The Divine Punishment
As always, I couldn't sleep well, waking up practically every hour.
I could hear thundering sounds outside, but they weren't rain or lightning, since they disappeared thanks to the kamien.
So it had to be zombies or other beings, I just hoped they hadn't made it inside Acuro's house, being very small, it would have been destroyed in the blink of an eye.
"We really should talk, Tenkei Nowak." said a figure standing at the window of my room.
In the room I was alone, the room was relatively small, but it was enough for me.
"Who are you?" I asked him, not out loud, I didn't want to wake the others.
"My name is Dario, I'm here to offer you a deal," the man said.
I still couldn't get a good look at him, but he had short orange hair.
He didn't look like he had a kamien, no rocks were sticking out of his T-shirt.
"What do you want from me?"
"Clark... my master... actually... 'our' master... is exactly like you, Tenkei.
He's never had friends, he's never had good parental figures. That's exactly what led him to be the person he is today."
"Fuck... you're inside that group too! What are you even saying? I've already made new friends!"
I couldn't explain how he was in that group without owning a kamien. He must have been very strong.
"Tenkei, you should join us too, Clark's ambitions are divine and you will be spared."
"What are you saying???" I replied, this time I couldn't hold back the scream, but no one woke up anyway.
Maybe I was the only one having trouble sleeping.
I activated my kamien and readied a blast in the palm of my hand, and then approached him and hit him.
But when I was about to hit him, he was gone.
Clark must have been in pretty bad shape to force his subordinates to pick up the kamiens.
I canceled my technique and laughed about it for a while. I had just created a brilliant technique in a rush, I got stronger because of an enemy. It was fun enough as it was, without adding that after this mess no one had woken up, or maybe they did...
"Tenkei, are you okay?" asked Acuro who had just arrived in my room, "I heard some strange screams coming from here, or maybe I just imagined them." he continued.
"I don't know what you're talking about, Acuro," I replied.
I didn't want to involve him further.
"Well, good night then," he said.
"I'm getting old..." Acuro said as he walked back to his room.
I went back to sleep. That Dario never showed up again.
After a long sleep, I got up and went straight to the dining room. Everyone was waiting for me.
"Did you sleep well, Tenkei?" they asked me.
"Y-yes, I can't complain."
"Well, eat everything because we have an unprecedented workout ahead of us today!" said Acuro.
After breakfast, we headed to the usual cornfield from the previous day.
"Today I'm going to teach you three techniques, one for each of you. Let's start with you Tenkei, your training will be one of the longer ones, I've been thinking about this technique all night, I hope you'll make good use of it."
"What does it consist of?" I asked.
While Acuro was focusing on me, the others moved towards the trees, to practice what they had learned the day before.
"First, I have to teach you the bare-handed version. This technique requires the use of your kamien, it is very powerful, you will be able to use it according to your limits. I think 3 times a day is the maximum, considering your ease. But it's all to be seen, the fact is that if you try to exceed the limit of times you perform this move, you will most likely die."
"Ah, alright, I'll try not to overdo it. But why bare-handed first?"
"It's very effective even with bare hands, you can very well defeat opponents without even using the katana, but by combining it with the katana you'll be able to reach the peak of humanity, creating the sharpest blade ever seen on the face of the Earth, the Raijin. With the katana though, the limit won't be 3 times, but 2, because it requires so much more energy."
"Understood, again if I would exceed the limit..."
"Ah, well I don't want to waste too much time, the enemies could show up at any time," I said, thinking back to what happened with Dario.
"Good, then let's get going."
"You need to focus the energy through the fingers forming a sort of blade, repeat this many times, until it's sharp enough to cut through this boulder with electricity alone. Be careful not to produce too many sparks, or you might hurt yourself."
"But it's too big..."
"Listen to me carefully, Tenkei, if you want to reach the ceiling of human strength you have to be able to do this, you are the only one who can, Evan and Emmy's kamiens are weaker than yours, although it doesn't look like it, electricity is the finest."
"Okay..." his speech was a bit boring, but it made sense.
I tried to do as he told me, concentrating the energy on each finger separately, it was very difficult, so far I had done it with a single flow, except the night before, but the technique I had created was very confusing and random, the "lightning" that was created, was all swirling and of different length. They would never come to be similar to the ones I needed to apply to this technique.
As I made several attempts, Acuro-sensei moved over to Evan, saying:
"Evan, your workout will be slightly shorter than Tenkei's, but you'll have to work hard too, remember though, that I'm going to challenge you tonight, all at once."
"Alright," replied Evan, who was ready to train.
"Evan, leave the chainsaw alone for today, you'll have to use that one in special cases, as the fuel inside can always run out. So I'm going to teach you some bare-knuckle techniques too."
"Sure, you're right."
"I need to make sure of one thing first, are you sure you can't get burned?"
"Y-yes, I've already tried it, the burns don't cause me pain or heat my skin. I'm immune."
"Well, then, as a first step, I ask you to concentrate all the energy flow in your two arms so that they form two separate flames. That shouldn't be too difficult."
"Yes, okay, but how do you know all these things?"
"My teacher was Japanese, he taught me all about the culture and how in the past there were two gods, Izanagi and Izanami. Obviously, though, I don't believe in any gods, but of one thing I am certain: your powers are not something human. I learned all these techniques from the myths he told me, they were really interesting but all fake. Thanks to this meteor coincidence though, I can finally teach you something."
"Well let's gloss over it, I'm going to try it now," said Evan.
"Yeah, you're right, well go for it."
As I continued to practice and repeatedly try to cut through the huge rock the master had brought me, Evan ran the flow of energy to his two arms with ease, making from the elbow down, each arm a sort of flaming flashlight.
"Good, now I want you to try and control some fireballs while they're in the air, do you think you'll be able to do that?"
"While they're in the air? I don't know, I'd have to try it."
"Try it and work on it, in the meantime, I'm going to move to Emmy."
"Alright, Master Acuro."
"Come on...but why did you all start calling me master?" he said smiling, he was very happy to be able to teach us what he had studied for a lifetime.
He moved over to Emmy, unfortunately, her kamien was the weakest of ours.
"Emmy, I'm sorry but the wind has a very weak affinity compared to the other elements, so you will be the one who will have to work the hardest, to catch up with the others, but your training won't be that long, because without you knowing I already started training you yesterday."
"What? Yesterday?" replied Emmy.
"Yes, yesterday, without knowing it, you were using the wind to negate the friction in the punches you threw and the parries, greatly reducing the fatigue."
"Wow, I didn't realize that."
"It's because the wind is invisible, compared to the other elements of your friends. Now let's get started though, I'll tell you what you'll need to do to catch up."
Emmy, from how she was before (disappointed) became all of a sudden very happy, knowing that in less time she would have become strong, thanks to the training of the day before.
"Emmy, you will not have great fighting skills with the wind kamien. But you will have great movement skills."
"Ahah, the rhyme," replied Emmy.
While Evan and I were continuing our training, I was starting to make the first cracks in the boulder.
"If you use the kamien to lift and move through the air, you'll be able to float. Try it. This technique is called Susanoo, keep it in mind."
Slowly she began to rise into the sky, it seemed like a miracle, she could truly equalize Reid's flight, which on the contrary was imperfect, compared to Emmy's, who could literally float.
"Awesome!" said Emmy.
"Isn't it? Now I'm going to teach you another fundamental technique, the Fujin, which is also relatively simple, but you're going to have to work hard at it now, otherwise, when you perform it in fights you're going to risk getting hurt."
"Okay. What does it consist of, teacher?"
"Position yourself in front of that tree, and repeat the martial arts techniques I taught you yesterday, but this time apply the wind to it, at a medium distance from where you strike, so don't get attached to the tree. The rest is up to you."
At first, she didn't seem to understand, but after a few punches and kicks, she discovered the sublimity of the technique she had just learned.
She could hit opponents by staying away from them, using the force of the wind on her punches, then landing even the blows that her opponent would be able to dodge.
"Wow," she yelled.
She, unlike us, had already learned her technique, all she needed to do was refine it.
"I did it too!" shouted Evan, "I can control the fireballs in midair, now I generated more." he continued.
"Great, just like that," said Acuro, "now generate more and place them behind you."
"Huh? Behind me? And for what reason?"
"You'll be able to get some cover and you won't have to worry about looking behind you anymore, generate about 8 of them and you'll be fine, then you can keep them there as shields or throw them. Just remember to never put out that fire. You make the fire, you can put it out whenever you want. But remember, the longer it stays lit, the harder you'll struggle, so use this "infinite fire" technique for this specific technique only, or you'll be dead. Learn to know your limits. This technique is called Kagu-Tsuchi."
*Kagu-Tsuchi and a lot of the other techniques used are referenced in other anime too, but they’re gods from Japanese mythology and not copied from other works.*
I, on the other hand, was still fatiguing a lot, I had only managed to make a few cracks in the boulder when...
"YES! I got it too!" I shouted.
"Great, Tenkei," Acuro said as he joined me.
I had split the rock in two, a perfect half. My fingers were perfectly synchronized: the perfect blade.
"I expected that from you. Now try the master technique, with the katana."
I picked up the katana, my hand all bruised and still trembling, and tried the technique from before, but using the katana, however, from how much my hand was shaking, another one came out: the one I had used the night before against Dario.
"T-Tenkei, but you..... No, that's not possible... how..."
"What is it, master? Are you talking about this technique? I discovered it a few days ago, I know it's nothing compared to the ones you teach me, sorry if I'm using it."
"No, you're wrong...That technique is still imperfect but...it's the technique that every swordsman has never been able to achieve in his life..."
"What are you talking about?"
"The electricity around the blade of the katana is rotating thanks to the flow of energy applied with the kamien, and thanks to the blade technique from before, you've just reached the heights of not only humanity but the entire universe...In the myths, they say that the one who can achieve the Kitsune (the technique is called like that).... can predict the opponent's moves...thanks to the atoms it moves. If you can perfect it, you will have become the perfect being. Even legends like Sasaki Kojiro and Miyamoto Musashi never managed to get there. Congratulations Tenkei."
"..." I was speechless, as were my companions.
"There's a risk to using Kitsune though, isn't there?"
"More than a risk, like the other technique from before, it has a limit, a limit of once a day, then you can't even fight anymore, or you'd be risking a lot."
"I see. Now that we've all honed our techniques how about we start the duel like we said we would?" I proposed.
"YES!" they all replied together.