Xie Yi winced at the scolding tone. “You really do nothing but reprimand me… Are you going to tell me to go back?”
“Not at all. He, too, has to realize his mistakes. Not only you have to learn. Let him think it is worse than it is, don’t go back yet.” Juxian chuckled mischievously.
“What? I don’t want Shi Yue to be uncomfortable. Isn’t it better if I return and talk it out with him?” Xie Yi’s eyebrows scrunched. Talking to Juxian was letting him relax and he could slowly think clearly again.
“I know you can swallow up the fear in your heart for him, but it’s better if he doesn’t underestimate how much it is gnawing at you. If you go back now, he will think that it was nothing serious. Just listen to me.”
“I don’t think this is a good idea. If I stay away, he might misunderstand.”
“Do you know more about relationships or do I?”
A moment of silence while Xie Yi stared at his sword that, by all means, shouldn’t have experience with relationships.
“Xie Yi, don't judge me with normal standards. Don’t go back right now or you will miss several good things.”
“The one moment where it would be convenient if you didn’t question a friend and now you are doing it?” Juxian sighed and Xie Yi awkwardly stared down at him.
“I mean, I ran because I was in a panic and I’m still suspicious as to why Shi Yue didn’t tell me he knows”, he tried to explain, “but I don’t want to let a misunderstanding fester. I want to return to him and talk about it.”
Juxian was silent for a moment. “That is very sensible of you.”
“But that doesn’t change the fact that it would be better for you to go elsewhere and not return - if you return, you will miss this chance.”
“And you know about this how exactly?” Xie Yi held Juxian up and the sword softly hummed in his hands.
“Because I am cheating, child.” Juxian spoke in a doting tone. “A lot is allowed if it means a wrong will be made right again. It is unfair that the Cursed Netherworld Flowers are here, so I am allowed to help out to set the scales even again.”
“You weren’t there to help out last life”, Xie Yi complained.
“That is because that was an abomination”, Juxian hissed. “A broken path, forcefully redirected!”
His sudden fury calmed as quickly as it had come.
“Besides, it was changed, wasn’t it? Or do you think it is common for time to rewind itself?”
“I wouldn’t know, would I?”
“Don’t think about these matters until you become an Immortal. Now, are you willing to do what I suggest?”
Xie Yi cleared his throat and stood up. He had left his storage ring behind and was only carrying a pouch with some money. He didn’t have a normal sword, or even his sword bag. “Could you tell me first?”
“No. You have to agree or disagree.”
The youth gave a long sigh. On one hand, he wanted to go back to Shi Yue, on the other, he was naturally inclined to do as Juxian said. It was like an instinct.
Juxian sensed his hesitation and spoke up again. “Send him a message that you will be back.”
“How? I don’t have anything to send it”, Xie Yi asked, his voice tinged with confusion. He had neither carrier-bird nor array to send something.
“Make him a paper… or leaf crane.”
Xie Yi looked down, stunned.
Paper cranes were easy to make and only required spiritual energy to move, but they were inconvenient. They were sensitive to bad weather, were easy to catch, and easy to manipulate.
At the same time, what was he sending? Maybe a single sentence, saying I’ll be back. No one would care to change his message.
If he invested two or three hours more, he could make it so that the crane would hide in case the weather worsened.
It didn’t sound so bad, but he wouldn’t know if the message truly reached or not.
“I guess I could send a message from the next city…”, Xie Yi hesitantly gave in. Juxian sounded satisfied.
“Then go. Conveniently, it’s not that far from here. Go to the Singing City.”
“What?” Xie Yi froze.
The Singing City appeared to have its name from the melodious birds that liked nesting nearby or the large number of musicians, but in fact, it came from the oldest building in the city.
A relict of old times, the tall tower had numerous small holes that, if the wind was just right, would cause sounds to appear. Those sounds were similar to a person humming, so the city was dubbed Singing.
It was a rare phenomenon, though, so most people would never hear it. Xie Yi only remembered the random trivia for a single reason…
The Demonic Sect had a small outpost there. To be specific, it was one intended to find new members, as lots of travellers visited the city.
Xie Yi had gotten into a fight with the city’s leader once and nearly destroyed the whole area, but the elders had stopped him with the explanation that the city was too useful for various reasons. That’s why he wouldn’t forget about it.
“What do I want there?”, Xie Yi wondered but walked towards the direction as he was told. Luckily he knew where he was on the map thanks to the town they had dropped by just a couple of days ago, otherwise he wouldn’t know where to go.
Juxian did not speak again and Xie Yi pursed his lips.
Ultimately he did as Juxian told him, wrote a short message and then walked into the correct direction.
Because he was still nervous, Xie Yi had the desire to talk. There wasn’t anyone around, though, so he kept on talking to Juxian.
At some point he felt he heard a little sigh, but maybe he imagined it. Either way, Juxian didn’t answer him again.
Walking was terribly boring but he couldn’t use Juxian to fly. He had considered doing that once before and had gotten a bad chill, as if someone would snap his neck if he tried to sit or stand on the sword.
He didn’t try.
So he had to keep on walking.
The Singing City was over a week away and when Xie Yi reached, he looked quite messy and dusty. He was the perfect example of a wandering cultivator.
Standing a good distance from the gates of the city away, Xie Yi looked down at Juxian.
His robes looked common and his hair was a bit long so it covered his eyes a bit, hiding them, but Juxian was highly conspicuous.
“So what do I do with you?”
Muttering to himself, Xie Yi stayed in hiding and watched people come and go. No one had their belongings inspected, but the guards visibly examined everyone walking past them. He didn’t want to stand out.
After two hours of waiting, Xie Yi found the perfect way to act so that Juxian would not attract attention, but… It was embarrassing.
Xie Yi cringed and fought with himself for a couple of minutes. Staring up into the sky, he sighed.
The guards looked at everyone passing them by with narrow eyes. Everyone who stood out was memorized, and those that were suspicious enough were immediately reported to be watched.
Especially strong or peculiar-looking cultivators had to be noted, for the safety of the city.
One of them looked up at noticing a bright sword on someone and squinted at the person carrying it.
It was a youth. Although he looked like he had travelled for a while, his face was clean. He didn’t give the guards a single look but walked straight ahead, his nose held high and face clearly arrogant.
His right hand was resting on his bright and colourful sword sheath that was openly carried on his hip.
The guard snorted and looked away.
Ever since that trend with fake spirit swords had started - also called ornamental swords - young masters from everywhere loved showcasing theirs. The arrogant youth had beautiful features and a wooden bracelet like from a sect; he surely was travelling to prove himself.
A child like that wouldn’t have a dangerous entity like a sword spirit anyway.
Xie Yi walked through the gate unstopped.
As relieved as he was that his act worked, as embarrassed was he. His expression, his walk, everything was uncomfortable and unfamiliar but it looked like it had convinced the other.
It was funny.
In a world full of cultivators, the best way to act harmless was by travelling alone but looking like a young master.
Too small a family to endanger venerable city guards, but too arrogant to actually train hard or be thrown full with pills and potions.
Weak and easily convinced by flattery.
The moment Xie Yi was through the gate, he pulled a face and steered to a store on the side to buy a simple sword bag.