Jin Wang lazily walked a short distance away from Yin Long and Lan Yun, who didn't stop their sparring even as they were walking across the savannah. Lan Yun even took advantage of their walking to teach Yin Long, a backhanded -swipe of her axe knocking aside the greatsword he had created using his soul.
"Nope, still not good enough! A greatsword is different from the sword you're used to, lightning-like movements might be acceptable with a shorter and lighter sword, but a greatsword needs to be like the waves. You need to continuously move it, continuously gather momentum, each second of lost momentum is a loss of power that you'll have to make up for."
Lan Yun emphasized her point by not stopping her swing after swatting away the greatsword, tilting the axe slightly downward as it moved and then bringing it up again after it dipped down. The axe moved as if she was drawing a U, her feet and waist moving slightly as she swung the axe at Yin Long in an ascending slash.
Yin Long took half a step back and swept out with the greatsword in a simple manner, knocking the incoming axe to the side before he tried to swing the greatsword at Lan Yun. But his previous training was so deeply engraved into his mind that he stopped swinging the sword after he completed half of a sideways U, forcefully halting it as he would usually do to swipe out again.
The weight of the weapon made it stop slower than he expected and he had to expend more force to swing it in the opposite direction, by the time the weapon got close to Lan Yun it had already lost so much force and taken so much time that she easily swung at the sword from below and knocked the blade up so much that it just passed over her head.
"Close, but not quite right. Clear your mind and think of the ocean crashing against the cliffs, picture the waves that pull back and forth, amassing more and more power with each circulation. Smooth and unbroken movements controlled by an eternal persistence that wears through even the hardest rock. Only expend all your momentum when you unleash an attack that is supposed to end the fight. Well, you can also ignore all that and let yourself get beaten by me, I'll give you a good spanking and then nurse you back to health with a very gentle touch."
Lan Yun licked her lips seductively after knocking up Yin Long's sword, allowing gravity to naturally cause her axe to start dropping. She immediately took advantage of gravity's help to bring her axe down on Yin Long's head in a ferocious manner, her axe pushing aside all the air around it and creating a weak whistling sound. Yin Long's attack had contained too much wasted energy, having it knocked upward also resulted in his body having taken an involuntary step closer to Lan Yun and making it even harder to dodge the attack.
Glancing at the incoming attack he could only click his tongue and burst forth with a bit of Qi to block the axe just before it reached him. He dissipated his sword and raised his head slightly to look at the edge of the axe, which was covered in several small chips, letting out a soft sigh as he pushed the axe aside with his finger.
"It's my loss again. Fighting with a heavy weapon really is harder than it looks."
The sparring he engaged in with Lan Yun over the last five days reminded him of his training with his teacher, it was basically just him fucking up in some way and then getting corrected. But that in itself wasn't something he found bad, failure is the mother of success after all. He would fail and fail again, and each time without fail, he would pick up his weapon again to figure out what he did wrong so that he could improve. Lan Yun also put away her own weapon, puffing her cheeks out in a slight pout before shifting over into a smile.
"Boo, why do you keep stopping before I can properly beat you into a nursing-ready state? But hey, no need to be too down about it! It took me four years just to learn how to swing the weapon halfway decently and it then took me another two years before I became able to deflect attacks. Compared to me, you have a much more solid foundation and you are improving rapidly enough, you've even already started to get a slight hang of the fluid motions you need. Once you get the thought process and the proper movements down, the rest should be no more than a cakewalk."
Lan Yun hadn't missed the half U that Yin Long made with his weapon before his instincts forcefully halted it, it was far better than the motions he had on the first day of sparring. Luckily, Yin Long already had some experience with the fluid motions needed for the greatsword, he utilized smaller versions of the motions whenever he deflected attacks with his normal sword, he just had to increase the power in those motions and shift them from defence over into offence. Yin Long paid Lan Yun's first statement no mind, creating another greatsword and grasping it tightly with both hands.
"Can you teach me the motions again?"
Lan Yun's eyes practically lit up when she heard Yin Long's question, this was the second greatest perk of helping him with his training. She swiftly moved around him and clung to his back as tightly as she could, wrapping her arms around him and placing her hands on his. She made sure to speak as softly as possible directly into his ear while simultaneously exerting a small amount of strength with her entire body.
"Smooth and fluid, as gentle as the placid ocean yet as fierce as the violent tsunami. You use your arms and wrists a lot when you use your normal sword, but a greatsword needs your entire body, the arms alone simply aren't enough. From the sole of your feet up through your legs and into your waist, then from your waist up into your chest and finally into your arms, eventually reversing the process and repeating it. Let the power flow through you in the same wave-like motions that your sword should move in, gather your momentum, gather your power, let it flow and move unending."
Lan Yun relished this chance to stick close to Yin Long like this but she still explained it as clearly as she could in a soft yet serious manner. Yin Long entrusted his training to her, trusted her years of experience with using a heavy weapon. She would not besmirch that trust by focusing on her own seduction attempts rather than the training.
As she spoke she also used the small amount of power she exerted to guide Yin Long's hands, nudging her own body against his to show him how to best move his body as he moved the momentum and power around. The two continued to walk while Lan Yun guided his movements, a heavy weapon was not suited for stationary combat, moving around would give you more options regarding how you should move to retain momentum.
Yin Long remained focused despite the soft sensation and the sweet scent enveloping him, focusing completely on the moves that Lan Yun was guiding him through, doing his best to engrave them in his mind and flesh. But as he was immersing himself in the motions that Lan Yun was teaching him, a low growl from Jin Wang drew his attention, the two people halting the training and turning towards Jin Wang.
Jin Wang had moved a bit closer to them and was peering into the distance to their left, occasionally moving his gaze between Yin Long and the distance. It took a few gestures, but Yin Long eventually understood what Jin Wang was trying to convey, his own gaze turning towards the distance as his eyebrow rose slightly.
"People, huh? We've already gotten so close to Bloodgrass Village that it should either be people from the Deshi clan or people from the village, they might be looking for new earth to plant the Bloodgrass in. Let's go take a look."
The group of three crouched slightly and hid within the waist-height yellow grass, quietly making their way forward until they could spot the people that Jin Wang had detected. A group of 14 people were moving through the savannah ahead of them, 10 of the people in the group were muscular men that carried clay jugs that were nearly two meters tall while the last four were youths who scouted the area around them.
The 10 men carrying the jugs were clad in tightfitting robes that were sturdy and easy to move around in while the 4 youths were clad in somewhat looser and a touch more delicate orange robes. Lan Yun and Yin Long had made sure to study the Deshi and the Tao clan while working as the shadow of the Lang clan, Lan Yun narrowing her eyes slightly as she focused on an insignia embroidered into the sleeves of the four youths.
"A tiger wielding a halberd in its maw, these four people should be disciples within the faction of the 12th elder, Deshi Chau. They were probably sent out to guard the villagers as they harvested more earth for the Bloodgrass. I don't think they used to have a precedent for this, do you think that a Demonic beast might have appeared in the area?"
Lan Yun instantly switched from her flirtatious and seductive manner into her professional manner. It was one thing to say that she had abandoned her past, but just like Yin Long's personality had been marked by his past proffesion so too was Lan Yun's. Yin Long also looked at the four youths, who were only casually surveying the area around them.
"Maybe, but if that's how casual they are about scouting for a Demonic beast then I don't think they've ever actually encountered one. Looking at their direction they seem to be heading back to the village, sticking along with them should make it a touch easier to find the spatial arrays, we can also use them to see if the map we have is too outdated. Follow me and don't use your interspatial ring."
Yin Long swept his own interspatial ring and took out a normal sword that he strapped to his waist, Lan Yun taking out a somewhat smaller axe and strapping it to her back. Yin Long formed a small translucent dagger and cut a wound into his palm, waving it around to splash a few drops of blood onto their robes. He then used a bit of Netherworld energy to heal the wound and stood up, his group quickly approaching the group from the Deshi clan. The opposing group quickly spotted them, Yin Long and the others weren't trying to hide after all, Yin Long giving them a loud greeting while waving his hand.
"Yo, didn't expect to run into disciples of Elder Chau here! I'm Deshi Lao and this is my friend Deshi Rongrong, we're disciples of the Two-headed hedgehog, Elder Chien."
The youths visibly relaxed when Yin Long spoke out the insignia of the 10th elder, Deshi Chien. The names of the elders weren't common knowledge to others nor were the insignias used by them, stating both of them made it highly likely that Yin Long's group were actually disciples of that elder. Lan Yun pouted slightly at being referred to as a friend but she decided to remain silent for the moment, one of the four youths waving at them while calling out.
"Greetings, Brother Lao and Sister Rongrong, we didn't expect to run into any other clan members here. Looking at those bloodstains, were you out hunting for beasts to bring back some Demon Cores?"
The one who spoke was the oldest looking youth in the group, he seemed to be in his mid-twenties and had short brown hair and slightly narrow green eyes. The greeting was casual and relaxed but the movements of the youth showed slight traces of wariness, Yin Long shrugging his shoulders with a slightly sneering laughter.
"We hunted a rather humanoid type of beasts yeah, Lang clan members. Elder Chien got into a spat with some elder from the Lang clan, Queer Quin I think he called him, and the two set up a fight here while using the excuse that their disciples should go out and hunt some beasts. We lost one person but we made sure that all five Lang clan disciples had to stay behind. I can show you the place in a month or two, the earth there should make for a pretty good home for the Bloodgrass."
The youth relaxed even further when Yin Long finished talking and walked over with a leisure gait. His eyes lit up slightly when he swept his gaze over Lan Yun, his hand reaching out and giving Yin Long a heavy pat on the back.
"Good! The only good Lang clan member is a dead Lang clan member. I'm Deshi Jiu, we're on our way back to the village to drop off the earth we just gathered. You should return with us, the lack of any battles here lately has given some beasts the guts to leave their natural habitats."
Deshi Jiu led Yin Long's group of three over to the others and gave a quick introduction of the others as they walked. They were still two days march from Bloodgrass Village so they had plenty of time to talk and learn a bit more about each other. But before the first day together even ended, Yin Long's gaze moved slightly and landed on the thin rapier strapped to the waist of Deshi Jiu, his lips curling up slightly.
"Say, would you mind sparring with me? I'm trying to get accustomed to as many different types of weapon as possible, learning a little about each of them just in case I ever end up needing them. So what do you say, wanna teach me a bit about how to use a rapier?"