Of course, Jing Yue wasn’t trying to make fun of Qin Yanzhi. In his opinion, if Qin Yanzhi disguised as the queen with the use of the formation, the Tranquil Fox that came here to forage would also be confused, and most likely be attracted. At that time, if Qin Yanzhi activated the beast-suppressing talisman, wouldn’t that be a walk in the park?
Thus, he wrote on Qin Yanzhi’s hand—walk into the trap.
Qin Yanzhi was silent for a moment and nodded.
Jing Yue carefully observed his expression, wanting to see if he was reluctant. However, nothing could be discerned.
The matter was decided in this way. But before setting up the formation, Jing Yue still needed to survey the terrain and select the most suitable location to surround the nest.
He told Qin Yanzhi his intentions and the other party said, “There is a highland within a thousand feet to the northeast where you can see the entire landscape around the lair.”
While saying that, he was about to repeat the old trick and rolled Jing Yue into his sleeves. At the critical moment, Jing Yue instantly grabbed his hand and lip-synched, “Stop putting me into your sleeves!”
Qin Yanzhi paused. “Okay.”
As soon as Jing Yue breathed a sigh of relief, he felt his body lightened and he was lifted up...
Yes, lifted up.
Qin Yanzhi grabbed him by the scruff of his back, just like many years ago, on the first day when he arrived at Old Man Liu's house, he lifted Wang Chuihua’s son, Big Bull.
Qin Yanzhi even said plausibly, “You are too slow.”
Jing Yue, “…”
With several vertical jumps, Qin Yanzhi already took Jing Yue and climbed to the high ground, gently letting him down, and by the way, deactivated the silencing charm.
Jing Yue took a deep breath and said with a solemn face, “Qin-zhenjun, please stop doing this kind of thing without prior warning.”
Qin Yanzhi, “Which thing?”
Jing Yue, “Whether putting me into your sleeves or lifting me up, please don’t do that.”
Qin Yanzhi was puzzled. “You want me to carry you?”
Jing Yue forced a smile. “I have legs, thank you. Even if I’m a bit slow, it can’t ruin anything, right?”
Qin Yanzhi was silent for a moment. “It’s up to you then.”
Jing Yue: ???
Was he being unreasonable now?
Jing Yue didn't want to dwell on this matter anymore. He silently retracted his gaze and turned to study the terrain near the lair.
He took out a pen and paper from the Qiankun bag, and in a blink of an eye, he drew a map and highlighted several locations.
He told Qin Yanzhi how to deploy the formation and pointed to a certain area. “When the formation is ready, you stand here and I will activate it. Once the little mice gather around you, I’ll steal the queen out.”
Qin Yanzhi agreed obligingly.
Next, the two worked separately.
Everything went smoothly. When Jing Yue saw the densely packed little mice swarming out of the cave and focused on running towards the direction of Qin Yanzhi, he rushed into the cave and successfully found the weakened queen.
The queen shrieked in fear, trying to summon its denizens back, but its aura had been completely blocked by the formation. Even if it screamed itself hoarse, it would not be rescued. What it got was a palm-lightning strike from Jing Yue.
Jing Yue immediately sliced open the queen’s body and took out the heart to make cinnabar on the spot. It took him two full hours to refine the beast-suppressing talisman and he left it in the lair.
When he came out with the queen’s body that was half the size of a human, the sky was already dim. In consideration of the Tranquil Fox’s nocturnal habits, Jing Yue quickly climbed to the high ground and gestured to Qin Yanzhi.
At this time, Qin Yanzhi was surrounded by the little critters, and they kept squeezing and offering him the food they had collected. His face remained stoic, his heart serene and unmoving, and as firm as a rock... but his body was stiff... and that's it.
He noticed Jing Yue’s signal at once and was secretly relieved. He quickly moved into the lair, waiting for the prey to arrive.
This wait lasted for two full days until Jing Yue started to wonder if there was really a tranquil fox here.
Fortunately, on the night of the third day, Jing Yue was sitting on the rock bathing under the moonlight when suddenly, his drifting divine consciousness captured a hint of something. He quickly jumped down from the rock to hide, and after a short while, he saw a tranquil fox appear quietly, slipping into the nest sneakily.
Jing Yue held his breath and counted down inwardly.
Ten, nine, eight…
Before he counted to one, he felt the ground shaking slightly, and a figure appeared at the mouth of the cave at the same time, giving him a faint smile under the clear moonlight.
It was done!
Jing Yue clenched his fists and was very excited. He could almost see countless spirit stones flying towards him again and couldn’t help flashing a radiant smile to Qin Yanzhi in return.
On the way back, they still rode on Qin Yanzhi’s sword case, when Jing Yue suddenly said, “Qin-zhenjun, has anyone told you that your flying magic weapon is like…”
Qin Yanzhi originally had his eyes closed in meditation, but now, he half-opened his eyes and said, “Like a coffin?”
Jing Yue, “… So, you know?”
Qin Yanzhi didn’t respond for a long while. Just as Jing Yue thought he wouldn’t answer, he said, “If I fall one day, only a sword will be buried together with me. It’d be appropriate to say that the sword case is a coffin.”
Jing Yue, “…” Bruh, I’m still sitting in your coffin… No, on your sword case!
But after the internal reproach, he couldn't help but think of another person. He usually only had a sword to accompany him like Qin Yanzhi too. No, he was even lonelier.
As a result, the expression when he looked at Qin Yanzhi became a little more complicated.
Jing Yue originally thought they would return to Nine Heaven Academy directly, but two days later, the sword box stopped in Bluecloud City, and the Qin family was located in Bluecloud City.
Without waiting for questions, Qin Yanzhi took the initiative to explain, “The old patriarch’s birthday is approaching. It’d be too late if I return to Nine Heaven Academy and came here again, so I might as well send him the tranquil fox’s inner core first. Don’t worry, Bluecloud City is on the way to Nine Heaven Academy, so it won’t take up too much of your time.”
Seeing that he rarely said a long series of sentences, Jing Yue said happily, “No hurry. I don’t have anything urgent at the academy anyway.”
Qin Yanzhi, “Do you recognize all the swords in the sword pavilion already?”
Jing Yue, “…”
Qin Yanzhi, “The annual exam is coming up in two months.”
Jing Yue, “…”
It was after Qin Yanzhi stepped forward that Jing Yue came back to his senses—who did he come out for this time? Shouldn’t the initiator give him a little leeway?
The scenery in Bluecloud City was completely different from the other places Jing Yue had visited. The layout of the city was not unique but each street was full of greenery on both sides, and the houses along the street were also full of green trellis walls.
The sunlight passed through the gaps of dense flowers and foliage, leaving a little mottled light and shadow on the ground, and the faint fragrance of vegetation lingered in the nose, making the city look exceptionally gentle and vibrant.
The Qin family was located in a large house in the east of the city. It was not yet the birthday banquet but the eaves were already decorated with festive red lanterns.
Qin Yanzhi knocked on the door lightly and a door attendant came to welcome him. When he saw him, he was immediately stunned on the spot. After a while, he turned around and shouted as he ran, “Qin-xianzhang is back! Qin-xianzhang is back!”
Just listening to the clamor in the yard, one could already imagine the commotion.
In the end, it was Young Master Qin who welcomed the two into Qin Zhanpeng’s courtyard. The latter was lying on a soft couch with a white beard and hair and loose skin, looking unlike a golden core cultivator, rather more like an ordinary old man from the secular world.
Qin Yanzhi was surprised. “Why is the Old Master…”
Young Master Qin smiled bitterly and said, “This year, the old master’s cultivation digressed very quickly. Nowadays, his spirits are low and his mind unclear. Even his eyesight is getting worse.”
At this time, Qin Zhanpeng sat up. “Is Yanzhi back?”
“Old Master, it’s me.” Qin Yanzhi quickly walked over.
Qin Zhanpeng smiled kindly and then squinted at Jing Yue who was standing not far away. “This is…”
Without waiting for Qin Yanzhi to answer, he suddenly laughed and said, “Good! Good! Our Yanzhi finally brought someone back with him.”
Qin Yanzhi, “…”
Jing Yue: ???
Young Master Qin smiled awkwardly but didn’t explain.
Qin Zhanpeng waved to Jing Yue. “Come here.”
Jing Yue stepped forward with an inexplicable look, greeted Qin Zhanpeng, and saw that the other party actually took out a very delicate box and handed it to him. “This is a welcome gift from the Qin family. Both of you must be well.”
Jing Yue looked at Qin Yanzhi incredulously, unsure to accept or reject.
Qin Yanzhi said, “Accept it first. Wait for me outside.”
Jing Yue hugged the box and went out in a daze, so he didn’t hear when Qin Zhanpeng said, “This child, taking a maiden home for the first time, this old man still wants to talk to her more.”
Qin Yanzhi, “He’s shy.”
(TN: In Mandarin, ‘she’ and ‘he’ are both 'ta’ so it’s not apparent in conversations.)
Young Master Qin, “…”
Jing Yue waited for almost an hour before Qin Yanzhi and Young Master Qin came out together. The latter asked, “Qin-zhenjun, can’t you stay for a few more days? The old master’s birthday banquet will be held in two days.”
Qin Yanzhi, “I’m here mainly to send the tranquil fox’s inner core.” He glanced at Jing Yue. “Jing-daoyou has important things to do at the academy and can’t be delayed.”
Young Master Qin shifted his gaze with a little disappointment and grudgingly smiled at Jing Yue.
That smile made Jing Yue felt a little weird but he couldn't tell why. While Qin Yanzhi had already summoned his coffin… no, the flying magic weapon, and motioned to him.
After the sword case rose into the air, Jing Yue handed the brocade box back to Qin Yanzhi, and said, “What’s inside? This box looks very valuable.”
Qin Yanzhi, “It’s the token my mother left for my Dao partner in the future.”
“Oh…” Jing Yue blinked blankly, and then his eyes suddenly widened. “Dao partner… cough, cough…”
Qin Yanzhi saw Jing Yue’s flabbergasted expression and said calmly, “The Old Master’s mind is hazy and has bad eyesight. He misunderstood you. I’m sorry.”
Jing Yue, “…”
What! Could! He! Say! So, after a long while, he squeezed out a sentence, “Which part of me looks like a woman?”
Qin Yanzhi looked at Jing Yue seriously and painted the other person's appearance as a woman in his mind. He should be quite good-looking too, right? But his EQ had not dropped until the rock bottom, so he said righteously, “Not in the least.”
Jing Yue found it both angry and funny. He wanted to ask Qin Yanzhi why he didn’t explain, but when he thought of Qin Zhanpeng's state, he relinquished.
It was just a misunderstanding anyway. He didn’t lose anything. Jing Yue thought for a while and said, “In the old master’s condition, even if he has the inner core of the tranquil fox now, I’m afraid…”
Qin Yanzhi's eyes were still calm and his tone didn’t betray any emotions, “The fate is destined. I can only do my best.”
He said it lightly. Jing Yue also fell silent as he pondered. If he could successfully improve the Spirit Devouring Art, maybe Qin Zhanpeng could recover his cultivation a little bit and live another hundred years.
But he couldn’t mention such things at this moment.
After another four days, the two finally returned to Nine Heaven Academy.
Before parting, Qin Yanzhi reminded him again about the annual exam, and Jing Yue returned to the dormitory with a heavy heart.
As soon as he pushed the door opened, blue phoenix flew into his arms and cried, “Jing-jing, you’ve been gone for so long. Ji-ji hasn't seen you for forty-two autumns. Do you miss Ji-ji a lot?”
Jing Yue activated the ‘feign ignorance technique’, put his arms around the fat, fluffy, and soft blue phoenix, and said, “Did anything happen in the academy these days?”
Blue phoenix, “No, but people keep coming here to find out about the progress of the beast-suppression talisman.”
Jing Yue, “…”
How did he forget? How could he not have anything urgent? There were still a bunch of beast-suppression talismans waiting for him to refine!
Jing Yue wanted to cry but no tears came. The pits he dug must be filled even if he did it on his knees!