Elder Xu led me to an open field within the Sect, a sheathed sword in his hand.
"By my understanding, Master Lin has begun instructing you in the way of the sword, yes?" He asked, stopping in the middle of said field.
"Yes, Master has taught me the basics," I affirmed.
"Umu We can skip the basics of the basics then. Now observe, I will demonstrate my form."
I remained where I was as he unsheathed his sword, standing there with his eyes closed and sword held loosely by his side.
My eyes were trained on him, analyzing his stance and his form.
He waited for awhile until a gust of wind blew past me, the Elder finally moving with his robes and beard billowing in the gust.
He lifted his sword in a slow arcing motion, his other hand pushing out in the opposite direction.
His right foot slid away from his body into an archery stance, dropping himself into a low crouch.
The pose was held for a few seconds before the Elder stood up on his right foot, swinging the sword above his head. His free hand was slowly drawn towards his chest, the index and middle finger sticking out while the rest curled into a fist. At the same time, his left foot was lifted off the ground, the base of the foot resting on his right thigh to be perpendicular to the ground.
What Is this crappy old daft doing? [Bait]
Warm up Perhaps [Laverna]
This one humbly thinks it's a ritual. [Denna]
But It's such a cringe to watch. He even waited for the wind to blow before starting it [Eris]
I told ya something felt off when the bozo still wore the stupidly flowy robes! Master would'a changed out of 'em! [Bait]
This one would like to refrain from watching him strip [Denna]
Hey Speaking of stripping-- [Bait]
But I did'na say nothing yet! [Bait]
We all know what you want to say. [Eris]
Well excuse ya! I think Master stripping himself that night was the best thing to happen, period! [Bait]
Why must you remind this one [Denna]
Must not think about it Must not think about it [Eris]
Heh heh, remember how he slipped his robe off his shoulders? The way the cloth just slid off of him? Mmm Quality schlicking content right there. [Bait]
Oohh~ Someone's getting hot and bothered now, is she? [Bait]
This one Admits she is [Denna]
Oh! And remember what Master whispered in our ears that night? I told you jumping on him was the best option! [Bait]
I hate to admit it, but you were right. That was truly the best night [Eris]
Uh-huh, and then-- [Bait]
"That's the first move set of the sword style 'Dancing Crane', now it's your turn to try," The Elder interrupted us.
This old fag Can't you read the damn mood?! [Bait]
This one is more concerned that he was actually serious about those silly moves being a sword art. [Denna]
He even expects us to perform it Do any of you remember the moves? [Eris]
Eh, I remember the front parts. [Bait]
The middle [Laverna]
This one remembers parts of the end. [Denna]
Alright then, let's just get this done and over with, I'm guessing this may be just a small test of his to see if we at least know how to use a sword. [Eris]
Makes sense, none of those moves woulda been any bloody use in a real fight! [Bait]
I unsheathed my own sword, taking the pose that the Elder had started off with.
I repeated through the process that the Elder had shown, my body twisting and turning through the motions without any error. I had even sped up the motions to make it look more practical in a fight, though it wasn't by much, honestly.
I finished his so called 'Dancing Crane' with a sword thrust, balancing on a foot with my other leg raised in the air, parallel to the ground. The pose was as silly as it looked in a practical fight.
The Elder nodded, "Very good. I can see why Master Lin took you in. You have an enviable talent in sword arts."
I turned to him, awaiting his next instruction.
"But you were moving too quickly. The way of the sword is more than just completing a set of motions quickly. One must feel and breathe the way of the sword."
I squinted at him, not believing his words.
"Then I shall show you the second move set," He announced, lifting up his sword again.
He continued from the thrusting pose, holding it there while he waited for another gust of wind to blow.
Is this guy serious? [Bait]
Enviable talent He said [Laverna]
This one also thinks he has no idea what he's talking about. [Denna]
Everything we know is all because of Master's guidance. [Eris]
Uh-huh. Did'na even know how to hold a sword before that! What the hell kinda talent is this bozo talking about? [Bait]
You think so too? [Eris]
This one is also of the same opinion. [Denna]
Yep, this guy definitely isn't the swordmaster he claims to be. [Bait]
"Elder Xu..." I called, interrupting him in the middle of his extra slow downwards swing.
He returned to a neutral stance, "What is it? Something you're not sure about?"
"Yeah, here's the deal ya see? We already got the basics down. Master has us engaging in sparring practices already, so we did'na need these slow ass wavy thingy poses no more."
The Elder scrunched up his eyebrows, "Wavy thingy poses? This is the 'Dancing Crane' swordplay style, regarded as the most sophisticated and unrivaled sword art in this country! Just because you could go through the first set of motions after seeing it once doesn't mean you're good, young one. There's over fifty move sets for this style alone!"
I frowned, "Fifty sets Impossible"
"Hmph, now you know how difficult the sword style is, you should--"
"This one does not understand how a useless style like this has more than fifty move sets."
My words startled him into silence.
"Yes, it is not practical at all. Master has taught us to be practical in sword arts," I stated calmly.
"Practical?" The Elder scoffed. "Master Lin only practiced swordsmanship as a hobby. He has still yet to understand the intricacy of true swordsmanship! Someone as young as him is still playing around with the sword, not a true swordmaster."
I'm sorry, did this guy just insult Master? [Eris]
This one does not understand. Why? [Denna]
Yes, why?! WHY, WHY, WHY, WH-- [Bait]
WHY?! I DOn'T UNDeRSTAND?! WHY IS EvERYONe ArOUND OUR gLoRIOUS, MOST BEnEVOLEnT MaSTER SUCH INgRATES? SHOULD i HAve THEM SENT TO THE ABySS?! THEY WouLD JuST KEEp POPPInG UP evERYWHerE IF WE LET THESE goOnS COnTINUE THEIR HERETICal ACTIONS! YeS! LEt THESE HyENAS KNoW THE CONSEQuENCES OF LOOKING dowN ON OUR MOST nOBLE MASTER! [???]
I pointed my sword at him, "Raise your sword."
"I said raise your damn sword! No one insults Master and gets away with it!"
The old geezer raised his sword slightly, "Listen young lady, what I said was true an--"
I twirled my blade around his blade, disarming him in one fluid motion.
He stood there, staring at his fallen blade with a dumb look on his face.
I lowered my sword, "Pick that up."
The walking corpse made no movement.
"I said pick up your damn sword! I'll show you what Master's sword arts is like!"
He scowled at me, picking up his sword and settling into a stance, "Very well. I'll show you the difference between us!"
He lunged forward at me in that stupid pose with one leg in the air.
I sidestepped the blade, smashing my sword handle on his wrist and disarming him before sweeping my left leg under him.
The geezer fell on his back, utterly shocked.
I took a step backwards just as he leapt on his feet, his face red with rage.
Picking up his sword once more, he yelled, "You brought this upon yourself!"
His sword was pointed at me, his hand glowing slightly as he channeled lightning quarks through his hand.
"Piercing Lightning Lance!"
A bolt of lightning shot out from his sword towards me.
I leapt forward, sliding on the ground just as the lightning bolt reached me, deflecting it off to the side with the flat of my blade.
Using the light from the lightning as cover, I slipped under his guard, my left hand grabbing his outstretched wrist while my right hand slammed my sword hilt into his gut.
He keeled over, his chin immediately meeting my knee the next moment.
I released my grip on his wrist and let his body soar upwards, crashing onto the ground a short distance away.
"Get up," I ordered. "I'm not done instructing you on who exactly is the better swordmaster in existence!"
It was a very fruitful lesson.