As he placed all his focus on the sword, he seemed to be able to hear the breathing of this sword… This was doubtlessly the result of being one with the sword!
As for the rest of the process, he just needed to shift his focus from the sword to its intent. Afterwards, he would be able to condense his sword intent!
Speaking of which, it’s all thanks to Bai Su’s reminder which helped me to successfully comprehend this step.
Ning Fan raised his head to gaze and asked with an astonished tone.
“Mm? Hasn’t madam left yet? It’s already late. Wouldn’t it stir up some gossip if madam, who isn’t a dead person, still stays in my mansion?”
“Y-Yes, it would…”
Bai Su was really awkward. She certainly knew that it was extremely inappropriate to run into Ning Fan’s house in the middle of the night.
However, the affairs between men and women had never crossed her mind previously. Instead, she was just wholeheartedly admiring Ning Fan’s profoundness in sword techniques and wondering whether it would be possible for Little Stone to acknowledge him as his master.
Now, after being reminded by Ning Fan, she retrieved herself from her thoughts. She paused at the entrance and hesitated. However, she was still too shy to speak out in the end and left with a soft sigh.
At the moment she left, it struck her that she had brought a basket of eggs with her to Ning Fan’s mansion. It was originally a token of gratitude to Ning Fan for giving Little Stone the precious sword, wasn’t it?
“I know that Young Master Zhou is wealthy and does not care about these measly things. But this basket of eggs is a little token of gratitude from me for Young Master to thank you for being willing to lend the precious sword to Little Stone… I heard that Madam Zhou has fallen ill. These eggs are just right for her to nourish her body.”
Bai Su handed the basket of eggs to Ning Fan. Her actions were polite and she also bowed slightly as a sign of courtesy.
Ning Fan took the eggs and his heart felt a jolt.
A basket of eggs is one of the ways to express kindness among the mortals in a neighborhood.
Meanwhile, giving gifts to a stranger is considered a foolish act in the cultivation world.
But in the mortals’ world, it’s basic etiquette to express goodwill.
“Thank you…” Ning Fan sighed with feelings. He had not felt a friendly feeling like this for a long time.
“*Chuckle* Young Master is really a unique person. There is no need to say thanks for just a basket of eggs.”
Bai Su’s face puckered as her lips curved into a smile. Her expression was both rather fascinating and charming. Right at this moment, Xu Qiuling woke up. She pushed the door open and walked out from within the mansion. Then, she asked with a soft voice.
“Big brother, it’s already late. Why don’t you light up some lights? Eh? Is there a guest…?”
Other than her slightly pale complexion due to her illness, the rest of Xu Qiuling’s appearance could only be described with one word: beautiful. In fact, as she stood and basked in the moonlight, she looked just like a fairy that descended to the mortal world.
As soon as Bai Su saw Xu Qiuling’s attractive appearance, she was instantly overwhelmed and she inwardly mocked herself.
Since Young Master Zhou already has such a lovely wife, how would he be interested in an ugly woman like me, let alone molest me? I was really overthinking it just now...
“I’m Bai Su. Greetings to Madam Zhou. It’s already late now. I will come for a visit again some other day.”
Bai Su made a bow again and excused herself.
Xu Qiuling’s eyes were flashing with surprise.
If this Bai Su was a few years younger, her appearance may not be inferior to mine.
After making a bow in return, she watched Bai Su leave. Then, she shifted her eyes to Ning Fan who was carrying a basket of eggs. Xu Qiuling burst into laughter as if a punchline just hit her.
“What are you laughing at?”
“I’m laughing at you.The dignified Great Devil Lord Zhou is carrying a basket of eggs… If your current look were to be seen by cultivators from the External Endless Sea, I wonder how many of them would get so shocked until their eyeballs pop out.”
In Gusu City, the news of a young master surnamed Zhou buying a haunted mansion was gradually forgotten after being a hot topic in everyone’s conversation for a few days.
As for the residences neighboring the haunted mansion, they also gradually grew familiar with Ning Fan.
They only knew that Ning Fan was rather weird. During the day, Ning Fan would sit in the yard with the gate wide open and stare attentively at a sword.
In the evening, Ning Fan would then bring a peerless beauty to go cruising on the Su River in Gusu.
However, no one knew that Ning Fan still had a nightlife which was to provide Xu Qiuling an erotic medicated bath treatment all night.
Many rumors claimed that Ning Fan was a swordsman but no one had actually seen him wield a sword.
The children who made fun of Ning Fan did not come anymore except for Little Stone. He never failed to visit Ning Fan every day, as if it was his daily routine. When Ning Fan was staring at his sword, he also stared at a sword, trying to learn something by imitating him.
“Uncle Zhou, are you really not a swordsman? You can tell me and I promise I will not tell my mother!” Little Stone pleaded.
“No, I’m not…” Ning Fan told him the truth. He was indeed not a swordsman.
Every time Ning Fan gave him this answer, Little Stone’s face would turn disappointed.
When evening fell, Bai Su would definitely come to bring the pestering Little Stone back home and occasionally prepare some food and wine for Ning Fan.
As a result, word about him spread and eventually, he was left with the reputation of being a lascivious guy.
Hooking up with a widow from the late blacksmith’s family during the day and cruising freely with a beauty at night. These accusations were placed on Ning Fan’s head.
To Ning Fan, reputation was nothing more than fleeting clouds. To Bai Su, however, it was difficult to clean her reputation once it was tainted.
No matter where she went, be it the Su River for laundry or the market for selling cloth, she would always be pointed at and criticised by others.
No matter how hard she tried to explain, no one would believe her. She had thought several times of not stepping into Ning Fan’s house again. However, in order to let Little Stone learn sword skills, she clenched her teeth and thickened her face to endure the stigma.
“So this is what it takes to be a mother…?” Ning Fan closed his eyes and said something that Little Stone did not understand.
A month later, Ning Fan seemed to have gained new insights from the sword. He stashed the sword and then took out a soft sword made of crepe myrtle wood.
“Uncle Zhou, aren’t you going to study the sharp sword more? Why are you looking at a soft sword? It looks soft and limp. Can it be used to fight and kill?” Little Stone asked confusedly.
“Of course it can…”
Ning Fan casually waved the soft sword and the rockery in the courtyard crumbled with a loud crash after a flash of sword light!
Little Stone was stunned. It was his first time seeing Ning Fan act.
With a trace of sword qi, he cut the rockery which had a height equivalent to three adult men into pieces. It was already at an extremely marvelous level!
“Uncle Zhou, y-you lied to me! You’re clearly a swordsman!” Little Stone exclaimed with excitement. He was now even more determined to learn sword skills from Ning Fan.
“I didn’t lie to you. I’m indeed not a swordsman. You have a good innate talent. Perhaps one day, you will understand my words when you walk my path.”
Ning Fan shook his head with a smile. He did not use any of his magic power or even the Neigong of the mortal martial arts in the strike he displayed just now. Instead, he just imagined sword qi in his mind and a trace of sword qi was then condensed.
This was the initial stage of condensing sword intent!
During the first month, Ning Fan only studied the sharp sword.
In the second month, he only looked at the soft sword.
The principle of a sharp sword lies in its sharpness and rigidity. There is nothing that it cannot destroy.
As for the soft sword, its essence lies in its flexibility and malleable nature. It was soft and tricky, making it difficult to deal with.
In the third month, Ning Fan took out more than one hundred low grade flying swords. Right before Little Stone’s eyes, Ning Fan blew a breath and black flames suddenly burned all the flying swords. After a brief moment, they were melted and remolded into a broadsword which was nearly one meter long and as heavy as a giant rock.
Little Stone was once again petrified. He now had a feeling that Uncle Zhou was probably not a true swordsman but a god of swords.
He became more and more obsessive in the art of swords. In the end, he actually stayed at Ning Fan’s house for an entire day. He would not leave even when Bai Su tried to drag him back. Everyday, Bai Su had to spend a lot of effort and strength in order to bring her silly kid home.
The weather gradually became cold. In the fourth month, heavy snow fell in Gusu. Little Stone’s house which was built of thatch was crushed by the snow. Under Xu Qiuling’s invitation, Bai Su brought along her kid and stayed in Ning Fan’s mansion.
After Ning Fan extorted the five elderly men, the silver he had piled up like mountains in his mansion. As such, Bai Su no longer needed to show her face in public to earn money.
She could not help but feel bad by just accepting someone else’s aid. Therefore, she took care of all the house chores within the mansion. As for Xu Qiuling, she no longer rested during the day. Her face began to get more and more ruddy as days went by. Every day, she would have Bai Su accompany her and the relationship between the both of them became so close that they were like blood sisters.
In the fourth month, Ning Fan snapped one of the peach trees in his courtyard and carved it into a wooden sword.
Little Stone just could not understand this action of his at all.
Translated by Tommy, edited by Roel
“Grasping Evil” is being translated on Veratales (Click here) but Liberspark (Click here) is hosting the chapters as well. You are encouraged to read on veratales.com for project updates. :)
Some phrases or expressions of the original are changed for ease of reading.
If a mistake or mistakes were found in this chapter, feel free to comment below.
Some terms are subject to change when better suggestions are selected.
All the internal monologues will be in italic form.