Refining Divine Convention (Part 2)
“You flatter my father, Mr. Fangzhang.” Lyu Yaoqin was overjoyed to hear Emperor Yuansheng praise her father, but she still smiled subtly with her lips pursed: “My father is an avid swordsman and, therefore, a fan of swords and swordplays. That is the reason we have over a thousand swords in our sword warehouse arranged according to the seven characters from Lu Dongbing’s poem “With One Sword, I Journey Ten Thousand Miles to Vanquish the Fallen.” The swords used for the character “ten thousand” are considered the best-quality swords. The lowest quality swords are part of the “vanquish” character.
My father spent two hours studying the bluesteel sword before telling me to grab him a sword from “west,” which is one of the characters that make up the “fallen” part of the poem. When he struck them against each other, our sword snapped, yet the bluesteel sword was not even fazed. Vexed, my father tried again using a sword from “miles”. Our sword snapped again. When he tried a sword from “ten thousand”, the two generated sparks but did not snap. My father, therefore, decided he would show off his sword to Luo Sword Manor, lest the latter look down on him.”
Emperor Yuansheng could sympathise with Chun Yangzi, while Long Zaitian thought, “Chun Yangzi is an idiot. You’re given one sword, yet you snap five of your own?”
“My father was happy with the sword until he recalled the blade had not been sharpened. He summoned the best blacksmith in the city to sharpen the bluesteel sword. I found the sharp and shiny blade a disturbing sight to behold.”
Judging from Lyu Yaoqin lowering her head as she spoke, she must not have been a fan of blades. Understandably, her father’s enthusiasm for swords worried her. Emperor Yuansheng felt sorry for her, while Long Zaitian found her sulking annoying.
“What happened after?” asked Emperor Yuansheng.
“My father tested the swords again. Our sword snapped. Thus, he tried experimented with all of our swords categorised with the “ten thousand” character. All of our swords snapped, yet the bluesteel sword did not even have a scratch. The only sword Father had yet to try was his personal Pure Yang Sword.
Pure Yang Sword is our clan’s heirloom and the sword Father wielded to establish himself. It was supposed to be passed down to my elder brother. Alas, Father’s pride would not let it go. My brothers and I knelt before him, imploring him to stop when he drew the sword. It was the first time I had seen Father look so bitter. He is an easy-going man who often says one should not overvalue prestige, yet he struggled to surrender that day…”
Emperor Yuansheng mused, “If even Pure Yang Sword snapped, he would still be picky about what sword he gave away. No matter how generous he may be, he wouldn’t actually risk the sword. If he didn’t, he’d be admitting their sword was superior, though. Even if he stole one from them, it would be obvious he stole. What a strategy, forcing Jiaxing’s best swordsman into a corner with a single sword!”
Lyu Yaoqin exhaled loudly: “Father could not bring himself to try it in the end. He read the invitation again. Besides explicating it was a present for him, they told him he could bring it to the convention if he pleased.”
Emperor Yuansheng: “Long-story short, Luo Sword Manor baited your father with a sword. Men and swords… Luo Ming was an upright gentleman when he ran Luo Sword Manor. They were a disciplined clan under his leadership, but this son of his is a tyrant and disregards the pugilistic world’s rules.”
Long Zaitian: “Indeed, indeed.”
Lyu Yaoqin raised her head: “What do you think we should do?”
Emperor Yuansheng answered, “A martial artist must have the pride of a martial artist. He must not use another’s weapon no matter who it is for weapons are personal items. The best sword in the world is unlikely to be able to replace a sword one has adapted to since a young age, let alone a family heirloom.”
Long Zaitian: “Flip it, obviously.”
Emperor Yuansheng shot Long Zaitian a warning scowl, shutting his subject up.
Lyu Yaoqin’s admiration for Emperor Yuansheng reached new heights. Quietly, she recounted, “That is what I told my father. Sadly, after he used the sword, it was as if he was possessed. He went into seclusion for a month with the new sword and came out looking pale…”
Long Zaitian touched his chin: “The sword cucked him?”
“Enough! Get out!” Emperor Yuansheng gave Long Zaitian the boot.
Though he was irritated, Long Zaitian stayed by the carriage as a sentry and silently grumbled, “You were the one who told me to go in. Man, people these days prioritise girls over friends. The character for a pale face can also be written using the character for ‘green’. Am I wrong? I’m not as pretty as her, but I’m cool, man. I have the smarts, too. I can tell with one glance that she’s a clingy girl. You chose the wrong person to chat with, Your Majesty.”
Emperor Yuansheng apologised, “My subordinate has a bit of a problem with his brain. Please do not mind him.”
Lyu Yaoqin giggled: “He is quite cute. Oh, where was I?”
“You mentioned your father was cuck-, I meant, came out of seclusion with the sword.”
“Ah, yes.” Lyu Yaoqin clapped her hands and finally looked relaxed as a maiden should. She continued, “After Father came out of seclusion, he looked horrible. He went to see my uncle and aunt from Drunk Eight Deities without saying anything to us. We only found out after he invited them to go to the convention with him. Father even asked other obscure clans and schools to join him. Surprisingly, they agreed to join him. All of Jiangnan’s sects, even others located outside of Jiangnan that possessed renowned weapons, were invited. The majority of them were also gifted personalised weapons and did not ask them to bring their personal weapons.”
“Ah, that is why they are going to Huzhou.”
Lyu Yaoqin nodded: “Luo Sword Manor was unable to forge the sword they wanted, so they reached out to other clans in the martial world. They are gathering all rare weapons and adepts to compete so that they can forge the divine weapon they want. That is what Refining Divine Cast Convention is!”
*Poem – It’s not aligned in English. The first character in the poem is “ten thousand”, and the last character is “cold”. However, that wouldn’t make sense in English, so it had to be rearranged. This affects the entire order you see in English, unfortunately. Also, the character “cold” here does not mean “cold”. It is a symbolic for the sword being unsheathed.