11 – Sword-casting Chamber
The Sword-casting Chamber was located in the middle of North Peak. It was a courtyard building with several chimneys sprouting from stoves erected in the middle. The white smoke coming from it gave Xue Qilin the “it’s very hot in here” feeling. In fact, because of the stoves, it was indeed a bit warmer here than in the Snow-facing Abode.
They went through the courtyard gate and entered the Sword-casting Chamber. With just this step, the world seemed to change.
Wrapped in the scent of charcoal ashes, a dry heat wave hit them in the surface; the rhythmic sounds of striking coming from all over assaulted their ears; flames splashed about before them, looking very eye-catching.
The people gathered here were either busy forging swords or transporting piles of metal or equipment.
With difficulty, Luo Qing intercepted a male disciple doing odd jobs.
“Ah, disciple greets Elder Luo!” Despite being a little loud, no one reacted to his voice. Focused on their work, the others showed no signs of disturbance.
“Hello.” Luo Qing gave a short answer, and then pointed at Xue Qilin, saying: “This is the Young Ancestor.”
The male disciple seemed surprised. Looking at Xue Qilin, the surprise on his face gave way to incredulity.
After meeting me for the first time, he discovered that I’m a loli, which is the root of his shock. Xue Qilin mused. Naturally, she didn’t bother with the other party’s lack of manners.
Luo Qing coughed softly, and the disciple came back to his senses. He cupped his hands and saluted Xue Qilin in a flurry: “Disciple greets Young Ancestor.”
Xue Qilin was about to snort subconsciously, but then she came back to her senses and realized that doing so would not be appropriate, so she coughed lightly and nodded instead.
Her reaction looked rather strange, but the disciples in front of her didn’t seem to sense anything odd.
“I’m sorry to have disturbed you, but is Elder Li here?” Luo Qing asked softly.
The male disciple was silent for a moment before uttering hesitantly: “Elder Luo, Teacher is here. However, she is forging a sword. Perhaps…”
“It’s okay. Take us to her, we have an appointment.”
The male disciple nodded awkwardly, and then made an inviting gesture: “Young Ancestor, Elder Luo, this way.”
Following behind the male disciples, Xue Qilin approached Luo Qing and asked in a low voice: “Is this Elder Li an arrogant character?”
The reason behind this question was naturally the reaction of the male disciple just now.
Luo Qing blinked her eyes, and then shook her head, smiling: “She isn’t. On the contrary, she’s very approachable. It’s just that when she is forging swords, if anyone disturbs her, no matter who, …”
At this point, Luo Qing suddenly stopped. Perhaps she was deliberating on her wording. After a while, she went on to say: “She will cut them down…”
Xue Qilin was stunned for a moment, and then ask hesitantly: “Should… should we come another time?”
Luo Qing shook her head and explained: “It’s okay. Unless you bump into her, then no matter what you say, she won’t care because she can’t hear.”
“She can’t hear?”
In a rare fashion, Luo Qing winked at Xue Qilin and answered mischievously: “She’s too focused.”
The male disciples took Xue Qilin and Luo Qing to a separate room deep within the Sword-casting Chamber.
Inside, there was a stove, in front of which sat a woman 20 or so years old. As if full of vitality, her red ponytail swayed along with her movements.
Unlike Luo Qing, who looked gentle, she had a wild sense of beauty about her. The raised corners of her eyes gave her a sharp aura.
Maybe it was due to working in front of the stove for a long time, but her skin looked a bit rough. However, that was also proof that she was an active front-line worker.
She’s a capable person. This was Xue Qilin’s first impression of Li Wanting. Although, the name  doesn’t match the person.
At this moment, Li Wanting was hammering at a sword billet with a small mallet. Next to her stood a burly male disciple with a big mallet in hand.
She didn’t seem to notice the arrival of Xue Qilin and Luo Qing… No, Xue Qilin felt like she was aware of their arrival, but probably because she had no interest in them, didn’t pay them any mind.
“Young Ancestor, Elder Luo, would you like to come back later?” The male disciple who took them here asked awkwardly.
Seeing Li Wanting showing no intention to stop working, Luo Qing seemed to be a bit embarrassed. With her personality, she naturally wouldn’t interrupt other people’s work. She threw Xue Qilin questioning look.
Xue Qilin mused, and then said: “Let’s wait here.”
She was interested in ancient sword forging, and wanted to watch it here.
“Got it.” Luo Qing answered, then looked at the male disciple who brought them here and said lightly: “Young Ancestor wants to wait here. You should go ahead and go back to your work, no need to worry about us.”
“This…” The male disciple hesitated.
“It’s okay, you can go.” Luo Qing said softly.
“Then… disciple is going to take his leave first.” After seeing Xue Qilin nod in agreement, the male disciple was clearly relieved. After saluting, he turned and left.
Xue Qilin curiously watched Li Wanting hammer, but soon, she felt bored.
How tedious. Li Wanting just heated, hammered, and folded the metal… rinse and repeat.
Should have waited somewhere else… Xue Qilin thought regretfully.
Just as she wanted to voice her thoughts…
“Oh, if it isn’t Young Ancestor and Senior Disciple Sister Luo? Why are you here?” Unwittingly, Li Wanting had finished her work, she then stood up and looked at Xue Qilin and Luo Qing.
It seemed that when Xue Qilin and Luo Qing arrived, her work was nearing the end.
“Ah, that… Little Seven, she told me to come to you for a sword.”
Li Wanting immediately asked in reply: “Little Seven? Who is Little Seven?”
Luo Qing explained with a wry smile: “That’s how Young Ancestor refers to Palace Master.”
Li Wanting was stunned for a moment, and then burst out into laughter: “Ha-ha, Little Qi, Little Qi, isn’t that Little Seven? Indeed!”
“Yes, exactly.” Xue Qilin continued with grievance: “But she denies it.”
As if she had just thought of something, Li Wanting’s expression suddenly became weird.
“Young Ancestor, were you knocked unconscious because you called her Seven Seven-seven to her face?”
“Oh, you know of that as well?”
“I reckon that few of the sect’s Elders don’t know of this.” Li Wanting couldn’t help but titter when she saw Xue Qilin’s embarrassment.
“Junior Disciple Sister Li, let’s not mention this anymore. Let’s talk business.” Luo Qing rescued Xue Qilin from the embarrassment at once.
“What…” A dull expression on her face, Li Wanting said in disappointment: “Young Ancestor, you want me to forge you a sword, right?”
“I don’t need a sword, but the lass Little Seven said that the Merak Palace is a sword sect, and as a senior of the sect, I should carry a sword. Otherwise, it will give a bad impression.”
“As expected of Little Qi, she’s really thoughtful!”
Originally, Xue Qilin thought that the carefree Li Wanting would not care about such formalities, yet against her expectations, Li Wanting seemed to agree with Qi Qiqi.
It seems that the ancients really value things like face… Xue Qilin sighed secretly.
“So, what kind of sword do you want, Young Ancestor? What kind of sword fits you better?”
“How would I know, I don’t use swords.”
“In other words, even if I forge a good sword, it’ll only serve as decoration to you, Young Ancestor?”
“Well, I guess I’ll use it to cut stuff, to cut vegetables at most.” As a result of her words, Xue Qilin was hit by Li Wanting.
“That hurt!” Xue Qilin touched the place she was hit and said in protest, but then she was glared at by Li Wanting.
“You will use the sword I forge you to cut stuff?”
“What else could I do with it? I don’t use swords.”
Luo Qing cut in: “You could use it to protect yourself. Maybe at some point, it will save your life.”
Xue Qilin mused and felt like what Luo Qing said made sense.
No matter how high your martial prowess were, you’d still be afraid of a kitchen knife.
“Anyhow. Little Ting, what sword would you choose for me?”
Even though she was called Little Ting, Li Wanting didn’t care. She started to count on her fingers: “Well… long sword, eight faced jian , short sword, double swords, greatsword, epee, broadsword… there are many kinds, but since you don’t use swords, then it’s best to choose a sword that would look impressive on you, Young Ancestor.
“Yes…” Xue Qilin wanted to agree, but then she thought of something: “Are greatswords broad?”
Li Wanting nodded. She looked at Xue Qilin’s small frame, and then asked with a strange look on her face: “You want a greatsword? With your frame, won’t it be difficult to wield it, Young Ancestor?”
“Well, a broad sword can be treated as a shield. Besides, such a sword doesn’t emphasize on swordsmanship, right? Just a wave from it can generate destructive power.”
Li Wanting’s eyes went wide in an instant. But soon she came back to her sense, and then stroked her chin, musing. After a while, she raised her head: “You’re right, Young Ancestor. I’ll forge you such a greatsword. Do you have any requirements, such as decoration?”
“It should look cool!”
This answer left Li Wanting stunned, but she quickly uttered with a smile of relief: “Alright! Young Ancestor, you’re very amusing!”
She seemed to be rather fond of Xue Qilin, as she patted the latter on the shoulder.
“Then I’ll have to trouble you.” Xue Qilin rubbed her shoulder, and then said with a forced smile.
That was really painful. The shoulder should be all red now.
Li Wanting apparently noticed that she was a bit careless at the moment of her excitement, as she scratched her head and apologized: “I’m sorry, I was careless.”
“It’s all right, just pay more attention next time.” Xue Qilin wanted to complain at first, but then she thought how by leaving things be would garner her good will from the other party, and she changed her mind.
Suddenly, a magnetic voice came from the door: “Junior Disciple Sister Li, you’re hiding here forging a sword! I have asked to see you several times, but your disciples have said that you’re busy. Are you really that busy or are you so arrogant that you disdain seeing me?” To the end, the words were laced with enmity.
Xue Qilin looked in the direction of the voice, where she saw a middle-aged man with a look of arrogance on his face walk in. Although he was rather handsome, but the expression on his face made him look like a hoodlum. Xue Qilin balled her fists subconsciously.
Bear with it! What Xue Qilin hated the most was people with such a condescending expression.
“Huh?” Xue Qilin suddenly discovered that the man’s left sleeve was empty. He only has one hand.
Somehow, his appearance lowered everyone’s spirits.
Xue Qilin noticed that Li Wanting’s expression darkened when she saw the man, and the eyes of the disciple next to her widened and became overcome with shocking hatred.
Is this Qin Chen a playboy? Did he stole the wife of Little Ting’s disciple or something? Xue Qilin speculated in line with the plot of some soap operas, but she seemed to have guessed wrong.
“Hey, Junior Disciple Sister Luo, you’re also here!” The middle-aged man said in surprise.
Unlike when he spoke to Li Wanting, when he spoke to Luo Qing, the man’s tone of voice was so gentle that it gave others goosebumps. More importantly, when he looked at Luo Qing, the expression in his eyes changed in an obvious way.
Does this guy like Luo Qing? Xue Qilin was puzzled.
Luo Qing responded indifferently: “Senior Disciple Brother Qin, Young Ancestor is also here.”
“Oh, indeed!” The middle-aged man really didn’t seem to have noticed Xue Qilin. He hurriedly faced the latter and saluted, saying: “Martial grandnephew greets Young Ancestor.”
Seeing Luo Qing’s obviously distant reaction, Xue Qilin just groaned casually in response.
Anyway, with her seniority, even if she beat up this Qin Chen, no one would say anything.
Moreover, with his arrogant expression, Qin Chen was asking for a beating.
However, compared to the other two…
“What do you want?”
Li Wanting’s reaction was much worse. Instead of looking at Qin Chen, she shook her head at the disciple standing next to her. Wanting to say something, the disciple opened his mouth several times, yet in the end, he stayed silent.
The middle-aged man sneered when he saw this.
Xue Qilin asked Luo Qing in a low voice: “What’s the matter? Should I hit him?”
“Why do you want to hit him?” Luo Qing asked in surprise.
Xue Qilin snored and spoke with loathing: “He disgusts me!”
More importantly, he is more handsome than I used to be!
“Young Ancestor, let me think about how to design your sword. I’ll have a sketch ready in a few days. Therefore…” Li Wanting said apologetically.
“Oh, then I’ll be leaving first.”
Li Wanting seems to be restraining herself. She should have some dispute with this Qin Chen, which she doesn’t want me to see. Xue Qilin thought.
Luo Qing looked like she wanted to say something, but Li Wanting beat her to the punch, saying: “Senior Disciple Sister Luo, you should go with Young Ancestor.”
After staying silent for a while, Luo Qing turned to look at Xue Qilin: “Young Ancestor, let’s go.”
Xue Qilin voiced her assent, and then took the lead to leave. She didn’t know what was going on and didn’t want to bother, so she just let it be.
 – As previously stated, both Wan (婉) and Ting (婷) mean graceful
 – Eight faced jian