C39: Battle Between High Rankers (3)

Blacksmith In High School, 3x a week!!

Title:Blacksmith In High School | Tags: Time Skip
Synopsis: A fast-paced story about a youngster who loses everything and everyone he holds dear. Through the only family that still remains with him, his uncle, he gets to choose to dedicate his focus and attention to blacksmithing rather than to fall into depression and street life...

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Armed with a sword, Daiden watched Rollo announce the start of his match. He distanced from the crowd in that moment and isolated himself to merely the thought of his opponent. One step, two, and at pace, Daiden rushed into a sequence of coordinated steps. He moved at a dizzying speed, horizontally at first, and then with long strides towards Laella. His sword tilted in a blur, striking in descent, and with the weight of a leap.

Laella observed the path from start to finish. She rested her arms and took in a deep breath, allowing Daiden to move with momentum. She waited, with patience, until her adversary launched into the air for an attempted attack. With a swipe, she strung several aeter-made spheres, in a fierce spiral – bubbling with hot flames and magma. They launched towards Daiden in a frenzy, shooting at the pace of bullets.

The crowd gasped at the sight, but Daiden swerved, mid-air, to kick at the first of the many spheres aimed at him. It ruptured around his armour, denting the metal with residual flame. He clicked his tongue at the result and altered the course of his sword to block some of the other spheres as well. He fell on light steps and hopped away a little, scrambling to a safe distance. Daiden turned to notice the spheres follow. He clicked his tongue again and skittered to a halt, angling his blade to redirect the spheres to the ground. They exploded around him, shrouding visibility with the rising dust.

In a cold sweat, Daiden embraced the situation, his ears in sharp focus. He heard a buzz. It circled with a slow, ringing pace and hastened within proximity, in an attack from the behind. Daiden felt the burn from one of the aeter-made spheres against his off-shoulder first, then his knees. He shook from the pain but persevered to break away from the attacks.

“Tough…as expected,” thought Daiden, with a frown. He heard the buzzing again, only skyward this time. His feet moved away from the apparent epicentre with slow steps, but a gust followed. Daiden sighed when the dust cleared, to find his opponent no longer in front of him. He shielded his gaze from the sun and watched as Laella flew at an unrestrained speed towards the sky. “What the f***?”

A little stunned at first, Daiden refocused to train his vision on Laella. She gathered a column of wind across one arm, and a crackle of flames across the other. The aeter trembled to take the shape of large lances on either side, swirling with rabid ferocity.

With a fixed gaze, Daiden gulped when the aeter-made weapons launched towards him. He held his breath and rippled his aeter in a veil around his sword. He swung immediately after, without hesitation, launching a projectile, in a sharp arc against the lances. The jade-coloured aeter broke the first of the lances, but crumbled to the second. In a hurry, Daiden raised the body of his sword and shielded against the fire, scorching away through his sides. He felt the burns, in pinches, prickling at his skin.

“You’re a Nis,” claimed Daiden, with a soft sigh. “This makes winning so much harder.”

“You can’t blame yourself for not knowing,” said Laella. “I kept it to myself throughout the course of our training.”

“Very sly,” praised Daiden, with a laugh. “But I’m sorry, Laella…I do not wish to lose here.”

With a nod, Daiden started another dance. He moved with the grace of a ballerina, but experienced an explosion a few steps into his sequence. He cursed at his luck and limped away, only to stumble onto another mine – the explosion causing more damage this time.

“Well, you can thank Rollo for that one,” revealed Laella, calmly. “I learned that from his battle against the Karsman, Moran.”

Daiden checked his feet and sighed a little. He wiped his blood on the silver of his armour and altered the pace of his breaths, forcing another clash between inner auras. His white receded to the rage of a jade colour, in an outline around his body. He jumped, then again, and forward this time. With an adjusted grip, he reeled his arm, assuming the stance of a spear-bearer. He bit his lip and held to his position, mid-air, shaking his head to clear the sweat from his eyebrows.

“Jade Serpent’s Breath,” chanted Daiden, in a tremble. He shot his sword at Laella and descended, tapping at his spatial ring to arm another sword.

Laella attempted to change the trajectory of attack but failed when the sword simply pierced through her summoned winds. She forced it once more, with a greater output, yelling and managing the adjustment by merely a thread.

Daiden followed, using the seconds to spread his aeter in a net. He felt a reaction from several locations around him and disabled the mines by injecting a bit of his own. His feet hastened in a straight sprint, but slowed again when pierced by an arrow in freefall. He cocked his head to the sight of hundreds, wind-made and turbulent. The arrows descended all at once.

As Laella caught her breath, she retreated to the winds, watching as Daiden swung his sword in a frenzy, deflecting almost every arrow aimed at him. She clicked her tongue and traced to the source of her aeter.

“I can’t draw this fight out any longer,” thought Laella, in assessment of her aeter reserves. “What do I have, five, maybe seven minutes?”

Daiden pushed past his breathlessness, grabbing his tossed sword for another throw. Within the realm of expectation, he smirked when Laella dodged the attack over manipulating its trajectory. He used the time to narrow the distance with his opponent, completing the steps of his dance through the rush.

[Verse One of Takshakan Swordsmanship.]

In a horizontal arc, Daiden splashed his aeter at Laella, infecting and slowing her to near stillness. He propelled his body with a stomp, and cracked a kick against the Nis Elementalist.

Laella coughed, almost in a vomit. She felt a strange numbness restrict the mobility of her body. Her eyes moved at an absurd pace, in a hurry for any mine Daiden may have missed. She found one, at a distance, and regulated it to function as a bullet. The sphere shot out from the ground and then towards Daiden. The latter staggered after the attack, but powered through the pain with frustration, slashing at Laella from the bottom and upwards.

“Ah, I swung the wrong sword,” lamented Daiden, shuddering as the blade passed through the Nis without damage.[1] He dropped it near full-swing and punched at Laella with the weight of his body. His fist slammed against a wall instead, invisible and raised from the influence of aeter-driven winds. It shredded the metal around his forearm, leaving it bare. He pulled away and cursed at his negligence. “I’m still lacking…”

Daiden felt the effects of the Jade Serpent’s Breath wear from his body. His eyes lowered with disappointment, awaiting an onslaught. He experienced the warmth of a pleasant breeze instead. Daiden raised his gaze to notice Laella in a condition like his own. He replaced the Sword of Broken Probability [1] with his Heavy Iron Sword [2] and walked towards her, at a slow pace.

“Can you keep going?” asked Daiden, pointing his weapon at Laella with a weakened arm.

“No, it’s your victory…” admitted Laella, painfully. She restrained her tears, without the strength to spark even the smallest of attacks. “Announce it!”

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Daiden tapped at his spatial ring and disarmed from combat. He fell to his knees and turned his head towards Rollo, shoulders in a slump and with a tired expression.

“We’re both unable to continue,” announced Daiden, much to Laella’s surprise. “Do I still keep my rank if the match concludes as a draw?”

Daiden smiled when Rollo nodded. He returned his gaze to Laella and offered his arm for a handshake. “Good match…well, I suppose a draw is much more acceptable than a loss. What do you think?”

Laella covered her eyes, wiping away her tears in haste. She used a sliver of what was left in her aeter reserves to dry her face, and helped Daiden to his feet, happily and with a smile.

“Yes…yes, this is fine,” said Laella, gratefully, barely in time before the crowd erupted into cheers.

[1] Sword of Broken Probability

An unbalanced, ethereal sword that takes twenty-nine strikes to attain solid shape. It inflicts no damage in its ethereal form. On its thirtieth strike, it inflicts slightly more damage than a normal iron sword. Despite the use of high-grade materials, the sword is imbalanced and suffers from performance irregularities. Enough use might help improve swordsmanship. It is imprinted with Kir’s anxiety.

[2] Balanced Heavy Iron Sword (What Daiden was armed with for most of his battle)

A heavy, straight sword with the imprint of Kir’s determination and will. It was forged from a high-grade iron ore. The hilt was designed to ensure a central point of balance, for fast and fluid strikes despite the weight of the sword.  Has a small chance of inducing the will of disorientation.

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