Ancient Strengthening Technique - Chapter 1164-1165
AST 1164 –Decision to Leave. What kind of powerful backing did she have?
"I'm definitely older." Yan Jinyu replied grumpily knowing what Qing Shui was trying.
"Oh, how old are you? Tell me, let's see if you're really older." Qing Shui chuckled.
"Cut it out. Anyway, I'm older!" Yan Jinyu said firmly. She did not want Qing Shui to continue on this subject. Qing Shui understood and didn't continue asking.
The position they were at was the Tian Di (Heaven and Earth) Position in terms of Feng Shui. This was a good place to worship the heavens. Now, he was going to become the sworn brother of this woman, but he felt that it was a little preposterous. Actually, this entire day was rather preposterous. He felt that Miss Yan was a little abnormal…
This woman was beautiful, calm and magnanimous. She looked so mature and elegant, yet she kept forcing him to be her sworn brother. If it weren't for Qing Shui's self-confidence, he would have suspected that she was plotting against him.
But what could she want from him? Other than his forging skills, his wine or some tea leaves? Qing Shui did not care. He looked at Yan Jinyu to see if she was ready.
Both of them lit three joss sticks. There was a kneeling mat under both of them. Yan Jinyu gestured for Qing Shui to start talking first.
"To the Heavens above, myself, Qing Shui and Yan Jinyu will be sworn siblings from today on. I am not trying to gain status through connections, nor be her gigolo, I will treat her as my true sister. If anyone bullies her, I will tear them up." Qing Shui looked up to the sky speaking sincerely.
Yan Jinyu felt a little displeased, but she also looked up to the sky, "With the Heaven and Earth as our witness, I take Qing Shui as my sworn brother today. He will be my relative from this day on. No matter what happens, I will try my best to help him, even at the cost of my life."
Qing Shui was shocked by Qin Jinyu's last words. He couldn't tell if she really meant what she said, but he was definitely touched by it. They were now siblings, with Heaven and Earth as their witness. Then, he slowly said, "Time can be the judge of our sentiments!"
After saying that, he thrust his joss sticks into the joss stick urn!
Yan Jinyu also placed her joss sticks into the urn.
"Sis!" Qing Shui said mildly with a smile.
"Brother!" Yan Jinyu rubbed Qing Shui's head happily. She seemed delighted.
Qing Shui's face quivered a little as he took out a vat of Plum Blossom Wine and poured half of it on the ground. With that, they had finished their ceremony with joss sticks and wine. He took out two cups. He poured two cups of wine and handed one to Yan Jinyu.
"We will be siblings in the future. We will take care of each other. I will do my best to protect you until you find your future husband." Qing Shui laughed, holding up his cup.
"What are you saying? I have already decided that I would never marry. Alright, after we finish this cup of wine, we will be siblings." Yan Jinyu clinked her cup with Qing Shui's.
Both of them finished their wine in one gulp.
"Okay, now that we are siblings. Tell me, why are you so adamant on being my sworn sister?" Qing Shui didn't really understand the whole situation, but he went along with it and agreed to her request.
"Must there be a reason?" Yan Jinyu asked.
"Of course, don't you find this weird? Nothing happens without a reason in this world. There must be some sort of reason." Qing Shui grinned.
"Just as you said, nothing happens without a reason. If I tell you that I think that you have great potential and I don't want us to be just strangers in the future because I want your help next time, would you believe me?" Yan Jinyu replied thoughtfully.
"Ah, if so. That's great!" Yan Jinyu said feeling a little surprised.
"Do you know why the wolf and the Bei (a fictional animal that is like a wolf in folklore) usually work together?"Qing Shui asked but suddenly found it a little inappropriate.
"Why? Because they have the same goals?" Yan Jinyu's expression was a little stiff though she still sounded calm. She knew he was referring to the phrase, "Wolves and Beis working together". (TN: This is basically an idiom with the meaning partners in crime.)
"That's right!" Qing Shui replied in a hurry. Qing Shui actually had a different answer, but he knew he couldn't bring that up because it was just not suitable.
Legend has it that wolves and Beis are similar creatures. A wolf has long front legs and shorter hind legs while the Bei has long hinds legs and shorter front legs. Whenever they go out hunting, the Bei needs the support of the wolf to move, putting its front legs on the wolf's hind legs. Once, the wolf and the Bei stumbled upon a sheep pen. Even though there were many sheep, the fence was too high. Thus, they had a good idea, if the wolf could stand on the Bei's neck, letting the Bei boost him up. The wolf will then be able to jump into the pen and steal the sheep.
Qing Shui actually wanted to talk about the Bei needing the wolf's support to walk but that was too inappropriate!
"You can't lie. You have a special look when you're lying." Yan Jinyu laughed and continued, "It's almost time for lunch. Let's go, you can't make up any excuses now!"
Both of them went to the same restaurant that he and Yan Yangzhao went to previously. They even chose the same seats. Perhaps it was because they were now sworn siblings but it was a weird coincidence.
After their meal, their relationship as siblings got better. Though Yan Jinyu did not speak much, hearing such a beautiful woman speak was rather enjoyable for Qing Shui. On top of that, they both enjoyed discussing similar topics.
"Sis, give me your Greencloud Stone, I can help you forge a sword. But I can't be certain about its stats," Qing Shui said to Yan Jinyu after finishing his food.
"It's okay. I rather not have you do that. I don't want to feel like I am using you, as my sworn brother, to make weapons."
"Are you sure?"
"At least not at the moment."
"Maybe I should reconsider!" Yan Jinyu laughed!
"Okay, I reconsidered. I want you to help me now. Will you belittle me?"
"No. We make friends to scam them. If we don't scam them, who else? If you try to scam someone you don't know, you might fail," Qing Shui joked.
"Then, I don't want it! Really!" Yan Jinyu said sincerely.
"Are you really going to change your mind because of this? We are siblings now, do you really have to take me so seriously?" Qing Shui didn't expect Yan Jinyu to say that. He actually knew that Yan Jinyu was like him, in the way that she didn't want to receive any benefits from others without reason, so he understood her feelings.
"Qing Shui, I feel that it is not right," Yan Jinyu said earnestly.
"Oh, so even now, you are still concerned about your ego? Do you think that our friendship isn't strong enough?" Qing Shui looked at Yan Jinyu.
"No, Qing Shui. It isn't like that, otherwise, I wouldn't even ask you to be my sworn brother. I just wonder if I am being too practical." Yan Jinyu looked back at Qing Shui a little bitterly.
"Humans are all practical. Just like how aristocratic clans seek alliances through marriage. People of a certain capability would have friends of similar capabilities. Rich people would not befriend poor people, as there is no way of using them. Living, if you put it in a good way, is basically helping even other out without our own communities and connections, working together to go through difficulties and advance forward. But if we get realistic about it or in a negative sense, it is using each other, just like us. We are siblings now, so helping you forge a weapon is nothing special. It is okay if you think that you're using me for my forging skills. Perhaps, I would look for you in the Inner City, would that also be counted as me using you?" Qing Shui reasoned.
Qing Shui knew that she probably understood his view but her pride made it hard for her to accept how he handled things. ……
Qing Shui shut the door to his shop and brought Yan Jinyu to the manor he was living in. As they had finally come to an agreement, Yan Jinyu wanted to wait for the weapon to be ready before they left.
Qing Shui had already decided to leave with Yan Jinyu to the Inner City. This was why she happily agreed to Qing Shui helping her forge a new weapon as he would need her help once they were there.
His shop was quite quiet after he let Old man Wang leave. He also went to bid farewell to Yu Ruyan. He could leave any time, but he just bought the manor here and he still had his Huoyun Blacksmith Store. He decided then that no matter where he went, his blacksmith store will always have the same name.
"Qing Shui, will you sell this place when you leave?"
"No, I won't sell it. I will just leave it. This is a very important place to me, I must definitely keep it. If I do come here again, I will have a place to stay. Keeping this place will give me the feeling of familiarity."
"Ok, that's true. Anyway, you don't lack funds. I guess you'll let those people stay here. You must be a kind person."
The people that Qing Shui employed to look after his properties were all handicapped people. He wanted to give them a job and he also paid them well.
"Oh, could you tell me about the Inner City? I am not quite sure, even living here in the outer city. Is The Four Kings Aristocrat Clan from Four Kings Street very powerful?" Qing Shui had a feeling that he could get quite a lot of information from Yan Jinyu.
"The Four Kings Aristocrat Clan from Four Kings Street are not that powerful, as they are just one of the branches. But they are one of the more prominent branches as they are important to the main clan in the Inner City. As for Black Wind Mountain, you could say Four Kings Aristocrat Clan is backed by them. How did you offend them?" Yan JInyu smiled at Qing Shui, Black Winds Mountain seemed insignificant to her.
Qing Shui was puzzled. Tan Taixuan was Putuo Mountain, yet he was wary of Black Wind Mountain. Putuo Mountain shouldn't be much weaker than Yan Clan. But then again, Yan City was one of the five largest cities in Great Yu Dynasty so it probably had a long heritage, with multiple deep-rooted clans which all spanned over generations, this it wasn't surprising that they could be comparable to Putuo Mountain.
He did really understand all that, just like he didn't understand this sworn sister of his. She was already at State Master level. What sort of sect or clan could nurture such talents? After all, her relatives were also around that caliber.
"No, they were coveting my woman. So I scared them. I'm not strong enough to kill them." Every time he thought about how he had to restrain himself, he couldn't help wanting to be even more powerful. Even though he was growing stronger at an extremely quick pace, he wasn't satisfied by his progress.
"Why don't I go along with you to kill those people from the Four Kings Aristocrat Clan (四王世家)!" Yan Jinyu said to Qing Shui.
Qing Shui was startled. When he looked At Yan Jinyu's face, he knew she was serious. His heart skipped a beat. He was shocked by this woman's prowess, whether it was from the powerful Yan Clan backing or her own strength. He knew that the Yan Clan was definitely stronger than Black Wind Mountain.
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AST 1165 –Heaven Secrets Academy，Forging the Four Elements Greencloud Sword
"That's unnecessary. If I really want to kill them, I'll do it myself." Qing Shui grinned at the woman who had given him quite a few surprises.
"Why? Do you not trust my ability?" Yan Jinyu flashed Qing Shui an alluring smile.
This was the reason that he forced himself to take her as his real sister. He was afraid that he couldn't control his lust, so he constantly reminded himself about their relationship. Now that they were sworn siblings, he had clearly aligned himself with the Yan Clan. In any case, he would stand on their side.
"Sis, Yan Clan is the largest clan in Yan City. While Yan City is one of the five largest cities in Great Yu Dynasty. So, how powerful is Yan Clan?" Qing Shui was curious. Great Yu Dynasty was a Late Grade Two Dynasty, and he wanted to know what other powerful clans existed besides the royal family.
"Qing Shui, things have changed. Clans, sects and people who used to be very powerful might not retain their power. On the other hand, there are less prominent groups who might have grown in strength." Yan Jinyu reminded Qing Shui.
"That's true. The world is changing every second, just like every one of us." Qing Shui agreed. There are people who could ride on the tailcoats of others and there are people who can achieve heaven-defying feats. With this large world and its huge population, there were still many geniuses out there. A genius could easily change the entire course of fate and status for his or her clan.
"Yan Clan is indeed a powerful clan in Great Yu Dynasty. Yan City was even once the second biggest city in Great Yu Dynasty. Unfortunately, Great Yu Dynasty shares its border with Great Virtue Dynasty. Scarlet Flame Region lies between Great Virtue Dynasty and Yan City. Although there is no great war between these two dynasties, there are frequent skirmishes. Within Scarlet Flame Region, there are various strong demonic beasts and cultivators. These cultivators are vile characters from both Great Yu Dynasty and Great Virtue Dynasty who hide in Scarlet Flame Region to avoid people who are seeking them for revenge. They occasionally go to either Great Yu Dynasty or Great Virtue Dynasty to assassinate other powerful and influential cultivators." Yan Jinyu sounded like she was at her wits end regarding this situation.
"Can't you organize a group of cultivators to corner and kill them?" Qing Shui could tell from Yan Jinyu's expression that Yan Clan must have suffered considerable losses due to those criminals as they were the leaders of Yan City.
"Those people are very crafty and stealthy, so they are extremely hard to catch. They always manage to get information about our operations. Once they know that a large group is targeting them, they escape to Scarlet Flame Region. That hot, acrid place is a vast land filled with danger. They have a strategic advantage once they escape into that region. No matter how many people we send, we can't do anything against them once they get into that region. Over these years, Yan Clan hasn't improved at all. But the other clans and sects are growing stronger each day. A few clans in Yan City are already planning to take over Yan Clan's position," Yan Jinyu said warily as she looked at Qing Shui.
Qing Shui finally knew why this woman wanted him to be her sworn brother so badly. It was definitely because of his forging skills. He was quite receptive to it now as he trusted that Yan Clan would certainly treat him fairly.
"Sis, do you mean that Yan Clan's position is being threatened now? Did you learn your current skills from your family or from some other masters?" Qing Shui asked with a smile.
"Due to circumstances, I learned my martial arts from Heaven Secrets Academy." Yan Jinyu seemed to be proud when she spoke of Heaven Secrets Academy.
"Heaven Secrets Academy" Qing Shui only knew about General Manor, but he had no idea what Heaven Secrets Academy was.
"Heaven Secrets Academy was one of the strongest clans in Western Oxhe Continent and was as strong as a Grade Four Dynasty. It existed along with two other Grade Four Dynasties over many generations, occupying a special status between a clan and a dynasty. Heaven Secrets Academy is well-regarded, but I am only considered an above average disciple there," Yan Jinyu explained briefly.
The continents filled with an unpredictable mix of people of varying talents, it is no surprise that there may be powerful organizations he had never even heard of. Ignoring the meaning of its name, Qing Shui found it fascinating that the strength of Heaven Secret Academy could actually rival that of a Grade Four Dynasty. If a genius like Yan Jinyu was only considered above average, one could only imagine how large Heaven Secrets Academy was.
"Those clans in Yan City probably won't dare to do anything against your clan. Putting aside the possibility of success, they definitely can't underestimate your capabilities!" Qing Shui said to Yan Jinyu thoughtfully.
"Yes. Some of the masters in Heaven Secret Academy appreciate my talents. If any one of them decided to sort things out on my behalf, those clans would just disappear from Yan city. That is also something that those clans are afraid of. However, Heaven Secret Academy is open to anyone in Western Oxhe Continent, as long as they are gifted. This means that if a person from another clan gains influence in Heaven Secret Academy, getting the support of the masters there, the whole power structure would totally change."
"Sis, what about the Royal Family of Great Yu Dynasty?" Qing Shui had been quite curious about this for some time.
"Let me put it this way, members of the royal family are not simple people. Not only do they have martial arts passed down through their lineage, they have other channels of obtaining power. For example, multiple members of the royal family of the Great Yu Dynasty are members of the Heaven Secrets Academy as well. Some of them are even masters there," Yan Jinyu replied.
"Does this mean that most of the aristocrat clans and royal families have connections in Heaven Secrets Academy?" Qing Shui was quite fascinated with this.
"There are a large number of aristocrat clans and royal families in Western Oxhe Continent. They don't necessarily have to join Heaven Secrets Academy. They could also join the two powerful Grade Four Dynasties. The royal families of those Dynasties actually allow people to pledge their allegiances to them. It is a win-win situation where they serve these dynasties and get their protection in return."
Now Qing Shui had a clear picture of the situation. The principle that people would always make use of each other would never change. Just as with other places, the connections between the clans and sects here are extremely complex yet the key to success was the influence one's clan could derive from their network. An obvious example of this was Yan Jinyu. If she was influential in Heaven Secrets Academy, Yan's clan position in Yan City would always remain, they could even be independent of the royal family.
"Qing Shui, even though we are sworn siblings. I will never involve you in Yan Clan's troubling matters. Don't worry." Yan Jinyu looked at Qing sincerely, almost as if afraid that Qing Shui would mistake her intentions.
Under normal circumstances, one would naturally suspect her intentions as she brought up the issues facing her clan right after she and Qing Shui became sworn siblings. Luckily, Yan Jinyu was more powerful than Qing Shui so to others that was barely a possibility.
"It's okay. I understand you, sis. I won't hold any prejudices against you. This is normal to me. I will make some food and we can head for the Inner City tomorrow." Qing Shui did not think too much about it, perhaps because he was very confident in his abilities. At least, he felt that it was quite easy to survive most attacks now. He decided he would just react to the circumstances. The most important thing for him now was to interact as much as possible with the circle of powerful people in this continent. He wanted to become stronger as fast as possible.
Qing Shui went into the kitchen to prepare some food without expecting that a woman of Yan Jinyu's status would step forward to help. She did, however, follow him into the kitchen, but he didn't say anything as he started cooking.
"Can you cook? Why don't I do it?" Yan Jinyu stood by the door looking at Qing Shui.
"Alright, you can go ahead!"
Yan Jinyu was speechless but since she had already offered, she had no choice. It wasn't that she was entirely useless at cooking but her cooking skills were just average. She threw a bitter glance at the smiling man. She found that he was quite brash, but she didn't dislike that.
Qing Shui did not stay idle. He helped her prepare the ingredients. When Yan Jinyu smelled the fragrance of the food she cooked, she was surprised. She couldn't believe that she could actually create such delicious smelling dishes.
But, she was intelligent, so she quickly found out that the fragrance was from the spices. There weren't any special spices used but the odd thing was that these spices were especially fragrant. It was unusual that a person like her who could only make sure that her dish was fully cooked could actually make dishes that smelled this good.
She did not ask Qing Shui about it. This man had too many secrets and perhaps that was even the reason which led to her requesting a man to be her sworn brother for the first and only time!
Qing Shui and Yan Jinyu sat at the table and had their dinner. Yan Jinyu smiled after her first taste of the food, "I haven't cooked for a long time. I can't believe I can make something this good. This is food is even better than that made by imperial chefs."
"I didn't expect you can cook this well too." Qing Shui added casually.
"As if!" ……
Qing Shui entered his Realm of the Violet Jade Immortal at night. He practiced his martial arts for a few days and then he took out a Greencloud Stone. This was going to be the first time Qing Shui was going to try to create the Four Elements Greencloud Sword from his memory.
Yan Jinyu gave him more than ample raw materials, though that did not impact his work much.
Qing Shui first forged the blade of the sword. The Four Elements Greencloud Sword's blade was slightly wider than the average sword and should be made by a mix of Greencloud Stone and Thunder Rock. He had Thunder Rocks with him, but they were not of the best quality. The Thunder Rocks he saw at the Ancient Ruins were the best but unfortunately he had not obtained them previously.
He could only make do with the slightly inferior Thunder Rocks now and reforge the sword next time if he found better Thunder Rocks in the future.
The blade of the sword was relatively easy to forge. He had to create an alloy of Greencloud Stone and Thunder Rock. Thunder Rock had a very high melting point, so he wasn't very confident that he could melt it down. If he really failed to melt it by conventional means, he would use his Nine Yang Golden Body which was at large success stage or Heart of Roc which was already perfected. Perhaps, it would work that way.
It took three full days before the Thunder Rock showed signs of melting. It was then that Qing Shui felt that it was not a bad choice to use these slightly inferior Thunder Rocks because he might not be able to melt them if they were of a higher quality.
He mixed the Greencloud Stone with the Thunder Rock, other materials and Celestial Stone. He did not use the Celestial Stones that Yan Yangzhao gave him previously and this time Yan Jinyu also gave him some.
It took exactly nine full days before he successfully melted the entire mixture! Nine full days!
After another nine days, he finally finished the structural form of the blade of the sword though this was well within Qing Shui's expectation. Qing Shui felt a little emotional because he knew that he was going to create a sword that was comparable to his Big Dipper Sword or even better!
Looking at the blade, he started to hammer it with his Violet Star Thunder God. This process was not very long but it was crucial as the blade of a sword determines its strength.
Hammer once, twice…until he couldn't even remember how many times he had hammered the metal. He did not really care about the number of times he hammered because he enjoyed the process and he felt an impulse to just continue hammering. Each time he hammered on the blade, he felt a comfortable feeling all over. It was like taking a warm bath under the sunlight of winter or like the old tree slowly budding again…