Volume 12, Chapter 9-2: Spring Training Camp, Session A: Showdown with Kyoi

Exhibition Battle: Tomo Yuki v. Kyoi Feng

“Let’s start off with practicing those pivots. Which one did you think was the easiest to pick up?” Kyoi retrieved En’s sword from the ground, swinging it with ease.

“This is going to sound weird but yours actually made the most sense to me. Zhuyu and En’s weren’t intuitive at all,” I admitted, summoning my own blade.

“I should have known. Long and Zhang modified theirs to fit with their personality and fighting styles. Mine on the other hand is the original. Okay, let’s see you do it,” Kyoi responded with a laugh, leaning on En’s blade.

I closed my eyes, recalling her movement. While I couldn’t replicate the pivot exactly, I knew the necessary steps. I dashed, kicking my right foot forward before applying En’s electrical acceleration. This allowed me to travel the half-circle which brought me to the woman’s backside. I took one quick step before accelerating again. I realized too late the weight of my sword shifted my balance, causing me to stumble instead of completing a clean hit.

“Interesting take on the pivot. Keep working on it! Here, have your sword like this,” Kyoi directed, adjusting my arm and then showed me the correct footwork.

After five minutes of practicing, I felt comfortable with the move. Kyoi called En over, asking him to stand in for her. I performed the pivot, executing the move with perfection. The woman nodded in satisfaction and En returned to the bench.

“Tomo, allow me to see your grimoire?” Kyoi requested, holding her hand out.

“Uh, sure,” I obliged and transferred possession of it over to her.

She put on her pair of glasses and touched it with her left hand. Several layers of chains appeared on the cover, wrapping around the book, preventing Kyoi from opening it. The woman sighed and rubbed the chains. She pulled her hand back with urgency. A welt appeared on her thumb and pointer finger.

“What tough protection. Doesn’t matter, I confirmed my suspicions,” Kyoi said, returning my grimoire with a smile.

“What were you trying to do?” I watched the chains vanish once the grimoire was back in my hands.

“I’ve always suspected your grimoire contains the capacity to tune your movements. Actually, it’s more advanced than that. It enhances your body in the background, allowing you to master difficult maneuvers and skills within a few tries,” Kyoi disclosed her hypothesis.

“Wait, you’re serious? I’ve never experienced anything like that at all. My body hurts like hell and it takes time for me to even master basic things like Zhuyu and Shan’s powers,” I replied, shaking my head in confusion.

“Emphasis on ‘contains’. Tess, the fortune-teller she is, already shut off that particular feature. She wants you to go through the growing pains first. But as you progress, the restrictions will be lifted. It’s adaptable,” Kyoi explained, stabbing Zhuyu’s sword next to En’s.

“And of course Tess never told me this,” I pointed out.

“I doubt she wanted you to worry about anything like that. It’s a major distraction. Besides, you’re at the point where you can handle it now. Let’s continue with basic sword techniques,” Kyoi explained, lifting up En’s blade.

Hm, I was glad Tess handicapped me. It wouldn’t have been optimal for me to develop with the grimoire constantly correcting my actions without my knowledge.

“Brutal Stab,” Kyoi stated, slashing at me with En’s sword.

S***, it was just a feint. Red flames spiraled around her blade. Kyoi slapped my wrist, providing an opening for the woman. She stabbed in the direction of my stomach, the tip missing it by centimeters. I felt the immense heat emanating from her blade and heaved a sigh of relief.

“You’ve already seen Dull Defense, sacrificing sharpness for defense. Next one is Slash Strike,” Kyoi announced, initiating a series of consecutive slashes.

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I parried each one, feeling the enormous strength behind each of her attacks. Damn it, it was all just a ploy to weaken me! Kyoi took advantage of my lowered defenses, kicking me in the stomach. She flipped her sword upside down, disarming me with the hilt. The woman, still holding her blade, continued her attack. She punched me in the face and I felt her sword make contact with my neck.

“Final lesson for now. Generate a wave of magical energy with your blade,” Kyoi said, hurling En’s blade all the way over to its original owner.

We exchanged sword strikes. The woman, now utilizing Zhuyu’s sword, tapped the base of her weapon. Red and blue flames spiraled around the blade. I stepped back, raising my weapon in a defensive position. She swung her blade, unleashing waves of magic coming at me from two different directions. F***, too fast. I disintegrated the left wave but was struck by the other one. I saw a line of blood start dripping from my upper left arm.

“Now to put it all together. Attack me first,” Kyoi ordered, returning Zhuyu’s sword back to him.

I channeled Shui’s ice elemental into my sword, hardening my blade. Kyoi, wielding her original sword, blocked my multitude of attacks while standing in place. I stepped back to catch my breath. The woman charged her sword, now glowing a dim golden color. She unleashed a weak wave of energy. I stared at it and then Kyoi was behind me. I felt a blunt blow in my back. Kyoi kicked me in the calves, sending me down to my knees. She held her blade to my neck and a scorching heat struck me.

“Your turn now. No need to hold back. Use everyone’s powers,” Kyoi directed, pulling her weapon back.

Time for some flair. I circled behind her, leaving a trail of concentrated magical sparks. I drove my blade downward, anticipating a block from Kyoi. She twisted around, her blade in position for a parry. However, she was forced back into her original position thanks to the sparks I set up before.

“Interesting move, Tomo. But you’re still lacking,” Kyoi said, dispelling my sparks and using them against me.

I couldn’t move. I stared downward at the glowing sparks but couldn’t disable them. Kyoi thrust her flaming sword toward me with a grin. I generated a portal, avoiding her attack. I fired off icicles which she destroyed with a single slash. Of course, should have known a fight against the number two ranked hero wouldn’t be easy.

Kyoi stabbed her blade into the ground and then lines of red appeared throughout the field. I scanned the vicinity. Crap, there was nowhere safe. Flames burst out, scorching the already burnt field. I leaped up, floating with Shan’s gravtiational power. Kyoi glanced upward and her flames shot up. I couldn’t shift my gravity in time and was struck. I plummeted, hitting the ground with a thud. More flames hit me and my strength drained. Kyoi walked over to me, pointing her blade at my head.

“Get up, Tomo. We’re not done yet,” she said, extending her left hand out.

This was suspicious. I recalled her past advice and rolled away to my left. She grinned in response and swung her blade, shooting magical waves at me. I erected an ice wall, blocking her attack.

“Very good, Tomo. You’ve learned,” Kyoi complimented, appearing behind me.

I felt enormous pain in my back as she slashed me three times. I created a portal near her weapon, attempting to remove it from her possession. The chances of failure were high but it was worth a shot. Kyoi snapped her fingers, closing my portal. Great, she fell for my distraction. I circled behind her, slamming my palm charged with magical energy into Kyoi’s back. I sent her flying toward the two men. Kyoi planted her left foot down, stopping herself from colliding into them. I tried creating a portal, but nothing appeared.

“Not this time!” Kyoi stabbed her sword into the ground and kicked me in the stomach.

She twisted my left arm and then disarmed me with her right hand. Kyoi delivered another swift kick to my stomach before tossing me to the floor. She then transitioned into an armlock. I pounded the ground with my left hand, stifling my shout. After one minute, the woman released me. I remained on the ground, clutching my arm in pain.

“Okay, that’s enough for now. Up you go!” Kyoi hoisted me from the ground, clutching my injured arm on purpose.

“You suck!” I chose my words with care, trying not to get injured any further.

“That’s what I’m here for. You performed well for your first time,” Kyoi said, escorting me over to the bench.

Zhuyu’s burn was no longer visible, replaced by a faint bruising. He and En drank water, glancing at a clipboard. I peeked over their shoulders and saw Tess’ handwriting. Kyoi reached underneath the bench, pulling out a piece of paper. She snatched the clipboard from Zhuyu, securing the paper onto it, and then wrote for a full minute. Kyoi then signed her name before handing it over to the two men. They signed their names too. The hero then removed the paper, giving it to me.

“Notes on what we did and confirmation signatures from us. You’ll get one from everyone you train with. Don’t lose it or Tess will make you go through an extra special training,” Kyoi explained, her tone serious.

“Thanks I guess,” I said, folding the piece of paper before shoving it into my pockets.

“Let’s see… still have some time left. Hmm, how about this Tomo? I’ll demonstrate how to lock in my neck choke. Long, you’re the dummy,” Kyoi commanded, pointing at the man.

“Awesome, I’m always willing to volunteer,” Zhuyu responded, finishing off the water in his metal bottle.

“Tomo, stand behind Long,” Kyoi ordered before listing off the steps.

She made sure the bend of my right arm was around his neck. Next, the woman instructed me to clasp my hands together. The hero then pointed out the carotid artery location. That was the point where I should exert pressure.

“Bring your right arm in to make sure they’re close to you,” Kyoi said, allowing me to complete the full motion on him.

“This is a different than what you did,” I realized, releasing Zhuyu after a couple of attempts.

“There are different variations. The one I do is called the figure-four. Similar concept but not the same positioning. This one allows more leverage,” Kyoi explained.

The crook of my arm should be around his trachea. My right hand should grasp my upper left arm. My left hand was positioned behind his head. Kyoi added it might be necessary to place it on top of his head depending on the situation. I would then bring my elbows together, applying pressure to both sides of his neck.

“Zhuyu, you good?” I questioned after practicing a couple of times.

“Yeah, I’ve been through this more than a couple of times,” he assured me.

“We both have. It’s nothing at this point,” En added.

Kyoi then shifted her focus to escaping chokes. The first step was always finding a method of loosening the opponent’s grip, otherwise known as clearing the airway. Any method would work as long as it weakened their hold on me. One possible counter was to elbow the opponent in their torso, pivoting around, and then hurl them to the ground. If I could match their strength, Kyoi suggested grabbing the enemy’s wrist and forearm, pulling down. This would free up my airway. I should then tuck in my chin to protect myself from another choke attempt. I could then utilize the pivot and deliver a hammer fist strike.

“That will take practice so try another strike if you’re not comfortable with that yet. I know Darryl and Shigetzu will help you out with kicks and punches next,” Kyoi concluded her brief dive into chokes and escaping them.

“I really appreciate all of this, Kyoi. Seriously, I’ve learned a lot,” I said, resting on the bench.

“I’m glad to hear that. If these two idiots can pick it up, you can too. Oh, here’s Tess,” Kyoi said, waving at the Gatekeeper.

Tess led me to the center of the field, staring at me in silence. Okay, not creepy at all. After thirty seconds, she nodded with satisfaction.

“Good, nothing wrong with your current condition, Tomo. I’ll escort you to the next training session. You won’t need your blade as much with Shigetzu and Darryl. Feng, you held back with your attacks,” Tess stated, pointing her pen at the woman.

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“Just following your orders, Tess. I can’t mess up the merchandise, right?” Kyoi shrugged her shoulders at the Gatekeeper’s statement.

“Of course. Long, you’re finally comfortable with your sword again, an encouraging sign. Zhang, I’d like to see you work more with your wires. Feng can help out with that,” Tess evaluated, leading me to exit.

“Got it,” Zhuyu replied, grabbing his sheathed sword.

“Let’s go, Zhang,” Kyoi said, picking up her weapon as well.

“Lilith and Yui, you may come in now,” Tess directed.

The leader and her second-in-command entered, acknowledging me with a nod. Tess and I walked to the center of the bridge. She revealed another pathway, leading me to the gravity manipulator and false archer.

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