The sun was blazing high in the sky and there wasn’t even a breeze in the air. The paint on the pillars of the house were sweating. The two old trees in the courtyard were motionless, the green leaves on the trees were starting to tan under the heat.
In summer it was best to stay inside, away from the noon sun, but in the Ye Courtyard, a young man in a blue shirt sat on the bluestone courtyard.
“Lu Qin, will he be ok? The sun is dangerous at this time! Even the animals know to hide in the shade, but he exposes himself to the sun for several hours every day,” Chen Jiuniang looked anxiously at her son sitting out in the sun.
“Adoptive Mother, you can rest assured. Have you noticed that he doesn’t even sweat?” Lu Qin came here every day to learn the martial arts from Ye Kong. Over the past six months, she had become familiar with Chen Jiuniang. Chen Jiuniang also liked this young girl. She was a smart and beautiful girl, so she had already recognized her as an adopted daughter and her future daughter-in-law.
Chen Jiuniang looked at Ye Kong again, sighed and said, “Boys like to be brave. You should remember to take good care of him in the future.”
Lu Qin understood the meaning of Chen Jiuniang’s words, her face suddenly turned red, she was embarrassed and bit her lip.
“I know, Adoptive Mother.”
Chen Jiuniang looked at her and couldn’t help laughing, “If in two years when he is to marry, you are the one caring for him, I’ll be relieved.”
Lu Qin was too shy to continue the conversation and hurriedly said, “Let’s do embroidery.”
Others thought that it was tough for Ye Kong to sit in the sun, but he didn’t think so. At noon, the fire Qi and the earth Qi were highly active and much easier to absorb.
Ye Kong didn’t feel hot at all. A vortex of Qi surrounded Ye Kong, blocking him from the harsh sunlight.
He absorbed the Qi quickly through his palms and let it flow through his eight extraordinary meridians to circulate through his body before depositing some into his Qihai.
In the past six months, Ye Kong cultivated every day and night. He set a schedule for himself to practice the martial arts from the shadow jade in the morning, absorb the fire Qi from the sun at noon, make dozens of paper talismans in the afternoon, and cultivate through the night.
He was pushing himself so hard because he still felt the extreme threat of Fan Jiushe looming over him. The Fan brothers had probably already found out about his lies, but they hadn’t attacked yet. It was only a matter of time before they tried to kill him, so he had to prepare as much as he possibly could.
Regardless of how hard he worked, he was still stuck in the first layer of Qi refining. The Five Element to Immortality’s technique was really slow, but his martial arts and talisman making skills were making great progress. He had enough control over his martial arts that he had confidence in defeating Ye Haoran.
After half a year’s study, Lu Qin had already become a martial arts master. The martial arts of the shadow jade were elegant, magical and beautiful. When he watched Lu Qin, it was even more alluring than the most beautiful dancing. Lu Qin didn’t practice magic skills, but she was able to slightly hover while in mid-air using only her martial arts.
After more than two hours, Ye Kong felt that the movement of Qi in the air was much slower, so he stopped absorbing and funneled the last bit of Qi into his Qihai. Then, he opened his eyes and immediately went to move out of the hot sun.
“Brother Ye Kong, come here and have some sweet soup to help against the summer heat,” Lu Qin said.
Ye Kong looked at her and smiled. She was a malnourished stick-girl half a year ago, but she had changed a lot since then. She had the stature of a young woman now. When he was teaching her martial arts, it was inevitable for their bodies to touch and he found that her new softness was becoming too distracting.
He leaped to his feet.
“Sweet soup for summer. It’s iced, isn’t it?” Asked Ye Kong.
“Yes, my brother asked me to bring it. It’s so heavy.”
Ye Kong smiled wryly. His Qi was getting stronger, but he still had no basic magic skills. Otherwise, he could turn the entire well into an ice cellar.
There was a square jade box on the table made of a magic jade called ice jade. It could turn water into ice overnight. It was rare, so the size of the ice jade container spoke of a person’s wealth. Only royalty had boxes as large as refrigerators.
Ye Kong took the sweet soup, picked up the ice jade box and said. “Your brother really knows how to enjoy life. He began to use this kind of luxury goods as soon as he made some money.”
Lu Qin pouted and said angrily, “My brother would never. He heard that you practiced at noon every day, so he bought it for you.”
When Chen Jiuniang heard this, she quickly said, “Your brother is so kind. In the past six months, you’ve sent us a lot and taken care of us. Our life has been much better. How can we accept this luxury?”
Lu Qin held Chen Jiuniang’s arm and said, “Adoptive Mother, Ye Kong takes care of my family. My mother always says she would still be blind and bedridden if he hadn’t helped her. How could she enjoy life?”
Chen Jiuniang listened to the joy in her heart, but couldn’t believe it, “This little boy hasn’t even grown up fully. How could he help with such an important matter?”
Ye Kong laughed and said, “It will be better in the future. You will understand later.”
Chen Jiuniang said with a smile, “You are boasting again. How much better will it get? It’s not bad for things to stay as they are.”
When he heard those words, Ye Kong’s heart sank.
He thought of Fan Jiushe, whose threat was like a noose around his neck which was getting tighter as time moved forward.
“I’m going to practice calligraphy.” Ye Kong drank the sweet soup and stood up.
Ye Kong returned to his house, and Lu Qin followed. She’d noticed a change in his mood.
“We were joking. Don’t be angry.” Lu Qin lowered her head as if she had done something wrong.
Ye Kong smiled, “I’m not angry with you. I just reminded myself not to be complacent about the present situation. There is a saying, she’s not your woman till you bed her.”
Lu Qin’s face was red, and she could not lift her eyes to look at him directly. She said angrily, “What did you just say?”
“Ha ha, I am a rogue. Get used to it,” Ye Kong thought of another version. “How about this: the cash isn’t yours until it’s in your pocket. Do you understand that? It is to remind us that we should not relax until the last moment. We should always remember that there are other people coveting what we have!”
Lu Qin nodded aimlessly.
Ye Kong was upset. “I knew you wouldn’t understand.”
She was in a hurry. “I understand that you are talking about the Fan brothers.”
“It’s ok. I think you don’t understand.”
Lu Qin blushed and whispered, “I don’t understand what cash means.”
As soon as she said it, she added, “If it’s a rogue thing. Don’t tell me.”
“Cash is a rogue thing, too.” Ye Kong couldn’t help laughing. It was no wonder that Ye Kong always seemed to speak nonsense as slang was common for a rogue. The last time Lu Qin asked for an explanation of a phrase, Lu Qin’s face was left beet red. She never asked him the meaning of things from then on.
“Oh, cash is like silver. It’s hard to understand without the use of paper money.”, He said as he taught Lu Qin a another new word.
“In a word, we can’t rest assured until we defeat the Fan brothers. Tell your brother to expand their power. You also need to practice martial arts as much as possible. We need to nip the danger in the bud,” Ye Kong urged.
Lu Qin nodded, “I know. I’ll show you my technique again.”
After a while, Ye Kong said, “The starting point is not right. You should pay attention to what would inflict the most damage instead of what looks better. The martial arts in the jade is showy but there are no wasted movements. You should use all your strength and not hold back when you perform it. When you practice, you should imagine that you are fighting an enemy. I will show you again.”
Ye Kong went through the strikes and stances much fiercer than Lu Qin. However, he was very natural and unrestrained. He was like a bird flying through the forest or a gale of wind rushing through the air. Lu Qin’s eyes turned tender as she watched him.
As soon as Ye Kong finished, he heard the clapping, and an old man’s praise came, “The Shadow Dance! It’s definitely the Shadow Dance! I actually got to see the real Shadow Dance in my lifetime. I can now die without regrets!”