“I will wait outside”, Shi Yue said. He stood up and went over to place a hand on Xie Yi’s shoulder. “Don’t hurry. Take your time and be careful. If you need my help, call out for me.”
“I will”, Xie Yi said with a calm smile that reminded Shi Yue of Tiankong.
He glanced at it once more before going out and closing the door behind him.
With a tense sigh, he sat down in front of the door. Crossing his legs, he also closed his eyes and watched the fluctuations of energy inside the room.
Inside, Xie Yi gripped the ores.
Metal was heated first. Xie Yi watched it turn yellow and lifted it onto the forge. His left hand adjusted his grip on the large, completely silver hammer, and then he swung it down.
He could only ever strike a few times before it cooled down too much and he had to heat it up back again while watching the temperature of the fire.
Contrary to a normal process, he made the form much thinner and broader. He adjusted it several times before he placed it into the basket of water next to him.
Steam rose with a sharp hiss.
The formed metal was placed to the side.
The gold and Ink-Drop he placed in something that was much closer to a bowl and placed it right into the fire.
For minutes nothing happened at all, then, within seconds, both gold and Ink-Drop melted instantly into a shining translucent liquid.
Xie Yi hurried to pull the bowl out, stopping for a moment to stare at it. When he saw that the mixture did not evaporate, he breathed out in relief.
He could not leave it for too long.
The metal was heated back up again, placed into a mould within the stone and folded half up at the sides.
Xie Yi let the core material fill it up.
Any normal smith would shake their head over how spiritual weapons were made. The rules weren’t fully the same and would often appear nonsensical to a person making normal swords.
Normally, you would not do things like this.
But for a cultivator, they worked.
The molten ore stayed as it was, not cooling down.
Much more relaxed than a moment ago, Xie Yi went to take Mingtian’s horn.
It made an uncomfortable sound when heated up but allowed itself to be formed into a thin line than Xie Yi inserted right into the middle of his future sword.
Then he took the crystal.
Rather than using the tongs he had been using all the time, he now focused his spiritual energy around his fingers to cover them in a thick layer.
He felt the heat seep through it as he placed the core directly and quickly pulled his hand back, waving it in the air to cool it down.
Now he could hammer the metal shut.
In a fascinating process, the mixture of gold and Ink-Drop made its way through the layer of metal and enveloped it from inside out.
It created a second, formable layer.
Xie Yi almost stopped breathing as he worked.
Xue Hua’s feather parts were placed into the materials by hand, half of its centre on each side. It melted into the sword right away but you could see fine traces of where he had placed them.
Slowly, the colour of the blade was fading away.
Xie Yi cursed mentally.
He could not heat it up again and the sword did not have its final form yet.
Sweat was dripping down his brows as he worked but he wiped it off.
His arm hurt from hammering the sword into the correct form, hits needing to be stronger and stronger the more the sword cooled down.
When he finally placed it into the water, he wheezed for air.
The blade now looked completely uninteresting and dull.
He turned the fire off and went to hone it.
It was hard, exhausting work for his weak body. The blade did not want to be sharpened and resisted, taking forever to gain the slightest edge.
Even when the surface was perfectly smooth, it stayed dull.
Xie Yi placed his thick gloves away and took off the apron. He placed it to the side, then picked up his blade and walked to the second half of the room.
Sitting down on the chair, he got to work.
He had to press the quill into the metal where he wanted to inscribe it - not write on its surface but truly engrave, forming the tiny lines with the black mixture he had prepared.
The glyphs he drew wriggled on the material as if wanting to run away, messing with his sight. He ignored them and continued writing where he knew he had to write and not where his eyes told him to.
Every finished bit would calm down and settle.
Xie Yi’s fingers were sore as he continued to press on, staring fixedly at the blade and refusing any mistake to happen.
At around half of it, he needed to begin inserting his spiritual energy.
The drain grew worse.
Like a thin layer of mist, his spiritual energy hovered over every line he etched, moving softly and only slowly seeping into the material.
There was not much ink left by the time Xie Yi was finished.
He gasped for air and massaged his wrist, staring at the ugly blade.
It was not pretty like this, full with its wiggling black lines on the full surface.
But he did not allow himself to be distracted by it.
He went back to the forge and placed the apron around himself once more. He pulled the gloves over his hand and fetched his blade.
When he inserted his spiritual energy to awaken the fire once more, it had changed.
Violently reaching out for him, crackling loudly and shining bright like the sun.
Xie Yi narrowed his eyes to see anything at all and placed the blade back in.
He did not allow himself to blink.
A minute passed. Two. An hour.
When the slightest sound came from the sword he pulled it out and half threw it onto the stone.
He did not place it directly in water.
This time, he placed his bare hand into the bucket and then went to drag it right over the sword.
On its lower centre, where the hilt would cover it later, the sword began to glow.
The reaction was like a little explosion; it was too bright and deafening despite there not being any sound. There was a jolt in spiritual energy around him, pushing him back to the point that his feet left marks on the ground.
Dust flew up from the ground. The fire went out.
Xie Yi coughed and waved the dust away from in front of him, looking towards the stone with an expectant gaze.
Sword spirits didn’t necessarily have to have an appearance that is, for the most part or fully, humanoid. There were even sword spirits that looked more like monsters or elementals depending on their abilities.
For a long time, there had been a saying that the more human a sword spirit looked, the stronger it was, but that was soon thrown out of the window. They could take on many shapes, some so different that people wondered if their creator’s wishes and feelings played a part in shaping it.
Even after hundreds of years, no one had found a reliable way to say what a sword spirit would look like.
At the moment the figure appeared before him, Xie Yi felt like something was blocking his throat.
Shi Yue often said that sword spirits were like a part of your family - in his case, something like a daughter - and that, from the start, you would be able to feel the connection.
It wasn’t that Xie Yi didn’t feel it. It was just that the form of his sword spirit was throwing all the feelings of expectation into disarray.