Chapter 12: I Don’t Understand Sword Training
The cold blade pierced forward in the scorching midday sun. The sword and the arm holding it trembled violently as if a held by a feeble old man.
But it was by no accounts an old man, it was a girl with a heroic demeanor. Albeit, not right now. Presently, her hair was disheveled and the jumbled in whichever direction. Her forehead was covered in lines of sweat. The occasional drops fell from her chin to her feet below.
Nearby were two older men playing Go under the shaded eaves. It was a leisurely occasion with the two chatting, drinking tea, and laughing.
The weather this month was perhaps a bit irregular. Although it neared the end of summer, it remained blazing hot. Standing in the open sun felt like a scorching punishment of the heavens.
“zing!” Gu Nan gritted her teeth and continued. The sword stabbed and stabbed, these motions were unending in repetition.
This morning, she’s thrusted her sword maybe several thousand times. Even with her naturally strong body, she felt as if her bones were creaking and muscles tearing.
Her hands felt immensely heavy, as if tied to several dozen kilograms of stones, sapping at her strength.
“There’s not enough power in your motions, and your speed is getting worse. Again.” The old man in white robes said haphazardly, not bothering to lift his head from the board.
His perception developed to where he can judge a sword’s attributes just from the sound of her sword on the air. But Gu Nan wasn’t focused on the skills of her teacher.
‘your speed is getting worse.’ pah! How about you try a couple thousand times!
She rolled her eyes and launched curses inwardly.
But she didn’t have the time to be angry. Clenching her teeth, her swollen wrists resumed another round of stabbing.
The old man said that he’ll be teaching me the ‘way of the sword’. But the entire first week was only the simplest of moves. Since that’s the case, I could just practice by myself. Who said I wanted an old grandpa that only sits around all day!
No matter how many grievances she felt in the courtyard, it didn’t affect the serenity indoors.
Inside, Bai Qi and Ghost Valley sat opposite each other. One wearing a pale-white robe and the other wearing a black robe.
Each held a black or white piece in their hands, playing slowly and leisurely.
Bai Qi gently placed a piece down and looked outside.
“Hmm, Ghost Valley, how is my disciple?”
Ghost Valley paused and smiled faintly. “To be blunt, a martial genius. For ordinary people, after practicing a move thousands of times, they would be unable to continue. And even if they did, they’d risk injuring their physique permanently. But to have done that and only be exhausted, I must say, it’s remarkable.”
Pausing again, he placed his piece down with a firm click.
“I’ve been watching the last couple of days when you teach her the military matters. Perhaps she’s young, but she’s building the same demeanor as you generals. A good disciple you’ve picked up.”
“Haha, even out of thousands of choices, it’s hard to find a good one.”
Ghosts Valley eyed him with a suspicious look. “But I must say, Bai Qi, did you really randomly pick this girl off the street? And for her to enter your household so obediently?”
“Hm? What are inferring? Do you think I’m the type to trick and swindle? I’ll have you know, I’m quite the famous person. Since she’s willing to come under my tutelage, it’s considered a blessing of the heavens.”
After that, he forcefully placed down a black piece.
“Is that so? If it weren’t for you, I’d already have taken her to be my disciple.” Ghost Valley calmly retorted. “If she was my student, she would learn the profound principals of our sect. And there, she can help us foster a better world. But a shame.”
Bai Qi scoffed at his foolish remarks.
“Humph. You would think about snatching my disciple up? All for the ideals of you philosophers? No. She is destined to become a great general of Qin!”
Ghost Valley sighed resentfully. “That view is far too narrow. Which is bigger, the lands under the heavens or your Qin?”
Bai Qi smiled confidently. “The day that Qin can be safe in this world, that is when all lands under heaven will become Qin.”
Ghost Valley didn’t answer, only gazing at Bai Qi for a few quiet moments before returning to their game.
The room was serene again, and both occupants were silent for a long time.
Ghost Valley finally muttered, “You are still stubborn as ever.”
Bai Qi chuckled at that critique. “One person cannot quiet the world but a nation can.”
“You would for Qin—”
Ghost Valley didn’t finish as Bai Qi had waved his hand and interrupted his words.
“It’s not about what I would or wouldn’t for Qin, rather it’s the need for a peaceful nation in these troubled times. And why not Qin?”
“Bai Qi, there is something I must say. There are indeed women in the military, but they are few among the few.”
“I know. I have my own plans.”
Ghost Valley didn’t immediately reply. Picking up a teacup sitting beside the board, he took an uncharacteristically large gulp.
He faintly muttered, “I do hope.”
The sun remained high above the ground, and Gu Nan had already fainted from exhaustion. So naturally, she didn’t hear the conversation that waged inside the house.
Then after a while, Xiao Lu walked back into the courtyard to find a weak voice calling out to her.
“Xiao Lu… Xiao Lu, save me…”
Xiao Lu looked at the girl’s sweat-soaked face and smiled. “Miss, I can’t. Master’s orders. Miss, just follow his wishes. He does wish the best for you. Oh, I’m also here to report something.”
“Report?” Gu Nan squinted a bit. “What is there to report about? Is another guest coming?”
The Bai Manor is already so deserted, there haven’t been any visitors the last month. What could there be to report about?
“I heard that Miss’ horse-riding teacher is coming.” Xiao Lu smiled mischievously and quickly sprinted off.
Gu Nan struggled to stand up, shaking her head.
Ugh, not even done with one, now another?
God, it’s not like I want to fight, why do I need to learn this!?
“Master, Mr. Wang Jian has arrived.”
Xiao Lu bowed and respectfully said.
“Oh, he’s here.” Bai Qi stroked his beard and chuckled. “Tell him In the future, he can come in directly instead of waiting outside.”
A while later, a young man briskly walked in, wearing a set of riding garments.
He caught the figure of Gu Nan standing in the courtyard, strenuously stabbing with her sword.
Her face was dripping with sweat and her hair looked desolated by typhoons. A sight unbefitting a young girl.
For a moment he unconsciously stared at this bizarre sight.
Noticing Wang Jian’s stare from afar, her face was turned green with anger.
Dare laugh at my struggles! I’ll beat you!
Her motions stopped and she smiled stiffly. “Mr. Wang Jian, you’re here.”