Chapter 8:

Elemental Swordsmanship

Battlefield Restart: Mortal God

"Looks like there's still no hope for me to get stronger." I sighed to myself in disappointment.Bookmark here

Even though multiple affinities drawn on the page…Bookmark here

It's… useless…Bookmark here

I wouldn't have been dissatisfied if I had an average Magical Talent, but considering my exceedingly low Magic Capacity… Hah… It's useless to envy those with better starting points. I knew that well…Bookmark here

The only thing you could do was move forward.Bookmark here

No matter how rough or worthless the path, it's something that must be walked either way.Bookmark here

These affinities still won't change how difficult it would be for me to become stronger in the future. Bookmark here

Couldn't Enigma just give me a higher Magical Talent instead of all these useless affinities?Bookmark here

I could feel my resolve being shaken…Bookmark here

There was a limit to what magic techniques could release. Especially against those of higher power. Bookmark here

The amount of destruction one of higher Magical Talent could cause was exponentially different from lower Ranks. They would win even if they didn't understand the intricacy and complexity of Mana.Bookmark here

Even in this world, a physically weak martial artist couldn't compare to a inexperienced yet strong fighter. It's like how fitness could makeup for a lack of techniques. Mana Capacity mattered a lot.Bookmark here

Even though a genuine martial artist's techniques were usually stronger than most: The effect those complex techniques could bring out drop dramatically when faced against the overwhelming physical strength. Brawn could win over brains.Bookmark here

This difference was even vaster between lower ranks of Magical Talent and those of higher rank. Bookmark here

The difference was nearly absolute…Bookmark here

My resolve was shaken… but after remembering the promise I made my heart not long before, the despair I felt was thrown into the wind. There was nothing I could do about the fixed talent I had.Bookmark here

So what was the point in useless jealousy?Bookmark here

This will not stop me! Bookmark here

A weak man is a man who gives up! Bookmark here

I should never have be ashamed of being weak- Bookmark here

No, I should be ashamed of STAYING WEAK!Bookmark here

Giving up now would shame both my little sister and parents. How could I give up on myself without a good fight? Enigma, watch me. I'll show you that I can protect my family without your damn help!Bookmark here

AAAARGH!Bookmark here

"There's hope. As long as I don't give up, there'll always be hope. Just look at those five affinities~ Bookmark here

Even if you were born with less Mana, it shouldn't be that bad." My father, who seems to have been eavesdropping the entire time, barged in and patted my head. The fire in my heart sizzled out.Bookmark here

I was left looking blankly at his figure…Bookmark here

Where did he come from?Bookmark here

There was a strange look of excitement in Father's eyes. Having so many Ether Affinities was a rare occurrence. Even a member of the majestic Royal Family, that ruled over all of humanity, wouldn't necessarily have more magical affinities than I do.Bookmark here

Wait... Why was father listing in?Bookmark here

My suspicious eyes were caught by Father.Bookmark here

He let out an awkward cough in return and decided to quiet down. Maybe I should respond?Bookmark here

"There is always hope. There is more than one way to get stronger. I already know that. Thank you for reminding me, Father." I responded with a monotonous voice, causing his eyes to flicker.Bookmark here

My 'dear' father looked at my blank expression for a second… before feeling even more awkward.Bookmark here

He looked embarrassed now.Bookmark here

"Ahem... I've have some important business to attend to tomorrow, so Mark will be training you the basics of spells, magic arts, and swordsmanship for a few days. Ask him about anything.Bookmark here

Well, this arrangement is until I get some free time from my schedule. Your mother will be busy working alongside me as well." He avoided my unamused eyes in panic. His words were formal.Bookmark here

I guess he was still a butler, after all.Bookmark here

"Please get along with Mark until we've accomplished our goals." He continued.Bookmark here

Then quickly made a strategically swift retreat. I paid no attention to my father's awkward way of eavesdropping and turned to look at mother. She was giggling uncontrollably after seeing his act.Bookmark here

"Mark will train me?" I looked at her with a doubtful expression. It wasn't as if I hated Mark, but... Bookmark here

Isn't he the guy who gets scared of father all the time? How will that guy be able to train me?Bookmark here

"Stop worrying and get to the training grounds tomorrow. Although Mark looks... umm… a little… slightly… timid... He's actually very hardworking when it comes down to it." My mother made a ingenious smile after a few seconds of hesitation. Bookmark here

Yeah Mother, hesitate. Your hesitation only fuels my suspicion towards him!Bookmark here

That coward...Bookmark here

I remember the time when he pulled out a sword to deal with a 'lethal' fly...!Bookmark here

"Then I'll try my best." I reluctantly said after thinking about it briefly. Bookmark here

It's only until I finished learning the basics. There's probably no need to worry about anything else...Bookmark here

The very next day, I walk to the training fields to find a blonde-haired prince- No, that's not right. Bookmark here

He's just a butler... Seriously, these butlers and maids of the Swordwick Household were really colourful! If my father looked like a stern and responsible warrior-type butler, then Mark would be the naive and cowardly prince-type butler.Bookmark here

He looked way too inexperienced to be even holding a genuine sword on his waist!Bookmark here

"How are you today? Shall we get started on our basics?" Mark said with a confident smile.Bookmark here

It multiplied his natural handsomeness by tenfold.Bookmark here

The energetic maids of the Swordwick Household we're back to their regular training routines.Bookmark here

They secretly glanced at this prince-like coward with adoring eyes, but this was a reverse when talking about the jealous butlers. They fiercely glared at Mark with clear signs of envy.Bookmark here

"Just get on with it already, or do you want me throw an insect on you?" I spoke to him blandly. Bookmark here

These kinds of handsome studs were extremely irritating to look at. It's not because I'm jealous... Bookmark here

I'm definitely not jealous...! Not one bit!Bookmark here

"Please don't say stuff like that. You know about my fears..." He ran up and whispered into my ear. Bookmark here

I don't understand why the Duke would even hire such a cowardly clean freak as a servant. Bookmark here

Such a narcissist coward who could be defeated by a single look of a spider should've been fired a long time ago!Bookmark here

"Fine. Just start teaching already." I didn't even try to use the manners that my mother had diligently taught, and informally pushed him to train me. His attitude is a little too spineless for my liking... Bookmark here

My drill sergeant mindset wouldn't let this matter drop... I used to always chew out people like him.Bookmark here

"Your wish is my command~" He said with a handsome smile. Damn, I'm being affected by him.Bookmark here

Rays of light fell onto Mark's silhouette. Bookmark here

He elegantly took out a wooden sword.Bookmark here

"First things come first. Bookmark here

Let me teach you about the five major styles of Elemental Swordsmanship that are practiced by Swordsmen even outside the borders of our solitary Kingdom." Marks said while brandishing his wooden sword in the air. It looked light as a feather.Bookmark here

He took up a stance similar to the one used by my father yesterday and firmly swung his wooden sword.Bookmark here

Hmmm... Why does it feel that the atmosphere around him changed? Was it my imagination?Bookmark here

It's almost like he became an entirely different person upon starting to practice his equisite form of magical swordsmanship. However, my strong prejudice towards him still hasn't gone away...  Bookmark here

It's not because I'm envious by the grace he exudes while swinging his sword... not at all...Bookmark here

...I think.Bookmark here

"This is known as Earth Elemental Swordsmanship. Bookmark here

A form of that is able to make a sword have the weight of a hammer. It used Mana to mimic Earth. Bookmark here

This style is stable, firm and decisive when cutting foes. Practical and simple. A form of elemental swordsmanship that was a major help to many of the current Grandmaster Swordsmen in their youth.Bookmark here

It's even said that the legendary Sword Emperor created Elemental Swordsmanship by started off learning this specific style." Mark's entire atmosphere changed once more. His glowing sword strikes whistled through the air like mallets. Bookmark here

An opal glow surrounded his wooden swordBookmark here

His heavy movement's carried on stably.Bookmark here

The technique seemed as simple as imbuing a sword with the Earth Attribute before swinging it, but my previous conjectures were thrown out the window. I saw how the wooden sword seemed to subtly become part of the ground below.Bookmark here

It danced in the air dangerously. Instead of saying he was imbuing his sword movements with Mana, it was more accurate to say that his swordsmanship seemed to 'attract' the Earth Ether around him.Bookmark here

His will was being extended into his surroundings…Bookmark here

The opal glow on Mark's wooden sword wasn't a manifestation of his own Mana, but instead a force of nature that was added on with his graceful sword movements. Ether was attracted by Mana.Bookmark here

Even though I knew Mark was Master Swordsman like mother, I didn't think his mastery over the Earth Style would carry such finesse! Bookmark here

It probably had to do with how Master Swordsmen made sure they had a wider array of choices in combat.Bookmark here

"Sword Emperor?" The term was new to me, so I couldn't help but mutter it to myself once more. Bookmark here

Mark looked like he was waiting for that question and smiled pridefully as a result. Bookmark here

It looks like this guy couldn't wait to show off... Bookmark here

I shouldn't have asked...Bookmark here

"'Sword Emperor' is a title that was given to the man known as the Grandmaster among Grandmaster Swordsman. Or a Sword King among Sword Kings. It's a title that shows one has surpassed his peers and transcended his limits.Bookmark here

He is a legend that will be written down for ages to come. The one most greatest Swordmen to ever exist, Sword Emperor Gerald Knightly, was a man of great virtue and foresight. All things considered. Bookmark here

He spread his teaching of the sword to strengthen the Human Race. Even after it had been weakened after the God's abandonment hundreds of years ago." Mark proudly dumped everything onto me. Bookmark here

He stopped demonstrating the heavy moves of Earth Swordsmanship to gush about his idol. Bookmark here

A tremor ran through my heart as Mark mentioned that incident I had unwillingly become the perpetrator of. Hey, it's not like I chose to be summoned! It's that Druid… King guy's fault!Bookmark here

"Just forget about it and continue your explanation on the major paths of Elemental Swordsmanship." I quickly reminded Mark before he continues the subject. There's no need to waste my time talking about matters that had no relation to me.Bookmark here

Yep, I had nothing to do with it. Bookmark here

No one could prove otherwise.Bookmark here

I leisurely copied his sword movements, but ended up failing after several attempts of clumsily swinging my wooden sword around. I tried my best trying to stir up the Ether around me in any way.Bookmark here

Why wasn't it working properly?Bookmark here

Since I was supposed to use my Mana to mimic the Earth Attribute, I tried to increase the density of my reinforcement in able to improve its power, but each attempt failed at approaching close to Mark's demonstration. My magic and physique felt off…Bookmark here

There was a strange feeling of disconnect… Almost as if something was wrong with my practice.Bookmark here

Hah... Why am I unable to get the basics of drawing upon Ether around me? It should be easy now!Bookmark here

I'm a former soldier, and this is a just a basic fighting technique. Surely, it shouldn't be too hard.Bookmark here

So why wasn't it working?Bookmark here

Argh…! So irritating! Just work…!Bookmark here

It's just swinging my wooden sword heavily in a certain way, right? There shouldn't be much of a problem to comprehend the intricacies of something this basic. Come on! Work!! Work…!!!Bookmark here

I only learned later that my arrogance was a little too high at this moment of my life. Bookmark here

After all, Gerald Knightly was a figure in history that the Drakeyol Kingdom was most proud of. Bookmark here

As the founder and creator of Elemental Swordsmanship in a time where ancient Magic was declining at a fast rate, he was a genius. There's no way this intricate Magic Art that formed its own personal Magic System would simple to learn...Bookmark here

By then, I actually couldn't help but admire him.Bookmark here

I wondered why he didn't simply leave such a terrifying technique, his life's work, to only his apprentices. It was to the surprise to everyone on Gaia that he shared and publicised his unique Art.Bookmark here

Burst Manipulation replaced all inefficient practices of the past and protected the 'Human Lands'.Bookmark here

The rest of humanity were able to defend against the invading forces of the Blood Nation, who have created their own countries on both the lands that used to once be owned by Humans and Beasts.Bookmark here

It was all thanks to the Sword Emperor.Bookmark here

Just thinking about the effectiveness of Elemental Swordsmanship in the future made me sigh at the vast difference between Earth's martial arts and Gaia. The root of their practices were different.Bookmark here

Earthlings created techniques based on experience and study of battle, while Gaia Humans relied on instincts. They gained insight into Martial Arts based on their affinities and contact with nature.Bookmark here

Element Affinities usually translated to 'Battle Affinities'. Which were kinda like styles.Bookmark here

The martial arts of Earth focused more on the control of physical applications strength, whilst the martial arts of Gaia concentrated on unconscious control over Mana. 'Movement' wasn't relied on.Bookmark here

Just the circulation of Mana was the key…Bookmark here

Gaia Humans had never actually tried to pair fighting techniques with 'Arts'. They didn't need to.Bookmark here

It was a pity... There were so many ideas I thought of by pairing Martial Arts with Burst Manipulation.Bookmark here

Though I guess they already had their hands full creating a foundation for Arts at a young age.Bookmark here

By undergoing visualisation and concentration training, Swordsmen of Gaia could even become what's known as 'Elemental Specialists'. They could intuitively control their Mana without having to spend their time consciously focusing on it.Bookmark here

If that wasn't enough, then the fact that there were actually game-like 'Jobs' among Specialists nearly blew me away. It looks like skills and techniques weren't an utmost importance compared to Mana. Bookmark here

This was especially true when trying to gain a higher standing in the giant Mercenary Guild my parents had once worked for. It went along with having enough professionalism to carry out tasks.Bookmark here

A person could specialise in the controlling Earth Ether. However, there was difference between a 'Swordsman' who specialised in the Earth Affinity, and a 'Farmer' who hadn't trained anything other than using their specialisation to plow fields… Bookmark here

It was like the difference between night and day.Bookmark here

If two Earth Specialists fought one another, the victor would go to the fighter with more options available on hand. The same could also be said for Specialists of every other elemental fields. Bookmark here

Unlike Earth, fighters here didn't have to worry about training techniques that might be obsolete.Bookmark here

Everything was useful to them.Bookmark here

It was kinda annoying…Bookmark here

If a Specialist was to fight someone who was the same attribute as himself, then victory would go to the one with a higher Magical Talent. It almost felt like this world was made to restrain my potential.Bookmark here

Either way, Elemental Swordsmanship was a lot more than just being able to hit a little stronger and faster than others. The five Elemental Styles created by the Sword Emperor were perfect mediums for Arts that required 'Sword Mastery'.Bookmark here

This became my opinion after I had learned up on techniques in the future, becoming someone who had read a lot about Elemental Swordsmanship and the theories behind different kinds of 'Arts'. Bookmark here

But in the present, I was still just an ignorant child...Bookmark here

The only thing I was thinking at this moment was something along the lines of: 'Learning the basics should be a piece of cake! I, a reincarnated legend among soldiers, can definitely get this done~!'Bookmark here

"You're not doing it right! Bookmark here

You haven't even let me teach any basic forms, yet you think you're a genius at sword fighting!? Bookmark here

Those movements are completely amaturish! Bookmark here

You think that you'll be able to learn how to use the sword only after a few swings? Stop practicing right now!!!" The always foolish smile on Mark's face disappeared. He berrated my actions harshly. Bookmark here

My back stiffened up unconsciously…Bookmark here

I had found that he was actually serious in properly teaching the basics of Elemental Swordsmanship.Bookmark here

His sudden change in attitude seemed to have not suprised anyone in the training grounds. Bookmark here

I could tell that everyone now changed the way they looked at him now. Bookmark here

It was as if they didn't want to anger him while he was in 'instructor mode'. This caused me to see this prince-type cowardly butler in a new light. It's no wonder Father wanted me to train with Mark!Bookmark here

Even father couldn't help but go easy on me when instructing me on swordsmanship... Bookmark here

I didn't argue with Mark and allowed him to properly teach the way that he thought best.Bookmark here

'Better to humble oneself than be humiliated a lot.'Bookmark here

That's what my past life'a instructor said, anyway.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.