Xiao Lu, This Is the Sword
Gu Nan stood in the small courtyard, holding her new bronze sword. Xiao Lu, who had basically become her personal maid, was watching fervently from the side.
Gu Nan was a novice and her every move was unsightly and crude. Each slash was unbounded by any familiar order or principal.
But what she lacked in technique was supplemented by speed and raw power. The slender blade danced and weaved through the air, leaving only blurs in the fragile air.
In the eyes of masters, it’s a worthless sword dance, but it was more than enough to trick Xiao Lu with.
“Miss, what sword style are you practicing? It's so beautiful!” The sight of Gu Nan dancing about the courtyard enraptured Xiao Lu, causing her to flush red with excitement.
Perhaps interested by Xiao Lu’s question, Gu Nan paused to think of something cool, intent on teasing her some more.
Standing still in the empty courtyard, sword in hand, she made a heroic image as she said, “It’s called the Nine Swords of Dugu.”
“Nine Swords of Dugu?”
“En.” Gu Nan nodded and began to gaze at the sky “profoundly.” “Do you know what a sword is?”
“Do you know what a sword is?”
Three people were nearing the courtyard entrance when they heard a voice from inside.
Wang Jian was puzzled to hear a female voice from inside. Lord Wu'an's disciple shouldn’t be a woman. But is it? Thinking about it again, that voice seemed familiar.
Bai Qi, on the other hand, felt another headache beginning to arise.
Why is she fooling around now of all times. Wasn’t she trying to get out of learning the sword yesterday? How would she know what a sword is!
He was about to step in and drag her out, but then the white-robed old man raised his hand. “No rush, I wish to hear what she has to say.”
Xiao Lu thought but couldn’t think of anything. “Miss, how would I know?”
Gu Nan lifted the sword and gently traced the edge with her finger, feeling the chill of the blade.
“In my opinion, there are five realms to the sword. It is the Sword, the Shifting Sword, the Heavy Sword, the Wooden Sword, and no sword.”
Standing outside, Bai Qi had to hurriedly explain to the old man. “Forgive me, this girl likes to tease people.”
But it didn’t seem the old man listened to Bai Qi. Rather, he seemed intrigued.
Sword, Shifting Sword, Heavy Sword, Wooden Sword, and no sword?
“Miss, I still don’t understand.”
Gu Nan glanced at her and reluctantly “sighed.”
She looked upwards and her sword became a streak in the sky as a falling leaf was sliced in two.
“The Sword is fierce and aggressive, unstoppable. In this realm, the sword would be precise and accurate. There’s no hesitation. Like an instinct, it can be drawn without thought or intention.
“The Shifting Sword is soft and flexible. Its focus is speed. Attacking and retreating, it wins without tricks or tactics. It cuts with an unblockable swiftness.”
“The Heavy Sword has no edge and is simple without fault. In this realm, no matter the opponent or their sword style, it will be broken under this sword. A domineering sword, one that shatters the world."
“The wooden sword is invisible and formless. You are no longer limited by the sword. The grass and bamboo can become swords. Flower petals and leaves can too become swords. The sword is no longer important.”
“The final realm is no sword. It requires no action, a mere thought can form blades. This realm is the last realm I can see. It is the primordial sword, bounded not by heaven or earth.”
Gu Nan sheathed her sword and looked forward, finishing off her performance. “This is what I see in the sword.”
Outside the walled courtyard, there was some muttering among the group. “Sword, Shifting Sword, Heavy Sword, Wooden Sword, and no sword. The five realms…” The white-robed old man stared blankly at the ground.
Even Bai Qi was stunned enough to look at the bronze sword at his waist. The last realm of the sword. A sword beyond the physical, capable of manifesting by a single will. How noble and heroic.
Did this girl really not learn swordsmanship?
The white-robed old man’s sword had already reached the pinnacle of the world. No, in the way of the sword, he is unrivaled under the heavens. So much so that he had convinced himself that he’d reached the peak of the sword.
But although he felt hints of a deeper path, he couldn’t find it. Until he heard those words.
The Five Sword Realms pointing towards the Great Sword Dao!
In this, he should only be at the peak of Heavy Sword. Although his sword is neither blunt nor heavy, it is already capable of breaking through the earthly laws.
I thought I was finished, only to find another two realms ahead of me. How laughable.
“shiiiiing!” The old man suddenly drew out his majestic blade and pointed towards the clouds of the firmament. With only a bit more enlightenment, he could break through to the next realm. An unprecedented level!
Suddenly, Gu Nan was startled. She felt an unspeakably sharp force piercing upwards into the sky, coming from just outside the stone walls.
“Hahaha haha.” A burst of merry laughter reverberated through the manor, and then an unfamiliar old man strode in. “Very well, girl, you can learn my sword.”
Wait, who are you?
“But I really didn’t learn the sword though.” In the inner courtyard, Gu Nan sat in the middle and lowered her head, muttering in a low voice. “I just said what I thought up.”
She had the urge to slap herself. Who would have thought her embarrassing speal would be overheard by people.
“Nonsense. Believe it or not, if I spread this concept of five swords, do you know how many swordsmen would smash their heads begging you to explain it to them?”
The old man who sat nearby continued, “Look at yourself. You’re so young and yet have comprehended such enlightenment on martial arts. Bai Qi, you would think she’s a heavenly genius.”
Bai Qi disregarded him and focused on his disciple with concerned eyes. “Nan’er, you be honest to your teacher, you really haven’t learned the sword?”
If Gu Nan had truly already learned the sword, he wouldn’t let Old Ghost teach his own sword to her. An incompatible sword style would only ruin her foundation. This matter is related to her future, and he didn’t dare take chances.
“You just have to say that you’ve learned it and I’ll send Old Ghost out.”
She nodded slowing in understanding and said, “Master, I really didn’t learn anything. That stuff was only for Xiao Lu to hear.”
“Haha! Good, I was afraid that I couldn’t teach you. Now, since you haven’t learned any sword styles, this old man will teach you.” The old man in white robes said cheerily.
His sect was rather strict and each generation only allowed for two disciples. But since he’s not imparting their core techniques and is merely instructing, it doesn’t count as a disciple.
But his thoughts then wandered to another issue. Frowning slightly, he turned to Bai Qi. “But there’s one thing. She’s already a late-teenager. It’ll be very troublesome for her to build up any sizeable reserve of internal qi. Her future as a warrior will suffer because of it.”
This sentence pricked up Gu Nan’s ear. Internal force? There’s such a thing as that?
Isn’t that only something in Wuxia worlds?
Bai Qi sighed and showed signs of weariness again. “I have already considered the problem of internal qi. You only need to teach the sword, and I’ll handle all other matters.”
What! Was that a confirmation!?
Her mouth was open enough to shove a couple steamed buns into.
If there’s internal qi in this world, doesn’t that mean that people are capable of splitting mountains and breaking the earth! Why wasn’t I aware of this!
“Now, I believe it’s time to begin formal introductions.” Bai Qi took a heavy breath to calm himself down after all the events earlier. “This is the girl I took in a while back, Gu Nan.”
“Nan’er, these are the two teachers I asked to come instruct you. This is Mr. Ghost Valley (Guiguzi) from the School of Diplomacy. He’ll be teaching you the sword. And this is Commander Wang Jian, he’ll be teaching you horse-riding.
The School of Diplomacy, she’s heard of its name before. It was a group of strategists and philosophers with heavy influence during the Warring States and later periods.
However, her thoughts didn’t linger on this too much, rather she hadn’t fully recovered from the shock of internal qi. But this wasn’t the time to question the world, she briskly walked forward to kowtow to her new teacher.
“Student Gu Nan greets Mr. Ghost Valley.”
“En, no need to be ceremonial.” Ghost Valley smiled and raised his hand. He was in a particularly good mood.
Originally, he only came to Xianyang City to selected some talented disciples to take back. But he didn't expect that through a coincidence he would have a breakthrough after decades of stagnation.
Gu Nan, still kneeling, turned to the other man, “Student Gu Nan, I greet Mr. Wang— Jian?”
Halfway through, she felt that the name was wrong.
Looking up, she saw a young man sitting quietly. And since never he said anything, she almost forgot about him. Wasn’t that the same Wang Jian from yesterday?
Wang Jian’s face was a bit red from the embarrassment of yesterday. Why did she have to be Bai Qi’s genius disciple!
He awkwardly greeted her. “I have seen sister.”
Gu Nan returned with a stiff smile. “I've seen.”