Volume 5, Chapter 5-1: Sword Training

Time Period Unknown

Ah, finally something promising, an actual combat situation. Granted, they were just sparring, but a step in the right direction.

“Continue fighting even if you lose your weapon. Something like this could happen!” Kyoi demonstrated, flinging her sword onto the ground.

En swung his sword at her. However, Kyoi already pivoted behind him, disarming the man immediately. She then locked the dual elemental hero in a neck hold. En collasped to the floor, coughing in pain.

“Never let your guard down, not even around allies. It would be terrible if one of your friends betrayed you,” Kyoi advised.

Kyoi and En stood in a traditional dojo room with polished wooden floors and white walls. This wasn’t part of the current training facility.

“Try channeling your elemental into the sword. Your control and output aren’t up to my standards,” Kyoi ordered, walking to the corner.

The back room door opened. Zhuyu walked in, sporting a buzzcut, unlike his current medium length hair. It exposed his forehead, making the shape of his face much more pronounced.

“Sorry I’m late, missed the first bus,” Zhuyu said, coughing into his right sleeve.

“Are you okay? You sound sick,” En questioned.

“I’m fine. I took cold medicine before leaving. It should be fine,” Zhuyu replied.

“I expect you here even with a fever,” Kyoi remarked, tossing Zhuyu a wooden sword.

“Yeah, I know. So, what are we doing today?” Zhuyu asked, taking off his coat.

“Work with Zhang, I want to see him charge up his weapon. Hopefully modify the strength of his swing by a multiplier of five,” Kyoi answered, taking a seat on the floor.

“Really? Zhang’s fine the way he is now,” Zhuyu remarked.

“Are you doubting my words, Long?” Kyoi asked, a smile forming on her face.

“Considering you are the one with magical powers, I can’t really judge. Whatever, let’s do this. You ready, Zhang?” Zhuyu asked, rolling up his pullover red hoodie sleeves.

“I’ll be ready soon. Let me just rest for a minute,” En replied.

“That’s enough. Get going already. Or you’ll both do laps,” Kyoi warned.

“Let’s do this then,” Zhuyu said.

Zhuyu and En faced each other in the middle. All of a sudden, Tess appeared. Wait, was that her? She looked the same, but her facial expression appeared…. too flat. Tess usually displayed no emotions, but here, it lacked life. Was there such a contrast between her character back then and now?

“Tess, start the match please,” Kyoi requested.

Tess nodded, raising her right hand in the air. Both combatants moved, immediately going at each other. Their blades clashed against each other, limited pauses in between each attack. En gained the upper hand, finally breaking through Zhuyu’s defenses. He continued his offense, landing a perfect vertical blow on Zhuyu’s right hand. Zhuyu grimaced, retaining control of his weapon, despite the blow.

“Long, keep your guard up. You’re revealing too many openings for Zhang,” Kyoi instructed.

Zhuyu nodded, sweat flowing down his forehead. En’s breathing grew erratic. Most of the fights I witnessed were one-sided because of the obvious difference in strength and experience between opponents. This was a refreshing battle.

“Man, I can’t believe we’ve managed to actually survive this long,” Zhuyu commented.

“Hey, no useless talking!” Kyoi shouted.

Zhuyu gave a small smile and the fight continued. Sparks surrounded En and his weapon glowed. When his sword struck Zhuyu’s blade, the zero vector user’s practice sword splintered. En’s sword grew brighter and this time, he succeeded in disarming Zhuyu.

“Pretty good, but I’m sure you know what happens next,” Zhuyu congratulated.

Zhuyu accelerated. He was capable of such speeds? It caught me off guard. En spun around, anticipating his friend’s next move. Zhuyu raised his fist in the air. No way. Would he actually try striking En with his bare hands? That was suicide. En sliced downward and Zhuyu met it with his right fist.

What the hell? En pulled his sword back and aimed for Zhuyu’s hand again. Zhuyu met En’s sword swing with another punch. A large gash appeared on Zhuyu’s knuckles, blood spilling out.

“Keep going. You’re almost there, Zhang,” Kyoi said.

Zhuyu’s injury didn’t faze Kyoi. He rolled away from En’s rapid swings, retrieving his sword.

“Feng, what next?” Zhuyu asked, the cuts on his knuckles fading.

Wait, when did….? Actually, this made sense. Tess and the others mentioned in passing Zhuyu’s zero vector ability weren’t his original powers.

“Strengthen your sword. It will bring out Zhang reach the goal I set for him. Of course, that’s only a suggestion. Do what you want,” Kyoi replied, giving a grin.

Zhuyu sighed and his sword shone with a golden light too. Zhuyu’s original powers had magical origins. Why did he subject himself to a natural world based power? The zero vector was no doubt useful, but it lacked versatility. When used against an opponent specializing in magic, they were useless.

“Really?” En exclaimed.

Zhuyu plunged his sword into the ground and lightning suddenly manifested. En appeared unconcerned, raising his weapon. The lightning struck it, increasing his sword’s brightness. En slid, avoiding Zhuyu’s next attack.

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Sparks once again surrounded En and his sword swings increased in speed, shattering Zhuyu’s sword. The shorter man retreated, swinging his sword blade like a sickle. Waves of electricity shot out from the blade and converged, traveling straight toward Zhuyu.

How would he respond? Zhuyu pulled his right arm back, thrusting his palm forward at the massive mass of electricity. I expected him to absorb it, but En’s attack pushed him back. Zhuyu slammed into the wall and slumped to the ground. Wow, an unexpected result.

“You pass for today. Long, work on your timing. Pinpoint the flow and locate critical points for efficient dispelling. En, work on your swings. They are still sloppy,” Kyoi reported.

En walked over to his friend, offering him a hand. Zhuyu smiled, a very genuine one, and accepted his help. Quite an informative mind dive compared to previous ones. It provided me hope I could actually succeed. If Zhuyu and En started from nothing, then I could too.

“Man, really? That was way too powerful. When did you learn that?” Zhuyu asked, laughing.

“Eh, Feng just gave some advice and I listened,” En replied, shaking his head at Zhuyu’s comment.

“No way, you’re just strong. Crap, I still have homework to do when I get home. I should have finished up the last two problems,” Zhuyu remarked.

“At least you finished. I didn’t even start on my homework yet,” En lamented.

“Where’s Tess?” Zhuyu asked, looking around.

That was actually a pretty good question. I didn’t notice her leave. As always, she excelled at vanishing without a word.

“She left already. Something came up in one of the dimensions. Ichaival appears to have gotten himself into trouble. With Shigetzu busy right now, there’s not much backup,” Kyoi revealed.

“That’s pretty bad timing. Why did Darryl even go into a dimension alone?” Zhuyu asked.

“You know better than I do. Without a stable network linking the dimensions yet, Tess is the only one who can provide assistance,” Kyoi remarked.

“That dumbass. Zhang, let’s go home. We’re done for the day, right, Feng?” Zhuyu asked.

“Yes. The results were far from exemplary, but it will have to do for now,” Kyoi answered.

Zhuyu and En exited the room, walking towards the light rail station. I never traveled around this part of the city. As they waited for the train, the two friends discussed something anime related.

“Hey, it’s pretty good, right?” Zhuyu asked.

“It’s definitely not as funny as Daily Lives. That one was good,” En said.

“That’s not fair, it’s one of the best ones so far, freaking amazing. Do you remember that episode….,” Zhuyu said.

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What was going on? I arrived for the fighting and enjoyed that. But, now this was just turning out the same as other mind dives. Let it end already!

MIND DIVE 4 END

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