Chapter 5: Progress of the Faint-Hearted
Lord Wu’an Manor, it’s strange that such a large home is only occupied by seven or eight people. Besides Bai Qi and his wife, Wei Lan, there’s only one housekeeper who stays year-round. There’s also a cook, horse groom, three servants, and a maid.
The inhabitants are few and the visitors similarly so, giving this manor an empty and desolated feeling. It was only recently that this house became a bit more lively.
Well, not really lively so much as noisy.
On this early morning, there was the sound of exhausted pleading in the main courtyard. “Mas-, Master. I, I feel… like… that’s enough.”
A bright and beautiful woman in a male-style cyan robe was in the open field. The long black hair was clumsily tied with a cloth strap, swaying down to her waist. Although she looks beautiful, she currently lacked any sort of grace and posture, almost akin to a drunken man.
Her right hand grasped a long spear and a sword was strapped to her waist. She looked extremely exhausted and yelling at the old man sitting under the shade of the eaves.
She had been doing this for an hour. Even though her current body was much fitter than her modern one, there’s still the overwhelming feeling of fatigue from the intense training. Her clothes have already been drenched in sweat, her legs trembled, and the hand holding the spear felt numb and unresponsive.
The old man took a sip of the herbal tea and said leisurely, “No rush, we still have half an hour.”
It’s been three months since Gu Nan first came to the Bai Manor to be a disciple. Since then, Gu Nan has integrated pretty well and is now a fully-fledged member of the household.
The Bai couple have a son called Bai Zhong, but Gu Nan heard that he only visits a couple times a year, if even that. Therefore, Lord Wu’an Manor has long held an empty feeling.
To be honest, when she first arrived, it was a bit frightening. After all, this was the home of a god of war.
But so far so good actually.
Wei Lan provided an adjacent room and made her feel comfortable. It was mainly the small things like reminding her about dinner or waking her up for training on the weekdays. It feels as though she’s just another person in this house, even she’s not clear of it herself.
But anyway, it’s quite carefree. There’s no one stalking her actions or breathing down her neck.
But what really pained her were her teacher’s habits. Bai Qi’s training regimen is focused on building a strong physique, and that meant daily physical training. Two hours in horse stance, and two hours of pole carrying. After that was practicing the spear over and over again. The fundamental movements of blocking, seizing, jabbing, thrusting, advancing, distancing, and etc. Practice this ten times, then a hundred times. After a day of this was all done, Gu Nan finally stumbled back to her room in the middle of the night. Her body didn’t even feel like her own and felt so weak that she couldn’t even exert the tiniest force.
But strangely enough, on the next day, her body would feel refreshingly light. The dreadful pain was gone, and she felt even more refreshed than before. After being weathered down for three solid months, Gu Nan can clearly feel her footsteps becoming swifter, like a breeze enveloping her hands and feet.
At the same time, Bai Qi started to send a few sets of military books for her to study.
But honestly, as someone who had a modern, exam-oriented education, Gu Nan didn’t have any trouble taking in these books. Moreover, it’s not like these basic books on war were hard to understand.
The only hard thing was learning the seal script to even understand these books. Although these characters looked somewhat familiar, two thousand years of refinement made the ancient characters very different from the modern ones. Half a month later, she had only barely reached proficiency, but even then, most things were unrecognizable.
Bai Qi looked at his disciple that collapsed on the grass with a pleasant smile. Touching his beard, he could now say that it was the right decision.
What began as an experiment transformed into gradually more rigorous training. But what surprised him was her sheer talent that bordered on insanity. Whether it be martial arts or military studies, he was shocked at every turn.
Regarding her martial arts, Bai Qi couldn’t believe it. How could a girl be so strong!
When the training first started, it was 500 jin. (300kg) Now, he estimates it to be six or seven hundred. In his current state, even he couldn’t win against her in strength. This is already comparable to back in his youth!
But then again, martial might isn’t only about strength, skill and technique are indispensable. However, that’s not to say having immense strength doesn’t help.
And finally, pure strength isn’t the same as internal strength. Using internal strength, the user can produce miraculous bursts of a couple thousand jin. It’s just that he doesn’t have any plans to teach her, nor has it ever been mentioned. The reason being that she’s already too old to begin learning.
But this matter can only be discussed at a later date. Besides, he has his own plans.
As for spear skills, Gu Nan has only learned for three months and had reached at least proficiency. Although to a master like him, there were still plenty of openings, it’s remarkable enough for most people. Furthermore, it’s remarkable in itself that such improvements were possible in this short of time.
If he could train all the farmer conscripts such skills in three months, he’d have an undefeatable army.
On the military studies, he was even more surprised. He had initially thought that there’d be difficulties, but there were hardly any at all. Occasionally she’d ask questions, but she still comprehended the basics with only self-studying. Even as he tested her, all of the questions were answered correctly. There was not a single fault, and he even considers himself a strict person!
He had originally brought her back to plug his guilty conscious for lacking a disciple, but now he’s really paying attention to this student. It’s difficult for him to believe, but she has most of the makings of a great general.
Bai Qi picked up the teapot on the table and poured another cup for himself.
This type of person seldom appears in the world.
Thinking, he looked at the vast sky, the pearly clouds drifting slowly. His hand brushed his white beard and sighed.
I’ve gotten old.
“Mas-, Master…” A tired yell came from far away.
“Another half hour!” As Bai Qi took another drink.
“Nan’er, are you okay? Come, drink this water first.” In the inner court, Wei Lan looked at the near-lifeless Gu Nan laying on the couch. “Ai, don’t blame your master. He’s just doing this for your good.”
“Yes, I know.” Gu Nan forced out a weak smile, even though her body ached like a victim of a severe beating.
“And you too. A young girl like her, how can you be so unconcerned? If it’s this bad, no wonder why you had trouble finding disciples.” Wai Lan glanced at Bai Qi standing nearby.
“Yes, yes it was wrong of me.” Bai Qi glanced at Gu Nan as he said with a smile. Of course, it’s not like training would really get any easier.