He Lanze, maybe…maybe he would accept it.
“…It’s too late,” he said.
“Late?” He Lanze grabbed Ye Yunlan’s words and twisted his eyebrows deeply. “How is Senior Brother late?”
Ye Yunlan was silent.
He Lanze couldn’t figure out what he was thinking, so he couldn’t help but smile bitterly in his heart.
Since cultivating, his talents have far surpassed those of his peers. His cultivation went smoothly, and he didn’t encounter any setbacks. It was only with Ye Yunlan in which he suffered from repeated setbacks.
His mind turned sharply, and he remembered a reason.
“Junior Brother, I know you said that you once had a dao companion. After his death, you still can’t forget him.”
He considered his words, “But the dead will not be resurrected. If your dao companion is still alive, he wouldn’t want to watch you be sad and lonely for this life because of him either. Especially disregarding your own life because of this…”
“No,” Ye Yunlan interrupted He Lanze’s words, remembering the little tattoos that the man had branded on his back and the whispers he said when he held him in his arms. He showed a little helplessness between his brows: “Once he has taken something, that person is very domineering. Even if he died, he would not want me to forget him in the slightest.”
He Lanze no longer knew how many times he secretly cursed Ye Yunlan’s former dao companion in his heart. He thought for a moment, then said: “But Junior Brother, you were not yet of age at that time and were still young, how can you know what love is? Maybe you were misunderstanding your reliance on him as you liking him. Treating your pampering as deep affection. The relationship between you and your dao companion may not be as you imagined.”
He thought his words would move Ye Yunlan, but Ye Yunlan’s face was pale. After a moment of silence, he nodded: “I really don’t know what love is, and maybe I will not know it in the future.”
“…I only know that after he has gone, in this mighty world, I will never find anyone to accompany me and to get to know more.”
The words were stated to this point.
He Lanze was still unwilling. He subconsciously ignored the words from Ye Yunlan and said: “Junior Brother, even though you say you don’t know love…Senior Brother really wants to teach you.”
He looked at Ye Yunlan’s pale face. It was hard to contain his heart, and he couldn’t help but reach out to touch Ye Yunlan’s cheek, but Ye Yunlan avoided it by turning sideways.
At the same time, fierce sword energy came from behind!
He Lanze hadn’t reacted yet, so the sword aura had cut through the back of his hand. Then it plunged into the ground in front of him. It smashed a very narrow but very deep gully.
Only then did he notice the pain.
After another breath, a line of blood slowly appeared on the back of his hand. Then, a drop of blood trickled to the ground.
He Lanze was shocked.
The wound was not deep and close to the knuckle veins. Also, it nearly crippled his right hand. It can be seen that this swordsman’s control was wonderful. He didn’t even have the insight nor time to counterattack——Was there such a swordmaster in Sky Sect?
He Lanze turned around and saw a black figure carrying a sword walk slowly along the flower garden’s path. Only a pair of eyes as bright as the cold stars were seen in the backlight.
“Shen Shu, you’re out.”
Next to him, Ye Yunlan spoke first.
Shen Shu walked over and said, “Master.”
Ye Yunlan nodded slightly and looked at Shen Shu carefully.
Compared with two years ago, Shen Shu’s figure was much taller. He already needed to look up slightly when he stood straight.
Moreover, his body aura was completely integrated and powerful. His sword intent was condensed and ready to go. Clearly, he had successfully advanced to the Nascent Soul realm, and the pressure would be apparent if one stood next to him.
“How come you took out your sword just now?” Ye Yunlan pointed out that he acted improperly just now.
It was just that there wasn’t much criticism in his words.
Shen Shu pouted his lips, “I just got promoted and had made great progress in my cultivation base, so I couldn’t help but want to try it out with Uncle He Lanze.”
He looked sideways at He Lanze, then said coldly: “I just saw Martial Uncle, so my sword intent broke out. Martial Uncle doesn’t mind that I had accidentally hurt Martial Uncle, right?”
On his robe, He Lanze wiped away the blood on the back of his right hand. His expression became serious, “Martial Nephew Shen’s sword skills have improved a lot after two years of not seeing it.”
Shen Shu’s dark eyes were deep, difficult to distinguish between happiness and anger. He only lifted the long sword in his hand, “Shen Shu requests Martial Uncle’s enlightenment.”
He Lanze glanced at Ye Yunlan and saw that Ye Yunlan didn’t respond much to his words just now. His expression was a little sad.
Turning his gaze back to Shen Shu, He Lanze wanted to express his anger by fighting against Shen Shu. The long sword in his hand was also unsheathed: “Okay, but since Martial Nephew has reached the rank of Nascent Soul, I won’t suppress my cultivation and hold back.”
Shen Shu said indifferently: “Naturally, Martial Uncle can go ahead.”
He Lanze’s cultivation base had already transformed into Demi-God as early as six years ago, so now he was in Demi-God’s mid-stage. He suppressed Shen Shu by an entire boundary. If it was thought about like this, he would be regarded as bullying the weak.
But He Lanze didn’t want to lose in front of Ye Yunlan.
After all, two years ago, the two had already tied when he fought Shen Shu under the condition of suppressing his cultivation base. Now that Shen Shu’s swordsmanship has improved, He Lanze really had no confidence that he could win at the same level.
Lost confidence by just comparing sword dao? He had already lost a large half of the match.
Immediately when the battle began, the two figures moved swiftly and simultaneously. The long swords kept colliding, clanking.
Amidst the splendid spiritual power, light, and shadow, He Lanze, who had a higher cultivation base, clearly had the upper hand.
It was just that as time passed, Shen Shu gradually exposed the flaws in his swordsmanship, piercing each and every critical flaw.
He Lanze had to return to defense. The initial offensive momentum was completely eliminated.
Then Shen Shu pressed on.
His swordsmanship was ghostly, precise, and awe-inspiring.
If Shen Shu unsheathing his sword before was like a hungry wolf chasing a person to devour with his sword, now he was a wolf king hidden in the dark night. His moves were casual, but if careless, he would be a hundred times more sinister than before!
Between the sword lights, He Lanze could see the contempt. But even more, the indifference in Shen Shu’s eyes.
After that, the light of the sword in Shen Shu’s hand flourished. The long iron sword in his hand struck him from an unavoidable place!
He Lanze suddenly realized that Shen Shu wasn’t trying his best before!
The long sword in his hand was directly sent flying. Slowly, hot liquid flowed down on the left side of his neck.
And that mighty sword light still didn’t stop. It flew behind him and was about to pierce into the flower bed. But when it encountered a cluster of starflower petals, it dissipated like a cloud of smoke. It did not hurt the starflower cluster.
——A sword skill like this.
He Lanze stood there in a daze for a long time, and his expression became even worse.
He didn’t immediately pick up the long sword on the ground but sighed. “Martial Nephew’s swordsmanship can now be in immortalization. Martial Uncle…cannot compare.”
Shen Shu placed his sword into its sheath and said, “Without previous guidance from Martial Uncle, I might’ve not won this time.” He changed his words. “It’s just that after today, I don’t have to bother Martial Uncle to come to Yanhui peak to test my sword anymore.”
He glanced at the flower garden around him: “Yes, I also want to thank Martial Uncle for these two years of organizing the flower garden here for me. But now that I have come out of retreat, the flower garden’s arrangement will naturally be left to me. After all…”
He lifted his lips, smiling but not, “I am Master’s only personal disciple.”
Shen Shu spoke a few words, cutting off all the reasons He Lanze had to come to look for Ye Yunlan.
He Lanze felt strange in his heart. Before he could even think about it, he listened to Ye Yunlan say: “Senior Brother, thank you for your guidance to Shen Shu over the years. Without the help of Senior Brother, Shen Shu’s swordsmanship might not have improved so fast.”
Although Ye Yunlan’s voice was calm and without contempt, He Lanze still felt a little embarrassed.
Since he began cultivating, he had never lost in front of his peers. But today, he lost in the hands of a junior who was younger than him by decades. On top of that, it was in front of the person he liked.
He didn’t want to stay here anymore. After saying his departure in a low voice, he picked up the long sword on the ground and hurriedly left with a depressing back.
It was just that neither Ye Yunlan nor Shen Shu looked at him again.
The wind blew, and the sea of flowers moved like a ripple of waves.
Shen Shu turned around and looked at Ye Yunlan, his eyes deep.
Ye Yunlan narrowed his eyebrows, keenly aware that Shen Shu seemed to be different, but some stubborn areas were still the same as they were two years ago.
“It’s noon.” He looked away and said, “I’ve made some food, do you…want to come in to eat?”
Hearing this, Shen Shu raised his eyebrows in surprise.
——Is my Master actually able to cook??
He changed this thought for a moment. He had seen the spring scenery around him when he first left his closed-door training, thinking that he was only there for three months. It was only until after he heard the dialogue between He Lanze and Ye Yunlan, did he realize that several springs and falls had passed.
Two years was indeed too long.
If he ate a bigu pill every day, Master would definitely be tired of eating it too.
But… what could his Master make? He was very curious.
So he readily agreed: “Okay.”
He licked his lips, “I didn’t expect to be able to taste Master’s craftsmanship just after leaving the closed-door training. Can Disciple regard it as…good fortune?”
Ye Yunlan didn’t expect him to say something like this. Hesitating, he wanted to say something. But, he just pursed his lips for a moment, pushed open the bamboo building’s door, and walked in.
Shen Shu walked in, following him closely. He walked to the low table and sat down cross-legged, putting the long sword beside him. He looked sideways at Ye Yunlan, who was cooking in the back kitchen.
Ye Yunlan turned his back to him and rolled up his sleeves. His long hair was loosely tied behind his head with a plain hairband.
He was born tall, but his figure was too slender, and his waist was too narrow. It was as if the wind could blow him away.
Shen Shu guessed that if he walked behind his Master, he might be able to clench his thin waist as long as he closed his two palms together.
He felt a little hot in his body, and his Adam’s apple couldn’t help swallowing.
After a while, Shen Shu heard the sound of the iron pan being started and saw the steaming mist float into the air. Then Ye Yunlan walked back with two bamboo bowls. He stepped onto the high wooden steps, bent over, and put the two bowls down on the low table.
Shen Shu calmed down and saw two balls of boiled noodles in the bamboo bowl, with a few water-boiled vegetables floating in it and a bit of shredded cucumber.
It seemed like it was a vegetarian dish.
…Does his Master like to eat vegetarian dishes?
Ye Yunlan sat opposite him. He unfolded his rolled-up sleeves, and the ribbons he tied were also taken off. Black hair unwinded on his back.
He picked up the bowl of noodle soup and took a sip with his head down.
Seeing this, Shen Shu also picked up the bamboo bowl and drank.
…A little salty.
He blinked, picked up the bamboo chopsticks, and took a bite of the noodles in the bowl. It was overcooked and a bit sticky.
He took a bite of the boiled green vegetables. The inside was raw, not fully cooked, and even still a bit muddy.
Only the cucumber shreds were refreshing and crisp, but…the cucumber shreds did not need to be cooked. From just the perspective of its appearance, his Master’s knife skills were quite good.
Shen Shu raised his eyes and saw that Ye Yunlan was still eating the bowl of plain noodles without a word. Head down, pale complexion, and his wrists were too thin. It was as if it could be broken with a snap. He couldn’t help but feel his heart in pain.
Ye Yunlan heard him stop moving but didn’t raise his eyes. He only stirred the noodles in his bowl with bamboo chopsticks and whispered.
“If you don’t want to eat it, then just throw it. You have long been fasting, and eating all this food will cause filth to gather in your body. It is not worth it.”
Shen Shu listened to his words but grabbed the bamboo chopsticks and picked up the bamboo bowl. He quickly ate a large bite of the noodles. While eating, he said, “Master’s noodles… are delicious. I like them very much.”
What he said was not contrary to his heart.
Although he had been in retreat for only two years, countless years have passed in his memory.
At first, when he was struggling to survive in the Demon Abyss, don’t even talk about noodles, he didn’t even have a mouthful of water.
His food was the smelly corpses and blood of those monsters.
After seeing the sky again, he was in the demonic palace. Occasionally he would drink alcohol alone, but that was all.
No one knew that after cultivating the nine-turn celestial demon body, his body would be very different from ordinary people. The same was true for his five senses.
Except for the taste of liquor and blood, he couldn’t taste the other things.
It had been a long time since he had eaten normal human food.
Even though this bowl of noodles was a bit salty and sticky, and the vegetables were a bit hard, in his perception, he still undoubtedly cherished these delicacies.
What was more, Ye Yunlan personally made this bowl of noodles for him.
Ye Yunlan didn’t expect him to say that. Suddenly, the roots of his ears turned red as if he couldn’t believe it. He asked suspiciously, “Really?”
Shen Shu buried his head in the noodles. He gave a low laugh from his throat and quickly finished the noodles in the bowl. “Really.”
He put down the empty bowl in his hand and spoke with a smile.
“… But since Disciple has left the closed-door retreat, how can Disciple continue to bother Master with the cooking? From now on, let Disciple prepare food for Master.”
He sat at the low table, watching Ye Yunlan slowly finish the noodles. After, he took the two bamboo bowls and two pairs of bamboo chopsticks and went to the backyard to clean them.
Ye Yunlan called out to him.
“Shen Shu, come to the study after you are finished. Your Master has something for you.”
Shen Shu: “Is it the reward that Master mentioned before the closed-door training?”
Ye Yunlan said “en” faintly.
Then he said, “I need to ask you a few questions.”
Shen Shu’s footsteps stiffened. He glanced inwardly at his Nascent Soul in his heart mansion and couldn’t help but feel guilty.
After cleaning the dishes, Shen Shu walked into the study.
Sitting behind the bookcase, Ye Yunlan was flipping through an ancient book. Seeing him walking in, he said: “Come here.”
Shen Shu walked to him and noticed that he had two long swords beside him.
There was a slender sword with a crystal blue hilt and feather scales. It was Ye Yunlan’s sword, Queying.
On the other hand, the other sword’s sheath was pitch black. The hilt was made of a blood jade, and it had a long and slender body. The sword emitted fierce energy before it even was out of its sheath.
The two swords were placed side by side, and they were extremely harmonious.
Shen Shu stared at the black scabbard with mysterious lines engraved on it. If it was before, he definitely wouldn’t have known the meaning of those lines. It was just that when he was the Demon Lord, he had read all the forbidden techniques and secrets that the demon sects had collected because of his boredom. He knew that this was ancient divine writing. Its words were not like human writing, with each word having a specific meaning. Instead, it contained mysterious powers. It was difficult for ordinary cultivators to learn, let alone combine and use them in one place.
With the effort required to engrave these divine writings, Ye Yunlan’s effort must be indescribable.
And the power of these divine texts was evolvable.
This was a spirit sword that could grow and repair itself.
“Master once said that when you are successful in your cultivation, Master will refine a sword for you.”
Ye Yunlan said.
“This is a reward from your Master for breaking through to the Nascent Soul. You can draw your sword and see if you like it.”
Shen Shu held up the long sword, bowed slightly to Ye Yunlan, then placed the long sword flat on his body before slowly drawing the sword out of its sheath.
As the cold light of the sword was pulled out inch by inch, a clear sword sound accompanied it.
The bloody jade hilt was connected to the blade, and clear light flowed on it, reflecting Shen Shu’s eyes.
“The main body of this sword is star meteorite iron blended into a blood jade crystal. It was quenched by the sky-inducing thunder and condensed with an ice soul. It contains your essence and blood, and no one can use it except you.”
“If you like it, then go back and refine it. After, the sword will be your natal spirit sword, connected with your heart. One thought could make it cut an enemy thousands of miles away.”
Shen Shu’s eyesight naturally could see that this spirit sword was top grade, much higher than his Master’s own natal spirit sword, Queying.
It was still not as good as the Demon Sword Shura that he got when he was the Demon Lord. However, that Demon Sword had been passed down for thousands of years and had soaked in the killing intent of hundreds of millions of resentful souls. How could it be compared with a newly refined spirit sword?
What was more, with the help of divine writing, as he improved his cultivation, this spirit sword may be able to reach the height of the Shura sword in the future.
It was just that he didn’t know how exactly Ye Yunlan could refine this with his weak and sick body.
He looked at Ye Yunlan’s pale face. Remembering what He Lanze had faintly mentioned, regarding Ye Yunlan’s physical injury not being able to be dragged out any longer, he was worried.
But these things could not be shown in front of Ye Yunlan for the time being.
He retracted the sword into its scabbard and said.
“Thank you, Master. I like it very much.”
Ye Yunlan: “You should give it a name.”
Shen Shu thought for a while. His eyes fell on the table on Queying sword, then he curled his lips.
“It is said that when a star meteorite iron comes to this world from outside the realm, it is like a meteor star with an afterglow shining in the sky. This sword is forged by a star meteorite iron, so why not call it Afterglow.”
Ye Yunlan did not notice his secret thoughts. He only said: “Afterglow… good name.”
Shen Shu changed his thoughts and said: “Then… Disciple will take Afterglow back to refine?”
“Hold on.” Ye Yunlan called to him, “There is one more thing.”
He took out a green bead from the drawer and put it on the table, “You should remember this item.”
Shen Shu looked down at the bead.
Of course, he remembered.
Back then, Liu Qing relied on this to forcibly bring him back to Sky Sect and lock him in the medicine room as a beast.
“When I rescued you, I promised that after you reached Nascent Soul and you could still hold your original mind and not enter the demonic way, as your Master, I would return this thing to you.”
Ye Yunlan pushed the bead forward. “Take it.”
Shen Shu didn’t immediately take the puppet bead on the table. Instead, he said: “Master, you are not afraid that Disciple will fall into the demonic way after getting this bead and be a disaster for the world?”
He did not lie.
After possessing the Demon Lord’s memory, he could indeed enter the Demonic Dao with a single thought. The cultivation of the nine-turn celestial demon body was taboo in others’ eyes, and it was an incomplete Demonic Dao forbidden technique. But in his eyes, there was no secret at all.
The darkness hidden in his body began to stir. He had once controlled an incomparable, world-shocking strength. It was indeed a difficult thing to have him get used to his current weak self.
Ye Yunlan’s cold voice was heard in his ear.
“Master believes in you.”
Shen Shu’s body shook.
“…Try to live up to the trust that your Master has placed on you.” Ye Yunlan said slowly, “The demonic way is not a good place. Killing, evil karma, good versus evil’s retribution, weariness accumulating in the body, even if you have powerful strength, what about it?”
“Shen Shu, I can take care of you for a while as your Master, but I can’t take care of you for the rest of your life.”
Shen Shu heard an ambiguous meaning from his words, then heard Ye Yunlan say: “Come here.”
They were already very close at this moment, only a bookcase separated them, but Ye Yunlan wanted him to come closer.
Shen Shu hesitated for a moment. He bypassed the bookcase, walked to Ye Yunlan’s side, half-kneeled, and looked up at Ye Yunlan as if he was a young boy, “Master?”
Ye Yunlan said: “Lower your head.”
Shen Shu lowered his neck, unsuspectingly exposing the fragile part of his neck to Ye Yunlan. Then he heard the sound of clothes rubbing.
Ye Yunlan raised the sleeves of his wide coat, and his cold fingertips fell on the back of his neck.
——He was stroking the puppet seal on the back of his neck.
Shen Shu felt a cold shudder first, then he slightly warmed up as Ye Yunlan’s finger slid over him.
The keen five senses cultivated in the face of life and death in the Demon Abyss made his whole body tense. His eyelashes trembled slightly, and he resisted the difficulty of evading it.
“This puppet mark is a hidden danger after all.”
Ye Yunlan slowly stroked the mark on the back of Shen Shu’s neck, observing the lines and depths on it: “Your Master has found a way to eliminate it. At that time, your Master will need you to go on a trip.”
Shen Shu: “…Yes.”
“Now that you have achieved success in your cultivation and you have your own natal spirit sword, what your Master can teach you is about it.”
Ye Yunlan said this, and his voice was a little more gentle than usual.
“After the puppet seal is eliminated, there will no longer be any foreign objects in the world to affect you. You can choose the path you want to walk and see the vast world.”
Shen Shu was silent for a while: “What about Master?”
Ye Yunlan: “Your Master will have a destination, no need for you to worry.”
He didn’t seem to want to continue this subject. He said to Shen Shu: “Go and get the qin for Master. With two years of retreat, it has been a long time since you have heard the qin played by your Master.”
Shen Shu got up, took the guqin hanging on the wall, and put it on the table.
Ye Yunlan lowered his head, stretched out his hands, closed his eyes, and slowly played.
The sound of the qin was as far away as ever, like a breeze coming over from the mountains. It was a remote place, gently rippling in the listener’s heart.
It can eliminate all irritability in one’s heart and allow one to immerse themselves in an inhibited realm.
Shen Shu’s restless demonic thoughts calmed down a lot, and even the screaming demons in his mind gradually faded.
He closed his eyes and felt tranquility.
The qin’s sound curled around the room. Immediately after about half an incense’s time, there was a sense of stagnation in the qin’s sound.
Shen Shu opened his eyes in confusion and heard a messy trill.
The string broke.
Dark red blood slid down Ye Yunlan’s fingertips, but his own complexion was paler than frost. His brows were deeply tightened.
Shen Shu felt something was wrong. He got up, walked over, and saw Ye Yunlan’s chest rise and fall, then he coughed as if he finally couldn’t tolerate it.
This cough was difficult to stop.
Continuous coughing rippled in the room, and blood flowed down the pale fingers. Ye Yunlan coughed up tears, and his cheeks were stained with a thin red, but his complexion was pale, terribly pale.
“Master? What’s the matter with you? Did your injury erupt again? How could it be like this?” He obviously had Ye Yunlan take the ancient XinZhi two years ago. The ancient Xinzhi was a rank 9 elixir. Although it cannot cure it completely, the spiritual energy contained therein can at least relieve Ye Yunlan’s injury a lot.
But why? It had been only two years. Why have Ye Yunlan’s injuries become so serious again?
Suddenly, the wind bell outside the bamboo building rang.
It was unclear when the study room’s window opened. However, a figure appeared inside.
He had a tall silver-haired crown and had a tall stature, with a crane overcoat flying behind him.
Qiyun Jun’s eyebrows seemed to be condensed from immortal ice and snow, even colder than usual.
He strode in front of the two of them and said coldly to Shen Shu.