Chapter 40: Mastering the Sword
Standing back in the courtyard, Xu Min thrust the sword forward. He maneuvered it in an elegant, but strong manner as he sliced through the air. One minute passed after another as Xu Min was fully focused on mastering the sword in front of him. His hands were slowly getting used to the feeling of the heavy sword within his hands.
Getting used to using a sword was not as simple as Xu Min had expected. The sword had to become an extension of the arm. He felt as though they connected together and every movement had to become fluent and graceful. Yet, the movements made by Xu Min were hard and jagged. There was neither grace nor any sign of Xu Min and the sword being connected in any specific way. Anyone who looked at the two would instantly be able to tell that this man was a new to the sword.
Using weapons was different from using martial art techniques. When using a technique one needed to take a specific stance and allow for the Qi to flow through the meridians at specific patterns. This activated specific points within the body and the Qi would slowly leave through the veins to form an attack made outside the body.
When one were to use weapons, one could either imbue the weapons with the Qi or use physical attacks. These physical attacks mainly relied on the physical strength mixed with the Qi one forced out and merged together. It did not require any specific stance as it just followed and increased the damage done by the body itself.
It was quite rare for people to focus on physical strength, but Xu Min had always focused on his body. Being gifted a weapon by Overseer Wang, Xu Min felt that the way for him to go was the way of an external energy expert, someone who focused more on his physical strength and his weaponry than the stances and techniques.
Many of the experts who focused solely on the internal energies were considered the most dangerous experts around. They were capable of using attacks at a range, killing the opponent before they even were to close in enough to wound them.
Xu Min was perfectly well aware of this, but at the same time he also knew that physical warriors had some strength which internal warriors did not have. Their speed was far superior to that of an internal warrior, alongside their defense. Although they were not masters of ranged combat, every warrior knew a few stances. While an internal expert had to stand still while making a stance for the technique, the external warriors were capable of constantly moving around and merged their Qi with their physical strength.
Saying that external experts did not use techniques was somewhat an error. What they did was become capable of merging the Qi with their physical attacks, allowing for them to create attacks on their own. But techniques such as the ones internal experts used were not something which an external expert excelled at.
Knowing all of this, Xu Min still decided to stay focused on his external strength. He was already far stronger than other warriors at his rank, and he had an astonishing weapon from Overseer Wang upon his leave. It was only now that he truly appreciated the weapon he had gotten, and truly understood how hard it was to fully master and excel at using a weapon.
Day out and day in, Xu Min made the same sword strokes. The first day, he spent every waking hour on making the exact same thrust over and over again. The following day, he focused on a specific slash, which he repeated from sunrise to sunset.
The days went by and each day was a new attack. Ever so slightly, the attacks became more and more graceful and the sword seemed to be a natural companion for Xu Min. The young man’s face soon sprouted a smile as he was training in the art of the sword.
Every day while Xu Min had trained, Yong Meilin had stayed within his courtyard, looking at the sword strokes. She was surprised and amazed that this young man was capable of continuing the same stroke as many times as he did. Her eyes followed every single one of his sword strokes.
The first day, she had tried to convince him to take a break and eat some food as they reached the middle of the day. However, Xu Min had completely ignored her and paid no heed to the food in her hands and the pleading expression on her face. Cao Cao was the only one who paid attention to her. Although Yong Meilin was hurt, she quickly recovered as the young snake followed her to eat the food.
Cao Cao was bored when it came to Xu Min’s training. The snake wished for Xu Min to be stronger so that he could approve of him as his boss much like his father had wanted. However, every time the young man was fully focused on training, Cao Cao would be bored and have nothing to do. Fortunately, Yong Meilin was the same and the both of them spent a lot of time together. Neither spoke as they just both observed Xu Min while Yong Meiling gently patted the snake’s head.
When Xu Min first started training his sword skills, it had been two months until the start of the tournament. By the time he had fully familiarized himself with the sword in his hand, a month and a half had already passed.
Every hour during the day had been spent on practicing his swordplay. During the nights when he was incapable of training with his sword, he instead increased his cultivation level. He knew that if he asked for stronger medicinal pills, he would have been granted them without any questions. Instead, he had chosen to stick with the ones he had purchased from the trade with Yong Meilin back when he met her the first time. Xu Min did not wish to owe the Alluring Treasure Pavilion more than absolutely necessary. Right now, he already felt like he owed them a great deal for looking after him and protecting him. He understood that the foolish actions he had done to embarrass Yong Meilin had caused his reputation to plummet and made quite a few people wishing to kill him if they had the chance. Being disliked did not matter to him, but having a great place to train like this was something he truly valued.
Xu Min was not dumb as he was perfectly well aware that the majority of the city wished him dead. Some of these would have gone further than just wishing for his dead, yet he had never been told about how someone was trying to kill him. The Alluring Treasure Pavilion had just looked after him without asking for anything in return except to participate in this competition.
Knowing that the competition was made from geniuses of the younger generation of Ri Chu City, Xu Min was aware that his chances of winning were definitely not high. However, his mind was determined and his soul unwavering. He had no intention of passing up first place to anyone.
This had resulted in Xu Min using medicinal pills once a week and refining the energy which he then balanced while training with his sword. As only half a month was left until the competition, Xu Min suddenly stood in front of Yong Meilin, a genuine smile on his face as he patted her head gently.
“Wake up, sleepyhead,” he said with a gentle voice as he roused the woman from her sleep. The young woman was instantly embarrassed, her face filled with a red flush because she did not know what to say. Fortunately, Xu Min knew what he wanted to say, not leaving her in the awkward silence for long.
“I need to spar against some of your guards,” Xu Min said with a serious expression on his face. “Please bring me to the same place as last time, I really need to try this sword in actual combat before the tournament starts.”
Hearing this, Yong Meilin was taken aback but she quickly forgot her embarrassment. Instead, she nodded her head seriously. “If that’s what you want, then please follow me,” she said with her melodious voice. As she stood up, she gently removed the grass and soil from her beautiful red robes and with a hand from Xu Min did she stand up.
The two left the courtyard side by side, walking towards the training grounds. “Do you think that you are ready to battle those of a higher rank than you?” Yong Meilin asked worried, her voice was slightly trembling. A shudder ran through her body as she thought about the young master Tang versing Xu Min.
A wry smile appeared on Xu Min’s face. Even after having relied on medicinal pills, he had still not broken into the ranks of the Two-Star Warriors. Instead, he was now a Late Stage One-Star Warrior, something which did not amount to much in the eyes of a Three-Star Warrior. An Early Stage Three-Star Warrior should have an easy time disposing a One-Star Warrior.
Fortunately, Xu Min had some benefits on his side which gave him certain advances. First off, it was obviously Cao Cao; however, Xu Min had told the snake not to participate in the battle unless they were trying to kill him. He wished to depend on himself and win on his own. He wished to prove to Cao Cao and himself that he was worth following. He also wanted to discover if he actually had a chance for revenge.
Cao Cao was not the only advantage as the second was Xu Min’s physical strength. Having worked at the docks of the harbor for as many years as he did and doing exercises every single day, his strength was equal to that of a Late Stage Two-Star Warrior. This was something that increased his chances of winning greatly.
Lastly was the sword which Xu Min had been gifted by Overseer Wang. This sword was not an ordinary sword, but instead was a broadsword. Its length was a meter and a half, only thirty centimeters shorter than Xu Min himself. It was not only the length but also the thickness and width of the blade. The blade was five centimeters thick and forty centimeters wide. It was so wide that Xu Min could use it to protect his entire body.
Looking at the sword, Xu Min had been incapable of completely understanding what kind of materials this sword was created from. The sword seemed to have been created from a black type of metal. Its weight was incredible and at the same time, the metal shone with a blue-blackish light as the sunlight shone upon it.
The sword had a sharp edge, an edge that would cut through everything as though it was made of butter. This was the sword Xu Min had been given, and it was a sword which the young man had finally managed to master. Although he had not managed to create any physical attacks so far, he was capable of using the sword skillfully and each of his strikes could be imbued with Qi, making them stronger by tenfold. His speed was already incredibly fast and his reflexes were swift.
Adding all these benefits together, Xu Min would be stronger than the One-Star Warriors, slightly stronger than the average Two-Star Warriors, and only slightly weaker than a Three-Star Warrior when it came to physical strength.
When it came to Qi, the story was completely different. He was superior to a One-Star Warrior, but he was far inferior when compared to Two-Star and Three-Star Warriors. He had to rely solely on his increased strength and the energy to fortify it while learning how to use the sword to block techniques from other experts.
Following Yong Meilin, all these thoughts were swirling within Xu Min’s mind but as they came closer and closer to the training grounds. The smile on his face grew larger and he held some promise and determination within his eyes. He was going to prove that he was capable of defeating Three-Star Warriors. If he could not do it now, then he would not be capable of defeating the ones at the tournament.