Ming Yue followed him back to the Blade Hall, where he grabbed a chair and sat down.
She looked around for a chair but found that he had the only one. She could only blame it on his eccentricity and sat on the floor.
"I didn't tell you to sit! Stand! And draw your sword!" he barked out.
She did as he said, casually holding her sword.
"Good", Elder Xiang looked at her, opening a jar of wine and guzzling it down.
Where he had obtained it, she did not know.
Suddenly, an invisible blade conjured itself and flew at her. Sensing its energy, she struck back, deflecting it into the ground. An even stronger one took its place to which she sent off a blade-wind*, which destroyed both itself and the attack upon impact.
"Alright enough, I've seen what I needed to see", he said, casually tossing several books to her.
"Study these manuals and come by for some sparring at dawn."
Ming Yue felt content and excited. She would be able to spar with the elder himself! She took the books and gave him a respectful bow before leaving.
As for Elder Xiang, he continued drinking his wine, staring off into space.
"More or less self taught, she lacks the proper knowledge. How she managed this far is quite surprising", he assessed her quietly as she departed.
"So you just tossed more books at her?" Elder Hua appeared by him, giving a rather disapproving look and the apathetic middle aged elder.
"Mm, you were watching us."
"Don't change the subject, you gave her more books to read. You aren't even going to teach her?" she was steadfast, not giving Elder Xiang a chance.
"I am, she's going to do some sparring. Those books are to supplement what she lacks."
"What is she lacking?"
"A proper teacher"
"Wha-don't give me that!"
Elder Hua's aged appearance truly did not match her current childish act. Despite her attempts to pry more information from Elder Xiang, the Sword Elder no longer spoke to her, focusing on his wine jar.
In the end, she gave up, leaving in a huff.
What she didn't notice was that Elder Xiang seemed a bit uplifted.
"Finally, someone interesting", he thought, looking the many racks of weapons around him.
As for Ming Yue, she returned to her room to skim the manuals. There were a total of four.
"The Formless Sword Manual"
"Veiled Death Sword Technique"
"Martial Wind Arts and Martial Thunder Arts"
The first focused on her sword skill, emphasizing the idea of finding order within the chaos. It would aid her in perfecting her style of fighting where attacks were unpredictable and random. With this manual, her attacks may be unpredictable to others but to her, they would form a pattern or rhythm that only she knew.
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The second was an assassination technique, hiding the killing intent and the feeling of death until the very last moment. It focused on controlling one's aura to achieve assassination without their victim ever noticing.
The third was larger than the others, containing a collection of techniques revolving the Wind Dao. In fact, she found techniques similar to the ones she thought of herself. Things like her wind needles, Savage Tempest, blade-winds were all within it. However, these were much more sophisticated compared to her simple renditions. This would massively improve her combat strength and her understanding of the Wind Dao.
As for the last book, "Martial Thunder Arts", Ming Yue found it strange that she was given this book. She had a bit of affinity for thunder and lightning but as a Dao, she did not pursue it. For now, she put this away for later.
Both "Martial" books were similar, compiling numerous techniques as well as placing importance on several skills that indicate one's mastery of their Dao.
Ming Yue was surprised by Elder Xiang's choice of books. It was hard to believe he could determine so much about her through two invisible blades. She put down the books for later and headed off to do complete her daily training with medicine.
Several hours of studying and experimenting passed by quickly and she moved onto cultivation with Elder Shen.
She quickly confided in the existence of Xue Yue, asking why this was happening to her.
Elder Shen was both intrigued and stumped by her condition.
"Perhaps, your soul has become something of a variant itself. Housing another consciousness is not something new but the fact that it is another version of yourself makes it a incredibly unique situation. Unfortunately, I do not think that there is a way of getting rid of this Xue Yue. Maybe it will fix itself if you breakthrough, but I can't say for sure."
Ming Yue was disappointed but resolved herself. Xue Yue's voice did not seem to come out very often so it was not unbearable. She only hoped that nothing bad would come out of this.
From the afternoon to midnight, she cultivated and learned more about Elder Shen's research with what others called as "Immortal Arts". But due to her low cultivation, she could not practice it yet. She absorbed more of Quintessence Force as small patches of her island took on a more vibrant aura.
That night, she slept feeling more tired than usual but she woke up at dawn and left for Elder Xiang's sparring.
When she entered, the elder was already on the dueling platform.
"Mm, took you long enough! Get up here", he said.
Ming Yue walked onto the platform and drew her sword out. What came after was endless shouting and the ring of swords clashing.
"Is this all you can do?!"
"Are you an idiot?! Utilize your sword more, just because there are several blades does not mean you must always use a powerful strike!"
"I can predict your next six moves! I thought this was suppose to be unpredictable?!"
"Think more, do not just rely on your instincts. A battle of blades is the same as a battle of the minds. Control the fight!"
"You must know why you attacked in this way! If you do not understand the value of your movement, you're just a sword user! You have yet to master anything!"
From dawn to midday, Elder Xiang did nothing but yell insults and advice. He sent off wave after wave of invisible blades that forced Ming Yue to the brink. However, it brought to light how much she had to improve. Having good instincts could only carry her so far, she needed experience and that she sorely lacked in.
At the end of this session, she was covered in sweat and gasping for air. But she gained much in this spar.
"Good, think on what you experienced and come back tomorrow."
"Yes!", Ming Yue left and quickly went back to her room to clean herself.
When she left the hall, she passed by another girl who entered the Blade Hall. With a quick look, she recognized her as the girl in the training fields, who controlled the earth like water with her sword.
Was she also a student of Elder Xiang?
Ming Yue did not give it much thought as she headed for the Medicinal Hall.
As for the girl, she had also recognized Ming Yue on her way in, giving a slightly stunned look. She entered the Blade Hall and found Elder Xiang grabbing for a sword.
"I didn't know you took her in as a student", she said.
"You know her?"
"She is the only one who trains as early as me. She doesn't seem to bother me like the others."
"That girl's an interesting one and besides, give her a bit of time to catch up. She might be able to match you, Qing Cao."
Qing Cao thought about what he said and smiled.
"I look forward to it, besides, isn't the Ren Huan Battlefield opening soon?"
"Oh that's true, in three months if I remember. You're not thinking of attacking her are you? The institution ill not tolerate such behavior", Elder Xiang gave a stern face as he wagged his finger at her.
"What do you take me for? We'll compete on who contributes the most."
"I'm joking, get on the platform."
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