Chapter 48: A Way Of Martial Arts

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[[FROM RYU’S POV]]

After the adventurous night, I was the first one to wake up. I saw Bonny’s beautiful sleeping face and I kissed her lightly on the lips. I got up and left the room in a quiet manner.

“How long until the W frontier?” → Ryu

I was at the meeting with the 5 of the 10 leaders. They said they wish to go half with Gregor and half with me. The ones who came with me are, the lion Beast-man, the fox woman, the elemental fairy, the human and the harpy.

“We’ll be able to see it at night. From what I know, there are constant patrols around the shore, making the idea of anchoring the ship closer, an impossible feat.”

The human said with a plain voice while his eyes shone with indifference.

“Then how close do you think we’ll be able to anchor?” → Ryu
“In day-time, around 60 kilometers, at night, 30 kilometers or even less. As long as we have the lights turned off and stay at the edge of the shore, it should be possible.”
“Very well. I can fly till I get on the shore then I’ll visit the closest village and search for some pieces of information. Sylvia said something about them being used as weapons? Then it must be something like a fortress.” → Ryu

I said with confidence.

“I can’t agree with that. Isn’t it too dangerous to go alone?”

The elemental fairy said with some worry.

“No need to worry about that. I heard from young master Shen that Young master Ryu has even more brute strength than him, and we all saw what young master Shen is capable off. I find the thoughts of worrying for Lord Ryu as useless.”

The lion beast-man said with acknowledgment in his voice.

“Ahaha~ I don’t know if I’m stronger than Shen, but I can guarantee that I can escape from a Saint or two, no problem.” → Ryu
“… Alright.”

The fairy said with some worry still lingering in her eyes.

”So~? Young master Ryu~. How was the night? Got enough time to relax after taking that weird test~?”

The fox woman asked with naughty eyes

“W-well…” → Ryu

I got a little red in the face.

“Fiora, please don’t trouble young master Ryu.”

The lion said with some irritation.

“Aww~ don’t be such a killjoy~.”

The fox woman called Fiora pouted. It seems that, after her injuries were completely healed, her character started to show.

“What is it, Bernard. Are you perhaps, jealous of young master Ryu’s love life~?”

Fiora then started to tease the lion named Bernard.

“Hmph!”

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The lion looked then in another direction, his tail showing his irritation.

“Ah! You blushed!”

Fiora saw his face and giggled while wiggling her fluffy tails.

“I can see the two of you are in a really good relationship.” → Ryu

I said while laughing at the two of them.

“Eh?”

Fiora’s ears pointed upwards and looked with big eyes at me. Her body was that of a mature woman but, after more conversations with her, I was able to tell she was more like a 16-17 years old girl.

“Hehe~ do we really look that way~?”

Fiora then hugged all 9 tails with a beautiful smile and a slight blush.

“Young master Ryu. Please don’t say unnecessary things. In what way are we on good terms-…” Bernard said with a dumbfounded face. But after seeing Fiora’s reaction he stopped and sighed. “Hah… whatever.  I’ll go and train some more.”

He then left the room.

Geez… Everyone is way too relaxed… If this were back home, then everyone would’ve had one finger cut.

While leaving, his eyes became cold.

Good thing I left that cursed place.

“Me too~.”

Fiora left together with Bernard. One wouldn’t be able to tell Bernard’s exact age because of the facial fur he has, but his age is just with 2 years older than mine, having 23 years this year.

“Fufufu~. I’m happy to see them getting along.”

The harpy smiled after seeing the two of them leave with such happy faces.

“You too, Sara. You should find someone for yourself.” I said with a wide smile on my face. Even though she was 40 years this year, she looked like in her twenties.

“Hahaha that won’t do. I’m a widow, young master. My husband died trying to protect me from the kidnappers. I can’t disrespect him like this.”

Sara said while smiling but with a sad look in her eyes.

“…”

The human looked at her with some sympathy. He was in the same boat. His family was massacred and he couldn’t even seek revenge. He knew how it feels like to lose the loved ones.

“Ah… Sorry Sara, I didn’t mean it that way.” → Ryu

I felt some guilt in my heart after hearing this.

“It’s alright. I don’t mind.”

Sara then smiled brightly again, as nothing happened. After that, everyone walked on the decks. We decided to teach everybody one set of martial skills made by Shen. There were eight: « Heaven », « Earth », « Mountain », « River », « Wind », « Thunder », « Fire » and « Water ». Shen gave me all of them, saying everyone should learn at least 2 of these sets until they’re able to feel the elements of the respective sets of moves.

”The only problem is that… Young master Shen is a true genius which can’t be rivaled. Making us learn his skills is like asking a baby to run… after the first 3 steps, he’ll fail.”

The elemental Fairy smiled bitterly. She tried to learn the set of Earth which was also her element. The redirection of the upcoming attacks is pretty basic, but the shattering step. It makes her foot hurt and she’s barely able to shake a little bit the deck.

“I agree…”

Bernard said while trying the Mountain Set. The first step makes his foot hurt and the uppercut feels really uncomfortable.

“That’s why I’m saying. You should do it slowly at first then try entering a trance while moving. You’ll feel the elements around you entering the body then taking control over your movements. As the saying: ‘go with the flow’.” → Ryu

I laughed awkwardly at them. They tried to rush in learning the sets of skills, circulating their chi and mana the way the elements should circulate inside them after being able to feel them.

“Don’t rush. Look, Sara and Andrew already got the idea.” → Ryu

On the other side of the deck, the human named Andrew and the Harpy Sara, made the sets of thunder and wind. Andrew was able to summon the element of thunder after some of his moves.

His position was like the one from the ‘Earth’, relaxed like the calm before the storm: The first move, a deviation of an imaginary attack, quick, brutal, with the right palm, wishing to break the fist or kick coming his way. After that, a decisive claw in at the neck level, grabbing and shattering whatever was in front. The next attacks are 5 stabs with the fingers in 5 different points: the right lower part under the collar-bone, the left-lower part under the collar-bone, in the left and right under the ribs and the last one in the solar plexus. After that, a strong and fast lateral kick to shatter the arm then turn 360 for a strong kick with the tip of the toe, stabbing right in the stomach. The “grab and shatter” made cracking sounds like those of broken bones, 2 of the 5 stabs made little sparks of electricity, while the last kick looked like a horizontal thunder-clap.

Sara made her moves quick like the wind, letting behind after-images: she moved her wing in a way, like deviating a frontal attack while stepping in front, with her claws from her foot, she stabbed in front, then with her other wing she tried to grab whatever frontal attack was coming then side-stepping to the side, cutting with the claws from her wing in the neck level. While stabbing and cutting, she spun and moved in a way that was hard to follow, having her legs move continuously, leaving behind after images and cutting marks on the wooden ground.

One looked like a domineering and decisive style of fighting while the other was more like a deadly and beautiful dance. Everyone looked dazed at them. When they finished, they surprised Andrew and Sara with applause.

“Incredible. Did you see that lightning? It wasn’t chi or mana, it was the real deal! The element of thunder from the heavens!”
“Yeah! And those moves, they looked more like dancing, cutting and spinning around the enemy, looking like a deadly wind.”
“The aura they released was so powerful! I can’t wait to learn the same thing!”

Everyone talked about what they saw and said their opinions, admiring the two of them with all their hearts.

“Thank you, everyone. I wish everybody can train hard to help in creating a stable base for our kingdom.”

Sara said with a composed smile, making a lot of hearts to jump.

“YES!”

Everyone shouted enthusiastically, especially the males.

“You all, especially the ones who did martial arts before, remember: you need to relax the body and let the element control your moves. If you’re training with the “Mountain” set, then imagine yourself as a mountain, if you’re training the river set, imagine yourself as a flowing river. The livelier the image, the stronger will be your connection with the elements.”

Andrew explained seriously, taking everyone by surprise.

“…”

They all looked at him with big eyes. It was the first time Andrew talked so much and with a serious face too. Normally he would look indifferent of all and everything, not minding his surroundings.

“Of course, it’s your choice to listen to what I said or not.”

Andrew misunderstood their silence for disagreeing with him. Answering back with the usual cold voice and indifferent eyes.

“N-no! I mean yes! We’ll follow Sir Andrew’s words! Right everyone?”

A human said a little bit shocked by the sudden change in his aura.

“YES!”

Everyone answered with determination. They respected Andrew for always having a cool air around him. Whatever happened, he was always composed. His cool temperament won the warrior’s respect and admiration. Andrew simply nodded at them in acknowledgment then returned on his training.

“Heeh~ someone opened up a little bit?”

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Sara came closer to Andrew and asked with a smile.

“We need to be united if we wish to build the kingdom. I was reading the set of thunder for more than 10 times and I saw young master Shen placed a lot of importance in imagination. It seems he was right and I tried to advise the others to do the same. If they want to listen or not then is their own choice.”

Andrew answered with a matter-of-fact voice, ignoring any meaningful gazes towards him.

“Hmm You’re right. Then, if I won’t be able to understand something, may I ask you to teach me?”

Sara asked again, her smile becoming more beautiful.

“I can see you are better than me in martial arts. Asking me to teach you would be useless.”

Andrew closed his eyes and started to feel and imagine the element of thunder around him.

“… I understand.”

Seeing how she was evaded by Andrew, Sara looked a little bit dejected and resumed her own training, doing exactly like Andrew. When the sun was setting, some scouting Harpies returned with news about seeing the shores at 70 kilometers away.

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