The three moved quickly, reaching an open space with a sign that read "Qin Gardens". Ming Yue looked at the sign and the fencing. Everything must have been forged by Lord Qin, they had a sense of grandeur and were very well-made.
Unfortunately, the interior was much different from the exterior. The difference was shocking to the say the least.
The garden itself was bare, there were weeds growing on random spots. Any plant that still lived did not grow much nor did they produce anything. Some things she could not even recognize, not because she did not know what they were but because they grew so gnarled and twisted.
Compared to their faces of shock and confusion, Lord Qin's face was one of pride and pure joy.
"Look! Look at all these beautiful plants! Is my garden not amazing?" he chattered on.
After showing them the garden, he tossed the sacks of dirt to the side of the garden and began introducing each plant to the two stunned people.
"This was a persimmon tree that I was given as a gift by a king from the northern lands."
"I found these flowers when I was wandering the continent sixty years ago."
"These berry bushes were taken from the forest right outside the city."
The persimmon tree was small and barely had any fruit. Those flowers were almost dead, wilting and dull in color. Then those bushes, they were healthy and vibrant but the berries were poisonous. While it wasn't lethal, it could leave someone in bed for weeks. Not even Xiao Yin or Hei Yue were willing to get near it.
This was Ming Yue's thoughts on his plants. Each and every one was either dead, almost dead, or dangerous.
Lord Qin then stopped at the very center of the garden where a small flower lived.
"A small chrysanthemum flower, the first plant I ever took care of and the most beautiful one here", Lord Qin spoke with passion as he gazed at it.
Compared to the others, this really a pretty flower. It was a wonder as to how he managed to grow this one so well. He tended to his garden, showering them with a small watering can. Then, he proceeded to take out a small scissor and cut out any unruly branches or leaves.
"I know why you're here girl", his back facing towards her, he spoke calmly and with dignity.
"I cannot help you repair Splitting Moon."
Both Li Gang and Ming Yue were surprised by his reply.
"But Lord Qin, what of the founder's wishes? What am I to do with a broken blade?" asked Li Gang, "Could it be that Splitting Moon is beyond repair?"
Right then and there, Li Gang was smacked on the head with Lord Qin's watering can.
"Idiot! Let me finish!" he barked out.
"Ahem, I cannot help you repair it but I will reforge it along with Parting Sun."
"What do you mean?" Ming Yue questioned.
Why would the Forgelord choose to reforge both swords rather than repair just the one? It would be a difficult task and one that would require an enormous amount of supplies.
"It was his wish", Lord Qin said.
"The grandmaster smith that created these two swords had passed down his request to find the swords and give them a new owner. But there was a second request known only to the Forgelords. In fact, each and every legendary forger that rest here have made similar requests. This request was to make the swords unique to their new wielders. As such only those with the best skills can fulfill these requests, that is my duty as the Forgelord.", he told her.
"Now why you ask? Each and every legendary piece of equipment is made with specific intent. Perhaps they serve a purpose but most of the time they were made with the user in mind. Tailored to their every request, only in the wielder's hands would their true power be unleashed."
He walked over to another bush, continuing to tend to his garden.
"The same goes for Splitting Moon and Parting Sun. Splitting Moon was made for the blacksmith's wife while Parting Sun was made for his son. You are neither and so you have not truly unlocked their full potential. Thus, your swords must be reforged so that they can only be used in your hands. Their true strength can only be revealed by your touch."
"Follow me", Lord Qin placed his watering can down and dropped his scissors into his pocket.
He left the garden and closed the gates before walking back to the center of the city, back his forge. Along the way, people bowed respectfully as he walked by, Li Gang and Ming Yue followed closely. They walked passed Fu Shan's Jun Heng Forge where he continued to forge in complete concentration. Past it, they reached Lord Qin's quarters.
It was different from what she had expected of the forge of the Forgelord. There was a small hut in a large and spacious courtyard. There was no hammer or anvil, no flames or spring water, no sign of a forge anywhere. It was like a small house within a clearing of a forest. A small world of silence compared the bumbling city of crafting.
In front of the small hut, the three of them stopped at the door.
"Li Gang", said Lord Qin, "I will handle the rest of this. Go back and rest in your quarters, it has been a long journey for you."
"Yes Lord Qin", Li Gang left the vicinity, leaving only Lord Qin and Ming Yue.
The two of them quietly entered the simple hut and Lord Qin made himself a pot of tea.
"Give me your hand", he said.
Ming Yue followed his instructions letting him examine her limbs, weighing her and measuring every inch. He did not stop to write down each measurement, he just continued, muttering quietly to himself. Each and every note he took was done so in his mind. After finishing, he examined Parting Sun and the shatter Splitting Moon.
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"Hmm, the work on Parting Sun isn't too shabby", he said, feeling each groove of the swords.
Afterwards, he put down the broken shards of Splitting Moon and Parting Sun.
"Good, now fight me."
He spoke without any hesitation and stood up, holding his fists towards her. She copied him, holding her fists up as well somewhat unsure of his request.
"With your sword, fight me with your sword."
Ming Yue was a little taken aback, unsure of why he was doing all of this.
Sensing her confusion he explained calmly although he was visibly annoyed.
"How can I forge a sword for someone without knowing everything about them? Their body, their behavior, how they fight, I must experience all of it personally, especially combat skills. You do not have to hold back, now come."
They walked outside and prepared their stances. He with his fists and she with her sword.
Lord Qin had no sign of the giddy old man from before. Instead, he produced a type of pressure, traceless and barely felt by anyone. But Ming Yue felt it.
This invisible pressure had no rage within it, no form of excitement or emotion. It was calm, collected, focused like his face. There was no emotion, just pure concentration. She could not help but fight with her strongest after seeing him in this state. Lord Qin's cultivation was something she could not see through but one thing she was sure of was he is strong.
She took the same position as always, her sword gripped with both hands and behind her. She stood straight and faced in front of her, towards her opponent.
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