Amon was very calm as he finally returned to his home after almost three weeks. He carefully closed the door behind him as he entered, and ignored Raven hanging in the wall as he made his way through the living room and walked towards his mother's room.
As always, he gently knocked twice on the door and waited patiently for his mother to invite him in with her warm voice. As soon as Rebecca called him, he came in with quiet steps.
Rebecca couldn't help but smile seeing her son. He looked healthy, and she even felt he had a grown a tiny bit in the weeks they had been apart. She gladly spread her arms, receiving him in a firm hug.
"I missed you." She said tenderly, putting a warm hand on his pale face. Amon closed his eyes, enjoying the comfortable feeling.
"I missed you too." Amon said. Rebecca could see the regret in his eyes, making her sigh. She could guess how things went in the competition. Nevertheless, she thought it was better if Amon decided to talk about it himself, instead of her asking.
They didn't talk for a long while, rather, they stood still. It was almost a routine now, to stand hugging each other after some time apart and not utter a word, simply enjoying the proximity between each other.
"I messed up." Amon said after a while with a low voice. He was looking down with a very downcast expression. "I'm sorry."
"You are sorry for what?" Rebecca asked with a gentle smile.
"We won't be able to move to the Inner Sect because of me." Amon shook his head regretfully.
"Why are you blaming yourself?" Rebecca cocked her head as she fixed her green eyes on Amon.
"I had a real shot at making it to the top ten." Amon closed his fist tightly "But I made a mistake that cost me everything I had fought for in that competition."
"Want to talk about it?" Rebecca asked, ruffling his hair, as she loved to do. Amon looked at her deeply before nodding quietly.
He took his time, telling her what happened during the training in the Warrior Hall and the Promotion Competition. He couldn't hide the pain in his voice as he spoke of his defeat to Erin.
"That moment… I thought I was going to win." Amon was looking down as he spoke in a low voice "I lowered my guard, and that made me lose the chance I had."
"Amon, look at me." Rebecca said, gently lifting his chin and looking at his eyes with a gaze full of love.
"I am proud of you." She said without a shred of hesitation in her voice.
"You barely trained for seven months and you had a real chance of beating the likes of Erin Drey." Rebecca smiled widely, making Amon somewhat surprised. "So what if you lost in the end?"
"Erin himself said you made his victory worthy of a great sacrifice." Rebecca shook her head as she thought of her son's silliness "He acknowledged you, Amon."
"Raise your head and look up." She said, pointing at the open window by her side. It was still afternoon, and the sun was high up in the sky. The grass swayed to the wind and the trees rustled in the distance.
"The sky is still bright." She said with a wistful look on her face as she gazed through the window. Then, with a smile as bright as the sun shining outside, she said, "As long as you raise your head and look, you can always find a way."
She raised her hand and gave Amon a light flick on the nose, making his ears redden as he looked at her with puppy eyes. Rebecca gave a small chuckle seeing him acting like that.
"Stop sulking over such matters." She put an end to the discussion.
Amon looked somewhat better, even if he was still clearly sad. He said nothing more, simply agreeing with his mother's words with a nod of his head.
"What are you going to do now?" Rebecca asked.
"Continue my training." Amon said with no hesitation. "When I reach the late stages of Body Tempering I will worry about Elemental Purification and the Inner Sect."
"Very good." Rebecca nodded in satisfaction hearing his answer.
Amon slowly stood up, preparing to leave the room when Rebecca extended a thin hand to hold his arm. Amon looked at her with a confused expression.
"You know what made me the proudest?" Rebecca asked with a happy look on her face. Amon shook his head in denial. He did not the answer
"What really made me proud was not how you defeated a lot of members of the Inner Ring, or how far you made it in the competition." She said while shaking her head. A smile was on her face as she spoke.
"What made me really proud was that you conceded that fight to Daniel."
"What is the plan?" Amon asked, sitting on his bed as he faced Lya. His eyes shone like lanterns and he seemed earnest, unlike his sour mood from before.
"We will do our best to make you reach the late stages of Body Tempering in a few months." Lya said with a serious face. "In the meantime, we will also train your use of Sword Qi."
"I…" Amon didn't know what to say. He didn't lose control when Erin threatened his mother, but it had been enough to trigger killing intent on Amon, even if small.
"You are a Sword Cultivator." Lya said, sending him a supercilious look. "You need to find no excuse or apologize. The fact that you kept your calm actually makes me happy."
"From now on, your training will consist of trying to trigger Sword Qi at your will." Lya explained with a calm voice. "When you manage to do so, we will advance to the next step."
Amon was still disturbed by it. He felt he had done something wrong when he triggered Sword Qi in his fight against Erin. Lya naturally knew what he was feeling.
"I said before, didn't I?" Lya raised a brow as she spoke. The room seemed to turn cold as she gazed at Amon. "A Sword Cultivator only draws his sword to kill."
"That being the case, your skills using a sword should be overwhelmingly strong." Her voice was indifferent as she spoke naturally. "Controlling Sword Qi is a part of it, and of course we will train it."
"How do we do that?" Amon asked with his brows furrowed. Dealing with Sword Qi was not something that would be easy.
"Firstly, you will learn how to deal with your impulses to cause harm to someone." Lya looked up as if struggling with something. Her eyes were somewhat strange as she looked back at Amon.
"Then… I will show you how Sword Qi should be." Lya gave a long sigh as a complex array of emotions flashed in her eyes.
"What do you mean?" Amon asked, somewhat worried by her reaction.
"We will be going to the Sword Abyss."