“Training Training and Training! Clash of Blades! Family Quarrel!”

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Weeks went by, Alex’s arm fully recovered and now he is making up the time lost exercising with his broken arm by doing one-armed workouts with it. Along with the use of sandbags that increased his weight to make his exercise more effective as suggested by Sal.

“Sal…” Lea trailed off as she witnessed Alex carrying two sandbags that both weighed the standard amount on his back while he simultaneously performed one-armed push-ups. “Isn’t this excessive? H-He just got his arm all healed and now he might break it again from doing something like this, a-aren’t you at least worried about him!?”

“Bah!—Skarky’ll be fine! This isn’t the first time we used sandbags on him, heck this isn’t the usual amount we use for him.” Sal said who was doing normal push-ups but the sandbags she carried were twice the amount.

“Y-Yeah!” Alex stuttered out, obviously struggling as though his arm is recovered, he is mostly trying to balance himself only using one arm. “I’ll be fine! You don’t gotta worry about me all the time L-Lea.”

“How many push-ups did you do?” Sal asked him, since after he finishes 50 one-arm push-ups, he will be doing one-armed bench presses.

“Uhmm…”

“You lost count! Start over!”

“Wait no! Aghh!— It was thirty I think!”

“Ahpahpahp!!—Take it from the top, Sharky! Back to counting to one till you reach fifty!”

Alex groaned in annoyance as he started over, this time counting aloud to not forget.

“Poor Alex… And one more thing Sal” What was Lea doing as part of her exercise? Reading her books to find better spells to become more versatile… While also being forced to read while doing push-ups. “I-I’m not gonna learn these spells if I’m also working out like this Sal!” Lea complained as her arms gave up and her face rested on the book.

“Looks like you gotta start over!”

“Please just give us a break you exercise freak!” Lea screamed, attempting to lift herself up.

“Not until you do fifty push-ups!”

The Trio trained inside Alex’s room for weeks, mostly performing workouts and training their stamina and endurance doing improvised tasks like using arm wrestling to compare the progress of their strength with Lea always being the loser and Sal being the winner mostly because of Alex using his recently healed arm to arm wrestle, they even mixed their workouts with games like doing tag with Alex winning because he of him being quicker than the two, and reflex training by whoever can swipe and take cards containing quotes that match whatever the speaker is saying, but for simplicity, it was images rather than quotes since 2 out of the group are not much readers. Lea won from her quick hands snatching the right matching cards and how fast she can see the pictures to find the matching one.

Today is the last week. The Three are exhausted and Alex decided that this was enough training and they should do something fun that doesn’t involve moving their exhausted bodies. Video games. So the three set up the necessities, pulling out a flatscreen TV that was hidden in Alex’s Closet, a  game console underneath his bed and the controllers that come with it. The reason he has to set it up every time is that he doesn’t have a proper set up to let the TV and consoles rest. They placed it on the center of the room and Sal tossed some pillows on the floor in front of the bed for the three to lay down on as they both played a simple party game that involves characters fighting and knocking each other off of the arena to win.

“Alex?” Someone was knocking on Alex’s door, sounded like Julius.

“Yeah Da— Dad?!” He got off of the pillows to stand up as he opened up the door.

“Yo, Son.” It’s honestly weird for a man his age to say “Yo” to his son, though it oddly fits his personality.

“Why are you out of your room? Aren’t you like, grounded like me?” His question only made Julius chuckle before he rubbed his head, he is in disbelief that he believed his mother.

“Why would I be grounded when I was just recovering? Did your Mother say I was grounded? Me? your Dad?” He finds his naivety cute. “Did you girls think I was grounded too?” He looked up to Lea and Sal with the two looking at each other for a moment and at Julius

“Yeah.”

“Nope.” The two looked back at each other again.

“Sal, you thought he is grounded like Alex too?”

“I mean, I always believe anything Mrs. A says because she’s pretty scary.”

“She’s only scary because you don’t pay up your tab.”

“Speaking of tab— Hey Mr. A! Can I have my debt be payback by working it off again?”

“Sure.” Julius smiled and said without any hesitation since he and Amanda have gotten used to her not paying a single meal, despite the latter’s annoyance.

“Sweet!” She pumped her fist for a quick moment before returning to her game, smiling that she gets to avoid paying once again.

“Why do you always avoid paying?”

“‘Cause I like working at their restaurant.”

“Really? That’s surprising…” She knocked Sal’s character out of the ring. “One life down.”

“Hey! You made me lose focus by talking!”

“I call that my strategy.” Lea spoke, adjusting her glasses as it glinted and she smirked.

With the two playing their game Alex spoke to his dad. “So. What’s wrong Dad?”

“Oh right, I came here to unground you.” He said bluntly with a simple and warm smile.

“Eh? Wait, I’m not grounded anymore?”

Beside him, It was Amanda who had her arms crossed.

“You are too quick in making decisions, Dear.” She is opposed to lifting Alex’s punishment and letting Sal work off her tab again. “But, yes Alex, you are no longer grounded. But there’s a catch.”

“What’s the catch Mom?” He knows his mother’s choice is final unless reasoned by Dad to change it.

“We’re going to fight. That’s the catch.” Amanda lightly moved Julius aside to make her take more of the door frame’s space.

“…Eh?”

Outside, it’s been weeks since Alex has stepped out of his room, and now the moment he’s out he’s already in the backyard with his friends and dad sitting on chairs they dragged out from the kitchen to watch Alex and Amanda ready to fight… Though Alex is less than ready to fight. The backyard looked like any normal backyard, a typical tree at the corner with the other side being a shed that housed gardening tools.

“Is there a reason why we have to fight?!” Alex complained to his mother, who was at the opposite side with a brand new attire. A suit of light armor that is a mixture of light and modern similar to Alex, showing she had a similar fashion sense to her son.

Amanda tugged her gauntlets. “Simple Honey, I want to see the progress you made when you trained with your friends.” He didn’t exactly keep his training a secret. “If you can last long for five minutes, I’ll lift your grounding and you and your friends can leave tomorrow. If you don’t, I’ll extend your grounding by another week for each minute you didn’t last long.”

“Wait, what?! But-!”

“Okay with that settled—” She cut off and ignored Alex’s further complaint as she beckoned Julius. “Julie! You know I can’t fight without you by my side, Come here will you~?” Her tone shifting from normal and serious to adorable and cutesie is quite terrifying.

“Comin’ Comin’.” He stood up from his seat as he stood beside Amanda. Arms crossed as he smiled and looked at his son, aware of his son’s disbelief and the unfairness in this.

“Hckh!—” Sal snickered, the Old Man’s nickname being Julie made her hold back a laugh whenever that name is used on him. Lea elbowed Sal in response to her reaction but that didn’t do anything.

“You too Dad?!”

“Yep. It can’t be a proper fight if we’re holding back on you, that’ll be just unfair.” Implying that with one of them just fighting means that they are holding back on him.

“But don’t worry Sweetie! We won’t kill you, Maybe a few broken bones here and there, You’re still our son after all.”

“If that’s that case i’m calling Sal and Lea to join!” The two were ready to stand up but were halted when two swords of pure light almost hit them, landing in front of their feet.

 “Hya!—” Lea jumped back on her seat immediately, leaning to the side to hug Sal who also sat on her chair.

“That could’ve killed us!” Sal rai

“Nope. Alex, I specifically asked that I want only you to fight.” Her arm extended and aiming to where the girls were as she lifted the same arm to summon a quarterstaff, she spun it around rapidly with one hand and made it stop immediately with her other hand as she took a spearman’s stance with the tip pointing at Alex.

“And she didn’t say anything about her being the only one to fight.” Julius clashed his fists together as sparks appeared upon impact to reveal he summoned a pair of orange gauntlets that slowly faded from opaque to being transparent. “You better get ready Son! Because the fight!—” Julius took a step forward and kneeled down, presenting his back to Amanda, she used his back as a springboard to leap towards Alex to cover the distance between them in seconds.

Alex yelped and quickly summoned a white kite shield to block, only for it to shatter on impact with a strike of Amanda’s staff.

“Starts now!” Amanda finished his sentence for him as Amanda smiled that showed her teeth, it’s rare for her to smile with her teeth showing as she did her best to hide it to become less menacing, but it showed because she is slowly gaining vigor as it has been a while since she has fought something that is too easy for her and Julius. What she missed is fighting a person.

Alex’s shield shattered, but compared to the brutal force of the boar he fought, it was a focused strike, meant to shatter his defenses. His eyes shifted to look at his mother as he summoned another identical shield and promptly bashed her face with the shield upon reflex. 

“Sorry!” Alex quickly said as his mother landed face-first into the ground. But his moment of weakness left him open when Julius took Alex by surprise and grabbed Alex by the arm and his leg. “Wha?!—” He was lifted up and promptly tossed on the ground, spine first as he was harshly tossed that he actually bounced back by a foot off of the air. “Agchk!” He coughed out from the bounce as he was grabbed again and was tossed high into the air.

“Alleyoop!” Julius threw his son high up in the sky, sprinting over to help pick up Amanda. “You alright, Honey?” Julius patted some dirt off of her. 

Amanda accepted her Husband’s assistance and smiled at him. “I’m fine honey. He surprised me with that, He managed to recover and made another shield.” She looked up and smiled brighter to his sun, replacing her staff, summoning two sharp, glittering and deadly blades of lights on her hand. “No—Wrong one.” She replaced them quickly with two blunt batons, she crouched down and jumped high, reaching towards Alex with a burst of speed.

He tossed him. His father threw him on the ground and he tossed him to the skies. He staggered and attempted to fix himself on the air only to stop when he met his face to his mother’s in a split second. Her face upside down as he himself is upside down, seeing her frighteningly dirtied face retaining that smile as he “Ee!—Ghack!” He couldn’t even finish his scream as his face got struck by a baton stick, with such force that he actually turned around to be right-side up.

Amanda struck the batons on his side diagonally, making his descent aimed down towards Julius who was waiting for him to fall down. He’s falling harshly, his descent faster than his mother’s as Julius slowly lifted his arm and made it stay still as he leaped towards the falling Alex, catching him by performing a harsh lariat by the chest. The impact so strong he coughed out all the air in his lungs. He dropped Alex on the ground, pinning him down, his arms on his back as he gasped a deep breath to gain back all the air inside his lungs.

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Amanda landed beside her husband. “Had enough Alex?” Amanda said softly. “If you give up now, you’ll be grounded for 5 weeks. Because you didn’t even last a minute~”

“I’m not… I’m not giving up!” He said with a harsh ragged breath, struggling and shifting as Amanda and Julius looked at each other.

“Alex, Son. If you’re not giving up, then we’ll go fully all out on you.” Julius threatened him as his hold on him grew firm.

“If you want to be a Hunter, if you want to truly change my mind, because Gormin only convinced me to let you be a Hunter. But I want you to prove your strength to me.” She and Julius believed in him, but he is still lacking. So they will be training him until he’s at their level.

“As much as we want you to be one. We don’t want to lose you like what happened to Lexa.” Julius said with a bit of regret bringing up their daughter.

Alex struggled. He’s been training for years for this day and then he is being walled by his parents to not let him go. It was the massive power gap that is making this challenge even impossible to complete. Five minutes against the two monsters known as his parents? It’s just as hard as achieving to become a Hunter.

“If you’re not going to admit defeat. I suppose we’ll just count down to ten. Mandy?”

Amanda nodded. “One. Two.” She started counting down, unsummoning her baton. Alex continued to struggle and attempted to break free. He panicked, he tried to think of anything to get out, and he thought of one thing. He closed his eyes and thought to himself, “Focus! Imagine the structure, the size, the shape, and the mass!”  he continued focusing as he is taking this chance to perform something he hasn’t done… But if his mother can do it, so can he!

“Three. Four.” Amanda felt relieved that he will be around for a bit longer, but she is unsure of how this will affect Alex and how he feels about his parents keeping him on a leash for a bit longer.

“No…” Lea said as she felt helpless to watch, She wanted to help fight, but if she breaks the condition made by Amanda, the fight would’ve been called off. And he will lose anyway. “This was a lose-lose situation for us to begin with. There’s no way we can beat these two even if all three of us are combined!”

“Have… Have some faith in Alex, Lea!” Sal assured Lea but she was feeling doubtful of this situation. “Don’t give up now Sharky,  If it reaches up to nine I will throw this chair at them!”

“Five. Six.”

“You finally giving up son? You’re not struggling anymore.” He felt the sky get dark… at least dark around them as it felt like a was clouding covering the sun. “Huh?” Julius looked up to see what was blocking the sun. “What… The…”

“Seven. Eight—Something Wrong dear?” Amanda asked why he looked so stunned as she turned around to see the thing that blocked the sky, her reaction was almost similar to Julius. “Wh… What the?!”

“She stopped counting…” Sal sighed in relief as she leaned on her seat and looked up, Her eyes widened in shock to see. “Is that..”

Lea was the first to notice as she was trembling in awe and fear from something that looked too much for her to react until now. “It is… It’s.”

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“Preparations complete. Essence at full power! All that’s left is to drop it!” up above the sky is a massive sword of pure flame, standing 50 feet tall and a half-mile above the sky. It aimed down as it dropped on the three. Letting most of the gravity do the work in this attack.

“Now’s my chance!” Alex used the massive sword he created to attack, he lets go of his father’s hold as he broke free. 

“Mandy!” It was Julius’ turn to be thrown as he is thrown towards the massive falling sword, clenching his gauntlets as he shattered the massive raining sword with his bare fist, only for the shard bits to still remain, actually Alex is still controlling them as the next thing he did, is make a needle storm of flames to attack his father and mother.

“Trick sword: Needle Rain!” Alex named this attack in particular as it was an attack that is intended to be broken and the shards are used as controllable fragments to cut and burn his targets. He is standing under the tree as he tried to focus the fragments to exist while making the fragments, still counting as a single object to control since it’s originally a single sword to rain down on the ground as hard as it can.

“Yeah that’s it Sharky!” Sal cheered as his parents guarded themselves against the burning rain, while Amanda was taking the brunt of the attacks, cuts appearing on her wrist, waist and most of her clothing, having slice marks that didn’t bleed because it cauterized from the heat.

The rain ceased as he slumped against the tree. “Again…. I’m not giving up!” A minute passed as the needle rain ended.

Julius was a Fire Hunter so it didn’t hurt him that much.

“Honey… Are you alright?” Julius asked as she was covered in cuts.

“…Ufu~” Amanda chuckled as she lowered her hands to look at her husband, her eyes slightly half-lidded to show a portion of her face. “Why Honey…” Amanda lowered her arms to reveal an excited, wide, terrifyingly serrated smile as she felt invigorated. “I feel just… GREAT

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