This thread, the particular moveset he was tracking, was like the starting point of a ball of twine. From this, Han Sen could unravel it all, bit by bit, and get to the core of what lay under the hood of the skill.
But it wasn't easy, and the fight between sword and umbrella had cost Han Sen a lot of blood. Although the fight was going much better for the woman than it was for him, that didn't quell the fire of excitement that burned in his heart.
And now, as the fight continued to rage, the secrets of her techniques unraveled. His understanding was increasing as they fought. It was very lucky for Han Sen to discover a skill that suited him so well, with his mastery of the Dongxuan Sutra and Heavenly Go.
The Dongxuan Sutra and Heavenly Go weren't lethal attacks. They applied to the user's versatility and movement. Han Sen had always wanted to find a hyper geno art that went well with these two techniques.
Now, seeing this woman's skills, he giddily concluded that his desire was about to be fulfilled. Once he learned the skill, it would only require small modifications. After that, it'd fit his usage of the Dongxuan Sutra and Heavenly Go like a glove.
It was like cooking, he thought. The Dongxuan Sutra and Heavenly Go were like cooking techniques that allowed for the preparation of delicious food.
But to formulate a feast, you needed ingredients. You couldn't have a feast with just rice on offer.
The woman's sword skill was a bounty of different ingredients, all of the highest quality. With the cooking skills of the Dongxuan Sutra and Heavenly Go, whatever he produced was sure to be momentous.
Although the woman fought hard, he suspected there was a note of restraint in her movements. It didn't seem as if she wanted to kill him.
If she explicitly wanted to kill him, he wouldn't have lasted against her with his unfinished Heart Sword.
And if the woman had truly wanted Han Sen dead, he wouldn't have stuck to making use of Heart Sword, either. His Double Fly was not as complicated as her skill, but its simplicity meant he could fight and challenge her almost as an equal.
The woman noticed Han Sen's simmering excitement as they fought, despite the injuries he had incurred. She was surprised, and his unexpected reaction made her anger subside a little.
And then, all of a sudden, she noticed the sword skills Han Sen was employing had changed. The skills he was now using were similar to the ones she employed herself.
The woman was shocked. "He is practically making use of Ghost Sword! Ghost Sword Priest was the very first swordmaster of the Elysium. He spent a thousand years crafting the basis of this technique, and he spent many more years modifying it further. When Ghost Sword Priest taught me, it took me an entire year just to get a handle on it. How is this human learning it so swiftly?"
The woman could not allow herself to believe Han Sen was actually using Ghost Sword, but after some time passed, the expression on her face become more and more complicated.
She couldn't let herself believe that he was using Ghost Sword, but his moves had echoed her own for so long, it was unmistakably similar.
Han Sen was replicating the woman's precise techniques shortly after she used them.
To make things worse, she realized that Han Sen was not only copying her, but performing the very same skill to an even better degree.
It wasn't that Han Sen had changed the core skill; it was just that when Han Sen used Ghost Sword, his timings were far more precise and his accuracy and precision were flawless.
Han Sen had been losing, but when he started making use of her skill, he fared much better. They were locked in a stalemate, as far as she could tell.
The woman was in absolute shock. She finally accepted that Han Sen was indeed using Ghost Sword and that this was something he had learned directly from her.
"Did you learn a sword skill such as this before our encounter?" the woman asked Han Sen, leaping away from the fight.
"Kind of." Han Sen nodded.
Han Sen had never actually learned Ghost Sword, of course, but he could replicate the primal essence of the skill. Through his proficiency with Heavenly Go and the Dongxuan Sutra, he was able to learn Ghost Sword with relative ease. He just had to get to grips with the underlying rule and thread that connected it all.
If Han Sen hadn't learned those two, he would never have been able to start casting Ghost Sword in the manner he just had. This wasn't a skill you could just pick up, remember, and use. The complicated movements the skill required were just one of the many bases you had to cover.
The woman looked at Han Sen with a confused expression. She opened her umbrella and spun it.
Han Sen then felt as if something was sucking him. It lasted a while, and when the suction was gone, he found himself standing before the rock. The woman was where she always had been, standing solemnly on a bridge.
"Don't tell Gu Qingcheng you entered the Avoid Worldstone." The woman's voice rang out from the stone.
"Who is Gu Qingcheng? Are you referring to that woman?" Han Sen snapped out of his daze and looked straight at the green-clothed woman.
Han Sen knew she wasn't the mystic woman, despite their appearance being nearly identical. They were very different people on the inside.
"Didn't she tell you?" The stone continued to sound with the green-clothed woman's voice.
"No. This is the first time I've heard her name." Han Sen stared at the woman in the painting, and after a bit, he asked her, "Who are you, then? Gu Qingcheng's twin sister?"
There was no response. It didn't seem as if she was prepared to answer him.
"The mystic woman is called Gu Qingcheng? It's a name that certainly sounds human. I've never heard of a spirit or creature possessing the name Gu. Dark Spirit uses the name Ling and Elysium folk use Ghost, so I don't think Gu is something that would be used by spirits or creatures," Han Sen reckoned to himself.
"Who is the green-clothed woman, then? Is she a sister or a straight-up doppelganger of Gu Qingcheng? Or is she just a spirit inside a painting? And why won't she let me tell Gu Qingcheng I entered the painting?" Han Sen's mind was filled with a number of questions. He continued to look at the green-clothed woman, but she was still facing away from him.
"This woman definitely didn't create this sword skill. If she had, she wouldn't be using it so angrily and allowing me to notice the unifying thread." Han Sen was happy to learn this. That being said, he noticed it was only one branch of the greater trunk of the skill.