Shi Yue appeared not too far from him, walking forward with heavy steps and showing a weary gaze. Behind him, Yao Ming had a genuinely troubled look on his face.
Xie Yi followed his master with his eyes until the man stood before him and he had to look up. Then, suddenly, a fist came knocking down on his head.
“...Ow?”, Xie Yi asked rather exclaimed, more out of confusion than actual pain.
“Is there really a need to use a half-suicidal attack for a random beast?”, Shi Yue demanded to know, knocking his fist lightly up and down again.
Xie Yi twitched under every light touch, then awkwardly pulled a face. “But, but, I wanted to see if it would work? Getting the sword out would have been a hassle, retreating would just have dragged things out and I didn’t have a suitable weapon anywhere else.”
The knocking stopped, but Shi Yue’s strict gaze kept on staying on him. He didn’t look amused, but at least not actually mad. His tone was stern and calm. “Don’t play with your life like that.”
“Are you angry, Shi Yue?”, Xie Yi muttered quietly, not completely certain whether he was gauging the other’s mood right. He hadn’t been very good at that in the many years of their last acquaintance, after all.
The cultivator looked down at his disciple who was fidgeting and shifting from foot to foot, his eyes upturned. He couldn’t help but soften a bit - he couldn’t act like he was angry with Xie Yi. The boy would not only take him seriously, but he would also feel it to be the worst punishment. There was no need to be that harsh. “I’m not angry, but I dislike seeing my disciple use such dangerous methods when there isn’t any reason to.”
Xie Yi sighed in relief and relaxed his tense shoulders. “Un, I will try to keep it in mind.”
“Next time, don’t try to hunt it down hurriedly. Considering that you’re alone and still weak, a better choice would have been to try and retrieve your weapon but otherwise take a distance if it fails - or even if you do get it back. You should have let the wound bleed and attack again after resting and letting it weaken. Injuries made by our hunting blades don’t heal well, you should be aware of that. Use it to your advantage. There was no time limit on this.”
Xie Yi nodded continuously. Alright, next time he would be even more careful.
“Yao Ming, do you have anything to add?” The Grandmaster glanced over his shoulder at Yao Ming, whose troubled look had changed into a mix of numerous emotions.
The senior’s eyes lowered a bit, glinting darkly, but he kept his voice even enough to not warrant open suspicion. “No. I am rather amazed that such a young child would even think of this manoeuvre.”
There was another layer to his words that Xie Yi acknowledged with an abrupt turn of his mood.
‘I am surprised you would think of that’ was a sentence he heard often and usually it was followed by suspicion. It was reserved for him behaving in ways that children just didn’t. Most of the time, people decided that Xie Yi was just more mature due to his past, but Yao Ming seemed to imply something more sinister.
The two were right back to glaring at each other.
Shi Yue knew that Xie Yi had tendencies for either hidden or fancy attacks, but he had believed the latter part to be more apparent only when with the not-so-dangerous paper-men. Those were nice to test your moves with, after all, and would never strike too hard unless you had given them the order.
He definitely had to get that out of Xie Yi. What kind of strategy was it to try and use the beast’s force of movement against itself when you were too weak to fully withstand it? He could have gotten badly hurt!
Leaving the two younger ones to glare at each other with subtle killing intent, Shi Yue moved his energy to turn the boar around and pull the stuck sword out of its hide. He wasn’t going to worry about the two yet - Yao Ming had the pride of a talented cultivator and wouldn’t fight against a child, and Xie Yi was still too young to be a genuine danger to the other (He very much believed that it would turn into a large problem once Xie Yi had crossed a certain threshold though).
“Xie Yi, take your sword back”, he called out to behind him and the small figure came running to clean and take back his weapon.
“I want a spiritual weapon”, he complained quietly with a pout. Things were easier if your sword cooperated with you.
Shi Yue mutely turned away. He had considered giving Xie Yi one - most cultivators got them at about level four, but level three was possible for talented ones and Xie Yi was late-stage two. He, himself, also would have preferred Xie Yi coming out here with a better weapon.
It was just that the forgers begged him to not do it while almost sobbing. Their spiritual weapons were their precious treasures, and… it seemed that they freaked out whenever Xie Yi touched them. That was why the boy wasn’t allowed into the storage room or at the displays.
He had never heard of that happening before and it was highly suspicious, but even the forgers said that they couldn’t think of anything dangerous linked to being hated by spiritual swords. The higher-levelled ones also didn’t react.
With a sword that didn’t like you there was no fighting, and giving him one above his level wasn’t a choice. So, Xie Yi had to endure for another while. Maybe he would just help him forge his own sometime.
With Xie Yi having his sword back, Shi Yue took his time to look him over. “Let me give you a quick check”, he half asked, half ordered, holding his open hand out.
Xie Yi obediently put his hand in the others, happily accepting the cool stream running through him. His palms were bleeding again, but Shi Yue conveniently patched up any problems he found.
Not only did his palms close up perfectly, the strain that he was feeling in his body and channels also lessened until it was gone.
“There, all good again”, Shi Yue said with a tinge of relief. Finally, he had a chance to heal those stupid palms. “Usually it will be your teammates doing this if you can’t do it yourself, so you will have to be more tolerant at some point of time.”
Xie Yi wordlessly pulled a face.
When he had gotten a cold, he insisted on healing by sleeping. When he had gotten bruised during practice, he just went and got ointments even though a medic would have been able to heal it.
When one of Yao Ming’s goddamn pranks left him with food poisoning - actually more of a coincidence, some bad food had gotten mixed in and Yao Ming had unknowingly made it worse -, he had had to relent and let a medic check him.
Shi Yue had been kind enough to call over Master Chen, accompanied by Li Mei who was there to watch and learn.
Master Chen had tried to check up on him, who was lying in bed with a pale face, but then had jolted back and hissed while holding her hand.
“He bit me”, she complained with a mixture of surprise and annoyance. It wasn’t a literal bite; she was describing an aggressive reaction you could have towards foreign energy. Your own would try to cut off the link to the intruder and swallow it up. Since this was similar to someone biting at a finger placed into their mouth, the naming stuck.
Just that this was usually a defensive reaction that cultivators learned in the classes for the fourth and fifth level - it was hard to have the control that precise and be quick enough for the intruder to be unable to pull back.
Xie Yi had made a very awkward face and apologized, saying that he hadn’t intended to do that. Master Chen had tried it again but just got another bite out of it.
Her verdict was simple: It really seemed like a subconscious, instantaneous reaction. Xie Yi just really, really, really hated someone examining his body.
On Li Mei’s question, she had explained a bit more. In the original examination in the city, Xie Yi didn’t have any energy to counter with. The energy crystal was also different in its usage. Up until now, it seemed that no one had noticed that part of Xie Yi, mostly because it was either Shi Yue helping him or he rejected medical attention.
That kind of thing was a bad reaction for cultivators, who usually moved in teams. If the medics kept on being bitten, they wouldn’t want to help Xie Yi.
In the forest, Xie Yi tried his best to show a repentant face. He couldn’t help it, he really didn’t do it on purpose. It just felt too disgusting. He also knew that this wouldn’t be tolerated forever. He would need help to get over it.
(In the sect, Xu Yan sneezed and rubbed his nose. Staring up at the sky that had lightened considerably compared to yesterday, he just blinked his eyes and went back to reading the medical book. Thank god Master Chen had said that he wasn’t unsuited for being a medic. He would learn just a bit, just enough to help heal some wounds…)
Alas. One thing after another. Right now, he would have to focus on this hunting trip.
With a short kick against the beast’s dead body, Xie Yi tried to plan for the next one he had to get rid of.